View single post by barrydancer
 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 11:41 pm
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Joined: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008
Location: Norwalk, Connecticut USA
Posts: 135

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borderuffian wrote: Blacks who served in Confederate armies were given pensions by the state governments. Even servants and laborers could receive pensions.

Did the Federal government award pensions to those who were laborers with Federal armies?- No.

There are at least three monuments to blacks who served with Confederate armies-the one at Arlington National Cemetery, the Howcott Monument (MS), and the Fort Mill (SC) Monument.  There may be others that I am unaware of.  There are certainly several monuments to individuals.

The three mentioned were all established around 1900.  I know of only one monument to the USCT established during that period.  The rest are of modern vintage.

Look at the pension details more closely.  Most Southern states that offered them did so in the 1920's, with the exception of Mississippi, which seems to have began doing so in the 1880's.  Also, they seem to have been available only to former slaves who followed their masters as cooks or servants.  The pension applications specifically asked for their master's name, unit, etc.

The Howcott Monument looks to me to validate the points that Johan and PvtClewell were making about the Arlington monument.  Look at its inscriptions.  Erected "to the memory of of the good and loyal servants" of a local unit and a "tribute to my faithful servant and friend...a colored boy of rare loyalty."  It's not a monument to soldiers, but rather a glorification of the fabled, honest and faithful slave.  An idealized figure of the old South that never really existed at all.  It isn't as though slaves had much choice in following their masters.  And they were surrounded by thousands of armed white men helping to prevent escape or disobedience. 

The Arlington monument is in a similar mold, helping to validate the loyal slave idea with its imagery.  All those brave stone Confederates, and a black man, too, marching off to war. 

Let's face it, the black Confederate soldier is largely a myth.  Did some black people pick up a gun and voluntarily fight for the Confederacy?  Likely some, stranger things have happened, but not in any official capacity.  And most all of the cooks, teamsters, and laborers worked involuntarily. 

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