View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 12:27 am
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CleburneFan
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I am a purist when it comes to counting strength of the armed forces in the Civil War. I would count African-Americans who fought for the South IF and only IF they had been officially mustered into the service either by conscription or as volunteers. They would have to have a rank, wear a uniform, and be assigned  to a company, regiment, division and corps. They would be entitled to at least some pay for their service and perhaps eventually entitled to a pension, however small.

African-Americans who did not meet those criteria but "helped out" in an informal manner in some battles or skirmishes either armed or using improvised weapons such as pitchforks and so on, do not count as actual Armed Forces. 

Those African-Americans who worked as cooks, teamsters, blacksmiths, laborers and the like without actually holding rank would be CIVILIAN labor that accompanied the Confederate army either voluntarily or under force. Most of the time, in the South such civilians would be non-combatants.

One reason would be that many Southerners were reluctant to arm their slaves and ex-slaves for combat for fear that the arms would be turned against the whites. When Patrick Cleburne made the controversial proposal to arm African-Americans, his proposal was considered to be so inflammatory that Jefferson Davis ordered that it be supressed and never discussed.

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