View single post by HankC
 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 03:51 pm
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HankC
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Black Confederates is always an interesting topic and has been since I observed my first such discussion a decade ago.

 

However the fascination is not necessarily over the topic itself, but with how evidence is used, misused, invented, ignored and analyzed then and now.

 

For example, Frederick Douglass says, "There are at the present moment, many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down  and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government."

 

Quite a statement. Rather than blindly accepting  it, what is Douglass’ motivation to make it, whether true or false? After all, we know he wanted the federal government to enroll black soldiers and, if the CSA was doing so, then so much the better for his effort.

 

What of Lewis Steiner’s account of 3,000 black confederates on the march through Frederick MD during the Antietam campaign?

 

Taht's about 2 full brigades, or more like a division, considering the amount of Confederate straggling during the Maryland campaign.

 

Steiner, of course, is the only person to have seen these soldiers, or at least the only one to report them. No one else records their presence. No union soldiers capture or bury any in the ensuing battle. Steiner is also the primary source of the Barbara Frietchie incident/poem but, more importantly, he is a staunch abolitionist supporting Douglass’ quest of enlisting black soldiers.

 

People in the 1860s were not above stretching, or inventing, 'the truth’. We need to be careful as well…

 

 

HankC

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