View single post by barrydancer
 Posted: Mon Feb 15th, 2010 04:28 am
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Joined: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008
Location: Norwalk, Connecticut USA
Posts: 135

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My own $.02...

For me, even ONE black Confederate SHOULD be an ubelievable number given what the Confederacy was and was officially fighting for, but as I think I said in the old closed thread, stranger things have happened. Whether for loyalty, ignorance, personal gain, or fear, there were black men carrying arms for the Confederacy, but their numbers were statistically insignificant. Hell, I bet if you really looked hard enough, you'd be able to find a few Jews in the armies of Germany during World War II, but their existence at face value tells you nothing, and does nothing to counteract the fact that millions of their kin were sytematically slaughtered. Just as the existence of a small number of black men voluntary fighting for the Confederacy does nothing to negate the fact that millions of other black people were held as chattel in perpetual bondage. It's not a perfect analogy, and I'll likely catch flack for it, but I think it's a valid one.

I think the Steiner account falls flat for all the reasons given by Johan and others. 3,000 men in the Maryland campaign would have been a good-sized division, yet no one else noticed that many armed black people in the Confederate ranks? Either they were so spaced out that no one noticed their true numbers, the existence of them was so ordinary as to not engender comment, or it just didn't happen. My money's on the latter choice.

I think the desire by some to so vociferously advocate for large numbers of black Confederates, as mentioned by the historians referenced in the other thread, is to prove the existence of a multi-cultural, egalitarian South that never existed. After all, if you're trying to combat the notion that the greens started a war to keep the purples enslaved, what better ammunition that to be able to point to thousands upon thousands of purples enlisted in the army of the greens? (Colors chosen randomly. :P)

Now, none of this is meant to mean that the notion of black Confederates is not worthy of study. Even statistically insignifant things are historically important and only furhter our knowledge, I"m just cautioning against reading too much into the existence of black Confederates in regards to the Southern cause.

And now back to lurking...

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