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 Posted: Wed Feb 10th, 2010 05:02 pm
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borderuffian
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Will Posey wrote: No doubt there were black men with the Confederate armies, but not nearly the vast numbers some claim. Many a slaveowner whose son went to war detailed a slave to go with the boy to look after him. Besides attending to personal needs, that looking after would also entail taking up a weapon to protect his charge.

However, those who would claim that teamsters, cooks and launderers could not be soldiers need look to our modern-day army.....there, most teamsters, cooks and launderers are -first and foremost- soldiers, enrolled, trained and equipped. Even though most blacks were not officially enrolled, many did fight and many received pensions for their service. But, again, not the large numbers some would have us believe. There should be an acceptable middle ground somewhere.



Yes, no matter the rank or station they were seen as fellow soldiers. 

From the Macon Daily Telegraph, July 28, 1862-

Attachment: ChasBengr.pdf (Downloaded 7 times)

Last edited on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 05:04 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Wed Feb 10th, 2010 05:44 pm
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ole
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Yes, no matter the rank or station they were seen as fellow soldiers. 

Thank you sir; may I have another?

The Union Armies also employed black, civilian cooks, launderers, teamsters, laborers, farriers, artificers, et alii. If they were counted as actual mustered-in soldiers, I suspect that the 178,000 USCT would quickly expand by at least twice.

If a black Confederate musician was enrolled, issued a uniform, and paid army pay (such as it was), he was a black Confederate soldier. If he was a hired freedman or a servant or an impressed slave, he wasn't.

The contracted civilians in the present army are not soldiers. Harm's way is adequately compensated. It is the enrollment as a soldier that marks the difference and, I strongly suspect, that civilians "serving" is the basis for the inflated number of black confederates. A second motivation is an effort to prove that many, many blacks voluntarily served; therefore, they were loyal to their "country," and therefore, they were content with their lot.

Ole

 



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 02:21 am
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I just spent some time on an AFB, gate guards were not SP's or even active duty military but civilian contractors. They are not considered soldiers by the US Military.

Black men along for the ride with their master... unpaid by the CS, not considered soldiers by the CS. Not equipped, armed or in any way officially supplied by the CS... the CS clearly did not consider a black man capable of being a soldier, judging by the treatment of black men in general I'm not altogether sure they considered a black man a man at all.

There is evidence that men like Cleburne and select other officers in the CS disagreed becuase of experiance and intellect. They were not enough to sway the CS congress until the CS was all but gone. A last minute gasp. At best a half hearted one that was far too little & far too late for anyone serious to view as much more than desperation. In short the CS officially raised 2-3 companies of black men; 2-300 officially compared to approx 750,000. Did more serve unofficially? Absolutely, but in insignificant numbers by any statistical formula.

There are those who do everything in their power to inflate the numbers of black men serving in the ranks of the CS in an effort to show a benevolant CS where the balck man was content in his slavery and second hand... no almost a subhuman status in society. One where racial equality was a reality. Pure posh to anyone who has seriously studied the era or the men who served. One where you have to be willing to totally ignore the words of the men who were actually there, one where a fiction is needed.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 04:37 am
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Ole and Johan, et al-

  I fail to understand all the bitter discord over this topic.

  There can be disagreement over who can be categorized as soldiers. There can be disagreement over the number of blacks who actually served as Confederate soldiers. But there can be no disagreement that SOME did. Why is the number so important?

  Earlier on another thread, Johan postulated that the number of black Confederate soldiers was 1300-1500. Perhaps close to a million served the Confederacy at one time or another. Thus, the percentage of black soldiers was less than 2%. But lets say that it was 1% or even less- what does it matter? There were SOME.

  Because some blacks served as Confederate soldiers doesn't necessarily mean that they embraced the cause of the Confederacy, or the institution of slavery. It doesn't mean that they accepted being treated as second class citizens, or worse.

  No doubt they served for many different reasons, as did the white soldiers. They might have gone because others they knew from their towns and counties went. They might have gone out of a sense of adventure. Perhaps some felt that they had something to prove. Perhaps some felt that their treatment would improve because of their service. Perhaps some saw no better alternatives to earn money and to have: "Three hots and a cot." (Figuratively speaking at that time). At any rate, SOME chose to go and do it.

  Were the black soldiers a statistically significant number? No. But they were there and what they were doing was significant to them at the time. Why not simply note their presence and give them the same respect as their white comrades?



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 12:42 pm
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TD I agree w/ much of what you've said. You'll never see me say there were no black men serving the CS in a combat role, as there were. frankly the non combat role of the black man in the CS was significant, in many ways more significant than that of the white man.

I grow irritated at the frequent inflation. Hell, I've seen absolutely ridiculous numbers of 250,000 spouted s gospel the oft quoted number of 65,000 has no bassis in fact. Counting the same men repeatedly and other obvious attempts to inflate numbers. The attempts to claim "integration" and implication that the black man was content to be a slave etc by some are ridiculous.

Why is it important to me? Why does it matter? I don't like to watch history become distorted and gleeful inflation of numbers does that. I've been on the net since the early 90's watching the ACW subject w/ interest. The "Black Confederate" subject is I think the most prolifically distorted subject. In no other subject is such a total lack of evidence ignored to put forward a hypothesis. If the blackman served in large numbers... well then obviously the ACW had nothing to do w/ slavery. Or as an extension the black man was happy in his lot and even willing to fight to preserve his status as a slave.

When I see a falsehood I try to correct it, and on the net today there are a LOT of falsehoods on this subject as well as many others. Made up quotes, out of context quotes coached and cut n pasted in such a way as to change the meaning of the original text etc. I'm willing to trust much but i also have learned to verify.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 01:23 pm
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Johan-

  History is always told from a point of view. There will always be those who distort reality, either on purpose or through ignorance.

  Sadly, you can't correct every inaccuracy thats out there. Those who can be educated might learn of their errors after further study. But many others never will or don't care.

  What offends me most these days is the high number of military posers who claim to have been war heroes. They do it to try to impress people, to inflate their own egos or resumes, or even to try to collect benefits from the government. Many never served in any capacity in the military, and thousands of liars have already been exposed. But they keep on coming, and I expect that it will always be so.

  As I stated previously, black Confederate soldiers served for many reasons because at the time they were swept up into the thing or thought it was to their advantage to do so. Those who see that fact as being evidence of their: "Slavish" allegiance to the Confederacy and its ideals are simply wrong in their hypothesis.

Last edited on Thu Feb 11th, 2010 01:38 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 06:15 pm
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borderuffian
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There are several myths about black Confederates.  One that has popped up recently is-  'they were all slaves.'

Another is they could only be a soldier if they were 'passing as white.'

This knocks out both of those myths in one click-

http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/forums/view_post.php?post_id=23655
Source:  Compiled Service Records, National Archives



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 07:05 pm
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ruffian,

I could have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone on this thread say there were NO black Confederates. You have pointed to some examples of a few. The debate is whether numbers are inflated to unbelievable proportions, and if so why. That's the way I've been reading this debate as an impartial observer, since I really don't care how many there were.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 07:42 pm
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The motivations of the primary purveyors of ‘black confederates’, no matter the number, usually boil down to enhancing the ‘purity’ of the southern cause.

 

I do not think anyone here is among that group - we've merely picked it up from others as an interesting topic worth discussion.

 

My view, is that in their view this demonstrates the confederate cause is based more on constitutional  and states’ rights issues and less on slavery. By allowing blacks to serve, the slavery issue is deflated and other issues enhanced…

 

Through history, it is interesting that 3rd party, always white (typically the SCV and UDC) , groups are the main, almost desperate,  champions of black confederates. These include backers of the ‘faithful slave, ‘black mammy’ and the ‘Hayward Shepard’ monuments that tend to memorialize the white view of the slavery issue…

 

 

HankC



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 09:00 pm
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borderuffian
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javal1 wrote: ruffian,

I could have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone on this thread say there were NO black Confederates. You have pointed to some examples of a few. The debate is whether numbers are inflated to unbelievable proportions, and if so why. That's the way I've been reading this debate as an impartial observer, since I really don't care how many there were.


Are you sure that's the debate?

I haven't seen anyone here claim an unbelievable number.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 10:20 pm
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Johan Steele
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Texas Defender wrote: Johan-

  History is always told from a point of view. There will always be those who distort reality, either on purpose or through ignorance.

  Sadly, you can't correct every inaccuracy thats out there. Those who can be educated might learn of their errors after further study. But many others never will or don't care.

  What offends me most these days is the high number of military posers who claim to have been war heroes. They do it to try to impress people, to inflate their own egos or resumes, or even to try to collect benefits from the government. Many never served in any capacity in the military, and thousands of liars have already been exposed. But they keep on coming, and I expect that it will always be so.

  As I stated previously, black Confederate soldiers served for many reasons because at the time they were swept up into the thing or thought it was to their advantage to do so. Those who see that fact as being evidence of their: "Slavish" allegiance to the Confederacy and its ideals are simply wrong in their hypothesis.

A couple years ago on another site we had a fella claiming to have been a Marine Vietnam vet and who bragged about carrying an M16 and would denigrate anyone who disagreed w/ him.  Problem was that when he said he was in Vietnam the Marines weren't carrying the M16 yet...  Any man that calls himself a war hero... lets just say that doesn't mesh w/ those I've met and I've met several bonafide heroes.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 10:23 pm
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borderuffian wrote: javal1 wrote: ruffian,

I could have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone on this thread say there were NO black Confederates. You have pointed to some examples of a few. The debate is whether numbers are inflated to unbelievable proportions, and if so why. That's the way I've been reading this debate as an impartial observer, since I really don't care how many there were.


Are you sure that's the debate?

I haven't seen anyone here claim an unbelievable number.
I agree, IIRC your number was approx 5000.  If that isn't correct please clarify your position.



 Posted: Thu Feb 11th, 2010 10:32 pm
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javal1
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Just to clarify, I was talking about some of the claims made by outside authors, not folks on this board.



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 04:18 pm
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     Problems with Documenting Black Confederates

 
“1. Muster Rolls: Virtually all Confederate muster rolls do not contain any racial information. While it is fairly easy to identify American Indians and Hispanics by their non-Anglo names, most blacks, on the other hand, adopted European names. Although some individuals can be assumed to be slaves for lacking last names, but free blacks are virtually indistinguishable from their white comrades-in-arms. For instance, brothers, Arthur and Miles Reed both served as Privates in Co.D, 3rd NC Artillery (also in the 40th NC Infantry), but Broadfoot's Confederate roster (index of National Archives' service records) does not in any way identify them as black. Due to these difficulties, secondary sources including pension records, United Confederate Veteran files, and family records must supplement research in suspected black soldiers.
It should also should be noted that for some States, muster roll records are notoriously incomplete for a variety of reasons. For example in Alabama, many of this military records were destroyed or conveniently lost rather than hand them over to the Federal government where persecution of ex-Confederate was a very real possibility. In Missouri, a serious attempt to compile Confederate muster records did not begin until 1908, by that time many rolls were lost and many veterans had already passed away. As a result, the completeness of Confederate muster rolls are a recognized problem, not only for the black Confederate descendant but for many white Confederate soldiers as well.

2. Pension records: Only those surviving to pension age, or were aware of this benefit, or were fortunate enough to overcome postwar anti-Negro prejudice. Since pension files were controlled by State authority, they were often subject to a local county review board. This caused considerably differences in various States and from county to county. South Carolina, for instance, recorded 30 black Confederates pensioners in one county (York County) alone, Tennessee claimed 267, while the State of Missouri, which was rather hesitant to issue pensions to anyone, let alone to black Confederates, appears to have not issued any. Discrimination towards black Confederates was another real problem. For example, in South Carolina white Confederates could apply for old age pensions as early as 1887. Black veterans were denied pensions until 1923. By that time the majority of them were deceased.
One of the best resources about Black Confederates is the book, "Forgotten Confederates: An Anthology about Black Southerners", by Charles Kelly Barrow, J. H. Segars and R.B. Rosenburg. Not only packed full of very good historical accounts, it lists the names of hundreds of black Confederate veterans who received pensions for their service. While it is far from being comprehensive, it is the best resource available to date.

3. Classification: One must understand what is meant by the term, "black Confederate". Most black Confederate were NOT what one would considered as a "soldier" in the nineteenth century sense of the word. There was and still remains today an old bigoted argument that this "old boy was not a soldier but a slave" ? Well this is the same mindset that opposed compensation for black Confederates back in 1923. To be truthful and nondiscriminatory we must look either at their counterpart in the Union army or in today's modern army. Did U.S. servicemen ever serve as stable assistants, aides to Commissioned officers, cooks, teamsters, ect ? They certainly did. Plus many eye witness accounts of black Confederates testify that even some in these positions did occasionally carry arms. It would be wrong to claim that the bulk of black Confederates working in factories, repair shops, and hospitals far away from the battlefields, were soldiers even in today's standard. Most of these would NOT be considered "soldiers" but "employees of the Army". Nether the less we must be careful not to continuing to inject nineteenth century discriminatory bias on men that in today's Army would be considered soldiers. If they were serving on the battlefield or immediately behind frontlines of battle performing military service, then we should consider the modern Army equivalent. Unfortunately since we must use muster rolls, and other 1861-1865 era documents, many of these Southern black patriots will be forever unknown and forgotten. We must do the best we can to see that the few were can document are not forgotten. “

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/blackcs.htm#Problems%20with%20Documenting%20Black%20Confederates






 Posted: Mon Feb 15th, 2010 03:28 am
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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...



 Posted: Mon Feb 15th, 2010 01:47 pm
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borderuffian
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barrydancer wrote: 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.


 

The Steiner account does not describe them as being organized along lines of a brigade or division but-

"They were seen riding on horses and mules, driving wagons,
riding on caissons, in ambulances, with the staff of Generals,
and promiscuously mixed up with all the rebel horde."


*

I tried to find some biographical information about Steiner to see if there was any hint of an agenda.

The only thing found was an obituary. 

In it there is nothing about abolitionism or any other political activism involving blacks.  So the agenda angle seems to fall flat.

Attachment: SteinerObit.pdf (Downloaded 2 times)



 Posted: Mon Feb 15th, 2010 01:59 pm
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borderuffian
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barrydancer wrote: 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.




Actually it's not a very good one.  It was the North that forced the "freed" slaves into camps where they died of neglect, starvation and disease by the tens of thousands.

Some say the total number of deaths ranges between 100,000 and 200,000.

Northern historians don't write much about this.  It would be very damaging to their 'war against slavery' mantra.

Also, the North was doing everything it could to preserve slavery within its own domain.





Last edited on Mon Feb 15th, 2010 03:57 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 03:25 am
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borderuffian wrote: Will Posey wrote: "...those who would claim that teamsters, cooks and launderers could not be soldiers need look to our modern-day army.....there, most teamsters, cooks and launderers are -first and foremost- soldiers, enrolled, trained and equipped. Even though most blacks were not officially enrolled, many did fight and many received pensions for their service. But, again, not the large numbers some would have us believe. There should be an acceptable middle ground somewhere.
Those who were enlisted in the Confederate army no matter their duties were soldiers.


If Jefferson Davis, the CS govt & the CS military did not see a black man as a soldier why am I obligated to do so?

Please tell us what you think the debate here is along with how many black men you think bore arms for the CS.



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 04:24 pm
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borderuffian wrote:

Actually it's not a very good one.  It was the North that forced the "freed" slaves into camps where they died of neglect, starvation and disease by the tens of thousands.

Some say the total number of deaths ranges between 100,000 and 200,000.

 
It should be noted that soldiers died by the tens of thousands of disease as well. If you wanted to stay healthy, a crowded army or refugee camp was the last place to be...
 

Northern historians don't write much about this.  It would be very damaging to their 'war against slavery' mantra.

Also, the North was doing everything it could to preserve slavery within its own domain.


It pays to remember that 'spread of slavery', rather than 'slavery',  was the major item of friction between the 2 sections. The institution itself probably had more vocal defenders than objectors...




 
HankC



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 06:45 pm
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This is interesting.

http://www.calebstriumph.com/black_confederates/diaries.html




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