Thursday, July 18, 2013

Black Confederates



  There were black Confederate soldiers contrary to the belief of many noted scholars in academia. I don't believe that there were very many compared to the blacks who served in the Union Army. There are estimates of maybe three thousand that served as rebels as opposed to nearly 200,000 that served as Yankees. For scholars to poo poo the idea that blacks would serve the South shows the arrogance of the elite. In my mind they are just as wrong as those white Southerners who refuse to acknowledge that slavery was the underlining cause of the Civil War. They overestimate the numbers of blacks that served as rebels because in their mind slavery had nothing to do with the war. It was all about states rights or the tariff issue. These other issues influenced the causes of the war but if there had been no slaves there would have been no war. The evidence is overwhelming. It is on the same level of someone denying the holocaust in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. More to the point the war started because the South wanted to spread it to the territories and the North wanted to contain it to the South where it already existed. The question has to be asked why would a black man want to fight for the South? Although blacks were not allowed to enlist in the Southern army most of these soldiers were probably personal body servants. Most probably grew up with the white soldier they were assigned to serve and they played together as children. They probably served their masters out of a deep sense of loyalty and even affection. 
  
  These slaves had it better than the average slave. They were usually not field hands. Then there were slaves that served as teamsters and cooks. Nathan Bedford Forrest is said to have freed his teamsters for their service. Soldiers in any army have always been assigned to do menial tasks. They may not ever fire a gun in anger but they are still considered soldiers. I don't think it is known to what degree or if these soldiers ever served in a combat role. Even though they weren't allowed to enlist there is evidence that they were accepted as soldiers based on their loyalty and service. Although I haven't been able to confirm this story I once heard that there was a black Confederate Sergeant who served the artillery at Ft. Wagner fighting against the Union attack spearheaded by the all black 54th Massachusetts Infantry depicted in the movie Glory. Supposedly the Sergeant was accepted into the unit as an "honorary" white man. We know beyond a doubt that there was much resistance to black soldiers serving in the Confederate Army. General Joseph Johnston and Patrick Cleburne along with others suggested that slaves should be used as soldiers but their suggestion was met with disdain. I believe that this was a big reason that Cleburne never advanced above the level of Division command. This fact probably led to his death at Franklin. If he was a Corps commander he would not have been out front leading his troops in battle.. It wasn't until March 1865, one month before Lee's surrender, that blacks were allowed to enlist and then it was out of pure desperation. These troops never saw action. Were there black Confederate soldiers? Probably. There are just too many blacks wearing Confederate uniforms in pictures and at Confederate reunions after the war.Obviously they thought that they were soldiers.













4 comments:

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    1. Slaves were an issue causing the Civil War ONLY in as much as slaves were PROPERTY. Secession was NOT PROHIBITED by the Constitution. Had it been, it is highly unlikely the original 13 states would have ratified that document. Property rights were, AND ARE, protected by the Constitution. When Northern politicians, emboldened by fire brand abolitionists started restricting "certain individual's"(slave holders/owners) right to control legally possessed property(slave holder's slaves) in violation of the Constitution, and no amount of political and peaceful defense of that ownership seemed to be persuasive, secession was the final peaceful recourse for what were legitimate grievances. It was a clear case of protection of individual "property rights". You and I are very liable to see a repeat performance by states seceding from the present Union should there be further attempts by the Fed to restrict individual property usage when that property is in the form of "legally possessed" firearms.
      So was it slavery that caused the Civil War, or was it Fed infringement on an individual's right to do with their legally held property what they want to do with that property? Once the war was won in the North and CSA no longer existed, then the Emancipation Proclamation became enforceable. Thus, slaves were no longer slaves by Federal edict. What I would like to know is in what form was compensation made to former slave owners for the property that Fed took from them? They should have been paid for that property, otherwise it was theft, pure and simple.

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    2. I agree that slaves were considered property and that property rights are a fundamental right guaranteed to all Americans. However I can't think of a real incident where the Federal government challenged this right where slavery already existed. Lincoln made it very clear that he had no constitutional power to interfere with slavery in the slave states. The anti-slavery people like Lincoln were opposed to the spread of slavery into the territories. There was a major difference between someone who identified as anti-slavery and those who identified as abolitionist. An abolitionist only wanted one thing and one thing only. The abolition of slavery. He could care less if the Union was preserved. There was precedent for preventing the spread of slavery. In the Northwest Ordinance slavery had been prohibited in this territory and the Missouri Compromise had restricted the spread of slavery into certain territories. Early in the war Lincoln had stressed that his primary goal was preservation of the Union and not the abolition of slavery. He revoked the abolitionist decree of John C. Fremont in Missouri early in the war. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure designed to hurt the Southern war effort when it became evident to Lincoln that slaves were freeing up white men to serve in the southern Army. It did not affect loyal slave states like Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. The states made a contract when they ratified the constitution. The right of Revolution is an inalienable right. However before revolution can be justified you must make a case for it. You must establish the fact that government has usurped inalienable rights and established a state of tyranny. The South in my opinion could not do that. Besides the South made a strategic error in judgement by attacking Ft. Sumter. If the South had remained passive it would have placed Lincoln in a nearly impossible position. The South had many friends in the North. If Lincoln had made the first move he would have looked like the aggressor. When the South fired on Sumter that was comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the North. As it was Lincoln came close to having to accept an armistice. Sherman's capture of Atlanta helped Northerners to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, although your point about slaves being property is well taken I cringe at the idea that we can morally justify the ownership of human beings by declaring them property.

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    3. I agree that slaves were considered property and that property rights are a fundamental right guaranteed to all Americans. However I can't think of a real incident where the Federal government challenged this right where slavery already existed. Lincoln made it very clear that he had no constitutional power to interfere with slavery in the slave states. The anti-slavery people like Lincoln were opposed to the spread of slavery into the territories. There was a major difference between someone who identified as anti-slavery and those who identified as abolitionist. An abolitionist only wanted one thing and one thing only. The abolition of slavery. He could care less if the Union was preserved. There was precedent for preventing the spread of slavery. In the Northwest Ordinance slavery had been prohibited in this territory and the Missouri Compromise had restricted the spread of slavery into certain territories. Early in the war Lincoln had stressed that his primary goal was preservation of the Union and not the abolition of slavery. He revoked the abolitionist decree of John C. Fremont in Missouri early in the war. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure designed to hurt the Southern war effort when it became evident to Lincoln that slaves were freeing up white men to serve in the southern Army. It did not affect loyal slave states like Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. The states made a contract when they ratified the constitution. The right of Revolution is an inalienable right. However before revolution can be justified you must make a case for it. You must establish the fact that government has usurped inalienable rights and established a state of tyranny. The South in my opinion could not do that. Besides the South made a strategic error in judgement by attacking Ft. Sumter. If the South had remained passive it would have placed Lincoln in a nearly impossible position. The South had many friends in the North. If Lincoln had made the first move he would have looked like the aggressor. When the South fired on Sumter that was comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the North. As it was Lincoln came close to having to accept an armistice. Sherman's capture of Atlanta helped Northerners to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, although your point about slaves being property is well taken I cringe at the idea that we can morally justify the ownership of human beings by declaring them property.

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