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Author Topic: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america  (Read 14317 times)

Offline ‘87 Alum

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Awesome historical perspectives and lessons!!



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Offline Bison66

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Wow!!

Priceless!!!!

Yes, there was, it seems, an Army of Tennessee on both sides.

Do you still have the copies of the letters?

Have copies been provided to museums, Lib of Congress, etc.?

O0

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Offline ncsiacfan

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No I wish I had. I told the student that these should be submitted to the Library of Congress after her Great Aunts died. First of all, these "rebs" were quite literate and they were enlisted men. "Did you (not the servants) get the spring planting in?" etc. And the letters went from 1861 to 1863 when they just stopped.

Offline ncsiacfan

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I should add that if your were the relative of a confederate soldier from Mississippi, you may not have known that General Oliver Otis Howard was the commander of the northern Army of Tennessee,
but your would know that his army was with General Sherman at the Battle of Atlanta and in their march to the sea.

Offline Bison66

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Some Unionist "propaganda" (not necessarily a bad word):



And here, Liberty hands a Black man a rifle:



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Offline Bison66

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When I get a chance, I am going to revisit the article in the OP since many FACTS have been laid on the table in this thread that have resulted in my change of the thread title.

Meanwhile,...ON THE UNION SIDE:

Quote

"I had long been of the opinion that this race had a right to kill rebels.” Col. James M. Williams, commander of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, always spoke, said a contemporary, as though he were “grinding his molars or gritting his teeth.” His regiment of escaped black slaves had been the first organized into service for the United States government, and he was determined that it give a good account of itself. They had already been the first blacks in combat in the Civil War and the first to die serving the flag. Williams had worked his men hard for months, had strong-armed civilian authorities to get his way, wedding his Puritan abolitionist fervor with a self-conscious sense of personal dignity. Now the twelve hundred men of his command—camped for the night of July 1, 1863, at Cabin Creek, Indian Territory- were about to make history, and if Williams did not know it, he nonetheless had brought it to pass.

Never before in the Civil War had black troops fought alongside white ones. Most whites, even many abolitionists, refused to consider the proposition. Maybe blacks should not be slaves, but certainly they were not the equals of white men and should not dishonor white soldiers by taking up arms themselves. Yet at this moment Williams had under his command some white infantry and cavalry units from Colorado and Kansas. The Confederates had blocked the line of march; they stood between Fort Gibson and the essential mile-long supply train in Williams’s charge. Whatever white men might think in general, here they would have to work with black soldiers if they wanted to survive. The Rebels were only a few hundred yards away, on the other side of the creek. Williams would attack the next morning, and he would use all his men.

It had taken the efforts of some very unusual men in addition to Williams to get the colonel and his command to the brink of battle.

The Kansas senator James H. Lane, the “Grim Chieftain,” was an outrageous demagogue. Tall, lanky, with a high forehead, deep-set eyes, and hollow cheeks, Lane was histrionic, played to his audience with populist rhetoric, and always put on a good show. He had a habit of progressively undressing while haranguing a crowd, throwing off one garment after another as his voice grew more strident. Had his life taken a different turn, he might have become a road-show preacher (in fact, one of his campaign tactics was to find God and be rebaptized in the towns where he traveled to deliver his speeches and undress). Instead, he had gone from pro-slavery Democrat to abolitionist Republican. At the start of the war, when the Federal capital was threatened with capture, Lane had organized the “Frontier Guards” and camped with them in the East Room of the White House to protect the President. Lincoln found him amusing, but in need of a leash.

In June 1862 Lane started recruiting troops from among free blacks, especially the swelling numbers of fugitive slaves in Kansas, men who had fled their masters in Missouri and Arkansas.  Raising black troops was against the law, and the public and Army were on the whole strongly hostile to it.  One Northern soldier summarized the general feeling: “I will Never fight by the side of A n----r & that is the feeling of the army.…” Said another: “If a negro regiment were to come and camp near an old regiment out here, the men would kill half of them.” And at the very moment Senator Lane was starting to form the 1st Kansas Colored in Leavenworth, on the basis of what he interpreted as a verbal approval from Lincoln, in Washington the President was telling a visiting delegation that “to arm the Negroes would turn 50,000 bayonets from the loyal Border States against us that were for us.”

Lane did not agree, or he did not care...
http://www.americanheritage.com/content/first-kansas-colored

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Offline Bison66

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Re: ?did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america?
« Reply #96 on: October 06, 2014, 02:17:26 PM »
True, Ken, for most!!

But we do know for sure that there are always a few brainwashed and confused individuals who miscomprehend the situation and who "fight" against their own interests.

There's a fascinating story of the Franklin Riot (Tenn) just after the Civil War.  There were Black and white RADICALS advocating that former Confederates not be given too much leeway to regain power AND there were white and Black CONSERVATIVES (these were the labels applied to them in the Official Report of the incident, not by me) who opposed the Radicals.

The Radicals did a series of marches in the Franklin area.  During (the last?) one, they were confronted in the streets by the Conservatives led by TWO BLACK MEN (or were they pushed up front?).  Shots rang out and two men were killed and several were wounded.  Both sides were armed but disagreed about who shot first.

It turns out that my Great Grandmother was a witness and gave a deposition to the investigators.  I am HOPING that she was on the Radical's side, but I have my doubts.  

Visiting Franklin next month to see what more I can find out.

O0

Amazingly, I now have a book in which my great grandmother's DEPOSITION about the Franklin (Tenn) Riot is included.  A local historian gave it to me during our enlightening visit to Franklin in April.

Perhaps she saw more than she reported, but she basically only said that some of the wounded were brought to her home to be treated.  She was a skilled mid-wife (requested by the "best families" of Franklin) and during the Civil War was sent to Montgomery, Ala (safely away from Union forces who might have liberated her) and worked with a Doctor also from Franklin.

Apparently, her medical experience was the reason the wounded were brought to her home.

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Offline Bison66

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Re: ??did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america??
« Reply #97 on: October 10, 2014, 05:35:29 PM »
Check out the Confederacy's TWENTY NEGRO LAW.

It exempted the slave owners (or overseers) of 20 or more enslaved Africans from military service in the army of the CSA.

While the self-serving nature (for the slave aristocracy) of this law is obvious, it was also designed to keep owners (or oversers) in place to "police" the Black folks in case of unrest.

Quote
While the law certainly created inequities in the Confederacy concerning the obligation to military service, its ostensible purpose should be taken seriously. Certainly it exempted slaveholders and/or their agents from service in the Confederate Army, but the Twenty Negro Law also obligated them to another purpose: “policing” the slaves. In other words, taken at its word, the law’s main purpose was meant to prevent unrest by slaves on the Confederate home front.

The fear of slave unrest in the Confederate South was quite real. Early in the war, as white men left to join the army and local militia units were sent away from home for service at the front, letters began appearing on the desks of southern leaders pleading that some men be left at home to maintain discipline among the slaves. (Civil War Emancipation has covered this topic before. To access those posts, <click here>.) The fear of slave revolt had helped create the Confederacy in the first place. It is ironic that instead of bringing white Southerners the feeling of security they craved, it made them only more worried.

This worry was not unfounded. As white manpower departed the traditional system of enforcing the slave system was strained or collapsed entirely. Armed force quite literally maintained slavery in the American South. Besides the activities of planters and overseers, a system of policing existed beyond the plantation to defend slavery. Patrols traveled the roads of the South, stopping African Americans away from their plantations to see if they had passes from their owners, and arresting those that did not. Private slave catchers operated to track down slaves that evaded the patrols, if they had not already been taken into custody by county sheriffs or village constables. And just about any town of a certain size in the South had facilities to detain fugitive slaves until they could be returned to their owners.

Yet to make this system work required manpower, and the insatiable demands of the Confederate military drained away the portion of the southern population bested suited to enforce the slave system: young adult white males. Hence, with the Twenty Negro Law, the Confederate government tried to keep a minimal level of manpower at home to prop up slavery and prevent the feared race war that white Southerners believed would come with emancipation.

http://cwemancipation.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-20-negro-law-and-emancipation/

O0 4952
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 05:37:48 PM by Bison66 »
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Offline ncsiacfan

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Re: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america
« Reply #98 on: October 13, 2014, 01:20:49 AM »
Check out the following reference:

James G. Hollingsworth, Jr. Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War, May 2008. Mississippi History Now online.

He lists the reasons for blacks serving the Confederacy.

Offline ‘87 Alum

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Re: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america
« Reply #99 on: October 13, 2014, 01:25:17 PM »
I may have to stop & visit Franklin on our next trip to BHM.



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Offline MyTeVyKn

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Re: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america
« Reply #100 on: October 13, 2014, 10:31:32 PM »
I mentioned a while back that I would post these...

THE CONFEDERATE NEGRO
Virginia's Craftsmen and Military Laborers, 1861 - 1865
James H. Brewer

http://www.amazon.com/The-Confederate-Negro-Virginias-Craftsmen/dp/0817354867

Quick Summary-This book help me realize and understand why FT Lee, VA is the home of the Quartermaster Corps.


Listed below, I found this book extremely fascinating...  WARNING-Very graphic and detailed in some of it's accounts.

FREEDOM'S SOLDIERS
The Black Military Experience in the Civil War
Edited by:  Ira Berlin, Joseph P. Reidy, Leslie S. Rowland

http://www.amazon.com/Freedoms-Soldiers-Black-Military-Experience/dp/0521634490/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413253587&sr=1-1&keywords=freedom%27s+soldiers

Quick Summary-Stories told by Union Soldiers themselves.  In their own words and the words of other eyewitnesses through letters, archives, and memorials they reveal the multitude of complex experiences of African-Americans during the period of emancipation.

 

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ECSU-TO LIVE IS TO LEARN...
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http://www.ecsu.edu/index.cfm
http://www.ecsuvikings.com/
http://www.ecsu.edu/academics/department/visual-performing-arts/index.html

Offline Bison66

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Re: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america
« Reply #101 on: October 13, 2014, 11:16:33 PM »
I may have to stop & visit Franklin on our next trip to BHM.

BHM?

Black History Museum?

Where is it?

Thanks!
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Offline Bison66

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Re: why did SO FEW slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states
« Reply #102 on: November 14, 2014, 12:45:11 AM »
bison. slavery was economically out of the door.  especially for the large plantation owners.  the slaves were in the fields and raising livestock to feed themselves.  slavery would have died out in fifteen years because the slave owners would not have been able to afford slaves....

In our discussion some years back, y04 NEVER PROVIDED any evidence to back up his unsubstantiated claim that "slavery was economically out of the door."

The obvious (to me) implication was that slavery was unprofitable and would have died out on its own.  That type of argument seems to be made by those attempting to absolve slavers from the immorality of their actions over centuries.

A poll was done of world-class economists to determine what they believed was the reason that slavery was ended in the US of A.

They were asked to what extent they agreed with this statement:

Slavery in the United States was eradicated because of social and political events, not because it was an unprofitable institution for slaveholders.
http://www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel/poll-results?SurveyID=SV_aWBLHmVRxw5IY1T

The results show a strong concensus - a very strong one - that slavery was not eradicated because it was an unprofitable for slaveholders.

Quote
About the IGM Economic Experts Panel
This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.
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« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 01:22:12 AM by Bison66 »
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Offline Bison66

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Re: why did SO FEW slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states
« Reply #103 on: November 14, 2014, 01:00:46 AM »
There is NO WAY any honest person could say that the number of Blacks in the CSA Army was even close at all to the numbers fighting for the Union.

y04, I see you still have no response to my inquiry from almost 4 years ago in this thread to "clarify" what you termed a "choice" of which side to "fight" on.  I do, of course, realize that you don't because it was muddled thinking that led you to say that enslaved folks had a "choice" in the first place.

O0

Forgive two posts in the same old thread the same night, but the info has come to my attention only recently.

As my quote above points out, y04 - as per usual - goes silent when asked to explain his muddled thinking.

Now,...

Looking for something else yesterday I came across a post BY y04 which seems to completely obliterate what he seemed to be trying to say about "choice."

See for yourself:
http://onnidan1.com/forum/index.php/topic,51734.0.html

If, as he claims in THIS thread, the "choice" was "clear", his post in the other thread makes it abundantly CLEAR WHICH CHOICE OUR ANCESTORS MADE....

They did NOT choose a few dollars over a chance to be free from enslavement.  They risked life and limb to escape the Confederacy even when it was not certain that Union troops would allow them to remain.

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« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 01:22:43 AM by Bison66 »
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Offline EB

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Re: why did slaves and free blacks fight for the confederate states of america
« Reply #104 on: November 14, 2014, 07:51:14 AM »
In 2011 the Washington Post had an article on myths about the Civil War.  On myth is that slavery was not a part of the war.  It was a well written article.  It was a very profitable institution.

 

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