Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black Confederates. Really? REALLY?????

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

So - I've been on Youtube again. It's a guilty pleasure, really. Last night was a real kicker. I followed a few video "suggestions" to a series of posts on black Confederate soldiers. There seems to be this warped idea out there that there were thousands and thousands of blacks serving as soldiers in the Confederate army. One estimation claimed as many as 90,000 black people shouldered a musket for the glorious CSA.

You have got to be freakin' kidding me. 90,000?? That is bigger than the whole Army of Northern Virginia at its grandest. Now I am not saying that blacks were absent from the military scene. When the ANV (or any other CS army) went somewhere, they took black people with them. They were - you guessed it - slaves. They did what they were forced to do. Laundry, cooking, felling trees, building fortifications, etc. Slaves were drafted in to Confederate service in others ways too (much to the irritation of their masters). They built fortifications around Atlanta, Richmond and Petersburg, for example. These were the toils of slaves. They were not willingly serving the Confederate cause.

The very idea of this is perverse at best. Imagine - blacks serving a country conceived on the idea of racial inequality and the protection of the "peculiar" institution. Wow. Does that mean that a slave or two may at one time have picked up a musket, maybe - but regiments or even divisions of black soldiers. You think we would have heard of them.

Seriously, I have never seen or heard of a letter written by a Union soldier describing the several regiments of black Confederates he faced in battle. I have never read a newspaper describing black Confederate divisions defending a Rebel position. I am guessing it's because they didn't exist. I mean really, don't you think Ken Burns would have at least said something about this? (Insert Ashokon Farewell theme music here..."Dear Mama - today 90,000 black Reb soldiers marched by...we fear the worst...I have dysentery....blah blah blah.")

Now the prospect of raising limited black troops had crossed a few Rebels' minds. Even Robert E. Lee thought it was a good idea. But nothing of significance ever happened in this regard. Rebels in power decided that if they armed blacks, then what they had been fighting for would have been pretty pointless. Late, late, late in the war CSA Congress finally passed legislation to raise a few black troops as sort of a last ditch effort. And there were reports of a handful of black troops drilling in Richmond early in April 1865. But this was way too little waaaay too late.

Now after the war, some United Confederate Veterans dressed up a few former slaves in Confederate gray and paraded them around, I suppose, to show that the war wasn't about slavery and that blacks were in favor of Confederate independence. Oy.

So if you are trying to prove that black people supported the Confederate war effort just stop. Or better yet, show me some real evidence that these thousands and thousands of black soldiers actually existed. Put them on a map, show me the battle reports, anything. Just saying they were around doesn't make it so - evidence does.



  1. Yeah, the SCVs don't know when to quit. That's for sure. They've been cranking out revisionist crap for years.

    The scary part is that, if we don't fight them at every juncture, they will gain traction.

    It's good to see you and your blog combating this.

    "Guided by the Ancestors"

  2. Thanks George, the only real value I see in the SVC's work of this kind is that it gives me a lot to talk about - exposing the lunacy of these unreconstructed Rebs puts the issues of the war in people's faces - I have faith that evidence will prevail!

  3. The historical truth is that in 1864 president Jefferson Davis proposed the law (backed by Lee) for free and give land to the slaves who would have served with loyalty and honor in the army. This measure did not become operational for the short-sighted opposition of Congress.This measure was more far-sighted than those taken from the Union after the war which did not provide any compensation to freed slaves.
    And sorry, no, the war wasn' t made to stop stop slavery in the CSA but to put back the confederate states in the Union and for economical reasons: the northern big finance wanted those lands...