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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

Re: Myth of AfricanAmerican Confederate Soldier

Hello Jan,

This is a very unusual story which I think should be recognized.

As I understand what you have written your great-grandfather served in both the Union and Confederate Army as an African American AND you have documentation from the Archives. NARA (?)

From your response to Khathu you indicated your ancestor may have been of a 'swarthy' complexion. My questions would be ... Do the records indicate his enlistment into the Confederate Army as an free person of color (fpoc), or as a white man? Did he serve in the Union Army as a USCT or as a white man? I ask this last question because the Union Army was segregated and he probably would not have been permitted to serve in a 'white' unit in the Union Army as an African American. Another thought ... were he and his family enumerated in the Census records prior to the CW as FPOC's?

My questions are as you indicate "not to start a debate", but this would make for a great case study on the role's played by African Americans in the Civil War.

As an FYI, I know of a similar situation... the great grandfather of a genealogy friend of mine was captured in the CW serving as a body servant to his slave owner. The slave owner and my friend's grandfather were sent to the POW Camp Denison, near Columbus, Ohio. From there the friend's great-grandfather was allowed to enlist in the USCT's under an alias and the slave owner was sent to the POW camp at Johnson's Island on Lake Erie, a POW camp for Confederate Officers. This person's great-grandfather was also of a 'swarthy' complexion.

Thanks for sharing your very interesting family history story.

Art Thomas

Art's Families & Other Folk

p.s. Your great-grandfather's name is engraved on a Plaque at the USCT Civil War monument in Washington DC, right?

Jan wrote:
"My greatgrandfather was in the Confederacy as a private with Ferguson's Light Artillery. He was not a cook, not a servant, nor was he a slave. He was African American.
I have his Confederate service papers and his Union service papers from the Archives. He was a Prisoner of War
at Rock island, Ill. until he joined the Union Army and became a "Galvanized Yankee" serving the Union in the Southwest.

This is not to start a debate but to show that the full story has not been told."

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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