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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: Black Confederate Soldiers Organized At Richmo

The following is the information we have compiled through private research over the past eight years. The sources are accepted by historians as being properly documented and contemporaneous:

"Negroes in the Confederate Army," Journal of Negro History," Charles Wesley, Vol. 4, #3, (1919), 244-245 - "Seventy free blacks enlisted in the Confederate Army in Lynchburg, Virginia. Sixteen companies (1,600) of free men of color marched through Augusta, Georgia on their way to fight in Virginia."

Confederate Mound at Indianapolis, Indiana, there are 26 Black Southerners, four Hispanics, and one Cherokee at rest with their white Confederate comrades-in-arms. Although the Blacks were listed universally as "Negro Servants" through the convention of Northern mindset of the 1930s, you will find those which cannot be explained as "servants."

Since the death rate at Camp Morton was about 10% we can surmise that about 250 Black Southerners passed through there or were held there:

KENTUCKY
Christian, J. (Negro Servant), Co. D, Morgan's 2nd Cavalry, d. 11/22/63
Vance, J.W. (Negro), CSA Mail Carrier, d. 3/14/64

MISSISSIPPI
Littleton, Solomon (Negro Servant), 3rd Inf., d. /3/62

VIRGINIA
Mayo, Henry (Negro Servant), Co. G 36th Inf., d. 3/23/62

UNKNOWN UNITS
Frazier, George (Capt) (Negro Servant), CSA, d. 1863*

Considering that the other Black Southerners listed were not listed in relation to any Confederate unit or with a specific occupation such as "Mail Carrier" it is unlikely these men so uniquely listed were personal servants, cooks, or the like. As for George Frazier* it is likely we will never know how or why he became listed with the rank "Captain" following his name as none of the other Black Southerners buried there had any rank specified as if it might have been their master's rank.

North Carolina Troops, Volume I:

"When Fort Fisher fell to the Union troops in January, 1865, the following blacks are recorded [by Union forces] as being among the captured Confederates:

Charles Dempsey, Private, Company F, 36th NC Regiment (2nd NC Artillery), Negro. Captured at Fort Fisher January 15, 1865 and confined at Point Lookout, MD, until paroled and exchanged at Coxes Landing, James River, VA, February 14-15, 1865.

Henry Dempsey, Private, Company F, 36th NC Regiment (2nd NC Artillery), Negro. Captured at Fort Fisher January 15, 1865 and confined at Point Lookout, MD, until paroled and exchanged at Coxes Landing, James River, VA, February 14-15, 1865.

J. Doyle, Private, Company E, 40th NC Regiment (3rd NC Artillery), Negro. Captured at Fort Fisher January 15, 1865 and confined at Point Lookout, MD, until paroled and exchanged at Boulware's Wharf, James River, VA, March 16, 1865.

Daniel Herring, Cook, Company F, 36th NC Regiment (2nd NC Artillery), Negro. Captured at Fort Fisher January 15, 1865 and confined at Point Lookout, MD, until released after taking Oath of Allegiance June 19, 1865"

Union forces recorded three of them as soldiers and took them as POWs, then paroled and exchanged them exactly as they did all other Confederates.

Perhaps some of them had been stationed there a very long time:

"The Daily Journal," Evansville, Indiana, November 1, 1862 : "...Now the news comes to us that seven regiments of negroes have been drilled by the rebel authorities to man their fortifications in North and South Carolina...seven regiments of negroes, armed and equipped, had arrived at Wilmington, N.C., to occupy the various rebel fortresses during the sickly season. Is any one so ignorant as to suppose that the operations of these negroes are to be confirmed to the sickly season? Not a bit of it. They will be used in all seasons."

Letter of Private Frank Bailey, 34th New York Infantry Regiment to his brother in Middleville, New York: - "West Point, Virginia, 12 May 1862 - I hear that the Rebels sent out a Regt. of ni**ers to fight our men and that they were as naked as when they were born, except the brogues on their feet, and they incited to all sorts of cruelty. It is said that they cut the throats of our wounded and then rob them of every article of any value. The soldiers are death on ni**ers now. If they catch a ni**er in the woods, and there is no officer near, they hang them without any ceremony. Now if this is true that the Southern chivalry as they style themselves put these ni**ers up to such deeds as this, may the curse of good light on them. It is worse than the English were in the Revolution to hire the Indians, but their race is about run when the stoop to such barbarism as that. Yesterday there was two ni**ers hung close by here by our men. One of them had $20.00 government note in his pocket. There is no mistake but the Rebels have black soldiers for I have seen them brought in as prisoners of war. I saw one who had the stripes of an orderly sergeant on his coat. I don't beleive in taking them prisoner, but kill them where ever they find them, that they may never more curse the land with their hateful presence."

Frederick Douglass, Douglass' Monthly, IV (Sept. 1861), pp 516 - "It is now pretty well established that there are at the present moment many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants, and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down loyal troops, and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the traitors and rebels. There were such soldiers at Manassas and they are probably there still."

"Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle," Kenneth W. Noe, The University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY, 2001. (page 270) - "The part of Adams' Brigade that the 42nd Indiana was facing were the 'Louisiana Tigers.' This name was given to Colonel Gibson's 13th Louisiana Infantry, which included five companies of 'Avegno Zouaves' who still were wearing their once dashing traditional blue jackets, red caps and red baggy trousers. These five Zouaves companies were made up of Irish, Dutch, Negroes, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Italians."

From James G. Bates' letter to his father reprinted in the 1 May 1863 "Winchester [Indiana] Journal" (the 13th IVI ["Hoosier Regiment"] was involved in operations around the Suffolk, Virginia area in April-May 1863 ) - "I can assure you [Father], of a certainty, that the rebels have negro soldiers in their army. One of their best sharp shooters, and the boldest of them all here is a negro. He dug himself a rifle pit last night [16 April 1863] just across the river and has been annoying our pickets opposite him very much to-day. You can see him plain enough with the naked eye, occasionally, to make sure that he is a "wooly-head," and with a spy-glass there is no mistaking him."

"Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette" 12 March 1863 refers to the 5 March 1863 fight around Thompson's Station, near Franklin, TN The 85th Indiana Volunteer Infantry reported: "NEGRO REGIMENTS IN THE REBEL ARMY - During the fight the battery in charge of the 85th Indiana [Volunteer Infantry] was attacked by [*in italics*] two rebel negro regiments. [*end italics*] Our artillerists double-shotted their guns and cut the black regiments to pieces, and brought their battery safely off. . . . It has been stated, repeatedly, for two weeks past, that a large number, perhaps one-fourth, of Van Dorn's force were [*in italics*] negro soldiers [*end italics*], and the statement is fully confirmed by this unfortunate engagement."

After the action at Missionary Ridge, Commissary Sergeant William F. Ruby forwarded a casualty list written in camp at Ringgold, Georgia about 29 November 1863, to William S. Lingle for publication. Ruby's letter was partially reprinted in the Lafayette (Missouri) Daily Courier for 8 December 1863: "Ruby says among the rebel dead on the [Missionary] Ridge he saw a number of negroes in the Confederate uniform."

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst's Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on General Forrest's attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13, 1862: "There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day."

Federal Official Records Series 1, Volume 15, Part 1, Pages 137-138, report of the Union commander: "Pickets were thrown out that night, and Captain Hennessy, Company E, of the Ninth Connecticut, having been sent out with his company, captured a colored rebel scout, well mounted, who had been sent out to watch our movements."

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. XLIX, Part II, pg. 253 - April 6, 1865: "The rebels [Forrest] are recruiting negro troops at Enterprise, Miss., and the negroes are all enrolled in the State."

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. XIV, pg. 24, second paragraph, Colonel B. C. Christ, 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, official report of May 30, 1862 regarding Confederate forces opposing him at Pocotaligo, SC., "It is also difficult to state the force of the enemy, but it could not have been less than from 600 to 800. There were six companies of mounted riflemen, besides infantry, among which were a considerable number of colored men."

From the diary of James Miles, 185th N.Y.V.I., entry dated January 8, 1865 - "Sargt said war is close to being over. saw several negros fighting for those rebels."

Miami Weekly News of Miami, Missouri, September 01, 1905 - "The following is an account of the Eighth Annual [Quantrill's Raiders] Reunion at Independence on August 25-26,1905 : "Among those registered Friday morning were Captain Ben Morrow of Lake City, Lieutenant Lee Miller of Knobnoster, Hi George of Grain Valley, Sylvester Akers of Levasy, William Greer of Lexington, John A. Workman of Wellington, George (Jim) Holand of Kansas City (this the Negro spy Quantrill sent to Lawrence)..."

THE PICTORIAL BOOK OF ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS OF THE REBELLION (p. 319) by Frazer Kirkland, 1889. A collection of Grand Army of the Republic -

"NEGRO RIFLEMAN BROUGHT DOWN AT YORKTOWN

One of the best morning's work done at Yorktown was that of reducing to a state of perfect inutility in this mundane sphere, a rebel negro rifleman, who, through his skill as a marksman, had done more injury to our men than any dozen of his white compeers, in the attempted labor of trimming off the complement of Union sharpshooters. The latter had known him a long time, had kept an eye on him, and lain in wait to pick him off. His habit was to perch himself in a big tree, and, keeping himself hid behind the body, annoy the Union men by firing upon them. He climbed the tree as usual one morning, but in advance of the others coming out, and, smuggling himself into his position, was anticipating his usual day of quietude. The Union men might have killed him as he came out, but purposely avoided shooting, so as not to alarm the others. His tree was about twenty rods from one of the Union pits. When our men fired on the advancing rebel pickets, he of course saw the fix he was in--that he was indeed and decidedly up a tree.

'I say, big ni**er,' called out one of the Union soldiers, 'you better come down from there.'

'What for?' returned the big ni**er.

"I want you as prisoner,"

'Not as this chile knows of,' replied the concealed Ethiop.

'Just as you say,' replied our sharpshooter.

In about an hour the ni**er poked his head out. Our man was on the lookout for him; he had his rifle on the bead-line ready--pulled the trigger--whiz-z went the bullet, down came the ni**er. He was shot through the head."

"Reminisces of the Blue and Gray '61-'65, Embracing the most Brilliant and Thrilling Short Storeis of the Civil War," 1895 - Frazier Kirkland: "One of the best morning's work done at Yorktown was that of reducing to a state of perfect inutility in this mundane sphere a rebel Negro rifleman, who, through his skill as a marksman, had done more injury to our men than any dozen of his white compeers, in the attempted labor of trimming off the complement of Union sharpshooters. His habit was to perch himself and keeping himself hidden behind the body, annoy the Union men by firing upon them."

Federal Official Records: Series 2, vol 6, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) p. 17-18 - "...before one single negro or mulatto was mustered into the U.S. service you had them organized in arms in Louisiana. You had Indians and half-breed negroes and Indians organized in arms under Albert Pike, in Arkansas. Subsequently negroes were captured on the battle-field at Antietam and delivered as prisoners of war at Aiken's Landing to the Confederate authorities, and receipted for and counted in exchange."

Federal Official Records, Vol. XIII, Chapter XXV, pg. 688 - September, 1862 -"...We are not likely to use one negro where the rebels have used a thousand. When I left Arkansas they were still enrolling negroes to fortify the rebellion." -

Federal Official Records, Correspondence, Etc., Vol. II, pg. 218 - July 11, 1862 - Rich D. Yates, Governor of Illinois - "...they [the Confederacy] have, by means of sweeping conscription, gathered in countless hordes, and threaten to overwhelm the armies of the Union, with blood and treason in their hearts. They flaunt the black flag of rebellion in the face of the Government, and threaten to butcher our brave and loyal armies with foreign bayonets. They arm negroes and merciless savages in their behalf."

Federal Official Records, Vol. XIX, Chapter XXXI, pg. 617 - Record of the Harper's Ferry Military Commission (U.S.Army)
"Question. Do you know of any individual of the enemy having been killed or wounded during the siege of Harper's Ferry?
Answer. I have strong reasons to believe that there was a negro killed, who had wounded 2 or 3 of my men. I know that an officer took deliberate aim at him, and he fell over. He was one of the skirmishers of the enemy
[Confederate, ed.], and wounded 3 of my men. I know there must have been some of the enemy killed.
Question. How do you know the negro was killed?
Answer. The officer saw him fall."

Federal Official Records, Vol. XLI, Chapter LIII, pg. 670 - PATTERSON, [November] 24, 1864 - "Colonel MAUPIN: I have arrived with my squad on return. Captain McClanahan has gone on the upper road for Pilot Knob; will all arrive there to-morrow. No rebel force below. We have turned up eleven bushwhackers to dry and one rebel negro. No man hurt on our side. The men are generally well."

Federal Official Records, Series 1, Volume 4, p.569 - Report of Colonel John W. Phelps, First Vermont Infantry: "CAMP BUTLER, Newport News, Va., August 11, 1861 - SIR: Scouts from this post represent the enemy as having retired. they came to New Market Bridge on Wednesday, and left the next day. They-the enemy-talked of having 9,000 men. They were recalled by dispatches from Richmond. They had twenty pieces of artillery, among which was the Richmond Howitzer Battery, manned by negroes. . . Their numbers are probably overrated; but with regard to their artillery, and its being manned in part by negroes, I think the report is probably correct."

Federal Official Records, Series 1, vol 35, Part 1 (Olustee), Page 442-443, S.C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. Chapter XLVII - Report of Bgen Asboth, USA: "...when I proceeded to Milton, Fla., a distance of 9 miles, and after rebuilding the destroyed bridge on the Arcadia Creek, I came upon the enemy, about 100 strong, and consisting of Captain Goldsby's (Alabama) cavalry company and a new militia infantry company, mounted...Having received early information of the arrival of two army steamers at Bayou Mulatte, the enemy had sent his stores on seven wagons in time toward Pollard, and seemed prepared and decided to accept a fight in the camp at the upper end of the town, but fled, upon our impetuous charge, in all directions. We pursued them closely for 7 miles, and captured 4 privates of Goldsby's company and 3 colored men, mounted and armed, with 7 horses and 5 mules with equipments, and 20 Austrian rifles."

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. XVII, Chapter XXIX, Pg. 635-637 - December 28, 1863 - "...It had to be prosecuted under the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, protected as well as the men might be by our skirmishers on the bank, who were ordered to keep up so vigorous a fire that the enemy should not dare to lift their heads above their rifle-pits; but the enemy, and especially their armed negroes, did dare to rise and fire, and did serious execution upon our men...The casualties in the brigade were 11 killed, 40 wounded, and 4 missing; aggregate, 55. - Very respectfully, your obedient servant, D. STUART, Brigadier-General, Commanding"

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. III, Correspondence, etc., pg 767-768 - "CAMBRIDGE, September 4, 1863. His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President of the United States: ...excitement here growing out of the recruiting of colored troops, and as some of the recruiting officers are acting rather indiscreetly, I fear, by taking slaves in their recruits, and the slaves of loyal as well as disloyal persons...to enlist slaves as well as free people is creating a great deal of anxiety among the people...we ought to use the colored people, after the rebels commenced to use them against us. "

"The Negro as a Soldier" - Written by Christian A. Fleetwood, Sergeant-Major 4th U.S. Colored Troops, for the Negro Congress at the Cotton States and International Exposition, Atlanta, Ga., November 11 to November 23, 1895 - "It seems a little singular that in the tremendous struggle between the States in 1861-1865, the south should have been the first to take steps toward the enlistment of Negroes. Yet such is the fact. Two weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter, the 'Charleston Mercury' records the passing through Augusta of several companies of the 3rd and 4th Georgia Regt., and of sixteen well-drilled companies and one Negro company from Nashville, Tenn. 'The Memphis Avalanche' and 'The Memphis Appeal' of May 9, 10, and 11, 1861, give notice of the appointment by the 'Committee of Safety' of a committee of three persons 'to organize a volunteer company composed of our patriotic freemen of color of the city of Memphis, for the service of our common defense.'"

Slave Narratives - July, 1937, interview with James Cape, former slave and by his own words Black Confederate combat soldier wounded in action: "One day Marster Bob comes to me and says, 'Jim, how you like to jine de army? You see, de war had started. I says to him 'What does I have to?' And he says, "Tend hosses and ride 'em' So de first thing I knows, I's in de army away off east from here [Southest Texas].' . . . After I gits in de army, it wasn' so much fun 'cause tendin' horses and ridin' wasn' all I does. No, sar, I has to do shootin' and git shooted at! . . . You's heard of de battle of Independence [Missouri]? Dat's whar we fights for three days and nights. I'se not tendin horses that time. Dey gives me a rifle and sends me up front fightin' , when we wasn' runnin! . . . I gits shot in de shoulder in dat fight . . . 'nother time we fights two days and nights . . ."

Slave Narratives, June 5, 1937 - Alexander B. Johnson, Birmingham, Alabama - “They is all gone, scattered, and old massa and missus have died....Then de war came and we all went to fight the Yankees. I was a body servant t! o the master, and once a bullet took off his hat. We all thought he was shot but he wasn’t, and I was standin’ by his side all the time...I remember Stonewall Jackson. He was a big man with long whiskers, and very brave. We all fought wid him until his death. We wa’n’t beaten, we was starved out! Sometimes we had perched corn to eat and sometimes we didn’t have a bite o’ nothin’, because the Union mens come and tuk all de food for theirselves. I can still remember part of my ninety years. I remembers dey fought all de way from Virginia and winded up in Manassah’s Gap...In all de years since de war I cannot forget old massa. He was good and kind. He never believed in slavery but his money was tied up in slaves and he didn’t want to lose all he had...I knows I will see him in heaven and even though I have to walk ten miles for a bite of bread I can still be happy to think about the good times we had then. I am a Confederate veteran but my house burned up wid de medals and I don’t get a pension."

Reprinted in the "Memphis Daily Avalanche," May 3rd 1861, pg. 3, col. 3 - "Free Colored Men. – A List of thirty-two worthy free negroes of this city, who have offered their services in the work of defense, or in any other capacity required, has been sent in to the Captain of the Woodis Rifles...They express an earnest desire to meet their Yankee enemies, or miserable sable brothers of the North, in a regular hand-to-hand fight. Some of those who have offered to serve in the cause of Southern honor have fought under the old flag...A large number of free negroes of Petersburg have expressed a desire to fight for the South, and we learn that 500 will come down as soon as the word is given...We noticed yesterday several colored men in uniform. They came as musicians with the gallant Georgia troops."

"Memphis Daily Avalanche," April 23rd 1861, pg. 3, col. 2. - "An Enthusiastic Negro. – Jim Moore, a negro barber of Bolivar, Hardiman county, in this State, a slave of Dr. Thomas Moore, subscribed $50 for a military company to fight against Lincoln. He also visited Montgomery to see Jeff Davis inaugurated. With few exceptions such is the feeling of all our slaves, who are loyal to a degree that would astonish the fanatics of the North."

Letter from a Union soldier, published in the Indianapolis (Indiana) Star, December 23, 1861: "Attack On Our Soldiers By Armed Negroes - A body of seven hundred [Confederate] Negro infantry opened fire on our men, wounding two lieutenants and two privates. The wounded men testify positively that they were shot by Negroes, and that not less than seven hundred were present, armed with muskets. This is, indeed a new feature in the war. We have heard of a regiment of [Confederate] Negroes at Manassas, and another at Memphis, and still another at New Orleans, but did not believe it till it came so near home and attacked our men."

Religious Herald, Richmond, VA, September 10, 1863 (From unedited microfiche of the original article): "To the Confederate army goes the distinction of having the first black to minister to white troops: 'A correspondent of the SOLDIER'S FRIEND mentions a Tennessee regiment which has no chaplain; but an old negro, 'Uncle Lewis,'' preaches two or three times a week at night. He is heard with respectful attention -- and for earnestness, zeal and sincerity, can be surpassed by none. Two or three revivals have followed his preaching in the regiment. What will the wise Christian patriots out of the army, who denounce those who wish to see competent negroes allowed to preach, as tainted with anti-slaveryism, say with regard to the true Southern feeling of that regiment, which has fought unflinchingly from Shiloh to Murfreesboro?'"

"Antietam and the Maryland and Virginia Campaigns of 1862 from the Government Records, Union and Confederate, Mostly Unknown and Which Have Now First Disclosed the Truth: Approved by the War Department:" Gaithersburg, MD, Isaac W. Heysinger [Captain, USA], Olde Soldier Books, 1987., (Reprint of 1912 edition) - "At 4 o'clock this morning the Rebel army began to move from our town, Jackson's force taking the advance. The most liberal calculation could not give them more than 64,000 men. Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in the number. athese were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only cast off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttonms, State buttons, etc. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and they were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy army. 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."

"Civil War Curiosities," Webb Garrison, 1994, Rutledge Hill Press, pg. 107 - "Like some of their counterparts in the North, a few Southern officers made unofficial and irregular use of black soldiers. From start to finish, an estimated four hundred of them served in the Eighteenth Virginia and other units raised in the state."

Elgin (Illinois) Daily Courier-News, Monday, April 12, 1948 - "Robert (Uncle Bob) Wilson, Negro veteran of the Confederate army who observed his 112th birthday last January 13, died early yesterday morning in the veterans' hospital at the Elgin State hospital...He enlisted as a private in Company H of the 16th regiment of Virginia Infantry on Oct. 9, 1862 and discharged May 31, 1863. "

"Into The Fight - Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg; " John Michael Priest, White Mane Books, 1998, pp 128:, 130-131 "Color Corporal George B. Powell (14th Tennessee) went down during the advance. Boney Smith, a Black man attached to the regiment, took the colors and carried them forward...The colors of the 14th Tennessee got within fifty feet of the east wall before Boney Smith hit the dirt ---wounded. Jabbing the flagstaff in the ground, he momentarily urged the regiment forward until the intense pressure forced the men to lie down to save their lives."

"The Sable Arm: Black Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865", written by D.T. Cornish. pp 16: "The scouts of the 1st Vermont Infantry reported a Richmond howitzer battery manned by Negroes at Newmarket Bridge, Virginia, in August (1861)."

The Chicago Tribune cited by the Leavenworth (Kansas) Daily Conservative, Sept. 13, 1861: "Negroes are employed by the thousands in the rebel armies to fight against the Union..."

The Leavenworth (Kansas) Daily Conservative, Oct. 6, 1861: "It is well known that negroes and Indians serve in the rebel army..."

"Between Two Fires - Black Soldiers in the Civil War,"Joyce Hansen, 1993, Franklin Watts, 42: "This war between the North and the South gave enslaved men and women an opportunity to take advantage of unstable conditions created by the warring whites. This was one way for some black people to initiate their march for their own freedom. Caught between two fires, they to find a way to survive the conflict. And for some, one way to survive was to volunteer to help the Confederates...The promise of freedom for themselves and their families was enough of an incentive to join the Confederate Army, and the Union had said that it was not fighting to end slavery."

"Negroes in the Confederate Army, Journal of Negro History," Charles Wesley, Vol. 4, #3, (1919), 244: "The Governor of Tennessee was given permission in June 1861 to accept into the state militia black males between the ages if fifteen and fifty. The men were to receive eight dollars a month, plus clothing and rations."

THE NEW YORK TIMES Nov. 11, 1864, Vol. XIV - No. 4098, front page: "Jeff. Davis' Message--He Opposes the Theory but Urges the Practice of Arming the Slaves - The message of Jeff. Davis to the rebel Congress, which assembled on the 7th inst., has come to hand...Mr. Davis opposes in general the arminng of the negro slaves. He says he cannot see the propriety or necessity of arming the slaves while there are so many white men out of the ranks. He would only [in italics] drill and arm such negroes as are already employed in the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments [end italics] and fill the places of such by a draft of negroes from the planters. He would give only [in italics] the reward of manumission to such slaves as shall have served efficiently with arms in the field. [end italics]"

These references have not been rewritten nor have they been edited in sequence or in any way altered.

One only has to recall the frustrating decades-long struggle to gain recognition of the United States Colored Troops, the "Buffalo Soldiers," the 9th and 10th Cavalry at San Juan Hill, Black Americans who fought valiantly under French command in World War 1, the World War 2 Tuskegee Airmen and 761st Tank Battalion (the "Black Panthers"), to see a direct parallel to the effort to properly research, document, and create public awareness of the role of Black Confederate soldiers.

There is certainly more proper documentary evidence which exists and there will be more discovered in the future, but what is provided suffices to prove that the Union Army and the Federal government obviously knew that there were Black Confederate combat soldiers facing them in the field in more significant numbers than previously realized. While it is unlikely they numbered in the tens of thousands there were certainly more than a "handful" as alleged by naysayers who refuse to research themselves or even read available documentation.

Black Southerners were complex human beings who made difficult personal decisions based on their experiences, thoughts, and hopes. Black Confederate combat soldiers deserve further research as well as respect, understanding, and honor. To deny them despite evidence is not professional or scholarly.

"The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." - Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

Your Obedient Servant,

Colonel Michael Kelley, CSA
Commanding, 37th Texas Cavalry (Terrell's)
http://www.37thtexas.org
http://thewargallery.com/html/acw.html
"We are a band of brothers!"

"I came here as a friend...let us stand together. Although we differ in color, we should not differ in sentiment." - LT Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA, Memphis, Tennessee - July, 1875


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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