Welcome Compatriots!
to Camp 1745's
Black Confederates Page

 Sons of Confederate Veterans
Orange, Texas

in beautiful Southeast Texas
21st Century Black Confederates

Thomas Nast's "Black Soldier" print

Black slaveowners

Membership info


website:  chevelle@flatfenders.com 

Amos Rucker---A Soldier Remembered

By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Author of
When America stood for God, Family and Country.
1064 West Mill Drive
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152
Phone: 770 428 0978

Remember the American soldiers who defend our great nation.

A article recently appeared in a Charlotte, North Carolina newspaper about Wary Clyburn, a Black Confederate, who will be remembered on August 26, 2007 during a reunion of his descendants in Monroe, North Carolina.  August 10th will also mark the 102nd anniversary of the death of a Black Confederate, Amos Rucker, of Atlanta, Ga.

Black Confederates, why haven't we heard more about them?
"I don't want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of the Blacks, both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around  1910"---Ed Bearrs, National Park Service Historian

Is American history still taught in our schools?

Today, the news focus is on Michael Vick's troubles and Barry Bond's home runs.  In 1905, newspapers led with the opening of Woolworth's stores, the Atlanta, Ga. Terminal Railroad Station dedication with the US Army Band playing "Dixie."..... And on August 10th, Atlanta grieved the loss of a beloved soldier.

The movie "Glory" enlightened people of the role played by African-Americans serving in the Union Army during the War Between the States, 1861-1865.

And books like, "Forgotten Confederates---An Anthology about Black Southerners" by Charles Kelly Barrow, J.H. Segars and R.B. Roseburg, further enlightened us to the role played by African-Americans who served the Confederacy.  (webmaster note: It has been republished in 2004, as "Black Confederates".  The book lists many black Confederate soldiers and support personnel, with solid proof.)

Frederick Douglas, abolitionist and former slave, reported, "There are at present moment many colored men in the Confederate Army doing their duty not only as cooks, but also as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets."

Who was Amos Rucker?

Amos Rucker, born in Elbert County, Georgia, was a servant of Alexander "Sandy" Rucker and both joined the 33rd Georgia Regiment of the Confederate Army.  Amos got his first taste of battle when a fellow soldier was killed by a Union bullet.  Rucker quickly took the dead soldier's rifle and fired back at the enemy.

After the War Between the States, Amos Rucker came back to Atlanta where he met and married Martha and the couple was blessed with many children and grandchildren.

In Atlanta, Amos joined the W.H.T. Walker Camp of the United Confederate Veterans.  It was made up of Southern Veterans whose purpose was to remember those who served in the war and help those in need.  The meetings were held at 102 Forsyth Street in Atlanta where Amos was responsible for calling the roll of members.

Amos and Martha felt that the members of Walker Camp were like their own family.  It is written that Amos would say, "My folks gave me everything I want."  These UCV men helped Amos and his wife buy a house on the west side of Atlanta and John M. Slaton also helped prepare a will for Rucker.  Slaton, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Gordon Camp, would, as governor of Georgia, commute the death sentence of Leo Frank.

Amos Rucker's last words to members of his UCV Camp were, "Give my love to the boys."

His funeral services were conducted by preacher and former Confederate General Clement A. Evans.  Rucker was buried with his Confederate gray uniform and wrapped in his beloved Confederate Battle Flag.  Today, some members of the Martin Luther King family are buried near Amos and Martha at Southview Cemetery.

The Reverend T.P. Cleveland led the prayer and when Captain William T. Harrison read the poem, "When Rucker Called The Roll" there was not a dry eye among the crowd of many Black and White mourners.

The grave of Amos and Martha Rucker was without a marker for many years until 2006, when the Sons of Confederate Veterans remarked it.

Did you know that the first military monument, near our nation's Capitol, to honor an African-American soldier is the Confederate Monument at Arlington National Cemetery?

"When you eliminate the Black Confederate soldier, you've eliminated the history of the South."---quote by the late Dr. Leonard Haynes, Professor, Southern University, or some say it was General Lee in 1864.  Good quote, whoever said it.

Lest We Forget!!!





Frederick Douglas wrote: “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. “


How did blacks serve in Gen. N.B. Forrest's command? The most reliable military resource concerning the Civil War documents their real roles.

"The forces attacking my camp were the First Regiment Texas Rangers [8th Texas Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers, ed.], Colonel Wharton, and a battalion of the First Georgia Rangers, Colonel Morrison, and a large number of citizens of Rutherford County, many of whom had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. 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 I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst's Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on Col. Forrest's attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13, 1862.


Letter to the Editor in Midland, TX by Col. Kelley

I called Principal Winget's office yesterday and sent the following Email to him of which he acknowledged receipt to help him prepare for this meeting:

      ...I am aware of the hearing that has been instigated regarding       certain of the symbols, names and traditions associated with your school.  I wish to offer my aid in preparing you to discuss this matter based on historical fact to counter Ms. Templeton's emotions.

      As a Civil War historian and Texas Confederate reenactor I am well aware that Ms. Templeton's "offense" is the result of lack of knowledge of history and the resultant failure to understand the topic about which she is so highly motivated.  Like many people on both sides of the issue she is operating from a position of emotion, belief and assumption rather than a solid grounding in historical fact.

      Ms. Templeton specifically suffers from a lack of education or understanding of the nature of the Confederate States of America and the Confederate Army, especially the Confederate Army of Texas.  She demands that her misconceptions become the rule by which others must conduct their lives.

      The Union Army was strictly segregated and remained so until 1950.  During the Civil War all non-whites were compelled to serve in "United States Colored Troop" regiments - this included Blacks, mulattos, Hispanics, Indians and anyone who was simply not "white enough."  Often recruiting of Black Southerners for these regiments involved hunting them down, capturing them and even torturing them to get them to "volunteer" as documented in the Federal Official Records.

      The Union Army had used Irish immigrants as "cannon fodder" to absorb the highest casualties in battle so Northern sentiments would not turn against the war being waged for economic domination of the agrarian South which provided 70% of the Federal budget.  When the supply of "Micks" ran low they turned to the USCT to die in droves:

      "...As usual with the enemy, they posted their negro regiments on their left and in front, where they were slain by hundreds, and upon retiring left their dead and wounded negroes uncared for, carrying off only the whites, which accounts for the fact that upon the first part of the battle-field nearly all the dead found were negroes." - Federal Official Records, Vol. XXXV, Chapter XLVII, pg. 341 - Report of Lieutenant M. B. Grant, C. S. Engineers, Savannah, April 27, 1864  - Battle of Ocean Pond (Olustee)

      U.S. Grant issued "General Orders No. 11" in December, 1862, which expelled "all Jews, as a class" from his area of operations.  It so disaffected his men that Jewish Union officers resigned en masse.

      The Confederate Army included in its unsegregated combat ranks: 13,000 Indians, including Cherokee Chief and Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie; 6200 Hispanics, 19% of them officers, nine of them Colonels and Texas Col. Santos Benavides who was so successful his area of Texas was known as "The Texas Benavides Confederacy;" 3500 Jews, including among the first and last Confederate officers to fall in battle and the Confederate Secretary of State, a Jewish lawyer from New Orleans; Filipinos from Lousiana whose ancestors were   brought there by Spanish colonists before there was any African slave trade; tens of thousands of immigrants from all over the world; two Amerasian sons of Chang and Eng, the original "Siamese Twins," who served with Virginia cavalry and were both wounded in battle; and an as yet undetermined but significant number of Black Confederate combat soldiers, some of them regularly enlisted, who saw combat from the first battles of the war to the last as documented in the Federal  Official Records, European newspapers, Northern and Southern newspapers and the letters and diaries of Union and Confederate soldiers.

      "Almost fifty years before the (Civil) War, the South was already enlisting and utilizing Black manpower, including Black commissioned officers, for the defense of their respective states.  Therefore, the fact that Free and slave Black Southerners served and fought for their states in the Confederacy cannot be considered an unusual instance, rather continuation of an established practice with verifiable historical precedence."  - "The African-American Soldier: From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell" by Lt. Col [Ret.] Michael Lee Lanning

      In March, 1861, President Buchanan and President-Elelct Lincoln supported and lobbied for the passage of the "Corwin Amendment," a proposed 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

      "Article Thirteen: No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."  - Submitted to the Senate by Corwin and supported by President-Elect Lincoln as the proposed 13th Amendment to the Constitution as voted on by that body on February 28th, 1861.  The Senate voted 39 to 5 to approve this section passed by the House 133-65 on March 2, 1861. Two State legislatures ratified it:  Ohio on May 13, 1861; and followed by Maryland on January 10, 1862. Illinois bungled its ratification by holding a convention.

      In December, 1862, only two months before Lincoln issued the "Emancipation Proclamation" (which freed not a single slave) in his State of the Union Address Lincoln offered the Confederacy a plan of gradual compensated emancipation with slavery not ending completely until 1900.

      In comparison, your school's namesake had made his position clear some years before:

      "There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.  It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race." - Col. Robert E. Lee, United States Army, December 27, 1856

      Offered the opportunity to come back into the Union successful in preserving slavery before a single shot was fired the Confederacy maintained its independence.  Offered another chance to have 37 years to wean itself from slavery the Confederacy again maintained its independence.

      The South did not secede nor did it fight to maintain slavery.  The real issues were taxation, Federal revenues and national economics:

      "The South has furnished near three-fourths of the entire exports of the country. Last year she furnished seventy-two percent of the whole...we have a tariff that protects our manufacturers from thirty to fifty persent, and enables us to consume large quantities of Southern cotton, and to compete in our whole home market with the skilled labor of Europe. This operates to compel the South to pay an indirect bounty to our skilled labor, of millions annually." -  Daily Chicago Times, December 10, 1860

      "They (the South) know that it is their import trade that draws from the people's pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interest.... These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the Union.  They (the North) are enraged at the prospect of being despoiled of the rich feast upon which they have so long fed and fattened, and which they were just getting ready to enjoy with still greater gout and gusto.  They are as mad as hornets because the prize slips them just as they are ready to grasp it."  ~ New Orleans Daily Crescent, January 21, 1861

      "...the Union must obtain full victory as essential to preserve the economy of the country. Concessions to the South would lead to a new nation founded on slavery expansion which would destroy the U.S. Economy." - Pamphlet No 14. "The Preservation of the Union A National Economic Necessity," The Loyal Publication Society, printed in New York, May 1863, by Wm. C. Bryant & Co. Printers.

      "What were the causes of the Southern independence movement in 1860?
      . . Northern commercial and manufacturing interests had forced through Congress taxes that oppressed Southern planters and made Northern manufacturers rich . . . the South paid about three-quarters of all federal taxes, most of which were spent in the North." - Charles Adams,  "For Good and Evil. The impact of taxes on the course of civilization," 1993, Madison Books, Lanham, USA, pp. 325-327

      Does Ms. Templeton think THESE Confederate soldiers would be "offended" by the Confederate links of your school?

      Andrew and Silas Chandler (Free Black), both regularly enlisted in the 44th Mississippi Infantry Silas saved Andrew's life at the Battle of Chickamauga

            Mulatto Confederate Soldier Daniel Jenkins and his wife.  Jenkins was with the Confederate 9th Kentucky Infantry and was killed at Shiloh on 4/6/62.

 South Carolina Confederate Indian soldier


Private Marlboro, a free black Confederate Volunteer

                             Mixed-race Confederate

      More specifically, would these Texas Confederate cavalry troopers be "offended" by your school's remaining Southern traditions or by Ms. Templeton's failure to know about them?     

     Ms. Templeton needs to significantly further her education before she discusses "being offended."

      Perhaps Irish-born Confederate Major General Patrick Cleburne predicted it best in his January, 1864, letter which proposed the mass emancipation and enlistment of Black Southerners into the Confederate Army:

      "Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late...It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision...The conqueror's policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them..."

      Through painstaking research and thorough, uncommented documentation we celebrate the courage, sacrifice, and heritage of ALL Southerners who had to make agonizing personal choices under impossible circumstances.

      "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.)

      We simply ask that all act upon the facts of history.  We invite your questions.

      Your Obedient Servant,

      Colonel Michael Kelley, CSA
      Commanding, 37th Texas Cavalry (Terrell's)
      "We are a band of brothers!"

      ". . . . political correctness has replaced witch trials and communist hearings as the preferred way to torment our fellow countrymen."  "Ghost Riders," Sharyn McCrumb, 2004, Signet, pp. 9

      "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 Daily Avalanche, July 6, 1875

Black Confederate Participation
by Tim Westphal

"...And after the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, ...reported among the
rebel prisoners were seven blacks in Confederate uniforms fully armed as

- New York Herald, July 11, 1863. [1]

I. Introduction

As far back as the American Revolution, African Americans have fought in
every conflict this country has been engaged in. A number of authors have
studied the participation which blacks played for the Union and Confederate
governments during the Civil War. Most of these writers have focused on the
Union army since it employed a large number of blacks as soldiers during
conflict. "When authors do cover the Confederate side, they usually limit
their coverage to the free blacks of New Orleans who formed a regiment of
"Native Guards" for the Louisiana militia and the Confederate effort late
the war to employ slaves as soldiers" [2]. Civil War historians have not
given these blacks their due recognition, and have left the truth of their
involvement for the Confederacy covered in obscurity and confusion.

As many as 90,000 blacks, slave and free, were employed in some capacity by
the Confederate army. The majority of these men fall into two categories,
military laborers or body servants. The fact that some Southern blacks
have played an important role for the South is a very controversial issue.
Scholars have avoided the difficult task of linking any blacks to the
Southern war effort. One of the main reasons they choose not to attempt
is because they are afraid of confronting the great paradox that exists.
would any slaves or free blacks work towards a Southern victory when this
war was seen as one to sustain blacks' enslavement and degradation? The
point of this paper is to seek out exactly what kind of role any blacks,
free or slave, served in the South during the war and to examine the
why they would support the Southern war cause.

The Louisiana Native Guards demonstrate what free blacks, from Louisiana,
thought about the Confederacy. The Louisiana Native Guards was a militia
regiment comprised of 1400 black men and officers, "who offered their
services to Dixie" in April of 1861 [3]. The following year 3000 black men
and officers organized themselves into the 1st Native Guard of Louisiana.
These pro-Confederate blacks formed for the protection of New Orleans.
parading through the city they were described in the newspaper as "rebel
Negroes...well drilled...and uniformed" [4]. Historians argue the Native
Guards were a unique circumstance. The difference between Louisiana and the
rest of the South was its peculiar tri-racial system. The state of
was home to a population, which was different than the rest of the
country's. The population consisted of many Spanish and "Creole" families.
It was easier for Louisiana to accept these men for military service. For
that reason historians like to separate the free "blacks" in that state
the rest of the free blacks in the South. Many other states had blacks
volunteer their services, and some states accepted these volunteers. There
were slaves in Alabama who were organized as soldiers in the fall of 1861.
There were also 60 free blacks in Virginia who formed their own company and
marched to Richmond to volunteer their services to help in the war effort.
"Several companies of free Negroes offered their services to the
Government early in the war" [5]. The War Department decided they wouldn't
be needed at this time so they sent them home.

II. Body Servants and Laborers

Body servants consisted of slaves or free blacks. They were between the
of sixteen and sixty. They accompanied both Confederate soldiers and
officers into the war. "Body servants in a continuation of the master-slave
relationship, tended their wounded soldiers, sometimes escorting their
bodies home and occasionally fought in battles" [6]. The number of body
servants in the Confederate army was considerable in the early days of the
war. The jobs of the body servants varied greatly. An officer's servant was
expected to keep the officer's quarters clean, to wash the clothes, brush
uniforms, polish swords and buckles, and to run errands, such as going to
the commissary and getting rations. The servant was supposed to look after
his master's horse, making sure it was well groomed and well fed. It was
duty of one of these servants to have the horse ready in the morning by the
time the officer was ready to ride.

Slaves who came from plantations with their owners were the most loyal
difficult incidents. "Negroes who had been treated well before the start of
the war were more faithful during the most trying days of the conflict"
In many cases, soldiers and servants had been childhood playmates. The
result of this was a genuine affection for each other, which further
cemented during the shared hardships brought on by the war. "No other
had as good opportunities for desertion and disloyalty as the body
but none were more loyal" [8].

A personal servant would have been chosen from among the slaves that had
been affiliated with the family for a long time. For that reason these
slaves often felt a responsibility for the protection of their master when
going into the war. The owners of body servants respected the devotion and
loyalty displayed by their black servants. "Owners frequently made
provisions for their servants freedom, and after the war blacks dressed in
'Confederate Gray' were among the most honored veterans in attendance at
soldiers reunions" [9].

Blacks fought because they were loyal to their masters. From a servant's
perspective their life as a body servant was less burdensome than field
slavery. Slavery was an oppressive institution and the war offered them
previously denied options. Unlike the plantation in camp the Confederate
servants had ample time to hang out with other blacks. Black soldiers
(servants) ate the same food as the officers did. These servants were the
best-fed soldiers in the Confederate army. They could also play cards and
when given the chance they would sneak away with other blacks to some
obscure location and play dice. Servants were able to obtain whiskey,
from their master or on one of their foraging missions. "Servants had
opportunities to earn money on the side from any number of way" [10]. They
were allowed to charge small amounts for washing clothes for men in their
company. They made money for running errands and sold what they were able
pick up off the battlefield. Making money was just one reason blacks would
sign up to work for the Confederacy.

Black servants, many who were excellent musicians and good singers, kept
soldiers spirits up in camp. "When life became sad or monotonous for Jeb
Stuart's officers, they frequently built a roaring fire, formed a large
circle, and had the servants dance and sing to the music of the banjo"
Soldiers who had come from plantations knew about their slaves musical
talents - a fact, which might explain why a few body servants were called
to, be musicians for the units to which their masters belonged.

Blackbody servants fought in battles for the Confederacy. A newspaper
correspondent from the New Orleans Daily Crescent, reporting on one of the
early battles of the war stated a servant named Levin Graham refused to
in camp during a fight, "but obtained a musket, fought manfully, and killed
four of the Yankees himself" [12]. Furthermore "Captain George Baylor told
the story of two body servants who had supplied themselves with equipment
left on the field by Federals at the battle of Brandy Station. These two
servants joined in the company charges and succeeded in capturing a Yankee
and brought him back to camp as a prisoner" [13].

Robin, a black servant with the Stonewall Brigade, demonstrates black
patriotism. According to the newspaper the Richmond Whig, he was imprisoned
for a time away from his master and then offered his freedom on the
condition he take an oath and swear allegiance to the United States. Robin
stated, in the Richmond Whig, "I will never disgrace my family by such an
oath" [14]. After the siege of Vicksburg there were servants who were
captured along with their masters who could have had their freedom. But
instead of their freedom they chose to share in the cruelties of the
northern prisons with which they had been serving in the Confederate army.

Free blacks voluntarily became body servants for wages and whatever other
advantages they might negotiate. Self-preservation was the paramount
objective for the free blacks who offered their services as servants. Free
blacks in the South knew there was a difference between them and the slave
population, they saw this as a way to separate themselves even further from
the slave class. "Being a body servant enabled individual
males to embellish their Confederate allegiance by publicly integrating
themselves with Confederates" [15]. The free blacks stood ready to imitate
the white class in its patriotism and loyalty, believing this was a way to
attain priviligese previously denied to them and to prove they were
over the slaves.

Unlike the life of a body servant the experience for black laborers working
on Confederate defenses was excessively harsh and physically exhausting.
Especially during the winter months, when they were fighting with constant
exposure while building batteries or earthworks. "The tedious work of
digging, shoveling, and heaving earth, as well as the erection of massive
embankments demanded tremendous physical stamina" [16].

The principal object of the defensive works was to protect Confederate
troops from enemy fire and to allow the Confederate soldiers to deliver
their own fire with devastating consequences.

"Union soldiers... sallied up to Rebel breastwork that were often
impregnable. They began to complain, finding the Negro with his pick and
spade, a greater hindrance to their progress than the Rebel's cannon balls"

Therefore to triumphantly repulse Union attacks the army needed
satisfactorily constructed entrenchments.

The blacks' brawn and skill were key elements of Confederate transportation
and fortification. That is why in summer of 1861 "Negro labor, under
supervision of state engineers, was immediately committed to the
construction of defensive lines" [18]. Whether free or slave the blacks
worked as laborers contributed a supporting effort to the war. In the South
during the years between 1861-1865, there was a constant construction of
defensive works designed to repulse attacks by Federal armies. "Without the
aid of the Negro the South never would have been able to last four years in
the war" [19].

While the overwhelming majority of black laborers were common laborers
were some highly skilled craftsmen. The conventional laborer provided
manpower in the foraging of food, and raw materials such as coal, iron and
timber. "Black artisans provided their skills in subsequent stages of
refinement and processing of commodities into manufactured items in
arsenals, armories, iron works, and machine shops" [20].

James Brewer described the five methods used for obtaining black labor:
"slaves were offered by their masters without request for compensation;
Negroes volunteered their services; Negroes, free and slave, were hired by
the Engineer Bureau; labor was impressed by commanding officers because of
the exigencies of war; and conscription laws were passed by Confederate
congress" [21]. The Confederate government had to rely on conscription laws
for the last two years of the war because: the blacks, slave and free knew
about the changes of the war (that it had become one to free them from
bondage); and 2) the owners didn't want to give up their slaves, due to the
hard work that the laborers had to sustain.

III. Loyalty and Patriotism

Black Confederate loyalty was pervasive and real. American historians
to recognize this loyalty. "By the summer of 1861 Southern blacks who
supported and allied themselves with the Confederacy were looking to
volunteer" [22]. Despite the Confederate government's refusal to admit
blacks in the army, six Southern states did so otherwise, mostly consisting
of state militias. Eyewitness accounts by officers in the Federal army
some evidence of African American participation on the battlefields for the
South. Records show that New York officers on patrol reported they were
attacked near New Market, Virginia, by Confederate cavalry and a group of
700-armed blacks on December 22, 1861. The Northerners killed six of the
blacks before retreating; officers later swore out affidavits that they
attacked by blacks and later complained: "If they fight with Negroes, why
should we not fight with them too?" [23]

Alfred Bellard, a white soldier of the 5th NJ Infantry, reported in his
memoirs the shooting of two black Confederate snipers by member's of the
Berdan's Sharpshooters in April of 1862.

"One of the Negro Confederates was only wounded, but the other was killed
one afternoon after leaving the security of a hollow tree (probably to
relieve himself). Two Confederates tried to get to his body but were driven
away by the Union gunfire" [24].

This wasn't an isolated case. One of the best marksmen in the Confederacy
was an African-American who outfitted himself in a sniper's roost in an
almost perfect hiding spot inside a brick chimney from which he proceeded
shoot Yankees at their nearby camp. Any Union soldier who dared to come
his range was fired at. Several times the Federalize called up to the
to desert, but the black Confederate ignored their appeals. This ordeal
ended when a regiment was marched off to fire a volley at the chimney,
eventually putting a bullet through the sniper's head.

Serving in a military capacity wasn't the only way blacks could prove their
loyalty to the Confederacy. Black patriotism took many forms, "some were
sincerely patriotic, others were alarmed individuals acting on
self-preservation and economic interest" [25]. There are other prominent
cases of black patriotism among slaves and free men. Many of these people
saw their cause as protecting their homes. "Despite the hardships of
loyal blacks made financial and material contributions to the Confederacy"
[26]. In Alabama some slaves brought 60 dollars worth of watermelons to
Montgomery to be donated to the soldiers of that state. A South Carolina
slave was impelled to donate all the money here had saved, which ended up
being 5 dollars. Some slaves used their talents to raise money for the
Confederacy. The Confederate Ethiopian Serenaders were one such group. They
were a collection of slave singers "who turned over profits from some of
their shows to the Confederate cause" [27]. By doing this, these slaves
hoped the restrictions they lived under I the institution of slavery would
be loosened. It became a custom for slaves to demonstrate their loyalty by
holding balls and concerts to raise money for the aiding of Southern
soldiers and their families.

The 1st Battle of Manassas offered black Confederate the chance to prove
their loyalty. An English officer, Arthur Freemantle, describes the story
a slave who had run away to the Federal line just before the battle began.
The slave was recaptured a short time after the battle ended. "Two
servants were of the opinion that he should be shot or hanged as a traitor"
[28]. He was then turned over to these slaves and met a more severe death
than any white man could have given him. These slaves did this out of
patriotism and these servants probably also felt threatened by a runaway
slave. They knew that a runaway was a threat to their freedom as servants
and soldiers. They wanted to show the white soldiers in the army that they
weren't anything like this runaway. They achieved that goal by violently
killing him.

IV. Why were blacks loyal?

The motivation of black Confederates was to protect their homeland with a
faith of what the future could be. By 1860 there were 500,000 free blacks
the United States, the vast majority in the South. Slaves knew freedom was
attainable from the sight of free blacks in their communities. They knew
some has been freed through manumission, while others purchased their
freedom by working side jobs. Blacks Confederates and African Americans had
to position themselves in case the South won the ear. They had to prove
were patriots in the anticipation their future would be better. From this
risk of their display of unequivocal patriotism they hoped to be rewarded.
Most black Confederates were not given an opportunity to serve in the front
line as soldiers. But they did what they could as loyal civilians.

Why would blacks support, and possibly want to fight for, the Confederacy?
One is money. The pay rate for the laborers was greater than that of the
white soldier's pay rate. The black laborers were paid 30 dollars a month
while the Confederate soldiers made only 11 dollars. By volunteering their
service to the South these blacks earned enough money for themselves and
their families back home. Blacks, both free and slave, were able to make
more money by trading whiskey, food, horses and other possessions they
steal through their foraging missions. There is a story of a servant who
captured by the Yankees, stole two horses, and got back to his Confederate
line. When he got back he sold one horse for fifty dollars and kept the
other one for himself.

"The quest for freedom also played a great role in black Confederate
decisions" [29]. With good service to the master or to the Southern cause,
there was the hope of being manumitted after the war. Slaves also knew the
army life offered them a chance for adventure and an opportunity to get
from the drudgery of plantation work. Like many of the white men who
volunteered and fought in the war because of strong regional pride, the
local attachment blacks felt prompted them to come to the aide of the

Blacks placed their lives in danger for a country and its cause; a cause
which many Americans would not expect blacks to support. Slaves and free
blacks joined for different reasons. The Louisiana free blacks stated in a
letter written to the New Orleans' Daily Delta:

"The free colored population love their home, their property, their own
slaves and recognize no other country than Louisiana, and are ready to shed
their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism; no
for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana."

Prosperous free blacks realized that a Union victory would bring about
destruction to their economy, the basis of their livelihood, which gave
their special status. "Free blacks knew where their loyalties lay when the
war started because they stood to lose the status they enjoyed as free
people" [30]. Any well-to-do freeman probably prized his wealth and
standing, and deplored anyone who would endanger it. The slaves who felt
compelled to volunteer for the South did so because they hoped it would
improve their status after the war. They knew if the North won they would
probably be freed, but if the South won, they would have to show support
during the war if they had hopes of being freed.

V. The Debate: Black Soldiers

During the war the Confederacy's question of making a soldier out of the
black, slave and free, received considerable attention. In the beginning of
the war many of the Southern states made provisions for placing blacks at
the disposal of the state governments. "The Tennessee legislature passed an
act in June, 1861, authorizing the governor, at his discretion to receive
into the military service of the State all male free persons of color,
between the ages of fifteen and fifty, or such numbers as may be necessary
who may be capable of actual service" [31]. The governor was also
to press free blacks into services if a sufficient number was not met.

Early in the year there began in the Southern armies a discussion of
enlisting slaves as soldiers. Lt. General Hardee called their corps and
division commanders, of the Western Campaign, to meet at General Johnston's
Headquarters on the night of January 2, 1863. There they were presented
a plan by Major General Pat Cleburne, who was urging the enlistment and
arming of the slaves, with freedom as a reward for their service. After
President Davis received a copy of this memorandum he replied, "deeming it
to be injurious of the public service that such subject should be mooted or
even known to entertain by persons possessed of confidence and respect of
the people. If it be kept out of the public journal its ill effect will be
much lessened" [32].

Perhaps the most effective argument against putting the slaves in the ranks
was that it laid the South open to charges of hypocrisy. It was known that
slavery was one of the basic principles of the Confederacy. "The primary
justification for slavery had been that it was in the interest of both
blacks and whites because of the blacks inferiority and incapability to
for themselves" [33]. To arm the slaves in the Confederacy would be a
reversal on its position completely. If the salves were freed by the
Confederate Government-and it was agreed that arming the slaves would
probably entail freeing them-then another basic principle of the
was disregarded. One of the main reasons for secession was their firm
in states rights over that of a central government. If the Confederate
government stepped in and freed the slaves for faithful service, instead of
individual states, than it would be guilty of breaking their constitutional

By the summer of 1863 the victories had begun to shift to the northern
armies. Within one week the Confederacy suffered devastating defeats at
Vicksburg and Gettysburg. The momentum of war was being sung into the
direction. Hood's crushing defeat in Tennessee, Sherman's destructive march
through Georgia, and the threatened collapse of the whole military effort
left the Confederacy in need of reinforcements. The Southern armies were
being depleted. "There were 'exceptions', the 'detailed men', the numerous
state militias and there were the slaves. Before Christmas of 1864 was
President Davis had come to the opinion that arming the salves was a good
idea" [34].

Meanwhile, William Smith, the Governor of Virginia, took up the subject
his legislators suggesting that Virginia should arm its slaves for its
defense by offering freedom as slaves' reward. 'With two hundred thousand
Negro soldiers already in the Union army, the Governor asked, "can we
hesitate, can we doubt, when the question is, whether the enemy shall use
our slaves against us or we use them against him (the North); when the
question may be between liberty and independence o one hand or our own
subjugation and utter ruin on the other?" [35].

The majority of those who advocated enlisting the slaves were of the
that such a step would mean giving them their freedom. This was met with
great opposition. Though this should not have been a deterring factor.
that "slavery was already an expiring condition in the South; that
emancipation was already an accomplished fact if the Federalize succeeded;
that the situation was such that a choice had to be made between the loss
independence and the loss of property in slaves; that it was far better for
the Southerner to give up the Negro slave than be a slave himself" [36].

The matter immediately became the foremost topic of discussion in the whole
South by the fall of 1864. General Lee was asked for his view and on
11, 1865 he spoke out clearly for the arming of slaves-which he believed
should be accompanied by a gradual and general emancipation.

"It is the enemy's avowed policy to convert the able-bodied men among them
into soldiers, and to emancipate all. His progress will destroy slavery in
manner most pernicious to the welfare of our people... Whatever maybe the
effect of our employing Negro troops, it cannot be as mischievous as
I think, therefore, we must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by
our enemies and the slaves used against us, or use them ourselves at the
risk of the effects which may be produced upon our social institutions..."

"...The best means of securing the efficiency and fidelity of this
force would be to accompany the measure with a well digested plan of
and general emancipation. As that will be the result of the continuance of
this war, and will certainly occur if the enemy succeeds,it seems to be
advisable to adopt at once. Every day's delay increases the difficulty"

Finally, a little more than a month before the war ended, the Confederates
began to enlist blacks as soldiers in the army. "Steps were immediately
taken toward recruiting and organizing the slaves and free blacks" [38]. It
was too late; the South had waited too long to enlist blacks into their
army. When the war broke out many blacks, slave and free, wanted to
themselves with the winning side to better position themselves after the
war. In the winter of 1864-65 it was evident that the South was going to
lose the war. That is why recruiting the blacks was so difficult. If the
Confederate Government had acted on the initial enthusiasm displayed by
blacks then things probably would have been different in 1865.

VI. Blacks' contribution to the Southern War effort

It is often forgotten that while slavery was among the major causes of the
Civil War, its abolition was not the original goal of the North. President
Lincoln sated he didn't want to interfere with slavery in the states where
it already existed. Many Federal soldiers felt the same way, proclaiming if
the war was one turned into a fight for abolitionism they would stop
fighting. Faced with this attitude from the North black Southerners had no
reason but to be loyal to their homes. "The slaves had nothing to gain form
a Union victory, and free black men might actually stand to lose such
and property they already had" [39].

Thus instead of revolts among the blacks, slaves and free, as many
Northerners predicted, some became possessed with a war fervor that was
stimulated by the white response. "The Negro who boasted of his desire to
fight the Yankees the loudest; who showed the greatest anxiety to aid the
Confederates, was granted the most freedom and received the approval of his
community" [40].

The readiness with which some blacks responded should only be surprising to
those who are unfamiliar with the true feelings of slaves. Their only hope
was to someday be free. "One thing that impressed the blacks greatly was
failure of Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, and John Brown, whose e fate was held
up to them as the fate of all who tried to free the slaves or free
themselves" [41]. Therefore it should not be surprising to see blacks that
sprang at the chance to dig trenches and assist in any way possible for the

To better comprehend these people we should understand that most people do
things for immediate reasons and not abstract ones. Instead of revolts
the blacks, slave and free, as predicted by some, many became possessed of
fervor - originating in fear - which was stimulated by an enthusiasm of the
white population. "The gaily decked cities; the flags, bunting and
of all colors; the mounted cavalry; the artillery trains with brazen
drawn by sturdy steeds; followed by regiments of infantry in brilliant
uniforms, with burnished muskets, glittering bayonets and beautiful plumes;
all these scenes greatly interested and delighted the Negro, and it was
filling the cup of many with ecstasy to the brim, to be allowed to connect
themselves, even in the most menial way, with the demonstrations" [42].
Blacks saw first hand what was going on. They knew they had an opportunity
to better themselves, which was all many of them really wanted. When the
broke out everybody thought it was going to be over quickly. Slaves and
blacks knew this too, which is why many of them displayed an enthusiasm
was gone by 1863, when the South began to lose the war.




1. New York Herald, July 11, 1863.

2. Bell Wiley, Southern Negroes, p. 247.

3. Ervin Jordan, Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees, p. 218.

4. New Orleans Daily Delta, from Walter Williams article.

5. Wiley, p. 148.

6. Jordan, p. 185.

7. Wiley, p. 66.

8. Wiley, p. 64.

9. Wiley, p. 144.

10. Wiley, p. 137.

11. Wiley, p. 138.

12. New Orleans Daily Crescent, from Jordan's Black Confederates.

13. Wiley, p. 139.

14. Richmond Whig, from Jordan's Black Confederates.

15. Jordan, p. 186.

16. James Brewer, the Confederate Negro, p. 135.

17. Joseph Wilson, The Black Phalanx, p. 103.

18. Brewer, p. 132.

19. Wilson, p. 460.

20. Brewer, p. 165.

21. Brewer, p. 140.

22. Jordan, p. 222.

23. Jordan, p. 217.

24. Alfred Bellard, Gone for a Soldier, p. 56

25. Jordan, p. 235.

26. J.K. Obatala, "The unlikely story of blacks who were loyal to Dixie",

27. Obatala, p. 96.

28. Jordan, p. 236.

29. Obatala, p. 100.

30. Author Bergeron, Free men of color in grey, p. 254.

31. Wiley, p. 147.

32. Robert Henry, The story of the Confederacy, p. 380.

33. Wilson, p. 485.

34. Henry, p. 382.

35. Henry, p. 388.

36. Wiley, p. 153.

37. Henry, p. 440.

38. Wilson, p. 487.

39. Bergeron, p. 249.

40. Wilson, p. 483.

41. Wilson, p. 484.

42. Wilson, p. 484-85.


Bellard, Alfred, Gone for a Soldier: The Civil War Memoirs of Private Alfred Bellard. Boston, 1975.

Bergeron, Arthur. "Free Men of Color in Grey". Civil War History. 32, 1986: 247-255.

Brewer, James. Confederate Negro: Virginia's Craftsmen and Military Laborers. Duke, 1969.

Henry, Robert. The Story of the Confederacy. New York, 1911.

Jordan, Ervin L. Blacks Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia.
University of Virginia, 1995.

Obatala, J.K. "The Unlikely Story of Blacks Who Were Loyal to Dixie".
Smithsonian, March 1979: 94-101.

Wiley, Bell. Southern Negroes; 1861-1865. Yale, 1938.

Wilson, Joseph T. The Black Phalanx: A History of the Negro Soldiers of the
United States. Springfield, Massachusetts, 1887.


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"Don't even attempt tell me what I'm talking about whenever even you yourself don't even know what I'm talking about, let alone myself."
-- Pvt. Brandon Benner to angry math teacher, 2008

"The people of the free states have defended, encouraged, and participated; and are more guilty for it, before God, than the South, in that they have not the apology of education or custom."
-- Harriet Beecher Stowe on the North and slavery

"As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed."
  -- Francis Key Howard, Ft. McHenry 1861

"Sharpshooters, like fiddlers, are born, not made"  -- Gen A.P. Hill


"Illegitimi non carborundum"


"And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good --
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

"My Captain shouted for us to 'fix bayonets!'....I told him that mine 'Wasn't broken'; Then the 1st Sgt said that I was 'special'...; and THAT'S why I'm on picket duty...again..."

Lord, guide me from the succulent temptations of luxurious pie and strong beverage served by handsome women in the period family mixed garrison camp. Amen.

"The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history...the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination - that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves." 

~ H. L. Mencken


Our Founding Fathers designed our system of government in the form of a constitutionally limited republic with minimum government control or interference into our personal lives and business affairs. They didn’t have in mind some gigantic federal bureaucracy with all this power and control regulating our lives and our businesses. They had in mind a federal government that would abide by the Tenth Amendment. It was small, it had limited powers, it took care of national events, and it defended our borders. It maintained the army and issued national currency. And all the rest of the rights and responsibilities, they said, belonged to the states and the people.  

-  David Alan Black


"It is possible that most Americans have never stopped to define socialism. If we do not know what socialism is, how can we know it when we have it? Socialism, simply stated, is Government ownership or Government management of the nation's economy and the denial by the Government of the right and the capacity of individuals to manage themselves and their property. Socialists, fellow travelers and communists always move toward compulsion and violence and away from freedom. Socialism is directly opposed to American constitutional freedom and the inalienable right of the individual who produces property to dispose of it as he pleases. Socialism holds that its own nonproducing, uninventive, uncreative, compulsory and corrupt bureaucracies are better suited to dispose of what the free mind and spirit of the individual alone can produce, than the individual himself. It lies and steals for its own ends. It is immoral and incomprehensible to a people disciplined in Christian tradition.  

A country is socialist whenever the central government manages the economy of the people instead of the people managing themselves voluntarily without government compulsion. Under compulsion, freedom of expression, of production and reward disappear. When work and reward are determined by the state we have socialism in contrast with freedom. The resulting political corruption lives by more corruption with no healing power in it."

(The Road Ahead, John T. Flynn, Committee for Constitutional Government, 1944, pp: 168-169)


Black Slave Owners

Only a small percentage of whites, owned slaves (5% or less). In the official U.S. Census of 1830, there were 3775 free blacks who owned 12,740 black slaves. The first black slave owner was Anthony Johnson of Northampton, Virginia. His slave was John Casor.

A landmark case in 1665 involving the Black slave owner Anthony Johnson resulted in the courts’ ruling that slaves were considered slaves for life. Thus, in 1665 all states adopted enslavement laws. It was the Black slave master, Anthony Johnson, who sued and won his case in a Virginia court that changed temporary servitude into lifetime servitude. Thus, this Black slave owner, in Virginia, established permanent slavery. If there were any validity to the theory that the descendants of slaves should be paid by the descendants of slave-masters; THEN descendants of Anthony Johnson would certainly owe the most.

More facts here.









by Charles H. Hayes

  I am the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.

  I am a proud flag.
  I have led great armies to great victories.
  From tall masts I have saluted,
  And been saluted by,
  The ablest generals in history.

  I am a potent symbol.
  I have the power to stir the blood
  Of those who carried me in battle
  Though that blood be continents away
  And generations removed from those battles.

  I am an honorable flag.
  Do not use me for ignoble purposes.
  I am a symbol of pride, not arrogance.
  I represent love of homeland, not hatred toward anyone.
  But no matter who carries me
  Or for what purposes, I cannot be dishonored.

  I secured my honor in a hundred battles
  Where good men dying passed me to good men still struggling;
  Where we prevailed against almost impossible odds;
  Where we were beaten by overwhelming numbers;
  Where I was as bloody, torn, tired, and soiled
  As the men who carried me.

  I am a worthy flag.
  I have stood watch over the graves of patriots.
  I have comforted widows in their loneliness.
  As a blood-stained rag I have been passed as a rich legacy
  To the heirs of those who had lost all for my sake.

  I am the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.
  Do not forsake me.




Slave Quotes:

Phil Towns said, "After the close of the war the Federal Soldiers were stationed in towns to keep order. Union Flags were placed everywhere, and a Southerner was accused of not respecting the flag if he passed under it without bowing. Penalties for this offense was to be hung by the thumbs, to carry greasy poles for a certain time, and numerous other punishments that caused a great deal of discomfort for the victims".

Slave quotes from the Slave Narratives.

Sara Colquit of the Sam Raney Plantation at Camp Hill, Alabama: "We usta have some good times. We could have all the fun we wanted on Sa'dday nights, and we sho had it, cuttin monkey shines, and dancing all night long. Sometimes our mistis would come down early to watch us."

Sidney Bonner of the John Bonner Plantation at Pickensville, Alabama: "Lawsey man, dem were de days!"

Lightin' Mathews of the Joel Mathews Plantation at Cahaba, Alabama: "Master Joel musta been bawn on a sun shinny day 'cause he sho was bright an' good natured. Ever nigger on the plantation loved him lak he was sent from heaven."

Emma Jones of the Wiley Jones Plantation at Columbus Georgia: "Our food them was a-way better that the stuff we gets today."

Jane from Gerogiana Alabama: "Ole master an mistis dead an gone but I remembers them jes lak they was, when they looked after us...weather we belong to them or they belonged to us. I don't know which it was."

John Smith slave of Saddler Smith in Selma, Alabama: "My master was the best in the country."

Ellen King of the Harvey Plantation at Enterprise, Mississippi: "Wen I sit and think of all the good things we had to eat an all the fun we had, 'course we had to work, but you knows, when a crowd all works togather and sings and laughs, first thing you know--the works all done."

Smith Simmons of Coahoma Co. Miss. "Master called all the slaves up and said 'you is just as free as I am. You can stay or go as you please'. We all stayed."

"In slavery times the old folks was cared for and now there ain't no one to see to them."

Adam Singleton of Pike Co. Miss. When Marse George Simmons went to de big war, he called all his darkies up to de big house an' tole dem whar he wus gwine. an' tole dem to take good keer of de Missus, an' he left......"

Adam Smith of Tate Co. Miss. "I liked being a slave, our white folks and ole friends are dead but we had plenty and dey were good to us."

"De klu Klux Klan was organized for de Carpet Baggers and mean niggers but I didn't have any direct communication with dem. We didn't get no more out of freedon den we had, not as much..."

"De young folks don't know nothing about good times and good living, dey don't understand how come I wish I wuz still in slavery."

Susan Snow of Lauderdale County Miss. "My young marster used to work in de field wid us, til he went to de war, an' he'd boss de niggers. dey called him bud, but we all called him Babe. I sho did love dat boy. I loved him."

Tuck Spight of Tippah Co. Miss. Tuck was a member of the Confederate Veterans camp till his death which occurred a few years after his masters. He made a very touching talk at his masters funeral, he attended most all the Confederate reunions. He always returned home with more money than he had when he left...he made a talk for the people and they gave him money. He could make very sensible talks in public...especially about the Civil War.

Tuck is burried at Ripley cemetery. He has a marker on his grave by the government as a Confederate servant.

Issac Stier of Adams Co. Miss. "When de big war broke out I sho' stuck to my Marster an' I fit de Yankees same as he did. I went in de battles 'long side of him an' us both fit under Marse Robert E. Lee."

De war was over in May, 1865 but I was captured at Vicksburg an' hel' in jail 'till I 'greed to take up arms widd de nawth. I figured it was 'bout all I could do 'cause dey warn't but one Vicksburg an' dat was over. I was all de time hopin' I could slip off an' work my way back home but de Yankees didn' turn me loose till 1866."

Dave Walker of Simpson Co. Miss. "De war broke out an' up-sot everything. I never can fer-get the de day dat Mars had to go. When he tole us good by every slave on the place collected 'round him an' cried, afraid he would never git back. We loved him an' de slaves stuck by him while he wuz away, de bes' hit could be wid de cavalrymen a taking an' a destroyin'."

"When de war ended ole Mars .... came home an' hit wuz a big day of rejoicin. We wuz so glad he come back safe to us."

Ben Wall of Benton Co. Miss. "I wish times were like they use to be when we belonged to the white folks; we had better times then."

Henry Warfield of Warren Co. Miss. "Negroes were used by the Confederates long before they were used by the Union forces. ....and a large number of these fought by the side of their masters or made it possible for the master to fight."

Eugenia Weatherall of Monroe Co. Miss. "Sure I members bout the Ku Kluxers but we never had no trouble with them. Why one of my cousins used to make de robes and masks they wore and I have watched them dress up in them many a time."

Jane Wilburn of Lafayette Co. Miss. "The Yankees took everything the cullud folks had same as they did the white folks, 'cause they wouldn't believe the cullud folks had anything uv their own; they jus' thought they wuz keeping them for their masters and Mistresses. I had just' had holes made in my ears with a crab-apple thorne so I could wear some gold ear-rings my master had given me."

I 'members de first time de Yankees come. Dey come gallupin' down de road, jumpin' over de palm's, tromplin' down de rose bushes an' messin' up de flower beds. Dey stomped all over de house, in de main kitchen, pantries, smokehouse, an' evenjwhare, but dey didn' find much, kaze near 'bout everything done been hid. I was settin' on de steps when a big Yankee come up. He had on a cap an' his eyes was mean. "Whare did dey hide duh gold an' silver, nigger?" he yelled at me. I was so skeered my hands was ashy, but I tole him I didn' know nothin' 'bout nothmn'; dat if anybody done hid things dey hid it while I was asleep.

"Go ax dat ole white-headed devil," he said to me. I got mad den kaze he was tawkin' 'bout Mis' Polly, so I didn' say nothin'. I jus' set. Den he pushed me off de step an' say if I didn' dance he gwine shoot my toes off. Skeered as I was, I sho dons some shufflin'. Den he give me five dollars an' told me to go buy jim cracks, but dat piece of paper won't no good. 'Twuzn nothin' but a shin plaster like all dat war money, you couldn' spend it.

Dat Yankee kept callin' Mis' Polly a white-headed devil an' said she done ram-shacked 'til dey wuzn' nothin' left, but he made his mens tote off meat, flour, pigs, an' chickens. After dat Mis' Polly got mighty stingy wid de vittles an' we didn' have no more ham.

When de war was over de Yankees was all 'roun' de place tellin' de niggers what to do. Dey tole dem dey was free, dat dey didn' have to slave for de white folks no more. My folks all left Marse Cain an' went to live in houses dat de Yankees built. Dey wuz like poor white folks houses, little shacks made out of sticks an' mud wid stick an' mud chimneys. Dey wuzn' like Marse Cain's cabins, planked up and warm, dey was full of cracks, an' dey wuzn' no lamps an' oil. All de light come from de lightwood knots burnin' in de fireplace.

One day my mammy come to de big house after me. I didn' want to go, I wanted to stay wid Mis' Polly. I 'gun to cry an' Mammy caught hold of me. I grabbed Mis' Polly an' held so tight dat I tore her skirt bindin' loose an' her skirt fell down 'bout her feets. "Let her stay wid me," Mis' Polly said to Mammy. But Mammy shook her head. "You took her away from me an' didn' pay no mind to my cryin', so now I'se takin' her back home. We's free now, Mis' Polly, we ain't gwine be slaves no more to nobody."

She dragged me away. I can see how Mis' Polly looked now. She didn' say nothin' but she looked hard at Mammy an' her face was white. Mammy took me to de stick an' mud house de Yankees done give her. It was smoky an' dark kaze dey wuzn' no windows. We didn't have no sheets an' no towels, so when I cried an' said I didn' want to live in no Yankee house, Mammy beat me an' made me go to bed. I laid on de straw tick lookin' up through de cracks in de roof. I could see de stars, an' de sky shinin' through de cracks and it looked like long blue splinters stretched 'cross de rafters. I lay dare an' cried kaze I wanted to go back to Mis' Polly.

I wuz never hungry til we win free an' de Yankees fed us. We didn' have nothmn' to eat 'cept hardtack an' middlmn' meat. I never saw such meat. It was thin an' tough wid a thick skin. You could boil it all day an' all night an' it wouldn't cook done. I wouldn't eat it I thought 'twuz mule meat; mules dat done been shot on da battlefield den dried. I still believe 'twin mule meat.

Dem was bad days. I'd rather have been a slave den to been hired out like I win, kaze I wuzn' no file' hand, I was a hand maid, trained to wait on de ladies. Den too, I win hungry most of de time an' had to keep fightin' off dem Yankee mens. Dem Yankees was mean folks.

I looks back now an' thinks. I ain't never forgot dem slavery days, an' I ain't never forgot Mis' Polly

Union Treatment of Slaves

Found these accounts regarding Southern blacks being oppressed by Federal authorites. On many occasions these are described as "worse than slavery".

"Freedpeople throughout the Union-occupied South often toiled harder and longer under Federal officers and soldiers than they had under slave owners and overseers--and received inferior food, clothing, and shelter to boot."

--"Free At Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War", 1992 edited by Ira Berlin, & others.

This is a letter written by Federal Chaplain and Surgeons, dated Dec 29th 1862, Helena, Arkansas: General The undersigned Chaplains and Surgeons of the army of the Eastern District of Arkansas would respectfully call your attention to the Statements and Suggestions following. The Contrabands within our lines are experiencing hardships oppression & neglect the removal of which calls loudly for the intervention of authority. We daily see & deplore the evil and leave it to your wisdom to devise a remedy. In a great degree the contrabands are left entirely to the mercy and rapacity of the unprincipled part of our army (excepting only the limited jurisdiction of Capt. Richmond) with no person clothed with specific authority to look after & protect them. Among the list of grievances we mention these: Some who have been paid by individuals for cotton or for labor have been waylaid by soldiers, robbed, and in several instances fired upon, as well as robbed, and in no case that we can now recall have the plunderers been brought to justice--The wives of some have been molested by soldiers to gratify their licentious lust, and their husbands murdered in endeavering to defend them, and yet the guilty parties, though known, were not arrested. Some who have wives and families are required to work on the Fortifications, or to unload Government Stores, and receive only their meals at the Public table, while their families, whatever provision is intended for them, are, as a matter of fact, left in a helpless & starving condition. Many of the contrabands have been employed, & received in numerous instances, from officers & privates, only counterfeit money or nothing at all for their services. One man was employed as a teamster by the Government & he died in the service (the government indebted to him nearly fifty dollars) leaving an orphan child eight years old, & there is no apparent provision made to draw the money, or to care for the orphand child. The negro hospital here has become notorious for filth, neglect, mortality & brutal whipping, so that the contrabands have lost all hope of kind treatment there, & would almost as soon go to their graves as to their hospital. These grievances reported to us by persons in whom we have confidence, & some of which we known to be true, are but a few of the many wrongs of which they complain For the sake of humanity, for the sake of Christianity, for the good name of our army, for the honor of our country, cannot something be done to prevent this oppression & stop its demoralizing influences upon the Soldiers themselves ? Some have suggested that the matter be laid before the Department at Washington, in the hope that they will clothe an agent with authority to register all the names of the contrabands, who will have a benevolent regard for their welfare, though whom all details of fatigue & working parties shall be made though whom rations may be drawn & money paid, & who shall be empowered to organize schools, & to make all needfull regulations for the comfort & improvement of the condition of the contrabands; whose accounts shall be open at all times for inspection, and who shall make stated reports to the Department--All which is respectfully submitted Samuel Sawyer Pearl P. Ingall J.G. Forman

Another letter by Charles Stevenas to Lt. J. H. Metcalf (Acting Assistant Adjutant General) on Jan. 27, 1863 describes working conditions of contrabands at Kenner, La.:

"The reason the negros gave for their filthy conditions was that they had notime to clean up in. On inquiry I found they have worked from sunrise till dark, Sundays included, since last Sept. ..."

"My cattle at home are better cared for than these unfortunate persons." --Col. Frank S. Nickerson, U.S. Army

Elsewhere at Fortress Monroe in the Virginia theatre, Lewis C. Lockwood, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts testifies that this kind of abuse was committed on a widespread extent. In a letter dated Jan 29, 1862 he writes: "Contrabandism at Fortress Monroe is but another name for one of the worst forms of practical oppression -Government slavery. Old Pharaoh slavery was government slavery and Uncle Sam's slavery is a counterpart..."

"But most of the slaves are compelled to work for government for a miserable pittance. Up to town months ago they had worked for nothing but quarters and rations. Since that time they have been partially supplied with clothing – costing on an average $4 per man. And in many instances they have received one or two dollars a month cash for the past town months..." "Yet, under the direction of Quarter Master Tallmadge, Sergeant Smith has lately reduced the rations, given out, in Camp Hamilton, to the families of these laborers and to the disabled, from 500 to 60. And some of the men, not willing to see if their families suffer, have withdrawn from government service. And the Sergeant has been putting them in the Guard-house, whipping and forcing them back into the government gang. In some instances these slaves have been knocked down senseless with shovels and clubs."

"But I have just begun to trace the long catalogue of enormities, committed in the name of the Union, freedom and justice under the Stars and Stripes.

Yours with great respect, Lewis C. Lockwood

Mrs. Louisa Jane Barker, the wife of the Chaplain of the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery writes in 1864 regarding a contraband camp near Ft. Albany, in northern Virginia: the camp, referred to as a "village" by Mrs. Barker was ordered to be cleared out by order of Gen. Augur. "This order was executed so literally that even a dying child was ordered out of his house---The grandmother who had taken care of it since its mothers death begged leave to stay until the child died, but she was refused."

"The men who were absent at work, came home at night to find empty houses, and their families gone, they knew not whither!--Some of them came to Lieut. Shepard to enquire for their lost wives and children---In tears and indignation they protested against a tyranny worse than their past experiences of slavery---One man said, 'I am going back to my old master---I never saw hard time till since I called myself a freeman.' "

The following is a letter written by the colored men of Roanoke Island, N.C. on Mar 9th 1865 regarding the mistreatment they have received by the Federal Army. The letter was probably drafted by a black school teacher among them named Richard Boyle.

Writing President Lincoln regarding the actions of Superintendent, Capt. Horace James: "..Soon as he [Superintendent] sees we are trying to support our selves without the aid of the government he comes and make a call for the men, that is not working for the government to goe away and if we are not willing to goe he orders the guards to take us by the point of the bayonet, and we have no power to help it we known it is wright and are willing to doe any thing that the President or our head commanders want us to doe but we are not willing to be pull and haul a bout so much by those head men as we have been for the last two years and we may say get nothing for it, last fall a large number of we men was conscript and sent up to the front and all of them has never return Some got kill some died and when they taken them they treated us mean and our owner ever did they taken us just like we had been dum beast."

In another letter of the same date: "We want to know from the Secretary of War has the Rev Chaplain James [Capt.James] which is our Superintendent of negros affairs has any wright to take our boy children from us and from the school and send them to Newbern to work to pay for they ration without they parent consint if he has we thinks it very hard indeed... " "...the next is concerning of our White soldiers they come to our Church and we treat them with all the politeness that we can and some of them treats us as though we were beast and we cant help our selves Some of them brings Pop Crackers and Christmas devils and throws a mong the woman and if we say any thing to them they will talk about mobin us. we report them to the Capt he will say you must find out which ones it was and that we cant do but we think very hard it they put the pistols to our ministers breast because he spoke to them about they behavour in the Church..."


The idea of the “colonization” of free Negroes was not new, for as far back as 1817, the South and the North, both felt it was best for the whole country that they should be colonized. Before the period of Negro servitude had ended in most of the North Atlantic States, societies for the purpose of colonizing them were organized; and in the South in 1817 this plan had the earnest support of W.H. Crawford, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, John Marshall, John Tyler, James Madison, James Monroe, and other leading Southern men, who were slave owners.   

In 1856, General Tyler wrote: “The citizens of the Southern States since the adoption of the Constitution, have emancipated two hundred fifty thousand Negro slaves. Assuming the average value of these slaves to have been five hundred dollars, the citizens of the Southern States have contributed one hundred and twenty-five million dollars towards emancipation.    

“And when we consider that in almost every case of individual emancipation at the South, a sum equal to the value of the slave has been invariably given to him to enable him to purchase a home for himself, and in addition to this the immense sums contributed to the “Colonization Society” by others, we do not exaggerate the sum voluntarily bestowed in this way by the South, when we set it down at two hundred and fifty million.

 “This immense sum has been paid not by a rich public treasury, but by private families who lived by labor of slaves they surrendered; not with the slightest hope of pecuniary emolument, but from no other possible motive than quiet and conscientious sentiment.”  (DeBow’s Review, December 1856) 

(Authentic History Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1877, Susan Lawrence Davis, American Library Service, 1924, pp. 292-293)


The 'Roots' Hoax

Black writer Alex Haley (1921-1992) made a great deal of money from his 1976 book Roots and the television min-series that followed a year later.  The book purported to be the true story of Haley's slave ancestors.  He
followed a family oral tradition all the way back to Africa where he met a tribal wise man whose orals traditions matched Haley's: Slave traders snatched distant ancestor Kunta Kinte and hauled him off to America.  Roots goes on for 700 pages and six generations of black resistance to white oppression.

The book won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, and was issued as a Readers Digest condensed book. It was published in 37 languages and has been used in courses at approximately 500 colleges.  There is even a Cliff Notes-like Novels For Students version for scholars in a hurry, and the book is still promoted as a true story. In fact, early parts of the book are worse than invention; they are lifted straight out of a 1967 novel called "The African" by a white author, Harold Courlander.  Courlander sued Haley for plagiarism in 1978, forced him to admit he had copied long passages, and collected $650,000 in damages.

This, however, has done almost nothing to tarnish Haley's reputation.  By the time of the suit, Roots was already a cultural icon and a source of pride for black Americans.  Judge Robert Ward, who presided over the plagiarism case, urged Courlander to keep quiet since the truth would be too great a blow to black pride.  The co-sponsor of the Annapolis slavery walk in September, 2004 was none other than the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, whose purpose is to encourage greater study and awareness of African-American culture, history, archaeology and genealogy.

From American Renaissance, November, 2004

Confederate flag: Symbol of 'terrorism' or independence?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, recently fought to ban the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse. NAACP leaders have said the Confederate flag "supports the evils of slavery" and "represents terrorism."

However, in his 1999 commentary, columnist Walter Williams argued, "It must be ignorance, an ignorance I once shared. The NAACP crowd sees the Confederate battle flag as a flag of slavery. If that's so, the United States flag is even more so. Slavery thrived under the United States flag from 1776 to 1865, while under the Confederate flag a mere four years."

 (Re-enactment photo. Source: Politics and Culture)

He explained, "The birth of both flags had little or nothing to do with slavery. Both flags saw their birth in a violent and proud struggle for independence and self-governance."

Williams noted that the flag naturally symbolizes resentment for those individuals who see the War for Southern Independence solely or chiefly as a struggle for slavery.

"The idea that President Abraham Lincoln waged war against the South to abolish slavery is fiction created by the victors," he explained. "Here's an oft-repeated sentiment by President Lincoln: 'I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.' Slavery simply emerged as a moral front for northern aggression."

Williams explained that significant factors that led to the war included states' rights and tariffs Congress enacted to protect Northern manufacturing interests. He also cited professor Edward Smith, director of American studies at American University, who has calculated that between 60,000 and 93,000 blacks served the Confederacy.

"These black Confederate soldiers no more fought to preserve slavery than their successors fought in WWI and WWII to preserve Jim Crow and segregation," Williams wrote. "They fought because their homeland was attacked and fought in the hope that the future would be better and they'd be rewarded for their patriotism."

Williams then suggested the NAACP make an effort to memorialize and honor black Confederate soldiers.

Meanwhile, a May 9, 2000, survey by Gallup Poll News Service posed this question to Americans, "Do you, yourself, see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride, or more as a symbol of racism?"

A full 59 percent of all respondents said they believe it is a symbol of Southern pride, while only 28 percent saw it as a symbol of racism.


More references:

In Nashville a company of free blacks offered their services to the Confederate government, and in June the state legislature authorized Gov. Harris to accept into Tennessee service all male persons of color (Wesley, 1937, page 153).

In Memphis in 'September a procession of several hundred free blacks marched through the streets under the command of Confederate officers. "They were brimful of patriotism, shouting for Jeff Davis and singing war songs" (Memphis Avalanche, 3 Sept 1861).

In Montgomery, blacks were seen being drilled and armed for military duty (Wesley, 1919, p. 242).

Two companies of black Confederates were formed in Ft. Smith, Arkansas (Rebellion Record, 46, in Rollins 1994).

Similar occurrences took place in Virginia. In Lynchburg, 70 men enlisted to fight for the defense of Virginia soon after it seceded; a local newspaper raised "three cheers for the patriotic Negroes of Lynchburg" (Ibid; Wesley, 1937, p. 142).

One hundred free Negroes reported for service to aid the Confederacy in Petersburg, Virginia, on 26 April 1861, and were addressed by the mayor. One of the Negroes stepped forward to receive the Confederate flag, and said “We are willing to aid Virginia’s cause to the utmost of our ability … there is not an unwilling heart among us … we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given us” (Petersburg Daily Express, April 23, 26, 1861).

In late April 1861 in Richmond, 60 black men carrying a Confederate flag asked to be enlisted. In Hampton, 300 blacks volunteered to serve in Artillery batteries (Quarles, 1955, p. 36).

In Petersburg, a group of blacks who had volunteered to work on defenses held a mass rally at the courthouse square. The former Mayor, John Dodson, presented them with a Confederate flag, and promised them "a rich reward of praise, and merit, from a thankful people” (Oblatala, 1979, p. 94).