Retrieved from Traci Brown
We are often led to believe that somehow the War For Southern Independence was fought to allow the suppression of the Black man. These articles show that to be a misconception.
In 2000 the $37 Million movie Ride With the Devil was suppressed in distribution and offered in only 200 theaters for a limited three-day engagement despite the fact that it was directed by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and had received many excellent reviews. It was suppressed by its distributor, USA Films, because it factually portrayed a Black Confederate guerrilla fighting with Confederate Bushwhackers in the Kansas-Missouri operations. The video release of the movie was delayed for two months to allow removal of the image of the Black Confederate from the cover art. The character was based faithfully on Free Black John Noland who rode with Quantrill as a scout and spy.
Black Southerners fought alongside white, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish and thousands of foreign-born Southerners. They fought as documented by Union sources [spacing added for clarity]:
Frederick Douglass, Douglass’ Monthly, IV [Sept. 1861,] pp 516 – “there are at the present moment many colored men in the Confederate Army – 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…There were such soldiers at Manassas and they are probably there still.”
“Negroes in the Confederate Army,” Journal of Negro History, Charles Wesle, Vol. 4, #3, [1919,] 244-245 – “Seventy free blacks enlisted in the Confederate Army in Lynchburg, Virginia. Sixteen companies of free men of color marched through Augusta, Georgia on their way to fight in Virginia.”
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.
The 85th Indiana Volunteer Infantry reported to the Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette that on 5 March 1863: “During the fight the [artillery] battery in charge of the 85th Indiana [Volunteer Infantry] was attacked by [*in italics*] two rebel negro regiments. [*end italics*].”
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 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: “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: “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 – “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.”
– referring to Confederate forces opposing him at Pocotaligo, SC., Colonel B. C. Christ, 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, official report of May 30, 1862 “Sargt said war is close to being over. saw several negros fighting for those rebels.”
– From the diary of James Miles, 185th N.Y.V.I., entry dated January 8, 1865 Black Southerners also demonstrated loyalties based not on ownership, subservience or fear. The Confederate Burial Mound for Camp Morton, Indiana, at Indianapolis, Indiana, has bronze tablets which list the nearly 1200 Confederates who died at that camp. Among those names are 26 Black Southerners, seven Hispanic Southerners and six Indiaan Southerners. At a time when those Black Southerners could have walked into the Camp Commander’s office, taken a short oath and signed their name to walk out the gates free men obliged to no one they chose instead to stay even unto death. Your understanding of that choice is likely nonexistent.
Union soldiers robbed, raped and murdered Free Black and slave Southerners they had come to “emancipate.” Union “recruiters” hunted, kidnapped and tortured Black Southerners to compel them to serve in the Union Army. At the Battle of the Crater white Union soldiers bayoneted retreating Black Union soldiers and the 54th Massachusetts was intentionally fired upon by Union Maine troops while assaulting Battery Wagner. The Federal Official Records and memoirs of the USCT document all of these war crimes.
But did black men only serve “towards the end” of the war? I think there is ample evidence to the contrary:
Dr. Lewis Steiner, chief inspector, U.S. Sanitary Commission, reported on a Confederate advance early in the war. He wrote:
“Wednesday, Sept. 10 — At four o’clock this morning, the Rebel army began to move from our town, Jackson’s force taking the advance.
“The movement continued until eight o’clock p.m., occupying 16 hours. The most liberal calculations could not give them more than 64,000 men.
“Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured U.S. uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, state buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in Rebel ranks.
“Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabres, bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and 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.”
And whereas it might have went unknown to jokers like Cobb and Rhett, New York newspaper man Horace Greeley knew about them:
“For more than two years, Negroes have been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They have been embodied and drilled as Rebel soldiers and had paraded with white troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies of the Union.”
Greeley was not alone among influential men of the North who knew about black men serving in Confederate ranks and file.
Frederick Douglass sure knew about them, too, and complained bitterly in his efforts to lobby the U.S. Army to even accept black men into their ranks:
“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 ….”
(Douglass’ Monthly, September 1861, online copy available at http://radicaljournal.com/essays/fighting_rebels.html.)
In 1895, Christian A. Fleetwood, a black man who had served in the Union army as a sergeant-major (4th U.S. Colored Troops) reported:
“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 16 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.”
A telegram from New Orleans, dated Nov. 23, 1861, notes the review by Gov. Moore of over 28,000 troops, and that one regiment comprised “1,400 colored men.”
The New Orleans Picayune, referring to a review held Feb. 9, 1862, says: “We must also pay a deserved compliment to the companies of free colored men, all very well drilled and comfortably equipped.”
(Christian A. Fleetwood, The Negro as a Soldier, Washington, D.C.: Howard University Print, 1895, pp. 5-6.) [Michael T. Griffith “Black Confederates, Political Correctness, and a Virginia Textbook” copyright 2011 retrieved: http://www.mtgriffith.com/web…/blackconfederates.html.]
So the testimony of all these people — from both sides of the conflict — stands in stark contrast to our current knowledge of the war (and again, most of that is due to the parroting of war-time Union propaganda as “history”).
It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. Over 13,000 of these, “saw the elephant” also known as meeting the enemy in combat. These Black Confederates included both slave and free. The Confederate Congress did not approve blacks to be officially enlisted as soldiers (except as musicians), until late in the war. But in the ranks it was a different story. Many Confederate officers did not obey the mandates of politicians, they frequently enlisted blacks with the simple criteria, “Will you fight?” Historian Ervin Jordan, explains that “biracial units” were frequently organized “by local Confederate and State militia Commanders in response to immediate threats in the form of Union raids…”. Dr. Leonard Haynes, a African-American professor at Southern University, stated, “When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you’ve eliminated the history of the South.”
As the war came to an end, the Confederacy took progressive measures to build back up it’s army. The creation of the Confederate States Colored Troops, copied after the segregated northern colored troops, came too late to be successful. Had the Confederacy been successful, it would have created the world’s largest armies (at the time) consisting of black soldiers,even larger than that of the North. This would have given the future of the Confederacy a vastly different appearance than what modern day racist or anti-Confederate liberals conjecture. Not only did Jefferson Davis envision black Confederate veterans receiving bounty lands for their service, there would have been no future for slavery after the goal of 300,000 armed black CSA veterans came home after the war.