http://dixieoutfitters.com

SHNV's Supporters for Apr. 2012:
Brock Townsend
Faithful Southron, THANK YOU!!


Southern Heritage <br>News and Views

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rekilling Lincoln, from the co-author of The South Was Right!

Killing the myth that is killing America!

REKILLING LINCOLN

Rekilling Lincoln, from the co-author of The South Was Right! 

*Lincoln exposed as the enemy of the Union, Constitution, African-Americans, and Northern opponents; 

* Lincoln, the un-Christian President;

* Lincoln’s war on State’s Rights paves the way for big government;

*Northern statesmen condemning Lincoln;     


Hardback, 336 pp, Index, Notes, at bookstores, Internet, or order autographed copies, $35 first class mail.  Send check or money order:  Ole South Books, 275 Dan Acree Rd., Downsville, La. 71234.  Upcoming book by Kennedy Twins:  Uncle Seth Fought the Yankees.  More info at:  www.kennedytwins.com


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We Won! We have the deed to Confederate Memorial Circle!


It’s time to Celebrate, Commemorate & Re-Dedicate!

The Friends of Forrest and Selma Chapter 53, UDC Cordially Invite You to Attend & Share The Celebration of our Historical & Monumental Victory!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2015
1:00 PM
Confederate Memorial Circle
Historic Live Oak Cemetery
Selma, Alabama

A Guided Tour of Live Oak Cemetery
9:30am
Reception to follow program at the
Smitherman Building Museum
(The Original Site of the NB Forrest Monument)
109 Union Street  

The host hotel is the Quality Inn here in Selma – 334-874-8600. I have blocked off 15 rooms at the Special Friends of Forrest rate of $69 per night plus tax. There are only 60 rooms in the hotel so call now for your reservations! May 23, 2015 is Memorial Day weekend. This will give out-of-towners an extra day for travel back home & work or to stay an extra day to tour Historic Selma! For more information contact: Pat Godwin at 334-875-1690; 334-419-4566 (cell) or e-mail: oldsouthrebel@zebra.net

Confederate Memorial Circle was originally dedicated 137 years ago on 26 April 1878. It’s time to celebrate, commemorate & re-dedicate Confederate Memorial Circle where we will re-dedicate the Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument by unveiling the REPLACEMENT bronze bust of Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest. We will re-dedicate the Confederate Soldiers’ Memorial and also the new Battle of Selma Memorial. This will be a HUGE MONUMENTAL HISTORICAL event- the most paramount Confederate accomplishment throughout the South in recent times. We beat the enemy in their own territory, the Civil Rights hotpot of the world! We have won our case against the City of Selma. Selma Chapter 53, UDC has been awarded the deed to the one acre Memorial Circle plus the Pigeoneers House! Our Security & Beautification Enhancement of Confederate Memorial Circle project has been quite a test of patience, endurance, perseverance and faithful dedication of all our supporters. We are very GRATEFUL for ALL our supporters and contributors to our efforts to defend, protect and preserve our noble Southern history and heritage here in Selma. Even though we are having the dedication on May 23, this project is not quite finished. We still have LOTS to pay for and also erect 20 bronze historical interpretive markers throughout the Circle. These historical markers will cost approximately $1500 each. We are also still selling the ancestor pavers; if you want your paver laid by dedication day please place your order NOW!  However, we will continue to sell the pavers until we have all 4 quads filled with engraved pavers. Contact me at 334-875-1690 for order form & information. If you would like to contribute to this historical, monumental project, please make check payable to and MARK FOR: CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL CIRCLE:

NBF Monument Fund
C/o Patricia S. Godwin
Fort Dixie
10800 Co. Rd. 30
Selma, Alabama  36701

Keepin’ the skeer on’em!

DEO VINDICE!

Patricia S. Godwin

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stuart-Mosby Historical Society Leads Campaign to Refurbish and Repair Statue Honoring Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart, CSA



The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society announces a campaign to provide funds to refurbish and repair the statue honoring Major General James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart located on Historic Monument Avenue in the City of Richmond, Virginia. The Stuart statue, owned by the City of Richmond, is one of a series of monuments on the avenue that annually attract thousands of visitors to Virginia’s Capital City. 
         
 First installed in May 1907, and resurfaced 30-plus years ago, the Stuart Statue has become discolored and needs repair in various places. Green corrosion shows through in numerous spots. A complete removal of coatings and corrosive layers and repainting of the entire statue is recommended, along with welding of detached pieces on the sword as well as stabilization of the hilt and blade of the sword.
        
It is estimated that the restoration and repair of the Stuart Statue will cost in the neighborhood of $35,000. The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society already has received a sizeable anonymous contribution toward this goal and is asking other Civil War enthusiasts and historic-minded citizens to contribute. Those interested in promoting tourist attractions in the City of Richmond also are invited to participate.     
         
 In addition, the Society intends to establish a fund to underwrite yearly maintenance of this important symbol of its heritage. The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.
         
The Society has established suggested Levels of Giving, which are included with this announcement. Contributors who provide e-mail or other contact information concerning this project will be provided with updated information at reasonable intervals.
         
The Stuart Monument is one of a series of seven attractions in Richmond that have earned designation as a National Historic Landmark. The Historic District includes statues of Robert E. Lee (1890), Stuart (1907), Jefferson Davis (1907), Stonewall Jackson (1919), Commodore Mathew F. Maury (1929) and Arthur Ashe (1996).
         
For more information about this project, contact SMHS President Susan Hillier (e-mail at susan_hillier@yahoo.com, cell phone at 540-319-3733) or Secretary Ben Trittipoe (e-mail at btritt1@gmail.com, cell phone at 571-274-2467).



                                                            Suggested Levels of Giving

                                          Major General.................................... PRICELESS!
                                          Brigadier General............................... $2,500.00
                                          Colonel............................................... $1,000.00
                                          Lt. Colonel......................................... $750.00
                                          Major.................................................. $500.00
                                          Captain............................................... $250.00
                                          First Lieutenant.................................. $200.00
                                          Second Lieutenant.............................. $150.00
                                          Trooper.............................................. $100.00
                                          Other..................................................


Please send checks to the following address. Checks should be made payable to “Stuart-Mosby Historical Society” and “Stuart Statue” should be listed in the Memo Line.

Please send to:

Stuart-Mosby Historical Society
5405 Midship Court
Burke, VA 22015

A combined list of contributors will be listed in the Stuart-Mosby Cavalry Historical Society newsletter.  



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Berry Benson Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a birthday celebration for its namesake, Berry Benson, at his grave Sunday.


Sons of Confederate Veterans  Camp#158 B/Gen E Porter Alexander 

Augusta , Georgia  -Members of the camp Honour Guard presented the colours and a black powder salute for the ceremonial service   

Carl Tommy Miller 

Remembering a soldier 
Augusta Chronicle 
North Augusta Edition
   
The Berry Benson Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a birthday celebration for its namesake, Berry Benson, at his grave Sunday. The speaker was John Baxley III.
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF Dr. John B. Baxley III talks about Sgt. Berry G. Benson during the Birthday Remembrance for the Confederate soldier on Sunday.
People pray during the Sgt. Berry G. Benson Birthday Remembrance.
  Augusta Chronicle <> North Augusta Edition 

Friday, February 06, 2015

Is Disparaging the South Becoming Passe?


By  on 

The lack of interest in the film “Selma” by both the public and the film industry is a healthy sign. It is an indication that the public is growing tired of this particular movie formula (often called the “Mississippi Burning Syndrome”) ; portrayals of racist, bigoted Southerners from fifty years ago. This movie formula has been a powerful opinion-molding device, but political trends and social movements tend to go in cycles. Although society never completely reverts back to the way it was, social trends gradually become old hat and lose their impetus. As a social trend passes its cusp and nears the end of its cycle, its proponents are often caught unaware. And, certainly the producers of the film “Selma” were caught unaware.

Although anti-Southern bias is not as fashionable as it once was, some journalists, even those writing for Southern newspapers, apparently still think it is viable. A review of the movie “Selma” recently appeared in The Brunswick News, in Brunswick, GA. To establish her credentials on race relations, the reviewer, Bethany Leggett, stated that as a result of a college internship, she spent one month in Alabama, visited Birmingham; toured the local Civil Rights Institute, and also visited the famous 16th Street Baptist Church.

Ms. Leggett stated that she learned the facts about the 1960s events “from a textbook and reading plaques on a museum’s wall.” So, unlike the general public, her admiration for the film was effusive. And even the “historical errors” in “Selma” failed to diminish her high praise. I’m sure that most of you have read about the interpretations of 1960 events contained in contemporary school textbooks, so I don’t need to discuss that problem. But what kind of journalist would accept language on a museum plaque as corroboration for the veracity of a Hollywood version of a half-century old event? If, during her brief tour of Alabama, Ms. Leggett had encountered a laudatory commendation on a Confederate monument, would that convince her to view the Confederacy favorably?
Sadly, Ms. Leggett’s glib understanding of 1960 events has become all too common. Over 30 cities throughout the country, including Birmingham, provided free theater tickets to insure that students viewed “Selma.” It was felt that viewing Oprah Winfrey’s cinematic version of a celebrated Martin Luther King event would be an important learning experience . We wonder if schools will make Ms. Winfrey’s “Selma” film an educational tool for students in the same way that “To Kill a Mockingbird” has become a teaching device.
Leada Gore, a journalist for The Birmingham News expressed her indignation that Alabama allows citizens to celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday on the same day day it celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday. The fact that Alabama has celebrated General Lee’s birthday for over a 100 years before MLK day was even created is irrelevant to her. She asserts that honoring General Lee is not only “outdated”, it is “archaic.” With astounding hubris, she actually scolded the state with: “Do better Alabama.”
Ms. Gore also claims that those who celebrate Lee on the actual anniversary of his birthday do so only to detract from the importance of MLK Day, which should be sacrosanct. This is a rather odd claim because the MLK holiday often stretches over a few days, with numerous events, and is soon followed by Black History Month, wherein MLK is lauded throughout a 28 day period. On the other hand, Robert E. Lee is commemorated on a single day.
As a result of an opinion poll and email responses, Ms. Gore learned that her disparagement of Robert E. Lee was not widely shared. In a follow-up article, she resorted to a common journalistic gimmick by selecting and printing those responses that tended to make Robert E. Lee supporters appear to be backwater hayseeds. Quite a few journalists use this technique, but it indicates a lack of integrity.
We know from past experience that no matter how many Southern traditions are eliminated or how many Southern celebrations are forbidden, activists will never be satisfied. They will immediately begin a campaign against another heritage symbol, attacking it with the same worn-out arguments they’ve used in the past. And, of course, they will be supported by gullible journalists. Many of us long for a journalist with original rather than indoctrinated opinions. And it would certainly be refreshing to come across a journalist who had achieved enough maturity to understand that there are two sides to every story.
We have to assume that Ms. Gore and Ms. Leggett belong to that aggregation of young journalists born after 1975. – More than half of our current population falls into that category. So they have been exposed to establishment-sanctioned views since their birth. The Selma March and other notable civil rights events occurred before they were born, so their perceptions of those events comes from media, movies, and TV portrayals. These portrayals are essentially presented in the versions that best accommodate the Left’s political strategies.
The failure of “Selma” is not the only healthy sign I’ve come across. Two left-of-center newspapers, who are frequently unfair to the South are experiencing declines in revenue and circulation; one national, The New York Times, and one local, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reports indicate that these two newspapers are re-assessing their political philosophies in an attempt to recapture their lost readership. For their survival, they will have to allow more moderate, middle-of-the-road opinions. They might even ease up on their anti-Southern bias.

About Gail Jarvis

Gail Jarvis is a Georgia-based free-lance writer. He attended the University of Alabama and has a degree from Birmingham Southern College. As a CPA/financial consultant, he helped his clients cope with the detrimental effects of misguided governmental intrusiveness. This influenced his writing as did years of witnessing how versions of news and history were distorted for political reasons. Mr. Jarvis is a member of the Society of Independent Southern Historians and his articles have appeared on various websites, magazines, and publications for several organizations. He lives in Coastal Georgia with his wife. More from Gail Jarvis

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Black History Month and the Civil War – a Series



3. Holt Collier, Confederate soldier - Bill Vallante 
4. Black Confederate Soldiers? - Bill Vallante 
4b. The Black Confederate and Modern Day Yankees - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
10. Black Confederates Memorialized - Bill Vallante 
11. The Black Confederate Civilian - Bill Vallante 
13. It’s My “Heritage”! - Bill Vallante 
14. Blood in the Fight - Bill Vallante 
15. The Story of Ephraim Robinson - Bill Vallante 
19. Still more Year ob’ Jubilo... - Bill Vallante 
22. A Letter... - Bill Vallante 
30. “Massa Robert Toombs” - Bill Vallante 
32. The USCT in Combat - Bill Vallante 
34. The USCT as Prison Guards - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
36. Prisoner Exchange and the USCT - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
37. The Worst Place to be? Perhaps the USCT! - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
38. A Little Levity if You Please! - Bill Vallante 
39. Lee's Great Slave Raid?! - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
40. The Black Confederate – A Few more... - Bill Vallante  New! Feb. 2010
  


1 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”

There is indeed a certain childish willfulness in the American mind that insists on chastising the people of the past for not being like them, or else pretending that they were. Which is a certain way NOT to learn anything from history. Dr. Clyde Wilson

Recently I sparred with a (white) neo-abolitionist blogger who had, in his daily rants, written a tribute to Martin Luther King. Flanking this tribute however were two “pot-shots” at General Lee, whose birthday comes at about the same time as King’s, and several pot-shots at the SCV.

I asked him why it was that he seemed unable to stay in his own little corner and have a good time celebrating something he sees as important without going over to someone else’s corner and poking fun at something that someone else considers important? “What is it”, I asked, “about you people that makes you so inclined to be pests?”

Needless to say, he did not appreciate my sarcasm. His response was as follows:

“First of all it is not "your corner" or anyone's corner for that matter. It's called American history and my blog's theme focuses on the way in which Americans have chosen to remember their past. In large part and in reference to the Civil War this has involved highlighting an idealized Confederate past by ignoring the contributions of African Americans.”

I didn’t really expect the blogger, a transplanted yankee/liberal teacher now living in Virginia, to comprehend the philosophy of “live and let live”, so his failure to comprehend my analogy of staying in his own “corner” didn’t really surprise me. Besides, “Live and Let Live” has never been the liberal way.

What is significant however, is his reference to an “idealized Confederate past” and “ignoring the contributions of African Americans”. Contemporary (liberal) historians often describe this notion with the phrase, “Civil War Memory”, a phrase popularized by Amherst historian/professor David Blight. Blight and those like him maintain that our “memory” of the war is in error, and that the way Americans “remember” the war has left the African American out in the cold. Of course, Mr. Blight and company intend to remedy this situation. Remember the phrase because you’ll be hearing more and more of it as America draws closer to the 150th Anniversary of the “Civil War.

The last 8 months have allowed me plenty of time for research however, and I submit that there is much in the neo-abolitionist memory that he or she has chosen NOT to remember, or to simply ignore.   

Since “Black History Month” is once again upon us, I would like to take this time to reveal some of the history that our neo-abolitionist friends have apparently forgotten or tried to bury. The stories and excerpts are taken from the Slave Narratives, the Confederate Veteran Magazine, 1893-1912, the Southern Historical Society Papers, the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, and several books, some of which were written back in a time when much of this stuff was recent history. The stories include tributes to and remembrances of Black Confederates, not only soldiers and those in the military, but black southern civilians as well, a more critical look at the USCT, and a hard look at some of the flights of fancy that contemporary politically correct historians engage in – i.e. Reconstruction as a Story of Social Progress.

Robert Penn Warren once wrote – “The Civil War is America’s ‘felt’ history – that is not to say that all Americans feel it in exactly the same way.” Apparently our neo-abolitionist friends don’t quite see it that way. It’s their way or the highway. I’m a believer in “live and let live” and I don’t like to rain on anyone else’s parade, but if that’s the way they want it, then let the games begin!



2 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Some Thoughts on The Slave Narratives:

Some of the colored fought on one side, and some on the other. They was just like children. The ones whats got good Mas and Pas wants to stay with them, and the ones whats got mean ones, wants to leave them. Callie Washington, Mississippi

Several years ago I asked a professional historian where I might be able to view or obtain an unedited and complete version of the Federal Writers’ Project/Slave Narratives. I had heard various stories about the treatment of the slaves and I wanted to see for myself what the former slaves themselves said.  Rather than answer my question directly, this “historian” told me that I should not get the complete Narratives collection because it was not accurate and had many flaws in it. Instead, he recommended one of many books written on the subject, the name of which I forget. Of course, like most books about the Narratives written during the decades of political correctness, this book focused on the “legacy” and the “brutality” of slavery. I don’t suppose it’s possible that anyone in the Old South who owned a slave would ever consider treating his or her slaves with anything resembling humanity? Naaaah!?

Being obstinate by nature, I ignored his advice and chalked him up to being simply one of the many academic inbreds that history and social science departments have produced since the 1960s, and I continued the search. Eventually, I located the complete Slave Narratives collection on CD Rom at Ancestry.com. I purchased it and began to pore through it. 9 months later I’d finally completed the project, taking notes and doing a lot of cutting and pasting along the way.

Historians like the one who gave me the advice not to pursue my search feel that the narratives are not accurate for several reasons:

  • Because many of the interviewers were white, the black folks who were interviewed might have simply told the interviewers what they wanted to hear or were afraid to speak their minds.
  • Many of the white interviewers were southerners who had opinions of their own and some were suspected of having edited the interviews in order to put the best possible face on the treatment that slaves received.
  • Those interviewed were old and their memories may have been failing
  • Many interviewers were not professionals and were poorly trained in interviewing skills

While there may be some truth in these contentions, it apparently has not stopped many contemporary historians and others from writing books on the subject and from using SELECTED interviews from the Slave Narratives for their own purposes. Of course, if one looks at most of these contemporary books one usually sees only the interviews which relate mistreatment. One is left to ask why only those interviews which document mistreatment are acceptable and those which relate the opposite are not?

Black people didn’t tell the white people everything or were afraid to speak their minds? It didn’t stop several hundred of those interviewed and who had been very badly treated from giving quite detailed accounts of their mistreatment. And am I to assume that every black person I’ve ever had a conversation with in my life has lied to me or “held out” on me simply because I’m white? If the memories of these people were failing, why are instances of recounted mistreatment acceptable and instances of the opposite not? And what about those white southern interviewers? Did some of them interject their own sentiments and thoughts into the narratives? Yes, some did. But again, the logical question arises – who is to say that the northern interviewers and the black interviewers didn’t do the same thing? In fact, the evidence is pretty plain that they did – some examples of neo-abolitionist melodrama:

“Among these few remaining persons who have lived long enough to tell of some of their experiences during the reign of "King Slavery" in the United States is one Mrs. Amanda McDaniel. “

“Her (referring to the ex-slave being interviewed) reminiscences are interesting because they depict that humble and contented attitude of slaves which is so often stressed by fanciful fictionists.”

…."sixteen years of hell as a slave on a plantation," a story which will convince the reader that, even though much blood was shed in our Civil War, the war was a Godsend to the American Nation. This story is told just as given by Mr. Stone.”

“These are the Memoirs of one who fought the battle. One who knows the galling chain of bondage and has lived to enjoy freedom”

I guess white southerners weren’t the only opinionated interviewers in this project – but it is something that I never hear the current crop of politically correct experts admit to – and it gives me yet another reason to hold the vast majority of these “experts” in contempt!

The Slave Narratives is a compilation of almost 3500 interviews, stories, short biographies, obituaries, etc. Those interviewed or written about were former slaves or the children or grandchildren of slaves. Though many of the interviewers displayed poor interviewing skills, they were nonetheless skilled enough in many cases, to transcribe the interviews in the exact manner in which the interviewee spoke. If for example, the person interviewed said the word “them”, it would many times be pronounced as “dem” and would be written and spelled as such in the transcription. Initially I found it to be a major pain in the neck – it seemed as if I had to learn a foreign language. In retrospect though I’d have to say that it gave a flavor to the work that, if you’re imaginative enough, almost allows you to hear the voices – it was for me, quite a thrill!

Oh yes, about treatment – well it seems that the type of treatment the slaves received varied from one master to another. There were some basic guidelines and laws of course, but in large part, American slavery left most decisions and judgement calls in the hands of the slaveowner. As one old ex-slave said, “Well suh, et wuz jus’ lak it is t’day – dey wuz gud people an’ dey wuz bad people”. If you want to write an Uncle Tom’s Cabin novel, there is more than enough material to help you along in these Narratives. But if you want to write a “Moonlight and Magnolias” novel, there’s more than enough material there as well. Life in any time period consists of the good and the bad. Indeed, it would not be life without both.

From what I’ve observed, the treatment of the slaves, put of course, within the context of the early and mid 19th century, reflected what I’ve always observed to be the breakdown of humanity in general, and which is similar to what the old slave said – There are some good people in this world, and there are some bad people in this world. When dealing with others, good people behave according to their character and bad people behave according to theirs. And, to no one’s surprise, there are also a lot of people whose character falls somewhere in between. Most of the people in between are usually trying to do the right thing, with some being better at it than others. They too behave according to character, although their behavior could sometimes be labeled as “dysfunctional” and is not as consistent as the behaviors of the other two groups.

Simply put, the Slave Narratives is a story of life – life in another time, of people in another time. That time, its parameters and the people who lived in it are as different from us and our time as the sun is from the moon. But they were people nonetheless, and theirs was life nonetheless. Like us, the people of that time displayed the same types of behaviors and experienced the same types of emotions that we do – there was love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, courage and cowardice, incredible generosity and incredible greed, brutality and compassion, success and disappointment….there was even humor, for what is life in any time without humor? For those who read the Narratives and can see only the brutal side of life I say – you have my sympathies, because you’ve missed much in the story and you’re probably missing a whole lot in your own life as well.

My mother and father told me many interesting stories of slavery and of its joys and sorrows. From what they told me there was two sides to the picture. One was extremely bad and the other was good. "These features of slavery were also dependent on the phases of human attitude and temperment which also was good or bad. If the master was broadminded, with a love in his heart for his fellowman, his slaves were at no disadvantage because of their low social standing and their lack of a voice in the civil affairs of the community, state, and nation. On the other hand if the master was narrowminded, overbearing and cruel the case was reversed and the situation the slaves were placed in caused in condition to exist concerning their general welfare that was bad and the slave was as low socially as the swine or other animals on the plantation. "Some owners gave their slaves the same kind of food served on their own tables and allowed the slaves the same privileges enjoyed by their own children. Other masters fed their slave children from troughs made very much like those from which the hogs of the plantation were fed.
Yellerday, Hilliard, ex-slave, North Carolina




3 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Holt Collier - Confederate Soldier

The story of Holt Collier can be found in the pages of many Black American History books. The focus, most times however, will be on his career as a prolific hunter and guide, which occurred long after the conclusion of the WBTS and Reconstruction.

What is not usually dwelt on is the fact that he was, despite being a slave, a bonafide, gun-totin’, mustered-in Confederate soldier. His skills as a marksman impressed many who saw him, including, apparently, General Forrest, and I cannot help wonder if Daniel Woodrel and Ang Lee were thinking of him when they created the character “Holt” in “Ride With the Devil”?

The following is one of several biographical accounts of his life in the Slave Narratives. Lengthy details about his post war career as a prolific hunter and guide have been deleted in the interests of brevity, as to publish everything that was written about him in the Slave Narratives would take up 14 type written pages! The interviewer seems to have jumped from one time period to another, making the chronology a bit confusing and frustrating. It is a fascinating story nonetheless.

Holt Collier, Mississippi (from the Slave Narratives)  
Was born in Greenville in 1848, died in Greenville August 1st, 1936, and he was through almost his entire life a remarkable colored citizen of Washington county. He was an ex-slave and a Confederate soldier. He did a great deal for the uplift of his race. He achieved great distinction as a hunter of big game, killing bear all over the country, some on grounds where Greenville homes and public buildings now stand. He gained notice by being in the hunting party of President Theodore Roosevelt, when he came to Washington county in quest of this sport. Holt Collier in relating this colorful incident in his life said: "The President of the United States was anxious to see a live bear the first day of the hunt. I told him he would see that bear if I had to tie it and bring it to him." Collier made good his word. Before the day ended the President had seen the gay old bruin. Upon his return to Washington Mr. Roosevelt sent to Holt a rifle duplicating the one he had used on the hunt, and which Holt had so admired.

Too feeble to rise unaided from his stout oak rocking chair, Holt Collier, nonegenarian, ex-slave and Washington county's most colorful citizen, sits in his own little home on North Broadway.
For many years Holt's erect and sturdy figure was a familiar sight on Greenville streets. A stranger would have noticed his bearing, his dark face with iron gray mustache and vandyke beard and the broad-brimmed felt hat he always wore. Now, the wide hat, similar to those worn by officers in the Confederate army, shades his failing eyes when he sits on the little porch of his home watching the passersby.

Holt Collier was born in Jefferson county in 1848; he lived there only a short while, however, because he was brought by his master, Howell Hinds, son of General Hinds, to Washington county when he was only a small boy. Holt's master, to whom he was devoted, traveled back and forth to the old home in Jefferson county; to New Orleans, to Louisville and to Cincinnatti and Holt always accompanied him in the capacity of juvenile valet. Traveling at that time was done mostly by boat, and Holt recalls quite a number of the boats that plied the river in the halcyon days of the steamboat.

At the age of twelve, Holt was sent with his master's sons to Bardstown, Kentucky. All the boys were expected to attend school, but Holt's love of hunting caused him to "play hookey" while the others studied. He often hid his gun in the spring house, returned for it later and slipped away to the fields and forest to hunt instead of going to the school room. Though Mr. Hinds never succeeded in having the boy educated in books, he, however, trained Holt to be honorable, truthful and trustworthy, and this training was evident throughout his life.

Holt tells us that at the time when the Civil War began, he was living on Plum Ridge, the Hind's plantation, south of the present city of Greenville. Mr. Howell Hinds, later Colonel Hinds and always spoken of by Holt as "The Old Colonel", and his son, Tom, were making ready to join the Confederate forces. When Holt Collier, then only fourteen years of age, learned of his master's preparations for departing, he asked to go with them. To Holt's great disappointment, however, his master and Tom agreed that the little colored boy was too young to enter the army. "I begged like a dog, but they stuck to it --- 'You are too young'", Holt relates.

In front of Old Greenville, seven steamboats were waiting to transport the volunteers from the surrounding country to Memphis; from there they were to be sent to training camps. During the afternoon the "Old Colonel" and Tom left for Old Greenville, prepared to join the men already gathered on the river bank. Night came; the dense forest and the cypress brakes between Plum Ridge and the little town of Greenville became very dark. Through this darkness, the young colored boy made his way toward the river and its flotilla of steamboats. Arriving at the village, he loitered at the store of a Jewish merchant, Mr. Rose, and at a propitious moment, he slipped aboard the "Vernon", climbing up the back of the boat to the kitchen where he hid himself. While Holt was in hiding, a man entered the kitchen and beckoning him to come near, Holt won the man's sympathy and aid in carrying out his plan to follow his master to the army. Arrangements were made for Holt to occupy a small room adjoining the kitchen and the cook, whom Holt had seen on the "Vicksburg", proved friendly. "He hid me during the trip and told me when to get off at Memphis," Holt tells. The soldiers from the boat having gone ashore, the cook thought that the time was ripe for Holt to make his appearance. Leaving the shelter of the "Cook-house", he climbed up the high banks at the Memphis landing to find his master standing with a group of officers, among whom were General Bedford Forrest and General Breckenridge. No more was said of Holt's youth and he went into training at Camp Boone; it was in Tennessee. He served as a soldier and did not go as a body-servant to Colonel Hinds.

After drilling for a time at Camp Boone, he was sent with his company into Kentucky. His first taste of war came in a fight at a bridge over Green River and there he met his "Old Colonel" again. During the four years conflict, he served with the Texas Cowboys, Ross' Brigade and was under Colonel Dudley Jones at the close of the struggle. After the surrender, he returned to Washington county with his master and Tom Hinds.

About that time he began to achieve distinction as a hunter. He killed bear all over the county, some of which were killed where Greenville homes and public buildings now stand. Quail matches were the fashion then and at various times Colonel Hinds pitted his man, Holt, against such sportsmen as Major Keep of Mayers-ville, Mississippi, Jeff Brown and Major Lawrence of Louisville. In a noted match with Mr. Lomax Anderson of Lake Village, Arkansas, Holt won for Colonel Hinds a purse of one thousand dollars in gold.

When the Carpetbagger regime was in full swing, Holt was involved in serious trouble connected with the killing of a Yankee soldier. He was arrested on suspicion and but for the persistent efforts of Colonel W. A. Percy, would most like have paid the supreme penalty.

To this day he has never told who killed the Union soldier, but those who are informed about those troublous times, have their own opinion, which they never put into words. The trouble arose over a difficulty between the soldier and Colonel Hinds. During the dispute, the Colonel, though a much older man, knocked the youngster down several time, each time following the aggression of the younger man. Finally the thoroughly angered young man drew a knife on his unarmed opponent, but a by-stander prevented his using it. Such conduct, especially when the aggressor was a much younger man, was considered an insult and Holt regarded it as such.
Holt tells that on one occasion, during Reconstruction days, he, the only negro among 500 white men, marched up Washington Avenue under fire, as a protest against the insults to the white men and women of Greenville. Several times he was taken to court because of his participation in acts of this kind.

After the tragic death of his beloved master, Holt traveled for some time with a race-horse stable and later worked on the race-horse farm of Captain James Brown near Fort Worth, Texas. There he met Frank James brother of the celebrated Jessee James. Thence he traveled into old Mexico and later hunted "little bear" in Alaska. Seeing the world did not wean Holt from his old home in the Mississippi Delta and after a few years of wandering, he returned to Greenville.

……….(Here,  an extensive story of Holt’s post war hunting exploits, has been edited out in the interests of  brevity)….

…Since Holt's death about ten days ago the following material has been given me by Mrs. T. A. Holcombe, who felt an interest in Holt and from time to time saw him. From her various conversations she had gathered considerable information on which she had planned to base a sketch of his life. She talked with him when he was stronger and better able to give details of his early life than when I saw him recently. Mrs. Holcombe visited him in the hospital where he spent the last week or ten days of his life, and was able at times to minister to his comfort and happiness. Having long been interested in him, he naturally told her more than he would have told in one interview, especially when one considers how feeble he was when I saw him last.
In the interview I am sending in I have incorporated some material which I remember from tales I heard him tell several years ago and prior to my undertaking the collecting of historical data. The last interview was not nearly so full as might have been desired so to make it of much interest. Therefore I had to add to it from other sources.

When I last talked with him he was very feeble and was easily overcome by emotion, especially when talking of his Old Colonel and some very lovely white lady who lived at Bardstown, Ky in whose charge he was placed when as a boy he was sent there to go to school.

Enclosed you will find account of his death as published in the local paper. The Commercial Appeal also carried a notice of his death last week which was published again in the Sunday edition.

(Some Interesting Incidents in Holt Collier's Life as Told to Mrs. T. A. Holcombe)
During troublous times after Civil War, on one occasion Col. Hinds and a party of white men were riding about 12 miles north of Greenville when they realized that they had run into an ambush. Setting spur to their horses they dashed for safety. Col. Hinds horse stumbled, pitching him off. Holt riding ahead, looked back and Col. Hinds signalled him to ride on, but he wheeled and dashed back to his old master's rescue. Col. Hinds was running with his arms elevated above his head when Holt came abreast of him and without stopping his horse, reached down and jerked Col. Hinds up onto the horse with him, thus saving his life.

During the war Holt was in the company with Mr. J. C. Burrus of Bolivar county and on one occasion the two were in a cane-brake riding toward a slough when suddenly they realized that they were surrounded by the enemy. Mr. Burrus felt that all hope of escape was gone, but Holt was more optimistic. Hastily he revealed his plan of escape and the two made a wild dash through the slough firing two pistols each and shouting with all their might the "Rebel yell". So swiftly did they pass through the line and so completely did they deceive the enemy that they made good their escape.

"I am black, but my associations with my Old Col. gave me many advantages. I was freer then than I have ever been since and I loved him better than anybody else in the world. I would have given my life for [him]," said Holt with tears rolling down his withered cheeks.

"When my Old Col. left to join the army, he left me sitting on the fence crying and begging him to let me go with him. He said, 'No, you might get killed. I said I've got as good a chance as you. He left me sitting there watching him go across the fields to Old Greenville to catch the boat. That night I ran away and went to Greenville where I saw the artillery being loaded on a boat. After dark I slipped aboard. At Memphis when we were about half unloaded I marched across the gang-plank to shore. Mr. Thomas (Hinds) saw me and turned and called, 'Father look yonder.' My Old Colonel looked at me and took off his hat and smoothed his hair back with his hand and said, 'Thomas, if we both go to the devil that boy will have to go along!' I said, 'I got as good a chance as you.' It seemed to me that all the soldiers in the world were there. There were General Breckenridge, old Gen. Clark from Jefferson county, Gen. Bragg, General Wirt Adams and General Bedford Forrest. We were sent to Camp Boone in Tennessee and from there to Ky.

 One moon-light night we were ordered double quick to Mulger Hill, to beat Col. Rousseau of the Northern army to that place. When we reached Bowling Green my folks shot down the Union flag flying at the top of a hill and Lieut. Marschalk climbed the pole and cut down the staff. We started on, but the Unions had torn up the railroad track and we had to stop and fix it before we could go on. That is why Col. Rousseau beat us to Mulger Hill. We reached Green River Bridge and entrenched on a mountain and had a skirmish with Col. Rousseau who fell back and we returned to Bowling Green where we went into winter quarters. The weather was the coldest I ever felt.

Because of my being an expert with a gun and a horse and my knowledge of the woods, Gen. Forrest talked with Capt. Evans to whose company I had been assigned when we left Camp Boone, about my enlisting as a soldier. They asked permission of my Old Colonel and he called me to him and told me to choose for myself. I said 'I will go with Capt. Evans' cavalry.' I loved horses and felt at home in the saddle. I was in Gen. Ross' Brigade, Col. Dudley Jones Regiment and Capt. Perry Evans co. 9th Texas Regt. My Old Col. gave me a horse --- one of three fine race horses he had brought from Plum Ridge. He was a beauty, iron-gray and named Medock. After leaving Bowling Green it was a long time until I saw my Old Colonel again.

In the spring the union forces drove us back to Iuka and from there to Chattanooga where we went into battle. We retreated through Tennessee into Alabama fighting every step of the way.
News that my Old Colonel had been wounded came through the lines to Mr. Thomas (Lieut. Thomas Hinds). He came to me and said, 'Holt can you go to my father? I can't go.' I got a pass from Capt. Evans and left that night. Riding night and day I reached the home of a relative of the Colonel's. I hid my horse in a cane-brake nearby and slipped up to the house after dark. Miss Eliza, the Colonel's cousin let me in and showed me where he lay. I went in and when he saw me he waved his hand for everyone to leave the room. I went over and knelt down by his bed and put my arms around him and hugged him close. He began to cry and said, 'Holt, I am badly hurt, but I believe I will pull through.' I said, 'You must; I can't live if you die.' After awhile the family came in and we talked until day-break. I was treated like a royal guest by Miss Eliza and the others. She made me a couch beside the Colonel's bed and I slept there during my stay. I never left the house and the family were on guard all the time I was there. The Federals were thick as hops and I began to get uneasy. On the fourth night I told my Old Colonel good-bye.

My horse, hearing me coming, nickered which frightened me, but I reached the lines in safety. I did not see my Old Colonel again until we met on the battle-field of Shiloh. He said 'Holt, I have worried a heap about you.' I said, 'Yes sir, I got as good a chance as you.' The soldiers were falling thick and fast, but I was never hit once. General Albert Sidney Johnston, in command of the Confederate troops was riding a big white horse when a bullet struck him in the thigh, severing an artery. I was only a few yards away at the time. Six soldiers carried him to the shade of a tree where he died in a short while. We retreated to Corinth (to protect an important connection with the Trans-Mississippi Division) and Capt. Evans Company was detailed for scout duty along the Mississippi River and up near Old Greenville. We did a heap of good too; saved our folks property and ran the Unions out. During that time I did a great deal of scout duty. The whole country was a wilderness and if our boys got lost I could always find the way out. I had been raised in this part of the country and had hunted in the woods all my life.

"Well Mam, when the war was over we went to Vicksburg and were mustered out under General Kirby Smith of Texas."After I came home I had a heap of trouble. The Federals were garrisoned at Greenville (the new town of that name) and they arrested me four times. At that time the country was under military rule and I had to go to Vicksburg for trial. Col. Percy, my Old Colonel, Judge Trigg and Mr. William L.Nugent stood by me through thick and thin. I will never forget them, my old white friends - they are all gone now. Col. Percy and Col. Hinds went with me to Vicksburg for the trial. Col. Percy told them if they put me in jail he wanted a cot put beside mine for he was going to jail with me.

Holt Collier from SOURCE MATERIAL FOR MISSISSIPPI HISTORY, Washington County 




4 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Black Confederate “Soldiers?”

Although many blacks saw service in Confederate armies, including combat in some cases, there weren’t many who were officially mustered in as soldiers. Further, while it was not unheard of for black men in confederate armies to pick up guns and fight, it was usually not considered their duty to do so. It is unclear as to whether Jeff Harvey’s father qualified as a “soldier” in the sense of being “mustered in” or not, though it is quite clear that he saw and participated in combat. There is also a brief mention of 2 uncles, who served with Stonewall Jackson. As in the case of Mr. Harvey’s father, the exact status of the 2 uncles is unclear, and it is also not clear as to whether or not they saw combat. It is clear however, that all 3 men served honorably in Confederate forces- and it is crystal clear to the reader where the loyalties of all 3 men lay. So much for liberal historians who claim that all blacks in Confederate armies were forced to serve or were secretly rooting for the Union.The following excerpts are from the Jeff Harvey “interview” -

Jeff Charlie Harvey, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)

"When I was twelve, my father went to the Confederate War. He joined the Holcombe Legion of Union County and they went immediately to Charleston. They drilled near the village of Santuc in what was then called Mulligan's Old Field, now owned by Rion Jeter. This was the only mustering ground in our part of the county. The soldiers drilled once a week, and for the 'general muster, all of the companies from Sedalia and Cross Keys come there once a month. During the summer time they had what they called general drill for a week or ten days. Of course on this occasion the soldiers camped over the field in covered wagons. Some came in buggies. Slaves, called 'wait-men' cared for the stock and did the cooking and other menial duties for their masters……

…"My own father was shot down for the first time at the Second Battle of Manassas. Here he got a lick over his left eye that was about the size of a bullet; but he said that he thought the lick came from a bit of shell. They carried him to a temporary make-shift hospital that had been improvised behind the breastworks. A soldier who was recovering from a wound nursed him as best he could…..

…"The second time my father was wounded was in Kingston, N.C. He shot a Yankee from behind a tree and he saw the blood spurt from him as he fell. Just about that time he saw another Yankee behind a tree leveling a gun at him. Father threw up his gun but too late, the Yankee shot and tore his arm all to pieces. The bullet went through his arm and struck the corner of his mouth knocking out part of his jaw bone. Then it went under the neck vein and finally it came out on his back knocking a hole in one of his shoulder blades large enough to lay your two thumbs in. His gun stock was also cut into. He lay on the battlefield for a whole day and night; then he was carried to a house where some kind ladies acting as nurses cared for him for over four months. He was sent home and dismissed from the army just a mile below Maybinton, S.C. in dewberry County. Father was unable to do any kind of work for over two years. The war closed a year after he got home. From that time on I cared for my mother and father…..

…"I think Abe Lincoln would have done the South some good if they had let him live. He had a kind heart and knew what suffering was. Lee would have won the war if the mighty Stonewall Jackson had lived. Stonewall was ahead of them all. I had two uncles. Jipp and Charlie Clark in Stonewall's company. They would never talk much about him after his death. It hurts them too much, for Stonewall's men loved him so much. Jeff Davis was a great man, too.



4b - The Black Confederate and Modern Day Yankees

Those who question the existence of the “Black Confederate” level a variety of criticisms at the idea, i.e., how could black men fight for those who would keep them in slavery, or, there is no mention of these men on the muster rolls, or, the Confederate army would never allow a black man to be a soldier, or, they weren’t REAL soldiers as they were never officially enrolled as such, or, at best they were the equivalent of “civilian contractors” today and at worst they were simply coerced into service, etc. etc. One Yankee blogger even likened the “search for black confederates” to the “search for UFOs.” Well, that was sure creative if nothing else!?

One of the latest complaints against the “Black Confederate” story seems to be about how the SCV, UDC and others mislabel black men in Confederate armies as “soldiers.” This attack was perhaps spurred by a number of newspaper stories in recent years about ceremonies honoring such men – ceremonies, I might add, that the descendents of those black men actually participated in. According to the critics, we should not be labeling these men as “soldiers,” but as Confederate “slaves” who were coerced into serving, because, according to the critics, there is no way that these men would have done what they did of their own free will. In fact, some of these critics go so far as to accuse us of promoting deception insofar as the real stories of these men are concerned. We are accused, in the words of one Yankee blogger, of “using and abusing the history of slavery,” apparently for our own nefarious purposes, and indeed, of “blackwashing” the Confederacy. 

With respect then, to the use of the word “soldier” in reference to “Black Confederates,” it is true that most of these men were not enrolled as soldiers, and that their duties normally did not include participation in combat, and that indeed, the Confederate government (as well as the Union government for the first two years of the war), technically prohibited their enrollment as such until 1865. There were a few like Holt Collier, for example, who actually were enrolled as soldiers, however these instances were rare and constituted no more than a small handful of men. With this I have no argument. Most black men in Confederate armies were actually support personnel, i.e., body servants, cooks, teamsters, musicians, etc. While there are numerous instances of them taking up arms to participate in combat, and numerous instances as well of them coming under fire and performing with as much courage as any white soldier, and numerous instances of these men expressing strong support for the South, the claim that there were 90,000 gun-toting black men in the Confederate armies who were functioning as actual soldiers or who were enrolled as such is simply incorrect. 

So then, where did the use of the word “soldier” to describe these men come from?” Let me quote a few items from my research notes with respect to the use of that word as well as other similar words such as “veteran.”

**The Story of Amos Rucker, a Confederate body servant who “went with his master to war,” and who actually saw combat, though not officially enrolled as a soldier, was reported on in the old “Confederate Veteran” magazine, page 496 of the October 1909 issue. The title of the article reads, “Amos Rucker, the Negro Veteran,” and it reports that pallbearers at his funeral in 1909, “very tenderly carried the OLD VETERAN to his grave.”

**Dick Poplar, a free black man from Petersburg Virginia, was a chef in the Bollingbrook Hotel before the war. At the start of the war he joined the 13th Va. Cavalry. Other than the fact that he was captured at Gettysburg and spent 19 months as a POW in Point Lookout, little is known of what his duties were or what his official status was or what he did in that unit between 1861-63.  A reasonable guess, in light of his culinary reputation, is that he was a cook and not a sword-wielding/pistol packing trooper. However, when he died, the title of the article in the Petersburg Index-Appeal, dated May 23, 1886 read, “The Passing of Richard “Dick” Poplar, COLORED CONFEDERATE SOLDIER.” The article the following day in that same newspaper which reported on his funeral used the same description, “COLORED CONFEDERATE SOLDIER.”

**Henry Warfield, of Mississippi, one of those interviewed in the “Slave Narratives, was a slave and one of the many body servants who accompanied their masters to war. When the interviewer asked him if he went back to farming after the war he replied, “No ma’am, I didn't go back to de plow any more after de war. I worked alright but my spirit was broken. When a man is a SOLDIER he ain't fit fur nothing else."

**The “Confederate Veteran” magazine, March 1903 issue, page 110, reported the passing of “A Faithful Negro, Frederick Pouncey,” who was a body servant and slave. While “Faithful Negro” may seem patronizing and condescending to us today, the article in the magazine nonetheless describes Pouncey as “A Christian and a SOLDIER.”

**The “Confederate Veteran” magazine, May 1902 issue, page 199, describes a reunion which was attended by one Henry Johnson, of Bossier Parish, La. Johnson “went to war with his master, Joseph Hodges, and into the firing line with him and when his master was shot down, Johnson carried him on his back for 4 miles to the rear.” The article says of Henry Johnson, “He is highly respected by his white friends and proud that he was a Confederate SOLDIER.”

I could give many more examples but I believe that these few should demonstrate my point, which is that while most black men serving in Confederate armies were not officially enrolled as soldiers that they nonetheless, on occasion, referred to themselves as “soldiers” or “veterans.” And on occasion as well, their white comrades also referred to them using those words, as did newspapers that reported on their service or on their passing. I don’t expect that these men, or their white comrades, or the newspapers that reported on them, ever envisioned a day when certain people would get bent out of shape over it and would stand, mightily huffing and puffing, on technicalities and semantics. Well, the huffers and puffers will just have to deal with it. Use of the terms “soldier” or “veteran” when describing these men is not “Neo-Confederate” invention, no one is attempting to mislead anyone, and no one is “blackwashing” anything. The words in question may not have been technically correct, but nonetheless, they were, on occasion, used by the actual Confederates themselves!  In short, the loose usage of the word “soldier” to describe these men is not a Neo-Confederate invention - it is actually a CONFEDERATE invention!

The bottom line, (and this is what really irks the critics), is that black men did not universally look upon the Yankees as their saviors. I suppose the thought of a black man, especially a slave, lending his support to the Confederacy while rejecting his alleged rescuers would have to be very upsetting to the naysayers. Most of these naysayers are Yankees and we all know that Yankees have never dealt well with rejection. Just look at how they reacted when the South rejected them and left the Union - they chastised the South for rejecting “the best government on earth” and then promptly launched a protracted and bloody invasion. Some things never change – especially the Yankee psyche. I can therefore, completely understand the incredulity that a modern day Yankee must feel when he finds that black men of the past sometimes rejected what he was peddling, or that some of their descendents today still reject his advances. It must be so painful. Somebody call Dr. Phil!

Bill Vallante
Commack NY
Associate Member, SCV Camp 3000
Associate Member, SCV Camp 1506 



5 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Line Between Soldier and Servant

It is often difficult to distinguish the dividing line between “soldier” and “servant”, for in many instances the line was blurred by the realities of war, the needs of the moment and the sentiments of the men who served. The story of Amos Rucker, of the 33rd Georgia infantry, is one such example. The term “soldier” when referring to a black man in the confederate army is often scoffed at by modern day academic inbreds touting contemporary historical “wisdom”. Perhaps these inbreds would do well to note the use of the word “soldier” or “veteran” by white confederate veterans when referring to their black comrades?

AMOS RUCKER, THE NEGRO VETERAN.
496  Confederate Veteran October 1909.
There is an underlying note of tenderness in every heart, and it vibrates to the touch of real pathos, as a violin does to its bow. The story of Amos Rucker, the old negro veteran of Atlanta, carries its own moral. Amos belonged to the Rucker family, of Colbert County, Ga., belonged in a wider sense than as a mere human chattel that the slaves were said to be, for every joy or sorrow in "ole Marster's" family touched its sympathetic chord in his heart. The children he watched grow up were as dear to him as his own, and "ole Miss" was always the pinnacle of all that was good in his eyes.

Amos was a young man at the time of the war, and when "Marse Sandy Rucker" went to the front, Amos went too, just as proud as was that young soldier of his "marster's" gray uniform and brass buttons.

In all those long, hard years the 33d Georgia Regiment bore its part in the bloody struggle, and there was no braver member than Sandy Rucker, and shoulder to shoulder with him fought Amos, as though he too was an enlisted man. He took part in every engagement, and, gun or bayonet in hand, stood ready to "close up" whenever there was a vacancy in the line. The cause of the Confederacy was his, because his master had espoused it first, then it was his from the love he came to bear the flag, and no truer, more loyal heart beat under the gray than that of Amos Rucker.

He joined the Camp of W. H. T. Walker, and there was no more loved nor respected member than the black, whose bowed form and snow white hair showed the passing of the years so plainly. He attended every meeting till the one before his death, when he sent word to the Camp that he was too ill to attend, and added: "Give my love to the boys."

He went to all the Reunions whenever possible, and here he attracted much attention. He was very proud to show off a wonderful feat of memory, for he could call the roll of his old company from A to Z, and he would add in solemn tones "here" or "dead" as the names left his lips.

The people who had had his lifetime devotion took care of both the old man and his wife. As he said: "My folks give me everything I want." At his death in Atlanta in August, 1909, there was universal sorrow. His body lay in state, and hundreds of both white and black stood with bared head to do him honor.  Camp Walker defrayed all burial expenses, buying a lot in the cemetery especially for him, so that the old man and his wife could lie side by side. The funeral services were conducted by Gen. Clement A. Evans, the Commander in Chief of the Veterans, and his volunteer pallbearers were ex Gov. Allen D. Candler, Gen. A. J. West, ex Postmaster Amos Fox, F. A. Hilburn, Commander of Camp Walker, J. Sid Holland, and R. S. Osbourne. Very tenderly they carried the old veteran to his grave, clothed in his uniform of gray and wrapped in a Confederate flag, a grave made beautiful by flowers from comrades and friends, among which a large design from the Daughters of the Confederacy was conspicuous in its red and white.
A simple monument will be erected to the faithful soldier by the white comrades of his Camp and from contributions from his many friends in Atlanta



6 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Confederate Body Servant – War is Hell:

Conventional historical “wisdom” has it that the body servant was an uninformed or coerced bootblack who performed only menial chores, and that unlike his USCT cousin, his life or well-being was seldom in danger. Yet, in reading the Slave Narratives, it seemed to me that these black men who spoke about their war experiences on the confederate side talked about them in much the same way as any old white soldier would who had experienced war and its attending horrors. The following are a few of the excerpts from the Slave Narratives which again demonstrate that conventional historical “wisdom” may not be so wise after all.

Henry Warfield, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
Henry Warfield who claims to be ninety years old says that "Negroes were used by the Confederates long before they were used by the Union forces. Even before the war they were used in all kinds of rough work and a large number of these fought by the side of their masters or made it possible for the master to fight."

Henry claims to have been at the battle of Fort Hill and he describes the times as being terrible. He says, "Yes, I was right dere when Grant cut dat ditch river canal right thru to one battleground and we couldn't do a thing about it."

Henry's mind is rather blank as to what happened on the actual day but he says, "There was lots of blood, plenty of noise, big fires, and crowds of strange faces that he had not seen before."
Henry says his "eatings were scarce in those days prior to July 4, 1862. We et mule meat, saltless pone bread, and drunk coffee made of oak and hickory bark without sugar. Often we et raw meat, hogs, calves, or anything that we could plunder and get and raw meat makes men mean…

….."The people were not sad when the capture of the city took place as mothers who had sons still in the army know that the war continued their sons would either be wounded or slaughtered so they were glad to get over the worst day of all. The slaves were glad to have the guns cease firing as they didn't know yet what it meant to their freedom," said Henry……..

……. But he left the plow in the fields and went with his master to war at the age of sixteen. When he left, his mistress bade him stick to his master's side. At first they went to Atlanta, Georgia and then to Montgomery, Alabama, then finally back to Vicksburg, Mississippi and it was at this point that his master was wounded and Henry carries a scar on his left ankle where a shell grazed him standing by his master's side. It was to him that a broken master turned for help after the war and altho' he was free he did not fail him

…..”No maam, I didn't go back to de plow any more after de war. I worked alright but my spirit was broken. When a man is a soldier he ain't fit fur nothing else."

Simon Durr, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
When de war finally broke loose an' kept a gwine on an' on, Marse den he had to go. Dat was sad news fer all ob us. Things was a lookin' bad 'nuf' wid out dat. De day come when he had to go, an' he say to me, "Simon I'se a gwine to take yo' wid me." I was glad an' scart too, but I went wid him as a servant an' stayed wid him 'till de war ended. I had a heap o 'sperences durin' dat time. I seed de men a marchin' an' drillin'. I seed 'em come foot sore an' mos' dead after de battle. I'se seed 'em go hungrey. I'se seed 'em kilt, an' die from sickness an exposure. Dey was finally jes' starved out. Dats' what won de war….

….Sometimes dey would camp close to de union Army, one on one side ob a river an' one on de uder side. At night dey would swim across an' set wid each other 'round de camp fire, dey would tell jokes, wrestle an' swap tobacco an' food stuf. Dey would have fun an' joke lak nothin' was wrong, den dey would swim back across de river knowin' dey would be a killin' each other de nex day.

Jack Atkinson, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
Jack's father, Tom, the body-servant of Mr. Atkinson, "tuck care of him" during the four years they were away at war. "Many's the time I done heard my daddy tell 'bout biting his hands he was so hongry, and him and Moster drinking water outer the ruts of the road, they was so thirsty, during the war."

Dosia Harris, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)  
When Marse William went to de war, he tuk my pappy wid him. Dey come back home on one of dem flyloughs, (furloughs) or somepin lak dat, and you jus' ought to have seed de way us chillun crowded 'round pappy when he got dar. One of his fingers had done got shot off in de fightin', and us chillun thought it was one of de funniest lookin' things us had ever seed, a man wid a short finger. He said dem yankees had done shot it off. 




7 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
“The Un-Reconstructed”, “Twarn’t a fair fight, they starved us out!” :

Remarkably, though perhaps not surprisingly, accounts of black men who had served in confederate armies often mirrored the strongest sentiments expressed by some of the whites who served.These men left absolutely no question as to where their loyalties lay. Once again, contemporary historical “wisdom”, which usually asserts that black men served because they had no choice, is happily left with egg on its face.

“Black Southerners in Confederate Armies”, Segars and Barrow
“Uncle Richmond Tells Why the Yankees Won”, Page 153-154
“We all could er whipped dat fight easy enough”, he said, “ef we jes had the Yankees demselves ter fight, but when dy went out en picked up Irishmen en Dutchmen en dingoes en Cubians en all de other nations ter help’em, dey wuz too many fer us, en das whut I tole Gineral Lee one day”.

Gus Brown, Alabama, (from the Slave Narratives)
"Then de war came and we all went to fight the Yankees. I was a body servant to 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….

Wiley Brewer, Mississippi, (from the Slave Narratives)
"Yas'm, I went to de war. Marster took me wid him, and I fit, too, I killed a thousand Yankees... You look like you don't believe dat, Miss, but it's de truth. Mistis always told me to tell the truth, and I ain't never told nobody no lies. Some ub dem Yankees I shot and some uv 'em I drowned...

….Marster always told me Yankees was de worst friends I had, so when dey come round after de war telling me de Government was gonna give us 40 acres and a mule, I knowed it wan't so and went back to Marster. He let me work for him, part de time as wage hand and part as sharecropper till he died. I saved my money and bought me a mule, and en about 32 years ago I bought me a farm. Dat's where me and my wife lives now, just a few miles from Columbus.

Isaac Stier, Mississippi, (from the Slave Narratives)
When de big war broke out I sho' stuck by my marster. I*fit de Yankees same as he did. I went in de battles 'long side o' him an' both fit under Marse Robert E. Lee. I reckon ever'body has heard 'bout him. I seen more folks dan anybody could count. Heaps of 'em was all tore to pieces an' cryin' to Cod to let 'em die. I toted water to dem in blue de same as dem in gray. Folks wouldn' b'lieve de truf if I was to tell all I knows 'bout dem ongodly times. "Fore de war I never knowed what it was to go empty. My marster sho' set a fine table an' fed his people de highes'. De hungriest I ever been was at de Siege o' Vicksburg. Dat was a time I'd lak to forgit. De folks et up all de cats an' dogs an' den went to devourin' de mules an' hosses. Even de wimmin an' little chillun was a-starvin'. Dey stummicks was stickin' to dey backbones. Us Niggers was sufferin' so us took de sweaty hoss blankets an' soaked 'em in mudholes where de hosses tromped. Den us wrung 'em out in buckets an' drunk dat dirty water for pot-likker. It tasted kinda salty an' was strength'nin', lak weak soup…..

…."I tell you, dem Yankees took us by starvation. Twant a fair fight. Dey called it a vict'ry an' bragged ' bout Vicksburg a-fallin', but hongry folks aint got no fight lef' in 'em. Us folks was starved into surrenderin'.

Lewis Adams, Mississippi, (from the Slave Narratives)
The War Between the States, according to Uncle Lewis, was as follows:
"I was wid de South, I loved her ways. My best friends was Southern boys. But de hardships and de trubbles, hongry, an' sich, an'so'n - little bit er grub an' fightin' guns - I says it can't last long. I sits down an' thinks very sad like, ass my friens' dead er dyin', and I study; Captain Seibe frum ma home town an' his boy, Jake Seibe, shot thu' de haid; Lieutenant Carl Lindsay killed in battle; an' I says whut de use er fighting; den months er hell an' dat fine old man, General Robert E. Lee, say 'Let's quit.'

Doc Quinn, Arkansas  (from the Slave Narratives)
"I was born March 15, 1843, in Monroe County, Mississippi, near Aberdeen, Mah Mahster was Colonel Ogburn, one ob de bigges' planters in de state of Mississippi. Manys de time he raised so much cotton dat dem big steamers just couldnt carry it all down to N'Awlins in one year. But den along came de Civil War an' we didn't raise nothin' fo' several years. Why? Becase most uf us jined the Confederate Army in Colonel Ogburn's regiment as servants and bodyguards. An' let me tell yo' somethin', whitefolks. Dere never was a war like dis war. Why I 'member dat after de battle of Corinth, Miss., a five acre field was so thickly covered wid de dead and wounded dat yo' couldn't touch de ground in walkin' across it. And de onliest way to bury dem was to cut a deep furrow wid a plow, lay de soldiers head to head, an' plow de dirt back on dem."
"About a year after de war started de Mahster got one ob dese A.W.O.L.'s frum de Army so we could come to Miller County, where he bought de place on Red River now known as de Adams Farm…

…..Mah young marster was Joe Ogburn. Me and him growed up togedder an' I was his boddy guard durin' de wahr. Many's de day I'ze watched de smoke ob battle clear away an' wait fo' de return ob mah marster. All de time I felt we was born to win dat wahr, out God knowed bes' an' you know de result.

The Confederate Negro
Page 177, “Black Southerners in Confederate Armies”, Segars and Barrow
By Joseph A. Mudd, Hyattsville, Md., for the Confederate Veteran, Vol XXIII, 1905

The Confederate Negro is the proudest being on the earth. A few weeks ago I was standing at the counter of the water office, Municipal Building in Washington when in came a negro, who, standing near by, began his business with one of the clerks. He was rather shabbily dressed, but evidently one of the “old stock”, as black as ink and as ugly as Satan, eyes beaming with intelligence and a great depth of human sympathy, a countenance one loves to rest one’s gaze upon, and with a bearing of modest and courteous dignity.

His business over, I said to him, “Where did you come from”? I could see his chest swelling, and I knew the answer before it was spoken, “From Ferginny suh.” Were your people in the war? “Yes suh”, with a smile of enthusiasm and a bow that bespoke reverence for the memories of the olden days”. They tell me you people “fit” some. I could almost see the lightening dart from his eyes as he straightened himself up – “Fit? Why they outfit the world suh. Never did whip us, suh. If dey hadn’t starved us out, we’d be fightin’ yit”. As he passed me going ot of the office he said” “I was wid’em foh years suh,. I cahd my young master off de field once when I din’t think he’d live till I got him to de doctor, but he’s living yit”. I did not tell him I was a Confederate soldier and he didn’t seem to care. He knew what he was and that was enough…..




8 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Confederate Body Servant and the UCV:

“And to you our colored friends….we say welcome. We can never forget your faithfulness in the darkest hours of our lives. We tender to you our hearty respect and love, for you never faltered in your duty nor betrayed your trust.” - Colonel William Sanford
(From an address given before the Confederate Veterans of the 7th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment of Cavalry, Forrest’s Corps, at the Columbia, Tennessee reunion of September 22, 1876)

In the post-war era, many black men who had served in the Confederate forces became members of the United Confederate Veterans. “Jim Crow” nothwithstanding, their presence was welcomed by their white comrades and their war service honored.

By the way, Uncle Divinity’s story makes it clear that a sense of humor is of great value in any day and age.

Howard Divinity, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
Copiah's best known ex-slave was Howard Divinity, or "Uncle Divinity," who, since the close of the war until a few years before his death in 1930, attended practically all of the National Reunions of Confederate veterans and of World War veterans. Richmond, New York, Washington, and many other cities of the nation knew him as a familiar figure when the veterans gathered there. He always wore the gray uniform of the Confederacy, the coat being literally covered with reunion medals. Uncle Divinity was born early in the 1820's and served from 1861 until the close of the war as body slave and cook with Bob Scott, of Copiah County, in Company D, of the Twelfth Mississippi Regiment. While in the Confederate army, Divinity acquired the reputation of being the champion forager in the whole Confederate army and was called the chicken provider of the Confederacy.

In 1926 Uncle Divinity made a speech before the Mississippi Legislature in behalf of the Confederate soldiers, their widows, and servants He went to the senate office building and asked to see his senator. When he was admitted to see John Sharp Williams, the Mississippi senator asked which he would rather have - five dollars, a toddy, or straight whiskey; Divinity came away with five dollars. A short while later Uncle Divinity met up with Congressman Percy E. Quin, representative of the Copiah District. Mr. Quin gave him a silver dollar. Shortly afterwards, Divinity remarked to a group of veterans that he had learned the difference between a senator and a congressman. They asked him what the difference was, and of course he answered - "Four dollars."

Tuck Spight, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
Tuck Spight was one of the most interesting negro characters in Tippah county. He was owned by Mr & Mrs Jas Spight who gave the negro boy to their son Thomas. They grew up together with not many years difference in their ages- when the war began in 1861 Thomas Spight enlisted, Tuck of course wanted to go look after his Master, he was allowed to go as a servant or body guard, he went all the way & back with his master Capt. Thomas Spight. After the close of the war he was always looking after the interest of his master, always tried to see that he did not want for any thing, would see that he had plenty to eat, nursed him when sick, wounded and etc.

Tuck was his master in a number of battles, among them were the Lookout Mountain- Chattanooga, a regiment of confederate soldiers went into Chattanooga on flat cars before they had time to get off the cars the Yankees began firing at them so fast they had to work in a hurry, while the officers were trying to make a quick decision as to how & where to place the cannon, men and etc. in order to begin the firing as soon as possible, Tuck whispered to his Master (Thomas Spight) to suggest to the higher officers, that the quickest way to make ready for a battle would be to turn the cannon around & let it remain where it was, and they did as Tuck suggested.

At the close of the civil war Tuck wished to remain with Capt. Spight, and did. He helped about the place, some time he made share crops. He remained faithful except during one election, in the reconstruction days. Capt. Spight said come here Tuck & I'll show you how to vote-Tuck said Mr- (A Big Republican) he done showed me how, not long after that Tuck got in to some trouble with some negroes He went immediately and told him about the trouble and wanted Capt Spight to get him out, the first thought that entered Capt Spight mind was to send him to the (Big Republican) But Capt. Spight got him out, and Tuck always felt that he owned his life to his master, for he was always so good to him.

Tuck was a member of the Confederate Veterans Camp until his death which occured a few years after his masters, He made a very touching little talk at his masters funeral, he attended most all the confederate Reunions he was rather feeble when he attended a reunion at Little Rock Ark. The people that he was in care of asked him how it happened that he had more money when he returned than he did when he left to go to the reunion, he answered with saying that he made a talk for the people and they gave him some money. He was not educated but through the contact of his master and other educated people he could make very sensible talks in public, especially when they were concerning The Civil War. Tuck was buried in the Ripley cemetery, & through the effort of Mr L.D. Spight he has a marker placed at his grave by the Government as a confederate servant.

Isaac Pringle, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
He has spent his entire life, except for the war period, within five miles of where he was born, his travels, "all over de world," being to the extent only of his war experience and attendance at Confederate reunions, which latter are the high spots in his life.

He is totally unreconstructed, a true negro of the Old South, and, although entirely free from any taint of servility or slavishness, still believes firmly that "'fo' de war" days were best.

 "Dey took me for a house boy, an' when de war started I went all through hit with him. We went to Atlanta an' went in de war in April 1862 an' come out in April 1865. Perryville, Kentucky, in August 1862, I was tied up all day in dat battle.

"Colonel W. F. Dowd was colonel of de 24th Miss. regiment, ridin' up an' down in front de lines, an', when de first shells come over, hit scared his horse so bad he run away straight through de Yankee army an' we never did see him no mo'.

"We didn't go to Virginia, jus up to de line. Den we went to Chattanooga an' fought aroun' till dey wallered everything out aroun' dere, den we went to Atlanta, Georgia.

"All dem three years of de war I never got to touch a horse. We'd walk all day an' a good piece of de night. An' dem campfires, wid ten thousand men around, you never saw anything like it. Hit looked like de whole world was lighted up.

"When we got word of de surrender, we wasn't mustered out. We all just scattered for our homes.
"After de war, Mr. Frank went to Florida but I come on back to de old home place. "Mr. Harper's good to us, an' I got a little Confederate veteran's pension, four dollars a month, an' we're makin' out. "Dese here my badges from de Confederate reunions. I been to every one, up to 1934, in Chattanooga. I'm de biggest fool in de world about dem things, an' I love to look at 'em. 



9 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Mixed Marriages Don’t Work – So Don’t Marry a Yankee….

***Rose Russell, a runaway slave who served as a nurse in the Union Army, and who tendered distinguished service to that army, made the mistake of marrying someone from “the other side” when the war was over. While the couple produced 9 children, the long term results were inevitable.  They say that “love is blind” and they say that it can “conquer all” – but a Yank marrying Reb is truly a “Lost Cause”!

Rose Russell, Mississippi – Union Nurse, (The Slave Narratives)
On a wisteria covered porch of a little cottage at 819 Main St. lives a very enteresting character, by the name of Rose Russell, a Cival War Nurse who is now about ninty eight years of age, and was a volenteer nurse of the War between the States.

Rose has just received and accepted an engraved invitation to the Encampment that is to be at Gettysburg Pa. on June the 27th and she has made all of her plans to make the long trip with an attendant. Rose as a slave acted as nurse, cook, laundress and garden maker until the war and it was in the dark days just before the seige of Vicksburg that a scout for the Union Army was looking for nurses to care for wounded soldiers on the battlefield that Rose as a slave volenteered her services to go. At first the Officer refused her offer saying she was too small and delicate to go, but as he had such a hard time getting real able bodied women to go and nurse, He finally after much pleading on her part he said alright you may go, and she went and was duly registered in the medical corps as a Volenteer Nurse in the United States Army. She does not know how long she served but she says it seemed about a year and a half. She does know that she suffered cold, hunger, went without sleep and suffered a good deal of fear during that time….

….It was long after the war was over that Rose married Tom Russell, a man who had been a soldier with his marster and who was still true to the cause of his marster. Altho nine children were born to this union they never got along as he would call her a "Yankee" and she would call him a "Reb" finally they parted and she does not know where he went to. Now all of her children are dead except one her youngest Son Lee Russell who lives with her. Lee is about sixty years old, and it is to him that she has to depend on on to help her around the house, to carry her for walks and to drive her around in their little car.

***His master’s wife, being northern-born, Herndon Bogan’s father apparently had some difficulty in distinguishing a yankee from someone who was simply born in the north. And the thought of spending a long war cooped up with a “yankee woman”? – well, that just wouldn’t fly!?

Herndon Bogan, North Carolina (The Slave Narratives)
"My daddy wus gived ter de doctor when de doctor wus married an' dey shore loved each other. One day marster, he comes in an' he sez dat de Yankees am aimin' ter try ter take his niggers way from him, but dat dey am gwine ter ketch hell while dey does hit. When he sez dat he starts ter walkin' de flo'. 'I'se gwine ter leave yore missus in yore keer, Edwin,' he sez.

"But pa 'lows, 'Wid all respec' fer yore wife sar, she am a Yankee too, an' I'd ruther go wid you ter de war. Please sar, massa, let me go wid you ter fight dem Yanks.' "At fust massa 'fuses, den he sez, 'All right,' So off dey goes ter de war, massa on a big hoss, an' my pap on a strong mule 'long wid de blankets an' things….

…"Dey tells me dat ole massa got shot one night, an' dat pap grabs de gun 'fore hit hits de earth an' lets de Yanks have hit….

….."I 'members dat dem wus bad days fer South Carolina, we gived all o' de food ter de soldiers, an' missus, eben do' she has got some Yankee folks in de war. I'arns ter eat cabbages an' kush an' berries.



10 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Black Confederates Memorialized

It has become quite fashionable to poke fun at the slaves who remained loyal, if one can bring oneself to admit that any were. And it is equally fashionable to castigate whites who expressed their thanks for that loyalty. It is the result I suppose, of our belief that we and our times are superior to anything which has gone before……

Well, maybe it’s time to come down off our “high horses” – maybe we need to try and understand. And for that understanding, it may be helpful to stop looking down our noses and instead turn to an excerpt from an editorial in the Natchez Mississippi Democrat, dated December 5th, 1923 - and remember what it was that those men gave, and what it was that was being honored…..

“The basic action of the legislature of the State of Mississippi in distributing pension to Confederate soldiers and servants was to honor fidelity to the cause of the Confederacy by whosoever, regardless of race or color; so as to inscribe in the history of the state a lasting memorial to the men who fought, bled and suffered for the cause. Fidelity was the keynote; Fidelity was the watchword – a principle which has actuated man from the dawn of civilization... It is honored in every shape and form the world over….

P.410  Confederate Veteran September 1912- MASTER AND HIS FAITHFUL SLAVE.
BY SAMUEL COLEMAN  SIXTH ALABAMA CAVALRY.
Abercrombie and Tommy Judkins were killed. Bat Smith and the handful of boys close behind him kept on. In a few seconds Smith felt headlong upon his face and then turned over on his back. The effect of the enemy's fire was appalling. Not one of that gallant little band was left standing. The charge was reckless in the extreme, but it illustrated the spirit and high courage of our soldiers. That feat of daring was followed by another of the lowliest and humblest: man there present. A tall, strapping, young negro named Griffin approached General Clanton and asked:. "General, where is Marse Bat?" The General pointed down the road and said: "There near the enemy's line dead." Griffin at once started down the road. He was called back, but did not heed. He sped on in the face of that heavy fire, took up the wounded young officer, and carried him in his arms from the field. He came up the road for a few yards, then stepped into the woods and came out again on the road just where the General was standing. "Is  he dead, Griffin?" asked General Clanton. "I don't know, sir," he replied. "Mammy was his nurse, and I am the older. I promised mammy to take care of him and to bring him back to her, and I am going to carry him home."
Simple words, but how much do they convey! An untutored negro slave carrying out his mother's commands in behalf of her nurseling at the risk of his own life! I have often thought of that day, and the scene is vivid. I can see the deathly pale face of the unconscious and sorely wounded young officer as he was being carried to safety in the arms of his faithful slave. If some of our Northern neighbors could have witnessed this scene, they might form some conception of the devotion existing in the old days South between master and servant.

A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN IN BLACK - P.154 Confederate Veteran May 1896.
……This revives the memory of a faithful man in black who followed me through from First Manassas, Leesburg, where he assisted in capturing the guns we took from Baker, to the Peninsular, the Seven Days before Ricnmond, Fredericksburg, the bombardment of the city December 11, and the battle, two days after, at Marye's Heights, to Chancellorsville, the storming of Harper's Ferry, and the terrible struggle at Sharpsburg (Antietam now), and last, Gettysburg. Here he lost his life by his fidelity to me his 'young marster" and companion. We were reared together on 'de ole plantation" in "Massippi."
I was wounded in the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg on the second day. The fourth day found us retreating in a cold, drizzling rain. George had found an ambulance, in which I, Sergeant Major of the Seventeenth Mississippi, and Col. Holder of that regiment, still on this side of the river, and an officer of the Twenty first Mississippi, whose name escapes me, embarked for the happy land of Dixie. All day long we moved slower than any funeral train over the pike, only getting eight miles to Cashtown. When night camel had to dismount from loss of blood and became a prisoner in a strange land.  On the next day about sundown faithful George, who still clung lo me, told me that the Yankees were coming down the road from Gettysburg and were separating the "black folks from dar marsters," that he didn't want to be separated from me and for me to go on to prison and he'd slip over the mountains and join the regiment in retreat, and we'd meet again "ober de ribber," meaning the Potomac. We had crossed at Williamsport.
I insisted on George accepting his freedom and joining a settlement of free negroes in the vicinity of Gettysburg, which we had passed through in going up to the battle. But he would have none of it, he wanted to stay with me always. I had him hide my sword, break it off at the hilt and stick it in a crack of the barn (that yet stands in the village) to the left of the road going away from Gettysburg, where I, with about thirty other wounded, lay. I can yet see that faithful black face and the glint of the blade as the dying rays of that day's sun flashed upon them. A canteen of water and some hard tack was the last token of his kindly care for me.

In the spring of 1865, I saw a messmate from whom I was separated on that battlefield, and he told me the fate of poor, faithful George. He had gotten through the lines safely and was marching in the rear of our retreating command, when met by a Northern lady, who had a son in our command, whom George, by chance, happened to know. He was telling her of her son, who was safe as a prisoner, when some men in blue came up. George ran and they shot and killed him. He was dressed in gray and they took him for a combatant. The lady had him buried and then joined her son in prison. She told my messmate of this and he told to the boys in camp the fate of the truest and best friend I ever had. George's prediction will come true. I feel we will meet again "over the river."

BILL KING, A BLACK CONFEDERATE - P.294 Confederate Veteran June 1910
Bill King is dead. Members of the 20th Tennessee (Battle's) Regiment will remember him. No more faithful negro ever served a cause than did Bill King serve the boys of the old 20th. He went into the war as the body servant of the sons of Mr. Jack King, of Nolensville, Tenn., but he became the faithful servant of every member of this regiment. He went with the brave boys into the heat of battle, he nursed and cared for them in sickness, and assisted in burying the dead on the battlefields. He was as true to the cause of the South as any member of that gallant band under the intrepid leadership of Col. Joel A. Battle. In Shiloh's bloody affray Colonel Battle was captured, and the leadership fell to young Col. Thomas Benton Smith.

When one of his young masters was killed in battle, Bill was one of the escort which tenderly bore the body back to his mother and father.

Since the war Bill King had been classed as an unreconstructed Rebel. He was a true and loyal Confederate until his death. He affiliated with old soldiers, attending every gathering within his reach. He was a member of Troop A, Confederate Veterans, Nashville. He lived on his old master's farm, near Nolensville, but he died in Nashville at Vanderbilt Medical College, where he underwent a serious surgical operation.

Mr. William Waller, an undertaker, took the body back to Nolensville for burial. The body was clad in the Confederate uniform which he had during the past few years worn on all reunion occasions, according to his request. The funeral service was conducted in Mount Olivet Methodist Church (white) by the pastor, Rev. H. W. Carter.

Bill King was seventy three years old, and leaves a wife and ten or eleven children. He was a Baptist, but as there is no church of this denomination near his home, his friends decided to have the funeral in the Methodist church. He was buried in the Nolensville Cemetery,


11 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Black Confederate Civilian:

Once again, contemporary historical wisdom has it that black southern civilians either waited patiently for their union army rescuers to arrive, or participated in the sabotage of the southern war effort. Any attempt to dispute this obligatory mantra will be met with contempt and scorn from modern day academicians, the Civil Rights industry, the media, and the Hollyweirdos. Early in the movie “Gods and Generals”, the Confederate army marches off to war amidst the cheers of southern civilians - black and white civilians. Quite noticeable was a large black man in a slouch hat who cheers passionately for the rebs while waving that hat frantically! The liberal movie critics saw this and of course howled in pain! Here’s a few excerpts from the Slave Narratives to make’em howl some more. Let’s roll the historical videotape!!

J.W. Washington, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
There is still living today an old Negro, now ninety-six years old, J. W. Washington, who nursed the Confederate soldiers wounded in our County in the War Between the States. This old Negro did reside at 129 Church Street, Jackson, Mississippi, but is now in Washington, D.C. with his daughter. He was a former slave of the Perkins family in this County and was freed by his master. As a freedman he served the Hull family here, the father of Emmett Hull, prominent Architect of Jackson. Not only did J. W. Washington nurse the wounded Confederate soldiers, but he was one of the most devoted and valued nurses of yellow fever in this County. He was especially relied upon by the Howard Association during the frightful epidemic of 1878

Martin Marvel, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
Martin Marvel --- Of revered memory among Greenville's old colored citizens was Martin Marvel. He was a slave belonging to Mr. Andrew Carson. Mr. Carson was sheriff of Washington county when the War Between The States took place. When Mr. Carson joined the army, he entrusted to his slave Martin Marvel, all the county records. When a Union detachment invaded and burned old Greenville (then five miles down the river) "Uncle Martin" escaped from Greenville with all the county records, in a covered wagon, and hid them in a canebrake. Martin Marvel left no children, but there is a niece of his living in Greenville, and she will take some part in the program when the monument is unveiled. A portrait of Martin Marvel, negro Civil war hero of Washington County, will be unveiled Sunday, June 19, 1938 at 2:30 P. M., in the Martin Marvel Library for negroes, on North Broadway. The portrait is an enlargement of the head and shoulders of a full length picture post card size which was found in a scrap book that belonged to Professor E. E. Bass, deceased, former Superintendent of the City schools. Mr. A. B. Sauer, of Sauer Studio made the enlargement gratis and also contributed the frame

Spencer Taylor, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
Asked about his early life, he said: "My marster was as rich as a man ever got to be in that age of the world, and he was so good to his slaves the Lord oughter taken him to rest, even if he hadn't prayed none. I started to work when I was just a yearlin' and when the war broke out they sent me to Mobile to work on the boats. Later, when the yankees came jes' lak bees out of a gum, they tried to get me to leave my white folks, but I stayed right there."

Fanny Randolph, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
"Bye an' bye de war come on, an' all de men folks had ter go an' fight de Yankees, so us wimmen folks an' chillun had er hard time den caze us all had ter look atter de stock an' wuk in de fiel's. Den us 'ud hear all 'bout how de Yankees was goin' eroun' an' skeerin' de wimmen folks mos' ter death goin' in dey houses an' making de folks cook 'em stuff ter eat, den tearin' up an' messin' up dey houses an' den marchin' on off."……"Den when ole Mistis 'ud hear de Yankees was comin' she'd call us niggers en us 'ud take all de china, silver, and de joolry whut b' longed ter ole Miss an' her family an' dig deep holes out b'hind de smoke-house er under de big house, en bury h'it all 'tell de Yankees 'ud git by."

Ester King Casey, Alabama , (The Slave Narratives)
….. "Then Captain King left with the other soldiers. Papa stayed and took care of the 'white lady' and the house. After awhile my brother ran away and joined the troops to fight for Captain King. He came home after the war, but Captain King did not.

Thomas McAlpin, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
"But Boss, dere ain't never been nobody afightin' lak our 'Federates done, but dey ain't never had a chance. Dere was jes' too many of dem blue coats for us to lick. I seen our 'Federates go off laughin' an' gay; full of life an' health. Dey was big an' strong, asingin' Dixie an' dey jus knowed dey was agoin" to win. An' boss, I seen 'em come back skin an' bone, dere eyes all sad an' hollow, an' dere clothes all ragged, Boss, dey was all lookin' sick. De sperrit dey lef' wid jus' been done whupped outten dem, but it tuk dem Yankees a long time to do it. Our 'Federates was de bes' fightin' men dat over were. Dere warn't nobody lak our 'Federates.

Jessie Rice, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
Den de Confederate soldiers started coming across Broad River. Befo' dey got home, word had done got round dat our folks had surrendered; but dem Yankees never fit (fought) us out -- dey starved us out. If things had been equal us would a-been fighting dem till dis day, dat us sho would. I can still see dem soldiers or ours coming across Broad River, all dirty, filthy and lousy. Dey was most starved, and so poor and lanky. And deir hosses was in de same fix. Men and hosses had know'd plenty till dat Sherman come along, but most of dem never know'd plenty no more. De men got over it better dan de hosses. Women folks cared for de men. Dey brewed tea from sage leaves, sassafras root and other herb teas. Nobody never had no money to fetch no medicine from de towns wid, so dey made liniments and salves from de things dat grow'd around about in de woods and gardens. "I told you 'bout how small I was, out my brother. Jim Rice, went to Charleston and helped to make dem breastworks down dar. I has never see'd dem, but dem dat has says dat dey is still standing in good conditions. Cose de Yankees tore up all dat dey could when dey got dar.

Lorenza Ezell, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"All four my young massas go to de war, all but Elias. He too old. Smith, he kilt at Manassas Junction. Nathan, he git he finger shot at de first round at Fort Sumter. But when Billy was wounded at Howard Gap in North Carolina and dey brung him home with he jaw split open, I so mad I could have kilt all de Yankees. I say I be happy iffen I could kill me jes' one Yankee. I hated dem 'cause dey hurt my white people. Billy was disfigure awful when he jaw split and he teeth all shine through he cheek.
  


12 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
A Black Confederate Civilian’s Story:

One of the most entertaining of the southern civilian slave narratives comes from “Praise de Lawd” Rilla Patterson. It’s a bit on the lengthy side and like many of the Slave Narratives, the words in the passages are spelled exactly as Ms. Patterson pronounced them, making reading difficult at best. But you’ve got to read this to believe it! You might just find yourself yelling - “YOU GO GIRL!” Here is her complete “narrative”.

“Praise de Lawd” Rilla Patterson Jones, North Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"Yes'm, I 'members 'bout de war, I 'members kaze I was one of dese here praise niggers. I was a praise nigger kaze I rode a mule named Bob slap through de Yankee lines wid a paper for Marse Frank an' de blue coats never got me. Dat paper tole Marse Frank de Yankees was gwine to charge an' for him to get ready to meet dem. Dat's why I'se named Praise De Lawd Rilla Patterson Jones.

I was 'bout four hands high in de war. Mis' Cynthy an' Marse Frank Patterson was my white folks. When Marse Frank went off to fight dey wasn' nobody left at home 'cept Mis' Cynthy an' her two little chillun, little Mis' Rose an' young Marse Frank. He was a baby. Dey was Ole Marse Patterson, Marse Frank's pappy, but he was so ole he wasn' much good, but he kept Mis' Cynthy from bein' too skeered.

Mis' Cynthy was little an' soft. She had long black hair dat when she let it down it touched de floor at her feets; it was so long dat Mammy had to brush an' plait it for her, den she wound it 'round Mis' Cynthy's head like a crown, an' when she pin a pink rose behin' her ear she looked like a fancy picture. Mammy loved Mis' Cynthy an' dem chillun. She loved dem so good she wouldn' allow nobody to wait on dem 'cept herse'f. My mammy was Magnolia Patterson an' my pappy was Ruba Patterson. After Marse Frank went to de war pappy worked 'round de house too. He was sort of a body guard wid de other airedales on de place. My pappy say he could smell a Yankee a mile away, an' he could near 'bout do it.

One day a passel of Yankees come to de house. Dey was six of dem. Dey rode big hosses wid fancy bridles an' dey had finer gold braid an' buttons on dey clothes den de Yankees dat done come befo'. Pappy say dey was head mens in de army. Dese sojers rode up to de house an' flung de reins to de niggers an' tole dem to take de hosses to de stable an' feed dem, den de mens come to de house. 'Twas 'bout sundown an' sort of cold an' dey was fires burnin' in de big fireplaces an' candles burnin' on de mantel shelf. De talles' Yankee come in first. He stop in de hall an' look 'round, den he rub his hands like he mighty pleased. 'Bout dat time he seed Mis' Cynthy standin' in de dinin' room door. He put his hand to his cap an' make a bow. 'Sorry to 'sturb you, Madam,' he say, 'but it's cold an' frosty outside so we's come in to supper an' to spend de night.'

Mis' Cynthy showed him respect. She knew 'twouldn' do no good to do nothin' else. She tole him to take his mens an' go in de parlor room by de fire while she had de niggers to fix supper. Time de chickens was picked an' cooked, de coffee made an' de biscuits browned, 'twas near 'bout nine o'clock. Den Mis' Cynthy tole Channy an' Mozella to put de things on de table an' tole Pappy to wait on de mens, to show dem dey rooms an' such as dat, den she took Mammy an' went up stairs to her room an' shut de door.

Many said 'twas 'bout daylight when Pappy come tappin' on Mis' Cynthy's door. She an' Mis' Cynthy done been settin' up all night. Dey was skeered to go to bed wid dem Yankees in de house. When Pappy come in his eyes was near 'bout bustin' out of his head. He come tip-toein' 'cross de room an' his voice won't no louder den a breath of wind. He tole Mis' Cynthy dat after dem Yankees done eat dey supper an' he done serve dem a bottle of dram, dat dey forgot all 'bout him an' 'gun to tawk 'mong deyse'fs. Pappy say dem sojers was spies dat been scoutin' 'round lookin' for de Federate lines; dat dey done found de 13th infantry camped 'bout ten miles down de Fish Dam road, an' dat dese mens what done eat at her table was on de way back to Hillsboro to get more sojers to 'tack de Federates.

Mis' Cynthy lissen to Pappy an' her face got white as picked cotton. 'Dat's Marse Frank's infantry dey gwine 'tack,' Ruba, she whisper. 'What we gwine do; how's we gwine warn him?' Pappy shook his head. Mis' Cynthy got up an' 'gun to walk de floor. 'Twon' do to send you, Ruba,' she say, 'kaze dey's Yankees in de woods to de east an' de west, an' if dey catch you dey'll search you from head to foot, den dey'll shoot you for totin' a warnin'. I can't send none of de niggers an' dey ain't nobody else to send.' She 'gun to cry, den Mammy got up an' went over to de cradle an' looked at little Marse Frank suckin' his thumb, den she went back to Mis' Cynthy. 'You can send Rilla, Mistis,' she say jus' like dat.

'Rilla!' Mis' Cynthy stop in her walk an' look at mammy like she done gone crazy. 'Magnolia,' she say, 'is you done lost your mind? How can Rilla take a note to Marse Frank? He am ten miles away from here, 'sides, I done tole you de woods am full of Yankees.' She 'gun to cry an' laugh together, so Mammy poured out a strong dram an' made her drink it, den she tole her what was on her mind. 'Rilla's gwine take dat note to Marse Frank,' she say, 'she gwine get on ole Bob mule an' go dat ten miles. She can go dare befo' dem Yankee spies does kaze dey got to go to Hillsboro to get more sojers an' 'nition, den come back an' catch Marse Frank's mens. Time dey does dat Rilla can go to de camp an' be on de way back home, but she got to start right now.'
But Mis' Cynthy shook her head. 'I can't do dat, Magnolia. Dey's Yankee pickets in de woods an' I'se skeered for Rilla.'

'Dem Yankees ain't gwine hurt no nigger chile,' Mammy look at Mis' Cynthy. 'Dey mout search her but dey won't find nothin'. I'se gwine see to dat.'But Mis' Cynthy wouldn' agree. 'Twon't ''til Mammy pointed to de cradle an' said 'You want dat chile to have a pappy, don't you, Honey? I'se tellin' you now if sumpin' ain't done he liable to never know he had a pappy a tall.' Den Mis' Cynthy give in.

It was jus' daylight when Mammy woke me up. She took me down to Mis' Cynthy an' tole me what I had to do; dat I had to ride Bob mule to Marse Frank's camp an' give him a note but nobody mustn' know nothin' 'bout it. If anybody stopped me an' ax me whare I was from an' whare I was gwine, I must say I was from Marse Gabe Johnson' plantation an' dat I was gwine to Marse Luther Hayes wid some resberry wine for his wife who was sick wid dysentary. When Mammy finish tellin' me Mis' Cynthy 'gun to wring her hands an' say, 'She can't do it, Magnolia, I tell you she can't do it; she too little, she'll get skeered an' tell everything she knows.'
'What, Rilla tell?' Mammy was gettin' mad. 'Dat chile ain't gwine tell nothin' I tells her not to tell, she knows better.' An' I sho did know better. Dem Yankees mout of drug my tongue out an' I wouldn' tole dem nothin.

Mammy mixed up some sulpher an' tar an' spread it 'tween my fingers an' toes, den she got a dirty, greasy rag smellin' wid sulpher, tar, an' tu'pentine an' wrapped it 'round my leg, an' hid in dat rag was de note Mis' Cynthy done wrote Marse Frank tellin' him 'bout de spies. Den Mammy look at me hard an' say, 'Member, Rilla, if anybody ax you 'bout dat leg, you's got de itch, hear, de high black ball itch.' I nodded kaze I knew if I didn' say de itch dat I would be itchin' all over when I got back home an' Mammy got done wid me. Dey set me on Bob mule. Dey wasn' no saddle but dey was a blanket. Pappy give me de rains an' Mis' Cunthy give me a covered basket wid two bottles of rasberry wine wrapped up in a linen napkin, an' I rode off down de drive an' through de big gates.

It was cold kaze de sun hadn' come up, an' dat ole Bob mule wouldn' go out of a walk. Dat de stubbornes' mule I ever seed, all my kickin' didn' do no good, so I jus' set an' let him take his time. 'Twuzn' way yonder near 'bout dinner time an' I done eat de 'lasses biscuit Mammy give me, dat I seed any Yankees. I looked way down de road an' seed two of dem standin' at de edge of de woods. I was skeered kaze I couldn' make ole Bob mule run, but I jus' kept mozin' 'long. When I got close up one of de sojers stepped out in de road an' say, 'Halt, but I kept right on. Den he say 'Halt' again, but I kept on kaze I didn' know what he was talkin' 'bout. Den he grabbed Bob's bridle an' pulled him up. 'Who's you, Nigger, an' whar's you's gwine nohow?' he say.

Ah tole him I was Rilla from over here at Marse Gabe Johnson's place; dat I was on my way to Marse Luther Hayes house wid some rasberry wine for Mis' Carry Hayes kaze she was sick. She got de dysentary I tole him.

'You mighty little to be ridin' 'round by yo'se'f,' he say. I tole him yes, suh, I sholly was, but dey wasn' nobody else to send. 'Bout dat time de other sojer come up an' look at me mean. 'What you got in dat basket, winch?' he say. Den he snatched de basket an' lift de lid an' grab out de wine. He hold de bottle up to de light an' sniff at it, den he smack his mouf. 'Dis am wine, George,' he say to de sojer holdin Bob's bridle, 'Befo' God, 'tis. How 'bout er swig?'

I 'gun to holler. Don't drink dat wine, Mistah Yankee, I yell, dat wine's for a sick lady, an' she gwine die if she don't get dat ferment. De big sojer holdin' de mule turn loose de bridle an grab me 'round de let. 'Shut your black mouf, Nigger, befo' I breaks your neck.' He look 'round like he skeered somebody gwine hear me, an' I shut up kaze I was so skeered I near 'bout fell off Dat Yankee was holdin' my leg right over de rag Mammy done tied 'round it. I was skeered he was gwine feel de note dat was folded inside dat rag. He held my leg so tight dat I swinged.

'What's de matter wid your leg?' he say, holdin' me tighter.I'se got de itch. I tole him, de high black ball itch. See dat sulpher an' tar 'tween my toes? It's on my hands too. I held out my hands an' spread out my fingers so he could see an' smell dat nasty sticky mess.

Dat Yankee drap my leg like it was a blazin' coal. 'Get out here, you stinkin' lepper,' he say, den he hit ole Bob mule so hard on his rump dat befo' he thought he went off down de road in a trot. 'Twasn' 'til I got way down other side of de hill dat I 'membered dat dems sojers done kept de wine, but I didn' care kaze 'twuzn' long befo' I seed Marse Frank's camp. When I tole Marse Frank 'bout de note in de tied 'round my leg he had a 'niption fit. He say, 'Rilla, you mean to tell me you done rode ole Bob mule by dem Yankee pickets an' got here wid dis letter?' I tole him I sho had.

Marse Frank wrote a letter to Mis' Cynthy an' tied it up in de rag 'round my leg again, den he took me in a tent an' give my some hard tack an' beef, an' all de sojers come 'round laughin' kaze I tole dat Yankee I had de itch. When Marse Frank sent me home he sent me through de woods by de foot path so I would miss de road. Jus' give ole Bob de reins he say an' he'll take you de right way.

When I got back to de big house 'twas near 'bout dark. Mis' Cynthy was walkin' up an' down de front porch wid her red shawl wrapped 'bout her, an' Mammy was settin' on de steps. Dey run out an' took me off Ole Bob mule an' toted me in de house; dey toted me in de parlor room an' set my by de fire in de big red velvet chair. When she got de letter out of de rag an' read it, Mis' Cunthy 'gun to laugh an' cry both. 'You done save Marse Frank, Rilla, you sholey have. Dey's no tellin' how many 'Federates you done saved. Kaze now when dem Yankees charge de 13th infantry's gwine to be enfo'ced wid more regiments.'

Mammy hold up her hands an' say, 'Praise de Lawd.' After dat I was called Praise De Lawd Rilla."" 



13 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
It’s My “Heritage”!

Say the word “Heritage” to most Americans who have been raised in parts of the country other than the South and what you’ll usually get is a blank stare. To an outsider I suppose, it isn’t easy to understand. It appears though that Allen Price had a good understanding of its importance. But then, Allen was a Southerner!

Allen Price, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Dese things am handed down to me by de Price family and my granddaddy. De Price family done fight for de Confed'racy all de way down de line of de family, to my own pappy, who went with he master when dey calls for volunteers to stop de blockade of Galveston. "My master think he gwine 'scape de worst of de war when he come to Texas and dey am livin' peaceable de year I'm born, raisin' cotton. Dey had a gin what my pappy worked in, and makes dey own clothes, too, when de Yankees has de Texas ports blockade so de ships can't git in. When dey blockades Galveston, our old master done take my pappy for bodyguard and volunteers to help. Fin'ly Gen. Magruder takes Galveston from de Yankees with two old cotton steamers what have cotton bales on de decks for breastworks.

"De last battle Master Price and my pappy was in, was de battle of Sabine Pass, and de Yankee general, Banks, done send 'bout five thousand troops on transports with gunboats, to force a landin'. Capt. Dick Dowling had forty-seven men to 'fend dat Pass and my pappy helped build breastworks when dem Yankees firin'. Capt. Dowling done run dem Yankees off and takes de steamer Clinton and 'bout three hundred and fifty prisoners. My pappy told me some de Captain's men didn't have real guns, dey have wood guns, what dey call cam'flage nowadays.

"My pappy helped at de hospital after dat battle, and dey has it in a hotel and makes bandages out of sheets and pillow cases and underwear, and uses de rugs and carpets for quilts. "I 'member dis song, what dey sing all de time after de war:

"O, I'm a good old Rebel, and dat's jus' what I am, And for dis land of freedom, I do not give a damn; I'm glad we fought again 'em, and only wish we'd won, And I ain't asked no pardon for anything I've done. "I won't be reconstructed, I'm better dan dey am, And for a carpetbagger. I do not give a damn. So I'm off to de frontier, soon as I can go - I'll fix me up a weapon and start for Mexico! "I can't get my musket and fight dem now no more, But I'm not goin' to love dem. dat am certain sho'- I don't want no pardon for what I was or am, I won't be reconstructed, and I don't give a damn.

 "I has mighty little to say 'bout myself. I's only a poor Baptist preacher. De her'tage handed down to me am de proudes' thing I knows. De Prices was brave and no matter what side, dey done fight for dey 'lief in de right.




                                14 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
“Blood in the Fight”

As in the case of the word“Heritage”, I suppose you’ve got to be southern to understand the meaning of this phrase. Come to think of it, the only folks I’ve ever heard use it are Southerners!? Nelson Taylor Densen’s very colorful narrative epitomizes “Blood in the Fight”. His words give a good picture of the sentiment – as well as some of his interesting views about life in general. Oh, and by the way, Nelson was a Southerner!

Nelson Taylor Densen, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I was fourteen years old w'en Texas seceded, an w'en dey went ter de war my Master Mr. Felix Grundy went ter fight de Yankees, He was in General Hardemans Brigade an was in two or three battles den he cums back ter Texas on a fourlough an w'en dat is out an he goes back I goes with him as his body guard. De first firing he was in New Mexico, den he was transferred ter Louisiana an I was wid him.

"I was sixteen years old by dat time an I kin remember de way hit all was at de battle ob Mansfield, April 9, 1863. We was camped on de Sabine rivers, on de Texas side, an de Yankees on de other side up a little ways, I kin remember de night befo' how de camp fires looked, hit was a quiet night an de whipperwills er callin' in de weeds, we was expectin de attack an ter keep us cheerfull we sing, "Tenting Ter Night on de Old Camp Groun'," an' den we sing, "Just befo' de battle, Mother, I am thinking most of you, While upon de fiel' we're watchin' Wid de enemy in view. Comrades brave are roun' me lying, Filled wid thoughts of home an' God, For well dey know dat on de morrow, Some will sleep beneath de sod.

"We could see across de river de Yankees, an could hear dem, de night so still. In de hush befo' de battle every man was thinking of his mother, wife and fambly. W'en de bugle sounded taps, every head was bowed in prayer, I kin best describe de attack wid de last verse of song I has jes told yer dey sing. "Hark, I hear de bugles soundin', 'Tis de signal fer de fight, Now, may God protect you, Mother, As he ever does de right, Hear de "Battle Cry of Freedom." How hit swells upon de air, Oh, Yes w'ell rally roun' de standard, Or we'll perish nobly there.

De Yankees sung de Battle Cry of Freedom, as dey charged on us an we could hear de band er playin' hit as dey cum, but hit jes made our boys fight de hardest, den we sing dis song, "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, de boys are marchin'. Cheer up comrades dey will cum, And beneath de starry flag, We shall breathe de air again, In de freedom of our own beloved home.

"Dey cum on an' on, an dey fights. Lord how dey fight's! I is a stayin' close ter my Master. I is jes as wild as any fer our boys ter win, yer can hear de clash of de bayonet w'en dey git gray uniforms as dey stood dey groun' an dey went down befo' dey would retreat, "In de battle front dey stood, W'en de fiercest charges was made, An' dey swept us off a hundred men an more, But befo' we reached dey lines, Dey was beaten back dismayed, An' we heard de cry of victory o'er an O'er.

"De rebels, our boys in de grey, win's an captures 'bout er thousan' Yankees, after dis de Yankees was mos' of dem taken ter help General Grand at Richmon' an General Sherman on his march ter de sea.

"De Captain of de company we was in at de battle of Pleasant Hill (near Mansfield), was John Dick Morris, dis company was organized near Marlin, Texas, was called Company B. General J. G. Walker was de District Division Commander, dey was made up in dis company from de town of Marlin an de country, among dem Captain Carter of Cameron was wounded in de battle we was in. "At Yellow Bayou de commanding officer of de brigade we was in was General Banks. Tom Green was killed at Blairs Landin' on Red River an General Hardeman took Tom Green's place.

"Bout de last of de war de Yankees commenced ter use de nigger's dat had run away ter dey lines fer soljers. I don't know much 'bout dat, but I does know dat de slaves dat was left at home ter look after de wimmen an chillun dat mos of dem stayed an' kept de work on de place in de crops up an helped ter take keer of de ole men an de wimmen an chillun, dat dey was a whole lot more dat helped ter dis day dey was dat run away ter de Yankees.

"De most of de slaves was happy on de plantations, an dey looked on de war like dis, dat de white man was er fightin' fer his principles, at least de ones dat understood did. I has seen so much in my long life dat I feels dat God is more an more de Great Ruler, an dat hit all works out fer de best…..

"I knows dat de old order has changed. Men now must be rich, it seems ter be powerful, once hit was not so. Once men held themselves more dearly dan dey held dey possessions. In de days of Ante-Bellum de attitude was fine an bright an glorious, folks believed in de virtues of truth, chastity, an' chivalry. Dey seem new ter be old fashioned words, whar is de chivalry dat dey lived in de days which yer is writin' about? Does dey help ter protect de wimmen like dey did in de days of old? No, dey worl' of finance will take away er womans home jes de same as er man's. Whar is de demand fer virtue? In de ole days de ole time southern gentlemen demands dat his wife be virtues er he would not marry her, does dey de dis now? No, sad ter say hit looks as if de loose wimmen are de ones dat is preferred.

"Whar would dey grandmothers say ter dem smokin? Yes, de ole fashion way is out ob date, de curtain of smoke swept away, hit seems, de beauty of de past, de sound of de spinning wheel was lost in de machinery of a later day, jes as de stately minuet was lost in de jass dances of dese day's.

"I hopes dat in de great windup dat in de words of de ole song hit will be dat "His truth will go Marchin' on." "Mine eyes have seen de glory of de cumin' of de Lord, He is tramplin' out de vintage whar de grapes of wrath are stored, He Hath loosed de fateful lightnin' of His terrible swift sword, His truth is marchin' on.
  


15 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Story of Ephraim Robinson

There is something quite poignant about Ephraim Robinson’s story but for the life of me I just can’t put down into words why I get a lump in my throat whenever I read it. Despite being thankful that he was free when the war was over, his heart was with the South and he had showed no regrets about his service to her. I guess life’s choices aren’t all that simple?

(note – the term “Federal” early in the narrative, is an obvious mistake on the part of the interviewer, most likely resulting from either a typo of sorts, or, misunderstanding the person being interviewed. Many black southerners pronounced the word “Confederate” as “Federate”, which might have led the interviewer to believe that he was saying “Federal” – the pronunciation of the word fooled me as well when I first began reading the “Narratives”).

Ephraim Robinson, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
His young "Marster", Captain Allen Morrison of the Federal Army, had carried a young Negro slave as his body-servant to Virginia, and he did not behave so well. So when a friend of the soldier was coming home on furlough, Captain Morrison sent him back home to his father and asked him to send him the boy, Ephriam, to be his waiting boy. Ephriam was anxious to go as he wanted to see things, so his mammy, who was a home-servant, dyed some dove-gray homespun, and his mistress cut out and made him a suit. He remembers the pants having a stripe on the legs.

He remembers changing trains some place in Alabama and riding on the train for many days with the friend of his captain. He also recalls that, at the end of the journey, they were met in a covered cart with two wheels drawn by a red mule and carried into the wilderness to the camp. He was very tired after his trip, and it was many days before he was able to be of any service to his "Marster." But, after that, he did all of his errands, kept his boots shined, and pulled up his boots at night with the aid of a bootjack.

Ephriam claims to have seen the result of two battles, and he says that he saw soldiers in blue piled up, killed in enemy position, and so the same was true of the soldiers in gray. He remembers helping to load carts of arms and legs that army surgeons had removed at the hospitals in order to save lives. These legs and arms were later buried by colored helpers. When asked if he wished to see the Union Army win, he said, no, and that he did not believe they could win wich such men as his "Marsters" fighting them.

At the time of the surrender he was in Culpepper, Virginia. He said that the Southern soldiers cried like babies, and that he cried, too. Later, however, he realized that he and his parents were free, and when he got back home he was glad. His parents stayed right on, as the family had always been kind to them, but as he got older he went off to make money for himself. That was why he came to the city of Vicksburg. He does not know what year he came here, but he says it was not long after the war. 




16 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Dem’ “Uppity”/“White Trash” Yankees

Once again, popular historical wisdom holds that all slaves welcomed the Yankees and that the Yankees, being of course an army of blue-coated warm and fuzzy types, responded with love and affection. Let’s go to the historical videotape and toss a few eggs at contemporary historical “wisdom”. 

Amanda Mccray, Florida, (The Slave Narratives)
…. She was a grownup during the Civil War when she was commandered by Union soldiers invading the country and employed as a cook. Her owner, one Redding Pamell, possessed a hundred or more slaves and was, according to her statement very kind to them.  

Walter Legget, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
Well now one thing I remember plain is the trashy, bad actin' yankees. They come in bunches down by the place and they are the most outlandish, triflin, smart-actin', slummerin' folks ever you see. I wouldn't vise nobody to have truck with 'em.

Rose Thomas, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Our men all went to the war. Marster went and Ben, a fine colored man, went with him. They both came back, but marster was sick and didn't live very long and Uncle Ben seemed all at once like an old man……

….. "We never heard of no slaves being mistreated. We lived a lot better then than we have since, even if the government does give me a pension."……

…"Yes, the Yankee soldiers came around. At first they were just smart alecks in their fine blue suits with brass buttons, but later they stole things, horses and silver and the like.

William Watkins, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Den de war come and de Yankees come down thick as leaves. Dey burns de big house and de slave houses and ev'ryting. Dey turns us loose. We ain't got no home nor nuthin' to eat, 'cause dey tells us we's free.

Mandy Leslie, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
Us live dar 'til I was grown woman, and Mr. Biles sho' was a good man to live wid and he treat us right every year……
.."Yassum, I 'members de war, but I don't lak no wars. Dey give folks trouble and dey's full of evil doings. When de Yankees come through here, dey took my mammy off in a wagon, and lef' me right side de road, and when she try to git out de wagon to fetch me, dey hit her on de head and she fell back in de wagon and didn't holler no more. Dey jes' drive off up de big road wid Mammy lying down in de wagon - she done been dead, 'cause I ain't never seed her no mo'.

Hannah Irwin, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
"Well, what about the Yankees?" he was asked. "Did you ever see any Yankees; and what did you think of the ones that came through your place? Were you glad that they set you free?"
"I suppose dem Yankees was all right in dere place," she continued, "but dey neber belong in de South. Why, Miss, one of 'em axe me what am dem white flowers in de fiel'? You'd think dat a gentnen wid all dem decorations on hisself woulda knowed a fiel' of cotton. An' as for dey a-settin' me free! Miss, us niggers on de Bennett place was free as soon as we was bawn. I always been free."

Everett Ingram, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
"De Yankees comed through de yard in May an' tol' us: 'You's free.' De Yankees wasn't so good. Dey hung my mammy up in de smokehouse by her thumbs; tips of her toes jest touchin' de floor, 'ca'se she wouldn't 'gree to give up her older chilluns. She never did, neither.

Hattie Clayton, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
Yankee raiders whipped a slave to get him to tell where the valuables were

Betty Curlett, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
Grandma Becky said when the Yankees came to Mrs. Moores house and to Judge Rieds place they demanded money but they told them they didn't have none. They stole and wasted all the food clothes; beds. Just tore up what they didn't carry with then and burned it in a pile. They tock two legs of the chickens and tore them apart and threw them down on the ground, leaving piles of them to waste

Sponcer Eornett, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
Old mistress cried more on one time. The Yankees starved out more black faces than white at their stealing. After that war it was hard for the slaves to have a shelter and enough eatin' that winter. They died in piles bout after that August I tole you bout. Joe Innes was our overseer when the house burned.

Rachel Fairley, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"When the Yanks came through, they took everything. Made the niggers all leave. My mother said they just came in droves, riding horses, killing everything, even the babies
  



17 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Join the Union Army and See the World! – err, well, sort of?!

Once again, contemporary historical wisdom has it that all of the slaves ran away to join the union army or to follow it. As one neo-abolitionist historian recently put it, “The Slaves set themselves free!!” Sounds like the kind of pie-in-the-sky melodrama you’d expect from a limosine liberal. In reading the Slave Narratives, I noted that over half of all accounts of union military service suggested ambivalence or involuntary service. It would appear that the popular myth of the USCT being an army of enthusiastic “freedom fighters” is only half-true, if that. Did the slaves overwhelmingly favor one side over the other? That’s hard to say. There were nearly 4 million slaves and no one took a poll. I suppose the safest thing to say is that they did not all behave, nor should they have been expected to behave, in exactly the same way. Let’s look at a few examples:

Henry Henderson, Oklahoma – (Captured Body Servant), (The Slave Narratives)
I use to be a fighting man and a strong Southern soldier, until the Yank's captured me and made me fight with them. I don't know what the year was, but there was some Southern Indians took in the same battle and they fought with the North too. There was whole regiments deserted from the South, but I was captured; never figured on running away from my own people. Some of the Cherokee Indians who fought with the North were Bob Crittenden, Zeke Proctor and Luke Six Killer. Luke's father was with the South and got killed; some of the folks said young Luke killed his own father in the war.

William H. Harrison, Arkansas – (Captured Body Servant), (The Slave Narratives)
The son was Gummal L. Harrison. I went with him to war. I was his servant in the battle-field till we fought at Gettysburg and Manassas Gap. Then I was captured at Bulls Gap and brought to Knoxville, Tennessee and made a soldier. I was in the War three and one half years…

…"I was with my young master till my capture. That was my part in freedom. I was forced to fight by the Yankees then in the Union army.

Liney Chambers, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
What the Yankees didn't take they wasted and set fire to it. They set fire to the rail fences so the stock would get out all they didn't kill and take off. Both sides was mean. But it seemed like cause they was fightin' down here on the Souths ground it was the wurst here. Now that's just the way I sees it. They done one more thing too. They put any colored man in the front where he would get killed first and they stayed sorter behind in the back lines……

….. When they come along they try to get the colored men to go with them and that's the way they got treated.

George Greene, Arkansas , (The Slave Narratives)
My father's name was Nathan Greene. I reckon he went by that name, I can't swear to it. I wasn't with him when he died. I was up in Mississippi on the Mississippi River and didn't get the news in time to get there till after he was dead. He was an old soldier. When the Yankees got down in Mississippi, they grabbed up every nigger that was able to fight.

Rebecca Brown Hill, Arkansas , (The Slave Narratives)
I had two brothers sent to Louisiana as refugees. The place they was sent to was taken by the Yankees and they was taken and the Yankees made soldiers out of them.

Elizabeth Hines, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives) 
My father never told me what his master was to him, whether he was good or mean. He got free early because he was in the army. He didn't run away. The soldiers came and got him and carried him off and trained him.

Charlie Rigger, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I recollect the soldiers come by in July 1863 or 1864 and back in Decamber. I heard talk so long 'fore they got there I knowed who they was. They took my oldest brother. He didn't want to go. We never heard from him. He never come back.

Ous Williams,- Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I was born in Chatham County, Georgia--Savannah is de county seat. My marster's name was Jim Williams. Never seen my daddy cause de Yankees carried him away durin' de War, took him away to de North. Old marster was good to his slaves, I was told, but don't ricollect anything about em. Of course I was too young

Soldier Williams, - Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I was sway to Louisville to j'ine the Yankees one day. I was seared to death all the time. They put us in front to shield themselves. They said they was fighting for us--for our freedom. Piles of them was killed. I got a flesh wound. I'm scarred up some. We got plenty to eat. I was in two or three hot battles. I wanted to quit but they would catch them and shoot them if they left.  

Annie Little, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Dem de good old days, but dey didn't last, for de war am over to sot de slaves free and old massa ask if we'll stay or go. My folks jes' stays till I's a growed gal and gits married and has a home of my own. Den my old man tell me how de Yankees stoled him from de fields. Dey some cavalry sojers and dey make him take care of de hosses. He's 'bout twict as old as me, and he say he was in de Bull Bun Battle. He's capture in one battle and run 'way and 'scape by de help of a Southern regiment and fin'ly come back to Mississip'.

Matilda Miller, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives) 
Mamma said the Yankees told the Negroes when they got em freed they'd give em a mule and a farm or maybe a part of the plantation they'd been working on for their white folks. She thought they just told em that to make them dissatisfied and to get more of them 'to join up with em' and they were dressed in pretty blue clothes and had nice horses and that made lots of the Negro men go with them. None of em ever got anything but what their white folks give em, and just lots and lots of em never come back after the war cause the Yankees put them in front where the shooting was and they was killed

Maggie Snow And Charlie Snow, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Papa said the Yankees made all the slaves fight they could run across. Some kept hid in the woods. Seem like from way he told bout it they wanted freedom but they didn't want to go to war.

William Sherman, Florida, (The Slave Narratives)
Many of the slaves were joining the Union army. Those slaves who joined were trained about two days and then sent to the front; due to lack of training they were soon killed

Martha Organ, North Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"I 'members 'specially what mammy said 'bout when de Mankees come. She said dat it was on a Thursday an' dat de ole master was sick in de bed an' had sent some slaves ter de mill wid grain. When dese men started back frum de mill de Yankees overtook 'em an' dey killed de oxes in de harness, cut off de quarters an' rid ten de house wid dat beef hangin' all over de horses. Dey throwed what dey ain't wanted away, but of course dey took de meal an' de grain.
"De ole master had hyard dat dem Yankees was comin' an' he had buried de silverware in a san' bar, but Lawd dem Yankees foun' hit jist lak it were on top o' de groun'. Dey stold eber' thing dat dey git dere han' s on, 'specially de meat frum de smoke house. Dey went down inter de cellar an' dey drunk up master's brandy an' dey got so drunk dat dey ain't got no sense atall. When dey left dey carried my bruther off wid 'em, an' nobody ever hyard frum him ag'in.



18 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Da’ Year ob Jubilo? – err, not exactly!?

Continuing on - here’s a look at the yanks through the eyes of some of the slaves who were civilians and who were “fortunate” enough not to be conscripted into the union army - though some were indeed “carried away”. Makes you wonder how many of those slaves following Sherman’s army were there of their own accord? “The slaves set themselves free”?

Sarah Virgil, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
Speaking of the Yankees, who came to Hawkinsville after the close of the war, the old woman "allowed": "I surely did hate them things."

Amanda Styles, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
The only event during slavery that impresssd itself on Mrs. Styles was the fact that when the Yanks came to their farm they carried off her mother and she was never heard of again.

Charlie Tye Smith, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
Charlie Tye recalls vividly when the Yankees passed through and graphically related the following incident. "The Yankees passed through and caught "ole Marse" Jim and made him pull off his boots and run bare-footed through a cane brake with half a bushel of potatoes tied around his neck; then they made him put his boots back on and carried him down to the mill and tied him to the water post. They were getting ready to break his neck when one of Master's slaves, "ole Peter Smith", asked them if they intended to kill Marse Jim, and when they said "Yes", Peter choked up and said, "Well, please, suh, let me die wid ole Marse!" Well, dem Yankees let ole Marse loose and left! Yes, Missy, dat's de truf 'case I've heered my daddy tell it many's the time!"

Lucindy Allison, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"When the 'Old War' come on and the Yankees come they took everything and the black men folks too. They come by right often. They would drive up at mealtime and come in and rake up every blessed thing was cooked. Have to go work scrape about and find something else to eat. What they keer 'bout you being white or black? Thing they was after was filling theirselves up. They done white folks worse than that. They burned their cribs and fences up and their houses too about if they got mad. Things didn't suit then. If they wanted a colored man to go in camp with them and he didn't go, they would shoot you down like a dog. Ma told about some folks she knowd got shot in the yard of his own quarters

Josephine Ann Barnett, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"The slaves hated the Yanksee. They treated them mean. They was having a big time. They didn't like the slaves. They steal from the slaves too. Some poor folks didn't have slaves.

Belle Buntin, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
……"Master Alex was a legislator. He had to leave when the Yankees come through. They killed all the legislators. I loved him. He run a store and we three children went to the store to see him nearly every day. He took us all three on his knees at the same time. I loved him

Betty Curlett, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
Grandma Becky said when the Yankees came to Mrs. Moores house and to Judge Rieds place they demanded money but they told them they didn't have none. They stole and wasted all the food clothes; beds. Just tore up what they didn't carry with then and burned it in a pile. They tock two legs of the chickens and tore them apart and threw them down on the ground, leaving piles of them to waste

Sponcer Eornett, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
Old mistress cried more on one time. The Yankees starved out more black faces than white at their stealing. After that war it was hard for the slaves to have a shelter and enough eatin' that winter. They died in piles bout after that August I tole you bout. Joe Innes was our overseer when the house burned.

Rachel Fairley, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"When the Yanks came through, they took everything. Made the niggers all leave. My mother said they just came in droves, riding horses, killing everything, even the babies

Robert Farmer, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
The Yankees used to come in blue uniforms and come right on in without asking anything. They would take your horse and ask nothing. They would go into the smokehouse and take out shoulders, home, and side meat, and they would take all the wine and brandy that was there.

Neely Gray, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I was scared of the Yankees 'cause they always p'inted a gun at me to see me run. They'd come in the yard and take anything they wanted, too.

Elmira Hill, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"When we heard the Yankees was comin' we went out at night and hid the silver spoons and silver in the toilet and buried the meat. After the war was over and the Yankees had gone home and the jayhawkers had went in - then we got the silver and the meat. Yes, honey, we seed a time - we seed a time. I ain't grumblin' - I tell em I'm havin' a wusser time now than I ever had.
"Yankees used to call me a 'know nothin' cause I wouldn't tell where things was hid.

Molly Horn, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I could walk when I first seed the Yankees. I run out to see em good. Then I run back and told Miss Becky. I said, 'What is they?' She told ma to put all us under the bed to hide us from the soldiers. One big Yankee stepped inside and says to Miss Becky, 'You own any niggers?' She say, 'No.' Here I come outen under the bed and ask her fer bread. Then the Yankee lieutenant cursed her. He made the other four come outen under the bed. They all commenced to cryin' and I commenced to cry. We never seed nobody lack him fore. We was scared to deaf of him. He talked so loud and bad. He loaded us in a wagon. Mama too went wid him straight to Helena. He put us in a camp and kept us. Mama cooked fer the Yankees six or seven months. She heard em -- the white soldiers -- whisperin' round bout freedom. She told em, 'You ain't goiner keep me here no longer.' She took us walkin' back to her old master and ax him for us a home.  

George Key, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"One thing I can tell you she told me so often. The Yankees come by and called her out of the cabin at the quarters. She was a brown girl. They was going out on a scout trip---to hunt and ravage over the country. They told her to get up her clothes, they would be by for her. She was grandma's and grandpa's owners' nurse girl. She told them and they sent her on to tell the white folks. They sent her clear off. She didn't want to leave. She said her master was plumb good to her and them all. They kept her hid out. The Yankees come slipping back to tole her off. They couldn't find her nowhere. They didn't ax about her. They was stealing her for a cook she thought. She couldn't cook to do no good she said. She wasn't married for a long time after then. She said she was scared nearly to death till they took her off and hid her. 




19 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Still more Year ob’ Jubilo….

Despite editing out many of the excerpts about “yankee behavior”, it became necessary to divide this account into two parts due to its length. If you need more proof that not all the slaves welcomed the union army or were well-treated by that army, here they are some more examples that you won’t find in the modern day history texts.

Josie Martin, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I used to run from the Yankees. I've seen them go in droves along the road. They found old colored couple, went out, took their hog and made them barbecue it. They drove up a stob, nailed a piece to a tres and stacked their guns. They rested around till everything was ready.
They et at one o'clock at night and after the feast drove on. They wasn't so good to Negroes. They was good to their own feelings. They et up all that old couple had to eat in their house and the pig they raised. I reckon their owners give them more to eat. They lived off alone and the soldiers stopped there and worked the old man and woman nearly to death.

Alice Baugh, North Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"All de slaves hate de Yankees an' when de southern soldiers comed by late in de night all de niggers got cut of de bed an' holdin' torches high dey march behin' de soldiers, all of dem singin', We'll Hang Abe Lincoln on de Sour Annie Tree. Yes mam, dey was sorry dat dey was free, an' dey ain't got no reason tu be glad, case dey was happier den dan now.
"I'se hyard mammy tell 'bout how de niggers would sing as dey picked de cotton, but yo' ain't hyard none uv dat now. Den dey ain't had to worry 'bout nothin; now dey has ter study so much dat dey ain't happy nuff ter sing no mo'"!.....

….."Does yo' know de cause of de war?" Aunt Alice want to a supboard and returned holding out a book. "Well hyar's de cause, dis Uncle Tom's Cabin was de cause of it all; an' its' de biggest lie what ever been gived ter de public."

Uncle David Blourt, North Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"De massa frees Jim dat night; but he stays on a long time atter de war, an' tell de day he died he hated de Yankees for killing Nassa Tom. In fact we all hated de Yankees, 'specally atter we near 'bout starve dat first winte. I tried ter make a libin' fer me an' Johnnie but it was bad goin'; den I comes ter Raleigh an' I gits 'long better. Atter I gits settled I brings Johnnie, an' so we done putty good.

Julia Casey, Tennessee, (The Slave Narratives)
Mah Missis was good ter us. I'se bin w'll tuk keer ob, plenty ter eat en warm clothes ter w'ar. Right now I'se got on long underw'ar en mah chemise…….

.…..Mah mammy died fust y'ar ob freedum. Dey tuk her 'way in a two-hoss waggin, 'bout four o'clock one evenin'. Dere was no hurses er caskets den. W'en mah mammy d'ed, I still stayed wid Missis Jennie. She raised me. Dat's why folks say I'se so peculiar. De Yankee soldiers tuk mah sistah en two br'ers 'way durin' de war. I ez de mammy ob seven chilluns. All d'ed now but one….

…..In slavery days you didn't hab ter worry 'bout yo clothes en rations but dese days you hab ter worry 'bout eve'ything.

Ida Rigley, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"The Civil War was terrible. One morning before we was all out of bed the Yankees come. It was about daylight. He and the three boys were there. They didn't burn any houses and they didn't hesitate but they took everything. They took all Miss Betty's nice silverware. They took fine quilts and feather beds. That was in the fall of the year. They drove off a line of our slaves (a block long) fer as from me to that railroad. Made them go. They walked fast in front of the cavalrymen. They took mama and my sisters. She got away from them with her girls and found her way back to papa at Lynchburg.

(Mammy Dink), Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)
When the Yankee raiders came through in '65, Mammy Dink was badly frightened by them. She was also highly infuriated with them for "stealin' de white folks' things," burning their gins, cotton, and barns, and conducting themselves generally as bandits and perverts.

Blount Baker, North Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
Dey talk mean ter us an' one of dem says dat we niggers am de cause of de war. 'Sir,' I sez, 'folks what am a wantin' a war can always find a cause'. He kicks me in de seat of de pants fer dat, so I hushes……

Johanna Isom, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
"Yas'm, dem good-fer-nuthin white trash rode up to our house and tuk Miss Sallie's best home-spun blankets and put dem on dey hosses for saddle blankets; some o' dem wropped dem round dey laigs and den dey tuk her fine silk dresses and put dem on wid hoops and all, hopped on de hosses and galloped away singing:", 'Yankee Doodle Dandy, Buttermilk and brandy'

Hammett Dell, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Then when they started to leave, one old Yankee set the corner of the house on fire. We all got busy then, white folks and darkies both carryin' water ter put it out.

Mattie Fritz, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Master Jack Tyler hid out. The Yankees come at night and caught him there and shot him. His wife lived about two more years. She grieved about him. They took everything and searched the house. My pa was hid under the house. They rumbled down in the cellar and pretty nigh seen him once.

Lidia Jones, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Yankees burned his house and gin house too and set fire to the cotton. Oh Lord, I don't like to talk about it. Them Yankees was rough

Frank Larkin, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"And they'd get up in a tree with a spyglass and find where old boss had his cotton hid, come down and go straight and burn it and the corn crib and take what meat they wanted and then burn the smoke house. Yes'm, I remember all that. I tell you them Yankees was mean. Used to shake old mistress and try to make her tell where the money was hid. If you had a fat cow, just shoot her down and cook what they wanted.

Rosa Lindsey, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I think the Yankees took Columbus, Georgia on a Sunday morning. I know they just come through there and tore up things and did as they pleased.

Mrs. Mary Jane (Mattie) Mooreman, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
Once the Yankees come by the place. It was at night. They went out to the quarters and they tried to get 'em to rise up. Told 'em to come on in the big house and take what they wanted. Told 'em to take anything they wanted to take, take Master's silver spoons and Miss' silk dress. "If they don't like it, we'll shot their brains out," they said. Next morning they told Master. He got scared and moved. At that time we was living at Cloverport.

Wylie Nealy, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
I saw 'em fight all the time. Saw the light and heard the roaring of de guns miles away. It looked like a storm where the army want along. They tramped the wheat and oats and cotton down and turned the horses in on the corn. The slaves show did hate to see the Yankees waste everything.


20 - “Forced into Glory?” From the “Official Records” and other Sources

Look at any monument or any story for that matter regarding the United States Colored Troops (USCT) and you cannot help but come away with the impression that 200,000 black men went willingly into the Union army to fight for their freedom. Several years ago the History Channel ran a program on “The Battle of the Crater” which focused on USCT involvement in that battle. One of the “experts” tapped for the program was a black National Park Service guide who worked at the Petersburg Virginia battlefield. I suppose that objectivity on the event would have been a bit much to ask from either him or the History Channel. He went on and on about how “different” the men of the USCT were from their opponents – to use his words, they were “freedom fighters!”

About the time the series first ran, I had just concluded reading “The Slave Narratives.” That experience left me with a number of surprises, one of which was that it appeared that not everyone in the USCT was a willing participant. Some had joined because as runaways, they simply had no place to go, and the army at least provided food, money and the necessities of life. Others had been forcibly conscripted, some under threat of death. Still others showed no emotion or volunteered no additional information at all when questioned about their wartime experiences, i.e. simply “I was in the army…” A number of those interviewed with military experience not only failed to describe what their duties were, i.e., support personnel or soldier, but even failed to mention which army they were in. To put it bluntly, what I read in the Narratives didn’t quite match up with the picture the Park Service guide was painting.

It has become fashionable among many contemporary historians and their students these days, to question the motivations of the Confederate soldiers and civilians. Much is made, for example, of Southern unionists fighting for the North, of Southern desertions and a lack of will to fight, of a dispirited civilian population, and of slaves either running off to join the Union army, or working feverishly to sabotage the Southern war effort to help their Yankee rescuers. After listening to all these stories, one has to wonder how it was that the war lasted 4 years instead of 2 weeks, and how it was that 360,000 Yankees came to “lay stiff in Southern dust?!”

No one ever ask such questions about the USCT though. The discussion as to why this is could fill an entire book, so I’ll have to take a pass for now. However, the following references, garnered from sources other than “The Slave Narratives,” should provide some realistic insight into the matter. “Freedom Fighters?” Not all of them, definitely not all of them! My money says no more than half of them at best. At the very least, these sources should provide a not-often-talked-about and eye-opening look at Yankee recruiting tactics.

****James Seddon, Confederate Secretary of War, had something to say about Yankee methods for “recruiting” slaves for their armies……

O.R.--SERIES IV--VOLUME II [S# 128]
Correspondence, Orders, Reports, And Returns Of The Confederate Authorities,
July 1, 1862-December 31, 1863
“…………They have already formed numerous regiments of the slaves they have seduced or forced from their masters, and the statement has been boastfully made in their public prints that they have already some 30,000 negro troops in arms. It is now an ascertained fact that as they overrun any portion of our territory they draw off, often by compulsion, the most efficient male slaves and place them in their negro regiments; and when they have established anywhere a temporary occupation, they practice a regular system of compulsory recruiting from the slaves within their reach………..”
Respectfully submitted.
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War

****Jefferson Davis also reiterates Seddon’s contention about taking slaves off by force, and adds a postscript about how Union “hero” Dalgrhen executed his black “guide” in his 1864 raid on Richmond.

O.R.--SERIES IV--VOLUME III [S# 129]
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, Va., April 28, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States of America:
“……. Various raids of the enemy have been made by cavalry, generally in indefensible portions of the Confederacy, and for the most part for purposes of mere rapine and destruction. They have been conducted with a precipitation most wasteful to their men and animals, and indicative of constant apprehension, but have been marked by a malignant spirit and practices of infamy and barbarity that would have disgraced brigands or savages. Their warfare has been almost exclusively on peaceful citizens, and their avowed object has been the destruction of private property; the taking off of the slaves, even by force; the waste of stores and the means of subsistence; the destruction of animals and implements of husbandry, and the privation of all means of future production and support to the whole people…….. Dahlgren marked his course to the river, unimpeded by any hostile force, only by ravage and incendiarism, but failed wholly to effect a crossing, and sought to cover the timidity that shrank from trying a doubtful ford by an act of savage vengeance on his negro guide….

****And if you have some doubt about the veracity of the reports from Seddon and Davis, Union General Rufus Saxton will certainly back up those reports by describing the same type of thing happening in his neck of the woods. 

O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME IV [S# 125]
BEAUFORT, S.C., December 30, 1864.
Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
……..The order spread universal confusion and terror. The negroes fled to the woods and swamps, visiting their cabins only by stealth and in darkness. They were hunted to their hiding places by armed parties of their own people, and, if found, compelled to enlist. This conscription order is still in force. Men have been seized and forced to enlist who had large families of young children dependent upon them for support and fine crops of cotton and corn nearly ready for harvest, without an opportunity of making provision for the one or securing the other…..
I am sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
 R. SAXTON, Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

****Another dispatch from the “OR’s” from Union General Foster would appear to indicate that not only were slaves conscripted, but that slaves of “loyal citizens” were exempt from conscription. Apparently, it was ok to own slaves as long as you were loyal to “Father Abraham.”

O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME IV [S# 125]
GENERAL ORDERS No. 6.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 6, 1864.
“All able-bodied colored men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five within our lines, except those employed in the several staff departments, officers' servants, and those servants of loyal citizens who prefer remaining with their masters, will be sent forthwith to Knoxville, Loudon, or Kingston, Tenn., to be enrolled, under the direction of Brig. Gen. Davis Tillson, chief of artillery, with a view to the formation of a regiment of artillery, to be composed of troops of African descent. The commanding officers of divisions and posts are charged with the execution of this order.”
By command of Major-General Foster:
HENRY CURTIS, JR.,

****Of course, we can always rely on Uncle Willie (Sherman), to chime in with his two cents

“War Crimes Against Southern Civilians,” by Walter Brian Cisco, P. 173
“I won’t trust niggers to fight yet,” wrote William T. Sherman in the spring of 1863, but I don’t object to the Government taking them from the enemy and making such use of them as experience may suggest.”

****And from a Confederate Soldier writing in the Southern Historical Society Papers, we have this observation, obtained by him in conversations with captured black Union soldiers after the 54th’ Massachusetts’ assault on Battery Wagner…..

Southern Historical Society Papers. Volume XII. 
Richmond, Va., March, 1884.  No. 3., Letters from Fort Sumter in 1862 and 1863.
By Lieut. Iredell Jones, First Regiment S.C. Regulars. No. 2. Fort Sumter, July 20, 1863.
…. The negroes were as fine looking set as I ever saw -- large, strong, muscular fellows. They were splendidly uniformed; but they do not know what they are fighting for. They say they were forced into it. I learned from prisoners that they are held in contempt by the white soldiers, and not only so, but that the white officers who command them are despised also. They are made to do all the drudgery of the army.

****Bell Wiley, a Southern historian who wrote in the 1930s and 40s, but who was not a “Lost Cause” advocate by any stretch of the imagination, had something to say about the lack of enthusiasm among slaves for joining the Union army. 

“Southern Negroes 1861 – 1865,” By Bell Irvin Wiley, Page 309
“In the military departments of the South, [the Carolina Coast] the Gulf, and the West Mississippi, the commanding generals ultimately resorted to an open conscription of all able-bodied Negro men within specified age limits. Under authority of these conscription orders, and in many instances without the authority of such orders, recruiting squads scoured the country forcing Negroes into the army. {General David Hunter] Hunter resorted to such practices to fill the ranks of his abortive regiment of South Carolina “Volunteers” in 1862. When General Saxton succeeded Hunter he gave “earnest and repeated assurances” that forced enlistments would not again be used. But when General Foster assumed command of the Department of the South in 1863, he ignored Saxton’s assurances and ordered an indiscriminate draft.

****A conundrum often presented itself to the newly “liberated” slave – join and leave your wife and kids to fend for themselves, or, have the Yanks stand you up against the wall and shoot you.  Special thanks to Bernard Thuersam of the “Cape Fear Historical Institute” http://www.cfhi.net/, who apparently shares my love of research, and from whose research I have taken the next two recounts:

“Jacksonville’s Ordeal by Fire,” Martin & Schafer
Florida Publishing Company, 1984, P 145
“….On March 16, after fighting an exhausting series of skirmishes with Yankee troops, [Winston] Stephens wrote to warn his wife of the black troops in Jacksonville, and of the grave danger that Yankee raiders might come upriver to Welaka. “Get the slaves ready to run to the woods on a moment’s notice,” he wrote his wife, adding that “the Negroes in arms will promise them fair prospects, but they will suffer the same fate those did in town that we killed, and the Yankees say they will hang them if they don’t fight.”

“After Slavery, The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction“
Joel Williamson, UNC Press, 1965, pp. 17- 20
“…On March 10, he (Union Abolitionist Colonel James Montgomery) landed in Jacksonville (Florida) along with Higginson’s command and led a foray seventy-five miles inland, returning laden with booty and a large number of potential soldiers---lately slaves. In May and June, raids up the Ashepoo and Combahee rivers in South Carolina and an attack on the village of Darien, Georgia supplied more recruits. Meanwhile, Hunter issued an order drafting all able-bodied Negro men remaining on the plantations. Others were seized in the night by squads of Negro soldiers. On one plantation on St. Helena, Betsey’s husband was thus taken, leaving her with ten children and a “heart most broke.” 

Those who attempted to evade the draft were roughly treated. Josh, who had fled to the marshes, was tracked to his hiding place and when he again tried to elude his pursuers was shot down and captured. Negro civilians suffered under the draft and resented the manner of its enforcement… ”the draft is either taking or frightening off most of the men,” lamented one of the (Northern missionary) superintendents at the end of March, 1863. During (the) early history (of Negro impressments), the new regiments were plagued by desertions which were freely excused on the ground of ignorance…Private William Span, having been recaptured on his eighth or ninth defection, was brought before the colonel in his tent. Montgomery asked Span if he wished to offer an excuse. Span said no. “Then,” declared the colonel, “you will be shot at half-past nine this morning.”

****What today’s history books carefully conceal in the USCT story, is that refusal to submit to conscription in this organization, could mean the loss of one’s freedom, and indeed, the loss of one’s life. You won’t find these examples (and there are many more than the few listed here), in any National Park Service Presentation. Perhaps if the NAACP and like-minded organizations want to pursue “reparations,” for past wrongs they should start here.

“War Crimes Against Southern Civilians,” Walter Brian Cisco, Pages 173 -174
“When Federals came through the neighborhoods of Guntown and Saltillo Mississippi, they committed the usual theft and destruction of property. But they were particularly zealous to take all the slaves they could, presumably needing their labor. Rev. James Agnew wrote in his journal that “the Yankees shot two of Thomas Burris’ negroes down in the yard because they would not go with them.”

****Apparently, even “Father Abraham,” whose pursuit of victory in this war knew no boundaries or limits, was appalled by Union conscription methods:

“Southern Negroes 1861 – 1865,” By Bell Irvin Wiley, Page 310
“…Complaint is made to me that you are forcing Negroes into the military service, and even torturing them, riding them on rails and the like to extort their consent…The like must not be done…Answer me on this.”  (Lincoln to a recruiting officer in Kentucky, February 1865)

****The Confederate army wasn’t the only army to use black men as servants and support personnel. Not all black men in Union armies were soldiers, but other than not having to worry about being shot at, their lot, insofar as treatment goes, wasn’t any better.  I wonder if the Petersburg battlefield guide would call these men “freedom fighters?” Moreover, I wonder what these men would call the Petersburg battlefield park guide?

“A City Laid Waste,” William Gilmore Simms, Page 64
The negroes accompanying them were not numerous, and seemed almost to act as drudges and body servants. They groomed horses, waited, carried burden and in almost every instance under our eyes, appeared in a purely servile, and not a military, capacity. The men of the West treated them generally with scorn or indifference, sometimes harshly, and not unfrequently with blows. Most of those escaping from them since their departure – and they have been numerous, express themselves sufficiently satisfied with their brief taste of Yankee fraternity.

***Did the slaves really “rally ‘round the flag?” (the Union flag)…. A few of them did of course, And a few of them rallied ‘round the “Stars and Bars” as well. My money says that most felt the way Maria Sutton Clemments did….

Clemments, Maria Sutton, Arkansas (The Slave Narratives)
I don't know that there was ever a thought made bout freedom till they was fightin. Said that was what it was about. That was a white mans war cept they stuck a few niggers in front ob the Yankee lines. And some ob the man carried off some man or boy to wait on him. He so used to bein waited on. I ain't takin sides wid neither one of dem I tell you.





21 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Five Short Excerpts: The Loyal – and the Not-So Loyal

Its 4 in favor and one against – Send these stories to your liberal friends –
along with some paper bags for when they start to hyperventilate.

301 Confederate Veteran September 1896.
OLD CONFEDERATE DAYS.

-In regard to the loyalty of the slaves, be it said to their eternal credit, no race was ever more loyal and helpful than they, during those four years of bloody strife. They took special pride in the feeling that they were the only protectors of the mistress at home during the absence of her natural protector and guardian.
-A certain lady was told that her negroes were holding nightly meetings in her kitchen, and it was suspected that they were making arrangements to desert the enemy. One night, a low, earnest sound was heard from that locality. Creeping softly along to hear what the conspiracy might be, the mistress found the entire group of negroes on their knees, while one of them was offering up an earnest petition to the "Fader in Hebben," and praying Him to "bress missis and de chillun, an pertickler de youngmasters in de wah."

-A ten dollar Confederate bill is now kept as a memento of an old nurse who, after the war, brought it to her mistress to "he'p 'er ter git along."
-An old negro man who had been his master's body servant, brought a store of provisions and laying it before his former owner, said: "Marster, it mos' breaks my heart to see yo' an' ole miss in dis yere shanty, but 'would break 'tirely to know yo' was hongry an' couldn't git nuffin to eat."
His master, brushingthe tears from his eyes, said: "Tom, I can't take these things from. you and leave you and your children to starve."The faithful old man replied: "No danger o' dat, Marster, Tom is used to he] pin' hisself, but you an' ole miss nebber could do dat." The master, greatly touched by this show of affectionate gratitude, said: "Tom, we have fallen upon evil days, but perhaps I may live to repay you for your kindness."Lord, Marster, replied the old man, "You's done dat time an' agin fur all dese years, an' I'se sho' it's my time to tek keer o' yo' an' ole miss."
-The negresses would sell any of their home products for finery. A veil with these dusky dames would bring any amount in butter, eggs or chickens, the blacker the skin, the more ardent the desire to "dress like de white folks."When the Federal Army was leaving Columbia, a number of the negroes followed, some of them going in their Masters' carriages. One old dame thus seated, dressed in all the finery she could lay her hands on including a white lace veil and fanning herself vigorously with a huge palmetto fan, although it was February, was met by an acquaintance, who hailed her after this fashion, "Hello. Aunt Sallie, whar yo' gwine?"Nodding her head with a patronizing air, she answered, "Lor', honey, I'se gwine back inter de Union."  And she got there. In less than six months afterwards, word came back to Columbia that she was "doing time in a prison for pilfering from her Northern mistress."






22 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
A Letter……

…..which our neo-abolitionist “friends” probably prefer not to remember. 

SLAVES AND MASTERS.
40  Confederate Veteran January 1903.
W. H. Councill, colored, an Alabama teacher of an industrial school near Huntsville, writes to J. M. Falkner, Esq., the chief benefactor of the Confederate Home for Alabama, in which he makes a generous offer and some remarkable statements. The letter is as follows:
Dear Sir: In writing to you the other day in reference to the philanthropic work at Mountain Creek for the Confederate Veterans, I neglected to say that we should be proud to assist you in your laudable enterprise if you should desire us. We can furnish you at any time ten or fifteen carpenters, painters, blacksmiths, and others who might be useful in building up your soldiers' home. We should be glad to work a week or ten days without money and without price. Our shoe department will be glad to furnish you with at least a dozen pairs of shoes a year for those grand old men who followed Lee's tattered banners down to Appomattox, leaving their bloody footprints over the snow covered hills of Virginia

Although I came up from the other side of the flood and drank of the dregs of the cup of slavery, still I honor those gray haired veterans, and I feel that, when they pass away and when their old slaves have passed away, in a measure the power of the balance wheel of Southern society will be gone. The propriety of this offer on my part may be called into question by those who do not measure slavery as I do. I feel that the slaves got more out of slavery than did their masters, in that the slaves were helped from the lowest state of barbarism to Christian citizenship of the greatest government the world ever knew.





23 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The White Limosine Liberal - A plague now and a plague then.

The white liberals, who have been posing as our friends, have failed us. Once we see that all these other sources to which we've turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self-help program, a do it yourself philosophy, a do it right now philosophy, an it's already too late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with – Malcom X

Why am I quoting Malcom X? Because it’s the one thing he ever said that I am in complete philosophical agreement with! The title of this piece speaks for itself. The Limosine Liberal is nothing new. He or she has always been around to stir up the pot. What does the white liberal have to do with Black History? A lot unfortunately – Here’s a few examples from the Reconstruction era. They say that some things never change – and they’re right. Thing of it is, these excerpts have an eerily familiar modern-day ring to them….

-“It’s no harm for a hungry colored man to make a raid on a chicken coop or corn pile”, thus spoke carpetbagger Crockett in King William Country Virginia , June 1896, in the Walker-Wells campaign at a meeting opened with a prayer by Rev. Mr. Collins, northern missionary.
Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, page 316,

-A garrulous negress, was entertaining of the (northern) women with hair raising accounts of cruelties practiced upon her by whites when, as a slave, she cooked for them. The schoolmarm asked, “Why didn’t you black people poison all the whites and get your freedom that way? You’re the most patient people on earth or you would have done so.” A “mammy”, who overheard administered a stinging rebuke: “Dat would ha’ been a sin even ef our white folks wuz ez mean ez Sukey Ann ‘been tellin’. Mine wuz good to me. Sukey Ann jes been tellin’ you dem tales tuh see how she kin wuk you up.” Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, page 314

-NO matter how outrageous an act committed by a black, many southerners felt the root cause lay in the North. “The poor negroes don’t do us any harm except when they re put up to it.”, rationalized one southern woman. “Even when they murdered that white man and quartered him, I believe pernicious teachings were responsible.”, Spencer Bidwell King Jr., “A Wartime Journal of a Georgia Girl”, P. 344

-…Similarly, northern missionaries were viewed as the long arm of radical Republicans, whose object is simply to disease the whites of this section by exalting the blacks. …
* “Now children”, began the daily chant of a yankee teacher In Louisville to a class of black students, “you don’t think white people are any better than you because they have straight hair and white faces?,
* “No sir”
* “no, they are no better, but they are different”, continued the instructor. “They possess great power. They control this vast country. Now what makes them different from you?”
*“ MONEY!
*“ Yes, but how did they get money?”
*“ Got it off us. Stole it off we all!”
“Nobody Knows the Trouble They Seen – Black People Tell the Story of Reconstruction”,
Dorothy Sterling, P 28
  



24 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Reconstuction – That Warm and Fuzzy Story of Social Progress!?

 “The South Carolina government is the worst in the world”, said the NY Journal of Commerce in commenting on the taxpayers’ gatherings. Not only were land owners and businessmen bearing the burden of bad government, but the “humblest blacks and whites suffer from the wolves of Columbia, and should be glad to join forces with the taxpayer to exterminate them politically”
Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Walter Brian Cisco, P. 211

I was born, raised and educated in the north, but when I went to school, one word always found in association with any narrative about the Reconstruction period was - CORRUPTION! How odd that the word seems to have DISAPPEARED from the modern day academic’s vocabulary?!

According to neo-abolitionist historians, “Reconstruction” is now a warm and fuzzy story of social progress, snuffed out by the evils of white supremacy. Blacks held office in record numbers, according to one such historian, and were active in politics, voting and giving “stump speeches”.

The question begs, for those with enough courage to ask it aloud:

How do a people who were slaves not more than 2 years ago, acquire the knowledge necessary to be able to do such things and do them COMPETENTLY – and on such a grand scale??  Moreover, “freedom” also entails the responsibility for supporting oneself, something I would think would be a major undertaking for the inexperienced Freedman. So where did the Freedman find the free time to participate so heavily in politics? Finally, who the hell put him up to it? (See the story about “Limosine Liberals” for the answer to that one)

One Freedman’s Bureau official declared that blacks “must be allowed their civil rights to sue and be sued and to testify in court, but 19 in 20 are no more fit for the political responsibilities and duties of a citizen than my horse”.-  Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, Page 178,

With 200 black trial justices, South Carolina had more than her share of funny happenings, as of tragic. A gentlemen who had to appear before some tribunal wrote us, “Whom do you suppose I found in the seat of law? Pete, my erstwhile stable-boy! He does not know A from Z, had not the faintest idea of what was to be done”. -  “Mars Charles, you jes fix ‘tup, please suh. You jes write down whut you think orter be wroted an’ I’ll put my mark anywhar you tell me” - Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, Page 192

Into a store in Wilmington sauntered a sable alderman whom the merchant had known from boyhood as “Sam”.

Merchant: What’s the matter Sam? (as Sam walked out of the store)
Sam: (stalking back into the store) Suh, you didn’ treat me wid proper respecks.
Merchant: How Sam?
Sam: You called me Sam, which my name is Mr. Gary.
Merchant: You’re a damned fool! There’s the door!
- Gary had the merchant up in the mayor’s court.
Mayor: What’s the trouble?
Sam: Dis man consulted me.
Mayor: You ought to feel flattered. What did he do to you?
Sam: He called me Sam, suh.
Mayor: Ain’t that your name?
Sam: My name’s Mr. Gary.
Mayor: Ain’t it Sam too?
Sam: yessuh, but –
Mayor: Well, there ain’t any law to compel a man to call another “Mister”. Case dismissed.
Sam: (muttering) Dar gwi be a law ‘bout dat.
Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, Page 193

A Regimental Chaplain of the 128th US colored troops, stationed in Beaufort SC, stated that “the more intelligent of his men believed there should be a literacy qualification for voting, as “you ought never to undertake a job unless you know how to do it.- ” Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco

Among extraneous resolutions adopted by delegates, one recommended that laws eventually be passed banning terms like “negro”, “nigger” or “yankee”. The exercise went on for 53 days and cost the taxpayer $110,000. (The Charleston Convention, January 14, 1868), Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, pp. 178, 191-192,  

General Sherman said, “We all felt sympathy for the negroes, but of a different kind from that of Mr. Stanton, which was not of pure humanity, but of politics….I did not dream that the former slaves, without preparation, would be manufactured into voters…I doubted the wisdom of at once clothing them with the elective franchise….and realized the national loss in the death of Mr. Lincoln, who had long pondered over the difficult questions involved.” - Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, Page 281-282

Hamp, Simmons, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
"The Yankees promised niggers a gray mule and forty acres when they were freed, but the niggers ought to have known that wasn't so, because there wern't that many gray mules in the United States."

Henri Necaise, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
It was dem Carpetbaggers dat 'stroyed de country. Dey went an' turned us loose, jas' lak a passel o' cattle, an' didn' show us nothin' or giv' us nothin'. Dey was acres an' acres o' lan' not in use, an' lots o' timber in die country.

Henry, Garry, Alabama Henri, (The Slave Narratives)
Seems lak dar warn't no trouble 'mongst de whites an' blacks ''til atter de wah. Some white mens come down from de Norf' an' mess up wid de nigger……….."Git rid of de carpetbaggers? Oh, Yassah, dey vote 'em out.






25 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
More Reconstuction – the Warm and Fuzzy Story of Social Progress!?

Robert E. Lee“But this opposition springs from no feeling of enmity, but from a deep seated conviction that at present, the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power. They would inevitably become the victims of demagogues, who, for selfish purposes, would mislead them to the serious injury of the public.”

When you look at Lee’s comments and consider what transpired afterward, you’d have to wonder if he was making a prediction when he made that statement – one that unfortunately came true! When you can’t read, when you can’t write, when you’ve never had any more practical experience in this life other than tilling a field or picking cotton, it goes without saying that you’re not going to be a very good legislator. The ramblings of Virginia Representative Lewis Lindsay below seems hilarious, until you realize that he was actually an “elected” public official! Despite his ignorance, he is observant enough to notice that the limosine liberals, like their modern counterparts, often do not “walk the walk”, even though they “talk the talk”.

The following excerpts and accounts can be found in Myrta Lockett Avary’s “Dixie After the War”, on pages 253-260:

-The Black and Tan Conventions met December 3, 1867 in our venerable and historic Capitol to frame a new constitution for the Old Dominion. In this body were members from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, District of Columbia, Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia, Canada, England, scalawags or turncoats by Southerners most hated of all: 24 negroes and 35 white Virginians in a total of 105, chaired by John. C. Underwood of New York. -

-Visitors went to the Capitol as to a monkey or minstrel show. Most of these darkeys, fresh from tobacco lots and corn and cotton fields, were as innocent as babes of any knowledge of reading and writing. They were equally guileless in other directions. Before the body was organized, an enthusiastic delegate bounced up to say something, but the Chair nipped him untimely in the bud: “No motion is in order until the roll is called. Gentlemen will please remember parliamentary usage.” The member sank limp into his seat asking in awed whisper of his neighbor: “Whut id de worl’ is dat?” Perplexity was great when a member rose to “make an inquiry”. “What dat he gwi make?” was whispered round, the question being settled summarily: “Well, it don’ make no diffunce”. We ain’ gwi let him do it nohow case he ain’ no Radicule”.  (Radicule, the bastardization of the word “Radical”, i.e., the Radical wing of the republican party which pushed the punitive Reconstruction Acts and posed as a friend to the southern black)  

-Black, white, and yellow paiges flew around, waiting on members; the blacker the dignitary, the whiter the page he summoned to bring pens, ink, paper, apples, ginger-cakes, goober-peas. And newspapers! No sooner did darkeys observe that whites sent out and got newspapers than they did likewise; and sat there reading them upside down!

-The Gallery of colored men and women come to see the show were almost as diverting as the lawmakers. Great were the flutterings over the seating of John Morrissey, the “wild Irishmean”, mistaken for his namesake, the New York Pugilist. “Dat ain’t de man dat fit Tom Higher? I tell you it am! Sho’ got muscle! He cum tuh fit dem Preservatives over dar”. According to the happy darkey knack of saying the wrong thing in the right place, a significant version of “Conservative” was thus applied to the little handful of representative white Virginians.

-Curiosity was on tip-toe when motion was made that a stenographer be appointed. “Snographer? What’s dat?? Maybe it’s de pusson whut takes down de speeches befo’ dee’s spoken”, explained a wise one.

-…this occasion for eloquence was not to be ignored by the Honourable Lewis Lindsay, representing Richmond. “Mistah Preisdet, I hopes in dis late hour dat Ole Fuhginny am imperilated, dat no free-thinkin’ man kin suppose fuh one minute dat we ‘sires tuh misrippersint de idée dat we ain’ qualify de sability uh de sternogrhy uh dis convention. I hopes, suh, dat we kin den be able tuh superhen’ de principles uh de supposition”  

-(The Honourable Lewis Lindsay Again) – on the subject of mixed race schools - “Mistah Presidet, de real flatform suh. I’ll sw’ar tuh high heaven. Yes, I’ll sw’ar higher dan dat. I’ll go down an’ de uth shall crumble intuh dus’ befo’ dee shall amalgamise my rights! ‘Bout dis question uh cyapret-bags. Ef you cyapret-baggers does go back on us, woes be unto you! You better take yo’ cyarpet-bags an’ quit, and de quicker you git up an’ git de better! I do not abdicate de superstition tuh des strange frien’s, lately so-called citizens of fuhginny. Ef dee don’ gimme my rights, I’ll suffer dis country tuh be lak Sarah. I’ll suffer desterlation fus! When I blows my horn, dee’ll hear it! When de big cannons was thund’in an’ de missions uh death was flyin’ thu de a’r, dee holldreed: {“come, Mr Nigguh, come! And he done come! I’se here tuh qualify my constituents. I’ll sing tuh Rome an’ tuh Engla’ and tuh de uttermos’ parts u de uth”

-That clause against mixed schools was a rock upon which the Radical Party split, white members with children voting for separate education of races; most darkeys “didn’t want no sech claw in de law”.

-….Lindsay took occasion to wither white “Radicules” on the color distribution in the gallery. “Whar is de white Radicule members’ wives and chillun?” -  waving his hands towards the white section. “When dee comes here, dee mos’ly set dar se’ves on dat side de House, whilst I brings mine on dis side…”

-….They voted themselves per diem salaries and used up $70000 of the $100,000 that was available in the state treasury. … General Schofield, military governor, spoke to the convention and scolded them on their extravagance, and on their resolutions excluding white Virginians. They ignored him. The Convention eventually adjourned because someone said the Ku Klux Klan was on the way.




26 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Still More Reconstuction – the Warm and Fuzzy Story of Social Progress!?

“You are free – free to seek your own happiness – free to do the best you can for yourselves – free to work and free to starve if you do not work. Freedom has its duties as well as its pleasures. And the first duty of every free man is to support himself and his family.” Wade Hampton to an audience of Freedmen, 1866

Neo-Abolitionist historians whine about the way that veterans of the north and the south supposedly forgot America’s responsibilities to the Freedman.The reason that the south’s veterans would have preferred to forget about the disaster of Reconstruction is obvious.
But, as the liberal historians claim, the north also wanted to forget! Why would the north rather forget Reconstruction? Let’s ask a reformed carpetbagger named Chamberlain, (not the guy on Little Round Top), who was the Republican Reconstruction Governor of South Carolina until 1876.

(From an article in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine of 1901.)

Republican Governor Daniel Chamberlain’s Reflections

Chamberlain blamed Republican politicians for putting the white south under the heel of the black south. “Lust for power was their motivation. If this is a hard saying, let any one now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have passed if the negro vote had been believed to be democratic?”

To this feast of reconstruction, this dance of reunion, rushed hundreds, even thousands of white and colored men from the North, who had almost as little experience of public affairs as the negroes of the south….and who were not morally the equals of the negroes of the south. Some of these carpetbaggers may have been “unselfish doctrinaires, humanitarians and idealists but most were simply opportunists. The result was inevitable.

In the mass of 78000 colored voters in South Carolina in 1867, what elements or forces could have existed that made for good government? Ought it not to have been as clear then as it is now that good government, or even tolerable administration, could not be had from such an aggregation of ignorance and inexperience and incapacity?

The quick sure result was of course, misgovernment. Let a few statistics tell the tale:

Before the war, the average expense of the annual session of the legislature in South Carolina did not exceed $20000. For the 6 years following reconstruction, the average annual expense was over $320000, the expense of the session of 1871 alone being $671000! The total legislative expenses for the 6 years was $2,339,000!

The state’s debt soared to $17,500,000, but without a single public improvement to show for it!

No such result could be possible, except where public and private virtue was well-nigh extinct….Public offices were objects of vulgar, commonplace bargain and sale. Justice in the lower and higher courts was bought and sold….State militia on a vast scale was organized and equipped in 1870 and 1871 solely from the negroes, arms and legal organization being denied to the democrats.

The writer remembered one black county school commissioner who was unable to read or even to write his own name. He was corrupt, too, as he was ignorant. No northern state would have tolerated such an official. One morning he was found dead, shot by the famous and infamous Ku Klux Klan. Their brutal and murderous actions were without excuse. Yet, it was symptomatic of a dreadful disease – the gangrene of incapacity, dishonesty and corruption in public office.



27 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Demagoguery and Corruption - “Radicule Style”

“You complain of the disfranchisement of the Negro in the southern states, while you would not give them the right of suffrage today.”  - (President Andrew Johnson to an Ohio audience)

Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the party forcing these measures, (black suffrage), said of negro suffrage: “If it be a punishment to rebels, they deserve it - Thaddeus Stevens’

A silver-tongued demagogue captivates his gullible audience during Reconstruction:

*The Young Carpetbagger makes a Speech and the Crowd Comments:
Carpetbagger: Dear friends, I rejoice to find myself in this noble company of patriots. I see before me men and women who are bulwarks of the nation; ready to give their money, to work, to die, if need be, for freedom. Freedom, my friends, is another name for the great Republican Party.
Crowd Comments and Behavior: Hise you’ mouf tellin’ dat truf! Dat’s so! Halleluia! Glory be tuh Gawd!
Carpetbagger:  The Republican Party gave you freedom and will preserve it inviolate!
Crowd Comments: (Applause; whispers) What dat he spoken ‘bout?? Sho’ use big words! Dat man got sense. He know what he takin’ ‘bout ef we don’t?
Carpetbagger: That party was unknown in this grand old state until a few months ago. It has been rotten-egged!....
Crowd Comments and Behavior: Now ain’t dat a shame!
Carpetbagger: ….although its speakers have only advocated the teachings of the Holy Bible
Crowd Comments and Behavior: Glory Halleluia! Glory to de Labm! Jesus, my Marster!
Carpetbagger: The Republican Party is your friend that has led you out of the wilderness into the Promised Land!
Crowd Comments and Behavior: (Glories and halleluias reached climax in which two sisters were carried out shouting) Disshere getting’ too much lak er ‘ligious meetin’ tuh suit me (a sinner observed)
Carpetbagger: You do not need me to tell you never to vote for one of these white traitors and rebels who held you as slaves.
Crowd Comments and Behavior: Dat we ain’t! We’ll see ‘em in hell fust!
Carpetbagger: We have fought for you on the field of battle. Now you must organize and fight for yourselves.
Crowd Comments and Behavior: We gwi do it too! Dat we is! We gwi fight!
Carpetbagger: We gave given you freedom. We intend to give you property. We, the Republican Party, propose to confiscate the land of these white rebels and traitors and give it to you, to whom it justly belongs – forty acres and a mule and $100 to every one of you! (the Chairman exhausted himself seeking to subdue enthusiasm.) The Republican Party cannot do this unless you give it your support. If the white men carry the elections, they will put you back into slavery.
Dixe After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary

***Were the radical Republicans really concerned about black civil rights? Judge for yourself.

When the war ended there were but five states, all in New England, and all having minuscule black populations – that permitted equal voting rights. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Ohio and Kansas, each rejected black suffrage when that issue was raised after the war. An 1865 referendum in the District of Columbia found 35 voters willing to allow the freedman the right to vote and 6951 opposed. - Wade Hampton, Confederate General, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, P 177




28 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Persecution of the Black Conservative

Whether it’s someone saying that Chief Justice Clarence Thomas isn’t really black, or that Candy Rice’s hair is “funny” looking, or that Walter Williams is a “neo-confederate”, black conservatives generally take it on the chin from those in the black community who make their living through race baiting, and from those in the white community for whom white WHINE is their beverage of choice! The thing of it is that not all that much has changed since post-war WBTS America. In fact, it’s an old story.

Blacks who openly sided with (Wade) Hampton often found themselves persecuted. Some were expelled from their churches, shunned by family, or abandoned by wives. The Republican press denounced black democrats as “jail birds” or “lackeys”. Physical threats were common. In Marion County, two black democrats were fired on. Their assailants, also black, were quickly released. Hampton supporter, Tom Elsey, was badly injured by buckshot in a night ambush. His attackers were never arrested. Another black Democrat, William Black of Yorkville, left his horse at a local stable while he traveled to a political meeting. He returned to find the animal strangled with a rope. White friends collected money to buy a replacement. In upper Orangeburg, County, a black democrat was beaten severely and his home burned. - Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, P. 233

 “Kill him, Kill him!”, cried negroes when at Hudson Station, Virginia, a negro cast a Conservative Ticket. ………….Even the negroes wanting to vote with us dared not. One of my old servants, who sincerely desired to follow my advice and example in the casting of the ballot, came to me on the even of the election and sadly told me he could not. He said he was told he would be drummed out of his church if he did…..”A negro preacher said “Mars Clay, dee’ll take away my license tuh preach ef I votes de white folks’ ticket…..I did not cease to reproach myself for inducing one negro to vote with me when I learned that on the death of his child soon afterward, his people showed no sympathy, gave no help, and that he had to make the coffin and dig the grave himself. I would have helped him myself had I known, but he was too terrorized to come to me….” - Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, Page 285

…I knows myse’f dat dis way we niggers is a-doin an a-votin’ ain’ de bes’ way fu de country – anybody kin see dat. But den I got tuh vote de ‘Publican tickewt, suh. We all has.  Las’ ‘lection I voted de Democrack ticket an’ dee killed my cow. Abum, he vote de Democrack ticket; dee killed his colt.’ …………Monday counted off the negroes who had voted the “Democrack” ticket and every one had been punished. One had been bombarded in his cabin, another’s rice crop had been taken – even the ground swept up and every grain carried off, leaving him utterly destitute………. “”I knows myse’f dat dis way we niggers is a-doin an a-votin’ ain’ de bes’ way fuh de country, anybody kin see dat. But den I got tuh vote de ‘Publican ticket suh. We all has. Las ‘lection I voted de Democrack ticket an’ dee killed my cow. Abum, he vote de Democrack ticket; dee killed his colt………..Monday counted off the negroes who had voted the “Democrack” ticket, and every one of them had been punished. One had been bombarded in his cabin; another’s rice crop had been taken – even the ground swept up and every grain carried off, leaving him utterly desititute. “I tell you, suh”, said Monday, “I got tuh do it on my ‘count, an’ on you’ ‘count. You make me fo’man and ‘ef I didn’t vote de ‘Publican ticket, I could’ make dese niggers wuk. I coul’ do nothin’ ‘tall wid ‘em”. - Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, P. 347

. ….Complaints against black troops alleged not only mistreatment of whites but harassment of fellow blacks as well. A freedwoman in Norfolk, considered to be a violent and “bitter Rebel”, was put to work sweeping the streets, more for humiliation than for legitimate punishment. - The Day Dixie Died, Thomas and Debra Goodrich, Page 155



29 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The Union League vs Southern Civilians… and a “Black Confederate”

The following story illustrates the helplessness of the South in the face of a conqueror. It does however, have an ending that is both happy and surprising. 

The Union League Crimes – Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary, Pages 265-267

In a South Carolina mansion, Mrs. Vincent and her daughter lived alone except for a few faithful ex-slaves. A cabin on the edge of the plantation was rented to Wash, a negro member of the Loyal League, whose organizer was Captain Johnson, commander of a small garrison in a nearby town. The captain was fond of imposing fines upon whites against whom negroes entered complaint. There seemed nice adjustment between fines and defendants’ available cash.

One day, Wash, pushing past Lucy’s maid into the Vincent parlor, said to Lucy’s mother, “I’se come to cote Miss Lucy” “Leave the house!” “I ain’ gwi leave no suchy a thing! I’se gwi marry Lucy an’ live here wid you.” Lucy appeared. “I’se come to ax you to have me. I’se de ve’y man fuh you to hitch up wid. Dis here place b’long to me. You b’long to me.” She whipped out a pistol and covered him. “Run! Run for your life!” He ran. When he was out of pistol-shot, he turned and yelled: “You damned white she-cat! I’ll make you know!” She caught up a musket and fired. Balls whistled past his head; he renewed his flight.

Next morning, as the ladies, paled and miserable, sat at breakfast, a squad of soldiers filed in, took seats, helped themselves, and ordered the butler around. The ladies rose and were arrested. A wagon was at the door. “Please, marsters”, said black Jerry humbly, “lemme hitch up de kerridge and kyar Misstiss and “Miss Lucy in it. ‘Taint fitten fuh ‘em to ride in a waggin- an wid strange mens.”. His request was refused.

The ladies were arraigned before Captain Johnson on a charge that they had used insulting language to Mr. Washington Singleton Pettigru; and that Lucy, “in defiance of law an morals and actuated by the devil”, had, “without provocation”, fired on him with intent to kill. A fine of $1000 or 6 months in jail was imposed. “I have no such money”, cried Mrs. Vincent. “Jail may change your mind” replied Captain Johnson.

Lawyers flocked to their defense; the captain would hear none. Toward nightfall, the town filled with white men wearing set faces. The captain sent for one of the lawyers. The lawyer said: “Unless you release those ladies from the jail, no one can tell what may happen. But this I believe; you, nor a member of your garrison will be alive tomorrow.”

They were released, fine remitted; the captain left in haste. An officer came from Columbia to investigate “disorder in the district”. He condemned Johnson’s course and tried to reassure the community. It came out that Johnson had received information that Mrs. Vincent held a large, redeemable note; he had incited Wash to “set up” to Miss Lucy, urging that by marrying her he would become the plantation’s owner; “Call in your best duds and ask for her to marry you. If she refuses, we will find a way to punish her.” Wash, it was thought, had fled the country. The negro body servant of Lucy’s dead brother had felt that the duty of avenger devolved upon him and in his own way he had slain Wash and covered up the deed.




30 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Massa Robert Toombs”

The following short narrative was given by a woman who was a slave of General Robert Toombs. Toombs, one of the defenders of slavery as an institution, appears to have treated his charges in as good a manner as could have been expected of anyone living in his time and in his situation, at least according to Alonza Toombs. In any case, it would appear that not everyone who owned a slave had horns growing out of his or her head.

Toombs, Alonza Fantroy
(Alabama, Gertha Couric, John Morgan Smith)

Missy," said Alonza Fantroy Toombs, "I'se de proudest nigger in de worl', 'caze I was a slave belonging to Marse Robert Toombs of Georgia; de grandest man dat ever lived, next to Jesus Christ. He was de bes' stump speaker in de State, an' he had mo' frien's dan a graveyard has ghosts. He was sho a kin' man, an' dere warn't no one livin' who loved his wife an' home mo' dan Marse Bob. "Lissy," Uncle Lon continued, "he was near 'bout de greates' man dat eber come outen de South. He were a good business man; he were straight as dey make 'em, am he sho enjoy playin' a good joke on someone. I useta see him a walkin' down de road in de early mornin' an' I knowed it were him f'um a long  distance, 'caze he was so tall. I guess you knowed all 'bout his livin' in de State legislature an' in de United States Congress an' a bein' a gen'l in de war an' him bein' de secretary of State in de confederacy.

"I was bawn on Marse Bob's plantation in de Double Grade Quartes. My pappy's name was Sam Fantroy Toombs an' my mammy was Isabella Toombs. In de slabery times I was too young to work in de fiel's, my job was to hunt an' fish an' feed de stock in de evenin'. My pappy was a preacher an' Marse Bob learnt him to read and write, an' would let him go f'um plantation to plantation on de Sabbath Day a-. preachin de gospel. He was Marse Bob's carriage driver.

"Mass'm. white folks, Marse Bob was a good provider, too. Us niggers et at home on Sundays, an' us had fried chicken, pot pies, beef, pork, an' hot coffee. On de udder days, our meals was fixed for us so dat de time us got for res' could be spent dat way. On Sadday us stopped work at noon an' would come wid our vessels to git flour, sugar, lard an' udder supplies. My mammy's pots an' pans was so bright dat dey looked like silver, an' she was one on de bes' cooks in de lan'. She useta cook fine milk yeast bread an' cracklin' bread. All us slaves on Marse Bob's place was cared for lak de white folks. We had de white folks doctor to treat us when we was sick. We had good clothes, good food an' we was treated fair. Dere warn't no mean peoples on our plantation.
"White lady, I 'members Marse Bob's smoke house mos' of all. It had everything in it f'um 'possum to deer; an' de wine cellar! Don't say nothin'! Dat was de place I longed to roam. But marse Bob, he drink too much. Dat was his only fault. He hit de bottle too hard. I couldn't understand it neither, caze he lef' off smokin' in later years when he thought it warn't good for him; but he keppa drinkin'!

"I been ma'ied twice, Mistis, De fus' time to Ida Walker. She died at childbirth; de little fella died too. Den I ma'ied Alice James, an' she's been gone nigh on to twenty year now. My pappy, Rev. Sam Fantroy ma'ied me both times.

"Atter de S'render, nary a slave lef' Marse Bob. He gib eve'y nigger over twenty-one a mule, some lan' an' a house to start off wid. Yassum, Mistis, I kin read an' write; my pappy learnt me how. I'm eighty-six year old now an' still goin' strong, ceptin' 'bout six years ago I had a stroke. But I cone out all right. I lives here wid my sister an' she's good to me. De only thing lef' for me to do is to wish dat when I cross dat ribber I can slip back to de ole place to see some of my frien's."
(Wash. Copy, 6/2/37, L. H.)


31 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
Another side to the Story of Reconstruction

While it would appear that at least initially, most Freedmen sided with the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction, there were some who refused to run with the herd. While some modern day readers might find it uncomfortable to read some of their thoughts on what they experienced, their words and stories do deserve to be heard and considered.

*Note – “Red Shirts” is a reference to the paramilitary rifle clubs used by Wade Hampton during his run for governor of South Carolina in 1876. The “clubs” were used to counter the tendency on the part of the Radical Republicans to use the (primarily black) state militia to enforce its will. There were also a number of black “Red Shirt Rifle Clubs”.

Beaufort South Carolina – 90% black. Hampton met at the station by a Red Shirt escort that included a contingent of blacks. Among these black Red Shirts may have been “the mounted black cadre”, a group that traveled to Join Hampton at some of his campaign stops around the state. Several in the cadre were black Confederate veterans.  - Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, P. 239

Ed Barber, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"It's been a long time since I see you. Maybe you has forgot but I ain't forgot de fust time I put dese lookers on you, in '76. Does you 'members dat day? It was in a piece of pines beyond de Presbyterian Church, in Winnsboro, S. C. Us both had red shirts.

Martha Lowery, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"My parents were free Negroes and were considered in comfortable circumstances when I was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1853," said Martha Lowery.

"By that time the government, a so called carpet bag government, backed by troops had a backing known as Freedmen's aid and government was by ex-slaves and white men, mostly from the North. I have always thought that if the ex-slaves had been advised at that time and lead by South Carolina white men a great deal of the reconstruction confusion would have been avoided. As it was there was too much graft in it, and far too little interest.

"The 1876 campaign was between General Hampton and Governor Chamberlin, a so called carpetbagger, who ruled by the federal bayonet right, and the carpetbag outfit made a tremendous effort to poll all the black vote, but Negroes generally know much more than they were given credit for and they refused to be lead as sheep to the slaughter, and a vast majority of them voted for their friend, General Hampton. At that time there was plenty signs that the leadership of the South intended to make full citizens of the Negroes and live in accord with them.

Henry Green, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Well, Boss Man, yo done ax me en I sho gwine ter tell yo de truf. Yes sir, I sho is voted, on I 'members do time well dat do niggers in do cotehouse on de Red Shirts hab ter git 'em out. Dat was do bes' thing dat dey eber do when dey git de niggers outen de cotehouse en quit 'em frum holdin' de offices, kase er nigger not fit ter be no leader….

D. Davis, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"Atter de war dey hed de carpet-baggers en de Klu Klux bofe, en de white folks dey didn't lak de carpet-baggers tolerable well, dat dey didn't. I don't know who de carpet-baggers was but dey was powful mean, so de white folks say. You know sum way er udder de Yankees er de carpet-baggers er sum ob de crowd, dey put de niggers in de office at de cote house, en er makein de laws at de statehouse in Jackson. Dat was de craziest bizness dat dey eber cud er done, er puttin dem ignorant niggers whut cudn't read er write in dem places. I tell yo, Capn, den whut put doss niggers in de office dey mus not had es much since es de niggers, kase dey mought know dat hit wudn't wuk, en hit sho didn't auk long. Dey hed de niggers messed up in sum kind er clubs whut dey swaded dem to jine, en gib em all er drum ter beat, en dey all go marchin er roun er beatin de drums en goin ter de club meetins. Den ignorant niggers wud sell out fer er seegar er a stick er candy.

Campbell Armstrong, Arkansas, (The Slave Narratives)
"I knew Jerry Lawson, who was Justice of Peace. He was a nigger. a low-down devil. Man, then niggers done more dirt in this city. The Republicans had this city and state. I went to the polls and there was very few white folks there. I knew several of them niggers---Mack Armstrong, he was Justice of Peace. I can't call the rest of them. Nothing but old thieves. …..

Aaron Ray, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)
"De day dat Marse tolt de slave dat dey was free, dem niggers jes' nacherly went wild. Dey shouted, danced, sang an' was more dan happy. Dey jes' was drunk wid de joy. Some ob dem ran off in de woods er shoutin' 'I kin run whar I wanter now, ain't no dogs ner no patty roller eber gwine git me agin'.' Some ob 'em jes' run clar off an' I don' know whar, case dey didn't cum back eber. But de mos' ob de oldes' ones, dey calmed down 'bout de nex' mawnin' an' den dey begin ter ask 'Whar us gwine stay, an' how us gwine eat? Dar ain't no Yankee mans cum ter gib us noddin'.' No'm dey didn't gib us noddin' much, case all de w'ite folks hab lef' atter de war, was jes' de lan' dey lib on……

…….Dar sho' was some 'citin' times har 'bout 1871. Dat year dey had a special 'lection. An' stid ob hit bein' one day lak now, dey had hit fer four whole days an' eberyboddy from all ober de county had ter come right here to Waco to vote. Dey had hit f'om October 3 to de 6th. An' dar was two 'Publicans an' two Democrats dat helt dis here 'lection. Dem Democrat men wore pistols in er holster under dere arms an' dey didn't know but what dey git shot eny minnit. De Davis militia was all 'roun de court house, an a lot ob nigger who was jes' crazy ober gittin' freed an' so swole up wid 'portance dey lak er bus'. Ebery time a Southern man 'ud come to vote, dese soljers an' de cullud police 'ud jeer an' take on an' 'sult dem. Dey made dese Southerners walk one atter de odder on a plank lane between de Yankees soljers an' dese negro police ter git ter de place ter vote. De 'lection was at de ole Court House on de Square.

Joshua, Rivers, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)
"This ended de fightin', daddy say, but it defeated Governor Chamberlain, 'cause he say de white vote turn its back on Chamberlain, and vote for General Hampton. And some of de niggers, too, vote for General Hampton, so he was 'lected, and when Governor Chamberlain leave Columbia, de nigger power was over. I has thought 'bout it a good deal over de years, and I think it was providential for de white folks to win. I can see that de nigger, which had just gained his freedom, was not fit to govern de State."

Hamp Simmons, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
"The Yankees promised niggers a gray mule and forty acres when they were freed, but the niggers ought to have known that wasn't so, because there wern't that many gray mules in the United States." (1)

Henri Necaise, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)
……It was dem Carpetbaggers dat 'stroyed de country. Dey went an' turned us loose, jas' lak a passel o' cattle, an' didn' show us nothin' or giv' us nothin'. Dey was acres an' acres o' lan' not in use, an' lots o' timber in die country. Dey should-a give each one o' us a little farm an' let us git out timber an' build houses. Dey ought to put a white Marster over us, to show us an' make us work, only let us be free 'stead o' slaves. I think dat would-a been better'n turnin' us loose lak dey done.

Matilda Pugh Daniel, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)
"Durin' de war us warn't bothered much, but atter de surrender, some po' white trash tried to make us take some lan'. Some of 'em come to de slave quarters, an' talk to us. Dey say 'Niggers, you is jus' as good as de white folks. You is 'titled to vote in de 'lections an' to have money same as dey,' but most of us didn't pay no 'tention to 'em.

Joe Oliver, Texas, Slave Narratives
"After freedom my daddy went to political conventions at Austin in de days of reconstruction, an' helped to pass de laws, but de Yankees sent so many rascals down here to run things dat de Texas men would not stand for dis. Dey was called de carpet baggers, dey took de vote away from de very men dat had freed Texas from Mexico, kase dey had fought for de rebels, den dey put de nigger troops over at Tyler, kase hit was de headquarters for de Yankees. Dey put two niggers troops here, an' so dey did'nt have any better sence den to think dey could run de town, de men an women bof' was not safe to go anywhar at night for fear of dese soldiers, w'en all of a sudden dey was de Ku-Klux a ridin' up an' down de streets at night, dey was robed in w'ite, an' not a sound did dey make but dey horse hoofs a poundin' de pavements, an' in de road dat led into de city."De next mornin' dey would be de bodies of de soljers a hangin' to de trees, sometimes dey would be out in de cemeteries. Dey put de soljers guards from de nigger troops to guard de roads dat led into de town but de guards body would be found hangin' jes de same as de soljers. De soljers called dem "de w'ite devils", but pretty soon dey commenced to behave demselves, an' let de w'ite folks go 'bout dey business, an' so de troops had enough of de Ku-Klux an' was soon sent some other place.








32- Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
The USCT in Combat

To listen to modern day historians, one would think that the Confederate army had a take-no-prisoners policy when it came to black union soldiers and that the always courageous/always well-behaved USCT won the war for the Union. We are bombarded about stories of confederate atrocities perpetrated against United States Colored Troops, but we seldom hear anything about the behavior of the USCT themselves. We are left with the impression that the USCT were brave and well behaved and of course, were cruelly discriminated against by their opponents simply because of their color. While it is common these days for neo-abolitionist historians these days to criticize our “Civil War Memory”, it would appear that they have some memory deficits of their own.

The following are excerpts from the old Confederate Veteran Magazine about the action at Tishomingo Creek, which was part of the sprawling battle of Brice’s Crossroads. The first story was written by a soldier whose home was in the path of Sturgis’ advance. It appears that the behavior of the USCT there was anything but angelic. It also appears that the USCT was unaware that once you raise the Black Flag, there is no taking it down and you will inevitably receive what you asked for!! Once again, let’s roll the historical videotape!

401       Confederate Veteran September 1900.
BATTLE OF TISHOMINGO CREEK.

…When I saw these things I knew that Forrest had gained a great victory, but my heart sank at the prospect of our own losses. The Yankees had taken every grain of corn and every ounce of meat, leaving us nothing to eat. The family had not eaten anything since the previous morning, and the house had been plundered. Everything was turned upside down, and much was missing. Dead and wounded, men were lying in the house, upstairs and downstairs. Bullets had penetrated the walls in various places.  Negroes and white men had both plundered our dwelling. Nothing could move their pity, but with vandal hands they rifled trunks and bureaus, entering every room. Destruction seemed to be their aim. They even entered the negro cabins, and robbed them of their clothing. They cut the rope, and let the bucket into the well. As they went back, panting with heat and suffering with thirst, they were glad to drink such dirty slop as they could find…..

The negro troops were specially insolent. As they passed down they would shake their fists at the ladies and say that they were going to show Forrest that they were his rulers. As they returned, their tune was changed.  With tears in their eyes, some of them came to my mother and asked her what they must do, would Mr. Forrest kill them? On the retreat Sturgis was in the front, going at a trot….

..The pursuit was continued beyond Salem. On Monday, the 13th, many soldiers returned from the pursuit. Eight hundred prisoners were marched down the road that day. Some officers were among them, and they were nice looking men. It is certain that a great many negroes were killed. They wore the badge, "Remember Fort Pillow," and it was said that they carried a black flag. This incensed the Southern soldiers, and they relentlessly shot them down….


153       Confederate Veteran April 1901
STORY OF OUR GREAT WAR.
BY THE LATE MERCER OTEY, OF SAN FRANCISCO.
[Continued from the March number, 1901.]
……Immediately orders were issued to the three brigades to retrace their steps, and we started to find the enemy. Couriers were constantly arriving from Gen. (Stephen) Lee, uring all possible haste, as the column was devastating the country and committing outrages of the most fiendish kind. Women and children alone were encountered, all the men being in the ranks, and these noncombatants were made to feel the heavy hand of the spoilers. The larger part of the Federal troops were negroes that had been enlisted in Memphis, and now sent out on this raid as mounted infantry. They came breathing death and destruction, proclaiming "no quarter" to Forrest and his whole command. Their battle cry was: "Remember Fort Pillow!"

A forced march brought us in front of the column at Tishomingo Creek on the morning of January 10, and we immediately attacked, though our men and horses were badly jaded by the constant ten days in the saddle, through heavy rains and miry roads. The fight took place at Guntown, a small country post office, sometimes called Bryce's Cross Roads. It was a hot and stubborn one, but out men were maddened to fury by the news of the atrocities perpetrated by the negroes all along the line of their march from Memphis, and as the enemy had declared themselves for extermination, but little attention was given to capturing prisoners

They say that there are two sides to every story and that both sides need to be heard. Someone forgot to tell that to the “State”, the corporate-owned Pravda-like rag which masquerades as a South Carolina newspaper. Last year they published an article about Harriet Tubman’s “Combahee Raid”, glorifying the raid as an act which freed slaves, etc etc. Here’s the other side to the Combahee Raid from the perspective of a Confederate officer. Again, it appears that not all the slaves thought or behaved in exactly the same way. Since there are two sides to every story, this one needs to be examined and considered. Of course, “the State” simply ignored me when I sent them a copy of this report. I wonder why?

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVIII/2 [S# 47]
Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations On The Coasts Of South Carolina And Georgia, And In Middle And East Florida, From June 12 To December 31, 1863. CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#5
HDQRS. FOURTH BRIGADE, SOUTH CAROLINA MILITIA,
Charleston, August 3, 1863.
Brig. Gen. THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff:
SIR: I beg leave to submit to you, for your consideration, the following extract from a letter just received from one of Brig. Gen. W. S. Walker's staff, dated McPhersonville, August 2, 1803:
A recent raid was made, by order of General Walker, on Barnwell Island by some of our troops, under command of Capt. M. J. Kirk. Thirty-one negroes were captured, 4 of whom are men, the rest women and children. Three of the men had been drafted for the Second South Carolina Regiment, but had run away; 2 of them were there a week and 1 three weeks. They represent many of the negroes as being very unwilling to be made soldiers of, but say they are forced to be, and are even hunted down in the woods and marshes to be taken. Several have been shot in the effort to take them. They say the Fernandina negroes are active soldiers, and are used against them. Some of our own negroes volunteer. Most of the negroes are left on the plantations, and plant provisions under a white superintendent. The task they do is about the same they did for us. One-half of the produce goes to the Yankees, the rest to the negroes. They are not clothed or fed by the United States Government. Most of them have, they say, the clothes their owners gave them, except what they have purchased for themselves. They make a little money by selling eggs, chickens, watermelons, &c. They represent that many of the negroes would be very willing to come back to their owners if they could, but that their boats have all been taken, and they are told if they come to us we will shoot them. Others are perfectly content to remain.
The negroes from the Combahee raid were all carried to Beaufort. The infirm men, women, and children were left there, and the prime men, without being allowed to go on shore, were carried to Hilton Head, and from there to Folly Island, to work on the batteries. Most of them objected to be made soldiers of or work on the intrenchments, but were forced off.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 WILMOT G. DE SAUSSURE,
 Brigadier-General, Comdg. Fourth Brig. S.C. Militia.


  



33 - The USCT at The Crater – “No Quarter to the Rebels?” 

A couple of years ago I attended a meeting of the local Civil War Round Table here on Long Island which on that particular night featured a talk by an author who had written a book about “Italians in Blue and Gray.” Naturally, being a “neo-confederate,” as I am sometimes called, and being of Italian extraction, I was hoping he’d speak about the Italians who wore the gray, but that was not to be. He focused instead on the Garibaldi Brigade out of NY City, and on General Taliaferro, who commanded the United States Colored Troops division in the army of the Potomac. As most WBTS fans are aware, this particular division played a major part in the July 1864 Battle of the Crater at the siege of Petersburg. During the speaker’s talk, he made reference to the “awful massacre of African Americans at the Crater by the Confederates.” Maybe he was practicing for an appearance on Oprah or maybe not, but almost looked like he was about to shed (crocodile?) tears when he said it. Steaming, I decided to let the first comment pass. His big mistake was in making the same comment a second time, as if to drive the point home. This time I opted not to take a pass and instead raised my hand during the question and answer period. My question to him was as follows:

“Regarding your comment about Confederates massacring African Americans at the Crater, are you aware that the United States Colored Troops yelled “NO QUARTER TO THE REBELS” as they charged, and do you not think that they, in effect, got what they asked for - since, when you yell “NO QUARTER” at your opponent, you have to expect him to act in kind toward you?”

Of course, a few people in the audience gasped. Then, our distinguished speaker squinted at me, eyes somewhat glazed, like he had been hit over the head with a hammer, and began to shake his head ever so slightly and mumbling unintelligibly. I honestly couldn’t tell if he was simply stunned by my question, or if he simply had no answer, or if he was denying that such a thing ever took place? This continued for a few seconds. Since I wasn’t getting an answer, I asked “Are you going to try and tell me that this never happened?” He continued to squint and shake his head ever so slightly with no answer coming out of his mouth.  At that point the moderator stepped in and diffused what seemed to be an uncomfortable situation and the group moved on to the next question. I never did get an answer. Afterward however, and somewhat surprisingly, several people came up to me to show support.

The incident in question is indeed documented in the writings of Confederate veterans of that particular battle who faced the USCT. I have no reason to believe that their claims are any less valid or true than anyone else’s. Yet, I never hear “No Quarter to the Rebels” mentioned in any account of the battle. All I hear is that those werry werry bad confederates hatefully beat up on the black men, and I am fast growing weary of this one-sided treatment.

That said, here are a few accounts of the battle that you won’t find many contemporary historians willing to admit or even discuss. You can determine for yourself whether the USCT got what they asked for or not….

BATTLE OF THE CRATER.” BY W. A. DAY, SHERRILL'S FORD, N. C.
 “The Confederate Veteran,” August 1903, P. 355
“…. By that time it was light enough to see a considerable distance, and our men could be seen running rapidly to the rear, and the whole field in front full of Yankees and negroes charging up to the crater. The great burly negroes in their ill fitting uniforms, half drunk it was said, were shouting at the top of their voices, "No quarter to the Rebels! No quarter to the Rebels!" and butchering every man they found alive in the works. The soldiers who fought in that battle will never forget it. That dreadful shout, "No quarter!" from the negro troops rang in our ears for days afterwards. We plainly saw the position we were in. To be captured by the negro troops meant death not only to ourselves but, it appeared, to the helpless women and children in Petersburg…..”

“WILCOX'S ALABAMIANS IN VIRGINIA,” BY B. F. PHILLIPS, ASHER, OKLA
“The Confederate Veteran,” November 1907, P. 490 
“… About two o'clock in the afternoon a detail was made to send for water, and while waiting for its return General Mahone walked in front of the line and told us that the negroes in the Crater had holloed:  "Remember Fort Pillow! No quarters!"

…. The slaughter was terrible. The soldiers were excited, they were reckless, they burst the negroes' skulls with the butts of their guns like eggshells. The officers tried to prevent it, but they were powerless. It was "No quarter for the Rebels" that morning, and it is no quarter for them now. The fight was soon ended.”

 “CARNAGE AT "THE CRATER NEAR PETERSBURG
”The Confederate Veteran,” February 1893, P. 41

“Lieut. Col. William H. Stewart, of the Sixty first Virginia, Mahone's old brigade, gives a thrilling account of the battle of "The Crater," from which the following extracts are made……

Ay, boys, you have hot work ahead they are negroes, and show no quarter." This was the first intimation that we had to fight negro troops, and it seemed to infuse the little band with impetuous daring, as they pressed onward to the fray. Our comrades had been slaughtered in a most inhuman and brutal manner, and slaves were trampling over their mangled and bleeding corpses. Revenge must have fired every heart and strung every arm with nerves of steel for the herculean task of blood….”

Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1895.
By Judge THOMAS R. ROULHAC, late First Lieutenant Company D.,
Forty-Ninth North Carolina Infantry.
“A large excavation was made, and in the smoke and confusion, amid the flying debris and mangled men, the enemy charged in great force, effecting a lodgement in our lines, and a large number of flags of Burnside's Corps floated on our works. Reinforcements poured to their support and a vigorous assault was made on our line on both sides of the crater. In the van were negro soldiers crying, "No quarter to the rebels." “

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1905
”Graphic Account Of Battle Of Crater, STORY OF A PARTICIPANT.
Charge of Wilcox's Old Brigade Under General Saunders, of Mahone's Division.”
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 22, 1905
“….. In the fort the enemy were crowded, but; undaunted by numbers, our boys commenced scaling the sides of the fort. The enemy kept up such a fire that it seemed like a second Vesuvius belching forth its fire. Then came the "tug of war" The enemy have shouted: "No quarters!" We then gave them what they justly deserved. There we were on one side of the walls of the fort and the Yankees on the other. The fight was the bloodiest of the war considering the numbers engaged. We fought with muskets, with bayonets, with rocks, and even with clods of dirt. The fight lasted in this manner for near half an hour, when they called for quarters, and we being sickened by the slaughter as well as awfully tired of the fight, granted them quarters. All that we had not killed surrendered, and I must say we took some of the Negroes prisoners.”





34 - The USCT as Prison Guards

A google search of “USCT [United States Colored Troops] and Prison Guards” yielded over 3000 hits. Of the first 10, one “hit” made brief mention of the behavior of African American guards at Point Lookout, claiming that it was sometimes “brutal” but also sometimes “kind.” Another hit stressed the ‘important’ part the USCT guards played in the war effort. i.e., “they prevented captured Confederates from rejoining the war,” which I have to admit is one of the most creative attempts I’ve ever seen at turning a mundane task into a war-winning feat of incredible achievement. It gets even better though, because still another “hit” praised the 200 black guards at Elmira for guarding over 12000 Confederates! I wonder if any of them got the Congressional Medal of Honor for pinning down 12000 unarmed, emaciated, freezing men? Any more embellishment and the story would have been easily confused with 200 men holding off thousands at the Alamo. And in another hit, there is actually a mention of a Confederate being shot by a guard at Point Lookout, but according to the writer, the prisoner was being “unprofessional” because he shouted “racial slurs.” What can I say? It is impossible to argue with “logic” such as this!

Now, a reality check - The United States Colored Troops displayed the same human failings as the white troops on either side. They were not mythic, they were not “angels” in blue, and they were not “boy scouts.” I am a firm believer in “equal time,” and quite simply, it is “time” for a little of that here. It seems that no one else is willing to look objectively at the down side of their behavior and performance, so allow me. Here is a quick look at them in their roles as prison guards. My purpose is less to issue a general condemnation of them, and more to provide a little balance among the stories that are currently being told.

“Southern Historical Society Papers,” Vol 1. Richmond, Virginia, April, 1876.  No. 4
The Treatment Of Prisoners During The War Between The States.”
“The affidavit of Thomas E. Gilkerson states that negro soldiers were promoted to corporals for shooting white prisoners at Point Lookout, where he was a prisoner…..…That negroes were placed on guard. That while on guard, a negro called a prisoner over the dead line, which the prisoner did not recognize as such, and the negro shot him dead, and went unpunished…..That shooting prisoners without cause or provocation, was of frequent occurrence by the negro guards.”

“Southern Historical Society Papers,” Vol. VII.  Richmond, Virginia.  August 1879.  No. 8. “Prison Experience.” By James T. Wells, Sgt. Co. A, 2ndSouth Carolina Infantry.
“…A guard of negroes was sent through the camp to search for it, and the manner in which they performed that duty was observable in the number of bleeding heads among the prisoners. They had beat them over the head in order to compel them to tell who did it. For this conduct, their officers praised them, and told them to shoot whenever they felt like doing so, and right well did they obey this order, as will be shown hereafter. Matters were thus proceeding from bad to worse. The shooting of a prisoner was looked upon as an every day affair, especially when said shooting was done by a negro. The colored troops came on guard only once in three days, and the day of their coming was always dreaded by the prisoners”

“Southern Historical Society Papers,”Vol. XVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1890.
”Prison-Pens North” [From The Dispatch, June 21, 1891.] by Hon. A. M. Keiley. -
“The negro guard would, almost without warning, fire among the prisoners, and this at last culminated in the murder of a poor, feeble old man named Potts, a prisoner, one of the most harmless creatures in the pen. He was hailed by one of the guard while approaching his ward, ordered to stop, and shot dead while standing still.”

“Southern Historical Society Papers.” Vol. XVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1890. Point Lookout - Address before Pickett Camp Confederate Veterans, October 10, 1890.
BY PAST COMMANDER CHARLES T. LOEHR., [Richmond (Va.) Times, October 11, 1890.]
“Next our guards. As already stated, they were negroes who took particular delight in showing their former masters that "the bottom rail was on top." On one occasion one of the North Carolina men, who have a habit, which is shared by our Virginia country cousins, in whittling every wooden object they come across, was enjoying this sport on the prison gate, when one of the colored soldiers shot him down, nearly blowing his head off. This created some little excitement, but what the result was I never learned. During the day we had access to the sink built on piles in the bay, but at night the gates were closed, and boxes were placed in the lower part of the camp, to which the men were allowed to go at all hours of the night. There were hundreds of sick in camp, cases of violent diarrhœa, reducing the men to skeletons. As these men were compelled to frequent these boxes, the negroes would often compel them at the point of the bayonet to march around in double quick time, to carry them on their backs, to kneel and pray for Abe Lincoln, and forced them to submit to a variety of their brutal jokes, some of which decency would not permit me to mention…”

“Southern Historical Society Papers,” Vol. XXV. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1897. [From the Richmond, Va.. Times, August 22, 1897.],
Stories of Captain F. C. Barnes and Captain R. E. Frayser.
“We were guarded by negro troops commanded by Colonel Hallowell, who was a heartless man, and under him the most cruel treatment was experienced. We were not allowed any privileges, and often fired into by the guards for the most trivial offence and several men were wounded.”

****Special thanks to Bernard Thuersam of the “Cape Fear Historical Institute” http://www.cfhi.net/, for the following reference:

Rock Island Dungeon”
“When we arrived [as Confederate prisoners] at Rock Island, early in December 1863, Col. Rust was in command with a detachment of the Fourth Invalid Corps. He was a kind-hearted old fellow and just to the prisoners; but unfortunately for us the old Colonel was soon removed, and in his place came as inhuman a brute as ever disgraced the uniform of any country, one A.J. Johnson, with his regiment of Negroes for guard duty, leaving the Fourth Invalid men…for light fatigue duty. 

Men were brutally punished upon the slightest pretext. I saw prisoners tied up to the fence by their thumbs, their toes barely touching the ground in the hot, broiling sun until they would faint, and when cut down by the guards, fall limp and unconscious. While none of us dared approach for they were next to the fence, over the dead line and grinning Negro sentinels stood just above them with ready guns in hand. …..”

(Forty Hours In A Dungeon At Rock Island,” B.M. Hord, Nashville, TN.  Confederate Veteran Magazine, August 1904, page 385





35 - The USCT – Yankees Behaving as Yankees often do – Badly!

A google search of “USCT AND atrocities” yielded a handful of pages among the first 50 hits which had nothing whatsoever to do with the civil war itself. Two of the first 50 hits, one belonging to a Southron blogger, and another to an SCV camp, dealt with atrocities committed by the USCT. The remaining pages all dealt with Confederate atrocities perpetrated on the USCT. What’s missing here? The answer is - an awful lot of history! Does anyone other than me feel that the presentation is a bit one-sided?

One of the pages I found maintained that the USCT massacre of Confederate soldiers at Fort Blakely in 1865 was at least exaggerated, if not fabricated. Another essentially said that the rebs got what they deserved because they used the the “N” word. Sorry folks, once again, I cannot refute such rationale. It is simply too painful for me to try to think on this guy’s level.

As I said in the Prison Guard story, it’s time for a little equal time and to bring the history books back into balance. There are two sides to every story, and this is the other side that rarely gets told. Hold onto your hats and let’s roll the historical videotape:

****The affair at Fort Blakely is something that I’ve known about for a very long time. What amazed me when I searched for it was the number of “hits” which either denied that atrocities took place or which attempted to minimize them. While atrocity accusations against Confederates these days abound, any similar accusation made against black union troops seems to bring out a small army of historians with their little scrub brushes and spray bottles, hurriedly rushing to clean up the USCT’s reputation. The words quoted below, by the way, were the last words of Lt. Joshua Lazarus Moses, who was commanding an artillery battery at the defense of Fort Blakely, Mobile Alabama, April 9, 1865, and whose command was overrun by USCT soldiers. The USCT did not spare Lt. Moses. 

Fort Blakely, April 9, 1865 – “For God’s sake, spare my men, they have surrendered!”

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXV/1 [S# 65] - JANUARY 1-NOVEMBER 13, 1864.--Operations in Charleston Harbor and Vicinity, S.C. No. 32.--Reports of Brig. Gen. Beverly H. Robertson, C. S. Army, commanding Second and Sixth Military Districts, of operations July 7-10. HDQRS. SECOND AND SIXTH MILITARY DISTRICTS, July 14, 1864.
“…..For the information of the major-general commanding I desire to state that negro prisoners assert that Colonel Silliman, commanding Twenty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops, in the presence of Brig. Gen. R. Saxton (who has always commanded negroes), gave orders to show no quarter; also, that on Thursday, when the right of our line was temporarily pressed back, Private Cooper, Company B, Second South Carolina Cavalry, who was wounded, fell into the enemy's hands. When we recovered the ground it was discovered that he had been bayoneted in six or seven different places. I respectfully recommend that the Yankee General Foster be held to a strict accountability for such violation of civilized warfare….”
B. H. ROBERTSON, Brigadier-General, Commanding

Dixie After the War, Myrta Lockett Avary,” Pages 141-142
“Newberry South Carolina, Calvin S. Crozier – confederate soldier, released from prison, on his way home, September 8, 1865. At Orangeburg, S.C., a gentleman placed 2 young ladies under his care. To Crozier, the trust was sacred. At Newberry, the train was derailed by obstructions placed on the tracks by negro soldiers of the 33rd U.S. Regiment, which, under the command of Colonel Trowbridge, white, was on its way from Anderson to Columbia. Crozier got out with the others to see what was the matter. Returning, he found the coach invaded by two half-drink negro soldiers, cursing and using indecent language. He called upon them to desist, directing their attention to the presence of ladies. They replied that they “didn’t care a damn”. One attempted gross familiarities with one of the ladies. Crozier ejected him’ the second negro interfered, there was a struggle in the dark’ one negro fled unhurt’ the other, with a slight cut, ran toward camp yelling, “I’m cut by a damned rebel!” Black soldiers came in a mob.

The narrative as told on the monument, concludes, “the infuriated soldiers seized a citizen of Newberry upon whom they were about to execute savage revenge, when Crozier came promptly forward and avowed his own responsibility. He was hurried in the night time to the bivouac of the regiment to which the soldiers belonged, was kept under guard all night, was not allowed communication with any citizen, was condemned to die without even the form of a trial, and was shot to death about daylight the following morning, and his body mutilated.

He had been ordered to dig his own grave, but refused. A hole had been dug, he was made to keel on its brink, the column fired upon him and he tumbled into it, and then the black troops jumped on it laughing, dancing, stamping.”

****. Opportunities to commit atrocities on the battlefield didn’t present themselves to the USCT very often, but what they were unable to do on the battlefield, they seemed to make up for off the battlefield, especially when it came to dealing with unarmed, white Southern civilians, thus, equaling and sometimes surpassing the behavior of their white blue-clad “comrades.”  

O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XL/3 [S# 82]
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA, FROM JULY 5, 1864, TO JULY 31, 1864.--#1, RICHMOND, VA., July 5, 1864.
Maj. T. O. CHESTNEY,  Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters:
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that about the 13th of June last a regiment of negroes, commanded by Colonel Draper, of Massachusetts, arrived at Pope's Creek, in Westmoreland County, Va., accompanied by about fifty regular U.S. Cavalry.(*) They marched to Union Wharf Richmond County, in divided commands, taking negroes, horses, cattle, bacon, wagons, farming utensils, &c., all of which were either carried away or burned. About the 14th, at a place called Hutt's Store, near the center of Westmoreland County, some of the negro troops went to the house of Private George, of Ninth Virginia Cavalry, and committed a rape upon his wife, who had just been confined with a babe only six weeks old. She is now almost a maniac, and begs that some one will kill her. This atrocious crime can be verified by a number of witnesses who are personally cognizant of the fact. In Warsaw, Richmond County, the negro troops attempted to ravish white ladies, but were foiled by the assistance of the female slaves of the households. In the case of Mrs. Belfield, she escaped by flight to the woods. Many other instances could be mentioned of like atrocities if desired……..
JNO. S. BRAXTON, , Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 78]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE…., U.S. S. MOOSE, Smithland, Ky., June 11, 1864.
Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,
Commanding Mississippi Squadron:
SIR: ….. I am told, in consequence of some gross outrages that was said to have been committed in that neighborhood by a Colonel Cunningham, from Paducah. It is reported that he went up in that section of country with a lot of negro soldiers, and sent them on shore to conscript every negro they could find. These negroes, it is reported, were sent on shore armed and without an officer with them, entered private houses, broke open the doors, and entered ladies' bedrooms before they were up, insulted women, and plundered and searched generally. If this be as bad as reported, it is certainly a gross outrage and disgrace to our cause. I will, on my way up, stop and see if I can ascertain the truth of the matter. It was said that gun-boat convoyed them up. None of our gun-boats convoyed them or would countenance such disgraceful proceedings; on the contrary, they would have forced respect to women. On my way down I found the people so frightened and excited that to set them aright I thought it only justice to ourselves to send them a communication, of which the inclosed is a copy.(*)
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LE ROY FITCH, Lieutenant-Commander.

“The Day Dixie Died, Southern Occupation,” By Thomas and Debra Goodrich
Page 155  - “Maj. J.R. Cook and his family lived about seven miles from Vicksburg, not far from the railroad line. Despite numerous murders in their community, the Cooks felt some sense of security. General Grant himself had guaranteed that Hardtimes Plantation would not be subject to further searches or depredations, The family had retired for the retired for the evening when a party of 25 black soldiers, armed with muskets and carbines, burst into the house. During the confrontation, gunfire erupted and Minerva was struck in the chest. When the major rushed to her aid, he too was shot. Before leaving, the intruders plundered the house and grounds, taking not only valuables, but also every chicken on the farm.”

Page 226 - Near Chattanooga, black troops entered the home of an old man, robbed him, beat him nearly to death, then raped his wife and daughter. 

Page 155 - “A company of black soldiers drove off the family’s hogs, Eudora Inez Moore reported from Texas, and when her father tried to stop them, the troops picked up sticks and threatened to “beat his brains out” if he came any closer. ….”

Pages 226–227 - In Augusta, a regular battle ensued when black soldiers were chased from a woman’s home by her son, who wielded a pistol. More troops returned, broke down the door, and stormed upstairs. When it was over, and an officer had finally forced them out, four blacks were dead. (footnote 17)

Pages 226–227 - In Beaufort North Carolina, a squad of black soldiers entered a home near the fort and, reported a Charlotte editor, “while the man of the house and his wife were held, they ravished their daughter, a girl of 15 year of age. ………..“Another squad went to another house and attempted a rape on a child of 10 years of age” At almost the same time, 4 black troops from fort Macon were brought to Raleigh in chains on charges of raping a 13 year old. In Texas, a band of several hundred black soldiers went on a rampage, raiding, robbing and raping… 

Dixie After the War,” Myrta Lockett Avary
Page 22 – “In Raymond Mississippi, Negro troops strung a flag across the street and drove the white children under it.”

Page 273 – “In the hill country of South Carolina, a one-armed ex-confederate, a “poor white”, made a scanty living for his large family by hauling. Once, on a lonely road, when his load was whiskey, he was surrounded by negro soldiers, who killed him, took possession of the whiskey and drank it. Ring leaders were arrested and lodged in jail; some were spirited away to Columbia and released; a plan was afoot to set the rest free, among them, the negro captain who had boasted of his crime, and flouted the whites with their powerlessness to punish him…. 

Page 267 – “A congregation in another county church was thrown into a panic by balls crashing through the boards and windows; a girl of 14 was killed – negro soldiers marched by.”

Page 267 – “Into a dwelling a squad of black soldiers marched, bound the owner, a prominent aged citizen, pillaged his house, and then before his eyes, bound his maiden daughter and proceeded to fight among themselves for her possession. “Though”, related my informant, “her neck and face had been slobbered over, she stood quietly watching the conflict. At last, the victor came to her, caught her in his arms and started into an adjoining room, when he wavered and fell and she with him. She had driven a knife, of which she had in some way possessed herself, into his heart. The others rushed in and beat her until she too was lifeless. There was no redress.”

“The Coming of the Glory,” By John S. Tilley
Page 171 - “…Even so, the soldiers’ favorite activity of looting at length reached such excesses as to provoke open condemnation from Northern editors and clergymen, among the latter being Henry Ward Beecher.” (from the Tuskaloosa Monitor, copied in Montgomery Weekly Mail, May 6, 1868)

Page 213 - “The crowning humiliation came with the arrival of Colonel Shaw’s negro regiment from Massachusetts, a group which went to great pains to vent its wrath upon the despised slave-holders. A careful student of the period tersely records that the colored soldiers were “lawless, brutish and in not a few instances, murderers.” They swash-buckled through the streets, elbowed men and women alike off the sidewalks, flaunted their authority in the faces of the helpless whites, threatened with their guns, any show of opposition.”

“The Tragic Era,” By Claude G. Bowers, P. 53
From every quarter appeals reached Washington for their [the USCT occupying forces in South Carolina during Reconstruction] removal, for the fears of the whites were not of the imagination. Thus, at Chester they clubbed and bayoneted an old man, at Abbeville white men were ordered from the sidewalks, in Charleston they forced their way into a house, ordered food, and, after partaking, felled the mistress of the household….

“Jefferson Davis, Private Letters 1823 – 1889”, by Hudson Strode, Page 218
….I thank God on my knees for the cloud which directed me the day I sent my poor little boys away from danger. A quarrel with a negro child caused by the negro snatching a toy from its hand which the white child’s father reclaimed from the negro, brought to the rescue two negro soldiers, who, finding that the white man had help, desisted, but came back with 20 more at night and were only prevented from murdering him by his barring his doors and sending secretly for the police…. (a letter from Varina Davis to Jefferson Davis, December 25, 1865)

“DAILY CONSTITUTIONALIST” [AUGUSTA, GA], July 22, 1864, p. 4, c. 1
Mrs. Mary Beckham, in a letter published in the Atlanta Appeal, furnishes a lengthy narrative of the treatment of her family by Lincoln ’s murderers….

"On Tuesday morning about 9 o’clock, August 4th, 1863, twelve armed negro soldiers came to the house, there being no one there except my husband, father-in-law, Benjamin Beckham, and four of my children, and some of our family negroes. They rushed on my husband and tied him, took off his watch and pin, and rifled his pockets. They then tied my father-in-law, and dragged them to the river, (it being about thirty yards.) They killed my husband on top of the bank by shooting him in the head. They then cut off his shoulder-blade and rolled his body into the river, his clothes looked as if there had been a great struggle.

They then took the old gentleman, stabbed him three times, once in the heart, and cut one of his ears off. After throwing his body into the river, they proceeded back to the house, where two of them had been guarding my dear little children. They spoke to my eldest daughter, Laura, aged fourteen years, telling her to get up and follow her old daddy, at the same time presenting a pistol to her temple. The children then were driven to the waters edge, where their father and grandfather had been murdered, and then they were put to death in the most cruel manner.

The youngest, Richard aged two and a half years, was thrown into the water alive. Laura jumped in and attempted to rescue him, and whilst in the water, waist deep, begging for mercy, she was knocked on the head by the butt end of a gun, entirely separating her forehead, and then stabbed in the side. Kate Ida, eleven years of age, was then disposed of. She was beaten with guns until her head and shoulders were perfectly soft; her body was bruised all over. Caroline, seven years of age was shot through the head, and so disfigured that she did not look like a human. After they had murdered them all and thrown their bodies into the river, they returned to the house, taking everything valuable and all the clothing they could carry."”


36 -  Prisoner Exchange and the USCT 

There are many stories circulating around these days which claim that the South refused to treat black union soldiers as prisoners of war, that they killed them outright, or sold them into slavery, and that the North, in an effort to hold the moral high ground, suspended the prisoner exchange cartel in 1864 in a noble effort to get the South to recognize black civil rights.

****George Christian, writing in the Southern Historical Society Papers, essentially lays out the real issues and the problem as it concerned black union prisoners of war and General Richard Taylor confirms Christian’s contentions in the following source.

Essentially, if a black union prisoner was recognized as being a runaway slave, he was to be returned to his former owner. Until the owner was found, he was put to work repairing or building military fortifications or projects. Free men of color went to a prison camp along with the white prisoners. There was no policy on the part of the Confederate government which ordered the execution of black union prisoners.

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXX. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1902
By Hon. GEO. L. CHRISTIAN, Chairman., Read at Wytheville, Va., October 23rd, 1902.
“….. The Federal authorities contended that where slaves were captured by them, or when they deserted and came to them and enlisted in their armies, they thereby became free, and should be placed on the same footing with their white soldiers, in respect to exchanges, as well as in all other respects. The Confederates, on the contrary, contended that whatever might be the effect on the status of the slave by going to the Federals and enlisting in their armies, yet should they be recaptured by the Confederates, that restored them to their former status as slaves, and they should then be returned to their masters or put to work by the Confederates, and their masters compensated for their labor. In those cases where the masters did not reside in the Confederacy, or could not be ascertained, such Negroes were to be exchanged as other prisoners.”

“Destruction and Reconstruction,” by Richard Taylor, Page 215
“The Confederate Congress had enacted that negro troops, captured, should be restored to their owners. We had several hundreds of such, taken by Forrest in Tennessee, whose owners could not be reached; and they were put to work on the fortifications at Mobile, rather for the purpose of giving them healthy employment than for the value of the work. I made it a point to visit their camps and inspect the quantity and quality of their food, always found to be satisfactory…..”

****Jefferson Davis, not one for lying, remarked that he had never been told the reason for the North’s suspension of the prisoner exchange, which leaves one wondering about the claim of contemporary historians that the reason the North suspended prisoner exchange was because the Confederates would not treat black prisoners who were runaway slaves as “prisoners of war.” Looking at Davis’ quote, we are left to wonder how it was that the North could uspend the cartel, allegedly over injustice directed at the black man, but forget to notify the Confederate government of this? The matter is more clearly laid out in the source following Davis’, written by a former Confederate officer in the January 1896 edition of the “Confederate Veteran”:

Jefferson Davis to Congress of the Confederate States, Richmond, 2. May 1864.
“On the subject of the exchange of prisoners, I greatly regret to be unable to give you satisfactory information. The government of the United States, while persisting in failure to execute the terms of the cartel, make occasional deliveries of prisoners and then suspend action without apparent cause. I confess my inability to comprehend their policy or purpose.”
From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 10, pp. 378-87. Transcribed from a signed copy in the National Archives, RG109, Documents in the Official Records, Series 4, Volume 3, pp. 365-68.

JOHN SHIRLEY WARD, Los Angeles, Cal., P. 10  Confederate Veteran January 1896.
“…This fact led the Southern Government to decline to recognize negroes as prisoners of war who had been decoyed from their homes by promises of large bounties for enlistment against their old masters, and it was intended by the Cartel that it should include the exchange of only free soldiers. This was not a question of color, for the South was willing to regard as prisoners free negroes who had been captured in the Union Army.”

****I’ve been reading about the Civil War for over 50 years. The way I always understood it, the prisoner exchange was suspended by the North in 1864 as part of a war of attrition against the South. Quite simply, the South could not replace its killed, wounded or captured, while the North could, due to its much larger population. The North then had nothing to gain by engaging in a prisoner exchange and chose therefore, to forego it, and bleed the South dry, thus bringing the war to a speedier conclusion. Today we are often told that the North suspended the cartel because it was enraged over the South’s failure to give black prisoners of war their civil rights. If anyone believes that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I dearly would love to sell you.

I also have to believe that had Lincoln announced to the white northern population that their husbands, brothers and sons would have to languish in Southern prison camps to promote black civil rights that he either would have had mass riots on his hands, or, he would have been clobbered in the election of 1864.

The following two sources give another, and perhaps more truthful side to the story. The first is written by a Confederate officer in the July 1911 edition of the Confederate Veteran, and the second is from a Union POW who was part of a delegation of Andersonville prisoners that was sent to Washington in 1864, to help try and negotiate the re-instituting of the prisoner exchange cartel.

EXCHANGE OF CIVIL WAR PRISONERS., BY JOHN BROADUS MITCHELL.
342         Confederate Veteran July 1911
Stanton's words are well known: "We will not exchange able bodied men for skeletons. We do not propose to reinforce the Rebel army by exchanging prisoners."

It is claimed with some weight that the talk after the war of negroes having affected the exchange of prisoners was not founded on fact, since at the time the Northern authorities abandoned the cartel there were no negro prisoners. The difference, however, did affect conditions.

The attitude of Secretary of War Stanton and of General Grant that no exchange so long as the North held the excess of prisoners was a necessity of war is best seen in their own communications on the subject. On August 8, 1864, Grant sent the following telegram to General Butler: "On the subject of exchange of prisoners, however, I differ with General Hitchcock. It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to release them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. To commence a system of exchange now, which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those already caught, they amount to no more than so many dead men. At this particular time to release Rebel prisoners would insure Sherman's defeat and compromise our safety here." Grant says in his "Memoirs" that the exchanged Confederate was equal on the defensive to three Union soldiers attacking.”

Andersonville, The Southern Perspective,” by Joe Henry Segars
Google Books, page 76, (This from union Pvt. Edward Wellington Boate)
”….General Winder remarked to us before we quitted Andersonville, that the object of our government in refusing to exchange was that they felt it hard to give soldiers for civilians. "The time," added he, "of thousands of those unhappy men in that stockade is out many months; thousand of others are rendered worthless for soldiers through long confinements, disease and privations - for I will admit that we have not the resources to treat your men as we would wish."

Since I returned to the North, Winder's words were confirmed, for it was semi-officially stated to me that, "It might look very hard that we refused to exchange; but we could not afford to do so. We would have to give a number of strong; well fed, available soldiers for a number of men broken down from campaigning, disease, and out of the service by the expiration of their term."

A policy like this is the quintessence of inhumanity, a disgrace to the Administration which carried it out, and a blot upon the county. You rulers who make the charge that the rebels intentionally killed of or men, when I can honestly swear they were doing everything in their power to sustain us, do not lay this flattering unction to your souls. You abandoned your brave men in the hour of their cruelest need. They fought for the Union, and you reached no hand out to save the old faithful, loyal, and devoted servants of the country. You may try to shift the blame from your own shoulders, but posterity will saddle the responsibility where it justly belongs.”

****The claim is often made that the official Confederate policy toward black union soldiers was to take no prisoners, or to execute them after capture. While such things did occur, as well as the reverse I might add, the truth is that there was no official policy to that effect. After an incident of this type at Saltville Virginia in 1864, the commanding in that area, General J.C. Breckinridge, irate over the behavior of some of his troops, reported the incident to Robert E. Lee. Lee wrote the following letter back to Breckinridge..

Robert E. Lee's dispatch concerning the murders of POW's at Saltville, VA
(October 2, 1864)

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 21, 1864.
Maj. Gen. J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Commanding,
&c., Wytheville:

GENERAL:

General Lee directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th instant, and to repeat the gratification the handsome success at Saltville afforded him, and his satisfaction with the arrange meats and dispositions made by you. He hopes your efforts to promote the efficiency of the troops in your department will be soon attended with the success they deserve. He is much pained to hear of the treatment the negro prisoners are reported to have received, and agrees with you in entirely condemning it. That a general officer should have been guilty of the crime you mention meets with his unqualified reprobation. He directs that if the officer is still in your department you prefer charges against him and bring him to trial. Should he have left your department you will forward the charges to be transmitted to the Department, in order that such action may be taken as the case calls for.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLES MARSHALL,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide.de. Camp.
  





37 - The Worst Place to be? Perhaps the USCT! 

In earlier articles, I attempted to reduce the USCT to more believable historical levels. Their contribution was not critical to the union’s success or failure, their performance was often not nearly as spectacular as portrayed in the movies, like their white counterparts, they were also subject to compulsory military duty, many didn’t even want to be there, and there was no shortage of them who were willing to engage in their own brand of atrocities.

Once again, it’s time to bring the historical books into balance, and to do it this time, within my own series of articles. What kinds of conditions did USCT soldiers operate under?

Someone once asked me, “who would you have like to have been if you were alive during the civil war?” Can’t say that I have an answer for that question, but at least I do know who I would not have wanted to be – a USCT line soldier! Why? Well, if I were a USCT soldier, here’s how I would describe the conditions that I operate under:

The Confederate soldier views me as his worst nightmare come to life. Ever since 40000 whites were slaughtered by the former slaves in Haiti back in 1804, the phrase “servile insurrection” has haunted white Americans, especially in the South where slavery as an institution took root. The white Southerner believes (with some justification perhaps), that the Northern government is turning to servile war in its effort to crush him, and that I am a part of that effort. My fellow northern (white) soldier sees me as a joke at best and an insult to the uniform at worst. I sometimes run as much of a risk of being fired on by him as I do the men in gray. Many of my white officers rip the “USCT” patches off their jackets when captured and deny that they never saw me before in their lives! The Northern public either belittles me or sees me as a warm body with which to fill a uniform that would otherwise be filled with a white man. Many in the north say that I will never make a good soldier, others want to use me for cannon fodder. My equipment is substandard, and the treatment I receive is worse than the treatment I received as a slave. And, the criticism of my performance that I receive from those for whom I am risking my life fails to take into account that my regiment was formed in 1863 and is composed of inexperienced men who are being sent into battle against battle-hardened troops who have been fighting for more than 2 years. I’m doing the best I can despite being “up against it,” yet, I am paid an average of $11/month as compared to the $13/month that my white “comrades” receive. Many times, I am not even given the chance to choose whether or not I want to be here….

That said, let’s roll the historical videotape:

****Captain Waddell, of the Confederate Commerce raider, CSS Shenendoah, perhaps summed it up best:

“Southern Partisan Magazine,” Volume XXVI No. 2, July 2007, Page 31
A Book Review of “The Last Shot”, by Lynn Schooler, New York, Harper-Collins, 2006
“In his musings, (Captain) Waddell wrote regarding Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, “For two years the North waged war against the South without attempting to interfere with slavery. It was only when they found the negro could be used for killing the white people of the South and serve as breastworks for Northern white troops that they declared him free…they cared nothing for the unhappy negro; they preferred his destruction to that of their white troops.” “

****Sherman, who once described himself as “the best friend that Sambo ever had,” was more than critical about the idea of black men wearing blue uniforms:

“War Crimes Against Southern Civilians,” Walter Brian Cisco, Page 140
… “I like niggers well enough as niggers,” but only “fools and idiots” promoted their advancement.”

“Southern Negroes 1861 – 1865,” By Bell Irvin Wiley, Page 302
“I want soldiers made of the best bone and muscle in the land and won’t attempt military feats with doubtful materials…I am right and won’t change.”….”I cannot bring myself to trust Negroes with arms in positions of danger and trust.”…General W.T. Sherman thought it “unjust to the brave soldiers and volunteers” to place them on a par with Negro recruits.”

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/5 [S# 76]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE…September 4, 1864.
General HALLECK:
MY DEAR FRIEND: ….
…..I hope anything I may have said or done will not be construed unfriendly to Mr. Lincoln or Stanton. That negro letter of mine I never designed for publication, but I am honest in my belief that it is not fair to our men to count negroes as equals. Cannot we at this day drop theories, and be reasonable men? Let us capture negroes, of course, and use them to the best advantage. My quartermaster now could give employment to 3,200, and relieve that number of soldiers who are now used to unload and dispatch trains, whereas those recruiting agents take them back to Nashville, where, so far as my experience goes, they disappear. When I call for expeditions at distant points, the answer invariably comes that they have not sufficient troops. All count the negroes out. On the Mississippi, where Thomas talked about 100,000 negro troops, I find I cannot draw away a white soldier, because they are indispensable to the safety of the river. I am willing to use them as far as possible, but object to fighting with "paper" men. Occasionally an exception occurs, which simply deceives. We want the best young white men of the land, and they should be inspired with the pride of freemen to fight for their country. If Mr. Lincoln or Stanton could walk through the camps of this army and hear the soldiers talk they would hear new ideas. I have had the question put to me often: "Is not a negro as good as a white man to stop a bullet?" Yes, and a sand-bag is better; but can a negro do our skirmishing and picket duty? Can they improvise roads, bridges, sorties, flank movements, &c., like the white man? I say no. Soldiers must and do many things without orders from their own sense, as in sentinels. Negroes are not equal to this. I have gone steadily, firmly, and confidently along, and I could not have done it with black troops, but with my old troops I have never felt a waver of doubt, and that very confidence begets success……
Your sincere friend,
 W. T. SHERMAN.

****Other union soldiers, officers and politicians, often mirrored Sherman’s sentiments….

“Myths and Realities of American Slavery,” By John C. Perry, Page 206:
- “One Union colonel wrote of the African Americans in the union blue uniform, “makes a good enough soldier for garrison and guard duty, but for field service a hundred white men is worth a thousand of them.”

- “A Union sergeant writing from the front lines in Virginia said that he did not want to fight side by side with them, suggesting rather that the African American soldiers “be sent here to use the pick and shovel in the roiling sun as we are doing now, and we will take a soldier’s tool – the gun and the bayonet.” “

- “Some white Union soldiers felt that the African American troops were given special treatment. One write, “Some of the boys say that the army motto is, first the Negro, then the mule, then the white man. A sergeant from Minnesota complained about the special treatment received by an African American aide on the headquarters’ staff. He wrote, “Their has been more sympathy lavished on him than I ever saw on 20 white men. I guess the day is not distant when a white man will be as good as a Nigar.” “

“Perry's Saints or The Fighting Parson's Regiment,” Chapter 11
“…. I am impelled to say, in spite of the criticisms that my statement may provoke, that my own observation and experience, as well as the experience of others, have convinced me that the prevailing opinion, especially in New England, of the valuable services rendered by colored troops in actual conflict, is erroneous, and that their most effective work during the war was done with the pick and spade.”

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIV/3 [S# 63]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE,…April 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. D. HUNTER, U.S. Volunteers:
General Banks has always been very vigilant in the organization of colored troops. It is to be hoped that his expedition up Red River will give a large number of recruits of this class. All acquired in this way, however, being without organization or discipline, could not be counted as so many men for defense of garrisons. Three of them, though, might count equal to one veteran soldier in fixing the number to leave behind at any one place.
U.S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

“THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THE CIVIL WAR”: Fourth Edition, Michael T. Griffith http://www.mtgriffith.com/web_documents/southernside.htm
- “Certainly we hope we may never have to confess to the world that the United States government has to seek an ally in the negro to regain its authority,” declared an editorial in the Milwaukee Sentinel.  “We don’t want to fight alongside with the nigger,” agreed a recruit from New York.  “We think we are a too superior race for that…”

- “Vice President Hamlin probably reflected northerners’ opinion . . . when he told a rally in Bangor [Maine] in July that “we want to save, as much as possible, our men, even if it is done by men a little blacker than myself.” 

- “Governor Samuel Kirkwood of Iowa put the matter more baldly when he voiced a desire to see “some dead niggers as well as dead white men.” “

****The treatment these men received from their own side ranged from disrespectful to downright appalling:

“Southern Negroes 1861 – 1865,” By Bell Irvin Wiley, Page 344
“Those Negroes who were assembled in contraband camps died by the thousands; those who were employed on plantations received treatment little better than that which they had received under the old regime, those who entered military pursuits were dealt with in a manner more becoming to slaves than to freedmen.”

“The Slave Narratives,” Rev. Squires Jackson, Florida 
“….. That very night he ran away to Wellborn where the Federals were camping. There in a horse stable were wounded colored soldiers stretched out on the filthy ground. The sight of these wounded men and the feeble medical attention given then by the Federals was so repulsive to him, that he decided that he didn't want to join the Federal Army. In the silent hours of the evening he stole away to Tallahassee, thoroughly convinced that War wasn't the place for him. While in the horse shed make-shift hospital, a white soldier asked one of the wounded colored soldiers to what regiment he belonged, the negro replied "54th Regiment, Massachusetts.”

VIVID REMINISCENCES OF WAR TIMES. BY ALDEN M'LELLAN
(LIEUTENANT IN ARTILLERY), NEW ORLEANS., Confederate Veteran June 1906. p. 265
“…. An amusing thing occurred between the white and colored troops as we left the island. When we went on board the transport, the colored guards who came with us were stopped. They had come prepared to go on the transport, and there were several consultations between officers of white and colored troops before the colored guards were allowed to come on board, and then they were required to keep themselves at the bow of the boat. The white soldiers were not friendly to their colored comrades. At midnight the colored guards went on duty, then all prisoners had to keep inside the boat. The relief that was put on duty near me was very unmilitary. The colored guard approached in proper form, saluted, and asked for instructions. The white guard, who was leaning on his gun, looked at the relief in a very surly manner and said, "Stand there," and walked off, trailing his gun.”

O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/1 [S# 77], SEPTEMBER 20-OCTOBER 17, 1864.
Raids from Kentucky and East Tennessee into Southwestern Virginia.
No. 6.--Report of Col. James S. Brisbin, Fifth U.S. Colored Cavalry of the part taken by a detachment of the Fifth U.S. Colored Cavalry, under the command of Col. James F. Wade, Sixth U.S. Colored Cavalry, at Saltville
HEADQUARTERS U.S. COLORED TROOPS,
Lexington, Ky., October 20, 1864.
……On the march the colored soldiers, as well as their white officers, were made the subject of much ridicule and many insulting remarks by the white troops, and in some instances petty outrages, such as the pulling off the caps of colored soldiers, stealing their horses, &c., were practiced by the white soldiers. These insults, as well as the jeers and taunts that they would not fight, were borne by the colored soldier patiently, or punished with dignity by their officers, but in no instance did I hear colored soldiers make any reply to insulting language used toward [them] by the white troops…..
AMES S. BRISBIN, Colonel and Supt. Organization U.S. Colored Troops.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVIII/2 [S# 47]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#4 GENERAL ORDERS, No. 77.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
In the Field, Morris Island, S. C., Sept. 17, 1863.
It has come to the knowledge of the brigadier-general commanding that the detachments of colored troops detailed for fatigue duty have been employed, in one instance at least, to prepare camps and perform menial duty for white troops. Such use of these details is unauthorized and improper, and is hereafter expressly prohibited. Commanding officers of colored regiments are directed to report promptly to these headquarters any violations of this order which may come to their knowledge……
By order of Brig. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore:
ED. W. SMITH,  Assistant Adjutant-General.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVI/1 [S# 41]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#8, GENERAL ORDERS No. 12.
HDQRS. UNITED STATES FORCES,
Port Hudson, La., July 30, 1863.
The commanding general of this post has been informed of the abuse of colored soldiers, and disregard of their authority as sentinels, on the part of some of the other troops of this command, and on the part of some persons not in the military service. He takes this opportunity to correct certain erroneous impressions, and to announce to all concerned that this course of conduct must cease at once and entirely…..
By command of Brig. Gen. George L. Andrews:
GEO. B. HALSTED, Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIV/3 [S# 63]
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE
Victoria, May 4, 1864.
Brig. Gen. J. E. SLAUGHTER,
Chief of Staff:
SIR: I have the honor to state that I have just returned after a week's absence at Lavaca and Indianola. The information I have collected leaves me to believe that all the white troops except 200 or 300 cavalry have been removed from Saluria and sent to Louisiana. I think it entirely reliable that Warren's brigade have left and that their place has been supplied by a regiment of colored troops. I am informed that the enemy have no confidence in their colored troops; that Warren thought it unsafe to leave them at Saluria without white troops; that the negroes mutinied on account of their pay, $7 per month; that 1 was shot by an officer; that 50 or 60 were court-martialed and sentenced to one, two, and three years on the Tortugas; that they absolutely refused to receive their pay, and that numbers of them would desert if they had a chance…
O. STEELE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding

****Being fired on by their own troops was not unheard of, having their officers deny that they ever knew them was also not unheard of, and there are several instances (Olustee, Brice’s Crossroads and Saltville) where, in battle, white troops ran off and left the black troops to fend for themselves:

“Southern Negroes 1861 – 1865,” By Bell Irvin Wiley
Page 325 - “At Ship Island, Mississippi, the Federal gunboat Jackson was called upon to support 3 colored companies. Instead of training its guns upon the Confederates, it directed shots into the midst of the Negroes when they retreated. Some of the gunboat’s crew had been killed a short time before in an altercation with a colored sentry.”

Page 339 – “A Northern white soldier who took part in the fight [the Crater] and who was sympathetic toward the Negroes said in a letter written two days after the battle: “Worse still, the 13th Indiana white…deliberately shot down many of the retreating soldiers. When I say there is a fearful mortality among the dusky heroes you will readily understand how it happened.” The New York Herald correspondent reported that after their repulse the Negroes “ran, a terror stricken, disordered mass of fugitives, to the rear of the white troops. In vain their officers endeavored to rally them with all the persuasion of tongue, saber and pistol.”

Pages 311–312 – “General [David] Hunter found great difficulty in getting white officers to command the units of his regiment. “Private Miles O’Reilly” said that the reply Hunter received from almost every competent young lieutenant or captain he approached on the subject was, “What! Command Niggers?” General Weitzel refused to command Negro troops raised by Butler in New Orleans. Ullmann, an officer of Negro troops at Port Hudson, said in an address delivered shortly after the termination of the war: “Officers of the Ullmann Brigade will ever have occasion to remember with bitter feelings the contemptuous treatment they received at the siege of Port Hudson, from General and other officers who had heaped indignities upon “Nigger Officers” as they were wont to courteously style us.””

Page 312  - “Some of the officers of Negro troops who were captured at Petersburg, when asked what regiments they were attached to, gave the numbers of certain white ones for fear they would be molested. One of them, more courageous than the rest, answered. “Lemuel D. Dobbins, Nineteenth Negroes, by God!” His frankness won for him more consideration than that received by his associate officers.”

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXV/1 [S# 65]
FEBRUARY 5-22, 1864.--The Florida Expedition.
No. 18.--Report of Lieut. M. B. Grant, C. S. Engineers, of engagement at Olustee.
This fight occurred upon ground which furnished a fair field to both parties, and no advantage to either. The advantage of the enemy upon this occasion consisted in the superiority of numbers and equipment. Their force was, at the lowest estimate, twice that of ours. 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 whites, which accounts for the fact that upon the first part of the battle-field nearly all the dead found were negroes.


38 - Black History Month and “Civil War Memory”
A Little Levity if You Please!

A JOLT FOR WENDELL BY A NEGRO WAITER.
123 Confederate Veteran March 1912
A long time ago Wendell Phillips, the abolitionist, went to Charleston, He had breakfast served in his room, and was waited upon by a slave. Mr. Phillips took the opportunity to represent to the negro in a pathetic way that he regarded him as a man and brother, and, more than that, that he himself was an abolitionist.   Finally Mr. Phillips told the darky to go away, saying that he could not bear to be waited on by a slave. "You must 'sense me," said the negro. "I is 'bliged to stay here 'cause lse 'sponsible for de silverware."

November, 1906, “The Confederate Veteran”
Colonel Brown (John C.) had a negro servant named Ned. When the fight began, Ned begged his 'Marse John' to be allowed to ride one of his horses and stay by his side. Colonel Brown let him have a pistol and one of his horses. Ned proudly rode to the front. When the fire opened between Porter's (Morton's) Battery and the Federal batteries opposite, Ned could not stand the bursting shells and falling limbs, and he rode up to Colonel Brown and said: 'Marse John, I 'spec' I'd better go back under dat hill an' fix fer ter cook yo' dinner. An' heah, Marse John, jes' take dis pistol. I neber needed er pistol ter cook wid.'

550  Confederate Veteran December 1898.
CONFEDERATE VETERANS IN NEW YORK.
I remember, continued Eli, "when they began to have the first freedmen schools around Memphis in 1864. Several Massachusetts tutors were teaching the freedmen the new doctrine of political equality. The negroes, you know, can never separate political equality from social equality, so when the teacher said, 'We are all born free and equal,' Clarissa Sophia broke in, 'Wa' dat yo's sayin' now? Yo say I'se jes as ekal as yo is ?' 'Yes,' said the teacher, 'and I can prove it.' 'Ho ! 'tain't no need,' replied the lately disenthralled. 'Reck'n I is, sho' nuff. But does yo say dat l'se good as missus, my missus?' 'Certainly you are, Sophia,' said the teacher. 'Den I'se jes gwine out yere rite off.' said Sophia, suiting action to word. 'Ef I'se good as my missus, l'se goin' ter quit, fer I jes know she ent ,'soshiatin' wid no sich wite trash as you is.'

The Confederate Veteran , April, 1893
After the battles of Bull Run and Manassas it was the writer's privilege to stand picket at the farm  house of a good old Mrs. Taylor, a few miles east of Fairfax Station. It was there I learned the true meaning of the word Manassas, and how it originated. A faithful old negro man belonging to Mrs. Taylor met a neighboring brother, and addressed him about as follows: " Uncle Willis, kin yer tell me how dey got dis name Manassas fur dis place down dar whar dey has all dem big guns?" "I dunno, Brer Ephriam, cep'ing tis we is de man, and dem Yankees whar cum down here is de asses, dats how we gets de name Manasses, I speck."






39 - Lee’s Great Slave Raid?!  

You may or may not have heard of this story, but it appears to have grown both in scope and popularity in recent years. During the Gettysburg campaign, it is alleged that the Confederate army seized black Pennsylvanians in Gettysburg and the surrounding areas, (both runaway slaves and free blacks), threw them into chains and sent them back to Virginia to be sold.

The matter has gained mention in the more mainstream sources, http://explorepahistory.com/story.php?storyId=23.....

…it has of course found its way into the Yankee blogosphere, http://cenantua.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/confederate-seizure-of-free-blacks-in-the-gettysburg-campaign/.....


…and it has, as you might expect, generated the usual amount of weeping and teeth-gnashing so common among those whose habit it is to wail and hyperventilate over social injustice - as in the case of this shrill excerpt from a letter writer to the Civil War Times:

“When Lee's men entered Pennsyl­vania in 1863, it resulted in many for­mer slaves and free blacks being rounded up and sent south into slav­ery. Where were the great leader's orders to his men, forbidding such a practice? Such orders do not exist.”

I swear, every time I hear this story it seems to grow in size and scope. I suspect that in a few years, what used to be known as “The Gettysburg Campaign” will become known instead as “Lee’s Great Slave Raid!?”

I have no doubt that at least some African Americans living in South Central Pennsylvania were taken captive in 1863. There were African American communities in the Gettysburg area at that time, specifically in Biglerville, Chambersburg and Greencastle. There is no doubt that many of the people living there were runaway slaves, though certainly, not all. Further, the Constitution at that time stated that one person “bound to service” in one state, may not legally escape that service by fleeing into another state and the law at that time was such that runaway slaves were legally liable to recapture and to be returned to those who had originally owned them. And human nature, being what it is and always having its dark side (regardless of what color uniform it wore), has always been such that it would be shocking if no incidents of free African Americans (i.e., those who had legally been manumitted or who themselves had never been slaves), hadn’t been spirited away by less-than-honest men looking to make a quick buck for themselves at the auction block. What I have some serious doubts about is the scope of this incident, and the Confederate high command’s knowledge of it, or, its dedication to making it part of its military objectives for this campaign.

Now I haven’t read every Confederate letter or diary that’s out there, but I have searched the “Official Records”, the “Confederate Veteran”, the “Southern Historical Society Papers,” and other sources, including the “Slave Narratives” and have essentially come up (nearly) empty. In the “Official Records,” both Union AND Confederate dispatches, are devoid of any mention of this incident during the Gettysburg campaign. All these sources (which I own), are on searchable CD’s. Searches using words like, “negroes or negro,” “colored,” “slave or slaves,” as well as various other words or phrases, turn up nothing on this subject except 3 indirect references to African Americans or African American communities in this part of Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg campaign. However, none of those references mention anyone getting hauled off and sold into slavery. If anything, the 3 sources that I did find left me scratching my head and wondering how much of this story is truth, and how much has been exaggerated or embellished.  

Example 1- One source not mentioned above, J.H. Segars’ and Charles Kelly Barrows’ book, “Black Southerners in Confederate Armies,” cites a mention on pp. 194-195 in a story about one “Levi Miller”, a “black confederate”. This reference was itself taken from the Winchester Evening Star, (Virginia), November 11, 1921.The author, Richard C. Radi, a soldier in the 5th Texas Infantry, Texas Brigade, Hoods Division, Longstreet’s corps, writes of Miller as follows:

“He [Levi Miller] was in the Pennsylvania campaign and at New Castle and Chambersburg he met several negroes whom he knew (I think some of them were related to him) and who had run away from Virginia. They tried to get Levi to desert but he would not…”

I suppose one question would be why those “several negroes” referred to, who were most likely runaways, were not themselves hauled away? There is no mention by the narrator of such a thing in the story. And if the Confederate army was such a threat, why are they standing around talking to Levi instead of running for their lives? Perhaps they were already prisoners and were trying to convince Levi to free them and run off with them, but this is just conjecture. In any case, the narrator does not seem to make much of an issue at all about them being runaways except to note that they were, and this leaves me scratching my head!?

Example 2 – The May 1896 edition of the “Confederate Veteran” magazine, contains a short story on page 154, written by a Confederate Officer about his personal servant following the Battle of Gettysburg, entitled, “A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN IN BLACK” The officer had been seriously wounded during the battle and was too injured to make the trip home in the wagon train. His servant, “George”, expressed concern about being captured by the pursuing Yankees.

According to the officer:

“I insisted on George accepting his freedom and joining a settlement of free negroes in the vicinity of Gettysburg, which we had passed through in going up to the battle. But he would have none of it. He wanted to stay with me always.”

It appears that the author did take note of a free black settlement that was actually located near Gettysburg that time. However, there is no mention of anyone getting hauled off, and indeed, if the settlement had been stripped of its residents, as some contemporary story-tellers claim, why would the officer tell “George” to go hide out there? (Incidentally, George refused his freedom and went off to rejoin the ANV. He succeeded in catching up with the army but was later killed on the retreat by Federal cavalry.)

Example 3 – An incidental example, but one nonetheless, is found in the Sept 1898 issue of the “Confederate Veteran” (p. 417) by a veteran of the Gettysburg campaign. Again, no mention of the “old [black] couple” getting hauled off into slavery, nor any mention of the old black couple fleeing for their safety!

“On June 29 our division was countermarched to Greenville, via Scotland, to Gettysburg. On this entire line of march I saw only two negroes, and they were a very old couple, man and woman, standing on the roadside as the army passed. One of my company asked the negro man if he was "secesh," and he replied, "Yes, sir, massa, I sees you now."

To reiterate - that some runaways were found in Pa. and returned to Virginia, I have no doubt. As per the laws of that time, if you're a runaway, and someone finds you, you're going back to whoever owned you. That’s the way the law was at the time and I see no need for anyone 150 years later to have a stroke over it. I also have no doubt that some less-than-honest men in the Confederate army saw an opportunity to make a quick buck for themselves by spiriting away blacks who were not runaway slaves. Human nature is what it is and it’s not always good. Quite simply though, the absence of information on this “event” in the dispatches of both armies, as well as its absence in other sources mentioned, combined with the odd nature of the 3 references in question, makes me at least question the scale of this episode as it is being presented today, as well as the motivations of those who tell this story the loudest! Let's not forget that today's favorite pastime among those who claim to be "historians", is to make the South look bad, and the more dramatically creative one can be in doing that, the more brownie points one garners from his or her fellow "historians." 







40 - The Black Confederate – A Few more…

"There are two world histories. One is the official and full of lies, destined to be taught in schools – the other is the secret history, which harbors the true causes and occurrences."
 Honore de Balzac

Washington Wills

All the criticisms that have been leveled at the concept of “The Black Confederate” boil down to one issue or question – Did these people serve willingly or were they coerced? Some of the articles in this series hopefully demonstrate that many indeed served willingly and honorably, and were proud of their service when it was completed. Washington Wills, a personal servant to George Wills is one such example. The following excerpts are taken from “Rebel Boast, First at Bethel, Last at Appomattox,” by Manly Wade Wellman, (New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1956). The book is a narrative based on the wartime correspondences of a group of young North Carolinians.

Page 18 – This passage gives the reader a look into the past, specifically, what the personal servant brought to the table insofar as the white soldiers are concerned, as well as the relationships that often existed between the men and the servants who accompanied them to war:

The company of Wash as his (George Wills’) personal servant was like part of the home atmosphere. Wash was really brother Richard’s property. They were of the same age, Wash and Richard, and as boys had rambled and played together on terms of affectionate equality, while Wash had alternately petted and supervised the younger George. Wash still supervised at times. That was a natural consideration in assigning Wash to “look after” the young soldier.”

Page 34 – The passion of these men often rivaled that of the white soldiers. I suppose the idea of a slave wanting to pick up a gun and shoot Yankees is enough to make modern day Yankees squirm. So be it:

“If any of you fall, I want the gun,” Wash pleaded. “I feel as if I could kill a few Yankees before I go home.””

Pages 93-94 – Wash’s response to a Pennsylvania farmer’s wife who, during the Gettysburg campaign, suggested he desert is also enough to make any Yankee squirm. It also yields perhaps, some insight into why some of these men considered their service important and why they were willing to do what they at least viewed as their duty. I submit that the operative word in Wash’s response, is the word “home.”

“And as flavory as any conversation between Carolinian and Pennsylvanian was that of Wash with a buxom old farm wife. She suggested that he slip away from his master and the Confederacy and stay in Pennsylvania as a free man. “Are you well treated?” she asked solicitously. “I live as I wish,” was the brown man’s reply, courteous but boldly prompt. “And if I did not, I think I couldn’t better myself by stopping here. This is beautiful country, but it doesn’t come up to home in my eyes.””

Pages 176-177 – George Wills was killed at the battle of Winchester in 1864. After bringing his body home, Wash writes a lengthy letter to George’s older brother Richard. Below is an excerpt from that letter. Note the statement with regard to his “struggling country.”

Dear Master Richard,
…..I am home, I don’t know for how long. Master Eddie says he wants me to go with him, I will go and do the best I can for him. I am willing to do anything I can to help out our struggling country. I desire to see you and talk with you, have a long talk about one thing or another. If we ever be so fortunate as to be able to do it so it will afford me a great consolation certainly Master Richard. I know something about trouble…..”

“A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN IN BLACK”

The following story can be found in the Confederate Veteran Magazine, May 1896 issue, page 154, and was written by Sgt. Major C.C. Cummings about his personal servant George. Cummings had been wounded at Gettysburg and had to be left behind to the tender mercies of the Yankees, being too injured to travel. I mentioned the incident in an earlier article, “Lee’s Great Slave Raid.” This is the story in its entirety.

“……This revives the memory of a faithful man in black who followed me through from First Manassas, Leesburg, where he assisted in capturing the guns we took from Baker, to the Peninsular, the Seven Days before Ricnmond, Fredericksburg, the bombardment of the city December 11, and the battle, two days after, at Marye's Heights, to Chancellorsville, the storming of Harper's Ferry, and the terrible struggle at Sharpsburg (Antietam now), and last, Gettysburg. Here he lost his life by his fidelity to me his 'young marster" and companion. We were reared together on 'de ole plantation" in "Massippi."
I was wounded in the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg on the second day. The fourth day found us retreating in a cold, drizzling rain. George had found an ambulance, in which I, Sergeant Major of the Seventeenth Mississippi, and Col. Holder of that regiment, still on this side of the river, and an officer of the Twenty first Mississippi, whose name escapes me, embarked for the happy land of Dixie. All day long we moved slower than any funeral train over the pike, only getting eight miles to Cashtown. When night camel had to dismount from loss of blood and became a prisoner in a strange land.  On the next day about sundown faithful George, who still clung lo me, told me that the Yankees were coming down the road from Gettysburg and were separating the "black folks from dar marsters," that he didn't want to be separated from me and for me to go on to prison and he'd slip over the mountains and join the regiment in retreat, and we'd meet again "ober de ribber," meaning the Potomac. We had crossed at Williamsport.
I insisted on George accepting his freedom and joining a settlement of free negroes in the vicinity of Gettysburg, which we had passed through in going up to the battle. But he would have none of it, he wanted to stay with me always. I had him hide my sword, break it off at the hilt and stick it in a crack of the barn (that yet stands in the village) to the left of the road going away from Gettysburg, where I, with about thirty other wounded, lay. I can yet see that faithful black face and the glint of the blade as the dying rays of that day's sun flashed upon them. A canteen of water and some hard tack was the last token of his kindly care for me.

In the spring of 1865, I saw a messmate from whom I was separated on that battlefield, and he told me the fate of poor, faithful George. He had gotten through the lines safely and was marching in the rear of our retreating command, when met by a Northern lady, who had a son in our command, whom George, by chance, happened to know. He was telling her of her son, who was safe as a prisoner, when some men in blue came up. George ran and they shot and killed him. He was dressed in gray and they took him for a combatant. The lady had him buried and then joined her son in prison. She told my messmate of this and he told to the boys in camp the fate of the truest and best friend I ever had. George's prediction will come true I feel we will meet again "over the river."”

“NAMING CAMPS FOR THE LIVING”

The following story can be found in the May 1901 edition of the Confederate Veteran Magazine on page 218, and provides yet more insight into the question of whether or not the service of slaves was “willing” in spite of their status as “slaves.” Once again, Yankees everywhere are squirming:

“…With the batteries of Capt. John W. Morton, Gen. Forrest's chief of artillery, there were two negroes, Bob Morton, a cook, and Ed Patterson, the hostler for the captain, both of whom served with the artillery throughout the war. Ed Patterson, whose fidelity and loyalty stoutly withstood the test of battle and even of capture, still survives. He is a respected householder and property owner, near Nashville, and delights to recall the time when he wore the gray in Morton's Battery. Everybody in the artillery service of Forrest knew and liked Ed. He took good care of the horses, and performed his duties with unflagging good humor.
On one occasion it was feared that Ed was lost to the battery. In the terrific fight at Parker's Cross Roads, when Morton's men, behind the guns, were almost overwhelmed by superior numbers of the enemy in a sudden charge, about twenty members of the battery were run over and captured.  Ed was among them. He was missed, notwithstanding the confusion of the disaster, and the temporary reverse of the almost invariably successful artillerists was regarded by them as aggravated by the loss of their diligent hostler. Capt. Morton particularly mourned his absence. One morning, a few days after the battle, he rode into the camp of the battery, mounted upon a superb horse, whose caparison denoted it the property of an officer of no mean rank.

“Hallo. Ed! Where did you come from?” was the artillery chief's greeting.
”I des come f'om de Yankees, responded Ed complacently, as he dismounted and stood proudly eyeing the steed.”
”How did you get away, and where did you get that horse?”
”Wall, sah, dey taken us all along. When we got out o' sight o' y' all, I notice dat dey didn't 'pear to notice me, an' when dey got to whar dey was gwine into camp, I sort o' got away. De Yankees des seed me ridin' 'roun', an' I 'spec' maybe dey thought I was waitin' on some o' de officers. I des went on th'ough de woods. I seed a heap o' dead men wid blue coats on, an' a heap of 'em what was live, too. D'rectly I come to a big road. I seed one o' our boys walkin' what 'ad done los' his horse.  I axed him which erway Marse John went. He knowed me, an' said de artillery done gone down dis road. I kep' on, an' passed a heap o' our men walkin'. I axed 'em which er way de artillery done gone, an' dey said, 'Down dis road.' I kep' on an' kep' on 'til I got here, an' dat's why I'm here, Marse John. Dey took yo' horse away f'om me, but I done got you a better one, sho. No, sah, dey didn't 'pear to notice me at all. When I was comin' on I seed some mighty nice lookin' bosses tied in de bushes, an' ez dey wan' nobody noticin' I tuck 'n' pick me out one, an' des got on dis 'n' and rid him to hunt y' all. I seed a blue overcoat layin' on de groun', an' I took 'n' put it on. An' it's a good one, too, Marse John.””

Aunt Tinny

The following account is from a friend and compatriot. Earlier articles in this series, I hope, will go some ways toward dispelling the popular belief that the Yankee armies were the saviors of black folks. This story is yet one more nail (I hope) in the Yankee coffin.

Reading third hand accounts of people like this in books is one thing. Actually knowing someone who is connected to the person in question makes the story take on a whole new meaning.

“My mother was born in central Georgia in 1889 and grew up in Sumter County, not far from that notorious Confederate prison camp, Andersonville.  When she was a child, her mother was often ill, and she was taught to cook and sew by an old former slave lady whom they affectionately called Aunt Tinny.

Aunt Tinny had also grown up in central Georgia not far from Andersonville and told my mother about how the locals would take food--whenever they had any--to share with the prisoners at the camp.  As any extra food they may have was often sent to feed the troops, they rarely had more than enough for themselves, and yet they still shared whatever they could with the prisoners.

Aunt Tinny told my mother another thing--something the court historians wouldn't at all like to hear.

Although Sherman bypassed Andersonville, his foragers and bummers did not. That is, they didn't pass up any food they could find, and that included food belonging to black families as well as that belonging to white families.  And so the one recollection Aunt Tinny had of  Sherman's
"march to the sea" was when she and her mother hid in the woods and watched as his bummers took their chickens, ducks, pigs, and food and then killed her father and uncle when they tried to put the fire out when they burned their house.  They were thus set free--free from everyone
and every thing, free to starve to death while Sherman's men marched on with their forage wagons filled with provisions.

This, of course, isn't fit material for the present-day textbook or classroom, is it!”

Ken Bachand
Capt. Walter M. Bryson-George Mills Camp 70, SCV
Hendersonville, NC

Jason Boone – “I fought to defend what was mine.”

Once again, we have a story about someone whose descendent I personally know or have met. Katherine Hamilton, a math teacher from Suffolk, Virginia, is a regular at the annual Dick Poplar Day ceremonies each September in Petersburg Va. The following is a reprint from a story about her ancestor, Jason Boone, a free black Virginian who served in the Confederate forces. There were initially some questions as to what exactly his duties were. What exactly his function was in the army is never specified in this story. The word “soldier” is used and he carried a gun. However, to be fair, these things, in and of themselves don’t necessarily mean he carried a military rank and or that it was his job to stand in the line of battle and shoot at the enemy. Black men, both slaves and free, in support positions, were known to refer to themselves or be referred to as “soldiers” while not actually having been sworn in as such. And it was not unheard of for these men to be carrying weapons. Further investigation showed that he was a laborer with the 41st Virginia infantry and served honorably in that capacity from 1862 until the end of the war. The issue is less one of “was he a soldier,” and more one of how did he personally view his service?

Suffolk News Herald, Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:43 PM CST


“Soldier Jason Boone (1831-1936)”

“An accurate account of the Civil War cannot be given without speaking of the notable contributions of the black confederate soldier. One such man was Jason Boone, a young, free-born black Virginian living in the Skeetertown area of Nansemond County (Suffolk) when he was called upon to defend that which he loved most, his family and home. It was rumored if the North won the war he would probably lose all they had worked so hard for.
Jason joined the Confederate States Army and left the area for Northern Virginia, where he served honorably for three years. In an interview at the turn of the century, he was asked why he fought for the South. His response was, "I fought to defend what was mine."

After the war ended Jason returned to Skeetertown and raised his family. He could have migrated north as hundreds of others did, but Jason chose to continue to farm the land he loved. His family had lived there for generations and he was connected to the community.

My father was 24 years old when his grandfather Jason Boone died, so he knew him well. We grew up hearing of this man who we believed to be larger then life. We heard of his house with the large porch, the horse he would enter in races, and the songs he like to sing. The gun he had during the Civil War was his most prized possession.

We were also told of some of his experiences during the war, which was a most difficult time for all. He passed these stories and experiences on to his children and grandchildren.

Today we still quote some of Jason's sayings, which are as true today as they were in his time and will be a hundred years from now. - "Stand for what is right," "Do not meddle in other people's business," "Treat others like you want to be treated." "Be your own person," "Buy, never rent," "Do not borrow from other people," as well as "Go to school." These are a few of his philosophies that I have implemented in my life.

People would seek his advice on matters because he was also known for his wisdom and integrity. Though he had a large family, he was always willing to help the less fortunate. The life lessons he instilled in his son, my grandfather, who in turn passed these virtues to my father, who then passed them on to me, which are not taught or learned in the classroom, have had a profound impact on who I am today.

My child and grandchildren are well aware of Jason Boone. My grandson wrote a brief history of his grandmother's great-grandfather, who fought in the Civil War, and his teacher phoned from Denver to express her appreciation of an eight-year-old so well informed concerning his ancestors.

This man who I never met, yet who I feel I know, is worthy to be remembered. He fought for this nation as we know it today, and for what he believed in.”

Nell Boone Smith
Great-granddaughter of Jason Boone
Colorado Springs, CO







Miscellaneous Notes

I have already devoted several pieces in this series to the question of how voluntary the service of those “enlisted” in the USCT was, and I have already cited numerous slaves (from the “Slave Narratives”) which gave evidence that such service was, many times, involuntary. I suppose in citing more examples from that work, I could be accused of “pouring it on!?” Ok, so I’m pouring it on. Here’s a few more examples.

Jennie Worely Gibson, Arkansas
"Gran'ma was Pheobe West. Mama was Jennie West. Mama was a little girl when the Civil War come on. She told how scared her uncle was. He didn't want to go to war. When they would be coming if he know it or get glimpse of the Yankee soldiers, he'd pick up my mama. She was a baby. He'd run for a quarter of a mile to a great big tree down in the field way back of the place off the road……

Phillis Fox, Mississippi
"When dem Yankees come through they got one Marsa Fox's best horses an' took my brother Limuel with em too an' I ain't never seed or hearn tell o' him no more."

Noah Perry,  Oklahoma
“The Yankees come along and took all the able-bodied colored men to the army. Father went as a cook and it was a many long day before we ever saw him again. Our family was all broke up after dat.”

Pauline and Boudreaux Johnson, Texas
“….Us three uncles, Brune and Pophrey and Zaphrey, they goes to the war. Them three dies too young. The Yankees stole them and make them boys fight for them.”

A. F OwensAlabama 
…ain't been no count since my boy John died. He had de con-sumption. He had de flues when he was in de War. Now, he didn't fought. He had to go, dey 'scripted him. He stayed there two year, but dey paid him. 

William Ward, Georgia,
“At the time that Sherman marched through Atlanta, Ward and other slaves were living in an old mansion at the present site of Peachtree and Baker Streets. He says that Sherman took him and his fellow slaves as far as Virginia to carry powder and shot to the soldiers. He states that he himself did not know whether Sherman intended to keep him in slavery or free him.”

****In some cases it might appear that the white Yanks were a bit confused, as they appeared not to be able to differentiate between cows, cotton, food, horses and people. Just ask Lucy Mcullough.

Lucy Mcullough,  Georgia
"Whilst Marse Ned was 'way at de war, bad sojer mens cum thoo de country. Miss Millie done hyar tell dey was on de way, en she had de mens haul all Marse Ned's cotton off in de woods en hide it. De waggins was piled up high wid cotton, en de groun' was soft atter de rain. De waggins leff deep ruts in de groun', but none us folks on de plantation pay no heed ter dem ruts. When de sojer mens cum, dey see dem ruts en trail 'em right out dar in de woods ter de cotton. Den dey sot fire ter de cotton en bun it all up. Dey cum back ter de big house en take all de sweet milk in de dairy house, en help 'emselfs ter evvy thing in de smoke houses. Den dey pick out de stronges' er Marse Ned's slave mens en take 'em 'way wid 'em. Dey take evvy good horse Marse Ned had on de plantation. No Ma'am, dey diden' bun nuffin ceppen' de cotton."
Please LIKE my
Freedom Watch
Facebook page
share it with friends


Please LIKE my
Southern Heritage News
& Views Facebook page
share it with friends.