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Posted at 6:39 PM ET, 10/30/2010

The myth of the black Confederates

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Bruce Levine

Next year, the country will begin observing the sesquicentennial of the bloodiest war in U.S. history -- the Civil War. But the question of how to remember that war sometimes seems as contentious as the war itself was. On Oct. 20, The Post reported that in Virginia, fourth-grade students received textbooks telling them that thousands of African Americans fought in Confederate armies during the Civil War. The textbook's author, who is not a historian, found that false claim repeated so many times on the Internet that she assumed it had to be true.

She thereby helped propagate one of the most pernicious and energetically propagated myths about the Civil War. According to that myth, anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Southern blacks -- both free and enslaved -- served voluntarily, loyally, consistently and as fully fledged combatants in the South. Most of those who make these claims do it to bolster another, bigger myth -- that most Southern blacks supported the Confederacy.

As a matter of fact, one of Jefferson Davis's generals did advise him to emancipate and arm slaves at the start of the war. But Davis vehemently rejected that advice. It "would revolt and disgust the whole South," he snapped. During the first few years of the war, some others repeated this suggestion. Each time, Richmond slapped it down. Not only would no slaves be enlisted; no one who was not certifiably white, whether slave or free, would be permitted to become a Confederate soldier.

And the Confederacy's policy of excluding blacks from its armed forces was effective. John Beauchamp Jones, a high-level assistant to the secretary of war, scoffed at rumors that the Confederacy had units made up of slaves. "This is utterly untrue," he wrote in his diary. "We have no armed slaves to fight for us." Asked to double-check, Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon confirmed that "No slaves have been employed by the Government except as cooks or nurses in hospitals and for labor."

Why were the leaders so stubborn on this point? Because they were fighting to preserve African American slavery and the racial creed that justified it. Slavery's defenders insisted that blacks were inferior to whites -- uniquely suited to dull, arduous labor but incapable of assuming the responsibilities of free people, citizens or soldiers. As Seddon explained, since the Confederacy had taken that stand both before "the North and before the world," it could "not allow the employment as armed soldiers of negroes." Putting blacks into gray uniforms would be seen as a confession that this ideology was a lie. Even more practically, the Confederacy worried about what black troops would do with their weapons. At the very least they feared (in the words of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin) that black Confederate soldiers would desert to the enemy "in mass."

Finally, approaching military defeat forced Jefferson Davis to reverse course and support the black troops idea at the end of 1864. At that point, he faced fierce resistance from white Southerners who continued to insist that blacks would make only poor or disloyal soldiers. Davis now had to argue that black soldiers might yet fight effectively for the South. Tellingly, however, in trying to make that case, neither he nor his allies ever pointed proudly to the record of any of the black units (or even individuals) who purveyors of the modern myth claim were already in the field.

After months of heated debate, a severely watered-down version of this proposal became Confederate law in March of 1865. Gen. Richard S. Ewell assumed responsibility for implementing it, and Confederate officials and journalists confidently predicted the enlistment of thousands. But the actual results proved bitterly disappointing. A dwarf company or two of black hospital workers was attached to a unit of a local Richmond home guard just a few weeks before the war's end. The regular Confederate army apparently managed to recruit another 40 to 60 men -- men whom it drilled, fed, and housed at military prison facilities under the watchful eyes of military police and wardens -- reflecting how little confidence the government and army had in the loyalty of their last-minute recruits.

This strikingly unsuccessful last-ditch effort, furthermore, constituted the sole exception to the Confederacy's steadfast refusal to employ African American soldiers. As Gen. Ewell's longtime aide-de-camp, Maj. George Campbell Brown, later affirmed, the handful of black soldiers mustered in Richmond in 1865 were "the first and only black troops used on our side."

The writer is a professor of history and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This column is adapted from a piece that appeared in the Fredericksburg, Va., Free Lance-Star in September.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | October 30, 2010; 6:39 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, history  
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Comments

Another Historian's take, comes to the same conclusion:

http://theaporetic.com/?p=651

Posted by: momalle3 | October 31, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

THE MYTH OF THE BLACK CONFEDERATES (3 - CONT.)

LEVINE IS SO BLINDED BY HIS “MYTH OF THE BLACK CONFEDERATES” AGENDA THAT EVEN WHEN HE RELUCTANTLY HAS TO ADMIT THAT THERE WERE SOME HE DENIGRATES THEM.

“WHEN YOU ELIMINATE THE BLACK CONFEDERATE SOLDIER, YOU’VE ELIMINATED THE HISTORY OF THE SOUTH.”—THE LATE DR. LEONARD HAYNES, PROFESSOR [AND AN AFRICAN AMERICAN], SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY.

FOR AN AUTHORITATIVE AND IDEOLOGY-FREE LOOK AT BLACKS IN THE CONFEDERACY, INCLUDING THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE CONFEDERATE MILITARY SEE: JORDAN, ERVIN L. “BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA.” CHARLOTTESVILLE: UNIVERSITY PRESS OF VIRGINIA, 1995.

“NUMEROUS AFRO-VIRGINIANS, FREE BLACKS AND SLAVES, WERE GENUINE SOUTHERN LOYALISTS, NOT AS A CONSEQUENCE OF WHITE PRESSURE BUT DUE TO THEIR PREFERENCES. THEY ARE THE CIVIL WAR'S FORGOTTEN PEOPLE, YET THEIR EXISTENCE WAS MORE WIDESPREAD THAN AMERICAN HISTORY HAS RECORDED. THEIR BONES REST IN UNHONORED GLORY IN SOUTHERN SOIL, SHROUDED BY FALSEHOODS, INDIFFERENCE AND HISTORIANS' CENSORSHIP” --“BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN L. JORDAN, UVA

WAPO READERS SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON THEIR GUARD AGAINST BIASED AGENDA DRIVEN EXPERTS (HISTORIANS, ETC) AND THEIR ACCOMMODATING FRIENDS IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA.

ALWAYS REMAIN SKEPTICAL AND CHALLENGE THEIR THESIS WHEN INCONVENIENT FACTS ARE DISCOVERED TO HAVE BEEN CONVENIENTLY LEFT OUT. AND, FEEL FREE TO INVESTIGATE WHAT I HAVE PRESENTED HERE. THE INTERNET IS A GREAT PLACE TO START, BUT ALWAYS VERIFY WHAT YOU READ. THE CONFEDERATE HERITAGE WEBSITES THAT LEVINE IS SO DISTRAUGHT ABOUT DO CONTAIN VERIFIABLE EXCERPTS FROM CONTEMPORARY RECORDS BUT ALWAYS LOOK FOR A SOURCE REFERENCE THAT CAN BE VALIDATED

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

THE MYTH OF THE BLACK CONFEDERATES (2 - CONT.)

“And the Confederacy's policy of excluding blacks from its armed forces was effective. John Beauchamp Jones, a high-level assistant to the secretary of war, scoffed at rumors that the Confederacy had units made up of slaves. "This is utterly untrue," he wrote in his diary. "We have no armed slaves to fight for us." Asked to double-check, Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon confirmed that "No slaves have been employed by the Government except as cooks or nurses in hospitals and for labor." --Levine

LEVINE CITES A SINGLE DIARY ENTRY BY JONES TO REST HIS CLAIM OF NO BLACK CONFEDERATES, BUT EVEN THAT BIT OF COMMENATRY BY A CONDERATE BUREAUCRAT ONLY MENTIONS SLAVES, NOT FREE BLACKS. THERE WERE NEARLY 60,000 FREE BLACKS IN VIRGINIA ALONE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR (http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Free_Blacks_During_the_Civil_War
Jordan, Ervin L. Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.).

“After months of heated debate, a severely watered-down version of this proposal became Confederate law in March of 1865. Gen. Richard S. Ewell assumed responsibility for implementing it, and Confederate officials and journalists confidently predicted the enlistment of thousands. But the actual results proved bitterly disappointing. A dwarf company or two of black hospital workers was attached to a unit of a local Richmond home guard just a few weeks before the war's end. The regular Confederate army apparently managed to recruit another 40 to 60 men -- men whom it drilled, fed, and housed at military prison facilities under the watchful eyes of military police and wardens -- reflecting how little confidence the government and army had in the loyalty of their last-minute recruits.” --Levine

…ON MARCH 11, 1865 THESE TWO COMPANIES OF BLACKS AND THREE COMPANIES OF WHITES SAW ACTION IN THE PETERSBURG TRENCHES… --BLACK SOUTHERNERS IN CONFEDERATE ARMIES: A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS BY JOE HENRY SEGARS, CHARLES KELLY BARROW, SOUTHERN LION BOOKS; 1ST EDITION (MAY 1, 2001)

“SIR
I HAVE THE HONOR TO REPORT THAT IN OBEDIENCE TO YOUR ORDERS RECEIVED THROUGH SURG HANCOCK I ORDERED MY BATTALION FROM THE 1ST 2D 3 & 4 DIV OF JACKSON HOSPITAL TO THE FRONT ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT 12 O’CLK AND REPORTED BY ORDER OF MAJ. PEGRAM TO COL. SHIP P.A.C.S. COMDG CADET CORPS.
I HAVE GREAT PLEASURE IN STATING THAT MY MEN ACTED WITH THE UTMOST PROMPTNESS AND GOOD WILL.
I HAD THE PLEASURE OF TURNING OVER TO MAJOR CHAMBLISS A PORTION OF MY NEGRO COMMAND TO BE ATTACHED TO HIS NEGRO COMMAND. ALLOW ME TO STATE THAT THEY BEHAVED IN EXTRAORDINARY COMMENDABLE(?) MANNER. I WOULD RESPECTFULLY ASK THAT MAJOR CHAMBLISS BE PARTICULARLY NOTICED FOR THE MANNER WHICH HE HANDLED THAT VERY IMPORTANT ELEMENT TO BE INAUGURATED IN OUR SERVICE.
RESPY YOUR OBDT SERVT
H. C. SCOTT
SURG(?) & MAJOR COMDG
JACKSON BATTLN”

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

THE MYTH OF THE BLACK CONFEDERATES (1)

“The Post reported that in Virginia, fourth-grade students received textbooks telling them that thousands of African Americans fought in Confederate armies during the Civil War… According to that myth, anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Southern blacks -- both free and enslaved -- served voluntarily, loyally, consistently and as fully fledged combatants in the South.” --Levine

SO WHAT ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT “THOUSANDS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS” NUMBERING SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 2,000 AND 9,000 DID SERVE AS COMBATANTS WITH CONFEDERATE FORCES?

LIBERAL “HISTORIAN” BRUCE LEVINE HAS CREATED A STRAW MAN OF 10,000 TO 100,000 TO AVOID HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE MORE PROBLEMATIC FACT--SUPPORTED BY CONTEMPORARY RECORDS--THAT SEVERAL THOUSAND BLACK CONFEDERATE COMBATANTS DID SERVE. HE ADDS “VOLUNTARILY, CONSISTENTLY, AND FULLY FLEDGED” (WHATEVER “CONSISTENTLY” AND “FULLY-FLEDGED” MEAN) TO THAT STRAW MAN TO TRY TO SO NARROWLY DEFINE BLACK CONFEDERATE AS TO TRY TO ELIMINATE ALL WHO SERVED.

SOME THE QUESTION BACK TO LEVINE IS, HOW MANY BLACK CONDERATES DID SERVE?

“As a matter of fact, one of Jefferson Davis's generals did advise him to emancipate and arm slaves at the start of the war. But Davis vehemently rejected that advice. It "would revolt and disgust the whole South," he snapped. During the first few years of the war, some others repeated this suggestion. Each time, Richmond slapped it down. Not only would no slaves be enlisted; no one who was not certifiably white, whether slave or free, would be permitted to become a Confederate soldier.” --Levine

BUT, IN FACT, FREE BLACKS AND SLAVES DID SERVE IN CONFEDERATE UNITS EARLY IN THE WAR AS THE INDIVIDUAL CONFEDERATE STATES WERE NOT AS STRICT IN THE APPLICATION OF CONFEDERATE “NATIONAL” POLICY.

“…IN THE EARLY MONTHS OF THE WAR, SOME FREE BLACKS JOINED MILITARY COMPANIES SUCH AS HARVEY’S SCOUTS (WHO RODE WITH NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST) AND THE 3RD GEORGIA INFANTRY REGIMENT. IN ADDITION, SOME FREE BLACKS FROM NEW ORLEANS ALSO OFFERED THEIR SERVICES TO THE CONFEDERACY. – “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: A POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND MILITARY HISTORY” BY DAVID J. COLES, DAVID STEPHEN HEIDLER, JEANNE T. HEIDLER, AND JAMES M. MCPHERSON”

THOUSANDS OF BLACK BODY SERVANTS ACCOMPANIED THEIR MASTERS INTO WAR AND ENGAGING UNION FORCES IN COMBAT. THERE ARE NUMEROUS REPORTS BY UNION OBSERVORS OF BLACK CONFEDERATE UNITS, SENTRIES, AND SCOUTS. LEVINE IGNORES THESE RECORDS.

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I am constantly astounded by the perception that Black Confederate American did not exist!
I also fail to see what meaningful purpose the “suppression” of this aspect of AMERICAN history serves.
“The Post reported that in Virginia, fourth-grade students received textbooks telling them that thousands of African Americans fought in Confederate armies”
One book that is published ; “Black Confederates” by Charles Kelly Barrow provides more than enough VERIFIABLE evidence to back the claims in the text book!
It seems to me that the writers who support the “No Black Confederates” suppression; are trying to focus on the sins of the South. That way they avoid the Sins of a Nation regarding Slavery!
If the reports from Union commanders, newspapers of the time, letters home form both Union and Confederate soldiers, Pension records, as well as narratives from the Black Southerners themselves, are not enough evidence for the Nay Sayers there never can be!
The army’s of Lincoln were invading the homes of White and Black Southerners.
Truth be told there was more acceptance of Blacks in the south than anyplace else in the United States. The North had Black exclusionary laws that prevented free Blacks from living with them.
That is why the Under Ground Railroad went to Canada: not the Fugitive slave act, but the fact that Northern Americans felt themselves morally superior to Southern whites who interacted closely with Blacks, and did not wish to have Blacks living with them!
A Black man need not carry a weapon to fight the Yankees, Building fortifications, cooking food, teamsters, and the MILLIONS of Blacks who stayed at the farm to tend crops while the White Men
As well as Black men were way trying to stop the invasion and subsequent rape of the South by Lincolns’ army show support of the South’s cause. Often after the North had control of an area they were astounded by the loyalty of Black Servants who refused Emancipation And were just as astounded when Blacks returned to the South after a taste of “Northern” freedom.
David Tatum Jr.

Posted by: Davtatum | October 31, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

There are many documented accounts of blacks serving in the Confederacy and they speak for themselves. My thought today is since the author has chosen a quote from Jefferson Davis to base his assumptions on, that I would like to refer the reader to a quote from another famous leader of that time period...

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

This from the "Great Emancipator" himself, Abraham Lincoln.

I would think that articles like this one would cause my black neighbors to join us in the struggle to prevent OUR history and that of OUR ancestors from being completely erased in the name of political correctness!

I close with the quote of another great leader during the War Between the States:

"Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity." Gen. Robert E. Lee, CSA

Posted by: DixieGirlVa | October 31, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

There are many documented accounts of blacks serving in the Confederacy and they speak for themselves. My thought today is since the author has chosen a quote from Jefferson Davis to base his assumptions on, that I would like to refer the reader to a quote from another famous leader of that time period...

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

This from the "Great Emancipator" himself, Abraham Lincoln.

I would think that articles like this one would cause my black neighbors to join us in the struggle to prevent OUR history and that of OUR ancestors from being completely erased in the name of political correctness!

I leave the reader with the words of another great leader during the War Between the States:

"Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity." Gen. Robert E. Lee, CSA

Posted by: DixieGirlVa | October 31, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Federal Govt records which follow prove the existence of Black Confederates....don't be misled by PC historians.
Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst's Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on General Forrest's attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13,1862: "There were also quite a number of Negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: kahinson | October 31, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Federal Official Records, Vol. XIX, Chapter XXXI, pg. 617 - Record of the Harper's Ferry Military Commission (U.S. Army)

Question. Do you know of any individual of the enemy having been killed or wounded during the siege of Harper's Ferry?

Answer. I have strong reasons to believe that there was a negro killed, who had wounded 2 or 3 of my men. I know that an officer took deliberate aim at him, and he fell over. He was one of the skirmishers of the enemy[Confederate, ed.], and wounded 3 of my men. I know there must have been some of the enemy killed. Question. How do you know the negro was killed? Answer. The officer saw him fall."

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

Federal Official Records, Series 1, Volume 4, p.569 - Report of Colonel John W. Phelps, First Vermont Infantry: CAMP BUTLER, Newport News, Va.,

August 11, 1861 - SIR: Scouts from this post represent the enemy as having retired. they came to New Market Bridge on Wednesday, and left the next day. They-the enemy-talked of having 9,000 men. They were recalled by dispatches from Richmond. They had twenty pieces of artillery, among which was the Richmond Howitzer Battery, manned by negroes. . . Their numbers are probably overrated; but with regard to their artillery, and its being manned in part by negroes, I think the report is probably correct. "

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

Posted by: kahinson | October 31, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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

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

Posted by: kahinson | October 31, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The argument about whether there was or was not a single black soldier who ever fought on the Confederate side obscures a larger truth.

One reads in Shelby Foote's three-volume work on the Civil War. In "Red River to Appomattox, Foote who is sympathetic to the South writes on page 756 of the edition of that work I own that:

More than 180,000 blacks were serving in the Union ranks at the end of the war.

The number of black servicemen in the Union force alone was larger than the entire Southern force, irrespective of race.

Of these 180,000 blacks serving in the union ranks, more than 130,000 hailed from states with stars on the Confederate battle flag.

Whether there were or were not African Americans in the Southern force should not obscure the fact that, to the degree that anyone on the Southern side took up arms to defend slavery, in the words of General Sherman, "Never have men fought more valiantly on behalf of a worse cause".

Posted by: douglas_e_coleman | October 31, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

LEVINE ACOLYTE AND SELF-DESCRIBED “PROFESSIONAL HISTORIAN,” CAROL SHERIFF, WHO STARTED THIS ACADEMIA-MSM FLAP THAT LED TO FOUR WAPO ARTICLES, ONE WAPO COLUMN, THREE WAPO BLOGS, AND ONE WAPO ONLINE DISCUSSION (AND PICKED UP BY THE MSM) ALL ROBOTICALLY PARROTING THE SAME LINE! NO SKEPTICISM, NO COMPETENCE IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND NO DIVERSITY OF OPINION AT THE POST.

“Textbook clash in Virginia over Civil War”
Carol Sheriff, Historian, College of William and Mary
Wednesday, October 20, 2010;
Sheriff was online Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Noon ET to discuss the controversy.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/10/20/DI2010102002560_pf.html

Carol Sheriff: “Hi, this is Carol Sheriff at the College of William and Mary, where i teach and publish on the Civil War. Thanks for your question. There is historical evidence that individual blacks, usually servants who followed their masters to the front, occasionally picked up guns in the heat of battle, but it was illegal in the Confederacy to use blacks as soldiers until the waning days of the war (early 1865).” --Washington Post online chat 10/20/2010

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: “…IN THE EARLY MONTHS OF THE WAR, SOME FREE BLACKS JOINED MILITARY COMPANIES SUCH AS HARVEY’S SCOUTS (WHO RODE WITH NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST) AND THE 3RD GEORGIA INFANTRY REGIMENT. IN ADDITION, SOME FREE BLACKS FROM NEW ORLEANS ALSO OFFERED THEIR SERVICES TO THE CONFEDERACY.” – “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: A POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND MILITARY HISTORY” BY DAVID J. COLES, DAVID STEPHEN HEIDLER, JEANNE T. HEIDLER, AND JAMES M. MCPHERSON

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: NOTWITHSTANDING AN 1863 BAN AGAINST THEIR ENLISTMENT, AFRO-CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-VIRGINIANS JOINED THE CONFEDERATE NAVY AND SERVED IN OTHER NECESSARY CAPACITIES. -- BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN JORDAN (UVA PRESS 1995).

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: GEORGE WASHINGTON WILLIAMS, THE FIRST BLACK HISTORIAN TO PUBLISH A SERIOUS AND WIDELY RECEIVED HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS, WROTE, “FROM THE EARLIEST DAWN OF THE WAR THE REBEL AUTHORITIES DID NOT FROWN UPON THE ACTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN PLACING ARMS INTO THE HANDS OF FREE NEGROES. – BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN JORDAN (UVA PRESS 1995).

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: SOME INDIVIDUAL STATES IN THE CONFEDERACY PERMITTED FREE BLACKS TO ENLIST AS SOLDIERS IN THEIR STATE MILITIAS CONTINUING A LONGSTANDING TRADITION. THE FIRST TO DO SO WAS TENNESSEE WHICH PASSED A LAW ON JUNE 21, 1861 AUTHORIZING THE RECRUITMENT OF STATE MILITIA UNITS COMPOSED OF "FREE PERSONS OF COLOR" BETWEEN THE AGES OF 15 AND 50. -- HTTPS://WIKI.FAMILYSEARCH.ORG/EN/AFRICAN_AMERICAN_MILITARY_RECORDS

Sheriff: “a few companies . . . were raised then, but none saw battle action, as the surrender followed shortly thereafter.”

(PC Professor Sheriff 2 – cont. below)

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

LEVINE ACOLYTE AND SELF-DESCRIBED “PROFESSIONAL HISTORIAN,” CAROL SHERIFF, WHO STARTED THIS ACADEMIA-MSM FLAP THAT LED TO FOUR WAPO ARTICLES, ONE WAPO COLUMN, THREE WAPO BLOGS, AND ONE WAPO ONLINE DISCUSSION (AND PICKED UP BY THE MSM) ALL ROBOTICALLY PARROTING THE SAME LINE! NO SKEPTICISM, NO COMPETENCE IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND NO DIVERSITY OF OPINION AT THE POST.

“Textbook clash in Virginia over Civil War”
Carol Sheriff, Historian, College of William and Mary
Wednesday, October 20, 2010;
Sheriff was online Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Noon ET to discuss the controversy.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/10/20/DI2010102002560_pf.html

Carol Sheriff: “Hi, this is Carol Sheriff at the College of William and Mary, where i teach and publish on the Civil War. Thanks for your question. There is historical evidence that individual blacks, usually servants who followed their masters to the front, occasionally picked up guns in the heat of battle, but it was illegal in the Confederacy to use blacks as soldiers until the waning days of the war (early 1865).” --Washington Post online chat 10/20/2010

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: “…IN THE EARLY MONTHS OF THE WAR, SOME FREE BLACKS JOINED MILITARY COMPANIES SUCH AS HARVEY’S SCOUTS (WHO RODE WITH NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST) AND THE 3RD GEORGIA INFANTRY REGIMENT. IN ADDITION, SOME FREE BLACKS FROM NEW ORLEANS ALSO OFFERED THEIR SERVICES TO THE CONFEDERACY.” – “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: A POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND MILITARY HISTORY” BY DAVID J. COLES, DAVID STEPHEN HEIDLER, JEANNE T. HEIDLER, AND JAMES M. MCPHERSON

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: NOTWITHSTANDING AN 1863 BAN AGAINST THEIR ENLISTMENT, AFRO-CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-VIRGINIANS JOINED THE CONFEDERATE NAVY AND SERVED IN OTHER NECESSARY CAPACITIES. -- BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN JORDAN (UVA PRESS 1995).

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: GEORGE WASHINGTON WILLIAMS, THE FIRST BLACK HISTORIAN TO PUBLISH A SERIOUS AND WIDELY RECEIVED HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS, WROTE, “FROM THE EARLIEST DAWN OF THE WAR THE REBEL AUTHORITIES DID NOT FROWN UPON THE ACTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN PLACING ARMS INTO THE HANDS OF FREE NEGROES. – BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN JORDAN (UVA PRESS 1995).

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: SOME INDIVIDUAL STATES IN THE CONFEDERACY PERMITTED FREE BLACKS TO ENLIST AS SOLDIERS IN THEIR STATE MILITIAS CONTINUING A LONGSTANDING TRADITION. THE FIRST TO DO SO WAS TENNESSEE WHICH PASSED A LAW ON JUNE 21, 1861 AUTHORIZING THE RECRUITMENT OF STATE MILITIA UNITS COMPOSED OF "FREE PERSONS OF COLOR" BETWEEN THE AGES OF 15 AND 50. -- HTTPS://WIKI.FAMILYSEARCH.ORG/EN/AFRICAN_AMERICAN_MILITARY_RECORDS

Sheriff: “a few companies . . . were raised then, but none saw battle action, as the surrender followed shortly thereafter.”

(PC Professor Sheriff 2 – cont. below)

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

(PC Professor Sheriff 2 – cont.)

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: “JACKSON’S BATTALION, ALSO KNOWN AS SCOTT’S BATTALION LOCAL DEFENSE TROOPS, WAS ORGANIZED ON MARCH 5, 1865, FROM DETAILED MEN, ASSISTANTS, AND CONVALESCENTS AT THE JACKSON HOSPITAL IN RICHMOND… TWO ADDITIONAL COMPANIES WERE COMPOSED OF BLACKS EMPLOYED AT JACKSON HOSPITAL. ON MARCH 11, 1865 THESE TWO COMPANIES OF BLACKS AND THREE COMPANIES OF WHITES SAW ACTION IN THE PETERSBURG TRENCHES…” --BLACK SOUTHERNERS IN CONFEDERATE ARMIES: A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS BY JOE HENRY SEGARS, CHARLES KELLY BARROW, SOUTHERN LION BOOKS; 1ST EDITION (MAY 1, 2001)

Sheriff: “Stonewall Jackson had died in 1863, so no black soldiers could have served under his command."

POLITICALLY INCORRECT HISTORY: "WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: AT 4 O'CLOCK THIS MORNING THE REBEL ARMY BEGAN TO MOVE FROM OUR TOWN, JACKSON'S FORCE TAKING THE ADVANCE. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUED UNTIL 8 O'CLOCK P.M., OCCUPYING 16 HOURS. THE MOST LIBERAL CALCULATION COULD NOT GIVE THEM MORE THAN 64,000 MEN. OVER 3,000 NEGROES MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE NUMBER. . . . THEY HAD ARMS, RIFLES, MUSKETS, SABERS, BOWIE-KNIVES, DIRKS, ETC. THEY WERE SUPPLIED, IN MANY INSTANCES, WITH KNAPSACKS, HAVERSACKS, CANTEENS, ETC., AND THEY WERE MANIFESTLY AN INTEGRAL PORTION OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY ARMY. THEY WERE SEEN RIDING ON HORSES AND MULES, DRIVING WAGONS, RIDING ON CAISSONS, IN AMBULANCES, WITH THE STAFF OF GENERALS AND PROMISCUOUSLY MIXED UP WITH ALL THE REBEL HORDE." ----DOCUMENTS OF THE U.S. SANITARY COMMISSION, VOLUME 2

Carol Sheriff: There is evidence of black people aiding the Confederacy, whether out of idealism or pragmatism. There is no evidence that I have seen that there were organized battalions of black soldiers.

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: “…PART OF THIS COMPANY WAS TRANSFERRED TO MAJOR JACKSON CHAMBLISS’ NEGRO BATTALION. CHAMBLISS’ TWO-COMPANY BATTALION WAS ORGANIZED UNDER AN ACT OF THE CONFEDERATE CONGRESS DATED MARCH 5, 1865, AS PART OF A NEGRO BRIGADE BEING RAISED BY MAJORS JAMES W. PEGRAM AND THOMAS P. TURNER.” --BLACK SOUTHERNERS IN CONFEDERATE ARMIES: A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS BY JOE HENRY SEGARS, CHARLES KELLY BARROW, SOUTHERN LION BOOKS; 1ST EDITION (MAY 1, 2001)

POLITICALLY-INCORRECT HISTORY: LOUISIANA, WHICH HAD A SIZABLE FREE BLACK POPULATION, FOLLOWED SUIT AND ASSEMBLED THE ALL-BLACK 1ST LOUISIANA NATIVE GUARD. THIS REGIMENT WAS LATER FORCED TO DISBAND IN FEBRUARY, 1862 WHEN THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASSED A LAW IN JANUARY, 1862, THAT REORGANIZED THE MILITIA BY CONSCRIPTING “ALL THE FREE WHITE MALES CAPABLE OF BEARING ARMS… IRRESPECTIVE OF NATIONALITY”. -- https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/african_american_military_records; also see louisianans in the civil war, "louisiana's free men of color in gray", by arthur w. bergeron, jr. university of missouri press, 2002, p. 106-107.

(PC Professor Sheriff 3 – cont. below)

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

(PC Professor Sheriff 3 – cont.)

THANK GOODNESS WE HAVE A POLITICALLY-CORRECT “PROFESSIONAL HISTORIAN” AND “CIVIL WAR EXPERT AT THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY” TO MAKE GRAND STATEMENTS (“NO EVIDENCE… NO BLACK SOLDIERS COULD HAVE SERVED… NONE SAW BATTLE ACTION, ETC) THAT ARE SO EASILY REBUTTED BY HISTORICAL RECORDS.

IT’S A CLASSIC CASE OF SOMEONE WITH AN POLITICIZED MINDSET BEING FOLLOWED BY THE KNOW-NOTHINGS IN THE MEDIA (SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND).

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF CONTEMPORARY RECORDS (OFFICIAL REPORTS, DIARIES, AND LETTERS) THAT ATTEST TO A PRESENCE SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF BLACK CONFEDERATES DURING THE FOUR LONG YEARS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. MANY CAN BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET AND TRACED TO THE ARCHIVE IN WHICH THEY RESIDE. “PROFESSIONAL HISTORIAN” CAROL SHERIFF IS APPARENTLY UNAWARE OF THIS BODY OF EVIDENCE. ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT AND ONE THAT PROVIDES A COMPREHENSIVE (AND HEAVILY FOOTNOTED) LOOK AT BLACK SLAVES AND FREE MEN IN CONFEDERATE SERVICE IS “BLACK CONFEDERATES AND AFRO-YANKEES IN CIVIL WAR VIRGINIA” BY ERVIN JORDAN (UVA PRESS 1995). HE’S DONE HIS HOMEWORK, SHERIFF IS A LIBERAL ACADEMIC WHO HAS NOT DONE HER HOMEWORK, BUT SHE’S THE TOAST OF THE LIBERAL MSM AND SHE’S GETTING TENNIS ELBOW FROM PATTING HERSELF ON THE BACK:

“Since the Post story ran, Sheriff has become a favorite of the national press. The day the story broke, she took part in an online chat about the subject on Washington Post’s website. Later that night, Sheriff appeared live from campus on MSBNC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The next day, Post metro columnist Robert McCartney quoted Sheriff about the textbook controversy and the Associated Press put out a story on the national wire that led to more than 200 news outlets across the country picking up the story. Sheriff has also appeared on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and local papers such as the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Daily Press, Virginian-Pilot, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily and Virginia Gazette ran stories” -- http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2010/discovery-leads-to-national-story-on-virginia-textbook-123.php

HOW IS IT THAT A SELF-DESCRIBED “PROFESSIONAL HISTORIAN” IS SO BLIND TO RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS THAT SO CLEARLY REBUT HER SIMPLISTIC, NAÏVE, AND SWEEPING MISREPRESENTATIONS?

DON’T EXPECT TO GET THAT ANSWER FROM THE WASHINGTON POST. ITS REPORTERS AND EDITORS HAVE AN AGENDA AND THE TRUTH DOESN’T FIGURE INTO IT.

Posted by: ChesDead | October 31, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

One reason why Negroes may have fought for the South is the same as why the recent Irish immigrants fought for the North. The Irish wanted to learn military tactics so they could fight and defeat the British back in Ireland.
According to Wikipedia there were 4 Negro uprisings in Virginia in the 19th century. In both the 18th and 19th centuries, there were others revolts in North America . I would suspect that there were also singular occasions when a Negro murdered his master, but these killings would only have been covered locally. These events frighted the whites and laws were enacted to forbid Negros from using firearms.
Southern leaders who had military experience would have known that victorious soldiers would strip the dead, friend or foe, of valuables, which included weapons. What better way for Negros to acquired weapons than by joining in a battle.
It is also probable that some Negros would fight for the South to have an opportunity to legally kill whites.

Posted by: FAFWill | October 31, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Levine is wrong once again. Blacks did fight and support the Confederate States. I have two books to prove it and I am working on my third one now. Like in my other books, I will have primary sources and orginial muster rolls. It is hard to disapprove Black Confederates when I have an orginial muster roll/service record with the words "Free man of Color" written on it. Here's a few Bruce. Holt Collier, Bill Yopp, Wiley A. Stewart....guess I better stop since they aren't really real ;)
I would like to suggest that before Bruce writes another article (that he has no idea about he is talking about), he needs to study history instead of pushing is own PC agenda.
I would like to leave a little advice for Bruce and for those who thinks he's right.
"Black Confederates, often disputed but Never refuted!"

Posted by: kiltedkelly | October 31, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

For those delusional nut jobs who think there were blacks in the CSA _- go read Jeff Davis speech of Jan 5, 1863.

No one can read that speech and ever again say the South had black soldiers. Jefferson Davis was so irate that LInconl was going to use blacks as soldiers, that he promised to invade the North, and make slaves of all blacks in the NOrth.

And he decreed -- in this very speech -- that all blacks ever freed in the South (about a million) were "hereby" placed back on the slave status -- FOREVER.

There were NEVER any black confederate solders. Ever. Even after the massive desertions by white troops, by March of 1865, and the CSA Congress finally agreed to draft SLAVES -- none were processed, at all.

There were over a million blacks pressed into some service of the army -- Lee had three black slaves with him most of the war. They were NOT in the CSA - they were his personal slaves.

Were there SOME blacks around, possibly some held a musket. Yes. But those were the same blacks that held down other blacks to master could whip them -- or they tortured the other blacks FOR the master.

Posted by: FilmCriticOne | October 31, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

FilmCriticOne,
Interesting post. I'll just address one inaccuracy...

I wonder how Robert E. Lee could have possibly had 3 slaves with him during the war, since he DID NOT OWN ANY. Perhaps you are confusing him with Union General Ulysses S. Grant, whose wife did not free her slaves until after the War Between the States.

I guess it's easier to call someone a "delusional nut job" than to come up with some actual facts or rebuttal of the many facts that have been presented in these posts.

Posted by: DixieGirlVa | November 1, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I read the piece and the snippets people have posted here. Mr. Levine tries valiantly to prove a negative, that there were no blacks Southern soldiers. His thrust is (1) the South wouldn't and (2) from their own accounts, they didn't. Various writers have included quotes, some suspiciously shortened, purporting to show that blacks did fight. Most in fact indicate only that blacks were attached to fighting units, not that they fought. Everyone concedes that blacks were used as labor by fighting units, and in fact some were killed while doing so. The more persuasive snippets that those from April of 1865, a period Mr. Levine already told us was the only one where the South tired to raise black soldiers.
In conclusion, Mr. Levine does not succeed in proving there were no Negro troops in the South, nor do the letter writers prove the opposite. Given that it should be easy to prove that there were such troops, I'd say Mr. Levine wins this one.

Posted by: krickey7 | November 1, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

And the Kooks will not be silenced. Don't let facts get in the way of your revisionist, white washing of Confederate history. Blacks did not support the Confederacy. Period. Let it go, guys.

Posted by: PepperDr | November 1, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

When you write in all-caps, it makes what you say true.

Posted by: StPaulite | November 1, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Dixiegirl, this Dixie Boy can tell you Lee owned slaves. I understand why people deny this, but he inherited slaves from George Custis, and kept them as long as Custis's will said that he could.

True, he said slavery was "evil," but also a necessary one, and argued blacks were better off in bondage here than in Africa. There were many slaveholders that called slavery evil but wouldn't get out of that vicious business themselves.

My ancestors fought for the South, and some also owned slaves on their small farms. I can see my features in some of their old photos. It's not something I am proud of them for, but I don't deny it. They fought for what they believed in, and I'm thankful they lost. It's a major part of our past that was ended with a horrific war, frankly the only way it could have been ended.

Our national history is a brutal one; there's no point in whitewashing that by pretending the Civil War was not fought over slavery, as so many people try to do, and what this argument over black troops, at its core, is all about.

Krickey7's exactly right. As hard as it is to prove a negative, Mr. Levine wins this one.

Posted by: jron | November 1, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Toussaint L’Ouverture is a prominent slave in the history of the slave trade. He rose up and fought the French oppressors. You can see a clip of his last moments in prison from the film “The Last Days of Toussaint L’Ouverture” – a short film – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2468184/

Posted by: terra100 | November 1, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The War was not fought over slavery -- it was fought over taxes, specifically the Morrill Tariff. Had slavery been the issue, the States needed only ratify the Corwin Amendment to make slavery permanent.

That blacks, both bond and free, served the Confederate cause is well-documented, and the evidence is not hard to find if looked for.

Happens that the first US army officer to die in battle, Major Theodore Winthrop of Massachusetts, was shot at Big Bethel by a black Confederate sniper.

The Washington Post would do well to practice responsible journalism rather than shooting its mouth off inaccurately.

Posted by: SylviasDaddy | November 1, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey there Dixie Boy! I never said that he didn't own slaves (although they were actually willed to his wife). My point was that he didn't own them DURING THE WAR, so that the claim that he had 3 slaves with him "during most of the war" is false. I am interested in TRUTH.

We agree on more than you might guess at first glance. I have 6 direct ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and about 1/2 of them owned slaves. I, and most of those involved in the fight to defend our Heritage, do not think that slavery had NOTHING to do with war, but we also do not think it was the ONLY issue.

I am not interested in whitewashing anything, but what is happening now is a concerted effort to make sure that our ancestors and their honor, duty and devotion to God, family and state are completely erased, and I owe it to my ancestors to speak out in their defense.

"Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again" Jefferson Davis

Posted by: DixieGirlVa | November 1, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Prof. Levine -- thanks for your thoughtful and well-researched article, which utterly destroys this ridiculous myth.

The frothing responses on this board from people like DixieGirlVa and ChesDead prove the persuasive power of your essay.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 1, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

SylviasDaddy or any of you other Confederate sympathizers, please post some real evidence to back up your claims. Links would help. Tenth-hand hearsay won't cut it.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

While racism was a prevalent theme in Confederate leadership and policy it is again ridiculous that the prevailing sentiment is that the Civil War was fought solely to continue slavery. Succession was clearly the result of Northern economic aggression toward Southern industrialization. There are repeated attempts by Industries to move factories to the South to utilize union free and/or slave labor that were repeatedly undermined by Northern political leaders. We must remember that prior to the war the South was experiencing tough economic times and recession, southerners were much poorer than their average Northern counterpart. While no one can ignore the lasting effects of Southern racism it is insane to paint the North as a heroic force for good. Many in the North, and to some extent rightfully so, were disgusted by Lincoln's extra-constitutional actions including denying habeas corpus, subverting congress by blockading Southern exports, and freeing the slaves via executive order. While his actions were all made for the right reasons, we still see the negative effects of expansion of wartime presidential authority today. It is obvious that the modern president has embraced this 'ends justify the means' mentality much to the detriment of our republic. I would like to thank the author for his well written refutation of ridiculous rumors regarding the participation of African-Americans in the Confederate army. However, I am saddened by our culture's inability to empathize with the South's full motives for succession. While we should detest the abuses of the system of slavery, we should remember that their were no innocent parties involved.

Posted by: mxm015 | November 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

While racism was a prevalent theme in Confederate leadership and policy it is again ridiculous that the prevailing sentiment is that the Civil War was fought solely to continue slavery. Succession was clearly the result of Northern economic aggression toward Southern industrialization. There are repeated attempts by Industries to move factories to the South to utilize union free and/or slave labor that were repeatedly undermined by Northern political leaders. We must remember that prior to the war the South was experiencing tough economic times and recession, southerners were much poorer than their average Northern counterpart. While no one can ignore the lasting effects of Southern racism it is insane to paint the North as a heroic force for good. Many in the North, and to some extent rightfully so, were disgusted by Lincoln's extra-constitutional actions including denying habeas corpus, subverting congress by blockading Southern exports, and freeing the slaves via executive order. While his actions were all made for the right reasons, we still see the negative effects of expansion of wartime presidential authority today. It is obvious that the modern president has embraced this 'ends justify the means' mentality much to the detriment of our republic. I would like to thank the author for his well written refutation of ridiculous rumors regarding the participation of African-Americans in the Confederate army. However, I am saddened by our culture's inability to empathize with the South's full motives for succession. While we should detest the abuses of the system of slavery, we should remember that their were no innocent parties involved.

Posted by: mxm015 | November 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

While racism was a prevalent theme in Confederate leadership and policy it is again ridiculous that the prevailing sentiment is that the Civil War was fought solely to continue slavery. Succession was clearly the result of Northern economic aggression toward Southern industrialization. There are repeated attempts by Industries to move factories to the South to utilize union free and/or slave labor that were repeatedly undermined by Northern political leaders. We must remember that prior to the war the South was experiencing tough economic times and recession, southerners were much poorer than their average Northern counterpart. While no one can ignore the lasting effects of Southern racism it is insane to paint the North as a heroic force for good. Many in the North, and to some extent rightfully so, were disgusted by Lincoln's extra-constitutional actions including denying habeas corpus, subverting congress by blockading Southern exports, and freeing the slaves via executive order. While his actions were all made for the right reasons, we still see the negative effects of expansion of wartime presidential authority today. It is obvious that the modern president has embraced this 'ends justify the means' mentality much to the detriment of our republic. I would like to thank the author for his well written refutation of ridiculous rumors regarding the participation of African-Americans in the Confederate army. However, I am saddened by our culture's inability to empathize with the South's full motives for succession. While we should detest the abuses of the system of slavery, we should remember that their were no innocent parties involved.

Posted by: mxm015 | November 1, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course blacks must have fought for the Confederacy; every CSA worshiper knows that black people loved being slaves. That's why so many black people risked their lives coming south before and during the war and why the north was so concerned about black uprisings.

Posted by: light_bearer | November 1, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Jumpin Jackrabbits
There are Pension Records! Reports from Military commanders,( North and South ) Newspaper Reports,
Eyewitness accounts, letters from soldiers on both sides, that verify Blacks supporting the confederacy!

Yes thousands of blacks fled north for freedom, some returned to the south rather than face the new found freedom. What about the millions who stayed on the farms? What about the millions who refused freedom when the Union took over their areas?
Why would Blacks not want to go North?

Perhaps it was the Black exclusionary laws in; Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Missouri and Ohio!
Blacks were locked into the South by the North!
Blacks could be whipped, imprisoned, or fined for trying to live in the North! Whites who allowed Blacks to work for them could be fined!
So please spare me the moral HI-Ground argument! It don’t float! That’s why the Underground Railroad went to Canada!
Southern Blacks were accepted by their Owners, Slavery was wrong I’m not defending it!
But when the North was shelling civilians, raping Black and White Women, as well as kidnapping them and sending them north to work in factories. Perhaps the Blacks who’s home was being put to the torch
Decided that maybe Mr Lincoln was not the great emancipator!
So the Slavery argument don’t cut it! If your home is invaded by aggressors who are raping your people, killing your people, and who do not wish to live with your people, just maybe you will support the lesser of two evils.

DT

Posted by: Davtatum | November 1, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I am so weary...weary of this discourse ... when we really should be addressing the thousands of black soldiers killed at Camp Van Dorn Mississippi during WWII. Historians look into this why don't you. I have.

Posted by: AshamedofJuanWilliams | November 1, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Ashamed ofJaunWilliams.
I had a cousin who served in the army during WWII. He told me the following story. I think this happened in the push up Italy. He said me that a company or battalion (I have forgotten.) of Negro soldiers was dropped by air too close to the German line. The Negros realized that they had no chance of surviving and fled toward the Allies, or American line. The American, or Allie, line was ordered to shot the Negros because it was feared that their retreat would frighten other soldiers who were in position. A general retreat is among the worst things that can happened to an army. The enemy follows the fleeing soldier and easily kills them. My cousin died many years ago and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of his story. I have never read or hear any other account of this incident than his.

Posted by: FAFWill | November 1, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

To all citizens of these United States who are still p'oed about 1865, The Civil War is OVER, the South was given 100 more years to work out it's racial makeup and failed. The rest of the country had to step in and protect the South from its own worst influences. With the help of the 14th amendment and Federal Government's electricfication programs [TVA; Rural Electrification] [courtesy of FDR] the South was dragged into the 20th Century. You should thank the Civil Rights movement, air conditioning, and the taxpayers largese [literally hundreds of defense bases, NASA etc] for the current success of the sunbelt.

Posted by: jpatuto11 | November 2, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Afterreading some of the postings, I think the title of this feature should be called "All Opinions are Loco."

Posted by: guitar1 | November 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps history textbooks should be written by historians, or at the very least reviewed by them.

Posted by: whiteha1 | November 4, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

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