Feeling Guilty Conscience Much, Cons?
Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 21, 2008
One of the funnier examples of conservatives trying to rewrite history to eliminate racial guilt is the “Black Confederates” nonsense of the past two decades.
There are many different debunking links to choose from — some of which cite actual Confederate congressional records, presidential proclamations (in this proclamation, ironically dated as of Christmas Eve of 1862, Jefferson Davis authorizes the summary execution of any Union white officers found leading black troops, along with the execution or enslavement of said troops) and editorials from Southern newspapers showing the extreme and heated resistance of Southerners to the very idea of blacks fighting alongside rebel soldiers. But in fairness I thought I would focus on that very rare thing, an honest conservative over at Free Republic, who has worked to debunk the myth.
This honest Freeper, citing both Confederate congressional records and the June 1915 issue of the original Confederate Veteran (which was published from 1893 to 1932), in which several veterans wrote in to debunk the first embryonic stirrings of this myth, which had appeared in previous issues of the magazine. (These are the issues which the myth promoters cite whilst ignoring the June 1915 one.)
Unfortunately, this debunking didn’t seem to have much effect on his fellow Freepers, who as Neo-Confederates have joyfully embraced the “happy loyal negroes” myth. But Walt deserves props for perseverance in the face of boneheaded stupidity and rationalizations on their parts. What follows is what “Walt”, the gentleman debunking the myth, wrote — preserved here in full in case JimRob decides to sweep it from the site, as he’s wont to do with things he’s doesn’t like:
To: stainlessbannerThere is no credible proof that more than a handful of blacks fought for the CSA.
FRIDAY, February 10, 1865.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SECOND CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION
EMPLOYMENT OF NEGROES AS SOLDIERS
Mr. Wickham, of Virginia, moved the indefinite postponement of the bill. He was opposed to its going to a select committee. If it went to any committee it should go, in the regular channel, to the Committee on Military Affairs. He wished, however, this question of arming and making soldiers of negroes to be now disposed of, finally and forever. He wished it to be decided whether negroes are to be placed upon an equality by the side of our brave soldiers. They would be compelled to. They would have to camp and bivouac together.
Mr. Wickham said that our brave soldiers, who have fought so long and nobly, would not stand to be thus placed side by side with negro soldiers. He was opposed to such a measure. The day that such a bill passed Congress sounds the death knell of this Confederacy. The very moment an order goes forth from the War Department authorizing the arming and organizing of negro soldiers there was an eternal end to this struggle.-(Voice-That’s so.)
The question being ordered upon the rejection of the bill, it was lost-ayes 21, noes 53. As this vote was regarded as a kind of test of the sense of the House upon the policy of putting negroes into the army, we append the ayes and noes-the question being the rejection of this bill authorizing the employment of negroes as soldiers:
Ayes-Messrs. Baldwin, Branch, Cruikshank, De Jarnette, Fuller, Garland, Gholson, Gilmer, Lamkin, J. M. Leach, J. T. Leach, McMullin, Miles, Miller, Ramsey, Sexton, Smith, of Alabama, Smith, of North Carolina, Wickham, Witherspoon, Mr. Speaker.
Noes-Messrs. Akin, Anderson, Barksdale, Batson, Bell, Blandford, Boyce, Bradley, H. W. Bruce, Carroll, Chambers, Chilton, Clark, Clopton, Cluskey, Conrad, Conrow, Darden, Dickinson, Dupre, Ewing, Farrow, Foster, Funsten, Gaither, Goode, Gray, Hartridge, Hatcher, Hilton, Holder, Holliday, Johnston, Keeble, Lyon, Pugh, Read, Rogers, Russell, Simpson, J. M. Smith, W. E. Smith, Snead, Swan, Triplett, Villere, Welsh.
If any number of black soldiers had been serving in the ranks of the CSA armies, how did it escape the notice of Congress?
It also escaped the notice of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and others:
Page 246, Confederate Veteran, June 1915. Official publication of the United Confederate Veteran, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Confederated Southern Memorial Association.
Gen. Howell Cobb, an unbeliever in this expedient, wrote from Macon, Ga., January 8, 1865: “I think that the proposition is the most pernicious idea that has been suggested since the war began. You cannot make soldiers of slaves or slaves of soldiers. The moment you resort to this your white soldiers are lost to you, and one reason why this proposition is received with favor by some portions of the army is because they hope that when the negro comes in they can retire. You cannot keep white and black troops together, and you cannot trust negroes alone. They won’t make soldiers, as they are wanting in every qualification necessary to make one. :
Samuel Clayton, Esq., of Cuthbert, Ga., wrote on January 10, 1865: “All of our male population between sixteen and sixty is in the army. We cannot get men from any other source; they must come from our slaves… The government takes all of our men and exposes them to death. Why can’t they take our property? He who values his property more than independence is a poor, sordid wretch.”
General Lee, who clearly saw the inevitable unless his forces were strengthened, wrote on January 11, 1865: “I should prefer to rely on our white population; but in view of the preparation of our enemy it is our duty to provide for a continuous war, which, I fear, we cannot accomplish with our present resources. It is the avowed intention of the enemy to convert the ablebodied negro into soldiers and emancipate all. His progress will thus add to his numbers and at the same time destroy slavery in a most pernicious manner to the welfare of our people. Whatever may be the effect of our employing negro troops, it cannot be as mischievous as this. If it ends in subverting slavery, it will be accomplished by ourselves, and we can devise the means of alleviating the evil consequences to both races. I think, therefore, that we must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves used against us or use them ourselves at the risk of the effects which may be produced upon our soldiers’ social institutions. My own opinion is that we should employ tl1em without delay. I believe that with proper regulations they can be made efficient soldiers. They possess the physical qualifications in an eminent degree. Long habits of obedience and subordination, coupled with the moral influence which in our country the white man possesses over the black, furnish an excellent foundation for that discipline which is the best guarantee of military efficiency. We can give them an interest by allowing immediate freedom to all who enlist and freedom at the end of the war to their families. We should not expect slaves to fight for prospective freedom when they can secure it at once by going to the enemy, in whose service they will incur no greater risk than in ours. In conclusion, I can only say that whatever is to be done must be attended to at once.”
President Davis on February 21, 1865 expressed himself as follows: “It is now becoming daily more evident to all reflecting persons that we are reduced to choosing whether the negroes shall fight for or against us and that all the arguments as to the positive advantage or disadvantage of employing them are beside the question, which is simply one of relative advantage between having their fighting element in our ranks or those of the enemy.”
Would Lee and Davis have had those points of view had there been any number of blacks in ranks?There is no -credible- evidence of blacks in active rebel service.
“It’s pure fantasy,’ contends James McPherson, a Princeton historian and one of the nation’s leading Civil War scholars. Adds Edwin Bearss, historian emeritus at the National Park Service: ‘It’s b.s., wishful thinking.’ Robert Krick, author of 10 books on the Confederacy, has studied the records of 150,000 Southern soldiers and found fewer than a dozen were black. ‘Of course, if I documented 12, someone would start adding zeros,’ he says.
“These and other scholars say claims about black rebels derive from unreliable anecdotes, a blurring of soldiers and laborers, and the rapid spread on the Internet of what Mr. McPherson calls ‘pseudohistory.’ Thousands of blacks did accompany rebel troops — as servants, cooks, teamsters and musicians. Most were slaves who served involuntarily; until the final days of the war, the Confederacy staunchly refused to enlist black soldiers.
“Some blacks carried guns for their masters and wore spare or cast-off uniforms, which may help explain eyewitness accounts of blacks units. But any blacks who actually fought did so unofficially, either out of personal loyalty or self-defense, many historians say.
“They also bristle at what they see as the disingenuous twist on political correctness fueling the black Confederate fad. ‘It’s a search for a multicultural Confederacy, a desperate desire to feel better about your ancestors,’ says Leslie Rowland, a University of Maryland historian. ‘If you suggest that some blacks supported the South, then you can deny that the Confederacy was about slavery and white supremacy.’
“David Blight, an Amherst College historian, likens the trend to bygone notions about happy plantation darkies.’ Confederate groups invited devoted ex-slaves to reunions and even won Senate approval in 1923 for a “mammy” monument in Washington (it was never built). Black Confederates, Mr. Blight says, are a new and more palatable way to ‘legitimize the Confederacy.'”
— Wall Street Journal, May 8, 1997
“There seems to be no evidence that the Negro soldiers authorized by the Confederate Government (March 13, 1865) ever went into battle. This gives rise to the question as to whether or not any Negroes ever fought in the Confederate ranks. It is possible that some of the free Negro companies organized in Louisiana and Tennessee in the early part of the war took part in local engagements; but evidence seems to the contrary. (Authors note: If they did, their action was not authorized by the Confederate Government.) A company of “Creoles,” some of whom had Negro blood, may have been accepted in the Confederate service at Mobile. Secretary Seddon conditioned his authorization of the acceptance of the company on the ability of those “Creoles” to be naturally and properly distinguished from Negroes. If persons with Negro Blood served in Confederate ranks as full-fledged soldiers, the per cent of Negro blood was sufficiently low for them to pass as whites.”
(Authors note: Henry Clay Warmoth said that many Louisiana mulattoes were in Confederate service but they were “not registered as Negroes.” War Politics and Reconstruction, p. 56) p. 160-61, SOUTHERN NEGROES, Wiley
There is -no- credible evidence that even a small number blacks served as soldiers in the rebel armies.
Walt “WhiskeyPapa” followed that up with the comment that features the graphic gracing this post, with the following text therefrom:
“Gentle stranger, drop a tear,
The C.S.A. lies buried here:
in Youth it lived and propered well,
But like Lucifer it fell:
Its body here, its soul in — well
E’en if I knew I wouldn’t tell.
Rest C.S.A. from every strife,
Your death is better than Your life:
And this one line shall grace your grave –
Your death gave freedom to the slave.”
My belated thanks to you, Walt. I salute you, in all sincerity, for being willing to state the truth.
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