Searching for Black Confederates by Kevin Levin

Andersonh1

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
571
Reaction score
738
Something else has stood out to me that some editor should have caught.

https://flexpub.com/preview/searching-for-black-confederates

Virginian Edmund Ruffin had grown weary of waiting for disunion and an independent Confederate nation by the end of the 1850s. A well-known “fire-eater,” Ruffin spent much of the decade advocating for secession and states’ rights as a bulwark to protect the institution of slavery.
In nitpicking word choices here, but shouldn't that be "an independent Southern nation" or "an independent Southern confederation" at that point. The name, "Confederate States of America" was not chosen until February 1861, correct?
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
Something else has stood out to me that some editor should have caught.

https://flexpub.com/preview/searching-for-black-confederates

Virginian Edmund Ruffin had grown weary of waiting for disunion and an independent Confederate nation by the end of the 1850s. A well-known “fire-eater,” Ruffin spent much of the decade advocating for secession and states’ rights as a bulwark to protect the institution of slavery.
In nitpicking word choices here, but shouldn't that be "an independent Southern nation" or "an independent Southern confederation" at that point. The name, "Confederate States of America" was not chosen until February 1861, correct?
Articles of Confederation was picked nearly one hundred years earlier. Greeks had a confederation 1300 years earlier.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
Two companies were from the hospitals (Jackson and Winder). These were in a unit known as "Chambliss' Battalion." At least two other companies were raised by Majors Pegram and Turner. These were independent of the hospitals.
Turner’s “battalion” was 35 men strong, and only a dozen of them were free, according to a March 27, 1865 article in the Richmond Examiner, quoted on page 275 of Robert Durden’s The Gray and the Black (LSU Press, 1972).
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
475
Turner’s “battalion” was 35 men strong, and only a dozen of them were free, according to a March 27, 1865 article in the Richmond Examiner, quoted on page 275 of Robert Durden’s The Gray and the Black (LSU Press, 1972).
It was a battalion (2+ companies) on April 3.

Richmond Examiner, March 27, 1865:
"The company of negroes recruiting at the rendezvous for negro troops, corner of Cary and Twenty-first streets, is increasing in numbers daily under the energy displayed by Major Turner. The company now numbers thirty-five members, all uniformed and equipped. They are drilled daily for several hours by Lieutenant Virginius Bossieux, whose talent peculiarly adapts him to imparting instructions in the manual. About a dozen of the recruits are free negroes, who have enlisted of their own free will and choice. Recruits are coming in by ones and twos every day, and the negroes, being permitted to go out among their friends, are very good recruiting officers."

Richmond Examiner, April 3, 1865:
"The work of recruiting negroes for the Confederate States army goes on bravely at the rendezvous of Majors Pegram and Turner, corner of Cary and Twenty first, and those skepticks who doubt the availability of negroes as soldiers immediately would be established in the faith of the opposite doctrine by a visit to the rendezvous where the battalion is drilled daily. We may not now state numbers, but the several organizations are filling up with a gratifying rapidity."
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
475
Recruiting received some help.

Richmond Whig, March 21, 1865:
"A refugee, from Fauquier County, offers to buy ten negroes who are willing to volunteer, and will emancipate them for meritorious service."

Richmond Whig, March 24, 1865:
"A Proposition.--A patriotic gentleman has deposited with Major Turner a sum sufficient to purchase a negro recruit for the regiment now in process of formation, with the understanding, or expectation at least, that nineteen other no less patriotic persons will do likewise."

Richmond Daily Dispatch, March 25, 1865:
"A gentleman, a refugee, has placed at the disposal of reliable parties in this city a large sum of money*, to be expended in the purchase of slaves who will voluntarily enlist in the army. The manumission papers of the slaves so purchased will be placed in proper hands, to be delivered when they have performed meritorious services or been honorably discharged."

*To purchase the freedom of "thirty to forty" slaves (Richmond Examiner of same date)
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
I'm going by the modern definition of 'black' - a person of African descent. Others do the same when they describe the United States Colored Troops as 'black' troops.

Mr. Levin calls the USCT 'black' troops.
link During the war a total of nearly 187,000 African-Americans served in the Union army. link By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army. Only 4% of the USCT was mixed race. The rest 'Black'. Visibly black seems to be the standard for both US and CSA armies.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
Recruiting received some help.

Richmond Whig, March 21, 1865:
"A refugee, from Fauquier County, offers to buy ten negroes who are willing to volunteer, and will emancipate them for meritorious service."

Richmond Whig, March 24, 1865:
"A Proposition.--A patriotic gentleman has deposited with Major Turner a sum sufficient to purchase a negro recruit for the regiment now in process of formation, with the understanding, or expectation at least, that nineteen other no less patriotic persons will do likewise."

Richmond Daily Dispatch, March 25, 1865:
"A gentleman, a refugee, has placed at the disposal of reliable parties in this city a large sum of money*, to be expended in the purchase of slaves who will voluntarily enlist in the army. The manumission papers of the slaves so purchased will be placed in proper hands, to be delivered when they have performed meritorious services or been honorably discharged."

*To purchase the freedom of "thirty to forty" slaves (Richmond Examiner of same date)
Please list the muster papers with these men's name on them.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
It was a battalion (2+ companies) on April 3.

Richmond Examiner, March 27, 1865:
"The company of negroes recruiting at the rendezvous for negro troops, corner of Cary and Twenty-first streets, is increasing in numbers daily under the energy displayed by Major Turner. The company now numbers thirty-five members, all uniformed and equipped. They are drilled daily for several hours by Lieutenant Virginius Bossieux, whose talent peculiarly adapts him to imparting instructions in the manual. About a dozen of the recruits are free negroes, who have enlisted of their own free will and choice. Recruits are coming in by ones and twos every day, and the negroes, being permitted to go out among their friends, are very good recruiting officers."

Richmond Examiner, April 3, 1865:
"The work of recruiting negroes for the Confederate States army goes on bravely at the rendezvous of Majors Pegram and Turner, corner of Cary and Twenty first, and those skepticks who doubt the availability of negroes as soldiers immediately would be established in the faith of the opposite doctrine by a visit to the rendezvous where the battalion is drilled daily. We may not now state numbers, but the several organizations are filling up with a gratifying rapidity."
I see only the number 35. 35 is the number counted; the only number counted. The battalion counted 35, no more no less. 12 is the number free, no more no less. Maybe there are other numbers, but these are the only 2 we have.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
475
I see only the number 35. 35 is the number counted; the only number counted. The battalion counted 35, no more no less.
The article said a Company numbered 35.
12 is the number free, no more no less. Maybe there are other numbers, but these are the only 2 we have.
And 35 as of March 25 - the day the reporter visited the camp.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2019
Messages
424
Reaction score
475
link During the war a total of nearly 187,000 African-Americans served in the Union army. link By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army.
Off topic.

Only 4% of the USCT was mixed race. The rest 'Black'. Visibly black seems to be the standard for both US and CSA armies.
Source?
 
Last edited:

Al Mackey

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
569
Reaction score
529
Levin: "claims to the existence of anywhere between 500 and 100,000 black Confederate soldiers"

There was a battalion (at least two companies) raised in Richmond in March and April of 1865. Two companies from hospital workers in the same city and at least one company in Mobile, Ala. That's at least five companies. And there's evidence of troops raised in other cities and states (300 in North Carolina alone). So why is 500 an outlandish claim?

(I would claim more than these, but I will limit it to those raised in the last few months of the war.)
As usual, the above carefully and dishonestly cherrypicked snippet has the purpose of attempting to deceive the reader.

Here's what Levin actually wrote:

Levin page 3-1.jpg

Notice he left out that the claims are the mythical black confederates were fighting in racially integrated units in order to try to falsely discredit the account.

Thus far it looks like one can't honestly and legitimately criticize the book.
 

Al Mackey

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
569
Reaction score
529
Turner’s “battalion” was 35 men strong, and only a dozen of them were free, according to a March 27, 1865 article in the Richmond Examiner, quoted on page 275 of Robert Durden’s The Gray and the Black (LSU Press, 1972).
"Only in Richmond is there solid evidence of any units of black Confederate soldiers ever forming. Those units were recruited from two sources. One was the staff of two local hospitals--Winder and Jackson. In mid-February, surgeon F. w. Hancock of Jackson Hospital assembled seventy-two slaves employed there as orderlies or nurses and asked if they were willing to take up arms in defense of Richmond. According to Dr. Hancock, sixty said they were. Confederate officials anxious to raise public confidence and to encourage emulation promptly passed this account along to the press. At least some of these black hospital workers were then mustered into a company or two attached to Major H. C. Scott's three-battalion-strong local defense corps, most of whose members were convalescing hospital patients. Although not incorporated into the regular Confederate army, at least some of these soldiers were ordered into the trenches to bolster Richmond's defense against a Union raid in mid-March." [Bruce Levine, Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War, p. 125]

"A second source of black Confederate soldiers was the formal recruiting center that General Ewell had created and Majors Pegram and Turner directed." [Ibid.]

"In the event, however, only a tiny fraction of those numbers was ever recruited in Virginia. Thomas P. Turner would have been happy to meet a far more modest goal. He hoped to bring his unit up to a strength of eighty to one hundred by mid-April. By late March, he was still struggling to reach even that goal, having apparently received somewhere between thirty and forty recruits. And a full month later, the Richmond Whig was still referring to 'the forty or fifty colored soldiers, enlisted under the act of congress. Not 4,700 but just half a dozen free black males enlisted in Pegram and Turner's unit." [Ibid., p. 126]

So it looks like about 66 to 100 black confederate soldiers in Richmond. Let's be generous and assume we've missed some and add 25, making it 125 at most.

As to Mobile, looks like they would not count.

"The subject came up again in late 1863. This time it was Maj. Gen. Dabney H. Maury, of the Confederate Department of the Gulf, who proposed enlisting a unit of Mobile 'creoles.' It was true, Maury acknowledged, that these men 'have, many of them, negro blood in the degree which disqualifies other persons of negro race [sic] from the rights of citizens.' But because of the peculiarities of local history, he explained, 'they do not stand here on the footing of negroes.' Under the terms by which the United States originally acquired this part of the continent, such creoles had been 'guaranteed all the immunities and privileges of the citizens of the United States, and have continued to enjoy them up to this time.' Mobile's congressman endorsed Maury's initiative. Yet Secretary of War James A. Seddon remained adamant. If Mobile's creoles could be 'naturally and properly' distinguished from blacks, them they could be allowed to don the gray. If, however, they could not be thus 'disconnected from negroes,' General Maury could employ them only as military laborers ('as 'navies,' to use the English term') or for some other types of 'subordinate working purposes.' " [Ibid., p. 19]

If they were employed as soldiers it was because they were not considered "black." If they were considered "black," then they were not employed as soldiers.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
"Only in Richmond is there solid evidence of any units of black Confederate soldiers ever forming. Those units were recruited from two sources. One was the staff of two local hospitals--Winder and Jackson. In mid-February, surgeon F. w. Hancock of Jackson Hospital assembled seventy-two slaves employed there as orderlies or nurses and asked if they were willing to take up arms in defense of Richmond. According to Dr. Hancock, sixty said they were. Confederate officials anxious to raise public confidence and to encourage emulation promptly passed this account along to the press. At least some of these black hospital workers were then mustered into a company or two attached to Major H. C. Scott's three-battalion-strong local defense corps, most of whose members were convalescing hospital patients. Although not incorporated into the regular Confederate army, at least some of these soldiers were ordered into the trenches to bolster Richmond's defense against a Union raid in mid-March." [Bruce Levine, Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War, p. 125]

"A second source of black Confederate soldiers was the formal recruiting center that General Ewell had created and Majors Pegram and Turner directed." [Ibid.]

"In the event, however, only a tiny fraction of those numbers was ever recruited in Virginia. Thomas P. Turner would have been happy to meet a far more modest goal. He hoped to bring his unit up to a strength of eighty to one hundred by mid-April. By late March, he was still struggling to reach even that goal, having apparently received somewhere between thirty and forty recruits. And a full month later, the Richmond Whig was still referring to 'the forty or fifty colored soldiers, enlisted under the act of congress. Not 4,700 but just half a dozen free black males enlisted in Pegram and Turner's unit." [Ibid., p. 126]

So it looks like about 66 to 100 black confederate soldiers in Richmond. Let's be generous and assume we've missed some and add 25, making it 125 at most.

As to Mobile, looks like they would not count.

"The subject came up again in late 1863. This time it was Maj. Gen. Dabney H. Maury, of the Confederate Department of the Gulf, who proposed enlisting a unit of Mobile 'creoles.' It was true, Maury acknowledged, that these men 'have, many of them, negro blood in the degree which disqualifies other persons of negro race [sic] from the rights of citizens.' But because of the peculiarities of local history, he explained, 'they do not stand here on the footing of negroes.' Under the terms by which the United States originally acquired this part of the continent, such creoles had been 'guaranteed all the immunities and privileges of the citizens of the United States, and have continued to enjoy them up to this time.' Mobile's congressman endorsed Maury's initiative. Yet Secretary of War James A. Seddon remained adamant. If Mobile's creoles could be 'naturally and properly' distinguished from blacks, them they could be allowed to don the gray. If, however, they could not be thus 'disconnected from negroes,' General Maury could employ them only as military laborers ('as 'navies,' to use the English term') or for some other types of 'subordinate working purposes.' " [Ibid., p. 19]

If they were employed as soldiers it was because they were not considered "black." If they were considered "black," then they were not employed as soldiers.
I agree.
Nowhere near full strength companies.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
The article said a Company numbered 35. And 35 as of March 25 - the day the reporter visited the camp.
35 is the only number published. It could have been 6 zillion, but 35 is all we have.
 

Joshism

Active Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
107
Reaction score
161
nobody has a problem when USCT's are referred to as "Black". Yet, when an example of Black man who supported the Confederacy is shown, he wasn't Black enough.
USCT were official, organized, uniformed units. They were openly acknowledged as black/colored/negro.

It was the Confederacy, by their own laws and orders that drew a distinction between negroes and Creoles, that rejected having black/colored/negro units until the last months of the war.
 

Joshism

Active Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
107
Reaction score
161
I submitted a request that my local library purchase Levin's book, which was approved. I'm going to read it and review as usual. It will probably be the last thing I read on the subject as I am mightily sick and tired of it, and it's advocates.
 

jgoodguy

Webmaster
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
3,789
Reaction score
1,781
I submitted a request that my local library purchase Levin's book, which was approved. I'm going to read it and review as usual. It will probably be the last thing I read on the subject as I am mightily sick and tired of it, and it's advocates.
You can be a co-presenter in our Conference Threads by invitation only
Posts can be made without interruption, comments are in another separate forum/thread.
I have a review thread going but I need to get back to working on it.
 

5fish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
1,529
I am mightily sick and tired of it, and it's advocates
I am in complete agreement... No matter how many times you show the advocates there were no Black Confederates, just ignore you truths.

I ask the advocates if there were black confederates why does it matter. What does it change about why the war was fought? Why is there this need to prove there were black confederates, even thou the evidence proves there were none...

I hope one of the advocates can enlighten us on their reasoning and desire to prove the black confederate myth...

Darn they roped me in again... :( lol
 
Top