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To Live And Die In Dixie - Black Confederate Soldiers, Black Support For Confed

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To Live And Die In Dixie - Black Confederate Soldiers, Black Support For Confederacy Slave And Free

“I never did care much for politics, but I've always been for the south. I love the southland”
-Former slave Sam Ward Arkansas Slave Narratives

“Yes mam, de days on de plantation wuz de happy days..he hated de yankees for killing massa Tom. In fact we all hated de yankees”
-Former slave David Blunt North Carolina Slave narratives

Black Support For The Confederacy And Black Confederate Soldiers

“The labor of the colored man supports the rebel solder, enables him to leave his plantation to meet our armies, builds his fortifications, cooks his food, and sometimes aids him on the picket by rare skill with the rifle”
-Federal quarter master General Montgomery Nov 18 1862

The Confederate Army was vastly sustained by black men who drove teams, cooked, foraged, dug fortifications, cared for the wounded, and occasionally took up arms.
-Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina 

Tens of thousands of blacks both slave and free supported the confederate cause. Black soldiers who fought for the south's motivations were as wide as whites. Many southern blacks like whites, simply wanted to defend their country from invaders. Many African American slaves and slave owners, wanted slavery to continue. Many enslaved blacks liked the institution, or their masters, or just wished to defend their country and either supported or fought for the confederacy. “Their land invaded by hostile foes. Slaves eagerly offered themselves for service in actual warfare.” Some slaves said “If you give us guns we will fight, we would rather fight for our own white folks than for strangers.” As one slave who ran away to union lines, who than came back to the confederates said “If this is freedom, give me slavery forever.” Shelby Fotte records during lees invasion into Pennsylvania in 63 a local house wife asked a north Carolina African American confederate solider if he was treated well, he replied “I live as I will, and if I did not. I think I could't better myself by stopping here”.

“A few colored men, it is said, were actually enrolled and enlisted as soldiers in the confederate army, fighting for their own continued enslavement”
-Quoted in Booker T Washington 1907 p 220-21 Philadelphia Geroge W Jacobs and co publishers

Some free blacks were trying to get in better position in society within the south. Some were defending slavery as a institution as owners, and their own financial well being. One union officer called free blacks that supported the confederacy “Rabid secessionist.” A free black church was described as “Half crazed black secessionists” by a union officer.

“One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping the Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency.”
-Booker T Washington up from slavery

Finical Support

Many blacks supported the confederacy in ways not on battle field and “Euthiasim with which many blacks endorsed secession” was great. Mass rallies of blacks were held in St Petersburg and New Orleans at the outbreak of war, offering to construct fortifications for the confederacy. Telling the mayor of St Petersburg “We are willing to aid Virginia cause to the utmost”. It became custom, for slaves to hold balls and concerts and give money. Blacks in Vicksburg Mississippi donated a total of $1,000. Free and slave negroes gave a ball at 50cents a head for support for the confederacy and General Hindman of Arkansas, who stated Blacks “Have displayed much loyalty and patristism in their donations to the confederate cause”. A Texas newspaper Bellville Countryman said slaves sometimes gave more financially than whites did. James Muschett a free store owner in Virginia cheerfully furnished food, cloths and blacksmith services to the confederate government, Later he was imprisoned by the union for being a spy and a confederate sympathizer.

“Black confederate loyalty was more widespread than American historians has acknowledged”
-Ervin Jordan Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil war Virginia

Rich colored plantation owners such as William Ellison donated large sums of money to the confederate cause. Later in the war Ellison switched from a cotton grower to farming to help feed the confederate armies at request of Jefferson Davis. His grandson fought for the regular army of the confederacy as a solider. One Slave brought their own produce of watermelons worth $60 to help feed troops in Alabama. A South Carolina slave gave his life savings of $5. The “Confederate Ethipoian Serenaders” singers used all their funds to finance gunboats and munitions for the Confederacy. Horce King of Alabama gave large sums to the confederate cause including cloths to solders. Just two months before Apamadox blacks gave a dinner to confederate solders in Lousiburg Virginia, free of cost. A fairfax country free black sold 28 acres of land and donated the money to the defense of Virginia. During the war blacks donated to build a monument for Stonewall Jackson.

Information From Black Civilians


“Us was confederates all de while...but de yankees, dey diden't know dat we was confederates”
-Former slave James Gill Arkansas Slave Narratives

Civilian blacks helped with information to confederates or acted as spies. Slave Martin Robinson was hanged for falsely leading the union troops the wrong way during the unions Kilpatrick- Dahlgren raid in 64. Union General Halleck gave his “General order number three” that disallowed any blacks into the union lines because they kept carrying military information back to the confederates. Slave Durrel Hemphil was tortured, tied to a horse, and dragged half mile by shermans bummers and hanged, because he would not give information on his masters money and silverware. Slaves after Bull Run led union soldiers to be captured when they asked the blacks for food. A slave risked his life to show confederate soldiers were some food was [ his master was pro union]. A negro helped Nathan bedford Forrest capture federal Calvary with information helpful to confederates. Another lead federals into a confederate trap. A free black named Goler in 1864 mislead union soldiers and provided food and shelter, only than to get confederates who captured the union solders in the night.

Support from the plantation

“Blacks could have escaped to nearby union lines but few chose to do so, and instead remained at home and became the most essential element in the southern infrastructure to resisting northern invasion”
- Professor Edward C Smith

During the war slaves worked to keep the plantations going with their masters away. As slave Henry Warfeild of warren co Miss said “ "Negroes were used by the Confederates long before they were used by the Union forces. ....and a large number of these fought by the side of their masters or made it possible for the master to fight.". And as US Grant said slaves “worked in the fields and took care of the families while white able body men were at the front fighting”. Richard Taylor son of president Taylor a confederate general said “Wives and little ones remained safe at home, surrounded by thousands of faithful slaves.”

Slaves could have easily left for the north or not worked with the men gone, yet the overwhelming majority worked so the master could leave to fight. Personal letters from wives and family talk of their slave working extra hard and peacefully to support the family. There were many cases were families would have starved if not for the dedicated slave. Often masters put a slave in charge of the family while gone. Surviving letters of the white kids and family tell of how the slaves taught the kids to fish, hunt, ride etc and took over the role of father with the masters gone. Pro confederate black churches in the south prayed for confederate soldiers and the southern cause.

“In order to defend and protect the women and children who were left on the plantations when the white males went to war, the slaves would have laid down their lives. The slave who was selected to sleep in the ” big house ” during the absence of the males was considered to have the place of honour. Any one attempting to harm “young Mistress” or “old Mistress” during the night would have had to cross the dead body of the slave to do so...As a rule, not only did the members of my race entertain no feelings of bitterness against the whites before and during the war, but there are many instances of Negroes tenderly caring for their former masters and mistresses who for some reason have become poor and dependent since the war. I know of instances where the former masters of slaves have for years been supplied with money by their former slaves to keep them from suffering.”
-Booker T Washington up from Slavery


After the CSA officially allowed federal black soldiers. Abraham Lincoln in March 1865 saw the positive of southern blacks fighting in the military “There is one thing about Negros fighting for the rebels... they cannot at the same time fight in their army, and stay home and make bread for them.” Slaves who supported the south would often sing Bonnie Blue Flag to passing by union men or hang old Abe on the sour apple tree.

“All de slaves hate de Yankees an when de southern soldiers came late in de night all de niggers got out of de bed an holdin torches high dey march behin de soldiers, all of dem singing We'll hang Abe Lincoln on de Sour Apple Tree. yes mam, dey wuz sorry dat dey wuz freeman' dey ain't got no reason tu be glad, case dey wuz happier den dan now”
-Former slave Alice Baugh North Carolina Slave Narratives

Service In the Confederate Military

"The country and the army are mainly dependent upon slave labor for support."
-Georgia Governor Joseph E brown

Both Free and slave southern blacks helped the confederate cause offering their service in any manner. 58,000-60,000 blacks served in confederate army in some non combatant manner, either as cooks, musicians, chaplain, medics, scouts etc. Confederate congress gave equal pay to black servicemen [and solders] from the start of the war, the north did not until late in the war. These men risked life to serve the confederacy and their masters. Also Manual labor was common such as putting up fortification, rebuilding rail etc. Some of the volunteers were described as “Vigorous and energetic”. They received pensions after war and were treated as equal to a white solider in honor, during and after war by confederate solders. But even sometimes the cooks turned into soldiers.

“At the Battle of Fair Oaks near Richmond, a black cook and minister with the Alabama regiment picked up a rifle and was heard yelling, “Der Lor’ hab mercy on us all, boys, here dey comes agin!” As the Alabamians returned fire and mounted a charge, he was heard shouting, “Pitch in white folks, Uncle Pomp’s behind yer. Send them Yankees to de ‘ternal flames!”
-Battlefields of the South. Vol. 2, page 253

Body Servants and personal slaves

“When de big war broke out I sho' stuck to my Marster an' I fit de Yankees same as he did. I went in de battles 'long side of him an' us both fit under Marse Robert E. Lee."
-Former slave Issac Stier Mississippi slave narratives

“Ide rather go wid you ter de war, please sur, massa, let me go wid you ter fight dem yanks... old massa got shot one night an pap grabs de gun fore hit de earth an lets de yanks have it”
-Former slave Herndon Bogan North Carolina slave narratives

Masters often brought along a favorite slave with them to the war. Often they would serve as cooks or general servants, but sometimes, they would be armed and join in the fight. Slave Primus Kelly volunteered and joined the 8th Texas Calvary and joined in the fights. He took his injured white family member home, only to return back to his unit to fight. 12th Virginia Calvary captain George Baylor's two slaves Tom and Overton “picked up arms” and “Joined in the company charges”. Many slaves continued to serve in confederate army even after his master was killed in battle or the slave was set free. Many loyal Slaves often rejected freedom during war, at cost of life or imprisonment by the federals. Servants often were proud of masters ability to fight Yankees “Why mass can whale a dozen of em fore coffee is hot, fair fight”

A slave at Antietam risked his life to pull his master to safety, before than running across the battlefield to the union soldiers and freedom. Many slaves served in prisoner of war camp with his master rather than to give into and join the union. A negro letter to his family back home, thanks god the confederate army was safe, And if he is healthy, he will chose to continue to serve as cook. . There are many accounts of slaves helping their masters risking life own life, or to retrieve their masters body from the field after they were killed, Or of helping wounded confederates and masters during battle. One slave jumped in front of his master to save his life, the slave than being mortally wounded, fought from ground before dying.

"Negroes were used by the Confederates long before they were used by the Union forces. ....and a large number of these fought by the side of their masters “
-Former slave Henry Warfeild Mississippi Slave narratives

In rare occasions masters would send a slave in their place. Like slave Geroge kye said “when the war come along I was a grown man, and I went to serve because old master was to old to go, but he had to send somebody anyways, I served as Geroge Stover”.

“Body servants fought for the south if given the chance and occasionally replaced fainthearted white rebel soldiers”
-Ervin Jordan Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil war Virginia

During the seven days Westley, a body servant, took the weapons from a fainthearted confederate, killing a Yankee with every shot and was “a inspiration to the white soldiers.” These servants were often the most loyal to the confederacy. A servant named Jem was described as a “A black fire eater” strong supporter of succession and fought at first Manasas.

Black Confederate Soldiers

“They began to arm and drill negro troops even before bull run”
-NY Tribune July 10 , 1863

“ As a matter of fact it was the confederate army that first enlisted negroes”
-Booker T Washington

“We find that the confederates themselves first armed and mustered the negro as a solider”
- Captain Dan Matson US volunteers

“It is now pretty well established, that there are at the present moment many colored men in the Confederate army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down loyal troops, and do all that soldiers may to destroy the Federal Government and build up that of the traitors and rebels. There were such soldiers at Manassas, and they are probably there still. There is a Negro in the army as well as in the fence, and our Government is likely to find it out before the war comes to an end. That the Negroes are numerous in the rebel army “
-Frederick Douglass Douglass' Monthly, September 1861

Thousands of colored troops both free and slave fought for the confederacy during the war. Unlike the north they were given equal pay and were often in integrated regiments. Not until 1865 did confederate congress authorized official, federal, regular army black troops that wished to volunteer. In response to congress authorization of black troops, two companies of black volunteers responded and reports of thousands more to join later, but the war soon ended. Some than conclude than say no real black soldiers fought for the confederacy until 1865. However I define here a solider as one who willingly took up arms for the confederacy, fought under a confederate general regardless of federal recognition, state militia and individuals are true solders. Jefferson Davis said he wished to leave this up to the states to decide on their property [slaves] if they were to fight as soldiers. Thousands of blacks did join state militia units in various southern states.

“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”
-African American historian George Washington William

States from the beginning of the war raised and allowed blacks into the state militia for service. Virginia and Tennessee set up replacement stations for all able bodied blacks. In Tennessee ages 15 to 50 for state militia offering $8 a month pay for free blacks. The colored Tennessee militia were described as “They were brimful of parasitism, shouting for Jeff Davis and singing war songs.” In Memphis Tennessee Two black regiments were raised in September, the first state to authorize black soldiers. Georgia, Alabama and LA had full black volunteer regiments early in the war. In the summer of 1861 a NC newspaper called the Winston Salem peoples press reported “fifteen free men of color volunteered for state service” they were in fine spirits and wore a “we will die for the south emblem”. In new Bern NC “fifteen to twenty free Negros came forward to volunteer their service to defend the city”. 200 volunteers in St Petersburg VA offered service to fight under white captains or any other service needed. Newspaper in Lynchburg Virginia on the 70 free blacks who enlisted to defend Virginia said “Three cheers for the patriotic Negros of lynchburg.” The Charleston mercury on June 3rd read “ one hundred and fifty able bodied free colored men yesterday offered their services gratuitously to the governor”. After being ambushed in Virginia on December 22 1861 in a skirmish with local militia and after killing six of the blacks a NY soldier said “If they fight us with negroes, why should we not fight them with negores too?.... let us fight the devil with fire”.

“Both in England and in the north [would not] feel encouraged if they could hear the language of detestation and contempt with which the numerous negroes with southern armies speak of their liberators”
-British officer captain Arthur L Fremantel a observer with lee's army In Virginia

The “Native Guards, Louisiana” raised 1,500 Free black volunteers from Louisianan who supplied themselves. There reason for fighting was "The free colored population [native] of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815”. Swearing to Louisianan Governor to defend the confederacy, they became the first civil war unit to appoint black officers. Baily Frank 34th NY volunteers on may 12 wrote “There is no mistake but the rebels have black soldiers for I have seen them brought in as prisoners of war, I saw one who had the stripes of a ordinary Sargent on his coat.”

"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....
-Union Brigadier-General D. Stuart

"reported among the rebel prisoners were seven blacks in Confederate uniforms fully armed as soldiers."
-New York Herald, July 11, 1863.

Integrated black/whites fought at St Petersburg. Bull run, Vicksburg, seven days, Brandy station with the 12th Virginia Calvary, Antietam, Negros fought for confederacy under a Mcintosh regiment in march 1862 In the Indian territory/Arkansas. Free and slave Blacks fought under general Forrest who after war said said “Better confederates did not live.” The first casualty of the war major Theodore Winthrop of the 7th regiment NY militia was brought down by a black sharpshooter at Bethal church June 10 1861. On April 4 1865 black confederates defended a wagon train and repulsed the first federal Calvary attack, the second defeated them and they were captured. Many colored confederates served in the CSA navy near end of war. Two negro confederates at brandy station captured a negro union solider, they brought and showed their “trophy” proudly around camp and forced there prisoner to do there masters work. Blacks like Thomas Tobi served as volunteer from may 12 1861- April 16 1865 with army of northern Virginia. A free man of color Charles Lutz of the 8th LA volunteer infantry was a two time POW during the war, he fought at major engagements in Virginia and was first captured at Chancellorsville. Six blacks joined the Goochland light artillery and fought at Chaffins bluff. In August 1861 at a near Hampton, Virginia, Union army Colonel John W. Phelps, of the 1st Vermont Infantry. reported Artillery manned by Negroes.

ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pa...;view=image;seq=0577

One of last prisoners at point lookout was a “negro” solider. A union chaplain on April 10th 1865 said among the confederate soldiers was “Many Negroes recently armed by Jeff Davis.” At Jetersville “320 whites and 310 black prisoners” were taken capture by union general Davis who labeled them as “teamsters.” During Seven pines a union soldiers complained of two black confederate regiments that showed no mercy to prisoners murdering, mutilating and robbing them. A observer in Charleston South Carolina said of 1,000 Negros who were “grinning from ear to ear at a chance to shoot the Yankees.” There are Several monuments dedicated to service of African American in the south who fought in the war.

“The most liberal calculation could not give them more than 64,000 men. Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc and they were an integral portion of the Southern Confederate army. They were seen riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissons, in ambulances, with the staff of generals and promiscuously mixing it up with all the Rebel horde.”
-Union Sanitation Commission Inspector Dr. Louis Steiner, Sept. 1862

Black Confederate Solider Hero?

Levi Miller
“Levi Miller, a former slave who became a Confederate hero. He was one of thousands of slaves who went to war with their masters as a body servant. He was voted by his regiment to be a full-fledge soldier after nursing his master back from a near fatal wound. He also exhibited bravery in battles in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. During the fighting at Spotsylvania Courthouse, his former commander, Capt. J.E. Anderson, said of him, “Levi Miller stood by my side and no man fought harder and better than he did when the enemy tried to cross our little breastworks and we clubbed and bayoneted them off, no one used his bayonet with more skill and effect than Levi Miller. During several battles, Levi met several other Negroes that he knew either by friendship or as a relative. They attempted to get him to desert to the North, but would not. Upon his death, it is ironic that his coffin was draped with the Stars and Bars at a hero’s funeral service.”

Sharpshooter

A black sharpshooter who was great shot during the siege of Yorktown became know by union pickets “A rebel negro rifleman who, through his skill as a marksman had done more injury to our men than a dozen of his white comperrs” later the negro refused to surrender, and was shot dead by Yankee pickets while in a tree.

Bravery At Chickamauga

"The Fourth Tennessee Cavalry was dismounted to fight as infantry, every fourth man being told to off to hold horses. These horse-holders, and also all the colored servants, were kept in the rear. The colored men numbered about 40, and having been in service a long time, had gradually armed themselves. Some of them were even better equipped than their masters, for on successful raids and battles they could fallow in the rear and pick up those things that soldiers had no time to secure; so that these coloured servants could each boast of one or two revolvers and a fine carbine or repeating rifle. During all of the early part of the battle of Chickamauga, the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry had been fighting as infantry, and as it became evident that a victory was to be won, Col. McLemore, commanding, ordered Captain Briggs to return to the horse-holders, and after placing the horses, teams, etc., under charge of the servants, to bring up the quarter of the regiment in charge of the horses so that they might take part in the final triumph. Capt. Briggs, on reaching the horses, was surprised to find the colored men organized and equipped, under Daniel McLemore, colored (servant to the Colonel of the regiment), and demanding the right to go into the fight. After trying to dissuade them from this, Capt. Briggs led them up to the line of battle in which was just preparing to assault Gen. Thomas's position. Thinking they would be of service in caring for the wounded, Capt. Briggs held them close up the line, but when the advance was ordered the negro company became enthused as well as their masters, and filled a portion of the line of advance as well as any company of the regiment. While they no guidon or muster roll, the burial after the battle of four of their number and the care of seven wounded at the hospital, told the tale of how well they fought."

Brave Captured Slave Turns The Tables


A slave of the 44th Georgia volunteers named John was captured while guarding the confederate wagons. Left for a time by a single federal guard, John asked the federal to retrieve something in one of the wagons. John grabbed a rifle, and charged the Yankee, capturing him now as John's prisoner.

How Many Black Confederates

“We were defeated, routed and driven from the field. ... It was not alone the white man’s victory, for it was won by slaves. Yes, the Confederates had three regiments of blacks in the field, and they maneuvered like veterans, and beat the Union men back.  “
-William Henry Johnson  8th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry at Manassas

It is impossible to tell just how many blacks fought in battles or were armed as all the documents are not avalibel, many were destroyed or lost. Estimates range from a few thousand to 50,000. But how many would be “real” soldiers is debated and likely a few thousand only. Of course we must define what a solider is. If we only count those after the confederate congress officially allowed black soldiers in the regular army in in 1865. Than it is very few late in the war. If we accept a black man armed as an individual, mixed regiments, or in state militia units, fighting under a confederate general, than thousands. To deny state militia as real soldiers would be the same as to make thousands of white militia and state troops not really confederates as well. In some cases blacks were forced by their master or white officer to help fight in battle, these would not count in my opinion as soldiers. So a accurate number cannot be made with certainty. However no question there were black soldiers who fought in battle and were armed for the defense of Dixie.

“Among the volunteers who were ready to turn down their lives for their white friends were faithful slaves who hated the Yankees as much as the johnny rebs”
-Ethel Knight The Echo of the black horn

Black Union Soldiers

Thousands of blacks fought for the north as well. Estimates for colored northern solders is around 180,000. Many blacks indeed supported the union especially among the northern free colored population. Often being the result of bad masters and the evils of slavery, ran to the north and bravely returned to fight for the freedom of their fellow man, as Honorable a reason to fight as you can find. These men should be of the most respected, and brave men, of the civil war. These men also proved what many whites doubted, their ability to stand and fight.

“If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong, but they wont make soldiers. As a class they are wanting in every qualification of a soldier.”
-Confederate General Thomas Cobb


However many blacks who fought or helped the north were not there voluntarily. The federals captured and forced large numbers of black into military service from Virginia to Alabama and in between. Sometimes entire plantations [men and Boys] were taken and made captive and forced in to either fighting units of colored troops, or more often into forced labor for the military [Sound like slavery?].

“A Major general ordered an indiscriminate conscription of every able bodied colored man...the negroes fled to the woods and swamps...they were hunted....seized them and forced them to enlist”
-General Rufuf A Saxton to Secretary of war Stanton Dec 30 1864

“The Negroes will not go voluntarily, so I am obliged to force them.... they must be forced to go”
-General Innis N Palmer to general Butler in 64

Slaves, union soldiers and generals gave accounts of entire plantations hiding in the woods and needing to be hunted down and forced, [while kicking and screaming] to help the northern war effort. Colored soldiers in Virginia led a armed revolt against the union army. Not until 1865 when the war was near its end, did the north make forced conscription of slaves illegal. The often used term “them damn yankees” originated by a slave who was forced captured by the union and taken from his owner. His reply “de d'yam yankees”.

"Freed people throughout the Union-occupied South often toiled harder and longer under Federal officers and soldiers than they had under slave owners and overseers--and received inferior food, clothing, and shelter to boot."
"Free At Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War", 1992 edited by Ira Berlin, & others.


In the slave narratives former slaves talk often of their family members being taken by union soldiers off the plantations. The politically incorrect runaway slaves you will not hear about, are those slaves captured and forced into labor by the union, that ran away from the union back to their plantations. There are many accounts of slaves being taken by union soldiers and running away from the union army to return to their masters. Leading a lieutenant in a letter to his wife saying “as a general rule [slaves] preferred to stay at home”.

“Let us capture Negroes and use them to the best of advantage”
-General Sherman to General Halleck September 4 1864

“The Negroes were sad...this mode of [conscription] is redundant”
-May 2 1862 written to US secretary of treasury

“A major of colored troops is here with his party of captured Negroes, with or without consent...they are being conscripted”
-General Grant received on Feb 26 1864

“Officers in command of colored troops are in constant habit of pressing all able bodied slaves into the military service”
-Union General Rousseau

“Whenever the enemy have been able to gain access, they have forced into the ranks of their army able bodied [Black] men that they could seize”
-Confederate president Jeff Davis

Loyalty To Cause

“No indication has been given of any desire to accept liberty as a permanency. Their attachments to their masters and families to which they belong does not seem to diminish.”
-NY journal of commerce 1862

“Their hearts are still with the southern confederacy”
-1862 Rhode island Providence post

There were many loyal slaves and free blacks who remained loyal until their death long after the war. A Slave called it “our glorious cause” he said slaves have a deeper interest in the south, than whites. “I'm a Jeff Davis man” was a reply to Yankee captive who asked the black confederate to swear allegiance to the north and be set free. Four captured negro confederate solders 36th and 40th NC regiment after being captured, refused to take the oath to USA and were held in prison camp. In may 1865 captured confederate whites took the oath and were released from capture, while one single black soldier refused to turn against Dixie and remain a captive at point lookout.

“Both in England and in the north [would not] feel encouraged if they could hear the language of detestation and contempt with which the numerous negroes with southern armies speak of their liberators”
-British officer captain Arthur L Fremantel a observer with lee's army In Virginia

Their loyalty was strong. Blacks put to death another black for deserting the confederate army, they asked to do so themselves. A English observer with the confederate army said southern blacks had great “contempt” of Yankees and there was no “Groaning under slavery” here. Jeff Davis slaves refused to follow the federal army and went back to their plantation. “many felt secure in their environment and preferred not to change”.

Black confederate veterans

“African American soldiers, from both the ranks of slave and free, served the confederate military and did so Honorable and with valor, and his story should be a important part of American history”
-John C Perry Myths and realities of American Slavery

Long after the war many former confederates remained loyal to cause. These veterans were often buried with the confederate flag, and sometimes in there confederate uniforms. Often blacks would be the key speakers at veterans reunions and show there dedication and speak of their service as the most proud moment of their life. At funerals during and after the war, both master and slave mourned each other as dead family members. Speaking of his white fellow confederates, A former confederate and former slave Bill Yopp said “Tried and true friends and better friends you do not know.” A cemetery in cedar hill Georgia has a monument to slaves who fought for the confederacy that use to have confederate flag [they made them take it down] .

Other minority soldiers

Jews were the largest minority group of soldiers to fight for the confederacy [not including European immigrants] with an estimated 10,000 soldiers who fought. Other minority groups who supported the confederacy with thousands of soldiers were Native Americans, Chinese and Mexican soldiers.

Main References

Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia by Erwin L Jordan JR University of Virginia Press 1995
Black Southerners in Confederate Armies: A Collection of Historical Accounts  J.H Segars and barrow Pelican Press 2012
Black Confederates by Charles Kelly Borrow Pelican Press 2001
General Stand Waties Confederate Indians by Frank Cunningham University of Oklahoma press 1959
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/mesnbibVolumes1.html
The Campaigns of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and of Forrest Calvary by General Thomas Jordan and J.P Pryor 1868 Da Capo Press
Great Campaigns The Appomattox Campaign Chris M Calkins Combined Books PA

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