What Is It About Being a Slave That You Don’t Understand?
I guess you can’t blame newsmen for these sloppy stories about so-called black Confederates. After all they don’t know who to talk to or what questions to ask. Such is the case in the present story about a slave from Mississippi by the name of Isaac Pringle:
Born in May, 1841, Isaac, or Ike as he was better known, was owned by the Pringle family that lived and owned land around Vimville. Ike took on the name of his owners and was forever called Ike Pringle.
At an early age he was given to the grandson of the family, Frank Pringle. Not that far apart in age, the two basically grew up together until the Civil War began. At that time, Frank Pringle joined the 24th Mississippi. Ike Pringle followed him into service. Some say Ike Pringle followed on his own accord and out of obligation to Frank Pringle.
What exactly does it mean to say that Isaac followed his master “on his own accord and out of obligation…” This points to the fundamental problem with these types of stories which is an almost complete lack of serious analysis or understanding of the concept of slavery. Unless you have some kind of documentation that demonstrates the ability on the part of Isaac to refuse an order without consequences than stay away from making such claims. Consider the following passage:
Both men survived the war and were in Atlanta when the last cannons fell silent. From that moment on, Ike Pringle was a free man. Frank Pringle gave him his freedom there and moved to Pensacola, Fla., according to records. But Ike Pringle decided to return home to Vimville.
Again, another example of sloppy writing. Was Frank really in a position at that point to decide the legal status of Isaac in the final days of the war or should we see the war itself as having something to do with Isaac becoming free? Such claims are vacuous in the extreme. Even more so are the comments regarding Isaac’s apparent participation in veterans events and his collection of a pension from the state of Mississippi in 1920. The reporter admits that there is no evidence of wartime service beyond Isaac’s presence with his master while serving in the 24th Mississippi, but somehow we are to believe that these facts trump the dearth of official documentation. Isaac Pringle was clearly involved in veterans events and this is indeed worthy of analysis by historians. I’ve spent considerable time examining “Stonewall” Jackson’s personal servant’s participation in postwar events and it is clear that it has nothing to do with his “service” in the army. There could be any number of reasons during the height of Jim Crow that blacks were accepted in one way or another into these organizations. Unfortunately, here is how this reporter concludes his story:
Many of the details are still unknown at this time but whatever his role was, it was enough for the State of Mississippi to grant Ike Pringle a pension in 1920 for being a member of the Confederate army during the Civil War.