It looks like the local chapters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy in Pulaski, Tennessee have struck a gold mine of black Confederates. How many, you ask? Well, would you believe that 18 were discovered in one cemetery. This weekend they are planning a fundraising event in preparation for a marker dedication on November 8 at Maplewood Cemetery. As for the research that determined the status of these men we must turn to the educational forums at Dixie Outfitters. Scroll down for the letter by UDC Chapter President, Cathy Wood (though she claims not to be working on this project as a member of the UDC) for the following:
I found where there were 11 Black Confederate soldiers from Giles County that applied for a pension. I also found 5 that died before the pension was in place or just didn’t apply. Since then I have found 2 more that didn’t apply, making a total so far 18. I went to the archives and got the application for pension for the 11. Then I filled out the form for the markers and faxed them in. I faxed these late one afternoon and by 8:30 the next morning a lady from Nashville VA called and said that these men were NOT soldiers they were slaves. Well tell me how could they receive a pension? Now are you going to stand there and let someone shoot at you and not defend yourself or someome near you? I don’t think so. These men were defending their country and other soldiers. [my emphasis]
Don’t you just love Ms. Wood’s rhetorical questions? Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that successful pension applications did not imply status as a soldier in the ranks.
Ms. Wood concludes her letter with the following: “In my opinion VA is discriminating against the Black Confederate soldier. I know that there are Black Union markers in Maplewood Cemetery here in Pulaski.” The reason that Ms. Wood can know that there are black Union soldiers buried in the cemetery is because black Americans did serve as soldiers in the United States Army.
Stay tuned for updates. Perhaps Earl Ijames will give the keynote address and the women will show up in traditional mourning dress.