Black Confederates Defined on Facebook

One of my FB friends invited me to join a group dedicated to black Confederates. There are just under 200 members.  No surprise that just about all of them are white, including Rickey Pittman.  There is nothing serious about the site.  Essentially, it serves as a dumping ground for the same tired stories that populate the Web.  To get a sense of how ridiculous this is consider the fact that they use an image of Jim Limber as their profile picture.  One of the more aspects of the site is the attempt to define who constitutes a black Confederate.  Check it out:

BLACK CONFEDERATE DEFINED: 1. Any Black person, slave or free, a subject of a seceded Southern state, who faithfully performed his/her duties during the existence of the Confederate States of America. There were 3.5 million blacks in 1860 census residing in Southern states so the number of Black Confederates numbers in millions, not thousands.

Black Confederate Definition 2: Post War 1865-1940. Blacks of any age and gender and including veterans who identified with and defended the Confederate Cause, its symbols and veterans.

Black Confederate Definition 3: Modern. Blacks of any age and gender who identify with and defend the Confederate Cause, its symbols and heroes; and who belong to the Confederate Community and/or consider themselves Confederate Southern Americans.

So, I guess the tens of thousands of free blacks and fugitive slaves who served in the U.S. Army betrayed a cause that they morally ought to have supported in some way.  Notice also that the term has been completely watered down beyond any kind of presence with the Confederate army.  I guess “faithfully performed his/her duties” simply means that they maintained their roles as slaves.  As for Definition #2 I would love to know who they have in mind.  Is there a Preferred Membership option for those who maintained their loyalty even as Jim Crow hardened race relations at the turn of the twentieth century?  Finally, I guess they have the likes of H.K. Edgerton in mind for their Modern category.

There is something quite disturbing about a bunch of white people recruiting blacks to buttress their silly beliefs about the loyalty of tens of thousands of slaves.

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39 comments… add one
  • Craig Jan 6, 2010 @ 20:00

    Regarding this subject, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about this memorial:


    • EarthTone Jan 15, 2010 @ 15:25

      I found that memorial to be perverse {perversion – the action of perverting something (turning it to a wrong use)}.

      I am going to describe the memorial with a metaphor that some might find objectionable. To me, that memorial is akin to a rapist thanking a rape victim for being quiet during the act, thereby not alerting others to what was happening.

      In both cases, thanks are being given for an act that benefits the victimizer, but does nothing to help the victim.

      That memorial is all about what the slaves did for the Confederacy. I want to know, what did the Confederacy do for the slaves?

      In some book I read – perhaps if was Franklin's “Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation” – there was a story about a runaway slave who was returned to his master. The master says, “didn't I feed you well?… didn't I dress you well?… didn't I treat you well?” The slavemaster just didn't get it. He gave the slave everything, but that which the slave wanted most: freedom.

      So, I find this memorial to be self-serving and hollow. Thanking a slave for being a good slave… that doesn't resonate with me.

      Here's a memorial I'd like to see. It features a huge statue, with a group of white men on one side, and a group of slaves on the other. The white men include Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, John C. Calhon. Their mouths are open, their faces etched with a mournful apology. On the other side, the slaves have a blank but measuring stare, as if they are trying to make sense of words that they never expected to hear.

      On the base of the monument, there are two words: “We're Sorry.”

      Are there any such monuments in the South?

      I think the blog author has sometimes asked, what could be done to spur African American interest in the Civil War? The problem with the Civil War is, it has no sense of closure about it for black folks.

      That closure would come from an expression of sorrow, and a request for forgiveness by the victimizer; followed by the granting of forgiveness. But that's never happened.

      What did happen, historically, is that black were freed, given a huge does of hope during the Reconstruction, and then, suffered a loss of hope during the Redemption/Nadir. It wasn't until the Civil Rights movement that there was a sense that blacks were truly free. Which is why the Civil Rights Movement means so much more to blacks, IMO.

      I appreciate MLK Jr Day. But if we could have had a National Day of Atonement, where the country expressed grief for the enslavement of blacks, and a renewed effort to fight any discrimination based on race, creed, or nationality, I think the country would have been better served.

      • msimons Jan 15, 2010 @ 16:13

        The parties wronged and those who should say I'm sorry are all Dead and Gone. No one living today nearly 150 years later has any Moral or Ethical Reason to apologized for some thing done before we were even thought of. I try to see the monuments in their Historical context and ask Why they made them and what does it mean to us today.

        As for as this Closure issue YOU choose for it to be closed or not. YOU chose your reactions to the CW no one else can force you to like it or dislike it. If folks have Closure issues about the CW that is affecting them in a negative way then they need to Call Dr. Phil or some other counselor and get some help. Live is way too short to play the Victim.

        • EarthTone Jan 15, 2010 @ 16:50

          { No one living today nearly 150 years later has any Moral or Ethical Reason to apologized for some thing done before we were even thought of. }

          To be clear, I am not asking YOU or anyone alive to express sorrow. I am saying that the country, as part of its traditions and rituals, should make an acknowledgement of what was done to the slaves.

          In Berlin, there is a Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is also known as the Holocaust Memorial. It memorializes the Jewish victims and other victims of the Holocaust. It consists of a 4.7 acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern. It also includes statues of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust at its corners.

          It stands as a LASTING reminder of the injustice done to the Jews. Hundreds of years from now, after the people of the Nazi era are all Dead and Gone, it will still be there. And it should be.

          I absolutely feel there should be such a monument in the US.

          msimons, you are right. Closure is what we make of it. The message any objective person gets from the memorials dedicated to the CW is that there was no never an expression of sorrow or guilt concerning the enslavement of blacks.

          Is this the historical memory we want to leave to future generations?

          => I hope that no one will feel I'm playing the Nazi card. I am not saying that the treatment of the slaves was the same as the treatment of Nazi-era Jews (although others might do so). But it is absolutely clear that the slaves were the subjects of grave physical, social, economic, and political injustice. Certainly the memory of this deserves more than a monument that says “thanks for your loyal service.”

          {I try to see the monuments in their Historical context and ask Why they made them and what does it mean to us today.}

          Agreed. And after all of that, I find the monument to be, perhaps well-intentioned, but ultimately self-serving and hollow. That's what it means to me today.

          • Sherree Jan 16, 2010 @ 12:47


            I have enjoyed your comments.

            Also, I am sorry.

            I am sorry that little children were kidnapped from their mothers and shackled in the hold of a ship to be brought to America. (I saw a salvaged slave ship on tour. There was a manacle small enough for a six year old child. Tellingly, the divers who made the effort to salvage the ship were African American)

            I am sorry that African women were bred like animals to produce laborers for white men and women.

            I am sorry that African women were raped.

            I am sorry that African men, women and children were murdered.

            I am sorry that 150 years after the Civil War, African American men and women are still suffering from the legacy of slavery.

            I am sorry that the conversation still centers around white men and women and their needs.

            I am sorry that President Obama has to put up with Trent Lott, Joe Wilson, and Joe Biden and Harry Reid.

            I am sorry for the long waste and the irreparable loss.

            I am sorry that my ancestors did not refuse to fight for the Confederacy.

            150 years later, I am sorry.

            There is one apology.

            • EarthTone Jan 16, 2010 @ 16:11

              I appreciate that, Sherree. But I want to point out again, I'm not saying that you or any one person needs to apologize for the past.

              My point is that America, collectively, needs to create the monuments and rituals and traditions that tell the story of the country's sorrow over slavery, and reinforce the national will that those acts should never be repeated. That would obviate the need for individual expressions of the type you made.

              As an aside, I don't want to put all the “blame” for slavery on the Confederacy and the southern states. Certainly, the institution was enabled by the acts (of commission or omission) of Northerners. Which is all the more reason that this is something that would come from America, not just the American South.

              • Sherree Jan 16, 2010 @ 16:38

                I understand all that you have said and I agree with you. Also, I did not think that you were looking for an apology from an individual. I offered the apology because I do not want to be part of the “appalling silence” that Dr. King described. As for grief, I did not begin to touch on it, and cannot because of the forum.

                An apology is only the beginning, and we haven't even gotten that far yet. Maybe we will someday. Hopefully, it will be some day soon.

      • Richard Jan 15, 2010 @ 22:27

        Historically I have always thought Charleston SC would be the best place for the monument you speak of. The Ellis Island of Slavery and the start of the Civil War.

  • JosephineSouthern Jan 4, 2010 @ 11:20

    OMG – what a bunch of foul historians. “This is an example of people in contemporary times perform an injustice in exploiting the dead for their purpose in bumping-up the numbers of “Black Confederates.”” who bend over backwards to unbump any numbers of Black Confederates.

    And this statement: ” is that the white ruling class neither cared about what they thought nor found the issue even worthy of consideration.”

    What hateful minds!~ Can't you at least consider that after the war we were occupied and a black better not say he supported the Confederacy – sunder death.

    And the dude wanting papers written docs from people who couldn't read or write!

    That there were 3 MILLION blacks in the South at the time of the WAR is a fact. That 2.5 MILLION did not flee to the North is a Fact; That these black people in the South didnot rise up and kill all the whites is a fact! That slavery was a labor system which profited the North as well as some in the South is a fact; That the North and new states to the West wanted them bottled up in the South, and Lincoln did promise to do that. Keeping the South poor for the next 100 years certainly did do that.

    Black on black crime is not new stuff; many blacks would not have come forward when intimidated, they don't today.

    I am very proud of the Blacks who do!

    • Kevin Levin Jan 4, 2010 @ 11:59

      Hi Josephine and Happy New Year to you!

      Thanks for once again reflecting what is so very wrong with this debate about how the war effected enslaved and free black southerners.

    • Brooks D. Simpson Jan 4, 2010 @ 19:33

      “Can't you at least consider that after the war we were occupied and a black better not say he supported the Confederacy – sunder death.”

      How old are you, Josephine? I didn't know that you were alive during Reconstruction. As for “sunder death,” well, I suspect blacks after the war were a little more afraid of dying at the hands of white southern terrorists (see Memphis, 1866; New Orleans, 1866; Colfax, 1873; New Orleans, 1874; Vicksburg, 1874; Hamburg, 1876, for examples) than in suffering “sunder death” by admitting a connection with the Confederacy.

      Care to explain why white southerners killed so many “loyal” black southerners after the war? After all, if “you” (“we”) were under occupation, you would have first-person testimony in this regard.

      BTW, weren't you the person who threatened Kevin one time? No wonder you are familiar with notions of physical threats and intimidation.

      • Kevin Levin Jan 4, 2010 @ 21:01

        Josephine is indeed the one. Yes, I love the reference to “we” in her post. I will say her explanation as to the lack of evidence for black loyalty to the Confederacy is better than it having been destroyed by the “yankees”.

      • margaretdblough Jan 5, 2010 @ 2:22

        What you described continued into the twentieth century, with an especially violent wave of attacks on blacks, not just individually but as communities, occurring after World War I. One of the worst was the Tulsa, Oklahoma Riots of 1921

        • Kevin Levin Jan 5, 2010 @ 2:30

          John Hope Franklin was split from his family for a period of time following the Tulsa Riots.

          • margaretdblough Jan 5, 2010 @ 4:16

            I once heard Franklin speak on TV of the impact on his family and the fact that, while the riots started with hysteria over unfounded rumors that a black man had attacked a white woman, it soon became a concerted effort by whites to destroy a large, prosperous black section of the city because it was prosperous. Only in recent years has Oklahoma made efforts to admit what happened and understand it.

        • Brooks D. Simpson Jan 5, 2010 @ 6:22

          True, Margaret … but the roots of the Tulsa riot in 1921 were a bit different than the Reconstruction-era incidents I cited.

          • margaretdblough Jan 7, 2010 @ 2:37

            There were a lot of differences, I agree, but, at the core, was white anger at blacks who refused to accept their “place” and who had the nerve to be “uppity” and white efforts, including violence, to intimidate blacks into keeping in the place that white society assigned them. There was a civil rights leader who said that the distinction between northern whites and southern whites on race was that the northerners didn't care how big you got as long as you didn't get too close and the southerners didn't care how close you got as long as you didn't get too big.

            • Brooks D. Simpson Jan 7, 2010 @ 4:56

              Anyway, the only way Oklahoma's “north” is that it's north of Texas. 🙂 Then again, having seen what happened in Boston in 1975, I've never though race was a southern problem (or, having lived in Arizona, just a black/white problem). Still there's something rather unsttling about those Reconstruction incidents that to my mind are matched, timewise, by the 1863 NYC draft riot, which was also rather ugly.

    • margaretdblough Jan 5, 2010 @ 2:17

      How is my statement about the white ruling class hateful? It's a statement of fact based on the speeches and writings of members of the white Southern ruling class during the antebellum period. Roger B. Taney, then Chief Justice of the United States, a former slave owner from Maryland and a member of one of the leading families of that state (Francis Scott Key was his brother-in-law) wrote in his opinion in Dred Scott, “They [Blacks] had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.” and then proceeded, at length, to set forth why he believed that this remained unchanged and enshrined in the US Constitution throught at least the time that the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Dred Scott.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 5, 2010 @ 10:58

      By the way Josephine, the additional comments that you contributed were all deleted. I allowed your first comment through because I thought it was reflective of what is wrong with much of the debate surrounding this topic, but you fail to address anything substantial and much of what you write is just obnoxious. Obviously, you know of plenty of places Online where you can contribute. Best of luck.

      • JosephineSouthern Jan 6, 2010 @ 17:07

        BTW Kevin I didn't think you would, especially the Lincoln quote of 1858 which is of the same mind as the John B. Hood quote. It is obvious that anything we Southern Confederate Americans say or offer as proof will not fit your agenda.

  • toby Jan 4, 2010 @ 10:57

    Just this morning I was thumbing through John B. Hood's autobiography & came across is correspondence with Sherman at the time of the fall of Atlanta. Included in his comments is the accusation “You came …for the purpose of subjugating free white men, women and children, … you make the negroes your allies, and desire to place over us an inferior race ..”

    Clearly, Hood does not see black people as forming any part of the Confederate polity, either as citizens or soldiers. If black soldiers formed a significant part of his army (we are supposed to believe in regiments and divisions of black soldiers), he can hardly have defined them as potential “allies” of Sherman. He does not even call them “traitors” but wants them to remain passive observers of a white man's war, even while their labour was used to support the Confederate war effort.

  • Kevin Levin Jan 2, 2010 @ 14:51


    I take my cue from P. Carmichael, who would have us think about how the war effected the master-slave relationship. Their are a host of questions that one could address within this framework. I also agree that there may be a few free blacks who managed to join the Confederate army, but from what we can tell they are relatively few in number. Their stories must also be told to the extent that the available evidence allows. As you may gather, my problem is that partisans tend to start the discussion from a perspective that fails to acknowledge the complexity of the subject. At its worst, they do so as a means to minimize the place of slavery in the history. Thanks

    • Robert Moore Jan 2, 2010 @ 16:25

      Kevin, Yes, but because free blacks were also in service roles, we aren't limited to looking at the master-slave relationship. As I believe you would agree, the nature of the service of blacks with the CS army and/or government is larger than that (considering social dynamics), and I also think that it varies depending on the locality of origin (for the respective blacks) within the South.

      I agree with you in regard to those who minimize the place of slavery in respect to the war, and I think our positions are mostly the same on this (and I also take issue with those who approach this from the extreme opposite side of the pendulum swing). We can raise a number of questions about the roles that blacks played in varying service capacities with the Confederate army and/or government, but I'm not sure that many of those questions are answerable in the definitive, most especially when it comes to defining the nature of service of all or a majority of the blacks. We can say, “here are some examples, and here are some other examples”, and so on, but I don't think (because of the limited amount of data available from the perspective of blacks who lived it) we can come to some ruling as to something that applied to everyone. Of course, as good historians, speculation comes from us filled with caveats, especially in this case. For those who want to play up the numbers of “Black Confederates” without an appreciation for the complexity of the situation, speculation is presented without caveats, and that's a folly of those who want to play that game.

      • Kevin Levin Jan 2, 2010 @ 16:31

        All good points, Robert. You are right that the issue of free blacks takes us far beyond the master-slave relationship. I also agree that we need to be sensitive to locality. One example of this is Will Greene's recent study of Civil War Petersburg which I recently reviewed. Petersburg had a relatively large free black population on the eve of the Civil War. Greene does an excellent job of tracking their involvement in the Confederate war effort as well as their claims of loyalty to the cause.

        • Robert Moore Jan 2, 2010 @ 16:45

          Interesting. I'll have to take a look at his book. Regretfully, I'm not as fortunate with a comparable amount of data from the Shenandoah Valley. In my home county, for example, I believe that few descendants from the slavery era remain. Many headed North during and after the war. Good discussion, Kevin.

        • margaretdblough Jan 7, 2010 @ 2:45

          I think the classic work on free blacks in the antebellum South is Ira Berlin's “Slaves without Masters.” In many ways, the free blacks were more vulnerable to predation from whites than slaves were since, in the case of slaves, there was always the risk of incurrring the wrath of a slaveowner for damaging valuable property. Some slave states had laws requiring that manumitted slaves leave the state, but most didn't for a variety of reasons, including family members who remained enslaved. However, this made their status somewhat akin to illegal immigrants today. Their existence was tolerated because their labor was needed but they were always at risk. Also, as slavery as a positive good displaced slavery as a necessary evil as a rational for slavery, the very existence of free blacks in slave states challenged that doctrine. There was a movement to pass laws requiring free blacks to pick masters or be sold. IIRR, Arkansas passed such a law right before the war and, by the effective date, the only free blacks who hadn't left the state were too old or too sick to leave.

      • Marc Ferguson Jan 2, 2010 @ 16:55

        I always appreciate your informed, sensible and nuanced comments on this subject. One of the terms that gets to me with this topic is that of “loyalty.” When this term is invoked, I see the whole “loyal slave” trope being activated in service of an ideological agenda. What did it really mean for a black person in the south to be “loyal”? Clearly we can speak about bonds of affection, which strained against aspirations for freedom. But when pondering motivations for blacks (this term, itself, needs to be used with care, since we are dealing with 19th c. notions of race and how people are categorized) attempting, with very occasional success, to enlist with Confederate armies, doesn't invoking “loyalty” just short-circuit any real attempt to understand their motivations? Just taking stereotypical cliches, such as “loyalty” or “fighting for home and family,” do more to obscure than to illuminate the reality of their experiences and motivations. This, of course, also goes for whites who fought for, or otherwise supported (or failed to support) the rebellion.

        • Robert Moore Jan 2, 2010 @ 17:30

          Thank you, Marc. I appreciate the compliment.

          I agree, the phrase “loyal slaves” bothers me also. I see that typically being applied from the perspective of the white slaveholder, but can't recall anywhere that a former slaves uses it to define himself/herself. I also think the “fighting for home” thing might be overused a bit in contemporary times (recalling that it was used at least twice last year in grave “dedications” for “Black Confederates” in both N.C. and Tenn.). Not only is it overused (for blacks as well as whites), it can be quite shallow in defining motivation. The reality is that we usually don't know other motivations or factors (including “fighting in the hopes that devoted service would result in freedom”).

          Sort of on that same line, I particularly find the above cited definition for wartime “Black Confederate” rather annoying… one “who faithfully performed his/her duties during the existence of the Confederate States of America.” One could have performed “faithfully” according to the way a white viewed it, but it may say nothing about what the “Black Confederate” may have been thinking. It's not unlike the way that David H. Strother described slaves around Lexington, Va. in June 1864. They put on a “faithful” show to the slaveholder, but the reality was quite different. This is an example of people in contemporary times perform an injustice in exploiting the dead for their purpose in bumping-up the numbers of “Black Confederates.”

          • Kevin Levin Jan 2, 2010 @ 17:49

            I think that is the most disturbing aspect of all of this. It's difficult enough to piece together the motivations of someone who has left a written account. Assumptions about what motivated those who left no such record or were not in a position to make the full range of decisions owing to their legal status is one that we should approach with the utmost of care.

    • EarthTone Jan 15, 2010 @ 18:15

      Kevin, I appreciate all the comments you've made about asking the right questions.

      I was on a blog recently where a person made the point that Southern slavery was considered “humane.” To which I asked: is that what the slaves believed? What was their opinion, and doesn't their opinion count?

      I made the point that, so much of CW history is viewed from the poles of North and South.

      But there are two other sides of the war. Instead of looking at the war from the perspective of North and South, why not look at it through the eyes of the enslaved and un-enslaved?

      I can go to the bookstore and at any one time and see several books about specific CW battles, and some about specific CW figures. But there is a paucity of books about the Southern slave experience during the war.

      And of course, lack of historical record is a problem. But it just amazes me to see how little there is to say about the lives of some 3 million people from that era, especially given how much is available concerning other aspects of the war. These Black Confederate myth-makers are basically filling a vacuum.

      • Kevin Levin Jan 15, 2010 @ 10:23

        Thanks so much for taking the time to write such thoughtful comments and thanks for the compliment. I do hope that you will continue to read and comment.

      • Kevin Levin Jan 15, 2010 @ 19:09

        Thanks for taking the time to write such thoughtful comments and thanks for the compliment. I do hope that you will continue to visit and share in the discussion.

  • badgervan Jan 2, 2010 @ 2:07

    When these revisionists start producing valid papers signifying that blacks were officially signed up for service in the Confederate Army, then we can talk. .. the key word here being “valid”; not co-erced at the very end of the war out of desperation. All of us who served in the Armed Forces hang unto our papers, including sign-up papers and seperation papers.
    I have yet to see such papers, and don't think we will be seeing them in the future.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 2, 2010 @ 2:17

      As I've said more than once, the problem is that we are not asking the right questions. We need to understand how slaves were utilized by the Confederate army rather than speculating on how many black soldiers served. It looks like there were relatively few soldiers and thousands of slaves serving in various capacities. That is where the research needs to be conducted as well as broader questions of how the war effected the master-slave relationship. Some interesting work could be done in this area if we could just get beyond these overly simplistic questions that distort the past.

      • Robert Moore Jan 2, 2010 @ 12:43

        Kevin, I have to ask… what are the right questions? Or, perhaps I should ask, what are the answerable questions? While we can see how slaves and free blacks were utilized by the Confederacy, I think there is such an absence of data as to how those same people felt (most especially at the time of the war) that we may be left in that continuous loop of speculating. Of course, we should avoid that because it is folly to continue down that path. I also believe there are so many variables in the master-slave relationship that we can't say that it was one way or the other, but many different ways. The problem with those who continue to press the argument in support of the “masses of Black Confederates” (most especially when trying to classify them ALL as “soldiers”) is that they apparently have the need to quantify something that can't be quantified (despite their efforts with weak evidence submitted in an effort to show the contrary). On the other hand, I've also recognized some comments to your posts by some folks that show a stubborn reluctance to acknowledge that some blacks, free and slave, actually did serve in the ranks and may have actually felt some form of dedication to master and an idea of defending home and hearth. I don't think this discussion can really advance until we come to that middle point, and even then, I think there are huge voids of data that will prevent us to coming to some absolute conclusion.

        • margaretdblough Jan 2, 2010 @ 13:11

          Robert-I don't think there is any reluctance to believe that the Confederacy depended on black labor, enslaved and free. That was the justification for the Emancipation Proclamation. One of the reasons that there is not more data on how blacks, both enslaved and free, thought about providing services to the Confederacy is that the white ruling class neither cared about what they thought nor found the issue even worthy of consideration.

          • Robert Moore Jan 2, 2010 @ 14:33

            Margaret, Oh, not at all, I think everyone (well… most everyone) can agree that the Confederacy depended on black labor as a significant part of its effort toward independence and that the EP was an absolute necessity at helping to destabilize that support. Rather, the reluctance is toward the thought that a slave or free black could have actually been interested in supporting the Confederacy (not to mention that some could actually have willingly taken-up arms, albeit against CS government policy). While I believe that such instances were not only possible but did exist, the greater problem is that there are those that want us to believe that this was the dominating opinion of the majority of those blacks who served the Confederacy, whether in the capacity of cooks or trench-diggers, or as a man on the muster rolls. Frankly, that effort by people today is much more about them trying to justify a Cause which they don't fully comprehend than it is about those who lived in the past.

            As to your belief that the white ruling class did not care about what they thought, I would agree only in part. While the government may have been detached from “care,” I believe that there was a relationship between some (emphasis on “some”) blacks and whites that would reveal that there were whites who cared that the blacks, free or black, remained while others took the opportunity to flee. Yet, once again, we are left to speculation and rarely have anything available to support that contemporary belief of people from the past.

            Sadly, the most significant reason for a lack of data is that literacy among blacks was not at the same level of whites who took part in the war. For this reason, we will likely never be able to grasp the feelings of the blacks as they experienced them at the time of the war. Instead, we are left with fragments of the past through memories written down in later years or expressed in actions in later years.

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