A Challenge to the Southern Heritage Preservation Group

It looks like the latest issue of Civil War Times magazine is now available at your local newsstand.  As I mentioned last week the issue features my co-written essay with Myra Chandler Sampson on Silas Chandler.  We intended the piece to challenge some of the more popular assumptions surrounding Silas’s relationship to Andrew as well as his Civil War experience.  Admittedly, the evidence that we were able to marshal is limited, which makes any attempt at a robust interpretation problematic.

I am not surprised to learn that the good folks at the Southern Heritage Preservation Page are upset with the piece.  Apparently, Gary Adams, who is the groups executive chairman, picked it up and he had this to say:

I picked up the latest issue of Civil War Times and found a story by one of many of you favorite writer this time credited to Kevin Levine and Myra Sampson (a descendant of Andrew Chandler)…. This is same magazine and author who had comments to his previous story censured and sent directed to the author. This resulted in discussions for boycotts of both the magazine and advertisers but we argued against that but I will admit we may have to reconsider that decision. The question remains whether or not the poor research is on purpose or attributed to a lack of talent.  Here it argues Silas was a servant not a soldier. What I found strange was they fail to mention the family was and is tore with the same argument.

Now I have no idea what Mr. Adams is referring to in regards to comments from a previous CWT article nor do I have any advice on whether it might be worthwhile to boycott the magazine and sponsors.

What I will offer Mr. Adams and the rest of this group is the opportunity to write a response to the specific claims made in this article that will be published on this blog.  You can’t beat that.  Historical interpretations are always in need of revision based on the gathering of additional sources or a counter-interpretation of existing evidence.  This would be a wonderful opportunity to bring together the collective knowledge and wisdom of the entire group against their number one enemy.  Best of all, they get to do it on this very blog.  I look forward to reading and learning from their research on Silas.

115 thoughts on “A Challenge to the Southern Heritage Preservation Group

  1. Pingback: Kevin Levin Issues a Challenge | Crossroads

  2. Ray O'Hara

    is there an English translation of this?
    “What I found strange was they fail to mention the family was and is tore with the same argument.”

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Yes, I think he means to suggest that there is a lingering disagreement among the descendants of Silas Chandler. As far as I know the PBS History Detectives took care of that.

      Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Thanks, Corey. I don’t expect a response beyond the standard insults. To be completely honest, I don’t believe anyone in that group even knows what goes into a historical interpretation.

      Reply
        1. Brooks Simpson

          Gee, Connie, you posted as if you were on cue to Kevin’s comment.

          If you didn’t exist, Kevin would have to invent you. Then again, maybe you’re really a construct created by another person in Florida who doesn’t like Kevin’s blog. :)

          Reply
          1. Arleigh Birchler

            Brooks, I think that to a great extent we are all the constructs created by other people’s interpretations. It is easy to classify folks into “us” and “them”. Once someone gets put in a slot, it is nearly impossible to change. I tend to thing that the War Between the States was one of the most significant periods of time in our collective history. I do not think we have even begun to come to grips with it. I know I have not.

            Reply
            1. Brooks Simpson

              That’s a commonplace observation, but what it has to do with my comment is unclear. What I do know is that Connie clearly takes pride in playing a certain role, and I don’t think she’s misunderstood. Other people also play their roles, so it’s always interesting to see the comments section evolve. It’s actually fairly predictable … and, judging from my analysis of views/hits on my blog, it’s what draws a crowd, suggesting why “reality TV” is so compelling to people who say they’re above it.

              Reply
          2. Margaret D. Blough

            Brooks-I was thinking more in terms of Pavolv’s experiments, with Kevin commenting being the bell ringing. part of the experiment.

            Reply
            1. Arleigh Birchler

              Hey, Margaret. I think you nailed it on the first try. “Discussions” about The War are seldom detached and moving forward. Sides are firmly entrenched, and the ammunition is all standard issue.

              Reply
              1. Brooks Simpson

                I don’t think that’s quite the case in most circumstances, but it appears to be the case more often in cyberspace .

                Reply
                1. Arleigh Birchler

                  You are correct, Brooks. My comments only applied to cyberspace discussions, and I should have said that clearly.

                  Reply
          1. Rob Baker

            well, your expectations were right. Gary at SHPG posted his response on their page. It’s the one that starts,

            Asked my opinion and my opinion alone I would have to comment,

            Reply
            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              It’s not even a response to the right article. Yes, further down he mentions the right one, but I don’t really understand what he is saying. Oh well.

              Reply
                    1. Kevin Levin Post author

                      I’ve had my research torn apart and handed it to me on a silver platter by some wonderful historians. It can be incredibly painful and it sometimes leaves you wondering whether you will ever write anything again. It was probably a mistake issuing a challenge given that Adams doesn’t really understand what is involved.

                    2. Arleigh Birchler

                      I searched for the Southern Heritage Preservation Group. I found several mentions of it, and one site that seemed to be it, but I could not find anything by “Gary” related to Kevin or Silas. I don’t think I even figured out how to navigate their site. I generally thought I must be in the wrong place. Since I still haven’t read Myra and Kevin’s article, I would have had little to add. I will not be able to even look for it (except by making some local phone calls) until after the 21st. These two men and what may or may not have happened to them do interest me.

                      Kevin, if you are ever so inclined, I would love to see a discussion of the movie: “Ride With the Devil”. My fairly recent ancestors were on both sides of that very local conflict.

    1. Arleigh Birchler

      Myra, I hope this will not sound offensive, but your comment about not being a descendent of Andrew Chandler made me chuckle. It was just my first gut reaction, and once my brain kicked in I realized that could seem like a rude thing for me to say. Have people gotten confused and thought you were a descendent of Andrew? I had pretty much assumed from what Kevin wrote that you were a descendent of Silas, but I guess I did not know that for a fact. The photographs have intrigued me since I first saw them, but I would not begin to assume what they signify, or why Andrew and Silas decided to get the photos made. People do things because they feel like it. Trying to decipher why they felt like doing it is just to “iffy” for me.

      Reply
        1. Arleigh Birchler

          Who assumed that, Kevin? (actually, I imagine that a lot of folks would maintain that) There is a certain philosophical argument that everyone always has a choice, even if it is only to die or suffer, but I don’t mean to go there.

          Reply
          1. Kevin Levin Post author

            Perhaps I read it too closely, but it looked like you did: “…but I would not begin to assume what they signify, or why Andrew and Silas decided to get the photos made.”

            Reply
            1. Arleigh Birchler

              Thanks, Kevin. I see what your question was now. I guess that the belief that he had no choice is an assumption. Perhaps it was a terrible choice between doing it or being tortured, but I tend to think of that as a choice. A choice prompted by coercion. I realize this idea may seem preposterous to most people, so please forgive me my strange ideas. I choose not to make assumptions about what may have happened based only on the existence of a photograph. Granted that other evidence is probably available that I am unaware of, and I am sorry that I have not been able to afford to buy a copy of the magazine yet.

              Reply
              1. Margaret D. Blough

                Arleigh- A “choice” made under coercion is not legally considered to be consent. In a slave’s world, no matter how how kind an individual slaveowner might be, the fact remained that a slave and even free/freed blacks lived in a society where its Supreme Court said that blacks had no rights to which white people had to acknowledge. Even if an owner tried to free a slave in a will, provided it was even legal in a state, the heirs quite often went into court and the courts, sometimes on the flimsiest of pretexts, would overturn the will’s provision in order to protect the heirs’ rights. Perhaps an individual owner might allow a slave to choose, but that slave had no remedy if the owner reneged.

                Reply
                1. Arleigh Birchler

                  Margaret, perhaps I am thinking in a philosophical or existential since, not a legal sense. I believe one always has a choice. I think it was Elie Wiesel who said that even in a concentration camp one has the choice of how to meet death. A person facing a felon with a gun has the choice of whether or not to cooperate. This may not have any bearing on the topic at hand, but I think one is always better off if they realize they have a choice, no matter how terrible that choice might be.

                  Reply
  3. Carl Roden

    Tell you what, I will play your little game….provided you offer me a carefully written, flawless interpretation of the service of one Pvt. Henry “Dad” Brown a drummer for Co. H 21st SC CSA under your “slaves not soldiers” argument…oh and spare me the whole “musicians are not soldiers” argument as I can site numerous examples of Union drummers who were decorated during the course of the war and not least of which I can provide the details that black musicians in the Confederate army were recognized soldiers and granted equal pay with their white counterparts in 1862.

    Well….. can you?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      I am responding to a specific claim by one of the officers of the SHPG. The statement makes claims about the research that went into our article about Silas Chandler. Mr. Adams and anyone else for that matter is welcome to make corrections to the article, which will be published on this blog. Get to work.

      Reply
      1. Rob Baker

        Kevin, I want a flawless interpretation how drummer boys were not midgets. Oh, and spare me the whole “boys are not midgets” argument as I can site numerous examples of how boys are under 5 feet tall and therefore a midget.

        Well….can you?

        And why you’re at it. Explain to me exactly how you know Forrest did not ride a Unicorn?

        This all holds relevance to your article does it not?

        Reply
    2. Brooks Simpson

      Carl … are you unable to answer Kevin’s question? Are you folks unable or afraid to stand up and prove what you say is true?

      Maybe you need to rename your group the Confederate Hot Air Group and appoint a few more “Knowledge Officers.”

      Reply
    3. Jim Dick

      To begin with Confederate law specifically stated that no black individual could be a soldier. The slaves that were with the Confederate units were doing exactly what a slave would be doing in that Southern society. They conscripted free blacks as well as slaves to build fortifications and other tasks that white men didn’t want to do. Black men were the drummers, cooks, teamsters, orderlies, manservants, and corpsmen (stretcher bearers) of the South because that’s the role their white masters forced them into.
      As late as January 1865, General Howell Cobb wrote, “The proposition to make soldiers of uor slaves is the most pernicious ideas that has been suggested since the war began….My first hour of despondency will be the one in which that policy shall be adopted. You cannot make soldiers of slaves, nor slaves of soldiers….The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”
      While isolated instances of black Confederate soldiers may exist, they do not absolve the South that the issue of slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War.

      Reply
      1. Arleigh Birchler

        Jim, There is nothing in what you say that I would disagree with. I think that Howell Cobb’s famous words were in response to the pressure from the Confederate Army high command to enlist slaves and freedmen as soldiers and promise them emancipation in return.

        Of course, under the derinition of a soldier that you use, I would not have been considered one while I was in the US Army, nor would many other veterans. The main difference is one of being compelled to do the service. I was not, but many were at the time that I served, and very many of those died as the result of battles.

        I do not think that any but the company formed at the very end of the war would meet a definition of Confederate Soldier, even if they did fight in one or more battles. I suspect, like you, that there were a few isolated instances. That is what interests me, not the battle over whether they should be called soldiers.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Of course, under the derinition of a soldier that you use, I would not have been considered one while I was in the US Army, nor would many other veterans.

          Whether you volunteered or were drafted is not the issue. Slaves were not citizens of the Confederacy and were not subjected to the draft. Draftees serve as part of their obligations as citizens.

          Reply
          1. Arleigh Birchler

            I was a medic, or a stretcher bearer. Guys who drove trucks in the Army would not count, either, nor would cooks or bakers. Even engineers would be suspect. The only ones who would clearly be soldiers are members of infantry, or mounted cavalry. I have also seen folks maintain that if there were slaves or freedmen who manned artillery, they would not be soldiers, but only support.

            Perhaps I misunderstand all of this. Clearly if a person was not properly enlisted or conscripted into the Army, one could maintain that they are not soldiers. I doubt that many, if any, slaves or freedmen were until the end. But it all becomes a semantics game. Not that I have anything against semantics, but we are only trying to figure out what the proper definition of a word is. It is a small point to get bogged down over.

            Reply
            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              Arleigh,

              I’ve gone out of my way to state my position as clearly as possible on previous posts. Were you enlisted as a solider? I am not asking whether you carried a weapon. You were a medic in the Unite States Army and were not present as an external attachment to that institution. Yes, you were a soldier. Thank you for your service. That is something I can’t say to Silas Chandler.

              Reply
      2. BorderRuffian

        JD-
        “To begin with Confederate law specifically stated that no black individual could be a soldier.”

        I’ve never seen that law. Where is it at?

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          I don’t believe there is one either, but than again they didn’t need a law. The legal boundaries of slavery and the racial assumptions surrounding blacks took care of that in the Confederacy.

          Reply
        2. Michael

          I don’t know that there was a written law, but there was definitely documented policy that states the same thing.

          Reply
        3. Bob Huddleston

          Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States 1863:

          1399. Any free white male person above the age of eighteen and under thirty-five years, being at least five feet four and a half inches high, effective, ablebodied, sober, free from disease, of good character and habits, and with a competent knowledge of the English language, may be enlisted.

          A Digest of the Military and Naval Laws of the Confederate States, From the Commencement of the Provisional Congress to the End of the First Congress Under the Permanent Constitution:

          The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be and he is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States, for three years, unless the war shall have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years, at the time the call or calls may be made, who are not legally exempted from military service.
          144. That the President be and he is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States for three years, unless the war should have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five years, at the time the call or calls may be made, and who are not, at such time or times, legally exempted from military service, or such part thereof as, in his judgment, may be necessary to the public defence–
          166. That from and after the passage of this act all white men, residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of seventeen and fifty, shall be in the military service of the Confederate States for the war.
          XI. EMPLOYMENT OF NEGROES.
          177. Whereas the efficiency of the army is greatly diminished by the withdrawal from the ranks of able-bodied soldiers to act as teamsters, and in various other capacities in which free negroes and slaves might be advantageously employed: Therefore,
          The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That all male free negroes and other free persons of color, not including those who are free under the Treaty of Paris of 1803, or under the Treaty of Spain of 1819, resident in the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and fifty years, shall be held liable to perform such duties with the army, or in connection with the military defences of the country, in the way of work upon fortifications or in government works for the production or preparation of materials of war, or in military hospitals, as the Secretary of War or the commanding general of the trans-Mississippi department may from time to time prescribe; and while engaged in the performance of such duties shall receive rations and clothing, and compensation at the rate of eleven dollars a month, under such rules and regulations as the said Secretary may establish: Provided, That the Secretary of War or the commanding general of the trans-Mississippi department, with the approval of the President, may exempt from the operations of this act such free negroes as the interests of the country may require should be exempted, or such as he may think proper to exempt on grounds of justice, equity, or necessity.
          178. That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to employ, for duties similar to those indicated in the preceding section of this act, as many male negro slaves, not to exceed twenty thousand, as in his judgment the wants of the service may require, furnishing them, while so employed, with proper rations and clothing, under rules and regulations to be established by him, and paying to the owners of said slaves such wages as may be agreed upon with said owners for their use and service; and in the event of the loss of any slaves while so employed, by the act of the enemy, or by escape to the enemy, or by death inflicted by the enemy, or by disease contracted while in any service required of said slaves, then the owners of the same shall be entitled to receive the full value of such slaves, to be ascertained by agreement or by appraisement, under the law regulating impressments, to be paid under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of War may establish.
          179. That when the Secretary of War shall be unable to procure the services of slaves in any military department in sufficient numbers for the necessities of the department, upon the terms and conditions set forth in the preceding section, then he is hereby authorized to impress the services of as many male slaves, not to exceed twenty thousand, as may be required, from time to time, to discharge the duties indicated in the first section of this act, according to the laws regulating the impressment of slaves in other cases: Provided, That slaves so impressed shall, while employed, receive the same rations and clothing, in kind and quantity, as slaves regularly hired from their owners, and in the event of their loss, shall be paid for in the same manner, and under the same rules established by the said impressment laws: Provided, That if the owner have but one male slave between the ages of eighteen and fifty, he shall not be impressed against the will of said owner: Provided, further, that free negroes shall be first impressed, and if there should be a deficiency, it shall be supplied by the impressment of slaves according to the foregoing provisions: Provided, further, That in making the impressment not more than one of every five male slaves between the ages of eighteen and forty-five shall be taken from any owner, care being taken to allow in each case a credit for all slaves who may have been already impressed under this act, and who are still in service, or have died, or been lost while in service. And all impressments under this act shall be taken in equal ratio from all owners in the same locality, city, county, or district.

          http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/digest/digest.html

          Reply
          1. BorderRuffian

            Bob Huddleston-
            “Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States 1863:

            1399. Any free white male person above the age of eighteen and under thirty-five years, being at least five feet four and a half inches high, effective, ablebodied, sober, free from disease, of good character and habits, and with a competent knowledge of the English language, may be enlisted.”

            *******

            Ah, yes…the regulations…
            …but regulations are not laws.

            Questions:
            *How were units of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and other Indian tribes mustered into Confederate service?

            *How did Confederate mustering and inspecting officers approve of men with the designation of “free negro” (“colored,” etc) clearly stated on the rolls?

            BH-
            “A Digest of the Military and Naval Laws of the Confederate States, From the Commencement of the Provisional Congress to the End of the First Congress Under the Permanent Constitution:

            The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be and he is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States, for three years, unless the war shall have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years, at the time the call or calls may be made, who are not legally exempted from military service….”

            -The conscript laws. What about volunteers?

            Reply
            1. Kevin Levin Post author

              I love how you bring up laws when they suit your purpose, but have no problem giving the back of your hand to one that directly challenges your position.

              Now, perhaps you will share with us these so-called “volunteers.” How did you arrive at your list? What was the methodology you employed?

              Reply
              1. Arleigh Birchler

                Kevin,

                I do not mean to offend you. I respect your work. Sometimes, however, you seem to resort ot an argumentum ad hominem. I suspect it is simply do to frustration and aggrevation.

                Reply
      3. Arleigh Birchler

        Jim, as I said below, I am very grateful to Bob for posted the section of Confederate law pertaining to service in the Confederate military. I read it carefully and now know much more than I did before. I am frequently mistaken, but I do not recall seeing the word “soldier” in the law. I went back and did a casual search for the word, but did not find it with that limited attempt. This has to do with the points that Kevin was kind enough to answer. I think we might be putting way too much emphasis on the word “soldier” and who may or may not have been one. I understand that it seems to be of critical importance to folks on both sides of the discussion, but I simply do not see it as all that important of a semantic issue. Perhaps I will be enlightened on the matter soon.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          I think we might be putting way too much emphasis on the word “soldier” and who may or may not have been one

          That’s ok as long as you understand that it was absolutely critical to white southerners during the Civil War.

          Reply
        2. Bob Huddleston

          Arleigh wrote: “I am frequently mistaken, but I do not recall seeing the word “soldier” in the law.” Aren’t we all! :>)
          However, I suspect that the technical definition of “enlist” refers only to a soldier, sailor, or, today, an airman. Note that slaves are “impressed” and “all male free negroes and other free persons of color, …shall be held liable to perform such duties with the army” but they are not “enlisted.”

          Reply
        3. Jim Dick

          It lies in the nature of warfare itself and the context of the times. During the Civil War era cooks, wagon drivers, farriers, sutlers, most medical people (that really differs there in so many ways on medical staff) and other non combat fighting individuals were not classified as soldiers by either side. For that matter, a lot of the USCT spent the war building stuff and not in combat primarily because they were black and not white. The USCT was also considered to be an auxiliary of the Army and not official troops which really caused issues after the war. ( I toss that in there because it shows how attitudes in the North weren’t so pure.)
          Basically when the Confederacy formed they adopted a lot of the federal laws and one of those was the Militia Act of 1792 which only allowed free white men to serve in the state militias….actually it made all free white men serve in the state militias, but we can see just how well that was enforced.
          As warfare changed and the artillery began to have greater ranges, the role of the noncombatant changed. I personally think that guerrilla warfare in the Civil War was part of that change, but that’s an entire subject of its own.
          Stop and think about this. Recall our own objections to the role of women in the service. I was in Okinawa and between all four branches we had several thousand women there in the early 80′s. Let’s say China invaded that island. Where were the women supposed to go under the DoD directives at that time? They were unrealistic. Advance the clock to 1991 and a certain female private who was captured by Iraqi forces…while in a convoy? Desert Storm ended all pretenses that there were safe places in modern warfare.
          However, it’s a long way from the Civil War to 1991. The noncombatants of the Civil War did not fight in battle. They did not go into harm’s way although harm did find them at times. That’s the nature of war. Did black men fight for the Confederacy? Yes, they did, but not in large numbers. Did they do so voluntarily? Again, yes, but not in large numbers. The black men who manned an artillery battery at the First Bull Run did so at gunpoint.
          I don’t know if that answers your question or not, but we do have to realize that the events of the past must be evaluated within their own context.
          One more thing. The real argument tends to be about using the concept of Black Confederates to negate the idea that slavery was the prime cause of the War. If it wasn’t about slavery, why did around 180,000 black men serve in the USCT with actual weapons in real battles with tons of documentable evidence while the supporters of the Black Confederates cannot dig up large numbers and large amounts of documentable facts despite the South have almost four million black people within its states?

          Reply
          1. Kevin Levin Post author

            For that matter, a lot of the USCT spent the war building stuff and not in combat primarily because they were black and not white. The USCT was also considered to be an auxiliary of the Army and not official troops which really caused issues after the war. ( I toss that in there because it shows how attitudes in the North weren’t so pure.)

            They did indeed serve in these capacities, but that hardly means that they were not soldiers. In fact, these men protested unequal pay for over a year on the ground that they would receive the same pay as white soldiers and they won. The issue is not what they did, but their official status. USCTs were soldiers. No one debates that point. The Confederate government and military was very clear about who could serve as a soldier and it did not include blacks. They debated this very issue late in the war. Your comparison with women in the 1940 doesn’t tell us anything about the status of blacks in the Confederate army. There are a number of very good studies on this issue, including Bruce Levine’s book, Confederate Emancipation.

            Reply
            1. Jim Dick

              Yes it does. It’s the 1980′s and it contrasts the idea of non-combatants then and now. Non-combatants in the Civil War did not fight while in the DoD doctrine of the 1980′s they were expected to fight. The out clause was that women would be evacuated. However, that wasn’t always going to be possible. Not to mention the fact that aircraft and missiles didn’t exist in the Civil War either. So the rear areas even as early as WWI became targets that they weren’t in the Civil War.
              On the subject of the USCT, they were considered as soldiers, but they weren’t all used as soldiers. They were put to work building fortifications etc and that’s from Glatthaar’s Forged in Battle as well as McPherson’s The Negro’s Civil War. Also despite the role the USCT soldier did during the war the black soldier often had a more difficult time getting a disability pension following the war. In 1890 that changed when Congress widened the pension requirements.

              Reply
    4. Corey Meyer

      Carl,

      Allow me to type slowly so you can play along. The challenge is not about Dad Brown or some other black confederate you want to drag out, it is about the scholarship Kevin and Myra put into the article on Silas. Do you have any new insights that might shed more light onto the story of Silas or prove something that Kevin and Myra got wrong…and remember, you have to back it up with documentation.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. BorderRuffian

    I’m not a member of SHPG but I have a question regarding the pension application of Silas Chandler.

    To the question on page one “How long have you been a bona fide resident of Mississippi?” Silas answers 54 years. The application is dated 1916 so that means he was a bona fide (lawful, legal) resident from ca. 1862. Do you have any explanation for that answer?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      That’s a good question. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you, but I would caution you from reading too much into it. Silas may have timed it to the end of slavery and the beginning of the legal terms of the Emancipation Proclamation. I know of no Mississippi law that declared slaves or even free blacks to be citizens of the state at that time. I don’t expect you be satisfied with this answer because it doesn’t satisfy me.

      Reply
    1. Arleigh Birchler

      Barnes & Nobles is a fairly significant drive for me, but I think I may do it. I would be interested is seeing what Myra and Kevin had to say. “The Chander Boys” is a rather intriguing story.

      Reply
      1. Myra Chandler Sampson

        I would call them before you go because I understand that not all Barns and Noble have them out yet. The newsstands all have them. As for me not being a descendant of Andrew Chandler, I was referring to the above article which referenced it by Gary Adams.

        Reply
        1. James F. Epperson

          Ms. Sampson, I should have listened to you :-( Went through awful traffic and weather to discover they didn’t have it yet.

          Reply
          1. Myra Chandler Sampson

            The February issue of Civil War Times is now available at Barnes and Noble. I would still call before you go.

            Reply
            1. BorderRuffian

              OK, got my copy last evening.

              1st problem- “Silas was born a slave on January 1, 1837, in Virginia.”

              What document shows him to be born January 1, 1837?

              ***

              2nd problem- “the Manumission Law of 1842 made it illegal for a slave to be freed in Mississippi.”

              The census report for 1860 shows that 182 slaves were manumitted in Mississippi during the census year (about June 1859 to June 1860). While it was difficult to free a slave in Mississippi it was not impossible.

              Here’s a discussion on the subject at deadlyconfederates-
              http://deadconfederates.com/2011/10/11/obligatory-history-detectives-post/

              ***

              3rd problem- “Claims can also be found on the Internet that Andrew helped Silas to receive a pension in 1878 for his ‘service’ in the Confederate Army. No evidence corroborates that statement.”

              True. Then you state-

              “In Silas’ final years…he more than once applied for a pension. It was approved at least twice by 1916…” &c.

              -but fail to mention that Andrew Chandler signed as witness in support of Silas’ application for pension. Why did you leave that fact out? Was it inconvenient?

              Reply
              1. Kevin Levin Post author

                Thanks for the close reading.

                1. Myra had access to the 1880 census, which basically falls in line with the age listed on the 1916 pension application.

                2. Thanks for the additional information, but this does not bear on Silas’s legal status in 1860.

                3. I’ve never denied that perhaps certain bonds of affection existed between Silas and Andrew. We were not trying to hide anything in not mentioning Andrew. The pension is accessible online. You are free to draw your own conclusions about a possible conspiracy. :-)

                Thanks again for taking the time to read the article.

                Reply
                1. BorderRuffian

                  Many in the 19th century did not know when they were born. Even more of a problem in the case of former slaves. FYI-

                  Silas in the census-
                  Year—Age—–Born——State
                  1870—28—-ca.1842—–MS
                  1880—41—-ca.1839—–VA
                  1890 (destroyed by fire)
                  1900—60—-Dec.1839—MS (first census to ask for date of birth)
                  1910—73—-ca.1837—–VA

                  Reply
                  1. Andy Hall

                    Census records are invaluable, but also highly problematic, oftentimes. Ages and birthplaces jump around quite a bit, especially for older people. part of the problem, as you suggest, is that many people simply didn’t know their actual birth date. (Douglass talks about this in the opening lines of one of his autobiographies.) The other element in this is that, in those days, census rolls were made up by enumerators going door-to-door, rather than (mostly) the self-report, mail-in forms we use now. So the information listed in those old censuses only reflects the answers provided by whoever happened to be home at the time, providing information that may or may not have been correct for all members of the household.

                    Reply
                    1. Michael Douglas

                      Correct, Andy. I regularly submit corrections to Ancestry because of issues created by door-to-door enumerations.

                      Spellings of names, birth dates, and even gender can be found entered erroneously. I once found my g-grandmother listed, with her brothers, as male and all three of them bearing their correct surname, but listed as children of their grandparents.

                      A few doors down I found them listed again (with my g-grandmother listed as male) living with their mother and stepfather and bearing the stepfather’s surname.

                      The birth date and place issue can be very particularly frustrating when dealing with the census records of former slaves. Sometimes they simply didn’t know when they had been born, or had only an approximation, or had been told by someone else who may or may not have actually known. Likewise with places of birth. There are those who were separated from their parents or other family and would simply give the place of their earliest memory. Sometimes you’ll find simply, “USA” for birthplace.

              2. Myra Chandler Sampson

                The article was about Silas Chandler, not Andrew Chandler. Silas was not mentioned in Andrew’s Biography or Obituary. Why would it be necessary to mention that Andrew signed Silas’ pension application?

                Reply
                1. Kevin Levin Post author

                  If this is the extent of his criticism I would have to conclude that Mr. Border Ruffian enjoyed our article.

                  Reply
                  1. Arleigh Birchler

                    I think you are right, Kevin. I do not know if this is the same “Border Ruffian” who is a Facebook Friend of mine, but both individuals seem to be very polite, inquisitive, and willing to engage in discussion. The choice of nom de plume has some very unfortunate connotations for me personally, but I deal with it.

                    Reply
                    1. Kevin Levin Post author

                      I don’t have much respect for people who do not take ownership of their own thoughts.

              3. Bob Huddleston

                Border Ruffian wrote: 2nd problem- “’the Manumission Law of 1842 made it illegal for a slave to be freed in Mississippi.’

                “The census report for 1860 shows that 182 slaves were manumitted in Mississippi during the census year (about June 1859 to June 1860). While it was difficult to free a slave in Mississippi it was not impossible.”

                I am looking for the exact citation but, IIRC, it took an act of the state legislature to free a slave. Paul Finkelman has written of the problem in his _An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism and Comity_.

                Reply
              4. Myra Chandler Sampson

                The Mississippi Manumission Law of 1842 made it illegal to manumit a slave. This was meant to be a humanitarian law requiring slave owners to provide care for slaves that were too old or too ill to work. In 1860 there were no free slaves in Clay County Mississippi. There were free slaves in the State of Mississippi, but not Clay County, therefore Silas was not free.

                Why would someone defend this shameful time in the history of our country? Slavery was cruel and evil. Why would anyone want to sugar-coat the shameful truth about parts of our American history?

                Reply
                1. Kevin Levin Post author

                  As much as I appreciate that BR took the time to read our article I am beginning to get the feeling that he is not really serious. He will latch onto anything that throws doubt without ever taking the time to offer an interpretation of his own. It’s actually quite boring.

                  Reply
                2. Arleigh Birchler

                  Myra, my memory is poor, but I think I have read something to the effect that slavery was legal in New Jersey or Delaware for the same humanitarian reasons: All of the slaves there were either old or infirm, and the law required that the “owners” provide for their needs. I do not know if this counts as “sugar-coating” slavery.

                  Reply
                  1. Margaret D. Blough

                    Arleigh-It wasn’t anything so benign. It appears the subsidy for “abandoned” blacks dealt with an exception to the 1804 law that first provided for the gradual end of slavery for those born after the effective date. The exception allowed slave children to be freed but a subsidy would be paid by the state for placing them in a white household. It appears to have been used as a widespread scam to game the system. According to
                    http://www.slavenorth.com/newjersey.htm: <<In 1830, of the 3,568 Northern blacks who remained slaves, more than two-thirds were in New Jersey. The institution was rapidly declining in the 1830s, but not until 1846 was slavery permanently abolished. At the start of the Civil War, New Jersey citizens owned 18 "apprentices for life" (the federal census listed them as "slaves") — legal slaves by any name.
                    "New Jersey's emancipation law carefully protected existing property rights. No one lost a single slave, and the right to the services of young Negroes was fully protected. Moreover, the courts ruled that the right was a 'species of property,' transferable 'from one citizen to another like other personal property.' "<>The plan was never put to a vote. Fisher and Smithers canvassed the General Assembly and found that the bill would probably pass the Senate, but lose in the House by one vote. They withdrew the plan rather than see it defeated. The elections that fall produced a decisive Democratic victory in Delaware, which doomed the chance for emancipation there. As it turned out, Kentucky and Delaware, among the border states, continued to tolerate slavery, even after Lee’s surrender. Delaware’s General Assembly refused to ratify the 13th Amendment, calling it an illegal extension of federal powers over the states. Only in December 1865, when the 13th Amendment went into effect on a national scale, did slavery cease in Delaware. By then there were only a few hundred left. Many male slaves had run off in 1863 and 1864 and gone to the cities to enlist in black regiments.<<

                    I'm sorry but it had nothing to do with humanitarianism. These two states were so wedded to the institution, regardless of how few slaves there were there, that both rejected ratification of the 13th Amendment even when it had to be clear that the 13th Amendment would be ratified whether they liked it or not. Delaware ended up not getting a penny in compensation when the Lincoln administration & Congress would have been ecstatic to see it end slavery.

                    Reply
                    1. Arleigh Birchler

                      Thanks for the detailed information, Margaret. I only used the word “humanitarian” because you had used it in your post.

              5. Bob Huddleston

                Border Ruffian wrote “The census report for 1860 shows that 182 slaves were manumitted in Mississippi during the census year (about June 1859 to June 1860). While it was difficult to free a slave in Mississippi it was not impossible.” The Census was wrong.

                Before 1857, Mississippi prohibited manumission of slaves only for “meritorious or distinguished service” and only if the owner’s manumission was ratified by the state legislature. However, after 1857, the state made it illegal to manumit someone under *any* circumstances. See Paul Finkelman, _An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism and Comity_ (Chapel Hill, 1981) pp. 228-234, and Benjamin Klebaner, “American Manumission Laws and the Responsibility for Supporting Slaves,” _Virginia Magazine of History and Biography_ 63:4 (October 1955) 443.

                Reply
  5. Pingback: Quotes From the Southern Heritage Movement « THE BLOOD OF MY KINDRED

  6. Myra Chandler Sampson

    We have always used the date inscribed on Silas’ headstone as the official date of his birth and death. I am aware of slaves not knowing their exact birth dates. The United Daughters of the Confederacy have a virtual grave http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=14505541&PIpi=5711588 Here you can see a close up of his headstone. They never questioned it when they along with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans put the iron cross confederate flag on his grave. If you have better documentation, I would appreciate you sharing it.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Thanks, Myra. It would be interesting to know what documentation the headstone’s inscriptions is based.

      Reply
    2. Myra Chandler Sampson

      The headstone has been inscribed since Silas’ death in 1919. I would imagine that is the date that his wife and family had at that time.

      Reply
  7. Andy Hall

    Picked up a copy Wednesday evening. Congrats to your and Ms. Sampson for producing a thoughtful, clear and much-needed corrective to the myth of “the Chandler Boys.” Props also to Mike Musick, who provides a very useful sidebar explaining what National Archives records say — and don’t say — about “black Confederates.”

    I imagine you and Ms. Sampson were very limited by space as to what could be included or discussed on the piece — are y’all considering a more extensive publication coming out of your collaboration?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Thanks for the kind words. We were indeed restricted by the word count, but I hope that it at least give readers more to think about than the self-serving interpretation that has all too often been accepted without question. I was thinking about possibly expanding the essay for a journal in Mississippi. To be completely honest, I’ve had enough of the black Confederate narrative for now. I need a break. :-)

      That said, I think it’s safe to say that Silas had a pretty good year and I am especially happy for Myra and the rest of her family.

      Reply
    2. Arleigh Birchler

      Mike Musick seems to be generally acknowledged to be a person who knows a tremendous amount about the War. I exchanged a few simple emails with him long ago (not about the War, but about our common patronymic).

      Reply
      1. Kevin Levin Post author

        You are absolutely right and much of what he has to say in that sidebar hinges on the question of who was and who was not a soldier in the Confederate army.

        Reply
  8. BorderRuffian

    Let’s throw this in the mix and see what the “interpretations” will be…

    1910 Census
    Census form question #30: “Whether a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy.”
    Silas’ answer: “CA” (Confederate Army).

    Thomas L. Zuber, Enumerator

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Instead of throwing things into “the mix” you need to take some time to share with us your own interpretation. What do you believe this tells us? Do you think it challenges Silas’s status in the Confederate army? Do you think it tells us something interesting about how Silas remembered his role in the Civil War? We know that he was not a soldier.

      Reply
      1. BorderRuffian

        My interpretation is that he was proud of his Confederate SERVICE.

        After all, it’s a black guy telling another black guy (Zuber) he was in (with/attached to) the Confederate Army.

        Ms. Sampson: Didn’t Silas save some momentos from his Civil War days? I’ve read of a sword and musket.

        Reply
        1. Kevin Levin Post author

          Oh, this is really good. And you base this conclusion on what exactly?

          After all, it’s a black guy telling another black guy (Zuber) he was in (with/attached to) the Confederate Army. :-)

          Reply
        2. Michael Douglas

          Have you *any* idea how ignorant and insulting that comment was? And how utterly irrelevant in the current context?

          Reply
        3. Myra Chandler Sampson

          This is the last conversation that I will have with a person who chooses to be called BORDER RUFFIAN in the year 2011. It is rude and disrespectful and no matter what, you will never change and it gives me the creeps to converse with you.

          You should know by now that I only speak of facts that I have the documentation to support or things that were taught to me by my father and my grandfather. I have never heard them speak of the mementoes that you referenced. What they did talk about and I witnessed with my own eyes were the tools that Silas left. They were all handcrafted by Silas. A handcrafted tool box which contained many tools that he crafted including wooden nails that Silas used in his carpenter business.

          Reply
          1. Kevin Levin Post author

            Myra,

            I couldn’t agree more with you. At first I thought his interest was sincere, but now it has become clear that BR simply can’t handle the fact that his preferred interpretation of Silas has been blown out of the water. He needs to engage in some real research of his own if he wants to be taken seriously.

            Reply
  9. Myra Chandler Sampson

    To clear this up once for all. This is a Facebook conversation between my brother and I a few days ago.

    Myra Sampson: Bobbie, did you get your Civil War Times with Silas on the cover yet?
    Bobbie Chandler: Not Yet I Have been to several places I will try again today.
    Bobbie Chandler: I picked up 5 copies a very good article and photo CONGRATS

    There were two phone conversations between each facebook conversation.
    Do these conversations sound like the family is “torn”?

    Reply
    1. Arleigh Birchler

      Myra,

      Thanks for you advice about calling ahead before going to Barnes & Nobles. I have done neither yet, but I am interested in reading the article. I thing I gathered from one of the messages above that it is the February (2012?) issue. I realize that the cover date on magazines is almost always in the future, so this does not surprise me. I suspect that I have a little time before it goes off the shelves.

      This discussion has become quite lively. Thanks for telling about Silas tool kit and wooden nails. It brings the man to life more than anything could. I hope the family holds on to those momentos (or sees to it that they are properly preserved).

      Because of my own family history, the name “Border Ruffian” is one that automatically causes me alarm. There was nothing in the least romantic about the War along the Kansas/Missouri border. Because of that I have to examine the words of anyone using that nom de plume carefully. Going back over all the posts here it appears that BR is really trying to be polite, and asking questions that are honest, and not merely rhetorical. I have been fooled many times before, so I am sure that I do not know everything that is going on here.

      Reply
  10. Pingback: Confederate Heritage: Running Away from a Challenge | Crossroads

  11. Arleigh Birchler

    Thanks, Michael. I found the Facebook page for the Southern Heritage Preservation Group and found and read the comments relating to this blog post. I found it interesting that some of the folks expressed the same confusion I had – It took me awhile to discover that this is a February 2012 issue. I am guessing that Kevin is referring to an advance copy that was sent to him by the publisher, but Connie could be correct that the magazine went out to the subscribers in early December.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      A number of people have already mentioned that the issue is now available at local bookstores. I picked up a number of copies at a store here in Boston. Yes, it has only been available for about a week or so, which means there is plenty of time to pick up a copy.

      Reply
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