Envisioning Black Soldiers, Not Black Citizens

General Patrick Cleburne’s plan to arm slaves is often highlighted as an enlightened vision of racial progress in the Confederacy, which proves that slavery was incidental to the formation and maintenance of the Confederate nation. As David T. Gleeson explains in his new book, The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), it’s a bit more complicated.

Cleburne may have been naive about the possibility of emancipation, but not in the importance of slave labor to the Confederacy. Cleburne’s vision was for black soldiers, not black citizens in the Confederacy. On the contrary, their “emancipation” was to be a limited one. While family relationships would be legalized, “wise legislation” would be needed to “compel [former slaves]. . . to labor for a living.” Somewhat ironically, Cleburne drew on the Irish experience he had fled from, concluding in one letter that “writing a man ‘free’ does not make him so, as the history of the Irish laborer shows.” Cleburne understood clearly then that the subordination of blacks would be a key element of the independent Confederacy that he continued to fight for with such gusto. Through his proposal, he believed that “we can control the negroes. . . and they will still be our laborers as much as they now are; and, to all intents and purposes will be our servants, at less cost than now.” To let the North win and the Confederacy be destroyed would, instead, lead to the dreaded racial “equality and amalgamation.” (p. 96)

That’s a pretty straightforward explanation of Cleburne’s proposal, but it got me thinking.

Just how different was the plan to enlist black soldiers in the United States army? Of course the crucial distinction is that freedom in the North was guaranteed by 1865 for all African Americans while Cleburne’s proposal called for a very limited emancipation. However, while African Americans clearly viewed military service as a stepping stone toward increased civil rights, it was certainly far from the majority view in the United States. Certainly, many white Northerners entertained some of the apocalyptic visions of their Southern neighbors regarding the political and social consequences of emancipation. There was nothing inevitable about the passage of the Reconstruction Amendments and we know the sad story of their enforcement throughout much of the country by the end of the nineteenth century.

Just as Cleburne hoped that the Confederacy would be able to maintain a strict racial hierarchy indefinitely even through the disruption caused by military service, it could be argued that much of the history of this country during the postwar period, in part, was a struggle to come to terms with the tension between emancipation/military service and a very deep commitment to white supremacy. Just a thought.

94 responses... add one

I looked up Cleburne’s bio on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas online http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=339. I think this passage is critical to understanding his proposal and its limits and his remarks about the Irish laborer:

>>Pat Cleburne was born in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland, on March 16, 1828, at Bride Park Cottage to Joseph Cleburne, a doctor, and Mary Anne Ronayne Cleburne. He was the third child and second son of a Protestant, middle-class family that included children Anne, William, and Joseph. His mother died when Cleburne was eighteen months old, and his father married Isabella Stewart. There were three half-siblings born to this union: Isabella, Robert, and Christopher. When Cleburne was eight, the family moved to Grange Farm, near Ballincollig. Cleburne attended Church of Ireland Reverend William Spedding’s boarding school nearby. His father died suddenly of typhus in November 1843, having contracted it from a patient, and “Ronayne,” as his family called him, was expected to carry on the family profession of medicine. He apprenticed for two years, with plans to enroll in Apothecary Hall in Dublin. However, Cleburne failed the entrance exam in February 1843. Too humiliated to return home, he enlisted in the Forty-first Regiment of Foot of the British army, expecting to be sent to India. Instead, the regiment was posted to Mullingar for civil duties in Ireland stemming from the crisis of the Great Famine.

For three and a half years, Cleburne was posted at barracks around famine-stricken Ireland. He served during the turbulent months of the 1848 Young Ireland Rebellion and received a promotion to corporal on July 1, 1849. He returned home to find the family farm in arrears for six months rent. His stepmother suggested the oldest four children emigrate.<<

He wasn't the romantic Irish rebel. He'd been part of the British Army suppressing the romantic Irish rebels and, despite this, his family had been impoverished with his stepmother suggesting the stepchildren emigrate.

As for the Union, I think many whites, even in the highest levels of the US government, started out in a place very similar to Cleburne's. To me, the critical difference is that, instead of being suppressed, black enlistment was allowed and black troops did see combat. By the end of the war, the President of the United was floating proposals for limited black suffrage. That seems pathetic to many people now, but John Wilkes Booth recognized it for what it was, a revolutionary step. Maybe, without it, you would have seen the 13th Amendment just because many had come to believe that disunion would always be a risk so long as the country remained split over slavery, but I can't imagine the 14th or 15th even getting out of Congress, even if proposed. Yes, the Supreme Court gutted the 14th Amendment for decades but the amendments remained in the Constitution ready to come to life again. President Lincoln recognized that events can develop a momentum of their own as he warned the loyal slave state Congressmen when making the last ditch effort to get them to support state level emancipation.

I think the resistance both to Cleburne's proposal and the later Davis proposal in the last days of the Confederacy recognized that allowing black enlistment would be fatal to the Confederacy because it was so fundamentally contradictory to the slavery as a positive good school of slavery advocacy.

I think you'll see the same pattern in the integration of any new group in the American body politic and socially. The extent, duration, and violence of the resistance to Black involvement was unique but I doubt when the Brahmins of Boston let Irish be ward heelers they ever imagined a situation where they wouldn't be in control or in which the Irish were elected to not only the highest positions in Massachusetts government but to the U.S House of Representatives, Senate, and yes, to the Presidency.

Thanks for the comment, Margaret. You said:

To me, the critical difference is that, instead of being suppressed, black enlistment was allowed and black troops did see combat. By the end of the war, the President of the United was floating proposals for limited black suffrage. That seems pathetic to many people now, but John Wilkes Booth recognized it for what it was, a revolutionary step. Maybe, without it, you would have seen the 13th Amendment just because many had come to believe that disunion would always be a risk so long as the country remained split over slavery, but I can’t imagine the 14th or 15th even getting out of Congress, even if proposed. Yes, the Supreme Court gutted the 14th Amendment for decades but the amendments remained in the Constitution ready to come to life again. President Lincoln recognized that events can develop a momentum of their own as he warned the loyal slave state Congressmen when making the last ditch effort to get them to support state level emancipation.

I completely agree with you. That is a salient difference between the United States and the Confederacy. However, I still think we need to do a better job of distinguishing between military service and citizenship. We tend to assume that those who advocated enlistment and the United States army were on the same page as to what it must lead to postwar. Another way to put it is that we tend to favor the African-American interpretation of enlistment as representing the dominant narrative.

We should also distinguish between varieties of citizenship. I think there was more willingness from the start of black enlistment in the US military to accord them some broad measure of citizenship. To grant them some provisional, likely second-class, membership in broader society. Note that within the Republican party there was the intent to repudiate Dred Scott and its denial of any citizenship, whereas it seems likely that the Confederacy would have continued it.

I also believe that you can see a pattern of presumption in the passage of constitutional amendments and Congressional acts. The passage of the 13th Amendment carried an expectation of some level of recognition of the freedmen. When that was not forthcoming, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 should have provided some measure of citizenship. Then the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1870, and the 15th Amendment all carried an expectation of some degree of inclusion. We got something else of course.

“However, I still think we need to do a better job of distinguishing between military service and citizenship. We tend to assume that those who advocated enlistment and the United States army were on the same page as to what it must lead to postwar. Another way to put it is that we tend to favor the African-American interpretation of enlistment as representing the dominant narrative.” Definitely and it was a distinction that was very important to both 18th and 19th Century Americans. Civil liberties, the inalienable rights, were one thing and civil rights another thing entirely. The suffrage was limited even among white males for a very long time during this period. Many whites felt that with the 13th Amendment and, at most, the 14th Amendment, blacks had their basic civil liberties acknowledged but that they were no where near ready to participate in the political/governing life of the country.

I agree that, for the most part, there was a profound divergence between how whites and blacks even in the loyal states viewed the significance and consequences of Black enlistment.

M.D. Blough,
You stated, referring to Cleburne and the biographical essay on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas online:

“I think this passage is critical to understanding his proposal and its limits and his remarks about the Irish laborer….
He wasn’t the romantic Irish rebel. He’d been part of the British Army suppressing the romantic Irish rebels and, despite this, his family had been impoverished with his stepmother suggesting the stepchildren emigrate.”

Firstly, Cleburne was actually born into the upper-class protestant minority. His father was a respected and successful doctor practicing in Ovens township about nine miles outside of Cork. We know that Cleburne’s father, Joseph Cleburne, supported incorporation of the Catholic majority into the political and religious process during the Catholic Emancipation debates in the 1820′s. At the time in Ireland, who one casted their vote for in a general election was part of the public domain. Joseph Cleburne’s precinct was the family’s hometown, Cork, Ireland and in the Cork election results, published in 1827, Cleburne’s vote for the Cork parliamentary seat is clearly cast for John Hutchinson, the reform candidate. Some of the most intense resistance to reform came from the upper levels of

http://books.google.com/books/about/City_of_Cork_Election_December_1826.html?id=6IzmtgAACAAJ

http://corkgen.org/publicgenealogy/cork/potpourri/corkancestors.com/1826Cityelection.htm

Secondly, In Cleburne’s teen years he worked as an apprentice to a Dr. Thomas Justice (an acquaintance and former colleague of Cleburne’s father) who owned a highly successful medical practice in the city of Mallow, Ireland which is about 17 miles north of Cleburne’s hometown, Cork. Justice seems to have been quite wealthy according to the Census data, wealthier than Cleburne’s family, although Cleburne’s father was a successful and respected doctor. During his apprenticeship, the massive repeal movements were sweeping across Ireland and there is evidence that Justice was a supporter of general repeal. I poked into Cleburne’s finest modern biography this morning (Craig Symonds) and he was unable to uncover any evidence of Cleburne’s support or opposition to the movement one way or another but does pose the essential questions for the reader. He states:

“Did O’Connell’s demagoguery repel him, as it did most upper-class protestants? Or did he see this issue the way his father had viewed the emancipation question, as a matter of fairness and political freedom?”
There is no evidence one or the other, whether Cleburne supported repeal of, or endorsed the Act of Union.

(Symonds, Stonewall of the West, page 19)

Thirdly, with regards to Cleburne’s service there are several things that you have to remember. In 1845-46′, British Parliament passed a series of dramatic increases in tax regime that were to be levied against landowners and redistributed through a series of aggressive work projects to help alleviate a deteriorating situation in Ireland during the famine crisis. The fundamental problem for Cleburne’s family, as it was for many individuals, is that they could not support the tax burden and the tenants didn’t have any money, so Cleburne’s family was immediately confronted with what, was in essence, an expanding, rather than a contracting crisis. We also know, from Irving Buck in his Cleburne and His Command, that in February of 1846, Cleburne traveled personally to Apothecaries institute in Dublin were he was rejected for the second time, before he entered the service (his commission is dated February 27, 1846). Furthermore, his regiment, the 41st Regiment of Foot was brigaded and deployed into Ireland to enforce the law, which included, in part, not only the protection of property but also the overseeing of redistributive programs. There is also evidence that his service was quite miserable. See Calhoun Benham (who later served on Cleburne’s during the ACW) to P.W. Alexander, December 21st, 1863 in the P.W. Alexander letters at Colombia University and the biographical essay’s in the Kennesaw Gazette by Calhoun Benham and Leanard Mangum. Also, there is no evidence that Cleburne was present in the Balingary Rebellion as 41st Regiment was not deployed to the region, so let’s avoid talking about Cleburne “suppressing romantic Irishman.”

Finally, in light of his correspondence, it is clear that Cleburne maintained a very close relationship with his siblings, individuals who suffered during the crisis. So let’s not take Cleburne’s relationship with the English government and his feelings towards the suffering of his fellow Irishmen beyond the historical record. There is no evidence that he was indifferent to his fellow countrymen’s plight or to his family’s.

Nathan Towne

*upper levels of the English gentry.

The point is that we need to be careful in not going too far beyond the historical record in explaining motives.

Nathan Towne

It is almost certain that Lincoln’s own virulent strain of white supremacy, embodied by his speeches in the Douglas debates and in his long-held idea of deporting and colonizing African-Americans, served to exacerbate the prevailing attitude of white supremacy in the North. Union States like New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky that originally rejected the 13th amendment, almost certainly did so because they dreaded the idea of having to absorb enormous populations of vagabond ex-slaves. Oregon and Illinois, for example, had earlier tried to protect themselves against this eventuality by it making illegal for African-Americans to reside in their State. In any case, it seems prettly clear that white supremacy was a controlling influence in public policy in the U.S. before, during, and after the war.

Most mid-nineteenth century Americans (North or South) were racist by our standards. That Lincoln fell into this camp is not interesting, though a close look at his life does reflect change over time in certain respects, specifically when it came to black Union soldiers.

Just finished going over the Chinese Exclusion cases with my law school class. White supremacy is writ large in the cases defense of the white race and Christianity through the beat down, and this done by justices who claimed immunity to prejudice. These were decided 20 to 30 years after the war.

While Lincoln, like many Whigs, supported voluntary colonization by freed/free blacks until well into his presidency, he NEVER supported deportation, which is generally accepted as meaning forced removal. I don’t think many, even at the time, regarded anything he said in the Lincoln-Douglas debates or anywhere else as exacerbating racism. You have to compare what Lincoln was saying to what Douglas was saying. Douglas was fervently accusing Lincoln as being soft on blacks, a tactic aimed at the south most area of Illinois, known as Egypt, because it contained a large number of whites who moved there from the South.

Actually, Lincoln’s white supremacy is especially interesting. It is interesting, in fact, because of its extreme virulence, because it is unknown to the general public, and because it likely influenced a generation of post war policy makers. Beyond that, It is always fascinating to watch those who directly quote some Confederate leader, Stephens for example, and his cornerstone speech, and offer it as proof positive of racism in the Confederacy, but then insist that similarly racist language from Lincoln must, of course, be understood in the context of the era.

Not quite. Lincoln’s racial views have long been the stuff of historical discussion. I have no idea how it influenced postwar policy makers, and on this you might want to show us something. As for the Cornerstone speech, it’s useful to remind people not only of Stephens’s rejection of equality but of his explicit association of the Confederacy with slavery. Why some people are in denial about that has always been a matter of some astonishment and occasional amusement.

Mr. Simpson writes: “Not quite. Lincoln’s racial views have long been the stuff of historical discussion.”

Really? I was a history major in college 1976-81, in Southern California. I cannot recall any negative information on Abraham Lincoln, only praise. And it was not until I saw Ken Burn’s Civil War documentary in 1991, that I learned some of Lincoln’s shortcomings, I began to explore those aspects of Lincoln his admirers like to ignore. Lincoln apologists like to remind us not to judge him by today’s standards, while these same apologists like to judge the Antebellum South by today’s standards.

True this may have been discussion in academic circles, among Civil War enthusiasts, but in the mainstream that is not the case. As a matter of fact, when asked most people will tell you Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation which is not the case. Just like the War was fought to free the slaves, another fallacy. Yet academia doesn’t appear to be too anxious correct these misconceptions.

Yet academia doesn’t appear to be too anxious correct these misconceptions.

With all due respect, this is absolute nonsense.

Kevin I’ve been teaching high school history for 24 years. 1989-2006 in Florida, the last book we used was The Americans. A great book but I cannot recall anything that stated the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one since it just pertained to the States of the Confederacy where it carried no authority.

I’ve been teaching in California since 2006 we are using History Alive. First of all claims that Lincoln believed the Emancipation Proclamation would put the Confederacy at a disadvantage since their slaves would now be free. When I get to class tomorrow morning I will write you the rest which really doesn’t portray the reality of the situation.

“… but I cannot recall anything that stated the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one since it just pertained to the States of the Confederacy where it carried no authority.”

I think this is too overly simplistic an explanation of what the EP was designed to do. I’ve used Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty! on a number of occasions:

The document did not liberate all the slaves–indeed, on the day it was issued, it applied to very few. Becuase its legality derived from the president’s authority as military commander in chief to combat the South’s rebellion, the Proclamation exempted areas firmly under Union control (where the war, in effect, had already ended). Thus, it did not apply to the loyal border slave states that had never seceded or to areas of the Confederacy occupied by Union soldiers, such as Tennessee and parts of Virginia and Louisiana. But the vast majority of the South’s slaves, over 3 million men, women, and children, it declared, “henceforward shall be free.” Since most of these slaves were still behind Confederate lines, however, their liberation would have to await Union victories.

To say that “it freed no one” is to completely misinterpret the purpose of the document and its implications for military policy in the second half of the war. It did indeed place the Confederacy at a huge disadvantage. In fact, you can find plenty of primary source material from Confederate leaders that says just that.

“To say that “it freed no one” is to completely misinterpret the purpose of the document and its implications for military policy in the second half of the war. It did indeed place the Confederacy at a huge disadvantage. In fact, you can find plenty of primary source material from Confederate leaders that says just that.”

I don’t have a problem with this. Of course it was a brilliant move by Lincoln without a doubt. And yes I know there is plenty of primary sources out there. Here’s what I was going to post for you before you wrote this:

The following is a passage on the Emancipation Proclamation on page 8 of the US History textbook entitled History Alive from Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, Palo Alto, CA, Copyright 2008. IMHO it does not give a clear explanation of this document and its effects on the War. I explain after the passage:

“Calling for an end of slavery, Lincoln knew would link the war to a moral cause in the North. It would also win support in Europe, where opposition to slavery was strong. Freeing the slaves could also deprive the South of part of its workforce. In fact, since the start of the war, thousands of slaves had freed themselves by running away to the Union lines. News of these runaways may have influenced Lincoln’s decision to call for the emancipation of all slaves.

A few days after Antietam, Lincoln issued a warning to the Confederate states: Return to the Union by January 1, 1863, or he would free their slaves. The Confederacy ignored the warning, and on January 1, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, “in rebellion against the United States” to be thenceforward and forever free.” States living in areas loyal to the Union or under Union control were not affected.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate effect, because the Confederacy ignored it. Nevertheless, it gave the Union a great moral purpose and signified victory would mean the end of slavery.”

My objections are as follows:

Paragraph 1-

“Freeing the slaves could also deprive the South of part of its workforce” Only if the Confederacy adhered to the Emancipation Proclamation(EP) which it did not.

“In fact, since the start of the war, thousands of slaves had freed themselves by running away to the Union lines.” There were many slaves that willingly stayed. The historical marker database (http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=42188 ) shows a monument in Ft. Mill, SC dedicated to slaves who protected and defended the women and children who were left alone during the war.

“News of these runaways may have influenced Lincoln’s decision to call for the emancipation of all slaves.” This is confusing. Does “all slaves” mean in the Union and the Confederacy? Or just in the Confederacy?

Paragraph 2-

“A few days after Antietam, Lincoln issued a warning to the Confederate states: Return to the Union by January 1, 1863, or he would free their slaves. The Confederacy ignored the warning, and on January 1, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ‘in rebellion against the United States” to be thenceforward and forever free.’” After the Corwin Amendment (Not discussed in the text) did not succeed in bringing the seceded States back into the Union, how did Lincoln believe the threat of emancipation would make them return, especially before Vicksburg and Gettysburg? Thus Lincoln’s threats meant nothing to the South. And what does it say about the South? Lincoln promised them no interference with slavery. So where is a comment that points to the fact or the suggestion that maybe the Confederacy was not fighting to preserve slavery? Maybe the South was more interested in its independence than protecting the institution of slavery?

Paragraph 3-
“The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate effect, because the Confederacy ignored it.” What is misleading is the claim, “the Confederacy ignored it.” The explanation is that the Confederacy was its own country not under US authority. Just as ridiculous as the Confederate officer that asked Union Gen. Benjamin Butler to return runaway slaves because of the Fugitive Slave Act, which Butler correctly replied that he did not have to comply since the Confederacy was another country and the Fugitive Slave Act referred only to the United States.

Am I mistaken? I am willing to get your opinion on this.

Dave,

I agree that your textbook could have been better written, but it seems to offer at least a start.

You said: So where is a comment that points to the fact or the suggestion that maybe the Confederacy was not fighting to preserve slavery? Maybe the South was more interested in its independence than protecting the institution of slavery?

As I understand it independence and the preservation of slavery were intertwined by 1862. Why would the Confederate states voluntarily return to the Union when their prospects looked so good. Think of Lee’s successes between June and December 1862.

Again, no textbook is perfect. Why not have students read the Emancipation Proclamation for themselves? It’s not that long. Have them interpret it based on their background knowledge. Why do they believe Lincoln issued it and what did he hope to accomplish?

The textbook I use in my class History Alive I will quote the page, publisher, etc. tomorrow when I get to school

I can second that. In my undergrad my professors made this argument. In graduate the argument was stressed yet again. Currently I stress that same thing in my classroom.

I’ve never heard it taught otherwise. Why Lost Causers create this straw man argument that it’s not the case is beyond me.

Caldwell wrote: “It is always fascinating to watch those who directly quote some Confederate leader, Stephens for example, and his cornerstone speech, and offer it as proof positive of racism in the Confederacy, but then insist that similarly racist language from Lincoln must, of course, be understood in the context of the era.”
There is one gigantic difference between slave state racism and the Yankee version: Stephens and his friends thought that the proper place of an African-American was as a slave, with zero rights. The average Yankee may have been — and was — a virulent racist by Y2K standards, but he did not deny the black the right to marry, to hold a job, to get paid for his efforts.. Indeed, blacks voted in a number of the Free States.

Excuse me but free blacks in the South were allowed to earn money and marry. Both Ervin Jordan and Larry Koger write this in their books on black slave holders in the South. Louisiana was a very cosmopolitan society where many Creoles and blacks had a lot more freedom with the exception of the right to vote.

It’s important to understand that Lincoln most certainly did publicly advocate the deportation of African-Americans as sound public policy, and he did so in his “Dred Scott” speech in June of 1857. Additionally, while Lincoln did indeed make overtly white supremacist remarks in the third debate with Douglas in southern Illinois (Jonesboro), he made even more intensely white supremacist remarks in the fourth debate in Charleston, which is in central Illinois. And Lincoln repeatedly used the “n word” during the debates, and the usage was not restricted to Jonesboro. I know that Lincoln apologists desperately look for ways to conceal, obfuscate, rationalize, and mitigate Lincoln’s white supremacy, but it really isn’t possible. The historical record is too abundantly clear for such legerdemain.

Again, there is nothing interesting about Lincoln’s support of colonization given his admiration of Henry Clay. Many of the most notable public figures supported colonization. If I remember correctly, however, Lincoln supported voluntary colonization. Of course, Lincoln’s position on this evolved during the war, though I understand that there is a new book out on the subject that may raise additional questions.

Hell, William Lloyd Garrison and William Wilberforce both supported colinization. There is a reason that both Liberia and Sierra Leone exist…

Thanks for providing the link. I don’t believe Lincoln ever advocated involuntary colonization.

I believe in, wherever possible, letting Lincoln speak for himself. He certainly had no trouble doing so. To deal with anything Lincoln says about race during the race with Douglas in 1858 and deal with it objectively, one has to look at what Douglas and the Democrats were saying. The canard that it was all about forcing fair young white girls into unions with black men was a favorite Democratic attack against Republicans, playing on white fears and, frequently, a very effective tactic. Lincoln was showing the inconsistencies in the Democratic position.

“It’s important to understand that Lincoln most certainly did publicly advocate the deportation of African-Americans as sound public policy, and he did so in his “Dred Scott” speech in June of 1857.”

Actually, it’s important to remember that your claim is false. Voluntary colonization is not deportation.

The Lost Cause revisionists have been on a long term campaign to whitewash the Confederacy’s ingrained racism; one method they have followed is to try and tar Lincoln and distort his record. I think if you follow his recorded words through time one will see that his views on race evolved over time. He was born and raised in a slave state, but after seeing the slave markets of New Orleans he became morally opposed to slavery. His opposition, initially, was as much for what he saw it doing to whites as what it did to blacks. Through most of his career he was a gradualist, not an abolitionist, and only reluctantly came around to the radicals’ views on the subject. While his ultimate views on racial equality may not quite square with modern attitudes, still, for his day he was certainly more progressive than most white Americans.

That being said, however, we should also recognize that even among the strongest supporters of the Union there were many who were virulent racists and detested blacks. The Union volunteers from East Tennessee, for example, when posted to Middle and West Tennessee, hated the Secessionist whites and their black slaves with an equal passion. While you don’t read much about it in modern histories, when Union authorities took over Nashville, they had no qualms about coercing the local black population into forced labor–the de facto equivalence of slavery. Many blacks died as a result. Then there is the infamous example of General Jefferson Davis (Union) blowing up a bridge to keep the runaway slaves from following his troops.

Conversely, however, there did exist a small minority of blacks who willingly served in the Confederate army. While perhaps too much has been made of this by the neo-Lost Cause enthusiasts, it is still a fact–and all the more curious since the Confederate government and the states actively forbade it until almost the very end of the conflict. Misguided or deluded those few black Confederates certainly were–but the same could also be said of the many whites who fought for the Confederacy who owned no slaves!

What exactly is a “small minority” and how are you determining whether they “served in the Confederate army”? I assume you mean as an enlisted soldier.

I’m trying to figure out how a solid post about Cleburne’s proposal, and the difference between military service and citizenship spiraled into a tu quoque trolling about Lincoln’s racist remarks.Caldwell is using a lot of absolutes, “certainly, did, because of its,” without posting documentation and dismissing the fact that, although the U.S. has an inherently racist grain by today’s standards, a section of that country split off because of a perceived threat to that raced based institution. But I digest…

Cleburne is such a fascinating character, especially down here in Georgia; especially in Ringgold, GA where I’m from and his statue currently stands. His proposal, as you mentioned above, is often advocated by peoples and government entities as some sort of shining example of the true Confederacy. It’s amazing how so much of that proposal, so much context, is dismissed. I am planning on putting together a conference paper for the Georgia Association of Historians looking at Georgia’s memory of Cleburne’s proposal.

I’m trying to figure out how a solid post about Cleburne’s proposal, and the difference between military service and citizenship spiraled into a tu quoque trolling about Lincoln’s racist remarks.

It’s nothing more than a way to avoid the subject at hand, which for whatever reason this person wants to avoid.

As for your original question, I’m not sure that “Cleburne’s proposal” was all that different from Union policy in January 1864.

Beyond that issue, I find his rationales for his proposal extremely interesting in their consideration of both Europian opinion and black opinion north and south.

I’m kind of late to this discussion but has anyone seen the book “Black Confederates In The U.S. Civil War: A Compiled List of African – Americans Who Served The Confederacy” by Ricardo J. Rodriguez?

I ordered the book not too long ago. It is pretty impressive. The author went through the archives of all the States which were part of the CSA and transcribed all information from the records of blacks who served in the Confederate military. He lists the details including the jobs they had. They were not just laborers, cooks, and man servants, but soldiers too. As one who once doubted this information when I first read about it, I believe this subject must be investigated more and without the anti-Southern prejudice I was guilty of before.

Perhaps you can share a bit about exactly which documents were consulted and how they were interpreted.

I’m sure that the laborers/slaves/cooks outnumbered the soldiers but that does not negate the fact that there were black soldiers in the Confederate military who fought against the Union. And according to the documentary on Camp Douglas POW Camp in Chicago, “80 Acres of Hell”, Union guards shot all black Confederate soldiers upon them entering the camp. If this be true I am curious as to why?

Of course not every documentary n the History Channel is gospel, but I believe I wrote “If this be true…”

I loaned the book to my colleague. I will get it back and give you the run down on it.

Okay I got the book back (Black Confederates in the U.S. Civil War: A Compiled List of African – Americans Who Served the Confederacy , by Ricardo J. Rodriguez, JAR Press, Copyright 2010 by Ricardo J. Rodriguez)) He states his research was done at the “national archives, state archives, confederate pension records, service records, Confederate land grants, slave narratives, books, old newspaper listings, muster rolls, and prisoner of war records.

He starts with CSA Navy and Marines, then goes State by State. The records are broken down into columns: col. 1 Person’s full name with aliases, col. 2 The Company served in, col. 3 The Unit or Ship served, col. 4 the rank achieved in the unit or the job title, col. 5 whether person was a slave or free man of color.

He wrote that because So. Carolina had so many black applicants for pensions they only gave pensions to blacks who served as “servants or laborers.” Many who had their applications as soldiers refused, resubmitted them as a soldier. Also “Blacks had to have an affidavit signed by a white soldier as a witness who had knowledge of their service.”

He lists the records of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards who are listed as Confederate soldiers, including officers whereas the Union only allowed non-commissioned officers. After the Union captured New Orleans, 23% of the colored officers and less than 10% of the enlisted men switched sides and fought for the Union army.

He states that black troops were paid the same as whites whereas the blacks who served in the Union were paid less than their white counterparts.

He states that free men of color and slaves hired themselves out as “servants” so it must not be assumed that all servants were slaves.

He states that although a man may be listed as a cook, servant, laborer, teamster, etc., it does not mean they did not fight against the Union. There those who took up arms. Also he writes, “Many Confederate officers did not obey politicians, and enlisted blacks who were willing to serve and fight the only problem with this was that most were not listed on the muster roles or if they were they were not listed as black.”

In checking the records soldiers(privates) are listed There are also many whose rank or job title is not listed. IMHO one cannot assume because it is blank he was not a soldier.

Dave,

This sounds like the same sloppy research that I’ve come across time and time again both in print and especially online. James Hollandsworth has written extensively about the short and very unusual history of the Louisiana Native Guard. Their story is unlike any other given where they were raised.

He states that black troops were paid the same as whites whereas the blacks who served in the Union were paid less than their white counterparts.

What black troops? You have provided an example of one. The Confederate government did not authorize the enlistment of blacks into the army until the last month of the war. Previous to this what policy are you referring to?

Yes, there is evidence that some blacks “hired themselves out” but that does not make them soldiers.

According to the author, “Many Confederate officers did not obey politicians, and enlisted blacks who were willing to serve and fight the only problem with this was that most were not listed on the muster roles or if they were they were not listed as black.”

I assume he provides examples of officers and politicians who disobeyed regulations. Can you provide one piece of evidence from the book?

There are also many whose rank or job title is not listed. IMHO one cannot assume because it is blank he was not a soldier.

You are free to assume anything you want. Just don’t expect anyone else to believe that this is alone sufficient for historical knowledge.

The Louisiana Native Guard were reconstituted as Federal units later on. One regiment had black officers who fought and fought very well in one of the early battles involving black troops in combat. They were NEVER listed as Confederate troops. Instead they were classed as state troops and never given any role other than a funeral guard. Nor were they armed by the state or Confederacy. You may learn more from the following sources:

Berry, Mary F. “Negro Troops in Blue and Grey: The Louisiana Native Guards, 1861-1863.” In The Day of Jubilee: The Civil War Experience of Black Southerners, edited by
Donald G. Nieman, 24-51. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994.

McPherson, James M. The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted during the War for the Union. New York: Random House, 1965.

There are more sources on these units, but these are the only two I can put my hands on right now.

There’s also the question of who the money paid for a slave’s service went to. Virginia’s October 3, 1862 act to impress slaves to work on the public defenses provided: “. The sum of $20 per month for each slave shall be paid by the Confederate States to the person entitled to his services, and soldier’s rations, medicines, and medical attendance furnished; and the value of all such slaves as may die during their term of service, or thereafter, from injuries received, or diseases contracted in such service, or not be returned to their owners, shall be paid by the Confederate States to the owners of such slaves, and full compensation shall be made for all injuries to slaves arising from the act of the public enemy, and in like manner full compensation shall be made for any injury to slaves arising from a want of due diligence on the part of the authorities of the Confederate States: Provided, That the Confederate States shall not be liable for any slave not returned by reason of fraud or collusion on the part of the owner or his agent; or if his death should be caused by the act of God, or by disease of such slave existing when received by the Confederate authorities; and in all cases the burden of proof shall be on the authorities of the Confederate States to discharge the latter from liability to the former. ” ar128_427-430

You know, the Confederacy impressed horses as well; doesn’t make Traveller a soldier.

I await the campaign for graveside markers for “equine confederates” from the Magnolia Legion…

The analysis that Cleburne offers is pretty interesting. In January 1864 he delivers the stark news:

“Our soldiers can see no end to this state of affairs except in our own exhaustion; hence, instead of rising to the occasion, they are sinking into a fatal apathy, growing weary of hardships and slaughters which promise no results….If this state continues much longer we must be subjugated. Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late. We can give but a faint idea when we say it means the loss of all we now hold most sacred — slaves and all other personal property, lands, homesteads, liberty, justice, safety, pride, manhood. It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision. It means the crushing of Southern manhood, the hatred of our former slaves, who will, on a spy system, be our secret police.”

Why they are losing is centered on slavery:

“We can see three great causes operating to destroy us: First, the inferiority of our armies to those of the enemy in point of numbers; second, the poverty of our single source of supply in comparison with his several sources; third, the fact that slavery, from being one of our chief sources of strength at the commencement of the war, has now become, in a military point of view, one of our chief sources of weakness. ”
Union strength is also an outgrowth of slavery in the south:

“The enemy has three sources of supply: First, his own motley population; secondly, our slaves; and thirdly, Europeans whose hearts are fired into a crusade against us by fictitious pictures of the atrocities of slavery, and who meet no hindrance from their Governments in such enterprise, because these Governments are equally antagonistic to the institution. In touching the third cause, the fact that slavery has become a military weakness, we may rouse prejudice and passion, but the time has come when it would be madness not to look at our danger from every point of view, and to probe it to the bottom. Apart from the assistance that home and foreign prejudice against slavery has given to the North, slavery is a source of great strength to the enemy in a purely military point of view, by supplying him with an army from our granaries; but it is our most vulnerable point, a continued embarrassment, and in some respects an insidious weakness.”

He says that slavery is already a dead institution:

“All along the lines slavery is comparatively valueless to us for labor, but of great and increasing worth to the enemy for information. It is an omnipresent spy system, pointing out our valuable men to the enemy, revealing our positions, purposes, and resources, and yet acting so safely and secretly that there is no means to guard against it.”

His proposal is speedy, though not immediate, compensated emancipation:

“Adequately to meet the- causes which are now threatening ruin to our country, we propose, in addition to a modification of the President’s [Jeff Davis] plans, that we retain in service for the war all troops now in service, and that we immediately commence training a large reserve of the most courageous of our slaves, and further that we guarantee freedom within a reasonable time to every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war. As between the loss of independence and the loss of slavery, we assume that every patriot will freely give up the latter — give up the negro slave rather than be a slave himself. If we are correct in this assumption it only remains to show how this great national sacrifice is, in all human probabilities, to change the current of success and sweep the invader from our country.”

In his proposal, Cleburne also examines the mindset of slaves, whom he says have been longing for emancipation. He looks at the effect Confederate emancipation will have on the USCT:

“it will take from his negro army the only motive it could have to fight against the South, ”

Wrongheaded as it is, the proposal runs counter to the dominant view of Southern whites.

Wrongheaded as it is, the proposal runs counter to the dominant view of Southern whites.

Precisely. Despite many Southerner’s adherents to the “Cracker Culture” theory, Cleburne was a Protestant Irishman with cultural baggage completely different than that of a Southern White in the 19th Century.

“It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision”

That’s pretty much the opposite of what ended up happening.

Cleburne’s letter linked to by Beauregard above is an example of a kind of thinking that seems to have been surprisingly common among Confederates: a very poor grasp of reality and wishful thinking to the point of delusion. He imagined that Britain and France only wanted the embarrassment of slavery removed to go to war with the United States, but gives no evidence but his own belief.Similarly he believes that if some of the slaves are belatedly and reluctantly freed and given guns they will loyally fight for their old masters against the invaders who are freeing all the slaves wherever they conquer. I wonder how far this sort of thinking contributed to secession in the first place.

Mr. London wrote: “Cleburne’s letter linked to by Beauregard above is an example of a kind of thinking that seems to have been surprisingly common among Confederates: a very poor grasp of reality and wishful thinking to the point of delusion.”

Seriously? Did you expect Cleburne to cite his sources? I would guess he as a member of the CSA’s military command he was aware that Britain sent military advisers to the South such as Freemantle. he was probably aware of Louis Napoleon wanting to assist but wouldn’t move without British participation.As a former British subject I am sure he knew British policy regarding slavery including its policing the Atlantic against the slave trade. All of these things I believe were a part of discussion among the Confederate government officials.

As for the slaves in the South, most slave owners owned one or two slaves. They shared work and meals out int he fields unlike the large plantation owners.Many slaves were very close to the owners’ families. The racism of the South was one of paternalism as opposed to the North’s racism which ranged from segregation to outright alienation. De Toqueville even writes that Southerners were much closer to blacks than the North. Funny, blacks served in the military of the US after the War, even when they were treated like dirt in every part of the country.

The racists of the South insisted on keeping blacks in their place, and resorted to terrorism to keep them subservient and dependent. The racists of the North were content to keep blacks separate and out of power but otherwise free. While both fell far short of today’s standard, the Southern racists of the time were far more virulent and dangerous.

“The racists of the South insisted on keeping blacks in their place, and resorted to terrorism to keep them subservient and dependent. The racists of the North were content to keep blacks separate and out of power but otherwise free. While both fell far short of today’s standard, the Southern racists of the time were far more virulent and dangerous.”

Really? De Toqueville makes the exact opposite observation in the 1830′s: “So the Negro [in the North] is free, but he cannot share the rights, pleasures, labors, griefs, or even the tomb of him whose equal he has been declared; there is nowhere where he can meet him, neither in life nor in death.

In the South, where slavery still exists, less trouble is taken to keep the Negro apart: they sometimes share the labors and the pleasures of the white men; people are prepared to mix with them to some extent; legislation is more harsh against them, but customs are more tolerant and gentle.”

Dave and Kennethuil,

Neither of you is saying anything substantive about slavery in the South. Slavery varied widely throughout the South both in place and time.

“Kevin wrote: ” Slavery varied widely throughout the South both in place and time.”

I could not agree more. It is taught as if the entire Southern population owned plantations and all slaves were treated harshly. Although it did happen and mostly by overseers on large plantations. Whereas the majority of slave holders owned one or two slaves to help them work their land. And this misconception that the North was not as bad. I can recall the 1863 riots of New York where black men, women, and children were killed in the streets.

I have no idea who you are or whether you are in the position to make this judgment.

In my other post I told you I am a history teacher. I’m sorry I should have told you that this has been my experience with other high school teachers.

It is taught as if the entire Southern population owned plantations and all slaves were treated harshly. Although it did happen and mostly by overseers on large plantations. Whereas the majority of slave holders owned one or two slaves to help them work their land. And this misconception that the North was not as bad. I can recall the 1863 riots of New York where black men, women, and children were killed in the streets.

“It is taught…” No it isn’t. I cannot think of a simple person that teaches this, nor have I read about anyone teaching this. I’m not sure how you recall events that are 150 years old.

This has been my experience with many high school teachers in Florida and California where I have taught.

The following is a passage on the Emancipation Proclamation on page 8 of the California US History textbook entitled History Alive from Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, Palo Alto, CA, Copyright 2008. IMHO it does not give a clear explanation of this document and its effects on the War. I explain after the passage:

“Calling for an end of slavery, Lincoln knew would link the war to a moral cause in the North. It would also win support in Europe, where opposition to slavery was strong. Freeing the slaves could also deprive the South of part of its workforce. In fact, since the start of the war, thousands of slaves had freed themselves by running away to the Union lines. News of these runaways may have influenced Lincoln’s decision to call for the emancipation of all slaves.

A few days after Antietam, Lincoln issued a warning to the Confederate states: Return to the Union by January 1, 1863, or he would free their slaves. The Confederacy ignored the warning, and on January 1, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, “in rebellion against the United States” to be thenceforward and forever free.” States living in areas loyal to the Union or under Union control were not affected.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate effect, because the Confederacy ignored it. Nevertheless, it gave the Union a great moral purpose and signified victory would mean the end of slavery.”

My objections are as follows:

Paragraph 1-

“Freeing the slaves could also deprive the South of part of its workforce” Only if the Confederacy adhered to the Emancipation Proclamation(EP) which it did not.

“In fact, since the start of the war, thousands of slaves had freed themselves by running away to the Union lines.” There were many slaves that willingly stayed. The historical marker database (http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=42188 ) shows a monument in Ft. Mill, SC dedicated to slaves who protected and defended the women and children who were left alone during the war.

“News of these runaways may have influenced Lincoln’s decision to call for the emancipation of all slaves.” This is confusing. Does “all slaves” mean in the Union and the Confederacy? Or just in the Confederacy?

Paragraph 2-

“A few days after Antietam, Lincoln issued a warning to the Confederate states: Return to the Union by January 1, 1863, or he would free their slaves. The Confederacy ignored the warning, and on January 1, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ‘in rebellion against the United States” to be thenceforward and forever free.’” After the Corwin Amendment (Not discussed in the text) did not succeed in bringing the seceded States back into the Union, how did Lincoln believe the threat of emancipation would make them return, especially before Vicksburg and Gettysburg? Thus Lincoln’s threats meant nothing to the South. And what does it say about the South? Lincoln promised them no interference with slavery. So where is a comment that points to the fact or the suggestion that maybe the Confederacy was not fighting to preserve slavery? Maybe the South was more interested in its independence than protecting the institution of slavery?

Paragraph 3-
“The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate effect, because the Confederacy ignored it.” What is misleading is the claim, “the Confederacy ignored it.” The explanation is that the Confederacy was its own country not under US authority. Just as ridiculous as the Confederate officer that asked Union Gen. Benjamin Butler to return runaway slaves because of the Fugitive Slave Act, which Butler correctly replied that he did not have to comply since the Confederacy was another country and the Fugitive Slave Act referred only to the United States.

Am I mistaken? I am willing to get some of your opinions on this.

Dave Sanders wrote “Lincoln promised them no interference with slavery” That promise was made eighteen months before the Rebels attacked the United States and began a bloody civil war with thousands dead. The slave states refused his offer then — why should AL now be held to an offer the slave states had rejected?

Obviously the offer was made thrice. First during his political campaign. Second through the Corwin Amendment in March 1861, one month before the war begun. And again in September 1862 before he signed the EP. My point is that for the first seven States that seceded they feared Lincoln’s interference with slavery. The other States seceded because they opposed the invasion of the others by federal troops. But even with the Corwin Amendment which officially guaranteed no interference with any State institutions, and this was before the war started, one cannot claim it was all about slavery.

I guess the first thing I’d like to ask is why the Emanicpation Proclamation is mentioned on page 8 of a U.S. history textbook, as opposed to, I don’t know early native Americans?

Only if the Confederacy adhered to the Emancipation Proclamation(EP) which it did not.

1. That matters little from the Union perspective of the documents intent.
2. It doesn’t matter what the CSA did, they were not a legitimate nation, therefore the Union would not recognize their denial of the legality of such a document.

There were many slaves that willingly stayed. The historical marker database (http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=42188 ) shows a monument in Ft. Mill, SC dedicated to slaves who protected and defended the women and children who were left alone during the war.

Irrelevant as the textbook’s point is to show what the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) did in connection to runaway slaves. The minor cases of “faithful slaves staying” does not matter in the grand scheme of things.

This is confusing. Does “all slaves” mean in the Union and the Confederacy? Or just in the Confederacy?

The paragraph you refer to uses a small “e” indicating the principle of emancipation, not the document. Lincoln did call for the emancipation of all slaves as the war progressed.

After the Corwin Amendment (Not discussed in the text) did not succeed in bringing the seceded States back into the Union, how did Lincoln believe the threat of emancipation would make them return, especially before Vicksburg and Gettysburg? Thus Lincoln’s threats meant nothing to the South. And what does it say about the South? Lincoln promised them no interference with slavery. So where is a comment that points to the fact or the suggestion that maybe the Confederacy was not fighting to preserve slavery? Maybe the South was more interested in its independence than protecting the institution of slavery?

Why do you think it should be mentioned? It was one of many efforts at appeasement, to see if the South would return to the Union. Lincoln did not think the EP would bring states back into the Union as a form of appeasement. The EP is a war measure, intended to change the focus of the war, and deprive the South of a labor force. Thus, your next point is moot. There is no comment because it is not true. The South left behind a plethora of documents saying secession was over slavery and that the new government was founded on the social order slavery provided. Lastly Davis himself vowed to defend the agrarian society of the South in his inaugural.

“The Emancipation Proclamation had little immediate effect, because the Confederacy ignored it.”What is misleading is the claim, “the Confederacy ignored it.” The explanation is that the Confederacy was its own country not under US authority. Just as ridiculous as the Confederate officer that asked Union Gen. Benjamin Butler to return runaway slaves because of the Fugitive Slave Act, which Butler correctly replied that he did not have to comply since the Confederacy was another country and the Fugitive Slave Act referred only to the United States.

The Confederacy did ignore it. So what is your point? The Confederacy was seen as a group in rebellion, not a country. Butler also has no bearing because he is not a policy maker, he is simply a tool of that policy. In short, Butler was being an ass, and that’s the snarky answer he gave.

“I would guess he as a member of the CSA’s military command he was aware that Britain sent military advisers [sic] to the South such as Freemantle. he was probably aware of Louis Napoleon wanting to assist but wouldn’t move without British participation.As a former British subject I am sure he knew British policy regarding slavery including its policing the Atlantic against the slave trade. All of these things I believe were a part of discussion among the Confederate government officials”

I have a feeling Kevin is probably close to closing this thread, that is spiraling off topic, but before he does I’d like to point something out. There is a lot of difference between an observer, and an advisor. A Military Observer, such as Freemantle, is acting as the eyes and ears of different parties, himself in part. He may be observing for the Queen, or he may be observing for himself. A Military Advisor, is one that is sent to other nations, by their sovereign one, to aid in military training, organization, and other tactics. The difference between the two is, obviously, one takes part in war, one does not. Stating that Britain sent “advisors”, is to say that Britain took part, militarily, in the Civil War; which is not the case. Britain, for all purposes, avoided the war. The same is true for America and the Crimean War. Gen. McClellan actually went over as an observer, but did not take part,. This is not definitive for all Brits though. Numerous soldiers of fortunes from numerous countries participated in the Civil War, and in others. But those men are in no way apart of British policy towards that war.

Between being owned and being segregated, I’ll take segregation every day of the week. I’ve heard these arguments before. The fact is, despite the numerous ways you want to cut up what percent of Southerners owned a percent of how much, etc., the South’s entire social order, and way of life was based off of chattel slavery. This, happy slave narrative, is also quite ridiculous, given the thousands of slaves that fled, and hundreds of slaves that gave testimony after the war. They have a slightly different outlook towards that peculiar institution than you do.

Please cite a source that Fremantle was sent to the CSA by the authority of the British government as an “advisor” as opposed to an “observer”…

My understanding, based on his memoris, is that his presence in the South was no more an official “advisory” mission than Joinville’s was in the north.

I heard a lecture by the late Brian Pohanka on this and other issues in historical films, including ones on which he served as an advisor, and I had direct discussions with Brian on this on a CW discussion group to which we both belonged: Fremantle did NOT represent Her Majesty’s government although I believe they were aware of his trip. By the time Brian signed on as an advisor to “Gettysburg” the wardrobe head already had a red officer’s jacket. Brian argued against it precisely because Fremantle would NOT have appeared in uniform, particularly such a distinctive one, to avoid given any implication that H.M. government was being anything other than neutral. The wardrobe head LOVED the red coat so, eventually, Maxwell split the difference and Fremantle appears in the redcoat in the scene with Longstreet but he appears in civilian dress, which comes very close to how one of Longstreet’s aides describes Fremantle’s outfit, in the campfire scene where the other generals tease Pickett. Fremantle was an observer NOT an adviser.

Somewhere I have a Xerox of Fremantle’s official service record given me given me years by an Esteemed Member of the Gettysburg Discussion Group. Interestingly it does no show him as being on leave in the summer of 1863, as he claimed. Was that a mistake in the War Office or was he actually on Her Majesty’s Secret Service?

In his book he was careful to point out that he did *not* run the blockade, but landed at Matamoros and crossed into Texas from there. After Gettysburg, he entered US lines and left for England via New York – which, if he had run the blockade, he could not have done. He also pointed out that he did not bring his regimentals with him so that there would be no question about his status. I suspect he would have chosen “observer” as his job description. I suspect his first stop when he reached London was at Horse Guards to be debriefed!

Fremantle could have landed in New York or Philadelphia and crossed the lines; then-Maj. Garnet Wolseley simply came south from the province of Canada in 1862 (where he was a deputy quartermaster general with the British garrison, all 12 battalions of it) and crossed the Potomac to meet Lee et al.

It has been a while since I read Fremantle, but, IIRC, he wanted to visit *all* of the Confederacy, including the west, so an entry via Texas made sense,

Is it possible he was there covertly? I seriously don’t know the circumstances regarding his presence.

He was there as an observer, not covertly. As Fremantle says in his book about his experiences, available for free online at http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/fremantle/fremantle.html. About his status, he says on page 123 ” I went into Chambersburg at noon, and found Lawley ensconced in the Franklin Hotel. Both he and I had much difficulty in getting into that establishment–the doors being locked, and only opened with the greatest caution. Lawley had had a most painful journey in the ambulance yesterday, and was much exhausted. No one in the hotel would take the slightest notice of him, and all scowled at me in a most disagreeable manner. Half a dozen Pennsylvanian viragos surrounded and assailed me with their united tongues to a deafening degree. Nor would they believe me when I told them I was an English spectator and a non-combatant; they said I must be either a Rebel or a Yankee–by which expression I learned for the first time that the term Yankee is as much used as a reproach in Pennsylvania as in the South. The sight of gold, which I exchanged for their greenbacks, brought about a change, and by degrees they became quite affable. They seemed very ignorant, and confused Texans with Mexicans<<
And, at 147-148, he says, after he crossed into Union lines (the only way of getting home expeditiously): " At 5 P.M. we drove up in front of the door of General Kelly's quarters, and to my immense relief I soon discovered that he was a gentleman. I then explained to him the whole truth, concealing nothing. I said I was a British officer on leave of absence, traveling for my own instruction; that I had been all the way to Mexico, and entered the Southern States by the Rio Grande, for the express purpose of not breaking any legally established blockade. I told him I had visited all the Southern armies in Mississippi, Tennessee, Charleston, and Virginia, and seen the late campaign as General Longstreet's guest, but had in no way entered the Confederate service. I also gave him my word that I had not got in my possession any letters, either public or private, from any person in the South to any person anywhere else. I showed him my British passport and General Lee's pass as a British officer; and I explained that my only object in coming North was to return to England in time for the expiration of my leave; and I ended by expressing a hope that he would make my detention as short as possible.<<

Fremantle was not detained He traveled to NYC on his own and sailed from there.

London John, I doubt that many Secessionists in 1860 thought that freeing slaves to bolster the army would ever even be considered.

I wonder what others think of Cleburne’s belief that freeing slaves in the Confederacy would take away the incentive for Blacks to fight for the Union? While his “proposal” is normally framed as having the addition of blacks to the Confederate army as its main object, which seems limited in its prospects to work, he spends some time on the motives of blacks to spy, assist, and fight for the Union forces. This analysis is why Cleburne’s proposal is different from many other Confederate proposals which looked at giving freedom only to the slave/soldier and his family.

While Cleburne admits that the road to putting Blacks in the Confederate battle will be slow and difficult, he clearly thinks that emancipation will have a much more immediate impact on the tens of thousands of blacks rushing to join the Union army. In modern terms, he would say they were motivated by Emancipation and not by Union.

” I doubt that many Secessionists in 1860 thought that freeing slaves to bolster the army would ever even be considered. ”
I didn’t mean to say that secessionists thought the same things as Gen C in his letter but they thought the same way ie believing what they wanted to believe without evidence – eg that the industrialised world was so dependent on southern cotton that the US wouldn’t dare go to war.

London,

You stated:

“I didn’t mean to say that secessionists thought the same things as Gen C in his letter but they thought the same way ie believing what they wanted to believe without evidence – eg that the industrialised world was so dependent on southern cotton that the US wouldn’t dare go to war.”

I am confused as to your point? There were intense debates across the extent of the slave states during and for years leading up to the Secession crisis with regards to the actions and perceived (or potential) actions of the Federal government. There was nowhere near conformity in those debates.

Nathan Towne

Kevin – Seems like the Conkling letter is a pretty clear statement by the commander-in-chief of the differences between the US and rebel positions on the recruiting of men of African ancestry to the colors:

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/conkling.htm

Specifically:

You say you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then exclusively to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistence to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time, then, for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes.

I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistence to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do, in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.

The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. Thanks to the great Northwest for it. Nor yet wholly to them. Three hundred miles up, they met New England, Empire, Key-stone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The Sunny South too, in more colors than one, also lent a hand. On the spot, their part of the history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great national one; and let none be banned who bore an honorable part in it. And while those who have cleared the great river may well be proud, even that is not all. It is hard to say that anything has been more bravely, and well done, than at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and on many fields of lesser note. Nor must Uncle Sam’s web-feet be forgotten. At all the watery margins they have been present. Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been, and made their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great republic–for the principle it lives by, and keeps alive–for man’s vast future–thanks to all.

Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost. And then, there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonnet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while, I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they strove to hinder it.

-30-

It’s also worth pointing out that AAs had fought for the United States, as volunteers and militia, in the Revolution and the 1812-15 war; there was a tradition of political rights – however limited – being provided as the reward for service. Same holds true for NA personnel who fought for the US, which I would expect that “Stand” should be aware of; there’s a reason the Tuscaroras still had land in NY in 1860, after all.

Best,

It was argued then and continues to be argued that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free more than a handful of slaves and was therefore irrelevant.

The Declaration of Independence did not make the US a “free and independent nation.” That took seven more years to accomplish. And, had the British prevailed, the Declaration would be of interest only to students of failed revolutions. On the contrary, during the American Civil War, all of the slaves in the areas delineated were free de facto with thirty months of the Emancipation Proclamation and a large number were freed immediately. The Emancipation Proclamation was prospective, i.e., it would free slaves as the United States Army marched south, and the Yankees were on the advance.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in areas considered to be in rebellion, many of which were controlled by the United States on January 1, 1863.

Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, and comparing the areas included and excluded, shows that the immediate effect of the Emancipation Proclamation was to free a large number of slaves, in areas under United States’ control, but still considered to be in rebellion. The Emancipation Proclamation preserved slavery only those areas *not in rebellion,* not those areas under United States’ control on January 1, 1863. And that is a huge difference.

Note that in Louisiana the excluded areas are New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta and the area immediately west of the Delta (county lines were a little different in 1863 than now, but close enough to use Rand-McNally). However, the US Army had occupied more of the state to the North, heading, as they were, towards Port Hudson. So all of those slaves were freed.

The excluded areas of Virginia included West Virginia (small slave population anyway), and Berkeley County, which is the start of the strip of West Virginia which today takes in both Berkeley and Jefferson (Harpers Ferry) counties. But Jefferson County was not excluded. (Trivia point: obviously the boundaries of the new state of West Virginia were still in a bit of a state of flux. I believe [which means I do not know enough West Virginia history to say one way or another] the inclusion of the lower Shenandoah Valley into West Virginia was a political stroke to make certain that if there was a peace treaty between the US and the CS, the B&O Railroad would all be in the United States).

The only other parts of Virginia excluded were the Eastern Shore (the peninsula that stretches South from Eastern Maryland towards Cape Charles), and the area around Norfolk-Hampton-Fortress Monroe.

However, the United States controlled *all* of Virginia north of the Rappahannock, including, obviously, Alexandria County, which then consisted of Arlington and Alexandria. They also had a presence in the Shenandoah. Now “control” is a relative word: John Mosby would have disputed the above paragraph! But, nevertheless, the Confederacy did not control most of Northern Virginia. So there are two big areas, and, in the case of Virginia, important areas, where the slaves *were* freed on January 1, 1863.

In addition, the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Arkansas, Georgia and the Carolinas. On Emancipation Day, the United States controlled much of tidewater and the barrier islands of Georgia and North and South Carolina. The Union also controlled the Ozarks of Arkansas (not many slaves) but also the heavily slave areas of the extreme northeastern counties of Arkansas. The blue coats were in possession of major portions of North Mississippi and Alabama, and they would, within a few months, liberate the densely slave occupied areas of the Mississippi black belt between the Mississippi and the Yazoo.

Quite a large number – probably hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million or more, of the slaves *were* freed – and freed immediately – by the Emancipation Proclamation.

And the balance of the four million would be de facto free within thirty months.

Kevin,

You may or may not know of it, but Historian Russell Brown published in 1994 (revised and republished in 2005) an outstanding biography entitled “To the Manner Born,” of W.H.T Walker. Although not nearly as famous as Symonds biography of Cleburne for example, it is extremely useful and very well researched. In it he has provided a detailed and careful chapter on the Emancipation debate within the Army of Tennessee in January of 1864 and Walker’s role in it. It is one of my favorite biographies.

If you don’t have it and you are interested, you should certainly get a copy.

It can be found here.

http://www.amazon.com/TO-THE-MANNER-BORN-WALKER/dp/B005ZOLM9E

Nathan Towne

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