R.I.P. Mattie Clyburn Rice

For those of you who linked to this site from the AP story about Mattie Clyburn Rice and are visiting for the first time, welcome. For those of you interested in reading further about the subject of black Confederate soldiers I put together this page, which includes some of the many posts on this blog as well as external resources. One of the most popular examples of so-called black Confederates is that of Silas Chandler. In 2012 I co-authored an essay about Silas and the famous photograph of him with his owner, Andrew Chandler, for Civil War Times magazine.

Here is what we know about Weary Clyburn:

  • Weary was owned by Frank Clyburn and brought into the war.
  • Weary applied for a soldiers pension after the war.
  • Nowhere in his obituary was he recognized as a Confederate soldier.
  • Weary’s pension application was denied after his death. In other words, the state of North Carolina recognized him as a slave in the 1860s.

Again, those are the fact as I understand them. Thanks for stopping by.

2 comments… add one
  • Jackie Hedstrom Mar 19, 2017

    Mattie Clyborn Rice told me that her father, Weary ran away to follow his owner’s son to the war. He wasn’t forced to go to war, he wanted to be with his owner’s son, who he considered to be his best friend. She told how as a young girl, her father, then in his 80s would take her with him into Monroe, where he and other elderly white Confederate veterans would sit on a bench and recall their war exploits. I helped Mattie get in touch with archivists at North Carolina State Archives so she could prove her father’s Confederate service. She was proud of his service and according to her, he was as well. I realize that many African American slaves did not have a choice in their service during the Civil War; but I don’t think one can assume that was always the case. I think Weary Clyborn was a 15 year-old young man who saw his older best friend going off on an adventure that he wanted to be a part of.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 19, 2017

      Thank you for the comment.

      He wasn’t forced to go to war, he wanted to be with his owner’s son, who he considered to be his best friend.

      How would you like this statement to be interpreted given that Clyburn was enslaved to the family in question?

      I helped Mattie get in touch with archivists at North Carolina State Archives so she could prove her father’s Confederate service.

      Earl Ijames did not prove that Clyburn served anyone but his master. He was a slave and not a soldier in the Confederate army. The pension that he applied for was for former slave.

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