A Loyal Slave Standing at Attention in 1909
I’ve said before that the handful of Facebook pages devoted to pushing the myth of the black Confederate soldier has been an incredible source for primary sources from newspaper articles to images, including the one featured in this post. Of course, the problem is with how administrators and members of these pages interpret these sources.
This image was posted as having been taken in 1910 at a UCV reunion in Memphis, Tennessee.
If this is an image from the Memphis reunion than it was taken in 1909 and not 1910. On the right you will see Louis Napoleon Nelson, who followed his master as a servant to war and eventually became a cook for Company M, 7th Tennessee Cavalry.
You will notice that Nelson is situated just off to the right of the rest of the group. This is very common in images of veterans and former slaves. Nelson’s location served as a reminder of his presence and role in Confederate units, but it also serves as a reminder of the racial hierarchy of the 1860s as well as the early twentieth century.
This is as powerful an image of the loyal slave as you will find.