This is part of my ongoing research on the origins and evolution of the myth of the black Confederate soldier. It can be incredibly draining having to read these posts day in an day out. And yes, I have no doubt that these people believe every word of what they share on these sites.
- I don’t know if former camp slaves attended every Confederate reunion, but few whites were surprised to see them and they were almost always welcomed.
- The vast majority of these men were former camp slaves. There may have been a few free blacks who hired themselves out to Confederates.
- There are plenty of accounts of camp slaves who deserted, and, yes, there are also accounts of slaves who were present with the army until the very end.
- They certainly did return the bodies of their masters home and a few did return to war alongside others.
- Camp slaves did risk their lives in various ways.
- They were awarded pensions after the war by former Confederate states.
There is a certain truth to all of this, but if you don’t analyze the evidence in the context of the master-slave relationship and the Confederate army’s shifting policies regarding free and enslaved blacks, than all you have is mush.
And then you have the comments.
If I ever write another book its subject will need to be as far removed from this one as possible. At times this project is just downright depressing.