I’ve said numerous times that actual Confederates would be utterly confused by the rise of the black Confederate myth in the last two decades, especially as it has been framed by individuals and organizations that claim legitimacy through their ancestral connections. For the latter, the black Confederate narrative is intended to distance the Confederate war effort from the explicit goal of establishing a slave-holding nation – the very goal that united so many even past the point where victory appeared to be likely. In short, this narrative places Confederates and their descendants in two different worlds, with one claiming the existence of the very thing that the other was fighting to prevent.
As we all know, apart from mistaken accounts by Union soldiers – often published for political purposes – there are no wartime accounts by Confederates affirming the existence of a single black Confederate. Not one. We do have accounts that indirectly deny their existence in the form of hundreds of newspaper editorials, letters and diary entries authored by Confederates in the army and home front in 1864-65 concerning whether their country should recruit slaves as soldiers. The debate makes little sense if free and enslaved blacks were already fighting as soldiers in the army. Continue reading →