Evidence of a Black Confederate (1 down, 89,999 to go)

[Hat-Tip to Mark Grimsley]

Black Confederate

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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8 comments… add one
  • Bobby Edwards Jun 11, 2009 @ 15:13


    In that time frame, I believe that Black People were called Colored People. Hence, the USCT or United States Colored Troops. I don’t have the numbers, but I have seen in a couple of Civil War Magazines that there were approximately 20,000 Indians who were indeed considered non-white at the time. There were also Mexicans living in areas and regions of Texas, also non-white that wore the Confederate Gray. Recently, there was a Black Family in Suffolk, VA that had a SCV Grave Side Service to have a Soldier’s Marker placed on his grave.

    Like you, I don’t believe there were Legions, or Armies of Blacks wearing Confederate Uniforms. I have recently read in the history of the 9th, Virginia Cavalry Regiment a dozen Black or Colored Body Servants participated in a Cavalry Charge and often were at the front and in the thick of action. Sgt. Robert Hudgins, of the Old Dominion Dragoons had his Body Servant with him, who participated in many of the battles. The Numbers or Total Involvement Can’t be decided exactly.

    Grant wasn’t as willing to use his U.S.C.T. Troops as readily as General Butler, except for Entrenchments, and more mundane duties. The Black Troops who were to lead the Attack at the Crater were pulled in favor of White Troops. Throughout Grant’s Overland and Siege Campaign, Black Troops were called on for mostly duties like the Digging of the Dutch Gap Canal that occupied Thousands of Black Troops in Unproductive Efforts. Even the most glamorous of USCT Regiments, the 54th Mass would wind up in an endless attempt of stealing and robbing Chickens from Southern Farms, after they were cut down in their “Glory” attack in South Carolina.

    The Dozen Blacks that recieved Medal of Honor Awards from General Butler after the Attack on the Harrison Confederate Defense Line below Richmond may not have really impacted the Outcome of Anything the day they made their charge. The Confederates who were defending the Harrison Line didn’t have a Strong Defense there at that point of the Line. The More than 35 Miles of Defensive Line Couldn’t Spare but So Much in Numbers of Troops per Yards Between Soldiers. The Confederate Losses were Minimal, and they Easily Reformed the Harrison Line with a Minimal of Effort, and No Great Advantages Won by General Butler’s Attacking Blacks. Perhaps, the Large Number of Awards may have been part of that Early “Equal Opportunity” Program of Presenting Medals to Troops.

    Of Special Note and Service Honor goes to the Black Troops entering Richmond as Lee’s Army abandoned Richmond April 2nd, 1865. To their Credit, they were very Brave and Courageous as they Valiantly fought the Spreading Fires in Richmond and Most Assuredly Deserve Great Credit for their Efforts.

  • Kevin Levin May 26, 2009 @ 1:05


    I think you make an excellent point. It would be very interesting to know if the Confederate flag bikini has been intentionally placed on the black mannequin. I should point out that this photograph was taken a few days ago in a Gettysburg gift shop.

  • The History Enthusiast May 25, 2009 @ 17:59

    I raised that point because, in my neck of the woods, most of our store mannequins are white (as in, pure white like the color of copy paper, not Caucasian white). I worked as a store manager for 2 years and I don’t recall seeing many mannequins with a more African-American skin tone, and there were none in my store.

    The person who set up the display may not have thought much about it, but it still is interesting. I wonder if all that store’s mannequins are the same.

  • Michael Lynch May 25, 2009 @ 16:10

    AHA! That uniform is made of synthetics! Can’t be original to the war! Yet more evidence of Lost Causers fiddling with the evidence.

    “I am very intrigued by the store owner’s rationale for using this particular mannequin.” Well, I’m not sure if this remark is serious or in jest, but if my own personal observation is any clue, a lot of store mannequin torsos are plain black or dark grey. I doubt the person who set up the display even gave it a thought.

    What I want to know is, who the heck is wearing these things out in the real world? And how can I make sure I’m never set up on a blind date with them?


  • mike May 25, 2009 @ 14:22

    Never knew they wore anything like that during the WAR.

  • The History Enthusiast May 25, 2009 @ 13:39

    I am very intrigued by the store owner’s rationale for using this particular mannequin. It continues the longstanding use of black women as exotic other, whose purpose is considered to be titillation and fulfillment of male fantasy.

    On a much less serious note, that is an ill-fitting bikini…yeesh.

  • Emily May 25, 2009 @ 12:42

    I think the no arms symbolizes their helplessness?

  • Rob Wick May 25, 2009 @ 11:57


    Does it say anything that (as far as I can tell) this black confederate has no “arms”?


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