Bringing Earl Ijames to You: The Audio Recording

Here is the audio recording of Earl Ijames’s recent talk in Savannah.  The sound quality is pretty good, though there are a few moments where it is difficult to hear what he is saying.  I recommend listening with earphones.  The recording begins with an account of “Colored Confederates” in the OR.  Unfortunately, the recording missed the very beginning of the talk.  During the gap in the tape, Ijames introduced himself and talked about the beginning of the Civil War and apparently confused the 13th Amendment with the Crittenden Compromise.

Well, you decide for yourself.

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You may also be interested in this short presentation on “Colored Confederates in Savannah” by Educator and Preservationist Hugh Stiles Golson.  I have not yet had the chance to listen to it.

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Note: Both presentations have been posted for educational purposes only.

Bonus Material

Fellow blogger and NPS Ranger John Hoptak was kind enough to pass this image along from a May 1862 issue of Harpers Weekly.  I haven’t seen this particular image in quite some time and not surprisingly you won’t find it on any of those black Confederate websites.  It depicts a scene allegedly witnessed by a Union officer through his fieldglass. In it, you can see the Confederate officer forcing his slaves to the front. According to this Union witness, both were ultimately killed.

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5 comments… add one
  • Timothy Orr Mar 4, 2010 @ 17:28

    I've done quite a bit of research on Berdan's Sharpshooters and their accounts attest to the accuracy of the Harpers Weekly image. In fact, the image was sketched after the artist looked through a U.S.S.S. target rifle. Lieutenant J. Smith Brown of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters—who later served as an officer in a U.S.C.T. regiment—wrote that, “They [the Confederates] forced their negroes up to load their cannon. They shot them if they did not load the cannon and we shot them if they did. . . . the poor darkies have a hard time rather.” A newspaper correspondent who followed McClellan's army during the Peninsula Campaign confirmed, “The rebels are very careful with their lives. The other day the sharpshooters on the extreme left of the line kept the enemy from using a gun. They did not dare to load it. They got a colored man on the ramparts, by force, which could be plainly seen by our troops, and compelled him to load the gun. It was life or death with him. He commenced to load when one of our sharpshooters picked him off. It was a ‘justifiable homicide,’ as the gun might have killed several of our men, as it was in easy range.” Interesting accounts, no? I wonder how the Confederate army justified the impressment of slaves as artillerymen to their owners. After Berdan's Sharpshooters killed them, did the Confederacy compensate their masters? I assume they did. Some research could be done here.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2010 @ 17:34

      Thanks so much for taking the time to follow up here. This to me highlights the truly horrifying aspect of the war for slaves. First, they are forced into the army as a function of their status as property then they are forced to endure the horrors of a war that they did not choose.

      I also assume their masters were compensated. If I remember correctly more than one state stipulated it in their impressment laws. Thanks again.

  • johnnyjoyner Mar 4, 2010 @ 15:09

    I have listened to part of his speech about Gov Aycock and I am now more confused and amazed how quickly he tended to jump from Reconstruction and the Fusion movement and kind of combine the two. Although I do find it interesting that Mr. Ijames seems to imply that the Democrats under the Gov Aycock “forced the living former Confederates into the evil plan of White Supremacy”. I guess it is heartening to know that it was the children of the Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines that believed in racial superiority and the Jim Crow laws and not those brave boys in gray that fought for truth, justice, and the rights of the states and their respective citizens.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 4, 2010 @ 15:14

      At one point later in the speech he actually says that it was northerners who introduced Jim Crow to the white South, which was followed by applause from what I assume was a mostly white crowd. I guess the experience of a racially segregated society based on slavery had nothing to do with that.

      • margaretdblough Mar 5, 2010 @ 1:43

        Also, as Ira Berlin makes clear in his classic book on free/freed blacks in the antebellum South, what became known as Jim Crow laws was a control mechanism that whites only needed to develop when there were a considerable number of free/freed blacks. It wasn't needed for slaves, per se, because slavery itself was the control mechanism with owners having almost totally unrestricted authority over every aspect of the lives of their slaves, including the power of life and death (it really took an owner who openly engaged in extreme forms of torture to get any negative attention)

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