More Entertainment For White Folks

On June 30 the Anderson County UDC dedicated a marker to Wade Childs, who accompanied his owner as a body servant in Orr’s Rifles.  Andy Hall recently took this one apart, not that it takes much time and effort to uncover these cases of so-called black Confederate soldiers.  This one is an absolute mess.  There is no question that Childs was a slave, but not surprisingly there is no indication of this on the marker.  The only thing missing from this little ceremony is H.K. Edgerton prancing about in one of his Dixie Outfitters t-shirts.

I am sure the African-American community in Anderson County appreciates their hard work of acknowledging one of the many horrors of slavery. Wait, where is the black community? [note strong New Jersey sarcasm. :-)]

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

Purchase your copy today!

5 comments… add one
  • H Donald Capps Aug 10, 2012 @ 10:45

    Some years back (middle to latter 80’s period), one of the UDC chapters in Upcountry South Carolina, I believe it was either Oconee or Pickens County, decided to put a marker on the grave of a CSA veteran named Smith. The marker was to include information relating to his unit. Despite this not actually being that terribly difficult even with such a common name — especially with lots of information to indicate which individual it was, they still managed to get the unit information wrong.

    The information on the stone was for a Smith who served in a company made up of men from the Beaufort area in a Lowcountry battalion, not the one who served in an Upcountry unit and was now resting under a marker with incorrect information. Using the same information as the UDC ladies, I used the records at the State Archives and easily discovered their era. I remember it taking me all of maybe 15 or 20 minutes to check this out.

    That, and the “Dad” Brown fiasco in Darlington, and then this similar faux pas in Anderson — not to begin enumerating many other abuses of history by the UDC and SCV in South Carolina — does not instill much confidence in the ability of the UDC to do much but provide a source of unintended amusement and entertainment for some of us.

    • Kevin Levin Aug 10, 2012 @ 10:52

      Unfortunately, these stories are all too common. Even more disturbing, however, is how little research is needed to show they are wrong. The problem is most people don’t know the first thing about researching history and the newspapers that cover these events just report, which gives it an air of legitimacy.

    • Andy Hall Aug 10, 2012 @ 11:13

      The story of Richard Quarls, a former body servant who is buried in Florida, is much the same. In his case, it appears that he was awarded a pension based on the service record of his master, Private J. Richard Quarles, who died during the war. That bureaucratic mix-up in the early 20th century is plainly evident today to anyone looking at the pension files and CSRs at NARA, but yet the SCV planted a stone above his grave with a rank he never held and an initial he never had.

      It’s not history, it’s heritage! Deo Vindice, y’all!

  • Michael Lynch Aug 9, 2012 @ 6:08

    I note that the article refers to Childs as “the black man who served with Orr’s Rifles in the Confederate military.” That’s one way of putting it, I guess.


    • Kevin Levin Aug 9, 2012 @ 6:11

      It is if your goal is to distort the history. As you know much of the confusion hinges on the word ‘serve’ which is always vaguely defined in these cases. Common usage implies that the individual in question is/was a formally enlisted soldier, which Childs certainly was not.

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