Slavery

On this day in 1865 the Confederate government authorized the enlistment of slaves as soldiers. For many it’s an opportunity to take a shot at just how desperate the Confederacy had become by this point. It’s true. The military situation was certainly precarious at best and many people had given up hope on independence, but Read more

First up is a short video about the Lost Cause myth that features historian Karen L. Cox. This is ideal for classroom use. With all the recent scholarship on Civil War memory, we still don’t have an academic study devoted specifically to how African American remembered and commemorated the war. This presentation by Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders Read more

I’ve written a number of posts on this blog as well as in my new book about Dr. Henry Louis Gates’s confusion about the black Confederate myth. In this webinar sponsored by PBS Education he managed to confuse it even further.  Dr. Gates is still referencing his colleague John Stauffer’s piece in The Root Read more

The loyal slave/black Confederate narrative is an insidious myth. As I argue in Searching for Black Confederates, it reduces African Americans to caricatures and has long treated them as a means to an end in the development and reinforcement of a Lost Cause narrative that for a long time helped to maintain legal segregation and Read more

Update: In 2010 the Georgia Historical Society dedicated a marker commemorating the 44th USCT and their treatment at the hands of Confederate soldiers near Dalton, Georgia. As Confederate officials in Richmond and citizens throughout the country debated whether to recruit slaves into the army as soldiers, black Union soldiers were being massacred on battlefields throughout Read more

Here is a little taste of my forthcoming book, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which was published last week at Smithsonian. I re-worked a few pages that focus on the role of camp slaves during the Gettysburg campaign. All too often we try to draw a distinction between the importance Read more

I can already anticipate the response to Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth in certain quarters. I am going to be asked to respond to newspaper accounts in northern newspapers referencing armed black men; pension documents that upon closer inspection are clearly marked for former body servants or camp slaves; muster Read more

You can now pre-order Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth direct from the University of North Carolina Press at a 40% discount. Use the discount code 01DAH40 on the purchase page. With the discount you pay $18 + shipping, which is a great deal, especially for those of you who are Read more

My goal in the first two chapters of Searching for Black Confederates was to try to understand the role of enslaved labor in the Confederate army, in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield. In doing so I offer a picture of how the challenges of military life shaped and on occasion stretched the Read more