Black Soldiers in the Confederacy?


For the most part, it seems that most blacks who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, only did so in support of their masters who served. There were exceptions though, as shown below. There are prisoner of war memos and newspaper articles to support both sides. You will also see a very rare picture of blacks at camp with their Confederate masters. (Read more – external link)

According to The Valley of the Shadow, a Civil War digital archive project, the Staunton Spectator (Staunton, Virgina) newspaper on Tuesday, October 13, 1863 reported:

“The Petersburg Express is informed by Lieut. Daniels, who has just arrived at Petersburg from Fort Norfolk, that some 35 or 40 Southern negroes, captured at Gettysburg, are confined at Fort McHenry. He says that they profess an undying attachment to the South. Several times Gen. Schenck has offered to release them from the Fort, if they would take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government and join the Lincoln army. They had peremptorily refused in every instance, and claim that they should be restored to their masters and homes in the South. They say they would prefer death to liberty on the terms proposed by Schneck.”

Confederate Lieutenant M.L. Sims with the Texas 23rd Cavalry states:

“After the surrender I advised [Haywood, servant of John Goodloe],  [Walter, servant of John Jamison]. and Ben, my servant, that we were prisoners; that we no longer had the right to control them and could not protect them, and that they might make their escape either then or in the near future. Ben took my advice and succeeded in reaching his home. Haywood and Walter seemed terrorized by the situation and remained with us. At St. Louis I again tried to get them to work their way home. They refused to do so and went with us to Camp Chase and were treated as other prisoners. In a few days they both died with pneumonia and were buried in the same cemetery in which the Confederate officers were buried.”

Black Confederates

Blacks with their Confederate masters in the field.

Rebel prisoners at Camp Chase. Photos of wartime Confederates are very rare... Photos in most cases, are as prisoners. The South did not get on the photography bandwagon yet, and it was also expensive.

Rebel prisoners at Camp Chase. Photos of wartime Confederates are very rare… Photos in most cases, are as prisoners. The South did not get on the photography bandwagon yet, and it was also expensive.

Works Cited

Black Confederate Soldiers

Staunton Spectaor: October 13, 1863.  The Valley of the Shadow. 1 May 2010.

Knauss, William H. The Story of Camp Chase. Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South: Tenn., and Tex. p. 81. Print.

 

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