Category Archives: Black Confederates

December 9, 1864: Is it time to arm the slaves?

The editor of the Richmond Daily Dispatch wonders out loud if saving the Confederacy is worth arming and freeing slaves. Despite all the bravado previously displayed, he’s clearly aware that the North is winning the war. Hundreds of thousands of … Continue reading

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January 2, 1864: Cleburne proposes arming slaves.

General Cleburne and large number of his subordinates write to Johnston, recommending that slaves be enlisted as troops and promised emancipation. The letter is long, and I’ve summarized its main points below. Things are going badly for the South, and … Continue reading

Posted in Black Confederates, Emancipation, Joseph Johnston, Patrick Cleburne, Slavery | 2 Comments

October 25, 1863: The French press isn’t buying talk of arming slaves in the South

We often hear claims that there were large numbers of black Confederates, with little historical evidence. During the war there were rumors that the Confederacy would arm slaves, but they were never substantiated then either. A French newspaper editorializes on … Continue reading

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January 21, 1862: More Southern evidence against “Black Confederates”

I published an earlier account, ridiculed by the Dispatch, of a regiment of black Confederate troops; here the Dispatch refers to that story again and adds a couple of accounts of warlike actions by two isolated black Southerners. While the … Continue reading

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January 16, 1862: Black Confederates?

The myth of “thousands of black confederates” is very much alive today in some quarters, despite pretty thorough debunking. One item that I’ve seen quoted as “proof” that large numbers of black men fought as soldiers for the confederacy is … Continue reading

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December 23, 1861: Two items from the Richmond Dispatch

I reproduce here without comment two adjacent items from the Dec. 23 Richmond Daily Dispatch: A faithful negro. –A correspondent of the Troy (Ala.)Advertiser, who was engaged in the late bombardment near Pensacola, relates the following noteworthy incident of a … Continue reading

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November 21, 1861: Halleck prohibits contrabands in Missouri

General Halleck suspected escaped slaves of spying for the South, and ordered that they not be allowed in camp in Missouri. From the New York Times: ST. LOUIS, Thursday, Nov. 21. Gen. HALLECK has issued orders that, in consequence of … Continue reading

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August 2, 1861: Confederacy doesn’t need any black soldiers

The secretary of war of the Confederacy says “thanks, but no thanks” to an offer of black troops. OR Series IV, Vol I, p. 529: CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 2, 1861. W. S. TURNER, Helena, Ark.: … Continue reading

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July 17, 1861: Confederacy isn’t having any black troops

L. P. Walker On July 17, 1861, an Arkansas planter wrote to the Confederate Secretary of War to offer to raise a regiment of black troops — anticipating General Cleburne’s famous proposal by almost three years. The Confederacy said thanks, … Continue reading

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April 27, 1861: “Colored” Troops in New Orleans

The Louisiana Native Guard From the West Baton Rouge, LA Sugar Planter: Good!—Fifteen hundred colored men have enrolled themselves into volunteer companies in New Orleans for active service when called upon.  The units of free blacks in New Orleans were … Continue reading

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