I had good reason to suspect that as soon as I used the phrase “Black Confederate Myth” or “myth of black Confederates” that someone would offer the usual snippets from the official records, undigested, usually from Union sources, to claim that there were blacks in Confederate military service. I was not disappointed. Rather than bury this essay in the comments section, I think it deserves its own post, so that everyone can discuss what’s been presented. Here it is:
The War of the Rebellion:
A Compilation of the Official Records
of Union and Confederate Armies
Sept. 1862 Series I, Volume XIII
Major General Samuel R. Curtis (2nd Iowa Infantry) We are not likely to use one negro where the rebels have used a thousand. When I left Arkansas they were still enrolling negroes to fortify the rebellion.
August 1861 Series I, Volume IV
Colonel John W. Phelps (1st Vermont Infantry) They—the enemy—talked of having 9,000 men. They had twenty pieces of artillery, among which was the Richmond Howitzer Battery, manned by negroes.
May 1862 Series I, Volume XIV
Colonel Benjamin C. Christ (50th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers) There were six companies of mounted riflemen, besides infantry, among which were a considerable number of colored men.”
July 1862 Series I, Volume XVI
Lieutenant Colonel John G. Parkhurst (9th Michigan Infantry) There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day.
July 1862 Series III, Volume II
Richard Yates, Governor of Illinois Excerpt from a Letter to President Abraham Lincoln:
They [CSA] arm negroes and merciless savages in their behalf. Mr. Lincoln, the crisis demands greater efforts and sterner measures.
Sept. 1862 Series I, Volume XV
Major Frederick Frye (9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers) Pickets were thrown out that night, and Captain Hennessy, Company E, of the Ninth Connecticut, having been sent out with his company, captured a colored rebel scout, well mounted, who had been sent out to watch our movements.”
Oct. 1862 Series I, Volume XIX, Part I-Reports
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Wheeler Downey (3rd Maryland Infantry, Potomac Home Brigade) Question by the Judge Advocate.: Do you know of any individual of the enemy having been killed or wounded during the siege of Harpers Ferry?
Answer. I have strong reasons to believe that there was a negro killed, who had wounded 2 or 3 of my men. I know that an officer took deliberate aim at him, and he fell over. He was one of the skirmishers of the enemy, and wounded 3 of my men. I know there must have been some of the enemy killed.
Question. How do you know the negro was killed?
Answer. The officer saw him fall.
Jan. 1863 Series I, Volume XVII
Brigadier General D. Stuart (U.S. Army 4th Brigade and Second Division) It had to be prosecuted under the fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters, protected as well as the men might be by our skirmishers on the bank, who were ordered to keep up so vigorous a fire that the enemy should not dare to lift their heads above their rifle-pits; but the enemy, and especially their armed negroes, did dare to rise and fire, and did serious execution upon our men.
June 1863 Series II, Volume VI
(Prisoners of War) Lieutenant-Colonel William H Ludlow (Agent for Exchange of Prisoners / 73rd New York Volunteer Infantry) And more recently the Confederate legislature of Tennessee have passed an act forcing into their military service (I quote literally) all male free persons of color between the ages of fifteen and fifty, or such number as may be necessary, who may be sound in body and capable of actual service; and they further enacted that in the event a sufficient number of free persons of color to meet the wants of the State shall not tender their services, then the Governor is empowered through the sheriff’s of different counties to impress such persons until the required number is obtained.
September 1863 Series III, Volume III
Thomas H. Hicks (United States Senator, Maryland) Excerpt from a Letter to President Abraham Lincoln:
I do and have believed that we ought to use the colored people, after the rebels commenced to use them against us.
Aug. 1864 Series I, Volume XXXV, Part I, Reports, Correspondence, etc.
Brigadier General Alexander Asboth (U.S. Army, District of West Florida) We pursued them closely for 7 miles, and captured 4 privates of Goldsby’s company and 3 colored men, mounted and armed, with 7 horses and 5 mules with equipments, and 20 Austrian rifles
Nov. 1864 Series I, Volume XLI, Part IV, Correspondence, Etc.
Captain P. L. Powers (47th Missouri Infantry, Company H) We have turned up eleven bushwhackers to dry and one rebel negro.
April 1865 Series I, Volume XLIX, Part II
Major A. M. Jackson (10th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery) The rebels are recruiting negro troops at Enterprise, Mississippi, and the negroes are all enrolled in the State.
I leave it to you to weigh the worth of these snippets as evidence. Have at it … and no, the poster did not want to identify himself. I wonder why. Most people who live in Richardson, Texas, are not quite so shy, but Mr. Brown evidently is.