Denial’s Not Just a River in Egypt

As you might suspect, not everyone was happy with the History Detectives show exploring the relationship between Andrew and Silas Chandler.  That should come as no surprise.  But I am astonished at the turn that the discussion has taken in our favorite Confederate Heritage group on Facebook.  Oh, no, I expected they’d challenge the show.  But I didn’t expect to read comments such as this …

Ann DeWitt:  What everyone should know is this. The bloggers, who are against acknowledging the hard work and dedication of African-American military service with the CSA, have drawn the family members of Silas Chandler into the debate. The goal is to prove that Silas Chandler unwillingly went to war with Andrew Chandler. Are the blogger’s motives sincere in protecting the family or are the blogger’s motives centered on promoting their own personal historian careers?

Connie Chastain:  Royal (Ms. DeWitt’s screen name on Facebook is Royal Diadem, for reasons she can best explain), what a shame. Family disputes are so sad. And if the bloggers played a role in it, shame on them

Bill Dennison:  It’s patently obvious that the families have been approached and pressured to reject what they have believed for a century and a half. Now just who do you think is/are the beneficiaries of that?

Oh, goodness.  Now the show’s the result of a plot engineered by bloggers who divided families and pressured the people who appeared on the show to lie.  Never mind that there was widespread disagreement in the families as to the facts of Silas Chandler’s life; never mind that Silas’s descendants have minds of their own (the idea that people of color have minds of their own seems to be a foreign concept to some folks); and never mind that the historical record simply shreds the myths that people like Ms. DeWitt, the discoverer of a regiment of black cooks (there’s research for you!) continue to hold dear about Silas Chandler.

Never mind.

If you want to chat with actual members of the Chandler family, several of them have appeared on Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory.  They don’t sound like they have been pressured at all.

Sounds to me like not much has changed in the minds of some folks since the people whose heritage they honor claimed that the slaves were all happy until outside agitators disrupted the peacefulness of plantation life and the slaves got strange ideas in their heads about wanting to be free.  Yup, that’s why there was a fugitive slave law, right?  To restore the happy world of the plantation, right?

But I should have expected no less.  After all, this is also the group where one of Kevin’s favorite posters declared the following:

Not to mention that those slaves who had the misfortune of still living in areas controlled by the Union and in those Cotton States that did not secede stayed slaves even after the Emancipation Proclamation all the way till the moment the 13th Amendment was put into effect on Jan. 1, 1866…a fact most historians leave out.

Now, would anyone care to highlight the misstatements in that claim?  Tough to entrust southern heritage to someone who doesn’t know their history very well, isn’t it?

But then again, it’s heritage, not history.

PS: I told you so.

41 thoughts on “Denial’s Not Just a River in Egypt

  1. Ray O'Hara October 12, 2011 / 4:27 pm

    “Not to mention that those slaves who had the misfortune of still living in areas controlled by the Union and in those Cotton States that did not secede stayed slaves even after the Emancipation Proclamation all the way till the moment the 13th Amendment was put into effect on Jan. 1, 1866…a fact most historians leave out.”

    that has to be the ironic post of the new millenia.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 12, 2011 / 6:04 pm

      Well, first of all, I’d like to read the historian who says the 13th Amendment went into effect on January 1, 1866.

      There’s a reason I can’t take these people seriously. However, they do provide endless amusement.

      • Corey Meyer January 19, 2012 / 2:32 pm


        I recently sent Thomas DiLorenzo and email about a article he recently wrote about Ron Paul and the Party of Lincoln.

        Here is what I said…

        Mr. Dilorenzo,

        You wrote: “If Ron Paul succeeds in his “quest to undo the Party of Lincoln” it
        would be the greatest advance in freedom for Americans since the ending of
        slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1866.”

        I know you hate Lincoln for defeating your beloved south, but as a
        pseudo-historian I would think that you could at least get the date of the
        passing and ratifying of the 13th Amendment correct. It was ratified in Dec. of
        1865, not in 1866.

        Corey Meyer

        And here is the response I got back…

        It became effective Jan. 1, 1866, dumbo.

        —–Original Message—–
        From: Meyer, Corey
        To: TDilo
        Sent: Wed, Jan 4, 2012 1:03 pm
        Subject: LRC article

        Now correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the amendment went into effect once the correct number of states ratified the amendment. Otherwise how would one know that it was to go into effect on Jan. 1, 1866 or how could the set a start-up date?

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 19, 2012 / 3:25 pm

          Dr. DiLorenzo is wrong. The amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865; its ratification was announced in a proclamation issued December 18, 1865.

          • Corey Meyer January 19, 2012 / 4:17 pm

            So does it go into effect instantly?

  2. Connie Chastain October 12, 2011 / 7:05 pm

    Yes, there is a reason; and it isn’t because they get an occasional date wrong, or make honest mistakes you guys get off on ridiculing… No, your reason for not being able to “take” us people seriously is because we make wayyyy too much sense in our critiques and opposition to what YOU say — so it’s better all the way around for you to ignore it.

    F’rinstance, my quote above is relatively harmless. You don’t dare post my other comments from the same thread, to wit:

    Levin is trumpeting the “slouched, subservient position” on CWM. He’s so eaten up with slavery it has hamstrung his common sense. Look at the picture, folks. Silas isn’t slumping or slouching. Slouch means, “a drooping or bending forward of the head and shoulders; an awkward, drooping posture or carriage.” Silas ain’t drooping or bending forward. He’s leaning back, almost as if there’s some sort of backrest behind him…


    About a reproduction photo, Kevin Levin writes, “Nice attempt at recreating the famous tintype of Silas and Andrew Chandler. They almost pull it off except for the fact that the individual portraying Silas isn’t slightly hunched over in a subservient position….I was most interested in talking with Ms. Sampson about her thoughts concerning the photograph of Silas and Andrew Chandler. Ms. Sampson mentioned that she owned a German Shepherd dog, which I thought was a strange thing to share until she added that posture is very important when handling this particular breed. It should come as no surprise that a firm posture is essential to reinforcing the authority of the owner over the dog. Looking at the image of Silas and Andrew I understand exactly what she means. I never noticed it before, but Silas is clearly hunched over; remember he is seven years older than Andrew. The image is not one of two childhood friends going off to war, but of a slave whose future now hinges on the boy next to him.”

    Well, first of all, Silas isn’t hunched over. He’s leaning back. His lap/pelvis is not directly under his upper torso, as Andrew’s is. His upper torso is further back, and curved, as if he’s resting his back against something. If he were hunched over, his upper body and shoulders would be further forward, over his thighs. In fact, Silas’s shoulders are wider and squarer than Andrew’s. The front closure of Andrew’s shirt and jacket are straight, perpendicular to the horizontal, while Silas’s are at an angle, the top more rightward, the bottom more leftward, again indicating he’s leaning back, not hunching/slumping/slouching forward.

    Second, both Levin and Sampson are allowing Silas no more understanding and awareness than a dog. Critics of the Confederacy can’t seem to get it through their heads that when they try to evilize Southern whites (who were all either slaveowners or aspiring slaveowners, don’t you know, the worst thing in the world any human being could ever be) by showing how pathetic slaves were, they are actually showing extreme disrespect for slaves.

    I hope Levin never reads the testimony of ex-slave Prince Johnson, recorded in the WPA’s slave narrative. Prince would so violate everything Levin wants to believe about slaves and their masters, his head would probably explode….

    “Master took me for the house boy, and I carried my head high. He would say to me, ‘Prince, do you know who you were named for’, and I would say to him, ‘Yes sir, Prince Albert.’ And then he would say to me, ‘Well, always carry yourself like he did.’ To this good day I holds myself like Master said.” …. “Maybe things is better as they is today. Most folks says so any way, but if Old Master was living, I for one would be better off. I can hear him say to me now, ‘Prince Albert, who is you named for. Well then hold your head high so folks can see you is aristocratic.'”

    Prince, some of you may remember, was the one who said, “Now the Ku Klux was different. I have ridden with them a many a time. It was the only way in them days to keep order.”

    Yep, Levin’s head would explode. I doubt we’ll see anything of Prince Johnson on Civil War Memory blog. LOL!

    Post this, Perfesser. You’ve already posted something I wrote, now post this. Or don’t post it, and continue to demonstrate your pettiness by keeping my comments blocked.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 12, 2011 / 7:21 pm

      Actually, Connie Chastain/Ward [whatever it is today’s last name], I posted a link to the entire thread, so those interested could view the whole thing. So you’re lying … again. You also claimed that I had not let you post, but you seem to have overlooked the comments section. So you lied again.

      Now, a real researcher would actually do some work on the Prince Johnson account before holding it forth as evidence of very much. But then you come from a group that believes there was a Confederate regiment of black cooks and seems to have overlooked the impact of the Confiscation Acts and emancipation in Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee long before the 13th Amendment was ratified … and that’s for starters. Now y’all are falling all over yourselves about the History Detectives show, and you’ve even suggested that (unnamed) bloggers coerced a story and in the process divided a family.

      You’re pathetic. So are your fellow cockroaches.

      You’re simply lying, Connie Chastain/Ward/whatever you want to call yourself today. And you condone lying by others. You had your chance to retract your lies and apologize, but the truth means nothing to you, either in history or in life. So you’ll understand this when I say … farewell.

    • Michael Douglas October 13, 2011 / 2:18 pm

      For every “happy darkie” narrative you can trot out, I can produce one that exhibits its antithesis. I love how y’all search for and quote WPA narratives such as this one while ignoring others. It’s intellectually dishonest and incredibly transparent.

      Leaving aside the wholesale immorality of enslaving other human beings, it should be obvious to anyone with even a modicum of intelligence and the ability to think critically that not all of those who held slaves were cruel. It is also on record that some were abominably cruel. Hell, the stories in my own family run the gamut from a g-g-grandfather who said that he had a “kindly master” to a g-g-g-grandmother who had 2 of her children callously taken from her, never to be seen again, and saw her sister beaten and crippled for dropping a pail of water.

      Save your propaganda for those willing to feed at that trough of ignorance y’all delight in wallowing in.

      • Ray O'Hara October 13, 2011 / 4:37 pm

        the existence of the Underground Rail Road and the demand for the Fugitive Slave Laws give lie to the “happy darkey” narrative

  3. Neil Hamilton October 12, 2011 / 7:24 pm


    But the fact that Silas was a slave and not a Confederate soldier as some have claimed, any comment on that?


    • Brooks D. Simpson October 12, 2011 / 8:40 pm

      Connie’s had her say (and can continue to have it on her own blog). Among those who appreciate her message is Michael Hill of the League of the South, an organization Connie holds in high esteem. Connie waffled about her feelings about the League when I confronted her with this material, although she gladly links to it … but when Hill complimented her work, she did not object. I don’t think anyone’s fooled about how she feels about the League of the South, even if she lacks the courage to just come out and endorse Hill’s view of matters.

  4. Margaret Blough October 13, 2011 / 6:49 am

    Brooks-Don’t forget that slavery was ended, with compensation for slaveowners, in the District of Columbia by Act of Congress, signed into law by President Lincoln on April 16, 1862, months before the preliminary EP was issued. There was also Lincoln’s strong effort to get Delaware to pass compensated gradual emancipation in 1862 as part of his pre-EP effort to get loyal slave states to pass gradual emancipation before . The effort never came to a vote because supporters realized the votes weren’t there & slavery did not end in Delaware until the 13th Amendment was ratified.

  5. Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 7:21 am

    Just in from Herman Cain:

    “I don’t have facts to back this up, but black folks only had themselves to blame for not making General in the CSA army.”

    • Mark October 13, 2011 / 9:02 am

      A link please?

      • Andy Hall October 13, 2011 / 10:50 am

        I think that was snark. But Cain is the guy who asserts he’s the “real black man” running for president, and that two-thirds of African Americans have been “brainwashed” into voting Democratic all these years. Not exactly respectful to the community he claims to be the “real” representative of.

        • Mark October 13, 2011 / 3:14 pm

          But that’s a value judgement that is unwarranted. Or maybe you are forgetting the “respect” the majority speaker in the Senate and the vice president to be both publicly expressed during the 08 campaign? Namely, relief he didn’t sound black? Isn’t that the context here? I don’t think you are the best judge of whether or not members of the black community respect themselves, and I’m quite sure that there isn’t anyone here who hasn’t lamented how various groups of which we’re a member are “brainwashed” in one way or another. Who is a more representative member of a given community is a debate that goes on in every community, but it is extremely volatile in the black community for historical reasons we should know. Members outside the community refereeing aren’t helping. I am not a referee, I am an observer who thinks just maybe a member of a community knows a bit more about respect for it than those outside. They can settle this one for themselves. Where do all those who claim to want ” a discussion on race” go when one actually starts?

          • Andy Hall October 13, 2011 / 6:49 pm

            As a white, middle-aged, male Southerner, I suspect I’m exactly the audience Cain’s playing to. And this cracker ain’t buyin’ it.

          • Ray O'Hara October 13, 2011 / 8:14 pm

            Ms Bachmann exposed Cain when she pointed out 999 is just 666 upside down 😉

          • Andy Hall October 13, 2011 / 10:16 pm

            We found out yesterday that the architect of 999 is not actually an economist, but an employee of a Wells Fargo branch bank in Ohio. And 999 may even have been inspired by SimCity 4. Good times.

          • Mark October 14, 2011 / 12:54 am

            I doubt being a “white, middle-aged, male Southerner” has anything to do with it. It’s the Thrilla in Manilla all over again. Remember Bryant Gumbel said “Joe Frazier’s a White Champion in a Black Skin?” Sides lined up as always. The more privileged race-baiter is the hero, and the other guy is inauthentic and an Uncle Tom. Same as it ever was.

      • Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 11:18 am
        • Bob Huddleston October 13, 2011 / 2:02 pm

          Mike, this leads me to a Foghorn cartoon.

          • Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 3:11 pm

            Here is the transcript of the cartoon for the hearing impaired:

            “That’s a joke, son. A flag waver. You’re built too low. The fast ones go over your head. Ya got a hole in your glove. I keep pitchin’ ’em and you keep missin’ ’em. Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball. Eye. Ball. I almost had a gag, son. Joke, that is.”

            The cartoon was posted for the benefit of the humor impaired.

    • EarthTone October 13, 2011 / 9:55 am

      Yes, it was the 200,000 African descent men in the USCT and Union navy who ruined that opportunity.

    • Mark October 13, 2011 / 12:30 pm

      Without a citation I’m justified in saying this Cain quote total bunk. It contradicts his other statements on the matter, and I can’t find anything about this. I don’t know about the rest of you, but in the online world not providing a citation without some special reason given is reason enough to doubt the veracity. It’s not like pasting a hyperlink is hard.

      • Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 5:03 pm


        It is 100% Herman Cain, right up to the “General in the CSA” part. And remember, his final comment on the “N*****head” story was “I don’t care…”

        If there had been “Black Confederates” they would have sounded like Herman Cain.

        He has shown himself to be subservient to white racists, and willing to throw other (all other?) black folks “under the bus” to get ahead.

        • Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 5:55 pm

          Oh, and he is comic gold mine too.

  6. John Foskett October 13, 2011 / 7:26 am

    Looks like the pathetic delusion continues.

  7. BorderRuffian October 13, 2011 / 8:39 am

    Who said Silas was a soldier?

    IIRC Bobbie Chandler (descendant of Silas) contacted the UDC about the photo and the story surrounding it (early 1990s). This initial contact resulted in local UDC and SCV groups placing a Southern Cross at Silas’ grave in 1994.

    There was an article in the UDC’s magazine describing the event. It does not call Silas a soldier but that he “went to war with his master, Andrew Chandler.”

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 13, 2011 / 10:24 am

      I hope you’re not saying that no one’s ever said Silas was not a soldier. Even Bobbie Chandler wanted to know whether he was. And I assume you’ve read the coverage leading up to the show.

      I’m glad you agree that he was not a soldier.

      • Kevin October 13, 2011 / 11:09 am

        “I’m glad you agree that he was not a soldier.”


        You think that BR would just sit back and take a minute to acknowledge that Silas was not a soldier, but a slave. Instead, now we are being subjected to the argument that the SCV/UDC never suggested that he was a soldier. I can’t keep track of this guy. This just keeps getting better and better.

        • BorderRuffian October 13, 2011 / 3:32 pm

          Well, Kelvin, in the past you said there were 4 or 5 black Confederate soldiers. Now you are on record saying there might be some number up to 1,000. Which is it?

          • Kevin October 13, 2011 / 5:26 pm

            Give it a rest. You sound like a broken record.

          • Mike Furlan October 13, 2011 / 5:59 pm

            Please somebody, name one. If there is not one, there cannot be 4, or 5 or 1,000.

    • Andy Hall October 13, 2011 / 11:23 am

      “Who said Silas was a soldier?”

      Not Andrew Chandler, for sure. 😉

  8. Michael Douglas October 13, 2011 / 2:03 pm

    “The bloggers, who are against acknowledging the hard work and dedication of African-American military service with the CSA, have drawn the family members of Silas Chandler into the debate.”

    Those folks love to tout sentiments and opinions like this. The implication is that African Americans are like some inert substance that only acquires impetus and movement when acted upon by some outside (usually white) influence. These are the same arguments, in modern clothing, that they used during Reconstruction and Jim Crow; e.g., “Yankees” coming from up north, stirring up trouble.

    While “acknowledging the hard work and dedication of African-American military service with the CSA” perhaps they might try acknowledging that black folks have minds of their own.

    It doesn’t even occur to them that Silas Chandler’s descendants have had opinions of their own on this issue and that some of those opinions are bound to be at odds with others. As with any family. Oh no, it takes the evil, carpet-bagging bloggers to sow dissent among the happy negroes and turn them against the myths of the Confederate apologists who now hold them and the histories of their ancestors so dear.

    This attitude is profoundly insulting. And racist. Yeah, I went there.

    • Ray O'Hara October 13, 2011 / 4:34 pm

      The Slaves worked hard because an overseer with a whip and probably a pistol was watching them.
      the dedication was probably lacking as the vast majority of the 200,000 USCT were former slaves who showed their dedication to the CSA by enlisting in the US Army

  9. John Foskett October 14, 2011 / 7:04 am

    He ‘went to war with his master”. So did Massa’s blanket roll, gun, canteen and (possibly) underwear..

  10. Ray O'Hara October 14, 2011 / 11:15 am

    “He ‘went to war with his master”. So did Massa’s blanket roll, gun, canteen and (possibly) underwear..”

    All of which the “servant” carried.

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