A Black Confederate?

Smithsonian Oct 14

Find out here.


12 thoughts on “A Black Confederate?

  1. OhioGuy September 23, 2014 / 8:03 pm

    A most interesting story! I wonder if there are direct line male descendants from both the black and white Webster families so that Y-DNA testing could be done to prove the paternity. The paper case looks quite strong, but DNA could clinch the historic verdict.

  2. Donald R. Shaffer September 23, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Proves nothing. I don’t see any signs of rank. My guess is that this man is some white Confederates’ body servant.

      • Donald R. Shaffer September 23, 2014 / 9:36 pm

        Hi Brooks. Afraid I didn’t. Brain dead after too much grading. I’ll take a look at it.

      • Donald R. Shaffer September 24, 2014 / 9:09 am

        Hi Brooks. Rested, I had a chance to read the story. One way of looking at it is this guy is the exception that proves the rule. It also appears he was adept at straddling the middle, while convincing both sides he was one of them. The picture, if it is Webster, is a genius bit of image building. I’d say when push came to shove Webster was for the Union, but he did a masterful job of convincing the Confederates otherwise.

  3. Lyle Smith September 24, 2014 / 8:59 am

    Great anecdotal story of a master-slave relationship and of the complexity of slave society.

    • Will Hickox September 26, 2014 / 8:50 am

      Good thinking. Anyway, there were millions of men in uniform during the war, and numerous photos exist of working slaves and “contrabands” wearing cast-off uniforms. The wearing of what appears to be a uniform proves nothing other than that the wearer acquired a uniform, despite what black Confederate-ists desperately want to believe.

    • C. Meyer September 26, 2014 / 6:37 am

      Nice white power symbol on his page…I think we know immediately where he stands.

  4. Will Hickox September 26, 2014 / 7:18 am

    It’s a terrific article (and would be good for an undergrad course), but calling proponents of the black Confederate myth “researchers” is quite generous IMO.

  5. Kathleen Wyer September 26, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    Hi Brooks.
    Yes this is an interesting story. I sent the article to a scholar on Georgia history. I was a bit skeptical when I read the article. The historian said that most of the author’s information came from Thomas G. Dyer, “Half Slave, Half Free: Unionist Robert Webster in Civil War Atlanta” _Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas_ (LSU Press, 2005).

    I agree with the historian when he observed that,
    Wortman tantalizes readers with the juicy story that famed senator Daniel Webster fathered Robert Webster, even prominently featuring a photo of the senator in the article.

    The photo was discovered after Dyer’s death. So there is no way to confirm if this is truly the slave.

    However the photo is of a man who couldn’t possibly be considered a “quadroon”. The author writes that the slave’s mother was a mulatto. Granted the photo is faded but there is no mistaking him as a black man with mixed ancestry BUT I doubt that he would be considered one quarter African. What a silly mess. Why bring it up? I’m not a scholar on genetics, just a descendant of Creoles of Color from Pensacola

    Therefore I question the validity of the other historical claims. I’m not saying that they are wrong. But the tired story of Rastus burying Miss Ann’s silver and jumping in front of a Yankee musket to save Miss Ann is played out.


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