Another Black Confederate: Turner Hall, Jr.

We turn now to the newest story about a Black Confederate … one Turner Hall, Jr.

According to his descendant, Al Arnold of Jackson, Mississippi, his ancestor was once owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest, and then served as an orderly to Robert E. Lee. You can obtain his book here.

In addition to this website, Mr. Arnold has established a Facebook group and a Twitter account to spread the story.

19 thoughts on “Another Black Confederate: Turner Hall, Jr.

  1. Rblee22468 March 12, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    It’s a great story. I’ve read it.

  2. Bob Huddleston March 12, 2016 / 3:17 pm

    Right –a slave of NBF ended up in Virginia, as an “employee” of REL. No wonder Lee thought Forrest was the greatest general in the Confederacy!

    What I saw on line claims the slave was a pre- and post-bellum resident of Mississippi. Silly me — I always thought Forrest was a Tennessean. Guess I was wrong.

  3. OhioGuy March 12, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    Well, while there’s a grain of truth here, Mr. Hall was not a solider. He was a basically still a slave who was working in support of the Confederate Army. That he chose after the war to be treated as though he was a Confederate veteran is interesting, and more than a little exceptional. My youngest daughter’s husband has a g3grandfather — Daniel Boone Coleman — who was a slave cook for Company I, of the 6th Alabama. He was in no way a “black Confederate.” In fact, when we looked at his pension record in Tennessee, we found that he had been owned by a man not in the regiment and loaned to the regiment for his service as a cook. Interestingly, his pension was denied. We are not sure if it was because he was too prosperous (he owned a little property) or because he was applying in Tennessee, where he lived after the war, and his service had been in Alabama. Some former Confederate states did have pensions — usually less than for whites — for blacks who had served as cooks, orderlies, aides, body servants, etc.in Confederate regiments. I was galled when I discovered that an SCV chapter in Giles County, Tenn, had gone through a local African American cemetery and put up new tombstones for several men — including Mr. Coleman — who had been slave workers in Confederate regiments that implied that they were uniformed soldiers. If they had put on the tombstones something indicating their enslaved status — slave cook in the case of Mr. Coleman — it would have been a laudable effort. As it was, it was an effort in deception and the rewriting of history. I’ve been encouraging family members to put up a small plaque in that cemetery to tell the whole truth of the matter.

    Here’s a link to his tombstone: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=8A02AAC671DE8854!250394&authkey=!ADG88HF0gSv9L3E&v=3&ithint=photo%2cjpg

    • Andy Hall March 12, 2016 / 7:44 pm

      I was galled when I discovered that an SCV chapter in Giles County, Tenn, had gone through a local African American cemetery and put up new tombstones for several men — including Mr. Coleman — who had been slave workers in Confederate regiments that implied that they were uniformed soldiers. If they had put on the tombstones something indicating their enslaved status — slave cook in the case of Mr. Coleman — it would have been a laudable effort. As it was, it was an effort in deception and the rewriting of history.

      ___

      You mean the faux cemetery they created in Pulaski, where they took an old African American part of the existing cemetery where there were no markers, and put up markers for various “black Confederates,” not a single one of whom was actually buried there? Where they took men who’d been personal servants and engraved on their (fake) headstones that they were on some general’s “staff?”

      They’re trying too hard. Almost makes you think there’s something in Pulaski, Tennessee’s history that they’re over-compensating for.

      • OhioGuy March 13, 2016 / 7:02 am

        I stand corrected. It is clearly not even the cemetery where they are actually buried. That doubles down on the deception, even thiugh they say on the stone they are interred at another place. You are perhaps right that this is overcompensation for the history of Pulaski in the Reconstruction and Redeemer government eras. Instead of this crap, they need to face the music and admit their sins in the same way the German people have about the Nazi Era. I was in Germany years ago when they had a holiday in November for the express purpose of remembering their great national sin. Old Dixie should do the same.

  4. Leo March 12, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Mr. Arnold is a frequent speaker at SCV events in Mississippi, and he has been interviewed by local media across the state as well. He is also highlighted by local heritage groups to support the current state flag along with Andrew Duncomb and Arlene Barnum. HK is still absent, so he may need to lower his fees.

    I can’t speak to Mr. Andrew’s story because I honestly know nothing about it.

    On a totally different note, the University of Mississippi placed a contextual marker at the Confederate monument on campus. A local heritage group called “Our State Flag Foundation” posted an emotional rant on Facebook that was picked up and shared by other neo-confederate groups. Your friends, Connie and Susan, even chimed in without even knowing the facts.

    http://hottytoddy.com/2016/03/10/ole-miss-puts-history-in-context-with-plaque/#comments

    http://hottytoddy.com/2016/03/11/letter-from-chancellor-implementation-of-plaque-on-confederate-monument/#comments

      • Leo March 13, 2016 / 8:18 am

        Susan isn’t the only one. The Mississippi SCV is having what we call down south a “conniption fit”. Other neo-confederate/ heritage groups, like the Our State Flag Foundation, are also acting like bratty children who aren’t getting their way.

      • Leo March 13, 2016 / 8:48 am

        I’m told Kevin Levin has also criticized the plaque for not defining the word “mob” to his liking. While I’m sure the plaque isn’t going to please everyone, this seems to be self-righteous nitpicking. The purpose of the plaque is to attempt to explain why the monument is on campus and its connection to the university. Dr. David Sansing is the historian largely responsible for the wording. He is well respected and not one to distort history.

        My apologies to Mr. Simpson for veering off topic.

  5. Rblee22468 March 12, 2016 / 7:17 pm

    Neo-Black Confederates are nothing more than a cottage industry of Class-A grifters. HK created the template.

    I kid you not, Arnold states in his book that whilst researching his ancestors “service”, he discovered a newspaper article (I believe it was) in which the author said some information about Turner Hall Jr. had been verified. I don’t believe it gave any details, it just flatly said some things were verified. If I remember right, Arnold said that was good enough for him. He literally read the word “verified” and based an entire book on it. He’s on the SCV speaking circuit now.

    • Leo March 13, 2016 / 8:25 am

      He is also giving interviews about keeping the current Mississippi flag to local media. I’m not sure what that has to do with his book other than to maybe help sales.

      I’m sure we will learn more about his book once people start looking into it and checking documentation.

  6. Al Mackey March 12, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    So here was a guy supposedly owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest of Tennessee, who supposedly went to war with two soldiers from Mississippi, and then supposedly was R. E. Lee’s orderly, attending to Lee’s horse, Traveler. Right. Anyone want to buy this bridge I happen to have? I would be very surprised to see Mr. Hall’s name on a list of Forrest’s slaves or on documentary evidence that he was connected to Lee in any way. But Forrest and Lee connections will sell a whole bunch more books than a connection to someone no one ever heard of before.

    • bob carey March 13, 2016 / 6:03 am

      Does anyone know of any verification or documentation of Lee and Forrest ever meeting?

      • Bob Huddleston March 13, 2016 / 6:52 am

        I would be very surprised it Lee had even heard of Forrest. NBF was an obscure raider out west whose major accomplishment was to murder captured prisoners. Well, maybe Lee *had* heard of that.

        The deification of Forrest began post-war with his leadership in the Klan.

    • Bob Huddleston March 13, 2016 / 6:49 am

      Gee, Al, don’t say “supposedly”: it really happened that way! After all, it is in the book!

      And, in a more serious vein, you hit it right: mixing NBF with REL will sell a lot of books to the ignorant.

    • Leo March 13, 2016 / 8:52 am

      I agree with you in that the Lee and Forrest connection seems suspect. Given I know nothing about this story, I will have to wait for historians and others to verify the facts.

      It should be interesting.

  7. Shoshana Bee March 13, 2016 / 12:32 am

    An excerpt from the book, taken from the author’s website http://www.orderlyforlee.com/excerpts/

    “When people can be the people that God ordained them to be in their culture, they are at their best. Wrapped in the Confederate flag is a unique culture and heritage. I don’t think I have any right to frown upon that heritage or culture any more than Confederates have a right to frown upon mine”.

    A unique “culture” and “heritage”?

    i don’t know where to begin except to say that Walter Williams must be mighty proud.

  8. Andy Hall March 13, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Arnold has directed a whole series of tweets at Kevin Levin, including one, “My credibility is in Christ.” That’s a lot easier than wrestling with footnotes.

    • OhioGuy March 15, 2016 / 8:13 am

      Jesus forgives, but it is usually considered a prerequisite that the sin be acknowledged.

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