Since February is Black History Month, the Dillard-Judd Camp submits this article in honor to and respect for those African-American brothers that served honorably and to their ancestors today that continue to fight for their right to also honor their ancestors service to the Confederacy and to all African-Americans and their part in the history of this great Nation.
Black Confederate Participation
And after the battle of Gettysburg in
reported among the rebel prisoners were seven blacks
in Confederate uniforms fully armed as soldiers
As far back as the American Revolution, African Americans have fought in every conflict this country has been engaged in. A number of authors have studied the participation which blacks played for the Union and Confederate governments during the Civil War. Most of these writers have focused on the Union army since it employed a large number of blacks as soldiers during the conflict. "When authors do cover the Confederate side, they usually limit their coverage to the free blacks of New Orleans who formed a regiment of "Native Guards" for the Louisiana militia and the Confederate effort late in the war to employ slaves as soldiers". Civil War historians have not given these blacks their due recognition, and have left the truth of their involvement for the Confederacy covered in obscurity and confusion.
Thousands of blacks, slave and free, were employed
in some capacity by the Confederate army. The majority of these
men fall into two categories, as military laborers or body servants.
The fact that some Southern blacks might have played an important
role for the South is a very controversial issue. Scholars have
avoided the difficult task of linking any blacks to the Southern
war effort. One of the main reasons they choose not to attempt this
is because they are afraid of confronting the great paradox that
exists. Why would any slaves or free blacks work towards a Southern
victory when this war was seen as one to sustain blacks' enslavement
and degradation? The point of this paper is to seek out exactly
what kind of role any blacks, free or slave, served in the South
during the war and to examine the reasons why they would support
the Southern war cause.
The Louisiana Native Guards demonstrate what free blacks, from Louisiana, thought about the Confederacy. The Louisiana Native Guards was a militia regiment comprised of 1400 black men and officers, "who offered their services to Dixie" in April of 1861. The following year 3000 black men and officers organized themselves into the 1st Native Guard of Louisiana. There were slaves in Alabama who were organized as soldiers in the fall of 1861. There were also 60 free blacks in Virginia who formed their own company and marched to Richmond to volunteer their services to help in the war effort. "Several companies of free Negroes offered their services to the Confederacy Government early in the war". The War Department decided they wouldn't be needed at this time so they sent them home.
Black Confederate loyalty was pervasive and real. American historians failed to recognize this loyalty. "By the summer of 1861 Southern blacks who supported and allied themselves with the Confederacy were looking to volunteer" . Despite the Confederate government's refusal to admit blacks in the army, six Southern states did so otherwise, mostly consisting of state militias. Eyewitness accounts by officers in the Federal army offer some evidence of African American participation on the battlefields for the South. Records show that New York officers on patrol reported they were attacked near New Market, Virginia, by Confederate cavalry and a group of 700 armed blacks on December 22, 1861. The Northerners killed six of the blacks before retreating; officers later swore out affidavits that they were attacked by blacks and later complained: "If they fight with Negroes, why should we not fight with them too?"
Alfred Bellard, a white soldier of the 5th NJ Infantry,
reported in his memoirs the shooting of two black Confederate snipers
by member's of the Berdan's Sharpshooters in April of 1862. "One
of the Negro Confederates was only wounded, but the other was killed
one afternoon after leaving the security of a hollow tree (probably
to relieve himself). Two Confederates
This wasn't an isolated case. One of the best marksmen in the Confederacy was an African-American who outfitted himself in a sniper's roost in an almost perfect hiding spot inside a brick chimney from which he proceeded to shoot Yankees at their nearby camp. Any Union soldier who dared to come into his range was fired at. Several times the Federalize called up to the sniper to desert, but the black Confederate ignored
SEE Black History Month, continued on page 8