Recently, I came across this picture of a black Confederate soldier. I’ve been reading extensively about the Civil War, Reconstruction, The Harlem Renaissance, Women’s Suffrage, The Industrial Revolution, The Great Migration and Jim Crow. This is the first I’ve heard of black soldiers fighting in the Confederate army.
I tried to force myself to put this research off and do the research relevant to my novel. I explained to myself, that I had books due back at the library in a couple days. I noted the books have already been checked out as many times as I’m allowed. I needed to focus on completing them and my notes. Still I couldn’t just walk away from this picture. Even though I’m sure I can’t use any of this information in my novel, I think. I started to fall down the research hole and decided to surrender.
After about thirty minutes of research through Google, I found a few links. I’m going to post them here and come back to this.
I’ve read so many perspectives I don’t know what the truth is. I know from research there were laws barring blacks from being armed. I also know there was a huge fear of slave uprisings. On the other hand, there were blacks who owned slaves. Also, slaves didn’t have rights, so it isn’t impossible to believe that they were forced to support the war in some way even if they weren’t actually fighting or considered soldiers. I have also read several sites that note, after the Confederate South saw how successful blacks were fighting for the Union, they did change laws to force blacks into their army. However The South lost the war and it ended shortly after they made this change, so black men were never actually recruited and didn’t actually see combat. This last point about whether black men actually saw combat is debatable depending on what site I’ve read.
In the research, I was surprised that black women also went to war as cooks and other supportive services. I know that black femininity is often dismissed, but I’m always surprised when I find new examples.
Looking for information about black Confederate soldiers I found more pictures of black men in Confederate uniforms, so I decided to share them. I’d love any information on this subject. I’m totally intrigued.