Sons of Confederate Veterans
Egbert J. Jones Camp #357
The men American people
admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men
they detest most violently are those who try and tell them the
--H. L. Mencken
"I had to re-examine
my feelings toward the (Confederate) flag
when I read a
newspaper article about an elderly black man whose ancestor
worked with the Confederate forces. The man spoke with pride
about his family member's contribution to the cause and was
photographed with the (Confederate) flag draped over his lap.
That's why I now have no definite stand on just what the flag
symbolizes, because it no longer is their history, or my
history, but our history.
--Terri Williams, a Black journalist for the Suffolk "Virginia Pilot" newspaper.
It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. Over 13,000 of these, "saw the elephant" also known as meeting the enemy in combat. These Black Confederates included both slave and free. The Confederate Congress did not approve blacks to be officially enlisted as soldiers (except as musicians), until late in the war. But in the ranks it was a different story. Many Confederate officers did not obey the mandates of politicians, they frequently enlisted blacks with the simple criteria, "Will you fight?" Historian Ervin Jordan, explains that "biracial units" were frequently organized "by local Confederate and State militia Commanders in response to immediate threats in the form of Union raids". Dr. Leonard Haynes, a African-American professor at Southern University, stated, "When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you've eliminated the history of the South."
DURING OUR WAR OF 1861, ex-slave Frederick Douglass observed, "There are at the present moment, many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down ... and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government."
Dr. Lewis Steiner, a Union Sanitary Commission employee who lived through the Confederate occupation of Frederick, Maryland said, "Most of the Negroes ... were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army." Erwin L. Jordan's book "Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia" cites eyewitness accounts of the Antietam campaign of "armed blacks in rebel columns bearing rifles, sabers, and knives and carrying knapsacks and haversacks." After the Battle of Seven Pines in June 1862, Union soldiers said that "two black Confederate regiments not only fought but showed no mercy to the Yankee dead or wounded whom they mutilated, murdered and robbed."
In April 1861, a Petersburg, Virginia newspaper proposed "three cheers for the patriotic free Negroes of Lynchburg" after 70 blacks offered "to act in whatever capacity may be assigned to them" in defense of Virginia. Erwin L. Jordan cites one case where a captured group of white slave owners and blacks were offered freedom if they would take an oath of allegiance to the United States. One free black indignantly replied, "I can't take no such oaf as dat. I'm a secesh." A slave in the group upon learning that his master refused to take the oath said, "I can't take no oath dat Massa won't take." A second slave said, "I ain't going out here on no dishonorable terms." One of the slave owners took the oath but his slave, who didn't take the oath, returning to Virginia under a flag of truce, expressed disgust at his master's disloyalty saying, "Massa had no principles."
Horace Greeley, in pointing out some differences between the two warring armies said, "For more than two years, Negroes have been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They have been embodied and drilled as rebel soldiers and had paraded with white troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies of the Union." General Nathan Bedford Forrest had both slaves and freemen serving in units under his command. After the war, General Forrest said of the black men who served under him "(T)hese boys stayed with me ... and better Confederates did not live."
It was not just Southern generals who owned slaves but northern generals owned them as well. General Ulysses Grant's slaves had to await the Thirteenth Amendment for freedom. When asked why he didn't free his slaves earlier, General Grant said, "Good help is so hard to come by these days."
These are but a few examples of the important role that blacks served, both as slaves and freemen in the Confederacy during the War Between the States.
The flap over the Confederate flag is not quite as simple as the nation's race experts make it. They want us to believe the flag is a symbol of racism. Yes, racists have used the Confederate flag, but racists have also used the Bible and the U.S. flag. Should we get rid of the Bible and lower the U.S. flag? Black civil rights activists and their white liberal supporters who're attacking the Confederate flag have committed a deep, despicable dishonor to our patriotic black ancestors who marched, fought and died to protect their homeland from what they saw as Northern aggression.
They don't deserve the dishonor......