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25 August 2014


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Colonel Lang,

Just for the record I have included below a widely quoted statement of a Union official on the subject of Stonewall Jackson's troops during the invasion of MD. It is possibly the origin of the "two Bn." sentence in the schoolbook. I can easily imagine an untutored civilian making this kind of extrapolation.
Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862: "Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number [Confederate troops]. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc.....and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army."

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96


Colonel Lang,

For those that would like to read the Steiner report in its entirety I have included the URL below


USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

Patrick Lang


Ah, yes the Steiner report. I couldn't remember his name. The USSC was the WBS equivalent of the American Red Cross and he was its head as I recall. He happened to be in frederick as Jackson's corps of the AofNVa passed through and did a head count on the troops. I think that an armed Black man in uniform was really a soldier no matter what the law said.

I can see how this misunderstanding about Jackson and the "two battalions" may have come about. someone may have written something in which he wrote of battalion equivalents in terms of numbers and the author of the text probably not understanding that compounded the error by writing what she did. I have worked for ambassadors who did not know the difference between a rifle squad and an army corps, so...

Incidentally, a battalion in 19th Century parlance was not a distinct level of organization in the infantry. A regiment was an institution. A battalion in the infantry was that portion of a regiment that you could put in the field and maneuver. Thus you find lots of references to "battalion drill" but not many to regimental drill.


I thought you were Canadian. Why the level of hostility to the South that you are displaying? That kind of thing is usually the province of anti Southern fanatics like Victor Davis Hansen, Christopher Matthews and Ricks.

Also, after some thought I dispute your argument that the service of Afro-confederates and Afro-Union soldiers is not equivalent. For each man, the risks and hardships are equivalent. pl


the debate is about interpreting the meaning of facts

"quite a few Black Southerners sided with the South in the "great unpleasantness."

that confederate armies had need of and made use of black labor has one meaning

the idea that blacks were eager warriors in a cause to preserve slavery is quite another meaning


Mr. Stress of Cleveland asked me to send the following:Irish American General Patrick Cleburne approached the leaders of The Army of Tennessee with a proposal for drafting colored troops but was told no.
Gen. Cleburne's proposal, read in part: "Satisfy the negro that if he faithfully adheres to our standard during the war he shall receive his freedom and that of his race ... and we change the race from a dreaded weakness to a position of strength.
Will the slaves fight? The helots of Sparta stood their masters good stead in battle. In the great sea fight of Lepanto where the Christians checked forever the spread of Mohammedanism over Europe, the galley slaves of portions of the fleet were promised freedom, and called on to fight at a critical moment of the battle. They fought well, and civilization owes much to those brave galley slaves ... the experience of this war has been so far that half-trained negroes have fought as bravely as many other half-trained Yankees."
We Looks Like Men by Noah Andre Trudeau is a good book on the subject of the WSCT.

Sidney O. Smith III

Hansen, Matthews, and Ricks have something else in common, and it explains, imo, why they attack the South with such fervor at this time in American history. They feign outrage at the idea of black Confederates, but, in reality, they are exploiting popularized versions of history to hide their true intent.

To varying degrees, all are promoting a clash of civilizations narrative in which America, led by a centralized government, goes to war against Islam. They are the present day incarnation of Jacobins, meaning those who want to use a centralized national government to promote their own special interests through war and the destruction of other cultures.

To succeed in igniting a clash of civilizations, these present day Jacobins act in much the same way that the Jacobins did in the "mid 19th century". In other words, the present day Jacobins have exploited the history of the WBS to promote their overall strategic goal.

The US military must invade and occupy other States who do not desire to be subject to the USG. If there is resistance within the occupied territories, then the Jacobins will classify such blowback as “terrorism” and thereby argue for collective punishment against innocent civilians. This explains Hansen’s glorification of Sherman, and sub textually Hansen is laying the groundwork to justify the use of nuclear weapons.

And all the while the Jacobins will describe the USG policy as one of promoting democracy and liberating the oppressed. They will continually analogize any US President who complies with their wishes as another Lincoln. (I do not think Lincoln was a Jacobin but these present day Jacobins are usurping the Lincoln as secular savior for their own ends.)

Irony of ironies, many modern day Jacobins are Southerners. Lindsey Graham is but one example and he is nothing more than a Southern version of Jeffrey Goldberg as both are pushing the same narrative. They employ different techniques as their target audiences differ, but the endpoint remains the same: a clash of civilizations.

Patrick Lang


When Cleburne circulated his "memorial" in 1863 it was discussed in Richmond and the planter interest in the senate managed to block any such measure even though the army wanted it reckoning correctly that blacks should be given the privilege of the misery that white soldiers were living in. Lee cautioned the government that if Blacks demonstrated the ability and willingness to fight in large numbers for the South then he would become an enemy of the institution of slavery to the day he died, pl

Patrick Lang


"that confederate armies had need of and made use of black labor has one meaning the idea that blacks were eager warriors in a cause to preserve slavery is quite another meaning"

Yes. Yes. Yes. And that is why the temperature is so high over this. If even some Blacks were, as you put it, "eager warriors," the context of the war is changed profoundly. pl


Stowers was recommended for the Medal of Honor shortly after his death, but the nomination was, according to the Army, misplaced. Many, believing that the recommendation was intentionally ignored due to institutional racism in the Armed Forces. In 1990, under pressure from Congress, the Department of the Army launched an investigation. Based on findings from this investigation, the Army Decorations Board approved the award of the Medal of Honor to Stowers. On April 24, 1991–73 years after he was killed in action—Stowers' two surviving sisters received the Medal of Honor from President George H.W. Bush at the White House. The success of the investigation leading to Stowers' Medal of Honor later sparked a similar review that resulted in seven African Americans being awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in World War II.



Thanks to Col Lang and Nighsticker for the details above. Col, as you said this topic would be a great area for actual historical research.
Perhaps those complaining loudest should read the original Washington Post article on 10/19 instead of jumping to conclusioons. To quote:
"The author, Joy Masoff, who is not a trained historian but has written several books, said she found the information about black Confederate soldiers primarily through Internet research, …"

I think highschoolers get told not to do this all the time and in most colleges this level of 'research' gets an F. But as the author said: "It's just one sentence. I don't want to ruffle any feathers. If the historians had contacted me and asked me to take it out, I would have." She added that the book was reviewed by a publisher's advisory council of educators and that none of the advisers objected to the textbook's assertion. "

I think the article does more to highlight the lack of quality in text books in general than it does about Blacks serving in the Confederate Armed Forces during the Civil War.


"it turned out that it *was* in the interests of blacks to support the Ian Smith regime"

Sophism. When these men served the "trajectory" was not evident.

There were rival tribes contesting for power. Serious consequences could await those who belonged the "wrong Tribe" at the end of the process. Major example is the Matebele Massacres: http://www.zimbabwejournalists.com/story.php?art_id=1601&cat=5


It is usually considered unseemly to mention it, but there are always people who accommodate to oppressive situations. The motives range from having a slightly more comfortable existence to being merely allowed to survive a bit longer. We know the examples. Blacks in the pre-1865 South, like any human, had to cut the best deal they could.
What indicates the South's position clearly to me was the custom of the Southern Army to take no black Union POW's. Drew Gilpin Faust documents this in her book, 'This Republic of Suffering'.


the link shown a very interesting painting featured at the wikipedia article on the Battle of Cowpens fought in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War


the description reads
English: The Battle of Cowpens, painted by William Ranney in 1845. The scene depicts an unnamed black soldier (left) firing his pistol and saving the life of Colonel William Washington (on white horse in center)."

An African-American in Eighteenth Century SOUTH CAROLINA with a PISTOL calmly dispatches a Redcoat while a bunch of ignorant white men are swinging sabers around.

For more on ignorant saber charges vs. the wisdom of using pistols see

Sidney O. Smith III

Yes…the tell tale sign to me that the North engaged in “racial terrorism” came with the discovery of the 1885 Rock Springs Massacre in Wyoming, which resulted in the death of at least 28 Chinese. To quote Wiki, in the years preceding the Rock Springs massacre, the importation of Chinese labor was seen as a "system worse than slavery."

Oh well…so much for fighting for the freedom of the common man during "mid 19th century US history". So much for one person, one vote in one’s homeland. So much for achieving social justice in one's backyard before telling the rest of the world how to live.

Remarkably, the intensity of the violence during the Rock Springs massacre surpassed even that from the New York race riots in 1863, which is saying a lot, because it is clear that New Yorkers were not taking any prisoners. Here’s Wiki on the intensity of the New York race riots.

“Initially intended to express anger at the draft, the protests turned ugly and degraded into "a virtual racial pogrom, with uncounted numbers of blacks murdered on the streets". The conditions in the city were such that Major General John E. Wool stated on July 16, "Martial law ought to be proclaimed, but I have not a sufficient force to enforce it."The military suppressed the mob using artillery and fixed bayonets, but not before numerous buildings were ransacked or destroyed, including many homes and an orphanage for black children.


But if you think that is bad, check out Wiki’s description of the Rock Springs massacre:

By 3:30 p.m. the massacre was well under way. The women in Rock Springs had gathered in a group at the plank bridge, where they stood and cheered the rampage on. Two women present fired shots at the Chinese. As the riot wore on into the night, the Chinese miners scattered into the hills, lying in the grass to hide. Between four and nine p.m., rioters set fire to the camp houses belonging to the coal company. By nine p.m., all but one Chinese camp house was burned completely. In all, 79 Chinese homes were destroyed by fire. Damage to Chinese-owned property was estimated at around $147,000

The attacks at Rock Springs were extraordinarily violent, revealing a long-held, almost "feral," hatred of the victims. The sheer brutality of the violence "startled" the entire country. Besides those who were burned alive, Chinese miners were scalped, mutilated, branded, decapitated, dismembered, and hanged from gutter spouts. One of the Chinese miners had his penis and testicles cut off and toasted in a nearby saloon as a "trophy of the hunt." The events amounted to racial terrorism.


Charles I

Surely they were soldiers. And Southerners. Of which so many of us know so precious little, more so daily thanks to Pl & SST


obviously, Pat. Is there anyone that seriously questions that? ...

But apart from the "analogally obvious" that the North versus South as equivalent to Righteous versus Non-Rigtheous must necessarily be false, I have no idea what you are struggling with on the issue. ...

But no doubt, I can take one of two general options. A) I don't understand what you are struggling with here B) his obsession with the topic may show something deeper something below the hope that societies should get the chance to change at their own pace.

As a German who had an ancestors on both sides--in the same family branch incidentially, cousins almost the same age--one dieing for the US in the Pacific and one for the Nazis in Norway among late returners and civilian casualties, I quite possibly often wrote that I am thankful to American (among other) soliders that I wasn't born into a Third Reich. But strictly this advantage of the one's born after sounds pretty simillar to what: Ta-Nehisi Coates has written about the Civil War, 'thankfully I was born after'.

Thus what do I not understand in this recurring mental struggle?

Other than, if I leave out my own obsessions with academia and conformity, it sounds for this non-American and thus very uninformed on the larger discourse very, very much like "David--Israel cannot be wrong--Horowitz": discover the network of left scholarship:


In any case Horowitz seems to have a lot of problems with the Blacks too. But that is no real secret. Although my favorite on the topic is dead. RIP.

Will Reks


Perhaps many of these blacks did not wholly accept the idea that the Union was fighting to free them or to end slavery.

I wish i had a better idea of the propaganda used by both sides at the time but we can't discount that some would have their own interests that might be at odds with the prevailing narrative.


"On many other plantations slaves were expected to hunt for meat for the big house and themselves."

This is borne out in the book "Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South", by Grady McWhiney.



If you mean are there many that question the notion that some Blacks sided with the South, the answer is yes. many. What you don't seem to understand is that the issues of separate cultures, dialect, political philosophy and mores that were on display in the WBS were not resolved by the outcome of that war. they never went away and are now once again on display in the red/blue divide in the US, especially in the states of the former Confederacy. If you look at a map of electoral result by county in the 2012 general election you will see that the Democrats win only in major metropolitan areas, Indian reservations and the like. Even in states which Obama won these metro areas are blue islands surrounded by a sea of red. The US is a constitutional federal republic. Under our constitution the seats in the House of Representative are tied directly to local populations that have collective identities. These identities have been strengthened by gerrymandering on both sides. As a result Obama is certain to finish his last two years as the lamest of ducks. Among the various psychological forces driving red and blue farther apart are the kind of hysteria displayed by Blacks in the St. Louis area and the pandering to that hysteria on display in the media. Northern people like to strike a high moral pose with regard to the issue of slavery in the WBS. southerners resent that and the condescending attitude on display over this in the North is just another reason for red and blue to be separating. Demographic change will not negate this situation. The Latinos in the South will become Southern. pl



Interesting. A great-great-great uncle was named Stonewall from Alabama. Nobody talks about it but I suspect there were some family members who aligned themselves with Confederates because of blood ties ( I touched on this before) or because they didn't know another way of life.



The human heart is a complex thing. Family ties, friendship, indeed love are all powerful motivators. I have been much drawn to this subject and it is a persistent theme in my trilogy. pl



In the 70's my older brother was 19, in Officer Candidates School and was invited to the officers club in Ft Meyer VA. They looked at him like he was an alien.
He went on to retire as a Lt. Colonel.


I was in Baton Rouge some weeks ago and saw an exhibit on Plessy v Ferguson at the state museum. Conspicuous by its absence was any likeness of Mr. Plessy, and I knew why...that Mr. Plessy was basically a white man who was black under blood quantum laws of the time (and would have been white in some states and black in others.) His ambiguous racial status was central to the suit...but 100+ years hence, we never hear about that. A reminder our current ideas about race and related matters are the products of early 20th century and later.



I'm sorry but that is a crock. I lived in the Army all my life and I know that is just nonsense. If he thinks this was about race it was in his imagination. On the other hand an officer candidate is not an officer yet and that may have been what people were considering. pl

Jim Buck

During WW2 there were certainly Jews who, rightly-or-wrongly, put national identity before social identity:



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