The Confederate black soldiers were really Union black soldiers

See, how retouching history works. Retouching, as in ‘photoshopping’ a photo of a soldiers in Union uniforms into Confederate uniforms, then using the photo as a propaganda material.
Hat-tip: Sally Greene

22 responses to “The Confederate black soldiers were really Union black soldiers

  1. Somehow, I don’t think the “Southrans” gave many guns to “people of color” back then…
    The people that would fall for what this picture is purporting to show are the same ones that believe in ID and/or creationism.

  2. J-Dog,
    According to the linked article, the 1st Louisiana Native Guard did exist, but never saw action, for exactly the reasons you submit.
    But it’s a fascinating bit of detective work to determine that the photo’s a fake!

  3. Note that The Rebel Store has taken it down in, oh, approximately the last 48 hours. (But Handler & Tuite, the U.Va. professors who published the article, captured the page.)
    Claiming the existence of black Rebel soldiers is part of the revisionist argument that the war was not about slavery.

  4. The “retouching of history” is disturbing in its own right, but then there’s the disrespect to the individuals in the photo. Their images, their memories have been stolen to be used as propaganda for a cause they did not stand for (I presume).

  5. It should not be suprising that individuals fight for a variety of motivations. Given the size of the African American population in the South there were was undoubtable a small minority that for whatever reason saw their interests with the CSA. From our perspective this seems absurd, but from the perspective of someone at that time it may have even been a somewhat rational choice. The neo-confederates are great at taking perhaps fascinating bits of historical trivia (like the few black slaveowners that existed) and weaving them into their revisionist sanitization of the South’s real racial history. Arguably many blacks may have had loyalty to the CSA simply because it was a familiar evil rather than an unfamiliar one (and were likely savvy enough to realize that whatever happened the North was not going to protect their interests).
    Here is a link to a series of citations from source documents about African Americans serving in the Confederate armed forces:
    I suspect this is another neoconfederate site and cannot attest for the veracity of anything there, but if true they are interesting pieces of history (but way insufficient to make sweeping conclusions from).

  6. I had never heard of “neo-Confederates” before. I guess since neo-Conservatism has crapped out, maybe the far Right will give it a try next.

  7. If you do any decent research at all you will conclude that including logistal support Southern armies included a minimum of 6 to 8% African Americans. Their motivations may be up to historical interpretation, but there are hundreds of accounts from both sides of their bravery in battle in service to the South…Spin it any way you want but don’t deny they were not there, that’s just stupid.

  8. Nobody is danying it. If you read the linked stuff you will see that 1st Lousiana Native Guard unit really existed. But it is the neo-Confederates who did the photophopping for their nefarious purposes.

  9. They did it to make money- which makes them idiots in my view. I direct my comment to the first post
    “Somehow, I don’t think the “Southrans” gave many guns to “people of color” back then…”
    That is just ignorant. Many slave owners including my ancestors allowed their slaves to have shotguns or rifles who often hunted side by side with their masters or masters children. In spite of some laws that were on the books, most country boys, black and white could readily handle firearms-at least in Virginia.

  10. Before you plan to write off ALL of the southern history you may want to read this.
    I relize that many people alter our history to fit there on needs, but many are out here to find the TRUTH.

  11. It is another fact that the USA would like to cover up!

  12. I have researched the topic of black Confederate soldiers before and have come across that photo of the Louisiana Native Guard before. Thank you for exposing it was a fraud. That doesn’t mean however that blacks did not serve in the Confederacy. There are a great many reports from Union soldiers about black Confederates. They served in capacities such as cooks, labor, maintenance, and combat troops. Snipers from the 1st US Sharpshooters reported being fired upon by a black sniper commanded by a white officer outside of Yorktown during the Peninsular campaign. Two brigades of black soldiers were formed in Richmond in March of 1865. This was reported on March 24th in the Richmond Daily Dispatch. Many people find it incredible or impossible that the Confederacy would allow black troops to take up arms but it is a documented fact.

  13. These neo-Confederates are not going to give up. They will continue to manufacture stories and incidents to try to prove the Confederacy was an interracial experience. I find it difficult to believe that two brigades of negro soldiers were raised in Richmond. That’s a lot of troops. The fact remains, however many there were, that people in Richmond threw rocks and dirt clods at them as they drilled in the streets. Their creation was a last minute act of desperation by the Confederate congress as it prepared for the inevitable evacuation of Richmond. The so-called black Confederate troops never saw action. The Southern armies had no black soldiers, and that is nothing of which to be ashamed. White Southern men were brave and dedicated and need no interracial anecdotes to justify the cause of the South. There is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever to suggest blacks served as enlisted soldiers in the Confederate army.

  14. This is off the top of my head and may need some checking.
    The 1st La Native Guards started off as a Confederate unit, but never fought for the South. After the fall of New Orleans, they switched sides claiming, if I recall aright, to General Butler they were afraid. The Guards were a pre-war (or maybe early war) militia unit of free “colored” or mixed race membership. “Blacks” and slaves were not members. The Guards did fight for the North later in the war, notably at Port Hudson. The Confederates in New Orleans (and another unit in Mobile) never seemed to envision the Guards as anything but a “show” unit.
    Jefferson Davis denounced Generals Hunter and Phelps for plans to enlist blacks into Federal service and they were threatened with execution. How likely is it that Confederates would threaten to execute Federals for following the same enrollment policies that Neo-Confederates boldly assert was presently being put into practice across Dixieland?
    James McPherson and Ed Bearss estimate a few dozen or so blacks may have shouldered muskets for the Southland, but the Neo-Confederates have magically raised that number to about 100,000 in order to avoid discussing the race question.

  15. Michael is right, there is no empirical evidence to sustain this fairytale! The gallant Confederate soldier was white, and trying to make him into something he was not is just revisionist history and PC. I have 10 ancestors that fought for the South proudly, and some of them never returned. Oh yeah, I forgot, they were ALL WHITE, and I don’t need to tell anyone they served with blacks to legitimize that sacrifice!

  16. I am from Memphis, Tn – the South and served as an African-American Tour Guide in that very much confederate city. No one is denying the philosphical notions of J Davis, Robert E Lee (who by the way, my Black grandfather was named after) and NB Forrest. However there were Black Confederates. That fact always surprised me and made me quite uncomfortable. The truth is, no one is quite sure of the why these men served the confederacy – were they coerced? promised freedom? fooled? I don’t know. But they served.

  17. There were Blacks fighting for the Confederacy. Look at this picture of them from a Union Newspaper.

  18. I currently am working on a research project concerning the black confederates. The problem with this subject matter is the lack of evidence (primary sources). At the end of the war all the Confederate Leaders such as Lee, J. Davis, and others, stated that the war was not about slavery, but about independence. This was a lie. I can’t imagine any slave who was subjected to beatings, having family members taken away and sold, as becoming anything for the confederacy, and if they did, they were forced into this act, as the Confederacy paid the landowners for the assistance of their slaves for labor, but not as soldiers. The south may have won the war, if they had look at the actions of the north who used African Americans as soldiers, the south thought African Americans could not do a good job as soldiers, because they were considered ignorant. So it was the Confederacy who lost the war based on their own prejudice.

  19. Just as simply saying Black Confederates existed is a specious argument that does not prove their existence, neither does simply saying “I don’t believe it” disprove their existence.
    Historical research is what matters. For that try
    Documented history proves not only the service of Black Confederate combat soldiers, but also the service of 13,000 Indian Confederates (including Cherokee Chief and Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie), 6500 Hispanics (including Texican Col. Santos Benavides and Cuban Col. Ambrosio Jose Gonzales), 3500 Jews (including CS Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin and sculptor Moses Ezekial), and even the handful of Filipino Confederate Zouaves who served with the New Orleans Avegno Zouaves alongside whites, Hispanics, and Black soldiers in the same regiment at the 1862 Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.
    Want to dispute the existence and service of Black Confederates? You have to do a LOT better than “I don’t believe it,” unless, of course, you are a liberal or – as many who have posted here – simply hate Southerners.

  20. Of course there were Black Confederates. Southerners, and many Northerners, believed that the Bible taught that blacks were meant to serve whites, mostly from Gen 9:25-27. The Bible also contains a lot of law governing slave ownership, but doesn’t prohibit it anywhere. It stands to reason that at least a few God-fearing, Bible-believing black slaves would accept slavery as God’s will for them.
    There are still people today who hold those old ‘truths’ to be self-evident. We’ve made progress as a nation, but as individuals some of us haven’t budged.

  21. Were there not several cases of Southern Coloured Soldiers whilst fighting north of the Mason-Dixon line who captured
    Union soldiers and then brought them back to their own lines?