Sunday, August 9, 2009

Black Confederates

Walter Williams

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 nigger." 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.
by Walter Williams

Sons of Confederate Veterans reunion to be held in Murfreesboro

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited to announce that the 2012 Sons of Confederate Veterans National Reunion will be held in Murfreesboro.

Capturing this event is a great accomplishment for the city, as Murfreesboro was up against stiff competition with Civil War-entrenched Richmond, VA—among other cities—to play host to the event, which brings in around 500 registered SCV members plus their families.

The dates of the 2012 reunion in Murfreesboro will be July 11-15 and the event will fall on the sesquicentennial—or 150th —anniversary year of the Battle of Murfreesboro as well as the exact anniversary date of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Murfreesboro raid and his birthday.

"For several years, Murfreesboro SCV Camp # 33 had looked at the sesquicentennial years of the ‘War Between the States,’ especially the Battle of Murfreesboro and Forrest's Raid, as an opportunity to commemorate those two great battles,” said James G. Patterson, Adjutant. “Winning the bid for the 2012 SCV reunion is a significant victory.”

Stones River National Battlefield, Oaklands Historic House Museum, the Sam Davis Home and other sites will help make this event a glowing success. Hosting a reunion during one of the sesquicentennial years is a prized time for commemorating the “War Between the States” and SCV expects record-breaking attendance.

Murfreesboro-based Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #33 worked with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Mayor Bragg and County Mayor Burgess to attract the SCV reunion to Murfreesboro.

In February, Camp #33 placed a bid for the 2012 SCV National Reunion to be held in Murfreesboro. Camp Convention Chairman James G. Patterson made a presentation in the spring of 2009 at the SCV Time and Place meeting in Columbia, Tennessee at the SCV National Headquarters—Elm Springs.

Also at Elm Springs for the presentation were: Mona Herring, Vice President, Convention and Visitors Bureau; Barbara Wolke, Director of Group Sales, Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sheron Clifton, Senior Sales Manager, Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center; Dr. Steve Murphree, Camp #33; Ashley McCrary, Camp #33; Wayne Wilson, Camp #33; Brian Corley, Camp #33; Mike Puckett, Camp #33.

The Time and Place committee made a recommendation to the General Executive Council that Murfreesboro be the site of the 2012 SCV National Reunion. Camp #33 members were told that Murfreesboro’s presentation was the most well-organized the Council has seen in many years.

Camp #33 then made a presentation at the 2009 SCV National Reunion in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Richmond members also made a final attempt to secure the 2012 reunion. Murfreesboro won the bid with only one descending vote from the 500 delegates.

There has never been an SCV National Reunion in Murfreesboro, although Richmond has hosted nine reunions over the past 114 years. With Richmond being the Capitol of the Confederacy and the site of many battles, it was an enormous victory for Murfreesboro to win the bid.

“Hosting this will help establish Rutherford County as a Civil War destination within the SCV organization and it should bring other Civil War-related groups to our community,” said Patterson.

National membership in the SCV is around 30,000 members and Murfreesboro Camp #33 has 165 members and is the third largest camp in the state. Camp #33 also celebrated the 30th anniversary of their charter last year.

The SCV was founded in 1896 and is the predecessor of the United Confederate Veterans which was a veterans’ organization for the surviving Confederate soldiers. Membership to the SCV requires a direct descendant link to a Confederate soldier.