Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Ted Alexander’s “A Regular Slave Hunt”

Posted in African Americans by Andy Hall on July 2, 2013


One of the important secondary works on the abuse and and seizure of African Americans by the Confederate Army during the Gettysburg campaign is Ted Alexander’s 2001 North & South article, “A Regular Slave Hunt: The Army of Northern Virginia and Black Civilians in the Gettysburg Campaign.” It’s a little difficult to find, but if you haven’t read it, you really should.



7 Responses

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  1. Donald R. Shaffer said, on July 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Andy. Much appreciated.

  2. Clarissa said, on July 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Another article on the identical the identical subject? How about an article regarding union troops hunting down slaves (many of whom feld to the woods-citizens were genuinely shocked to see an Army being used this way) and forcibly conscripting them? From the OR:

    “…on some plantations the wailing and screaming were loud and (the black) women would throw themselves in despair on the ground. On some plantations the people TOOK TO THE WOODS and were HUNTED UP by the soldiers…”

    Sound just like Pennsylvannia. How about it, can you dig up a full length article for us?

  3. BorderRuffian said, on July 3, 2013 at 8:13 am

    “How about an article regarding union troops hunting down slaves (many of whom feld to the woods-citizens were genuinely shocked to see an Army being used this way) and forcibly conscripting them?”


    What you say in is very true but the current academic field has a purpose. What you suggest would not serve.


    “….it is the intention of the Secretary of War that all able-bodied negroes that can be reached shall be taken to fill up the colored regiments.

    At the same time it is desirable that we should make a wide distinction between the Southern citizens who have been loyal and those who have not; also a distinction between those who have not been loyal, but now express a voluntary willingness to return to their allegiance and employ their negroes in accordance with existing orders, and those who hold out in their acknowledgment of a Southern Confederacy. I would lay down, then, as a rule, that negroes who have belonged to persons of known loyalty only be recruited as free white persons are; that is, when they come and offer themselves. Of the second class they may be visited by recruiting officers and the option given them to enlist, and the able-bodied negroes of the third class of citizens may be taken possession [of] with or without their own consent.

    All negroes who have not been employed in accordance with published orders may be taken to put in the ranks….”

    -Major-General U. S. Grant, August 28, 1863.

    Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 3, Volume 3, p.735

    -So the slave was punished for his master’s “disloyalty.”

  4. Foxessa said, on July 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Yet, over and over and over, whenever they felt they had a chance to get away, the enslaved ran away from that beneficent condition of being owned by southerners, and ran to the Brits in the War of Independence and the War of 1812, to the Union army from 1861 on.

    And in between they ran to marronage in the Floridas before they became part of the USA, they ran to free states in the north, they ran to Texas when it was still Mexican territory, where slavery was abolished.

    Why did they do these terrible things to themselves?

  5. Clarissa said, on July 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “Owned by Southerners”. A very curious phrase indeed. Does the concept of guilt implicit in that phrase extend to the arfrican-American Southerners who were also slave owners? Do the guilty include the slave owners in Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, West Virginia, and Maryland who fought for the Union? Do the guilty include the notorious northern salve-traders? Do the guilty include the northerners and foreigners who greedily consumed all the products of slave labor? And finally, does the guilt extend to the ruthless african kings and tribal leaders who happily sold, for pure profit, their fellow africans into bondage?

  6. H. E. Parmer said, on July 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    But, in the “They Constitute a Privileged Class” thread, didn’t you argue at length that slavery was a pretty good deal for the slaves?

    So where’s the guilt? Weren’t those greedy consumers simply supporting them in useful, satisfying work? And weren’t those ruthless African kings and tribal leaders performing a humanitarian service by sending their less fortunate where they could be assured of clothing, housing, medical care, a steady job, and (second-class, anyway) Christianization?

    Obviously, you must feel there is something guilt-worthy about slavery, or you wouldn’t have been so offended by the perceived implication it was a purely Southern phenomenon. And then try to diffuse the guilt — a rhetorical tactic, incidentally, which most of us give up at least by the time we’ve reached our majority. Yes, all those people bore some degree of responsibility, but you can’t argue they were all equally guilty.

    “[O]wnership by southerners” may not be precise enough for you, but as a rough approximation there’s a good deal of truth to it. Looking at any individual runaway, I imagine there would be a high degree of probability they had belonged to someone who either resided in or came from the South. Not every one, maybe, but surely enough to make it a pretty safe bet.

    My impression of most of the people who hang out here is that few if any of them are either naïve or ignorant enough to believe the North was or is racism-free, or that the Union’s policies were always fair and the men who carried them out angelic. But keep flogging that dead horse, if it makes you feel better.

    Btw, your deliberate — three times in less than a hundred words is not a mistake — refusal to capitalize “Africa” or “African” speaks volumes. You did get the states right, but why should “Southerner” be capitalized when “northerner” isn’t? I think I see a pattern here …

    • Clarissa said, on July 6, 2013 at 12:23 am

      In reply:

      1. No guilt whatsoever. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. The comments were, quite obviously, in response to the clear implication that there should be guilt. And if there should be guilt, then in no way is it honest or proper to limit that guilt to Southerners. All who profited by, or helped sustain the institution, were equally guilty. Even Lincoln explicitly said as much..

      2. At the risk of redundancy, (although still following your points) “Ownership by Southerners” is in fact, not even close to a rough approximation. Especially where the trans-Atlantic slave trade is concerned. How do you think all those slaves got here anyway?

      3. My impression is quite the opposite. Indeed, my observations convince me that not only are most posters completely unaware of the shocking and hateful depths of northern racism, but also that most posters are still trying to persuade themselves that 4 million slaves somehow magically appeared in the Confederate States in 1860.

      4. Sometimes the raw hypocrisy of the Lincolnites becomes almost comical. You seem to think that my refusal to capitalize “Africa” or African” is somehow sinister and malevolent. Yet I notice you offer no similar criticism regarding the other posters’ refusal to capitalize “Southerner” Does that refusal “speak volumes” too?

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