Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Black Confederates” Jumps the Shark

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on December 20, 2014


The odious Kirk Lyons is tired of the discussion:


There were more than a million Black Confederates if everyone will stop defining the term as an equivalent for “military” service.


He’s right, of course. Confederate Heritage™ is so much easier and satisfying when it’s completely disengaged from those pesky things like definitions and detailed evidence.




7 Responses

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  1. Jimmy Dick said, on December 20, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Notice how they’ve moved from presenting them as armed soldiers fighting for the Confederacy to the much larger “somehow connected to the military effort” as if the ambiguous term will meet their needs? Once again, the magic word CONTEXT gets ignored in their desperate attempt to be seen as legitimate. As the image of a united south gets hammered and shredded via the use of primary sources in the hands of historians, the true cause of the confederates stands very clear.

    Lyons is just doing his usual whitewashing of the past.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Yes, there has been a noticeable shift away from the claims of thousands of African Americans serving as soldiers, in the ranks, to much moire vague and ambiguous claims.

      Lyons gets bonus points for saying this given that his profession, more than any other, resolves around the use of precise and nuanced language.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      The other interesting thing here is that Lyons and other heritage folks will jump at the chance to point out that during the war, the North was full of Democrats, Copperheads, and all sorts of people that opposed the war and Lincoln administration. And as Bill Maher would say, they’re not wrong about that.

      On the other side of the lines, though, everyone is assumed to be “a Confederate,” including about whom we know nothing of their views and who, in fact, were not even considered to be citizens under law.

  2. M.D. Blough said, on December 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Since that it approximately the number of male slaves in the entire US in 1860 regardless of age and whether they were in a rebel state, it appears that Lyons is including every single Black male, regardless of whether slave or free and regardless of age, in the rebel states. Since black service directly to the rebel military/government was by impressment, not by the draft or voluntary enlistment, and work for private entities or individuals which, although performed by slaves, somehow or other aided the war effort such as agriculture was clearly by coercion, this says nothing about the views of blacks, slave or free, about the rebellion. Personally, I’ve never found it incredible that, given the right incentive, i.e., freedom for themselves and their families, that slaves might fight for the rebels. After all, they enlisted in massive numbers for the US when allowed, and, let’s face it, “Fight for us, most of us haven’t actually bought or sold any of you lately.” would not have made an enticing recruitment slogan without the hope of freedom. Lincoln understood that. However, that was the one incentive that the rebels were incapable of giving, even when, at the end, they were desperate. Lee understood the importance of freedom as a recruitment incentive but the version of allowing Blacks in the army that the Confederate Congress produced in its dying days was too watered down to offer this as a meaningful incentive. The whites of the rebellion didn’t give a damn what blacks wanted or thought. The only reason Davis & co was even willing to change course and consider slave enlistment on any terms was sheer desperation. Howell Cobb, on the other hand, recognized and argued that if the Confederacy would publicly acknowledge that slaves could be soldiers the entire rationale supporting secession would be false.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Lyons is known today primarily as a attorney who works on behalf of displays of Confederate symbols and other “heritage” causes. He’s worked hard to re-brand himself, and presenting a picture of white and black southerners fighting the Yankee invader, side-by-side and for a common cause, fits that narrative very well. But that’s the second chapter in his legal career — the first chapter, up until about 1998 when he found H. K. Edgerton to serve as his beard on race, is a lot more revealing.

      • M.D. Blough said, on December 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        Yes, it is a little hard to get around the fact that he was married at the Aryan Nations’ HQ

  3. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on December 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Never let the facts get in the way of the point of view that your livelihood depends on.

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