Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Dead Confederates Blog, Now Cited by VDARE. . . .

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on November 1, 2020

Recently I discovered that one of my old blog posts about Frederick Douglass was cited by a fellow named Mike Scruggs, writing at VDARE. Scrugg’s short essay was a pastiche of tired and mostly-debunked tropes about Black Confederates, and the post he cited (and linked to) was one of mine that discussed Douglass’ well-known assertion from September 1861 that there were Black soldiers, “having muskets on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down loyal troops,” in the Confederate army at the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run. More specifically, my post discussed likely sources for Douglass’ claim, tracing fragmentary reports from the battlefield through nearly a dozen northern newspapers, with new details and embellishments added with each reprinting, until it appeared in at least two newspapers that Douglass likely would have read at home in Rochester, New York, including Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune. Douglass was a wise and judicious man, but at the end of the day he was just as dependent on the contemporary press for his knowledge of current events as we are now. My essay was not just showing that Douglass was wrong on the facts, but explaining in detail how his error most likely came about.

VDARE is a white identity/white nationalist organization; its name comes from Virginia Dare, reputed to be the first English child born in what later became the United States. Scruggs’ essay isn’t even really about events that happened in 1861-65; it is, like so many other shouty, shallow claims about Black Confederates, simply another shot in the modern political- and cultural wars, as reflected in Scruggs’ title, “Hey, BLM—Why Didn’t Robert E. Lee’s Black Teamsters Desert After Gettysburg?” Scruggs’ Black Confederate narrative is, like most others, an attempt to whitewash the odium of chattel bondage from the history of the Confederate cause. Scruggs is using, as many others have before him, Frederick Douglass as a sort of rhetorical human shield to defend the Confederacy. One wonders if Scruggs has ever actually read much of Douglass’ writing, apart from what he’s seen on various butternut blogs and Facebook pages. (I think I know the answer to that one.)


The VDARE website thrives of white grievance, just as much of the Confederate Heritage™ movement does. Some of VDARE’s most popular article tags (see below) are “Anti-White Hates Crimes,” “War on Christmas,” “White Guy Loses His Job,” “Immigrant Mass Murder,”and “Camp of the Saints,” an infamous 1973 French dystopian novel about swarms of brown-skinned immigrants overwhelming Western Europe, that has become a literary touchstone for white identity movements, much as The Turner Diaries were for American militia groups thirty years ago.

Maybe I should be annoyed that this blog should be cited on VDARE, but mostly I’m amused – amused at the ineptitude of folks like Scruggs who, it seems, linked the first article he found that included the Douglass quote about Black Confederates, and never bothered to read the piece. Or maybe he did, and figured his own readers were too lazy or incurious to click through and read it for themselves. Both those things may be true.

Maybe I should add a tagline here, “as cited by VDARE!” Or not.

You can find Scruggs’ essay here (no, I’m not linking directly):
https://vdare-dot-com/articles/hey-blm-why-didn-t-robert-e-lee-s-black-teamsters-desert-after-gettysburg

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7 Responses

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  1. kbrown2225 said, on November 1, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    At least these bozos once again prove that they are absolute amateurs when it comes to the actual work of being historians! It is the thing that consistently trips them up.

  2. J. B. Richman said, on November 2, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    There is the other legend of Virginia Dare and the Roanoke Colonists, that they merged with the locals to become the ancestors of the Lumbee tribe. That’s the one I am familiar with. That one at least has some plausibility. American Indian ancestry in white Americans and European ancestry in American Indians are both extremely common. The virginal Virginia Dare legend these folks came up with is pretty much in the space aliens category of weird.

    • Andy Hall said, on November 4, 2020 at 10:25 am

      True enough, but the actual history there isn’t important to them; the legend of Virginia Dare is, as a symbol.

  3. Neil Hamilton said, on November 3, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Andy,

    The link to your article by Scruggs seems more like an act of desperation rather than any serious attempt at research. It remind me of that saying, “Like a drowning man catching at straws.” Scruggs should have realized that your article gave him nothing to hold onto when trying to float his own agenda.

    Sincerely,

    Neil

    • Andy Hall said, on November 4, 2020 at 10:30 am

      None of it is serious as a matter of history; it’s example No. 3,284 of throwing out assertions about “Black Confederates” as a deflection from moral onus of slavery. He even cites the late Hervey Anthony as an authority on the numbers of Black Confederates, a convicted con man who never claimed to to have done any research himself.

  4. J.B. Richman said, on November 5, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    An early advocate (and a lonely on at the time) of giving credit to the slaves for their service to the Confederacy was Helen Dortch Longstreet. From historynet.com:

    “Throughout her life, Dortch was active in environmental and political causes big and small. In 1910, she was founder of a movement to erect a monument to the slaves of the Confederacy—a long-shot effort if there ever was one. In an eloquent speech, she said:

    “I shall pray that I may live to see a monument at every capital in the south to the slaves of the confederacy. They wrote a story of devotion and loyalty that has no parallel in the history of man. While their masters were engaged in that struggle, the results of which would leave a helpless race free or in shackles, they worked for, guarded and defended the children of the confederacy with a fidelity that should be recorded in letters of gold across the bosom of stars.”

    Not surprisingly, the monument was never built.”

    Has Mrs Longstreet been quoted in this latest campaign to defend the Confederacy, or are she and her husband still the favorite scapegoats of neoconfederates everywhere?

  5. Pat Young said, on November 7, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    I once had dinner with the founder of VDARE Peter Brimelow who described himself as having behind him “men with sharp teeth and long nails.” Really creepy.


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