Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

120 Years of Black Confederates

Posted in African Americans, Memory by Andy Hall on March 22, 2011

The existence of black Confederate soldiers has been asserted — and flatly refuted — longer than I’d imagined. From the St. Louis Republic, August 16, 1891:

On the much disputed question as to whether the South ever enlisted negro [sic.] soldiers, General Shelby writes to a friend denying that it was ever done. He himself, he says, solicited General Kirby Smith to allow him to enlist 10,000 negroes and move into Kansas, but General Smith’s reply was, “No; we will win or go to the grave before we enlist the negro.” “I thought it was a mistake,” says General Shelby, “in our leaders not placing blacks in the field, nor have I changed my opinion.”

I’ve said it before: real Confederates didn’t know about black Confederates.

Image: Joseph O. Shelby, via the Mid-Missouri Civil War Roundtable.