Talk:Military history of African Americans in the American Civil War

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Anecdotal section needed for CSA[edit]

I think that it is revisionist to deny that there were black confederates. THERE WERE RECORDED CASES. GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK HEADS. Were there hundreds of thousands? No! To the other side, there weren't whole brigades of black Confederates! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Swampfox18 (talkcontribs) 03:50, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Since there was no organized/authorized use of African-Americans by the CSA in combat until the last few days of the war, and certain editors are determined to imply that there were many before this by using individual anecdotal accounts, perhaps the best solution is to create a subsection for some of the anecdotes, along with the overall context. Red Harvest (talk) 22:33, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like a plan. Sf46 (talk) 23:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Bah. Personally, I think the idea of throwing in anecdotes, even on a separate page, unless minimized by context, still sets up a much larger presence than what actually happened. Though as it stands now it just ruins the flow of the article and looks absurd. SiberioS (talk) 21:47, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Has WP:RS been repealed? It seems like anecdotal information, by defintion, cannot be confirmed by using the usual reliable sources. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 16:40, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I think you misunderstand the purpose. By "anecdotal" I'm referring to the various individual accounts that are verifiable. While there are some documented examples of these individuals they were outside the norm and accepted CSA organization. The point is in keeping scattered accounts of individuals in a section so as not to skew the rest of the article's organizational treatment. Providing a few examples in a separate section shows the exceptional nature rather than the POV push of Black Confederates being common or accepted. If instead we have editors trying to argue examples in every other paragraph throughout the body of the article, the overall context of the examples is soon lost. Red Harvest (talk) 17:29, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Personally I think we should toss the thing, and rewrite it so it deals with the ISSUE of anecdotes, as opposed to being a catchall for whatever random quotes there are available. Especially it should be mentioned the use of body-servants in battle, etc. As it stands now it just reeks of being some sort of political compromise, as opposed to an actual genuine discussion of the use of slaves in military situations. SiberioS (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 19:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not attached to the name of "anecdotes" and I've always felt the section should be limited only to providing a few illustrative examples, not a catch all/catalog. Tossing a subsection dealing with the issue will cause more trouble than it will cure so I oppose doing that. There are too many books, "documentaries", and SCV sites pushing the issue with a decidedly slanted agenda not to address the existence more specifically. As most who have looked at these know there is a great deal of unsupported extrapolation being made by those pushing an agenda of an army or two's worth of Black Confederates. Better to give a few examples of individuals, pre-emptively disarm the faulty arguments, and move on. Having a few well-documented, quality entries for the curious would be better than a hodge-podge spread over many topics and sections. Red Harvest (talk) 02:13, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Treatment of prisoners[edit]

According to Eighty Acres of Hell, a History Channel documentary, the North would kill Confederate black soldiers if they were captured on free soil. One was shot in cold blood as he walked into Camp Douglas. Anybody got a reason why? Blast Ulna (talk) 13:30, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't know, hadn't heard of that. But what you describe sounds like an event (perhaps a single event) at a single camp. If there was a U.S. policy to do this then someone will need to provide it and demonstrate that it was carried out in at least a few instances. Red Harvest (talk) 14:15, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
The documentary stated it was a policy of some sort, Union-wide. I'm not a historian, but the documentary gave this incident fairly heavy weight with quotes from a witness. They used the terms "forfeit" and "free soil" a couple of times. Blast Ulna (talk) 14:35, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
If you can't provide any written evidence of a national policy, then it probably didn't exist. An assertion in a documentary is worthless without being able to tie it to something verifiable. Red Harvest (talk) 15:30, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
This prima facie absurd. First and foremost, there were no "Confederate black soldiers", except as documented on this very page. Second, overwhelmingly the Union Army (as well as the Navy) took in slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation, and even in significant numbers before it was official policy. Even if we presume absolutely no real sympathy for blacks, it was generally thought of in Union circles that depriving slave owners of their slaves was a tactically good thing to do. In fact this is one of the reasons, Sherman, who absolutely detested blacks, generally didn't mind them following his supply trains. SiberioS (talk) 20:01, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Not that this is the place, but I don't recall ever hearing that Sherman had any strong feelings about blacks one way or the other. Blast Ulna (talk) 01:15, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I can't remember where in the Record, and it might be out of it, but theres a significant number of letters and exchanged between Stanton and Sherman about his lack of use of Colored Troops, and his general dislike of blacks during his March to the Sea. SiberioS (talk) 02:55, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I've read the same appraisal of Sherman in multiple sources. This was actually very normal for many midwestern or border state officers and soldiers, especially since many had mixed Southern backgrounds or marriages. The irony is that Sherman was fond of the South (and it of him until the war.) Red Harvest (talk) 04:08, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
The claim is apparently based on something in Levy's book To Die in Chicago. (I haven't read it.) I haven't seen any academic reviews of the book, but one reader review mentioned Levy's tendency to make broader unsupported claims and there was some questioning of how critical his analysis of some sources was. The information Levy uncovered for the book is undoubtedly useful, but assertions such as the documentary made from it are most likely specious. The problem here appears to be taking one apparently isolated (and perhaps even disputed) event and construing it into a national policy. If someone has the book and wants to drill down to particulars in the notes, then we can see if there is any substance to it. So far it isn't passing a sniff test. Red Harvest (talk) 20:21, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I was suspicious of the claim. At other times the documentary alludes to a set of interviews made about 30 years after the civil war, so it is possible the interviewees were contaminated. In the same documentary, they say that during one prisoner exchange, two confederate black soldiers opted to return to the south, two joined the union army, two opted to become civilians and one was unaccounted for. Blast Ulna (talk) 01:12, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Photo of unkown origin...[edit]

We argued about that photo before, previously, and we know next to nothing about the circumstances let alone the provenance of that photo. In fact, there is nothing that states that it IS in fact a Confederate uniform, though you presume as much because its "Grey" (though its a black and white photograph) and the fact that its bandied around as such by others.

I noticed that a fact was added in pointing out that the Louisiana black militia was an example of the first African American officer's in ALL of North America, which seems kind of a dumb statement, since if there WERE black officers in other countries (notably Haiti) they wouldn't be included because their not American. The source for the line is also less than rigorous, and I'm going to have to go searching around to see whether it really IS the first example of African American officer's. SiberioS (talk) 05:27, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Thus again proving that I am the only one who actually does the research to prove other peoples points, that photo is in fact, a photo of a bodyservant to a Confederate soldier. I found the photo in a book while researching some things in a library, and noted that its original source evidently is from the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. I'm going to use it in a section about the use of bodyservants in the war. SiberioS (talk) 01:52, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Good on you, Siberio. Sf46 (talk) 02:42, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Military History Assessment[edit]

Assessed as Start class. There are still several areas that need citations. Also, the wording in several passages is awkward. I also feel several areas could be expanded. --dashiellx (talk) 11:30, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the above assessment, but would like to add that I feel the article is very close to a B class - in fact it could probably be taken higher if someone were willing to nominate it and then work through with the review team. A lot of work has clearly gone into this article, although I have the following suggestions for improvement:
  • Create separate Notes and References sections - the Notes section can be used for the in-line citations (using Author, Year and page format e.g. Rupert 2008, p. 1 or a variation of that if you prefer something different) and the References section can provide the full bibliographic details of the works cited;
  • Add in the final couple of citations where the citations needed tags have been added;
  • Copy edit the text for any grammatical errors or sentences that are a bit clumsy. I would suggest possibly rewriting the introduction as (my opinion only) it does not seem to convey the meaning that the article has;
  • Expand a couple of sections - particularly the African American Contributions to Union Intelligence and Union Relief Workers sections.
Please do not take these suggestions as a criticism of the work done so far, which seems to me to have been quite substanial. As I said above, I think that the article could go to at least a GA or an A if someone were willing to nominate it and then work through with the reviewers. If you would like to do this, I suggest submitting it for peer review first. This can be done by going to WP:MHPR. Hope this helps. AustralianRupert (talk) 02:59, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
It's a shame no one has picked up after all the work I did. I was always kind of proud how I was able to write most of this article while also constantly coming under fire for stuff about "Black Confederates", and was greatly aided by a number of great books that came out at the time about the topic. If I ever find myself with free time on my hands I'll try to at the very least clean up the references and add additional information on the naval use of African American's. SiberioS (talk) 20:32, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

The Black Confederate Conundrum[edit]

I think the article needs to talk more about Black Confederates. To many people, it is surprising that not all blacks were Union Soldiers, and not all Confederate blacks were slaves. There were several blacks who fought in the war as freedmen. To Quote "These Black Confederates included both slave and free. The Confederate Congress did not approve blacks to be officially enlisted as soldiers (except as musicians), until late in the war. But in the ranks it was a different story. Many Confederate officers did not obey the mandates of politicians, they frequently enlisted blacks with the simple criteria, "Will you fight?" Historian Ervin Jordan, explains that "biracial units" were frequently organized "by local Confederate and State militia Commanders in response to immediate threats in the form of Union raids". Dr. Leonard Haynes, an African-American professor at Southern University, stated, "When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you've eliminated the history of the South."' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Union Army[edit]

In the Union Army section of African Americans in the American Civil War, it addresses the casualty rates of African Americans compared to whites. It states that the mortality rates of African Americans were much higher than that of the white soldiers. A question that I had was what was the reason for this. Were black soldiers sent out first so that the generals had an idea of what they were up against? Were the military leaders less inclined to send out their white soldiers to die because they felt that they were more important? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bblack283 (talkcontribs) 01:15, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Racist Article[edit]

This is a very racist article, I believe it should be deleted immidiately. If there is a page for African-Americans role in the Civil War why isn't there a page for European-Americans role in the Civil War???--Collingwood26 (talk) 08:22, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. Scroll down to the bottom of each article, there are lists for further reading. At American Civil War, the section See also shows the following which may be of interest -- it reads in part,
Generally throwing around epithets is frowned on among Wikipedians, because we are trying to establish a collegial, collaborative community of editors for an encyclopedia dedicated to a general international readership, and so we don't like to call one another names. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:37, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Interpretation of William C. Davis Info[edit]

I corrected several apparently good faith edits by an IP. The edits confused actions and reactions to two separate events -- the 1864 legislation allowing for the use of slaves for labor purposes and the 1865 act allowing blacks to be recruited as soldiers. Also, Jefferson Davis' rationalization for the use of black slaves was not consistent with what William C. Davis actually said. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 21:04, 17 November 2013 (UTC)


I fixed a misspelling of Harriet Tubman this article was very useful though

Whipped Peter/slave[edit]

For more information, see talk on the image's page. The image description used in this and other pages is highly variable. The person in the image probably deserves a page just trying to sort out the sources. I have asked administrator Howcheng to take a look at it, but have heard nothing so far. What I've gathered from some previews of a few texts, etc. is that multiple contemporary stories were written of Peter (also listed with surname of Gordon) that differ substantially. One of those stories is that he enlisted in the Union Army. I do not know if that has been verified. Indications are that he was from a 1,000 acre or so Washington, LA plantation owned by Capt. John Lyons. I've updated the caption to reflect that, although the image description page that I cannot edit still contains the dubious Mississippi origin. Red Harvest (talk) 18:00, 23 June 2014 (UTC)