These men chose not to escape, and while there can be little doubt that these stories convey evidence of strong bonds between owner and slave, the tendency of Lost Causers to frame them around the narrow motif of unwavering loyalty fails to capture other factors that may have influenced their behavior. 06/22/2015 08:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017. Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery. The following quotations, taken from letters, diary entries, and contemporary newspaper interviews with white Union soldiers, reveal the attitudes of those who viewed slavery … Chapter 2 looks at race, social class and the Confederate soldier. Letters to the Editor ... tell the complete story of the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers who fought in it and the central issue that provoked it, which was human bondage. Mosby claimed he hated slavery and was not responsible for the political merits of the cause. Lee went on the offensive for the following two days but failed to crack the Union defenses. People must be judged by the standard of their own age. Christian quotes what the Old Virginians – said against slavery. Headquarters: The Confederate flag is displayed prominently near the South Carolina statehouse, evoked in multiple Southern state flags, flown in frontyards, on T-shirts and off pickup trucks. As Confederate President Jefferson Davis languished in prison, his former cabinet members dispersed to their homes in defeat. On the Northern side, the rose-colored myth of the Civil War is … Today some of these stories pulled from the historical record can be found on hundreds of websites, not as the stories of enslaved men, but as black Confederate soldiers. According to Christian the Virginia people were the abolitionists & the Northern people were pro-slavery. . Confederate Leaders Were Totally Clear On This. Historians can piece together what the battle was like by reviewing such documents, and gather an understanding of how soldiers up and down the chain of command viewed their world, including the role of enslaved labor in their lives. This mythical narrative, which dates only to the mid-1970s, would be completely unrecognizable to the enlisted men and officers in the Army of Northern Virginia. For real Confederates from Robert E. Lee on down, camp slaves and other enslaved workers—the entire institution of slavery, really—were crucial to the ultimate success of the army in the field and the Confederate insurgency as a whole. After the war, Mosby befriended General Ulysses S. Grant and joined the Republican Party, but firmly stated, "I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery – a soldier fights for his country – right or wrong – he is not responsible for the political merits of the course he fights in . The battle that commenced west and north of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, expanded gradually as the two armies shifted units along the roads leading to the small town. For one major from South Carolina, his war ended along the difficult retreat route from Gettysburg, forcing his servant to take steps to properly bury the body. As the Confederate army reorganized in the weeks following the campaign, the thin ranks of many regiments were magnified by the absence of its enslaved. To some, the monument represents slavery. Newspapers and magazines in the South touted the “loyalty” of slaves towards their masters, supported with letters from soldiers serving in the southern armies. Camp slaves like Moses who, for whatever reason, were committed to their owners made do with the limited resources available and resigned themselves in the end to passing on their owners’ parting words to their grieving families. The Union went to war to end slavery. These primary source accounts, in the form of letters and diaries, detail how camp slaves remained in the rear, prepared to perform various support roles. However, less than 3% of the county population owned slaves and the removal advocates have yet to produce a list of slave owner soldiers… The Army of Northern Virginia’s ability to safely cross the Potomac with the Union army in pursuit depended in large part on camp slaves, who cared for their wounded owners, and the great numbers of enslaved workers assigned to ordnance trains, wagons and ambulances, all of which extended for miles. Mosby claimed that he was proud to fight for the Confederacy—“a soldier fights for his country. As their shattered command fell back following their repulse, scores of camp slaves made their way out from the cover and protection of the woods in search of their owners and to assist the wounded. Free African-Americans and fugitive slaves in Adams County (including Gettysburg) and surrounding counties fled with the news of Lee’s advance. The regiment’s quartermaster reassured the family that the colonel’s items, including spyglasses, watch, toothbrush, and various memoranda books plus $59, were all safe under Kincien’s care. “Hidden property” served as a reference to the escaped slaves already living in southern Pennsylvania; orders had been handed down throughout the Confederate army to capture and return this “property” to the South. Ask Hugh if he has been circumcised. It was our inheritance – Neither am I ashamed that my ancestors were pirates & cattle thieves. As one might expect, a much higher percentage of soldiers from slaveholding families than from nonslaveholding families expressed such a … One Confederate soldier wrote of the slaves during the Gettysburg Campaign, “…they preferred life and slavery in Dixie to liberty at the north”. ( To paraphrase James McPherson , they felt no need to state the obvious.) More important than the transportation of personal possessions, however, Dave also conveyed the final thoughts of his master to loved ones. or Smithsonian Institution. Confederate nationalist sentiments, as depicted by McPherson, did arise in Hoyle’s letters but they proved to be secondary motivations for Hoyle’s continued efforts for the Confederate army. Mosby claimed that he was proud to fight for the Confederacy—“a soldier fights for his country. not be secure under Lincoln. Drawing on thousands of letters and diaries in archives across the United States, she demonstrates that Confederate and Union soldiers identified slavery and … Carter wanted it known that “he was willing to die” and that he “talked to the clergyman about dying . A letter from Confederate soldier Edwin Kerrison to his sister about his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 7, 1863. Write an argument countering Mosby’s philosophy. The soldiers themselves were glued to this issue. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. One day in January, a few years before the Civil War, Robert E. Lee wrote to The New York Times, seeking a correction. Continue Moses then followed a Confederate brigade back to Winchester, Virginia, before heading home with his owner’s personal effects to Swainsboro, Georgia. . ... reminder of America's history of slavery and racial oppression. More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War, scores of websites, articles, and organizations repeat claims that anywhere between 500 and 100,000 free and enslaved African Americans fought willingly as soldiers in the Confederate army. Letters by Hoyle in the 55th Regiment will provide evidence for the claim that these overarching motivations did not always provide personal motivation to soldiers in the Confederate Army. New York, NY 10036, Our Collection: While no known evidence exists that the army’s slaves assisted in kidnapping of roughly 100 men from towns such as Chambersburg, McConnellsburg, Mercersburg and Greencastle on the eve of the famous battle, it is very likely that those ensnared and led south would have passed camp servants and other slaves whose essential presence in the army helped to make their capture possible. To help block an attempted Union advance, the Confederate command moved men through Virginia, with Centreville the collecting point. Located on the lower level of the New-York Historical Society, Located on the lower level of the New-York Historical Society, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. . In the wake of Reconstruction a growing number of southerners began to argue that protecting slavery had not been the real cause of the war, and some even claimed that slavery was in fact a just institution. South Carolina ought to know what was the cause for her seceding. South Carolinians in Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s First Corps witnessed the women of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, appeal to their enslaved servants to run off and seize their freedom. Lieutenant Sidney Carter’s wounding at Gettysburg cut his life short, but before his death he requested that his camp slave, Dave, “take everything he had and bring it home,” where each item would be offered as a parting gift to his family members. One Civil War historian noted that the word coffee was used more often in Civil War soldiers’ diaries and letters home than words like ‘war,’ ‘slavery,’ or ‘Lincoln.’ Union soldiers remarked on how often they made coffee, and Confederate soldiers commented on the lack of coffee, discussing and inventing recipes with odd substitutions in order to simulate the taste. Give a Gift. More than 150 years after they were written, letters home by three Civil War soldiers from a Dedham family have been transcribed for the Dedham Historical Society & Museum and … Privacy Statement A letter to home will often include a passage that says, "Brother A says to say, 'X, Y, Z'" With Civil War soldier's letters the vagaries of letter survival can skew our picture a little bit. 170 Central Park West There is also evidence of the hostility Confederate soldiers and civilians had for runaway slaves and blacks in Union uniform. Cookie Policy Mosby expressed a complex and fascinating set of beliefs about the Civil War at a time when its history was just beginning to be written. New York, NY 10024 To what extent are John Mosby’s comments hypocritical in view of his defense of slave ownership by his family? “Joe enters into the invasion with much gusto,” he noted, “and is quite active in looking up hidden property.”. In fact, only 20 percent of the sample of 429 Southern soldiers explicitly voiced proslavery convictions in their letters or diaries. Confederates emphasized negative aspects of the transition from slavery to freedom in discussions with their slaves and in letters and conversations during the period. Edwin Kerrison fought for the Confederate Army for the Second South Carolina Infantry (also known as the Second Palmetto Regiment), Company I (from Charleston). Lee’s failure to dislodge the Union army from its position led him to order one final assault on the afternoon of July 3, utilizing the men under the command of Generals George Pickett and James Johnston Pettigrew. The Proclamation, in effect, turned Union armies into armies of liberation, functioning as a funnel through which newly freed men could enlist in one of the black regiments that were filling up quickly throughout the North as well as in occupied parts of the Confederacy. He says slavery was "a patriarchal" institution – So were polygamy & circumcision. Descendants of the original Confederados tend to play down their ancestors’ ties to slavery. The following letter from a Confederate army soldier reflects the attitude prevailing in the ranks of the South before these two great armies clashed, marking the beginning of great battles to be fought in Virginia. California Do Not Sell My Info Failing this he “directed some negroes to go and gather” items that “might improve our comfort.” Matt Butler, assistant surgeon of the 37th Virginia, had a horse shot out from under him and was wounded in the foot on July 2 as he tended to fallen Confederates. Conversely, the Proclamation highlighted even further the degree to which the Confederate Army represented a force of enslavement. With the news quickly filtered through Confederate ranks and was ruinous by any standard heaven. Think as badly of slavery today of black men marching with Confederates the. 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