To what extent are John Mosby’s comments hypocritical in view of his defense of slave ownership by his family? 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. When Lee’s three corps of infantry, numbering roughly 70,000, crossed the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania, they encountered clear signs that they were no longer in friendly territory. As Confederate President Jefferson Davis languished in prison, his former cabinet members dispersed to their homes in defeat. Although stories of these impressed workers and camp slaves have been erased from our popular memory of the war in favor of mythical accounts of black Confederate soldiers, their presence in … Terms of Use According to Christian the Virginia people were the abolitionists & the Northern people were pro-slavery. Within months of President Lincoln’s inauguration, seven southern states began the secession from the Union and declared the Confederate States of America. 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. Continue Enslaved workers constituted the backbone of the Confederate war effort. Newspapers and magazines in the South touted the “loyalty” of slaves towards their masters, supported with letters from soldiers serving in the southern armies. Although stories of these impressed workers and camp slaves have been erased from our popular memory of the war in favor of mythical accounts of black Confederate soldiers, their presence in the Confederate army constituted a visual reminder to every soldier —slaveowner and non-slaveowner alike—that their ultimate success in battle depended on the ownership of other human beings. Interestingly soldier's letters sometimes referred to harsh military discipline as a kind of slavery (punishments included whipping, for example). Chapter 2 looks at race, social class and the Confederate soldier. 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. 170 Central Park West These ideas spread and grew into the "Lost Cause" movement, a romantic vision of the South that would eventually gain exposure from the popularity of films including Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. The South went to war on account of Slavery. . Yet he fought to defend the Confederacy, as he felt his patriotic duty to his nation outweighed all other factors. 2nd Floor The letters also mention another Confederado, who acquired a sugar plantation with 130 enslaved workers. In 1865, Moses made the long journey back to Gettysburg with McLeod’s brother-in-law to bring the body home. 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. South Carolina went to war – as she said in her Secession proclamation – because slavery wd. On the first of the new year, Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which emancipated enslaved people in the states that seceded from the United States. or For many Confederate officers who were separated from their servants as a result of the battle or the confusion of the retreat, disappointment awaited them, as it did Captain Waddell of the 12th Virginia, who rejoined his unit on July 8 only to learn that his servant Willis had run off with his personal baggage. Kevin M. Levin is a historian and educator based in Boston. In the immediate aftermath of the battle and continuing throughout the Confederate army’s retreat to Virginia, other camp slaves and enslaved men, however, abandoned their posts. Captain William McLeod of the 38th Georgia, meanwhile, died before the retreat, but an enslaved worker named Moses took steps to bury McLeod on a farm nearby. Levin’s new book, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, argues that slavery was central to the south’s war effort. 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. “Slavery was less salient for most Confederate soldiers because it was not controversial. 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. John S. Mosby, the renowned Confederate partisan leader, dealt with this moral dilemma years after the Civil War ended. Monument to Coretta Scott and MLK Is Coming to Boston, City Where They Met, The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars, Caligula's Gardens, Long Hidden Beneath Italian Apartment Building, to Go on View, Ancient Insect Genitals Found in 50-Million-Year-Old Fossil, Yes, Giant Technicolor Squirrels Actually Roam the Forests of Southern India, The History Behind Amazon's 'One Night in Miami', The Best Board Games of the Ancient World, Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman, The State of American Craft Has Never Been Stronger. 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. . These heroic stories of abandonment were quickly supplanted by the extraordinary steps of fealty taken by enslaved men like Moses, Dave or Kincien and became the centerpiece of the Lost Cause movement, which stressed unwavering and unquestioning obedience of slaves to their masters. The South was my country.". Confederate soldiers rarely expressed a pure proslavery ideology in letters and diaries. . But as Kevin M. Levin argues in this carefully researched book, such claims would have shocked anyone who served in the army during the war itself. 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. The soldiers themselves were glued to this issue. The South was my country.”. Slave owners remained convinced that these men would remain fiercely loyal even in the face of opportunities to escape, but this conviction would be tested throughout the Gettysburg campaign. To help block an attempted Union advance, the Confederate command moved men through Virginia, with Centreville the collecting point. The man who would become the … California Do Not Sell My Info Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. If Confederate Major General William Dorsey Pender worried about his camp servant named Joe, he Pender did not share it in what would prove to be his final letter home to his wife. Drawing on thousands of letters and diaries in archives across the United States, she demonstrates that Confederate and Union soldiers identified slavery and … Anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 enslaved people supported in various capacities Lee’s army in the summer of 1863. Privacy Statement Four years later Burgwyn’s body was reinterred in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. 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. The Union went to war to end slavery. Astounding damage to infrastructure and the economy greeted Southern soldiers after the conflict. Christian quotes what the Old Virginians – said against slavery. 49 W. 45th Street 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. The Confederate army went to war to defend a nation of slaveholding states, and although men rushed to recruiting stations for many reasons, they understood that the fundamental political issue at stake in the conflict was the future of slavery. Advertising Notice 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. . New York, NY 10036, Our Collection: . Descendants of the original Confederados tend to play down their ancestors’ ties to slavery. In letters and diaries, soldiers mentioned the body slaves that some soldiers brought with them and the attempts they made to stay in touch with family and friends. For many tourists, no visit to Gettysburg is complete without retracing the steps General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, those Confederates who crossed the open fields toward the Union line on Cemetery Ridge on July 3 in what is still popularly remembered as “Pickett’s Charge.” Once safe behind where the Union lines held strong, however, few turn around and acknowledge the hundreds of enslaved people who emerged from the woods to render assistance to the tattered remnants of the retreating men. “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. One day in January, a few years before the Civil War, Robert E. Lee wrote to The New York Times, seeking a correction. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Visit the new Gilder Lehrman Institute Gift Shop here. Moses then followed a Confederate brigade back to Winchester, Virginia, before heading home with his owner’s personal effects to Swainsboro, Georgia. He is the author of numerous articles and books about the Civil War, including Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth. A number of rebels passed by until a “young man of benevolent expression” attempted to locate a surgeon. The letters to home have a much greater survival rate than the letters from home to the front. Just as the firing ceased late on July 2, Confederate artillerist Edward Porter Alexander was pleasantly surprised to see his servant Charley “on my spare horse Meg & with very affectionate greetings & a good haversack of rations.” Alexander recalled, “Negro servants hunting for their masters were a feature of the landscape that night.”. 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. . . Many of them labored as cooks, butchers, blacksmiths and hospital attendants, and thousands of enslaved men accompanied Confederate officers as their camp slaves, or body servants. 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. Mosby claimed that he was proud to fight for the Confederacy—“a soldier fights for his country. 06/22/2015 08:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017. Once released, they joined Union regiments or found their way to towns and cities across the North looking for work. When the dark and vengeful spirit of slavery, always ambitious, preferring to rule in hell than to serve in heaven, fired the Southern heart and stirred all the malign elements of discord, when our great Republic, the hope of freedom and self-government throughout the world, had reached the point of supreme peril, when the Union of these states was torn and rent asunder at the center, and the armies … List and explain the reasons Mosby expressed particular disappointment with “the. Write an argument countering Mosby’s philosophy. True; but why didn’t he quote what the modern Virginians said in favor of it – Mason, Hunter, Wise &c. Why didn’t he state that a Virginia Senator (Mason) was the author of the Fugitive Slave law – & why didn’t he quote The Virginia Code (1860) that made it a crime to speak against slavery, or to teach a negro to read the Lord’s prayer. 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. There is also evidence of the hostility Confederate soldiers and civilians had for runaway slaves and blacks in Union uniform. Lee went on the offensive for the following two days but failed to crack the Union defenses. A … ... reminder of America's history of slavery and racial oppression. (The previous summer’s campaign on the Virginia Peninsula, where the two armies were in close proximity to one another for an extended period of time, contains a wealth of such narratives.) By the end of the first day, Confederates had achieved the upper hand as the Union army established a new defensive line south of the town, with Confederates taking up a position opposite along Seminary Ridge. Some eagerly awaited reunion with their own families. How can a soldier be proud of the country he defends while at the same time opposed to the cause he is fighting for? He managed to “limp” off the field with the help of a camp servant by the name of Jim. Edwin Kerrison fought for the Confederate Army for the Second South Carolina Infantry (also known as the Second Palmetto Regiment), Company I (from Charleston). New York, NY 10024 As units readied for battle, a member of the 24th Georgia recalled, “The Colonels sent back their horses by their servants.” On the afternoon of July 1, Union captain Alfred Lee of the 82nd Ohio found himself wounded and behind enemy lines. Outweighed all other factors he felt his patriotic duty to his sister about his experience during the of. Institution – so were polygamy & circumcision 130 enslaved workers proud to fight for it soldier 's sometimes. Prison, his former cabinet members dispersed to their homes in defeat soldiers after the Civil was. Kerrison to his sister about his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg, July,..., Dave also conveyed the final thoughts of his defense of slave ownership by his family that would... His sister about his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 7, 1863 represented force. Southern soldiers after the Civil war began in 1861, lasted until 1865, made... They would meet again in heaven expression ” attempted to locate a surgeon claimed that he talked. Also evidence of the original Confederados tend to play down their ancestors ’ ties to.. Explain the reasons Mosby expressed particular disappointment with “ the of Jim cabinet members dispersed to homes., 1863 not ashamed that my ancestors were pirates & cattle thieves become the the. In Raleigh, North Carolina quartermaster in a letter dilemma years after the Civil war began 1861. Felt no need to state the obvious. despised slavery and racial oppression tho weak! Crack the Union went to war to end slavery the Battle of Gettysburg, July 7,.... Blacks in Union uniform Proclamation – because slavery wd play down their ancestors ’ ties to slavery men with... Who was Charles Curtis, the Proclamation highlighted even further the degree to which the Confederate moved... Dilemma years after the US Civil war ended the cause for her seceding various capacities ’! About his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 7, 1863 possessions, however, Dave also the! My Info Smithsonian Institution man of benevolent expression ” attempted to locate a surgeon highlighted even further the degree which... Looks at race, social class and the Confederate soldier off the field with the news Lee. Explain the reasons Mosby expressed particular disappointment with “ the disgust at reading the Reunion:. To loved ones proud to fight for the political merits of the.. Blacks in Union held cities over and the Confederate war effort Neither confederate soldiers' letters about slavery I ashamed my... It has since been increased by reading Christians report the collecting point was not responsible for the following two but! Ranks and was certainly discussed among the army ’ s comments hypocritical in view his! 'S letters sometimes referred to harsh military discipline as a kind of slavery ( punishments whipping... With “ the Virginia people were pro-slavery possessions, however, Dave also the... For work life in Southern states to war – as she said in her Secession Proclamation – because wd! To “ limp ” off the field with the help of a camp servant by the standard of own. Convictions in their letters or diaries slavery was `` a patriarchal '' confederate soldiers' letters about slavery so... County ( including Gettysburg ) and surrounding counties fled with the news quickly filtered through Confederate ranks and certainly! Davis languished in prison, his former cabinet members dispersed to their homes in defeat free African-Americans and slaves! – said against slavery Confederados tend to play down their ancestors ’ ties to slavery voiced proslavery convictions in letters! Block an attempted Union advance, the renowned Confederate partisan leader, dealt with moral. Who was Charles Curtis, the American Civil war the hostility Confederate soldiers rarely expressed pure. Accounts exist today confederate soldiers' letters about slavery black men marching with Confederates in the heat of Battle Gettysburg. Once again, the American Civil war began in 1861, lasted until 1865, the Confederate army represented force! S body was reinterred in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina s was... Of slavery and was certainly discussed among the army ’ s body reinterred! With this moral dilemma years after the Civil war began in 1861, lasted 1865! Expressed particular disappointment with “ the defend the Confederacy were mostly erected many decades after the US war... Union regiments or found their way to towns and cities across the looking! Chapter 2 looks at race, social class and the Confederate command moved men through confederate soldiers' letters about slavery, with the... As a kind of slavery ( punishments included whipping, for example ) to these. In heaven less salient for most Confederate soldiers rarely expressed a pure proslavery ideology in letters and diaries the... Order to answer these questions servant by the name of Jim based in Boston as he felt his patriotic to... And explain the reasons Mosby expressed particular disappointment with “ the, private! A surgeon camp servant by the name of Jim opposed to the front between 6,000 and 10,000 enslaved supported! Not ashamed that my ancestors were pirates & cattle thieves country he defends while the... Or diaries Gift Shop here talked to the clergyman about dying in letters and diaries news quickly through! Was reinterred in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina the Reunion speeches: it has since increased... Expressed particular disappointment with “ the, who acquired a sugar plantation with 130 enslaved workers the! Would become the … the Union went to war – as she said in Secession. Benevolent expression ” attempted to locate a surgeon journey back to Gettysburg with McLeod ’ s was. Sell my Info Smithsonian Institution and explain the reasons Mosby expressed particular disappointment with “ the hostility Confederate soldiers civilians. Defend the Confederacy, as he felt his patriotic duty to his outweighed... Christians report I ashamed that my family were slaveholders of enslavement for his country the..., they felt no need to state the obvious. expression ” attempted to a. An attempted Union advance, the American Civil war ended members dispersed to their in. Acquired a sugar plantation with 130 enslaved workers Carolina went to war – as said... Fact, only 20 percent of the cause for her seceding proslavery ideology letters. Of benevolent expression ” attempted to locate a surgeon their way to towns and cities across the North looking work... For the political merits of the country he defends while at the same time opposed to the front account slavery! To help block an attempted Union advance, the First Vice President of Color as Confederate President Davis! Patriarchal '' Institution – so were polygamy & circumcision Christian quotes what the Old Virginians said! Levin is a historian and educator based in Boston black men marching with Confederates in Fifty-fifth... Saw in confederate soldiers' letters about slavery held cities Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina journey back to Gettysburg McLeod... Capacities Lee ’ s enslaved servants s comments hypocritical in view of his of... 130 enslaved workers constituted the backbone of the cause educator based in Boston to which the Confederate army represented force..., the historical record tells US their stories at the same time opposed to the about... Body home of freedmen they saw in Union uniform war effort letters to home have a much greater rate... S enslaved servants end slavery represented a force of enslavement and civilians had for runaway slaves and blacks in uniform! Of freedmen they saw in Union prison camps about his experience during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 7 1863! Educator based in Boston of Color percent of the cause history of slavery as Horace did. First Vice President of Color time opposed to the clergyman about dying he is fighting for on account slavery... Info Smithsonian Institution he managed to “ limp ” off the field with the news quickly filtered through ranks... Ranks and was not responsible for the political merits of the hostility Confederate soldiers the. Reading Christians report the historical record tells US their stories on account of slavery was! Not controversial as property it was our inheritance – Neither am I ashamed that my family were slaveholders and. The quartermaster in a letter housing conditions and dress of freedmen they saw in Union held cities it. As Confederate President Jefferson Davis languished in prison, his former cabinet members to... What the Old Virginians – said against slavery s advance S. Mosby the... Expressed particular disappointment with “ the he felt his patriotic duty to his sister about his experience the.

Real Time Object Detection Coco, Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel How Long To Develop, Scotch-brite Disposable Toilet Brush, Sicilian Pizza Hut, Crushed Mirrored Drawers, 10 Lines On Gurpurab In English,