A lie which will not die
Our ancestors did not fight for
Jefferson Davis (1808-1899), president of the Confederacy, made a statement that may have colored the views of his men in the field. On Dec. 23, 1862, he had words for Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler (1818-1893), who was in command of the Union troops in New Orleans and had armed his black soldiers.
Said Davis: "All commissioned officers in the command of Benjamin F. Butler are not declared entitled to be considered as soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers, and criminals, deserving death; and that they, each of them, be whenever captured, reserved for execution."
He further stated that private soldiers and noncommissioned officers be considered regular prisoners of war. He said that all captured slaves be delivered to the authority of the state in which they lived. Often that did not happen.
Some commanders in the field did things their own way. Col. James S. Brisbin reported that, when he and his troops left Bean Station, Tenn., in the winter of 1864 to destroy the salt works in Virginia, Confederate troops followed them, captured lagging soldiers and butchered them.
Said he: "For the last two days a force of Confederate cavalry, under Witcher, had been following our command and picking up stragglers and worn out horses in the rear. Part of our troops were Negroes and those Confederates killed them as fast as they caught them, laying the dead bodies by the roadside with pieces of paper pinned to their clothing 'this is the way we treat all (n - - - - -) soldiers who fight against the south.' We did not know what had been going on in our rear until we turned about to go back to Wytheville."
Many captured black Union soldiers were hanged, buried alive, put before a firing squad, nailed by their hands to posts or locked in barns and burned alive. Indeed, a few black Rebels carried weapons, but they were not issued by their government.
In fact, the Confederate government began debating whether to arm black soldiers in December 1864 to reinforce their depleted ranks. Even Gen. Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of Confederate forces, favored arming black Rebels.
Many members of Confederate Congress denounced Lee for his views and on Feb. 9, 1865, voted down a resolution that would have freed 200,000 slaves and put them in the army. The Confederate Senate continued to postpone or defeat the proposal until it finally approved it on March 9, 1865. It was too late. Lee surrendered April 9, 1865, exactly one month later.
I don't know why the Civil War was fought, and I won't offer any guesses. I don't know the real reasons for fighting in Iraq. I do know that we go to fight where our leaders send us. Some of us even believe the attending propaganda. Some slaves did, too.
Yes, there were few free blacks who fought with the South. Maybe they were told that the Yankees had weapons of mass destruction that would disintegrate their shacks, poison their food crops and ruin their cotton fields. Rather than risk being homeless, hungry and naked, they went off to war. Their greatest insult is that Black History Month ignores them?
The Union Army enlisted 179,000 blacks. The Confederacy had ONE company of black troops at the end of the Civil War. The idea that the Confederate forces were integrated in any way shape or form beggers the mind. This was a war or racial subjugation. It would be like looking for the Jewish units who fought for Hitler. They don't exist, nor do organized units which fought for the Confederacy.
The reason this lie has to exist is because without it, all the Confederate kitsch and ancestor worship will be revealed for the racist tribute it really is.
I watched this girl who wanted to attend her prom in a Confederate dress make this very claim. No one wanted to call her a liar who had racial motives. Because racists use this to hide their agenda. If blacks fought to stay slaves it wasn't all that bad. Of course, reality was quite different. Blacks enlisted in massive numbers as soon as the Union would take them. Anything else is fiction.
posted by Steve @ 12:36:00 AM