The Search for Black Confederate Soldiers

     I've only just started looking in earnest for evidence of African-American soldiers in the Confederate army. William Richter(The A to Z of the Civil War and Reconstruction) claims that they were all over the place, but he cites no sources, so forget him.

    Paul Cimbala(The Civil War, pg. 70 and 78) cites what I think is serious evidence, but it is anecdotal, so I'll leave it for later. The only writer I've yet found who refers to documents is Bruce Levine, who cites the Confederacy's "Official Records" regarding the black regiment raised in Louisana.(Levine, Fall of the House of Dixie, pg. 135, note 112). But here we come to a question I should have raised earlier.

      I don't understand why rm says there weren't any African-American soldiers in the Confederacy, but acknowledges the existence of Louisana's Native Guards, who numbered 1500 according to Levine. Some of them(a minority, according to Cimbala) went over to the Union when New Orleans fell, but doesn't this establish that there were a small number of African-American soldiers in the CSA? What we are trying to determine is not whether there were a lot of them, or whether they liked the Confederacy, but whether they existed.

      I'm probably going to have to rely on secondary sources(I'm not going down to Richmond), but I'm going to try to find historians who cite primary sources,(as Cimbala does) so I can direct people to those sources. Quite possibly the only black Confederate soldiers were in New Orleans, but rm and I will keep looking.


    I wish you luck in your continued search for documentation. Here is the story of the Louisiana Native Guard they never saw combat. 

    The actual 1st Louisiana Native Guards,  consisting of Afro-Creoles, was formed of about 1,500 men in April 1861 and was formally accepted as part of the Louisiana militia in May 1862. The Native Guards unit (one of three all-black companies) never saw combat while in Confederate service, and was largely kept at arm’s length by city and state officials; in fact, it often lacked proper uniforms and equipment. “The Confederate authorities,” James Hollandsworth has written, “never intended to use black troops for any mission of real importance. If the Native Guards were good for anything, it was for public display; free blacks fighting for Southern rights made good copy for the newspapers.” The unit apparently was never committed to the Confederate cause, and appears to have disobeyed orders to evacuate New Orleans with other Confederate forces; instead it surrendered to Union troops in April 1862. 

    If you want to call them Confederate troops, feel free. You should also be aware that apologists for the Confederacy use the myth of Black Confederate troops to gain sympathy. One technique they have used is to falsify photographs. One falsified photograph is that of the Louisiana Native Guard. You may have seen the following photograph

    This is supposed to represent the Louisiana Native Guard. In actuality, it is a doctored photo of black Union troops taken in Philadelphia in early 1864.

    The actual photo of Union soldiers is below:

    The photo was taken in Philadelphia in early 1864 and used as a recruitment tool for enlisting black troops

    The recruitment photo is seen below:

    The website pointing out the falsification is at

    Confederate apologists have doctored documents.


    Sorry about the sizing, I'm doing this from an iPad the photo was actually for a recruitment poster for enlisting black soldiers into the Union Army. It has been altered in recent years to trick people into thinking that this was the Native Guard. I don't trust the anecdotal reports because Confederate apologists have altered documents.

    The link for the Native Guard history and faked photo can be found at:

    Sorry again about the photo sizing. The photos appear at the linked site.

    Edit to add:
    I've worked correcting the photos from my laptop. Hopefully the display works

    Yeah, Levine and Cimbala say that they never saw combat. Cibara's anecdotal reports actually came from Union soldiers' memoirs and letters, but I'll concede that witnesses can misconstrue or misremember. Finding documentation will be tough, as Cibala says that officers who enlisted/conscripted blacks were doing it without authorization.

    Don't get mad at me, this is just a thought.

    Caesar and Alexander were heroes. And they had their horses and their dogs.

    And George Washington had his horse and his greatest slave companion.

    These Southern Aristocrats could not exist, they could not succeed without slaves providing them with servitude.

    Slaves ensuring the social structure of the South?

    So Southern leaders needed their slaves, who were not quite human, not quite animals, not quite pets.


    I understand your argument, I think?

    No, when I look at Vessey and others...

    This never happened.

    Besides, it was in March of 1865, when the damnation was just about over, 'the South', whatever the hell that means, legislated that slaves who enlisted in the Confederacy would be 'freed'.

    I do not buy any of this hoopla.


    The Magic Negro willing to sacrifice himself for the white person or white ideal is a common theme in literature and film. The same imagery may be at play in the concept of the loyal back willing to be cannon fodder for Massa. If a true rebel like Denmark Vesey can be documented, why is it so hard to find these Magic Negro Slave Confederate soldiers?


    I spelt Vesey wrong didn't I. Damn and I wrote my own blog about this hero?

    Puff the Magic Dragon and what about the Magic Negro?

    Well said.

    I hereby render unto rmrd (as I have done several times) the Dayly Comment of the Day, for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of rmrd, from ALL OF ME!

    Well said! Thank you.

    Thx for the award.

    I thought that the Confederacy just authorized the drafting of slaves, not that it made them any promise of freedom. But I'm the guy who said that the existence of black Confederate soldiers was "well documented", so I may not be the best authority.

    I got it.

    Now that makes sense. I would believe that.

    I apologize to those who came here earlier and saw blank spaces instead of photographs in my initial post. The above photos document the chicanery that has gone on in attempts to document black Confederate troops. The Louisiana Guard photograph is a fake. The men in the photograph are Union troops, who fought for their freedom. I have no problem if people bring actual Confederate troops to my attention. I recognize that lies are promoted by Confederate apologists, so I remain a skeptic. Good people can be tricked into believing the misinformation about the numbers of black Confederates who fought for the Confederacy without pressure exerted by whites.

    Here is a review of "Confederate Emancipation" by Bruce Levine. It documents that Confederates were unable to conceive of slave soldiers until the last days of the war. No regiment was mustered to fight.

    We an name outfits in the U.S. Colored Troops. We the Lousiana Native Guard that only only didn't fight, they weren't wanted and ran to Union lines against Confederate orders. Slaves may have been forced to fire on Union Troops, but finding black men who willingly fought to the death for Southerners is going to prove to be difficult.

    Edit to add:

    On the other hand Richard Nelson Currents' "Lincoln's Loyalists" documents 100,000 white Southerners who took up arms to fight for the Union

    This source says that "maybe scores" of blacks were in the Confederate army, but "anything beyond that is highly conjectural and suspect" as rm says. It does mention the Louisiana regiment and "maybe one from South Carolina".

    There have been forces at work for a very long time changing our perceptions of the Civil War. We have allowed ourselves to be duped. There remain numerous statues, buildings and roads named after Confederate traitors. We have a U.S. Senate building named after racist and segregationist Richard Russell. We have allowed ourselves to used as fools.

    Edit to add:

    Thanks for the link

    Confederate apologists have had over a century to convince us that the Civil War was about state's rights and not slavery. This was done despite the fact that slavery and the superiority of the white race over the black race was the cornerstone of the reasons the South wanted to leave. Instead of dealing with facts, we have allowed Confederate apologists to divert our attention to other issues.

    If you bring up Southern slavery is the reason the Confederates flags were created you are diverted. First they will argue that the flag you are discussing wasn't the "official" flag, or never flew in an actual battle. This ignores that theta.l were crested in support of slavery. Next you are told you have to criticize the Stars and Stripes for supporting slavery, You ignore that the U.S. flag became the symbol behind freeing the slaves and enlisting former slaves to carry arms and fight for their freedom.

    Next you are told that the Bible says blacks are to be enslaved. When you destroy that meme, you are told that blacks sold blacks into slavery. This attack is geared towards blaming blacks for their own enslavement. It is an attempt to dodge the issue that the white Christians were no better than the heathens the Christians despised. When blaming blacks for their own enslavement fails. They then point out that some blacks owned slaves. This is another attempt to blame blacks for their own enslavement. Some blacks may have bought family members as slaves as the only means of saving those family members. Other black slave-owners may have been just as brutal as the worst white slave-owner. Degenerates exist everywhere, so there were likely brutal black slave-owners. The thing is the brutal black slave owners were trying to be as white as they could so that they were accepted in Southern society. Black slave sellers and slave owners do not serve as a rationale for enslavement of black people. It only shows that degenerates find each other. Black slave sellers found white slave buyers in the same moral mud bath. Similarly, black slave-owners could be accepted by the other amoral people in white society.

    When the previous methods fail to convince people that Confederate society was honorable, they then argue State's Right and Heritage Not Hate. These arguments are easily dismissed because the Confederate flags came out In full force when attempts to attack the practice of lynching were made. The flags came out again as a rebellion against Civil Rights. The Klan is planning a rally in Columbia South Carolina to support the Confederate flag.

    We have had lie after lie and diversion after diversion. The Civil War was 150 years ago. We have to move on. To be very. Honest, I don't give a rat's .... About great great grand pappy fighting for the Confederacy. He wanted my family to be slaves. It doesn't matter whether he owned slaves, he wanted my people to be slaves.

    Because we never truly discussed the treasonous acts of the Confederacy, we have Confederate descendants keeping people from voting and destroying education. The judicial system is a new form of oppression. Because they made up their own facts on the Confederacy, they make up their own facts on Climate Change and a host of other issues. It is time for the appeasement to end.

    The issue of the Confederate flag came uo in the aftermath of the massacre in Charleston. The SC Senate voted 37-3 to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds. The bill then when to the S House where it ran into a roadblock. Republican Representative Michael Pitts attached multiple amendments to the bill in attempt to scuttle the legislation. Pitts thinks the Confederate flag should remain on state grounds. the days ahead will determine whether this troglodyte can destroy the bill and leave the flag on state grounds will be determined in the days ahead. 

    The evidence is tilting in rm's favor. I'm having a devil of a time finding records of black Confederate soldiers. The journal Civil War History doesn't have a reference to such soldiers anywhere in the whole run of issues from 1967 to 2005.

    The reason why I have been hard-nosed on this issue is that we have had 150 years of a Southern lies about the reason for the Civil War and the reason why the Confederate flags flew over state Capitols in the 1960's. When blacks tak about the residuals of slavery, we are told to shut up and move on. Yet when it comes to the Confederacy, we are supposed to continually the memory, addition blacks are told that they are to be ashamed because they were sold into slavery by other blacks. They are also told that blacks owned slaves. Finally they are told that blacks were so pliable that thousands fought for the Confederacy. 

    Enough is enough. There is no reason to feel shame because black heathens sold innocent blacks sold black slaves to white Christians or Diests.there is no reason to be ashamed that opportunistic blacks bought slaves. The idea that a significant number of blacks would rush to die to support the system of slavery is a lie.

    There is an upcoming book about life in Antebellum Charleston, "Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South", told from the perspective of a British spy sent to observe life in the South. The spy was horrified by by the casual pleasure Southerners took in torturing slaves. The spy also noted that Southern smugglers were defying federal law by continuing to bring slaves from Africa. The Southern elite wanted to rescind the ban on the Transcontinental slave trade.

    Instead of facing the horrors of Antebellum life for the slaves, Confederacy apologists attempt diversions like mythical black Confederates.

    That the slaves were sold by other Africans means that there was some shared responsibility--but there wasn't an equivalence.

      There were both white and black slavers, but the victims were all black. The scale of the slave trade was determined by the white buyers. The Europeans made great fortunes, but all Africa got out of the trade was ruin.

    The other point is that blacks are not praising the black slavers as heroes. Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria have acknowledged their roles in the slave trade and apologized. We do not honor blacks who sold slaves, they are reviled. The paltry number of black slave owners pales in comparison to the thousands of blacks who fought for freedom by mutinies on slave ships like the Amistad and rebellions on the ground like that of Denmark Vesey.

    Black Confederates are part of a diversion and shaming attempt by Confederate apologists. Blacks are to blame for being enslaved is the desired message. Enslaved black fiercely fought for the South. It is ridiculous. This weekend we will see the KKK come to defend the Confederate flag in Columbia South Carolina. That image speaks volumes

    I may have finally found something substantial: Ervin L. Jordan's book Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia. Jordan at least cites some documents, although a lot of his evidence consists of witness statements. I'm still working on it; I need to read the review of Jordan's book in Civil War History.

    Here is an analysis of Mr Jordan's book along with a picture.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Good luck in your search

    "What is interesting is that Jordan fails to include one example of an actual (black) soldier."

    From what I have read, when Sherman marched thru Georgia, the Confederate leadership was in Milledgeville haggling over how to lower their personal taxes (used to support the war), while the wives and the slaves were left behind by the southern 'gentlemen' to confront Sherman at the various plantations.

    The wives would watch the Union troops with scorn as the slaves showed the boys in blue where all the valuables had been buried

    To Sherman's irritation at the delays and logistical problems it created (he had been ordered to allow it) huge groups of slaves would pack up and follow him and his army on the march, heading under his protection for freedom.

    We have allowed a false history of the Civil a War to be told about the South for a over century. The idea was to bring the country back together. That effort resulted in false memories like black Confederates. The history of massacres of black troops like at Fort Pillow was buried. There were black slaves who carried arms for the North. There is no documentation of black brigades fighting for the South. There were Southern whites who fought bravely for the Union. There are real stories to be told. We can put away the myth of the "non be" slave willing to die for 'Massa. The are documented stories of slaves trying to kill the evil slave-owners by revolting against bondage.

    My solemn word that tomorrow I will finally provide some data that seems credible. It's all from one book, which may demonstrate that there isn't a lot of material on this.


    I've been doing research on my family for a little while, all lines lead to the South and slavery, most notably North Carolina. I recently made a discovery that one of my ancestry listed in the 1910 census that he was a survivor of the Confederate Army (listed as CA), I'd just never noticed it before. He was born in 1836 in N.C and had been a slave his entire life (I know which family owned him). After discovering this I looked into civil war records and found a record that appears to be of him, it shows that he was a part of the 42nd confederate company of NC and had been captured in Petersburg, VA (?) on Apr. 3rd 1865 and is on the prisoners of war rolls for Harts Island NY where he is described as having dark complexion, dark hair and dark eyes. He was released on June 19, 1865. In 1870 he is in S.C.

    I of course had read that the south was gearing up to start arming slaves but that the war ended before it could become in effect. I now have to do a lot of research in this area, it's very unexpected. If anyone is interested I can send you some records (1910 census, civil war record). Thanks.

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