previous next
[542] the field to avenge his “daddy.” Major White, of the Alabama battalion that bore his name, had a negro servant who risked his life to bear off his master's body from the field when he was shot down, and after the funeral he took his master's horse and effects, and rode home with them, over a thousand miles, to the old plantation. A Florida negress illustrated the principle of “family” pride which is characteristic of the race, in a quaint and touching way. Her young masters, both lads, were conscripted and ordered to Pensacola. As they were taking tearful leave of friends and home, the old “mammy” said: “Now, young marsters, stop dis hyar cryin‘; go and fight fer yo‘ country like men, and mind, don't disgrace de family nor me nuther.”

I could accumulate columns of this sort of anecdotes, all well authenticated, but what I have given will more than suffice. The Confederates found by experience that the negroes, as a rule, were faithful and well behaved, and they trusted them in some things a great deal. This was especially the case with the slave owners. Between the poor whites, however, and the negroes, there was no sort of sympathy nor confidence, and this circumstance alone would have prevented the Confederate Government from originally putting the negroes in the field, if it had ever entertained such an idea. But, indeed, no such idea was entertained. They were willing to use the negroes for teamsters, cooks, etc., and did so use them to a considerable extent from the first. Later on, as men grew scarcer, it became the custom to make requisitions upon communities for slaves to work upon fortifications and upon government farms, in the salt-works, powder factories, nitre bureaus, etc., but there was no thought of putting them in the field until long after they had been extensively enlisted in the Federal army, and the phrase, “the colored troops fought bravely,” had passed into a proverb.

In fact, the Confederates had no sort of opinion of the bravery of the colored troops, and even at the last nothing but sheer necessity drove them to think of the race as food for powder. In the Richmond Examiner, in 1863, at the time the colored troops began to be sent to the field in the Federal forces, there was a very bumptious burlesque of the negro soldiers' bill, the favorite measure of Thad. Stevens. The editor said, in that high and mighty style which was peculiar (happily) to this sheet alone:

Enlightened Europe may turn from the sickening horrors of a servile insurrection, invoked by the madmen at Washington, to a phase of this war, as it will be waged next summer, which, when depicted with historical accuracy and physiological fidelity, can scarcely fail to relieve its fears as to the future of the white race

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Washington (United States) (1)
Pensacola (Florida, United States) (1)
Europe (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Harry White (1)
Thaddeus Stevens (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: