Re: Miscellaneous Junk

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Posted by Tom on June 11, 1999 at 07:53:38:

In Reply to: Re: Miscellaneous Junk posted by Trooper Harrison on June 11, 1999 at 06:09:45:

McPherson, Bearss, and Krick "polically correct" revisionists!?! I was just going along with a rather tired joke when I described them as that last night.

James McPherson is one of the finest if not the finest historian on the Civil War working today. His "Battle Cry of Freedom" is arguably the best single volume on the Civil War ever written. As an academic historian he is able to write in a way that appeals to non-academic audiences. A true gift. He also has written "Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution," "Why they Fought?" and numerous other articles and book on the Civil War.

Edwin Bearss is well know for the enthusiastic delivery he gave on Ken Burns "The Civil War." He is also one of the leading experts on the Vickburg campaign.

There is no one alive who knows more about the ANV than Robert Krick. The author of "Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain" and numerous articles on the Confederate leadership within the ANV. (I had the pleasure of touring the Antietam battlefield with Mr. Krick, Prof. Gary Gallagher, and Carol Reardon in 10/94.) I think Mr. Krick would be amused at being referred to as PC revisionist since he is an old school Longstreet hater and his son is named Robert E. Lee Krick.

These are scholars whose credentials are impecable and scholarship is universally acclaimed. I am very familiar with their work and with their standing in the Civil War community. If they say the myth of large numbers of black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy is bunk then I believe it. On the other hand, I am leery of information I find on the internet. Unfortunatly "Trooper" Harris I have never heard of you nor have I ever seen any scholarly material written by you. And I have little use for amateurs dabbling in pseudo internet history and spreading myths to promote an agenda.

I may not dress up and play army on the weekend; but I have had a very serious interest in the Civil War for a long time. I have read extensively on the subject and I have never came across any reputable historian who supports the idea that 50-90,000 black SOLDIERS served under ARMS in the Confederate army. I never heard the idea until I came across the internet. 50-90,000! That is just absurd. That's the size of field army. Where are the records of dead, wounded, and captured black Confederates? Where are the personal diaries and papers of these men?

Its a myth that was created in the last few decades by Southern apologists who are getting more and more agitiated that historians are no longer looking at the Old South through moonlight and magnolia covered glasses. The ugly fact that Southern whites, whether they held slaves or not, fought to the death for a government whose cornerstone was the defense and expansion of the evil instituion of slavery is becoming harder to cover up with the old myths. So a new myth was created- that Southern blacks fought side by side with their white neighbors against Yankee agression. So the question is open who are the "revisionists with the agenda?"

If this myth is true then: Why did blacks always run to Union Armies and away from Southern armies? Why did Confederate troops massacre Union black soldiers at Milliken's Bend, Fort Pillow, and The Crater? Why did the Confederate congress pass specific laws that Union black soldiers would not be given POW status? How did the Confederate forces muster 50-90,000 black SOLDIERS into their forces when the Confederate congress did not approve the conscription of slaves until 3/65? (And it is well documented that after that act less than a few thousand blacks were ever inducted into the army.) Why did one of the South's finest generals, Patrick Cleburne, never rise above division command after he campaigned for the conscription of black soldiers? Why have I read from Confederate veterans that they felt that the Union induction of black soldiers was one of the most "infamous" acts of the entire war?

I know the answer to those questions- the Confederacy had few African Americans under arms in the Civil War. They had lots of blacks in their military working as cooks, servants, musicians, and laborers. In other words these men were continuing their work as slaves but in a military environment.

I do enjoy reading about how reputable historians have some sort of "agenda" when they refute a myth. On the otherhand, I easily see an agenda on the part of the people propegating this myth- apologist history. Therefore "Trooper" Harris I am going to pass on your little invite. Instead I urge you to go out publish a book through a well- known publisher. You should include a bibliography and an extensive notes. Release it for academic appraisal. When I see it on a store shelf with the names of Davis, McPherson, Gallagher, Borritt, ect. discussing it seriously on the backpage as "thought provoking" or "myth shattering" then and only then will I take your credentials as a Civil War historian seriously. Until then you are just one of scores of amateurs dabbling in history on the internet.

One of my favorite politcal cartoon of all time was made in the Civil War. It was penned when the Confederacy was about to pass the act to conscript slaves into their military. The cartoon is headed as "The Charge of the Confederate Colored Infantry." It shows blacks in Confederate uniforms running towards the Union lines. But they have thrown away their weapons and smiling with joy while the scream, "We's free! We's free!" On the parapet a smiling black Union soldier welcomes them to dinner. It obvious that people in 1865 thought the idea of blacks fighting for their enslavers as absurd.

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