Subj: Gettysburg National Battlefield Interpretations and Stories.       
Date: 12/9/2004 3:52:50 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: Brickhouserun
Hello Superintendent Latschar,

I came across a couple of your quotes below which can be appropriate.  Can you provide me any information about any Black Confederate interpretations, stories or displays at the National Park at Gettysburg?

Gettysburg being one of the most important and most visited Battlefield Parks,  the information below provides the reason for my question.

I had also received this quote from someone: "The closest thing to a "black soldier" at Gettysburg was in the Confederate Army.  I wonder if you today provide the public that information, or  if the new visitor's center will mention that?"

Reference:   [Click Below for the Richard Poplar Story :]

This was a recent Memorial at Petersburg for him where our Mayor proclaimed his day 18 September in Petersburg:

[Click Below for the Richard Poplar Program Photographs :] \

Quoting the former NPS leadership Ed Bearrs also provides insight:  "I'm not calling it a conspiracy, but it seems that after about 1910 there was a tendency to ignore the role of Black Soldiers above and below the Mason-Dixon Line."(Close)   Based on study here, we know that to be a fact.

Richard was at Gettysburg.  A greater understanding of why Pvt. Poplar was there, and why he was a POW for 19 months is also quite noteworthy.  Noting the article's content and  those involved after the war, Richard Poplar was not just cook'n corn pone and hoe cakes for the troops!   As you have indicated in the numerous writings I have read of yours,  "conventional wisdom"  has been an enemy in its relation to stories told on our National Parks and beyond.
Your comments:

"It is important that we tell as many of those stories as possible in order to build a greater understanding of the people, the time, and the issues."

" And I can personally guarantee that these stories will be told without bias or prejudice towards any man, north or south, Black or White, dead or alive."

As you must know, other Black Confederates were at Gettysburg also.  The information on how you currently reference Black soldiers in any of your interpretations or displays at Gettysburg is appreciated.

At Petersburg we had a larger role by the USCT and would expect to find more of these stories at this National Park.

Thank you for the above quotes, as we see no good reason to exclude Black Confederates at Gettysburg.  It provides a fine example how all folks, like today, don't all think alike.

G. Ashleigh Moody

Subj: Gettysburg National Battlefield Interpretations and Stories. 
Dec. 16 2004 -- >From Superintendent Latschar, Superintendent of the Gettysburg National Battlefield:
Mr. Moody -

Thank you for your inquiry about our interpretive plans at Gettysburg National Military Park, and  the information regarding Richard Poplar.  His is an interesting story.  It is not altogether unusual, however, since it's a well-established fact that many Confederate officers and units were accompanied by their personal servants.  Some of these servants, like Mr. Poplar, were given honorary military rank, and even sometimes participated in combat, but neither Mr. Poplar nor the others could be regularly and legally enlisted in the Confederate States Army until March of 1865 when the Confederate Congress passed an act authorizing the recruitment of blacks.

At Gettysburg, to answer your question, we intend to include the stories of the thousands of blacks from both the north and south, both slave and free, that were associated with and/or impacted by the Gettysburg Campaign. As you know, this will not include the United States Colored Troops, since they were not at Gettysburg.  But it would include the estimated 10,000 slaves who accompanied the Army of Northern Virginia on the Gettysburg Campaign, the free blacks and "contraband" blacks who supported the Army ofthe Potomac, the black Pennsylvania "home guard" reserve unit that was mobilized in reaction to the Confederate advance, the hundreds of free blacks in southern Pennsylvania who fled from the advancing Confederate army for fear of captured and sold south into slavery, and the unfortunate ones to whom that happened.

In short, all of our stories at Gettysburg will be told in context, so that individual stories are woven together to illustrate the larger whole.

I trust that this helps answer your inquiry.


John Latschar

Subj: Re: Gettysburg National Battlefield Interpretations and Stories. 
Date: 12/16/2004 6:08:32 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: Brickhouserun

Dear Superintendent Latschar,

I sincerely thank you for your reply and information.   With all the new National Park Service talk of telling the "whole story" and in the appropriate "context," there is an appropriate expectation associated with all that. 

I look forward to your new information center and interpretations.   It has been a shame that story tellers of the past have missed the appropriate "context" for the "vision places" of our ancestor's fight such as at Gettysburg and on other National Parks.   At Arlington National Cemetery, this important 32.5 foot monument and reflection of that "why" is also most appropriate along with the reflection by Rev. McKim:

We look forward to your reflection of the appropriate story at our National Park there.  Good Luck since it seems to always be difficult for the government.   I have worked here at Petersburg in the same regard.  Too many "one sided" stories!

I was unaware that Lee and the Confederates were capturing Blacks and placing them in bondage as slaves during the Southern army stay in Gettysburg.  I wouldn't think that would have been Lee's "cup of tea."  In the South, we are very aware of how the Union provided the "40 acres and a mule" and how the North treated Black people prior to, during and since the war.   You know also -- I'm sure.

As you must also know, there were official enlistments of Confederate Black soldiers as musicians,  etc. early in the war throughout the South.  In recent years there has been much Southern Black history brought to light along with other Black associated war history.   Such integrated [Confederate] units fought at Gettysburg and just one being the  3rd Virginia, Dismal Swamp Rangers, Portsmouth Virginia.  It is a shame that more of this history was not shared earlier. Ed Bearrs helped provide some insight.

What I have felt  here is how the roles of the Black Confederates are subjugated, and downplayed in National Park Service literature at Petersburg.  Ask Superintendant Kirby to send you a pamphlet, and then check some of our history.  I believe limiting the role of the loyal Black Southerners in story telling on our National Battlefields is shameful.  Hopefully you have that under control at Gettysburg.

I'm sure better information will be available in the future.
Thanks again,
G. Ashleigh Moody
Petersburg, Virginia     
"......[NPS] talk of telling the "whole story" and in the appropriate "context .." [?]
"Thomas Jefferson said, 'If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.'  We have to understand how government works so we know when individuals or groups are damaging it."
Please Click on these two Confederate Soldiers for a heart warming story of a Black Southern veteran of Gettysburg and a Prisoner of War.
(Back Arrow to Return Here)
Please note that the following New York Herald article fails to reflect that these Black troops were integrated in Units with their fellow White counterparts.
  <Click On> the following news report for more information:
  Click On Generals To Enlarge
A "History Major's" Research:  Those "Yankees!"  They did what?

"I wonder if Gettysburg National Park Superintendant John Latschar will include, in his presentation, the following U.S. Official Record letters about Gen. Darius Couch, commander of the Pennsylvania State Militia, which was mobilized during Lee's invasion.   Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but does it seem like the good people of the Keystone State have some reservations about BLACK TROOPS and more below?"

Harrisburg, Pa., June 16, 1863--8 p.m.
Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.:

DEAR SIR:  I have endeavored to keep you advised of all that was reliable in reference to the enemy. The country is so wild with rumors that I was compelled to use great caution in communicating with you. A deserter, a Northern Irishman, states that Stuart had orders read to his command, which they called 20,000, that he would reach Philadelphia before their return. I have made every exertion to protect the bridges across the Susquehanna, but they are to be fired, if it becomes necessary. Had the people responded to my first call as they should have done, I would now be in a situation to march up the Valley. I think we have succeeded in running off most of the horses. I am of the opinion that the squads of cavalry thrown out around Chambersburg saved Milroy's train, very few wagons being lost. Applications have been made of colored troops for State defense. I judged that it would be bitterly opposed, and have, therefore, merely stated that I had no authority for accepting them.
I am, sir, very respectfully, yours,
D. N. COUCH, "
PHILADELPHIA, PA., June 18, 1863.
(Received 11.50 a.m.)

A special dispatch to the Philadelphia North American states that General Couch declined to receive colored troops, alleging that he has no authority to receive such troops for less than three years. Two companies here are ready to go for the emergency. Shall I forward them? Companies from other points can be forwarded. Shall they be sent?

"What would Rosa Parks have said about the following input?"

"Yeah, those good people of the Keystone State - somebody please send Latschar a copy of Brian Cisco's "Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman" - then tell him to look at the story on pages 185-186 to see what happened when Hampton was traveling in PHILADELPHIA in 1857 with his family and his servants..."

"The ticket agent informed Hampton that his servants would not be allowed in the same car, as, Pennsylvanians did not like to ride with Negroes"...

...Hampton protested. He had been required to pay full price for their tickets, "and one of them is the nurse of my children". The agent still refused.  The slave master from South Carolina was out of patience with Philadelphia prejudice. "I told him that I had paid their fare and therfore quite good enough to ride with his fellow citizens, and that they should get into my car. So I brought them in and kept them there".
<Click On> "Black Confederate Participation" at Gettysburg  below for  more Southern Black History