Black Confederate Soldiers Of Petersburg
"We are willing to aid Virginia's cause to the utmost of our ability. There is not an unwilling heart among us, not a hand but will tell in the work before us, and we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given us."
-- Charles Tinsley, Free Black, Pocahontas, Petersburg, Va.
"Realizing that many free Black households would be in want following the departure of their husbands on voluntary work, the Petersburg City Council voted family assistance funds for wives and children left behind. Such assistance continued for the length of the war."
-- Minutes of the Petersburg City Council April 23, 1861, office of the clerk of the City Council, City Hall, Petersburg, Virginia.
"A ladies group on Bollingbrook Street sewed a banner for the labor corps and in a ceremony held in front of the Petersburg Court House on the morning of their departure Attorney John Dodson, a former mayor, presented the flag to the men about to leave. Dodson promised the men that they would "...reap a rich reward of praise and merit from a thankful people. Charles Tinsley, a bricklayer, who spoke for the group, replied": We are willing to aid Virginia's cause to the utmost of our ability. There is not an unwilling heart among us, not a hand but will tell in the work before us, and we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given us." On April 25, 1861 over three hundred free Blacks, and a few slaves "volunteered" by their owners, left Petersburg by train for labor service on the fortifications of Norfolk with their own Confederate flag, and leader."
-- From Petersburg in the Civil War, War at the Door, William D. Henderson
Petersburg, Virginia -- 25 April 1861
Petersburg Black Soldier and Prisoner of War
Noted Petersburg Confederate Hero
Pvt. Richard "Dick" Poplar, Co. H. 13th Va. Cav.,
of "The Famous Sussex Light Dragoons"
Read More about Richard 's Military Service and Honors
by clicking Richard's flag to the right >>>
2006 Petersburg Richard Poplar Day Program -- CLICK ON THE FIRE
Former National Park Service, Chief Historian, Ed Bearrs, stated,
"I don't want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of Blacks both above and below the Mason-Dixon line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around 1910." Historian, Erwin L. Jordan, Jr., calls it a "cover-up" which started back in 1865. Today?
More Documented Accounts As Found:
"The Jackson Battalion included two companies of Black Confederate soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp." "My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill...Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner."
"As Many as 700 Free Blacks and Slaves worked for the Petersburg Railroads supporting the Confederate Military effort at Petersburg during the War."
-- City of Petersburg Siege Museum
The Daily Register:, Petersburg, VA, June 17, 1864:
"A shell from the [Union] enemy's batteries exploded in Blandford this afternoon, and killed a negro women belonging to Mr. A.S. Shafer."
(other Petersburg civilian casualties to follow)
Richard Stewart, Dinwiddie / Petersburg. "Born Free"
"Served in the Artillery " ***Please See Fort Mahone April 3, 1865 photo below ***
Enlisted by "order of his father L(?) Branch Stewart"
Duties: Cook and Waitman .... Served from 1861 to 1865 at Appomattox
Reference: 1925 Virginia Pension Record (State Library, Richmond)
"Service witnessed by S. T. Gerow, and P. E. Ramsey of Petersburg, VA.
"Philip Slaughter, a Black musician, had formed his small band on the heights and throughout the latter stages of the [battle] action had vigorously played "Dixie" and other melodies to simulate several regimental bands."
Major General Edwin O. C. Ord, commander of the Army of the James reported the presence of five (5) "Afro Confederate" Regiments near Petersburg in March of 1865.
-- from Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia, Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.
"Other Petersburg Black residents aided the Petersburg
defense by assuring the Federals that 60,000 Confederate Troops were near Petersburg. Slaves had furnished timely information to the defenders, keeping at least one out of the hands of the
Including Other Significant Black Confederate Defenders at Petersburg 1861 - 1865
"9 June 1864 was indeed a community victory."
-- from The Petersburg Campaign, The Battle of Old Men and Young Boys, June 9, 1864, William G. Robertson
Petersburg, Virginia -- 9 June 1864
Heroic Henry Comer, standing, carried this wounded officer
5 miles to safety, to medical care and saved the officers life..
Ages at enlistment: Henry 18, Officer 17
More On Black Confederates --Additional Historical Research, Publications & Advocacy
*At the Battle of the Crater, Petersburg, Virginia, 30 July 1864:
"A Negro slave who had run away from Alabama some time ago, recognized his "young master" in the fight of Saturday at Petersburg, and throwing down his musket rushed to the young man an threw his arms around his neck, at the same time exclaiming. "You haven't hurt my young massa." Just at this time a cuss, not so mercifully disposed, fired at the Alabamian, but the ball instead of hitting the object aimed at, took effect in the body of the repentant slave who threw his arms of protection around his "young massa;" inflicting a severe wound upon`him. Master and slave came safely off the field together, and the wound of the latter was properly attended."
An early newspaper clipping found in the book Black Southerners in the Confederate Armies
-- J. H. Segars & Charles Kelly Barrow
Why Black Southerners
Fought for the South in the War Between the States
by Professor Edward C. Smith
Award-winning professor, Edward C. Smith, is Director of American Studies at American University in Washington, DC, Vice President of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a Smithsonian Institution scholar, and an authority on the participation of blacks on the Southern side in the War Between the States.
This Arlington National Cemetery Confederate Monument Below
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"The Confederate Negro"
Page 177, “Black Southerners in Confederate Armies”, Segars and Barrow
By Joseph A. Mudd, Hyattsville, Md., for the Confederate Veteran, Vol XXIII, 1905
"The Confederate Negro is the proudest being on the earth. A few weeks ago I was standing at the counter of the water office, Municipal Building in Washington when in came a negro, who, standing near by, began his business with one of the clerks. He was rather shabbily dressed, but evidently one of the “old stock”, as black as ink and as ugly as Satan, eyes beaming with intelligence and a great depth of human sympathy, a countenance one loves to rest one’s gaze upon, and with a bearing of modest and courteous dignity. "
"His business over, I said to him, “Where did you come from”? I could see his chest swelling, and I knew the answer before it was spoken, “From Ferginny suh.” Were your people in the war? “Yes suh”, with a smile of enthusiasm and a bow that bespoke reverence for the memories of the olden days”. They tell me you people “fit” some. I could almost see the lightening dart from his eyes as he straightened himself up – “Fit? Why they outfit the world suh. Never did whip us, suh. If dey hadn’t starved us out, we’d be fightin’ yit”. As he passed me going ot of the office he said” “I was wid’em foh years suh,. I cahd my young master off de field once when I din’t think he’d live till I got him to de doctor, but he’s living yit”. I did not tell him I was a Confederate soldier and he didn’t seem to care. He knew what he was and that was enough…......"
Was this Henry Comer, Pictured Standing Above?
Who is it that deny these "Brothers" today?
"The men American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars;
the men they detest most violently are those
who try and tell them the truth" --H. L. Mencken
Let's take a good look at this quote by "clicking" on these two Confederate Soldiers
Petersburg, Virginia, Fort Mahone Photograph taken April 3, 1865 by Thomas C. Roche
[Black & White Confederate Soldiers]
Original caption reads:
"Rebel artillery soldiers, killed in the trenches of Fort Mahone, called by the soldiers Fort Damnation,' at the storming of Petersburgh, Va., April 2nd, 1865. The one in the foreground has U.S. belts on, probably taken from a Union soldier prisoner; his uniform is grey cloth trimmed with red. This view was taken the morning after the storming of Petersburgh, Va. 1865."
And when The War was all over here at Petersburg, let's look at the "Occupation" and --
Petersburg's "40 Acres and A Mule!" story:
For the Story "Click on" the Confederate Veteran Soldier below:
According to General August Kautz's, USA, "Customs of Service, for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers" (1864), page. 11: "In the fullest sense, any man in the military service who receives pay, whether sworn in or not, is a soldier because he is subject to military law. Under this general head, laborers, teamsters, sutlers and chaplains, are soldiers."
> CLICK ON THE BULLET for this 1923 Black Confederate Account.
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Stand Proudly for American Heritage
Black Confederate History - H. K. Edgarton