Browsing "Southern Culture Laid Bare"
Feb 25, 2024 - Northern Culture Laid Bare, Prisons for Americans, Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

‘Dr. Christian was colonel of the 51st Virginia Infantry who was captured after the battle at Gettysburg while Lee’s army was crossing “Falling Waters.” He was sent to Johnson’s Island where the officers [captured at] Port Hudson were also imprisoned. Said the Doctor:

“My recollection is that there were thirteen negroes who spent the dreadful winter of 1863-64 with us at Johnson’s Island, and not one of them deserted or accepted freedom, though it was urged upon them time and again.

You recall that Port Hudson was compelled to surrender after Vicksburg had fallen. The officers were notified they would not be paroled as those at Vicksburg had been but told they could retain their personal property. Some of the officers claimed their negro servants as personal property and took them along to prison with them.

Arriving at Johnson’s Island the federal authorities assured the negroes they were as free as their masters had been, and were not prisoners of war; that they would give them no rations and no rights as prisoners of war if they went in the prison, but they all elected to go in and declared to the Yankees they would stick to their young masters to the end of time, if they starved to death by doing so. Those officers, of course, shared their rations and everything else with their servants.

‘George’ was the negro of an Alabama colonel also a prisoner. George was frequently summoned by the prison’s commanding officer and told he was a free man and had but to say the word and he would be taken out of prison to work for $2 a day and furnished good clothes to wear plus live anywhere he wanted. He was also told he was a fool as his master would never be exchanged or let out of prison, and if he stayed with the Rebel officer he as well would starve in prison.

After George returned to the cell and related this, I asked what he said in reply to the Yankee officer. He told him: ‘Sir, what you want me to do is to desert. I ain’t no deserter, and down South, sir, where we live, deserters always disgrace their families. I’ve got a family down home, sir, and if I do what you tell me, I will be a deserter and disgrace my family, and I am never going to do that.’

‘What did the commanding officer say?’ I asked. ‘Get out of here you d—- fool nigger and rot in prison.’ And now master, here I am, and I am going to stay here as long as you stay, if I starve and rot.’

(The Negroes as Slaves, Capt. James Dinkins. Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXV, 1907, pp. 62-64)

The Hardship of Wheatless Days

Mississippi Senator John Sharp Williams (1854-1932) was born in Tennessee but raised in Mississippi after being orphaned in the Civil War. After attending several fine universities in the US and Europe, he took his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1876. As a patriotic response to England launching its HMS Dreadnought in 1906, Senator Williams introduced a bill to change the name of an American battleship to the USS “Skeered O’ Nuthin’.

The Hardship of Wheatless Days

“In March 1918, the New York World, in an editorial article on the World War of the early twentieth century, took occasion to state:

“It will do the country no harm to note the reminder of Senator John Sharp Williams of Mississippi that its war sufferings in the matter of food have reached no very heroic stage as yet.”

Senator Williams was then quoted as saying:

“Men go out and exploit themselves about ‘wheatless days’ and the lack of food. The Southern Confederacy had no wheat for three years during the Civil War. I went from 1862 to Lee’s surrender without seeing anything made out of wheat except an occasional Christmas or birthday cake, and that was sweetened with molasses. What is the use of talking about hardships? We are having no hardships in this country. If you cannot stand hardships, then you are not worthy of your ancestors. Let us send men, munitions and food to France and quit our patrioteering camouflage.”

(The Women of the South in Wartime. Matthew Page Andrews, The Norman, Remington Company, 1920, pg. 30)

Nov 10, 2023 - Carnage, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Remembering North Carolina’s Soldier’s on Veterans Day

Remembering North Carolina’s Soldier’s on Veterans Day

The heroic men of the Third North Carolina Regiment are immortalized in the Boney Monument at Third and Market Streets in Wilmington, a memorial to North Carolinians who fought valiantly to defend their homes, county and State. This impressive civic art features a standing bronze figure representing courage and protection, while a bronze figure of a fallen soldier represents self-sacrifice. The memorial was designed by renowned sculptor Francis Packer in 1924; the base and backdrop were designed by Henry Bacon, architect of the Lincoln Memorial.

The John F. Van Bokkelen noted below was the son of Mr. A. H. Van Bokkelen who “clothed and cared for his son’s men [of Company D] before the South’s new government was operable. Additionally, the father ensured that the wives and children of every man in his son’s company were provided for during the war. Young Van Bokkelen died of typhoid fever in late-May 1863; his Wilmington friend and fellow officer James I. Metts later named his first-born after Van Bokkelen.  (Doctor to the Front, Koonce, pg. 56)

Remembering North Carolina’s Soldiers on Veterans Day

“The brave men of the Third North Carolina Regiment, which included many men from New Hanover County who left their families, homes and farms to defend their State.

“September 17, 1862 was a day of unsurpassed carnage in which as many as four thousand Northern and Southern men died in battle. Exceptional losses were the rule, but the terrible honor of having suffered the most casualties at Sharpsburg may belong to the Third Regiment, North Carolina State Troops.

One of the largest units on the field, the Third North Carolina carried 520 men into action against the enemy, but by day’s end acting-adjutant John F. Van Bokkelen could account for only 190 of them. Later analysis revealed a staggering 111 battle deaths: 75 men killed on the field and 36 dying of their wounds in the weeks and months that followed. In all, 299 members of the Third North Carolina were killed, wounded and/or captured, a loss of 57.5 percent.

The Third rebounded but only to suffer two more terrible blows during the 1863 campaign: 233 men fell at Chancellorsville (58 killed), and 229 at Gettysburg (49 killed). The regiment suffered near annihilation at Spotsylvania, where 238 men were captured, but the survivors fought on, sustaining 139 more casualties, until a remnant of 58 men laid down their arms at Appomattox.”

(State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers. Volume One. Greg Mast, NC Department of Cultural Resources. 1995, pg. 339).

 

Saving “Uncle George” MacDonald

Saving “Uncle George” MacDonald

“The Osceola (Missouri) Democrat raised money to send “Uncle” George McDonald of St. Clair County, a colored Confederate veteran, to the Confederate Reunion at Columbia last month. In 1861 “Uncle” George went off with the men of St. Clair County and fought in several engagements.

At Wilson’s Creek a Minie ball plowed through his hip and buckshot struck him in the face. George lay groaning upon the ground when he was found by Owen Snuffer, a lieutenant of his company. Snuffer stooped down, examined the black man’s wounds and stanched the flow blood from them. “For God’s sake,” cried the suffering negro, “give me a drink of water.”

Snuffer’s canteen was empty but midway between the firing lines was a well. To reach it the lieutenant was to become the target of sharpshooters, and it meant almost certain death. But with bullets falling all around him like hailstones he pushed forward until the well was reached. And then he discovered that the bucket had been taken away and the windlass removed. The water was far down and the depth unknown.

The well was old-fashioned – stone-walled. Owen pulled off his long cavalry boots and taking one in his teeth he let himself down slowly, hand over hand until the water was reached and the boot filled. He then climbed up, straddling the well and clutching with hands and feet the rocky walls. Reaching the surface again he picked up the other boot and safely made his way back to his lines and brought water to “Uncle George.”

Returning from the war, “Uncle George” settled near Monegaw Springs and has reared an intelligent, honest and industrious family. One of his children educated himself, graduated the Smith University in Sedalia, and is now the pastor of a church in Kansas. Another child is a waiter at the Commercial Hotel in Osceola, an establishment known for high integrity.”

(Confederate Veteran, Volume XI, November 1903, pg. 494)

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

As did George Washington before him, President Jefferson Davis in early 1865 agreed to the enlistment of 300,000 emancipated Africans into the army of the Confederate States. Recognizing that the Constitution he held office under limited federal authority and that he had no power regarding the institution, Davis correctly saw emancipation the purview of those who could – and did – free Africans for military service.

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

“If the institution of African slavery gained first a foothold, then an entrenched position, the greed of the British crown was largely responsible. As early as 1726, the planters of Virginia became alarmed at the growth of the Negro population and imposed a tax on slave importations. Britain’s Royal African Company interfered and had the law repealed. South Carolina restricted slave imports in 1760 only to be rebuked by London. In 1712 the Pennsylvania legislature moved to curb the increase in Africans, but the law was annulled by the Crown.

Briain’s Queen Anne, who personally held a quarter of the stock of the Royal African Company, the chartered organization which monopolized the slave trade, ordered it to provide New York and New Jersey with Africans and directed the governors of these colonies to give it full support.

Thomas Jefferson charged the British crown with forcing African slavery on the colonies; James Madison asserted that England had checkmated every attempt by Virginia “to put a stop to this infernal traffic”; Bancroft taxed Britain with “steadily rejecting every colonial restriction on the slave trade and instructing the governors, on pain of removal, not to give even a temporary assent to such laws.” In the words of the rabidly anti-Southern historian and politician, Henry Wilson: “British avarice planted slavery in America; British legislation sanctioned and maintained it; British statesmen sustained and guarded it.”

Virginian George Washington, at first opposed permitting Africans, whether slave or free, to serve in the American armed forces. Later, expediency and Alexander Hamilton’s powers of persuasion made him change his mind.”

(The Negro in American Civilization. Nathaniel Weyl. Public Affairs Press, 1960; pp. 25-26)

 

 

Plantation Life in the Old South

Plantation Life in the Old South

“A visit to the ‘Quarters,’ or homes of the slaves, was one of the most interesting features of the plantation. A regular little village with streets of shaded trees, it contained well-built cabins which are separate from the Mansion some distance. Ample fireplaces were in each house and patches for garden, a hen house and a pig pen belonged to each householder.

A house was set aside in the Quarters as a hospital for the slaves, and here the sick received attention from the mistress herself, though the family doctor was called in when necessary. When the women were in childbirth it was their mistress who daily visited them with broth and other nourishments from her own table. The large number of children under ten years of age on the plantation attested to the care of their health by their owners.

The average servant was allowed three full sets of clothes annually, with plenty of wool and cotton for as many socks as needed.

A wedding in ‘de quarters’ was a great event and the festivities attendant were superintended by “Ole Marster and Ole Missus.” The groom was often attired in the old frock coat of the planter, and the bride was happy in a satin dress from the wardrobe of young ‘Mistus.’

Corn shuckin’ was one of the red-letter days of the plantation when darkies were invited from miles around, and the air resounded with songs of the slaves. Hog-killing was another gala time on the plantation, looked forward to be the darkies as well as the young folks from the ‘Great House.’ Possum hunting was a sport in which both white and colored engaged, and when a fine large animal (well-fatted on persimmons) was caught – it was eaten with great relish.”

(Plantation Life in the Old South, Lucy London Anderson. The Southern Magazine, Vol. II, No. 11, May 1936, excerpt pp. 9-10)

A Great Evil to the Cause of Human Liberty Itself

A Great Evil to the Cause of Human Liberty Itself

“We must remember that by 1860 a “Cold War” had been in progress between the North and the South for some thirty years. There were political and ideological extremists on both sides. If Southern leaders were determined that the US Constitution would be followed to the letter or they would withdraw, Northern extremists were just as determined to dominate the South and force it to remain in the 1789 federation.

Politically the South felt she was being “frozen out” of a voice in the federal government. The Democratic party was split between opposing views of its Northern and Southern wings, and there appeared no way of resolving their differences. The Whig party was dying as an audible voice in government with no hope of recovery. The new Republican party was controlled by radical leaders who were bent upon winning an election with the surest way being the destruction of the South’s labor system of African bondage. This institution was already in its twilight years for in 1860 only 10 percent of Southerners owned slaves. Only one man in the South owned over 1000 slaves with 187,356 owning less than five Negro servants.

However, the great majority of Southerners felt that the Constitution gave no authority to Congress to interfere with a State’s internal labor system – North or South. But if slavery were to be legalized out of existence, there should be some way for the country as a whole to assume the responsibility for dissolving the institution without putting the burden or the stigma upon one section where slave-labor happened to form a basis of its economic system. The slave-labor system was essentially mass-production agriculture and New England mills hummed with the product of this labor system.

That said, the slave-labor system in the South did not arise because the Englishmen who settled Virginia were particularly committed to the enslavement of their fellow human beings. It arose for the same reason and at the same time that the transatlantic slave trade arose in New England – because it was profitable. Slavery came to the South for the same reason that cattle-raising came to Texas, cattle-slaughter to Chicago, the exploitation of Okies to California, and the exploitation of immigrants to Northern factory owners. It came because, in a new and vast land where everyone had come for opportunity. The soil and the climate of the American South were peculiarly adapted to the use of chattel labor imported from the hot climate of Africa.

From 1831 to 1861 Southerners were aroused to defense by the vindictiveness of the fanatics who were as callously indifferent to the means as they were irresponsible for the ends.

To Northern abolitionists, the emancipation of slaves achieved the goal of “freedom”; to all Southerners, four million black people in a society of five and a half million whites created an appalling problem. It was a problem that Lincoln, contrary to the myth of a logical progression toward human liberty, understood very well. He wrote on slavery: “I think no wise man has yet perceived how it could be at once eradicated without producing a great evil even to the cause of human liberty itself.”

(Martin County During the Civil War. James H. McCallum, M.D., Enterprise Publishing Co., 1971, pp. 4-6)

Mar 5, 2023 - Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Raphael Semmes was captain of the Southern commerce raider Alabama, the first of its kind to be unleashed upon the shipping of a commercial nation. Under Captain Semmes she caused enormous financial loss to the northern business; his unconsummated plan for a raid into New York Harbor to destroy shipping at anchor was audacious in conception and nearly carried out.

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

“On the second day after the capture of the Northern merchant ship Tonawanda, another merchant vessel Manchester of New York and bound for Liverpool was stopped and boarded. After disposing of the prizes I took on board one of the former’s passengers.

This was a likely negro lad named David of about seventeen years of age – a slave until he was twenty-one under the laws of his State, Delaware. He was on his way to Europe in company of his master. He necessarily came to me under the laws of war, and I brought him on board the Alabama where we were in want of good servants and sent him to wait on the ward-room mess.

The boy was a little alarmed at first, but when he saw kindly faces beaming upon him, and heard from his new masters and the servants of the mess, some words of encouragement, he became reassured and in the course of a few days was not only at home but congratulated himself on the exchange he had made.

He became, more especially, the servant of Dr. Galt and there at once arose, between the Virginia gentleman and the slave boy, that sympathy of master and servant, which our ruder people of the North find it so impossible to comprehend. David soon became to Galt as my own servant was to me – indispensable – and the former was really as free as the latter, except only in the circumstances that he could not change masters.

I caused his name to be entered on the books of the ship as one of our crew and allowed him the pay of his grade. In short, no difference was made between him and the white waiters of the mess. His condition was in every respect bettered; though, I doubt not, a howl went up over his capture by the pseudo-philanthropists of the North, who know as little about the negro and his nature as they do about the people of the South.”

(Memoirs of Service Afloat. Raphael Semmes, LSU Press, 1996, original 1868. pp. 464-465)

Feb 12, 2023 - Costs of War, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Devotion to Their Homes and Country

Devotion to Their Homes and Country

“As they walked through Fort Gregg and the surrounding Petersburg trenches following the evacuation of Southern forces in early April 1865, advancing Northern troops could not fail to notice the young beardless faces or the grey hair of many fallen defenders.

Major Washington Roebling of Pennsylvania wrote:

“Old men with silver locks lay dead, side by side with mere boys of thirteen or fourteen. It almost makes one sorry to have to fight against a people who show such devotion for their homes and their country.”

(Civil War Times, Vol. XLIV, No. 6, January 2006)

Feb 3, 2023 - Antebellum Realities, New England History, Northern Culture Laid Bare, Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s “Jim Crow” Railroad in 1852

“We recently noticed the statement of an occurrence on a Connecticut railroad, where a lady from the South, travelling with her child and its colored nurse, were surprised at an order to the latter to get out of the lady’s car and take her place in the ‘n****r’ car.

The Southern lady remonstrated, informed the conductor that she had paid full fare for her servant, who was there simply as a servant, and would trouble no one. She said she could not be separated from her child in such a place and was unable from habit to take proper care of her – but all was to no avail.

‘That n****r must go out or I shall put her out’ said the conductor, so the lady had no choice but to seat herself with her child and servant in the ‘Jim Crow’ car, paying double price for it! The traveler said such treatment would not be endured in Carolina or Mississippi.” The Boston Investigator.

(Source: American Historical Newspaper Database – 1850-1860)

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