Lincolnites and Black Confederates

Kevin Levin a "historian" who is embraced by the mainstream for his denigration of Black Confederates.

Historian Kevin Levin has made into the very distinguished ‘The Atlantic’ magazine. The subject? Black Confederates of course. Or should I say the denigration of African-Americans contributions to the Confederacy?

The mere title is condescending. Levin writes: “More representative of the experience of “Confederate slaves” were those impressed by individual states and the Confederate government for various war-related projects such as the building of fortifications and roads.  In fact, as the number of body servants dropped, the number of impressed slaves continued to rise as a result of legislation on the state and federal levels.  Yet, the SCV/UDC have little to say about these men.Of course, it is not difficult to surmise as to why.  The first problem is that most people are not even aware that tens of thousands of slaves were impressed during the war.  It’s a measure of where we are in terms of our popular understanding of how African-Americans experienced the war. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that there is no difference between the legal statusof body servants and those who were impressed.  They were all legally owned.”

The real reason “Lincolnites” like Levin must belittle the contribution of African-Americans in the Confederacy is because in order to maintain the “myth” of Honest Abe the Emancipator the war has to be about slavery.  African-American Confederate Veterans can not be given the respect they deserve because if they are, people will question the real reasons for the war. Taxation, states rights, constitutionalists versus those who favored giving more power to a central government these were the reasons for the war then and they are reasons for the ongoing political fight in this country now.

Yes, African-Americans were impressed for service into the Confederacy just as they were “liberated” and given the opportunity to “fight for their freedom” by the Federal Government of the North. Just as both White and Black men were “drafted” into the service up to and through the Vietnam Conflict. Does this mean that any soldier impressed into service should not be honored for their service? Of course not.

Lincolnites like Kevin Levin deliberately , conveniently do not mention men like John Noland, Henry Wilson and John Lobb. All three of these men were from Missouri, fought with William Quantrill and were black.

In the book “Quantrill at Lawrence” author Paul R. Petersen gives a detailed account of the contribution of these Black Confederates.

Of Noland, Petersen writes that John T. Noland was entrusted by Quantrill to scout the town of Lawrence , Kansas before his August, 1863 raid on the town and that “John T. Noland was born in 1844. He was one of several black men who served under Quantrill . Noland showed himself a brave soldier by his conspicuous actions during the first battle of Independence and the battle of Lamar. At Noland’s  funeral all of his pallbearers were white. He was described as “a man among men”. His gravestone in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence {Missouri} denotes his service with Quantrill as a scout”

Noland  later recounted that: ” I being a colored man I had the advantage of any white man as a spy… t was then the Col. {Quantrill} sent for me to meet him on the Little Blue River, and it was there that I received my final instruction, which was to find out the number of soldiers quartered in Lawrence, and if there were any in the vicinity”

Petersen’s book also gives great information for anyone wishing to set the record straight as to the practice of being “impressed” into service writing of Henry Wilson , Petersen notes that: “Wilson was kidnapped by Jayhawkers early in the war and was on his way to Kansas when he escaped. Wilson who lived near Independence chose to remain in Quantrill”s band rather than accept his freedom. He told those around him, ‘ I observed with my own eyes , the stealing, plundering and burning of homes of the people of this country by bands of ‘Red Legs’ even to the enticing of slaves into Kansas. I joined Quantrill when Master Wilson moved to Texas to run the blockade at Independence, carrying supplies to Quantrill and his men”.

Of Lobb, Petersen writes that: “John Lobb was also sent into Lawrence, but William Gregg remembered, “Lobb did not get back before we had started. He met us on the way and told us that Lane had left town”.

There you have it. Three men. Three Black men who fought for the Confederacy under Quantrill. All three entrusted to scout the town of Lawrence, Kansas prior to the great raid at great personal risk to themselves.  All three men, who voluntarily fought for the Missouri guerrilla fighter.

It is quite the story. A story that Lincolnites like Kevin Levin do not want others to hear because it raises questions as to the real reasons of the war  and exposes the myth of Lincoln being the “Great Emancipator”.

– Clint E. Lacy

Serves as the Press Officer for the Colonel John T. Coffee Camp #1934, Missouri Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

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2 responses

  1. Thanks for writing this article! All too often this extremely important aspect of Confederate history is conveniently ignored or discredited. A book I’d recommend is “Black Southerners in Confederate Armies” Compiled and edited by J.H. Segars and Charles Kelley Barrow. Has many historical news accounts, and SCV gatherings where these fellow compatriots attended. Also includes the more recent story of Eddie Brown Page III, a black Confederate Reenactor (who was shot near his home in 1998) who states that “the St. Andrew’s cross on the Georgia flag symbolizes my heritage – respect for the courage and sacrifice of my patriotic forefathers, free people of color and slaves, for the constitutional principle of sovereignty of the states of the founding fathers…”

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