Civil War Daily Gazette

A Day-By-Day Accounting of the Conflict, 150 Years Later

Black Confederates at the Battle of Falling Waters?

An interesting aside was noted by Jackson concerning Jeb Stuart’s capture of 50 Union troops at the Battle of Falling Waters:

Colonel Stuart reports his capture of an entire company (the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers), with the exception of the captain. Three, resisting, were killed. He further reports that “one of the enemy was killed by a negro of Captain Carter’s and one of Captain Patrick’s company.” Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 2, p186

In this battle, where only ten Union troops were killed, two were killed by blacks within the Confederate army. This could easily be construed as “uniformed black men in the Confederate ranks,” however, the phrase “a negro of Captain Carter’s” means “a slave of Captain Carter’s.”

Many wealthy Southerners brought slaves with them. They were often called “body servants.” In fact, every Confederate army had an incredible number of slaves with it. They were a great asset to the army and performed a number of menial jobs.

In the case of the slaves of Captains Carter and Patrick, they were personal slaves riding with the cavalry. Clearly they were armed, but there’s no mention as to why. That Jackson recorded it at all is evidence that it was a novelty. However, at this early stage of the war, everything was a novelty.

I would highly recommend checking out Kevin Levin’s excellent site Civil War Memory. His study into supposed Black Confederates is wonderful.

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Black Confederates at the Battle of Falling Waters? by Eric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International

5 Responses

  1. Jim says

    Take a look at this link below, there were definitely black Confederate soldiers…

    • Eric says

      There were, no doubt, a few freed slaves who joined the ranks (unofficially since it was illegal until very late in the war). But take a look at this link, which links to many, many other links, that disprove the black confederate myth through research and not simply wishful thinking.

  2. Cary says

    I think you are wrong about Carter and Patrick owning those slaves. They may have but that isn’t what Jackson wrote. He used an apostrophe to show possession in saying that on belonged to Carter’s company and the other to Patrick’s company. He meant they belonged to the company not Carter and Patrick.

    You are guilty of revisionist history by dropping the apostrophes. I think you did it on purpose to further your agenda.

    • Eric says

      Seriously? I mean, you’re not joking, right? You kind of sound like you’re joking. But in case you’re not…

      Here’s the actual text from the Official Records

      Maybe Carter and Patrick didn’t actually own the slaves, but, as we’ve seen already in Virginia, slaves were impressed into the army as slaves (as opposed to placing them in the ranks as freemen).

      There is no wacky liberal ulterior motive here, I promise.

      • Sean Williams says

        Hey Cary, have you been reading along with the rest of the blog? On what basis do you accuse the author of purposely altering history? On what information do you base your opinion that the author has an “agenda”?

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