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Civil War Rages On for Black America


Civil War Rages On for Black America

Sarah Anderson

Hundreds of African-American men marched to the White House this past Sunday. They were not wearing hoodies in honor of Trayvon Martin. They were not making the “hands up don’t shoot” gesture in honor of Michael Brown.

They were wearing blue wool trousers and greatcoats, forage caps and cavalry boots—in honor of African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Their aim: to correct a wrong made in 1865, when black soldiers were left out of the Grand Review, the Union Army’s victory parade.


On the subject of Black Confederates, look up John Stauffer’s article “Black Confederates” in the Harvard Gazette. Yes, there were some, between 3,000-10,000, he says, but their motives were complicated. Nothing is ever as simple as it might seem.


I believe they were recuited in the last months of the war. When they marched through Richmond, they were not well received -even spat on.


If I’m remembering correctly, Lee had been pushing for at least a year to draft large numbers of black soldiers. The Army of Northern Virginia could not replace its losses, and Lee needed warm bodies. It was a practical, purely military consideration. Jeff Davis resisted the idea.