I have heretofore avoided joining in the liberal pile-on upon the Sons of Confederate Veterans (of which I am an inactive member) and the League of The South for their promotion of the ridiculous idea that thousands of slaves were carrying the rifled muskets of the Confederacy to fight for the freedom of their masters and mistresses.
I know where the idea comes from, i.e. the few servant/slaves who followed young Marster to the Rebel army and occasionally fired a musket at the enemy either to protect young Marster or just for the hell of it in the general excitement of battle. And I can imagine why it’s being pushed nowadays: because it has become fashionable among so-called historians to insist that the Rebels were “fighting for slavery,” primarily because Confederate politicians and some generals said (and wrote) that they were doing so.
But I’m finally joining the pile-on now that there is an elementary school textbook, no less, being issued to Virginia fourth graders that claims: “Thousands of Southern blacks fought in Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.”
This is a pathetic lie which will delude the white kids and hurt the feelings of the black ones and it’s being perpetrated by a Virginia women, Joy Masoff, who ought to (but probably doesn’t) know better who uses the excuse that she found it on the Web.
The Web is a wonderful research tool used by scholars as well as buffs of all political persuasions, but like just about everything else in the world, it has a lot of crap in it, and needs to be sifted intelligently. Never, ever taken at face value. (My own stuff included.)
Especially not when it involves the War (as I prefer to call it) of Northern Aggression. Interestingly, with a very little digging, you will find just how complex that awful war really was.
To name but one intricacy, consider the contradictions of the notion that the popular movie Glory, about a fighting black Union regiment, was the common fare of the United States Colored Troops, as they were called.
In fact many of them were confined to provost marshal duty (i.e. guarding Confederate prisoners) and all of them were, in fact, denied the right to march in the Union victory parade a few weeks after the remnant pittance of the white Virginia Rebel army surrendered. There was, in short, more than enough racism to go around.