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GHC Commentary by Bill Vallante

Bill Vallante
Bill Vallante

Bill Vallante, wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com, is an associate member of the Jeb Stuart Camp 1506, a reenactor in the 9th Va. Inf., Co. C, and is living "behind enemy lines" in Commack, N.Y.

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"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." --John 8:32

Black History Month & 'Civil War Memory' - The 35 Part Series

The Black Confederate Civilian (Part 11) by Bill Vallante

Once again, contemporary historical wisdom has it that black southern civilians either waited patiently for their union army rescuers to arrive, or participated in the sabotage of the southern war effort. Any attempt to dispute this obligatory mantra will be met with contempt and scorn from modern day academicians, the Civil Rights industry, the media, and the Hollyweirdos. Early in the movie “Gods and Generals”, the Confederate army marches off to war amidst the cheers of southern civilians - black and white civilians. Quite noticeable was a large black man in a slouch hat who cheers passionately for the rebs while waving that hat frantically! The liberal movie critics saw this and of course howled in pain! Here’s a few excerpts from the Slave Narratives to make’em howl some more. Let’s roll the historical videotape!!

J.W. Washington, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)

There is still living today an old Negro, now ninety-six years old, J. W. Washington, who nursed the Confederate soldiers wounded in our County in the War Between the States. This old Negro did reside at 129 Church Street, Jackson, Mississippi, but is now in Washington, D.C. with his daughter. He was a former slave of the Perkins family in this County and was freed by his master. As a freedman he served the Hull family here, the father of Emmett Hull, prominent Architect of Jackson. Not only did J. W. Washington nurse the wounded Confederate soldiers, but he was one of the most devoted and valued nurses of yellow fever in this County. He was especially relied upon by the Howard Association during the frightful epidemic of 1878.

Martin Marvel, Mississippi, (The Slave Narratives)

Martin Marvel --- Of revered memory among Greenville's old colored citizens was Martin Marvel. He was a slave belonging to Mr. Andrew Carson. Mr. Carson was sheriff of Washington county when the War Between The States took place. When Mr. Carson joined the army, he entrusted to his slave Martin Marvel, all the county records. When a Union detachment invaded and burned old Greenville (then five miles down the river) "Uncle Martin" escaped from Greenville with all the county records, in a covered wagon, and hid them in a canebrake. Martin Marvel left no children, but there is a niece of his living in Greenville, and she will take some part in the program when the monument is unveiled. A portrait of Martin Marvel, negro Civil war hero of Washington County, will be unveiled Sunday, June 19, 1938 at 2:30 P. M., in the Martin Marvel Library for negroes, on North Broadway. The portrait is an enlargement of the head and shoulders of a full length picture post card size which was found in a scrap book that belonged to Professor E. E. Bass, deceased, former Superintendent of the City schools. Mr. A. B. Sauer, of Sauer Studio made the enlargement gratis and also contributed the frame.

Spencer Taylor, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)

Asked about his early life, he said: "My marster was as rich as a man ever got to be in that age of the world, and he was so good to his slaves the Lord oughter taken him to rest, even if he hadn't prayed none. I started to work when I was just a yearlin' and when the war broke out they sent me to Mobile to work on the boats. Later, when the yankees came jes' lak bees out of a gum, they tried to get me to leave my white folks, but I stayed right there."

Fanny Randolph, Georgia, (The Slave Narratives)

"Bye an' bye de war come on, an' all de men folks had ter go an' fight de Yankees, so us wimmen folks an' chillun had er hard time den caze us all had ter look atter de stock an' wuk in de fiel's. Den us 'ud hear all 'bout how de Yankees was goin' eroun' an' skeerin' de wimmen folks mos' ter death goin' in dey houses an' making de folks cook 'em stuff ter eat, den tearin' up an' messin' up dey houses an' den marchin' on off."……"Den when ole Mistis 'ud hear de Yankees was comin' she'd call us niggers en us 'ud take all de china, silver, and de joolry whut b' longed ter ole Miss an' her family an' dig deep holes out b'hind de smoke-house er under de big house, en bury h'it all 'tell de Yankees 'ud git by."

Ester King Casey, Alabama , (The Slave Narratives)

….. "Then Captain King left with the other soldiers. Papa stayed and took care of the 'white lady' and the house. After awhile my brother ran away and joined the troops to fight for Captain King. He came home after the war, but Captain King did not.

Thomas McAlpin, Alabama, (The Slave Narratives)

"But Boss, dere ain't never been nobody afightin' lak our 'Federates done, but dey ain't never had a chance. Dere was jes' too many of dem blue coats for us to lick. I seen our 'Federates go off laughin' an' gay; full of life an' health. Dey was big an' strong, asingin' Dixie an' dey jus knowed dey was agoin" to win. An' boss, I seen 'em come back skin an' bone, dere eyes all sad an' hollow, an' dere clothes all ragged, Boss, dey was all lookin' sick. De sperrit dey lef' wid jus' been done whupped outten dem, but it tuk dem Yankees a long time to do it. Our 'Federates was de bes' fightin' men dat over were. Dere warn't nobody lak our 'Federates.

Jessie Rice, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)

Den de Confederate soldiers started coming across Broad River. Befo' dey got home, word had done got round dat our folks had surrendered; but dem Yankees never fit (fought) us out -- dey starved us out. If things had been equal us would a-been fighting dem till dis day, dat us sho would. I can still see dem soldiers or ours coming across Broad River, all dirty, filthy and lousy. Dey was most starved, and so poor and lanky. And deir hosses was in de same fix. Men and hosses had know'd plenty till dat Sherman come along, but most of dem never know'd plenty no more. De men got over it better dan de hosses. Women folks cared for de men. Dey brewed tea from sage leaves, sassafras root and other herb teas. Nobody never had no money to fetch no medicine from de towns wid, so dey made liniments and salves from de things dat grow'd around about in de woods and gardens. "I told you 'bout how small I was, out my brother. Jim Rice, went to Charleston and helped to make dem breastworks down dar. I has never see'd dem, but dem dat has says dat dey is still standing in good conditions. Cose de Yankees tore up all dat dey could when dey got dar.

Lorenza Ezell, Texas, (The Slave Narratives)

"All four my young massas go to de war, all but Elias. He too old. Smith, he kilt at Manassas Junction. Nathan, he git he finger shot at de first round at Fort Sumter. But when Billy was wounded at Howard Gap in North Carolina and dey brung him home with he jaw split open, I so mad I could have kilt all de Yankees. I say I be happy iffen I could kill me jes' one Yankee. I hated dem 'cause dey hurt my white people. Billy was disfigure awful when he jaw split and he teeth all shine through he cheek.

Bill Vallante, wildbill4dixie@yahoo.com, is an associate member of the Jeb Stuart Camp 1506, a reenactor in the 9th Va. Inf., Co. C, and is living "behind enemy lines" in Commack, N.Y.

Black History Month & 'Civil War Memory' - The 35 Part Series


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