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Upset that African Americans might have served as soldiers in the American Revolution and the War of 1812

 

Confederate Veteran, Vol. 19 No. 2, February 1910, pp. 62. This article also refutes the various assertions that there were African Confederate soldiers. The Confederate Veteran was the official publication of the United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Confederated Southern Memorial Association, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  

 

 

WERE NEGROES IN OUR EARLIER WARS?

 

BY E. T. ROCHE, GEORGETOWN, TEX.

 

In the life of Abraham Lincoln written by the editor of the National Tribune and even as a serial in its columns I find in the issue of October 7, 1909, statements which I be­lieve to be grossly erroneous. Writing of the excitement caused by the employment of negro troops in the Federal army, he says: “Second only to the virulence of the slavery discussion, and merging into it at every phase, was that of enlisting the negroes as soldiers. One of the things that the people of this generation can never understand is the inflamed condition of the country at that time with regard to the negroes and every question pertaining to them. Men's minds seemed like boils on this subject, and ready to flame into anger at the slightest touch. Negroes had done con­spicuously good service in the wars of the Revolution and of 1812. One of the four men killed by the first fire of the British troops at the so-called ‘Boston massacre’ was Crispus Attucks, a Boston mulatto, and at Bunker Hill Peter Salem, a negro, was conspicuous for his gallantry and was shot dead. At one time there were seven hundred and seventy-five negroes serving in the Continental army under Washington, and Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia had colored regiments, with small bodies of negroes from other States. In the War of 1812 New York raised two colored regiments, and at New Orleans General Jackson had at least one regi­ment of blacks and mulattoes.”

 

In no history of the United States that I have read have I seen the statement that “Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia had colored regiments” in the Continental army. I do not believe it to be a fact, and I ask the Veteran to have the subject investigated, that the truth may be made known. I regard the enlistment of negroes in the army of the United States as one of the most infamous things done in the War between the States, and I shall be glad to know that it had no precedent in our earlier history. Let the facts be made known.