Union Documentation of Black Confederates

We had been advised not to print the first two historical quotations because they are “too much” – but history is history and the 37th offers history without editorial opinion. It is for the visitor to assess.

From Federal Official Records – (Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805: – Lt. Col. Parkhurst’s Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on General Forrest’s attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13, 1862:

“The forces attacking my camp were the First Regiment Texas Rangers, Colonel Wharton, and a battalion of the First Georgia Rangers, Colonel Morrison, and a large number of citizens of Rutherford County, many of whom had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day.”

“Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette” 12 March 1863 refers to the 5 March 1863 fight around Thompson’s Station, near Franklin, TN that ended in a Union fiasco and surrender of troops. The Nashville, Tenn. Union of Saturday [7 March 1863] speaking of the disastrous affair near Franklin, Tenn., on Thursday last [5 March 1863], says:


Gen. Earl Van Dorn, CSA

“During the fight the battery in charge of the 85th Indiana [Volunteer Infantry] was attacked by [*in italics*] two rebel negro regiments. [*end italics*] Our artillerists double-shotted their guns and cut the black regiments to pieces, and brought their battery safely off. * * * * It has been stated, repeatedly, for two weeks past, that a large number, perhaps one-fourth, of Van Dorn’s force were [*in italics*] negro soldiers [*end italics*], and the statement is fully confirmed by this unfortunate engagement. The Southern rebels have forced their miserable negroes to take up arms, to destroy this Government, and enslave us and our children.”

“Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette” – 26 Feb 63 edition quotes an item originally published in the “Savannah Republican” sometime between November 1862 – February 1863:

Are Negroes Enlisted in the Rebel Army?]

Upon this point, which has already been conclusively established by indubitable evidence, the following additional bit of testimony is furnished by the advertising columns of the Savannah Republican. The rebels have no sort of scruples as to employing negroes in carrying out the murderous purpose of the rebellion:


Deserted from Company A, 29th Georgia regiment stationed at Dayton Battery, on Savannah river, John Ross, 22 years of age, about 5 feet 7 inches in [height], complexion a brown-black. He is a free negro and an excellent drummer. Was enlisted October 10, 1861, and deserted November 13th, 1862.–He is at present concealed in Savannah.

W. H. Billapp,
Captain, Commanding Dayton Battery

“Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette” for 31 August 1863:

NEGRO TROOPS IN REBELDOM–The Mobile Register says: “The negro is no longer an object of small talk in the South. The people of the South have a place for him, and that is in the army. There should be no distinction of color,” says the Register, “when a man is willing to fight for his home and master.”

“Indianapolis Daily Evening Gazette” for 7 August 1863


Does anybody desire to know when the subject of enlisting African soldiers was first broached in Nashville? Does anybody desire to know what newspaper first puffed the enterprise? Does anybody desire to know which party first enjoyed the benefit of an African military alliance, and employed negroes in their military department? Be silent, oh inquisitive fellow citizens, and we will tell you. In a copy of that vehement and intense Southern Rights, Secession and fire-eating pro-Slavery journal, the Nashville Union and American, edited and published by J. O. Griffith, F. C. Dunnington, John C. Burch, Leon Trousdale, and Thomas S. Marr, dated April 25, 1861, we find the following editorial paragraph:


“Everybody knows Bill Rawlings, the good-natured barber on Market street. His wife, Mary, is now engaged in making up uniforms for the troops. Her brother (Jim Dunge) is raising a company of free negroes to fight Lincoln’s men, and Bill says if anybody wil furnish him with a good leg, he can whip any ten Abolitionists, but even with one leg, he is willing to hobble out to the battle-field, if the Governor wants his services.”

So much for the first negro company in the Rock City. The editors of the Union and American, King Isham’s organ, were evidently chuckling over the prospect of seeing the bloods of the “Rock City Guards” followed by nigger Jim Dunge’s Rock City–Black Guards, all bearing the Stars and Bars, playing Dixie and huzzahing for King Isham and Jeff. Davis at the top of their lungs. They rather intimated that the African would do the best fighting, for while the white rebels could only whip five Abolitionists apiece, the black rebels could “whip any ten Abolitionists.” In fact, the rebel organ hints that a one-legged darkey could fight as well as any two-legged rebel. It is well-know [sic] that Governor Harris recently favored the enlistment of slaves as well as free negroes, in the rebel service, and the General Pillow coincided with him.”

On The Web: