Mr. Valante developed an admirable piece on the subject of Black Confederates. I’m always pleased to see good scholarship and English in writing supporting the South/Southern cause. If I might, I’d like to see a particular tack on this subject I’ve not seen. When people on both sides of the argument talk about Blacks in Confederate military service they often point out that few Blacks served in the line (in spite of Fredrick Douglass’ observation), and the great majority of those who served, served in a support function, as laborers, musicians or servants. If I might put this in a more modern perspective, consider those WWII soldiers, sailors and marines who served as seabees and engineers, bandsmen, mechanics, stewards and cooks. Should anyone believe that those men did not serve a most important function during our more recent wars? John Wayne "died" driving a tractor into a Japanese position in "Fighting Seabees." Hollywood immortalized the "Red Ball Express" comprised in large part by Black drivers in the European War. In Pearl Harbor documentaries one often sees a black sailor, a steward, I believe, manning a machine gun aboard ship making one of the few kills our forces enjoyed at Pearl. I recall hearing of the great loss of life when an ammunition ship exploded in San Francisco Bay. The great majority of those who died were black stevedores. My point: were one to suggest that the people, regardless of color, who served in these positions didn’t fight WWII, he’d likely have some old man drawing back on him. For all sorts of reasons, I think we should take this attitude with those who would denigrate the service of those Blacks who served the South in positions other than in the infantry, cavalry, artillery, navy and marine corps. Again, thank you, Mr. Valante, for your efforts on behalf of the Southern Cause. I always read your pieces in S HN&V knowing they’ll be well researched and worth the time to read them.
Black Confederates (Hart)