Blacks fought for Confederacy, too

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Regarding Joe Beck’s letter on the Confederate flag ("So, should we fly the Nazi flag too?" Aug. 4): Beck claims, "Flying the Confederate flag is shameful." Let me introduce him to some Confederate soldiers: Monroe Gooch, 45th Tennessee Infantry (cook), James Newcom, 1st North Carolina Battalion (infantryman), and Charles Benger, 2nd Georgia Battalion (musician).

They served the Confederate Army in various aspects, with pots and pans to feed soldiers; shooting the enemy to protect their homeland; and playing instruments to keep the soldiers in cadence. They were no different than any other soldier performing these same duties, except these Southern soldiers were black Confederates.

I am a life member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Our organization is dedicated to honoring and preserving the memory of Confederate soldiers. I recently attended the 113th National Reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Concord, N.C. Besides the normal business of elections, bylaws and such was the presentation of Weary Clyburn’s family, to a standing ovation. They were accompanied by a Confederate honor guard and the playing of Dixie. The daughter of Weary Clyburn, 87-year-old Mattie Clyburn Rice, was unable to attend because of illness.

Weary Clyburn was born about 1841, as a slave on the plantation of Thomas Clyburn in Lancaster County, S.C. Thomas had a son, Frank, who joined what would become Company E of the 12th South Carolina Volunteers. Soon, Weary escaped the plantation and joined Frank as his bodyguard. Twice, Weary saved Frank’s life. Frank was wounded in a battle near Charleston, S.C., and later during fighting near Petersburg, Va. Both times, Weary carried his master off the field under fire. After the reunion, a marker dedication was held at the grave of Weary Clyburn to honor his service to the Confederacy by placing a Confederate VA marker on his unmarked grave.

The NAACP should learn to practice what it preaches, and Beck should learn not to dishonor the memory of such great men as Weary Clyburn, a Confederate veteran.

Lee Herron

Edgefield, S.C.

© 2008 The Augusta Chronicle

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