Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brown was not a black Confederate

One gets the feeling that if we had the resources to examine every case of a so-called Black Confederate in detail, their phantom numbers would be reduced from the 10s of thousands that certain neo-Confederates dream about, to about seven or eight. And even those seven or eight would have mitigating circumstances governing their service.

The record of one of those soldiers was set straight in Vallejo, California this weekend, when a former slave turned Federal soldier, Samuel Brown, got a new headstone. The original one mistakenly identified this member of the 137 USCT as a Confederate infantryman. 

See the entire story here.
Photo above by Paul Chinn


Andy Hall said...

How does a mistake like that happen in the first place?


dw said...

Andy, that's a good question. We can only guess. I would suggest there might have been confusion over USCT, but even if you mistake "Colored" for "Confederate," it's hard to overlook the "U.S."

Ghost said...

I don't find a Samuel Brown mentioned in any of the Black Confederate websites...yet you and other bloggers seem to infer that this is part of some "neo-confederate" conspiracy. Maybe it was just an honest mistake by the monument company.

Andy Hall said...

Ghost, you're right that Samuel Brown isn't a featured Black Confederate now, but David is correct also that this is exactly the sort of story they'll latch onto. David didn't suggest this was part of some conspiracy, only that Private Brown's case will likely be irresistible to those making the case for Black Confederates. I agree. In fact, commenters on the original SFGate news story are already making that case.

I also agree that the origin of this may have been an error by the monument company.

dw said...


I do believe it was an honest mistake by someone along the line. I agree that if advocates of black Confederate mythology don't even know about this distant California burial, it doesn't serve their cause.

My main point was that virtually all of the anecdotal claims about black Confederates come up short when examined closely. But here was a black Confederate with the evidence literally carved in stone. And if even THOSE examples come up short upon close examination, it doesn't bode well for the overall numbers.