Category Archives: History

An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 168, 5 July 1862

Senator Hale [John P. Hale of New Hampshire] in answering a remark of Mr. Sumner [Charles Sumner of Massachusetts], reflecting upon his refusal to vote aye upon an amendment making Negro testimony admissible, said that he had long labored for that object, but that if incorporated in a law it would be rendered nugatory by the present Supreme Court, and he therefore regarded such action as utterly futile. He preferred to abolish the Court altogether.

Arming of Fugitive Slaves

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 167, 3 July 1862

Armed and ready to protect the Union.

Gen. Hunter, of the Department of S.C., has written a letter to the Secretary of War, in reply to the inquiry concerning the equipment, arming, &c.,  of fugitive slaves, in which he says, that he was authorized by Secretary Cameron to employ all persons, without distinction of color, for the suppression of rebellion; that the regiment of negroes organized are not “fugitives,” but their late masters are “fugitives,” and he concludes as follows – “The experiment of arming the blacks, as far as I have made it has been a complete and even marvelous success. They are sober, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, displaying great natural capacities for acquiring the duties of the soldier.  They are eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have charge of them, that in the peculiarities of this climate and country they will prove invaluable auxiliaries — fully equal to the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the British authorities in the West India Islands.  In conclusion, I would say it is my hope, there appearing no possibility of other reinforcements, owing to the exigencies of the campaign in the Peninsula, to have organized by the end of next fall, and be able to present to the Government from forty-eight to fifty thousand of these hardy and devoted soldiers.”

Confederates Use Blacks as Human Shields

It seems that all the ‘Contrabands’ in South Carolina are not as loyal as Wilson Small and his associates. A correspondent of one of the Northern papers recites the following incident as a trait of manners developed by the war in South Carolina. A small detachment of confederates crossed Broad river at night at Port Royal ferry in a large flat, adopting a very clever expedient to prevent discovery until the proper time. They placed a number of contrabands in the front of the scow and obliged them to pull them across, while they lay out of sight of our pickets in the boat. The boat was discovered by the pickets, hailed, and allowed to approach the shore, as the negroes answered that they were “niggers on the way to freedom — press de Lord for dat Massa.” The pickets did not discover the ruse until they had received a hot fire from the Confederates, who rose at the command and fired over the negroes’ heads. The fire was feebly returned, and the pickets fell back and continued to fall back until they had arrived at a safe distance. — Nat. Int.

Colyer: Lincoln Adamant Against Returning Fugitive Slaves

Vincent Colyer

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 150, 13 June 1862

Mr. Vincent Colyer, in his address at the Cooper Institute at N.Y. , on Tuesday night, said, he had seen the President , and spoke as follows: “The President said that the idea of closing schools and sending back fugitive slaves, and searching vehicles going north, never had emanated from his administration. Such an order had never been given by him, nor would it be tolerated by him or his administration. He said more than that. He said no fugitive slave who came within the lines of the United States army should ever be returned to his master.”


According to Wikipedia, Vincent Colyer was an American artist noted for his images of the American west.  During the Civil War, Colyer created the United States Christian Commission, and worked with the federal government to try to help freedmen and Native Americans.

As superintendent of the poor in New BernNorth Carolina under General Ambrose Burnside, he wrote the Report of the Services Rendered by the Freed People to the United States Army in North Carolina, in the Spring of 1862, After the Battle of Newbern (1864). With the government decision in 1863 to allow black troops to fight, Colyer began to recruit and train the men for the United States Colored Troops. He also served with the Indian commission.

Lincoln’s Letter to Colonel Ellsworth’s Parents

Colonel Ellsworth

To the Father and Mother of Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth:

My dear Sir and Madam, In the untimely loss of your noble son, our affliction here, is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised usefulness to one’s country, and of bright hopes for one’s self and friends, have rarely been so suddenly dashed, as in his fall. In size, in years, and in youthful appearance, a boy only, his power to command men, was surpassingly great. This power, combined with a fine intellect, an indomitable energy, and a taste altogether military, constituted in him, as seemed to me, the best natural talent, in that department, I ever knew. And yet he was singularly modest and deferential in social intercourse. My acquaintance with him began less than two years ago; yet through the latter half of the intervening period, it was as intimate as the disparity of our ages, and my engrossing engagements, would permit. To me, he appeared to have no indulgences or pastimes; and I never heard him utter a profane, or intemperate word. What was conclusive of his good heart, he never forgot his parents. The honors he labored for so laudably, and, in the sad end, so gallantly gave his life, he meant for them, no less than for himself.

In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of my young friend, and your brave and early fallen child.

May God give you that consolation which is beyond all earthly power. Sincerely your friend in a common affliction —

A. Lincoln

Longworth Feeds Confederate Families

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 155, 19 June 1862

“It is stated that Nicholas Longworth [Longworth House Office Building used by the U.S. House of Representatives is named for him], the Cincinnati millionaire, has contributed $500 to feed the families of Confederate soldiers at the South.”


Longworth later married the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, and became Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Happy Confederate Heritage and Not-at-All Racism Day!

Ty Wright/Getty Images

by Ben Mathis-Lilley

After nine black Americans were murdered at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, last June by a white supremacist, a number of states removed the Confederate flag or images thereof from official display. Many official tributes to the Confederacy persist, though, and Monday government offices in Alabama and Mississippi are closed as those states celebrate “Confederate Memorial Day.” Several other Southern states hold the same celebration on different dates; state offices in Georgia are closed Monday as well, but per an order signed last year by Gov. Nathan Deal the occasion is now only identified in generic terms as a “State Holiday.”

A new Southern Poverty Law Center report identifies “at least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy” — monuments, statues, schools named after Jefferson Davis, etc. — in public spaces across the country. Contra the common argument that Confederate tributes are a celebration of ‘heritage’ rather than white supremacy, the SPLC’s press release notes that “the creation of Confederate displays spiked at the beginning of the Jim Crow era and again in response to the civil rights movement.”

Of particular note: 10 United States military bases are named after Confederates, including a fort named after a general named John Brown Gordon who is believed to have gone on to lead the Georgia KKK. Heritage, not hate!

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/04/25/confederate_memorial_day_still_a_thing_in_2016.html

Laws of the Confederate States [partial]

“511. That every white person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate states, or who shall arm, train, organize, or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate states, or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise, attack, or conflict in such service, shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death, or be otherwise punished, at the discretion of the court.”

Voter Suppression — Nothing New

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Picture_of_Charles_Brantley_Aycock.jpg

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 102, Number 14, 16 January 1901

Governor Aycock of North Carolina says that while the good of all the people of his state depends upon restricting negro suffrage to the intelligent members of that race and to those of them who have some material interest in the welfare of the State, it is just as requisite and necessary to secure that race all their natural and legal rights, and to treat them kindly and make all proper allowances for the delinquencies. And he is right.


From Wikipedia page of Charles Brantley Aycock:

In 1898 and 1900, Aycock was prominent in the Democratic Party’s “white supremacy” Solid South campaigns.[1] Aycock’s involvement with the Wilmington insurrection of 1898 is chronicled in official state commission report. “Planned violence to suppress the African American and Republican communities grew into unplanned bloodshed. The frenzy over white supremacy victory, incessantly repeated by orators such as Alfred Moore Waddelland Charles Aycock simply could not be quieted after an overwhelming and somewhat anticlimactic election victory.”[2] Aycock was reportedly not present in Wilmington the day of the insurrection.

In 1900, Aycock was elected Governor over Republican Spencer B. Adams,[3] as part of a sweeping Democratic victory which included a suffrage amendment. Aycock was a supporter of the amendment and campaigned on the issue.[4]

Indeed it has become the fashion among Republicans and Populists to assert the unfitness of the negro to rule, but when they use the word rule, they confine it to holding office. When we say that the negro is unfit to rule we carry it one step further and convey the correct idea when we declare that he is unfit to vote. To do this we must disfranchise the negro. This movement comes from the people. Politicians have been afraid of it and have hesitated, but the great mass of white men in the State are now demanding and have demanded that the matter be settled once and for all. To do so is both desirable and necessary – desirable because it sets the white man free to move along faster than he can go when retarded by the slower movement of the negro.

— Charles Aycock, Address Accepting the Democratic Nomination for Governor, April 11, 1900 [5]