"One of Morgan's Black Mississippi Raiders"
graphite drawing ©1999 T.E. Holmes
For sometime now there has been an ongoing controversy between historians, reenactors, and special interest groups (incl. the NAACP) over the involvement (and amount of participation) of African-Americans (*both* free & slave) as fighting men within the Confederacy's military forces. When it comes to talking about their participation as a labor force, there seems to be no argument.
Yet dare to mention that the historical record does in fact show that men of colour did indeed participate as fighting men within the Confederate ranks, no matter how limited or great that participation, and the result can be just shy of waging the war all over again!
We make no effort in rewriting history, but just seek to present the facts as we've found them, thereby telling the whole story.
For a more in-depth look at the involvement of African-Americans in the Confederacy, we highly recommend the 37th Texas (Terrell's) Cavalry, reactivated website.
(**special thanks to the 37th TX Cav for making us aware of the 2nd KY Trooper buried at the Confederate Mound**)
‘Civil War Curiosities’, Webb Garrison, 1994, Rutledge Hill Press, pg. 107:
"Partisan ranger John H. Morgan recruited a number of Mississippi blacks for his force, whose raids came to be feared throughout the border states."
(**note: I have been told that it has been written that Morgan recruited these Mississippians, as he felt they were “loyal & fierce fighters”.)
(**Mass Conf. Burial Site w/ a Black Raider listed amongst the dead**)
CAMP MORTON; UNION PRISONER OF WAR CAMP ROSTER OF THE FORGOTTEN IN GRAY
THESE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS DIED AT INDIANAPOLIS WHILE PRISONERS OF WAR. THEY WERE TRANSFERRED HERE FROM GREENLAWN CEMETERY IN 1933 TO REST ETERNAL. A LARGE MONUMENT TO THESE DEAD NOW STANDS IN GARFIELD PARK, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA.
Christian, J. (Negro), Co. D, Morgan's 2nd Cavalry, 11/22/63
Excerpted from the ‘Confederate Veteran’ volume 6, 1998
“Confederate Images; Capt. William E. Curry, Co.A, 8th Kentucky Cavalry Regt.”:
“During all this time , Captain Curry had a farm hand servant named John, who along with several other free and enslaved Blacks, was listed as part of Co.Q in the 8th Kentucky Cavalry.”
The following note & roster was sent to me by John Wells III, former chief-genealogist for the Sons of Confederate Veterans:
“Champ: This is from the Colonel Cluke papers. He was the C.O. of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA.
Milton Gess was the slave & later free Negro who worked for my great-great grandfather John Gess who served in the 8th.”
~ Roster ‘Free Colored’ Troops Co.Q ~
Zack Taylor Bell
Excerpted from an interview with George Levy, author of “To Die In Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65” (Confederate Veteran magazine, volume 5, 1999).
In the interview (pg.32) he mentions:
“...One of the Black Confederates was killed as soon as he got to Camp Douglas by the guards. I think it was Henry Marshall (14 yrs old) of Company B of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, as I recall...”
(**note: I need to obtain a copy of this book to research this individual/incident further, but this would have to been a Black trooper captured on Morgan’s Ohio Raid, as the 14th Kentucky Cavalry was formed just prior to the raid itself).
A final note....
We do not know the role played by Co.Q or other Black Confederates who served as troopers with John Hunt Morgan, but we would hazard an educated guess that they performed some scouting duties for his command. It would have been far easier for African-Americans to move around in enemy controlled territory, without arousing undo suspicion than it would've been for a white stranger on a similar mission.
In the Trans-Mississippi Theater, Quantrill himself utilized this tactic with success, in particular when scouting Lawrence (Kansas) in preparation for his notorious raid there.
We are confident that a master of pre-raid scouting, like John Hunt Morgan, would've employed the same tactic.
If you have any information regarding the above or of other Black Raiders who served with John Hunt Morgan, we'd sure love to hear from you. Thank you.
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