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Confederate Slave Impressment in the Upper South$
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Jaime Amanda Martinez

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469610740

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469610757_Martinez

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Epilogue Black Confederates?

Epilogue Black Confederates?

Slave Impressment and Confederate Memory

(p.159) Epilogue Black Confederates?
Confederate Slave Impressment in the Upper South

Jaime Amanda Martinez

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses how slave impressment became a subject of contested memories with the end of the war. For a time, the wartime activities of slaves impressed to work for the Engineer Bureau largely disappeared from postwar memory, while Lost Cause ideology lauded the body servants of Confederate soldiers and the faithful mammies on the home front. This selective memory was deliberate, for impressment reminded white southerners that many slaves had to be forced to work for the Confederacy rather than voluntarily gave their support. Erasing the memory of the thousands of enslaved laborers who sustained the Confederate war effort also masked the essential dependency of white households on black labor, thus easing any potential threats to white supremacy.

Keywords:   Confederacy, Civil War, slave labor, postwar memory, war effort

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