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Searching for Black ConfederatesThe Civil War's Most Persistent Myth$
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Kevin M. Levin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653266

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653266.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Camp Slaves’ War

The Camp Slaves’ War

(p.12) Chapter One The Camp Slaves’ War
(p.iii) Searching for Black Confederates

Kevin M. Levin

University of North Carolina Press

The chapter begins by stating that a widely circulated picture of a white soldier and a Black Confederate soldier is actually a photograph of Andrew Chandler and his family slave, Silas. Slaves were sometimes allowed to purchase military uniforms or were provided them by their masters, which explains why there are photographs of Black men in Confederate uniforms. At the onset of the war, Confederates believed they could offset the disadvantage of having a smaller population and less war-making power than the Union by utilizing slave labor. The government impressed enslaved people to work on earthworks, railroads, and weapon production. They also performed various jobs in camps such as cooking, performing music, and assisting in hospitals. White soldiers often brought slaves from home to act as personal servants. At times, the presence of personal slaves created class tensions within camps. Enslaved people often took on various tasks in camps for payment. While the shared experience of war likely brought the enslaved and their enslavers closer together, the racial hierarchy was strictly, and often violently enforced by the enslavers. Enslavers’ belief that their slaves were loyal to them and the Confederate cause sometimes caused emotional distress when a slave would run away or defect to the Union.

Keywords:   Andrew Chandler, Silas Chandler, Camp slave, Confederate uniform, Racial hierarchy, Enslaved people

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