"Under its untarnished folds beat back the invader, and find nationality, everlasting immunity from an atrocious despotism, and honor and renown yourselves- or death."- General P.G.T. Beauregard
The Confederate flag is under great attack in this day and age. Everyone seems to think that it is a symbol of racism or hate but it is not. We as Confederates denounce any groups that use it for hate or wrong purposes. This flag was flown by a noble set of men. Men that knew their duty to God and their country. They were always ready as citizens and soldiers to make the supreme sacrifice to preserve and protect what they thought was right. These men went through countless battles and skirmishes, long marches and counter marches carrying this flag. The flags came in many different shapes and sizes, colors and makes, but one thing is certain, the men that carried it and followed it into battle knew it well. This was the flag that was seen flying after such stunning victories as Mannassas and Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Kennesaw Mountain. The men under these colors never ran, never faltered, never failed in the face of danger.
This flag was not the flag seen flying on the hundreds of slave ships on the coast of Africa, that was the American flag ladies and gentlemen. Thousands of African Americans would fight under this flag during the war also, many risking their lives fighting for the same ideals as the white Southern men next to them in battle did also. Many races and cultures fought under the Southern Cross defending what they thought was right.
For example the "Richmond Howitzers" was manned in part by black militia men. They saw action at 1st Mannassas. Also at this battle two colored regiments, one free and one slave would participate and lose heavily. Also a James Washington of the 35th Texas Cavalry Company D would rise to the rank of 3rd Sergeant.
Many plantation owners felt insecure with the militia off fighting on the front lines and no one at home to protect property except those few higher class people's staying out of the war, women, children, and older peoples. This is how the subject of training and arming the slave population came up, it would bring a sense of security to the land and boost the morale of the Southern population as a whole. Maybe even help curb desertion rates in the regular army? By the end of the war the South would agree to free and arm all slaves but by this time it would be too late. The armies were already starving, Lee was having bad luck at Petersburg and Johnston even worse luck in Georgia, Edmund Kirby Smith was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy, and Sterling Price had been beaten badly at Westport and was retreating from Kansas and Missouri.
As you can see, there was really nothing left to do, if you don't free and arm the slaves the war is already lost, all Southern white men had already enlisted and been killed in battle, died of disease, or deserted. There were a few companies of slaves drilling and forming inside Petersburg, but this was only beginning to take place as Lee retreated towards Appomattox Station.
Now, if you will, let me throw a few quotes your way to prove just how effective and numerous black Confederates were.
Andrew and Silas Chandler, 44th Mississippi Infantry, Company F
"There are at the present moment many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down any loyal troops and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the rebels."- Frederick Douglas
"Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-offs or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc, and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army."- Dr. Lewis Steiner
"Here I had come South and was fighting to free this man," the disgusted major wrote in his diary. "If I had made one false move on my horse, he would have shot my head off."- Unknown
As you can see by the above statements it was not uncommon to see African American men fighting side by side with Southern whites. It's a shame that the Northern history books fail to tell this side of the story.
Jefferson Shields, cook for Lt. General Stonewall Jackson
Another honorable Confederate fighting to defend his home and contribute to a most noble cause.
Some great links on black Confederates: