Heimbach isn’t doing the South any Favors

Matt Heimbach has written an article (which he has published on his Traditionalist Youth Network website) about what he calls “Rainbow” Confederates. In other words, Heimbach is not just content to attack the “left” , he wants to attack Southerners who dare think that minorities fought and served in the Confederacy.  From Heimbach:

The old saying, “Heritage Not Hate”, is one that I grew up with as a child. Whenever a Southerner would put up a battle flag or talk well of the Confederate dead or our heroes, without missing a beat he or she would whisper  “It is just about the History.” A long conversation about the legions of black, Jewish, asian, one legged, etc, legions of minorities who have been left out of the history who served in the Confederate army just proves how racist and evil the North was.

He continues:

For a long time, I fell into the trap of the Rainbow Confederates; it seems so easy to do. As Southerners, we love our symbols, we venerate our heroes, and we honor our fallen Confederate dead, but we seek to avoid conflict. To attempt to placate the ravenous anti-Tradition media, a group of Southerners has decided to swallow the multicultural agenda hook line and sinker. In a bizarre form of Orwellian doublethink, Rainbow Confederates believe that Southerners were racial egalitarians, generations ahead of those hate filled Yankees, and our nation was secretly going to be formed based upon a multicultural road map to equality and unicorns.

For all his accusations of “doublethink” and “rainbows”, Heimbach could use an education and a smidgen of humility.  The truth is that Blacks did serve in Confederate ranks , as did those of Jewish descent.

An unlikely source proves that Blacks did serve and it is found at the Defense.gov ( the U.S. Dept. of Defense) website. The article entitled “Black Confederates” ( written by Jim Garamone of the American Forces Press Service) states:

African Americans did serve with Confederate armies. And eventually they even bore arms for the Confederacy.

Early in the war, “Free Negroes” tried to enlist in the Confederate army. Black militia units, most notably in Louisiana, rushed to join in the war. The Confederate government did not accept the black militia units for army duty. None of the units appear to have been in combat, but many may have performed what is called combat service support today.

Thousands of African Americans marched off to war for the Confederacy. Many accompanied their masters, and there were isolated instances throughout the war of these “body servants” as these slaves were called taking up arms when their masters went into combat.

Many other slaves served as laborers for the Confederate army. During the Atlanta campaign of 1864, for instance, Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston used thousands of slaves to prepare fortifications as his army sparred with that of Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman.

Thousands more slaves served the Confederate army driving horsedrawn supply wagons. The Confederate fighting force was white, but much of its support was black.

Garamone continues:

The Confederate Congress began looking at bills allowing the enlistment of African Americans into the army in early 1865. Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin spoke at rallies around Richmond. He said 680,000 AfricanAmerican males were ready to fight for the Confederacy: “Let us say to every Negro who wants to go into the ranks, ‘Go and fight, and you are free … Fight for your masters, and you shall have your freedom.'”

Representatives from the Deep South were especially keen on getting blacks to enlist theirs was the land Sherman was laying to waste. Some in the Confederate government saw the measure as an admission the Confederacy was wrong about slavery from the beginning.

“If we are right in passing this measure we were wrong in denying to the old government [the United States] the right to interfere with the institution of slavery and to emancipate slaves, Virginia Sen. Robert M.T. Hunter said. Besides, if we offer slaves their freedom … we confess that we were insincere, were hypocritical, in asserting that slavery was the best state for the Negroes themselves.”

In February 1865, the Confederate Congress, after months of stalling, passed an act allowing black enlistments. Immediately, Virginia started enlisting slaves to fight for the Confederacy.

White officers commanded these battalions. They drilled and marched in downtown Richmond. Recruiters hit the areas around Richmond and Petersburg, but they moved too slowly for Rebel Gen. Robert E. Lee. He took officers from the Army of Northern Virginia and started recruiting blacks immediately.

But time ran out. On March 31, Union forces broke the Confederate lines at Petersburg. Lee was compelled to evacuate Richmond and Petersburg. His only hope of carrying on the fight was to escape to North Carolina and link up with Confederate forces there.

Records from the time are incomplete, but several thousand African Americans may have served as soldiers for the Confederacy. Anecdotal evidence implies at least some went into combat against Union forces.

On April 4, a Confederate courier observed black Confederates defending a wagon train near Amelia Court House, Va. When Union cavalry approached, the black soldiers formed up, fired and drove them off. The cavalry reformed, charged and took the wagon train.

Later, near Farmville, Va., white refugees saw black Confederates building and preparing to man fortifications.

Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Va., on April 9. The enlistment of black Confederate soldiers was the dying gasp of the South.

The fact is that some Blacks served in combat roles, most served in support roles but that doesn’t make their service less valuable. They served; And what of the Jewish Confederates that Heimbach claims did not exist? A special editorial to the Washington TImes  , written by Thomas C. Mandes states that:

The largest ethnic group to serve the Confederacy, however, was made up of first-, second- and third-generation Jewish lads. Old Jewish families, initially Sephardic and later Ashkenazic, had settled in the South generations before the war. Jews had lived in Charleston, S.C., since 1695. By 1800, the largest Jewish community in America lived in Charleston, where the oldest synagogue in America, K.K. Beth Elohim, was founded. By 1861, a third of all the Jews in America lived in Louisiana.

More than 10,000 Jews fought for the Confederacy. As Rabbi Korn of Charleston related, “Nowhere else in America – certainly not in the Antebellum North – had Jews been accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals as in the old South.”

Heimbach , did however, make some accurate observations in his article (for instance when he states “The truth is simple, while most of our ancestors were not slaveholders, they rejected the racial egalitarianism that Lincoln and the Northern capitalists represented” ) but the majority of his article is aimed at ridiculing those who believe minorities contributed to the Confederate cause and he makes it perfectly clear that he is more concerned with White Superiority ( in the North and the South) than protecting our history and heritage.

In the end, Heimbach is not a Southerner, he is a spoiled brat who has an axe to grind with anyone who doesn’t believe the same way he does. Perhaps it is merely a cry for attention. Either way Heimbach does no favors for the South, it’s history, heritage and culture.

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

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