A Slave’s Service in the Confederate Army: The Story of Silas Chandler

I have heard and read about the story of Silas Chandler before but I was surprised to find an examination of the relationship between Silas and brothers Andrew and Benjamin Chandler during the Civil War in the NY Times.  I was even more surprised to find that the Times’ author RONALD S. CODDINGTON covered this subject fairly and objectively.

Of course for hard-core leftist this story will be viewed as a white-wash and a revisionist rewriting of history on the other hand, racialist will view this story as an attempt by “Rainbow Confederates” to portray the Confederacy as an “Egalitarian Society”.

The truth of the matter is as Coddington noted : “Bobbie Chandler {a descendant of Silas Chandler}, for his part, accepts the role his great-grandfather played in the Confederate army. He observed, “History is history. You can’t get by it.”

This has always been my position.  It doesn’t matter in which manner they served. Black Confederate Veterans should be honored for their service. – Editor

Sgt. Andrew M. Chandler began his memoir of fighting at Chickamauga with utilitarian prose that belied the horrible, bloody waste that the battle wrought on northwest Georgia in September 1863. “I was engaged in the battle of Chickamauga, belonged to the Forty-fourth Mississippi Regiment, Patton Anderson’s Brigade, Hindman’s Division,” he wrote for an 1894 article in Confederate Veteran magazine.

The highlight of Chandler’s story occurred on the second day of the battle, after he participated in a charge that resulted in the capture of a Union artillery battery. “In this charge we, our brigade” – which fought under the command of Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman – “broke the Federal line and drove them nearly one mile, when we were recalled and reformed, and marched back to the old field, which was literally covered with dead and wounded Yankees,” he wrote.

The federals had sent more troops to fight the Mississippians. As the bluecoats converged on their position, Chandler recalled an exchange that he had with Hindman, a dapper dresser bursting with aggression from his 5-foot-1-inch frame. “General Hindman stopped his horse in rear of our company, when I said to him, ‘General, we are the boys to move them!’ he replied, ‘You are, sir.’ We were then ordered to the foot of a long ridge, heavily wooded. After remaining there lying down for some twenty minutes, the Yankees charged our brigade.”

Chandler abruptly ended his narrative here. He did not describe the rest of the attack – which was strange but telling, because during the fighting a bullet tore into his right leg and ankle and took him out of action. But Chandler’s military records and an anecdote passed down through the family over the following century and a half filled in the rest of his story.

A surgeon examined the 19-year-old Chandler as he lay on the battlefield, determined the wound serious and sent him to a makeshift hospital. Soon afterward Chandler was joined by Silas, a family slave seven years his senior.

In the hospital, according to family history, surgeons decided that the injured leg could not be saved and decided to amputate. Then Silas stepped in. As one of Chandler’s descendants explained, “Silas distrusted Army surgeons. Somehow he managed to hoist his master into a convenient boxcar.” They rode the rails to Atlanta, where Silas sent a request for help to Chandler’s relatives. An uncle came to their assistance, and brought both men home to Palo Alto, Miss., where they had started out two years earlier.

Read the rest of this story by clicking on this link

 

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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