“Black Confederate” at Bull Run

15 04 2009

dad-brownFar be it for me to not take advantage of the hit bonanza that is Black Confederates.  As a byproduct of his participation in this discussion, reader and Friend of Bull Runnings (FOBR) Robert Moore sends this along:

[In reference to Henry "Dad" Brown of the 8th SC at Bull Run]

“… on the 21st of July ‘61 the regiment was stationed at Mitchels Ford on the South side of Bull Run. The battle began two miles above and at 12 o’clock the regiment was ordered to go where the battle was raging. As soon as the order came Henry began to beat the long roll. This indicated to a battery on the other side of the Run the position of the regiment and the shells began to fall thick and fast. It was some time before the Colonel could stop him but he was beating all the time regardless of the danger. He followed on to the battlefield and was under fire with the others.”

Per Robert: “I found it at the site for the 37th Texas Cavalry. It’s from The Darlington Press, Nov. 1907, not long after he died. Wish I could get my hands on a hard copy for you, but I don’t think that’s possible unless I head to Darlington. Incidentally, I did look up the guy’s service record on footnote.com and it’s legit. He was on the rolls of both the 8th SC and the 21st SC. He is listed as a musician and “colored” on the Field & Staff rolls for the 21st, but neither of the company rolls for the 8th or the 21st say anything about his race. The information just meshes well. A free black who enlisted and stayed in the Confederate army… and stuck with the UCV in years after.”

Photo of “Dad” from the above mentioned site of the 37th Texas Cavalry.

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13 responses

16 04 2009
cenantua

In the event that the discourse over at Kevin’s blog is not read in conjunction with this post, I should probably add here that I’m not among the crowd that goes around labeling every slave who “served” as cook, body servant, etc. as a soldier or should even be called a “Black Confederate.” The phrase “Black Confederate” suggest something that cannot be true (it sounds as if all who are labeled such, supported the Confederacy not in terms of labors but in the spirit of support for “Cause”) for the full range of slaves or free blacks who “served” in some capacity for the Confederacy. Henry Brown appears to be an exception.

16 04 2009
Michael C. Hardy

Harry – I do not have any stories about black Confederates at 1st Bull Run, but I do have one about 2nd Bull Run – Pvt. Franklin Cossens, Co. B, 37th North Carolina Troops. He was killed August 29, 1862. He was a free black man from Watauga County, NC. His brother, William Henry Cuzzens, was in the same company and regiment, and survived the war.

Regards,
Michael

16 04 2009
cenantua

Michael, Aside from Manassas participants, haven’t you actually found more with service records? Like I’ve mentioned before, I found Charles Brown in the records of the 10th Va. Infantry, but he wasn’t officially enrolled in the unit until mid-1864. He had either been hired-out or hired himself out as a slave sometime in 1862 and worked as a cook with an officers’ mess with Co. K. Regretfully, apart from the enlistment record, there is no further mention of him with the 10th.

17 04 2009
Michael C. Hardy

Harry – Franklin Cossens and his brother William Henry Cozzens both have service records. They had a brother, Clark Cozzens who was in Company K, 6th North Carolina Cavalry. Interestingly, nothing on the compiled service records for Franklin and William mention anything about race. William’s service record list his complexion as dark, his hair black, and eyes are brown. Clark Cozzens CSR does not contain any information regarding his race or complexion. He deserted and went home, was captured and sent to Louisville, where he took the Oath. Franklin was killed, and William served from 1861 until captured in April 1865. He later got a pension.

I know that there are other stories about black North Carolina Confederates. I’ve not really research any of those other stories. I do not believe that there were 50,000 black Confederate soldiers. However, the county that the Cozzens’ came from had both the smallest slave population and the smallest free black population in the entire state of North Carolina in 1860. If we can have two (Clark lived elsewhere) legitimate black Confederates from that county, well, how about other counties that have greater populations? Was it easier for non-whites to enlist in rural counties? Was there something it the Cozzens’ genetic makeup that made it easier to enlist (which I think is true)?

So many questions, so little time.

17 04 2009
cenantua

Michael,

Were the Cossens brothers listed in the 1860 census? If so, how were they listed racially?

Robert (cenantua)

17 04 2009
Harry Smeltzer

If we all use the reply button at the bottom of the comments to which we are responding, the comments will thread and be a lot easier to follow. Michael, I believe you are responding to Robert’s comments here.

17 04 2009
Michael C. Hardy

In 1850 they were listed as “negroes”, in 1860, as “mulattos” .

Regards,
Michael

17 04 2009
cenantua

I wonder why the change in identity. Sometimes it’s just the laziness or perspective of the census-taker interjected into his recordings. In 1850, one of my third great-grandfathers (in the Shenandoah Valley) and his siblings were listed as mulatto, while their mother retained the identity as a white. In 1860, they were white again, but then, they had also moved back to a white community, from the black community (and household which was headed by a black man) in which they resided in 1850. It’s even more interesting that they went on to serve in the Confederate army, though they were in the army only through Oct. 1862. – Robert

17 04 2009
Michael C. Hardy

Harry – sorry about using the wrong reply button – I do not catch that until I had hit the send button.

Cenantua – to make a long story short, the Cozzenses claimed (at least in 1861) to be melungeons. The extended family also married white women, and after the war, William Henry Cozzens moved a couple of counties south and married the widow of a Confederate soldier . I’m not sure about Virginia, but in North Carolina, it was against the law for a free person of color to married a white person, even though it obviously happened.

In 1870, William History is listed as being white on the census. Same is true for Clark in the 1900 census.

17 04 2009
cenantua

Yes, same law in Virginia, but as you indicate, it still happened.

29 04 2009
A story about Henry Berry Lowrie, a free man of color « Cenantua’s Blog

[...] North Carolina, Robeson County, Too Long Forgotten by cenantua Some may recall that I mentioned Henry “Dad” Brown in Harry’s Bull Runnings Blog, but I cannot emphasize enough that Brown’s story is actually a reflection of but one element [...]

29 04 2009
A story about Henry Berry Lowry, “a free man of color” in the Civil War « Cenantua’s Blog

[...] North Carolina, Robeson County, Too Long Forgotten by cenantua Some may recall that I mentioned Henry “Dad” Brown in Harry’s Bull Runnings Blog, but I cannot emphasize enough that Brown’s story is actually a reflection of but one element [...]

1 05 2009
Jim

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