January 18, 2022

“Black Confederates”

– Larry Babits

January 18, 2022


Today Black Confederates are seen as a VERY controversial topic in politically correct circles. As a veteran who entered the US Army on the 100th anniversary of the Union capture of the CSS Atlanta, I am well aware that political correctness has no relationship to unvarnished history as facts. Black Confederate infantrymen and cavalrymen existed and were accepted as members of United Confederate Veteran posts after the war. That one fact should be enough to cope with those who say black men did not serve in the Confederate Army.  Documentary sources, especially those from Union soldiers writing during the war, clearly indicate that black soldiers existed, so why deny this as a fact? The real question is how many there were.  This presentation shows some of the documentary and photographic evidence and raises questions about what were black folk in some Southern states.

 Lawrence E. Babits, George Washington Distinguished Professor, East Carolina University Professor Emeritus, former Director of Maritime Studies Ph.D., Brown University, BA and MA, University of Maryland-College Park.  Babits has extensive experience in military and maritime archaeology.  He has excavated battlefields, fortifications, and a World War II POW camp. In addition to his academic side, Babits served three years in the US Army, largely with B Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry (Gimlets). He has been a reenactor since 1961, especially as a Revolutionary War and Civil War private soldier. He is currently involved with researching smoothbore musketry accuracy and shooting Civil War weaponry competitively with the First Maryland Infantry of the North-South Skirmish Association.

 His publications include numerous site reports including Fort Dobbs on the Carolina Frontier and Archaeological Investigations at Causton’s Bluff, Chatham County, Georgia.  He authored chapters and articles in Documentary Archaeology in the New World, ArchaeologyMilitary Collector and HistorianGeoarchaeology, and Maryland Historical Magazine.  He was the McCann-Taggert Lecturer for the American Institute of Archaeology in 1995, was named George Washington Distinguished Professor of History by the NC Society of the Cincinnati in 2003, and a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians in 2006. His most recent book, Long, Obstinate and Bloody, deals with the 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse. It was co-written with Josh Howard and published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009.