General Cleburne's Proposal to Arm Slaves
Here on January 2, 1864, Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne proposed arming slaves in
exchange for their freedom to alleviate a desperate manpower shortage facing the
Confederacy. Almost all the other generals present opposed the idea of
black Confederate soldiers because it violated the principals upon which
the Confederacy was founded. Gen. Patton Anderson said the proposal
“would shake our governments, both state and Confederate, to their very
foundations,” and Gen. A.P. Stewart said it was “at war with my social,
moral and political principles.” Considering the proposal treasonous, Gen.
W.H.T. Walker informed President Jefferson Davis, who ordered any
mention of it to be suppressed. In March 1865, with defeat looming, the
Confederate Congress approved enlisting slaves, but few did and none saw
combat. Conversely, nearly 200,000 free African Americans served in the
U.S. armed forces.
Erected for the Civil War 150 commemoration by the Georgia
Historical Society, the Georgia Battlefields Association, and the
Georgia Department of Economic Development in 2011.
Submitted by Alan Crocker via https://www.instagram.com/p/gAglhASjZa/