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I read with interest your article about blacks who served with the Confederacy during the Civil War (“The Black and the Gray,” 7/17). As a black re-enactor and amateur military historian, I can attest to the fact that sometimes the accepted facts of history are wrong.
Sometimes facts, whether they’re obscure or unpleasant and even politically incorrect, will cause some reflection and rethinking. Some blacks did willingly serve the Confederacy in roles other than laborers and manservants. I’m not prepared to argue the whens, how many, or why.
The fact remains that some did willingly bear arms for the Southwhich they incidentally considered their South.
Through hindsight, it is easy to judge people’s motives when you are more than 135 years removed from the historical setting of those days. But rather than get into that, one thing needs to be acknowledged whether there are some who agree or disagree: It was a historical fact. And if we wish to be honest with our past, we must acknowledge and admit all of it, even if some tends to be embarrassing and/or uncomfortable.
(The writer is an ex-member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.)
Seat Pleasant, Md.