Sushidog (sushidog) wrote in little_details,

US civil war; gentlemen, and non-white soldiers

Two queries, both concerning the Confederate States of America, in 1863-1864.

The first query is a bit hard to Google, although I tried a few searches using "gentleman" and "American Civil War" or the date as searches; they've given me some information but my question is about something fairly nuanced (is "nuance" a ver these days? Everything else seems to be!), so I could do with an opinion from some USAns. At that time, did the term "gentleman" carry any specific social meaning? In England, a gentleman was, quite specifically, someone of respectable family and probably a landowner, so while one might, either jocularly or out of respect, refer to a working man as a "gentleman", most people would have been very aware that a working man was not _really_ a gentleman, and also that one didn't really _become_ a gentleman. Did it have those same nuances in America? The searches I've done suggest that a distinction was made between gentlemen and ordinary men, but I just want to check that it's not incongruous for someone to be aware of the social gap between ordinary people and the "upper classes" (I'm aware that the American class system even back then wasn't quite like the English one, but there were nonetheless strata of respectability), and to feel uncomfortable with someone referring to common men as gentlemen?

My second query is also a bit hard to Google; again, I've given it a go with a few search terms ("American civil war", "non-white soldiers", "native troops" and so on), but again, some confirmation would be helpful, partly because I'm not sure what the appropriate terms are; my apologies if the terms I'm using here are inappropriate! I need to know whether there were non-white soldiers (either black or, more probably, Native American) fighting in the Confederate army in 1863. My current understanding is that there were some African-American soldier fighting for the Confederates early on in the war (although the jury seems to be out on that), but that most of those who survived deserted fairly early on. There would also have been some African-Americans in non-combat roles (probably slaves), but by 1863, probaly not many were fighting for the Confederates (although there were many fighting for the Union.
With Native Americans, my understanding is that some tribes kept slaves (I'm not clear on whether the slaves were African-American, or Native, but it doesn't really matter for my purposes), and therefore joined the Confederates in the fighting. This being the case, were they still fighting by late 1863 or 1864, and if so, approximately where? Obviously the Confederate armies moved around, but if anyone knows of any specific battles in which both white and Native American troops fought for the Confederates, that would be hugely helpful to me!

Many thanks for any pointers!

Edited to add; Huge thanks to everyone who's responded, you've given me some excellent leads to follow up!
Tags: usa: history: civil war

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.