Saturday, November 2, 2013

Charles Cleaper, James Hicks and Joe Johnson, “free men of color” who served with distinction as Confederate States Marines.

Roundabout via Carl

In 1998, Confederate States Marines Charles Cleaper, James Hicks and Joe Johnson’s names were finally added to the Black Confederates exhibit at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park — tribute and belated honor to a story worth telling of grey coated warriors that served to the honor of the Corps.

Cleaper, Hicks and Johnson enlisted in the Confederate Marine Corps in Charleston, S.C. and served aboard the Confederate States Ship Chicora until March 1865. The Confederate States Marine Corps, as well as the Confederate States Navy, authorized recruitment of one black for every five whites recruited. These marines and sailors served along side their white counterparts. Several skilled pilots on Confederate gunboats were “men of color” and held an officer’s rank. One such pilot was Moses Dallas, who served with the Savannah Squadron from 1862 to 1864. A letter from the Savannah Squadron Commander to the Secretary of the Navy gives us a small glimpse of the value of blacks to the Confederate Navy:

“I have also been compelled to increase the pay of Moses Dallas from $80 to $100 per month in order to retain him. He is a colored pilot and is considered the best inland pilot on the coast.”

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