black confederates


St. Augustine is the home of three known Black Confederates.

All three of them are buried here in St. Augustine at the San Lorenzo Cemetery.

All have Confederate Headstones.  Below are pictures of their graves.


Musician Isaac Papino

Company B,

3rd Florida Infantry Regiment

     Isaac was born in 1813 in St. Augustine and enlisted in Company B, on May 24, 1861.  He was discharged for old age on November 1, 1862.

Private Anthony T. Welters

Company B,

3rd Florida Infantry Regiment

Anthony enlisted as a Fifer in Captain John L. Phillip's Militia Company before the War Between The States.  When the Company was mustered into Confederate service, Anthony apparently did not formally reenlist but stayed with the Company throughout the war.  He surrendered with Company B on April 26, 1865 in North Carolina.

'This picture represents an old Confederate Soldier, who enlisted early in the war as a Fifer in Company B, 3rd Florida Regiment.  He marched with the "Boys in Gray" until the close of the war; always cheerful and true to duty.  After the war was over, he came home to St. Augustine, where he has always taken an active part in politics, being a staunch Democrat and today (1893) is an active member of the E. Kirby Smith Camp, U.C.V. (United Confederate Veterans). When you visit St. Augustine, call on Uncle Tony Wetters; he will be glad to see you, and can tell you many interesting incidents of the late war; aged eighty-three years.  the writer of this belonged to the same Company, and knows these to be facts."

By PVT W. C. Middleton

After the war, Anthony lived at 79 Bridge St. in St. Augustine with his wife Sedra and their children Lizzie, Frank, Sara,
Annie, Necal, and Sadie. Anthony T. Welters died on January 5, 1902 at the age of 92 and is buried near family
members in the San Lorenzo Cemetery, St. Augustine.  His widow Sedra drew a Confederate Widow's Pension after
Anthony's death ( # D14977).

Private Emanuel Osborne

of the

St. Augustine Blues


Emanuel Osborn was born in St. Augustine, Florida on May 7, 1843.  He was the son of free Colored parents, Samuel and Cornelia Osborn.  On May 24, 1861, at the age of 18, he enlisted as a musician in Captain John L. Phillip's Company B, 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment CSA.  He served in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, participating in the Kentucky Campaign and the Battle of Perryville.  He was discharged for ill health on November 1, 1862 at Knoxville when his one year enlistment was up.  Emanuel returned to St. Augustine where he married Mary Ann Perpall.  They were married at the Trinity Episcopal Church, where Emanuel was a Sexton.  Emanuel and Mary had two children, Ada and Eva.  Emanuel died on April 10, 1907 and is buried in the San Lorenzo Cemetery, St. Augustine.  Mary Osborne received a Florida Confederate Veteran Widow's Pension (# A10008) after Emanuel's death.


In the May 10, 1862 issue of the Harper's Weekly we find an article titled FOR US OR AGAINST US?  Part of that article states "The correspondent of the New York Herald, in one of its late numbers, reports that the rebels had a regiment of mounted Negroes, armed with sabres, at Manassas, and that some five hundred Union prisoners taken at Bull Run were escorted to their filthy prison by a regiment of black men." 
In an article titled Rebel Negro Pickets appearing on page 17 in the Saturday, January 10, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly the following was found. "So much has been said about the wickedness of using the negroes on our side in the present war, that we have thought it. worth while to reproduce on this page a sketch sent us from Fredericksburg by our artist, Mr. Theodore R. Davis, which is a faithful representation of what was seen by one of our officers through his field-glass, while on outpost duty at that place. As the picture shows, it represents two full-blooded. negroes, fully armed, and serving as pickets in the rebel army."
It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. Over 13,000 of these, "saw the elephant" also known as meeting the enemy in combat. These Black Confederates included both slave and free. The Confederate Congress did not approve blacks to be officially enlisted as soldiers (except as musicians), until late in the war. But in the ranks it was a different story. Many Confederate officers did not obey the mandates of politicians, they frequently enlisted blacks with the simple criteria, "Will you fight?" Historian Ervin Jordan, explains that "biracial units" were frequently organized "by local Confederate and State militia Commanders in response to immediate threats in the form of Union raids".
One Black Confederate was a non-commissioned officer. James Washington, Co. D 35th Texas Cavalry,  Confederate States Army, became it's 3rd Sergeant. Higher ranking black commissioned officers served in militia units, but this was on the State militia level (Louisiana) and not in the regular C.S. Army.
The "Richmond Howitzers" were partially manned by black militiamen. They saw action at 1st Manassas (or 1st Battle of Bull Run) where they operated battery no. 2. In addition two black "regiments", one free and one slave, participated in the battle on behalf of the South. "Many colored people were killed in the action", recorded John Parker, a former slave.
Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862: "Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number [Confederate troops]. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc.....and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army."
Free black musicians, cooks, soldiers and teamsters earned the same pay as white confederate privates. This was not the case in the Union army where blacks did not receive equal pay. At the Confederate Buffalo Forge in Rockbridge County, Virginia, skilled black workers "earned on average three times the wages of white Confederate soldiers and more than most Confederate army officers ($350- $600 a year).
The Jackson Battalion included two companies of black soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp. "My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill...Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner."
A Black Confederate, George _____, when captured by Federals was bribed to desert to the other side. He defiantly spoke, "Sir, you want me to desert, and I ain't no deserter. Down South, deserters disgrace their families and I am never going to do that."
During the early 1900's, many members of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) advocated awarding former slaves rural acreage and a home. There was hope that justice could be given those slaves that were once promised "forty acres and a mule" but never received any. In the 1913 Confederate Veteran magazine published by the UCV, it was printed that this plan "If not Democratic, it is [the] Confederate" thing to do. There was much gratitude toward former slaves, which "thousands were loyal, to the last degree", now living with total poverty of the big cities. Unfortunately, their proposal fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.
During the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1913, arrangements were made for a joint reunion of Union and Confederate veterans. The commission in charge of the event made sure they had enough accommodations for the black Union veterans, but were completely surprised when unexpected black Confederates arrived. The white Confederates immediately welcomed their old comrades, gave them one of their tents, and "saw to their every need". Nearly every Confederate reunion including those blacks that served with them, wearing the gray.
The first military monument in the US Capitol that honors an African-American soldier is the Confederate monument at Arlington National cemetery. The monument was designed 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate. Who wanted to correctly portray the "racial makeup" in the Confederate Army. A black Confederate soldier is depicted marching in step with white Confederate soldiers. Also shown is one "white soldier giving his child to a black woman for protection".- source: Edward Smith, African American professor at the American University, Washington DC.
". Dr. Leonard Haynes, a African-American professor at Southern University, stated, "When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you've eliminated the history of the South."
Dr. Lewis Steiner, a Union Sanitary Commission employee who lived through the Confederate occupation of Frederick , Maryland said, "Most of the Negroes ... were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army." Erwin L. Jordan's book "Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia" cites eyewitness accounts of the Antietam campaign of "armed blacks in rebel columns bearing rifles, sabers, and knives and carrying knapsacks and haversacks." After the Battle of Seven Pines in June 1862, Union soldiers said that "two black Confederate regiments not only fought but showed no mercy to the Yankee dead or wounded whom they mutilated, murdered and robbed."


Suggested Reading

Dr. Edward Smith and Nelson Winbush, "Black Southern Heritage". An excellent educational video. Mr. Winbush is a descendent of a Black Confederate and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).

Ervin L. Jordan, Jr. Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia (1995). Well researched and very good source of information on Black Confederates, but has a strong Union bias.

Charles Kelly Barrow, Forgotten Confederates: An Anthology About Black Southerners (1995). Currently one of  the best book on the subject.

Rollins, Richard. Black Southerners in Gray in Black Southerners in Gray, Essays on Afro-Americans in the Confederate Armies. Edited by Richard Rollins. Journal of Confederate History Series. Vol. XI. Southern Heritage Press. 1994.