6 comments on “The Rustbelt’s Radical Civil War Sesquicentennial Survey Begins!

  1. The sand Creek massacre against the Cheyenne in Colorado happened in 1864 after a Union regiment victoriously beat a confederate regiment in New mexico came back and slaughtered 150 men women and children over a “livestock dispute” Consequently every single major officer involved in the genocide of the Plains indians in the 1870’s were Union officers during the civil war. How they squared that circle is unbelievable.


  2. I was able to look up some census records on Jourdan Anderson and found him living from 1870 (where the family arrives with Jordan’s wife Amanda’s 69 year mother Perscilla McGregor, to at least 1900 in Dayton, Ohio mostly at 60 E. Burns Street. He was a butler and a coachman born in December 1825 who ended up owning his own house and retiring (was he a house servant in Tennessee as well?). In these extremely race conscious times all of the family are listed as ‘black’ and not ‘mullato’. All of the names of his family mentioned in the letter match up perfectly with the records; his oldest children being born into slavery in Tennessee and adults, the younger ones born there then in school in Ohio. This letter is listed as dictated and that makes sense, since in all of the census records Jourdan is listed as unable to read or write. However, his wife (a woman who was a slave in the 1860s is listed as literate in 1870, not unheard of, but rare) and all of his children were listed as literate, could he have dictated it to his wife? Education was clearly important. One son, Valentine, would end up becoming a physician by 40, working his way through school (at 30 he is listed as a runner for a car (railroad) factory). He and his wife Amanda were married in 1848 and would have ten children- 7 girls and three boys- six born after going north. He escaped from Big Springs with his family during the War receiving his free papers in 1864. Big Springs is near Murfreesboro, the site of a fierce battle in late December 1862 and not too far from Nashville. His owner, PH Anderson is listed in the slave schedule of 1860 as having 32 slaves in five houses with an astonishing $66,000 in land and $92,000 in property (slaves). I don’t know when he left, but he states that he worked in a hospital (presumably a Union military hospital) in Nashville. Jourdan died sometime before 1910. Amanda lived until at least 80 (she was born around 1831) and in her old age still lived with many of her children, their spouses and children.


      • There’s no record of it that I could find, he died shortly after the war and the family skedaddled to Arkansas. The letter suggests he was a civilian during the war. Lots of those folks went around calling themselves Colonel or Captain. My guess is that he was no more a Colonel than Colonel Sanders.


  3. RR, one aspect of the Civil War I’ve been wrapping my head around lately is the concurrent Minnesota Civil War – the U.S./Dakota War in Minnesota, which culminated in the largest mass hanging in US history. By order of “the Great Emancipator” 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato the day after Christmas, 1862.

    I think it is incumbent on us who seek to understand and teach the lessons from this period to struggle with the fact that the Union army was a tool of genocide simultaneous to it’s role as baseball bat into the Confederacy’s African chattel slavery . . .

    This is often ignored even in radical histories . . .




    • Kieran
      Agreed. The Union Army was a tool of liberation in much of the South and of expropriation and genocide in much of the West. The Dakota War is only one example; in New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest as well as in Colorado and Kansas the Union Army was attacking Native nations all through the Civil War. Sheridan, a real hero of the war against the South was an architect of the ‘pacifications’ after war. For Native folks a Union victory meant their land was lost quicker (as it was with an American victory over the British in earlier days). Underlying all of it is the freesoil impulse embodied in the republicans (even the radical ones) which sought, above all else, private property rights. One big outcome of the Union victory was the closing, through the most primitive of accumulations, of the west; there was no longer any debate on how to settle it. You’re right that none of these things (and many more) can be ignored, I promise not to. How about a piece from you in Minnesota on the Dakota uprising?


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