Contrary to Professor Wiley's contention, a number of Louisiana free blacks did serve as soldiers, and their white
comrades in arms did know them to be "free men of color." Some fifteen hundred or more New Orleans free blacks
made up the First Regiment Louisiana Native Guards. Free blacks in several country parishes of the state organized
themselves into military companies. Professor John D. Winters has estimated that nearly three thousand free blacks
had volunteered for militia duty by early 1862.6 With this many men in militia service, it seemed reasonable that a few
individuals could have seen combat duty. In researching this theory, I documented fifteen free blacks who volunteered
for and served in regular Confederate units as privates. Twelve of these men enlisted in Louisiana volunteer regiments,
two in a home guard or reserve unit, and one in a Texas cavalry unit. Three of the first twelve fought in several battles,
and two of the three received wounds. This manuscript will summarize the military service of these fifteen men and
speculate briefly on their reasons for wanting to fight for the Confederacy.
Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
Well Alan, I always respected Art Bergeron. I know he was one of the most published and the most informed people I've ever had a conversation with even if it was on the computer.