I stumbled across this little doozy during some random Internet searching:
Listverse’s “10 Surprising Facts About the Confederacy” written by a Stephanie Roberts.
I was shocked to read Number 2, claiming that the Confederacy paid black and white soldiers equally long before the Union did the same. There is no citation of sources in the article, and sure it’s just a “Top 10” list, but what surprised me most is that I had never even heard of this equal pay thing. I’ve followed the battles between Confederate heritage-types and professional historians over Civil War memory, but even there I had never heard this argument.
If this is something that has been circulating out there for years and I hadn’t heard of it, color me a little embarrassed. But then I did a quick google search and found out that it was not equal pay for black and white soldiers, as the list suggests, but equal pay for black laborers as white soldiers as found on this page regarding Black Confederates. But even this doesn’t sit right with me. Why would the Confederacy pay slaves to work? Is this just another myth meant to show that the Confederates weren’t all bad? Was this a legitimate law? Or was their pay funneled to their masters? I suspect the latter. After all, if it was legislation that created “equal pay” it must have been supported by the elite planter class, right? Which means they were probably scoring money from it.
At any rate, I admit I don’t know enough about this, but figured I’d post about it and get the wheels turning. I’ll update when I get around to finding out more.