In reply to my distinguished colleagues and their thoughtful responses…
Kevin:Thank you for your comments. Since you posted, I’ve been out and about and I’ve had a chance to speak with a few friends who were Vietnam veterans. The overwhelming response to my gentle questioning regarding draftees is this: they felt like their rights were being violated, like they had no choice in the matter. They were forced to go and fight in a war that they did not believe in, saw no use for, and did not see how it profited the United States. A card showed up in the mail, telling them where to report, and if they did not, they were hunted, arrested, at times imprisoned, and then forced into the service.
As I have already stated, my connection with the Clyburn family was limited to just a few minutes. I would like to talk with them further if the opportunity ever comes up.
As far as research goes, my work into the lives of the Cousins brothers (sometimes spelled Cozzens , sometimes two or three other ways) has used entirely primary research, i.e., letters, census records, newspaper clippings, etc. The Cousins were never slaves, they were free persons of color, who volunteered in the fall of 1861.
How do I distinguish between a slave and a soldier? A man who picks up a rifle (or musket) and who under orders fires at another man who is perceived as a enemy, is a soldier. It has nothing to do whether he is there of his own free will, or if his service is compulsory. And it technically has nothing to do with his position within said army. He could be a cook, supply officer, or on recruitment duty; his service should be honored.
Richard: You’re absolutely right. So often, the opinions of the descendants of a honoree are deemed immaterial. The honoring of a person of color for his Southern service does not seem to fit within the framework of “accepted” Civil War scholarship. When is academia going to realize that the racial makeup of a Confederate regiment does not fit within a “black and white” framework?
If I can find two free persons of color who voluntarily shouldered muskets in North Carolina’s smallest county (population/slave/free), imagine what else is out there.