Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Black Confederate Soldier's Monument - Honoring Willis Howcott


Most Confederate monuments - and Union monuments too - refer to groups of soldiers, such as those from a certain regiment or from a particular town or county. The monument pictured above, in Canton, Mississippi, is different in that it was built to honor local African Americans who fought for the Confederate States of America with the Harvey Scouts (cavalry), in defense of their Southern homeland. Specifically mentioned is Willis Howcott, a local black man who gave his life while fighting the invading Union army.

The 21-foot high granite obelisk, stands in a residential area on Academy Street, in front of a cemetery. It was built in the 1890s with funds provided by William Hill Howcott. The inscription includes these words: “A tribute to my faithful servant and friend, Willis Howcott, a colored boy of rare loyalty and faithfulness, whose memory I cherish with deep gratitude.”

William was 15 years old when he joined Harvey's Scouts in 1864. Willis, his childhood playmate was only 13 but would not be dissuaded from going off to war with his friend. Willis was, tragically, killed in combat sometime in 1865 at the age of 14.

This photo of the Howcott Monument was taken while I was on a road trip through Mississippi in early 2008, as a part of my ongoing quest to visit each of the 3,141 counties (or county equivalents) in the United States. I posted the photo, along with thousands of other travel pictures I have on Flicker.com. To my surprise and delight a member of the Howcott family, now living in Great Britain, found the photo and emailed me with a request to copy it for use in the Howcott family history. Although they are no longer Americans, the Howcott descendants are very aware and proud of their famous Confederate ancestors.

An estimated 65,000 or more African American men, both free and slave, were Confederate soldiers - a fact which is often overlooked by history books because it contradicts the politically correct northern view of the War for Southern Independence.

Here's an interesting link for those who want to know more about black Confederates: http://www.37thtexas.org/html/BlkHist.html
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Photo and Article by J. Stephen Conn

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