Historic Markers Across Georgia

General Cleburne's Proposal to Arm Slaves

Marker ID: GHS  155-4
Location: 314 N. Selvidge Street, Dalton, GA
County: Whitfield
Coordinates: N 34° 46.545    W 084° 58.179
  34.77575    -84.96965
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMCB1C
General Cleburne's Proposal to Arm Slaves Marker
Photo by David Seibert


Here on January 2, 1864, Gen. Patrick Cleburne proposed arming slaves in exchange for their freedom to alleviate the manpower shortage facing the Confederacy. Almost all the other generals present opposed the idea of black Confederate soldiers because it violated the principles upon which the Confederacy was founded. Gen. Patton Anderson said the proposal "would shake our governments, both state and Confederate, to their very foundations," and Gen. A.P. Stewart said it was "at war with my social, moral and political principles." Considering the proposal treasonous, Gen. W.H.T. Walker informed President Jefferson Davis, who ordered any mention of it to be suppressed. In March 1865, with defeat looming, the Confederate Congress approved enlisting slaves, but few did and none saw combat. Conversely, nearly 200,000 free African Americans served in the U.S. armed forces.

Erected for the Civil War 150 commemoration by the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Battlefields Association and the Georgia Department of Economic Development

General Cleburne's Proposal to Arm Slaves
Photo by David Seibert


Dedicated July 7, 2011

More information:
Wikipedia - Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Civil War Home - Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Arkansas History and Culture - Patrick Ronayne Cleburne (1828–1864)