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12 Chapter One The Camp Slaves’ War In August 1861, Andrew Chandler enlisted as a private in the Palo Alto Guards, which eventually became Company F of the 44th Mississippi Infantry of the Army of Tennessee. Once enlisted, Andrew made time to stop at a studio to sit for a photograph. Like countless others, Andrew hoped to capture the confidence and excitement that went into his new identity as a soldier of the Confederacy. Just as importantly, he wanted his loved ones back home to remember him as a brave young man who answered his nation ’s call to military service and whowould bring honor to his family.Unlike the vast majority of his fellow volunteers, Andrew did not enter the studio to pose alone. Andrew left his home inWest Point, Mississippi, accompanied bya slave who had been with his family since birth. Silas Chandler served as Andrew’s body servant orcamp slave through the battleof Chickamauga in September 1863 before accompanying Andrew’s brother for the remainder of the war. Unlike other photographs of Confederate soldiers and slaves that place the former in a clear position ofauthority, Andrewand Silas sat side by side, both brandishing weapons and both wearing Confederate uniforms.1 Andrew wore a typical private’s jacket and held a pinfire pistol; a revolver was also nestled in his belt. Silas tucked a pepperbox conspicuously into his short shell artillerist’s jacket, which left his left hand free to grip a rifle across his lap. To complete this unusual scene, both men wielded large bowie knives in their right hands. There is an almost comic element in Andrew’s attempt to cram in as many weapons—very likely studio props2—into the photograph. One can easily imagine an excited Andrew requesting each weapon in an attempt to complete the scene and satisfy his own ideas of martial manhood on the eve of war. Andrew, who was seventeen years old in 1861, did his best to strike The Camp Slaves’ War 13 the pose of a young Southern gentleman going off to war, but the naïveté of youth is still clearly visible in both his facial expression and body language. Seven years his senior, Silas sits more comfortably, even slightly slouched next to Andrew’s stiff frame. Neither individual likely had any notion of the challenges and dangers that awaited them. Despite the military uniforms and weapons in this image, by the time this photograph was taken the nature of the relationship between Andrew and Silas had been clearly established legally and socially. Twenty-­ two years earlier, at the age of two, Silas had traveled from Virginia to Mississippi as oneof fifteen slaves owned by Andrew’s father,Gilde­ roy “Roy” Chandler. Roy Chandler joined a wave of Americans from the Upper South and other parts of the nation looking to reap the profits from a rapidly expanding cotton economy in one of the southwestern states of western Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Shortly after arriving , Chandler purchased 320 acres in Oktibbeha County in the northeast section of Mississippi. As Silas grew, sodid the Chandler family’s wealth, inThis photograph of Sergeant Andrew M. Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Co. F., and Silas Chandler, family slave, was likely taken in 1861 when the two went off to war. The weapons are probably studio props. (Library of Congress) 14 The Camp Slaves’ War cluding their holdings in land and slaves. By the time of Andrew’s birth on April 3, 1844, Silas likely had already been exposed to the backbreaking tasks and violence necessary to make cotton king. Silas was trained as a carpenter , a skill that singled him out from the rest of the slave population and that may have resulted in closer interaction with the white Chandlers, including Andrew. We do not know the extent and nature of the contact between Andrew and Silas. Certainly as the two matured, their lives became defined by their respective roles as the eldest son of a wealthy slave owner and his slave. For Andrew, the death of his father in 1854 solidified his future as the eventual head of household.On theeveof the Civil War, the Chandlerestate included thirty-­five slaves plus land valued at $24,000 and a personal estate valued at $40,000.3 Andrew and Silas left West Point and their respective families as master and slave. For Andrew, the relationship between the two embodied a set of assumptions and expectations that had been...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469653280
Related ISBN
9781469653266
MARC Record
OCLC
1112064862
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2019-09-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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