The subject matter of this tintype is incredibly rare; not because there were not many black Confederates, but because few could afford the luxury of having an image made. It is well documented that tens of thousands of blacks served the Confederate cause and many with arms. In the first days of 1861, the following letter, from a group of free blacks, was published in the Daily Delta: The free colored population...love their home, their property, their own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land, and they recognize no other country than Louisiana, and care for no other than Louisiana, and are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism; no love for the North, but they love Louisiana; and let the hour come, and they will be worthy sons of Louisiana. They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought in 1814-15.
There are those who will of course say that this was published in a Southern paper, and that the blacks merely wrote this letter to curry favor with their white neighbors early in the War and that they only served as servants. Many people live in denial and claim that blacks could not have fought for the Confederacy, but there are many, original Yankee accounts of black Confederates under arms from the beginning until the end of the War, and, unlike the Northern army, the Confederate army had fully integrated units.
In 1862, a Northerner, D. Lewis Steiner, was in Frederick, Maryland when Confederate forces over-ran the town. He was a keen, though obviously biased observer of the Confederate troops. As the Rebels fled the town on September 10, he noted: At 4 o'clock this morning the Rebel army began to move from our town, Jackson's force taking the advance. The movement continued until 8 o'clock P.M occupying 16 hours. The most liberal calculation could not give them more than 64,000 men. Over 3,000 negroes must be included in the number... They had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and they were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy army. They were seen riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissons, in ambulances, with the staff of generals and promiscuously mixed up with all the Rebel horde.
The black man in this quarter plate image is wearing a Confederate shell jacket with gilded buttons, a kepi-style military cap, grey pants and brogans. His waist is encircled by a belt with a two-piece gilded buckle. It is obvious from his bearing that he is proud to be in the Confederate uniform.