I do not do much research in SC except for ancestors who lived there pre-1830, however, I found this article in the CONFEDERATE VETERAN magazine and thought it worthy of submission. I think its of interest to anyone who had ancestors fighting for the CSA and its unlikely an African American would think to look for their ancestor in the VETERAN. Thank you. Ruth Hasten Walsh

Source: CONFEDERATE VETRAN, v. VII, Aug. 1894, no. 8, S.A. Cunningham, proprietor, Nashville, TN., p. 233


By C. M. Douglas, of Columbia, SC Press

One of the best-known freedmen in Columbia, S.C., is old William Rose, who has been messenger for the Governor’s office under every Democratic administration since 1876. His history is worthy a space in the VETERAN. He is now eighty years of age, but is still active and vigorous enough to be at his post of duty every day, and nothing delights him more than to take part in any Confederate demonstration.

William Rose was born in Charleston in 1813, and was a slave of the Barrett family of that city. He was brought to Columbia when only twelve years old, and was taught the trades of carpenter and tinner. In his younger days he went out to the Florida War as a drummer in Capt. Elmore’s company, the Richland Volunteers, an organization which is still in existence, and which has made a proud record for itself in three wars. Subsequently he went through the Mexican War as a servant for Capt. (afterwards Col.) Butler, of the famous Palmetto Regiment.

But the service in which he takes the greatest pride was that in the days of the Confederacy. He was the body servant of that distinguished Carolinian, Gen. Maxey Gregg, and as soon as he heard that his beloved master had fallen on the field at Fredricksburg he rushed to his side as fast as a horse could take him, and remained with him until the end came. His description of the death of Gen. Gregg, of his reconciliation with Stonewall Jackson, and his heroic last message to the Governor of South Carolina are pathetic in the extreme and are never related by the old man without emotion.

William saw Cleveland inaugurated, and was present at the unveiling of the soldiers’ monument at Richmond, and at the recent grand Confederate reunion at Birmingham. From the latter he returned laden with badges which he cherishes as souvenirs of the occasion.

For sixty years he has been identified with the Richland Volunteers, and they never parade without him. About two years ago he presented a gold medal to the company, which is now shot for as an annual prize. He never forgets Memorial Day, and no 10th of May has passed by since the close of the war without some tribute from him is placed on the Gregg monument at Elmwood. Recently he has been given a small pension by the United States for services in the Florida War.

Old “Uncle” William is a class fast passing away. They will not have successors, but all the world may witness benefactors in Southern whites until the last of them crosses the “dark river.”

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