Three-Fifth Person

Here a while back I was following an argument on a talking head show that black folks have justifiable grievances. One grievance mentioned was that at one time black folks were not even considered whole persons. This was in reference to the three fifth-person compromises in the Constitution.

See, the Northern Liberals did not want to count the Negro at all, only free men.  The genesis of this disagreement had nothing to do if a slave was a whole or three-fifth of a person; it was to do with how many representatives each state could send to congress, and the distribution of taxes to the states. The Northern Abolitionist wanted to diminish the power of the South, and the three fifth-person compromises was proposed by James Wilson, a Pennsylvania delegate, which was accepted by both sides.

While this was not a complete victory for the Abolitionist, it did weaken the South in Congress to the point that had to accept the Missouri Compromises, and eventual led to their succeeding from the Union, which brought about the Emancipation of all slaves in the America. It could well be argued that without the slave being counted as only three-fifth-person for the purpose of representation in the House and Electoral College instead of whole persons that the Lincoln would never have been elected, the War Between the States would never came to pass, and no Emancipation.

Below is a report I wrote a while ago called, “3rd NC Mounted Rifles (USA)”

“You caint say nigga cuz you aint black you is white and you great great great grandaddy kept my great great great grandaddy as a slave, so you need to give me yo money, dawg.”
We will get to the 3rd NC Mounted Rifles (USA) shortly.

Slavery as an intuition has existed since the dawn of history. In Greece at one time women and children were chattel belonging to the man just as his sheep and oxen. He could beat them, sell them, or even kill them as he saw fit without suffering any condemnation form his fellow citizens.

The very word slave came from the fact that the Roman’s were taking so many Slavs into bondage that they started calling anyone who was put into bondage a slava or slave as the word migrated to. Through most of history most slave were white in the world of white men. It was not until the discovery of the New World that a new source of cheep labor was necessary.

Things like rum, sugar, and fiber (molasses and sugar cane, and cotton) could not be made at a profit without slave labor. At first the Europeans used Native American to meet this requirement, but they did not lend themselves to this very well, they got sick and died to often and they had to fight to get them, so they turned to Africa.

Now what did they do? Did they go off into the interior and capturing the natives and putting them on ships and send them off to the New World. Not by a long shot. They just taped into a ready market. See, for all the blacks complaining that the whites enslaved them and forced them from their homeland the vast majority were caught and sold to the Europeans by blacks. The point of this is there is culpability for the use of black slave in America on both the white and black side of the line.

It is true that the slave trade began long before Europeans reached the New World. Portuguese ships began arriving in the early 1400s on the shores of Africa. They sought after gold and African captives to send over to Lisbon to be sold into slavery, but it did not begin in earnest until after the trade for the New World began.

I can hear you starting to argue now that had the whites not wanted slave the blacks would never have caught and sold them. Well maybe, but before you get to comfortable with this argument please consider what was going on in just Dahomey. In 1650 Wigbaja had declared himself King, his was a cult of human sacrifices in large numbers. Four thousand were Whydahs were sacrificed when Dahomey conquered Whydah in 1772. They not only sacrificed in war, but for pestilence, calamity, and on the death of kings and chiefs, they were also made regularly in the annual custom, which was believed to supply deceased kings with a fresh group of servants.

These killings were normally done by beheading, except for the king’s wives who were buried alive with the king. When the slave trade came into existent the most of the ones who would have been killed were sold into slavery instead. Had they not sold their captives they would have been killed in that ceremony called the Annual Customs. Now just go ask any black in America today and ask him if he had rather his ancestors had been beheaded rather then shipped to America as a slave.

While the Europeans did not run their own slave rades the Arabs did, but like of old their enslaving was not limited to people of certain color, ethnicity, or religion. During the 8th and 9th centuries most of their slaves was Slavic. Between the 16th and 19th century more then a million Europeans was capture by Arabs and sold into slavery. The institution of slavery, while officially against the law still is practiced in many Arabic countries like the Sudan where today you can go to a slave market and buy a slave for any use you deem proper.

Now back to slavery in the United States. For the most part only a few rich land owner owned slave in the U. S. Most of our ancestors never owned anybody. My only ancestors who owned a slave was a Cherokee. We fought the bloodiest war in our history to rid ourselves of slavery. In that war my ancestors lived in Madison County in the mountains of Western North Carolina. They were picked on and killed by the armies of both sides because they would not pick a side in that fight. The ones that did, as far as I can appertain, fought for the North.

My Grandmother on my Father’s side was Lucinda Arrowood; her mother was Lucinda Capps who marred my Great Grandfather Hughey Arrowood. My father and my brother were named after him, Hughey Shelton. In any case Grandpaw Hughey was discharged as a sergeant from the 3rd NC Mounted Rifles (USA). The 3rd participated in the following actions:

13 June 1864 . . . . . .Raid on Camp Vance (Morganton, NC)
Sept, 1864 . . . . . . . .Bull’s Gap
29 Dec 1864 . . . . . . Skirmish at Red Banks of Chucky
Feb-Mar 1865 . . . . .Raid on Waynesville, NC
24 Mar 1865 . . . . . . Stoneman’s Raid
Go to North Carolina Troops to see the roles.

“On February 13, 1864, Maj. Gen. Schofield authorized Major George W. Kirk, Second North Carolina Mounted Infantry, to raise a regiment of troops in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, to be known as the Third Regiment of North Carolina Mounted Infantry. Although the regiment was organized as infantry, Maj. Kirk was authorized to mount the regiment upon private or captured horses. The first company was actually organized on June 11, 1864.

By April of 1864, Kirk, now the colonel of the Third, was operating in the Shelton Laurel area of Madison County, NC. On June 13, 1864 began the Third’s best known exploit, the raid on Morganton.
On June 13, 1864, Col. Kirk with about 130 men left Morristown, TN for a raid on Camp Vance, near Morganton, NC. The soldiers traveled on foot through Bull’s Gap, Greeneville, and Crab Orchard, TN. They crossed into North Carolina and forded the Toe River about six miles south of the Cranberry Iron Works. The crossed the Linville River on the afternoon of June 26 and crossed Upper Creek at nightfall on June 27. They marched all night and reached Camp Vance at reveille on June 28. Camp Vance was a training camp for conscripts; the reluctant soldiers had not yet been issued rifles. The camp surrendered, and 40 of the conscripts promptly enlisted under Col. Kirk. All except the sick and the medical officers were carried off to Tennessee. The medical officers were paroled, but the sick (approximately 70 men) were set free because the Federal soldiers had no time to parole them.

One Confederate report implies that the “sick” weren’t really ill, but were put on the sick list and admitted into the hospital in a successful effort by the medical officers to prevent their capture. According to one of the Confederate medical officers, “Col. Kirk claimed to be a regular U.S. Officer, carried a U.S. Flag, and his men were all in Federal uniforms.” Another Confederate report of this incident says that most of Kirk’s men were armed with Spencer repeating rifles. Despite several small skirmishes on the way, Kirk and his men and prisoners returned safely to Tennessee.

In late September of 1864, Col. Kirk and his command were left at Bull’s Gap to hold that position while the rest of Gen. Gillem’s force drove Confederate forces from Rheatown, Greenville, and Carter’s Station across the Watauga River. By late October, 1864, Confederate scouts were reporting that Kirk and his men had returned to Knoxville.

On December 9, 1864, the Third left Knoxville on a scout into upper East Tennessee. On December 29th, they engaged a body of about 400 Confederate infantry and cavalry under the command of Col. James Keith at Red Banks of Chucky near the North Carolina line. (With Keith in command, no doubt a portion of this body was the 64th North Carolina.) Col. Kirk reported 73 Rebels killed and 32 captured, with his own casualties limited to three wounded.

They returned to Knoxville on January 14, 1865.
Sometime around the end of February, 1865, the Third left Knoxville, moved through Blowing Rock Gap, NC and sacked the town of Waynesville, NC, burning the jail and one house.
On March 24, 1865 Maj. Gen. George H. Stoneman left Morristown, TN for a raid through southwest Virginia and western North Carolina. The primary purpose of this operation was to disrupt the railroads in Virginia and North Carolina to obstruct Lee’s expected retreat from Virginia. As part of this operation, the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry under Col. Kirk were sent to Boone, NC to hold Deep and Watauga Gaps, thus keeping open the roads over the mountains to Tennessee to permit the return of Stoneman’s force when its mission was completed.

On May 14, 1865, Col. Kirk accepted the surrender of the 80th North Carolina under Major Stephan Whitaker at the Macon County Court House in Franklin, NC. This was the last formal surrender of Confederate forces east of the Mississippi River, and is commemorated by a mural in the courthouse at Franklin, NC.

Sources: Official Records
Barrett, John G. _The Civil War in North Carolina_
Other Books of Interest: Trotter, William R. _Bushwhackers – The Civil War in North Carolina – The Mountains_
Crofts, Daniel W. _Reluctant Confederates – Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis_
Current, Richard Nelson _Lincoln’s Loyalists – Union Soldiers from the Confederacy_

Paludan, Phillip Shaw _Victims – A True Story of the Civil War_ _
This historical information is here thanks to the research of Cheryl Chasin, and any further information that you may have on the 2nd and 3rd Regiments of North Carolina Mounted Infantry would be greatly appreciated if directed to her at”

The point I am making is slavery was a thing that all races were subjected to at one time or another. True they were 12 million or more blacks sent over in the slave trade, but how many of those would have been left to live had the slave trade not existed. How many of our white ancestors owned slaves? What debt does the black owe the descendants of our white ancestors who bled and died to end the institution? And of our white ancestors who were fighting on the side of the south now many were fighting for slaver, and how many were fighting just to make the North stay out of the South’s business? I do not feel I own anybody 40 acres and a mule!


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