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Free Black Confederate Soldier Honored

Confederate unit flag raised at black soldier's gravesite

By JUSTIN BAILEY - Morning News 

DARLINGTON - Despite drizzling rain and an overcast sky, celebratory
spirits could not be dampened as Darlington officials and Civil War
re-enactment soldiers gathered to honor Henry "Dad" Brown at his
Darlington grave site Thursday. 

Mayor Ronnie Ward, Darlington County Councilwoman Willamina Johnson 
and
members of
the 37th Texas Calvary re-enactment unit were in attendance to raise a
21st S.C.
Voluntary Infantry unit flag at Brown's grave. 

Brown was a free black man who voluntarily served as a Confederate
soldier in the Civil
War as a drummer in the 21st S.C. Voluntary Infantry unit. Brown went
with the Darlington
Guards to Charleston in 1861. When that outfit disbanded, he went to 
the
front in Virginia
where he served in both the 8th and 21st Regiments. 

His role as drummer was crucial to field operations of his unit when 
in
battle. Through his
drum roles and cadences, he would signal orders given by commanding
officers to the
troops in combat. Drummers were needed because the roar of the cannon
and rifle fire and
smoke from the battle would often drown out spoken orders and obscure
vision on the
battlefield. 

"Dad Brown was a man of vision, honor and integrity," said 1st Sgt. 
Bob
Harrison of the
37th Texas Calvary. "As Southerners, no matter if you're black or 
white
or whatever, we
can work together. That's the lesson Dad Brown shares with all of us
today." 

Johnson echoed a similar sentiment during the ceremony. 

"When we look at the world, we must live as one," she said. "We have 
to
live together.
Dad Brown saw it like that and lived that way. Let us live and do what
we can. 

"You want to live your life so that there's something left for people 
to
remember. One
hundred years later (after his death), and we're still finding ways to
remember him. He did
what he had to do, and he did it his way." 

John Touchberry of Hartsville attended the ceremony. Several of his
ancestors were
Confederate soldiers. 

"It's just people getting together to honor someone of a different 
race
who served (in the
Confederacy)," he said. "It hasn't anything to do with racism. I call 
it
heritage. It's about
patriotism and honoring a patriot." 

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