Silas was considered a servant by the other men and blacks
in the unit, he was very much an equal, displaying just as much
hatred for the Yankees as anyone in the whole unit!
- Andrew Martin Chandler, 1912
One of the most famous accounts of a close master/body
servant relationship was of Andrew Martin Chandler and his servant
Silas. Chandler, 15 years old at the time, joined the confederate
service and was put in Company F of the 44th Mississippi Infantry.
His 17 year old formal slave accompanied him as he always had done.
Silas Chandler just received his free papers just before the war
began but chose to stay with his friend and followed him off to
war. After the Battle of Shiloh, Chandler was thrown in a Union
prison in Ohio. Silas ran various errands back and forth from the
Chandler homestead back in Palo Alto, Mississippi to the prison,
seeing to Chandler's essentials. The boy was soon released and the
two were very excited to rejoin their outfit.
During the fighting at Chickamauga, Andrew Chandler suffered a great
wound to the leg which the surgeons were ready to amputate off.
But Silas pulled out a gold coin that the boys were saving to buy
some whiskey. Bribing the doctors to let Chandler go, he then carried
the injured boy on his back to the nearest train. They rode all
the way to Atlanta in a box car. Once there, the hospital doctors
saved the boy's leg and life.
Soon after, they returned to home to Palo Alto, where they continued
their friendship until their deaths. Chandler gave Silas land to
build a church for the black community and saw that his friend got
his confederate veteran pension in 1878.
His grave was adorned with a Confederate Cross of Honor that was
placed there in 1994. Shortly after that, the great-grandsons of
Silas and Andrew met. Traveling from Washington DC, Bobbie Chandler
introduced himself to Andrew Chandler Battaile who still lives in
Mississippi. They both maintain a long distance friendship that
was rooted over a hundred years ago.
Silas Chandler has recently
become a celebrated black confederate having his story recognized
by the media. The picture of him and Andrew Chandler is the best
well know photograph of a master and his body servant and is one
of the only photos of it's kind to hang in a museum.