One example of racist stupidity was Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. Viewing his slave coachman, William Jackson, as "a piece of furniture," Davis apparently thought nothing of talking about Confederate plans in Jackson's presence.
Dagler goes on to comment on the often prodigious memories of the African-Americans who spied for the Union during the Civil War.
"Because of his role as a menial servant, he simply was ignored . . . So Jefferson Davis would hold conversations with military and Confederate civilian officials in his presence.
[Ken] Dagler has written extensively on the issue for the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence .
In late 1861, Jackson fled across enemy lines and was immediately debriefed by Union soldiers. Dagler said Jackson provided information about supply routes and military strategy.
"In Jackson's case, what he did was ... present some of the current issues that were affecting the Confederacy that you could not read about in the local press that was being passed back and forth across local lines. He actually had some feel for the issues of supply problems," Dagler said.
If they had been smart enough to recognize the intelligence of the black people around them, the Confederates might have done better.
Of course, if they had been smart enough not to be such determined racists, the Confederates wouldn't have seceded in the first place.