Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Membership can be obtained through either direct or collateral family lines. Kinship to a veteran must be documented genealogically. The minimum age for membership consideration is age 12.
Proof in kinship to a Confederate Soldier can take many forms. The easiest method is to contact the archives of the state from which the soldier fought and obtain a copy of the veterans military service record. The SCV has a network of genealogists to assist you in tracing your ancestors Confederate service.
Joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans serves today as a means for a gentleman to honor his Southern Ancestry with memorial, historical and educational activities. If you are a male descendant of an ancestor who fought for the Confederacy you can call 1-800-MY SOUTH (697-6884) to receive a membership packet. You can also call this number to inquire about the location of an SCV camp (local organization) nearest you.
Sources and Further Reading: Contact the International Headquarters of the SCV at call 1-800-MY SOUTH (697-6884), or PO Box 59, Columbia, TN 38402-0059 or your local SCV Camp.
We have come up with this "GENERALIZED" outline to help get you started.
Making a connection to a Confederate ancestor is an exciting way to bring history alive for you and your family. So the first step has got to be learn your family’s genealogy.
The basic facts that you will need to know in order to do research on an ancestor are: name, state, regiment, and if possible, the company. Knowing what county your ancestor resided in during the 1860's would also be helpful.
Start your search by talking with your oldest living relatives. See how much information they can give you to build a family tree. Try to develop a family tree that extends back to the mid 1800’s. Males aged 16-40 on the 1860 census are prime candidates for CSA service. Begin your search with these men. Later you can check on older or younger men that may have also served.
It is important now to determine the state and county of residence so that Census records from 1860 may be located and reviewed for information. Census records can be found in local libraries, historical and genealogy societies, government archives and at LDS Family History Centers. Some are in books, but more common are microfilms. Paper copies of census records can usually be made. Develop a list of men whom you suspect may have served.
Contact that county to see if they have local historical society. Many counties have historical societies that have already documented local-county men who fought for the Confederacy. Many have "County History Books" which contain their men’s involvement with the WBTS. They'll have at least the local companies raised, and sometimes the roster and pension recipient list. Occasionally the battles their local soldiers participated in, their letters home, etc. may also be found.
Confederate regiments were frequently referred to by the commander's name even when in fact they had a numerical designation. You will find that many states have some sort of indexed listings of a soldiers. The National Archives has published a "Consolidated Index to Compiled Confederate Service Records" on microfilm which is available in many large historical libraries. The service records themselves are also frequently on microfilm at the library.
All Southern states have archived records of men who fought in the WBTS and also records of men who applied for pensions based on service to the CSA. Once you have a name or list of names you can visit or contact the state archives to view and/or obtain copies of service and/or pension records. Remember that not all records survived the war and the amount and quality of information can vary greatly from state to state.
When you have gathered the basic information, you can also obtain copies of your ancestor's service records by writing to the National Archives and requesting NATF Form 80. The address is:
Service Branch (NNMS)
You may also request NATF Form 80 by sending e-mail to: email@example.com
When you have the forms, fill one out as completely as possible and check "Military Service". It is recommended that you write in red ink next to the veteran's name "Please send complete contents of files". Several weeks after you send in the Form 80, the Archive will return the form indicating what they have located and how much it will cost to copy it, typically about $10.
Since the National Archive process is so slow, it is recommended to those who chose to use this source that they just check the block to have their credit card charged the $10.00 fee. This saves the extra postage and added time.
The information from compiled service records from the National Archives may be the same, similar or different that the information from the state archives on the same soldier. The National Archives will not have pension records for Confederate veterans. Only the former Confederate state did awarded the pensions and their archives will have such records.
Regimental Research Sites and Book Lists by CSA state:
The last authenticated veteran of the Confederate army was Pleasant Crump of the 10th Alabama Volunteer Infantry, who died on 31 Dec 1951. Previous claims to be the last veteran of the Confederate army were made for Walter Washington Williams (died 19 Dec 1959) of Texas and for John Salling (died 19 Mar 1959) of Virginia. However, their claims must be rejected, since among other reasons, census records indicated that, in 1860, Williams was only 5 years old and Salling was just 2 years old.
Sources and further reading: William Marvel in "Blue and Gray", Feb 1991; The Civil War Notebook, by A.A. Nofi; New York Times article, Dec. 19, 1959; Civil War Dictionary, by M.M. Boatner.
In General, the SCV fights against attacks, falsifications, revisionism, stereotypes and attempts to remove all things Confederate from the public.
In each issue of the Confederate Veteran (the bimonthly publication of the SCV), a section is devote to heritage promotion and to fighting heritage violations. This section is called "Forwarding the Colors, a report from the SCV Heritage Committee". Violations have ranged from items such as vandalism of Confederate soldiers graves, vandalism to Confederate monuments, removal of Confederate flags that have flown over graves of Confederate veterans, attacks (physical, verbal, legal) on citizens who choose to promote Confederate history and honor their ancestors, denial of citizens and students from displaying anything Confederate on their person, vehicles, etc, banning of the playing of Dixie at school events, challenging the media who defame our ancestors by publishing false information, or portraying our ancestors or their symbols in a demeaning manner, stereotyping of the Southern people as racist and bigoted, removal of "rebel" as school and college mascots, just to name a few.
As descendants of these men, it is our duty to stand up for their place in history and defend their good name.
Sources and Further Reading: Contact the International Headquarters of the SCV at call 1-800-MY SOUTH (697-6884), or PO Box 59, Columbia, TN 38402-0059 or your local SCV Camp.
These men are called reenactors. They are for the most part not playing soldier, but demonstrating a living history project. They are trying to recreate a time in history that will be lost and which some are trying to eliminate. The purpose is not to glorify suffering, but to show todays people what it was like to live and perhaps die in the 1860s. Types of events sponsored by reenactors include:
The SCV its self does not sponsor reenactors or reenactments, but many SCV members to participate in living history, reenacting at events, performing as honor guards for grave and headstone memorial services. Many SCV members who also choose to be reenactors do so in honor of an ancestor who served and may have died for the Confederacy. It gives a descendant a sample of what life was like for their ancestor.
Reenactors are involved in a non-profit organizations committed to education of the public on the WBTS. Too much history these days seems to be viewed only with a 1990s outlook. The living historians or reenactors try to put people back into the mind set of a mid 1800s civilization. Remember events in history took place in perspective of the times in which they happened. People of the 1860s did not view it as how their life might be judged 150 years later.
Many of the reenactors are excellent research historians and much could be learned by attending an event, viewing the program and asking questions. Most reenactors go to great personal expense and sacrifice to demonstrate to the public what accurate history is about.
By the way there are reenactors throughout the country and world that reenact many periods of history, not just WBTS area including: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Revolutionary war, Lewis & Clark era, Mountain man/fur traders, Mexican War, Oregon Trail, Indian Wars, Spanish American War, WWI just to name a few. Not all are military in nature. Many are civilian, medical, industrial, reenactments.
There are many living history and reenacting groups found through out the United States. There are many sites on the internet that can give you further contacts. Someone serious about history can learn much from reenactors.
Sources and further reading: Reliving the Civil War, A Reenactors Handbook by R. Lee Hadden, Stackpole Books, 5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 (1996), Camp Chase Gazette, The Voice of Civil War Reenacting, PO Box 707, Marietta, OH 45750, The Citizens' Companion he Voice of Citizens Reenacting, PO Box 707, Marietta, OH 4575
They are symbols that our ancestors fought, sacrificed and died for. They allow us to share their history and meaning with our children and with persons interested in historical research. There are groups in America who would deny us the right to remember, explain, or display any symbols of the Confederacy. It is a sad fact that some people and groups have taken up the cause to re-write history and erase anything that dealt with the people of the Confederacy. Too many persons appear to make judgments on the people of the 1860s with only their current 1990s perspective. Regardless of what some people may claim about the symbols they are our heritage and have nothing to do with hate. They are our history and our culture, which in a free society, we are allowed to have. The symbols go deep into our family roots and unite us as a Southern people. Family unity and responsibility should be a greater point for the social reformers to focus on rather than trying to defame our ancestors. Perhaps these groups have much to learn from our heritage which is the Confederate States of America and the patriots that died to protect their family.
The "Stars and Bars" IS NOT the familiar rectangle "rebel" flag one sees adorning license plates and often carried, that is the CS Naval Jack, based on the CS battle flag. The Stars and Bars was actually the First National Flag of the Confederacy, where as the "Southern Cross" is actually the Confederate battle flag, a military flag.
NOTE: The following information is provided as a general guide to the flags of the Confederate States of America. There were many variations in the flags and particularly the battle flags. This page will give you good background information on the CSA flags but can not in the space here cover all the variations, materials, colors, and times of service. There are many works that focus just on the battle flag variations. Go to www.scv674.org/SH-8.htm to view some of the more common variations.
Flags of the Confederate States of America: National flags are those that identify a nation. These flags were very important and a matter of great pride to those citizens where in the Confederate States of America. It is also a matter of great pride for their ancestors as part of their heritage and history. For the first 24 days, the Confederate government had no officially approved flag. The capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama flew the State flag of Alabama. When Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederacy, the inaugural parade was led by a company of infantry carrying the State flag of Georgia.
A committee on Flag and Seal was appointed by the Provisional Congress, the chairman of the committee was William P. Miles of South Carolina. Hundreds of flag designs were received from all over the new nation and from the now foreign country of the United States. There was an unwritten deadline for a flag design of 4 March 1861 because that was the day Lincoln was to be inaugurated president of the United States. On that date the Confederate States were determined to fly a flag to express their own sovereignty.
There were 3 major "official" flags of the Confederate nation from 1861 to 1965, but many people only know of the "Battle Flag", which was not a national flag at all.
Bonnie Blue Flag: On 9 January 1861 the Convention of the People of Mississippi adopted an Ordinance of Secession and a large blue flag with a single white star was raised over the capital building in Jackson. Although the Confederate government did not adopt it, the people did. Lone star flags, in one form or another, were adopted in five of the Confederate States that adopted new flags in 1861.
The First National "The Stars and Bars" (4 March 1861-1 May 1863) On the morning of 4 March 1861 large models of the proposed flags were hung on the walls of the Congressional chamber. The First National Flag "The Stars and Bars" was adopted on the same day it was to be raised over the capitol at Montgomery. A flag made of soft merino wool was completed within two hours of it's adoption by the Congress. The very first flag of the Confederate States of America was raised by Miss Letitia Christian Tyler, grand- daughter of President John Tyler. Six weeks later it was flying over Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The Original First National Flag of the Confederacy can still be seen today at Beauvoir, which is the Jefferson Davis Memorial and Shrine, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast Highway. It had 7 stars in a circle on a blue field, to represent the 7 states of the CSA Later versions would have 11 stars and then eventually 13 stars as other states joined the Confederacy. The bars consisted of two red and one white. In their hurry to adopt a flag and have it ready the same afternoon, the Congress forgot to enact a flag law. Nowhere in the statute books of the Confederate States is a Flag Act of 1861. In official use for over two years, the Stars and Bars was never established as the Confederate Flag by the laws of the land. The Stars and Bars flag was replaced in 1863 by the "Stainless Banner"
The Second National Flag "The Stainless Banner" (1 May 1863-4 March 1865) William Porcher Miles, chairman of the Flag and Seal Committee, was not satisfied with the "Stars and Bars" as the Confederate National Flag. He wanted to get away from any flag that resembled the United States flag.
The mood of the Confederate people and their representatives in Congress, was to let the "Stars and Bars" be the National Flag. As the war started to drag on, the sentimental feelings for the "Stars and Bars" began to fade away. More and more Confederate citizens came to see the flag of the United States as a symbol of oppression and imperialistic aggression.
In February 1862 the First Congress of the Confederate States assembled in Richmond. The new members of Congress reflected the changing feelings of the people toward the flag. One of the first actions of the new Congress was to appoint a new Joint Committee on Flag and Seal with instructions to consider and propose a new Confederate Flag.
On 19 April 1862 the committee submitted it's report to both Houses of Congress. While the debate over a new National Flag for the Confederate States of American was going on, the Army of Northern Virginia had been engaged in some battles under it's Battle Flag and a lot of blood was spilled. Because of these actions some members of Congress, and the citizens of the Confederacy, wanted the Battle Flag incorporated into the National Flag as a way of paying respect to the Confederate Soldiers that were wounded and killed fighting for the new nation's freedom and independence.
Senate Bill No. 132 was put into formal language by Representative Peter W. Gray of Houston, Texas. This bill was passed on to the senate and passed with very little debate. Later that same day President Davis signed the bill and gave the new flag to the Confederate States of America. The new flag became official on the 1st of May 1863.
This second National Confederate Flag was referred to as the "Stainless Banner" because of it's pure white field, and was said to represent the purity of the cause which it represented. One of the first uses for the new flag was to drape the coffin of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. General Jackson died on the 10th of May and he lay in state in the Confederate House of Representatives on 12 May 1863. By the order of President Davis, his coffin was draped with the first of the new National Confederate flags to be manufactured. This very first "Stainless Banner" is now on display in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. Because of it's use on General Jackson's coffin the new flag is at times referred to as the "Jackson Flag". The Second National Flag was replaced by the Third National Flag in 1865.
Third National Flag (4 March 1865-Present) In 1863 congress had argued that "the white flag would not be taken for a flag of truce as it was patterned after the old French Bourbon Flag", but the flag had been considered by many as looking too much like a flag of truce. As a result the flag was often manufactured with a shorter fly length in order to minimize the white field.
A new flag bill was introduced to the Confederate States Senate on 13
December 1864. Senator Thomas J. Semmes of Louisiana introduced Senate Bill No 137 with the statement that "naval officers objected to the present flag, that in a calm looked like a flag of truce". Much consideration followed the introduction of this bill, including consultations with high ranking officers of both the Confederate navy and army. The senate passed bill 137 on 5 February 1865 on to the house which also passed it on 27 February 1865. It was signed into law by President Davis on 4 March 1865.
Unlike existing war flags of the earlier patterns, there are very few survivors of the 1865 version as it was approved so late in the war. Many of the ones that do exist are actually the 1863 Stainless Banner with the fly shortened and a red bar added to the flag.
CSA Battle Flag "The Southern Cross" (November 1861-present) Flags that are used by troops in the field are known as "Battle Flags". The use of distinctive battle flags by combat units can be traced back to the middle ages in Europe and even to Roman legions. Flags that are used in battle are important because they let the battlefield commanders know what troops are where.
At the first great battle of Manassas 21 July 1861 General Joseph E Johnston had overall command of the Army of Northern Virginia, but the greatest part of the actual planning and field operations were conducted by General P.G.T. Beauregard. On several occasions during the fighting, confusion was caused by the inability of commanders to distinguish their troops from that of the enemy. There were too many similarities in uniforms and the Confederate stars and bars (1st national flag) looked similar to the Union Stars and Stripes, add this to the dust and smoke of battle, it combined into a confusing battle to fight or command.
General Beauregard complained to Johnston, so the commanding General ordered the troops to use their state flags for recognition. But there were not enough of these state flags for all the regiments. General Beauregard asked Congress to change the 1st National Flag. Instead Congressman Miles suggested that the Army adopt a distinctive battle flag for its own use. The design that Miles urged the army to use was one that he had originally submitted to be the national flag of the confederacy, but was rejected. The Generals liked the Red Flag, with the blue cross and white stars, but felt a square flag would be more convenient for military use.
In November 1861 the first battle flags were issued to regiments. This flag is referred to as the "Southern Cross". It had 11 stars for the states currently in the CSA and one for Missouri, which had seceded, but was not yet admitted to the Confederacy for a total of 12 stars.
The first flags were made of silk, but which did not last very long exposed to the harsh weather conditions the army had to live in. Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) silk flags were used into 1863 by some units. Two were lost at Gettysburg for example. Their borders were yellow and the hoist edge a blue sleeve. The next flag issue was the ANV cotton flags, also of 12 stars. These were made in April, 1862 and given to three brigades as a stop gap measure.
The next issue of these flags in 1862 were made of heavy English wool bunting. They would now proclaim 13 stars. These first wool bunting flags were made in May 1862, Second Wool bunting flags in June (both with orange borders) and Third Wool bunting flags (with white borders for the first time) from July 1862 until May 1864. Fourth Wool bunting flags (these were the only ones that were 51 inches square) came in June 1864 with later bunting issues beginning in October through March 1865. The ANV flew 9 variants of their battle flag during the war.
The some regimental flags would have the regimental designation painted in gold on the blue cross above and below the central star. The regimental battle honors were painted in blue on the red field of the flag. Further researchers point out that most ANV flags were unmarked by honors or unit designations. Only those units in the 1863 divisions of D.H. Hill, A.P. Hill and Ed Johnson (issued April, May and September 1863 respectively) had flags done with the gold letters over the center stars and blue honors on the field. Pickett's Division received flags in June 1863 with white painted unit designations on their fields. Some brigades, like Cox's NC Brigade, Kershaw's SC Brigade and a few others had their own flags done in particular manners, most with honors only, either painted on the flag in white or blue letters or sewn on strips.
Battle Flags used on land by Confederate troops were usually in three sizes:
INFANTRY FLAG: This flag was the largest size a 48 inches to a square side.
ARTILLERY FLAG: This flag was the middle size. 36 inches to a square side
CAVALRY FLAG: This flag was the smallest size. 30 inches to a square side
NOTES: These measurements include the borders which were folded over the exterior of the field of the flag. In May through September, 1863 the infantry flags were only about 45 inches square to save scarce imported bunting. Also in many cases the artillery used infantry sized flags.
The different sizes of the flags made it easier for the commanders to not only tell what combat unit was where, but it also told the commander what type of unit it was. The Battle Flag was always in front of the regiment. This way the soldiers in the regiment always knew where they were to be. Should a soldier ever be separated from his unit, all he had to do was look for his regiment's flag.
It was indeed the intent of Generals Beauregard and Johnston to permeate the ANV flag all over the South in the field armies but both men met resistance from commands in other areas that had already created their own distinctive battle flags and so their efforts were mixed in terms of results.
The Armies of Tennessee, Mississippi, the states departments, and the Trans-Mississippi Department all had variations on size, shape color and markings on its battle flags. Many CSA battle flags were created by other unit commanders for the same reasons the ANV flag was, to settle battlefield confusion. Gen. Polk created his flag (a St. George's cross) in 2 versions for his corps (and a subunit, Dea's Alabama Brigade created flags similar but based more on French imperial flags); Gen. Hardee's corps used the famous "moon" flag of a white device (circle, oval or rectilinear, depending on when issued) on a blue field (the flag was actually invented by Gen. Buckner); Gen. Bragg's Corps used flags inspired by the ANV flag but with 12 six-pointed stars on it; Breckenridge's Corps used First Nationals well into 1863 as their battle flags; Bowen's Missouri Division used blue flags with red borders and a white Latin cross on it; Van Dorn's Army of the West used a Middle Eastern looking flag with a red field, either yellow or white stars and borders.
As for flags inspired by the ANV flag, The Army of Tennessee (AOT) flag of 1864 was supposed to be square also like the ANV (as per Johnston's orders to the Atlanta Depot) but the depot goofed and they came back rectangular. The flags of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi & East Louisiana ( the command unit for Polk's Army of Mississippi, Forrest's Cavalry Corps and others) were also slightly rectangular but with only 12 stars. These were made in Mobile by contractors Jackson Belknap and to a lesser extent James Cameron. Neither flag had colored borders. The flags of the Department of South Carolina, Florida and Georgia were also ANV flag inspired but were built differently. These square flags were made by the Charleston Depot and began showing up in April 1863. They can be discerned easily from ANV flags by their wider cross and colored pole sleeves of red or blue (ANV flags were tied to the poles).
Other ANV inspired flags, both square and rectangular appeared in ad hoc situations in the west and Trans-Mississippi theaters. The most unique were the flags of Gen. Walker's Texas Division issued in 1864. These were square, blue flags with red St. Andrews crosses and 13 stars. Other battle flags bore no resemblance to anything else previously known but contained usually a device that was prominent to the troops that carried them.
NOTE: All three national flags also served as unit battle flags, particularly in the West and Trans- Mississippi theaters. The First National flag, despite being changed officially in May 1863, was actually the only CS flag pattern that saw battle use from the beginning to the end of the war! Examples were taken at Appomattox, in North Carolina, and in battles of the 1864 campaigns.
Sources and further reading: Flags of the Confederacy, Cannon, Devereaux D. Pelican Publishing 1994, www.scv674.org/SH-8.htm
The flags of the Confederacy represented the Southern people, their nation, and their armies. There was no hate associated or intended with the making or displaying of the Confederate symbols of 1861-1865. Those symbols represent our ancestors and their struggles and sacrifices. They are a part of this countries history. Acts of war in 1861-1865 killed and hurt many people. The SCV deplores the use of these symbols by extremists and hate groups (such as white supremacist, skinhead, Neo-Nazi, KKK) which have no right to use the often seen Confederate Naval Jack of 1863, or any other sign, symbol, or token of the Southern Confederacy of 1861-1865. Acts of hate, in which our symbols are used are an inappropriate condemnation of our heritage and culture.
If you research closely you will see that these extremist groups fly and also defame the fifty-star American Flag, not to mention the flag of the Christian Churches of the world, with their white supremacist, racist bigoted, hate rhetoric. There is no demonstration to ban those flags, even when used by the hate groups. The Sons of Confederate Veterans zealously, condemn, denounce, all of these hate group for the misuse and degradation of any and all of the symbols of the Southern Confederacy 1861-1865. THE SCV also denounces any organized group that oppose our history and symbols for their own mis-informed campaigns, self promotions, or down right ignorance of history. Remember, these Confederate symbols are stained with the blood of our Southern patriot ancestors.
Many emotionalized attacks on our Confederate images have been presented. These shallow anti-Confederate arguments lack substance when studied. Again using 1990s perspectives to judge actions of the 1860s. This thought process is doomed to failure in a thinking society.
The following (Arguments 2.3.A to 2.3. G) are shared from the Heritage Preservation Association (HPA). The Heritage Preservation Association has organized counter attack arguments against those out to destroy Southern culture and its symbols. Some border on absurd and others appear, on the surface, to have merit unless you take a minute to study a little deeper. The most common arguments given for removing, changing or censoring a Confederate symbols are here presented. Immediately following each argument, is a logical response that successfully refutes the argument, demonstrating why it usually fails in its mission to convince.
(Note: The following arguments are copyrighted by the Heritage Preservation Assocation. All Rights Reserved)
2.3.A-Argument #1 " Since the Ku Klux Klan fly the Confederate flag, it has become a symbol of hatred, racism and intolerance. We cannot let our state (or school or whatever) project an image of racism by flying a Confederate battle flag or something that contains the Confederate battle flag."
First, many in the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) do not fly the Confederate battle flag. In fact, only a small number actually use a Confederate flag. However, we are told that KKK bylaws require the U.S. flag and the Christian flag to be present at every event. Most people are not aware that the largest KKK membership is in the North and it has been that way since the early 1900s. Mr. Boyd Lewis, a Klan expert who spoke at DeKalb College in Atlanta, states that at the height of Klan power, "Indiana had the largest Klan population with over 2 million members between 1915-1916," (71). Most KKK groups prefer to use a U.S. flag or a Christian flag, yet oddly enough, no one is calling for the permanent censorship of those symbols!
Americans have been programmed, by the liberal media, into believing that the KKK is only a "Southern Thing" and that only Southern symbols must pay for the Klan's transgressions. A free-lance photographer and friend once related with frustration at how the newspapers never buy or use his photographs if they show the Klan carrying a U.S. flag. "They only want to use the photographs that show a Confederate flag." Based on the magnitude of media bias that would have us believe the Confederate flag and the Klan go hand-in-hand, although incorrect, it is understandable why people have the perceptions they do. However, those perceptions are based on false information, and it is the perception that must be changed, not the symbol that has been victimized by the perception.
At one time, man had the perception that the earth was flat. This was because his eyes were giving his brain false information, which was also fed by the many stories told and retold by sailors at sea. However, once we acquired accurate geographical information, we were forced to change our perception and accept the fact that the earth was not flat, but round. We must likewise change our false perceptions of Confederate symbols as being symbols of the Klan, when it truth, they are not.
Second, the use of a symbol by a person or group, does not convey the characteristics of that person or group to that symbol. For example, Malcolm X and the nation of Islam were indisputably, the black equivalent of David Duke and the Klan. Both lived and preached racial hatred. Both claimed to have found religion and converted. If the Confederate flag symbolizes the Klan's white racism against blacks, then we must interpret the "X" of Malcolm X, emblazoned on the clothes of many black consumers, as being symbolic of Malcolm X's black racism
2.3.B-Argument #2 "Confederate symbols represented history at one time, but Confederate-Americans have not acted to protect the sanctity of their symbols from use and abuse by hate groups, thereby Southerners have forfeited their claim to these symbols."
Southerners never willingly gave up their symbols 130 years ago and the same is true today. The abduction of our symbols by another group, does not constitute forfeiture, especially when there is no recourse for preventing their use by another group. Ironically, the same liberals who burn and abuse the U.S. flag and Confederate flags, are the same ones who work to overthrow the laws that are designed to protect those symbols from abuse. Even when the flag being abused is the U.S. flag, the courts have ruled that laws against such abuse are unconstitutional. If there is no recourse for protecting the U.S. flag from abuse by hate groups, how can any flag be protected? If the Nation of Islam marches with the black liberation flag, should we assume that this flag now represents the same racism and anti-Semitism espoused by this "hate group"?
Slavery was a legal institution in this country for over 200 years. Africans were brought here by northern slave traders to be used in northern industry, long before the antebellum South or the Confederacy ever existed. The first American colony to legalize slavery was Massachusetts in 1641, only 17 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. "The slave trade became very profitable to the shipping colonies and Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire had many ships in the triangular trade," (72). "The moral argument against slavery arose early in the New England shipping colonies but it could not withstand the profits of the trade and soon died out." (73).
Thomas Jefferson condemned the slave trade in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, but the New England slave traders lobbied to have the clause stricken. In a short eleven year period form 1755 to 1766, no fewer than 23,000 slaves landed in Massachusetts. By 1787, Rhode Island had taken first place in the slave trade to be unseated later by New York. Before long, millions of slaves would be brought to America by way of 'northern' slave ships. After all, there were no Southern slave ships involved in the triangular slave, it was simply too cruel.
William P. Cheshire, the senior editorial columnist for the Arizona Republic recently noted, the New England Yankee who brought slaves to America, "were interested in getting money, not in helping their cargo make a fresh start in the New World." He adds that northern slave ownership "isn't widely known - American textbooks tend to be printed in Boston, not Atlanta - but early New Englanders not only sold blacks to Southern planters but also kept slaves for themselves as well as enslaving the local Indian population," (74).
Slavery did not appear in the South until northern settlers began to migrate South, bringing with them their slaves. It was soon discovered that while slaves were not suited to the harsh climate and working conditions of the north, they were ideal sources of cheap labor for the newly flourishing economy of the agricultural South. Of the 9.5 million slaves brought to the Western Hemisphere from 1500 - 1870, less than 6% were brought to the United States. This means that our Hispanic, British and French neighbors to the south owned over 94% of the slaves brought to the New World. In the South, less than 7% of the total population ever owned a slave. In other words, over 93% of Southerners did not own any slaves, (75).
Attempts to outlaw the slave trade in the north only increased the profits of smuggling. In 1858, only two years prior to the birth of the Confederacy, Stephen Douglas noted that over 15,000 slaves had been smuggled into New York alone, with over 85 vessels sailing from New York in 1859 to smuggle even more slaves. Perhaps it was their own guilt that drove the abolitionists of the day to point an accusing finger at the South, while closing their eyes to the slavery and the slave trade taking place in their own back yards.
For more than 200 years, northern slave traders mad enormous profits that furnished the capitol for future investments into mainstream industries. Who is more responsible for slavery in America, the Southern plantation owner who fed and clothed his slaves, or the New England "Yankee" slave trader who brought the slaves here in the first place?
From 1641, when Massachusetts first legalized slavery, until 1865, when the Confederate struggle for independence ended, slavery was a legal institution in America that lasted over 224 years. The Confederate battle flag flew for 4 of those 224 years, but the U.S. flag and its colonial predecessors flew over legalized slavery for ALL of those 224 years. It was the U.S. flag that the slave first saw, and it was the U.S. flag that flew on the mast of New England slaves ships as they brought their human cargo to this country. It is clear, that those who attack the Confederate flag as a reminder of slavery are overlooking the most guilty and hateful of all reminders of American slavery, the U.S. flag.
This is one of the most commonly used arguments against Confederate symbolism and on of the easiest to prove false. Everyone knows that the South (and the North) had slavery until 1865. The north had slavery at least until 1866, due to some holdouts like Union General Ulysses S. Grant who refused to give up his slaves until the passage of the 13th Amendment. Prior to 1866, slavery was completely legal. The Supreme Court had ruled favorably on the legality and constitutionality of slavery. Presidents Buchanan and Lincoln both promised many times, that they would not interfere with the practice of slavery. New laws were recently put on the books protecting slave owners from loss of slave property due to theft or runaways. Add to that, the fact that the Confederate states constituted the fifth wealthiest region in the world. The slave owning states had all of these things and more. So why on earth would Southern states secede from the United States? Surely, no one believes that the South would have left the security of the Union and gone to fight a war for something they already had! Countries do not fight wars for the things they have, they fight wars to obtain the things they do not have.
To emphasize how safe the institution of slavery was, let's look at what it would have taken to eliminate it. Since slavery was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, it would require a constitutional amendment and that is very difficult to achieve. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must agree to the amendment and then three-fourths of all the states must vote to ratify the amendment before it can become part of the U.S. Constitution. This simply would never have happened as long as the Southern states stayed in the Union! That's right, with the South in the Union, the northern and Southern slave states would have voted down any attempt to amend the Constitution, thereby guaranteeing that the institution of slavery could continue almost indefinitely. So you see, it is quite easy to prove that the South did not secede and fight a war to maintain slavery, an institution they already possessed.
What the South did not have was financial freedom. Southerners were slaves to the industrial demands of the north, just as blacks were slaves to the agricultural demands of the South. Growth potential was severely limited in the South, so long as the north continued to levy heavy tariffs on things that Southerners needed to purchase and heavy taxes on those things that Southerners produced. In the words of South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun in 1850, "The north has adopted a system of revenue and disbursements, in which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed on the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the north ... The South as the great exporting portion of the Union has, in reality, paid vastly more than her due proportion of the revenue,". Unfair taxation drove Americans to war with Britain in 1775 and against each other in 1861. History is quite clear on this point.
This argument goes hand-in-hand with those who try to portray the 1950's, especially in the South, as a decade of hate. This approach was popular with "civil rights" groups in Georgia as well as the liberal media. The Georgia state flag, for example, was changed in 1956. Those who want the flag changed today, claim that the current state flag was established as a slap in the face of court ordered integration, even though records indicate otherwise. Integration was ordered by the courts in 1952. If Georgia legislators were angry over integration, it would not have taken them four years to change the Georgia flag. If defiance had been the reason for the flag's change, it would have been changed the very same day as the court decision! After all, opposing integration in the 1950's was a popular position to hold, and it earned votes for politicians, both in the north and the South.
The formula for providing quality education has always been an illusive one with many variables. In the 1950's, some of those variables discussed by the members of the state legislatures in the north and the South included teacher salaries, improved curriculum, funding for new schools and integration. Any state whose elected officials did not thoroughly debate how court ordered integration might effect quality education was done a serious disservice. Yes, debates over segregation and integration took place during the 1950's, but the timing of those debates was chosen by the civil rights movement and not by the defenders of segregation who would have preferred that the debates never occur at all. Had the courts ordered integration 50 years earlier or 50 years later, the 1950's would have still been a decade of heritage not hate.
In the 1950's and especially the South, a nationwide preparation for the "Civil War Centennial" had begun. This event would include many states with activities spanning several years. The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta paled in comparison to the celebration surrounding the historic centennial event. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a special proclamation calling on all state and federal employees to take part in the festivities. The Postal Service issued a special set of stamps to commemorate the event. Knowing that many visitors coming to the South would take guided tours, hundreds and thousands of historic markers were also placed throughout the 1950's in many states. The decade of the 1950's saw an enormous outpouring of Southern awareness that had its beginnings in the late 1930's with the incredible success of Margaret Mitchell's novel, "Gone With The Wind" and its subsequent movie premier in Atlanta. Hailed as an overwhelming success, this classic and moving story of the South's struggle for independence and then survival, continues to serve as an inspiration to millions of Americans today.
It is impossible to find a symbol of a flag that will represent everyone. The most accurate polls to date show that 87% of all Americans are not offended by Confederate symbolism. Many Americans feel that they are best represented by a Confederate flag. Actions that appease 13% of our population while disenfranchising 87% of our population, are not progressive or democratic. Nor are they very savvy from a political point of view. When You have a symbol that is as popular as the Confederate battle flag, the best solution is to simply leave it alone.
Any person who claims that Confederate flags are un-American needs a remedial course in geography. "America" as we refer to it, consists of all 50 states, not just those that exist in the north. Southerners are Americans and their flags are American flags as well. A patriotic symbol is one that represents freedom and virtue to its owner, not necessarily to others who view the symbol. If the Confederate battle flag makes you feel patriotic and proud to be a Southern, then it is just as patriotic to fly a Confederate flag at your home or place of business as it is to fly the flag of the United States
The issue of whether to fly a Confederate battle flag is only the "tip of the iceberg". We are now seeing children abused in schools for wearing clothing with a portrait of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson or a likeness of a Confederate symbol, not only by roving gangs of black students, but by the administrators as well. We have seen numerous efforts by various groups to change street names, remove Confederate monuments, censor the playing of Dixie (a song written by a Northerner) and otherwise purge our society of an visible remembrances of Southern Heritage.
The tactic employed by the NAACP on a national level went like this. In one state, the NAACP would claim it was only the flag they wanted to remove. In another state, they would claim it was only a monument, or this, or that, trying to minimize the importance of their claim by contradicting or ignoring what the other NAACP spokesperson had said. In other words, they would use any means necessary to remove a Confederate symbol from its place of honor. The Heritage Preservation Association was the first "national" civil rights organization for Southern Heritage and we exposed this ploy of the NAACP for what it was. This forced the NAACP to go public with their true intentions in 1994 by stating it was their goal to remove ALL Confederate symbols from public property. No more lies. No more hidden agendas. It was now out in the open!
At the state or local level, their tactic was to strike with the absurd and then back off just enough to give the appearance of a "willingness to compromise". This ploy usually starts with a "civil rights" leader or group coming out with ridiculous proposals for censoring Southern symbols, knowing and expecting that these proposals will meet with opposition. The to show their "charity" and "flexibility", they offer a "compromise" that amounts to something less, but still hideous in the eyes of those who must give something up.
Civil rights leaders in Georgia, for example, declared that the Georgia state flag was not historic since it was only 35 or so years old. They wanted the Georgia state flag removed, but as a "compromise" they would allow it to be flown on special historic days. While this may sound charitable and rational to those who dislike Confederate symbols, it was unacceptable to everyone else. The HPA mirrored their efforts by suggesting "in the spirit of compromise" that the black community give up Martin Luther King Holiday, Black History Month in public schools and Kwaanza. For those unfamiliar with Kwaanza, it is a pagan harvest ritual, claiming to have African roots and celebrated during Christmas by a few blacks. It was invented only a decade or so ago, so it really has no historical importance, and is considered by many to be un-American. These civil rights leaders became furious that we would suggest that they give up anything. We were supposed to be grateful that they didn't start another race riot like the one Atlanta witnessed during the Rodney King fiasco. We flatly refused, and the media portrayed us, the victims, as "unwilling to compromise".
In Danville VA, a black city council woman complained that a Confederate flag was flying in front of the "Last Capitol of the Confederacy Museum and Memorial", so the city took it down. Apparently, Southerners are not supposed to fly Confederate flags anymore, even at Confederate museums. The flag had been flying approximately 250 days a year. The local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), had initially opposed the removal of the flag. But shortly after chapter leaders were reportedly offered positions on the museum board, the SCV and others quietly engineered a compromise where the Confederate third national flag would be flown only 23 days a year. The SCV claimed a victory but HPA and local residents were shocked and angry. A local HPA chapter was formed and within a year, had worked to elect one of their own to the city council. Knowing that HPA would replace them one-by-one, the city council became frantic to find a solution that would meet with HPA's approval. They did. There is now a Confederate monument where none stood before, and we have our Confederate flag proudly flying, not 23 days a year, or 250 days a year, but 365 days a year! Now that is what HPA calls compromise.
In South Carolina, we have another prime example of the dangers of compromise. Civil rights leaders wanted the Confederate battle flag removed from the State House dome in Columbia where if flies underneath the U.S. and state flags. To counter this, numerous "pro-Southern" leaders in the Sons of Confederate Veterans introduced yet another compromise that would remove the flag from the dome and place it next to a monument on the capitol grounds. But the monument had already been the target of the NAACP. In other words, these so-called leaders were willing to reduce the visibility of a Confederate symbol, give the civil rights leaders what they wanted by removing it from the State House dome, and place it next to a monument targeted for removal and in a location where it would surely be vandalized. The HPA exposed this "compromise" as cowardly, unthinkable, and unacceptable. HPA is desperately working in South Carolina to prevent this "compromise" from becoming a reality.
We have learned over the years, and through many attempts to negotiate a solution, that those who attack Southern Heritage are themselves, unwilling to compromise. They expect Southerners away their heritage, but they are not willing to give them anything in return. If we start giving in on any issue, then all symbols of the South will gradually disappear. Pro-Southern organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and others must learn this lesson, and soon. Compromise has become the gradual dismantling of Southern Heritage - one symbol at a time.
A simple test for the worthiness of any offer to compromise is to determine the resulting visibility of the Confederate symbol being challenged. After all, a true compromise is where both sides win something or both sides lose something. If one side wins and the other loses, that, by definition, is not a compromise but a defeat. Any solution that reduces the value, validity or visibility of a Confederate symbol is not a compromise and therefore unacceptable.
Sources and Further Reading: Contact the International Headquarters of the SCV at call 1-800-MY SOUTH (697-6884), Heritage Preservation Association, P.O Box 98209, Atlanta, GA 30359-1909, Phone: (770)-928-2714 Fax: (770)-928-2719, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The simple TRUTH about the War Between The States- WBTS, (but often referred to incorrectly as the American Civil War); is that this war was fought by Southerners from all ethnic backgrounds and religions, rich and poor, free and slave, to protect their home and hearth from a hostile foreign invader. We all have learned the misrepresentations, outright lies, and
falsehoods the Washington-Lincolnian-Reconstructionist-Revisionist-Politically-Correct historians teach in our schools today. They have taught generations of Southern school children their version of the War of Northern Aggression. Remember it is the victors that write the history of the vanquished. What is civil about a war that was fought for the subjugation of a land and its' people?
Most people have only heard the Northern side. This is quite natural, as the side that wins in armed conquest usually gets to write the history books. In a divorce proceeding, would anyone listen only to one side, totally ignoring the other, even though the first claimed to be fair in representing the others side? That is exactly what has happened to the South. The United States acted like most empires do when a portion of the population declares itself free. England invaded us when we did in 1776, Russia did it to preserve its empire, Romans had before, and the list is endless. Only this time, the people declaring independence lost.
Sources and further reading: (See list at the beginning of section #3)
The way most history books deal with the South before 1865 is slanted and present many false presumptions. Liberals and black activists that spread emotional lies about the war and about the South often go so far as to equate the Confederate battle flag with "Nazi swastika," and calling our ancestors "traitors" and Nazi concentration camp guards. The news media seems to relish these kinds of attacks on our heritage. Liberals and historical revisionists who attack the legitimacy of the Confederacy and its cause and thus the right of the traditional white Southerners to exist as a people with a culture and a heritage, usually base their attacks upon false assumptions. These attacks can be easily disarmed by a thinking citizen. Some of the premier "MYTHS" include:
The most obvious myth is that of the "great and good" North marching into the "cruel and evil" South for the sole purpose of freeing the slaves. There are many quotes from Northern leaders (Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and others) that show clearly that the main purpose of the North was not the eradication of slavery, but subjugation of the southern people. If you study these common accepted myths, you will easily find them to be false and spread accidentally by ignorance of the common student/teacher or deliberately with contempt towards the southern people.
Sources and Further Reading: Facts the Historians Leave Out; John S. Tilley; 1951, 1993, A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States; Capt. Samuel Ashe; 1938; 1994, War for What?; Francis W. Springer; 1990 (See list at the beginning of section #3)
An honest answer is that there may have been as many different reasons for fighting this war as there were soldiers in the Confederate Army. The politically correct revisionist historians would like to state the Confederate soldiers were fighting to protect and preserve slavery. It seems an odd statement since less than 10% of those men were actual slave holders.
Some common answers that appear over and over from the Confederates were that they were fighting to establish their own government, just as their forefathers did in the first American war for Independence in 1776. Just like in 1776, years of oppression and many complex and interwoven issues produced the feeling in the Southern population to secede and then later to take up arms to defend their land.
Some were fighting to repel the invasion of the Federal Army and in essence fighting to protect their home and families. Since the constitution did not authorize the Federal government to make war on a state, yet the Federal military presence was definitely a threat to the Confederate states and the people within, taking up arms for defense of their land seems a logical reason for fighting.
Sources and Further Reading: (See list at the beginning of section #3)
The South did have the Constitutionally guaranteed right to secede from the Union. A sovereign State always maintains the right to chose its course and the fact of "free and independent States" cannot be denied for this was their status as recognized by England after independence was gained. The Articles of Confederation of 1778 to 1789 guaranteed it and the US Constitution which was merely a revision of the Article of Confederation, strengthened that guarantee. The Federalist papers show it to be an option and that force to maintain the Union is not.
Add to this the precedent of Northern states threatening to secede and further proof is found that it was a real option. This is irrefutable proof that the Southern States had the right to secede.
Examine the particulars which are grounded in the words of our founding fathers, the framers of our Constitution, and the acts of the several States in ratifying the Constitution. The fact of the matter is that this is a simple process if one takes a plain meaning of the words. Problems only arise when we do not take as matter of fact the words of the founding fathers. The technique of adding meaning or changing definitions is how men have always tried to cloud issues.
First, in the Colonies the individual Colony considered itself independent of the others. New York would not pay the ransom of John Stark who was captured by the "savages" and brought to Albany for a ransom. Inasmuch as he belonged to New Hampshire, the government of New York took no action for his release. There was not even enough community of feeling to induce individual citizens to provide money for that purpose.
Local and partial confederacies were found in the New England colonies. Even these early confederacies retained what Jefferson Davis named as "the germ-principle of states rights". The "United Colonies of New England" which lasted nearly fifty years was one and there were several other temporary and provisional associations of colonies formed. The people were taught the advantages of union for a common purpose, while they had never abandoned or compromised the great principle of community independence. Since these unions were dissolved and reformed into new unions the fact is evident they had the sovereign right as independent communities to secede or form unions as they saw fit.
The Articles of Confederation continued the ideal of sovereign communities gathering for a united purpose but not at the expense of their independence. This sentiment is traceable through the dissolution of the colonial ties with England to the Articles of Confederation. A general Congress made the declaration that the colonies were and had the right to be, "free and independent States." Great Britain then recognized each State individually, not in aggregate. This idea was carried to the Articles of Confederation and found in:
Another point is that these articles were adopted by eleven of the original States in 1778. It took three years for the other two states to join the compact. The reason for the delay in joining was their fear that their sovereignty may be compromised. Finally their fears were quieted and with their sovereign status intact they entered the United States. They did so without coercion or force by the other states for they were free and independent States who could either reject or accept the Articles of Confederation.
When the States decided that the government created by the "Articles" was inadequate and that it was time to revise the "Articles", that is what they gathered to do. Revise not recreate was the charter given to the representatives who gathered at the Constitutional Convention. Still of note is that the revision had to be accepted and ratified by the States, not the people of the United States in aggregate, but rather the people of the States ratifying for their own sovereign State.
When the states ratified the Constitution, they acceded to the Union by voting through their delegates assembled in convention to accept the Constitution, but they did not surrender any of their sovereign power. Because the states had the authority to accede, it follows logically that they had the authority to secede. Naturally, if they had the right to do something, they would also have the right to undo it if they so chose. In addition, several of the states, including Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York, specifically and explicitly stated in their ratifications that they retained the right to withdraw from the Union, when so ever it was their desire to do so.
There are several points to consider in the discussions of the time. One of the primary is the striking of the phrase "National Government " from the Constitution. Since this was done quickly is of great importance in understanding the meaning of their action to delete it. The prompt rejection, after introduction, of this word national, is obviously more expressive of the intent and purpose of the authors of the Constitution than its mere absence from the Constitution would have been. The rejection makes it even more abundantly clear that they did not mean for our government to be a "consolidated nationality", instead of a confederacy of sovereign members. In order to insure this fact the Tenth Amendment was added, which was in essence is the same as the Second Article of Confederation. The Tenth Amendment states:
The tenth amendment clearly states that power is delegated by the States and power not delegated remains with the people of the State. Therefore, when we see "the people" we should think the people of the individual sovereign State acting in concert for the State independent of the people of other States. Clearly, what we have is a double statement of the reserved power of the States individually. New York stated it thusly,
The proof is conclusive the sovereignty of the States individually remains and that the States have not delegated away their right to secede, which may be necessary, if there is a breach in the compact (the Constitution). That is why Madison in the Federalist papers would give the grounds for a State or States right to secede.
Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts was the first to threaten secession. Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts was the first to mention secession in Congressional halls in 1811. John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts was the first to petition Congress to dissolve the Union. Charles Francis Adams testified that there was no doubt but that his grandfather, John Quincy Adams, believed that a State had the right to secede.
The truth of this principle was appealed to several times in the history of our Union and never doubted as a legitimate alternative to continuing in the Union. The first was Massachusetts which threatened to secede because of the Louisiana purchase. Their reason was it gave more weight to the Southern section of the country. The solution offered:
The writer then goes on to list the Northern States that would join their Confederacy.
There were other instances where secession was threatened in the North such as in 1845 when the "measures for the annexation of Texas evoked remonstrances, accompanied by threats of dissolution."
As a last example we have the Southern States. The Southern States did not only threaten, but acted on the right to secede. The Southern States believed that the Northern States had made a breach in the contract (constitution) by not allowing equal access to the territories which in effect gave the Northern States the advantage politically and therefore decided to exercise their sovereign right to secede.
While this answer can not give exhaustive support of the Souths right to secede, it does clearly demonstrate that the right existed. It can be realized by a plain interpretation of our Constitution, and the words of the founding fathers. In the Federalist alone there can be found many additional proofs. It only remains to realize why the Southern War for Independence came about, with the Norths gross trampling of our Constitution, which in fact signaled the death of the United States. If our United States was freely entered, it cannot be maintained by force. As Hamilton said in the Federalist
It was President Andrew Jackson who said, "The Federal Union, It must be preserved", but also stated the Union "could not be preserved by force." The Union he referred to was a voluntary union, and force, which precludes volition, would in itself destroy the very thing it was supposed to be preserving.
The nature of our federation is not Consolidated States, but United States. A number of States held together by coercion, or point of bayonet, would not be a Union. Union is necessarily voluntary, the act of choice, and free association. A Union of States necessarily implies separate sovereignties, voluntarily acting together. To force these distinct sovereignties into one mass of power is, simply, to destroy the Union, and to overthrow our system of government.
It should be noted that William Rawles book "View of the Constitution" was the primary book used in teaching the Constitution and was used at West Point until the war. General Lee told Bishop Wilmer (of Louisiana) that had it not been for the instruction received from Rawles text book at West Point he would not have left the United States Army to join the Confederate Army at the breaking out of the War between the States. He chose to serve the Confederate States army and his home state of Virginia in particular based on instruction given at the United States Military Academy. Some quotes from Rawles include:
Judge Black of Pennsylvania in "Blacks Essays" noted :
Horace Greeley is quoted:
Abraham Lincoln is quoted in the Congressional records of 1847:
Charles Beecher Stowe,(Note he was the son of Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote the propaganda novel "Uncle Toms Cabin" which assumed by a hystrical Northern population as fact. That infamous book condemned the Southern peoples way of life, penned by her without ever one visit to the Southland.) was quoted:
The idea that the North was fighting to free the Negro people might be quashed with this quote from the New York Herald 11 Nov 1860:
If we maintain and believe that the colonists were justified in leaving British rule to form their own government, which is the principle embodied in the Declaration of Independence, then that same principle is how we would have to view the act of secession executed by the Southern States in 1861. They were exercising the exact same right. The right of freedom!
Sources and further reading: The Federal Government: Its True Nature and Character: Being a Review of Judge Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" by Abel P. Upshur 1997, View of the Constitution by William Rawle, The Rise and Fall of The Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis
Before Lincoln's call for troops, the following states seceded:
South Carolina, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 20 Dec 1860
Mississippi, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 9 Jan 1861
Florida, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 10 Jan 1861
Alabama, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 11 Jan 1861
Georgia, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 19 Jan 1861
Louisiana, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 26 Jan 1861
Texas, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 1 Feb 1861, to take effect 2 Mar 1861 provided it was ratified by the voters on 23 Feb 1861 (approved 46,153 to 14,747). Texas admitted to the Confederacy, 2 Mar 1861.
After Lincoln's call for troops on 15 April 1861, the following states seceded:
Virginia, Convention rejected secession 4 Apr 1861, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 17 Apr 1861 and ratified C.S.A. Constitution, both subject to ratification of voters 23 May 1861 (approved 132,201 to 37,451). Virginia admitted to CSA 7 May 1861.
Arkansas, Convention rejected secession ordinance on 18 Mar 1861 and called for referendum in August, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 6 May 1861. Arkansas admitted to CSA 20 May 1861.
North Carolina, Voters narrowly rejected (47,705 to 47,611) calling a Convention 28 Feb 1861. Legislature called Convention 1 May 1861. Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 20 May 1861. North Carolina provisionally admitted to CSA 17 May 1861.
Missouri, Convention rejected secession 9 March 1861; Convention reconvened in July 1861 and declared offices of governor and legislature vacant; meeting in Neosho on 28 October 1861 the Legislature ratifies the Ordinance of Secession. 31 October 1861 Governor Claiborn Jackson signs the Bill authorizing the Ordinance of Secession and requests admission to CSA. 28 November 1861 The Confederate Congress Admits Missouri as the twelfth state of the Confederation
Kentucky, southern sympathizers called for convention Oct 1861, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 18 Nov 1861. Kentucky admitted to the CSA 10 Dec 1861.
Sources and further reading: Civil War
Day-by-Day; Official Records, Series IV, Vol. 1; D.W. Crofts, Reluctant
Confederates (1989); W.L. Buenger, Secession and the Union in Texas (1984).
Secession is a question that has never been satisfactorily resolved by the Supreme Court and is unlikely to ever be addressed by the Court in the future. After the war had ended, the case most often cited about secession was Texas vs White from 1869. Could you guess what the conclusion reached might have been with a Northern court needing to justify the war of Northern Aggression? Their answer was
Interesting enough in Coleman vs Tennessee, the U.S. Supreme Court held military occupation lawful, not on constitutional grounds, but by resorting to international law principles which apply primarily to independent nations.
It would appear then that to justify the otherwise unconstitutional military occupation of a state, the post war U.S. Supreme Court treats the state as if it were an independent nation, implicitly recognizing the validity of its secession. What the Court did not cite was any constitutional provision which justified the war in the first place. Since the invocation of international law was based on the fact of war, and the Union's involvement in that war violated the Constitution, it is evident that the Constitution's supremacy clause forbade this action. Yet the Yankee government felt compelled to resort to international law to override the Constitution. The unconstitutional and amoral nature of the Court's reasoning can be seen.
Since the end of the War Between the States, there have been two legal developments impacting the issue of secession. Those are amendment of state constitutions to prohibit secession and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. While under military occupation and control, the states of Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia, each enacted new constitutions containing clauses prohibiting secession. Soon thereafter, the troops were withdrawn soon after the passing of the clauses. Such clauses do not serve to abolish the right of those states to secede from the Union as the clauses were added only under duress. It is an principle of law that agreements made under duress are voidable at the option of the aggrieved party.
Neither was the issue of secession settled by various Supreme Court decisions resolving questions tangential to the issue itself. (See the much cited case examples such as The Prize Cases, (1862), Mississippi vs Johnson, (1866); Texas vs White, (1868); and White vs Hart, (1871). In none of these example cases was the Court asked to deal squarely with the issue of state secession when the outcome of the case impacted on the rights of the seceding states and those states were represented by counsel before the Court. None of these cases contained a detailed and serious analysis of the issues, arguments and constitutional clauses one would expect to see in a comprehensive treatment of the issue by the highest court in the land. Therefore, these cases carry little moral or legal authority.
No. The South had no intent of "conquering" the North. The fought to establish its own government. The government of Great Britain was not destroyed by the success of the colonies in 1783 to win its freedom and the Union government, while reduced in land size, would not have been destroyed either. Secession was not rebellion. It was perfectly legal in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, but fighting Southern states secession with armed resistance by the Federal Army was the true rebellion.
"The Southern leaders ought not to have been treated as rebels - secession is not rebellion." (Goldwin Smith of Cornell University)
"If Congress can regulate matters entrusted to local authority, the power of the States may be eliminated and thus our system of government be practically destroyed." (Chief Justice Day, United States Supreme Court)
When the states that comprised the Confederate States of America chose to secede from the Union, they did so legally, and formed an independent nation, which was promptly invaded by the United States of America. Our system of government prior to the War for Southern Independence was one of a republican system, wherein every state was a sovereign republic. The federal government was the servant of the many states, not the other way around.
Considering the sectional animosity before, during, and after the War for Southern Independence, if the Northern leaders had thought that they could have successfully tried any Southern leader for treason, they would have done so. They did not, because they knew that such a trial would lead to the public realization that the South had exercised a constitutional and natural right, and that the North had invaded a sovereign and independent nation.
Sources and further reading: The South Was Right!; James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy; 1991,1994, Truths of History; Mildred Rutherford, A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States; Capt. Samuel Ashe; 1938, 1994, War for What?; Francis W. Springer; 1990, Facts the Historians Leave Out; John S. Tilley; 1951, 1993
No. Secession is a civil process of withdrawal and has no implications of force, violence or war. It is often written that to prevent secession (keeping the union whole) and slavery were the burning issues that caused the war, but again these are emotional arguments, that when studied, do not have the substance of fact. Economic and trade relations, including tariffs are other issues raised by some as the cause of the war.
The main cause of the war was the Lincoln government of the Norths rejection of the right of peaceable secession of the eleven sovereign states and subsequently the denial of self-government to the nearly 8 million people living in those states. Without consulting Congress, Lincoln sent great armies of destruction to the South. The Southern people had no choice but to defend themselves from this invasion.
There were two factors about the election of 1860 which disturbed the Southerners so badly that Southern states subsequently seceded. First Was the Republican-party platform for 1860. Basically, the Northern capitalists wanted the U.S. government to tax (only) the South deeply, to finance the industrialization of the North, and the necessary transportation-net to support that. In those days, there was no income tax. The federal government received most of its revenue from tariffs on imported goods. The Southern states imported from England most of the manufactured goods they used, thus paid most of the taxes to support the federal government. The Northerners imported very little. In 1860, for example, just four Southern-states paid in 50% of the total tariffs.
In 1860, the averaged tariff-rate was 18.84%; the Republicans spread the word that they were shooting for 40%--which could bankrupt many Southerners and would make life much harder for most of them. The Republican platform included a transcontinental railroad, following a Northern route, extensive internal-improvements to extend the transportation net for the Northern manufacturers; a homestead act which would eliminate the only other important source of federal funding, etc.
Second, if the Republicans somehow managed to gain control of Congress and the White House, they would then be able to use the federal government to enact and enforce their party platform, and thus convert the prosperous Southern states into the dirt-poor agricultural colonies of the Northern capitalists. And given the trends in demographics, the Southern states would never be able to reverse that process. The intent of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution would then have been subverted completely: the Southern states would no longer be governed with the consent of the governed, but instead bullied mercilessly by the Northern majority. Why, then, remain in the Union?
After the Republicans gained control of the presidency and the Congress, eleven Southern states eventually seceded from the Union, specifically to avoid becoming the helpless agricultural-colonies of the Northern capitalists. This move took the Northern capitalists completely by surprise. Southern states had been threatening to secede ever since the Tariff of Abominations and the days of Calhoun. The North no longer took those threats seriously. But with the South now gone, there would be no federal funding to industrialize the North--for the Northern citizenry would certainly never agree to be taxed to pay for it. And far worse than that, the many, many Northern-capitalists who had been earning fortunes factoring the Southern cotton-crop, transporting the cotton, and buying the cotton for New England textile-mills now faced financial ruin. The South normally bought its manufactured goods from Britain, anyway. Now, as a sovereign nation, the South could easily cut far better deals with the British financiers,
Ship owners, and textile mills to supply the South with all of the necessary support services, leaving the Northern capitalists out in the cold. There was no way Lincoln or anyone else from the Republican party could possibly talk the Southern states back into the Union now, so he would have to conquer them in war. Lincoln assumed it would be a 90-day war, which the Union Army would win in one battle. If you read Lincoln's first inaugural-address with any care at all, you'll see that it was simply a declaration of war against the South.
What caused the war? Mr. Lincoln. His violation of the Constitution including the sending of hostile invading armies into the South, provoked this war. Had the Southern states been allowed to form their own government, there would have been no war.
The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, Population of the United States in 1860, (Washington, GPO, 1864)
The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, Preliminary Report on the Eighth Census, 1860 (Washington, GPO, 1862) and from Annie Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist (1915)
The Five Civilized Tribes
The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, Agriculture in the United States in 1860, (Washington: GPO, 1864)
While technically true that the South did fire the first gunshots of the war, this resulted from intentional provocation on the part of the Lincoln administration. By the time Lincoln took office, secession was well under way. The Confederate government had assumed control of numerous U.S. government "Federal" forts, arsenals and mints within the Confederate states. Union Major Robert Anderson secretly and at night moved his garrison from the weaker Fort Moultrie in the Charleston harbor to the stronger Fort Sumter. While this was taking place Lincolns predecessor, President James Buchanan, had announced his belief in the right of secession by stating that the U.S. had no right to coerce the Southern states to rejoin the Union. Oddly enough, Lincoln had affirmed his own similar belief on the Senate floor in January, 1848. His position changed drastically once appointed President.
In these next two incidences, the pattern of provocation by the North that caused the shots to be fired, which was not necessary, should be fully obvious.
The Souths first shots were fired on the ship "Star of the West" and only after having given a bow shot as a warning not to proceed. She carried provisions to re-supply Fort Sumter and the 200 armed men in her hold. The ships mission was to have been a secret. The plan was devised by Union General Winfield Scott and followed through by order of President Buchannan. An important fact about that incident which is often left out of the story is that the ship "Star of the West" after being warned with a bow shot, kept moving forward. It did not heed the warning. It was fired upon again, and was hit twice.
So, who started the war? The North did through this first incident of provocation. The firing the warning shot and the later shots and hits on the "Star of the West" did not have the desired effect by Scott and Buchannan to incite the Northern people enough to call for war.
Remember that South Carolina had legally seceded from the Union with the united States, and Fort Sumter was on South Carolina land. After South Carolina seceded, the fort was still manned by a Union garrison. The South Carolina demanded possession of the fort and offered to pay for it. The Lincoln administration promised that the garrison would leave. However, Lincoln sent Federal war ships, which were supposed to be ships providing provisions for the men there, but instead were actually war ships. When General Beauregard learned of the ships sailing for Fort Sumter, he demanded that Major Anderson, the Union general in charge of the garrison, surrender the fort, or he would commence firing. Anderson refused to surrender, and Beauregard gave the order to fire before the garrison could be reinforced by the Federal war ships.
In short, South Carolina wanted her property back, offered to buy it back, and were promised to be given it back. When the promise was found out to be a lie, they were forced to take it back with force. Lincoln knew he could not gain support of the Northern people for war, so he forced the South into a position of "firing the first shots", This allowed him to trick the North and the world, and as we see now most history teachers into thinking, "Look, Confederates fired on our United States flag. They want war." You can see this was a propaganda stunt staged by the Northerners to win sympathy for the political aspirations of Lincoln. Once the Fort was fired on the fleet then continued on, as planned to Florida.
The Official Record discloses that beginning 20 January 1861, the Governor of South Carolina arranged to supply the garrison of Fort Sumter with fresh meat, vegetables, and groceries. At the time of the attack, it was reported that 4 weeks of rations were on store at the fort.
Firing on Fort Sumter did not mean the South wanted war. No one was hurt in the firing and Lincoln knew that the Confederates would have to gain control of this fort that had been erected for the defense of and now commanded the entrance to the city of Charleston, one of the busiest seaports at the time. A cold and calculated move that would cost thousands of lives in the next 4 years.
A fatal error made by the casual historian is to assume that the firing on Fort Sumter or even the earlier firing on the "Star of the West" was the beginning of the war. This would be then to assume that powerful elements in the North had no prior intent to invade and subjugate the South, and that they had no inkling that actions they were undertaking would result in physical resistance, and subsequent defense of the Southern homeland. The first casualty of the war was a Northerner inside Fort Sumter, who wanted to fire a cannon salute before leaving Fort Sumter and was killed in doing so.
Secretary of the Northern Navy Gideon Wells wrote: "It was very important that the Rebels strike the first blow in the conflict."
Why the provocation? Republican leaders and their predecessors, the Federalists, in the North had long hated the South, a result of not only the Southern Democrats having controlled the White House and Congress for many of the countrys early years, but also resulting from a genuine dislike of democracy. In a general sense the beginning of the war can be traced to the Northern desire for disunion that surfaced in the late 18th century. These men were desirous of a monarchical government which would be a throwback to that of King George III, from whom our forefathers had fought seven years to attain separation.
Throughout the 19th century, and many years before the secession of any Southern state, prominent Northern legislators, editors, clergymen and civic leaders openly petitioned and pontificated the need for disunion; in fact, many conventions were held and resolutions supporting disunion passed in the Northern states. The hatred of democracy and the wish to form a Northern Confederacy was emphatically pronounced. Examples to make the point are:
George Cabot wrote:
From the Massachusetts convention of 1851:
Rev. Andrew T. Foss, New York, 1857
Wendell Phillips, Boston, 1849
Resolution passed in a meeting at Faneuil Hall in Boston, 1850:
And still other Northern leaders wrote:
"A thousand times accursed be this Union!", William Lloyd Garrison, 1850
"Let us sweep away this remnant we call a Union.", Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, 1855
"Why preserve the Union? It is not worth preserving. I hate the Union as I hate hell!", Senator Langdon of Ohio
The above quotes offer a glimpse into the hearts and minds of Northern Federalist leaders of the day. It should be noted that the general populace did not, as a rule, wish for war. This lack of will among the average citizen was the reason Northern secession failed. When the Southern states began to desire disunion, the Northern leaders devised a plan of revenge and subjugation the general population was duped into supporting. How? By disseminating propaganda designed to make the population believe that their very existence was threatened by the Southern Confederacy, that the capitol of Washington would be attacked, and that the "rebels" were desirous of, not just separation, but conquest of the United States.
The absurdity of this effort in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary, and the even more absurd fact that it succeeded as a motivation for war is mind-numbing in light of the above quotations which leave no doubt whatsoever as to who the true enemies of the United States were at the time. However, there was no effort to whip the public into a frenzy in response to these Northerners who openly professed to be "the enemies of the Constitution, of the Union, and of the Government of the United States."
Interestingly enough, while some disunionists were also ardent abolitionists the primary motivation of the Northern disunionists was not rooted in abolition. During the early to mid 1800s abolitionists were often physically attacked in Northern states, while the non-abolitionist disunionists were not. Although the ranks of abolitionists increased significantly in the 1830s, Catherine Stowe, older sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, reasoned that rather than through a belief in the abolitionist movement, many of these new supporters joined "because the violence of opposers had identified that cause with the question of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and civil liberty." In other words, the motivating factor that brought many into the abolition movement was a belief in the very Constitutional guarantees that would later be crushed in the North as well as the South by the oppression of their own president.
Although the Republican party was an anti-slavery party since its beginnings in 1854, that plank of the partys platform was cast aside in the effort already discussed on motivating the populace for war. Remember the majority of the Northern people were not abolition-minded. At the urging of Secretary of State William Seward, Lincolns policy became one of union vs disunion rather than one of slave vs free. Sewards desire for war was so strong that he urged Lincoln to demand explanations from France and Spain categorically as to whether or not they would officially recognize and/or support the Confederate States of America. Lincoln said, "And if satisfactory explanations are not received...I would convene Congress and declare war against them." Why was Mr. Lincoln so war hungry that he was willing to fight three wars at once?
Though Seward desired war, he preferred to begin the war in Florida rather than at Ft. Sumter. While debating the reinforcement of the fort in a Cabinet meeting he stated, "The attempt to reinforce Sumter will provoke an attack and invoke war. The very preparation for such an expedition will precipitate war at that point." Lincoln viewed this possibility as a way to galvanize support at home for his war by giving the appearance of not being the aggressor and by not having fired the first shot.
As proof of the war being "Lincolns War" consider the following quote by Joseph Medill, an outspoken South hater and editor of the Chicago Tribune, from a 1864 meeting to protest the order for 6,000 additional Cook County, Illinois men to be drafted into the Union army:
Nothing could be clearer: "You called for war....I have given it to you." By their own admission the North, and more precisely, Lincoln, started the War Between The States in spite of the expressed intentions of the Confederate States for peace. If the initiation and perpetuation of the war had not been the work of the North, why else would they have denied repeated requests from the Confederate government offering to send emissaries to Washington to negotiate peace? Because conquest of the South, its land and its people, not peace, was the Northern objective.
Who fired the first shots? The South. Why? Provocation and invasion by the North.
Sources and further reading: Facts the Historians Leave Out; John S. Tilley, copyright 1951 and 1993., The South Speaks Out, video by Mr. P. Charles Lunsford, Truths of History; Mildred Rutherford, War for What?; Francis W. Springer; copyright 1990, The South Was Right!; James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy; 1991,1994
Lincoln did not think that war would result by sending troops to Fort Pickens, and it would give him the appearance of asserting the national authority. Lincoln needed an excuse to start his war of aggression, because Congress did not want war and would not declare war of its own volition. The most-likely hot-spot in which Lincoln could start his war was Charleston Harbor, where shots had already been fired in anger under the Buchanan administration. But the newly-elected governor of South Carolina, Francis Pickens, saw the danger, that Lincoln might, as an excuse, send a force of U.S. Navy warships to Charleston Harbor supposedly to resupply Major Anderson's Union garrison in Fort Sumter. So Governor Pickens opened negotiations with Major Anderson, and concluded a deal permitting Anderson to send boats safely to the market in Charleston once a week, where Anderson's men would be allowed to buy whatever victuals they wished. This arrangement remained in effect until a day or so before the U.S. Navy warships arrived at Charleston. Major Anderson wrote privately to friends, saying that he hoped Lincoln would not use Fort Sumter as the excuse to start a war, by sending the U.S. Navy to resupply it.
Before his inauguration, Lincoln sent a secret message to General Winfield Scott, the U.S. general-in-chief, asking him to make preparations to relieve the Union forts in the South soon after Lincoln took office. Lincoln knew all along what he was going to do.
President Jefferson Davis sent peace commissioners to Washington to negotiate a treaty with the Lincoln administration. Lincoln refused to meet with them; and he refused to permit Secretary of State Seward to meet with them.
After Lincoln assumed the presidency, his principal generals recommended the immediate evacuation of Major Anderson's men from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, which was now located on foreign soil. To resupply it by force at this point would be a deliberate act-of-war against the C.S.A.
It turned out that Lincoln's postmaster general, Montgomery Blair, had a brother-in law, Gustavus V. Fox, who was a retired Navy captain, who wanted to get back into action. Fox had come up with a plan for resupplying Fort Sumter which would force the Confederates to fire the first shot. These would be the circumstances which would force them to take the blame for the war. Lincoln sent Fox down to talk with Major Anderson about the plan, but Anderson wanted no part of it. Lincoln had Fox pitch the plan to his Cabinet twice. The first time, the majority said that move would start
Lincoln sent to Secretary Cameron, for transmittal to Secretary Welles, orders in his own handwriting to make the warships Pocahantas and Pawnee and the armed-cutter Harriet Lane ready for sailing, along with the passenger ship Baltic, which would be used as a troop ship, and two ocean-going tugboats to aid the ships in traversing the tricky shallow harbor entrance at Charleston. Fox's plan was to send 500 extra
Union-soldiers to reinforce Major Anderson's approximately-86-man force at Fort Sumter, along with huge quantities of munitions, food, and other supplies. The Confederacy would, of course, resist this invasion, in the process firing upon the U.S. flag. The unarmed tugs would, of necessity, enter the harbor first, whereupon they would likely be fired upon by the Confederates, giving Lincoln the best-possible propaganda to feed to the Northern newspapers, which would then rally the North to his "cause."
Lincoln sent orders for the Union naval-force to begin its journey so as to enter Charleston Harbor on 11 or 12 April 1861. Next, Lincoln sent a courier to deliver an ultimatum to Governor Pickens on 8 April 1861, saying that Lincoln intended to resupply Fort Sumter peaceably or by force. There was no mistaking the intent of that message. Lincoln had set the perfect trap. He had given President Davis just enough time to amass his forces and fire upon the U.S. Navy. But if Davis acquiesced instead, Lincoln need merely begin sending expeditionary forces to recapture all of the former Union forts in the South now occupied by Confederate forces. Sooner or later Davis would have to fight; and the more forts he allowed Lincoln to recapture in the interim, the weaker would be the military position of the C.S.A. As a practical matter, President Davis was left with no choice.
Accordingly, the C.S.A., informed that the U.S. Navy was en route, demanded that Major Anderson surrender the fort. Anderson refused. Beauregard's artillery bombarded Fort Sumter into rubble, miraculously without loss of life inside, and Anderson then surrendered with honor intact. The U.S. Navy arrived during the bombardment, but because elements of the force had been delayed for various reasons, did not join in the fight. The Navy was allowed to transport Anderson's men back to the U.S.
Thereafter Lincoln wrote to Fox, pronouncing the mission a great success. Lincoln ended his letter by saying, "You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result."
Lincoln now had his excuse for a war, but there was no reason for him to believe that Congress would declare war against the South on his asking. In fact, there was every indication that they would not. So instead of calling Congress into emergency session and asking them to declare war, which was their prerogative, and not Lincoln's, Lincoln simply declared war himself--by calling the CSA's defense of its sovereignty in Charleston Harbor an "insurrection" against the U.S. government. Lincoln did not call Congress into session until several months later when his war had progressed so far that Congress could not then call it off, but as a practical matter would have to rubberstamp it.
Yes, slavery was legal and so was secession. Legislators and historians who study the constitution know full well that the only truly safe way to for the South to protect the institution of slavery would be for the Southern states to remain in the Union and simply refuse to ratify any proposed constitutional amendment to emancipate the slaves. Slavery was specifically protected by the Constitution, and that protection could be removed only by an amendment ratified by three-quarters of the states. Does it make sense to secede for the cause of preserving slavery? No. Isnt it odd that the Northern politicians would work to subvert two constitutionally legal actions with an invasion of the south?
Slavery was not indigenous to the Confederate States of America, or The South, as the reconstructionist and politically correct historians would have all America believe. In ancient history Greece, Rome, Egypt and nearly every civilization had some form of slavery. Biblical references are also found on slavery In Europe, Great Britain, Spain and the British Colonies in North America we all allowed to practice slavery. It is said that over half of the early colonists, of which were from Britain, were indentured. Native African tribes took each other as slaves, North and South American native Indian tribes took each other as slaves. Slavery has been a part of the life of Mankind from the beginning. If one tribe or civilization was strong enough to defeat another in battle, it was the conquerors right to take the conquered as slaves. This does not mean that we condone slavery. It is ridiculous to even imply this in the 1990s. It is equally ridiculous to use 1990 knowledge and judgment to look back at the ancient times or even the 1860 and presume to judge those people on our terms.
As early as 1444 Spain was engaged in selling African slaves in Europe. Christopher Columbus is credited as being the first slaver to land in the Western Hemisphere in the 1492. In 1513, King Ferdinand declared: " . . . the servitude of the Indians was warranted by the laws of God and man."
The British opened their slave trade in 1562 on the coast of Guinea. The next year 1563 they began to import Negro slaves into the West Indies for profit. In 1619 when a British ship flying a Dutch flag landed off the coast of Jamestown, Virginia and unloaded twenty Negroes. The Virginians accepted these people not as slaves, but as indentured servants. One of this number was a man known as Anthony Johnson. In 1623 Anthony Johnson served four years as an indentured servant and was now a free man. Through his own diligence and hard work he became a prosperous land owner in seventeenth century Virginia. He imported servants of his own. In 1658, one of his servants, a Negro named John Castor, complained to the authorities that Mr. Johnson had kept him past his servitude release date, an act which was a serious offense. Johnson, frightened by the threat of censure, released all claims on Castor. Johnson then found out that Castor had bound himself to a Mr. Parker who had helped Castor gain his freedom from Johnson. Johnson filed a lawsuit against Parker claiming that
he (Johnson), was entitled to lifetime service from Castor. Johnson won the case and set the precedent for lifetime Negro slavery in the British Colony of Virginia in North America. Slavery was established in 1654, when Anthony Johnson, convinced the court that he was entitled to the lifetime services of John Casor. This was the first judicial approval of life servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Johnson started a colony of free Negroes in Virginia, some time after 1660.
In 1650, there were only 300 Negroes in Virginia, about 1% of an estimated 30,000 population. They were not slaves, any more than were the approximately four thousand white indentured "servants" working out their loans for passage money to Virginia, and who were granted 50 acres each when freed from their indentures, so they could raise their own tobacco.
From Hildreth's History of the United States:
The Assiento Treaty of 1714 created a company for the prosecution of African Slave Trade. Twenty-five percent of the stock went to King Philip of Spain. Queen Anne took twenty-five percent for herself and the rest went to the nobility of England. Quoting Bancroft: " . . . thus did the sovereigns of England and Spain become the largest slave-merchants in the world."
There were no slave ships ever chartered from a Southern port. The charters came from London, Seville, Lisbon, Boston, and New York just to name a few. In the year 1775 the people of the Colony of Georgia in congress wrote the Darden resolutions. Quoting from the Darden resolutions, June 12, 1775:
When the original colony of Georgia ceded the lands that now form the states of Alabama and Mississippi, she stipulated in the agreement that the new states enter the Union of States as a free states with no slaves. The states of Illinois and Ohio banned the legal entry of slaves as well as freemen into their states. Ohio also required newcomers to post a prohibitively high financial bond to keep out the unwanted.
Quoting Horace Greeley from his book, The American Conflict:
The census of 1860 gives the number of free Negroes living in the United States as 488,000. Historically accurate facts prove that over fifty-three percent or 260,000 free Black men, women, and children lived in the South and considered themselves Southerners.
Do not forget the conservative factor of the South and it's play in the continuity of slavery. They were simply carrying on a colonial tradition of their forefathers. Many believed the institutions and lifestyles of Washington's and Jefferson's day were good for their grandfathers so it should be just fine for us as well now. Those Southerners that were more progressive saw the curse of slavery, but they had no easy answers on how to humanely end the institution.
Most slaveholders had no hatred for the Negro and they had the best of intentions in regard to their well being. Any racism that they had must be evaluated based upon the times and culture they lived in. We should not be judging their character simply by racial values of the 1990's. We enjoy information that they had no access to, plus have the advantage of historical hindsight that makes it impossible for many today to see the past without a biased prejudiced view of 18th and 19th century Old South culture.
President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave. It was politics, not principle. Issued at a time when the Confederacy seemed to be winning the war, Lincoln hoped to transform a disagreement over secession into a crusade against slavery, thus preventing Great Britain and France from intervening on the side of the South. The proclamation allowed slavery to continue in the North as well as in Tennessee and large parts of Louisiana and Virginia. He applied this proclamation only to Confederate held slaves, which Lincoln had no authority over, but not to slaves under Federal control. The constitution would be subverted in order to "declare" slavery ended. If the emancipation proclamation was such a law to set the slaves free, why did it not follow the flow of governmental checks and balances and why did it not cover the slaves of the North? Would not that be illegal?
Lincoln has gone down through history with these quotes on slavery:
Another aspect that is often forgotten is the hope on the supporters of this proclamation that the Southern slaves would rise up in violent revote murdering their former owners, neighbors and anyone in their path. This stress and fear would not only impact the wives and children at home, but the men in arms fighting for the Confederacy. This was a cruel psychological impact on the fighting man away from home.
It appears the "Great Emancipator" was more "political", by raising the issue of slavery, only after it was needed to incite the Northern citizens against the Confederate States and to terrorize the Southerners. Lincolns past historical comments regarding slavery speak for themselves. This proclamation was political, an effort to accelerate support for the war and had no humanitarian inspiration.
Yes. Lincoln violated many laws and chose to ignore the constitution at will. When he took office, the oath required him "to execute the office of President and to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He actions on the next seven points clearly show he was in violation of the law of the land. The seven most common examples of this violation of oath and law are:
In other questions in Part 3, we have examined:
#1) illegal invasion following secession (questions 3.4, 3.6, 3.7), Remember that either the Southern states were in the union or out of it. If the ordinances of session were void, then the President was limited by the acts of Congress which under the Constitution, had the whole military power. Lincoln admitted in Sewards official letters to the United States Ministers at London and Paris (in 10 April and 22 April 1861), that the government had no power to war upon a State.
#2) initiation of the war without declaration (question 3.17), Not only did Lincoln send troops into the South without Congressional authority, but he also raised an army far above the limits fixed by congress. If the secession ordinances were valid, and the Confederate States were out of the Union, then Lincolns acts were acts of war and he was again in violation of oath and Constitution as only Congress can declare war and make the laws necessary for the war to progress.
#3) blockades (question 3.4, 3.17), In declaring a blockade and in denouncing Confederate privateersmen as pirates, he usurped the powers of Congress and the Constitution again.
#4) emancipation proclamation (questions 3.12, 3.13, 3.14). Aside from the obvious illegalities mention in other questions, part of the politics of this proclamation was the hope by Lincoln and his cronies that a mass slave uprising would take place. There was at best indifference, and most likely approval, that this uprising would cause a massacre among the white population of the South while them able bodied men were off serving with the Confederate armies.
#5) reconstruction (questions 3.25, 3.26) For a government that stated they were trying to preserve and restore the union, reconstruction was a punishment imposed by the Northern government on the former Confederate states, for daring to assert their constitutional rights to secede and be free and independent.
For #6) suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The courts were in full operation in the North, and their was no threat by the seceding states to do anything to over throw the government in the North. Arrests with the suspension of habeas corpus meant no due process or timely trials. The accused and suspected were held for months in gloomy jails, without charge, without trial and without counsel.
For #7) Crimes against the civilian population. If Lincolns contention was that his actions were taken in suppression of an insurrection that would mean fighting only the insurgents themselves. An offensive action that made enemies of innocent inhabitants of the territory under Confederate control required a declaration of war, which remember, was never done. The later actions of Sheridan in the Valley and Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas show that the Union was willing to make war on the innocent by assuming they weren't really innocent. It sacking and burning of homes and towns, and the general destruction of fences, crops, stock and farm implements coupled with the expulsion from their homes of all persons, including women and children and non-combatants, unless an oath of allegiances was taken are other examples of Yankee war crimes. Over 60 towns were destroyed in the South and the country laid to waste from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Even Federal General Halleck declared the burning of houses and private property as "barbarous" Any living animal in Georgia that was not needed alive by the Federal Army was usually killed or maimed to render it useless.
*from UCV sources in 1900
Many of the "friends of Lincoln" have tried to hold the Confederates responsible for the deaths in Southern prisons. It was more clearly the action of Lincoln that cause this death and suffering to occur. Lincolns policy, informed by his army and navy, was to starve the South by blockade, halting the importing of materials including food and medicine and to destroy all grain, stock, farming utensils, etc. This had impact not only on the Souths ability to feed, cloth and take care of medical needs of its men in arms, but also of its civilian population, innocent women and children, and of course prisoners in their charge. The North wanted to bleed the South of all resources, including man power. They were satisfied allowing their captured troops to be held in camps. Camps that had to be in remote areas, away from the invading Northern troops. Camps that would require men be pulled from the fight against the invasion to guard the prisoners. The Union soldiers, held in Southern prisons were mere pawns in Lincolns campaign against the South.
By refusing all exchanges, which would have allowed the northern prisoners to return home, receive medicine that was not available in the South, and also access to food and clothing that was abundant in the North, it was at Lincolns hand and that of Butler and Grant that his soldiers suffered.
The Southern officials offered many times on humanitarian grounds to release the sick to Northern officials without the consideration of the return of Confederate soldiers. Pleas for medicine and doctors to administer to the prisoners were made by the Confederate government. These offers were all refused or simply ignored. The Confederate government, even though it was strapped for resources, offered to buy medicine for the prisoners with gold, cotton or tobacco and that Union Surgeons could bring the medicines down to the prison camps and administer them to their sick troops. The offers were ignored.
The rations and medicine issued were all that were available. It is stated that the men of the army and even the citizens of the South often went as hungry or in need of medicine, just as the prisoners at Andersonville. On several occasions Yankee prisoners were released from Andersonville to travel to Washington D.C. to plead for relief and the resumption of exchanges. Their heartrending petition was published in the New York and Washington papers. Their pleas fell on deaf government ears as there was no relief offered. Lincoln was unwilling to interfere with Grants inhuman determination. The prisoners were allowed to speak freely about Andersonville and the conditions there. No where in there report can it be found that any murders had been committed by Southern troops, nor did they speak evil of the Southern leaders. In fact they spoke of Major Wirz as a kind man, and of General Winder, Wirzs commander, they had nothing but praise for his kindness.
On two occasions the Confederate authorities were requested to send their very worst cases of sick prisoners North. It was thought that possibly humanitarian efforts were forth coming. Instead the sick prisoners were taken to Annapolis, and then photographed as ""specimen prisoners". This was another propaganda measure to trick the Northern population in to believing the South was willfully starving and mistreating the Northern soldiers.
The Andersonville myth was a Northern political tool to turn the civilian population to hate the Southern people and to support the horrible reconstruction that would be imposed upon them. Yes, conditions were bad. Conditions that the North exacerbated. It was noted in several reports that the Southern government gave their prisoners the same rations as it gave to its own soldiers.
On the other hand, if the North held approximately 50,000 less prisoners than the South held, why is it that nearly 4000 more Confederates died in Union prison? Why were Confederate prisoners starving and dying in the North, which was the land of plenty? The North had plenty of food, clothing, medicine, housing, and had every opportunity to purchase and import and supplies needed if they could not produce it themselves. The fact is that the mortality rate was higher in Union prisons than in Confederate prisons. Consider the inequality in resources. Why is Andersonville the shame? The truth is the South did the best they could with what they had. The North did the worst. They allowed suffering of their own men held in prison by their policies and practices. They tortured Southern soldiers with neglect, starvation and disease in the face of abundant resources that were available. Where were the real war crimes committed? Was it Wirz or Lincoln and Grant that were guilty of war crimes?
Prisoner exchanges were a way for captors to avoid the responsibility and burden of guarding, housing, feeding, clothing, and providing medical care for POW's. It allowed for sick and wounded prisoners to be released to their own forces for treatment and care. Exchange of prisoners began with informal agreements between the individual commanders of the armies after particular battles, but the practice was formalized by a cartel between the USA and CSA in July 1862. The cartel was suspended by the US Government in May 1863. Still in the name of decency and humanity, individual commanders again arranged exchanges and paroles until 1864. The US Government was outraged at this humanitarian action and called a halt to all exchanges in early 1864, threatening commanders who continued the practice.
Commissioners of exchange were appointed by each government, and they exchanged and compared lists and computed how many on each side were to be exchanged. There were official points where prisoners were to be taken for exchange such as City Point, Virginia in the East and Vicksburg, Mississippi in the West. Equal ranks were exchanged equally, and higher ranks could be exchanged for some number of lower ranks according to an agreed upon list of equivalents (e.g. 1 colonel equaled 15 privates). If one side still had prisoners left, after the other side had exhausted its supply of prisoners by exchange, those excess prisoners would be released on parole. Paroled prisoners were returned to their side, but were prohibited by an oath of honor from taking up arms or performing any duty that soldiers normally performed until they were properly exchanged. Generally each side maintained parole camps where their paroled soldiers were kept while they awaited exchange, but in other cases the parolee was allowed to return home until exchanged.
Exchanging of prisoners up to 1863 was a common and humane policy practice by all civilized countries with a history going back to the middle ages. Lincoln wanted to fight a war of attrition with the South. Draining her of fighting men, food, supplies, materials, medicine and the ability to fight on. Lincoln threw every obstacle he could in the way of exchanges. He appointed "The Beast", Benjamin Butler as Commissioner of Exchanges, a man who so outraged Southerners, that he had been outlawed for base conduct. Later he appointed Grant in this position who was opposed to all exchanges on the ground apparently of the superior patriotism of the Southern soldiers, who he felt if exchanged would hurry back to their regiments to take up arms against the North once again. Grant is quoted in a letter to Butler in 1864 as:
The North with overwhelming numbers could easily replace capture men, but South called up every available man and each soldier lost rendered them that much weaker. The North then abandoned their captured comrades to fend with what fate had in store.
Yes there were Black, Hispanic and other minority Confederates. There were minority soldiers. There were also many black men in supporting roles, that in todays army would allow them to be classified as a soldier. In addition to soldiers they served as cooks, teamsters, nurses, blacksmiths, and other support functions. The question often asked then is, "Why havent we heard more about them?" National Park Service historian, Ed Bearrs, stated:
Historian, Erwin L. Jordan, Jr., calls it a cover-up which started back in 1865. He writes,
Another black historian, Roland Young, says he is not surprised that blacks fought. He explains that, " some, if not most, Black southerners would support their country" and that by doing so they were "demonstrating its possible to hate the system of slavery and love ones country." This is the very same reaction that most African Americans showed during the American Revolution, where they fought for the colonies, even though the British offered them freedom if they fought for them.
It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. Over 13,000 of these, meet the enemy in some sort of combat. These Black Confederates included both slave and free.
The Confederate Congress did not approve blacks to be officially enlisted as soldiers, except as musicians, until late in the war, but in the ranks it was a different story. Many Confederate officers did not obey the mandates of politicians, they frequently enlisted blacks with the simple criteria, "Will you fight?" Historian Ervin Jordan, explains that bi-racial units were frequently organized by local Confederate and State militia Commanders in response to immediate threats in the form of Union raids.
As the war came to an end, the Confederacy took progressive measures to build back up it's army. The creation of the Confederate States Colored Troops came too late to be successful. Had the Confederacy been successful, it would have created the world's largest armies at the time consisting of black soldiers, even larger than that of the North. This would have given the future of the Confederacy a vastly different appearance than what modern day racists or anti-Confederate liberals conjecture. Not only did Jefferson Davis envision black Confederate veterans receiving bounty lands for their service, there would have been no future for slavery after the goal of 300,000 armed black CSA veterans came home after the war.
BLACK CONFEDERATE HERITAGE: This fact sheet is prepared by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Education Committee for distribution to professors, teachers, librarians, principals, ethnic leaders, members of the press, and others interested in promoting an understanding of Black contributions to United States history.
"There are at the present moment, many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty...as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets...." Frederick Douglas, former slave & abolitionist (Fall, 1861)
How many? Easily tens of thousands of blacks served the Confederacy as laborers, teamsters, cooks and even as soldiers. Some estimates indicate 25% of free blacks and 15% of slaves actively supported the South during the war.
Why? Blacks served the South because it was their home, and because they hoped for the reward of patriotism; for these reasons they fought in every war through Korea, even though it meant defending a segregated United States.
Confederates: Famed bridge engineer and former slave Horace King received naval contracts for building Confederate warships. A black servant named Sam Ashe killed the first Union officer during the war, abolitionist Major Theodore Winthrop. John W. Buckner, a black private, was wounded at Ft. Wagner repulsing the U.S. (Colored) 54th Massachusetts Regiment. George Wallace, a servant who surrendered with General Lee at Appomattox, later served in the Georgia Senate. Jim Lewis served General Stonewall Jackson, and was honored to hold his horse "Little Sorrel" at the general's funeral. Captured black cook Dick Poplar suffered cruelty by Yankee Negro guards at Pt. Lookout, MD for being a "Jeff Davis man."
Surprising Facts: In St. Louis, General John Fremont freed slaves of "disloyal" Missouri Confederates; an angry Lincoln fired him.
Slaves in Washington, D.C. were not freed until April 1862, a year after the war began with the firing at Ft. Sumter.
Slavery continued throughout the entire war in five Union-held states: Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.
The New York City draft riots of July 1863 resulted in burning of a black orphanage and lynching of blacks.
A provision in the Confederate Constitution prohibited the African slave trade outright, unlike the U.S. Constitution.
Encouraged by General Lee, the CSA eventually freed slaves who would join the army, and did recruit and arm black regiments.
General Robert E. Lee freed his family slaves before the war; Union Gen. U.S. Grant kept his wife's slaves well into the war.
Many blacks owned slaves themselves. In 1861 Charleston, for example, a free colored planter named William Ellison owned 70 slaves. Even in 1830 New York City, three
decades before the war, eight black planters owned 17 slaves.
Blacks Today: Nelson W. Winbush, a retired educator and SCV member, lectures on his black Confederate ancestor, private Louis N. Nelson. A black Chicago funeral home owner, Ernest A. Griffin, flies the CSA battle flag and erected at his own expense a $20,000 monument to the 6,000 Confederate soldiers who are buried on his property, once site of the Union prison Camp Douglas. Black professor Lloyd Haynes (recently deceased) of Southeastern Louisiana University spoke regularly on black Confederates. American University's professor Edward Smith also lectures on the truth of black Confederate history and, with Nelson W. Winbush, has prepared an educational videotape entitled "Black Southern Heritage."
The "Richmond Howitzers" were partially manned by black militiamen. They saw action at First Manassas where they operated Battery number 2. In addition two black regiments, one free and one slave, participated in the battle on behalf of the South. "Many colored people were killed in the action", recorded John Parker, a former slave.
At least one Black Confederate was a non-commissioned officer. James Washington, Company D, 34th Texas Cavalry, "Terrells Texas Cavalry" became its 3rd Sergeant.
Free black musicians, cooks, soldiers and teamsters earned the same pay as white confederate privates. This was not the case in the Union army where blacks did not receive equal pay.
At the Confederate Buffalo Forge in Rockbridge County, Virginia, skilled black workers earned on average three times the wages of white Confederate soldiers and more than most Confederate army officers ($350- $600 a year).
Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing General Stonewall Jackson's occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862 noted:
Frederick Douglas reported,
Black and white militiamen returned heavy fire on Union troops at the Battle of Griswoldsville, near Macon, GA. Approximately 600 boys and elderly men were killed in this skirmish.
In 1864, President Jefferson Davis approved a plan that proposed the emancipation of slaves, in return for the official recognition of the Confederacy by Britain and France. France showed interest but Britain refused.
The Jackson Battalion included two companies of black soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp. "My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill. .Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner."
Recently the National Park Service, with a recent discovery, recognized that blacks were asked to help defend the city of Petersburg, Virginia and were offered their freedom if they did so. Regardless of their official classification, black Americans performed support functions that in today's army many would be classified as official military service. The successes of white Confederate troops in battle, could only have been achieved with the support these loyal black Southerners.
Confederate General John B. Gordon, Army of Northern Virginia, reported that all of his troops were in favor of Colored troops and that its adoption would have "greatly encouraged the army".
General Lee was anxious to receive regiments of black soldiers. The Richmond Sentinel reported on 24 Mar 1864, "None will deny that our servants are more worthy of respect than the motley hordes which come against us. Bad faith to black Confederates must be avoided as an indelible dishonor."
In March 1865, Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary Of State, promised freedom for blacks who served from the State of Virginia. Authority for this was finally received from the State of Virginia and on 1 April 1865. $100 bounties were offered to black soldiers. Benjamin exclaimed,
A quota was set for 300,000 black soldiers for the Confederate States Colored Troops. 83% of Richmond's male slave population volunteered for duty. A special ball was held in Richmond to raise money for uniforms for these men. Before Richmond fell, black Confederates in gray uniforms drilled in the streets. Due to the war ending, it is believed only companies or squads of these troops ever saw any action.
Union General U.S. Grant in Feb 1865, ordered the capture of "all the Negro men before the enemy can put them in their ranks." Frederick Douglas warned Lincoln that unless slaves were guaranteed freedom (those in Union controlled areas were still slaves) and land bounties, "they would take up arms for the rebels".
On April 4, 1865 in Amelia County, VA, a Confederate supply train was exclusively manned and guarded by black Infantry. When attacked by Federal Cavalry, they stood their ground and fought off the charge, but on the second charge they were overwhelmed. These soldiers are believed to be from "Major Turner's" Confederate command.
A Black Confederate, named George, when captured by Federal troops was bribed to desert to the other side. He defiantly spoke, "Sir, you want me to desert, and I ain't no deserter. Down South, deserters disgrace their families and I am never going to do that."
Horace King, a former slave, accumulated great wealth as a contractor to the Confederate Navy. He was also an expert engineer and became known as the "Bridge builder of the Confederacy." One of his bridges was burned in a Yankee raid. His home was pillaged by Union troops, as his wife pleaded for mercy.
As of February 1865 1,150 black seamen served in the Confederate Navy. One of these was among the last Confederates to surrender, aboard the CSS Shenandoah, six months after the war ended. This surrender took place in England.
Mr. Adam Miller Moore, born a slave to the Roberts family of Lincoln County North Carolina, grew up with his master's son Adam Miller Roberts. Young Mr. Roberts joined the Confederate Army, while Mr. Moore remained at home. Mr. Roberts fought with Company "M" of the 16th. North Carolina Regiment and came home after recuperating from wounds received in battle. When he returned to the fighting in Virginia, Mr. Roberts asked Mr. Moore to go with him. The men left the Cherryville, North Carolina railroad station and arrived at Chancellorsville, Virginia on 30 April 1863. Mr. Roberts was killed in action the next day. Mr. Moore stayed with Company "M" of the 16th North Carolina until the unit surrendered at Appomattox in 1865.
John Price was a slave and followed his master John T. Price and joined Company "B" of the 4th Texas Infantry, also known as The Tom Green Rifles. After the war John Price joined and was accepted into the United Confederate Veterans organization.
Henderson Howard can be seen setting between two of his white compatriots in a photograph of the 28th reunion of Hood's Texas Brigade in 1900.
The Charleston Mercury of January 3, 1861 said:
The Tennessee Legislature on 28 June 1861, passed an act authorizing Governor Isham G. Harris to receive into the military service of the State all male free persons of color, between the ages of 15 and 50.
The Memphis Avalanche stated:
A telegram sent to the newspapers of the South:
"New Orleans, November 23, 1861. Over 28,000 troops were reviewed today by Gov. Moore, Major. Gen. Lovell, and Brig.-Gen. Ruggles. The line was over seven miles long. One regiment comprised 1,400 free colored men.
During the early 1900s, many members of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) advocated awarding former slaves rural acreage and a home. There was hope that justice could be given those slaves that were once promised "forty acres and a mule" but never received any. In the 1913 Confederate Veteran magazine published by the UCV, it was printed that this plan "If not Democratic, it is the Confederate" thing to do. There was much gratitude toward former slaves, which "thousands were loyal, to the last degree", now living with total poverty of the big cities. Unfortunately, their proposal fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.
During the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1913, arrangements were made for a joint reunion of Union and Confederate veterans. The commission in charge of the event made sure they had enough accommodations for the black Union veterans, but were completely surprised when unexpected black Confederates arrived. The white Confederates immediately welcomed their old comrades, gave them one of their tents, and "saw to their every need". Nearly every Confederate reunion including those blacks that served with them, wearing the gray.
The first military monument in the US Capitol that honors an African-American soldier is the Confederate monument at Arlington National cemetery. The monument was designed in 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate, who wanted to correctly portray the racial makeup in the Confederate Army. A black Confederate soldier is depicted marching in step with white Confederate soldiers. Also shown is one "white soldier giving his child to a black woman for protection".
Black Confederate heritage is beginning to receive the attention it deserves. For instance, Terri Williams, a black journalist for the Suffolk "Virginia Pilot" newspaper, writes: "Ive had to re-examine my feelings toward the [Confederate] flag It started when I read a newspaper article about an elderly black man whose ancestor worked with the Confederate forces. The man spoke with pride about his family members contribution to the cause, was photographed with the [Confederate] flag draped over his lap thats why I now have no definite stand on just what the flag symbolizes, because it no longer is their history, or my history, but our history."
It is estimated that 3,600 Mexican-Americans or Hispanics fought in the War Between the States in the ranks of the Confederacy. As a result of the Spanish colonial settlement of the Gulf Coast states and, during the 19th century, Mexican control of the territories that were to become Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, a significant number of Hispanic-Americans were affected by the outbreak of the WBTS. As John O'Donnell-
Rosales explains in the introduction to his ground-breaking list of Hispanic Confederate soldiers, many of these individuals, including businessmen and sailors living in cities like New Orleans, St. Louis, Natchez, Biloxi, and Mobile, would have to choose between their cultural aversion to American slavery, which had been outlawed throughout most of Latin America by 1860, and the natural desire to protect their way of life in the South. The author has compiled the first comprehensive roster of Hispanic Confederate soldiers in print. The list of 3,600 soldiers, which includes Private Kelvin Rosales, the author's Confederate ancestor, is arranged alphabetically by surname and gives each individual's rank, company, and regiment (Infantry, Cavalry, etc.). Included among the soldiers are persons of Jewish descent whose ancestors were expelled from Spain in 1492, as well as a short list of Hispanic Confederate naval personnel. At the back of the volume there is a bibliography of the sources utilized by the author in the compilation of this unique list.
Colonel Santos Benavides lead the 33rd Texas Cavalry, totaling almost ten thousand Tejanos (Mexican Americans) throughout the War.
Stand Watie, a Cherokee Indian and a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army,
lead a brigade of Native-Americans. Some of the tribes involved were: the Cherokee, Choctaw, Caddos, Chickasaw, Creek, Comanche, Osage, Seminole, Alabama, and Coushatta.
Judah P. Benjamin was a Jew and served as Jeff Davis' Personal Advisor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State.
Loreta Janeta Velasquez disguised her self as a man. She named herself Harry T. Buford and raised a full regiment to fight for the Confederacy. She was wounded several times, one of these was in the battle of Pittsburgh Landing (Shiloh). Because of these wounds she was forced to retire from active service. Loreta continued to work for the Confederacy as a spy.
Yes, several times the Confederacy made efforts to open peace negotiations with the North, but were rudely rebuffed. The South seceded to form their own government in a peaceful action. They then were forced into a war to defend themselves from a hostile invasion. The Confederate states never wanted war, so in an attempt to defend themselves, they fought, but on several occasions petitioned the Northern government for peace negotiations. Lincoln refused to see either formally or informally the Southern commissioners sent before the fighting started on "legalism" that they could not represent an independent nation. This attitude was maintained by Lincoln throughout the war, but wavered some as his re-election in 1864 seemed in jeopardy.
In August 1864 the Northern people had become tired of Lincoln and the war. Lincoln had addressed his cabinet that re-election was a great risk. Political pressure was forcing Lincolns government to establish peace. He finally sent a delegation to Richmond to ascertain the views of President Davis. Shortly after this Sherman and Sheridan savage assaults on the South helped sew up Lincolns re-election. On 6 December 1864 in an address Lincoln is quoted as saying "On careful consideration of all the evidence accessible, it seems to me that no attempt at negotiations with the insurgents could result in any good".
Still the South was not conquered and the prospect of indefinite war continued. Southern delegations again petitioned Lincoln for a negotiated peace. General Grant convinced Lincoln to meet Confederate Commissioners Alexander H. Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter, and John A. Campbell at Old Point on 3 February 1865. At this meeting Lincoln would not suspend hostilities and declined to make any reasonable or humanitarian proposals for peace. Instead he would except absolute submission to the Federal government and would not state any specifics of the cost or policy involved with total submission. Instead Lincoln urged the Confederate representatives to trust in his mercy.
This trust was hard to accept based on all the treatment the Southern people had received up to and including the war of Northern aggression. On 8 December 1863 Lincoln, mimicking the threats of death and confiscations to all connected with the Confederacy by Congress, Lincoln issued a proclamation as a masked "pardon". When Lincoln or his agents failed to specifically spell out the terms of and conditions for peace, it made it impossible for the Confederate government or army to abandon its defensive effort. The threat of death to all who served or supported the Confederacy, along with loss of all personal and real property, was hanging over every mans head.
Sources and further reading: A Confederate Catechism, The War for Southern Self-Government, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, 1935
No, Lincoln did not save the Union by his war of aggression on the South. The original Union was a union of consent based on the Articles of Confederation and later the Constitution. Lincoln used military force and suffering on the Southern civilian population to re-establish a "new" Union. This Union was now based on force, coercion, threat and control toward the Southern states.
For many years following the war the Southern states were viewed in an imperialistic way as a "province" of the North. What ever privileges that were extended by the conquerors were mere concessions given, not inherited rights from the Constitution.
As was stated in question 3.15, Lincoln and his government subverted the Constitution, trifling with its words and bending them to suit their need at the time. This was a moral and ethical destruction of the very Union he was claimed to have fought to preserve.
The Union before 1861 could have been saved if he would have supported the resolutions offered in the US Senate by John J. Crittenden, which called for the extension of the line of the Missouri Compromise through the territories. The 1861 Compromise as it related to the territories was considered one of pride vs actual material advantages. It was the intemperate, arrogant, and self-righteous attitude of Lincoln and the Northern Republicans that made any peaceable constructive solution of the territorial question impossible. For in rejecting of the Crittenden resolutions, Lincoln placed themselves on record as virtually preferring the slaughter of 400,000 men and the sacrifice of billions of dollars of property to a compromise involving a mere abstraction.
Sources and further reading: A Confederate Catechism, The War for Southern Self-Government, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, 1935
The following are surrender dates of the various commanding CSA generals.
9 April 1865, Gen. R.E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse, VA
26 April 1865, Gen. J.E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee at Durham, NC
4 May 1865, Gen. Richard Taylor surrendered Dept. of Alabama, Mississippi, and Eastern Louisiana at Citronelle, AL
13 May 1865, engagement at Palmetto Ranch, near Brownsville, TX, often taken to be the last engagement of the war
2 June 1865, Gen. E.K. Smith surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department at Galveston, TX (the surrender had been agreed to by Smith's representative, Lt Gen S.B. Buckner, in New Orleans on 26 May)
13 June 1865, Pres. Johnson proclaimed the insurrection in Tennessee at an end. (Messages and Papers of the Presidents, V, p3515)
23 June 1865, Brig. Gen. Stand Watie's troops in the Indian Territory signed a cease hostilities agreement (not an official surrender) at Doaksville. Watie was the last CSA general to disband his troops.
4 Nov 1865, The raider CSS Shenandoah surrendered in Liverpool to British authorities. For several months after the surrender of ground forces, this last of the CSA's naval vessels had been burning USA shipping, with her captain, James I. Waddell, still thinking the war was in progress. Her last fight was against a whaling fleet in the Bering Sea on 28 Jun 1865. After this, the vessel was the object of a worldwide search. On August 2, Waddell had contact with a British ship, whose captain informed him that the CSA was no more. With this in mind, he put guns below decks and sailed to England, where the ship was surrendered to the British Admiralty. Upon the boarding of the vessel by British authorities, the last sovereign Confederate flag was furled.
2 Apr 1866, Pres. Johnson proclaimed the insurrection ended in all the former Confederate States except Texas. This was his recognition of the legitimacy of the governments formed under his Reconstruction proclamation. (Mess. & Papers, V, p3627)
20 Aug 1866, Pres. Johnson proclaimed that Texas had complied with the conditions of his Reconstruction proclamation and declared the insurrection in Texas at an end. (Mess. & Paper, V, p3632)
And there are some that say the war against the South has never ended and continues to be punished for losing the war.
No where can it be found that Jefferson Davis or other CSA National leader was guilty of any crime, yet he was imprisoned for two years following the war. Remember the intent of the seceding states was to peacefully leave the Union, which no longer represented or protected their interests, and form their own government based on their needs, economy and true belief in the original founding fathers version of the Constitution. The Confederate states were bullied into the war in order to defend their property and citizens from a Northern invasion.
Jefferson Davis was captured near Irwinville, Georgia in 1865 and sent to Fort Monroe for two years of imprisonment. Vice President Andrew Stephens was imprisoned in Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. Interestingly enough Stephens was released soon after imprisonment.
President Davis was first accused of being an accomplice in the Lincoln assassination. There was no evidence of any involvement on his part in this assassination. Next the Northern government charged Davis with cruelty to prisoners of war. Again no case could be made here that Davis was directly or even indirectly responsible for any suffering of prisoners of war. Finally a charge of treason was entered against Davis, but after some of the best legal minds reviewed the facts, the charge was dropped. Davis was later taken to the Federal court room in the Custom House at Richmond, VA and admitted to bail. Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and Cornelius Vanderbilt signed the bail bond. Jefferson Davis was never brought to trial on any violation of law by the United States government.
As for other leaders, officials, and officers, on 29 May 1865, President Andrew Johnson issued a "Proclamation of Amnesty" to the majority who fought for the Confederacy. He excluded the benefits of amnesty to many Southern leaders including civil and diplomatic officers and agents, officers above the rank of colonel in the army and lieutenant in the navy and all who had been educated at either West Point or the Naval Academy. Two years later he issued another proclamation on 7 September 1867 that reduced the exceptions to brigadier generals in the army and captains in the navy. Finally on Christmas 1868 Johnson issued a proclamation for unconditional pardon, with the formality of any oath and without exception to all who in any way sided with the Confederacy. It took the course of 3 years for the Federal government to acknowledge the rights of the members of the Confederacy that were "reclaimed" by the Union in 1865.
The only conclusion one could reach is that the Northern Republican controlled Federal government wanted punishment and revenge to be placed on the heads of all Southern people. With an arrogant use of the law, and conveniently removing justice when it fit their needs, the Federal government brought false charges and denied rights to her Southern citizens for years.
Sources and further reading: The Story of the Confederate States, by Joseph T. Derry 1895
There is no justification for the terrible ten year period from 1867 to 1877 known as reconstruction. The South had been wrongfully invaded and subjugated by the northern Yankee armies. The war ceased in 1865 and Southerners were left with a homeland that had been destroyed in every aspect by the northern invaders. The South was still occupied by hostile forces. It was the contention of the Northern Republican Congress that the Southern States should be punished before being allowed back into the union. It was very important to the Northern Republicans that they maintain their voting majority in the congress. They feared that the return of the Southern Democrats would take away from their majority and for that reason they sought to keep their new found power.
Although Northern contention was that the Southern states remained part of the United States, they charged that the states lacked loyal governments. The Northern federal government needed to invent mechanisms to erect was they called "loyal state governments". The manipulation of the law is said to be derived from Article IV, Section #4 of the Constitution. That section provides that the United States shall guarantee to each state a republic form of government.
It was the Lincoln and the Norths strange and unconstitutional concept that although the Confederate States never left the Union, the populace of the Southern States had abrogated all their constitutional rights through rebellion, but still retained all their obligations as citizens of the United States.
Of course, the Union never even attempted to determine who, in the Southern States, had remained loyal, and who had been rebellious. Lincoln appears to have invoked a strange concept that the State could mean the land itself devoid of any people. Under this concept the Southern States never left the Union because the land couldn't rebel; however, the people could and they had to be "transformed" or "reconstructed" into loyal citizens. It was their view that the Confederates had put themselves outside the Union and it was now necessary for them to be reconstructed before they could resume their former state as true citizens.
Another important provision of the Constitution was Article I, Section #5 which provides that each House of Congress shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members. This allowed the Congress to refuse to seat delegations from former Confederate states until the states had met the Federally imposed conditions of the Reconstruction Acts.
On 29 May 1865, President Andrew Johnson issued a "Proclamation of Amnesty" to the majority who fought for the Confederacy. He excluded the benefits of amnesty to many Southern leaders including civil and diplomatic officers and agents, officers above the rank of colonel in the army and lieutenant in the navy and all who had been educated at either West Point or the Naval Academy. Two years later he issued another proclamation on 7 September 1867 that reduced the exceptions to brigadier generals in the army and captains in the navy. Finally on Christmas 1868 Johnson issued a proclamation for unconditional pardon, with the formality of any oath and without exception to all who in any way sided with the Confederacy.
At the end of the war, the president, not the people, chose provisional governors in the seceded states, expect Tennessee which had been re-instated to the union before the close of the war. The terms given were that the seceding states would be required to repeal all the CSA related legislation and to ratify the 13th amendment. When this was done, the states and their citizens were to receive all the rights guaranteed under the constitution for all states.
Having done this the Southern sent elected senators and representatives to Congress, but the rules changed again as the Congress of 1865 with its republican majority refused to admit the Southern members unless their states would now ratify the 14th amendment. Legislation by coercion. The states refused and Congress passed an act declaring another state of rebellion existing in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. This new act now overturned the existing governments in those states and divided them into five military districts, each to be governed by an officer of the Federal army and called for new conventions in all states again.
This kind of "government" was forced on the Southern states for many years. If they could not get the states to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution with the body selected by the people, the Federal Congress would simple issue a new proclamation to purge the officials and replace them with new representatives. They continued this tactic until they could find submissive and kowtowing individuals who would do the Northern Republicans will. Not only did the Northern Republican treachery reach into the capitals and legislative branches of the Southern people, but also their judiciary system. Lawyers could only practice law if they had not had any connection to the Confederate states and judges were appointed that were sympathetic to the Republicans.
With this type of government controls, the carpet-baggers took advantage of what was left of the Southern resources. These "federally approved" governments were some of the most corrupt to ever exist. A few Southern men (called scalawags) sold out their heritage and joined the carpet-baggers in their corruption of law and justice. With this Republican domination and subjugation of the South, it was not until 1876 that any hope of relief from this oppression and corruption would be had by the people.
Reconstruction was the contention of the Northern Republican Congress to maintain their power without any true Constitutional legal justification whatsoever. Contention, not justification, is what brought about the era after the war known as reconstruction.
Yes, the Constitutional rights of the Southern people were in jeopardy when they saw no further protection in membership in the United States and seceded. The invasion of northern armies showed them that the Northern Republicans indeed had no respect for the laws of the United States and would warp the Constitution to suit is purposes. It is then no surprise that after the resources of the South are exhausted and its armies disbanded, their civic leaders ousted, this defenseless civilian population would be at the mercy of the Northern invaders and their arrogant interpretation of law of any kind.
After the lying down of arms it took over 3 years (1865-1868) before all the men associated with the Confederate states had been pardon and all sanctions against them were removed by then President Johnson.
Without regard to the civilian population innocence, they were all basically declared guilty of acts against the Union and subject to brutal "governing" from 1865-1877. The Northern Republican controlled Congress would issue one set of requirements to be made in order to be re-instated with full rights to the Union, then would change and add more requirements. (examples can be found in question 3.26) Men of honor in the South would fight these continually increasing terms. Since the strong willed, honorable Southern leaders could not be controlled by the Northern Republicans, they simple would purge the leaders, unseat them, and either appoint or cause a re-election of officials to be conducted. They would not allow due process and democratic rule. They wanted puppet governments to follow blindly whatever notion they had.
Couple the military rule, purging of duly elected officials, forced ratification of amendments, importation of carpet-bagger officials in cooperation with exploitative scalawags locals, election fraud to a "point of bayonet" government and you will find that even the basic of rights guaranteed under the US Constitution were violated with the acts of reconstruction.
This point is raised from time to time, perhaps by Northerners as a reason to rally support for their war of aggression and to mask the true issues of the war. Interestingly enough General Grant said in his Memoirs that it the CSA would have established "a real and respected nation". There are some who speculate that the very nature of states rights was contrary even to the Confederation of States within the CSA and the tension and strife within the CSA would have caused it to dissolve at some future date. Detractors point to some opposition to President Davis and his government policies in Georgia and North Carolina. It might be important to put that in perspective comparing it to serious opposition to Lincoln and his policies from many Northern states, including Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, draft riots in New York and Massachusetts just to name a few.
Others note that the threats from the Northern states and their Republican fueled economy would have helped to bind the states together for mutual defense. Still others note that the economic conditions would have been a binding factor. A low tariff, decided on by themselves, rather than an economically oppressive North would have attracted trade to the South. From this trade, its cities and ports would have seen prosperity and growth. Instead of a failure, the South could have formed an important and growing economy based on trade. The vision of this prosperity, should the Southern states ever break away and form their own country, and the devastating economic impacts to the Northern states, is another one of the reasons that Lincoln forced war on the seceding states.
Sources and further reading: The Civil War: Strange and Fascinating Facts originally published as "Our Incredible Civil War" by Davis, B. (1982), SBN 0-517-37151-0 (Chapter 13. Which War? pp. 79-80.)
Note to readers: this is an "unofficial listing" to help our members and citizens learn about our ancestors. It is a working draft by a cyber committee of Confederates.
© Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans