A (non) debate over honoring Confederate generals

posted at 9:31 am on December 22, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

There was an article by Rowan Scarborough this week in the Washington Times which claimed that the US Army War College in Pennsylvania was considering removing portraits and statues of Confederate Army leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The purported reason for the possible “purge” was depicted as being some sort of statement against the CSA.

Nestled in rural Pennsylvania on the 500-acre Carlisle Barracks, the war college is conducting an inventory of all its paintings and photographs with an eye for rehanging them in historical themes to tell a particular Army story.During the inventory, an unidentified official — not the commandant, Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III — asked the administration why the college honors two generals who fought against the United States, college spokeswoman Carol Kerr said.

“I do know at least one person has questioned why we would honor individuals who were enemies of the United States Army,” Ms. Kerr said. “There will be a dialogue when we develop the idea of what do we want the hallway to represent.”

She said one faculty member took down the portraits of Lee and Jackson and put them on the floor as part of the inventory process. That gave rise to rumors that the paintings had been removed.

This spurred a rather heated discussion, as you might imagine, but Dr. James Joyner seemed to smell a rat immediately.

Let’s stipulate up front that this is thinly-sourced linkbait. As best I can glean from the story, some unknown person asked a question and the Army War College may or may not be doing anything to answer it; from here, the author conjectures that the debate might spread. It’s pretty much a non-story.

The reason why I even clicked on it from the Defense News daily roundup is that I was amused by the notion that there’s any controversy at all about the paintings of Lee and Jackson when the Army has forts named after both men. Fort Lee, located “alongside the Tri-Cities of Virginia – Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell – as well as the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George” is home to to the Combined Arms Support Command along with the Army Logistics University, the U.S. Army Ordnance School, the U.S. Army Quartermaster School and the U.S. Army Transportation School.

Joyner’s skepticism appears to have been well founded. After a period of time of the “controversy” making the media rounds, Major General Tony Cucolo, the commandant of the War College, felt compelled to address what he saw as a non-issue.

I’d like to address an issue that has come up based on a Washington Times web posting and article in its paper of 18 December 2013.

Even though last night’s posting had a photo at the top of that article showing a picture of one of our entry gates with huge statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson mounted on horseback on either side of the sign, and today’s posting showed a dignified photo of Robert E. Lee at the top of the article, it might be misleading as to what is in question. For what it is worth, I must tell you there is only one outside statue on Carlisle Barracks and that is of Frederick the Great. There is no statue of Lee, there is no statue of Jackson; that picture is photo-shopped – I assume to attract attention to the article. We do however have many small monuments, mostly stone with bronze plaques, but those are for a variety of reasons. There are small memorials to the service of British units (during the French and Indian War), memorials of Army schools that had been based at Carlisle Barracks over the last two-plus centuries, memorials to Carlisle Indian Industrial School students and significant personalities of that period from 1879 – 1918, a memorial for US Army War College graduates killed in action since 2001 and more. We do not have any public memorials to the Confederacy, but we do have signs on the walking tour of the base that will tell you for a few days during the Civil War, three North Carolina Brigades camped on the parade ground and then burned down the post (save one building) as they departed on July 1st, 1863, to rejoin Lee’s forces at Gettysburg. We also do not have any large stand-alone portraits of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson.

So, no statues or big portraits, but a recent event here sparked the reporter’s and other public interest in the topic of the article, which I find makes a good point – for topics like this, have a thoughtful conversation before making a decision.

Here is what happened: a few weeks ago, while relocating his office to a new floor in our main school building over the weekend, one of my leaders looked outside his new office location and simply decided to change the look of the hallway. He took down, off the wall, a number of framed Civil War prints that depicted Confederate States of America forces in action against Union forces or depicted famous Confederate leaders. He did this on his own. There was no directive to “remove all traces of the CSA.” Since this is a public hallway with seminar rooms and offices, the sudden new look drew attention the following week. And since there was no public explanation of my leader’s action, some of my folks jumped to conclusions, even to the point of sending anonymous notes to local media. We have since attempted to clarify the action within our own ranks.

The General goes on to explain that the art on display is intended to portray a thoughtful, accurate military history of the United States, both the good and the bad. It is a college, after all, and teaching history is part of their mission. So this looks pretty much like a drummed up media example of link bait, as Joyner suspected, but it does open up an old – but still valid – line of questions. Is it “wrong” to commemorate the leaders of the Confederate forces and the soldiers who fought and died in America’s bloodiest war?

There is an old maxim which reminds us that “history is written by the winners.” Having grown up and studied high school history forty years ago in the Northeast, I can tell you that there are few better examples of that lesson than the traditional school lessons on the civil war. And regardless of how you feel about it, there is a justifiable pride and sense of history among many southerners for their ancestors who stood their ground on their own lands and shed their blood in the war. They answered the call, just as their northern brothers did, and fought and died for what they saw as the defense of their homes and their country. Is it so awful to commemorate that in the artistic portrayal of our nation’s history?

I would argue the opposite. And apparently the War College will continue to remember that these things did happen and those men did fight with bravery and honor, no matter what you may think of their cause.


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People may have been “free” to leave Northern slavery if they had the financial means, could speak English, could afford transportation and had pay in currency rather than company credits. So they too were no less slaves of their masters.

viking01 on December 22, 2013 at 3:55 PM

By the way, what’s your position on immigration and amnesty?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

By the way, what’s your position on immigration and amnesty?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

For: Legal immigration of going through all the hoops and expectations the other legal immigrants have met. Understanding that those willing to gain citizenship will more likely value it.

Against: “Amnesty” simply to give Boehner and Reid’s bundlers cheap labor to run their chicken processing plants and casino cleaning services.

viking01 on December 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. The denial of the illegality of secession, the criticism of Lincoln, the pro-southern view of Reconstruction, this all makes us look every bit as whacked out as MSLSD claims we are.

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Once one realizes that after 1865 many slaves were suddenly “free to starve” may gain understanding of why Reconstruction as the carpetbaggers ran it was more often to the detriment of proclaimed freedoms than some bearing nostalgia for it might suggest.

viking01 on December 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Once one realizes that after 1865 many slaves were suddenly “free to starve” may gain understanding of why Reconstruction as the carpetbaggers ran it was more often to the detriment of proclaimed freedoms than some bearing nostalgia for it might suggest.

viking01 on December 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Yes, the South managed to keep the freedmen poor and oppressed for another hundred years. Terrific!

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. The denial of the illegality of secession, the criticism of Lincoln, the pro-southern view of Reconstruction, this all makes us look every bit as whacked out as MSLSD claims we are.

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Do you know what the “Gangs of New York”/New York City draft riots were about?

“Lincoln was as sinless as Jesus, above criticism; the South was pure evil – and don’t you ever forget it!” -wbcoleman

Anti-Control on December 22, 2013 at 4:29 PM

. The Constitution is a binding compact between the states giving the Federal Government certain powers.

jerryofva on December 22, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The Constitution gives no power to the federal government to maintain membership in the union.

States joined the union voluntarily, and through the mechanism of the 10th amendment, they may legally leave the union in the same way.

Force of arms is not rule of law, and the federal government waged illegal war on the confederacy, and also illegally forced those states back into the union.

Now we are paying for that, since the very thing the South left the union over – a tyrannous centralized federal government, is exactly what we have now.

Rebar on December 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

You don’t have to accept “the lost cause” to admit that before the Civil War settled things, the right to seceded was an open question – americans had been debating it for 80 years. There were arguments on both sides, but there is no argument at all stating that there was a clear, statutory law on the matter – there wasn’t.

It doesn’t make me or anyone else “pro-confederate” to admit that. It simply was an open question, which was settled *by* the war itself. But that outcome wasn’t clear at all to anyone in 1860.

Likewise, while I honor Lincoln as the greatest American President, I also acknowledge that he made monumental mistakes throughout his Presidency, much like Churchill did in WW1 and WW2; for example, it doesn’t make me “pro-imperial japan” to state that Churchill foolishly, but intentionally,threw away the Repulse and the Prince of Wales, along with their entire crews, in a hugely misguided attempt to cover up a lack of military preparation in Singapore. Lincoln’s overpoliticized selection of his military commanders led the Union from one disaster to another for the first 2 years of the war, and even by 1864, it was the cause of the failure of the Red River Campaign. (Nathaniel Banks should have been canned very early on, but Lincoln needed his political support, so he allowed Banks to needlessly waste men and armies for years)

And even in the North, no one dared to defend the thievery and corruption of Reconstruction in the south by the end of the 1870′s. That is undoubtedly the worst episode of outright government corruption and widescale theft in this country’s history.

Much like Orwell noted, we have come to the point in time where simple statement of the Truth is a revolutionary act.

Tom Servo on December 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

The federal Constitution never addressed the question of secession, which is why you have these disputes about whether secession was legal or not.

On the pro side of secession, it was not specifically forbidden, and it only made sense that a state that joined the Union also had the right to leave the Union.

On the con side, the Constitution failed to specifically permit secession, and the forming of a Union without a formal means to leave the Union left a clear implication that joining the Union was meant to be a one-way deal.

Ultimately, I have to agree that the secessionists were right. They may have been wrong about whether or not leaving the Union was a good idea, but there’s no real justification for saying that states didn’t have the right to leave.

The states only gave up sovereignty to the federal government in the areas specifically named in the Constitution — the “delegated powers.” All other rights were reserved to the states or to the people. Just in case there was any confusion about that, the Tenth Amendment was added.

It may sound like a minor quibble, but it has broad implications. For one thing, the Union was not, in fact, putting down a rebellion or a civil war. They were using force to prevent states from leaving the Union.

Robert E. Lee was asked to take command of the Union armies and of the Confederate armies. He felt more loyalty to his own state than to the federal union. That was not treason or rebellion. That was a man being forced to take sides.

Lincoln did resemble a tyrant at times. The defense is that he felt the country was in a desperate position, and he had to do what was necessary to keep it together. In effect, he was acting as if he had declared martial law. Whether or not you believe he was justified, there is no escaping the fact that he suspended habeas corpus and arrested people for making speeches that were contrary to the war effort.

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Speaking of righteous New England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartford_Convention

Punchenko on December 22, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Is there a portrait of Admiral Yamamoto hanging in the US Naval Academy at Annapolis?

DarkCurrent on December 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Yeah, I’m not seeing the language. The people that are claiming otherwise are dancing around the issue instead of providing the language.

blink on December 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

The Civil War provided the language. Read the Gettysburg Address.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Clutch the pearls a little harder while I fetch some smelling salts.

Punchenko on December 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Yes, the slaves were freed, but in many areas of the South the Union Army made rules against them relocating without a pass. The goals were twofold, to keep the newly freed blacks from moving north, and to restore the lucrative cotton trade. Cotton production actually exceeded antebellum levels only three years after the war ended, long before Southerner’s voting rights were restored and long before Jim Crow was enshrined.

By the way Lee was not in favor of secession and only took that step when it was made clear to him that he would be required to invade his own home state if he accepted command of the Army of the Potomac. Nor was Lee’s family in favor of secession, except for 1 daughter.

The first slave was the property of a black land owner in Virginia, one Anthony Johnson.

claudius on December 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM

I graduated from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville in 1969. Even then, some of us were embarrassed by the name of our football rival, Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, named after a notable Confederate general who also happened to be the founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

Earlier this month the Duval County School Board voted to change the name of Forrest High. I have to admit that I didn’t shed any tears.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Unfortunately, this is a case of people who “know what just ain’t so.”

Nathan Bedford Forrest was not the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. When initially started, it was claimed to be about protecting the widows of those who had died in the war from being taken by “carpetbagger” governments.

I don’t know if they were ever really true to their stated purpose, but if they were, it wasn’t for long. It quickly became known for repressing blacks.

That was NOT what Nathan Bedford Forrest stood for. He had joined the KKK based on its initial claims, and they had trumpeted his joining widely for their own marketing purposes. But once it became clear what they were doing, he not only rejected the organization, but made very public statements calling for people to get out of it.

In spite of being a slave-owning Confederate general in the War, after the war Nathan Bedford Forrest took the opposite position in favor of racial reconciliation. He stated that he believed blacks and whites would have to live together in the South, and they needed to come together and support each other. Needless to say, he considered the greater duty of support to belong to the whites.

You can still find the speech he gave to a civil rights organization that was a forerunner of the NAACP.

Unfortunately, those who believe the South was evil and who recognize that Forrest’s name was briefly associated with the KKK don’t care about whether the caricature is true.

Incidentally, while a Confederate general, Forrest offered freedom to his slaves who were willing to join the side of the South and fight under his command. He was often heard to say they were as good soldiers as any he had. It was years after the War before most in the Army were willing to consider that black people could be good soldiers.

So this Confederate general believed in racial reconciliation, and considered black people to be quite capable of being soldiers years before most were willing to consider the possibility.

Not the simplistic view that is normally taught.

He was also considered an innovator in military tactics, who inspired some of the tactics later used by the Special Forces.

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. The denial of the illegality of secession, the criticism of Lincoln, the pro-southern view of Reconstruction, this all makes us look every bit as whacked out as MSLSD claims we are.

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Well, anyone using the term “nativism” as a presumed pejorative is no conservative.

HB3 on December 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Why the south had to fight: “A true union should not have to be held together by the point of a bayonet”. R.E. Lee

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Likewise, while I honor Lincoln as the greatest American President, I also acknowledge that he made monumental mistakes throughout his Presidency, much like Churchill did in WW1 and WW2; for example, it doesn’t make me “pro-imperial japan” to state that Churchill foolishly, but intentionally,threw away the Repulse and the Prince of Wales, along with their entire crews, in a hugely misguided attempt to cover up a lack of military preparation in Singapore. Lincoln’s overpoliticized selection of his military commanders led the Union from one disaster to another for the first 2 years of the war, and even by 1864, it was the cause of the failure of the Red River Campaign. (Nathaniel Banks should have been canned very early on, but Lincoln needed his political support, so he allowed Banks to needlessly waste men and armies for years)

And even in the North, no one dared to defend the thievery and corruption of Reconstruction in the south by the end of the 1870′s. That is undoubtedly the worst episode of outright government corruption and widescale theft in this country’s history.

Much like Orwell noted, we have come to the point in time where simple statement of the Truth is a revolutionary act.

Tom Servo on December 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

I agree with all this. One area where Lincoln touched greatness was in his policy of reconciliation he sought after the War. The Republican Congress of the time blamed the South for the War, and the Reconstruction they pursued was far harsher than Lincoln wanted. The assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth actually hurt the South tremendously, by giving the Congress of the day much more leeway to enact the policy they wanted.

Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice president, tried to pursue Lincoln’s policy of reconciliation, but he was not a strong president. The Congress came within a hairsbreadth of impeachment for not much better reason than the fact that he was in the way of the policy they wanted. Lincoln might have been able to get his way through Congress, but Johnson didn’t even come close.

The Reconstruction was an opportunity for scoundrels to make a fortune out of the now-conquered states — and they did.

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM

No confederate flag ever flew over a slave ship yet the north and D.C. loved the riches it gave them.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM

I note my neo-Confederate critics fail to address the fact that according to the Confederate government the CSA was a binding permanent Union. No succession allowed. From my reading of what the Founding Fathers wrote at the time of ratification joining the Union was meant to be a permanent affair.

Now I want to get back the original purpose of thread which was the status of Lee and Jackson. Lee is the most overrated Commander in US military history. He doesn’t even crack my top 10 (See below). His inability to adapt to Grant’s proto-Twentieth style of continuous combat introduced during the Wilderness Campaign demonstrates this. Lee won his victories against the B team. His most famous victory at Chancellorsville was little more than Gettysburg without Pickett’s charge. He was planning to do that and make Hooker a hero except Hooker withdrew from his impregnable positions around US Ford before Lee could order a suicidal attack on the Union the position. Longstreet, who was the only Confederate General to understand modern warfare, considered Chancellorsville a disaster for the Confederacy. Lee suffered 25% casualties while the Army of the Potomac took 15% losses. Longstreet saw Lee’s invasion as a disaster waiting to happen. The Confederacy was lucky that Grant or Sherman weren’t in command of the Union forces in July. Lee would have been utterly destroyed.

I don’t have a sense that Jackson would have been a good Army level commander. The modern General he remind me the most of is Rommel. A great commander for a corps sized force but just adequate for a large command.

Here is my top 10.

(1) George Washington Frederick the Great called him the greatest soldier of his age.
(2) Winfield Scott. Wellington said same of him after he took Mexico City
(3) Dwight Eisenhower. He commanded the most complex military operation in military history.
(4) Ulysses Grant. The maker of modern warfare. He coordinated all the Union Armies, not just the Army of the Potomac
(5) Douglas MacArthur for all his personal flaws he was a master strategist and an innovative operational planner. He and Halsey in the South Pacific were the first true Joint Commanders.
(6) John J. Pershing. Maker of the modern US Army
(7) William Tecumseh Sherman. A brilliant strategist and ruthless commander who defined modern total war.
(8) James Longsteet. Sherman and Grant’s equal handicapped by a Commander mired in Napoleonic Warfare.
(9) George S. Patton. A step up from Rommel and Jackson. He would have been much better suited to command the 1 US Army Group than Bradley but could not fill Ike’s shoes.
(10) Phillip Sheridan. The Union the commander most like Stonewall Jackson but he wins the #10 slot because Jackson’s early death deprived him of the opportunity to show what he could do.

jerryofva on December 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. The denial of the illegality of secession, the criticism of Lincoln, the pro-southern view of Reconstruction, this all makes us look every bit as whacked out as MSLSD claims we are.

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Let’s begin with a revealing contrast. In 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded the North. The South by then had suffered two years of Yankee crimes and some Southerners thought the invasion was their chance to retaliate. Not so, said Lee. In a proclamation he reminded his men that “the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own.”

“The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenseless and the wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country. . . .”

Remember that at the beginning of the war Lincoln offered Lee command of the Union army. Imagine the humane result had he been able to accept. We make war “only upon armed men,” said Lee. Taking vengeance for the “atrocities of our enemies” would lower ourselves and offend “against Him to whom vengeance belongeth.”

Union Brigadier General James H. Lane: “We believe in a war of extermination. I want to see every foot of ground . . . burned over – everything laid waste. . . .”

Union Brigadier General James H. Lane: “We believe in a war of extermination. I want to see every foot of ground . . . burned over – everything laid waste. . . .”

Union Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy wrote his wife that “my will is absolute law – none dare contradict or dispute my slightest word or wish . . . both male and female tremble when they come into my presence . . . I feel a strong disposition to play the tyrant among these traitors.”

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 5:44 PM

My comments keep getting eaten my the thread monster and I’m quoting generals Union and Confederate…

Bummer…

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Not the simplistic view that is normally taught…

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Indeed.

What is taught is decidedly incomplete and doesn’t begin to touch on the atrocities committed by the victors after the war.

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

i bet they’re putting every comment into moderation automatically at this point.

HB3 on December 22, 2013 at 5:54 PM

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Obviously, you have not noticed that the pro-abortion “rights” crowd regards the unborn in the same way that slavery “rights” advocates regarded slaves – namely, less than human.

SubmarineDoc on December 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM

And even in the North, no one dared to defend the thievery and corruption of Reconstruction in the south by the end of the 1870′s. That is undoubtedly the worst episode of outright government corruption and widescale theft in this country’s history.

Much like Orwell noted, we have come to the point in time where simple statement of the Truth is a revolutionary act.

Tom Servo on December 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Today’s gubRmint loot’n makes the 1870′s look like pre-K

roflmmfao

donabernathy on December 22, 2013 at 6:03 PM

For: Legal immigration of going through all the hoops and expectations the other legal immigrants have met. Understanding that those willing to gain citizenship will more likely value it.

Against: “Amnesty” simply to give Boehner and Reid’s bundlers cheap labor to run their chicken processing plants and casino cleaning services.

viking01 on December 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Good. Your garb is somewhat seamless.

I’m for immigration, and for an amnesty too — because I believe we need to allow those who work in Boehner and Reid’s chicken plants to advance beyond being the current underclass. They should not be used and then discarded.

I believe that our ancestors came here for the American Dream, and were treated as they were because (a) they were poor and needed jobs and (b) they had no initial skill set other than their strong hands and quick mind to being the journey.

I’m not going to deny anyone what the Know Nothings would have denied my ancestors.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Lincoln was no saint. He had no affection for the slaves or the south. He would have shipped the slaves to Liberia if Frederick Douglas hadn’t publicly shamed him. And we know what he ordered Sherman to do on his march. “malice toward none” my a$$.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Yeah, I’m not seeing the language. The people that are claiming otherwise are dancing around the issue instead of providing the language.

blink on December 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

What are the rights of an American Citizen? If someone takes away their American Citizenship — by claiming that part of the United States is now part of another country with different laws — what should be the response?

It’s quite clear that the Constitution guarantees the rights of United States citizens everywhere in the United States — and that, by the sections I have mentioned in previous comments, provides the reason for the use of military power to secure those rights — even within the United States itself.

What happened to the Whiskey Rebellion? Again, it’s instructive — that George Washington himself should lead a column of troops from three states to put it down.

What happened when South Carolina attacked the United States at Fort Sumter, which was situated upon lands ceded to the United States of America — as are all military bases in this country. If another country — or a State — attacks a military base in the USA, what is the status of those groups? My answer, as was the answer of Abraham Lincoln, and the one borne out of subsequent events, was that these groups are invaders or rebels — and the word “rebel” means “in rebellion”. And the Constitution says, in very plain terms, what should be done in times of Rebellion or Invasion.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Lincoln was no saint. He had no affection for the slaves or the south. He would have shipped the slaves to Liberia if Frederick Douglas hadn’t publicly shamed him. And we know what he ordered Sherman to do on his march. “malice toward none” my a$$.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Another Lost Causer prating on about tyranny.

Lincoln had the best interests of freed slaves in mind even in things like the attempt to send those who desired back to Africa.

It helps to read the whole letter Lincoln wrote to Joshua Speed in 1855, and, if you can’t bring yourself to do that, to at least read the excerpts in this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_and_slavery

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Don’t give me a wiki link, unclesmrgol. Go to the library and read Battle Cry of Freedom by James Mcpherson and then get back with me.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 6:28 PM

…I’ve enjoyed this thread!

KOOLAID2 on December 22, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Yeah, it got a lot more interesting after the initial stupidity.

HB3 on December 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

What is taught is decidedly incomplete and doesn’t begin to touch on the atrocities committed by the victors after the war.

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Like these?

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.04.x.html

libfreeordie on December 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Aaaaaand…full circle again.

HB3 on December 22, 2013 at 7:28 PM

I’ve enjoyed this thread!

KOOLAID2 on December 22, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Personally, I think it’s one of the worst ever.

HiJack on December 22, 2013 at 7:40 PM

libfreeordie, do a little research on Wade Hampton and his red shirts for a better understanding about the effects during and after reconstruction in the south.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM

libfreeordie on December 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

A lot of these are in the records here…

*

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

Author: United States. War Dept.
Title: The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Other Title: Official records of the Union and Confederate armies
Publisher: Govt. Print. Off.
Place of Publication: Washington
MoA Volumes: Series I, 1-53; Series II, 1-8; Series III, 1-5; Series IV, 1-4 (1880 – 1901)

http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/waro.html

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM

libfreeordie on December 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Or this…

War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, by Walter Brian Cisco (Pelican, Gretna, Louisiana, 2007).

Review:

“….In a civilized conflict, the understood agreement is that the causalities of war should be confined to combatants when possible. F.J.P. Veale states “…that an enemy civilian does not forfeit his rights as a human being merely because the armed forces of his country were unable to defend him.”

However, this was not the case in the War Between the States. War Crimes against Southern Civilians explores how the United States deliberately subjugated the citizens of the Confederate States on countless occasions. Walter Brian Cisco uses primary sources, including but not limited to official records, newspapers, diaries, and personal letters, to expose the Union’s deliberate practice to crush the population living in the South. “Shelling and burning of cities, systematic destruction of entire districts, mass arrests, forced expulsions, wholesale plundering of personal property, even murder became routine (for the Union during the war,)” according to Mr. Cisco. Historian James McPherson estimates that fifty thousand Southern civilians perished in war-related deaths. This is a staggering number by anyone’s standard.

So when and were did these tragedies take place? Each chapter in War Crimes against Southern Civilians delves into the facts surrounding many incidents were local residents are persecuted by the Federal army. Some of the occurrences Mr. Cisco writes about takes place in Missouri, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Each has supporting documentation that helps tell of the mayhem that takes place.

The complete and utter disregard to human rights is appalling, and to know that it took place just shy of 150 years ago on Southern soil makes the degradation even more distressing. “In waging war on civilians he (Lincoln) returned to the barbarism of the past, but he also dealt a blow to limited, constitutional government from which America has yet to recover. That all Americans are less free today, and live in a more dangerous world, are among his legacies,” as per Mr. Cisco.

This book is not recommended to those who are faint of heart. The indiscretions committed against the Southern civilian population are real and in some cases graphic. But this part of history is sometimes disregarded, no matter how authentic the accounts are. War Crimes against Southern Civilians does an astonishing job telling the truth about the wrongdoings of the United States government and its officers….”

http://ourhistoryprojectbookreview.blogspot.com/2009/05/ohp-book-review-war-crimes-against.html

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM

My great-great-grandfather fought at Port Hudson and the Battle of Baton Rouge. In which Civil War engagements was your ancestor(s) involved?

Christien on December 22, 2013 at 8:18 PM

My great-great-grandfather fought at Port Hudson and the Battle of Baton Rouge. In which Civil War engagements was your ancestor(s) involved?

Christien on December 22, 2013 at 8:18 PM

My great grandfather fought with the 32nd Arkansas Mounted Infantry aka 4th Trans-Mississippi Regiment.

After he recuperated from the measles he rejoined,then he fought in the 48th Arkansas Mounted Infantry.

Most of Arkansas and Missouri was guerilla warfare by 1864.

We also had relatives from Virginia (family origin immigrated in 1739), Texas,Tennessee and Missouri that fought in other regiments during the civil war and my father is gathering more information on those relatives and their histories.

workingclass artist on December 22, 2013 at 9:28 PM

With the 16th South Carolina at Kennesaw Mt,GA and Franklin,TN.

warren1816 on December 22, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Very interesting. My dad used to recount stories handed down, including an attack by union troops against women. Rebs quickly got word, rode home, and let’s just say Johnny didn’t come marching home.

Christien on December 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM

There was also the shelling of Port Hudson by union gunboats. They had to raise a plate to fire, so my ggf had his men lie prone and pour fire as soon as the plates lifted. After the surrender iirc, union officers said all their gunners suffered leg amputations as a result.

Christien on December 22, 2013 at 10:23 PM

“Can’t” got killed in the Civil War.

Christien on December 22, 2013 at 11:33 PM

I endorse the argument that General Lee was a poor strategist, but he was a dynamic leader – a horrific combination. Lee was all about destroying the Union army and ran a series of campaigns to crush Union forces in open combat. The Gettysburg campaign is a brillaint example. In the hands of a competent General, like Sherman, the Northern invasion would have rocked the Union and possibly brought it to it’s knees. Sherman’s objective would have been to demonstrate to the North that the Union army, trailing aways in his wake, could not protect them from the punishments of war. He would have avoided major engagements and, if caught at Gettysburg, extracated himself rather than sustain a major engagement. He likely would have found a way to threaten Washington, but would never have waited around to force it’s surrender. He would have moved on, preserving his command, leaving destruction and fear in his wake.

Lee failed to learn a critical lesson from a famous general to whom he bore a family relationship – that in the face of a vastly superior Army/Navy, the most important objective is aways to preserve your army. Washington and Greene held two ragtag armies together long enough to repel Britian – a superpower – from our shores. Lee wasted his in an irrational effort to end the war quickly. He just could not lift his eyes to see down the road. Longstreet, Sherman and Grant could.

In the end, the Civil War/War between the States was just a brutal slog of mediocre generalship. By fortuitous chance, the few modern generals in the Union were about to gain control of the reins. Those in the Confederacy did not because Lee stood in their way.

Perhaps it was compassion. All the great generals detested what they were doing and had a difficult time thinking of the other as a true enemy. Even Sherman said, “War is all Hell.” But compassion is no friend to strategy.

Curious thing – you go into any of the souvenir shops in Gettysburg, you’d think the Confederacy won the war.

Cricket624 on December 23, 2013 at 7:59 AM

Lee was obsessed with fighting another Austerlitz or Jena. This was the objective of Napoleonic warfare. Such truly decisive battles were rare even in Napoleon’s day. European generals of the early Twentieth Century were still seeking such decisive battles in 1914. Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign was the most studied Civil War campaign by Europeans in the pre-WWI days. They would have been better off studying the Wilderness Campaign. A series of inconclusive high causality battles ending in exhaustion and trench warfare.

jerryofva on December 23, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Lots of creepy weirdos in this thread! Whoa nelly.

antisense on December 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

They answered the call, just as their northern brothers did, and fought and died for what they saw as the defense of their homes and their country. Is it so awful to commemorate that in the artistic portrayal of our nation’s history?

I would argue the opposite. And apparently the War College will continue to remember that these things did happen and those men did fight with bravery and honor, no matter what you may think of their cause.

Conclusion: Jazz Shaw wants the Confederacy wiped from history books.

Lothar on December 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

I cannot believe what I am reading in this thread. The denial of the illegality of secession, the criticism of Lincoln, the pro-southern view of Reconstruction, this all makes us look every bit as whacked out as MSLSD claims we are.

If, on top of favoring the criminalization of abortion, nativism, and Biblical fundamentalism, conservatives are also required to accept The Lost Cause view of the Confederacy, then I need to pack it in.

wbcoleman on December 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Oh look! Another concern troll…

zoyclem on December 23, 2013 at 1:05 PM

The War College made the right call here.

But the Confederacy should be defined by the bad. These were people who were so disgusted by the election of the greatest man the country ever produced to the highest office of the land that they decided to leave the union. They then fought for one of the worst causes in human history.

Mister Mets on December 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

I believe they were disgusted by a politician who talked out of both sides of his mouth on slavery. They were also justifiably worried about having their constitutionally protected and heavily taxed property seized by an encroaching federal government and radical north. Too bad Lincoln and the north never had the foresight to devise a reimbursement plan.

warren1816 on December 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

The Constitution gives no power to the federal government to maintain membership in the union. – Rebar on December 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Precisely. Our constitution had no mention that if any State joined the Union that it did not have the leave the Union. The States that decided to leave left, left legally. However, Lincoln called the war a rebellion ……… and many people called the the Confederate soldiers Rebels. After the War Between the States the United States Supreme Court did rule around 1866, that Texas did not have the right to secede from the Union. Let’s all get over the past. Remember it, but make a better life for all.

SC.Charlie on December 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

The following is from the website: http://www.historynet.com/secession

Southern leaders like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis argued that the Constitution was essentially a contract between sovereign states—with the contracting parties retaining the inherent authority to withdraw from the agreement. Northern leaders like Abraham Lincoln insisted the Constitution was neither a contract nor an agreement between sovereign states. It was an agreement with the people, and once a state enters the Union, it cannot leave the Union.

Regrettably the drafters of our Constitution did not do away with slavery and make it plain in our constitution that a State did not retain the right to leave the Union, once it entered the Union. The most terrible war this country ever fought had to settle both issues. I am happy to see that the War College is doing the right thing.

SC.Charlie on December 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM

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