Nov 10, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Changing the Question

Changing the Question

Union men in the South encouraged Lincoln to withdraw troops from Fort Sumter, defuse the crisis and allow time for cooler heads to prevail; Gen. Winfield Scott, a Virginian, suggested Lincoln relinquish Fort Pickens as a conciliatory gesture toward the South. The problem for Lincoln was maintaining Republican party cohesion, and especially the radical element that pushed for war and the opportunity to decisively destroy the South’s political and economic power – and chose party over country.

Changing the Question

“Seward was in no way alone in urging Lincoln to give up Sumter. Five members of the cabinet expressed the same point of view on March 15; only two were for provisioning Sumter. Seward . . . strongly set forth in a memorandum to Lincoln his belief that Sumter and Pickens were different situations:

“My system is built upon this idea as a ruling one, namely we must change the question before the public from one upon slavery, or about slavery, for a question upon Union or Disunion. In other words, from what would be regarded as a party question to one of patriotism and union.

The occupation or evacuation of Fort Sumter, although not in fact a slavery, or a party question is so regarded. Witness, the temper manifested by the Republicans in the Free States, and even by Union men in the South. I would therefore terminate it as a safe means for changing the issue. I deem it fortunate that the last administration created the necessity.

For the rest, I would simultaneously defend and reinforce all the Forts in the Gulf, and have the Navy recalled from foreign stations to be prepared for a blockade. Put the Island of Key West under Martial Law. This will raise distinctly the question of Union or Disunion. I would maintain every fort and possession in the South.”

(Collected Works of A. Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, ed., New Brunswick, 1953, Vol. IV, pg 317)

Nov 8, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on No Longer the Creature of the States

No Longer the Creature of the States

After being released from prison for his role in the Confederate government, and having ample time to reflect on what the recent war against the South had accomplished politically in the United States, Stephen Mallory confided his thoughts to son Buddy. He wrote that the one hope for American liberties would be through President Andrew Johnson’s efforts to readmit Southern States to Congress as a “check on radicalism in every form” as the people of the South were naturally conservative. They would “conserve the basic rights off Americans as against all despotic tendencies of the central government.

No Longer the Creature of the States

“He confided to his son his somber estimate of the meaning and effects of the war which had just concluded. Before the recent struggle, he declared, Americans had gloried in the possession of such inalienable and indestructible rights as “individual liberty,” freedom of the press,” and the “consent of the governed.”

The war had, at least as far as the Southern States were concerned, abolished the exercise of those rights. The Southern States were being treated as conquered provinces under military law. The whole people of the South were at the uncontrolled command of the executive.

This showed “how rapidly men drift when once they grasp irresponsible power.” The character of all power in government is aggressive, he said, with a constant tendency to augment itself; the history of our government provided no exception to this rule.

During the war the federal government had violated flagrantly the basic liberties of the people of the North, and now it was suppressing with even greater violence the rights of the citizens of the South.

“It is impossible that such a course of events should not radically change the theory, the practice and the whole character of the Government, which will no longer be regarded as a Confederation of willing, sovereign States, — no longer be thought of as the creature or agent of the independent States, existing by their will, authority, and consent, but as a national, supreme government, existing by its own right, with right and power as well against the States, all or one, as against individuals or foreign nations, to maintain itself, and to enforce obedience to its authority.”

(Stephen R. Mallory: Confederate Navy Chief, Joseph T. Durkin, University of North Carolina Press, 1954, excerpts pp. 368-369)

Nov 2, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Talking For My Swearing Rights

Talking For My Swearing Rights

Master’s Mate Robert Watson enlisted in the “Key West Avengers,” Company K of the Seventh Florida Regiment in mid-June 1862, and saw infantry action in Tennessee under Bragg. He and other nautically-inclined Key Wester’s were transferred to the CSS Savannah; then to Fort Fisher in early 1865.

Talking for My Swearing Rights

“Thursday, October 29 [1863] “Several of us were drilled today for swearing. I was one of the number.

Our captain has got very pious and particular lately. I told him that when I joined the Confederate Army that I did not intend to become a Methodist preacher, and if he thought he could make me a preacher or hypocrite of me by punishment that he was mistaken for the more he punished the worse I would be for I was neither slave not school boy.

He thought it strange that nobody else said anything about it but me. I told him I was talking for my rights.”

(Southern Service on Land and Sea: The Wartime Journal of Robert Watson, CSA/CSN, R. Thomas Campbell, editor, University of Tennessee Press, 2002, page 80)

Nov 2, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Mike Hudson was an investigative journalist for the now-defunct Niagara Falls Reporter in 2014, and looked deeply into city plans to erect a monument to the largely mythological “underground railroad” of the mid-nineteenth century.

Hudson wrote in August 2014 that: “City Council approved spending $262,000 to dedicate a park and erect a statue to a woman who by all accounts never set foot in Niagara Falls, Harriet Tubman. The city’s actual role in the underground railroad movement is a speculative one. A study conducted by the city’s underground railroad commission in conjunction with Niagara University, was unable to identify a single site in the city with any indisputable connection to the underground railroad . . . Harriet Tubman’s connection to what is now the city of Niagara Falls is tenuous.”

What Hudson’s research revealed is how city and State governments often willfully engage in what is best-termed historical fraud for the purpose of attracting federal grant monies, and tourists. This will not bode well for the latter misled by the inaccurate displays masquerading as “history.”

Capitalizing on the Slavery Racket

Tubman Myth Central to DeSantis’ Plan for Future:

In one media account last week, it was reported that [city planner] Tom DeSantis would “love to have” a sculpture of Harriet Tubman standing outside the city’s new train station and Underground Railroad Interpretive Center, the latter being a monument to a “history” you can’t find in any history book. Why Harriet Tubman?

DeSantis didn’t say. But it doesn’t seem to be a big stretch to honor a history that never took place with a largely mythological figure who made her living telling tall tales about herself to gullible audiences predisposed to believe anything she said. [There] is but one reference anywhere to something allegedly happening in what is now the city of Niagara Falls.

And that one reference comes from “Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman,” a brief narrative written by grade school teacher Sarah H. Bradford that is often referred to as Tubman’s “autobiography.”

According to one paragraph in “Scenes of the Life of Harriet Tubman” by children’s book author Sarah Hopkins Bradford, Tubman accompanied a relative on a train that crossed the Suspension Bridge, near where the Whirlpool Bridge stands.

[The] Niagara Falls Reporter, discovered that of the 19 former slaves Tubman may actually have assisted, there is no proof whatsoever that a single one of them went over the old bridge at what is now the site of the Whirlpool Bridge.

Tubman, of course, could not write an autobiography. An illiterate, she couldn’t even write her own name. Bradford, the author of several children’s books, found Tubman virtually homeless in 1868, took pity, and wrote the book to raise money for Tubman’s care and feeding.

When it came out in 1869, “Scene’s in the Life of Harriet Tubman” was a bestseller. The book contains numerous verifiable whoppers, including an assertion that Jefferson Davis was dead, when he was very much alive, and that Tubman had led 300 former slaves to freedom. In fact, the highest number attributed to her by modern researchers is 70 and more sober estimates are 19, mostly relatives.

[Tubman] would be largely forgotten in Niagara Falls today were it not for the efforts of a man named Kevin Cottrell. Cottrell was a State Parks employee who also owned a business called “Motherland Connextions,” that promoted fairytale, sugar-coated stories of the underground railroad here for gullible tourists. He was employed on the condition that he would not sell his tours while being paid by the city to promote underground railroad “history.”

Cottrell repeatedly told daily newspaper and television reporters that Tubman led 300 escaped slaves across the Whirlpool Bridge to freedom in Canada. The reporters didn’t bother to check his tall tale out.”

(Tubman Myth Central to DeSantis’ Plans for the Future, Mike Hudson, Niagara Falls Reporter, August 2014, excerpts)

Nov 1, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Let the People Save the Union

Let the People Save the Union

Matthew Fontaine Maury made earnest efforts to avert war, maintain peace and insure to the South her equal rights in the Union. He addressed pathetic appeals to the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware “to stand in the breach and stop this fratricidal strife.” Governor William F. Packer of Pennsylvania believed a national convention of the States be called to settle the sectional difficulties peacefully.

The February 1861 Washington Peace Conference led by ex-President John Tyler attempted to find compromise, but failed due to hardline Republican opposition. Robert H. Hatton, a Tennessee Unionist in early 1861, summed up the Conference’s work: “We are getting along badly with our work of compromise – badly. We will break, I apprehend, without anything being done. God will hold some men to a fearful responsibility. My heart is sick.”

Governor Packer’s term ended on January 15, 1861; he was succeeded by Republican Governor Andrew G. Curtin who chose party above country.

Let the People Save the Union

To Governor Packer, Maury wrote: Observatory, Washington, January 3, 1861

“Dear Sir: When the affairs of a nation are disturbed, quiet people, however humble their station, may be justified in stepping a little out of their usual way. You recollect that, in the nullification times of South Carolina, Virginia stepped forward as mediator and sent her commissioners to that State with the happiest results.

But we are now in the midst of a crisis more alarming to the peace and integrity of the Union than those memorable times. We have the people in no less than seven of those States assembling, or preparing to assemble, in their sovereign capacity to decide, in the most solemn manner known to them, whether they will remain in the Union or no.

It does appear to me that in and out of Congress we are all at sea with the troubles that are upon us; that the people, and the people alone, are capable of extricating us. You, my dear sir, and your State – not Congress – have it in your power to bring the people into the “fair way” of doing this.

This brings me to the point of my letter: Then why will not the great State of Pennsylvania step forth as a mediator between the sections? Authorize your commissioner to pledge the faith of his State that their ultimatum shall not only be laid before the people of the Keystone State, assembled likewise in their sovereign capacity, but that she will recommend it to her sister States of the North for like action on their part, and so let the people, and not the politicians, decide whether this Union is to be broken up.

I am sanguine enough to believe that the great body of the Southern people entertain opinions, sentiments and feelings in conformity with my own in this matter.

With distinguished consideration, I have the honour to be, Respectfully, etc., M.F. Maury”

(From “Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury,” by his daughter, Mrs. Diana Corbin, Confederate Veteran, February 1924, excerpts pg. 48)

Oct 30, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Example of a Brave, Skillful, Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

An Example of a Brave, Skillful, Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

The following account of the presentation of the bust of Gen. R. E. Lee to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, England, was contributed [to the Confederate Veteran] by Mrs. L.R. Schuyler, who represented the United Daughters of the Confederacy on the occasion . . .

An Example of a Brave, Skillful Hard-Fighting Soldier and Gentleman

Mrs. Schuyler writes:

“We were met at the station by Lieutenant-Colonel Lickman, acting as an escort from the College. At Sandhurst, we were received by Major-General Corkran, Commandant, and Mrs. Corkran; Col. J.E. Turner, Assistant Commandant, and Mrs. Turner; and the other officers and their wives . . .

It is often easier to describe than to convey to the mind of another the sensations one experiences on an occasion of this kind, but I am sure that those who were present will never forget the thrill which each must have felt when I drew aside the Confederate flag which veiled the bust of General Lee (this flag the gift of Miss Jessica Randolph Smith, of North Carolina, daughter of the designer).

Instantly the officers drew to attention, saluted, and stood at attention, as did the entire audience, during the presentation of the bust. So intense was the stillness that suddenly I seemed to have been left alone with the “spirit of Lee,” and, when the applause broke forth, it was a rude awakening which brought me back from a communion with that great soul.

General Corkran said that on behalf of the college he gratefully accepted that memorial of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and he did so for the same reasons which he believed had prompted its donors to offer it. It was to preserve the name and keep before them the example of a brave, skillful, hard-fighting soldier and gentleman.

General Corkran was deeply interested to learn that the colors of our organization were the same as those of Sandhurst . . . As at the presentation of the bust of General Lee to Saint Cyr Military School, in France (which was a gift of our Chapter), it was my privilege to toast to our respective rulers and the College.

Mr. Sterling, Councillor of the American Embassy, representing Ambassador Kellogg (whose absence in Scotland prevented his attendance), made a short address after which, escorted by General Corkran, I placed red, white and blue flowers on the altar of the memorial chapel in the name of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.”

The following inscription appears on the base:

Robert Edward Lee 1807-1870

General Commanding the Armies of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865

Presented by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1914

(UDC Gift to England, Confederate Veteran, November 1924, excerpts pg. 412)

Oct 29, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Confessing Fears for Republicanism

Confessing Fears for Republicanism

Floridian Stephen R. Mallory served as the brilliant naval chief of the Confederacy, and developed the open-sea raider and ironclad solutions to his country’s grand deficit in naval power. A profound thinker, after the war he reflected upon the demise of the Founders’ republic, seeing that “times of high political excitement formed by sectional jealousies, local schemes for power, combinations and demagogues, becomes the most tyrannical form in which the power of man can be exercised.”

Confessing Fears for Republicanism

“This was his sober comment on the state if the Union as 1866 began: “When I calmly survey the condition of public sentiment and the condition and increase of the country now with their condition in 1826, just forty years ago, and the wonderful innovations made in that time upon what were held to be the rights of the States and the true principles of our government, I confess my fears for republicanism.

With a Union composed of a few compact States, and a limited population, it was easy to preserve the sovereignty of the States and to repress the tendency of the Central government, the agent of the States, to encroach upon their rights and powers.

But the difficulty of doing so increases with the growth of the country, the increase of area, population, Federal patronage, which places in the Executive hands a large standing Army and Navy and more offices and pensions to bestow than the Crown of England during the same term.

So greatly do I apprehend disastrous changes that as an American citizen today I would compromise upon a Government as just and stable as that of Britain. God preserve our Country, I pray, and may my fears prove unfounded.

A paper constitution is a very good thing usually so long as it lasts as intended by its framers; but it is necessarily open to construction; hence to change, and to such construction as to destroy its good and develop its bad features. As the country and people for whom it was written change, the paper constitution must change to suit them; and construction, not amendment, quietly affects, undermines and destroys it.”

(Stephen R. Mallory: Confederate Navy Chief; Joseph T. Durkin, University of North Carolina Press, 1954, excerpts pp. 377-378)

Oct 24, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders

An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders

“When Lloyd George, wartime premier of Great Britain, visited Richmond, he paid tribute to the South and its two great soldiers, Jackson and Lee.

Accompanied by Governor [Elbert Lee] Trinkle and others, he went over the battleground of the Seven Days’ fighting around Richmond in 1862; returning he visited the monuments to Jackson and Lee and laid wreaths upon them, baring his head for several minutes in reverence.

He agreed that the World War had developed no military commander like either of these Southern leaders and ventured the opinion that the history of America might have been different had Stonewall Jackson lived. (Rockbridge County News)”

(An Englishman’s Tribute to Confederate Leaders, Confederate Veteran, July 1924, excerpt pg. 284)

Oct 13, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Baptized with Blood at Manassas

Baptized with Blood at Manassas

“Jackson believed in the Southern cause, as if it had been a revelation from God . . . Jackson believed that the war of invasion was a heartless crusade against mankind and womankind, and the civilization of the South, and the higher law proclamation was the aftermath of the pernicious broadcasting of seed sown by Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and Joshua R. Giddings.

Jackson believed that the “Grand Army” in holiday attire, with flaunting banners and careering squadrons, were an aggregation of iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of images, creeds, institutions, traditions homes, country. So believed he when the “Anaconda” with panting sides drew back to strike.

Man to man, bayonet to bayonet, cannon to cannon, bosom to bosom, here was challenged the asserted right of coercion, of frenzy against frenzy, patriotism, anger, vanity, hope, despair; each facing and meeting the other like dark clashing whirlwinds.

Eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, and Jackson with folded arms, occupies the plateau near the “Henry House.” Just beyond is a dark confused death wrestle. Forty thousand athletes against eighty thousand athletes; two hundred odd iron throats perpetually vomiting an emetic of death.

There is . . . the order given, and the “old Stonewall Brigade” is hurled like an immense projectile against ranks of human flesh. There is a halt, a recoil; cannon spit out their fire, their hail, their death upon bosoms bared to the shock. “There stands Jackson like a Stonewall.” Under that name he was baptized with blood at Manassas.

Everywhere that faded coat and tarnished stars were the oriflame of battle and the old brigade followed them as if they had been the white plume of Navarre.

This incomparable leader never failed in a single battle from the day when with 2800 men at Manassas, where he cut their communications and decoyed their columns into the iron jaws of Longstreet’s reserves. Such achievements were not accidental. No maneuver could mislead the clear judgment that presided serenely in that soul of fire.

Lifeless eyes and voiceless lips now, had cheered these flags with the same joy that once greeted the eagles of Napoleon. Withered skeleton hands now, had borne them at the head of charging squadrons and battalions, the guidons of victorious armies – the guerdon of a nation’s trust and faith.

If out of the cold, dead white stars could come again the old gleam of light as it lighted up the line of direction over the mountain passes of Virginia and the valley of the Shenandoah, what a halo of glory would encircle Winchester and Gordonsville and Chantilly!

How dramatic the narrative; how truthful the history; how inspiring the reminiscence; how fully and completely vindicated the Old South – the lost cause! But there is no light in the stars, and the broad bands of blue upon the blood-red field are disfiguring scars upon the face of an incident long since closed, and closed forever, full of tragedy and patriotism.”

(The Broken Sword; Or, a Pictorial Page of Reconstruction, D. Worthington, P.D. Gold & Sons, 1901, excerpts pp. 104-107)

Oct 12, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Black Hills Not For Sale

Black Hills Not For Sale

After conquering Americans with a scorched-earth strategy in 1865, Northern generals turned their sights on the Plains Indians who stood in the way of railroads, expanding industrialism and gold. Sherman, pressed by his mentor Grant, presided over the relocation and extermination of thousands of Indians, as well as the virtual annihilation of the wild Buffalo those Indians depended upon for food.

As Lincoln instigated his war to protect the tariff income of the US Government, Grant would do the same to retrieve prosperity at the expense of the Indians.

Black Hills Not For Sale

“Mysterious and remote . . . the Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux and – until Custer’s expedition – almost unknown to the whites, save for rumors of gold.

In 1873, a financial panic gripped the country. With the national debt over $2 billion, the Grant administration was in desperate need of way to replenish a cash-starved economy. As had been proven in California back in 1849 and more recently in the Rockies, there was no quicker way to invigorate the country’s financial system than to discover gold.

Despite the fact that it required them to trespass on what was legally Sioux land, General Philip Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, which extended all the way west to the Rockies, ordered Custer and the Seventh Cavalry to escort an exploring expedition from Fort Lincoln, just down the Missouri River from Bismarck, in modern North Dakota, to the Black Hills.

The supposed aim of the Black Hills Expedition of 1874 was to find a suitable site for a fort. However, the makeup of the column suggested that another, far more exciting goal was being considered. Included in Custer’s thousand-man expedition were President Grant’s eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Dent Grant; three newspaper reporters; a photographer; and two experienced gold miners.

Much to Custer’s surprise, the Indians proved few and far between once the regiment entered the Black Hills. On August 2, after several weeks . . . the expedition discovered gold “right from the grass roots.” Over the next hundred years, more gold would be extracted from a single mine in the Black Hills (an estimated $1 billion) than from any other mine in the continental United States.

In the beginning, the government made only nominal efforts to prevent miners from intruding on the Black Hills. But by the summer of 1875 there were so many US citizens in the region that the Grant administration decided it must purchase the hills from the Sioux. When the Sioux refused to sell, the administration had no choice but to instigate a war.”

(The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking Press, 2010, excerpts pp. 3-4)

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