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Jun 22, 2018 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Narragansett Planters

The Narragansett Planters

“[The] Narragansett planters” of Rhode Island had also a reputation for generous living.  Indentured servants came in from England and Ireland . . . Prosperous families, especially in the larger towns, often had one or more Negro slaves and there was no general feeling against the practice, though a few protests were heard. Rhode Island [by 1740] had the largest proportion of Negroes and the Narragansett planters used slave labor more than any other part of New England.

Generally speaking, the small farmers of New England could not use Negro slaves to much purpose.”

(The Foundations of American Nationality, Evarts Boutell Greene, American Book Company, 1922, excerpt pg. 266)

May 20, 2018 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Stonewall Jackson’s Military Genius

Stonewall Jackson’s Military Genius

Stonewall Jackson’s Military Genius

In his 2004 book “The Deceivers, Allied Military Deception in the Second World War,” author Thaddeus Holt writes that “Stonewall Jackson was the “great-great-great grandfather of modern British deception.” He also notes that British General Sir Archibald Wavell was fond of quoting Jackson’s strategic mantra, “mystify and mislead the enemy,” as he spread deceptive radio communications he knew his Japanese adversary would intercept in June of 1942.

 

 

Holt writes in his Prologue admiringly of Jackson:

“June 1862. For two months Stonewall Jackson has marched and counter-marched his little C0nfederate army in a bewildering choreography up and down the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, striking where least expected and disappearing again, leaving four different Union commanders wondering what had hit them.

Now he slipped his army across the Blue Ridge to join Lee’s main body for a surprise attack upon McClellan’s host bearing down on Richmond. If the Yankees should suspect even for a moment that this is happening, the telegraph will flash the word to Washington and thence to McClellan. So they must be made to act on the belief that Jackson is headed down the Valley towards the Potomac in pursuit of retreating Federals.

To this end Jackson has directed his engineers to perform a new topographical survey of the Valley, as if he were planning a further campaign there. He has ordered rumors spread of an impending advance to the Potomac.

He has sent cavalry to follow the enemy retreat, and the troopers themselves have no idea where their infantry is. His outpost lines and cavalry screen are airtight. His officers have been told nothing. His men have no notion what is afoot; they have been instructed to answer all questions with “I don’t know,” and have been forbidden even to ask the names of villages they pass through.

[Jackson] himself is riding ahead to Richmond incognito. And in a few days his men will pour yelling out of the woods against McClellan’s right wing. “Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy,” Jackson said once to one of his generals. He is a master of that game.”

Fast forward to 1900. Colonel G.F.R. Henderson is a distinguished military historian and scholar, who since 1892 has been Professor of Military Art and History at the British Staff College . . . Henderson is the closest of all students of Stonewall Jackson. His two-volume biography of the Confederate genius, published in 1898, is (and a century later will still be) one of the masterpieces of Civil War studies.

The greatest general, says Henderson, is “he who compels his adversary to make the most mistakes,” whose imagination can produce “stratagems which brings mistakes about;” and in this respect he compares Jackson to Wellington – “Both were masters of ruse and stratagem” – and contrasts him with Grant, who had “no mystery about his operations” and “no skill in deceiving his adversary.”

(The Deceivers, Allied Military Deception in the Second World War, Thaddeus Holt, Scribner, 2004, excepts pp. 1-3)

A Postwar Conversation with Mr. Davis

A Postwar Conversation with Mr. Davis

“Mr. Davis once talked to me long and earnestly on the [postwar] condition of the South. Among other things he said:

“There is no question that the white people of the South are better off for the abolition of slavery. It is an equally patent fact that the colored people are not. If the colored people shall develop a proper degree of thrift, and get a degree of education to keep pace with any advancement they may make, they may become a tenantry which will enable the South to rebuild the waste places and become immensely wealthy.

The colored people have many good traits, and many of them are religious. Indeed, the 4,000,000 in the South when the War began were Christianized from barbarism. In that respect the South has been a greater practical missionary than all the society missionaries in the world.”

War was not necessary to the abolition of slavery, continued Mr. Davis. “Years before the agitation began at the North and the menacing acts to the institution, there was a growing feeling all over the South for its abolition.

But the Abolitionists of the North, both by publications and speech, cemented the South and crushed the feeling in favor of emancipation. Slavery could have been blotted out without the sacrifice of brave men and without the strain which revolution always makes upon established forms of government.

I see it stated that I uttered the sentiment, or indorsed it, that, “slavery is the cornerstone of the Confederacy.” That is not my utterance.”

(Life and Death of Jefferson Davis, A.C. Bancroft, editor, Crown Rights Books, 1999 (original 1889), excerpts pp. 152-154)

 

The Grant Era’s Comprehensive Rascality

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State in US Grant’s second term, was said to be “the representative of a sterner, simpler American age,” and one who “took a just pride in his old-fashioned conceptions of integrity and morals.” He was certainly appalled by the corruption and endless scandals that dogged Grant’s presidency, and most certainly contemplated in quiet moments just what the true outcome of the South’s defeat portended for the United States. Grant’s impeached secretary of war, William Belknap, accompanied Sherman in 1864-65 on the Georgia-Carolinas looting expedition.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org

 

The Grant Era’s Comprehensive Rascality

“The festering corruptions of the post-war period sprang up in every part of America and in almost every department of national life. Other loose and scandalous times . . . had been repellent enough; but the Grant era stands unique in the comprehensiveness of its rascality.

President Grant is chargeable with a heavy responsibility for some scandals of the day; just how heavy [Secretary of States Hamilton] Fish soon saw, and subsequent pages based upon his diary and letters will show.

Honest as to money himself, [Grant] was the source of more dishonesty than any other American president. His responsiveness to such great moneyed interests as Jay Cooke represented was a national calamity. But when we look at the scandals, his responsibility was for the most part general, not specific; indirect, not direct. At some points he cannot be defended.

The role he played in crippling the Whiskey Ring prosecutions and the impeachment of [Grant’s Secretary of War, William] Belknap offers the darkest single page in the history of the Presidency. For this and for his arbitrary acts in the South, he was far more worthy of impeachment than Andrew Johnson. But with most scandals of the time he obviously had nothing to do. The Credit Mobilier affair can as little be laid at his door as the [Boss] Tweed Ring thefts.

The American people always derives much of its tone from its President. It is strenuous under a Theodore Roosevelt, idealistic under a Wilson, slothful under a Coolidge. Lowell was correct in these years in writing, “a strong nation begets strong citizens, and a weak one weak.”

Plainly, Grant’s administration was one in which almost anything might happen. More and more, it carried about it an atmosphere of stratagems and spoils. Uneasiness, in fact, henceforth haunted [Fish]. What if [Grant’s] backdoor clique really took control of the government? But Fish was of a religious temperament; and he may have heard of Bismarck’s statement that a special Providence existed for fools, drunkards and the United States.”

(Hamilton Fish, the Inner History of the Grant Administration, Allan Nevins, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1937, excerpts pp. 641-642; 666)

Feb 25, 2018 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Shooting, Starving and Enlisting Prisoners

Shooting, Starving and Enlisting Prisoners

As a whip to encourage Southern prisoners to enlist in the Northern army, starvation was utilized, black soldiers appointed as guards and told to shoot prisoners at will, and officials gave notice that a “drawing for hostages in retaliation for the Fort Pillow massacre” was to take place at some early day. If a Southern soldier was prompted to enlist, he was destined to become an army laborer and if captured by Southern forces, was sure to be executed for desertion and treason. The following is related by a South Carolina soldier imprisoned at Point Lookout — the largest Northern prison camp and with the worst reputation as a “death camp.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org

 

Shooting, Starving, and Enlisting Prisoners

“About this time (January 1864) General B.F. Butler was made Commissary of Prisoners, and in the discharge of his duty he paid us a visit. He was welcomed in such a manner as a parcel of defiant “Rebels” could welcome him, with hisses, curses and groans; notwithstanding which, he made us some good promises. Among others, that we should be better treated, have more wood, more food and plenty of clothes. As we knew this to be so many empty words, it produced no effect upon us.

One of his first acts was to relieve one of the white regiments as a guard, and place in its stead the Thirty-sixth North Carolina colored regiment. They were quite a curiosity to many, as they had never, previous to this time, seen any colored troops. We knew their intense hatred for us, and we were well aware that the slightest demonstration on our part would be used as a pretext for firing into us.

A guard of Negroes was sent through the camp to search [for a missing knapsack], and the manner in which they performed it was observable in the number of bleeding heads among the prisoners. They had to beat them over the head to compel them to tell who did it. For this conduct, their [white] officers praised them, and told them to shoot whenever they felt like doing so, and right well they did obey this order . . . The shooting of a prisoner was looked upon as an everyday affair, especially when the shooting was done by a Negro.

In accordance with Gen. Butler’s promise, to give us more rations, our meagre supply of coffee was cut off. This was not so much of a deprivation to us as might be supposed, for the coffee was “slop water” in every respect.

As the United States officers used every means to induce the prisoners to take the oath [to the US government] it is fair to presume that the “best Government the sun ever shone upon” was now reduced to the policy of starving men into allegiance into it.

The water, which could be used in the winter in moderate quantities only, was now in such a condition as to be totally unfit for use. In May [1864], large numbers of the wounded from Grant’s army were brought to the hospitals, situated on the point outside. This water was used to wash their wounds, and gangrene made its appearance.

The health of the [prisoners] began to fail rapidly, and soon the prisoners’ hospital was crowded. Fever in every shape abounded, and small pox was epidemic. Men who were seen in the morning, apparently in health, were taken to the “Dead House” in the afternoon . . . and die before they could be carried to the tents.

Fears of death, either by disease or the hands of the Negroes, forced many true Southern soldiers to think of taking the oath. This could be readily done, by application to the proper authorities, and a release obtained – only, however to be drafted into the United States army.”

Prison Experience, Sgt. James T., Wells, Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume VII, January to December 1879, excerpts pp. 393-396)

 

Jan 13, 2018 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on No Pension for Deserters

No Pension for Deserters

 

While a North Carolina State Legislator in 1902, Locke Craig debated North Carolina’s Republican US Senator Jeter Pritchard at Charlotte and denounced the Republican practice of rewarding those who had committed treason against North Carolina during its struggle for political independence.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

No Pension for Deserters

“[The Republicans complain that] two hundred thousand dollars went to pension the Confederate soldiers. We will take care of these old veterans, we owe them a debt of gratitude. In the wreck and ruin of war we were rich in the priceless heritage of their memory.

“These were men whom death could not terrify, whom defeat could not dishonor.” They glorified the fallen cause by the simple manhood of their lives and by the heroism of their death. They have cast over the South the glamour or an immortal chivalry and consecrated the cause of Dixie with the blood of an immortal sacrifice. It was devotion like this that made the South, though torn and bleeding, beautiful and splendid in her desolation, and in her woe.

For forty years they have been the builders of the New South and the projectors of her larger destiny. The Federal Government provides for the soldiers that followed its flag. That is right. We will provide for the soldiers of the armies of the “storm-cradled nation that fell.”

When Senator Pritchard was a member of the Legislature in 1895 he and his party voted against giving one cent of pension to the needy heroes that had hobbled home on crutches from Appomattox.

There is one class of men whom we do not believe in pensioning – the deserter. There are men here who remember the last two years of the war. The world was against us. Armies were crashing down upon us like a ring of fire. Sherman was marching to the sea and leaving behind him ashes and desolation. In that time there were men whose courage never faltered.

Ragged and hungry and bleeding they stood in the trenches around Richmond and Petersburg. They stood with an unfailing devotion, though sometimes they knew that their little ones at home were living on the corn they picked up from the wagon ruts of the invading armies. They died remembering Dixie like the Greeks remembering Argos – in the language of the old song: “While one kissed a ringlet of thin gray hair and one kissed a lock of brown.”

But there were some who did not stand. Traitors and deserters they were. They turned their backs upon the only home and country that they ever had. They sneaked through the lines. They threw away their old gray uniform and put on the blue. They came back to shoot and kill, to rob the defenseless wives and mothers of their comrades who were fighting and dying at the front; to burn their homes and to murder the innocent.

To these men Senator Pritchard has given a royal pension. He said to the hero of the Confederacy that he might starve, but with the money of the honest people he feeds and clothes the deserter.

Yes, I denounce this in the name of the forty thousand sons of North Carolina who sleep tonight beneath the sod in the battle-scarred bosom of old Virginia. I denounce it in the name of the men who rushed defiant of death through the storm of Chickamauga and Gettysburg. In the name of every Confederate soldier I denounce it. In memory of the women who were robbed and the men who were murdered I denounce it. In the name of all brave men who love courage and despise cowardice, who believe in fidelity to comrades and in love for home and in loyalty to a great cause, I denounce this infamous act. I do not stand alone.

Here is the resolution of the last Reunion of Confederate Veterans of North Carolina:

“Resolved, That we condemn and denounce the Act of Congress which rewards treachery and perfidy in giving pensions to Confederate deserters for fighting against their former flag and comrades.”

The judgment of the South is that the party that starves the soldier and pensions the deserter should be accursed forever.

The child has not yet been born in North Carolina that will see the day when the party that has degraded our people . . . will be restored to power. The new day has dawned, but the judgment has been pronounced against this Republican party. Democracy, united, enthusiastic and steadfast in its purpose to guard the welfare of all the people, to protect North Carolina from the hand of the despoiler, to promote the upbuilding of this great State, marches forward with victorious assurances.”

(Speech (excerpt) of Hon. Locke Craig, Joint Debate with Sen. Jeter Pritchard, October 9, 1902, Memoirs and Speeches of Locke Craig, Hackney & Moale Company, 1923, pp. 85-88)

Jul 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on A Splendid Propaganda Agency

A Splendid Propaganda Agency

The North’s “Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War” is considered a sinister “court of the star chamber” and American equivalent of the inquisition. Though the committee was highly critical of Lincoln’s actions, the latter eventually cooperated with Radical demands and to his political advantage. Neither Grant nor Sherman experienced duress from the committee, most likely due to their total war policy against the South, though others who faced their wrath faced accusations of treason and were consigned to obscurity.  The committee’s wartime propaganda regarding Fort Pillow and Andersonville resonate to this day.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Splendid Propaganda Agency

“When the Joint Committee was established on December 10, 1861, it was empowered “to enquire into the conduct of the present war.” Consisting of three members of the Senate and three representatives, it could “send for persons and papers, and sit during sessions of either House of Congress.” After 1864, it was also given power to investigate war contracts and expenditures . . .

[The] committee was co-sponsored by Radicals and conservatives, but because the chairman and leading members were Radicals, it was soon identified with the extremist branch of the Republican party and became its principal agency of pressure and propaganda.

Possibly because of their radicalism and because of their desire to function effectively, the members decided to hold their meetings in secret. In their room in the capitol basement they ceaselessly interrogated contractors, public officials and military personnel of all ranks, seeking reasons for failure and delay and ferreting out corruption and inefficiency.

I carrying out these activities, the members . . . sought to remove conservative generals from active command, especially George B. McClellan and his supporters. Lincoln was by no means indifferent to [Radical demands] . . . and decided to dismiss him.

[The] committee was a splendid propaganda agency. Its investigations of “rebel barbarities,” first at Manassas and then at Fort Pillow (to say nothing of its revelations about the treatment of Union soldiers in Southern prison camps), resulted in fiery pamphlets calculated to stir the spirit of the North. The members excelled in this work, and there is little doubt that their reports accomplished their purpose.

General Fitz-John Porter, one of McClellan’s supporters and an outspoken critic of the Radicals, was court-martialed and dismissed from the service after Second [Manassas] for alleged failure . . . and the Radicals were looking for a scapegoat . . .

After [Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s] disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg, [he testified before the committee] and fully restored their faith in the general who talked like a Radical. Interested in blaming his conservative subordinates for Burnside’s misfortunes, the committee sought to refurbish his reputation by writing a favorable report about him and generally lauding his good qualities.

The accession of Andrew Johnson seemed to give the committee one last opportunity to gain influence. Having once been a member of the group, the new President was considered favorably inclined toward [Radical] views . . . [and] who agreed that treason must be made infamous and traitors impoverished.”

(The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Hans L. Trefousse, Civil War History, The Journal of the Middle Period, Kent State University Press, March 1964, Volume 10, No. 1, excerpts, pp. 6; 8-9, 16; 18)

Apr 30, 2017 - Foreign Viewpoints, Slavery Comes to America, Slavery Worldwide, Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

The erroneous belief in today’s popular culture that the American South was the only region in North America tainted by African slavery is contradicted by Carter Woodson’s writings. He states “[In] my article on “The Slave in Canada,” printed in The Journal of Negro History for July, 1920, (Vol. V, No. 3), several instances of Negro slavery in Canada were given. The latest is mentioned in Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques for October, 1927, (Vol. XXXIII, No. 10), at p. 584. I translate it from the French the article referred to.”  Additionally, while Michigan was still a territory, complaints of Canadian slaves escaping across the border into Michigan were common.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

An Early Canadian Slave Transaction

“Honorable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of Appeal, Ontario.

In July, 1748, Jean-Pierre Roma, Commandant for the (French) King at the island of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), on his passage to Quebec, made a singular gift to his friend, Fleury de la Gorgendiere, (the younger). He gave him a mulatto girl, five months old and named Marie.

The gift made to Mr. Fleury de la Gorgendiere is explained by the fact that the mother of the child, the slave of Roma, died in giving it birth. Roma not being able to charge himself with raising the orphan, preferred to give it to M. Fleury de la Gorgendiere.

The deed of gift was drawn up by the Notary, Jean-Claude Panet, July 15, 1748; and in it is the stipulation that in case of the death of Fleury and his wife, the mulatto will return Mdll. Roma (her grandmother). If she cannot take her it is stipulated that she will receive her freedom.

Such sales of the creatures of God may seem curious – they were, however, according to the customs of the time and were made almost in every country.”

(Journal of Negro History, Carter G. Woodson, editor, Vol. XIII, No. 2, April, 1928, page 207)

Confederate Monument Entrusted to Public Servants

The following is a news account of the unveiling of the Confederate Monument in Lumberton, North Carolina in 1907, a scene replicated across the South in similar ceremonies which honored the service and sacrifice of Southern men who left their homes and families to defend their State and country.  It is important to note that these monuments were left to the custody of public authorities who were expected to provide perpetual care and faithfully honor the men who gave their lives for political freedom and liberty.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Robeson County Confederate Monument Unveiling, Friday, 10 May, 1907

(Transcribed from The Robesonian of 13 May, 1907.)

“The most notable day in the history of Robeson county was the unveiling of the Confederate monument on Friday, the Tenth of May. This occasion had long been looked forward to, and by daybreak people were gathering from every direction. Carriages, buggies, wagons, carts, automobiles, wheels and every kind of vehicle was put in use on that day to bring the people interested.

By ten ‘clock it was with difficulty that one could make his way along the streets. Never before has such an immense crowd been assembled in Robeson county. No drinking, no misbehavior of any kind was witnessed that day. A matter of much comment was the splendid appearance of those present. Robeson well has a right to feel proud of her citizenship.

The streets and public buildings of the town were elaborately and beautifully decorated in national colors, and suspended across Main Street, banners were hung with the word “Welcome” on them in letters to catch the eye of every passerby. On the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, a booth was beautifully decorated, and here the badges of the day were bestowed upon the Veterans.

Governor [Robert B.] Glenn was met at the train at 10 o’clock, and driven in a carriage to the handsome home of Col. N. A. McLean. The Red Springs Daughters of the Confederacy were met at the station and taken to the home of Mr. & Mrs. McIntyre, where a splendid reception was tendered them.

The parade started at 11 o’clock at the Waverly hotel, in charge of Capt. A. J. McKinnon, chief marshal. First came the marshals, numbering about 75, on prancing horses with sashes of national colors flying in the breeze, making as fine an appearance of any body of horsemen could desire; following in succession came the Lumberton and Maxton brass bands, making every pulse [quicken] as they steadily marched and played stirring martial music; [then] the Maxton Guards, Lumber Bridge Infantry, Camps Ryan Hoke and Rowland [of the] United Confederate Veterans, numbering about five hundred, led by Capt. [James] I. Metts of Wilmington . . . the old Confederate flag of the Fifty-first [North Carolina] Regiment was borne by Gen. S. J. Cobb, marching to the time of the music and wearing with pride their badges of honor.

The sight of these veterans, the men who faced death long ago for their country and future generations [inspired] the hearts of all, and too, it was a scene of pathos. Some who received lifelong injuries, and others who faced the guns and death so fearlessly in the 60’s are bowed with age, but from the eyes of these worn veterans, flashed the fires of old time courage and vigor. As they marched along cheer after cheer arose from the vast throng and the enthusiasm was great.

Last in the parade came the floats of Maxton, Red Springs, Fairmont, Lumberton, and several others, all beautifully and tastefully decorated in national colors. The individuality of the different floats was striking; not one in arrangement bore any resemblance to another, yet all were beautifully planned and decorated.

In the Maxton float was Miss Bonnie Dixie McBryde, and sponsors. After marching around the town, the parade proceeded to the court house square, where they halted and Governor Glenn, Miss McBryde and others who were to take part in the program, were assembled on the improvised rostrum beside the monument, in the midst of the gaze of thousands of curious, interested eyes.

The seats arranged on the grounds of the court house square, were soon filled with veterans, and th4 masses were gathered as closely around the platform as possible, in order that they might hear each word that fe4ll from the lips of their beloved and honored governor.

Mr. Stephen McIntyre was master of ceremonies, fittingly welcomed the visitors and expressed [the] regret of the committee that the monument was not complete; the statue having failed to arrive in time for erection.

He spoke of the energy and determination and devotion of those who had caused the monument to be erected, [and] in glowing terms of commendation, making mention of our worthy county Treasurer, M.G. McKenzie, who for the past ten years had labored toward the end which is at last attained.

The choir sang in ringing voices, the old but ever new song, the “Old North State,” after which Miss Bonnie McBryde, the accomplished and attractive young daughter of Capt. Thomas A. McBryde, pulled the cord that caused the white veil to fall, revealing the monument, standing there in solemn grandeur, to the eager gaze of thousands. A wild, joyous cheer rose from the throats of all, mingling with a dozen factory whistles and the military salute, three volley being fired.

Miss Katie Lee McKinnon then beautifully recited “The Conquered Banner.” Miss McKinnon is a reciter of exceptional ability, and her very successful effort was warmly appreciated and brought tears to the eyes of many, as she spoke in thrilling tones.

Governor Glenn was presented by Mr. S. McIntyre, who said that no introduction of Governor R.B. Glenn was needed, for his name throughout the State was synonymous with progress and advancement, intellectual and moral. He welcomed him to the county of Robeson in most admirable and suitable words.

Governor Glenn arose and addressed the people . . . his kind benevolent countenance won the hearts of the spectators from the beginning [and a] hush fell on that vast throng and all listened with bated breath to one of the most masterly efforts ever produced in Robeson. He assured his hearers in the beginning that the purpose of the gathering was not only to unveil the monument erected to those who had met death in a noble cause, but to give a hearty handshake to those who still linger, and to instill noble aspirations and loyalty in the hearts of the coming generations. He paid a most splendid and touching tribute to the veterans who sat facing him, that the world has never seen braver or more worthy soldiers than those who followed Lee and Jackson from 1861 to 1865; that none were more deserving than those who went from North Carolina, the Tar Heel State, the grandest commonwealth south of the Mason and Dixon line.

In glowing terms that inspired his hearers, he spoke of the glorious deeds done in the 60s by the gallant sons of the Old North State. His recitals of the deeds done by the North Carolina sons at Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg [and] Appomattox was thrilling and carried the thoughts of listening veterans back, – back, to the cruel hardships of war. North Carolina, he said, entered the great struggle unwillingly, but once started, there was no turning back. Always in the midst of the battle, with a never-faltering courage, they deserved the highest tribute which could be paid them.

While Governor Glenn said the men of the South were brave and noble, he said the women were even more so. Without the courage and never failing sympathy of the good women of the South, they could never have held out [against the enemy] as they did.

In his closing remarks he besought the veterans to live lives of honor and such as would entitle them to enter and belong to the Great Army and serve under the banner of the Great Captain. He urged the young people that they live such lives as will make them worthy of the responsibilities of the future, [and] that they might worthily take the places of the older ones when they should pass away and be able to finish the task committed to their care with honor.

When Governor Glenn took his seat, there arose cheer after cheer [and] the people were most enthusiastic in their enjoyment and appreciation of his powerful address.

Crosses of Honor were presented to 15 Veterans when the address closed. After which, the monument was formally turned over to the custody and care of the commissioners of Robeson county, and Rev. C.H. Durham dismissed the audience.

An elaborate dinner was spread on tables in the court house yard where the veterans and military were served dinner. At 4:50PM the Daughters of the Confederacy visited the graves of Confederate soldiers which they covered with many beautiful flowers. The occasion was one which will live long in the memories of all who attended. It was the biggest day Lumberton has ever known. The crowd was estimated at seven thousand people.”

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

 

With Lincoln’s revolutionary actions in April 1861 — assuming the power to raise armies, suspect habeas corpus at will and arrest Supreme Court justices who defied him — the presidency changed from one of conciliation and compromise to near dictatorship. He and his liberal Northern power base concentrated all power in Washington, and thus ended the formerly decentralized federation of republics. The office of president became an end in itself with powers remaining impaired today, and never-ending crusades.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

“Since the beginning of this century, American liberalism has made little measurable progress toward two of its most important goals: a more equitable distribution of income and an improved level of public services. Confronted by the realities of corporate power and the conservatism of Congress, the reforming zeal of the liberal state has been easily frustrated.

This is mirrored in the stymied hopes of the New Freedom by 1916, the stalemate of the New Deal by 1938, and the dissolution of the Great Society by 1966. What is left by these aborted crusades is not the hard substance of reform but rather the major instrument of change – the powerful central state.

The demands of a strong central government and an aggressive foreign policy were ideologically reinforcing. The liberal search for national unity and an expanding domestic economy could not be separated from the vision of an internationalist order which was “safe from war and revolution and open to the commercial and moral expansion of American liberalism. This was a vision shared by Woodrow Wilson and Cordell Hull.

To Hull and Wilson, and later Dean Rusk, peace required the structuring of diplomacy through an elaborate network of collective security arrangements; prosperity demanded the removal of national trade barriers.

Such a vision . . . could not contain within it the forces of either revolution or reaction and led almost inevitably to a foreign policy marked by conflict and crisis. Each new foreign policy crisis in turn strengthened the state apparatus and made the “National Idea” seem even more appropriate – a development which liberals, especially of the New Deal vintage, could only see as benign.

Peace and prosperity, political themes of the Eisenhower years, were considered indulgences by Kennedy liberals . . . Eisenhower’s cautious leadership was considered without national purpose. To those liberals the American mission could be no less than “the survival and success of liberty.”

The “National Idea,” glorified by such transcendent goals, became a Universal Mission, viz., Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s assessment, “The United States has an active and vital interest in the destiny of every nation on the planet.” President’s felt mandated not to complete a mere domestic program but rather, to quote the Kennedy inaugural, “to create a new world of freedom.”

Nevertheless, such missionary rhetoric was eminently compatible with the liberal vision of governmental problem solving and reform emanating from the top. For those who gloried in the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the president was the incarnation of the “National Idea,” or in Richard Neustadt’s phrase, “the sole crown-like symbol of the Union.”

After a generation of such fawning rhetoric, it is little wonder that the modern president’s conception of himself bears closer resemblance to the fascist notion of the state leader than even to a Burkean concept of democratic leadership. As President Nixon described his role, “He (the president) must articulate the nation’s values, define it goals and marshal its will.

Republican presidents replaced Democratic presidents without affecting the slightest diminution of executive power. At the propitious moment of international crisis the Congress is circumvented, the public, then most vulnerable to demagoguery and deception, is confronted with a fireside chat, a special address, or a televised press conference.

The result, as conservative James Burnham has pointed out, is Caesarism – the culmination of the executive state: “The mass of people and the individual Caesar, with the insulation of the intermediary institutions removed, become like two electric poles . . . the vote is reduced to a primitive Yes-No . . . and the assemblies become a sounding board for amplifying Caesar’s voice.”

(The Ideology of the Executive State, Robert J. Bressler; Watershed of Empire, Essays on New Deal Foreign Policy, L. Liggio and J. Martin, editors, excerpts, pp. 2-7)

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