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Dec 7, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Making Trouble Generally in the South

Making Trouble Generally in the South

At Fredericksburg in December 1862, Lee’s 70,000 men repulsed the North’s 114,000-man army and inflicted heavy casualties. The latter army looted the town before advancing against Lee, and blue-clad soldiers, many in Gen. Meagher’s brigade of Irishmen, were “found dead . . . with women’s shawls and bonnets on.” Lincoln replaced this discredited commander with yet another general, under orders to defeat Lee and lay waste to Richmond. This was not to be a war to effect reunion, but to conquer and subjugate those States wishing to form a more perfect union.

Making Trouble Generally in the South

“As May, 1863 approached, the prospects of the South looked far more favorable, and the victories of Cold Harbor, Cedar Run, the Second Manassas and Fredericksburg had inspired the troops with enthusiasm. In Virginia, two years of arduous struggle had not enabled the Federal authorities to penetrate beyond the Rappahannock; and on the southern banks of that river . . . the long lines of Confederate pickets warned the enemy that any attempt to cross would be resisted by the army which had repulsed them in December at Fredericksburg.

What had, however, a direct bearing on the Virginia campaign . . . was the evident impression among many of the most prominent politicians at the North, that unless the approaching campaign was successful, the [Northern] government was must make peace upon the basis of separation and Southern independence.

The New York “Tribune” announced the programme of operations which the times demanded, and gave its views as follows:

“Having massed our forces and filled our depots and caissons, charge upon the rebels in every quarter – assailing their ports with iron-clads, their armies with stronger armies, fighting resolutely but warily with intent to capture their strongholds and exhaust their resources – while expeditions of light-armed black Unionists, carrying only arms and ammunition, traverse those portions of Rebeldom most exposed and thickly populated with slaves, carrying liberty to all who wish it, and arms wherewith to defend it; moving rapidly and evading all fortified points and overpowering forces, while breaking up railroads and telegraph lines, and making trouble generally.”

If this “making trouble generally” by black Unionists and others did not attain its object, then the war must be given up by the North.

“If three months more of earnest fighting,” said the “Tribune,” “shall not serve to make a serious impression on the rebels – if the end of that term shall find us no further advanced than at its beginning – if some malignant fate has decreed that the blood and treasure of the nation shall ever be squandered in fruitless efforts – let us bow to our destiny, and make the best attainable peace.”

(Life of Stonewall Jackson: A Military Biography, John Esten Cooke, D. Appleton & Company, 1876, excerpts pp. 395-396)

Dec 2, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Though much of his background is based on oral history and tradition, Thomas Day is believed to have been born near Milton, North Carolina in either Halifax or Pittsylvania County. This son of free black mother Morning S. Day, was born in 1801, and his father is unknown.

On 27 November 1851 Thomas Day wrote his daughter: “I am perfectly satisfied regarding Milton – I came here to stay four years & am here 7 times four [28 years] I love the place no better no worse than [the] first day I came into it.” It can be inferred from this that Day arrived in Milton about 1823, and in 1827 when he was listed in tax records as a property owner.

He appears in a March 1, 1827 advertisement in the Milton Gazette & Roanoke Advertiser as “Thomas Day, Cabinet Maker” thanking his customers for the business received from them as well as hawking “a handsome supply of mahogany, walnut and stained furniture, the most fashionable and common bedsteads, etc.”

Prior to arriving in Milton, Day appears to be a 22-year-old trained and an apprenticed cabinetmaker, and only four years later has accumulated sufficient wealth to purchase property and a Milton business address.

Thomas married free black Aquila Wilson of Virginia in 1830, but could not bring her into North Carolina which in 1827 had forbid the immigration of free blacks into the State. This was the result of inflammatory anti-slavery rhetoric and publications emanating from the North – ironically from those whose neighbors and fathers had engaged in the transatlantic slave trade which no doubt brought Thomas Day’s ancestors in chains from Africa.

Day petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly to allow his wife to join him, and was supported in this by sixty-one white citizens who desired a special act on his behalf, noting him as “a free man of colour, of very fine character – an excellent mechanic, industrious, honest and sober in his habits – in the event of any disturbance amongst the Blacks, I should rely upon him with confidence upon a disclosure from him – as he is the owner of slaves as well as real estate.”

On the eve of war in 1861 Day was a free black who owned three slaves and also trained white apprentices in the art of cabinetmaking. Other free black owners of slaves were Catherine Stanly of nearby Craven County with 7 black slaves, Henry Vaughn of Hertford County with 1 slave, Thomas Jones of Anson County with 5 slaves, E.H. Revel of Cleveland County and Will Evans of Granville County with 2 slaves each – and in Franklin County Thomas Blacknall owned 3 slaves and John Hogwood owned 1 slave. The 1830 census showed many more free black owners of slaves.

Thomas Day was a member of Milton’s predominantly white Presbyterian Church, and sat in a front bench that he had hand-carved. In 1841 he and his wife became full members of this Church.  Day counted among his clients Attorney General Romulus M. Saunders, later United States minister to Spain, and Governor David Settle Reid. His carved furniture for the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh, it is said, was rejected due to its high cost.

Sources: The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860, John Hope Franklin, UNC Press, 1943. Dictionary of NC History, Vol. 2, William S. Powell, UNC Press, 1986.

Nov 28, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Educating a Pagan Land

Educating a Pagan Land

After the South had been subjugated by Northern armies, Radical Republicans used social reformers and Northern businessmen to defeat Andrew Johnson’s softened postwar policies. The following year, the entire South fell under their absolute domination once they enfranchised 700,000 freedmen. This allowed Republican Ulysses Grant to become President with a mere 300,000 majority over New York Democrat Horatio Seymour. Republican national political hegemony would not be broken until the election of Grover Cleveland in 1884.

Educating a Pagan Land

“Education was the key to Reconstruction success and nation building. On the heels of the soldier came the Yankee teacher, who used, according to Henry Highland Garrett, “the spelling book, the Bible, and the implements of industry” as the weapons of ideological war, and “schoolhouses and the Church of Christ” as forts.

It is no surprise that Radicals such as O.O. Howard (known as the “Christian soldier”), national superintendent of the Freedmen’s Bureau and author of Our Christian Duty to the South (1866), and Superintendent of Bureau Education John W. Alvord, in his biennial reports, considered education as the cornerstone of Reconstruction and recommended compulsory attendance.

The soldiers in this ideological war came from various backgrounds and various levels of commitment . . . [and] most educators hailed from above the Mason-Dixon Line. Of the 9,503 teachers in Southern freedmen schools in 1869, approximately 5,000 left family and friends in the North and traveled south mainly to be missionaries in what many believed to be a pagan land. Many were Radicals, militantly devoted to abstract ideas such as positive liberty, and worked to establish a Republican party in the South.

Although concerned with teaching numbers and letters, Radical educators considered socialization and civic instruction important. For what America most needed, argued Reuben Tomlinson, the superintendent of the South Carolina Bureau, was an “intelligent and loyal population.”

A “proper education” eliminated a need for martial law and judicial activism, for children would be molded into Puritans . . . A “proper education” also incorporated the Republican emphasis on free labor and ensured that freedmen evinced “Christian virtues” and demonstrated an ability to make a profit.”

Radical Republicans worked to establish their party in the South and considered freedmen, according to historian John Hope Franklin, to be the “best hope for building and maintaining a strong political organization that would keep the Radical in power.” [But what] they seemed to have wanted, however, was a republicanism [in freedmen] that demanded obedience instead of participation.”

(Education to the Rescue: How Radical Republican Teachers Reconstructed the South, Troy Kickler; Chronicles, September 2006, excerpts pg. 21)

Nov 25, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Mrs. Roosevelt & Mrs. Stowe

Mrs. Roosevelt & Mrs. Stowe

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote an opinion column entitled “My Day” from December 1935 to September 1962, which was in truth a thinly-veiled platform for her political views. The Scripps Howard syndicate eventually dropped “My Day” for its overly-political content. Harriet Beecher Stowe, mentioned below, had never set foot in the South before writing her fictional “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which immeasurably helped bring on war between North and South.

Mrs. Roosevelt & Mrs. Stowe

“But let’s get on with Mrs. Roosevelt’s report on the South for readers of “My Day” all over the nation. The next few paragraphs are given over to tracing her Southern ancestry. Her grandmother, she writes, was a Bulloch from down in Georgia. She recalls the delightful plantation stories she used to listen to as a child, told by a great-aunt, who was also Georgia-born.

But listen to the next paragraph!

“With all that background I cannot help having a deep interest in the welfare of the State of Georgia and the South as a whole. Still I never go into that part of the country and come away without a sense of sadness. One can enjoy oneself superficially, but one must shut one’s eyes.”

We repeat that: “One can enjoy oneself superficially, but one must shut one’s eyes.”

One might also say, Mrs. Roosevelt, that one can enjoy oneself superficially in New York, or in Philadelphia, or in Chicago, or in Washington where you lived for so many years and where there are vile-smelling, over-crowded, poverty-ridden slums literally within a stone’s throw of the Capitol, or in San Francisco . . . but there also, one must shut one’s eyes at times to poverty and unhappiness. They smell to high heaven.

But Mrs. Roosevelt never writes about New York or Philadelphia or Baltimore or Chicago or Washington or San Francisco.

She joins instead that great claque of holier-than-thou reformers that persist in painting South as a backward land peopled in the main by low-browed hoodlums smelling of lavender and old lace and sniffing away on magnolia blossoms and shuffling along the street with a mint julep in one hand and a bull whip in the other going someplace to lynch some Negro who, if he got his just desserts, would be elected governor.

That old story has been going the rounds ever since Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe took pen in hand and wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

This is the same Mrs. Stowe, incidentally, who, just one year after The War was over, moved South, bag and baggage to a plantation on the St. John’s river near the village of Orange Park, Florida.

It’s significant, it seems to us, that Mrs. Stowe never wrote a sequel to “Uncle Tom” after she moved to Florida and was able to observe conditions in the South at close range. But Mrs. Stowe did write some observations to her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, in the North.

“Corrupt [carpetbag] politicians,” she wrote on one occasion, “are already beginning to speculate on the Negroes as possible capital for their schemes.” How true in 1866! And how true, unfortunately, in 1950!”

(Weep No More My Lady: A Southerner Answers Mrs. Roosevelt’s Report on the “Poor and Unhappy” South, W.E. Debnam, Graphic Press, Inc., 1950, excerpts pp. 11-12)

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)