Mar 5, 2023 - Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

Raphael Semmes was captain of the Southern commerce raider Alabama, the first of its kind to be unleashed upon the shipping of a commercial nation. Under Captain Semmes she caused enormous financial loss to the northern business; his unconsummated plan for a raid into New York Harbor to destroy shipping at anchor was audacious in conception and nearly carried out.

Indispensable Servant for Dr. Galt

“On the second day after the capture of the Northern merchant ship Tonawanda, another merchant vessel Manchester of New York and bound for Liverpool was stopped and boarded. After disposing of the prizes I took on board one of the former’s passengers.

This was a likely negro lad named David of about seventeen years of age – a slave until he was twenty-one under the laws of his State, Delaware. He was on his way to Europe in company of his master. He necessarily came to me under the laws of war, and I brought him on board the Alabama where we were in want of good servants and sent him to wait on the ward-room mess.

The boy was a little alarmed at first, but when he saw kindly faces beaming upon him, and heard from his new masters and the servants of the mess, some words of encouragement, he became reassured and in the course of a few days was not only at home but congratulated himself on the exchange he had made.

He became, more especially, the servant of Dr. Galt and there at once arose, between the Virginia gentleman and the slave boy, that sympathy of master and servant, which our ruder people of the North find it so impossible to comprehend. David soon became to Galt as my own servant was to me – indispensable – and the former was really as free as the latter, except only in the circumstances that he could not change masters.

I caused his name to be entered on the books of the ship as one of our crew and allowed him the pay of his grade. In short, no difference was made between him and the white waiters of the mess. His condition was in every respect bettered; though, I doubt not, a howl went up over his capture by the pseudo-philanthropists of the North, who know as little about the negro and his nature as they do about the people of the South.”

(Memoirs of Service Afloat. Raphael Semmes, LSU Press, 1996, original 1868. pp. 464-465)

Mar 3, 2023 - Carnage, Crimes of War, Lincoln's Grand Army    Comments Off on Late War Prisoner Exchange Policy

Late War Prisoner Exchange Policy

The following article concerning the late war prisoner exchange cartel was written by Capt. Armand L. Derosset of Wilmington, North Carolina. It appeared on page 455 of the October 1907 issue of Confederate Veteran.

The article raises questions regarding Northern policy – and humanity – toward their own soldiers suffering and perishing in Southern prison camps late in the war. Northern raids into north Florida, Georgia and South Carolina decimated food production which left little for prisoners. Medicines intended for civilians and soldiers (and prisoners) were “contraband” and taken from captured blockade runners. Northern troops from occupied Key West landed at Tampa and drove inland to disrupt cattle production, carrying off beef that was intended for Andersonville prisoners and guards.

Noteworthy is the avoidance of Andersonville by Sherman’s 65,000-man army in late 1864 when prisoners were starving there. Those prisoners could (and should) have been liberated, fed and taken to waiting hospital ships on the Georgia coast. They were not.

Later, Sherman’s right wing passed close to the stockade at Florence, South Carolina in early 1865 and once again ignored the many starving prisoners in blue held there. On February 22, 1865, Northern troops confronted the entrenched Major-General Robert F. Hoke’s division at Forks Road in Wilmington. There Hoke sent a message to the enemy commander requesting he accept 10,000 starving and sick Northern prisoners in an exchange. His offer was initially turned down and nearly a month passed before Northern authorities approved the exchange. How many Northern prisoners died before a humane decision was rendered?

As noted below, it was Grant’s decision to refuse to accept Northern prisoners, many of whom he condemned to death in crowded prison camps with poor sanitation, little food and no medicine.

Capt. Derosset writes in the Confederate Veteran: 

“The officials in the Confederate States in 1863-64 were greatly hampered by the necessity of feeding the large number of federal prisoners, some 270,000, which were distributed throughout the South. The enemy had in prison at various points in the North some 220,000 of our men.

Through correspondence and treaty and interview a conference between the Confederate States and the United States was arranged at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Judge Robert Ould of Richmond was the commissioner of exchange of Southern prisoners and the conference was held aboard a steamer. Present were Lincoln, his Secretary of War Stanton, and Gen. Grant, and perhaps others on one side – Judge Ould and perhaps one or more gentlemen represented the South.

The information that now follows was given to me by Judge Ould in the parlor of a well-known Richmond clubhouse immediately after his return from Hampton Roads. Also present in the clubhouse was Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge and Secretary of the Treasury Mr. Seddon, both of whom I knew well.

The Judge told me in substance that he opened the conference with Mr. Lincoln by representing to him the difficulty the South had in supplying the prisoners with food and medicine, and then tendered to the US authorities the whole 270,000 prisoners in return of the 220,000 Southern men he held as prisoners. Mr. Lincoln seemed pleased with the proposition and was favorably inclined to accept, but was met with a preemptory and flat refusal from Grant. “Well, General,” said Lincoln, “the offer seems reasonable but let us hear your objections.”

Grant replied that “if we get back those 270,000 men not a single one of them will return to the army; but if you return those 220,000 Southerners, every one of them will go back to the ranks and the war will have to be fought all over again.”

This proposition by Mr. Ould being rejected, he then proposed that the US government send South physicians, medicine and food for their men in prison under proper guarantees. This was rejected. He then tendered Lincoln 40,000 of the sick Northern prisoners, which was accepted, and in compliance therewith 10,000 men, the sickest of them all, were delivered to US transports at Savannah and Port Royal.

The US authorities refused to receive any additional sick prisoners; when the batch reached Northern points these sick men were photographed. The conference ended without the accomplishment of any further good.”

 

 

Feb 12, 2023 - Costs of War, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Devotion to Their Homes and Country

Devotion to Their Homes and Country

“As they walked through Fort Gregg and the surrounding Petersburg trenches following the evacuation of Southern forces in early April 1865, advancing Northern troops could not fail to notice the young beardless faces or the grey hair of many fallen defenders.

Major Washington Roebling of Pennsylvania wrote:

“Old men with silver locks lay dead, side by side with mere boys of thirteen or fourteen. It almost makes one sorry to have to fight against a people who show such devotion for their homes and their country.”

(Civil War Times, Vol. XLIV, No. 6, January 2006)

Feb 3, 2023 - Antebellum Realities, New England History, Northern Culture Laid Bare, Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare    Comments Off on Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s ‘Jim Crow’ Railroad in 1852

Riding Connecticut’s “Jim Crow” Railroad in 1852

“We recently noticed the statement of an occurrence on a Connecticut railroad, where a lady from the South, travelling with her child and its colored nurse, were surprised at an order to the latter to get out of the lady’s car and take her place in the ‘n****r’ car.

The Southern lady remonstrated, informed the conductor that she had paid full fare for her servant, who was there simply as a servant, and would trouble no one. She said she could not be separated from her child in such a place and was unable from habit to take proper care of her – but all was to no avail.

‘That n****r must go out or I shall put her out’ said the conductor, so the lady had no choice but to seat herself with her child and servant in the ‘Jim Crow’ car, paying double price for it! The traveler said such treatment would not be endured in Carolina or Mississippi.” The Boston Investigator.

(Source: American Historical Newspaper Database – 1850-1860)

Dec 26, 2022 - Carnage, Lincoln's Grand Army, Sherman's Legacy    Comments Off on Sherman’s Avoidance of Battle

Sherman’s Avoidance of Battle

A lingering question regarding Sherman’s destructive march through Georgia was his disinterest in liberating Northern prisoners at the well-known Andersonville stockade. Given the late 1864 date of his time there, it is possible that the Radical Congress wanted him to leave the Northern men there to die of starvation and disease in order to better demonize the South as the war ended. Also considered is Grant’s late-war termination of prisoner exchanges – which condemned thousands of Northern men to death.

The writer below notes Sherman as not similar to Grant – the latter noted for his bloody human wave attacks against a numerically inferior enemy, regardless of the cost in lives. He was aware that his masters at Washington wanted results, now. At Bentonville, the timid Sherman feared defeat at the hands of Johnston after walking into a trap.

Sherman’s Avoidance of Battle 

The Northern General Sherman claimed a victory at the battle of Bentonville in North Carolina, fought in mid-March 1865. He claimed this as he was in possession of the battlefield when the fighting ended, and as General Joseph E. Johnston had not crushed Sherman’s left wing.  Nonetheless, the latter had little of which to boast of. Sherman’s force of near-70,000 was more than twice that of General Johnston’s 18,000 – and yet on March 19th, the invaders tottered on the brink of a resounding defeat.

Sherman’s conduct at Bentonville bears out the truth of one of his subordinate’s statements: Strategy was his strongest ability. “Take him into battle and Sherman did not seem to be the equal of a General Thomas or Grant.”

Furthermore, Sherman failed to follow up his success by pursuing his enemy and instead moved his army to Goldsboro. There the forces of Generals Terry and Cox awaited him after their march from Wilmington where they had avoided combat with Major-General Robert F. Hoke’s veteran troops. His total strength was now near 90,000 men, and Sherman’s explanation to Grant as to why he pushed on to Goldsboro rather than confront Johnston leaves something to be desired since he was not in need of food or ammunition – “the only adequate excuse” for halting. He seemed to consider shoes, which were noticeably absent among his men, his most essential need. Bu the scarcity of footwear did not warrant delay at this time – the Southern soldiers were also without shoes.”

(Life and Reminiscences of General Sherman by Distinguished Men of His Time, T. C. Fletcher, editor. H. Woodward & Co., 1891, pg. 292)

 

Access Denied to Those Seeking Historical Truth

Access Denied to Those Seeking Historical Truth

“Undoubtedly the main reason for confusion about some of the incidents of the War Between the States – such as the assault on July 3rd at Gettysburg – was the arbitrary manner in which the Northern war department denied Southern writers access to the official documents – even those of their own preparation which were stolen or captured.

This blackout continued for thirteen years after the end of hostilities, a period during which most of the abiding impressions about the war were being formed. It is an amazing fact that when General Robert E. Lee endeavored to inspect his own reports of battles and his own field returns, he was denied that right. He never did have the opportunity to make use of them. Other Southern officers and writers were rebuffed in their efforts to examine papers which they desired to see solely for historical purposes. Officialdom is usually more illiberal than the people it represents.

Never was there a more obvious effort to channel the course of history – to make certain that history was written from only one side – than of the arbitrary Northern war department officials in the late 1860s and the 1870s.

When Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina sought to review his own letter books, which had been seized, in order that he might refute accusation made against him that had been based on garbled use of these same letters, the privilege was denied.

It should be recalled that after the war the South was virtually destitute of papers and reports bearing on the conflict. All documents either had been destroyed or seized by the invading armies, bundled and sent to Washington. There many of them remain.

The Rev. J. William Jones, long the secretary of the Southern Historical Society engaged in a spirited campaign with the North’s war department to gain for Southern writers the privilege of reading the reports of Southern generals that were freely available to northern writers. The standard reply was that Congress would have to authorize the printing of any war archives.

Jones charged that the records had been “for years closely guarded to all save a favored few,” and added: “Indeed, the outrage of keeping those documents locked up to Southerners, and open to every writer on the other side who might desire to defame our leaders or falsify our history, has become so patent to all right-thinking people that there have been denials that access has been denied to any seeker of historical truth.”

(Some Aspects of North Carolina’s Participation in the Gettysburg Campaign. Glenn Tucker. NC Historical Review, Vol. XXXV, No. 2, April 1958, pp. 191-193)

 

Recollection of Great Deeds in Bronze and Marble

Recollection of Great Actions in Bronze and Marble

“We are told by historians of an earlier age that whenever the renowned men of the Roman commonwealth looked upon the statues of their ancestry, they felt their minds vehemently excited to virtue. It could not have been the bronze or marble that possessed this power, but the recollection of great actions which kindled a generous flame in their souls, not to be quelled until they also, by virtue and heroic deeds, had acquired equal fame and glory.

When a call to arms resounds throughout the land and people relinquish the pleasant scenes of tranquil life and rally to their country’s call, such action is the result of an honest conviction that the act is commendable. In recalling such an epoch, the wish that a true record of the deeds done should be transmitted to posterity must dominate every patriot heart.

Loyalty to brave men who for four long years of desolating war – years of undimmed glory – stood by each other and fought to the bitter end with indomitable heroism which characterized the American soldier in grey, demands from posterity a preservation of the memories of the great struggle.

We cannot find in the annals of history a grander record or prouder roll of honor, no more just fame for bravery, patient endurance of hardships, and sacrifices. But what caused the four long years of desolating war?

Opposition to the to the right of equality within the political union of our fathers has been fostered and inflamed until it had taken possession of the public mind at the North to such an extent that it overwhelmed every other influence. The Republican party, soon to take possession of the powers of the national government, was sectional, irresponsible to the Southern States, and driven by an infuriated, fanatical madness that defied all opposition which must inevitably destroy every of vestige of our political rights.

The consideration for which our State’s gave assent to become members of the federal union of 1789 had wholly failed when they were not to enjoy equal rights within it. The compact was therefore willfully and materially broken.”

(Military History of Florida, Col. J.J. Dickison; Confederate Military History, Vol. XI.   Confederate Publishing Co., 1899, pp. 3; 8)

Dec 17, 2022 - Carnage, Immigration, Lincoln's Grand Army, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on The Irish Brigade Repulsed on Marye’s Hill

The Irish Brigade Repulsed on Marye’s Hill

The following is a Texas soldier’s letter home after the battle at Fredericksburg in late December 1862, and his account of the North Carolinian defenders at Marye’s Heights. It is remarkable that after the utter carnage of this battle and the already vast number of dead since mid-1861 – that Lincoln did not call for peace between the two Americas. It was within his power.

The Irish Brigade Repulsed on Marye’s Hill

“Between the last houses of the town [of Fredericksburg] proper and the stone fence stretched a piece of level open ground about two hundred yards wide. Entering this, the Federals halted a second or two to reform their lines; and then, some shouting “Erin go bragh,” they and others the Yankee huzzah, they rushed immediately forward against a storm of grape and cannister that, as long as the guns on the hilltop could be sufficiently depressed, tore great gaps in their ranks.

But, wavering not, they closed together and rushed onward until within fifty yards of the stone fence, when in one grand, simultaneous burst of light, sound and death, came a blinding flash, the deafening roar, the murderous destruction of two thousand well-aimed rifles, the wild, weird blood-curdling “Rebel Yell,” and two thousand Irishmen sank down wounded or dead, and a cowed and demoralized remnant sought safety in inglorious flight.

Seven assaults were made on that stone fence during the day, and five thousand Irishmen were sent to eternity before Gen. Burnside convinced himself that Lee’s position was impregnable. Only two regiments of our division were actually engaged in this undertaking – the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-fourth North Carolina – both comprised of young conscripts under twenty as well as old men – all dressed in homespun and presenting to the eyes of us veterans a very unsoldierly appearance. Ordered to drive the enemy back, these two regiments not only charged with surprising recklessness, but kept on charging the enemy until Gen. John B. Hood recalled them.

As they passed our veteran brigade on their return, one old fellow halted, wiped the powder grime from his weather-beaten face with his sleeve, and wrathfully exclaimed, “Durn old Hood, anyhow! He jes’ didn’t have no bus’ness ter stop us when we’uns was a-whippin’ the durn blue-bellies ter hell an’ back . . .”

(The Irish Brigade is Repulsed on Marye’s Hill. A Soldier’s Letters to Charming Nellie, J. B. Polley. The Blue and the Gray, Vol. One, Henry Steel Commager, Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1950, pp. 242-243)

Dec 11, 2022 - Myth of Saving the Union, Pleading for Peace, Southern Unionists, Withdrawing from the Union    Comments Off on Southern Unionists

Southern Unionists

Southern Unionists

“One Southern conservative on the eve of war was a teacher of physics at a military institute. Observing the actions and words of the people in the North, he said:

‘It is painful to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not seem to know what its horrors are. I have had the opportunity of knowing enough on the subject to make me fear war as the sum of all evils.’

Looking around him at his own duties, he said – this was on February 2, 1861, after the first seven States had declared independence: ‘I am much gratified to see a strong Union feeling in my portion of Virginia . . . For my own part I plan to vote for the Union candidates for the [State] convention and I desire to see every honorable means used for peace, and I believe that Providence will bless such means with the fruits of peace.’

That was Thomas Jonathan Jackson.

Another was a United States cavalry colonel at the time. After the first six States had declared independence, he wrote his son on January 29, 1861:

‘I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope that all Constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love & kindness, has no charm for me . . . If the Union is dissolved & the government disrupted, I shall return to my native State & share the miseries of my people & save in her defense, will draw my sword on none.’

That was Robert E. Lee.”

(Lenoir Chambers, The South on the Eve of the Civil War. North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XXXIX, No. 2., Spring 1962, pp. 193-194)

Nathaniel Macon, Model Conservative

Nathaniel Macon, Model Conservative

From the Congressional Globe, February 14, 1826:

“The government which John Quincy Adams found when he moved into the White House in 1825 was a much bigger government than his father had left; and Nathaniel Macon, who had represented North Carolina in Congress since 1791, was far from happy with it.

He regretted that everything had grown, just like the number of doorkeepers of the houses of Congress. “Formerly two men were sufficient for doorkeeper, etc., for the two houses,” Macon complained, “but now there is a regiment.”

As he recalled at the time, during the presidency of John Adams, when the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions had been passed, he asked: “If there was reason to be alarmed at the growing power of the General Government [then], how much more has taken place since? Congress now stopped almost at nothing, which it deemed expedient to be done, and the Constitution was construed to give power for any grand scheme.”

To Macon, it was a dangerous development. “Do a little now, and a little then, and by and by, they would render this government as powerful and unlimited as the British Government was,” Macon told his colleagues in the Senate in 1825.

At the next session, Macon declared that “he did not like to go on in this way – the Government constantly gaining power by little bits. A wagon road was made under treaty with an Indian tribe some twenty years ago – and now it has become a great national object to be kept up by large appropriations. We thus go on by degrees, step by step, until we get almost unlimited government power.”

(Nathaniel Macon and the Southern Protest Against National Consolidation. Noble E. Cunningham, Jr.  North Carolina Historical Review, Volume XXXI, No. 3, July 1955, pg. 376)

 

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