Shaking the Instincts of Our Youth

Gen. Samuel G. French, a Southern officer born in New Jersey, wrote postwar of the extreme sacrifices Americans in the South had made in their drive for political independence. Speaking to a group regarding their memorial efforts, he said:

“I am not unmindful, ladies, of the power you possess & can exercise in preserving the true story of the war & the memory of the South’s soldiers. Tell the true story to your children. Because if you don’t, their teachers will tell them their version.”

Shaking the Instincts of Our Youth

“She arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina before dawn on December 30, 1866. Had she been superstitious, Amy Bradley might have felt that even the elements were trying to tell her that “the mission was doomed, for “the snow was falling fast, making the prospect cold and cheerless.” Undaunted by her chilly reception in town, she got to work shortly after light.

She first presented a letter of introduction to Rev. S.A. Ashley, a New Englander who represented the interests of the American Missionary Society, the Freedman’s Bureau and who was described to her as “the superintendent of Wilmington Schools.”

Their conference was followed by a tour of Dry Pond, one of the city’s poorest white neighborhoods. Amy then paid formal calls upon several local carpetbag politicians, men of substance who might be empathetic to her “mission,” because of a shared New England background or identification with Republican party politics. These gentlemen, “though courteous in their reception, frankly, told her it was impossible for her to succeed.”

Their pessimism sprang from an understanding of Wilmington’s attitudes rather than any personal distaste for Amy or disdain for her proposed school. However, they knew full well that in the emotional aftermath of defeat and devastation of Reconstruction, Wilmington’s old-line Conservatives would not be so charitable. “Do-gooders from the north were not held in high esteem. As one observer put it:

“Following the destruction of the Southern States by armies of northern radicals, swarms of the riffraff of northern cities, the dregs of northern society, poured into the South. Among them were the female “missionaries,” as they styled themselves, with a “holier than thou” attitude. “How much better it is to do it our way,” said those arrogant New England schoolmarms.”

Amy soon became a familiar Wilmington figure as she went house to house drumming up interest in her proposed school. Despite many town women pulling their skirts aside when she passed, or spat on her, she held her head high and continued the rounds. In early January 1867 one local carpetbagger capitulated to her badgering and gave her the key to the old Dry Pond schoolhouse, abandoned in 1862.  Within four days she had the school cleaned and welcomed the first three students.

After two months Amy had sixty-two members of the Benevolent Society meeting there to sew book satchels for prospective students. On March 1, 1867, she brought in teacher Miss Claribel Gerrish from New Hampshire to assist in school. Amy now had someone to talk to, walk with and share the teaching.

To make it clear that Bradley and company were unwelcome, the Wilmington Dispatch ran a front-page article:

“Equally obnoxious and pernicious is to have Yankee teachers in our midst, forming the minds and shaking the instincts of our youth – alienating them, in fact, from the principles of their fathers and sowing the seeds of their pernicious doctrine upon the un-furrowed soil. The South has heretofore been free from the puritanical schisms and isms New England, and we regret to see the any indication of the establishment here of a foothold by their societies professing the doctrines of Free Love-ism, Communism, Universalism, Unitarianism and all the multiplicity of evil teachings that corrupt society and overthrow religion.”

Although Amy considered herself a woman of the world, she was probably too naïve to realize why her school merited such an attack. Her background as an active member of the Unitarian-Universalist establishment probably made it impossible for her to understand how a religion so well-accepted in Boston was such an anathema to Wilmington. The editorialist’s more accurate charge that she was teaching a doctrine offensive to her pupils’ forefathers did have merit, for Amy never missed an opportunity to promote her political philosophy.”

(Headstrong: The Biography of Amy Morris Bradley. DC Cashman, Broadfoot Publishing, 1990, pp. 159-176).

 

Doubtful Elections

Doubtful Elections

“All American presidential elections have been contested except for the first, in 1789, and the ninth, in 1820. In the ninth, President James Monroe ran for reelection and won 231 out of 235 electoral votes (with three abstentions and one dissenting vote for John Quincy Adams). That election is evidence of an organic national unity that is now as extinct as the western frontier.

America has also had at least two stolen presidential elections, as well as one that was almost stolen in 1800, and one in 1860 whose outcome was rejected by half the country, leading to a four-year civil war and a geopolitical division that persists to this day. That America “survived” this civil war depends on the meaning of the verb and ignores the obvious implication that what happened once can happen again.

One of the stolen elections happened in 1960, when tow Democrat political machines, one in Texas and the other in Illinois, manufactured enough votes to decide a close election in favor of John F. Kennedy. The closeness of the vote likely made it easier to steal – Kennedy won the popular vote by only 118,000 votes out of 68 million cast. The shift of two States in the Electoral College would have elected Nixon.

The other definitely stolen election, in 1876, is worth examining in detail . . . and about what a party in power will do to stay in power – especially when it is convinced that it deserves to do so. This time it was the Republicans who stole it. After suffering a severe defeat in congressional elections two years before, a Grant administration wracked by scandals and the country still reeling from the financial panic of 1873, the Republicans entered 1876 with a weak hand.

Yet the Republicans won the election with a bold plan to disenfranchise white voters in three Southern States still under military occupation 11 years after the war: Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina.

By midnight of election day, it appeared Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York had defeated Republican Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio.

Northern General Daniel Sickles arrived at Republican headquarters and hatched a plan. The defeated Republican governors were instructed to not concede the election; the New York Times was enlisted to promote a narrative of a contested election; and finally, a delegation of Republican leaders, lawyers and bags of Lincoln greenbacks headed for New Orleans, Columbia, Tallahassee and Baton Rouge, to oversee election audits.

Sickle’s strategy for challenging the legitimacy of the result was to have his bagmen allege that white Democrats intimidated freedmen to keep them from voting, which was grounds under reconstruction law for canceling an equal number of white votes.

The morning edition of the New York Times declared the new reality: “A Doubtful Election.” The second morning edition proclaimed not only Oregon but South Carolina and Louisiana for Hayes. As Republican leaders had worked out their plan to steal the 1876 election, they knew their party still controlled all the levers of power and the trappings of legitimacy necessary: the Supreme Court, the White House, the Senate, and most importantly, the State canvassing boards in the three Southern States.”

(“As American as a Stolen Election,” H.A. Scott Trask. Chronicles Magazine, August 2023, excerpts pp. 7-8)

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

As did George Washington before him, President Jefferson Davis in early 1865 agreed to the enlistment of 300,000 emancipated Africans into the army of the Confederate States. Recognizing that the Constitution he held office under limited federal authority and that he had no power regarding the institution, Davis correctly saw emancipation the purview of those who could – and did – free Africans for military service.

Britain, Slavery and Emancipation

“If the institution of African slavery gained first a foothold, then an entrenched position, the greed of the British crown was largely responsible. As early as 1726, the planters of Virginia became alarmed at the growth of the Negro population and imposed a tax on slave importations. Britain’s Royal African Company interfered and had the law repealed. South Carolina restricted slave imports in 1760 only to be rebuked by London. In 1712 the Pennsylvania legislature moved to curb the increase in Africans, but the law was annulled by the Crown.

Briain’s Queen Anne, who personally held a quarter of the stock of the Royal African Company, the chartered organization which monopolized the slave trade, ordered it to provide New York and New Jersey with Africans and directed the governors of these colonies to give it full support.

Thomas Jefferson charged the British crown with forcing African slavery on the colonies; James Madison asserted that England had checkmated every attempt by Virginia “to put a stop to this infernal traffic”; Bancroft taxed Britain with “steadily rejecting every colonial restriction on the slave trade and instructing the governors, on pain of removal, not to give even a temporary assent to such laws.” In the words of the rabidly anti-Southern historian and politician, Henry Wilson: “British avarice planted slavery in America; British legislation sanctioned and maintained it; British statesmen sustained and guarded it.”

Virginian George Washington, at first opposed permitting Africans, whether slave or free, to serve in the American armed forces. Later, expediency and Alexander Hamilton’s powers of persuasion made him change his mind.”

(The Negro in American Civilization. Nathaniel Weyl. Public Affairs Press, 1960; pp. 25-26)

 

 

Jul 22, 2023 - From Africa to America, Historical Accuracy, Race and the North, Race and the South, Slavery Comes to America    Comments Off on America the Dumping Ground

America the Dumping Ground

American colonist protestations against British government importation of unwanted peoples went unheeded until the American Revolution brought an end to it and forced England to turn to Australia as a substitute destination for undesirables.

America the Dumping Ground

“Why then will Americans purchase Slaves? Because Slaves may be as long a Man pleases or has Occasion for their Labour; while hired Men are continually leaving their Masters (often in the midst of his Business) and setting up for themselves.” – Benjamin Franklin

At the time of the Revolution, about half the white population of the Colonies consisted of indentured laborers and their descendants. Some were orphans, debtors, paupers and mental defectives. Others had committed petty crimes. Still others were whores. Children were stolen and spirited off to be sold under indenture.

The Irish in particular were victimized. Oliver Cromwell believed that they were admirably suited for slavery and saw to it that the survivors of Drogheda massacre met their fate in Bermuda. His agents scoured Ireland for children to be sold to planters in the Americas. Between 1717 and 1775, 50,000 English felons were transported to mainland North America.

For the most part, the indentured workers settled in the South where the demand for unskilled labor was greatest. American writers and politicians protested against the use of the Colonies as a dumping ground for the unwanted, the impoverished and, in some cases, the vicious and mentally inferior. Benjamin Franklin compared British emigration policy with sending American rattlesnakes to England to teach them manners.

The importation of Negro slaves became quantitatively significant by the end of the 17th century. At the eve of the Revolution the black population of Georgia equaled or exceeded the white in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland. Delaware and Pennsylvania were one-fifth Negro; New York one-sixth or so.

Like some of their Northern counterparts, Federalists in the South openly opposed institution and in 1789 an anti-slavery society was founded in Maryland. Further south, in North Carolina, Hugh Williamson worked against any extension of slave power. Opposition both the African slave trade and to the slave-based plantation economy was grounded partly on moral considerations and partly on the belief that the African was a savage who could not and should not be assimilated into American society. When American rationalists in the late 18th century spoke about the unalienable rights of man, it was tacitly understood that the African was not included.”

(The Negro in American Civilization. Nathaniel Weyl. Public Affairs Press, 1960; pp. 23-24)

Ramaswamy and Dred Scott

Though one of the brightest stars in the line-up for US president, Vivek Ramaswamy greatly errs in his uninformed explanation of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s (pronounced “Taw-nee”) majority opinion in the Dred Scott Case of 1857. Ramaswamy recently opined that Justice Taney’s majority opinion denying free status to Scott was for the purpose of “keeping guns out of the hands of black people.” He offers no documentation to support this belief.

First, Justice Taney was born in Maryland in 1777 and had a far better understanding of the Founders’ minds and logic than Mr. Ramaswamy does today. Further, prior to his seat on the Court, Taney served as US Attorney General and Secretary of the Treasury under President Andrew Jackson.

In the Dred Scott decision before them, Justice Taney and his Court were primarily concerned with Dred Scott’s free or slave status, and if somehow he had obtained citizenship in some State under the Articles of Confederation or the later Constitution. Prior to the postwar 14th Amendment, the US Constitution did not include the word “citizen” and each State set its own standard for citizenship.  As Dred Scott was born an African slave, was not freed from this status and was not a “citizen” of a State who could sue in federal court.

The question of access to weapons had no bearing on the case as Mr. Ramaswamy suggests.

The Court ruled, with two Justices dissenting, that black people descended from American slave ancestors were not such persons as the word “citizen” means when the Constitution gives federal courts jurisdiction over suits between citizens of different States.”

(The Legal & Historical Status of the Dred Scott Decision. Elbert William R. Ewing, Cobden Publishing, 1909, pp. 54-55)

Inciting Insurrection

After his military’s defeat at Second Manassas in August 1862, Lincoln thought that threatening to free black laborers at the South might help his prospects in his war against the South. Despite those who thought it a barbarity to incite insurrections, he replied: “Nor do I urge objections of a moral nature in view of possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South.”

In New York City, a French-language newspaper opined: “Does the Government at Washington mean to say on January 1st, 1863, it will call for a servile war to aid in his conquest of the South? And after the blacks have killed the white people of the South, they themselves must be drowned in their own blood?”

Inciting Insurrection

“In the Senate, Stephen A. Douglas, pursuant to the Constitution, introduced a bill to punish those people who seek to incite slave insurrections. “Abraham Lincoln, in his speech at New York, declared it was a seditious speech” – “His press and party hooted it.” “It received their jeers and jibes.” (pg. 663, Stephen’s Pictorial History).

Then came the election of President. The party of [black] insurrection swept the Northern States. The people of the South had realized the possible results. With the people of the North making a saint of [John Brown] who planned and started to murder the slaveholders . . . and the Northern States all going in favor of the Republican party which protected those engaged in such plans.  Naturally there were in every Southern State those who thought it best to guard against such massacres by separating from those States where John Brown was deified.

When news came that Abraham Lincoln was elected, the South Carolina Legislature, being in session, called a State Convention. When the Convention met it withdrew ratification of the US Constitution and declared South Carolina an independent State.

In its declaration it said: “Those States have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who have remained have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection. For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing until it has now secured to its aid the power of the general government. “

So, to escape insurrections and ensure public safety, South Carolina separated itself from the United States government to free itself from a government led by a man who was not opposed to the massacre of the Southern people.”

(A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States and War of 1861-1865. Capt. S. A. Ashe, Raleigh, North Carolina, pp. 46-47)

“Such Was the Spirit of Those Who Made the War”

The US Constitution clearly states that only Congress may declare war against a foreign enemy, and Article III, Section 3 of the same document clearly defines the definition of treason committed against the United States.

‘Such Was the Spirit of Those Who Made the War’

“And so, without any authorization from Congress, Lincoln began a war on the Southern States which had formed themselves into a more perfect union. A few months after he began the war, he had the United States Congress to meet and the first thing offered was a resolution confirming and legalizing his acts, as if they had been authorized.

This particular resolution was before the Senate fifteen times between July 6 and August 6 and never passed. Then, after twenty months of warfare, the Supreme Court of the United States (67 US Reports, pg. 668) said Congress had no power delegated to it to make war upon a State, and that the President held no authority to make war – only Congress could do so.

That ‘the Civil War between the Northern and Southern States arose because the citizens of the States owed a supreme allegiance to the United States which the Southern States sought to absolve themselves from, by State secession, and the right of a State to do what was now being decided by wager of battle.’

There was no reason or ground stated to justify the above claim that “the citizens of each State owed supreme allegiance to the United States.” It was a war by the Northern States to hold the Southern States in union with them; a conquest of free, sovereign and independent States to be held under the domination of the more numerous States.

As Senator Baker, of Oregon, declared in the Senate that he favored ‘reducing the population of the Southern States to abject to the sway of the federal government.’ ‘We may reduce the Southern States to the condition of territories and send to them from Massachusetts or from Illinois, loyal governors to control them. I would do that.’ (Cong. Globe LW, pg. 48). Such was the spirit of those who made the war.”

(A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States and War of 1861-1865. Capt. S. A. Ashe, Raleigh, North Carolina. Pg. 53)

Jul 6, 2023 - Historical Accuracy, Memorials to the Past, Patriotism, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on “Whose Monument Is This?”

“Whose Monument Is This?”

An address on “Who Owns These Monuments?” delivered by Dr. Joseph Grier of Chester, South Carolina at the dedication of the Richburg monument on May 7, 1939, best sums up the issue of responsibility.

“Whose monument is this? Dr. Grier asked.

It is the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s because it is their labor of love, representing a long period of loyalty, devotion and sacrifice, culminating in the erection of the splendid memorial.

Secondly, it belongs to the village, town or city in which it is erected because it will stand by the roadside for centuries in the same place and all may see it and draw inspiration from it.

Thirdly, it belongs to the American soldiers of the Confederacy whose names are inscribed upon it, because it is erected in their honor.

And fourthly, to God, because patriotism and devotion to duty and willingness to sacrifice are a vital part of religion, and as we feel the impact of these things, we are swept toward God.”

(A Guide to Confederate Monuments in South Carolina . . . Passing the Silent Cup, Robert S. Seigler, SC Department of Archives and History, 1997, pg. 21)

Jul 2, 2023 - Carnage, Lincoln's Blood Lust, Myth of Saving the Union, No Compromise, Pleading for Peace, Republican Party    Comments Off on The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

Prodded by Lincoln to be on the offensive in early September 1862, the north’s early savior Gen. George McClellan began his pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army into Maryland. Though his army was numerically inferior, Lee audaciously scattered his forces into strong positions, invited costly enemy assaults and then concentrated all for his opponent to fruitlessly assault. McClellan declined the bait and to Lincoln’s chagrin, retreated. After the carnage and burials, Lincoln demanded yet more troops to continue the invasion.

The Slaughter of Lincoln’s War

“Except for a belch of musketry here and there, the roar of battle at Sharpsburg subsided all along the lines as day turned to dusk. When men’s ears stopped ringing, they began to perceive the agonized groans of the wounded, piercing and plaintive nearer by but rolling like the rumble of distant thunder over the rest of the battlefield. Nearly four thousand Americans had died that day, and close to twenty thousand had been wounded – some of them horribly and many fatally – but the road still lay open to Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

“We do not boast a victory,” wrote one of Lee’s personal staff two days after the return to Virginia; “it was not sufficiently decisive for that. The Yankees would have claimed a glorious victory had they been on our side & they no doubt claim it anyhow.”

Certainly, McClellan counted it a “complete” victory for he had rid Maryland of the invader and had hurt him more than a little in the process. What he had not done, as Abraham Lincoln observed with great disappointment, was to prevent Lee’s escape and compel his surrender.

A short truce on the day after the battle allowed for the retrieval of some of the wounded and burial of a few of the dead. The work demonstrated how abrupt a transformation overcame good men who had become heartless killers in the tumult of battle. A young northern lieutenant from western Virginia suddenly recoiled at the bloodshed between men who spoke the same dialect. “The thought struck me,” he wrote his family, “this is unnatural.” Seeking respite from the slaughter, the lieutenant tried to resign soon after the battle.

The sheer devastation of Sharpsburg contributed substantially to a new epidemic of resignations from the northern army. The colonel of the 107th New York promptly departed in the wake of their brutal initiation, while one of their freshly-commissioned captains – whose company was criticized for faltering under fire – spend the next five weeks conniving for a safe home-front assignment as a drillmaster or clerk. A New Hampshire sergeant who had made the charge against Burnside’s Bridge damned Republicans up and down as he toured the battlefield; he supposed that if they could see such carnage, even they might change their minds and demand a settlement “in the name of God.”

Southern prisoners elicited abundant comment, particularly among recruits who had never seen their enemies at a speaking distance. “They are naturally more lithe & active that we”; and much more serious in defense of their homeland than the northern soldiers who had enlisted to stifle the South’s desire for political independence. “There is,” he added,” “a look of savageness in their eyes not observable in the good-natured countenance of our men.”

A romantic, reflective sergeant who had left his New Hampshire home less than a month before watched a mass burial of his fellow soldiers that Friday. He supposed that decay alone would dissuade most families from retrieving their loved ones’ remains, and reflected that no mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives would ever weep over these men folks’ graves at twilight or cast flowers on them as anniversaries passed. Only “the sighing wind shall be their funeral dirge.”

(Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862. William Marvel. Houghton-Mifflin, 2008, pp. 217-226)

Jul 1, 2023 - American Military Genius, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Neglect of the South’s Navy

Neglect of the South’s Navy

Neglect of the South’s Navy

“John Newland Maffitt was convinced that Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory failed to understand the needs of the Confederacy; and Mallory dismissed Maffitt as commander of the Florida in 1862 at Mobile Bay, and finally, Mallory showed favoritism to a small circle of friends.

In perceptive reflections, Maffitt summarized the important role of sea power in the war. He belonged essentially to what might be termed “western theater school of thought.” Particularly critical, as Maffitt now saw it, was the fall of New Orleans which occurred in the spring of 1862, relatively early in the war and which was the result of superior northern sea power.

“The grand mistake of the South was neglecting her navy. All our army movements out west were baffled by the armed federal steamers which swarmed on western waters, and which our government had provided nothing to meet.”

Maffitt – perhaps thinking of his dismay at the outcome of his discussion with Mallory in Montgomery – pointed out that prior to the capture of New Orleans, the South should have had a navy strong enough to prevent its capture and to hold the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  Concluded Maffitt, “This would have prevented many disastrous battles; it would have made Sherman’s march through the country impossible, and Lee would have still been master of his lines . . . neglect of the navy proved irremediable and fatal.”

There were other factors contributing to the fall of New Orleans, such as the general poverty of the South, and high water in the river that sept away obstructions, but Maffitt was generally correct in his assessment of sea power in the war.

The setback at New Orleans, which Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon termed the “darkest hour of the struggle,” had been foreshadowed at Port Royal, where Maffitt’s suggestions were ignored just as they had been at Montgomery. Northern success at Port Royal [and at Roanoke Island, North Carolina] prepared the way for more important operations against Southern fortresses. It is doubtful if the north would have risked its fleet at New Orleans without the precedent of Port Royal.”

(High Seas Confederate: The Life and Times of John Newland Maffitt. Royce Shingleton. University of South Carolina Press. 1994. pp. 102-103)

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