PoP's Southern American: June 2011


God, Give us one more VICTORY!

We can't help but try to win that one last VICTORY!!

We Confederates can't help but try to win that one last VICTORY!! That one thing is instilled in real Southron's blood, bones and being. We wouldn't change if we could!

Something "those people" will never be able to understand...But do we really care what "those people" think?...Our fathers didn't!

With respect and God's blessings,


Hardy Roundtree

Franklin Tennessee, Amazing Grace & Rabbits

Death of, The AoT & Greatest Field Commander of TWFSI
Gen. Patrick Cleburne
Division Commander, Army of Tennessee

“(Franklin) is the blackest page in the history of the War of the Lost Cause. It was the bloodiest battle of modern times in any war. It was the finishing stroke to the Independence of the Southern Confederacy. I was there. I saw it.” ~ Sam Watkins, 1st Tennessee Infantry

The distance was two miles, this hid the movement of what was taking place in front of the Union soldiers at Franklin. They waited behind strong breastworks just south of this small Tennessee town. The distance did not hide the sounds of men moving or the rattle of their equipment. Another sound whispered past the ears of these Union veterans. This sound put fear in their hearts for they knew the sound too well. It was the sound of Amazing Grace. They knew Cleburne's Division was before them "The Stonewall of The West", this division had never lost a fight. Cleburne always had his band play the tune after a battle, this in respect to the dead and dying.

This time it is thought he had his band play the tune before the battle as his death march. He must have known this would be his last advance. He even stated to D.C. Govan, a friend "Well Govan", if we must die, then let die like men!

Imagine if you will, eighteen Rebel Brigades, "30,000" men advancing across two mile of open fields, this with out artillery support ! The sulfur smoke laying close to the ground like a gray black cloud of death, this smoke burning the eyes and nostrils of the soldiers, there lips bleeding from tearing open cartridges. It was as if the very gates of hell had opened on them !....As the brave men advanced through knee high fall grass, they flushed rabbits before them. Rabbits were the first wave to reach the Union works. The carnage continued in to darkness for almost six hours!!

Gen. Hood lost eight thousand men at Franklin and six generals, one of them the greatest field commander of the War for Southern Independence " Patrick R. Cleburne." The Army of Tennessee would never be the winning army it had been, Hood had taken the fire from it. Hood did more damage to the AOT than any of the union armies!...Tommy PoP Aaron

Looking toward the north across the killing fields, south of the town of Franklin Called “The Gettysburg of the West,” Franklin was one of the few night battles in the Civil War. It was also one of the smallest battlefields of the war (only 2 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide). The main battle began around 4:00 pm and wound down around 9:00 pm.


Such a gallant race

"But the mass of respectable Northerners, though they may be willing to pay, do not very naturally feel themselves called upon to give their blood in a war of aggression, ambition, and conquest; for this war is essentially a war of conquest. If ever a nation did wage such a war, the North is now engaged, with a determination worthy of a more hopeful cause, in endeavoring to conquer the South; but the more I think of all that I have seen in the Confederate States of the devotion of the whole population, the more I feel inclined to say with General Polk----["How can you subjugate such a people as this?"] and even supposing that their extermination were a feasible plan, as some Northerners have suggested, I never can believe that in the nineteenth century the civilized world will be condemned to witness the destruction of such a gallant race."
Arthur J. L. Fremantle
(touring British officer)


The devil went down to Georgia

Georgia Mills and the Roswell Women

In July of 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman's troops approached Atlanta which would set the stage for a total war against the people of Georgia, commonly called his "March To The Sea." From Atlanta to Savannah, Sherman left a trail of utter destruction behind. He and his bummers stripped the land clean of all resources. What they could not use themselves, they destroyed so that nothing was left for the civilian population in the way of sustaining life.

"On July 2nd, regiments of Union cavalry and infantry arrived at New Manchester, Georgia with the mission to cause destruction to the factories and mills in the area. Former Governor Charles J. McDonald and business partner James Rogers built the mill known as the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company. The mill went into operation on December 21, 1849, and their products rapidly became known throughout the south. In addition to the textile operations, there was a flour and gristmill to the south and a water powered saw mill one mile north. In 1861 the Company contracted with the Confederate Government to produce material for Confederate uniforms. The mill/factory combination was five stories tall, bigger than any building in Atlanta at that time. By 1864 most of the men were fighting in the Confederate Army. The 60 to 70 employees at the mill consisted mostly of women and their children. A small contingent of Militia known as the “Sweetwater Guards”, were stationed at the mill.

On July 5, 1864, Federal General Kenner Garrard's cavalry reached Roswell and finding it undefended, occupied the city. The cotton factory was working up to the time of its destruction, some 400 women being employed. Despite its tiny size, the town had become the center of a thriving textile industry during the war. The cotton mill was cranking out up to 191,000 yards of cloth per month and the woolen mill up to 30,000 yards of "Roswell Gray" uniforms. Each of the mills employed hundreds of women, some of them black.

The Yankee troops were under orders from General Sherman to arrest everyone in the towns, as they are connected to the factory production, and destroy the resources that sustain the mills and the people. Refinements of Confederate militia posted as outlooks spotted the sizeable approaching troops commanded by Colonel Adams and Major Tompkins. Artillery following the Union forces took aim on the mill located on the Sweetwater Creek. The site was terrorizing to the workers, mostly women who posed no threat to the Union soldiers. Henry Lovern and A.C. "Cicero" Tippens who were operating the mill were soon arrested by the Army officers. Guards ordered to escort all the workers home and to put the town on marshal law. In effect they arrested every citizen in the community, and thus closing the mill. Adams and Tompkins told the townspeople that their operation was to protect them from being in harms way when the fighting commenced. They informed the citizens that as soon as wagons could be obtained, they would be transported to a safer location miles to the west.

With the the town under control. the Union troops searched the entire town, taking some property and destroying other property out if spite. Soldiers also broke into a safe attempting to locate valuables. Union patrols were sent to other areas such as Ferguson's Merchant Mill and Alexander's Mill. Tompkins took a sizeable part of his cavalry and moved on to Roswell to confront the operators of the mills there.

The owners of the Roswell Mills learned of the approaching Yankee marauders and in a desperate maneuver they thought might save their property, turned over ownership to Theopholie Roche. Roach was a French citizen, not an American. He chose to fly a French government flag on the property. When asked by Tompkins why he was flying a foreign flag, Roach told him of his citizenship and that his property was under the protection of the French government. Any act against him or the property, was an act of war against France. Tompkins was stumped so he sent word back to the commanding generals. General Sherman became furious when given the news. He is quoted as saying. "I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, where I will send them by cars to the North. Should you, under the impulse of anger, natural at contemplating such perfidy, hang the wretch (Roche), I approve the act beforehand!"

Tompkins returned on July 8 New Manchester. He already burnt Roswell Mills and was not ready to carry out Sherman's reiterated orders to level the mills, the town and to make prisoners all the citizens. General Garrard reported to General William T. Sherman on July 6, 1864 that "there were fine factories here, I had the building burnt, all were burnt." Tompkins is quoted as saying to the leaders of the town "You must fix up to go west where you could get provisions, as they intended to destroy everything in this part of the country." On July 9, New Manchester, mills, stores, homes were all burnt by Yankee troops. Next the Federal artillery had its turn at destroying the town. A 300 foot dam that was built to span the creek near the mill was blown apart by cannon fire. The rush of flood waters completed the leveling of the town.

Federal wagons arrived to take the citizen prisoners North to Marietta, rather than to safety in the west as had been promised. There were simply not enough wagons to haul all the citizens away, so the officers ordered the men of the Calvary troop to take on a citizen rider. Of course the soldiers chose the women factory workers to be their riding partners. This kind of close contact between men and women of the period was considered an indecent act. The women protested being subjected to this degradation, but to no avail, they were overpowered by the soldiers. These Georgia women were not only forced to ride in close contact, they were subject to all kinds of other contact, deemed needed by the "guards" It became quite a scene as Calvary fought to pick out their preferred spoil of war. A crude Yankee stated in a letter "It is a very fine sight we don't often see in the army. The employees were all women and they were really good looking." and "We always felt that we had a perfect right to appropriate to our own use anything we needed for our comfort and convenience." One soldier confided to his diary, "My delirium took the form of making love to the women." These conditions hurled at the Confederate soldier's sisters, wives, nieces and mothers whom they had left behind at home. At no time did they conceive of such a dastardly, uncivilized thing happening under the protection of a General Officer's orders. By night some officers had to post their troops a mile north of the female prisoners for fear of loosing all control over them.

The "Factory Hands" or "Roswell Women" as they would be referred to in the Official Records, were gathered from the mill areas in Marietta to link up with rail transportation. The approximately 400-500 females were placed in the Georgia Military Institute building as they had been long since separated from any males in the prisoner group. Union General George Thomas reported to Sherman that "The Roswell Factory hands, 400 or 500 in number, have arrived at Marietta. The most of them are women. I can only order them transportation to Nashville where it seems hard to turn them adrift. What had best be done with them?" Sherman planned to send them via railroad from Marietta thru Nashville with an ultimate destination of Indiana. Remember these women had committed no crime. They were taken prisoner, abused, manhandled, molested, raped and now would be transported hundreds of miles way from their homes. In those days it was rare to travel more than 10 miles or so from home. These battered Georgia women, were in complete terror. Some felt death might be a less cruel fate.

The Roswell woman were transport to Nashville then to Louisville by the Western and Atlantic Railroad. A newspaper documented their arrival "The train which arrived at Louisville from Nashville last evening brought up from the South two hundred and forty-nine women and children, who are sent by order of General Sherman, to be transferred north of the Ohio River, there to remain during the war. We understand that there are now at Nashville fifteen hundred women and children, who are in a very destitute condition, and who are to be sent to Louisville to be sent North. A number of them were engaged in the manufactories at Sweetwater at the time that place was captured by our forces."

Upon this news reaching the North, a New York newspaper wrote: "It is hardly conceivable that an officer bearing a United States commission of Major General should have so far forgotten the commonest dictates of decency and to drive four hundred penniless girls hundreds of miles away from their homes and friends to seek their livelihood amid strange and hostile people. We repeat our earnest hope that further information may redeem the name of General Sherman and our own from this frightful disgrace." Sherman said the women were "tainted with treason and...are as much governed by the rules of war as if in the ranks. … The whole region was devoted to manufactories, but I will destroy every one of them"

Another paper wrote " only think of it! Four hundred weeping and terrified Ellens, Susans and Maggies transported in springless and seatless army wagons, away from their loves and brothers of the sunny South, and all for the offense of weaving tent-cloth." The women were kept in prison until they signed allegiance to the United States. Those that did sign were released and sent across the Ohio River; those that didn't stayed in prison.

When the war ended and soldiers came home, they found their communities destroyed and their relatives missing. None of the New Manchester women ever returned and only a handful of the men. There were only a few men who could be found that had a first-hand knowledge of the events at New Manchester. One can only wonder what happened to the nearly 400 women that were originally taken prisoner. One husband successfully located his wife in Louisville and brought her home, but this was an exception. Most of the returning Confederate soldiers died never knowing the whereabouts of their wives, sisters, children or cousins. Imagine the fate of those expatriated women. How would they survive, some with children? What acts would they be forced to commit to stay alive? What suffering did they endure and for what crime? This vile act of inhumane transgressions, conceived and condoned by General Sherman, against innocent people of the South has never received atonement. It may be a classic example of why the war scars run deep in the South and the descendants of the Confederate soldiers can not today, let this history be forgotten.

References and Resources:

"Destruction of New Manchester, Georgia: The Story Behind the Ruins at Sweetwater Creek State Park", by Monroe M. King
"North Across the River - A Civil War Trail of Tears" by Ruth Beaumont Cook
"The Lost Cause: The Standard Southern History of the War of the Confederates"," by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 37
"The Story of the Confederate States" by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3, Section 3, Chapter 3 & 4
"The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4
"Truths of History" by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 10.
"Reports of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman", Official Records (War of the Rebellion)-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/1 [S# 72] MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign. No. 1.--U.S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi
Compliments of,
John K. McNeill SCV Camp #674

Sherman's March: The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's Devastating March through Georgia and the Carolinas
By Burke Davis
List Price: $16.00
SWR/SHNV Price: $10.88
Order HERE

Sherman's March is the vivid narrative of General William T. Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in the closing days of the Civil War. Weaving together hundreds of eyewitness stories, Burke Davis graphically brings to life the dramatic experiences of the 65,000 Federal troops who plundered their way through the South and those of the anguished -- and often defiant -- Confederate women and men who sought to protect themselves and their family treasures, usually in vain. Dominating these events is the general himself -- "Uncle Billy" to his troops, the devil incarnate to the Southerners he encountered.

"What gives this narrative its unusual richness is the author's collation of hundreds of eyewitness accounts...The actions are described in the words, often picturesque and often eloquent, of those who were there, either as participants -- Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers -- in the fighting and destruction or as victims of Sherman's frank vow to 'make Georgia howl.' Mr. Davis intercuts these scenes with closeups of the chief actors in this nightmarish drama, and he also manages to give us a coherent historical account of the whole episode. A powerful illustration of the proposition put forth in Sherman's most famous remark." -- The New Yorker


The Civil War's (sic) Last Great Peace Effort


Among all the efforts to bring the leaders of the two governments together so as to have a consultation, none excited more hope than the informal undertaking by the venerable Francis P. Blair, of Maryland. During the latter part of December, 1864, he proposed in confidential conversations with his friends to go to Richmond and see Mr. Davis, whom he had long known, and there initiate a movement by which the armies of Grant and Lee would cease fighting each other and march together against the French emperor of Mexico. On the 28th of December this venerable and patriotic enthusiast obtained from President Lincoln a brief pass to "go South and return." Two days later President Davis received his request to be permitted to visit Richmond, which was at once granted, but for some unexplained reason the letter of the Confederate President was delayed in Washington, though at last delivered after having been opened. Failing after two efforts to see President Lincoln before leaving for the South Mr. Blair proceeded to Richmond and held a confidential interview with President Davis on the 12th of January, 1865. The Confederate President received his distinguished visitor with cordiality as an old acquaintance and also with the consideration due the great mission on which he had volunteered. Mr. Blair had come only as a private gentleman, with neither credentials nor instructions, merely proposing to present a plan of his own, the chief feature of which was to make a diversion which would result in peace and reunion by turning the two armies against the Emperor Maximilian in assertion of the Monroe doctrine which was popular South and North. In addition to the unfolding of this plan of peace he replied to a question of Mr. Davis by stating that he had no assurance that President Lincoln would receive commissioners from the Southern States, but offered his opinion that he would do so at this juncture. The Confidential interview was protracted until a thorough comprehension of the mission was obtained by President Davis, and it was closed by his writing the following significant letter at once, which he submitted to Mr. Blair and signed. It will be read with interest as manifesting the mind of the Confederate President at that time, as showing his disposition to make peace, and as exhibiting his carefulness in the use of words so as to avoid giving offense. One phrase only seemed to imply independence as his ultimatum. That was the expression: "The two countries." The following is the letter addressed to Mr. Blair:

"Richmond, Va., January 12, 1865.

"Sir: I have deemed it proper and probably desirable to you to give you in this form the substance of remarks made by me to be repeated by you to President Lincoln.

"I have no disposition to find obstacles in forms and am willing now as heretofore to enter into negotiations for the restoration of peace; and am ready to send a commission whenever I have reason to suppose it will be received, or to receive a commission if the United States government shall choose to send one. That, notwithstanding the rejection of our former offers, I would, if you could promise that a commissioner, minister, or other agent, would be received, appoint one immediately, and renew the effort to enter into conference with the view to secure peace to the two countries.

With this important letter Mr. Blair returned to Washington, and showing it to President Lincoln, obtained from him a communication designed to be read by the Confederate President. This letter, also addressed to Mr. Blair, and dated at Washington, January 18, 1865, was as follows:

"Sir: You having shown me Mr. Davis' letter to you of the 12th instant, you may say to him that I have constantly been, am now and shall continue ready to receive any agent whom he or any other influential person now resisting the national authority may informally send to me with the view of securing peace to the people of our one common country.

Thus far the preliminaries seemed to gratify Mr. Blair. "It was well you wrote me that letter," he said to Mr. Davis when he reached Richmond, on his second visit bearing the letter from Mr. Lincoln, and on which action was taken at once notwithstanding its careful avoidance of all recognition of Confederate States officials, its characterization of the Confederate President as simply one of a number of "influential persons engaged in resisting the national authority," and its plain foil of the intimation of Mr. Davis that there were two countries.

What prevented the success of this mission? President Davis thought that during Blair's stay in Richmond he discovered more than ought to have been known abroad concerning the weakness of the Confederacy, and the anxiety for peace which disturbed men's minds. His visits excited great interest and great hopes in Richmond. His high character, his Southern blood, his sage-like appearance, his supposed influence at Washington, all contributed to make him and his objects deeply interesting to the prominent leaders of the Confederacy. It does not appear, however, in any way, that Mr. Blair sought or took advantage of the courtesies which he received. His visits, however, did indeed encourage the hope that subjugation with military force could be averted, a result which was generally regarded as a calamity to be followed by the total overthrow of all liberties.

Looking into Washington at the same period for insight into influences employed against this mission, there appeared two movements---one in Congress and the other from without--which obstructed the pending negotiations. That which occurred in Congress and so fully described in the work of the Hon. S.S. Cox, "Three Decades in Federal Legislation;" was the sudden resurrection, January 6, 1865, of the Thirteenth amendment to the Constitution which had been slumbering on the table since the last Presidential campaign. Mr. Cox says of this amendment that "it was a part of the program for strengthening the Federal cause. Mr. Seward and the President considered it worth an army. Whether they were right or not the amendment was not pressed until just before the negotiations at Hampton Roads." It was bruited around Washington about the first of January that Blair was entertaining the President with a scheme by which it was proposed to terminate the awful strife of North and South by negotiations with the "insurgents." It was time, therefore, to interpose some obstacle which would make the Confederacy unwilling to negotiate. The Thirteenth amendment would accomplish the purpose. It was therefore called up, and pressed with vehemence while the great peace mission of Mr. Blair was pending, and was yet more warmly urged when the commissioners from President Davis were actually seeking access to the President of the Union. Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Voorhees, and other statesmen, opposed the amendment because they doubted its constitutionality. Mr. Cox opposed its consideration then as being inopportune. The rumor was abroad, said he, that "a commissioner of the United States was then in Richmond (Mr. Blair) with the confidence and assent of the administration to meet a commissioner on the part of the Confederate authority, and that they had agreed to call a national convention in correspondence with the Chicago platform." Mr. Cox did not doubt the power to make this amendment, but he urged with great force the impropriety of raising this impediment to peace. Said he: "So long as there is a faint hope of a returning Union I will not place obstacles in the path. I would rather illuminate, cheer and clear the pathway to the old homestead. All I do and all I forbear to do is to save our imperiled government and restore our priceless Union. Show me that, and I will vote for your amendment. But, as it stands to-day, I believe that this amendment may be an obstacle to the rehabilitation of the States."

This debate went on while Mr. Blair was prosecuting his plan of negotiations. He had returned to President Davis, delivered to him the letter of President Lincoln and on the 18th of January was again in Washington. Immediately after he left, President Davis called Vice-President Stephens into his counsel, informed him concerning all that had passed, and having his concurrence as to the main fact that a commission should be sent to Washington, appointed as that commission Mr. Stephens, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hunter. These gentlemen proceeded at once on their embassy and reached the headquarters of General Grant on the day that the decisive hour arrived on which the amendment was pressed to vote.

"Every radical was in his seat and for the amendment." The majority favored its passage. But a minority insisted that it was designed to defeat, and would defeat, the peace which Confederate commissioners were at that moment seeking. It is strangely true that at that hour "high officials stated that no further negotiations were possible; that so Mr. Blair had reported, who had just come from Richmond." The President's private secretary declared that he knew of no such commission. The President himself wrote a note, January 31, 1865, to Mr. Ashley, the mover of the amendment, that he knew "of no such commission or negotiation." Mr. Cox excused these singular declarations from high quarters, but was so well convinced that they were mistaken as to cast his vote against the amendment which in his opinion was perilous to peace. "It was an obstacle, as it turned out," he says, "notwithstanding Mr. Seward's belief that it was an aid." It is to be noted as a significant circumstance that the amendment passed while General Grant was detaining the commissioners by special instructions from Washington, that it was promptly approved, that the interview of the commissioners was then allowed, and that they were quickly confronted with the embarrassing information that this amendment to abolish slavery had passed. Even that, however, did not drive them back to Richmond.

Another influence which contributed to blight the budding promise of the flower of peace, was the anxious gathering of partisans at Washington to prevent such a collapse of war. One of these obstructionists, Mr. Henry Ward Beecher, was a fair representative of that class of radicals who were in perpetual dread lest the goodness of Mr. Lincoln would in some way be the undoing of their cause. He came and thus tells his own story: He had been in England and returned in 1864 to find that "there was some talk," as he says, "of compromise with the South. Mr. Blair had told the President that he was satisfied if he could be put in communication with some of the leading men of the South,. in some way or other, that some benefit would accrue. Lincoln had sent a delegate to meet Alexander Stephens and that was all the North knew. We were all very much excited over that," said Mr. Beecher. "The war had lasted so long, and I was afraid Lincoln would be anxious for peace, and I was afraid he would accept something that would be of advantage to the South, so I went to Washington and called upon him. I said to him, ' Mr. Lincoln, I come to know whether the public interest will permit you to explain to me what this Southern commission means.' He went to his little secretary, and came out and handed me a little card as long as my finger and an inch wide, and on that was written, ' You will pass the bearer through the lines. A. LINCOLN.' ' There, ' he said, ' that is all there is of it. Now, Blair thinks something can be done, but I don't, but I have no objection to have him try his hand. He has no authority whatever but to go and see what he can do.' "

All efforts to restrain Mr. Blair, or to prevent the Confederate President from making another attempt at negotiation, entirely failed. Notwithstanding all disadvantages he appointed a commission from which resulted the Hampton Roads conference, as history designates the informal conversation between the Confederate commissioners, as heretofore named, on the one part, and President Lincoln and Mr. Seward on the other part, which was held on board a United States steamer in Hampton Roads, February, 1865. It will be seen on review of the entire history of the event that the United States carefully and firmly held all advantages in the conference while admitting the commissioners to an interview. This is made evident by the following facts: It appears that Mr. Blair left Washington for Richmond without the privilege of a final conversation with the President which might give color to any rumor that he went by authority. Without credentials or instructions his visit to Richmond was to present his own plan, gain knowledge of the mind of Mr. Davis, ascertain the temper of Confederate leaders, and to close his work without committing Mr. Lincoln to anything whatever. The letters to himself which he procured from President Davis first, and next from President Lincoln, were dangerous documents, but the Federal President wrote briefly, avoiding the slightest reference to Mr. Davis as an official, and only noticing his letter as coming from an influential insurgent. So far as receiving an agent was concerned it was of no consequence to the Federal President whether he came from President Davis or any other influential person engaged in resisting the Federal authority. He was even so particular as to rebuke the harmless words, "two countries," as used by the Confederate President, and to require Mr. Blair to bear witness to that particular fact. After the three "influential persons" appointed as Confederate commissioners were on the way towards Washington, he also so far ignored their business as to declare on January 31st, that he knew of "no commission and no negotiations," evidently meaning that he did not look upon them as the commissioners of any government. The interchange of official telegrams between the civil and the military authorities from January 29th further show an absurd continuance of all this trivial caution, while the modes adopted to let these "persons" come on without their presence having any significance, were too puerile to have so seriously engaged the attention of the secretary of state and the secretary of war who had contrived them. Then again, in further purpose to allow no possible equality in the conference to be considered, and no official character to exist, the influential trio were first to be interviewed and their dignity lessened by a mere messenger from the President. They were then required to say to this messenger in writing that they were coming only to have an informal colloquy, and finally to signify, before they could get any further, that they fully understood the ultimatum of President Lincoln. The commissioners had expected to go to Washington, as Mr. Blair had been to Richmond, but they were met aboard a United States steamer with no one to hear them but President Lincoln and Mr. Seward, his secretary of state. Keeping in view these circumstances under which the Confederate States President sought for peace, the detailed account of the famous Hampton Roads conference will be interesting.

The following events re-stated with their dates will show the progress of this peace movement and assist in understanding it: On December 28th, the pass of President Lincoln was delivered to Mr. Blair; December 30th, President Davis received Mr. Blair's request to visit Richmond, which was immediately granted; January 12, 1865, the first interview between Davis and Blair took place, at the conclusion of which the letter already quoted was written; January 18th, the letter of Lincoln to Blair, written to be read by Davis, was delivered, with which the peacemaker went back to Richmond; January 21st, the second conference took place between Blair and Davis, after which Blair returned to Washington. Davis consulted Stephens, and the three commissioners, Stephens, Campbell and Hunter were appointed. The commission or certificate of appointment signed by Mr. Davis for the guidance of these statesmen read simply that "in conformity with the letter of Mr. Lincoln of which the foregoing is a copy, you are requested to proceed to Washington City for an informal conference with him upon the issues involved in the existing war, and for the purpose of securing peace to the two countries." The use of the words "two countries" instead of "two governments" was discreetly and delicately made by the Confederate President in avoidance of any question which might be raised by the Washington administration, the "country" being a region, a territory, a people and their institutions, while a "government" is a body politic, governed by one authority. In fact the point was considered by the United States officials and fully waived. Rumor went out after the fall of the Confederacy and continued afloat for many years, notwithstanding its refutation, that the commissioners were trammeled by imperative instructions which required them to treat only on the basis of independence, and that in consequence of these instructions their mission failed. This rumor had its origin in the disappointments and sufferings which followed the dissolution of the Confederacy, but afterward was used in justification of the action of the United States authorities at Hampton Roads, and in derogation of the character of President Davis. The certificate, however, as Mr. Davis calls it, contained nothing more than is above quoted, and aside from what is there written no instructions were given. On this question Mr. Stephens says: "The reports were utterly unworthy of notice. * * * We had no written instructions upon that subject, or any other except what were contained in the letter of appointment, nor any verbal instructions on that subject inconsistent with the terms of that letter." With considerable emphasis Mr. Stephens repeated the statements contained in his "War Between the States" through a public letter in 1874, saying again "there were no instructions whatever given by Mr. Davis to the commissioners as to the terms on which they should agree to treat upon the subject of peace." The report of the commissioners explains fully why their efforts failed, and each has with some indignation resented the imputation on their judgment in accepting a trust with conditions which, as alleged, barred its execution. In President Lincoln's brief explanation to Congress of the conference, he remarks that it was not said by the other party that in any event or any condition they ever would consent to reunion, and "yet they equally omitted to declare that they never would so consent." This omission itself entirely refutes the rumor and no declarations of President Davis were needed to show that such terms were included in this remarkable commission which was entrusted to three eminently wise, discreet and patriotic men. As became his office, the Confederate President certainly desired, even passionately, to secure the success of the secession ordained by the States. Independence out of the Union because their constitutional equality in it was imperiled was the simple object aimed at in the formation of the Confederacy, to attain which all energies were directed. Even in January, 1865, this object was not considered by Mr. Davis, Mr. Stephens and the large majority of the Confederate Congress, as unattainable. Neither the army nor the citizens of the South were ready for unconditional submission and they would have been astounded by any instructions to the commissioners to surrender without terms before striking another blow for independence. Mr. Davis says in a public letter in reference to his sense of official responsibility, "I do not know how any one could have expected me, under the trust which I held from the people of the Confederate States, to propose to surrender at discretion the rights and liberties for which the best and bravest of the land were still gallantly struggling, and for which so many had nobly died." The testimony clearly disposes of the rumor concerning instructions, and after this examination of it a further view of events may be taken of the history of the Hampton Roads conference.

On the 29th of January the commissioners, having reached that part of the Federal front which was occupied by the Ninth army corps, made their presence and business known with request to cross the lines at once on their way to Washington. After passing the military channel of communication their note reached the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, and the same day was at once referred to President Lincoln, and at the same time General Ord, commanding at the front during General Grant's temporary absence, was directed by the secretary of war not to allow the commissioners to enter the lines unless by instructions from the President. On January 30th President Lincoln telegraphed General Ord, through Secretary Stanton, to inform the "three gentlemen, Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Campbell, that a messenger will be dispatched to them at or near where they now are without unnecessary delay." The messenger to be sent was Major Thomas T. Eckert, who was given very precise instructions to first secure from the commissioners an agreement in writing that if they are allowed to pass through the United States military lines it will be understood that they do so for the purpose of an informal conference on the basis of the letter dated January 18th, of Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blair. General Grant, however, had returned to the army and had received direct another application on January 30th, by the commissioners to pass his lines under safe conduct, and without waiting for directions from Washington directed them to be received at h. is headquarters and await instructions. This unexpected action caused President Lincoln to telegraph to Grant to detain the gentlemen in comfortable quarters, and mean. while Major Eckert reached him with a special dispatch to have an interview secured between himself and the Confederate commissioners. Mr. Seward followed on the 31st, bearing explicit instructions from the President to make known to them that three things are indispensable, to-wit: (1) the restoration of the national authority throughout all the States; (2) no receding by the executive of the United States on the slavery question from the position assumed thereon in the late annual message to Congress; (3) no cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war, and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the government. They were to be informed that all propositions of theirs not inconsistent with the above would be considered and passed in a spirit of sincere liberality, but Mr. Seward was commanded not to definitely consummate anything. This letter of instructions was given on the afternoon of January 31st, at the time when the Thirteenth amendment was on its passage in Congress, and it was followed early next morning, February 1st, by a telegram to Grant from Lincoln--" Let nothing which is transpiring change, hinder or delay your military movements or plans." Another dispatch of the same date required Major Eckert to place himself under direction of Mr. Seward, who reached Fortress Monroe on the evening of that day. Major Eckert had already communicated with the commissioners the terms on which they might remain within the lines on their mission, but Mr. Stephens and his associates regarded this reception of their overtures as designedly contrived to embarrass if not to humiliate them. They placed their case again directly before General Grant, who checked the President in a resolution hastily formed to recall Seward with Eckert, by a telegram on the night of February 1st, in which he informed the President of his fear that the return of the commissioners without a hearing would have a bad influence; that he was satisfied of their good intentions and their sincere desire to restore peace and union, and he suggested an interview between them and Lincoln himself. This dispatch of General Grant changed the President's purpose, and the commissioners having further considered their situation signed the terms prescribed for their admission to the conference. The President resolving now to be present in person at the conference came to Hampton Roads where he joined Secretary Seward on the night of the 2nd and next day received the commissioners on board a steamer.

The conference took place February 3, 1865, to the result of which two countries at least were looking with great solicitude, but the history of what was said and done can be gathered alone from the earliest accounts of it given carefully to the world by all the five great actors; since by agreement not a line was written in the conference room nor a witness admitted to be present. The distinguished parties themselves have all spoken and from these sources the record is made. It appears that the first words bearing on the objects of the meeting were uttered by Mr. Stephens in the form of a question addressed to President Lincoln, whether there was any way to put an end to the present trouble. To this broad and significant inquiry the President at once replied that there was but one way that he knew of and that was for those who were resisting the laws of the Union to cease that resistance. But Mr. Stephens sought again to know if there was no plan on which existing hostilities might cease and the attention of both parties be turned from the questions involved in the strife and diverted to some great common aim which might lead to the restoration of the Union.

The evident allusion of the second question to the plan of Mr. Blair to divert the two armies into an invasion of Mexico, which the Confederate commissioners themselves did not favor, brought from the President a distinct disavowal of having given Mr. Blair an authority to speak for him and an earnest declaration that he could entertain no proposition for ceasing active military operations which was not based upon a pledge first given for the ultimate restoration of the Union. The Confederate commissioners had not expected such an immediate and flat statement, and were without authority or inclination to give a pledge unaccompanied with any understanding whatever as to the course the United States would pursue toward the States and the people of the South in respect to their lives, property and local government. Judge Campbell therefore interposed at this point with a direct inquiry as to the plan on which the re-establishment of national authority would take place in the event the South agreed to the general terms as stated by Mr. Lincoln, thus presenting a question which the commissioners had previously considered as one to be asked, provided the armistice should be refused. It was, in fact, the precise pivot on which the issue could be made to turn toward peace with a Union promptly restored, or war with distraction long continued. It was reasonable beyond all question that these three eminent statesmen should have the fair, explicit and reliable answer from President Lincoln :--that secession be abandoned that the Thirteenth amendment be added to the Constitution, or at least be fairly voted upon by all the States; that the Federal civil authority be completely restored in all respects everywhere; that the seceded States repeal for legal reasons the ordinances of secession and resume fully by their own immediate action their constitutional relations in the Union; that general amnesty be proclaimed and all minor legal questions be remanded to the judiciary for adjustment. Whether these terms would have been agreed to so that they could have been satisfactorily executed is not known, yet if they had been sincerely agreed on and honorably carried out by the rapid method of State conventions, the political as well as the military disturbances between the sections would have ended within a few months. But they were not offered.

Upon several of these questions intimations were made which very nearly approached all that the Confederate commissioners could have demanded. As to the abandonment of secession that was positively required by the President. The ratification by the States of the Thirteenth amendment was taken into discussion during which the President with caution expressed an individual willingness on his own part to be taxed to remunerate the Southern people for their slaves and that he should be in favor individually of the government paying a fair indemnity for the loss to the owners. He knew of some persons who favored an appropriation of four hundred millions for that purpose. But he declared that he would give no assurance and make no stipulation. Mr. Seward accepted this general intimation of the President that the Northern people would be willing to pay about the amount as an indemnity to the owners of emancipated slaves, which would be required to continue the war. To this extent and no farther went even the hint of compensated emancipation. There was no offer either express or implied by the President and his secretary of state to guarantee such a result, and the commissioners understood the intimation as a vague suggestion on which they could base no proposition. Their action was accordingly unaffected by it, nor were they trammeled in any degree by instructions which prevented their consideration of it. The abolition of slavery they clearly understood to be one of the terms of peace, especially since Congress had at this particular juncture passed the necessary amendment to enforce the emancipation proclamation, from which Mr. Lincoln plainly stated he would not recede; but they were not invited to trust that negro property would be paid for upon the abandonment of secession. No part of the accounts given by any of the parties to the Hampton Roads conference authorized this view.

But still more important to the South and the Union itself than slaves or their value was the question of the status of the States and people of the States upon surrender by negotiation. What position would the States of the South occupy on their abandonment of secession? To what extent would the Federal majority assume the attitude of a conqueror? To this vital question the President answered as to his own opinion the States would be restored to their practical relations to the Union, but said emphatically he could not enter into any stipulations upon the subject, and in reply to the urgency of Mr. Stephens on this matter "persisted in asserting that he could not enter into any agreement upon this subject or upon any other matters of that sort with parties in arms against the government." Mr. Stephens still insisted that if the President could issue a proclamation of emancipation as a war measure of doubtful constitutionality he could certainly enter into a stipulation to preserve the statehood of the States and carry it out as a war measure also; but on the exhaustion of all suggestions the President still returned firmly to his first and only proposition--an unconditional surrender of the States and their people. Not the slightest deviation from this was admissible.

The conference had reached the line where it seems the Southern commissioners would have taken a step committing their government to dissolution without another battle, provided only they had been fully and frankly assured by authority to be trusted that the Union even without slavery would be at once re-established, the States with all their rightful relations restored, the people of the South protected, the Constitution respected and sectionalism ended forever. But around the form of the President was the portentous shadow of the radical war cloud, an influence that he could not withstand at that time. His ultimatum was dictated by a fierce policy that does not clearly appear to have been his own, and even his hint that he would temper wrath with mercy was given with qualifications. He could give no assurances, make no stipulations, enter into no agreement, and have no understanding as to the result of surrender.

The commissioners returned to Richmond and made their report, with which every one was disappointed, and, says Mr. Stephens, "no one more so than Mr. Davis." The Confederate President transmitted the report to Congress and all plans for negotiation being thwarted addressed himself to the means at his disposal for defending the South by arms.

Source: Confederate Military History, Vol. 1, The Civil History Of The Confederate States Chapter XXV

Causes of Southern independence movement 1860

The Tariff of 1828, was a protective tariff passed by the Congress of the United States on May 19, 1828 designed to to protect industry in the northern United States. It was labeled the Tariff of Abominations by its southern detractors because of the effects it had on the antebellum Southern economy and led to the Nullification Crisis. Source

The second great period in the tariff history of the United States opens with the Civil War. It is true that the first steps towards a policy of higher protection were taken just before the war began. In the session of 1860-61, immediately preceding the outbreak of the conflict, the Morrill Tariff Act was passed by the Republican party, then in control because the defection of Southern members of Congress had already begun. It substituted specific duties for the ad valorem duties of 1846 and 1857, and made some other changes of significance, as in the higher duties upon iron and steel. Nevertheless, the advances then made were of little importance as compared with the far-reaching increases of duty during the Civil War. These formed part of the general resort to every possible fiscal device. Source

The goal of the tariff was to protect industry in the northern United States which were being driven out of business by low-priced imported goods by putting a tax on them. The South, however, was harmed firstly by having to pay higher prices on goods the region did not produce, and secondly because reducing the importation of British goods made it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they imported from the South. The reaction in the South, particularly in South Carolina, would lead to the Nullification Crisis that began in late 1832.

"What were the causes of the Southern independence movement in 1860?" "Northern commercial and manufacturing interests had forced through Congress taxes that oppressed Southern planters and made Northern manufacturers rich."..."... the South paid about three-quarters of all federal taxes, most of which were spent in the North." - Charles Adams, "For Good and Evil. The impact of taxes on the course of civilization," 1993, Madison Books, Lanham, USA, pp. 325-327

"The South has furnished near three-fourths of the entire exports of the country. Last year she furnished seventy-two percent of the whole...we have a tariff that protects our manufacturers from thirty to fifty percent, and enables us to consume large quantities of Southern cotton, and to compete in our whole home market with the skilled labor of Europe. This operates to compel the South to pay an indirect bounty to our skilled labor, of millions annually." - Daily Chicago Times, December 10, 1860

"They (the South) know that it is their import trade that draws from the people's pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interest.... These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the Union. They (the North) are enraged at the prospect of being despoiled of the rich feast upon which they have so long fed and fattened, and which they were just getting ready to enjoy with still greater gout and gusto. They are as mad as hornets because the prize slips them just as they are ready to grasp it." ~ New Orleans Daily Crescent, January 21, 1861

Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War (SIC)
By Marc Egnal
List Price:$16.00
SWR Price:$10.88
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Waiting for the death camp trains!

In the beginning of these horrors the Confederate government renewed the efforts for exchange of prisoners. These efforts fell on deaf ears, Lincoln would sacrifice his own to handicap the South!....PoP

The Chief Surgeon of camp Elmira was overheard to boast, before resigning toavoid court martial, he had killed more rebels than any Union soldier. Bottom line & there was 3,866 more Confederate soldiers who died in Union prisons than Union soldiers in Confederate prisons... Gore Vidal

The worst prison camp during the War For Southern Independence was NOT Andersonville but Rock Island, Illinois. This Union camp had an estimated 72% death rate as compared to Andersonville's 27% !! The South also suffered more deaths in union prisons than union in Southern prisons. The Confederate prisoner's were starved and deprived of the essentials to survive the harsh winters of the north. This done by a nation that had ample means to provide for the prisoners. The South could not even provide for it's own troops!

The first three years of war, exchange of prisoners was common practice. Early 1864, Lincoln stopped this practice"Grant's advice" This new policy was crafted to keep C.S. exchanges from returning to their units. The South had no replacements to call on. The North, on the other hand had a million troops around Washington that had never seen the elephant!...Lincoln had not a care for his soldiers in Southern prisons, he was pleased it a burden for The Confederates!

It has been said that history is created by those who write it rather than those who live it. This is hyperbole, of course, but each historian does indeed write from a particular perspective. So Americans, depending on what schools they attend and which historians they rely on, may have differing views of the same event.

Also, many Americans rely on public libraries for their knowledge of history. But, contrary to what many think, the purpose of public libraries is not to present balanced views but to make available to their patrons the most sought after books. Public libraries, unlike libraries affiliated with universities, stock their shelves with best sellers or books receiving favorable reviews in mass market journals.

Quite a few people derive their knowledge of history from fictional accounts; novels, plays, films, and TV. This is especially true of depictions of the War Between the States. This unparalleled event in our history has continued to inspire fictional works for 140 years....more on this HERE.

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people... Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom...nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice." -- John Adams

The True Story of Andersonville Prison
By James Madison Page, M.J. Haley Price: $24.95
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During the Civil (sic)War, James Madison Page was a prisoner in different places in the South. Seven months of that time was spent at Andersonville. While there he became well acquainted with Major Wirz, or Captain Wirz, as he then ranked.

Page takes the stand that Captain Wirz was unjustly held responsible for the hardship and mortality of Andersonville. It was his belief that the Federal authorities must share the blame for these things with the Confederate, since they well knew the inability of the Confederates to meet the reasonable wants of their prisoners of war, as they lacked a supply for their own needs, and since the Federal authorities failed to exercise a humane policy in the exchange of those captured in battle. This reprint edition is a facsimile of the original “As Published in 1908”

“ The attempt by an ex-prisoner who was very accommodating toward Confederate captors to rebut other accounts of Wirz. Vehement, detailed, sometimes convincing.” Nevins, Allen. "Civil (sic)War Books: A Critical Bibliography. Vol. 1. Baton Rouge: LSU Press 1970. Pg.199

"Rebel prisoners in our hands are to be subjected to a treatment finding its parallels only in the conduct of savage tribes and resulting in the death of multitudes by the slow but designed process of starvation and by mortal diseases occasioned by insufficient and unhealthy food and wanton exposure of their persons to the inclemency of the weather."

-- Official U.S. Policy on Confederate Prisoners of War (Preamble to the H.R. 97, passed by both Houses of Congress)

In 1866, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton reported that according to the Commissary General of Prisoners, over 26,000 Confederate POWs died in prisons and hospitals.

Just a few of the death camps!!
Camp Douglas * Rock Island
Camp Chase * Point Lookout
Camp Chase * Elmira
Fort Delaware *Alton Prison
Camp Randall * Camp Morton


They don't deserve the dishonor

Dr. Lewis Steiner, a Union Sanitary Commission employee who lived through the Confederate occupation of Frederick, Maryland said, "Most of the Negroes ... were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army." Erwin L. Jordan's book "Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia" cites eyewitness accounts of the Antietam campaign of "armed blacks in rebel columns bearing rifles, sabers, and knives and carrying knapsacks and haversacks." After the Battle of Seven Pines in June 1862, Union soldiers said that "two black Confederate regiments not only fought but showed no mercy to the Yankee dead or wounded whom they mutilated, murdered and robbed."

In April 1861, a Petersburg, Virginia newspaper proposed "three cheers for the patriotic free Negroes of Lynchburg" after 70 blacks offered "to act in whatever capacity may be assigned to them" in defense of Virginia. Erwin L. Jordan cites one case where a captured group of white slave owners and blacks were offered freedom if they would take an oath of allegiance to the United States. One free black indignantly replied, "I can't take no such oaf as dat. I'm a secesh." A slave in the group upon learning that his master refused to take the oath said, "I can't take no oath dat Massa won't take." A second slave said, "I ain't going out here on no dishonorable terms." One of the slave owners took the oath but his slave, who didn't take the oath, returning to Virginia under a flag of truce, expressed disgust at his master's disloyalty saying, "Massa had no principles."

Horace Greeley, in pointing out some differences between the two warring armies said, "For more than two years, Negroes have been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They have been embodied and drilled as rebel soldiers and had paraded with white troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies of the Union." General Nathan Bedford Forrest had both slaves and freemen serving in units under his command. After the war, General Forrest said of the black men who served under him "(T)hese boys stayed with me ... and better Confederates did not live."

These are but a few examples of the important role that blacks served, both as slaves and freemen in the Confederacy during the War Between the States.

The flap over the Confederate flag is not quite as simple as the nation's race experts make it. They want us to believe the flag is a symbol of racism. Yes, racists have used the Confederate flag, but racists have also used the Bible and the U.S. flag. Should we get rid of the Bible and lower the U.S. flag? Black civil rights activists and their white liberal supporters who're attacking the Confederate flag have committed a deep, despicable dishonor to our patriotic black ancestors who marched, fought and died to protect their homeland from what they saw as Northern aggression.

They don't deserve the dishonor......Walter Williams

Words of The Butcher!!

"To the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or SHE is disposed of the better. Satan and the rebellious saints of Heaven were allowed a continuous existence in hell merely to swell their punishment. To such as would rebel against a Government so mild and just as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjustified.

"Gen. Sherman in a June 21, 1864, letter to Lincoln's Sec. of War, Edwin Station wrote, "There is a class of people men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order." Stanton replied, "Your letter of the 21st of June has just reached me and meets my approval."

"Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of it's roads, houses, and PEOPLE will cripple their military resources.I can make the march, and make Georgia howl."

"There is a class of people [in the South], men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order."

"I have deemed it to the interest of the United States that the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove, those who prefer it to go South and the
rest North."

"The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything, because they cannot deny that war does exist there, and war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact."

"Next year their lands will be taken, for in war we can take them, and rightfully too, and another year they may beg in vain for their lives. A people who will persevere in war beyond a certain limit ought to know the consequences. Many many people, with less pertinacity than the South, have been wiped out of national existence. To those who submit to the rightful law and authority, all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant and persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better."

Enemies must be killed or transported to some other country.

"The United States has the right, and the power, to penetrate to every part of the national domain. We will remove and destroy every obstacle - if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper."

Writing to his wife in 1862, Sherman said, "We are in our enemy's country, and I act accordingly the war will soon assume a turn to extermination not of soldiers alone, that is the least part of the trouble, but the people."


Confederates are a misunderstood bunch

Confederates are a misunderstood bunch. April marked 150 years since the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, launching the Civil War. Though hostilities didn’t last half as long as Vietnam or even our current Afghan skirmish, it’s the war that killed the most Americans and also is believed by many to be the most justified of our nation’s wars. After all, the bloodshed freed the slaves and paved the path for civil rights and Kumbaya. But even if the story has a happy ending (sort of), and even if slavery was intolerable, inhumane, evil, and economically idiotic, modern Americans stubbornly ignore the obvious fact that Lincoln’s war directly opposed the spirit with which this nation was founded, when 13 states decided to secede from their union, or “the British Empire” as it’s sometimes called. They founded a new nation through secession four score and seven years prior to Lincoln’s famous proclamation, which ludicrously implied his fight against secession was in the same spirit as our nation’s founding. In truth, Lincoln’s tyrannical, tax-loving nature was exactly the sort of oppression that Washington, et al., tried to dispose of back in 1776. The war was barely about slavery.

The rest of this outstanding article:



Pure Wantonness - Sheridan and the Union in the Shenandoah by John S. Mosby

A lengthy article appeared in the Richmond Times of February 10th, 1895, entitled “Sheridan’s Difficulties” in which, according to the paper, “Colonel John S. Mosby Tells of the Pure Wantonness of the Federal Commanders.

Much of the article includes communiqués among the federal high command regarding the various strategies employed (mostly against Mosby) especially with regard to the orders given Sheridan by Grant to rebuild the Manassas Gap railroad and use it as a supply line for Sheridan to move to Grant in his campaign against Lee. Of course, Mosby’s command prevented that from happening and the struggle by Sheridan, Halleck, Augur and the rest to neutralize Mosby was later used as an excuse for the destruction waged in the Shenandoah. Mosby begins his narrative with the statement:

“At that time Grant had heard nothing of Augur’s troubles on the Manassas road. To (a) dispatch from General Grant, Halleck on October 13th replied:

‘The substance of your dispatch of the 11th was immediately sent to General Sheridan. Numerous guerrilla parties in his rear frequently interrupt communication with him.’”

The author then goes on to show by the communications among the various Union commanders that the nature of his efforts against the rebuilding of the railroad—which efforts had been ordered by Gen. Lee—resulted in the adoption of “the Washburne plan;” that is, in July of 1864, General Cadwallader Washburn, commander of the Department of West Tennessee, announced his plans to deter Confederates from firing into his trains. Forty “of the most prominent and bitter secessionists” were to be arrested, and each day twenty would be placed on each of the trains that departed Memphis “in the most conspicuous positions, one being placed on each side of the engineer.” [General Washburne’s Plan for Protecting Railroads Against Guerrillas,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 12, 1864.] About this atrocity, Mosby simply recounts:

“Halleck, the same Halleck who wrote a book on the laws of war, replied:

‘Your plan of putting prominent citizens on trains is approved and you will carry it into effect. They should be so confined as to render escape impossible and yet be exposed to the fire of the enemy.’”

Mosby then quotes various communications among the federals culminating in that of General Lew Wallace (of Ben Hur fame) to Gen. Henry Lockwood:

“I have the honor to inform you that there is some danger of a raid by Mosby on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and General Halleck has ordered all General Tyler’s cavalry and artillery to Rockville, and directed that his infantry protect the road.”

Mosby goes on:

“In other words, his soldiers should be protected by putting non-combatant citizens between them and my men. In the fiercest heat of war, no enemy ever accused me of doing such a thing. It was just the same as if Grant had arrested a lot of Virginia men, women and children and placed them in front of his lines to keep the Confederates from firing at them. This was a purely military road; it was as legitimate war to prevent the rebuilding of it, or to pull up the track and destroy the trains as to fire artillery at the soldiers. These are the risks soldiers must run. I would be willing to submit, not only this question of the ethics of war, but of my military operations to the board of professors at West Point.

On October 29th, 1864, Mosby received the support of General Robert E. Lee for his war against the rebuilding of the Manassas Gap road and told him to

“…spare no pains to interrupt the work and use of the railroad.”

It is also at this time that Mosby sought—and received—permission from both Lee and Secretary of War James Seddon to retaliate against the shooting and hanging of seven of his men which had taken place while he was away from his command recuperating from a wound.

Meanwhile, in their rage over not being able to get the railroad “up and running” as ordered by Grant, Gen. Halleck writes to Superintendent McCallum:

“The Secretary of War directs that in retaliation for the murderous act of guerilla bands composed of and assisted by the inhabitants along the Manassas Gap Railroad, and as a measure necessary to keep that road in running order, you proceed to destroy every house within five miles of the road which is not required for our own purposes, and which is not occupied by persons known to be friendly. The women and children will be assisted in going north or south, as they may select.” To this, Mosby adds as a post script: “(The people whose houses were ordered to be burned were no more responsible for my acts than Mr. Lincoln. J. S. M.)”

Mosby goes on to speak of the Manassas Gap situation including throwing a train from the track and the firing into it by his men after which it was reported that “Mr. McCrickett, assistant superintendent of the railroad, and several others, (were) reported killed.” After several more communiqués, Mosby reported that Sheridan did go to see Gen. Augur then adding, “but they never built the road.” A movement of troops, even to stripping all of the guards on the Potomac and sending them to the Manassas Gap as well as the further movement of large bodies of cavalry in an effort to drive Mosby south resulted in just the opposite: he moved north. To this unexpected result of Union maneuvering, Mosby points out:

“Halleck had written a book on The Art of War, and as he had laid down no such rule in a case of that sort (that is, that Mosby should do the opposite of what his stratagems were designed to bring about), he considered it a violation of all the usages of war.

Obviously, much of the cry of “foul” raised by the Union army regarding John Mosby’s actions in the war were directed not at any atrocities he allegedly committed, but in his refusal to fight according their well conceived stratagems and thus frequently making them look like fools and defeating their plans.

The article proceeds to cover the rest of the abortive attempt by the Union military to rebuild the railroad along with Mosby’s clear and concise evaluation of Sheridan’s Valley campaign in which he points out with facts and figures that it did nothing to hasten the fall of Richmond and that Sheridan’s “reputation” was more a matter of good press than any actual military genius. Indeed, of the struggle between Sheridan and Early, Mosby points out:

“Not long after the battle of Cedar Creek Sheridan retired into winter quarters at Winchester, and sent the larger portion of his army by the Baltimore road back to Grant. Early’s corps also returned to General Lee, not greatly reduced in numbers. Under Gordon they constituted a large portion of the troops surrendered at Appomattox. If the battles in the Valley in any way accelerated that event, it is not perceptible. Grant’s plan for the capture of Richmond by the co-operation of the Army of the Shenandoah had been defeated . . . If Sheridan and Early had fought no battles in September and October the conditions would not have been materially changed from what they were in December. General Sheridan has described with much detail the devastation of the country he occupied, where he exhibited to the world the spectacle of “the strength of civilization without its mercy.” (Gen. David) Hunter had already damaged the Valley. He left before his work was complete. But he carried off the statue of Washington from the college he endowed, and showed less sensibility than Alaric when he confronted the image of Pallas Athene[*].

“It may be conceded that the destruction of provisions, and whatever immediately contributes to the support of an army, is allowable to an enemy. But it is a fundamental principle “that nothing is allowable against an enemy but what is necessary, and noting is necessary which does not tend to procure victory and bring the war to a conclusion.”

[*Mosby is speaking of a barbarian who refrained from destroying a statue of Athena, goddess of Wisdom because he perceived the intrinsic beauty and value of the image. On the other hand, “Black Dave” Hunter was not sufficiently elevated mentally or morally to refrain from stealing a statue of Washington from a center of learning. Hunter, a Virginian by birth, shows the character of most of those born in the South who chose to side with the Union. His reputation was evil and after the war, as Mosby points out elsewhere, he “closed his life a suicide.”]

It is at this point that Mosby makes his case against Sheridan and the Union army, accusing them of “pure wantonness” in the prosecution of the war:

“After destroying all the wheat and corn in a country, to burn mills where there is nothing to grind is pure wantonness. All the barns were burned no matter whether there was forage in them or they were empty. The destruction of implements of husbandry to prevent the planting of crops simply because there is a possibility of their being useful to an enemy, can no more be justified than killing defenseless women and children. It is true that there is a chance that the crops that are allowed to be sown may be useful to the enemy; and it is equally true that if the war lasts long enough, as did the Thirty Years’ War, children may grow up, and women may become the mothers of soldiers. The injury inflicted is certain and permanent. There is only a possibility of its weakening the resources of the enemy; the benefit is too remote and contingent. The war did in fact, close before another crop could have been reaped in the Shenandoah Valley. I am judging by the principles that I wish myself to be judged.

In his Memoirs General Sheridan repudiates the humane maxims of Grotius and Vattel, and lays down an ethical code for the government of armies in war that abolishes all distinctions heretofore recognized between combatant and noncombatant enemies. If the United States should adopt it, then Napoleon’s saying, “Scratch a Russian (and) you will find a Tarter,” will not apply alone to the subjects of the Czar. In contrast with these pitiless doctrines that suggest the picture of the Infernal Court and “The iron tears that rain down Pluto’s cheek,” are the humane rules of international law as expounded by Professor Twiss, of Oxford, in his work on Rights and Duties in Time of War.

“All damage, therefore, which is done to an enemy without any corresponding advantage accruing to the belligerent is an abuse of a natural right of the latter. Thus, indeed, a belligerent is entitled to capture all the property of an enemy which is calculated to enable him the better to carry on hostilities, and if he cannot carry it away conveniently, to destroy it. A belligerent, for example, may destroy all existing stores of provisions and forage, which he cannot conveniently carry away, and may even destroy the standing crops, in order to deprive his enemy of immediate subsistence, and so reduce him to surrender. But a belligerent will not be justified in cutting the olive trees and rooting up the vines; for that is to inflict desolation upon a country for many years to come, and the belligerent cannot derive any corresponding advantage therefrom. When the French armies desolated with fire and sword the Palatinate in 1674 and again in 1689, there was a general outcry throughout Europe against such a mode of carrying on war; and when the French Minister, Louvol, alleged that the object in view was to cover the French frontier against invasion from the enemy, the advantage which France derived from the act was universally held to be inadequate to the suffering inflicted, and the act itself to be, therefore, unjustifiable.

“A belligerent prince who should, in the present day, without necessity, ravage an enemy’s country with fire and sword, and render it uninhabitable, in order to make it serve as a barrier against the advance of the enemy, would be just regarded as a modern Attila.”

Thus did John Singleton Mosby clearly identify the atrocious methods of warfare conducted in his theater of war, northern Virginia. Even more to the point, he was not considering other atrocities committed by the Union forces in other parts of the South, nor was he considering such atrocities committed for no other reason than barbarism, revenge and plunder. In the article he wrote, he judged the actions of his enemies by the standards of what belligerents can and cannot do—in a civilized society—in making war. And, in fact, much of what Mosby dealt with in Virginia relates directly to that situation. However, all through the war, he witnessed—albeit to a much lesser degree than in other areas of the South—wantonness with regard to the treatment of civilians and even soldiers by the enemy. His own need to retaliate for the willful murder of seven of his men proves that the behavior of the Union army virtually from the first shots fired were altogether contrary to the carefully constructed “rules of warfare” that were in use by the modern state—at least in Europe.

It becomes even more ironic that efforts to hang Mosby during and even after the war were predicated on what the Union called his “crimes and depredations.” In other words, General Order 100—the so-called Lieber Code drawn up at the request of the Union high command which supposedly set “rules” for “civilized” warfare—was flouted continually by the Union without consequence. On the other hand, the armies of the South were held to a legal standard which, in Mosby’s case at least, would have rendered him at best ineffective, at worst dead or a prisoner while failing to adhere to those standards meant that he and other partisans found themselves condemned as outlaws.

Addendum: The “Lieber Code” (G. O. 100) reads well as a means of waging war in the most “civilized” sense—always supposing that war can ever be considered “civilized.” Indeed, according to Eric Wittenberg, an attorney and Civil War historian well knowledgeable in the field of Union cavalry, Mosby was considered a “partisan” under the code rather than a bushwhacker or outlaw. So, in fact, Grant’s order to hang him without trial and other Union efforts to do the same thing prior to Grant’s edict, clearly demonstrates that it was not Mosby’s method of warfare that was the problem, but his success. Indeed, so great was that success that Gen. Philip Sheridan admitted that his overwhelming numerical advantage over Jubal Early in the Shenandoah in 1864 was, for all intents and purposes, nullified by “the guerrillas in (his) rear.” Quite an astounding admission by Sheridan to Mosby’s efficacy.

However, with further regard to G. O. 100, it seems that if one reads it, almost every rule laid down by Professor Lieber is followed by a caveat which states that the law may be broken if the military authorities involved believe it is in their best interests to do so. In effect, this renders G. O. 100 dead on arrival, so to speak. However, one may be sure that had Mosby not met the criteria for a true “partisan,” he would not have been permitted any caveats vis a vie the Code. At the same time, at least during the war, Lieber’s bestowal of legitimacy upon Mosby had no force whatsoever and, indeed, would never have been mentioned even if Mosby had lived long enough after being captured to come to trial. It is fascinating to see the double standard that existed before, during and after the war right down to this very day.

SWR's Lady Val

PoP Aaron
The Southern American

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