PoP's Southern American: July 2011


The true cause of the War Between the States

“The true cause of the War Between the States was the dignified withdrawal of the Southern States from the Union to avoid the continued breaches of that domestic tranquility guaranteed, but not consummated by the Constitution, and not the high moral purpose of the North to destroy slavery, which followed incidentally as a war measure.

As to the war itself and the result thereof, the children of the future would be astonished that a people fought so hard and so long with so little to fight for, judging from what they gather from histories now in use, prepared by writers from the North. They are utterly destitute of information as to events leading to the war. Their accounts of the numbers engaged, courage displayed, sacrifices endured, hardships encountered, and barbarity practiced upon an almost defenseless people, whose arms-bearing population was in the army, are incorrect in every way.

A people, who for four long years, fought over almost every foot of their territory, on over two thousands battlefields, with the odds of 5,864,272 enlisted men against their 600,000 enlisted men, and their coasts blockaded, and rivers filled with gunboats, with 600 vessels of war, manned by some 35,000 sailors, and who protracted the struggle until over one-half of their soldiers were dead from the casualties of war, had something to fight for. They fought for the great principle of local self-government and the privilege of managing their own affairs, and for the protection of their homes and firesides.

The facts are that while the South has always been prominent in making history, she has left the writing of history to New England historians, whose chief defect is “lack of catholic sympathy for all the sections of the country.” They especially treat the South as a section, almost as a foreign country, and while omitting the glaring faults of their own ancestors and their own section, they specialize the faults of the early Virginia colonists and the Southern colonists generally. They speak of slavery as a crime for which the South is solely responsible…and ignore the historical fact that England and New England are as much responsible for it as their brothers of the South; that it was forced not only on New England, but on the South, by Great Britain, and in spite of the protests of Virginia and other Southern colonies.

The histories written by Northern historians in the first ten or fifteen years following the close of the war, dictated by prejudice and prompted by the evil passions of that period, (and generally used in the schools), are unfit for use, and lack all the breadth, liberality, and sympathy so essential to true history, and, although some of them have been toned down, they are not yet fair and accurate in the statement of facts.

Until a more liberal tone is indicated by Northern historians, it is best that their books be kept out of Southern schools. It is therefore important that that the Southern people be aroused and take steps to have a correct history written, a history, which will vindicate them from the one-sided indictment found in many of the histories now extant.”

(Report of the Historical Committee (excerpt), United Confederate Veterans, Gen. S.D. Lee of Mississippi, Chairman, presented at the Houston Reunion; Confederate Veteran, June 1895, pp. 165-166)

The 'Great Emancipator' and the Issue of Race

Many Americans think of Abraham Lincoln, above all, as the president who freed the slaves. Immortalized as the "Great Emancipator," he is widely regarded as a champion of black freedom who supported social equality of the races, and who fought the American Civil War (SIC) (1861-1865) to free the slaves.



My Family’s Fate on the Day Lee Surrendered

By Lewis Regenstein

One hundred and forty five years ago, on 9 April, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Commander Ulysses S. Grant, marking the effective end of the South’s struggle for independence.

It was a fateful day for the South, and in particular for my great grandfather and his four elder brothers, all of whom were fighting for the Confederacy.

On that day, the eldest brother Joshua Lazarus Moses was killed a few hours after Lee, unbeknownst to the troops elsewhere, had surrendered. Josh was commanding an artillery battalion (Culpepper's Battery or Culpepper's Light Artillery) that was firing the last shots in defense of Mobile, before being overrun by a Union force outnumbering his 13 to one. In this battle, Fort Blakeley, one of his brothers, Horace, was captured, and another, Perry, was wounded.

Joshua had also been in the thick of the fighting in the War’s opening battle, when Fort Sumter was attacked in April, 1861. Josh was the last Confederate Jew to fall in battle, one of the more than 3,000 estimated Jews who fought for the South. His first cousin, Albert Moses Luria, was the first, killed at age 19 at the Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) in Virginia on 31 May, 1862..

While Lee was surrendering at Appomatox, a 2,500 man unit attached to Sherman’s army, known as Potter’s Raiders, was heading towards my family’s hometown of Sumter, South Carolina. Sherman had just burned nearby Columbia, and it was feared that his troops were headed to Sumter to do the same.

My then 16 year old great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, rode out to defend his hometown, along with some 157 other teenagers, invalids, old men, and the wounded from the local hospital. It was a mission as hopeless as it was valiant, but Sumter’s rag-tag defenders did manage to hold off Potter’s battle-seasoned veterans for over an hour before being overwhelmed by this vastly superior force outnumbering theirs by some 15 to one.

Jack got away with a price on his head, and Sumter was not burned after all. But some buildings were, and there are documented instances of murder, rape, and arson by the Yankees.

The fifth bother, Isaac Harby Moses, having served with distinction in combat in Wade Hampton's cavalry, later rode home from North Carolina after the Battle of Bentonville (North Carolina), the War’s last major battle, where he commanded his company, all of the officers having been killed or wounded. He never surrendered to anyone, his Mother proudly observed in her memoirs.

Earlier, on 10 March, 1865, as a member of a company of Citadel Cadets, he had his horse shot out from under him, and was attacked by a Union soldier wielding a sword. He was among those who fired the very first shots of the conflict, when his cadet company opened up on the Union ship, Star of the West, which was attempting to resupply the besieged Fort Sumter in January, 1861, three months before the War officially began.

Over two dozen members of the extended Moses family fought in the War, and it sacrificed at least nine of its sons for The Cause. Family members served and worked closely with such legendary generals as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Wade Hampton,firing some of the first and last shots of the War in its opening and closing battles. They fought on horseback and on ships, in the trenches and in the infantry. They built fortifications, led their men in charges, and one had responsibility for provisioning an entire army corps of some 50,000 men.

This officer, the best known of the Moses family Confederates, was Major Raphael Moses, General Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, whose three sons also fought for the South. The uncle of the five Moses brothers, Major Moses ended up attending the last meeting and carrying out the Last Order of the Confederate government .

He was ordered to deliver the last of the Confederate treasury, $40,000 in gold and silver bullion, to help feed and supply the defeated Confederate soldiers in the Augusta hospital, and straggling home after the War -- weary, hungry, often sick, shoeless and in tattered uniforms. With the help of a small group of determined armed guards, Moses successfully carried out the order from President Jefferson Davis, despite repeated attempts by mobs to forcibly take the bullion.

Like their comrades-in-arms, the Moses’ were fighting, for their homeland -- not for slavery, as is so often said, but for their families, homes, and country. Put simply, most Confederate soldiers felt they were fighting because an invading army from the North was trying to kill them, burn their homes, and destroy their cities.

The hard-pressed Confederates were usually heavily outnumbered, outgunned, and out-supplied , but rarely outfought, showing amazing courage, skill, and valor.

The anniversary of this fateful day should serve to remind us what the brave and beleaguered Southern soldiers and civilians were up against. Perhaps the events of that day, and of the War itself, will help people understand why, in this time when the South is so often vilified, native Southerners still revere their ancestors’ courage, and rightfully take much pride in this heritage.

Lewis Regenstein, a Native Atlantan, is a writer and author


When the Yankees Came:

Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865
Greene County, NC - Newspapers
File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Christine Grimes Thacker

Christine Fuller and Rosalyn Moody sent some info for the line of Winnie Sugg,b. 1846 d. 1918, was the daughter of Thomas Aldridge and Mary Edmundson. She married John Henry Sugg, son of Richard K. Sugg and Nancy Jackson.

In "History of Greene County" by James Creech, page 239, there is an interview that Ms Winnie gave to the A.M. Waddell Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. Lots of family info in the interview. Here is the introduction that is given for the interview.

"This story is about Mary Edmundson born 1813, died 1877, the daughter of Dr.John J. (Bullhead John) Edmundson and wife Vicey Jordan Edmundson. She married first Thomas Aldridge born 1811, died 1847, son of Drewery Aldridge II and Edith Hardy Aldridge. By this marriage there were two sons, John Thomas and James Parrott Aldridge, and three daughters; Louisa Aldridge married John H. Aldridge; Vicey Aldridge married John Wooten; and Winifred Aldridge married John H. Sugg.

Mary married second Sterling Bass Taylor and by this union there was one son,Dock Taylor and one daughter Mary Anne Taylor, who married John Hardy Harrison.John Thomas Aldridge served in the Civil War and was killed at Payne's Farm VA., November 27, 1863.James Parrott Aldridge was in the Civil War and was killed at Chancellorsville,Va., May 3, 1863.

The story was told by Mrs. Winnifred C. Aldridge Sugg, wife of John Henry Sugg.

These people lived in Greene County at one time and part of this story took place

Wilson Daily Times
3 February 1914
sent by Robert Boykin with permission from the paper to post
By Mrs. Winnie Suggs

I was a mere schoolgirl when Schofield's army came through this part of the country at the close of the war, but I was well grown and I had almost lived out of doors since my brothers went to the army. I attended to having the crop planted and gathered as long as the negroes stayed with us. We had saved about three thousand pounds of meat beside lard and other things and when we heard that the Yankees were coming I had the negroes to help me hide it.

Our smokehouse floor was of brick and I had one of our men to remove the bricks and dig two large holes under the floor into which we lowered a barrel of lard and another of cured hams. Then we replaced the earth above the barrel, and the brick floor was relaid. Then we hid nearly all the meat that was left in more convenient places. An old man came by and told mother that the Yankees would not steal her things if they found that she had made no attempt to hide them. Then mother told me to put all the meat and lard back into the smokehouse but I did not have as much faith in the old man's opinion as mother had, and I only replaced a part of the meat. I had concealed some of it so well that I knew it could not be found and I made that which I returned spread out and look as undisturbed as possible and I did not mention the reserve to mother.

I hid the portfollo containing my brother's letters on top of a sill under the house. It had no value except as a keep sake, but I felt that I did not want the Yankees to handle it. Otherwise our house looked as usual. All the negroes had left us except one woman with a family of little children. We had sent the horses away off in the woods, hoping that they might escape, but the thieves followed the tracks and found them easily.

A group of Yankees rode up about breakfast time while we were preparing breakfast in the kitchen and asked for food. Mother, thinking to divert them from plundering, began to cook them some ham, but when she saw another group coming up with her horses she dashed the ham out of door and refused to give them breakfast. These rode away in a few hours our yard was full of Yankee soldiers evidently bent on plunder. They demanded the smokehouse key, threatening to break open the door.

I was afraid of them and politely handed them the key. They took all the meat and I saw one come in with all the meal we had in a sack. I told mother that they had taken all and left us without bread. She began to cry and when the man with the meal sack set it down on the floor, one of the Yankees told me to take it and sit on it. I did so, and for a while I kept the meal.

They came in squads all day, each squad leaving us poorer. I was afraid to leave mother a moment. At least a group of four brutal looking creatures came into the yard, partly drunk. A negro baby four years old, was toddling about the yard. A Yankee took it up in his arms calling it pet names, and asked where the white folks had hid things. The little negro tried to tell by point and saying "Dock".

Dock, my little brother, was in the yard and in another enclosure was a place where all the meat on the farm was dressed. A kind of gallows on which the hogs were hung after they were killed had a rope and pulley to wing the hogs up. As I looked from the windows I saw those brutal Yankees hang my little brother and calling mother, I flew from the house like fury. I no longer knew what fear was. I seized the collar of the Yankee who was drawing the child up on the gallows and shook him until he released the rope. By that time mother came, and helped me to unwind the boy, who was as white as a sheet and shaking with argue. Mother got him to bed and those Yankees left.

When the next group came I re (torn) the brutal treatment of my little brother to an officer who said he would have the men punished if he could find them, which was a very big promise. While the whole house was full of Yankees searching and (torn) everything my attention was called to something and I left the bag of meal on which I sat when they were present. When I turned back I saw one of them going away with the bag of meal. We had nothing at all of which we could make bread. I saw a Yankee come from under the house with my brother's portfolio and letters. I met him on the porch and told him that they belonged to my brother who had been killed in battle. He replied that he wished the "d__rebel" was there, he would like to kill him again. "But" he added, "you may take the rebel letters." "Yes", I replied, and I shall take the portfolio too, and I seized him by the collar with one hand, and took the portfolio with the other. I gave him a push and he went over, leaving the portfolio in my hand. His comrades laughed and seemed to enjoy his discomfiture. I believed from that time that it was bad policy to show fear of them.

Mother seemed to think that we had fared worse than anyone else. In the afternoon she took me over to our nearest neighbor's, Mrs. MEWBORN, who was a widow with a large plantation. When we arrived the same Yankees were looting her plantation. I saw my bag of meal, and taking it into the house, I sat on it until mother was ready to go home. I took it home with me. Mrs. MEWBORN's brother Mr.BEN HARDY was very sick and we went every day to inquire of her how he was, and to offer what help we could give. We found Mrs. MEWBORN greatly distressed one day because she was not allowed to go see her brother.

There were pickets on the road, and the army was camping at Mr.HARDY's house. With the confidence of youth, I proposed to lead the way with another girl, while mother and Mrs.MEWBORN followed. I had learned by that time a bold front was the best attitude toward Yankees.I slipped my arm around my companion's waist and we went down the road humming a tune as though it were the most natural thing on earth. We passed the pickets,who looked us over without a challenge.

On arriving at the house our mothers were invited into the sick man's room, but we were given a seat on the porch, where the young lady of the house introduced us to two officers who were reading there. After bowing distantly, I ignored these men altogether. I was boiling over with indignation at the treatment of our people and with the indiscretion of a child, I longed to express myself. Turning to my young neighbor I said, "Well NAN, how do you like all these blue jackets around you?" She replied that she thought they were real nice and her voice took on quite a "loyal" tone. I drew back from her,folding my ample home spun skirts about me as if fearing contamination.

"Oh!"I said,Keep away. Don't let any of your Yankee dust get on me." NAN, I said What if a gray jacket came and saw you here claiming such friendliness with the Yankees, how do you think they would feel about it? For my part, I shall not pretend that I am glad to have them here. I shall not pretend that I do not have everything they do, and I wish we could kill the last one of them. While I was speaking a soldier whom we had passed on the road came upon the porch. He was furious and roughly told me that if he had known I had such sentiments he never would have let me pass.

A gesture from the officer silenced the answer on his lips. There was a colonel and lieutenant on the porch. Lieutenant SWEET rose, took off his cap and bowing to me, said: "Lady Southern Lady, I want to tell you how much I honor you for your patriotism. I know well that you cannot be as glad to see a bluecoat as a gray one, and I admire you for showing how you feel about it."

Mrs. MEWBORN came out and told the colonel that a chest of tools had been stolen from her smithy and she would like to recover them. He politely gave her permission to search for them and take them wherever she found them. Lieutenant SWEET offered to go with us, and remembering what I had said about "Yankee dust," he walked a little in advance of us. He was undoubtedly the best bred Yankee I ever saw. A few feet away Cousin NANCY found one of her sledge hammers. I offered to carry the hammer, saying laughingly that I might need it to kill a Yankee. All the corner of the fence was a huge U.S. flag, the handsomest one I ever saw. Lieutenant SWEET took the staff of it in his hands and said: "Ladies, let me wave the good old union flag over your heads once more." Impulsively I raised the sledge hammer in a threatening manner and said, "Never! I'll kill you if you attempt it!"

"Why" he said, "don't you love the Stars and Stripes?" "Yes," I said, "the stars and stripes are not to blame, but the men that bear it and the cause it represents, and you'll never wave it over me." That flag stood in front of an encampment of 1,200 men and the young lieutenant and I were in full view. I was an impulsive earnest young girl and at the moment I was oblivious of the fact that I was among enemies. The army seemed to take in the situation, as he stood holding the flag and I with hammer raised defying him. A voice from the field said, "Kill Him!" and a cheer went up from the Yankee army. It seemed to me that every man in the 1,200 cheered me. He dropped the flag and raised his cap. Mother hurriedly proposed to go home. As we started Lieutenant SWEET offered to let me ride his horse, Fanny, and he would send an orderly to bring her back. I told him if I rode a Yankee's horse I should certainly not send it back as they had taken all my horses.

Mother and Cousin NANCY politely took leave of the officers but I called back that if I met LEE's army I would come back and take them all prisoners.

Mother began to cry and reprove me, saying I must learn to hold my tongue. She was afraid they would come and burn her home. But next morning the army had moved their camp. When mother cried because she thought we had nothing to eat but the sack of meal, I confessed that I knew where to find some things that I had not taken back to the smokehouse. Our home was bare of everything that could be easily taken away. We shared what was left with the one slave who had remained, and her five little ones.

One day I was alone in the house. A Yankee and a Negro rode up on two beautiful horses. The Negro stopped at the gate, the white man dismounted and hitched his horse at the door. He had a rifle. "Ah!" he said, looking around, "the boys have done the work pretty well." He called to the Negro to come in and help him burn what was left."No" I said stepping on the porch, "that Negro knows better than to come in. If he comes in I shall kill him." I saw that the Negro did not offer to come, but the white man began to move the chairs into the center of the room and called to our cook to bring fire. She refused but he kept moving things and calling for fire. In order to move a table he placed his gun by the door. I saw my advantage, and reached it just as he realized what I was doing. I did not have time to aim the gun but I raised it like a club and told him that I would use it if he came near me. The Negro on horseback rode off as soon as he saw me with the gun. "Hold up your hands," I said to the Yankee, and his hands went up. Now I said, "Go get on your horse." He did so, but he begged me to let him have his gun. He said he would have to tell what had become of it. The rifle contained fifteen loads. I looked at the Yankee and told him that I would return the gun if he would take an oath. He agreed. Raise your right hand, I said, and repeat the oath after me: "I swear before Almighty God that I will go home and never fire another gun at a Southerner." He raised his hand and took that oath, and I handed him the loaded gun. Somehow I felt safe in doing so. He took off his cap and said: "You brave girl. No man could harm you after such a daring act, and I wish for you only what is good," and he rode away.

The Yankees had done what they could to destroy everything, but we had our land. There was no horses, but back in the woods we still had a few cattle and we had to do something to get bread to eat. There was no one left to do the work except our one faithful slave, my little brother, and I.

We caught a young ox that had never been broken. DOCK stood at his head and led him while our cook plowed the furrows, and I followed and planted the corn. While we were engaged in this primitive style of farming a squad of Yankees passed on fine horses.

"Take out your horned horse," said one, "and I will hitch my horse in your plow. I see you are planting a crop ladies." "Yes," I replied, "you have stolen all we have and we must plant something." "What have you to eat now? Better go north where there is plenty." "No thank you," I said, "We want none of your help and before I'd go north and live among Yankees I'd live on pine sap till my crop could grow."

The army at that time was beginning to leave North Carolina, and the Carpet Baggers and Negroes had now begun their awful reign of terror. Some officers who were gentlemen, saw some shirts that mother had made. They called on her and asked her if she would make them some to take back home. Mother had only Confederate money, and she wanted to buy a horse. I was weaving a new home-spun dress, checked with indigo blue and white. I cut the cloth from the loom and mother made three shirts, for which the officers paid her nine dollars. She bought a horse for that, and it proved to be a very fine one.

Some time I shall tell you how my lover came home from LEE's army after the surrender and how we began our married life on the ruins of our old homes. Typed by Martha Marble and Christine Grimes Thacker.

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WARNING! This is not what you were taught.

It is not politically correct and it should not be!!

What is known as the reconstruction of the seceded States is a very sad epoch to recall, and no American who loves his country likes to bring back its harsh memories. Yet it is a matter of history and it needs be recorded in order that the part which the North and the South played during that period should be fully understood. It began under President Lincoln before the close of the war, and was carried on by President Johnson after the assassination of President Lincoln, during the years 1865 and 1866. Afterward there was a second phase of reconstruction, or "destruction," known as the congressional plan, which undid all that had been done by Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. This latter period was the greatest trial that the South had to bear, not excepting the terrible ordeal of war. To understand properly the surroundings, it is necessary to enumerate briefly the events which occurred early in 1865, and the directions given by President Johnson to the military officers of the United States. First, I would mention the death of Mr. Lincoln himself, which was regarded as the greatest calamity that could have happened to the people of the South. The arrest and imprisonment of President Davis and many of the Confederate soldiers and statesmen have been already related. The treatment of Mr. Davis was very harsh indeed, complicity in the assassination of Mr. Lincoln being cruelly imputed to him, and a large reward offered for his capture. He was placed in prison and shackled with irons in the strongest fortress in the Union, and a military guard placed over him day and night. Every town, village and district was occupied rapidly by the Union troops as the Confederate resistance melted away, and all civil government was ignored. The governors of most of the seceded States attempted to call their legislatures together to conform to the results of the war and take steps for their restoration to the Union. They did this, believing that the American principle of government--the sovereignty and indestructibility of the States--would be respected and that these prompt proceedings would be favored as the constitutional plan of restoration. They did this also believing it absolutely necessary to preserve civil government, and to show by legislative enactment complete submission to the results of the war in repealing their ordinances of secession and in accepting the freedom of the negro.

The order issued by General Wilson, of the United States army in Georgia, when the legislature was called to meet, was to this effect: "Neither the legislature nor any other political body will be permitted to assemble under the call of the rebel State authorities." The spirit of this order was carried out in all the seceded States. Existing civil government was ignored everywhere, and military rule inaugurated in municipal and local communities. The only government allowed was that of the local military officers, or under their supervision.

This harsh action of the United States authorities, civil and military, immediately following the collapse of the Confederate government, caused all prominent actors in the war to feel insecure. They did not know what to expect. It was not known how general the arrests and imprisonments would be, and many leading men, civil and military, escaped to foreign lands, and for the time expatriated themselves. Gen. Jubal Early, with others, escaped to Cuba. Generals Loring, Graves, and a few other officers went to Egypt and took service under the khedive. Hons. Robert Toombs, J. C. Breckinridge and many others went to Europe. Gov. Isham G. Harris, Gens. J. Bankhead Magruder, Hindman and Price went to Mexico; in fact, prominent citizens and soldiers everywhere felt great apprehension as to the course of the government, even with their paroles. It was even contemplated by President Johnson and his advisers to arrest and imprison Gen. Robert E. Lee, who had surrendered his army to General Grant and had been paroled. General Grant, however, entered a vigorous protest against such action, and insisted that men who had surrendered with arms in their hands were entitled to the usual laws recognized by all civilized nations, and that their paroles should be respected. This action on his part, and the advice of Gen. Robert E. Lee and the leading statesmen, officers, and soldiers of all the lately seceded States, caused it to be thought best for all to remain in their respective States and share whatever fate was in store for the South. The feeling of expatriation was greatly allayed when such prominent men advised against it...Confederate Military History, Volume 12


The Burning of South Carolina

The Burning of South Carolina

"The truth is", wrote Union Gen. William T. Sherman shortly before leaving Savannah, "the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina . I almost tremble at her fate, but feel she deserves all that seems in store for her." The destruction Sherman's army had caused on its way to Savannah had surely made Georgia howl, but it was mild compared with what detested South Carolina was to face. Here the war had started, and now the first secessionists were to get retribution. One of its soldiers wrote home: "If we don't purify South Carolina, it will be because we can't get a light."

After leaving Savannah on February 5, 1865, Sherman's 60,000 men took a direct line toward Columbia, the capital. Able South Carolina men had long since left for the Confederate armies in distant states, and the Union soldiers faced only token resistance from any organized Rebel troops. Sherman's men foraged liberally upon the native population, and everywhere left little more than clusters of black chimneys to mark the sites of where towns had been. One soldier joked that the name of the town of Barnwell should now be changed to Burnwell. Still, the march was grand and

By the night of February 15,the first of the Union soldiers had reached the Congaree River across from Columbia. The next day they sighted their cannon on the State House across the river and fired shells into the heart of the city. Other members of their forces laid pontoon bridges and crossed the river. On the morning of February 17, the advancing blue horde was met by the mayor of Columbia, who surrendered the city and was in turn assured by Sherman that the city and its inhabitants would not be harmed. Even so, as the blue soldiers marched into Columbia, some could be heard to sing, "Hail, Columbia, happy land. If you don't burn, I'll be damned." ~ “Sherman’s March from Savannah to Bentonville.” From Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.

The suffering of so many helpless and innocent persons could not but move the Hardest heart. The fall of Savannah resulted in the adoption of the plan which Sherman had contemplated. In a letter dated December 24th by Union General Henry W. Slocum, Sherman says:
“Many and many a person in Georgia asked me why I did not go to South Carolina, and when I answered that we were en route for that State, the invariable reply was, ‘Well, if you will make those people feel the utmost severities of war we will pardon you for your desolation of Georgia.’” About one month was spent in Savannah in clothing the men and filling the trains with ammunition and rations. Then commenced the movement which was to make South Carolina feel the severities of war. The right wing, with the exception of Corse’s division of the Seventeenth Corps, moved via Hilton Head to Beaufort. The left wing with Corse’s division and the cavalry moved up the west bank of the Savannah River to Sister’s Ferry, distant about forty miles from Savannah. Sherman’s plan was similar to that adopted on leaving Atlanta. When the army had started from Atlanta, the right wing had moved direct toward Macon and the left toward Augusta. Both cities were occupied by Confederate troops. The movements of our army had caused the Confederate authorities at each of these important cities to demand not only the retention of the troops at each place, but had induced them to demand help from every quarter. Sherman had had no thought of attacking either place, and at the proper time the movements of both wings of the army were so directed as to unite them and leave both cities in our rear, with little or no force in our front. On leaving Savannah our right wing threatened Charleston and the left again threatened Augusta, the two wings being again united in the interior of South Carolina, leaving the Confederate troops at Augusta with almost a certainty that Charleston must fall without a blow from Sherman. On the arrival of the left wing at Sister’s Ferry on the Savannah, instead of finding, as was anticipated, a river a few yards in width which could be easily crossed, they found a broad expanse of water which was utterly impassable. The continuous rain-fall had caused the river to overflow, so that the lowland on the South Carolina side was covered with water, extending nearly half a mile from the river. We were delayed several days in vain efforts to effect a crossing, and were finally compelled to await the falling of the waters. Our pontoon-bridge was finally constructed and the crossing commenced. Each regiment as it entered South Carolina gave three cheers. The men seemed to realize that at last they had set foot on the State which had done more than all others to bring upon the country the horrors of civil war. In the narrow road leading from the ferry on the South Carolina side torpedoes had been planted, so that several of our men were killed or wounded by treading upon them. This was unfortunate for that section of the State. Planting torpedoes for the defense of a position is legitimate warfare, but our soldiers regarded the act of placing them in a highway where no contest was anticipated as something akin to poisoning a stream of water; it is not recognized as fair or legitimate warfare. If that section of South Carolina suffered more severely than any other, it was due in part to the blundering of people who were more zealous than wise.

About February 19th the two wings of the army were reunited in the vicinity of Branchville, a smallvillage on the South Carolina Railroad at the point where the railroad from Charleston to Columbia branches off to Augusta. Here we resumed the work which had occupied so much of our time in Georgia, viz., the destruction of railroads.

Having effectively destroyed over sixty miles of railroads in this section, the army started for Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, each corps taking a separate road. The left wing (Slocum)arrived at a point about three miles from Columbia on the 16th, and there received orders to cross the Saluda River, at Mount Zion’s Church. The Fourteenth Corps moved to the crossing, built a bridge during the night, crossed the river next day, and was followed by the Twentieth Corps and Kilpatrick’s cavalry. The right wing (Howard) moved direct to Columbia, the Fifteenth Corps moving through the city and camping outside on the Camden road. The Seventeenth Corps did not enter Columbia. During the night of February 17th the greater portion of the city of Columbia was burned. The lurid flames could easily be seen from my camp, many miles distant. Nearly all the public buildings, several churches, an orphan asylum, and many of the residences were destroyed. The city was filled with helpless women and children and invalids, many of whom were rendered houseless and homeless in a single night. No sadder scene was presented during the war. The suffering of so many helpless and innocent persons could not but move the hardest heart.


Confederate Congress Feb 6th 1865

Southern Watchman, Feb. 15, 1865 -- page 3

Richmond February 6th
Mr. Morse introduced a resolution directing the Committee on Military Affairs to inquire into the ezpediency on investing the President with the power to call into service all able bodied negros into the Confederate States to be used as he may think best, to aid in the military defence of our country. The motion lay on he was negatived - yeas 32, nays 30. The resolution was then adopted.

Lincoln Launches His War Against the Confederacy

In manipulating the Fort Sumter crisis to produce that “first shot,” Abe Lincoln had followed the advice of his long-time political friend, Orville Browning, of Illinois. Lincoln had first met Browning during brief service in the Illinois Militia, when they were both chasing after Black Hawk’s Native Americans. Well-educated, Browning practiced law in Quincy, Illinois, and was a Whig politician during the years that Lincoln was active in the Whig party. Then, like Lincoln, Browning became a major figure in the founding of the Illinois Republican party in 1856.

But Browning’s instruction about manipulating the Fort Sumter crisis to produce that most valuable “first shot” had been his most fearsome influence on Lincoln. Before the inauguration, Browning had written Lincoln: “In any conflict…between the [Federal] Government and the seceding States, it is very important that the [Secessionists] shall be [perceived] as the aggressors, and that they be kept constantly and palpable [allegedly] in the wrong. The first attempt…to furnish supplies or reinforcements to Sumter will induce [a military response] by South Carolina, and then the [Federal] Government will stand justified, before the entire [Federation], in repelling the aggression, and retaking the forts.” Later that summer Lincoln would happily tell Browning, “The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter—it fell, and thus, did more service than it otherwise could.”

Lieutenant [Gustavus] Fox was very discouraged by his failure to resupply Fort Sumter, and would soon write Abe Lincoln a letter of apology. To Fox, Lincoln would reply: “You and I both anticipated that the cause of the [Federation] would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the results.” Having in his hand his coveted “first shot,” Abe Lincoln lost no time in launching a war against the Confederacy.

On the very next day, April 15, Lincoln issued an Executive Proclamation directing the Army and Navy to invade the Confederacy and force her States to submit to Federal authority. Lincoln cloaked his rhetoric in awkward language that avoided referring to the Confederacy by name, ignored the fact that seven States had seceded prior to his taking office, ignored Fort Sumter, alleged the existence of lawlessness and rebellion on the part of some of the people in seven States, and inferred that the northern States were somehow in harm’s way. The Proclamation was set in legal language to circumvent the authority vested in the Federal House and Senate to declare war, and to suppress the notion that the Confederacy even existed. Instead of naming the Confederacy, he called his adversary, “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.”

In his proclamation Abe Lincoln had totally ignored the action of his fleet of warships and the Confederate eviction of the Federal regiment from Fort Sumter. To have done so would have required that he admit that 7 States had seceded and formed a new nation, that the States into which he was dispatching militiamen were actually members of a peaceful foreign nation.

(Abe Lincoln’s First Shot Strategy, excerpted from Bloodstains, an Epic History of the Politics that Produced the American Civil War,” Howard Ray White, 2011, pp. 38-43)



Men of Valour
The following, although written by a Union officer, ought to be in every school history of the South, so that the children of the men who fought the South's battles should know the odds they contended against. In an article which appeared first in the Century Magazine and afterwards in the third volume of "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," Union General Buell said: "It required a naval fleet and 15,000 troops to advance against a weak fort, manned by less than 100 men, at Fort Henry; 35,000, with naval cooperation, to overcome 12,000 at Donelson; 60,000 to secure a victory over 40,000 at Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh); 120,000 to enforce the retreat of 65,000 intrenched, after a month's fighting and maneuvering at Corinth; 100,000 repelled by 80,000 in the first Peninsular campaign against Richmond; 70,000, with a powerful naval force, to inspire the campaign which lasted nine months, against 40,000 at Vicksburg; 90,000 to barely withstand the assault of 70,000 at Gettysburg; 115,000 sustaining a frightful repulse from 60,000 at Fredericksburg: 100,000 attacked and defeated by 50,000 at Chancellorsville; 85,000 held in check two days by 40,000 at Antietam; 43,000 retaining the field uncertainly against 38,000 at Stone River (Murfreesboro); 70,000 defeated at Chickamauga, and beleaguered by 70,000 at Chattanooga; 80,000 merely to break the investing line of 45,000 at Chattanooga, and 100,000 to press back 50,000 increased at last to 70,000 from Chattanooga to Atlanta, a distance of 120 miles, and then let go an operation which is commemorated at festive reunions by the standing toast of "One hundred days under fire;" 50,000 to defeat the investing line of 30,000 at Nashville; and, finally, 120,000 to overcome 60,000 with exhaustion after a struggle of a year in Virginia.

In some of the battles thus enumerated by General Buell, the odds were even greater than he states them. To illustrate the implicit confidence with which the Southern soldiers followed their leaders, he draws the following comparison: "At Cold Harbor the Northern troops, who had proven their indomitable qualities by losses nearly equal to the whole of their opponent, when ordered to another sacrifice, even under such a soldier as Hancock, answered the demand as one man---a silent and solid inertia. At Gettysburg Pickett, when waiting for the signal which Longstreet dreaded to repeat, for the hopeless but immortal charge against Cemetery Hill, saluted and said, as he turned to his ready column: "shall move forward, sir."

General Buell then speaks of another influence which nerved the hearts of the Confederate soldiers to valorous deeds: "Nor must we give slight importance to the influence of the Southern women, who in agony of heart girded the sword upon their loved ones and bade them go. It was to be expected that these various influences would give a confidence to leadership that would lead to bold adventure and leave its mark upon the contest."

The writer of these words, which do so much honest justice to the soldiers of the South, was Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, the man whose timely arrival at Shiloh saved General Grant's army from utter annihilation and capture of what remained. Grant's army was crouched under the banks of the Tennessee River, and would have been captured or killed had not Buell arrived as soon as he did. He is about the only Northern general who has had the honesty to tell the real truth in regard to the numbers engaged on each side during the war.

Confederate Veteran, Vol. IX, No. 12 Nashville, Tenn., December, 1902.

PoP Aaron
The Southern American

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Be man enough to stand as one.