PoP's Southern American: November 2011


A few flags of liberty!

This flag too, was a flag of liberty. In fact, it was the last flag used in the fight for liberty!


British Misfit Dumping Ground

Contrary to popular notions, white residents of the American colonies were not a free people. After the abolition of serfdom in Mecklenburg’s duchies in the 1820’s, those emancipated white slaves were little more than landless, starving migrant workers, many of whom sold themselves to indenture in order to look for land in America.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

British Misfit Dumping Ground:

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

The Irish in particular were victimized. Oliver Cromwell believed that they were admirably suited for slavery and saw to it that the survivors of the Drogheda massacre met that fate in Bermuda. His agents scoured Ireland for children to be sold to planters in the Americas. Between 1717 and 1775, 50,000 English felons were transported to mainland North America. For the most part, the indentured workers settled in the South where the demand for unskilled plantation labor was greatest. American writers and politicians protested against the use of the Colonies as dumping grounds for the unwanted, the impoverished and, in some cases, the vicious and mentally inferior.

Benjamin Franklin compared British emigration policy with sending American rattlesnakes to England to teach them manners. These protests went unheeded and deportation continued until the American Revolution stopped it and forced England to turn to Australia as an alternate destination.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, opposition to slavery and the continued importation of Negroes was widespread among the intellectual and political leaders of the nascent republic. [Virginian] George Wythe, Jefferson’s teacher and friend, freed all his slaves on moral grounds. John Adams declared shortly before his death: “I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence, that, I have never owned a negro or any other slave…”

(The Negro in American Civilization, Nathaniel Weyl, Public Affairs Press, 1960, page 23)


Copperheads (Peace Democrats)

Although the Democratic party had broken apart in 1860, during the secession crisis Democrats in the North were generally more conciliatory toward the South than were Republicans. They called themselves Peace Democrats; their opponents called them Copperheads because some wore copper pennies as identifying badges.

A majority of Peace Democrats supported war to save the Union, but a strong and active minority asserted that the Republicans had provoked the South into secession; that the Republicans were waging the war in order to establish their own domination, suppress civil and states rights, and impose "racial equality"; and that military means had failed and would never restore the Union.

Peace Democrats were most numerous in the Midwest, a region that had traditionally distrusted the Northeast, where the Republican party was strongest, and that had economic and cultural ties with the South. The Lincoln administration's arbitrary treatment of dissenters caused great bitterness there. Above all, anti-abolitionist Midwesterners feared that emancipation would result in a great migration of blacks into their states.

As was true of the Democratic party as a whole, the influence of Peace Democrats varied with the fortunes of war. When things were going badly for the Union on the battlefield, larger numbers of people were willing to entertain the notion of making peace with the Confederacy. When things were going well, Peace Democrats could more easily be dismissed as defeatists. But no matter how the war progressed, Peace Democrats constantly had to defend themselves against charges of disloyalty. Revelations that a few had ties with secret organizations such as the Knights of the Golden Circle helped smear the rest.

The most prominent Copperhead leader was Clement L. Valladigham of Ohio, who headed the secret antiwar organization known as the Sons of Liberty. At the Democratic convention of 1864, where the influence of Peace Democrats reached its high point, Vallandigham persuaded the party to adopt a platform branding the war a failure, and some extreme Copperheads plotted armed uprisings. However, the Democratic presidential candidate, George B. McClellan, repudiated the Vallandigham platform, victories by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Phillip H. Sheridan assured Lincoln's reelection, and the plots came to nothing.

With the conclusion of the war in 1865 the Peace Democrats were thoroughly discredited. Most Northerners believed, not without reason, that Peace Democrats had prolonged war by encouraging the South to continue fighting in the hope thatthe North would abandon the struggle.
Source: "Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War"


“North Carolinians Among the Immortal 600”

Captain Walter MacRae of the 7th North Carolina Regiment wrote:

“On the 7th of September we disembarked at Morris Island and when we finally came out into the light of day and had a look at one another we were astonished to note the ravages made by the terrible heat and the nauseous confinement. One could scarcely recognize his best friends. There were six of us from Wilmington…all badly damaged.”

The rumors of the [600 Confederate] officers being put in the line of fire had become fact as they saw the stockade pen and had never thought that a civilized nation would use prisoners as human shields. They would be held there for forty-five days with artillery fire from their own batteries screaming over their heads and threatening immediate death. Additionally, a battery of Billinghurst-Requa machine guns were trained on the camp in case the prisoners became unruly.

On the evening of September 9th an artillery duel between Morris Island and Fort Moultrie occurred, and most of the firing would be at night. The gunners at Moultrie fired well but occasionally a shell would burst overhead and scatter fragments in the camp. The greatest danger to the prisoners came from the Northern batteries behind them as shells fired could burst prematurely – and throw huge shrapnel into the camp. After one of these incidents a horse was killed by fragments and a man’s leg sliced off. One night “the whole heavens were illuminated and the mortar shells were darting through the heavens in all directions as though the sky was full of meteors.

On September 10, General Jones in Charleston wrote the Northern commander that he had received word that numerous Confederate officers were under fire from Sumter “because I believe you are retaliating on those officers for a supposed disregard of the usages of civilized warfare in the treatment extended to U.S. officers, prisoners of war, now in this city. Those officers are comfortably housed and receive the treatment due prisoners of war.” He urged his opponent to bring his actions within the confines of accepted rules of war.

Though the Northern officers in Charleston had little complaint of their prison fare of fresh meat, rice, bread, meal and beans, the rations accorded the Confederate officers would barely sustain life. Captain MacRae recorded that “Some of the prisoners for the sake of the record complained to the [Northern] colonel. He replied that it was all right; there was meat enough in the meal, bugs and worms, and that if he had his own way he would be only too glad to feed us on greasy rags.”

A Virginia captain wrote about “the amount of dead animal matter in the shape of white worms, which was the mush given us.” Another said they received “one-half pint bean soup, two crackers, wormy and full of bugs. Rations for supper, two ounces of bacon, two crackers, wormy as usual.” The daily ration would change about three weeks later, altered to one-quarter of the previous amount – resulting in severe weakness and intestinal disorders in the prisoners. Water ration was cut as well, and the men began to catch rain or dig for water.

Another Virginia officer said “they are starving us by degrees.”


PoP Aaron
The Southern American

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