Confederate Society
by Al Benson Jr.

Decades ago now we were told by some in government and in the “news”media that we needed civil rights for blacks to end segregation in the South and so that blacks could begin to be able to vote. So, after multitudinous marches, demonstrations, sit-ins and other media-driven events blacks finally achieved some of those “civil rights” everyone was told they needed. If, at this point, you are going to ask me if I have a problem sitting next to a black family in a restaurant, I don’t. I have no problem with folks all being treated equally. Problem is, that some folks have gotten to the point where they feel they are entitled to be treated more equally than the rest of us, and, as usual, the ruling Marxist Regime in Washington totally agrees with them.

In fact, let’s be rather blunt.  When it comes to equal treatment in this Kountry anymore, white Southern Christians are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole and everyone else is supposed to denigrate them and their accomplishments with equal abandon as history is erased, reconstituted, and historical memory  is obliterated, to be replaced with–well, you don’t want to know with what. That will spoil your supper.

Several months ago, per request, I did an article that appeared in The Free Magnolia, a newspaper put out by the League of the South. The title of the article was The Marxist Side of Civil Rights. For those who have bothered to do any research on the “Civil Rights Movement” they will realize that it had (and has) a Marxist side. The “news” media just doesn’t bother to tell you about that because they and their bosses feel their agenda is better off if you are not aware of that. If you want some good background on this see if you can find Alan Stang’s old book It’s Very Simple–The True Story of Civil Rights.  should be able to locate it on I found it and there are old, used copies for sale. Mr. Stang was a truly investigative researcher and reporter and he researched where media “angels” had been told never to tread.

In our day we have finally reached the point (probably predetermined years ago) where the cultural Marxists have so absorbed and controlled the Civil Rights Movement that it is little more than a living memorial to their efforts to change our society from its Christian base to one that could only be loved by the Sodomite and Transsexual Movements. In fact the Sodomite, Lesbian and Transgender Movements have become the new civil rights! You have to start beginning to realize  that these people now possess all the “civil rights”  and you don’t really have any anymore. What you now have is the “right” to give in to their demands or face government prosecution (persecution) and that’s the only “right” you have left. If that’s too rich for you, then just take a good look at what’s going on around you. People are losing their jobs and their businesses because they refuse to cater to the whims of these people. So, tell me, where are the “civil rights” of those that do not, for Scriptural reasons, choose to go along with all of this? Such rights no longer exist. Somehow, the vaunted Constitution is not protecting us from all this. But, then, does that really surprise you? In spite of all the “conservative” bloviation Congress spreads out there, they, somehow, always manage to go along with whatever perversion the current administration comes up with.

I recently read an article by a New York Times columnist which said that “Christian churches ‘must be made’ to affirm homosexuality.” So who will be entrusted with that sacred mission? Exactly who is slated to make  Christian churches “affirm homosexuality”? Will the federal government do that?  And if so, exactly where are the “civil rights” of those in those churches that refuse to go along with what Scripture clearly condemns? Exactly who is going to force us? I’d like a detailed answer to this one. The Times article noted: “Bruni quoted furniture tycoon Mitchell Gold, who has used millions to found a liberal pressure group Faith in America, writing that Gold believes Christian churches ‘must be made’ to take homosexuality off the sin list.” Such statements from Gold lead me to inquire just where Mr. Gold is regarding religion.

In all honesty, you know who is going to pursue this agenda–the federal government, and they will pressure their minions in many state capitols to push the same agenda.  They will probably start with “suggestions” to the churches about this in their respective areas, then maybe a little subtle pressure, and finally, if some churches refuse to play this game the feds will seek to remove their 501c3 non-tax status until such time as they decide to comply with the federal program. For those that refuse flat out to do this, well, there is always prison–for violating the “civil rights” of the sexual perversion crowd–because, after all, they have “civil rights” and you don’t! Get used to it, folks, this IS the future–unless a goodly number of Christians and churches wake up and resist–and with what I have seen in churches in the last four decades, I really don’t expect that to happen. Oh, some will resist, to their credit, but not enough, and either jail of the FEMA Camp awaits those that do resist.

This is where the “Civil Rights Movement” has taken you folks. Do you like it? While you’ve been sitting in your churches on Sunday listen to your preacher tell you how close the “rapture” is, that it could happen any minute, or that “revival is just around the corner” (I heard that one thirty years ago, and it seems like it’s a long way to the corner) the “Civil Rights” crowd has been slipping the noose around your necks and you haven’t started to feel it until just recently.  They plan to make sure you feel it more before it’s all over.

It seems like it’s about time for a thorough re-evaluation of the “Civil Rights Movement” and just where it has been taking us.

This essay is meant to help you start to "connect the dots". How sad is it that your children never learned any "real truth" in their government school. EDITOR.

We have all been taught that Abraham Lincoln was a gentle man, “Honest Abe,” a man who advocated “malice toward none and charity for all.”  We have been taught that Lincoln would have opposed the policy pursued by Radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, which pushed for vengeful, retributive policies against the South.  We have been taught in books, movies and documentaries that Lincoln instead preferred a policy of healing that neither punished the defeated Confederate government and Army nor average Southern civilians. Since Lincoln was assassinated before the Reconstruction policies were put into effect, we can never know for sure if he was sincere or not. However, we can make an informed judgment regarding his true motivations if we examine how he militarily conducted the war as Commander in Chief of the Federal forces and which military policies he preferred his generals take in prosecuting the war. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that by almost any standard – those that existed prior to the war, those that existed after the war or even by the very standards Lincoln proclaimed to be operating under DURING the war, the prosecution of it… against civilians, against POWs, against property, against slaves, against women and children, against public works used for civilian purposes… was clearly criminal. There is even evidence indicating that, ironically given his own fate, high ranking members of the Lincoln Administration may have approved an assassination plot against Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the War. One may be tempted to seek to give Lincoln a pass by indicating that during a conflict as vast and violent as that war, he could not have been aware of every illegal act or war crime his generals or officer corps may have committed, and that there is little evidence he directly ordered that war crimes be carried out. The evidence, however, is quite stark that Lincoln often acted much as did Henry II of England who, seeking to indicate to his knights that he would prefer they “get rid of” his politically disloyal Archbishop of Canterbury Tomas a Becket by beseeching them: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Henry did not have to issue a clear direct order to make his point to his knights regarding Becket; Lincoln was in a similar position with his generals regarding the military policy he preferred regarding the South. If we consider Lincoln and his generals in this fashion, we can get a better picture of his culpability in the perpetration of Federal War Crimes against the Confederacy as a matter of implementing the Federal military doctrine of “strategic military necessity.” This concept, as we will see, allowed the Federal Armies to elude their own rules of war as laid out in their own “Lieber Code” – a code they formed to supersede the previous, far more civilian friendly code that existed prior to the war.

 This presentation is divided into several parts: Definition of Military Conduct as Understood Prior and During the Civil War / the Concept of Total War / the Lieber Code Federal War Crimes Against Civilians Federal War Crimes Against Public Works Used For Civilian Purposes Federal War Crimes Against Private Property Federal War Crimes Against Prisoners of War Federal War Crimes Against Women, Children and Slaves Federal Plans to Assassinate Confederate Leaders All references to “Official Records” are to Us War Department, “the War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, set 3, Vol. 1 – Washington DC Government Printing Office, 1880 – 1901, hereafter cited as “Official Records.” DEFINITION OF MILITARY CONDUCT as UNDERSTOOD PRIOR and DURING the CIVIL WAR / the CONCEPT OF TOTAL WAR / the LIEBER CODE.

 The Civil War is often thought of as the first conflict to be fought as a modern Total War; that is, a war that knew no boundaries, no rules, no exceptions and no mercy; a war where all atrocities and all criminality was covered over by the concept of “military necessity” in pursuit of the over-riding objective: achieving a complete and total victory over the enemy defined as the annihilation of the enemy. Brutality – towards civilians, prisoners, slaves and hostages in war is as old as Mankind.  Ancient warfare is filled with examples where civilians were routinely mass murdered and History is replete with atrocities committed by those like Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn and Timur, who burned cities and left mountains of civilian skulls in their wake. The Crusades were infamous for the large scale killing of civilians on both sides. Warfare in Europe was not much better; the 30 Years War of the 1600's was filled with atrocities against civilians and massive destruction of property. However, by the time of the Enlightenment through the 18th and early 19th Century, Western warfare, especially in Anglo-American culture, attempted to reign in some of the more egregious aspects of war as it pertained to civilians and civilian property. As Lance Janda writes in his article “Shutting the Gates of Mercy: The American Origins of Total War, 1860 – 1880” the Journal of Military History #59, no. 1 (January 1995) the attempt to provide some protections to civilians stemmed from the Enlightenment desire “which stressed that violence against non-combatants was barbaric and unworthy of modern military forces.” Of course, despite such progressive ideas, individual commanders in the field still issued orders and soldiers often engaged in brutal conduct against civilians in Anglo-American warfare. We saw this in our own country during the American Revolutionary War, when the British Legion under Col. Banastre Tarleton whose troops killed over a hundred prisoners during the so-called Buford Massacre in Virginia as well as numerous other acts of cruelty toward the civilian population. Further, American treatment of Native American tribes, such as Andrew Jackson’s treatment of the Creeks and Seminoles, were hardly known for their gentle treatment of non-combatants. However, what we find during the Civil War is a departure from the growing concept that such depredations were to be curbed and discouraged. Instead, we find that official policy, fully sanctioned by the highest levels of the military command of the Federal forces commanded by President Lincoln and in concurrence with the policy set by the highest echelons of the civilian leadership enthusiastically engaged in the type of war crimes that are implicit in the conduct of a “Total War.” We must ask ourselves how this concept of Total War was seen by both sides during the Civil War and understand how this concept differed from previous conceptions of what was considered proper warfare. “Total War” was NOT a concept taught at West Point prior to the Civil War, where war on civilians was considered anathema to “civilized warfare.” It was certainly NOT taught to cadets such as Grant, Sherman, Halleck and Sheridan when they attended the Academy. The code of military conduct at the time was set by the Articles of War of 1806, which was in force until it was replaced in 1863 by the “Lieber Code” (also known as “General Order 100.)   The 1806 Code stated: “Any officer or soldier who shall quit his post or colors to plunder and pillage shall suffer death or other such punishment as shall be ordered by a sentence of a general court martial.” This view ran contrary to the political desire to annihilate the enemy “root and branch”, which gripped the military and political elites in the North.  This was because it was not simply State Governments that were “in rebellion” against the Federal Government; it was the entire free population that was rejecting the domination of the Federal Government, which they felt had betrayed the compact they signed onto when they ratified the Constitution of 1789 by expanding Federal power over the states beyond the enumerated Constitutional limitations. 

 Having left British rule because they felt the British ruled WITHOUT the consent of the governed, the South came to the conclusion, after a long series of political crises, that the Federal Government of 1861 was now in the same position as the government of King George III. They were determined to exercise their right to remove themselves from the control of the Federal Government in the same manner in which they removed themselves from the control of the British government. To prevent the South from exercising this right, the Federal Government needed to defeat and subjugate the Confederacy and to establish a new constitutional order in its place… a constitutional order where the Federal Government moved from a position where it was limited to enumerated Constitutional powers regarding the individual states to one where it was perpetual, indivisible, dominant and exalted as “sacred.” The war aim of the Federal Government in Washington was to break the “chains” of the Constitution which placed much governing power in the hands of the States and instead create a supreme National Government with the potential to exert almost unlimited authority.  Such authority would allow the backers of the Republican Party, those of the rising Northeastern Industrial and Railroad interests, to use the coercive power of the Federal Government to their own purposes over and against the power of the States to interfere. To succeed in such a massive re-structuring of the Government meant that the South could not just be militarily defeated on the battlefield… it has to be annihilated, its culture demonized and eradicated, its economy desolated and its political will broken so thoroughly that there would never again remain any question regarding Federal dominance over the States. 

 Adam Badeau  who was on General Grant’s staff and was present at Appomattox notes: “It was not victory that either side was playing for, but for existence.  If the South won, they destroyed a nation; if the government succeeded, it annihilated a rebellion.” Of course, the Confederacy in no way wanted to “destroy” the United States, which would have continued, albeit in attenuated form as a nation, after the South left. For the South, however, the statement is entirely true: for the Federal Government to succeed in overturning the Constitution of 1789 and, in effect, create a “Second Republic” based on immensely increased Federal power, the Confederacy had to not just be defeated, BUT ANNIHILATED. But if the earlier concepts of proper standards of war conflicted with those adopted by the Federal Government during the War for Southern Independence, what ARE “proper standards of war?” Furthermore, did the Federal Government, in adopting NEW standards of warfare, violate the very standards they adopted? 

 There were several standards of war that were in effect in the Western world during the time the War of Southern Independence took place: 1) “Customary use of long standing” practice. Customary Usage are practices that go back hundred and thousands of years not based on written treaties of conventions.  To meet the criteria of “Customary Usage” it must be a custom practiced by Nations; that is, there is an unwritten agreement among nations that such practice is mandated by custom.  For example, a white flag is a considered to be indicating a truce by longstanding custom. 2) The Geneva Convention of 1862 which narrowly focused on “The Amelioration of the condition of the wounded in armies in the field.” This convention grew out of the Crimean War and was signed by 10 European States excluding Great Britain.  The United States also did not sign and therefore was not bound by its articles. 3) Emmerich de Vattel (1714-67)  “The Law of Nations”.  Historically, the government of the United States had adhered to the international law code of the Swiss jurist, Emmerich de Vattel (1714-67), author of The Law of Nations, on the proper conduct of war. As late as 1862, the U.S. Supreme Court in rendering its opinion in the “Prize Cases” cited Vattel. Because of the emphasis it placed on the protection of non-combatants, the Vattel code was repudiated by Lincoln who issued a new law governing warfare that lacked international standing – GENERAL ORDERS No. 100, known as the “Lieber Code” of 1863. Joesph Fallon 4) The Lieber Code Francis Lieber was a German-American legal scholar, jurist and political philosopher; the code that bears his name (AKA General Order 100) was a series of 156 articles published in 1863. 

 Lincoln signed it as part of his Constitutional duty under Article II, which states that the President must supply the rules and regulations for the governance of the military. It read: “The following ‘Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field,’ prepared by Francis Lieber, LL.D., and revised by a board of officers, of which Maj. Gen. E. A. Hitchcock is president, having been approved by the President of the United States, he commands that they be published for the information of all concerned. By order of the Secretary of War: E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, April 24, 1863.” The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, also known as Official records of the Union and Confederate armies or OR, Series III, Volume III, p. 148.

 From the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln’s strategy was to defeat the Confederacy by targeting Southern civilians. One of his first acts was to order a blockade of Southern ports on April 19, 1861 to deny food and medicine, among other items, to civilians. Because such acts violated traditional U.S. military rules of conduct, Lincoln needed a new code to “legalize” his actions. Lieber was the perfect choice for this task. The Prussian immigrant was contemptuous of the Constitution. He dismissed the federal system it had established as a “confederacies of petty sovereigns” based on the “obsolete ideas” of Thomas Jefferson. He shared Lincoln’s drive to centralize political power in the executive branch of the federal government. They alleged implied powers in the Constitution grant the president in wartime authority to enact legislation as well as to interpret the Constitution — to deny or suspend constitutional rights as the chief executive sees fit. In 1904, the Geneva Convention with which we are most familiar adopted the Lieber Code almost word for word. The Code contains conflicts within its articles. Article 15 discusses “military necessity” and its definition allows “destruction of property” – that is, all property can be destroyed if determined to be of “military necessity.” Article 22 of the code states “The principle has been more and more acknowledged that they unarmed citizen is to be spared in person, property and honor as much as the exigencies of war allow.”  Article 23 of the Code states “Private Citizens are no longer murdered, enslaved or carried off to distant parts and the inoffensive individual is as little disturbed in his private relations as the commander of hostile troops can afford to grant in the overruling demands of vigorous war.” But the Code allows for an ultimate “out”: Article 5 states “To save the country (that is, the Union as conceived by the Federal Government) is paramount to all other considerations.” Therefore, the Lieber Code, provides both the rationale AND the cover for Federal ambition. The rationale for Total War conducted against the South was the concept of “military necessity.” Military necessity was defined by General David Hunter in 1862 as “those measures which are indispensable for securing the ends of the war” (Burrus M. Carnahan, “Lincoln, Lieber and the Laws of War: The Origins and Limits of the Principle of Military Necessity” – The American Journal of International Law 92, no.2 April 1998, page 215)          

 In 1863, Lincoln approved the Lieber Code which contained Article 14 that states: “Military necessity, as understood by modern civilized nations, consists in the necessity of those measures which are indispensable for securing the ends of the war; and which are lawful according to the modern law and usages if war… military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb or armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally unavoidable in the armed contest of the war… of the appropriation of whatever an enemy’s country affords necessary for the subsistence and safety of the army.” In approving the Lieber code, Lincoln essentially was given the power to do whatever he deemed necessary to win the war, which was defined as the subjugation of the seceding states and establishing total control over them via the authority of the Federal Government’s new vision of the Constitution – that is, one that rejected the voluntary Union established in 1789 for the counter-revolutionary vision of a “perpetual” and “sacred” Union from which it separation was IMPOSSIBLE.  When urged by an Illinois congressman that he should “maul” the South, Lincoln replied “Tell the people of Illinois that I’ll do it” (Donald E. Sutherland, “Abraham Lincoln, John Pope, and the Origins of Total War” – The Journal of Military History, no 4 (October 1992) Page 581)

 Given the ferocity of the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, Ulysses S. Grant decided that the depth of Southern determination to break free of the control of the Federal Government was so deep that simple military victory would be insufficient to defeating it; he decided that to defeat the South he would follow a strategy that would annihilate the South.  He would “consume everything (of civilian property) that could be used to support of supply the armies. (Janda page 13) He and his generals proved themselves in sync with the views of the political leadership in the summer of 1863 when they proceeded to demonstrate how the doctrine of military necessity would be enforced. Grant wrote to his subordinate commanders (Sherman and Sheridan) that the South was getting what it deserved and that “We are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and we must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war. (Janda page 18) Acting in a manner his commander – and Commander in Chief – would approve, on July 23 1862, General Pope issued Order No. 11, which ordered the US Army Commanders to ‘proceed immediately to arrest all disloyal male citizens within their lines or within their reach in rear of their respective stations.’ If such citizens did not swear an oath of allegiance to the US government, they would be expelled from their homes; if they returned to their homes, they were to be shot as spies; for him who took an oath and violated it “he shall be shot and his property seized…” The result of this order was that Pope’s troops went on a rampage throughout parts of Virginia, citing his orders to justify acts of plunder and indiscriminate destruction. A Union general in Stafford Country Virginia observed “our men… now believe they have a perfect right to rob, tyrannize, threaten and maltreat any one they please, under the orders of Gen. Pope.” (Janda page 12) Further, there were numerous charges of rape and violence against both Black and White women.

 The Lieber Code is filled with restrictions that are obviated by the over-riding requirement of “military necessity” which in reality justifies violating all its more humane rules. As we list the myriad violations of the code to come, keep in mind that the General Order 100 purports to be a document which on the one hand places limits on military actions and on the other absolves all violations of such limits under the doctrine of “military necessity.” The code states: “All wanton violence committed against persons in the invaded country, all destruction of property not commanded by the authorized officer, all robbery, all pillage or sacking, even after taking a place by main force, all rape, wounding, maiming, or killing of such inhabitants, are prohibited under the penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offence.” What is left unsaid by this unequivocal statement was nonetheless not lost on Lincoln or Grant or his subordinates: EXCEPT WHEN REQUIRED BY MILITARY NECESSITY, which undid virtually ALL the protections for civilians and non-combatants that were written in the code. 

The fatal contradictions in the Lieber Code allowed for all its apparent protections to be subverted.  All Southerners were to be treated as rebels and traitors and as such deserved no protections beyond what the commanders in the field found convenient to grant them. Paragraph 151 of the code defined the Southern states as ineligible for the very protections the code was supposedly written to enforce: “The tern rebellion is applied to an insurrection of large extent, and is usually a war between the legitimate government of a country and portions of its provinces of the same who seek to throw off their allegiance to it and set up a government of their own.” Of course, the great historical irony here is that this is the PRECISELY the concept of Liberty that the colonial governments had in 1776 when they adopted the Declaration of Independence and created the very Union that was now, in a curious case of national patricide, trying to overthrow and destroy. By defining the Southern position as “rebellion” rather than “secession” the Lieber Code becomes a self-annihilating document, which allows the Federal armed forces to make war on civilians; that is, it considers them “disloyal citizens.”

Paragraph 156 of the Code states that the commander in the field: “will throw the burden of the war as much as lies within his power on the disloyal citizens” – that is, the very citizens whose place in the “sacred, perpetual union” the Lincoln Government was waging a very bloody and destructive war to preserve. Lastly, the Code considers any sort of resistance, “armed or unarmed,” to be war against the Federal Government of the United States and therefore an act of treason. Before leaving the codes of warfare as they were understood by the opposing armies, we should take a look at the code that was understood to be in force by the Confederacy. The South, whose military commanders were from families steeped in military tradition, took the codes of conduct towards civilians that were taught in West Point and other military colleges in the South very seriously.  They did NOT operate under the doctrine of “military necessity,” which over-rode all other humanitarian considerations in pursuit of victory. The Confederacy did NOT seek to annihilate the North, nor exercise their influence upon it, nor foist its cultural and social values on it, nor rule it; they sought to LEAVE IT. 

Robert E. Lee gives us a clear view of how the South understood the rules of war in his General Order 73, issued in 1863 during the Pennsylvania campaign: “No troops could have displayed greater fortitude or better performed the arduous marches of the past ten days.  Their conduct in other respects has with few exceptions been in keeping with their character as soldiers, and entitles them to approbation and praise.  There have however been instances of forgetfulness on the part of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and that the duties expected of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own.  The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed, the defenseless and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.  Such proceedings not only degrade the perpetrators and all connected with them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army, and destructive of the ends of our present movement.  It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain.  The commanding general therefore earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain with most scrupulous care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property, and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.” – (The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee (New York: Bramhall House, 1961, pages 533-534) Writing in his book, “April 1865” (which was called “A superb piece of history” by ultra-pro Lincoln court historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of her own book “Team of Rivals,” upon which the Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln” was based) author Jay Winik documents the Lee’s views on warfare: “But as great a fighting man as he was, Lee had had his flaws, with many of the virtues of a man becoming vices as a commander… he was not stern enough with his men… Nor was he cruel enough."

 In contrast to a Sherman or a Sheridan, he refused to burn or plunder enemy property, or engage in selective assassination, declaring it ‘Unchristian’ and “atrocious,’ even though the South could have greatly benefited from such tactics.” Facing certain military defeat should he continue to fight by conventional means, Lee’s young Chief of Artillary E. Porter Alexander recommended that the Confederate armies in the field evaporate into the Hills where they could wage guerrilla warfare for as long as it took to force the North to sicken of the cost, Lee opposed the idea. Winik writes: “Lee, however, principled to the bitter end, was thinking not about personal glory, but along quite different lines.  What is honorable?  What is proper? What is right?  …he quickly reasoned that a guerrilla war would make a wasteland of all that he loved.  Brother would be set against brother, not just for four years, but for generations.  Such a war would surely destroy Virginia, and just as surely destroy the country as well.  Even if it worked, and perhaps especially if it worked… For Lee, that was too high a price to pay.  No matter how much he loved the Cause… there were limits to Southern Independence. However, there were no limits that the Federal forces recognized regarding what should be sacrificed to Lincoln’s mythical concept of a “perpetual sacred Union.” 

Contrast Lee’s view of warfare with those of marauding incendiary Huns like Sherman, Pope and Sheridan, then compare Lee’s concern for his troops with Grant, whose callous use of his men as cannon fodder to be sacrificed in their tens of thousands on the altar of Union Victory earned him the title “the Butcher” by pro-Union newspapers in the North when he lost over 50,000 men during the Wilderness campaign of 1864 – a staggering number when one considers that the same Army lost only twice that, 100,000, in all the previous three years of the war. Lincoln’s own wife Mary stated: “Grant is a butcher and not fit to be at the head of an army… He loses two men to the enemy’s one.  He has no management, no regard for life.” (Winik, “April 1865” page 98).

 FEDERAL WAR CRIMES AGAINST CIVILIANS, PUBLIC WORKS USED FOR CIVILIAN PURPOSES AND PRIVATE PROPERTY Family Deportations in Memphis, September, 1862: In an early application of the Total War doctrine justified by ‘military necessity,” General William T. Sherman issued Special Order No. 254, which assigned collective responsibility to civilians by way of guilt by association, location or happenstance. Order No. 254 reads: “Whereas many families of known rebels and of Confederates in arms against having been permitted to reside in peace and comfort in Memphis, and whereas the Confederate authorities either sanction or permit the firing n unarmed boasts carrying passengers and goods, for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Memphis, is ordered that for every boat so fired on TEN FAMILIES MUST BE EXPELLED FROM MEMPHIS…” At a minimum, this violated the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizures as well as the taking of private property without due process.

 It was the Federal position that the South COULD NOT LEAVE a “perpetual” Union; therefore, under their OWN RULES, Southern citizens should still have been considered protected by the US Constitution, whose rules and regulations the Federals considered them UNABLE to separate from. Burning of Randolph Tennessee On October 4, 1862, Sherman had the fairly large town of Randolph Tennessee burned because sharpshooters in the vicinity of the town fired on Federal steamboats supplying his army.  In a written report to Grant, Sherman revealed the essence of his policies, which he later carried out even more viciously. He said that that the Southern population “cannot be made to love us, (they) can be made to fear us, and dread the passage of troops through their country… We must make the people feel that every attack on a road here will be resented by the destruction of some one of their towns or plantations elsewhere.  All adherents of their cause must suffer for these cowardly acts.” (John Bennett Walters, “General Sherman and Total War” The Journal of Southern History 14, No.4, November 1948, pages 462 – 463) Expulsion of Jews and other Anti-Semitic Actions – December 1862 The fact that a large scale anti-Semitic pogrom was conducted by Federal Military Authorities is one of the great un-mentioned Union atrocities committed against civilians during the War.

 In a supposed attempt to root out corruption in the cotton industry as part of a Union campaign against a black market in Southern cotton, which Grant thought was being run “mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders” he issues General Order No. 11, which covered his military district of operation including Holly Springs, Oxford, Mississippi, and Paducah, Kentucky. While permitting some trade, the United States licensed traders through the United States Army, which in turn created an unlicensed underground “Black Market.” Union military commanders in the South were responsible for administering the trade licenses and trying to control the Black Market in Southern cotton. General Order No. 11 dictated that Jewish traders and their families in Holly Springs, Oxford, Mississippi and Paducah, Kentucky leave the territory. Grant may not have intended such results; his headquarters expressed no objection to the continued presence of Jewish merchants, as opposed to cotton traders. But, the wording of the order addressed all Jews, regardless of occupation, and it was implemented accordingly. The Orders stated: “1. The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department [of the Tennessee] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.  2. Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.  3. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.” (“Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress: Order No. 11,” Jewish Virtual Library - 

 In Paducah, 30 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to Cincinnati Ohio, two of which had already served in the US Army.  House to house searches were carried out looking for Jews who might be in hiding. A group of Jewish merchants from Paducah, Kentucky, led by Cesar J. Kaskel, sent a telegram to President Abraham Lincoln in which they condemned the order as “the grossest violation of the Constitution and our rights as good citizens under it”. The telegram noted it would “place us . . . as outlaws before the world. We respectfully ask your immediate attention to this enormous outrage on all law and humanity ….” Throughout the Union, Jewish groups protested and sent telegrams to the government in Washington, D.C. The issue attracted significant attention in Congress and from the press. Northern Democrats condemned the order as part of what they saw as the US Government’s systematic violation of civil liberties; they introduced a motion of censure against Grant in the Senate, attracting thirty votes in favor against seven opposed. Some newspapers supported Grant’s action; the Washington Chronicle criticized Jews as “scavengers … of commerce”. (Robert Michael, A Concise History Of American Anti-Semitism, p. 91).

 After the war, Grant said: “I do not pretend to sustain the order. At the time of its publication, I was incensed by a reprimand received from Washington for permitting acts which Jews within my lines were engaged in … The order was issued and sent without any reflection and without thinking of the Jews as a set or race to themselves, but simply as persons who had successfully … violated an order.” Lincoln initially ignored the protests and the claim was made that his secretaries had simply set it aside.  Once the uproar became an issue of public outrage, Lincoln reversed the order. However, this awful event did not prevent Jewish population of Memphis Tennessee form suffering other indignities in December 1863, when Gen. Stephan Hurlbut issued General Order No.162, which required that all clothing stores in Memphis not having his permission to keep and sell military clothing had to immediately ship such stocks of clothing North. This Order was not only in violation of the 5th Amendment but also of the Lieber Code paragraph 46 (Neither officers or soldiers are allowed to make use of their position or power in the hostile country for private gain, not even for commercial transactions otherwise legitimate.) Of the 17 clothing stores in Memphis, 15 were owned by Jews; the two non-Jewish stores were found “innocent” of violating Hurlbut’s orders. Earlier in 1862, Sherman complained of having to deal with “Swarms of Jews” in Memphis; Gen Benjamin Butler, the Federal Commander of New Orleans wrote Secretary of War Stanton that of the “treachery” of the Jews in New Orleans and compared their profitable businesses to Judas’ 30 pieces of silver.(Official War Records, Series 1 vol. 17, page 141 and Official War Records, Series 3, vol.2, page 724) 

 The Attack on Yazoo Valley Mississippi May 1863:   In December 1862, General Sherman left Memphis with 32,000 men on steamboats intending to bring his now perfected doctrine of Total War to Mississippi.  To intensify the destruction impact of his forces, Sherman issued General Order No.7, which allowed that any boats shot at from the riverside could stop and burn the nearest houses and farms. Union troops routinely raided the surrounding areas for all wood found in houses, fences and barns to be used for fuel. In the Spring of 1863, Sherman ordered Gen.Frank P. Blair to “strip the Yazoo Valley” and in carrying out the order Blair burned a 122 million bushels of corn and stole 1000 head of cattle along with 300 horses and mules.  Even though there was little Confederate resistance to the Union forces in the Valley, Union troops carried out “retaliations” against the civilian population by destroying every grist mill in the area. This specifically violated Paragraph 22 of the Lieber Code, which distinguishes between “the private individual belonging to a hostile country and the hostile country itself, with its men in arms” along with the already tattered Fourth and Fifth Amendment to the Constitution… the very law of the land that the Federal Forces were fighting to prevent the South from leaving. 

 The Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, May – July 1863:  Prior to the War, Vicksburg was a vibrant town and a commercial hub with a population of 4,200.  During the long battle for control of the town, Grant subjected the civilian population, whose place in the Union the Federal forces were ostensibly fighting to preserve, to incessant bombardment.  Grant turned the town into a battlefield where civilians were indiscriminately starved into submission.  After eating all the horses and mules, the starving population turned to eating rats. The bombardment of Vicksburg again violated the Lieber Code, which protects civilians, “especially women and children” from bombardment.  Paragraph 25 of the code protects civilians from the type of “privation” Grant’s forces subjected it to. Destruction of Jackson Mississippi – July 1863 With Vicksburg subdued, Grant ordered Sherman east to take the state capital of Jackson.  On July 16, the Confederate Army evacuated the city allowing for Sherman to take the city without resistance. Instead, during a 3 day rampage, Union soldiers destroyed the town while Sherman gave his officers a banquet in the governor’s mansion.  A Northern journalist reported that: “They left the entire business district section in ruins, burned most of the better residences, dragged furniture into the street to be demolished and looted homes, churches and the state library….in summing up his impression of the sack of the town, he stated that such complete ruin and devastation never followed the footsteps of any army before” (Waters, page 468) Once again, this violated the Lieber Code.  Paragraph 38 states that “private property, unless forfeited by crimes or by offences of the owner, can be seized only by military necessity, for the support or other benefit of the Army of the United States.” Obviously, the burning of private businesses, homes and churches has nothing to do with military necessity but rather with retribution and the expression of pent-up rage… which, of course, can always be excused as a “military necessity” which, by terrorizing the population, demoralizes its will to fight and thus aids the war effort.

 Destruction of Meridian Mississippi, February 1864:  In early 1864, Sherman moved his troops from Chattanooga (where they had imposed a brutal occupation on civilians) back to Vicksburg and moved east. Although it was an important supply center and railroad hub, the weakening Confederate forces withdrew from Meridian Mississippi. Sherman occupied the city without a fight on Feb 14 and then had his troops spend 5 days destroying the town. In his report, Sherman noted: “For 5 days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will in that work of destruction, with axes, claw-bars  and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work as well done.  Meridian with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels and cantonments no longer exists.” (Walters Page 471) The Lieber Code paragraph 34 specifically exempts hospitals and churches from military use let alone destruction. Grant is as guilty as Sherman in this account since he did nothing to halt or punish Sherman when he gleefully reported such destruction to him. During this period, much civilian private property – farms, homes, livestock, villages and towns were subjected to systematic pillage by federal forces, all of it in violation of the Lieber Code which, under paragraph 43, states “all robbery, all pillage or sacking… are prohibited under penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense.”  (Walters page 472) Of course, given the fact that Sherman could always fall back on the need to satisfy “military necessity” where everything that was “prohibited’ was actually “permissible” under the ultimately empty strictures of the Lieber Code. 

 Executions of Civilians by the US Army in Fayetteville Tennessee – June 1864:  Since Federal supply lines were under constant attack in Tennessee, it is likely that both regular Confederate troops as well as civilians were involved.  Gen. Eleazer A. Paine decided that retaliation would provide information as to the attacker’s location.  His forces marched into Fayetteville, seized hostages, dragged them to the town square and announced he would execute four of the hostages unless someone came forward with information regarding the location of those who had been carrying out the attacks. One was released; three others were shot.  Murder of civilians is, of course, expressly forbidden by the Lieber Code paragraph 44.  Paragraph 148 forbids the proclamation of infamy on civilians and states: “The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority.” However, Paine was not punished either for this incident or for the many allegations of a similar nature made against him; he was reputed to have hanged so many uniformed Confederate prisoners that he earned the nickname ‘The Hanging General.” (Michael R. Bradley “With Blood and Fire” 2003, Pages 78-80) Kidnapping and Murder North Georgia 1864 The most heinous mass-casualty crime committed by the Federal forces occurred in Roswell Georgia in 1864, where approximately 500 hundred women and their children were grossly maltreated. After burning several cotton mills, Union Gen. Kenner Garrard notified Gen. Sherman that he had several hundred civilian women and children who had worked there under his control.  Sherman ordered the arrest of the owners of the mills, have them charged with treason and then have them hanged without trial should “the impulse of anger” overcome Gen. Garrard.  Sherman also ordered that the women and children be sent on a 10 mile forced march to Marrietta Ga. He wrote Garrard: “I repeat my orders that you arrest all the people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marrietta, whence I will send them by (railroad) cars to the North… the poor women will make a howl. Let them take along their children and clothing, providing they have the means of hauling or you can spare them.” (Official Records, series 1, vol. 38 pages 39, pages76 – 77).

 In October 1864, Sherman ordered the indiscriminate murder of civilians near Calhoun Georgia.  He wrote to his subordinate, Gen. Louis Watkins: “Cannot you send over about Fairmount and Adairsville, burn ten or twelve houses of known secessionists, kill a few at random, and let them know that it will be repeated every time a train is fired on from Peace to Kingston!” (Official Records, series 1 Vol. 39, page 494. Despite the Lieber Code mandating severe punishment for such actions, Gen. Garrard was never published and Gen. Watkins died on active duty without any disciplinary action being taken.  Sherman, of course, simply moved on to his Masterpiece of Atrocity: the pillage and burning of a large Southern city, Atlanta Georgia. Sherman’s March to Atlanta and March to the Sea 1864 From Mid-November to the end of December 1864, General Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea encompassed numerous war crimes and atrocities which Sherman and the subordinates carrying out his orders committed.  Neither Sherman nor any of his officers were charged with the multiple and flagrant violations of the Lieber Code that they committed.  Even the malleable Leiber Code, which gave wide berth for anything justified under the elastic concept of “military necessity” had conceived of the type of Total War that Sherman had now perfected. Before beginning the March, Sherman told one of his commanders “I am going into the very bowels of the Confederacy, and propose to leave a trail that will be recognized fifty years hence.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 39, page 358).

 Sherman indiscriminately confiscated and destroyed civilian property; property was taken without payment or even with any accounting for it or providing receipts as was the tradition of civilized warfare.  Homes and building with absolutely no military value were destroyed as a matter of course and he even his sympathetic biographers indicate he “winked” at abuses” committed by his soldiers.  Farm fields were trampled and livestock was taken for food.  In a report to General Halleck, Sherman relished the destruction he was about to unleash on South Carolina saying: “The truth is the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreck vengeance upon South Carolina.  I almost tremble at her fate, but feel that she deserves all that seems in store for her.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 44, page 799) There is no doubt that Atlanta contained many important military assets and transportation facilities vital to the Confederate War effort and that these were legitimate targets for Federal troops. However, the destruction meted out to the entire city was beyond excessive. For one thing, there had been several pitched battles fought on the outskirts surrounding the city, including the Battle of Peachtree Creek, the Battle of Atlanta and the Battle of Ezra Church, which bled the Southern forces defending the area to the breaking point. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuated Atlanta, after a five-week siege.  After obtaining a military victory, instead of moving on, Sherman literally destroyed the city, which was bombarded by cannon fire for three long weeks. Sherman said “Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation… one thing is certain, whether we get inside Atlanta or not, it will be a used up community by the time we are done with it.” (Official records, Series 1Vol. 38 part 5, page 452) On August 223 artillery pieces rained down as may of 5,000 rounds of shot on Atlanta in one day.  The bombardment went on day and night for 3 weeks.  Any concern for civilian life or property was discarded.  During the bombardment, one surgeon reported that he performed 107 amputations on men women and children.  Houses and Churches were shattered along with civilian bodies. However, Sherman absurdly blamed the casualties on the Confederate commander John Bell Hood for defending a line so close to the city that many people were killed “by accident” when Union shells overshot their marks. Again, the rationale of Total War came into play.  As Sherman wrote to Halleck in 1863: “If we can, our numerical majority has both the natural and constitutional right to govern.  If we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select their own government.” 

The right to select one’s own government was exactly what the Declaration of Independence was all about.  To insure the South would be prevented from exercising such a natural right, Sherman wrote “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.” (Official Records Series 1, Vol. 30, Part. 3, pages 697 – 698) On September 2, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city and Sherman sent a telegram to Washington reading, “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” That same day, Sherman ordered the civilian population to evacuate and the city.  The legitimate burning and destruction of military assets soon got out of hand and, with no civilians to stop it, spread wildly.  Looting, pillaging, rape and assault were widespread. Sherman later wrote: “Behind us lay Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined city. (William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman, Chapter 21) The Fall of Atlanta and the Presidential Election of 1864 Of course, the fall of Atlanta was a “present” for President Lincoln, who was facing a tough election that November that he was very worried he would lose.  Northern voters faced a clear choice between the candidates in the 1864 election.

Lincoln continued to insist that the Confederacy must accept re-union and emancipation. His opponent, General George McClellan set the condition for peace as ”the Union and nothing more” – viz. restoring the ante-bellum Union with slavery intact. It is very likely that if McClellan had won the election, he would have rescinded the Emancipation Proclamation and ended the participation of the 186,000 Black soldiers, most of them liberated slaves in the Army and Navy; presumably they would have been returned to their masters. Given the brutal losses suffered by Grant’s powerful and well equipped army at the hands of Lee’s threadbare forces in the battles of The Wilderness, McClellan and his advisers were confident that Lincoln could be beaten. Lincoln and many other Republicans also thought he would lose and others even begged him to cancel the election. Therefore, the fall of Atlanta was especially noteworthy for its political ramifications. The capture and fall of the city were extensively covered by Northern newspapers, and significantly boosted Northern morale. The Lincoln myth of him as a gentle and compassionate man who, ”had no desire to take bloody vengeance” on the rebels, to kill or subjugate them, to confiscate their property or to deprive them of their legal and constitutional rights is as absurd as it is inaccurate. It does not square with the reality of his fanatic desire to subjugate the Confederacy and destroy its concept of a Union under the rules of the Constitution of 1789. Lincoln himself had said that once he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, ”the character of the war will be changed. It will be one of subjugation. . . . The South is to be destroyed and replaced by new propositions and ideas.” 

Lincoln’s policies turned the war into the very thing he had once warned against: ”a remorseless revolutionary struggle” that not only vanquished the Old South, but destroyed the concept of Federal Union as laid down in the Constitution of 1789…  not to mention killing plenty of Southrons. That Constitution was to be overthrown; its articles regarding the traditional constitutional power relationship between State and  Federal Government eviscerated; its ethos favoring limited and local governance over overpowering and centralized governance inverted; its worship of individual Jeffersonian Liberty perverted into the apostasy of bowing before an ever more powerful Hamiltonian State. Sherman’s brutality served both Lincoln’s political needs and his statist philosophy; he was easily re-elected more on the ruins of Southern cities and civilian bodies than on defeated Southern armies which, given their thrashing of Grants vastly superior forces during the Wilderness campaign, still had the power to inflict military defeat on the North despite all its advantages Destruction of Columbia: This view was echoed by Halleck who wrote Sherman in December 1864: “Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed and if a little salt should be sown upon its site it may prevent the growth of future crops of nullification and secession.” Believing Charleston already sufficiently devastated, Sherman instead turned to Columbia South Carolina to satisfy Halleck's Punic Vengeance. On the day the army entered the city, robbery of civilian homes was rampant and was indulged in by both officers and enlisted men. Churches were pillaged, women’s jewelry was roughly taken from their bodies and arson was rampant. (William G. Simms, Sack and destruction of the City of Columbia S.C, pages 40, 48) Once again, Sherman blamed the victim, telling the mayor of Columbia Thomas Goodwyn “It is true our men have burnt Columbia, but it is your fault.” (Edwin Scott, Random Recollections of a Long Life 1806 – 1876 Pages 183 – 184).

 War of Extermination in Missouri:  The Union forces resorted to brutal tactics to stamp out independent Southern Militia in the state of Missouri to fight those who were reduced to partisan warfare as their only means of resistance, as Southerners had done in the Revolutionary War. Gen Halleck stated that “every man who enlists in such an (partisan) organization forfeits his life and becomes an outlaw.” (Official records, Series 1 Vol. 8 Page 612) The commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, Lt. Gem Theophilus Hunter-Holmes protested the Union policy of basically criminalizing all Southern military resistance: “…I can see but one result of the course which the Federal Government and its officers are thus adopting.  That result is a war of extermination… We cannot allow our enemies to decide for us whether we shall fight in masses or individually in uniform, without uniform openly or from ambush.  Our forefathers and yours conceded no such right to the British in the first Revolution, and we cannot concede it to you in this.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol.13, Page 727) Federal forces responded brutally, foregoing due process, hanging partisans and leaving them unburied to set an example, assuming any bands of men larger than two or more were guerrillas and having them summarily shot.  Women and family members of suspected guerrillas were incarcerated in terrible and dangerous conditions if it was determined they were “disloyal” including girls and teenagers. On August 25th 1863, Brig. Gen Thomas Ewing issued General Order 11 which commanded rural residents of four Missouri counties to abandon their homes and all their possessions.  They were given 15 days to clear out, on foot, of an area of almost 3,000 square miles consisting of a population of 20,000.  Many families were attacked and robbed of horses and any possessions they managed to take with them on the road. Union militiamen then set fire to all the abandoned homes and those fires often spread to fields and forests creating what were known as a “Burn District” to describe the extensive devastation. 

 The Burning – Shenandoah Valley Virginia, 1864 In late Spring 1864: Maj. Gen David Hunter launched an attack on Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.  He burned civilian homes and seized civilian property in recompense for Confederate attacks on Federal supplies and order that: secession sympathizers”; within a radius of 10 miles where the Federal supplies were lost be made to pay for them at five times the value of such property. During the 2 day occupation of Lexington, soldiers pillaged homes and left the population destitute and starving. In September 1864, Maj. Gen Philip Sheridan followed up his victory over Southern Forces at the Battle of Third Winchester to take the opportunity to make the Valley, in his words, “A barren waste” or what the residents simply came to call “The Burning.” Sheridan was proud of his record of destruction of civilian property. He noted “I have destroyed over 2000 barns, filled with wheat, hay, and farming implements,” along with “over 70 mills, filled with flour and wheat.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol.43, part 2, page 308 WAR CRIMES AGAINST PRISONERS OF WAR Confederate POWs Used to Clear Mine Fields – Virginia 1862 During a skirmish that occurred during the battle of Williamsburg Gen. McClellan forced the Confederate forces to withdraw, but not before they covered their withdrawal with the placement of crude land mines (or, as they were known at the time “torpedoes”) McClellan forced Confederate POWs to clear these “torpedoes” after some of his men were killed by them.  However, forcing POWs to clear land mines was prohibited by the Lieber Code paragraph 75, which spares POWs from “intentional suffering or indignity.” Sherman added his own perverse twist on this practice when he used, or threatened to use, civilians to clear land mines as well as POWs. Sherman wrote “Of course an enemy cannot complain of his own traps.” (O.R. Series 1 Vol.38 page 579) This was in direct violation of the Leiber Code, paragraph 33 that says it is a “serious breach of the law of war to force the subjects of the enemy into service of the victorious government. Extortion, Torture and Murder of Soldiers– Jackson Tennessee, 1864 As reported by Confederate Gen. W.M. Reed, the US Army tortured and murdered Confederate POWs as well as threatening, extorting money and murdering civilians in the area.  When this was reported to Confederate Gen Nathan Bedford Forrest, he demanded that the Federal commander turn over the Officers and men responsible for the crime. Union Col. Fielding Hurst rode into Jackson and demanded money from the townspeople or else his forces would burn the town.  He extorted over $5139.25 from the civilian population… the exact amount the US Army had assessed Hurst had stolen when he entered and robbed the home owned by a women living in Jackson the year before in 1863.  Resentful of having to pay this assessment, Hurst returned to steal the restitution money. During Hurst’s stay in Jackson, several Southern POWs were tortured, mutilated and killed; several members of the Jackson clergy were also arrested and threatened; they were only released when Forrest threatened to execute 5 Federal officers in retaliation if they were not let go. All the above is in perfect accord with the Sherman doctrine of “collective guilt” – that is, civilians and POWs were collectively responsible for Confederate military actions whether they were involved or not. Confederate Officers used as Human Shields The Lincoln Administration sanctioned the use of POWs as human shields at the very highest levels. 

 In 1864, Secretary of War Stanton approved a plan to move 600 Confederate POWs from Ft. Delaware to Charleston harbor, where they were placed in the line of fire between the Confederate and Union lines while they were forced to constructed Union fortifications The US Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Halleck wrote to Gen J.G. Foster, the officer in charge of building the fortifications the following: “The Secretary of War has directed that 600 rebel officers, prisoners of war, be sent to you, to be confined, exposed to fire, and treated with the same manner as our officers, prisoners of war are treated in Charleston.  No exchanges will be made without special instructions of the War Department.  Any offer for exchange will be communicated here of the action of the Secretary of War."

One of President Lincoln’s first acts was to order a blockade of Southern ports on April 19, 1861 to deny food and medicine, among other items, to civilians; such shortages became worse as the war dragged on.  Further, given the fact that it was the Federal policy regarding “military necessity” to decimate the ability of the South to wage war by inflicting such starvation and suffering on the civilian population as to cause them to either end the war or face mass death, it is not very surprising that, only having such meager supplies for Southern civilians, Northern POWs suffered their lack as well. Wirz was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death.  He was hanged on November 10, 1865. However, Wirz was the only Confederate official to be tried and convicted of war crimes resulting from the entire Civil War, which in itself is a testimony to the differences between how the fighting was conducted by both sides.

CRIMES AGAINST SLAVES It is arguable that those who suffered the most from the various war crimes committed by Federal Troops were against the very people whose liberation the war was purported to be all about. Sherman himself exhibited virulent racism against Blacks.  According to biographer Michael Fellman, Sherman’s view was that “They were a less-than-human and savage race, uncivilized to White standards, and probably un-civilizable. They were obstacles to the upward sweep of history, progress, wealth, and White destiny.” (Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman, 1995, pages 260 – 261) As Native Americans were to find out less than a decade later, Sherman felt the same way about them; Sherman had ordered his subordinate Phil Sheridan to attack Indians “without restraint” and gave him “prior authorization to slaughter as many women and children as well as men Sheridan or his subordinates felt was necessary when they attacked Indian villages.” (Fellman page 271) In July of 1865 Sherman was put in charge of the Military District of the Missouri (all land west of the Mississippi) and given the assignment to eradicate the Plains Indians in order to make way for the federally subsidized transcontinental railroad. Like Lincoln, Sherman was a friend of Grenville Dodge, the chief engineer of the project. He was also a railroad investor and he lobbied his brother, Senator John Sherman, to allocate federal funds for the transcontinental railroad. “We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians stop and check the progress of the railroad,” he wrote to General Grant in 1867 (Fellman, p. 264). Fellman writes: “The great triumvirate of the Union Civil War effort [Grant, Sherman and Sheridan] formulated and enacted military Indian policy until reaching, by the 1880s, what Sherman sometimes referred to as “the final solution of the Indian problem,” which Sherman defined as killing hostile Indians and segregating their pauperized survivors in remote places. Sherman did nothing to encourage slaves to join his army and often deliberately burned bridges to prevent them from doing so, leaving them alone and isolated without even provisioning them with food and medicine. 

 During the Federal invasion of Louisiana in 1863 and 1864, thousands of slaves were encouraged to follow Maj. Gen, Nathaniel Banks. However, while they were encouraged to run away and thereby injure the Southern economy which depended on them thus helping the Union war effort, many who did so were then simply abandoned by their liberators.  General Sherman stated “I won’t trust niggers to fight yet, but don’t object to the (Federal) government taking them from the enemy & making such use of them as experience may suggest” (William T. Sherman to John Sherman, April 26, 1863, Sherman Papers, Library of Congress).  Many slave children were separated from their parents and many, both adults and children, died from disease and starvation.  In 1863, 2,000 slaves that escaped to the Union army perished; In Rapides Parish it is estimated that between 1863 and 1864, 8,000 slaves left to follow the Federal forces and that more than half died of exposure. Of course, during the march to the Sea through Georgia burned slave residences, stole whatever meager property slaves held and often subjected slave women to brutalization and rape. “Regiments, in successive relays, committed gang rape in Columbia on scores of slave women (William G. Simms “City Laid Waste” page 90) Sherman’s treatment of runaway slaves was so wretched that, despite the fact that his army overflowed with foodstuffs and supplies looted from any civilians unlucky enough to be caught his army’s rapaciously destructive path, he failed to leave behind the ample food, medicine and shelter to serve their human needs. (Thomas G. Robisch, “General William T. Sherman: Would the Georgia Campaigns of the First Commander of the Modern Era Comply with Current Law of War Standards?” Emory International Law Review 9, no.459, 1995 – page 461).

 But humanitarian concerns – whether it be for POWs, Southern civilians, slaves or Native Americans counted for nothing when set against the overall goal of annihilating the Confederacy and overthrowing the Union established under the Constitution of 1789. As long as there was any Confederate resistance to this overriding concern, Sherman believed it was open season on Southern citizens for political reasons.  His ruthlessness is neatly captured in his 1864 letter to Maj. R.M. Sawyer: “To those who submit to the rightful law and authority all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better… Next year their lands will be taken, for in war we can take them, and rightfully, too, and in another year they may beg in vain for their lives.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol.32, page 579).

 Later in 1864, Sherman wrote Halleck indicating that if Southerners wanted to rid themselves of “barbarity and cruelty” they must stop the war. There can be no doubt: Sherman knew his premeditated policies were “barbaric and cruel” and his mass destruction and violence against civilians was intended to terrorize the civilian population into abandoning the war as the only way to get rid of him. In a July 31, 1862 letter to his wife (from his “Collected Works”) he wrote that his purpose in the war was: “Extermination, not of soldiers alone, that is the least part of the trouble, but the [Southern] people.” His wife Ellen wrote back that her fondest wish was for a war “of extermination and that all [Southerners] would be driven like the Swine into the sea.” 

 Federal Plans to Assassinate Confederate Leaders The Dahlgren Affair:  The Dahlgren Affair was an incident involved a failed Union raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia on March 2, 1864, ostensibly to free Union POWs and to attack JEB Stuart's forces. When he inquired of a slave boy which way Stuart's cavalier's had gone, he received incorrect information and went several miles out of his way. When he returned to the river he had the boy hung as an example of those who would defy Union authority. According to papers found on the body of the raid’s commanding officer, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, the mission objectives included assassinating Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet as well as burning the Southern capital. “Dahlgren was twenty-one, tall, fair-haired, and dashing, with an abiding taste for adventure untempered by even a modicum of common sense. Dahlgren’s father, Rear Adm. John A. Dahlgren, was an expert in naval ordnance, commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and a close friend of the president’s.” “Nothing went according to plan. Dahlgren discovered the James (River) was running too high from the winter rains to cross. In a fit of particular savagery he turned on his guide, a black freedman… and had the man hanged from a tree on the riverbank. Proceeding toward Richmond but on the northern side of the James, Ulric Dahlgren soon ran into the city’s (Richmond) militia defenders. Colonel Dahlgren and some one hundred of his men became separated and wandered off to the north and east of Richmond. On the night of March 2 they stumbled into an ambush set by Confederate cavalrymen and home guards. Lieutenant James Pollard, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, reported what happened next: ‘Col. Dahlgren who was in command and riding at the head of the column, saw a man who at that moment moved his position, and ordered him to surrender: which drew a volley from our men and Col. Dahlgren fell dead, struck by several bullets… Shortly after the ambush in which Dahlgren was killed, a thirteen-year-old schoolboy named William Littlepage, who was a member of a schoolboy company of home guards, came upon the colonel’s body and searched it for valuables. What he found came to be called the Dahlgren papers–two folded documents and a pocket notebook containing several loose papers inserted between the leaves. Littlepage turned his find over to his teacher and company commander, Captain Edward W. Halbach. The first of the documents, written in ink on Union army stationery bearing the printed heading ‘Headquarters Third Division, Cavalry Corps,’ was obviously an address to the officers and men of Colonel Dahlgren’s command. It covered two sheets, with the final six lines and the signature written on the back of the first sheet…  “We hope to release the prisoners from Belle Island first & having seen them fairly started we will cross the James River into Richmond, destroying the bridges after us & exhorting the released prisoners to destroy and burn the hateful City & do not allow the Rebel Leader Davis and his traitorous crew to escape….  An address to his troops on Cavalry Corps stationery was even more explicit: “The City it must be destroyed and Jefferson Davis and Cabinet killed.” The Southern press was as predictably outraged as the Northern press strongly denied the allegation. The most vehement assertion that the Dahlgren papers were ‘a bare-faced, atrocious forgery’ concocted by ‘the miserable caitiffs’ in Richmond came, not surprisingly, from Dahlgren’s father, Admiral John Dahlgren. All this leaves the flowing question: Who authorized the secret agenda of arson, pillage, and murder as outlined in the Dahlgren’s papers? The answer cannot be documented as readily as the question of the papers’ authenticity but a credible speculation regarding the guilty party can be made: The trail of responsibility appears to lead straight to the office of Secretary of War Stanton. One of the planners of the raid, Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, a Union cavalry officer so incompetent he was given the nickname “Kill-Cavalry” by the troops he mislead, would not have been bothered by the murderous and destructive plan but was not the type to proceed without authorization. “Stanton was never one to demonstrate respect for the niceties of civilized warfare. He had been, for example, the behind-the-scenes author of the set of draconian measures inflicted on Southern civilians in 1862. He was also exceedingly devious. An image comes easily to mind: Secretary Stanton describing for his visitor the perfidies of Jefferson Davis, rather in the manner of King Henry II speaking of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, before an audience of his eager courtiers, saying, ‘Will no one rid me of this man!’ To Judson Kilpatrick, ambitious and ruthless, his duty would have seemed clear enough. To his new patron, the thought of liberating the suffering prisoners from Belle Isle and Libby Prison to wreak vengeance on their captors would have seemed a pleasing rationalization for the scheme.” 

 After the Northern victory, the papers were among a collection of important Confederate documents transferred to Washington after the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In November 1865, seven months after Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, ordered Francis Lieber, the author of the Lieber Code to be the keeper of captured Confederate records and to turn over everything relating to the raid. Lieber gave Stanton the original papers and notebook found on Dahlgren’s body, plus all relevant correspondence from the Confederate archives. Historian James O. Hall searched widely for the missing papers and finally tracked them to Stanton. “[S]uspicion lingers,” Hall wrote, “that Stanton consigned them to the fireplace in his office.” Stanton presumably destroyed them; they have not been seen since. Because of this, a debate has raged for many years over the authenticity of the Dahlgren Papers, with certain Civil War scholars such as James M. McPherson offering his judgment that judgment that “the genuineness of the Dahlgren papers is contestable….” Unfortunately the destruction of the records by Stanton has prevented their examination in modern times and restricted historical knowledge of them to the surviving copies and examinations conducted between March 5, 1864 and November 1865 when Stanton seized the papers. “The Union denied that the papers were accurate but as Ernest Furgurson concludes, ‘though debates over the paper’s validity would run on… the weight of the evidence suggests that they were indeed genuine.” Jay Winik “1865” footnotes, page 441 Historian Stephen Sears makes a strong case for the authenticity of the papers in recent articles in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History and in Columbiad.  If the Dahlgren papers are authentic, it could be fairly argued that President Lincoln, by following a policy of Total War, allowed subordinates such as Stanton to believe that targeting his opposite number in Richmond was a legitimate act, AGAIN, under the justified by strictures of “military necessity.” It could have been what set in motion the events that would end with his own assassination in Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.   

 CONCLUSION:  The need to have a proper understanding the history of what is commonly referred to as the Civil War has a direct relationship to important issues currently facing our Nation. Americans are used to thinking that once the Constitution was ratified, our Republic has remained inviolate and was “saved” by Abraham Lincoln via the victory of the central Federal government over the seceding states. However, we must understand that the Civil War not only ended the Confederacy’s attempt at secession, it also in large part ended the Republic as it was set up under the Constitutional Order of 1789. The fact is that even the government established in 1789 was not the first “republic” of the United States and was not, for all intents and purposes, the last.  The victory of the Central Government over the States in the “Civil War” initiated as series of subsequent “virtual republics,” each with a central Federal Government more powerful than the one that preceded it. Let us trace this path: 1776 – The Power of the States Supreme; the Power of the Federal Government Inferior When the country was drawn together under the Articles of Confederation, the States were supreme and the power of the Central Government in Congress was extremely limited, mostly to matters of common defense.  Even in military matters Congress had little control and, much to the frustration of General Washington, could barely force the States to pay for their part in the Revolution (at one point, Washington paid the troops out of his own money.) 

 1789 – The Power of the States Dominant; the Power of the Federal Government Expanded The Constitution of 1789, seeking to remedy the excessive independence of the States which was seen as leading to multiple governing problems in both foreign and domestic affairs discarded the Articles of Confederation (which, unlike the Constitution of 1789, actually did call itself a “perpetual union”.)

 1865 – The Power of the Federal Government Dominant; the Power of the States Diminished The military victory of the Federal forces overturned the Constitution of 1789 and replaced it with one where the Federal Government was dominant over the States.  This situation reflected the new reality which saw business interests allied with the expanded coercive power of the central government to facilitate their respective agenda: profits and power. 1933 – The Federal Government Supreme; the Power of the States Inferior Using the “emergency” of the Great Depression as a pretext to create a situation (the “New Deal”) where the Federal Government became Supreme over the States. 

 1965- The Power of Federal Government Un-assailable; the Power of the States Marginalized Using the vast expansion of government power provided by the Great Society programs, the Federal Government solidified its supremacy over the States to such an extent the States that the States became meaningless appendages to it. 

 2008 – The Federal System Fundamentally Transformed With the election of Barack Obama, the Federal Government became an Imperial Government in all but name, complete with a cultist leader, a controlled press and an outright neo-Fascist, Crony Capitalism, Corporate State, authoritarian ideology.  The States exist much as the Roman Senate did in the Imperial period: an impotent anachronism and rubber stamp of the central government devoid of real power or influence. Therefore, our current terrible situation can be traced back to the counter-revolutionary overthrow of the Constitutional Order of 1789 by the Lincoln Administration.  Ironically, Lincoln found himself in the same situation as the Lyndon Johnson Administration found itself in Vietnam, where it discovered it had to destroy the country of Vietnam in order to “save” it. Apparently, we have been targeted to suffer the same fate. The idea that killing hundreds of thousands of American citizens on the pretext that ending slavery could not have been accomplished by any other means (something disproved by the experiences of all other nations at the time) has generally become accepted by a majority of Americans as the right thing to do.” This is the attitude of many today, both liberal and conservative. Indeed, Lincoln is beloved among many strongly conservative spokesmen! But there is a price for holding the belief that the ends justify the means. Those who do so may not condemn Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao or bin Laden, all of whom acted out of a belief that what they were doing was right and that therefore whatever they did to obtain their ends was justified. So those… especially scholars and historians… who justify what was done in the War of Secession with the plea that “it was necessary” are morally equivalent to the apologists for every tyrant who has murdered, raped, pillaged and enslaved throughout history as well as every tyrant who will come forth in the future. Changing the venue of tyranny does not change its moral dynamics.

This is the 35th anniversary of the ground breaking television miniseries, Roots.  Based on Alex Haley’s wildly successful novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the epic miniseries starred an ensemble cast—several members of which recently visited with Oprah Winfrey on her new network (OWN) to commemorate this occasion.

This is worth commenting upon only because, for as provocative and entertaining as both book and movie undoubtedly are—I read the book twice and watched the miniseries numerous times--Roots, the author’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, is a work of fiction through and through.  To listen to Oprah and the actors with whom she was accompanied, one could be forgiven for regarding this as news.

In fact, to describe Roots merely as “fiction” is to treat Haley with more charity than he deserves.  In at least three critical respects, Haley was downright dishonest.

Haley and the History of Slavery

Black commentator Stanley Crouch doesn’t mince words when it comes to Alex Haley.  Haley, Crouch insists, was a “ruthless hustler” and “one of the biggest damn liars this country has ever seen.”  Crouch likens Haley to Tawana Brawley, the young black woman who infamously lied about being raped and humiliated by a white police officer.  Like the lie concocted by Brawley and abetted by the likes of Al Sharpton, Haley’s story is also a “hoax” that beautifully illustrates “how history and tragic fact can be pillaged by an individual willing to exploit whatever the naïve might consider sacred.” 

Crouch explains: “Haley came on the scene when Negroes were becoming obsessed with their African ancestry and were having overwrought reactions to a tale of slavery that always, conveniently, left out the crucial role of the cooperative and profiting Africans.” 

Black thinker Thomas Sowell, who has written prolifically on race and slavery, makes the same point as Crouch—even if not quite as bluntly.  Regarding the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Sowell remarks that Roots “presented some crucially false pictures of what had actually happened—false pictures that continue to dominate thinking today.”

For instance, “Roots has a white man leading a slave raid in West Africa, where the hero, Kunta Kinte [supposedly, Haley’s ancestor] was captured, looking bewildered at the chains put on him as he was led away in bondage.”  Moreover, even “the village elders” likewise appeared perplexed by the sight of these “white men” who were “carrying their people away.”  In glaring contrast to this depiction, Sowell correctly asserts, the location from which Kunta Kinte was taken—West Africa—had been “a center of slave trading before the first white man arrived there—and slavery continues in parts of it to this very moment.”  He adds: “Africans sold vast numbers of other Africans to Europeans.  But they hardly let Europeans go running around in their territory, catching people willy-nilly” (emphasis added). 

According to Sowell, Roots did more harm than good in fueling “the gross misconception that slavery was about white people enslaving black people.” In reality, “the tragedy of slavery was of a far greater magnitude than that.”  Slavery knew no racial boundaries.  “People of every race and color were both slaves and enslavers, for thousands of years, all around the world.”  Sowell likens slavery to cancer in that it transcends time and place.  He concludes: “If reparations were to be paid for slavery, everybody on this planet would owe everybody else.” 

Hayley was, to put it mildly, a “historical revisionist” when it came to the issue of slavery.  But this in and of itself certainly doesn’t warrant the verdict, issued in no uncertain terms by Stanley Crouch, that Hayley was a “ruthless hustler.” After all, Hayley’s “historical revisionism” on this score is very much a function of the leftist moral imagination that came to dominate the post-1960’s intelligentsia.  Rather, if Hayley could be said to be guilty of nothing more than subscription to an intellectually and ethically shallow political-moral vision, it would not be difficult to issue him a pardon.

Yet matters are far worse than this.

Haley and Plagiarism

As Philip Nobile writes, Haley was a “literary rogue,” an “impostor” whose “prose was so inept that he required ghosts [ghost writers] throughout his career.” Upon reading Haley’s posthumously released private papers and interviewing one of his original editors for Roots, Nobile was able to determine that the latter’s real author was Murray Fisher, Haley’s editor from his time at Playboy.  Fisher was also, incidentally, white.

This piece of deception, however, is part and parcel of a much larger web of the same.

At least Fisher consented to write Roots.  Harry Courlander did not.     

In the late 1960’s, Harry Courlander—a white man—composed The African, a fictional work about a young African boy who is captured, made to endure the horrors of the mid-Atlantic passage, and eventually sold into slavery in America.  In 1978 he sued Haley for plagiarism.  Upon expressing regret that at least 81 passages were lifted virtually verbatim from Courlander’s novel and recast in Roots, and upon the Judge’s unambiguous finding that Haley was guilty of plagiarism, Haley agreed to an out of court settlement whereby he would pay Courlander $650,000 (roughly 2 million dollars in today’s terms).   

In his pre-trial memorandum, Courlander argued that had Haley not copied from his novel, “Roots would have been a very different and less successful novel, and indeed it is doubtful that Mr. Haley could written Roots without The African [.]”  Roots, Courlander continues, “copied [from The African] language, thoughts, attitudes, incidents, situations, plot and character.”

An English professor from Columbia University, Michael Wood, submitted an Expert Witness Report to the court.  His comparative analysis of the two novels thoroughly substantiated Courlander’s allegations.  “The evidence of copying from The African in both the novel and television dramatization of Roots,” he declared, “is clear and irrefutable.” The plagiarism, Wood insisted, “is significant and extensive [.]” Whether it is “copied” or “modified,” The African is “always” “consulted” by the author of Roots.  The “essential elements” of Courlander’s work—“phrases, situations, ideas, aspects of style and plot”—constitute “the life” of Roots.

Judge Robert J. Ward concluded: “Copying there was, period.”  Years later, Ward came forth in an interview with the BBC and admitted that Haley “had perpetrated a hoax on the public.” 

Although during the trial Haley swore that he personally had never read The African, that “the life” of Courlander’s book had found its way into Roots courtesy of careless research assistants who failed to document their material, a “minorities’ studies” professor, Joseph Brucac from Skidmore College, signed a sworn affidavit in which he noted that he and Haley had indeed discussed The African at least five years prior to the publication of Roots. In fact, Brucac even lent Haley his own copy of it.

Haley and his Roots

His plagiarism aside, as professional genealogists Gary B. and Elizabeth Shown Mills have demonstrated beyond a doubt, Haley’s claims to the contrary aside, there is no formal documentation to corroborate “the oral tradition” regarding his family history.  Moreover, the very documentation to which he refers—“plantation records, wills, census records”--repudiates this tradition.  The Mills are to the point: “In truth, those same plantation records, wills, and censuses cited by Mr. Haley not only fail to document his story, but they contradict each and every pre-Civil War statement of Afro-American lineage in Roots” (emphases original)!

Haley claims that his great-great-great-great grandfather, Kunta Kinte, arrived inAnnapolis,Marylandupon the slave ship, the Lord Ligonier, in September of 1767.  There he was purchased by John Waller of Spotsylvania County,Virginia, who gave him the name “Toby.” 

But Haley can know for sure that Kunta Kinte is Toby if and only if he is correct regarding the date of Kunta’s arrival in America.  As the Mills assert, “this determination of date of arrival is crucial to the establishment of Kinte’s American identity” (emphasis original).  The problem, for Haley, is that he pre-selected this date.  Precisely the same documentation upon which he relies to establish that his ancestor and the Waller slave Toby are one and the same person actually proves that this is impossible. “Had Mr. Hayley not chosen arbitrarily to limit his research to only those records filed after the arrival of the ship that he had already ‘identified’ upon questionable premises, had his research indeed been as exhaustive as assumed, he would have discovered that this Waller slave Toby appeared in six separate documents of record over a period of four years preceding the arrival of the Lord Ligonier” (emphasis original).   

In short: “Toby Waller was not Kunta Kinte.”     

The slave Toby belonged to the Wallers, but there is no record as to when, or even if, he was purchased.  It appears that, against Haley’s account, he first belonged to Dr. William Waller and was then conveyed to his brother John.  Sometime later, Toby once more became the property of William.  It would also seem that Toby Waller died between five and ten years prior to the birth of “Kizzy,” the woman who Haley says Kunta Kinte fathered.

As to the person with whom Kunta is supposed to have fathered Kizzy—Haley identifies her as “Bell”—there is no record.  There is an “Isbell” who belonged to the father of John and William Waller.  Yet she never belonged to either of his two sons.  Thus, she could not have been married to Toby. 

Neither are there any documents in existence that confirm anything that Haley has to say about the woman who he describes as his great-great-great grandmother—Kizzy.

According to Haley, compliments of William Waller’s niece and Kizzy’s childhood friend, “Missy Anne,” Kizzy was literate.  When her childhood sweetheart “Noah” planned to escape from the Waller plantation, Kizzy armed him with a traveling pass on which she forged Missy Anne’s name.  Noah was caught, tortured into confessing the source of the traveling pass, and sold. Kizzy then too was sold to Tom Lea, of North Carolina. 

The problem here is that there are no records to substantiate any of this.  What we can determine is that there is no way that Anne Waller and the Kizzy about whom Haley speaks could have been childhood friends, for Waller was already a grown woman in her twenties by the time that Kizzy was supposed to have been born. 

The Mills state that “there remains the inarguable conclusion that the 182 pages and thirty-nine chapters in which theVirginialives of Haley’s ‘ancestors’ are chronicled have no basis in fact.  Neither of the two relationships that are crucial to his pedigree (the identity of Kizzy as daughter of Kinte alias Toby, and the relationship of Bell as wife of Kinte and mother of Kizzy) can be established by even the weakest genealogical evidence.”

If “theVirginia chapters of his saga” fail abysmally to “represent a documented ancestry for” Haley “or for the descendants of the white family alleged to have owned his family,” the North Carolina chapters beginning with Kizzy’s arrival at the property of Tom Lea is just as abysmal in these regards.  Not only is Tom Lea—who is allegedly Haley’s ancestor by virtue of his rape of Kizzy—not the poor white trash that Haley depicts him as; there is zero evidence that he ever owned a slave name “Kizzy.”

It isn’t just radical inconsistencies in Haley’s antebellum ancestry with which he has to reckon.  There are all sorts of questions that his claims on the part of his post-Civil War ancestry raise as well.   As the Mills say, “not only the authenticity of Roots evidence is called into question by the total absence of documentation for any alleged event, individual, or relationship, but doubt also falls upon the very essence of family life portrayed in Roots” (emphasis added).

There is one final point.  Roots climaxes with Haley discovering the village from which his ancestor, Kunta Kinte, was supposed to have been captured.  Supposedly, a griot from the village of Juffure—Fofana—confirmed the account of Kinte’s abduction that Haley had grown up hearing about from his aunts.

Professor Donald R. Wright, “a specialist in African pre-history with extensive experience in the collection of Gambian oral traditions,” visited Juffure twice.  What he discovered was that Fofana was a fake.  Fofana “showed no inclination to recite long (or short) genealogies of any families.”  When it came to Kunta Kinte, though, “he was eager…to speak [.]”  Kinte, Wright continues, “was the only individual about whom Fofana provided any specific information.”

There is a reason for this.  In advance of his exchange with Fofana, Haley relayed to Gambian officials the account of Kunta Kinte’s capture that had supposedly been transmitted to him by his relatives.  He told them as well that it was confirmation of this account that he sought.  Seeing the potentially boundless profits to be reaped from tourism and the like, the officials insured that Haley would hear what he wanted to hear. 

The second time Professor Wright visited Juffure he did not seek out Fofana by name.  Rather, he sought out “the person best versed in the history of the village and its families.” Wright was taken to listen to four people.  Fofana’s name was never even mentioned.   


Alex Haley’s Roots is undeniably as epic a television drama as it is a book.  Yet this does nothing to change the fact that neither version conveys fact.  Nor does it alter the sad truth that Haley was a fraud.   

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

originally published at The New American 

By Thomas DiLorenzo

When the American history profession produces one of those rankings of American presidents their criteria always seem to be geared toward giving the highest rankings to whomever ignores the Constitution the most, over-spends and over-taxes the most, kills the most people in wars, drives up the national debt the most, passes the most freedom-destroying laws, and grows government while shrinking individual liberty the most. That’s why Lincoln, FDR, and Woodrow Wilson are always ranked at the top.

In sharp contrast, several years ago Ivan Eland published an “alternative” presidential ranking in the form of his book, Recarving Rushmore, in which his criteria were based on how good a job presidents have done in preserving “peace, prosperity, and liberty.”  His number one ranking went to John Tyler, who served as president from April 4, 1841, to March 4, 1845.  Tyler “exhibited restraint in dealing with an internal rebellion, a bloody Indian war, and a boundary dispute with Canada.”  He “supported a sound policy of limiting the money supply, and he generally opposed high tariffs, a national bank, and federal welfare to the states.”

Tyler did all of this despite violent opposition by his own Whig Party, led by Henry Clay, who saw to it that Tyler was kicked out of the party and hung in effigy in front of the White House.  Clay was the political descendant of Alexander Hamilton and spent his entire political career agitating for the neo-mercantilist policies of protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare for roads, canals, and railroad-building corporations, and a central bank.  He and Hamilton called this British mercantilist scam “the American System.”  Naturally, it is Henry Clay, not John Tyler, who is lionized and celebrated by the “mainstream” history profession.

A good example of how the history profession spins history to lionize statists and demonize the champions of peace, prosperity and liberty is a recent biography of Henry Clay entitled Henry Clay: The Essential American, by David and Jeanne Heidler.  The book, which is prominently displayed for sale in the shop at Ashland, Clay’s former Kentucky slave plantation that is now a museum, describes Clay on the inside cover as “a shrewd and sincere defender of the ordinary man who would be his eventual political base.”  He is “commonly regarded as the greatest U.S. senator in history,” say the Heidlers.  (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer would undoubtedly disagree).

So there you have it, right there on the inside cover, before the table of contents, a big, fat falsehood about the real Henry Clay.  For also on display in the Ashland slave plantation shop are t-shirts with huge lettering celebrating Clay as “Father of The American System.”  That is, the system that would plunder the “ordinary man” with high protectionist tariffs, with tax theft for the purpose of lining the pockets of the politically-connected road- and canal-building corporations, and a national bank that would provide cheap credit for the politically connected but create boom-and-bust cycle misery for the common man.  The “American System” was perhaps best described by the famous attorney (Clarence Darrow’s law partner) and playwright, Edgar Lee Masters, in his book, Lincoln the Man (p. 27):

Clay was the champion of that political system which doles out favors to the strong in order to win and to keep adherence to the    government.  His system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises . . . .  He was he beloved son of Alexander Hamilton with his corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantages of a public debt, and a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that cannot stand alone.  His example and his doctrines led to the creation of a party that had no platform to announce, because its principles were plunder and nothing else.

Clay’s marriage to Lucretia Hart is described by the Heidlers to have been “a union rumored to be mercenary on his part” because poor Lucretia was, well, “plain.”  This is doubtful, however, because the Heidlers actually describe Lucretia as “plain, wealthy Lucretia Hart . . .” (emphasis added).  Henry was not nearly the “mercenary” the Heidlers portray him as being.

Clay is also described as somewhat of an out-of-control party animal who “gained a reputation for heavy drinking and reckless gamling . . . .  Clay [who had eleven children] had been quite the man about town [when in D.C.] . . . always ready for a drink or a dance . . . his gambling was legendary” (p 44).  He was “a great favorite with the ladies” [while his wife was back in Kentucky with the eleven children] and “attended all parties of pleasure – out almost every night” (p. 66).  And this is the man who lusted to put himself in charge of the nation’s money supply by resurrecting a national bank.

Henry Clay the Slave Owner

Henry Clay “owned slaves and continued to buy them” (p. 131).  Like other slave owners, he recovered his runaway slaves.  This is downplayed by the Heidlers who write that “While not a relentless pursuer of slaves, he occasionally took pains to recover them rather than suffer financial loss.”  So he pursued his runaway slaves but was not “relentless” about it.  How the Heidlers know just how “relentless” Clay was in pursuing his runaway slaves is not revealed.  Moreover, they disprove their own point when they tell the story of a slave named Lottie Dupuy who declared her freedom, arguing that because her mother was a free woman, she must also be free, and refused to return to Kentucky from Washington, D.C. with Clay.  Clay fought her in court and won, re-enslaving her back in Kentucky.

Another fact that belies the notion that Henry Clay was not “relentless” in pursuing his runaway slaves is the fact that in 1850, two years before his death, he issued a proclamation to strengthen the Fugitive Slave Act, which placed a federal bounty on the heads of runaway slaves.  Despite this, the Heidlers still insist that “he was remarkably indifferent about recovering runaways” (p. 446).  What nonsense.

Henry Clay owned slaves and a slave plantation for his entire adult life, but the Heidlers do somersaults to try to excuse this away. “He was always ambivalent about owning people,” they write, but he kept buying more and more of them.  “He pondered the moral dilemma of human bondage” and “came to regard it as a repugnant evil,” but kept buying more slaves.  He “always hated slavery” (p. 451) but he always owned them.  He was “a benevolent master” (p.. 448) but a slave master none the less.  He made “an impassioned speech against continuing slave importations” (p. 65), they say, implying that Clay was some kind of early abolitionist.  He never advocated abolition, and moreover, he opposed slave importations out of financial self-interest, not humanitarianism.  Fewer slave importations mean a smaller supply and higher price of slaves, enhancing the “wealth” of slave owners like Henry Clay.

Henry Clay took a position that was diametrically opposed to the position on slavery and the Constitution that was held by his contemporary, Lysander Spooner.  In The Unconstitutionality of Slavery Spooner argued that slavery was, in fact, unconstitutional, and provided a legal and political roadmap for peaceful emancipation.  By contrast, Clay argued that slavery was constitutional, and if anyone liberated their slaves it would be a dangerous demonstration of how any part of the Constitution could then be ignored, leading to a “universal nullification of the sacred document” (p. 299).

The “Great Compromiser” Nonsense

Henry Clay is probably best known among historians and history buffs as “the great compromiser,” mainly because of his roles in the War of 1812 and the tariff nullification crisis of 1828-1833.  This particular label is affixed to him to portray him as some kind of political genius or great statesman but exactly the opposite is true.  Clay sponsored the disastrous 1828 “tariff of abominations” that nearly led to secession and war and the destruction of the union, as President Andrew Jackson threatened to send warships to South Carolina, whose legislature had voted to nullify and not collect the new 48% average tariff on imports.  He did this out of pure financial greed since he was known as “The Prince of Hemp,” among other things, for growing so much hemp on his slave plantation.  He wanted high tariffs on hemp imports to eliminate foreign competition so that he could better fleece his customers.  He was also the political errand boy of Northern manufacturers who wanted astronomically high tariffs on their clothing, shoes, farm tools, and other goods.

Instead of condemning him for nearly destroying the union out of pure financial greed, the Heidlers, like almost all other historians, praise Clay for his role in the Tariff of Abominations controversy because he was on the committee that eventually agreed to a lower compromise tariff rate over the next ten years.  As such, “he was hailed as the nation’s savior,” they ludicrously proclaim (p. 265).  The “great compromiser” was born.

Clay was also one of the chief instigators of the disastrous War of 1812.  He ominously warned that without a war with England the British would “control trade between New York and New Orleans” (p. 91).  He was “the prime mover” for the war, boast the Heidlers.  He advocated a trade embargo as a precursor to war; absurdly boasted that the Kentucky militia alone could defeat the British; and told British Foreign Minister Augustus John Foster that in the end, after his “glorious” war, it would all be like “a harmless duel” that would leave both countries “better friends than they had ever been before” (p. 95).  He said this while threatening war with France as well.

“Every patriot bosom must throb with anxious solicitude for the result.  Every patriot arm will assist in making that result condusive to the glory of our beloved country,” Clay declared during an orgy of bloviation about the “glories” of war.  He was also “full of advice about the best way to fight the Indians,” write the Heidlers, although the only real “fighting” experience he had was fighting hangovers.  He remained a warmonger to the end despite the fact that his brother-in-law, Captain Nathaniel Hart, was captured by the British who handed him over to Indians who shot and scalped him (p 105).

Once again, rather than accurately portraying Clay as a walking disaster of a warmonger – an early-day Dick Cheney – he is praised to the treetops by the Heidlers and most other historians because he participated in the committee that worked out the peace treaty that ended the disastrous (for America) war that he, more than anyone else, was responsible for.

In addition to heaping mountains of phony praise on Henry Clay’s statist, plunder-seeking, and imperialistic behavior, the Heidlers viciously smear Clay’s foremost opponent in the debate over the war, John Randolph.  They describe Randolph as “fearlessly nasty” in the way in which he opposed “the war hawks”; “uncontrollable under the best circumstances”; “a tireless Cassandra”; “a peculiar character”; “irritable”; “vicious”; “quick to anger” with “a hair-trigger temper”; and the most shocking of all (to the Heidlers), “he took an instant dislike to Henry Clay” (p. 87).  Randolph was obviously an astute judge of character.

For his part Randolph, who fought a duel with Clay (both missed), said of him:  “He is a man of splendid abilities but utterly corrupt.  He shines and stinks, like a rotten mackerel by moonlight.”

by Al Benson Jr.

The last article on this blog noted that some of our Southern state flags had been removed in Sodom on the Potomac because they supposedly represented slavery and “racism” and because they “offended” certain parts of the populace of the states in question. Again, no thought or consideration was given to those of us that had ancestors that fought under Confederate banners. We are not worthy of consideration. We just pay most of the bills to keep this monstrosity we call a government going. What consideration to we deserve for that? 
None at all.

Which brings me to the comments of a friend of mine from North Carolina regarding this situation. I must admit he took a little different perspective than I did but, with a little reflection, I can understand where he is coming from. And there may well be other folks out there that feel just like he does. So I am going to pass his remarks along because I think they deserve consideration–given all the talk about secession that we have heard in recent months.

Regarding the flag situation in Washington, Jimmy said: Call me crazy, but I say this is good news. Why should the Alabama flag, or any Southern state flag for that matter, continue to fly where we are NOT represented–even by those we send there? The Marxists who comprise the Politburo on the Potomac serve at the pleasure of the New World Order. Their agenda is about continual forced assimilation, and additional phases of forced Reconstruction. They are proven traitors and as such, all we get from them is betrayal, insult, and torment. I say we bring home all our state flags and any other regional representation from that pinko-poisoned cesspool…  My friend said a little more, but you get his point. There are lots of folks here in the South that have gotten flat-out tired of being treated like Washington’s bastard children because their ancestors had the courage to stand up and secede when the necessity arose–and before I go any further, secession was not treason and the South did not secede so they could keep their slaves! They could’ve done that and remained in the Union. Those that howl about the War being all about slavery and “racism” are either “useful idiots” for the Marxists or they are just plain liars, or they hope you never bother to do any homework to check out all the baloney  they throw, or they might be all three!

Whatever their problems are, they willfully slander every honest and sincere Southern person who had ancestors that fought for the Confederacy. I was born and raised in the North, but I had a Confederate ancestor just like lots of Southern folks (and some folks living in the North) do. The vast majority of our Confederate ancestors never owned a slave, never thought of owning a slave and did not go to fight so their neighbor down the road apiece who had some slaves could keep them. Anyone who knows what the Confederate soldiers put up with, (those that survived) for four horrible years knows that drivel such as that is beyond ludicrous. And the race-baiters know it too–but that line is their bread and butter and they know that if they push it hard enough long enough the “civil rights” money tree might come into sight a little ways off and the financial “year of jubilee” might be at hand–so they keep on pushing! That it’s all a pack of lies makes no difference–they’ve got their hands out for that reparations money, baby. These people are nothing more than modern carpetbaggers, trying to grab all they can while they can and if they can smear our ancestors in the process that’s the frosting on the cake for them!

Maybe Jimmy has a point. Maybe we in the South should bring our flags back home because they and us sure don’t get honest representation in Washington. All we get from Washington is a finger-pointing “president” who condescendingly tells us we need to have a “conversation” about race. Problem is, for him, it’s always a one-way conversation with him doing all the talking and us sitting on our “stools of everlasting repentance” with our heads bowed dutifully taking his verbal tongue-lashing and inhaling all the Marxist rhetoric he throws in our faces. Some of us are getting a little tired of that, too.

So maybe we shouldn’t worry about them taking our flags down in Washington, as long as they send them back to us. Maybe we should start concentrating on what they plan to do with our flags right here in our respective states and be prepared to deal with that. If the present trend continues this year you have to know the ethnic cleaning campaign to remove all Southern and Confederate flags, symbols and monuments will be ratcheted up. They definitely plan on doing a hatchet job on the state flag in Mississippi this year so that fact needs to be dealt with right here, in Mississippi, not in Washington where you are guaranteed to be sold out, even by some you elected to office. What Mississippi folks have now got to concentrate on is the people in their own state government that will sell them out if given half a chance, and I’m sure the same holds true for other states down here.

With their leftist ethnic cleansing campaign they have brought the fight right here to us. We need to pick up the cudgel and fight back!

by Al Benson Jr.

This is a question I have begun to ask myself of late, and I’m not altogether sure I like the answer I’ve been getting. In some few cases the answer may be yes, but in an increasing number of cases the answer coming up is a resounding NO! Most elected representatives in Washington do not really represent the voters in their states. Many are little more than political shills for the Ruling Establishment and the New World Order clique , and their agenda is to take us down that path as quickly and as bloodlessly as possible. But if they have to spill some blood (ours) then that’s okay too. Their agenda is to make us all hate our history an heritage and love Big Brother.

Part of their method of fostering our love affair with Big Brother is to try to “educate” us into viewing our history, our culture, and eventually our Christian faith, in a negative light. All these have to go, you see, for their New World Order to succeed.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the secular (humanist) halls of Washington. Our flags and symbols must go before we can be properly programmed to “love” Big Brother.

To that end, there was a story on USA Today  for April 21st about Confederate emblems being removed at the US Capitol. The article noted: “State flags, including the controversial Mississippi flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem, will no longer hang in the tunnel at the US Capitol where each had been displayed. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said Thursday the flags, which had been removed during renovation, will be replaced with prints of each state’s commemorative coin.” Isn’t that touching? Other states get their flags back but some Southern states get a picture of their state coin instead. Any Southern congressperson complain about this? Sounds like discrimination to me–all the state flags are equal but some are less equal than others. What about the majority of the people in the states those flags represent? Well, Ms. Miller gushes on about the feelings of those that find our state flags offensive and how she is “sympathetic” to their views. What about the views of those of us that don’t see these state flags in that light? If the truth be told, (and don’t expect to hear it from the politicians) our views don’t matter. Should youi happen to be a Mississippian and happen to like your state flag the way it is, why  you must be a”racist” or a “homophobe” or a “male chauvinist pig” or whatever other title the cultural Marxist crowd can sling at you–and your views, and mine, do not matter! Get that through your heads. Our views do not count! And most of our elected officials will not stand up for us! A small, small handful will, but the rest are bought and sold. Their souls already belong to Big Brother!  Southerners who appreciate their culture and history are now persona non grata. You don’t count! I don’t count! So quit thinking you are just going to vote Republican in November and straighten it all out. You ain’t!

The agenda this year will be the same as last year–only worse. You will be subjected to yet another round of cultural purges and your flags, symbols, monuments, and history will be continually denigrated, in Washington, in the media, in our “halls of learning” and this will continue until many of you will feel ashamed to stand up and defend them. This is the first step in learning to “love” Big Brother. Get you to start denying what you have loved  and believed in, and you are half way there. And if they can get you to deny it, then you won’t be bothered trying to pass any of it along to your children or grandchildren, and that’s part of the plan, too. Your descendants must be brought up and “educated” in an environment where they are taught not to fight back, not to resist,  but only to acquiesce to the “will of the majority”  (really minority).

As time passes more and more of you will begin to realize that your elected officials really don’t give a hoot about you and what you want. They are mostly there to serve the interests of those wanting to change your culture into some monstrosity none of us will even recognize. And they expect you and I to be quiet and learn to do what they (and their bosses) want.

The French Revolution was a perfect example of their agenda. Remove everything form the past, including God, and start over with a blank slate, naturally with no “god” but the state. You see, in all of these things, there is always a theological perspective. They just don’t tell you that.

Those who read history will know where all that took them–straight to the guillotine  and the “Reign of Terror.” They thought man was perfectible, by their standards, and that, without God, they could build a modern Tower of Babel and get to Heaven by their own efforts, and hence, be their own “gods.” France has yet to recover totally from this silly humanist experiment–and now their spiritual descendants  want the same for this country–beginning with the South.

So whether people recognize it or not, spiritual warfare has been declared on the South, (actually it’s been going on since 1861) but we were told it was all “political” so don’t worry about it. But now it must become relentless. It almost seems that the Devil’s disciples feel their time might be getting short and they’ve got to put us and our culture and symbols, including Christian symbols, down as quickly as possible. Hint–in the long run, they won’t make it!

My question is, how many Southern folks will wake up and realize that this is a spiritual battle, that we will get no help or support from government at any level, nor even from many of our churches that have, unknowingly or otherwise, sold out to the New Workd Order.

Maybe we’ve gotten to the point we should have started at in the beginning. We will have to turn to the Trinitarian God of Holy Scripture for help and ask His guidance and strength to know how to fight back against those who would seek to destroy not only our culture but our faith as well. That is their ultimate objective. Let us pray that the Lord will be pleased to use us in some small way in His fight against evil, and especially the culture-destroying part of it we are faced with today.

by Al Benson Jr.

We have arrived at that time of year where the “historians” never hesitate to tell us about Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and the distinct impression given in most articles and history books is the Lee’s surrender was automatically the end of the War. If not stated directly, it is implied that when Lee surrendered the South surrendered. Not quite so. All that Lee surrendered was the Army of Northern Virginia, nothing else. As commander of all the Confederate armies at that time, he could have surrendered them all. He didn’t. Joe Johnston surrendered his army in North Carolina at the end of April and other Confederate generals surrendered as May and June dragged on. Some, like Jo Shelby, refused to surrender.  They buried their battle flags in the Rio Grande and crossed over into Mexico. Others just walked away. I have been told though I can’t verify it, that Cherokee General Stand Watie did not technically surrender. Rather he signed a “cessation of hostilities” agreement and his men went home with their weapons. A more informed historian than me might know more about that.

However all that may be, the Confederate Government never did surrender. President Davis and his cabinet fled with the intent of working their way west to continue the struggle against Yankee/Marxism. Most of them were captured. A couple got away. But, for all that, the  Confederate Government never officially surrendered. And maybe that was a good thing–because no matter what they ever might have said on paper, the Yankee/Marxist Regime in Washington never stopped fighting the War. With the shooting over, though, they had to change their tactics.

The military historian Carl von Clausewitz once noted that: “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” In other words it’s all political (and theological) whether they fight or negotiate. You might also look at the reverse of von Clausewitz’s statement and note that “peace” is also the continuation of politics “by other means”–depending on how you define “peace.” If you define it the way the Yankee/Marxist does then it’s really not peace, but that term is used to define it so most people won’t realize that the federal government is still at war with them, even though they’ve been told that a “state of peace” now exists. In other words, “peace is war–by other means.” To the Yankee/Marxist it cannot be otherwise, for he is at war with you until he crushes you and only then will you have “peace” with him, and for you, that’s usually the peace of the grave!

So it was in the late 1860s via “reconstruction” and  when the Yankee troops left the South twelve years later after the War ended,  that closed phase one of “reconstruction” and paved the way for phase two. The effects of phase one, however, lingered on in the South, due to the implementation of the public school system and the forced use of Yankee/Marxist “history” books. The residual effect of those was intended to carry over until phase two could be implemented. Phase two of “reconstruction”  was implemented with the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and that continues on until this day. “Civil rights” have now been expanded to include sodomite rights, transgender rights, lesbian rights, illegal immigration and Muslim terrorist rights, including the right to vote and get all the freebies that most hard-working Americans end up paying for and are denied.

So, looking at how our Ruling Establishment operates, I have to contend that the “peace” we are now suffering under is really nothing more than the continuation of the War of Northern Aggression “by other means.”

The first phase of “reconstruction” was not quite able to destroy Southern culture and faith. That’s not to say they didn’t mightily try, but they couldn’t quite bring it all off–and Confederate flags and monuments all over the South attested to that. The flags and monuments were, in a sense, the Southerners’ way of saying “You tried to kill to kill us culturally (and theologically) but you didn’t quite make it.” But not to worry–the Yankee/Marxists plan to atone for their shortsightedness this time around. This time they will make sure they grind both us and our culture into the ground so they can stand with their jackboot on our necks while we cry out “Uncle Sam” or how about “He loved Big Brother.” It’s all the same.

If you don’t think this is what they have planned for us then you have totally misunderstood the Yankee/Marxist worldview. This is exactly their agenda for us, and good Southern folks had better wake up to that fact. The Yankee/Marxist only understands one thing–resistance! You can’t dialogue with him; you can’t negotiate with him, you can’t “be nice” to him. He takes all that as a sign of weakness and plows ahead even more ruthlessly. You have to resist him. You have to continue to resist him. The Bible says “Resist the devil and he will flee.” Same principle–same adversary. Unless we are prepared to do that and to teach our children to do that, we will lose. It’s as simple as that, and we had better wake up and realize it!

Fort Sumter
April 12 - 14, 1861 
Charleston Harbor, South Carolina

When South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, United States Maj. Robert Anderson and his force of 85 soldiers were positioned at Fort Moultrie near the mouth of Charleston Harbor. On December 26, fearing for the safety of his men, Anderson moved his command to Fort Sumter, an imposing fortification in the middle of the harbor. While politicians and military commanders wrote and screamed about the legality and appropriateness of this provocative move, Anderson’s position became perilous. Just after the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861, Anderson reported that he had only a six week supply of food left in the fort and Confederate patience for a foreign force in its territory was wearing thin.

On Thursday, April 11, 1861, Confederate Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard dispatched aides to Maj. Anderson to demand the fort’s surrender. Anderson refused. The next morning, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter and continued for 34 hours. The Civil War had begun! Anderson did not return the fire for the first two hours. The fort's supply of ammunition was not suited for an equal fight and Anderson lacked fuses for his exploding shells--only solid shot could be used against the Rebel batteries. At about 7:00 A.M., Union Capt. Abner Doubleday, the fort's second in command, was afforded the honor of firing the first shot in defense of the fort.

The firing continued all day, although much less rapidly since the Union fired aimed to conserve ammunition. "The crashing of the shot, the bursting of the shells, the falling of the walls, and the roar of the flames, made a pandemonium of the fort," wrote Doubleday. The fort's large flag staff was struck and the colors fell to the ground and a brave lieutenant, Norman J. Hall, bravely exposed himself to enemy fire as he put the Stars and Stripes back up. That evening, the firing was sporadic with but an occasional round landing on or in Fort Sumter.

On Saturday, April 13, Anderson surrendered the fort. Incredibly, no soldiers were killed in battle. The generous terms of surrender, however, allowed Anderson to perform a 100-gun salute before he and his men evacuated the fort the next day. The salute began at 2:00 P.M. on April 14, but was cut short to 50 guns after an accidental explosion killed one of the gunners and mortally wounded another. Carrying their tattered banner, the men marched out of the fort and boarded a boat that ferried them to the Union ships outside the harbor. They were greeted as heroes on their return to the North.

Shiloh, Tennessee
April 6, 1862

The battle of Pittsburg Landing began as a complete surprise to the Federal Army encamped around the Shiloh church. Despite a Confederate force of nearly 40,000 men, concealed less than two miles to their front, no one in the Union force seemed aware of the danger. However, young inexperienced Southern troops yelled, blew their bugles, beat their drums, and even fired their damp weapons to see if the powder was dry.

The Confederate Army had been arranged in three battle lines. The Third Corps under General William J. Hardee would constitute the front line. The second line would be led by General Braxton Bragg, and follow the first line by several hundred yards. At a similar distance behind Bragg would follow General Leonidas Polk's First Corps, and the reserves would consist of three brigades under General John C. Breckinridge.

The suddenness and ferocity of the attack forced the Federals out of their camps. Federal officers began to regroup their brigades and rally their men, and soon determined defenses were in place to oppose the attack. Slowly falling back, the Federals fought for every yard, as the Confederate advance continued.

Some of the fiercest fighting would occur after midday on the Confederate right, at what would become known as the "Hornet's Nest." Wave after wave of courageous Southern charges were cut down by General Benjamin Prentiss's men, who were prone behind a fence. The turning point of the fight for the Hornet's Nest would take place through the beautiful blossoms of a peach orchard located there. General John C. Breckinridge was brought forward with his reserves in a last-ditch effort to break the bottleneck. For an hour, Breckinridge led his brigades in attacks on the Hornet's Nest, with little success. Breckinridge decided to make one final desperate charge with the help of General Johnston.

The sheet of flame burst from the Hornet's Nest as the Confederate line charged through the peach orchard. The Hornet's Nest had fallen.

As the Federal soldiers fell back they continued to fire in the direction of the southerners. A shot cut an artery in Johnston's leg; the blood flowing into his boot was not at first apparent. The general's horse was led under cover and the general was lifted to the ground. Having dispatched his personal doctor to care for some Federal soldiers, no one present would apply a tourniquet. Cradled in the arms of his brother-in-law, General Albert Sidney Johnston gave a faint smile and slipped away.

The command of the Confederate Army now fell to General Beauregard. Grant's men had been pushed back to the Tennessee River. Thousands of Federal Soldiers hid behind the bluffs. Prentiss' stand at the Hornets' Nest had slowed the Confederate advance long enough for evening to come. Beauregard wired Jefferson Davis that he would finish Grant up the next morning. But Federal Major General Don Carlos Buell and his 20,000 men would arrive that night.

By James Ronald Kennedy

As the first American bombs begin to rain down on mud and adobe structures in some far distant land, “patriotic” Americans rush to support “our men in uniform” which actually means that we must not question the empire’s new no-win war. President Obama, the Federal Empire’s current glorious leader, has announced the initiation of yet another imperial no-win war and “conservatives” have once again rushed to support the empire’s war efforts and its glorious leader. The mere fact that a neo Marxist, community organizer, with little or no experience in international politics and military strategy is the one commanding our efforts should give any reasonable person reason to pause and re-consider the wisdom of this new no-win war. Yet just the opposite is happening.

The Federal Empire’s ruling elite can always count on Americans, especially Southerners, to “rally round the flag” anytime a president decides to attack an enemy that “threatens” American interest in some far distant part of the world. Like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the ringing of a bell, Southerners can always be counted on to stand behind the “good ole USA” whenever Washington’s ruling elites rattle the war sabers. This knee-jerk nationalism—disguised as patriotism—has provided the Federal Empire with the political support needed to maintain a vast military-industrial complex and countless sons and daughters to serve as the Empire’s cannon fodder. As we send our military marching off to yet another no-win war, perhaps we should identify who the real winners are in these numerous wars to “protect vital national interests.”

The invasion, conquest, and continuing occupation of the Confederate States of America was the first major imperial war conducted by the Federal Empire and with such a triumphant beginning more imperial conquests were sure to follow! It was certainly a no-win war for “we the people” of the once sovereign states of Dixie! But who were the winners? It cost the taxpayers of the North approximately $3 billion in treasure alone—the invader also paid a substantial price extracted by the expert marksmanship of Southern farm boys defending their homes from the invader’s torch. But power hungry national politicians, Northern War Governors, their crony capitalists friends especially in the railroad and iron mills and of course the big banking houses that financed the War were the big winners. The initial and continuing cost paid by the Southern people is discussed in Our Re-United Country? The sad reality of reconciliation, Kennedy and Kennedy, published in the July-August 2014 issue of the Confederate Veteran. The bottom line is that the United States of America’s victory over the Confederate States of America established Washington, D.C. as the unquestioned ruler of North America. In the process of war and Reconstruction the ruling elites of the newly created Federal Empire destroyed the original and legitimate government—a government consisting of a federation of Sovereign States with a constitutionally limited federal government, reserving maximum freedom and liberty to “we the people” within our respective sovereign state. America’s constitutionally limited Republic of Republics was replaced with a new and perverted supreme federal government and as the Federal Empire’s centralized power and control expanded, the liberties of “we the people” of the once sovereign states disappeared.

Two republics were destroyed as a result of Lincoln’s aggressive war of invasion and conquest—the Republic of the Confederate States of America created by the free and unbridled consent of the governed in each Southern State and America’s original Republic of Republics as established by the Founding Fathers representing the consent of the governed in the original thirteen colonies that seceded from Great Britain in 1776. An all powerful, supreme Federal Empire now stands where individual freedom and liberty once flourished. The Federal Empire, as with all empires, demands constant expansion of its political and commercial control both at home and abroad. The price of the empire’s constant expansion is paid with blood and treasure “voluntarily” surrendered by the empire’s subjects. And to be clear; “we the people” of once sovereign states are no longer citizens—citizenship requires the enjoyment of maximum freedom and liberty—we are now mere subjects of the supreme federal government. As good “patriotic” subjects our duty is to simply hear and obey our masters in Washington, D.C.

Empires love war. War allows the ruling elite to do things that would not have been possible absent the created crises of war. War allows the empire’s ruling elite to engage in “the murderous pursuit of worthless objectives.” Worthless objectives? For example; “to save the Union” or revenge “Remember the Maine” or “to make the world safe for democracy” or “the war to end all wars” or “nation building” or the most common used today “to protect vital national interests.” These vital national interests usually include the unacknowledged protection of such things as pipelines in the Balkans in which cronies have a financial interest or to protect shipping routes from Saudi Arabian oil fields in which cronies have financial interests. The common denominator in all of America’s wars since the rise of the Federal Empire is that as a result of each war the Federal Empire’s political, commercial (as in crony capitalism), and military position is substantially increased with each war. Just as in Lincoln’s war, the ruling elite and those with close connections to the ruling elite profit handsomely while the empire’s “patriotic” subjects pay the ultimate price in blood, treasure and personal freedoms.

Even though “we the subjects” prefer to live in peace none-the-less we always support the empire’s wars. Nazi leader Hermann Goering’s chilling words at the Nuremberg trials after World War II should serve as a warning to “we the subjects” of any empire: “Why of course the people don’t want war…it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

How much more Southern blood and treasure will “we the subjects” of the Federal Empire “voluntarily” sacrifice on the altar of empire? What do we gain by the ever increasing political, commercial, and military power of the Federal Empire? As in the recent “economic” crises of 2007 the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C. and their crony allies on Wall Street profited because they were “too big to fail” but “we the subjects” lost because we were too small—as in expendable—to count. Empires love war and those who confuse nationalism with patriotism will eventually pay the price of the empire’s endless no-win wars. Empires do not voluntarily surrender their ill-gotten perks, privileges and power; therefore it is foolish to think that by merely electing “good” conservatives and sending them to the Empire’s capitol that reform will automatically take place. Perhaps it is time for “we the people” of the once sovereign states of Dixie to follow the example of Quebec and Scotland and begin to demand the right of self-determination, the right to be the masters in our own homes. Imagine the impact of a grassroots effort to compel the Federal Empire to acknowledge the right of the Sovereign State(s) to nullify unconstitutional acts of the Federal government or to secede if necessary to preserve the rights and liberties of “we the people.” Perhaps it is time to think about a living under a government of our own choosing; a government that protects our borders and leaves us and the world alone!