Creative Writing 101 – or “Bashing the Lost Cause”


These are the kinds of things that need to be addressed by competent individuals representing "our side". It has become a trend in the so-called historical community to find new and creative ways to make the Confederacy look bad. I call it “Lost Cause Bashing” and author and professor David Williams is among the latest to step up to the plate to take a swing at the Old South. To listen to him and others like him:

– Planters never shouldered a rifle or waved a sword because they were exempt due to the “20 slave” rule. They sent the "poor" guys off to fight instead. I guess that guys like Wade Hampton (who owned 900 slaves) or Bedford Forrest, (who took 44 of his own slaves to war with him) don’t count?

– The planters mischievously led the country and their fellow Southrons into war… bad planters, bad bad planters….

– The Southern people did not have their hearts in the fight. Many if not most were against the war. It used to be said that supposedly 50,000 Southerners served in the union army. Williams has upped the figure to 300,000 and nobody says "boo" (Williams is southern born by the way).

And while we’re on the subject of fighting for the other side, of the Confederacy’s 425 generals, 75 of them were from the North. Why has no one done a study about how many rank and file soldiers from the North fought on the side of the South? I for one would be very curious about that one.

– Give Williams credit for his amazing creativity. (Remember, if you want to be a successful and nationally recognized "Lost Cause Basher", you must be very creative!). He says there was an Underground RR for Confederate deserters and it was run by the slaves!!!?! What can I say folks? Words simply fail me on this one…..

– Speaking of underground railroads, everyone agrees that the slaves worked feverishly to sabotage the Southern war effort…. They were all on the side of the north of course and couldn’t wait to enlist and get killed in the union army. I suppose they were all sitting around singing the blues….."Oh Lawdy Lawdy, whea’ es’ dose yankee soldiers comin’ to free us all fo’ da’ yea’ ob jubilo"? (This sort of theme is REALLY getting old and tired!?).

– The women of the South started food riots. They were against the war, just like a lot of the Southron civilians. I guess Professor Williams doesn’t know many southern ladies…. The few I know would probably "group their shots" right in the middle of his over-inflated head.

– One note in Williams’ AJC interview says that a graduate student of his did a thesis in which the student "concluded" that the ’56 Georgia flag was raised in defiance to integration. Last time I checked, no one had been able to find any quote by any Southern politician of that era stating or even implying that this was so. And for anyone who was alive at that time, I’m sure you will remember that the Southern politicians of that era who opposed mandatory integration were not at all shy about speaking their minds. If the ’56 Georgia flag had been raised as a symbol of defiance, I would think that someone would have publicly said so. I’m almost tempted to buy Williams’ book just to see if he (or his graduate student) has indeed found such a quote. My money says that neither one has.

Professor Williams isn’t an oddity. He’s the norm these days. Everyone is lining up to bash "The Lost Cause". If you’re creative enough, you’ll sell a ton of books and win a booby prize from others who likewise masquerade as historians.

The problem with the Lost Cause bashers is simple. If all was as they say it was, the war would have been over in less than a week. The Northern industrialists and businessmen (a group who never seem to be mentioned whenever the cause of the war is discussed and I wonder why that is?), would have met those werry werry bad planters in a parking lot (or behind some stable), there would have been a brawl, and the war would have been over in one afternoon. Instead the war lasted 4 long years and killed over 600,000. So if all those southerners fought for the union, who the hell killed those "300,000 yankees stiff in Southern dust?" Did they trip and fall? Did they die of food poisoning? Heat stroke maybe??

Why is it that no one asks these questions? It appears that the general public is incapable of putting 2 and 2 together and then asking "What’s up with this?" Among the general public, and within the historical community itself there seems to be a frighteningly comatose acceptance of this school of thought. The mantra must be chanted without question it appears! The historians lead the chant and the public follows. Few will question anything. Anyone who does is chastised. More and more I have come to believe that for the last 30 or 40 years, someone has been putting "stupid pills" in the water supply. America has become more and more "dumbed down" and this is one of the results.

Bill Vallante
Commack NY
SCV Camp 3000 (Associate)
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