Colonel Michael Kelley’s reply to: "Clinging to tradition ‘isn’t worth hurting people’"

First of all, if you are going to play offended by something at least know by what you are claiming to be offended. The "Stars and Bars" is not the flag which you find offensive

The "Stars and Bars" refers to the First National flag of the Confederate States of America, the design of which features three large alternating horizontal bars (red-white-red top to bottom) and a blue canton (corner) with either five, seven, or eleven white stars.

The "Confederate flag" to which you refer is actually the Confederate Navy jack, a rectangular flag derived from the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia and featuring a red field, a blue saltire ("X"), and either twelve of thirteen white stars on that saltire.

It seems apparent by your writings that you have also fallen into the habit of assumming negative stereotypes. You assume that anyone who flies the ANV battle flag or has any interest in the Civil War or the Confederacy MUST be a racist. Unfortunately, that makes you guilty of the sort of behavior you apparently claim to abhor.

The Confederate Navy jack was co-opted by the Klan and other groups beginning during the late 1940s and was not used to represent racist movements before that time. The only "official" flag of the KKK always has been and remains the flag of the nation which was a slave nation before the Civil War, during the Civil War, and after the Civil War – the United States flag.

Before the Civil War, during the Civil War, and after the Civil War slavery was legal in the United States. During the War there were slave states which were part of the Union and those states remained slaves states after the Confederacy fell and until the ratification of the 13th Amendment. The last slave nation in North America was not the CSA, but the USA.

Before the Civil War the South was offered the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, This original 13th Amendment would have protected slavery forever but did not entice the Confederacy back into the Union. In December, 1862, in Lincoln’s State of the Union address he offered gradual, comepnsated emancipation which would have perpetuated slavery until 1900, but this again could not entice the Confederate states back into the Union.

Only whn all else failed did Lincoln issue his patently hypocritical "Emancipation Proclamation" which "freed" slaves in the Confederate states which he could not effect and specifically left ALL of those slaves in Union states as well as all areas of the Confederacy controlled by the Union (including what became West Virginia and entered the Union as a slave state) "as if this proclamation had never been issued.

The slaves left in bondage by Lincoln remained slaves until December, 1865, some eight months after the end of the War when the 13th Amendment was ratified. Freed slaves from

If slavery had been the issue why did these overtures not succeed? Simply, the War was not fought over slavery nor was it fought over "states’ rights." The Civil War was fought over money and the revenue the South brought to the Federal coffers. After all, in establishing the blockade of Southern ports its stated purpose was for the collection of tariffs.

Try a little bit of history:

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

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

"…the Union must obtain full victory as essential to preserve the economy of the country. Concessions to the South would lead to a new nation founded on slavery expansion which would destroy the U.S. Economy." – Pamphlet No 14. "The Preservation of the Union A National Economic Necessity:" The Loyal Publication Society, printed in New York, May 1863, by Wm. C. Bryant & Co. Printers.

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

As for racism we can look to the composition of the opposing armies and see which side was truly racist.

The Union Army was strictly segregated and remained so until President Truman mandated its desegregation beginning in 1948. The first non-white general in the American Army was appointed in 1940.

In contrast the Confederate Army had a non-white general in Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, a Cherokee Chief and one of over 13,000 Indians who fought for the Confederacy. There were nine Hispanic colonels in the 6500 Hispanics in Confederate ranks, including Col. Ambrosio Jose Gonzales, Chief of Artillery for the Department of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina who was also a Cuban patriot and veteran of two attempts to overthrow the Spanish government of Cuba. As one of the 5500 Jews who served the South, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin is also the only American Jew ever to have his image on national (CS) currency. Tens of thousands of immigrants served. Filipinos from Louisiana were in Confederate ranks at Perryville, Kentucky, in 1862, along with Black Confederate soldiers.

"The African-American Soldier: From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell" by Lt. Col

[Ret.] Michael Lee Lanning: "Almost fifty years before the (Civil) War, the South was already enlisting and utilizing Black manpower, including Black commissioned officers, for the defense of their respective states. Therefore, the fact that Free and slave Black Southerners served and fought for their states in the Confederacy cannot be considered an unusual instance, rather continuation of an established practice with verifiable historical precedence."

The first Black commisioned officers in the history of America were the officers of the Battalion of Free Men of Color of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

From the Daily Evening Traveller, Boston, Mass., March 14th, 1863:

One of the last Confederate veterans was Robert ("Uncle Bob") Wilson who died April 11, 1948. His obituary is a bit unique (emphasis mine):

Elgin (Illinois) Daily Courier-News, Monday, April 12, 1948 – "Robert (Uncle Bob) Wilson, Negro veteran of the Confederate army who observed his 112th birthday last January 13, died early yesterday morning in the veterans’ hospital at the Elgin State hospital…He enlisted as a private in Company H of the 16th regiment of Virginia Infantry on Oct. 9, 1862 and discharged May 31, 1863."

Obviously, there are many folks such as yourself whose "knowledge" of the War follows the prediction made by Irish-born Confederate Major General Patrick Cleburne from his January, 1864, letter which proposed the mass emancipation and enlistment of Black Southerners into the Confederate Army:

"Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late…It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision…The conqueror’s policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them…"

I speak often with my fellow Southerners about the REAL Confederate Army. Almost universally, white Southerners are unaware of the true composition of the Confederate forces while my fellow Black Southerners, with very few exceptions, are well aware that Black men fought for the South.

History is an interesting topic. It is just a pity that so many people, such as yourself, know so very little about it.

Through painstaking research and thorough, uncommented documentation we celebrate the courage, sacrifice, and heritage of ALL Southerners who had to make agonizing personal choices under impossible circumstances.

"The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." – Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

We simply ask that all act upon the facts of history. We invite your questions.

Your Obedient Servant,

Colonel Michael Kelley, CSA
Commanding, 37th Texas Cavalry (Terrell’s)
"We are a band of brothers!"

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