From: colonel@37thtexas.org
To: dmcnaughton@ajc.com

…after reading your brief piece, "Confederate heritage? Forget it," I find it entertaining that so much muddled history could be placed in so few words. I would include ALL of the proper factual historical references, but I am not certain you have the patience to actually read them since they disagree with you.

You wrote, "The senator’s bill would do all of Georgia a service by reminding everyone of the desperate lengths to which the South was willing to go to preserve the cruelty and injustice of slavery."

In 1861 President-Elect Lincoln worked in support of and wrote letters to state Governors asking them to ratify the Corwin Amendment which would have forever protected slavery as it then existed. In December, 1862, he offered gradual compensated emancipation with slavery lasting until 1900. Neither Georgia nor any other Confederate state accepted either offer because the war was being fought over economic exploitation of the Southern agrarian states, not slavery.

Slavery remained legal and practiced in Union slave states until December, 1865, some eight months AFTER Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The United States was the last slave nation in North America.

You wrote, "Our children could work on their math…calculating how badly the war damaged southern industry and agriculture and how long it delayed prosperity’s arrival in the South."

The $1.5 Billion the South was forced to pay for Northern war debt and even more to fund Union veteran pensions along with confiscation of Southern businesses with continued exploitation of the South can be traced to the Federal government, not the South:

"Eight decades after the end of Reconstruction, the National Emergency Council created to examine the Depression of the 1930s reported its findings to President Franklin D. Roosevelt: The South, it said, had been reduced to the status of a colony." – Report of the National Emergency Council (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1937)

You also wrote, "Our children could tour Andersonville, where the Confederacy so starved and weakened Union prisoners that an appalling 13,000 died there."

Ever hear of Elmira, NY, where more Confederates died than Union soldiers died at Andersonville? Ever hear of Camp Douglas – documented as "80 Acres of Hell" by a History Channel documentary – where any captured Black Confederate

[yes, they existed and were documented by Union forces] was summarily executed upon arrival? Ever hear of Camp Morton, Indiana, where guards indiscrimately fired into prisoners’ sleeping quarters at night, killing sleeping men; where Union officers stole food and supplies that were supposed to feed the prisoners; where scores of prisoners literally froze to death and were shot if they tried to get close to a small stove; and where regular beatings of prisoners and even cold-blooded murder while they were on detail outside of the prison?

You wrote, "We surely don’t want to re-enact the whipping of a slave or the forced breakup of a black family or the sexual exploitation of black women by their masters."

How about if we include the "thrill" murders of Black Southerners, slave and free, by Union soldiers? How about reenacting the rapes of pre-teen Black girls by Union "liberators" and their murders when they dared to resist? How about reenacting the young Black men who were hunted down and tortured to get them to "volunteer" to join the United States Colored Troops? All of these unfortunate truths can be found in the Federal Official Records.

Can we reenact Union Col. Turchin ordering his men to savage undefended Athens, Alabama, for which he was court-martialed and convicted of war crimes? Can we then reenact President Lincoln pardoning and promoting this convicted war criminal? Again, unfortunate truths.

I thought not. I doubt that you have even a passing interest in history as fact.

Try this one, guaranteed to spin your head around:

"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 African-American Soldier: From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell" by Lt. Col [Ret.] Michael Lee Lanning, Birch Lane Press (June 1997)

The measure of a historian was defined long ago:

"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.)

You are nowhere near that standard.

Michael Kelley
Pascagoula, MS