Lincoln’s Devastating War
The Constitution properly gives the authority to wage war only to Congress, not a president. The departing States offered no military threat to the States remaining in the Union, though they did pose an economic threat to Northern ports with low free-trade tariffs and cotton production. This economic reality was sufficient to push Lincoln and his northeastern political base to engage in total war to ruthlessly eliminate the South’s political and economic power, and then rehabilitate the region as an economic colony and market for Northern manufactures.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Lincoln’s Devastating War:
“Why did [Lincoln] start the war? Nicolay & Hay, [his secretaries and] close to Lincoln as brothers, writing as of April 1, 1861, p. 442, vol. 3, said:
“When the President determined on war, and with the purpose of making it appear that the South was the aggressor, he took measures,” etc.
Nevertheless, he asserted that “slavery was the cause of the war:” “And to strengthen, perpetuate and extend it was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war.”
It was the intemperate agitation in the North against slavery, the refusal to submit to the decision of the Supreme Court in reference to the territories, and the instigation to massacre encouraged through many years that caused secession. But secession was not war.
Norway seceded from Sweden and there was no war. It was Lincoln that made war. North Carolina and Virginia and some other States were still in the Union, and he called on them to join him in his war! They refused and stood with the South.
As to South Carolina, who seceded first, where was she going “to extend slavery?” In the sea? So likewise the other Southern States, where were they going to extend slavery after secession? He attributes starting the war to the Southern States, and then, behold, he attributes his own actions to the Creator!
“Southerners must surrender unconditionally before the war should cease,” and thereby he became responsible for Reconstruction and all its attendant horrors. In his second Inaugural he ascribes his action to the Great Lord of Heaven, “If God wills it to continue, etc.”
One of the first acts of Lincoln, after declaring war, was to declare Confederate privateersmen [as] pirates, subject to death. This doctrine was contrary to the practice of the Americans in the war of the Revolution, and was denounced in the British Parliament as nothing short of legalizing murder. President [Jefferson] Davis threatened retaliation, and Lincoln, justly humiliated, desisted. Another of his first acts after declaring war was to proclaim all medicines contraband of war. Civilized warfare had been confined to military operations, but President Lincoln sought to promote the death of women and children in their homes.
With the applause of President Lincoln, his general, invading the country where there were only women and children, caused devastation and desolation. Grant, Sherman, Pope, Hunter and Sheridan boasted of their destructive conduct.”
(A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern States and War of 1861-65, Capt. S. A. Ashe, Raleigh, NC, 1935 pp. 56-57))