Op-ed submission ref. Gettysburg 09/02/06

From: colonel@37thtexas.org
To: sfisher@ydr.com

Per our telephone conversation, the following is submitted:

In "The battle over flag’s meaning" (York Daily Record, Sunday, 09/03/06) following the protests by the 37th Texas Cavalry and others against the Klan’s appearance at the Gettysburg battlefield the York Daily Record wrote, "The Klan’s counter-protesters were organizations that honor the heritage of fighting a war to protect slavery."

With that statement a newspaper that was otherwise objective attempted to discredit honorable individuals and organizations by repeating flawed folklore rather than history.

There was never a war fought in America to protect slavery just as there was never a war fought to end slavery.

Northerners like to get the warm fuzzy feeling from the legend that they fought a noble war to end slavery while Southerners reminisce wistfully about states’ rights.

Both are wrong.

There was a war fought to resist ruinous taxation. By 1860 the revenues from export tariffs on Southern raw goods and import duties on European finished goods had the South providing nearly 70% of the Federal budget. Almost 90% of that budget was then spent to aid growing Northern industrialization.

Southern agrarian states lacked the number of Senators and Congressmen to resist wave after wave of targeted tariffs, taxes and duties which saw most great planatations either bankrupt or teetering on the verge of bankruptcy by 1860.

In 1861 President-Elect Lincoln lobbied and pushed through a proposed Consitutional amendment to protect slavery forever (Corwin Amendment – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_amendment). Two State legislatures ratified it: Ohio on May 13, 1861; followed by Maryland on January 10, 1862. Illinois bungled its ratification by holding a convention.

The South could have returned to the Union, helped ratify this Amendment and been victorious in fact and in principle IF the protection of slavery had been their cause for secession. They did not.

In his December, 1862, State of the Union Address Lincoln offered the South gradual compensated emancipation with slavery lasting until 1900. Again the South refused this offer to protect slavery and Lincoln issued his hypocrtical “Emancipation Proclamation” only after this offer failed.

Neither of these offers to protect slavery brought the South back into the Union – inexplicable if the South was “fighting a war to protect slavery.”

The “Emancipaton Proclamation” did not free a single slave nor was it intended to do so. Union slave states remained unaffected as did areas of the South controlled by Union forces and even the entire Confederate state of Tennessee. Because of the language in the proclamation approximately 800,000 slaves remained in bondage in the North and South until December, 1865, almost eight months after Lee surrendered – meaning that the United States was the last slave nation in North America.

European nations saw clearly what was happening.

"…So Englishmen saw it. Lincoln’s insincerity was regarded as proven by two things: his earlier denial of any lawful right or wish to free the slaves; and, especially, his not freeing the slaves in ‘loyal’ Kentucky and other United States areas or even in Confederate areas occupied by United States troops, such as New Orleans." – The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy, Sheldon Vanauken, 1989, Washington, DC: Regnery/Gateway

The unsegregated Confederate Army included 13,000 Indians (one a Brigadier General), 6500 Hispanics (nine Colonels), 3500 Jews (including the Secretary of State), tens of thousands of foreign-born, Filipinos from Lousiana, Amerasians and many Black Southerners (Free and slave) who were documented fighting for the South.

"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

Were these Black Southerners – many of them among the quarter-million Free People of Color in the South by 1860 – “fighting to protect slavery?” They were regularly enlisted in the Confederate Army from the first days of the War because they saw the War as did Southerners and European observers:

"For this war is essentially a war of conquest. If ever a nation did wage such a war, the North is now engaged, with a determination worthy of a more hopeful cause, in endeavoring to conquer the South…" – Col. James Arthur Lyon Fremantle, Coldstream Guards, British Army – "Three Months in the Southern States: April, June, 1863"

Last Sunday’s editorial attempting to discredit wholesale those who stand against hate proves before one writes one should at least be minimally educated in the topic. In this case the writer and the York Daily Record failed miserably.

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

Michael Kelley
Commanding, 37th Texas Cavalry (Terrell’s)

Return to the E-mails Archives