You wrote: "There’s a strong neo-Confederate movement that’s come up since the mid-90s, a whole array of groups that seek to revive the principles of the Confederacy – and it’s quite vigorous."
Let me first tell you something about myself. I am a white male – in your eyes that must mean that I’m the root of all evil, right? – And I live in Flanders and am Flemish by birth. I consider it my privilege to know and be friends with American Indians and Americans of African descent. I strongly oppose judging any man or woman because they are black, white, Asian or Indian. I judge people by different criteria.
However, I pray most fervently Sir that one day the principles of the Confederacy are revived. The sooner, the better. Allow me to shed some light upon my opinion here and back it with historical evidence, which your article seriously lacks. Racism Sir is by no way attached to the Confederate Flag anymore than it is to the American Flag or Belgian flag for that matter.
The Confederate Battle Flag – of which there are dozens of variations – consisted of an X-shaped blue cross over a red field with 13 white stars in the cross. That flag was never an official symbol of the Confederacy but a flag used by soldiers of a number of Confederate armies on the field of battle. It was used only as a Battle Flag, meaning that it was never an official symbol of the C.S.A. and represents the Confederate soldiers from the units that fought under it. It is a sad fact that hate groups tend to make use of the Battle Flag to further their own racist agendas, however the United States Flag suffers the same outrage at the hands of the K.K.K., Black Panthers, etc. It is the US Flag that is the official flag of the K.K.K. today.
Slavery was no prime motivation for the South seceding from the Union. You must be aware that a 13th Amendment had been drafted and approved as a
Resolution by the US Congress and was looked upon favorably by President Lincoln as a way to lure the Southern States back into the Union. It read: "No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." –Joint Resolution of Congress, Adopted March 2, 1861" If slavery was the South’s prime motivation for secession, then the Southern States would have re-joined the Union in order to preserve slavery as this Amendment would give them all the assurance they needed. However you and I are well aware the South did no such thing.
As to the secession of the Southern States being rebellion, I would like to refer to a few quotes by Mr. Lincoln: "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable a most sacred right a right, which we hope and believe is to liberate the world." Clearly Mr. Lincoln seemed to have mislaid that sacred right when he invaded the Southern States.
In the American and Jeffersonian spirit secession is the only guarantee against tyranny. The USA was founded upon secession from Great Britain who regarded them as "rebels" and who issued a policy that "all American slaves who fought for the Crown where to be freed". I however don’t see anyone claiming the prime motivation for the American Revolution was slavery.
What then was the Cause of the War. Again I allow Mr. Lincoln to answer: Lincoln, when asked "Why not let the South go in peace?", replied: "I can’t let them go. Who would pay for the government?" The reason becomes abundantly clear when Northern newspapers start calling for War. These are the reasons they give:
– The Philadelphia Press on 18 March 1861 demanded a blockade of Southern ports, because, if not, "a series of customs houses will be required on the vast inland border from the Atlantic to West Texas. Worse still, with no protective tariff, European goods will under-price Northern goods in Southern markets. Cotton for Northern mills will be charged an export tax. This will cripple the clothing industries and make British mills prosper. Finally, the great inland waterways, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Ohio Rivers, will be subject to Southern tolls."
– the NY Times on 22 March 1861: "At once shut down every Southern port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin on the Confederate States."
As to the black codes that were enacted in the South, they were enacted after the War and a direct consequence of the post-war Republican and Carpetbagger policy of dividing the black and white race in the South. The old idea of: Divide and Rule. The Southern black codes were modeled after the North’s:
– Ohio’s legislature adopted one of the first immigration laws against freedmen in 1804: Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, that from and after the first day of June next, no black or mulatto person, shall be permitted to settle or reside in this state
– The territorial legislature of Illinois followed suit in 1813 by enacting an outright prohibition against free black settlers within its borders: "Be it enacted by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of the Illinois Territory that it shall not be lawful for any free Negro or mulatto to migrate in this territory" They even punished those slaves that came into Illinois: blacks who remained within Illinois borders for longer than 15 days were to be "carried before a justice of the peace who shall order him or her to be whipped on his or her bare back not exceeding thirty-nine stripes nor less than twenty-five stripes." Illinois was the home State of Abraham Lincoln.
It was also noted by a British observer in the USA before the War that the races were more violently separated in the North than in the South. In the South the children of the plantation owner and his slaves would go to school together until a certain age and play together. This, in the North was unthinkable and frowned upon in the "free states".
Black men served the Southern Confederacy both as free men and slaves. The following is submitted as evidence of the existence of Black Confederate soldiers both free and slave:
– New York Tribune, August 6, 1861: "BLACKS ARMED TO SCALP UNION MEN – ‘There is in the interior
– "Negroes in the Confederate Army," Journal of Negro History, Charles
Wesley, Vol. 4, #3, (1919), 244-245 – "Seventy free blacks enlisted in the Confederate Army in Lynchburg, Virginia. Sixteen companies of free men of color marched through Augusta, Georgia on their way to fight in Virginia."
– "Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle," Kenneth W. Noe, The University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY, 2001. (page 270) – "The part of Adams’ Brigade that the 42nd Indiana was facing were the ‘Louisiana Tigers.’ This name was given to Colonel Gibson’s 13th Louisiana Infantry, which included five companies of ‘Avegno Zouaves’ who still were wearing their once dashing traditional blue jackets, red caps and red baggy trousers. These five Zouaves companies were made up of Irish, Dutch, Negroes, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Italians."
– Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst’s Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on General Forrest’s attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13, 1862: "There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day."
– Federal Official Records Series 1, Volume 15, Part 1, Pages 137-138, report of the Union commander: "Pickets were thrown out that night, and Captain Hennessy, Company E, of the Ninth Connecticut, having been sent out with his company, captured a colored rebel scout, well mounted, who had been sent out to watch our movements."
– Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. XIV, pg. 24, second paragraph, Colonel B. C. Christ, 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, official report of May 30, 1862 regarding Confederate forces opposing him at Pocotaligo, SC., "It is also difficult to state the force of the enemy, but it could not have been less than from 600 to 800. There were six companies of mounted riflemen, besides infantry, among which were a considerable number of colored men." —
I have on file many, many more such cases and historical evidence. If you wish me to submit it to you, I will gladly do so.
It is my hope Sir that the principles of states’ rights and the subsequent liberty and freedom of the people will be revived as soon as possible. If you tell me Sir that there are today certain groups striving to honor the Confederate legacy and implement these values and ideals in today’s society then I cannot but cheer for those noble men and women. And guess what Sir: I happen to be one of them.
Your Obedient Servant,
Oudenaarde, Flanders (Belgium)
"Let men not ask what the law requires, but give whatever freedom demands."
"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race." – Col. Robert E. Lee, United States Army, December 27, 1856