A Rebel Brigadier in Vermont
While on a Democratic party election canvass in New England, Col. Alfred Moore Waddell of Wilmington was referred to as a "rebel brigadier" by his hosts. He took the opportunity to learn more about Vermont society and their understanding of the Southern States.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
A Rebel Brigadier in Vermont:
"Several occurrences which happened in Vermont during the (Winfield Scott Hancock for president) canvass afforded such good opportunities for reply to the charge of lawlessness and barbarism which Republican orators and newspapers so delighted to bring against the Southern people, that it would have been almost impossible not to take advantage of them.
One was the stripping naked and tarring of a frail woman, whose mode of life did not suit the ideas of the brave and chivalrous men who lived in her neighborhood, and who took that method of manifesting their virtuous wrath and indignation against her. Another was the murder of a little orphan girl, who was taken out at night by the woman with whom she lived and her son, and was compelled by them to take a large quantity of strychnine against her piteous protest. She died in horrible convulsions, and was left like a dead dog near the highway.
To the rising generation (of Vermont)….the history of slavery in this country, as a social and political fact, is very imperfectly known…The general idea seems to be that the inhabitants of the South were always a horrible race of people, who enslaved and tortured the poor Negro, and finally, without the least excuse or provocation, engaged in a treasonable conspiracy to destroy the government, made war on it, and after four years were conquered by the superior valor of the Republican party, who have been the principal sufferers, but who have, with unspeakable magnanimity, forgiven the great crime, and are struggling to do the criminals good continually in spite of their shameless ingratitude, which is quite a heavenly frame of mind to be in, but somewhat delusive."
(Some Memories of My Life, Alfred Moore Waddell, Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1908, pp. 183-186)
"My shoes are gone; my clothes are almost gone. I’m weary, I’m sick, I’m hungry. My family have been killed or scattered. And I have suffered all this for my country. I love my country. But if this war is ever over, I’ll be damned if I ever love another country."
— Confederate soldier during retreat to Appomattox