This Republic of Suffering


Dear President Faust,

I recently purchased your book about death and the American Civil War.  On page 44 you speak of the service of Black men in the Union Army.  You never mention the fact that thousands of free Blacks served in the Confederate Army and Navy.  Are you not aware of this?  Black Confederates were paid the same as Whites and often served in integrated units.  I am currently trying to locate the gravesite of a Black Confederate naval officer.

Also on page 44 you bring up the Battle of Fort Pillow.  You call it a massacre as many others do.  I have spent some time trying to find out what happened at that battle.  Reports vary depending on who wrote them.  I do think some Confederate soldiers got out of hand but were quickly reigned in by their superiors.  There were reasons not related to race that may have caused this battle to be bloodier than it should have been.  The fact that some Union troops were wounded and others were taken prisoner makes the case that this wasn’t an all out massacre.  One Union officer put in his report that Confederate soldiers helped carry the Union wounded to the vessel Platte Valley for medical evacuation.  The illustration that you show on page 46 proves nothing.

You may want to look into the atrocities committed by Union soldiers.  Other historians have researched the behavior of Lincoln’s troops and found that they often acted no better than Hitler’s Waffen SS.  Much of this pernicious behavior was directed at civilians and prisoners of war.

I have decided not to finish reading your book unless you can give me a reason to continue.

Best regards,

Joe Jordan
Smyrna, GA