A Prediction of Yankee Reconstruction
This late-war diary entry of Robert Kean reveals that former US Supreme Court justice and Confederate Assistant Secretary of War John A. Campbell knew what was coming after a surrender. Mr. Kean did not relish living in that new world order.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
A Prediction of Yankee Reconstruction:
(Diary Entry) December 25, 1864:
"At the instance of Mr. Hunter, the Secretary (of War) and others, Judge (John A.) Campbell has written to Judge Samuel Nelson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, a letter proposing to visit him and confer with a view to ascertaining whether there is any way of putting an end to war and suggesting a conference if Judge Nelson thinks it may lead to any good result, to be held by Judge Campbell with Mr. Stanton or one or two other leading men.
I had much conversation with Judge (John A.) Campbell about this subject and our prospects. He thinks it will all end in reconstruction and that the only question now is the manner of it—whether the South shall be destroyed and subjugated, or go back with honor and rights, thought shorn of many advantages of power, influence and political supremacy. I told him that reconstruction, whether by subjugation or by reconstruction, involved failure, and implied defeat and humiliation as well as emancipation. A state of society, in which the Negroes had been suddenly freed and given political franchise as citizens, the whites overawed by garrisons ruled by Yankee policy, and been bled by defeat and practical subjugation, was one in which I am unwilling my children shall grow up, and only the physical disability to accomplish it will prevent me from emigrating.
The Negro enlistment has been revived by the late disaster. Men are beginning to say that when the question is between slavery and independence, slavery must go, and this is logical because when independence is lost, slavery is at the same blow destroyed.
(Inside The Confederate Government, The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean, LSU Press, 1993, pp. 182-183)
"If it is a crime to love the South, its cause, and its President, then I am a criminal. I would rather lie down in this prison and die than leave it owing allegiance to a government such as yours."
— Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy