Atrocities Committed Against the South

 

by Connie Chastain

 

What virtually all those seeking to justify removal of Confederate monuments leave out, either because they don’t know it, or because they think the whole truth will jeopardize their position…

 

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A common claim on Facebook and media report comment threads says the war was not to protect states’ rights but to allow the continuation of slavery. It says, “The Southern states said so, read their declarations of secession.”
Well, only four states issued secession declarations, so why did the others secede? Those four — South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas — were states of the “first wave” of secession (which also included Florida, Louisiana and Texas). The declarations do state that slavery was ONE of the reasons for secession. There were also other reasons listed, but typically, people ignore all but slavery.

 

At this point, we have to ask, “If slavery was the only reason, why were these others included? Since they were included, we have to assume they were as legitimate to the issuers as slavery; so why are they ignored? Obviously, from a desire to falsely restrict the narrative.

 

The “second wave” of secession included the states of Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee. None of them issued Declarations of Causes but some did mention in their secession ordinances that they were seceding because the federal government was trying to coerce them to send troops to invade the seceded states. Thus, their reason for seceding was genuinely states’ rights — their right to not be coerced by the federal government. This is almost totally ignored by critics of the Confederacy.

 

The secession declarations state the reasons for seceding. They were not declarations of the reasons for fighting a war. Secession is not war. It is a peaceful, political act. War is military violence. Confusing the two is a mistake most critics of the Confederacy make repeatedly and continuously.

 

Except for a handful of abolitionists, perhaps, the north was not interested in ending slavery, even after they abolished it at the state level (and sold rather than freed many of their slaves, in order to keep their black populations as small as possible). It was too important for their way of life. New England’s maritime interests had made fortunes in the triangular slave trade (and continued raking the money in smuggling slaves when the trade was outlawed) and made more fortunes shipping slave-grown cotton to Europe. New England’s textile industry made fortunes processing slave grown cotton in their mills. Northern banks made fortunes financing the purchase of plantations and slaves, and northern insurance companies made fortunes insuring slaves.

 

So basically, both north and south benefited enormously from slavery; the major difference was that the slaves were no longer domiciled in the north.

 

The north emphatically did not invade the South to free slaves. Read Lincoln’s call for volunteers. Not a word, nary a syllable about slaves, slavery or freeing. It was to “preserve the union.” To the industrialists of the north, this must have sounded like “keeping the cotton flowing northward unimpeded by some new national border.” The war didn’t become “about slavery” until two years into the fighting, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (and caused epic desertion in the union army).

 

When the South seceded, the north was so mindlessly outraged that slave owners and dirt farmers no longer wished to be politically associated with them they sent to the South an invasionary force of barbarians wearing military uniofrms to kill Southerners and destroy everything it could.

 

Most Americans are clueless about the extent and nature of the savagery perpetrated upon the Southern people by the union army, fueled by their “woman scorned-style” outrage and their simple but visceral hatred for Southerners.
Stunned by victories of the fewer and less well-armed defenders, the union army took to warring on civilians. The official records include orders by Sherman to murder civilians in Fairmount and Adairsville, Georgia and burn their homes. The yankee army shelled towns with no military presence or significance.. (When shelling towns, the righteous yankees used church steeples as targets.)

 

About 50,000 Southern civilians died in the war, many from these shellings

 

Here’s a partial list of the towns burned by the barbarians culled from the Official Records.

 

Osceola, Missouri, burned to the ground, September 24, 1861
Dayton, Missouri, burned, January 1 to 3, 1862
Columbus, Missouri, burned, reported on January 13, 1862
Bentonville, Arkansas, partly burned, February 23, 1862
Winton, North Carolina, burned, reported on February 21, 1862
Bluffton, South Carolina, burned, reported June 6, 1863
Bledsoe’s Landing, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
Hamblin’s, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862
Donaldsonville, Louisiana, partly burned, August 10, 1862

 

And then there was the sack and pillage of Athens, Alabama, on June 30, 1862, by Colonel Turchin’s men, who committed rapes and other atrocities on the inhabitants. Turchin was subsequently court-martialed and put out of the military. What happened next? Turchin was rewarded by lincoln, was promoted to Brigadier General and put back in the military.

 

Athens, Alabama, partly burned, August 30, 1862
Randolph, Tennessee, burned, September 26, 1862
Elm Grove and Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, October 18, 1862
Napoleon, Arkansas, partly burned, January 17, 1863
Mound City, Arkansas, partly burned, January 13, 1863
Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, February 21, 1863
Eunice, Arkansas, burned, June 14, 1863
Gaines Landing, Arkansas, burned, June 15, 1863

Sibley, Missouri, burned June 28, 1863
Hernando, Mississippi, partly burned, April 21, 1863
Austin, Mississippi, burned, May 23, 1863
Columbus, Tennessee, burned, reported February 10, 1864
Meridian, Mississippi, destroyed, February 3 to March 6, 1864

 

“For 5 days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will…with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars, and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work as well done. Meridian, with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments no longer exists.” — w.t.sherman

 

Washington, North Carolina, sacked and burned, April 20, 1864
Hallowell’s Landing, Alabama, burned, reported May 14, 1864
Newtown, Virginia, ordered to be burned, ordered May 30, 1864
Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, burned, June 12, 1864
Rome, Georgia, partly burned, November 11, 1864
Atlanta, Georgia, burned, November 15, 1864
Camden Point, Missouri, burned, July 14, 1864
Kendal’s Grist-Mill, Arkansas, burned, September 3, 1864
Shenandoah Valley, devastated, reported October 1, 1864 by sheridan
Griswoldville, Georgia, burned, November 21, 1864
Somerville, Alabama, burned, January 17, 1865
McPhersonville, South Carolina, burned, January 30, 1865
Barnwell, South Carolina, burned, reported February 9, 1865
Columbia, South Carolina, burned, reported February 17, 1865
Winnsborough, South Carolina, pillaged and partly burned, February 21, 1865
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, burned, April 4, 1865

 

The barbarians shot pet dogs for fun, stole what food they could carry and destroyed the rest so the people would starve, burned houses, barns, stored food, stored crops, crops in the field, even farming implements so no more food could be grown; they slit the throats of livestock, threw the carcasses in wells and streams to contaminate drinking water and cause disease in the civilian population at a time when there was no medicine because Lincoln, the great humanitarian, had BLOCKADED it; stabled horses in church sanctuaries and chopped up pews for firewood just for spite, and dug up corpses looking for valuables.

 

People speak of Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia, where yankee POWs died of starvation and disease, and imply it was done from some innate Southern cruelty. The fact was, Southern soldiers and civilians themselves suffered privation and disease from the lack of food and medicine. The situation at Camp Sumter was exacerbated by the union’s refusal to exchange prisoners.

 

Contrast this with northern POW camps, where funds for food, blankets, and barracks was plentiful but purposely withheld and where prisoners were deliberately tortured. One of the worst was Point Lookout in Maryland. At Elmira, NY (“Hellmira”) prisoners were fed potato peels and water fouled with sewage, and prison officials built viewing stands where townspeople could pay a few pennies and look down into the prison yard and entertain themselves watching Southern soldiers suffer.

 

Remember that winters in the north were brutally cold. Consider Camp Douglas in Chicago, where the union refused to build barracks for overflow prisoners, who were then housed in tents in the Illinois winter, where guards fired guns through the barracks and tents throughout the night to deprive prisoners of sleep, where POWs were made to sit bare-bottomed on blocks of ice, and where they were made to sit astride a thin board high off the ground with weights tied to their ankles.

 

Makes you proud to be an American, don’t it? America’s penchant for torturing prisoners of war didn’t begin with Abu Ghraib.

 

After the shooting war, another war against the already devastated Southern people began with the military dictatorships set up over them. There was no civilian law enforcement, so unsurprisingly, vigilante justice sprang up. Today, this self defense from more predation is characterized as hatred of and violence against newly freed slaves, and while some of it was, most was sheer self-defense. As one ex-slave relayed to a WPA Federal Writers Project interviewers, “Now the Ku Klux was different [from slave patrols]. I rode with them many a time. It was the only way in them days to keep order.”

 

The posse comitatus act, which prohibits using the military for civilian law enforcement, was a direct result of the military dictatorship set up to rule the South.

 

If military oppression wasn’t enough, the union installed predatory governments in each state, which piled onto the backs of Southerners debt so massive it could never be paid off (often for the personal enrichment of the government officials).

 

Is it any wonder the women of the South who had lived through the horror — saw it, experienced it — raised monuments to commemorate the men who suffered so horribly and sacrificed their lives to protect them from the barbarism, as much as was humanly possible?

 

People attempt to attribute the time frame between the end of the war and the raising of the monuments as related to the rise of “Jim Crow”, but that is coincidental, not cause and effect.

 

Dozens of towns had to be rebuilt; even more homes and farms. Agricultural recovery was greatly delayed and lengthened because the predatory yankee army had burned farm implements — almost ten percent of the supply that existed before the war. Moreover, Southerners were deliberately kept in poverty by carpetbaggers who bought Southern timberland for pennies an acre and paid Southerners, black and white, slave wages to work them. This was also true of mining, textiles and the steel industry in Birmingham. Industry was further stifled by discriminatory freight rates.

 

Yet another factor was the poverty diets so many Southerners subsisted on, and how they affected lives individually and the region as a whole. Poverty diets resulted in nutritional deficiency diseases, such as pellagra, caused by diets of cornbread and fatback. Other factors of poverty on the lives of post-war Southerners include the “lazy Southerner” — a comical stereotype outsiders love to make fun of, but it wasn’t laziness. It was catastrophic iron deficiency anemia resulting from hookworm infection, which result from going barefoot in places where the worms were found. Shoes were a luxury for several generations of post-war Southerners.

 

While Southerners were dying in epidemics of nutritional deficiency, industrialists in the north were building gilt-walled, 100-room “cottages” in Newport. (Christine Barr of the Paris Post Intelligencer.)

 

The major reason for the delay in building the monuments was that it simply took that long to save pennies and nickels and dimes to pay for them, because there was so much else that required money first — starting with simple survival — and there was basically no money to be had, anyway. Yes, it took that long for an economically oppressed people to accumulate the funds to finance the monuments. (One deliberate oppressor of post-war industrial growth in the south, discriminatory freight rates, did not end until 1953.)

 

There is no denying that racial conflict existed in the South, but that has always been and still is an American, not an exclusively Southern, phenomenon. Jim Crow wasn’t just a Southern response. In the north it was called Black Codes. Most sundown towns were not located in the South.

 

In the USA, the racial conflict that exists today does not date back to slavery but to the war and reconstruction. If slavery itself was the cause, the same racial conflict would exist in other countries of the new world where race-based slavery existed. Reconstruction was the setting for operations of the “Carpetbaggers’ KKK” — the “union leagues” — which preyed upon white Southerners and pitted black and white against each other. But the fact that similar outrages against blacks outside the South, where so few of them resided, prove that if the black population had been more evenly distributed, so would have incidents of racial conflict. Even today, the South remains the only real black/white biracial region of the USA.

 

Today, it is commonly claimed that the display of the Confederate flag was adopted in the 50s and 60s by hate groups resisting civil rights, and that is the only thing that gives it meaning. This claim deliberately ignores that the revival of the Confederate flag in that era is far more attributable to the centennial of the civil war, 1960 – 1965. It ignores the popularity of the flag (and other artifacts of the Confederacy) as symbols of regional pride that were incorporated into company logos (Dixie Cola, Dixie Gas and Oil), displayed in parades, athletic events from water skiiing to NASCAR. As one who lived through that time, I know these positive displays far outweighed the negative ones.

 

People who claim that hate group usage defines the flag never even attempt to quantify this usage. I suspect no study will be undertaken to determine the extent of hate group usage of the Confederate flag anymore than a study will be undertaken to determine the extent of hate group use of the US flag.

 

The bottom line is that Confederate memorials are not monuments to white supremacy, and they need no context added in 2017. The inscriptions on the monuments themselves are all the context that’s necessary.

 

Borrowed from the dear writer and author Connie Chastain

 

Source: Facebook Post – George Dennis Andrews
Author: Connie Chastain