Monday, January 31, 2011

Today In History: Robert E. Lee Appointed Commander-In-Chief Of The Confederate Forces

From Rebellion:

3:03 PM (9 hours ago)This day in historyfrom feed/ by Old RebelIn 1865, Robert E. Lee was appointed commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces.

Friday, January 28, 2011

South Carolina's Palmetto Flag Is 150 Years Old today

From Third Palmetto Republic:

South Carolina flag is 150 years old todayfrom Third Palmetto Republic by MichaelTweetBrian Hicks writes for the HaroldOnline about the anniversary of the adoption of South Carolina’s flag, which now for a century and a half has been a symbol of defiance to tyranny and outside rule:

Robert Barnwell Rhett Jr. believed the South Carolina flag should be simple, elegant, perhaps even majestic.

But the banner emerging from legislative compromise carried none of those traits.

It was January 1861, in the weeks between the state’s decision to secede from the Union and the emergence of the Southern Confederacy, and South Carolina needed a national flag. A committee of legislators had been appointed to come up with the design and, on Jan. 21, 1861, the panel presented a proposal that “the National Flag or Ensign of South Carolina shall be white, with a green palmetto tree upright thereon; and the union blue, with a white increscent.”

Over the course of a week, one senator would suggest that instead, the state adopt a red flag sporting a green palmetto with a brown trunk.

Rhett – a House member, son of secessionist Robert Barnwell Rhett, and editor of the Charleston Mercury – used his newspaper to argue against “the calico appearance” of the Senate’s proposed flag. He renewed calls for his design, presented a week earlier, that called for the flag to be “blue, with a white palmetto tree upright thereon, and a white crescent in the upper corner.”

On Jan. 28, 1861, the General Assembly fell in line behind the newspaper editor, and South Carolina had its flag. With minor changes, the flag has represented the state ever since.

Today, 150 years later, the state celebrates the first South Carolina Flag Day. Last May, the Legislature approved a joint resolution establishing the day at the request of the South Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“Our flag has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the American Revolution and, while adopted after secession, it has continued to be a prominent icon of our state’s heritage and history,” said Mark Simpson, division commander for the state Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“It is a symbol of unity and one that all can equally embrace.”

Fort Moultrie will host a program to honor the flag and the holiday this afternoon. Organizers said it was the logical choice for such an event, since much of the flag’s symbolism can be traced to the fort.

The crescent commemorated those worn on the uniform caps of the Second South Carolina Regiment during the Revolution. The palmetto symbolized the palmetto logs used to build the first Fort Moultrie, which repelled British cannon fire in June 1776, one of the early battles of that war.

For years, South Carolinians have argued about the crescent in the corner of the flag: moon or a gorget? A gorget is a piece of armor shaped like a collar designed to protect the throat.

Rick Hatcher, National Park Service historian at Fort Moultrie, said he can see both arguments, but William Moultrie gets the final say.

“In Moultrie’s memoirs, he calls it a crescent,” Hatcher said. “When the commander of the regiment says he put a crescent on it, that settles it.”

Part of the confusion about the flag’s crescent can be traced to the early years of the 20th century. Originally, the tips of the crescent pointed upward. Eric Emerson, director of the S.C. Department of Archives and History, said that in 1910, Alexander Samuel Salley Jr., secretary of the state’s Historical Commission, angled the crescent, apparently on his own authority.

Emerson will talk about the evolution of the state flag at the Fort Moultrie program at 2:30 p.m. today, along with state Sens. Chip Campsen and Danny Verdin, sponsors of the legislation. Fort Moultrie admission will be free today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sesquicentennial: Why?

From The Ohio Republic:
(In response to the article that follows)

Monday, January 24, 2011The Sesquicentennial: WHY?

Not surprisingly, the 150th anniversary of the war that continues to tear this country asunder is being debated. On the one hand, unionist and "politically correct" historians like Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center (as reported in the BrightonPittsford [New York] Post) are stressing the war's purpose as the abolition of slavery; while "revisionist" historians like Thomas Woods and Thomas DiLorenzo, are stressing other causes, such as the desire for financial hegemony by New York bankers (a desire quite fulfilled by now, by the way), and a desire to turn the South into a colony to their interests (also largely achieved, but unraveling).

Mr. Potok writes:

Freeing the slaves may not have been Lincoln's original intent, but it became a major aim of the war, as any serious student of Civil War history knows. And the right to own slaves was, most certainly, the primary reason the Southern states seceded from the Union.

Nice, neat, simple, and not quite right. I can agree that freeing the slaves became a major aim of the war, but it was not the major aim of the war. And any serious student of what is inaccurately called the "Civil War" * knows from the history of the preceding forty years, the issues were far more complex than just maintaining what one historian has called the "Peculiar Institution."

It is one thing to say that commemorations of Confederate history attract racists. They undoubtedly do. But it is quite another, and very inaccurate, to say that everyone who wishes to commemorate Confederate history is a racist. After all, the South was invaded. Many poor and middle class people (including my great-great-grandfather in Virginia) saw families broken and impoverished, and homes destroyed, by a Union Army practicing the most horrible forms of destruction known up to that time. And Mr. Potok's analysis certainly does not account for the African-Americans who gave their blood to the Confederate cause, as Champion of Liberty H. K. Edgerton reminds us.

It also fails to account for the Peace Democrats ("Copperheads") in New York City and the Midwest who too often were just as racist as the Southerners at whom Mr. Potok points his finger; but who clearly saw that "Lincoln's War" would begin the systematic destruction of the Constitutional order that continues to this day.

The truth is, the war arose from all of these causes; plus the absolute unwillingness by Lincoln and the Northern financiers to arrive at the kind of reasonable compromises that peacefully ended slavery in Britain, France, and Brazil. There were Southerners, including Alexander Stephens (whom Mr. Potok cites unfavorably), who preferred to remain in the Union. If Lincoln had proposed some plan to buy freedom for the slaves, so that the economic cost to the landowners could have been mitigated, the war probably could have been avoided. But this is not what the Northern radicals wanted. So the rest, as they say, is history.

* Technically, a "civil war" is a conflict between two factions seeking control of a national government. The war we are remembering was one between two independent nations (and the Confederacy was independent).
Here is the offensive, referenced article, from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):
Online Only: A heritage of shame.Zoom Photos. Other Words.Mark Potok

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Posted Jan 23, 2011 @ 05:17 AM

Canandaigua, N.Y. — A Southern heritage group is planning a celebration in Montgomery, Ala., that will feature a parade down the city's historic Dexter Avenue. That's the same street where thousands of civil rights marchers rallied in support of voting rights at the culmination of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. And it's the same street where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped ignite the movement a decade earlier from his pulpit inside the small Baptist church, which still sits in the shadow of the state Capitol.

But the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group sponsoring the Feb. 19 event, isn't interested in commemorating King or the civil rights march. Instead, it will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Confederacy. These "sons" plan to reenact the swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as the president of the Confederate States of America and fire off a few cannons to ensure that "the Heritage of the Confederacy… is remembered and portrayed in the right way."

The right way. Whatever can they mean?

The Civil War was the most devastating conflict in our nation's history. At least 620,000 soldiers died, as did some 400,000 civilians. Hundreds of thousands of others suffered horrible amputations and terrible wounds. Over four years, the war cost $2.5 million daily — an incredible amount at the time. In the end, the South was laid waste — its industries, grand homes, roads, and farms largely destroyed. It would be a century before the region fully recovered. Yes, it was a splendid little war.

Many other celebrations around the South will follow Montgomery's anniversary bash to mark the sesquicentennial of various milestones in the war that began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

As these events unfold, we'll hear a lot of revisionist history about the causes of secession — that it wasn't really about slavery but rather about the defense of "states' rights," tariff disputes, or resisting the imposition of northern industrial capitalism. Michael Givens, the head of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told The New York Times that "our people were only fighting to protect themselves from an invasion and for their independence."

This idea resonates strongly today among many white Southerners, particularly in this era of Tea Party politics and radical, anti-government sentiment that has sparked a resurgence of armed militia groups.

But it's wrong.

Freeing the slaves may not have been Lincoln's original intent, but it became a major aim of the war, as any serious student of Civil War history knows. And the right to own slaves was, most certainly, the primary reason the Southern states seceded from the Union.

Southern politicians in early 1861 made that perfectly clear. The Texas Declaration of Causes of Secession, for example, explained that the free states were "proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality for all men, irrespective of race or color," adding that blacks were "rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race." Mississippi's declaration talks about little but slavery. Its second sentence reads: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world."

Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, put it like this in 1862, during his infamous "Cornerstone" speech: "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and moral condition."

There's no real question about these historical facts. Events celebrating secession, therefore, are effectively glorifying the South's defense of slavery and the white supremacist doctrine that underpinned it. They will undoubtedly offend millions of Americans, and rightfully so. But more damaging is the continuing dissemination of false propaganda that does nothing but prevent an entire region from coming to grips with its history, even after 150 years.

Mark Potok is director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization based in Montgomery, Ala.

Copyright 2011 Brighton-Pittsford Post . Some rights reserved

Jeff Schaara Interview

From Old Virginia Blog:

9:06 AM (6 hours ago)Jeff Shaara Interviewfrom Old Virginia Blog by Richard G. Williams, Jr.

Reader and fellow blogger, Greg Caggiano, just notified me of his recent interview with Civil War author, Jeff Shaara:

There are people who know their stuff, and then there are people who really know their stuff—Jeff Shaara would fall into the latter category. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to interview the author of Civil War novels Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, both of which have reached the New York Times Bestseller List. Jeff Shaara has been lauded by readers and historians alike who appreciate his epic style of storytelling, that has included nine novels spanning the American Revolution, Mexican-American War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II, with the fourth part of his WWII series coming out in May.

You may read the rest of Greg's interview with Mr. Shaara here.
From:  From New York to San Francisco

Interview with Best-Selling Author Jeff Shaara

Filed under: Civil War, History by gcaggiano — 7 Comments January 24, 2011There are people who know their stuff, and then there are people who really know their stuff—Jeff Shaara would fall into the latter category. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to interview the author of Civil War novels Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, both of which have reached the New York Times Bestseller List. Jeff Shaara has been lauded by readers and historians alike who appreciate his epic style of storytelling, that has included nine novels spanning the American Revolution, Mexican-American War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II, with the fourth part of his WWII series coming out in May. I really learned a lot today, not only about history in general, but what goes into writing a book and how that gets transformed into a film. I also had to ask about his late-father Michael, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning historical-fiction novel The Killer Angels, which was turned into one of the most successful war films of all-time, Gettysburg, in 1993.

I knew the interview would be great because right off the bat I told Jeff to feel free to talk as much as he would like, and he jokingly said he felt a bit intimidated by that, and I explained that sometimes interviewees give only a one sentence answer. His response was, “I never do that.” Our main focus today was the Civil War but we covered all aspects of American history in our interview below:

GC: I just want to start off by asking you about your father. I read somewhere that you and him were not close while he was writing The Killer Angels. Is this true?

JS: Actually, the chronology of that is a little bit inaccurate. During the writing of The Killer Angels, we were extremely close. I was a teenager at the time and we went to Gettysburg together and worked on some of the research together, and I stopped way short of taking any credit for the book, that’s not what I’m saying. During the time writing the book, he was suffering physically because of his first heart attack and there were a lot of things, particularly on the battlefield of Gettysburg, that he could not do such as climbing the Round Tops and things like that. I was the kid, so that was my job to go around through the bushes and climb the hills looking for things that he was trying to find. After the writing, when the book came out in 1974, he and I, by that time, had parted ways, so when the book was published we had a very difficult relationship. He had a difficult relationship with almost everyone including his brother and father. He was very dramatic in the way he approached relationships and if you didn’t live up to his expectations or do things the way he thought they ought to be done, he had a tendency to react very dramatically and write you out of his life. He was a difficult man, he was suffering from the effects, not only of his heart disease, but of a motorcycle accident that had happened in Florence, Italy, in the early 1970′s that really cracked him on the head badly—he was in a coma for several weeks and the effects of that changed his entire life; it changed his brain, the way he wrote, the way he thought about things and it really affected his relationship with everyone.

GC: What inspired you to write the prequel and the sequel?

JS: It began, and you probably know some of this, with the film Gettysburg. It was this film being such an enormous success, and for my family, it propelled The Killer Angels to number one on the bestseller list, and it had never been a bestseller at all. When it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, the book was never successful, which was really a blow to my father. He expected greater things to come from that. Any writer who receives the Pulitzer Prize has the right to believe that his ship has come in and that all the doors will fly open and he can do anything he wants now, and that didn’t happen to him. So it was very ironic and very bittersweet to my family that in 1993 and 1994, when Gettysburg was such a monumental success, he missed all that. He died in 1988 and didn’t live to see any of it. And so when I learned that Ted Turner wanted to do more Civil War films, the idea would be to take my father’s book and go before and after it with some of the same characters. I had never written anything before, I was not a writer, I never wanted to be a writer. I was actually a dealer of rare coins and precious metals down in Tampa, and the idea of continuing his work, the whole point was for me to tackle this, but it was always about a film, about doing the background and research, creating a story that someone else could adapt for a screenplay. Because I’m representing my father’s estate in New York, and the heirs are my sister and I, my sister being an anthropologist, she said to just handle it and that she wasn’t interested in the business side of it at all. Well, I’d been a business man all my life so it was natural to me. So I’m dealing with the publisher in New York, Random House, who now has this number one bestseller, and so they’re taking my phone calls and I’m getting to know these people up there, and when I told them I was working on the prequel to The Killer Angels, their response was, “Send it to us and we’ll take a look at it.” That totally surprised me because I had no expectations. I’m often asked, “How did you know how to write a book?” I had no clue, and secondly, “Were you intimidated by trying to follow your father’s footsteps?” The answer to that is no, because I had no expectations. Ron Maxwell and I agreed that if whatever I wrote was lousy, nobody would ever see it. It would go in the trash can and that would be the end of it. I attacked this with really no sense of destiny or any of that. All I was trying to do was put a story together with the same kind of research my father had done, which I learned with walking with him at Gettysburg, was to put a story together that could be adapted to a screenplay. When I sent the manuscript to Random House in September of 1995, and I’ll never forget this, the phone call I got from Claire Ferraro, who was the publisher then, said, “We don’t care if it’s a movie. We like the book. We think you’re a writer, here’s the contract.” That changed my whole life.

GC: When you write a novel, how much research do you do and how long does it typically take you?

JS: The research is usually twice as long as it takes to write the book. I typically read 50 to 60 books for each book that I write, and it has to be original source material—the diaries, the memoirs, the letters, the collections of writings of the people who were there. That is a big lesson I learned from my father, stay away from modern history and modern biographies. That does me no good at all. If you’re getting into the heads of a character, and you’re speaking for a real historical character, you better get it right because a lot of people out there will get pretty upset about that. I had somebody actually say to me, “How dare you put words in the mouth of Robert E. Lee?” Well, okay, that’s a challenge and if I dare do that, or put words in the mouth of George Washington, or “Black Jack” Pershing, or Eisenhower, or Adolf Hitler for that matter, I had better believe that those words are authentic to that character because if I don’t believe it, neither will you. Then the book deserves to lose credibility. That’s the point of research, to feel that before I even write the first word, feel as though I know the character and that I would speak for them. Once the reading is done, the other part of it, is again, a lesson I learned from my father, to walk the ground. To go walk in the footsteps of people, see the hillsides, see the battlefields, see the homes, the grave sites, whatever there is out there for me to see, and it’s not that it’s mystical—I don’t go to battlefields and look for ghosts, but there really is something very powerful about walking the same ground as the characters I’m writing about. That’s a crucial part of the research as well. Once that is done, only then do I start writing, and typically, it takes me five to six months to write a manuscript because I’m doing it full-time.

GC: You’ve made hundreds of historical figures come alive in your books, but in your two Civil War novels, which of them has been your favorite?

JS: There are some obvious answers there, like Joshua Chamberlain, and the characters that people latch onto and have made popular, but I love the character of Ulysses S. Grant, and to some people he is sort of a non-entity because he’s not as charismatic as Robert E. Lee, he doesn’t have the young charm of Chamberlain, but Grant changed history. Grant changed the world, and he was responsible, primarily, because you can make an argument that Abraham Lincoln had something to do with it, for winning the war, and a lot of people don’t realize just how powerful his role was. I just love his character, I love his relationship with his wife. Writing his death at the tail-end of The Last Full Measure was difficult, I was emotional about it. I did the same with all three of the characters in The Last Full Measure, Lee, Grant, and Chamberlain, and I said goodbye to each of the three of them but Grant in particular, because he was suffering from throat cancer and dealing with Mark Twain and these magnificent scenes at the end of his life, and boy that was hard. So I would pick him above all others.

GC: What was your reaction when you found out that Ron Maxwell wanted to make a movie out of Gods and Generals?

JS: Well, Ron and I had been talking all the way through Gettysburg and I got to know him during the filming, and so we had talked about this for years. We talked about it from the time it was a success in the theaters and from the time The Killer Angels became a bestseller, we were already talking about continuing with this project. We struggled through several years because this was something we wanted to do and no one else cared. We had a lot of verbal support, and a lot of Civil War groups and reenactors thought this was a great idea, but unfortunately none of them had millions of dollars to make this happen (laughs). Even when we started talking with TNT and Ted Turner’s people it was difficult because none of them really believed in this project. So it wasn’t a surprise to me when we started talking about this, it was the point right from the beginning.

GC: Did you have any role in the production at all?

JS: None. We could expand on that but I don’t know that I want to. To this day, I do not own a finished script, and I made some suggestions that were ignored, little historical things that I thought were problematic, and they listened dutifully and ignored everything I said. I realize at the end of the day, this was not my film—it was Ron Maxwell’s and Ted Turner’s film. I really had nothing to do creatively with the film or physically with the production. I mean, I’m in it, in one scene on camera, but really, it’s not my movie, and if I can add, it’s also not my book. It’s based on my book, despite what some historians say, and I’ll leave that alone, but it is based on my book but it is not my book. It is maybe ten percent of my book, and that was really a shock to me because The Killer Angels is about ninety percent of the film Gettysburg.

GC: Yeah, The Killer Angels is almost word for word.

JS: That’s exactly right, it is almost word for word. In Gods and Generals, there are maybe only three or four scenes taken from my book and put in the film, and that’s it. It’s an entirely different movie than I would have written, and would have liked to have seen done.

GC: My next question was actually going to be, for those that have not read the book, how did it differ from the final print of the film? But I guess that would be too much to go into.

JS: It’s enormously different, it’s radically different from the film. There are characters in the film that do not exist in the book, and a great many characters in the book that never made it to the film. It’s just an entirely different story, and I have to tell you, I’ve heard from literally thousands of people through my website, and I get emails every day and try to be as accessible as I can, and the overwhelming percentage of those that wrote me said, “How could you let them butcher your book like that?” I have no answer to that because I had no control or power to change what came up on the screen.

GC: I know you said on your website that right now, there are no plans to make The Last Full Measure into a film, but if they do decide to make it into a film in the next four years because of the 150th anniversary, will you comply with that and let them use your manuscript?

JS: When you say “they”, that’s the big question. Who is “they”? (laughs) We don’t know the answer to that because there is no “they” right now, but the thing is, there were mistakes made with Gods and Generals that I would not allow to happen again. If a film is going to be made from The Last Full Measure, I will have much more involvement or there simply won’t be a film. I’m not saying it has to be a hundred percent my book, I know better than that, some things don’t translate from the book to the screen, I get that. It’s not about ego, it’s about telling the story. The failure of Gods and Generals was to tell a good story and reach out to the general audience. The enormous success of Gettysburg was that it was attractive to a general audience. You didn’t have to be a Civil War buff or reenactor to understand what was going on, the characters were developed for you so you knew who they were, and it was a marvelous film. In Gods and Generals, the film was almost, and I don’t know this, it is my opinion, as though it was geared to the academic historians and the general audience was ignored. I’ve heard that, it’s not just my opinion, from a huge number of people. Like a guy would go to the film all excited because he knew what the story was about, and he would take his wife and kids and the wife and kids would get up and leave because they had no clue what was going on. That was the problem and it will not happen again. I’m not saying I will write the script, I’m not arrogant to suggest that I’m also a screenwriter because I don’t know that I can do it, but I will have considerable input into the script and will make sure it’s a good story and that it does appeal to a general audience, or there will be no film.

GC: Well, let’s hope that a producer steps forward and puts down some money because I would really like to see this trilogy complete.

JS: It has to start there, you’re absolutely right. That’s the other thing I hear, and I get letters on this literally every day, people want to know (which was why I put the note on my website) when the third movie is coming out, and it’s like they’re waiting for the shoe to drop because the story needs to be completed. I’ve had people chew me out and say, “Why aren’t you making the third film?” as though somehow I am stopping this. Gods and Generals cost $60 million to make, and if someone comes up with $60 million, fine, let’s talk. But so far it hasn’t happened (laughs).

GC: Could all of this have been avoided if they made Gods and Generals into a miniseries? Say like five parts, or even two separate films which was talked about?

JS: I don’t think the two separate movie idea would have worked, but I do think the miniseries idea would have worked much better. The problem is, you can’t make a ten-hour movie, I get that, but you can make a ten hour miniseries and I think some of the resistance, originally from TNT, and I don’t know this for sure, but some of the resistance was because they realized there was just too much story to cram into a movie that someone is going to sit in a theater and want to watch. Definitely, it could have been much more successful as a miniseries.

GC: You plan on writing another Civil War trilogy, this time on the western theater. Can you tell us anything about that?

JS: Yes, the book I just finished, which will be out in May, is the fourth and final WWII piece, the end of the war in the Pacific. I am working, right now, on the research, for a new trilogy which will be Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Sherman’s March. Each one will be out in the spring, starting in 2012, ’13, and ’14, with each one of those year’s being the 150th anniversary of those events. It’s a challenge because doing a book a year is tough. I have so much research material already that I think gives me a leg up and I’m very excited about this, as is my publisher and people I’ve talked to around the country. This is funny, and I have to laugh, I’ve gotten a lot of letters from people in Tennessee and Mississippi saying, “You know, we’re kind of tired of hearing about just Robert E. Lee and Virginia.” (laughs) There’s a whole lot more story that no one seems to want to find out about. I’ll respond to that and do the best I can.

GC: I just took a Civil War course in college, and I knew so much about the War previously, but this class just opened by eyes to how much more is out there, and not many people focus on the western theater and it’s always Lee, Longstreet, and Jackson in the east, and I think the west would be a very important part of the war that hasn’t been covered.

JS: I agree completely, which is why I’m excited about doing this.

GC: Aside from the Civil War, you’ve written about the Mexican-American War, the American Revolution, WWI, and WWII. Which of those has been your favorite topic to cover?

JS: That’s a tough question, and the problem in answering that is, if I don’t love the characters and period I’m writing about, I’m not going to write a very good book. When I move into a new era, I get totally swallowed up by that era—I’m totally immersed in it and the characters. Of course, the biggest challenge is finding those characters and who the voices are going to be. I’m very proud of the American Revolution series. A lot of people have said this to me, and I don’t judge my own book, I wouldn’t even know how, that my World War I book is my best book. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that. The book I had the most fun doing was the Mexican War story, Gone for Soldiers, because I knew the characters so well from being involved in the Civil War and doing so much research, and going back to their early lives, and all of them with the exception of Chamberlain, talk about their experiences in Mexico and the profound effect it had on them. I didn’t know anything about the subject, most people don’t, and I started doing the research, and found a wonderful story and one that I had no idea existed—the heroism of Jackson, Grant, Longstreet, and Lee, was amazing. I didn’t know any of those stories and it was a lot of fun to write, plus I love the character of Winfield Scott and Santa Anna. I had a great deal of fun with both of them.

GC: I’m actually a big Alamo buff, so would you ever consider writing a story about that, since you mentioned Santa Anna?

JS: There have been two stories suggested to me that I should write. One is the Alamo and one is Custer’s last stand. Because they have been done so many times, I don’t know that I could do that. The thing is, the story of the Alamo doesn’t stop at the Alamo. The rest of the story is San Jacinto and Sam Houston and if I was to do it, it would probably be the whole war for Texas independence. I’ve had a lot of people from Texas write to me about that. As you know, the story is not just the Alamo. It’s hard to compete, especially when you have John Wayne’s Davy Crockett, it’s hard to tell a story and get away from that, and I would have to get away from that.

GC: I’m with the people from Texas, I think the story needs to be told, mainly, because no one has ever gotten it right. The John Wayne version was very inaccurate, to say the least.

JS: Absolutely, even the most recent Alamo movie and some of the books, nobody has gotten it right. Right now I have a pretty full plate and what I really want to do after the Civil War set is Korea and a Vietnam story, so I’m not sure when I would do that, but you’re right, it’s a story that needs to be told right.

GC: One last thing, an email question from “Andy”, and he writes, “Do you ever plan to write a novel that does not deal with war?”

JS: I get asked that fairly often, and it isn’t that I’ve decided to do nothing but war stories but my publisher was very clear, and they’ve told me that I’ve built an audience and it’s the thing my father never did. My father always wrote different topics. People are always asking me what other historical works did he write besides The Killer Angels, and the answer is none. He wrote a baseball story, a Hitchcock sci-fi story, he was all over the map. My publisher was clear that I’ve built an audience with this one theme, the epic historical military novel, and as long as there are readers out there who want this, to stick with it. Now there is a story I want to do, and I don’t want to get into too much, because it’s been done a few times, but I would like to do a story of a 1930′s gangster. The other thing, if I ever went outside of the United States and did a foreign story, it would probably be Napoleon. Even though that’s military, it’s a very different story and one that most Americans have no idea about. But for now, my publisher says, and this looks terrible on paper, but, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s the philosophy that they are employing with me right now. I’ve got an audience and the following is there so until that audience goes away, I’ll stick with what I’m doing.

I want to thank Mr. Shaara for taking the time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview. It truly was an enlightening afternoon and I hope you all enjoyed reading this rather lengthy and extensive piece. I can only hope that The Last Full Measure will be made one day, but until then, enjoy the terrific books on American wars that Jeff has given us, because the book is always better than the film.

A Criminal Intent To Rewrite History

From Rebellion:

9:42 AM (5 hours ago)‘A Criminal Intent To Rewrite History’from feed/ by Old RebelWe've exposed the dishonesty of Lincoln idolators before. But this act of fraud takes the cake:

That’s how a spokesman for the National Archives describes the actions of archivist Thomas Lowry, who changed the date on a document that contained a pardon by Lincoln of an army deserter. Lowry admits it. The date was changed from 1864 to 1865 so that Lowry could claim that The Most Compassionate Man in World History pardoned a deserter as one of the very last things he did before he was assassinated. He was a compassionate little angel to the end, says the lying Lowry, author of Sexual Misbehavior During the Civil War.

Lowry is also the author of the book, Don’t Shoot That Boy, which is a ridiculous piece of Lincoln idolatry that goes on and on about how super, super “compassionate” Lincoln was regarding deserters. This is the opposite of the truth. In reality, the Lincoln administration gruesomely executed hundreds, perhaps thousands of deserters, parading them in front of their fellow soldiers to be executed in the last two years of the war.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On the Commemmoration Of The 187th Anniversary Of The Birth Of Stonewall Jackson

From Old Virginia Blog:

Happy 187th General Jackson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Viriginia Governor McDonnell's Lee-Jackson Day Proclamation

From Old Virginia Blog:

Gov. McDonnell's Lee-Jackson Day Proclamation

On the Commemmoration Of the 204th Anniversary Of Robert E. Lee's birth

From Old Virginia Blog:

Happy 204th General Lee

"General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Introduction To The League Of The South

From Confederate Digest and The League of the South:

Jan 7, 2011 4:29 PMAn Introduction to the League of the Southfrom Confederate Digest by J. Stephen Conn

What is The League of the South?

by Dr Michael Hill - LS President

Most organizations founder because they lack self-definition and a definite goal. The League of the South is a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic. To reach this goal, we intend to create the climate for a free South among our people by 1) de-legitimating the American Empire at every opportunity; 2) by proving our willingness to be servant-leaders to the Southern people; and 3) by making The League of the South a strong, viable organization that will lead us to Southern independence.

While our overall strategy--short, medium, and long range--is determined by the President, the Board, and our State Chairman, our tactical operational focus is on the local level. We intend to form active chapters in every county in every Southern State, and as many chapters as possible in non-Southern States. We also encourage individuals and families to personally secede from the corrupt and corrupting influence of post-Christian culture in America. We call this "abjuring the realm," and it's a real and dramatic first step all of us can take by simply withdrawing our support of and allegiance to a regime that has imperiled our future.

While we seek to use shame and contempt to de-legitimate the institutions controlled by the Empire, we must not stop there. We must create our own parallel institutions to which our people can attach their loyalties. A good example of this is the move out of the "public" schools and into home schooling or the establishment of our own private academies. Also, the League sponsors weekend Hedge Schools and week-long summer institutes to educate our people.

At present, the League is more concerned with resurrecting our cultural base than with entering into the political arena. Once our Southern culture is re-established, then the political issues will begin to take care of themselves. Good leaders flow naturally out of a healthy culture; however, power-hungry, self-seeking politicians are all we can expect from the debased cultural climate we have today.

The League of the South seeks leaders who have the hearts of servants. The Bible tells us clearly that no man can lead until he is willing to serve his fellowmen. When you join our organization, we expect you to begin immediately serving our cause and our people. We will show you how.

Our revised website,, is a cutting-edge, interactive site filled with a wealth of information. We are presently working on an operations manual for new members and local officers. New members are provided a list of State Chairmen for our organized States. We strongly advise our new recruits to contact their State or local officers, offer your talents, and make plans to attend your local and State chapter meetings. There you will be shown how to put the League's strategy into effect by means of our tactical operational plan. You also will meet our leaders, get to know other members, and become part of a real community dedicated to a noble cause. If you live in a State or locality that does not have an organized chapter, this website has a document (listed as "How to Form A County Chapter" under our Introduction on the Main Menu) that shows you how to form and run a local chapter.

All League members receive the Southern Patriot newsletter every other month. Read it closely to keep abreast of League activities and projects.

By joining The League of the South you have placed yourself among a group of men and women who are not content to sit by and allow their land, liberty, and culture be destroyed by an alien regime and ideology. You have joined an active organization that knows where it wants to go and how to go about getting there. The League is no place for the lazy or the faint-hearted. We would love to welcome you to our growing band of Brothers and Sisters. Please join us today.

For Southern independence,

Michael Hill


Editor's Note: I am not a member of the League of the South, nor have I ever attended any of their meetings. However, I find this article very interesting and informative. Perhaps you, as a reader of the Confederate Digest blog, will also find it interesting. You may learn more about the League of the South at their website:

Today In History: 9 January 1861

From Rebellion:

This day in history

In 1861, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union.

David O Dodd Remembered

From The Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans:

Jan 10, 2011 7:44 AMDavid O. Dodd Rememberedfrom Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans by Web MasterJanuary 8, 2011 marked the 147th anniversary of the hanging of David Owen Dodd in Little Rock, Arkansas by the Federal Army occupying the capitol city in 1864. Dubbed “The Boy Martyr of the Confederacy”, spectators and reenactors payed tribute to a boy that gave his life for a cause greater than he.

To read the entire article and transcription of the service, see below:
From The Arkansas Toothpick:

Boy Martyr of the Confederacy Remembered

By admin
January 9, 2011

January 8, 2011 marked the 147th anniversary of the hanging of David Owen Dodd in Little Rock, Arkansas by the Federal Army occupying the capitol city in 1864. Dubbed “The Boy Martyr of the Confederacy”, spectators and reenactors payed tribute to a boy that gave his life for a cause greater than he.

After being searched by a Federal picket just outside Little Rock in late 1863, Dodd was arrested and tried as a Confederate spy after coded messages with sensitive military data was discovered in his possession. The seventeen year old former telegrapher was facing a dire dilemma: if he were to divulge the name of the person supplying him with sensitive military information, his life would be spared. On all accounts, he refused to comply, up to the very hour of his death on the gallows built on the grounds of the college he attended only a few years prior.

Gathered at the final resting place of David O. Dodd in historic Mt. Holly Cemetery in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, the Sons of Confederate Veterans hosted a memorial that payed tribute to a very special boy. Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Army of the Trans-Mississippi, Danny Honnoll noted that “It is very important for us to be here today because the individual that we are honoring is very significant in the history of the War Between the States in Arkansas.”

Relating the impact this “boy martyr” has 147 years following his death, Honnoll continued, “There are schools named after this individual and there are streets named after this individual. If you go onto the internet, you will find a wealth of knowledge about a man that just turned seventeen years old.”

The 2011 annual memorial was the 100th anniversary of the erection of Dodd’s eight-foot high marble obelisk by the Arkansas State Legislature marking his final resting place. The 1911 dedication was witnessed by tens of thousands of Confederate Veterans, coinciding with the largest post-War gathering of Confederate Veterans at the 1911 U.C.V. Reunion in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Reminiscing on the 1911 dedication, Robert Edwards, 2nd Lt. Commander of the Arkansas Division SCV noted during his keynote speech, that “it was a cold day, it was overcast, there was snow and ice on the ground, and he [Dodd] was driven from the prison to the grounds of St. John’s College where makeshift scaffolding had been erected the day before. It wasn’t anything elaborate.”

Edwards pointed out that Dodd rode astride his own coffin in the wagon during transport to St. John’s College. Upon arrival, five U.S. Cavalry regiments surrounded the seventeen year old as he made his way to the gallows. As the hangman removed Dodd’s coat from him, his hands and feet were bound. When the hangman realized that there was no blindfold to place on him, Dodd, as Edwards relates what may have been the boys last words, “I have a handkerchief in my coat pocket.’ But whatever his last words were, he never betrayed his friends. There lies, as the stone that so aptly says, a martyr.”

Concluding the memorial were the traditional “laying of the roses” followed by a three-volley salute to Dodd, including members of various reenacting groups: 1st Arkansas, 6th Arkansas, 7th Arkansas, 9th Arkansas, NW 15th Arkansas, 2nd Arkansas Mounted, 19th Texas, 24th Mo., and Blocher’s Battery.


David O. Dodd Memorial

January 8, 2011

Mt. Holly Cemetery, Little Rock, AR

Honnoll: It is very important for us to be here today because the individual that we are honoring is very significant in the history of the War Between the States and Arkansas. There are elementary schools named after this individual, there’s schools named after this individual, there’s streets named after this individual, and if you go onto the internet, there is a wealth of knowledge about a man that just turned seventeen years old, but this gathering we have here today is a part of history; 100 years ago this year is when they dedicated this marker. They had a Sons of Confederate gathering here- a reunion is what we call it in the SCV. They expected 3-5,000 people and there were tens of thousands of Confederates , actual Confederates on this ground when they dedicated this monument to David O. Dodd. Over at the Arsenal, you will see the stained glass window; it’s 100 years old this year, so I encourage you to go to the Arsenal (MacArthur Park).

At this time, I would like to call on my d ear friend from Benton, 2nd Lt. Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Robert Edwards, to say some words about David O. Dodd for us.

Edwards:(5:43) It is my pleasure on behalf of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and in particular, the David O. Dodd Camp #619 in Benton. It is a pleasure to be here to make a few remarks about this young man. As Danny has already said, he was not a man, he was a boy. He was but seventeen years old; h e had just had his seventeenth birthday in November, was tried and arrested in December with a trial in January, and hung on January 8th, on this date, in 1864.

We have a beautiful day to memorialize this young man, unlike the day in which he was hanged. I can give you the biographical information on this young man, but I prefer to speak about his courage and his honesty, his bravery, and his devotion to his country, his family, and how he stayed true to the cause in the face of overwhelming odds.

He was given the opportunity on numerous occasions after he was arrested and after his trial, after his confession, and I’m told that some had said and some had written that even on the tailgate of that wooden wagon he was offered the opportunity to be spared, to have his sentence commuted; he only needed to do one thing: tell me who you got the information from.

On each and every occasion, he said “No”. On each and every occasion, he remained true to his friends. On each and every occasion, he remained loyal to the cause for which his state had seceded. David O. Dodd was a hero. David O. Dodd, in the face of the Union soldiers that invaded Arkansas, was a traitor. David O. Dodd was NOT a traitor. He was honest, he had a good upbringing, and he was a moral and Christian young man that stayed true to the faith.

His grave lies right there, and as Danny has already mentioned, in 1911, the State Legislature erected that 8 foot obelisk there and surrounded the grave. That’s not the grave of a big man, that’s the grave of a boy who acted like a big man. That’s the grave of a seventeen year old. In the face of general officers and a military court martial, he would not divulge the source of information. or the names of his friends and accomplices, but would go to his death in support of his cause.

W.C. Paraham, who was also from Benton, but who also taught at St. John’s College, called him, in an article written in 1880 and was rewritten in 1906, the “Nathan Hale of Arkansas”. David O. Dodd went to St. John’s College and it was sort of ironic that he was hanged on the grounds of the same college which he had attended. Some have said that he quoted Nathan Hale, and he may well have learned it while he was at St. John’s, that he regretted that he had only one life to give for his country. Others have said that he did not.

The ceremony that got him to this point was not a ceremony; it was a cold day, it was overcast, there was snow and ice on the ground, and he was driven from the prison to the grounds of St. John’s College where makeshift scaffolding had been erected the day before. It wasn’t anything elaborate. His coffin was in this wagon, and he sat astride that coffin, and as they pulled the coffin, there were five regiments of cavalry opened up to allow the wagon to drive in. As the hangman took his coat off and secured his arm, they tied his feet, he realized that he did not even have a handkerchief to blindfold this young man, but David said, and some say that these were his last words: “I have a handkerchief in my coat pocket.” Others say that after he had said this he looked to the sky and said “Heaven is not far away.” But whatever his last words were, he never betrayed his friends. There lies, as the stone so aptly says, there lies a martyr.

I looked up the definition of the word “martyr”, it simply said “one who gives his life for a cause.” The last thing I want to say is that one of the witnesses was a young private, John R. Martin. He was a member of Company E of the 1st Iowa Cavalry. He wrote in one of his letters that there was “There was one sad incident that occurred that winter, in February I think, that I was eye witness to. That was the hanging of young David O. Dodd as a spy. He was a mere boy, though a smart one, and while he was amenable under military law to his fate, yet his heroic bearing at the scaffold won my sympathy.”

I appreciate you all coming today. Though we do not have the thousands and thousands as we did back in 1911, but I am certainly grateful for each of you that are here today in 2011. Thank you.”

Honnoll: Now we want to reenct an event that occurred in Columbus, Mississippi. After the battles at Shiloh and Corinth, the ladies down at Columbus, MS., gathered and was marking the graves of their loved ones from the battles. In the process, they looked over on the hill and there were makeshift crosses and rocks for the Federals that had also fallen. So, they had some extra ribbons and flowers and they decorated the Yankee’s graves also as a magnanimous gesture that we are all human beings in the end and we all are children of God.

Filed under: David O. Dodd Camp (Benton)

What Is States' Rights? Part Five

From Southern National Congress:

What is States' Rights? Part 5

by Mike Crane

Morganton, Georgia

“Our Rights are like a cookie, no matter how big the cookie and how small the bites, eventually you run out of cookie”

In Part 1 of this series a concept was presented that runs a bit contrary to current public conception – that the term States’ Rights can be used more for partisan benefit than a true effort to protect the God-Given Rights of the people. Part 2 demonstrated that as early as 1801 incursions attacking American Liberty and State’s Rights had already started and have continued to this day. Part 3 gave details on an obvious expansion of central government powers (authority) by legislative action. Part 4 began listing the causes of the failure of State’s Rights.

Part 5 is a continuation of: Cause # 2: Misconceptions about original Constitution of 1787 (prior to Bill of Rights) from Part 4.

Most of us – especially myself – have believed most of our lives – the intent of the Framers of the Constitution was to give us a “federated” form of government. If you too have believed this during your life you will either find this series of article educational or will dislike them very much.

The italicized portions below are quotes from the historical record of the Constitutional Convention 1787:

On May 29, 1787

Mr Randolph, one of the Deputies of Virginia, laid before the House, for their consideration, sundry propositions, in writing, concerning the american confederation, and the establishment of a national government.

[Bold added][See Note 1 – Edmund Randolph]

Since Virginia was instrumental in first the calling of the Annapolis Convention and later the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Virginia delegation submitted the first plan to be debated as the “model” of the proposed new government, which became known as the Virginia Plan. Mr. Randolph was the delegate submitting the Virginia Plan which was the main subject of the debate in the convention.

In the Virginia Plan, the word “national” was used frequently. National Legislature is used 6 times. National Executive, National Judiciary, National Officers, National Revenue, National Peace and Harmony and National Laws are all used once. National is one of the most frequently used words in the document.

This was a plan for a national government a consolidated government; it was not a plan for a federated form of government with shared sovereignty with the States. In this plan the States were reduced to a very subordinate role.

Ladies and gentlemen, like myself I am sure that you have been told throughout most of your life that the intent of the Framers of the Constitution was to create a federated or federal form of government. The Framers were educated men and here in the words of the delegates from Virginia, mostly crafted by James Madison, is a plan for a national government – a consolidated government – NOT A FEDERATED government.

Some or many will say that the word “national” was just a casual reference to the central government. I truly wish that were true. But it isn’t as the historical record will demonstrate:

The Virginia Plan was a national form of government, one designed to create a consolidated government. Three parts of this Plan tell the story:

1) The first is item number 5 from the stated objectives of the Virginia Plan

Read carefully: “to be paramount to the state constitutions.”

2) The second is Resolution 6 of 15 in the submitted Virginia Plan

“moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union; and to call forth the force of the Union agst. any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof.”

3) The third is Resolution 15 of 15 in the Virginia Plan

“Resd. that the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation, by the Convention ought at a proper time, or times, after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of Representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people, to consider & decide thereon.”

These are attributes of a “national”, not federated form of government.

The objective was for the National Constitution to be paramount to the State Constitutions,

that the National Legislature would be Supreme and be able to repeal State laws and

that ratification not be by the governing bodies of the States, but by conventions other than the legitimate government of the States!

This Ladies and Gentlemen is the draft plan or model used to start their debate on what became our Constitution. Let’s look at these three points:

National Constitution to be paramount to the State Constitutions. In a federated form of government the National Constitution would be paramount to the State Constitutions in those areas that were mutually agreed. This was not the objective of the Virginia Plan, the National Constitution was to be paramount to the State Constitutions period.

That the National Legislature would be Supreme and be able to repeal State laws. It was the intent of the Virginia Plan for the National Legislature to have a direct “veto” of ALL laws passed by State Legislatures and there were NO provisions to over-ride the veto. The “veto” power proposed was very broad – “the opinion of the National Legislature.”

That ratification not be by the governing bodies of the States, in the Virginia Plan as submitted the existing States and their governing bodies were given as little status as possible. In a federated form of government ratification would be by the legitimate current seated government of the States.

At this point some still cling to the opinion that the usage of the term “national” was just a casual reference to make it distinctive from the State governments. The debate on May 30, 1787 will clarify precisely what the Virginia Plan meant:

Mr. Govr. Morris explained the distinction between a federal and national, supreme, Govt.; the former being a mere compact resting on the good faith of the parties; the latter having a compleat and compulsive operation. He contended that in all Communities there must be one supreme power, and one only.

[See Note 2 - Gouverneur Morris]

This certainly should remove any doubt about a casual use of the word “national.” “compleat and compulsive operation” is very obvious and certainly not compatible with the concept of State’s Rights or a federated form of government. “one supreme power, and one only.” certainly does not sound like shared sovereignty and a lot like what we have in Washington DC today and in the colonies in 1776!

What these terms meant was explained by Mr. Morris to the delegates of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 on May 30, 1787 as documented above. That is a direct quote from the historical record on the Convention of 1787. What these terms mean should be obvious to each and every one of you reading this article; just it was obvious to each and every sitting delegate.

The definition of a federated form of government (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2007):

“ … The distribution of powers between the federal and state governments is usually accomplished by means of a written constitution, for a federation does not exist if authority can be allocated by ordinary legislation. …”

A federated form of government was clearly NOT the intent of the Virginia Plan. Without a doubt the Virginia Plan proposed the capability for “authority to be allocated by ordinary legislation …”

But many will ask, “How can this be?”

If you ask that question or if you just don’t believe that the model for what became the Constitution of 1787 was based upon a national government with “compleat and compulsive operation.” - You should find the debate and votes immediately following the submission of the Virginia Plan of great interest and possibly educational.

To be continued …

[Note 1] Edmund Randolph, then governor of Virginia, who submitted the Virginia Plan refused to sign the resulting convention report or proposed Constitution. He claimed in October 1787 - that it did not contain sufficient checks and balances. But then flipped again and voted for the proposed Constitution at the Virginia Ratification Convention. He was a member of the Federalist Party and was appointed the First Attorney General of The United States by President George Washington.

[Note 2] Gouverneur Morris, a delegate from Pennsylvania. In 1779, was defeated for re-election to Congress in New York, largely because his advocacy of a strong central government was at odds with the decentralist views prevalent in New York. Defeated in his home state, he moved to Philadelphia to work as a lawyer and merchant. He was a member of the Federalist Party. In an era when most Americans thought of themselves as citizens of their respective states, Morris advanced the idea of being a citizen of a single union of states.

Mike Crane is a Southern National Congress Delegate from the State of Georgia.

Today In History: 10 January 1861

From Rebellion:

This day in history

In 1861, Florida recalled its delegated rights and seceeded from the (allegedly) voluntary Union

Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Rock Arsenal Crisis Remembered: 12 February 2011

From The Arkansas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans:

Jan 17, 2011 (17 hours ago)Little Rock Arsenal Crisis Remembered February 12, 2011from Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans by Web MasterIn February of 1861, two months before the start of the Civil War, a confrontation with federal authorities at theLittle Rock Arsenal brought Arkansas to the brink of armed conflict. After years in which the Federal Army had maintained a minimal presence at the arsenal, the arrival of seventy-five U.S. soldiers, commanded by Capt. James Totten, along with news of South Carolina’s secession and the formation of the Confederate States of America, caused concern and speculation statewide.

As Arkansans anxiously prepared for a special election to decide the state’s future, Little Rock residents faced a more immediate crisis. On the morning of February 5, approximately one thousand armed men from southern and eastern Arkansas arrived in Little Rock to demand the arsenal’s surrender along with its weaponry. Sensing an opportunity to push the state toward secession, Governor Henry Rector formally called for the removal of Federal troops. One week later, Capt. Totten withdrew his soldiers from Little Rock “to prevent the effusion of blood.” Arkansas had narrowly averted armed conflict with the Federal government.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Arsenal Crisis, the museum will host a symposium on the impact the crisis had on the Little Rock Arsenal, the secession convention and Governor Rector.


10:00—10:45- “Arsenal Arms” Ian Beard

11:00—12:00- “To Prevent the Effusion of Blood . . . The Little Rock

Arsenal Crisis of 1861” Tom Ezell

12:00—1:00- Lunch On Your Own

1:00—2:00- “A Contrary Effect: The Arsenal Crisis and the Calling of the Secession Convention” Dr. Michael Dougan

2:15—3:15- “Oh Hell! The Arsenal Crisis and Downfall of Governor Henry

Massie Rector” Dr. Michael Dougan

Another Court Historian's False Tariff History

From Lew

Another Court Historian’s False Tariff History

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: The Latest New York Times Nonsense About Lincoln

The only thing worse than a historian who calls himself a "Lincoln scholar" is a sociologist who does the same. This truth was on display recently in a January 9 Washington Post article entitled "Five Myths about Why the South Seceded" by one James W. Loewen.

In discussing the role of federal tariff policy in precipitating the War to Prevent Southern Independence Loewen is either grossly ignorant, or he is dishonest. He begins by referring to the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, which led to South Carolina’s Ordinance of Nullification, whereby the state rightly condemned the 48 percent average tariff rate as a blatant act of plunder (mostly at the South’s expense) and refused to collect it at Charleston Harbor. Loewen writes that "when, after South Carolina demanded the right to nullify federal laws or secede to protest, President Andrew Jackson threatened force." That much is true. "No state joined the movement, and South Carolina backed down," Loewen then writes. This is all false. It is not true that "no state joined the movement." As historian Chauncy Boucher wrote in The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama joined South Carolina in publicly denouncing the Tariff of Abominations, while the Yankee bastions of Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, and New York responded with their own resolutions in support of political plunder through extortionate tariff rates.

Nor is it true to say that "South Carolina backed down." South Carolina and the Jackson administration reached a compromise in 1833: Jackson "backed down" by not following through with his threats to use force to collect the tariff, and South Carolina agreed to collect tariffs at a much lower rate. Jackson "backed down" as much (or more) as South Carolina did, but the Official Court Historian’s History of the War, as expressed by Loewen, holds that only South Carolina retreated. The reason for this distortion of history is to spread the lie that tax protesters such as the South Carolina nullifiers, or the Whiskey Rebels of an earlier generation, have never successfully challenged the federal government’s taxing "authority." But of course they have succeeded; The Whiskey Rebels ended up not paying the federal whisky tax, and the Tariff of Abominations was sharply reduced over a ten-year period.

Loewen next spreads an egregious falsehood about the tariff: "Tariffs were not an issue in 1860, and Southern states said nothing about them," he writes. "Why would they? Southerners had written the tariff of 1857, under which the nation was functioning. Its rates were lower than at any point since 1816." Every bit of this narrative is false.

Tariffs certainly were an issue in 1860. Lincoln’s official campaign poster featured mug shots of himself and vice presidential candidate Hannibal Hamlin, above the campaign slogan, "Protection for Home Industry." (That is, high tariff rates to "protect home industry" from international competition). In a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ("Steeltown, U.S.A."), a hotbed of protectionist sentiment, Lincoln announced that no other issue was as important as raising the tariff rate. It is well known that Lincoln made skillful use of his lifelong protectionist credentials to win the support of the Pennsylvania delegation at the Republican convention of 1860, and he did sign ten tariff-increasing bills while in office. When he announced a naval blockade of the Southern ports during the first months of the war, he gave only one reason for the blockade: tariff collection.

As I have written numerous times, in his first inaugural address Lincoln announced that it was his duty "to collect the duties and imposts," and then threatened "force," "invasion" and "bloodshed" (his exact words) in any state that refused to collect the federal tariff, the average rate of which had just been doubled two days earlier. He was not going to "back down" to tax protesters in South Carolina or anywhere else, as Andrew Jackson had done.

The most egregious falsehood spread by Loewen is to say that the tariff that was in existence in 1860 was the 1857 tariff rate, which was in fact the lowest tariff rate of the entire nineteenth century. In his famous Tariff History of the United States economist Frank Taussig called the 1857 tariff the high water mark of free trade during that century. The Big Lie here is that Loewen makes no mention at all of the fact that the notorious Morrill Tariff, which more than doubled the average tariff rate (from 15% to 32.6% initially), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives during the 1859–60 session of Congress, and was the cornerstone of the Republican Party’s economic policy. It then passed the U.S. Senate, and was signed into law by President James Buchanan on March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln’s inauguration, where he threatened war on any state that failed to collect the new tax. At the time, the tariff accounted for at least 90 percent of all federal tax revenues. The Morrill Tariff therefore represented a more than doubling of the rate of federal taxation!

This threat to use "force" and "invasion" against sovereign states, by the way, was a threat to commit treason. Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines treason as follows: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" (emphasis added). Lincoln followed through with his threat; his invasion of the Southern states was the very definition of treason under the Constitution.

The words "Morrill Tariff" do not appear anywhere in Loewen’s Washington Post article despite the fact that he portrays himself as some kind of "Keeper of The Truth" regarding "Civil War" history. (And where were the Washington Post’s "fact checkers?!) It was the Morrill Tariff that Lincoln referred to in his first inaugural address, not the much lower 1857 tariff, as Loewen falsely claims.

Abraham Lincoln was not the only American president who believed that the tariff was an important political issue in 1860. Contrary to Loewen’s false claims, Jefferson Davis, like Lincoln, highlighted the tariff issue in his February 18, 1861 inaugural address, delivered in Montgomery, Alabama (From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, vol. 7, pp. 45–51). After announcing that the Confederate government was "anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations" Davis said the following:

An agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade, which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northeastern States of the American Union. It must follow, therefore, that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices. If, however, passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency . . .

Thus, Loewen’s statement that the Southern states said "nothing" about tariff policy is unequivocally false. Jefferson Davis proclaimed here that the economy of the Confederacy would be based on free trade. Indeed, the Confederate Constitution of 1861 outlawed protectionist tariffs altogether, and only allowed for a modest "revenue tariff."

When Davis spoke of a "passion or the lust for dominion," he was referring to the constant attempts, for some seventy years, of the Northern Whig and Republican parties to plunder the South with the instrument of protectionist tariffs, as was attempted with the 1828 Tariff of Abominations. In other words, he declared here that, in his opinion, Lincoln was deadly serious (pun intended) about enforcing the newly-doubled rate of federal tariff taxation with a military invasion of the Southern states, and was preparing for war as a result. Contrary to Loewen’s ignorant diatribe, both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis announced to the world in 1861 that tariff policy was indeed a paramount political issue: In their respective inaugural addresses, Lincoln threatened "invasion" of any state(s) that failed to collect his tariff, while Davis promised to defend against any such invasion.

Before the war, Northern newspapers associated with the Republican Party were editorializing in favor of naval bombardments of the Southern ports because they knew that the South was adopting free trade, while the North was moving in the direction of a 50% average tariff rate (which did in fact exist, more or less, from 1863 to 1913, when the federal income tax was adopted). These Republican party propagandists correctly understood that much of the trade of the world would enter the U.S. through Southern ports under such a scenario. Rather than adopting reasonable tariff rates themselves, they agitated for war on the South.

The tariff controversy was not the only cause of the war, and I have never argued that it was (despite lies to the contrary told about me by such people as historian Jeffrey Hummel). But it was obviously an important cause of the decades-long conflict between North and South.

The rest of Loewen’s Washington Post article is about as accurate as his uninformed rantings about tariff policy. This was the Post’s second attempt to "correct the record" of the "Civil War," which began 150 years ago this year, in the first nine days of 2011. The government’s company newspaper is apparently terrified that the public will get wind of the truth and begin questioning the foundational myth of the federal Leviathan state.

January 18, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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From Confederate Digest:

Tribute to the Confederate Battle Flag