Golden Thread Anyone ever change their mind?


Nov 28, 2012
Middle Tennessee
I have learned much and HAVE changed my mind about two people: Grant and Mary Todd Lincoln. Both are much more complex individuals and cannot possibly be described with the one-word adjectives I had previously thought: drunkard and crazy. Oh, one other: Lee was human, not a diety. Who knew lol!

Wonderful forum, so wish I had found it sooner...
Mar 20, 2014
I find what is written in these threads absolutely fascinating, thought provoking, insightful, and sometimes just plain enjoyable. Much of what is written here seems to be designed to convince readers that such and such a perspective is more accurate and posters marshal facts and figures to prove their point. I wonder though, just how many readers here have ever really had their minds changed by what they have read here or perhaps in books recommended by writers.

I must admit that the most sagacious writers here, the ones who adduce the most logical arguments, the most persuasive and cogent opinions happen to be those who agree with me, but on occasion, I have to admit that some writers have challenged by preconceived notions and have made me uncomfortably reassess my previously held convictions. For example, my assessment of Robert E. Lee as a commander. Having read Douglas Southall Freeman's biography of Lee early in my life I concluded he was the conjoined reincarnations of Washington, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Frederick the Great with a bit of DNA from Charlemagne and Richard the Lion Hearted. I was surprised when I got to the end of the book to realize that the South had actually lost the war.

From much of what I have read here, and much, much more later reading, I have concluded that I may have been wrong and, perhaps in his gene pool, he really was a later amalgam of Pompey and Darius, perhaps a Vercingetorix and Leonidas, more of a tragic figure than a victorious commander.

So what I am asking here is, have any readers have ever been forced to reevaluate long held, cherished convictions based on what they have read here or in books recommended by other readers.?

A quick reply before I read the threat
It may change my mind
yes, "adduce" to cite as evidence

About six months ago I decided to start researching my PGGfather (Union) border state whose next generation moved South, for opportunity and 160 acres, not carpetbaggers.
I had a generally good history of the civil war from the South perspective, MGfather and relations, and had only studied from personal curiosity the campaigns in the east. But both family ties were in the armies of the western campaigns.

I grew up in north and south but mostly south and was influenced by my MGmother, a southern lady who regularly corresponded with the likes of Helen Keller.

My studies have opened my eyes to the strong beliefs of the abolitionists, the "Radical" party, the political history of slavery, states rights, from 1830s and thru reconstruction. So my beliefs although not changed are being enlightened by the adduction (sic) of research and dialog.

In so doing I discovered, so far, General John "Black Jack" Logan to be of great interest as to why and how he came to change his mind. Lincoln referred to him as his greatest volunteer General ? He originally campaigned vehemently for Douglas against Lincoln, Political, maybe, more to adduce.

Poor Private

First Sergeant
Sep 6, 2009
I am reading this thread as I am sewing all new buttons on a pair of Yankee pants. The first thing that comes to mind is that I am to the point that I don't read those who are bombastic, or think they are the know-it-alls, or will never change their mind no matter what facts are placed before them. I don't put them on my ignore list I just pass on by them in a thread. Once in a while I take the time to read them-you never know. But I have changed my opinion on a couple of things being discussed here. When I first started reenacting- I swore to my wife that I would never ever be a reb. Now thats changed. Partly it's due to the attitudes of the union units here in Michigan, partly it's due to learning more facts about the south, such as slavery was not an issue with the majority of the southern soldiers, as pushed by many northerns. I learned alot about RE Lee not being the second coming of God, as professed by many. I have learned some new things about weapons. There are many othere instances but I have to get back to sewing on those buttons (10 per pair) and I am by no means a sewer.


1st Lieutenant
Aug 12, 2011
I have learned that I'm not nearly as funny as I think I am..

Some times opinions are like wall paper, if you paint over them they just bleed through.

Some people still believe they are "victims" of events that occurred hundreds of years before them to people they never met, in times they have no understanding of. These people will never understand the other side.

This website is a learning experience, and that is what history should be, not something you study looking for justification for your long held beliefs. Anything else is not history but propaganda.


Sep 19, 2009
I have changed my view several times because of things I have learned here. I to seldom open a thread with a title appearing to start a argument, if innocent it usually ends up in a few post like spitting into the wind, messy with little learned.

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
I don't know- I think the Grants being schnookered in money deals, then refusing all offers of help made me think very well of them. I was also surprised to find him to be so naïve, but it changed my opinion of him for the better. Not sure it meant he was naïve so much as he expected his fellow man to behave the same way he would. Yes, THAT is naïve in itself, I kind of liked him all the better for it.

Changed my mind in a big way on quite a few people since being here- Mrs. Lee, Mary- there's that dried up, pitiful old crippled, uninteresting stick out there, NO idea where that came from, she was a fascinating woman with a quicksilver personality. Clara Barton- went from a self-sacrificing puritan to a flesh-and-blood female of many interests and endless, endless energy and drive. Mary Lincoln, from self absorbed and shrewish to wildly loyal, poorly prepared but game, horribly, horribly, horribly wounded survivor, much maligned by a vicious man's agenda. General Ewell, whoa- one of the biggest, from ineffective bumbler to someone held to be worthy of filling Jackson's shoes when need arose, respected as such by both sides- and NOT Early's weak-willed disciple. Too many to name.
Nope.... usually the threads and posts are so skewed with opinion and less than factional information. On occasion I see things differently but change my mind?... not even. The only rare exception might be areas that I have never read about.... than again I don't pay much attention to those topics because of a lack of interest. Haven't seen it much here but I know one poster on another forum when proven wrong will alter and quote out of context to prove his point.... I can see right through that tactic of dishonesty. So I would strongly advise one to do their own research as a follow-up to any thing posted before doing an about face. Being introduced to new information from obscure subjects is my biggest gain here, that coming from a posted source.
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Lt. Colonel
Nov 11, 2009
I don't see a lot of opinions on the major questions being swayed one way or another. Plenty of new and interesting history is presented but it generally gets packaged into the narrative already developed.

As for me, I got interested again in the CW in my 40's, maybe a mid life crisis deal, because I questioned whether I had what it took to do and endure what those men in the ranks did. I still don't know the answer.


Apr 14, 2011
Kansas City
I've learned a lot from the folks here. But in terms of my basic convictions on the cause of the war and my opinions on the various central figures then no, I haven't changed that at all.


Feb 15, 2014
My mind hasn't been changed on anything, but I have learned a significant amount in my short time here.

As far as changing people's minds on the internet.... you won't. The same with politics.

The leftists will continue to brainwash Southern schoolchildren and make them feel bad for their heritage in the many years to come just like they have for 150 years.

It's widely accepted that the South seceded to protect their slaveholding society. That is true. What isn't true? That the United States of America murdered 600K people in a 4-year long bloody war to free enslaved negroes. And this is what children are taught in history class? Disgusting. History is but written prejudice.