Historical Ignorance and Confederate Generals

Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
"Sibley's plight was already desperate before the campaign began. His army was a wasting asset, and Sibley could not stay where he

was. He simply could not feed his army and their livestock in the lower Rio Grande valley....When the Confederate Army of New Mexico marched north toward Fort Craig, it had less than two weeks' food for the men and even less for the animals." -Rebels in the Rockies, p52

An army of 2500 living off the land doesn't sound like a plan to conquer the West.

Sibley and Jefferson Davis were both experienced in military operations in the West. Mexican war, Utah Campaign, etc. Sibley was in New Mexico Territory when he resigned to join the CSA in May 1861. They conceived the western operation based on their extensive pre-war experience. It was known at that time that cotton was grown in the southwest by the local populations. Both CA and AZ are major cotton producing states even today.

Sibley and Davis believed the local populations would support the CS annexation of western territories. They did not.

Sibley also sent emissaries to the Governors of Sonora, Coahuila and Baja California, believing they too would provide support. They did not.

That the plan seems stupid in retrospect is the Confederacy in microcosm ...
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Sibley and Jefferson Davis were both experienced in military operations in the West. Mexican war, Utah Campaign, etc. Sibley was in New Mexico Territory when he resigned to join the CSA in May 1861. They conceived the western operation based on their extensive pre-war experience. It was known at that time that cotton was grown in the southwest by the local populations. Both CA and AZ are major cotton producing states even today.

Sibley and Davis believed the local populations would support the CS annexation of western territories. They did not.

Sibley also sent emissaries to the Governors of Sonora, Coahuila and Baja California, believing they too would provide support. They did not.

That the plan seems stupid in retrospect is the Confederacy in microcosm ...
Sibley's instructions were to organize a military government in the New Mexico Territory (of which the southern half would later become the Confederate territory of Arizona). Other matters mentioned: "establishing satisfactory relations with the adjacent Mexican States" (Jan. 3, 1862) and "the protection of the important and growing interest, chiefly mineral, in Western Arizona, and for the further purpose of opening communications with Southern California" (Jan. 27, 1862).

There's nothing in the communications between Sibley and the Confederate government about establishing slavery or growing cotton.

sibleyinstr.jpg
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
"Treason" is not a word that Ulysses Grant ever used to describe his friends from West Point who joined the Confederacy. He thought secession was unConstitutional and the racial theory that had become the core belief of the political majority of Southerners was lunatic; but he never thought anyone who fought against the Union was a traitor.
Actually Grant wrote his father in April 1861, and did refer to the confederates as traitors:

"Whatever may have been my political opinions before, I have but one sentiment now. That is, we have a Government, and laws and a flag, and they must all be sustained. There are but two parties now, traitors and patriots and I want hereafter to be ranked with the latter, and I trust, the stronger party."​
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I see a lot of talk about "treason"...
Not sure the founders would see it that way.

James Madison: "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others, or an abuse of the compact absolving the seceding party from the obligations imposed by it."

Think of it - the writer of the Constitution referring to secession as rightful.
"Consent of the others" means seceding legally through a process where the people of the other states (the "others") can weigh in and approve.

"An abuse of the compact" implies the right of revolution against the abuses, which even if justified or "rightful," would put the revolutionaries in the position of being traitors to the existing government.

Also, the above quote is taken out context. The preceding sentence in the letter is this:

"But the ability & motives disclosed in the Essays induce me to say in compliance with the wish expressed, that I do not consider the proceedings of Virginia in 98-99 as countenancing the doctrine that a State may at will secede from its constitutional compact with the other States."​
 
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Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
Sibley's instructions were to organize a military government in the New Mexico Territory (of which the southern half would later become the Confederate territory of Arizona). Other matters mentioned: "establishing satisfactory relations with the adjacent Mexican States" (Jan. 3, 1862) and "the protection of the important and growing interest, chiefly mineral, in Western Arizona, and for the further purpose of opening communications with Southern California" (Jan. 27, 1862).

There's nothing in the communications between Sibley and the Confederate government about establishing slavery or growing cotton.

View attachment 368529


I am aware what's in the OR. Bringing slavery into the territories was a common and oft-mentioned goal of the Confederacy. For example:

The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.

And:

It is true that the interests of the South may demand territorial expansion, for expansion seems to be the law and destiny and necessity of our institutions. To remain healthful and prosperous within and to make sure our development and power, it seems essential that we should grow without. Arizona and Mexico, Central America and Cuba all may yet be embraced within the limits of our Southern republic. A Gulf Confederacy may be established in the South which may well enjoy almost a monopoly in the production of cotton, rice, sugar, coffee, tobacco, and tropical fruits. The trade of all tropical America combined with that of the Cotton States would make our Confederacy the wealthiest, the most progressive, and the most influential power on the globe. Should the border States refuse to unite their destiny with ours, then we may be compelled to look for territorial strength and for political power to those rich and beautiful lands that lie upon our southwestern frontier. Their genial climate and productive soil, their rich agricultural and mineral resources, render them admirably adapted to the institution of slavery. Under the influence of that institution these tropical lands would soon add millions to the commercial wealth of our Republic and their magnificent ports would soon be filled with ships from every nation. Slave labor would there build up for the Southern Confederacy populous and wealthy States as it has built up for the late Union the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Lewis M. Stone, Alabama secession convention, January, 1861


Based on the preponderance of comments like the above from the political leadership of the confederacy, it is ahistorical to deny that Sibley's Forces, if successful, would have led to an establishment of slavery in areas under CS control.


Cooper, in the above talks about "disaffected officers and soldiers" joining Sibley's forces, and that Sibley will be "guided by circumstances and your own good judgement." Major Teel, in his B&L article describes Sibley‘s judgement.

Again, disasterously poor judgement is pretty much the CSA's bailiwick.
 
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Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Then there was absolutely no need to use any violence what so ever on federal troops such has bombarding Ft.Sumpter or siezing mints and armories. Any concerns slave owners have could of been peacefully settled in court.
Leftyhunter
Lincoln and the Republicans were opposed to the expansion of slavery into the territories. However, it is important to note that, even among those who opposed the expansion of slavery, there were different attitudes toward slavery which existed. The radical abolitionists wanted the end of all slavery and a society of equality between blacks and whites. However, some of the Republicans wanted the western territories to be the best country for poor whites to go and seek opportunity. The northern states were experiencing a large population growth before the war began. However, they did not want white workers who migrated westward to have to compete with slave labor in the territories. On the other hand, southerners believed that prohibiting slavery’s expansion ran counter to basic property rights. Although, they realized the arid environment in sections of the western territories would not be suitable for large scale plantation agriculture. Therefore, this would severely limit the spread of slavery into the territories. As a result, there was concern that as the population increased in the territories, an excessive amount of new free states would be created and the slaves states would then become a minority. The southern states realized their political power was diminishing on a national basis with the rise of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party was the first true sectional party which promoted Northern interests and they differed with the south on various matters. The historian Howard Zinn stated in his book A People’s History of the United States: “Behind the secession of the South from the Union, after Lincoln was elected President in the fall of 1860 as a candidate of the new Republican Party, was a long series of policy clashes between South and North. ……The Northern elite wanted economic expansion – free land, free labor, a free market, a high protective tariff for manufacturers, a bank of the United States. The slave interests opposed all that; they saw Lincoln and the Republicans as making continuation of their pleasant and prosperous way of life impossible in the future.”
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Lincoln and the Republicans were opposed to the expansion of slavery into the territories. However, it is important to note that, even among those who opposed the expansion of slavery, there were different attitudes toward slavery which existed. The radical abolitionists wanted the end of all slavery and a society of equality between blacks and whites. However, some of the Republicans wanted the western territories to be the best country for poor whites to go and seek opportunity. The northern states were experiencing a large population growth before the war began. However, they did not want white workers who migrated westward to have to compete with slave labor in the territories. On the other hand, southerners believed that prohibiting slavery’s expansion ran counter to basic property rights. Although, they realized the arid environment in sections of the western territories would not be suitable for large scale plantation agriculture. Therefore, this would severely limit the spread of slavery into the territories. As a result, there was concern that as the population increased in the territories, an excessive amount of new free states would be created and the slaves states would then become a minority. The southern states realized their political power was diminishing on a national basis with the rise of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party was the first true sectional party which promoted Northern interests and they differed with the south on various matters. The historian Howard Zinn stated in his book A People’s History of the United States: “Behind the secession of the South from the Union, after Lincoln was elected President in the fall of 1860 as a candidate of the new Republican Party, was a long series of policy clashes between South and North. ……The Northern elite wanted economic expansion – free land, free labor, a free market, a high protective tariff for manufacturers, a bank of the United States. The slave interests opposed all that; they saw Lincoln and the Republicans as making continuation of their pleasant and prosperous way of life impossible in the future.”
My point was if slave owners were free to expand slavery and felt that the Lincoln Administration was hindering their efforts to do so they could have sought the protection of the federal courts vs using violence which was found based on antebellum law per Texas v. White and the resulting destruction that occurred during the war which was completely legal for either side to commit per Dow v. Johnson.
If the slave owners had a problem with Republican Party that doesn't legally justify violence towards the federal government.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Sibley's instructions were to organize a military government in the New Mexico Territory (of which the southern half would later become the Confederate territory of Arizona). Other matters mentioned: "establishing satisfactory relations with the adjacent Mexican States" (Jan. 3, 1862) and "the protection of the important and growing interest, chiefly mineral, in Western Arizona, and for the further purpose of opening communications with Southern California" (Jan. 27, 1862).

There's nothing in the communications between Sibley and the Confederate government about establishing slavery or growing cotton.

View attachment 368529
Per the Confederate Constititon slavery can no be prohibited anywhere in the Confedracy. No one mentioned growing cotton. Slaves were used in Antebellum mining in the US to a minor extent but their used could be expanded.
Leftyhunter
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Slavery didn't have anything to do with the war, Slavery was fully protected in the Confederate States as it would have been had those states been willing to stay in an old union dominated by the Republican Party.

Of course, the South was interested in the western territories, especially after the Republican Party came to power with its so-called free-soil platform that threatened to create new states with two new US senators each.
Secession commissioners from the original seven seceded used the refusal of the North to allow extension of slavery into the territories as an argument to the legislatures of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina why secession was necessary. The Breckinridge wing of the Democratic Party in its 1860 platform insisted on the right to have territories brought in and eventualy become slave states. The compromise brokered by Crittendent, et al in winter 1860 insisted on territories below the 1850 line being able to come in as "slave" entities. Any ideas as to which territories they were referring to? And I'll help out by removing Dakota and Washington from the list.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Per the Confederate Constititon slavery can no be prohibited anywhere in the Confedracy. No one mentioned growing cotton. Slaves were used in Antebellum mining in the US to a minor extent but their used could be expanded.
Leftyhunter
Secession was predicated in part on the northern refusal to allow slavery to be extended into the territories. Several secession commissioners used that as an important argument. It's obvious which territories they were referring to - but if in doubt, Texans could supply the answer. The fixation on "cotton" is baffling. Before cotton there was sugar, rice, tobacco, and indigo. Slavery existed in the NM Territory when it was under Spanish and then Mexican rule.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Per the Confederate Constititon slavery can no be prohibited anywhere in the Confedracy [I didn't say it would be prohibited]. No one mentioned growing cotton [see post #401]. Slaves were used in Antebellum mining in the US to a minor extent but their used could be expanded.
Leftyhunter
"Per the Confederate Constititon"

My post was about the instructions given Sibley. Several posts back someone stated it was part of his mission to establish slavery, but that's not in the instructions.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
Secession commissioners from the original seven seceded used the refusal of the North to allow extension of slavery into the territories as an argument to the legislatures of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina why secession was necessary. The Breckinridge wing of the Democratic Party in its 1860 platform insisted on the right to have territories brought in and eventualy become slave states. The compromise brokered by Crittendent, et al in winter 1860 insisted on territories below the 1850 line being able to come in as "slave" entities. Any ideas as to which territories they were referring to? And I'll help out by removing Dakota and Washington from the list.





There had been no new slave states since 1845 yet there had been no serious movement to secede by the South. So why did the South suddenly get so upset by the election of Lincoln and the rise to power of the Republican Party? Under the farcical so called free-soil platform any new state created from western Indian land would have given North two new US senators. As more and more such states were created the South would have become little than vassals to Northern economic and political schemes. Dr Clyde Wilson has a good article on the subject.

https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/why-the-war-was-not-about-slavery/
 

Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
In his Proclamation to the people of New Mexico Sibley spoke of a “similarity of institutions“ between NM and the CSA. Given the propensity of using “institution“ as a euphemism for “slavery“ in that era, I don’t think we can deny that Sibley was talking about slavery here.
D11CC9D8-AF07-4AA5-8777-DF4E4DFF16A2.png


F434DBE6-CCBD-47B3-AE51-4C966A0EB7AE.png
 

Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
Sibley also informed Cooper in January 1862 that had sent troops to Western Arizona to protect mineral assets and for “opening communications with Southern California.“
B121E9E3-9660-48FE-A862-4BB06BFE887C.png
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
In his Proclamation to the people of New Mexico Sibley spoke of a “similarity of institutions“ between NM and the CSA. Given the propensity of using “institution“ as a euphemism for “slavery“ in that era, I don’t think we can deny that Sibley was talking about slavery here.
Must have been about other institutions...

Population of the New Mexico Territory 1860
Free White- 82,979
Free Black- 85
Native Am- 10,452
Slaves- 0

nm1860.jpg
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
"Per the Confederate Constititon"

My post was about the instructions given Sibley. Several posts back someone stated it was part of his mission to establish slavery, but that's not in the instructions.
Per Confedrate law that is immaterial. If Silbley actually secedded in establishing Confedrate control over any territory then said territory must per the Confedrate Constitution allow slavery. Silbley's mission was to aquire as much territory has possible which by definition expands land available for slavery.
Leftyhunter
 

Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
Must have been about other institutions...

Population of the New Mexico Territory 1860
Free White- 82,979
Free Black- 85
Native Am- 10,452
Slaves- 0

View attachment 368560


I doubt it. Sibley's message reads much like the declarations of causes issued by his slave owning secessionist brethren. The CSA authority will be conducted on "principles with which you are familiar." "Your religious, civil and political rights and liberties will be re-established and maintained sacred and intact."
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
I doubt it. Sibley's message reads much like the declarations of causes issued by his slave owning secessionist brethren. The CSA authority will be conducted on "principles with which you are familiar." "Your religious, civil and political rights and liberties will be re-established and maintained sacred and intact."
No slaves in NM.
 
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