Looking back on the whole bloody mess, I truly believe that it was completely pointless EXCEPT as a maneuver to obliterate southern independence.

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Of course, the primary goal was to stamp out rebellion and preserve the Union. Those with even a cursory knowledge of the war understand this. And that goal was righteous enough.

Every once in awhile a person who thought the goal was emancipation comes upon the knowledge that the goal was preservation of the Union and then thinks that goal was unworthy and needs defending. We see them here on occasion.

And as one researches deeper, the crux of the matter becomes evident; 'preserving the Union' keeps slavery out of the territories, which then become Free States, which then outnumber the Slaves states sufficiently to end slavery.

The southern leaders were arrogant men, but they were not stupid. A Union preserved as it then stood meant a Union that would one day end slavery.

Southern leaders rebelled to preserve the practice of slavery, killing 600,000 Americans (including poor southern boys) in the process.

They deserve everyone's distain.
 

Stone in the wall

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
Instead of spending time cooking up those knee-slappers, Harvey should have figured out how to avoid dropping cigars and copies of orders all over northern Maryland and then - in Lee's eyes, at least - lying about those orders after the war.

"A Confederate General is given a copy of orders telling him what his division and everybody else's divisions are supposed to do and where; a copy of the same orders is found in a field wrapped around two cigars; and the General misstates the content of the orders later. Which Confederate General was missing some good cigars on September 13, 1862?"
You have proof D. H. Hill smoked cigars?
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
Whether Vance and Davis eventually became aligned politically is a completely different matter from whether Vance would support your "Honest Jeff" accolade. That's the trouble with accolades. And - just so we're clear and not getting lost in the fog here - "Dishonest Abe" actually took an action that is the exact opposite of "denigrating" of the DOI. "Honest Jeff" vehemently opposed that - conduct that does "denigrate" the DOI. We appear to be on the odd circumstance where "dishonesty" - if that is what it is - is actually a positive value, as opposed to admitting to, and sticking to, abhorrent views.
If you are trying to make a point I'm not sure what it is. You people don't seem a problem with Lincoln changing from a raging racist to the savior of black folks as long as they stayed in the South. Vance wouldn't have changed to the Confederate Party if he didn't generally support the president by 1864.
 

Stone in the wall

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
We know he didn't smoke those ...
Your reply did make me laugh. But still no proof, and I don't suppose needing a new Lt General and D. H. not being a Virginian and being senor MG over A. P. Hill would have had anything to do with Lee sending D. H. away would it? This was the first big mistake Lee would make on the Gettysburg Campaign, and I don't see A. P. having any better temperament than D. H. I doubt D. H. would have gotten sucked in a major engagement, when under orders not to, such as A. P. did on day one at Gettysburg. Opens up a whole new book of What If's.
Strange that D. H. got along with Johnston, Longstreet and Jackson. Must have been Lee's problem.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
And as one researches deeper, the crux of the matter becomes evident; 'preserving the Union' keeps slavery out of the territories, which then become Free States, which then outnumber the Slaves states sufficiently to end slavery.

The southern leaders were arrogant men, but they were not stupid. A Union preserved as it then stood meant a Union that would one day end slavery.

Southern leaders rebelled to preserve the practice of slavery, killing 600,000 Americans (including poor southern boys) in the process.

They deserve everyone's distain.
As much as I am convinced that slavery was (and is) an atrocious system I deem certain qualifications necessary:

1) It takes two antagonist parties to lead a war - and hence both sides have to accept responsibility for the people killed in that war - as both sides deemed it right to fight over something - and obviously both sides were convinced that they had some justification (regardless what we today may think about that justifications).

2) It also might be not correct to identify the South only with the South´s leaders - as a majority of southern people joined into the fray - and it wouldn´t hardly be true to say that they all were misled, pressed into service or just to dumb to see what they were doing. Obviously a lot of people in the South out ouf various motivations were willed to fight that war.

3) As mentioned in some other threads: with that long tradition of enslavement of african people in the US only a minor part of the population pursued the goal to end it - with an overwhelming part North and South completely unable to grasp any idea of racial equality (leaving the preservation of the US as prime motivation of the North - which of course was justification enough)

4) As a consequence out of 3) it was the Southern population facing the end of slavery - and left to think about it´s consequences:

- which in a region where over a third of the population were former enslaved people led to expect riots, violence and eventually even a collapse of society (those fears never became reality, especially as african Americans turned out to be extremely responsible, reasonable and sound people after the war - but as a matter of fact nobody expected such an outcome, especially not in 1861)

- which in a region depending heavily on plantation economy led to expect a complete economical disaster and financial ruin
(this became reality quite exactly that way...)

5) Of course the southern leaders should have found other ways, it should have been talked about reimbursement, they should have seeked solutions the constitution (indeed) offered, there should have been found civilized ways to solve the issues - but the issues were big, the stakes high and the atmosphere was extremely overheated for decades then...

As a matter of fact -
under such conditions
and in such a situation
with such racial prejudices prevalent in the South (and just to show that Southerners weren´t abominable, amoral creatures: prevalent also in the North) -
I hardly see a possibility that southern leaders should have confided in one of the possible solutions shown in 5).

As I said before: "disdain" is a troublesome category in history - people are generally acting according to their upbringing, their social environment, their conception of the world (which was not so utterly different between South and North) and according to their interests.

The whole thing got out of control as soon as communication between North and South was replaced with suspicion, haughtiness and huffiness
(as far as I see - others mights see it in a different light - the South maybe got the better part of the latter two - but the North demonstrated both attitudes definitely too - up to a certain degree....).
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Your reply did make me laugh. But still no proof, and I don't suppose needing a new Lt General and D. H. not being a Virginian and being senor MG over A. P. Hill would have had anything to do with Lee sending D. H. away would it? This was the first big mistake Lee would make on the Gettysburg Campaign, and I don't see A. P. having any better temperament than D. H. I doubt D. H. would have gotten sucked in a major engagement, when under orders not to, such as A. P. did on day one at Gettysburg. Opens up a whole new book of What If's.
Strange that D. H. got along with Johnston, Longstreet and Jackson. Must have been Lee's problem.
You picked up on the humor - which is what it was. The whole point started in response to a silly observation about how "honest" Jeff Davis was. I wasn't intending to go into the rabbit hole about who lost the orders or to assess whether Lee actually was "right" about Hill. Of course, D.H. had to get along with Stonewall ....
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
If you are trying to make a point I'm not sure what it is. You people don't seem a problem with Lincoln changing from a raging racist to the savior of black folks as long as they stayed in the South. Vance wouldn't have changed to the Confederate Party if he didn't generally support the president by 1864.
It's as clear as the point you were trying to make about how "honest" Jeff Davis was. I guess Abe wanted them to stay in the South since technically the White House was "in the South" when he invited them there in 1864. Sticking with one's slaver views through thick and thin is not a positive attribute, by the way. And the "you people" approach undermines any points you're trying to make.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Don't really see the topical point of a Davis\Lincoln honesty contest - but it does give some interesting insights into personal positions on the two leaders.
 

Rebforever

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Your reply did make me laugh. But still no proof, and I don't suppose needing a new Lt General and D. H. not being a Virginian and being senor MG over A. P. Hill would have had anything to do with Lee sending D. H. away would it? This was the first big mistake Lee would make on the Gettysburg Campaign, and I don't see A. P. having any better temperament than D. H. I doubt D. H. would have gotten sucked in a major engagement, when under orders not to, such as A. P. did on day one at Gettysburg. Opens up a whole new book of What If's.
Strange that D. H. got along with Johnston, Longstreet and Jackson. Must have been Lee's problem.
The same thought about S.D. Lee. He did his work at II Manassas. And then was shipped out West.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
As much as I am convinced that slavery was (and is) an atrocious system I deem certain qualifications necessary:

1) It takes two antagonist parties to lead a war - and hence both sides have to accept responsibility for the people killed in that war - as both sides deemed it right to fight over something - and obviously both sides were convinced that they had some justification (regardless what we today may think about that justifications).

2) It also might be not correct to identify the South only with the South´s leaders - as a majority of southern people joined into the fray - and it wouldn´t hardly be true to say that they all were misled, pressed into service or just to dumb to see what they were doing. Obviously a lot of people in the South out ouf various motivations were willed to fight that war.

3) As mentioned in some other threads: with that long tradition of enslavement of african people in the US only a minor part of the population pursued the goal to end it - with an overwhelming part North and South completely unable to grasp any idea of racial equality (leaving the preservation of the US as prime motivation of the North - which of course was justification enough)

4) As a consequence out of 3) it was the Southern population facing the end of slavery - and left to think about it´s consequences:

- which in a region where over a third of the population were former enslaved people led to expect riots, violence and eventually even a collapse of society (those fears never became reality, especially as african Americans turned out to be extremely responsible, reasonable and sound people after the war - but as a matter of fact nobody expected such an outcome, especially not in 1861)

- which in a region depending heavily on plantation economy led to expect a complete economical disaster and financial ruin
(this became reality quite exactly that way...)

5) Of course the southern leaders should have found other ways, it should have been talked about reimbursement, they should have seeked solutions the constitution (indeed) offered, there should have been found civilized ways to solve the issues - but the issues were big, the stakes high and the atmosphere was extremely overheated for decades then...

As a matter of fact -
under such conditions
and in such a situation
with such racial prejudices prevalent in the South (and just to show that Southerners weren´t abominable, amoral creatures: prevalent also in the North) -
I hardly see a possibility that southern leaders should have confided in one of the possible solutions shown in 5).

As I said before: "disdain" is a troublesome category in history - people are generally acting according to their upbringing, their social environment, their conception of the world (which was not so utterly different between South and North) and according to their interests.

The whole thing got out of control as soon as communication between North and South was replaced with suspicion, haughtiness and huffiness
(as far as I see - others mights see it in a different light - the South maybe got the better part of the latter two - but the North demonstrated both attitudes definitely too - up to a certain degree....).

Thanks for the response. Agree and disagree on a number of points.

#1 - Wrong. If someone takes your property (even if they claim its theirs), won't adjudicate it, and shoot at you, THEY are responsible for that outcome. Period. Attempting to the blame your neighbor when you take something and start shooting - where you started it - won't fly. Wrong.

#2 - Partly agree with you here. Southern Leaders caused the war, but the motivations of those who start a war, and those who have to fight it, often differ wildly. I disagree that many honest Southerners weren't hoodwinked, though. Appeals from family, friends, preachers, newspapers, politicians & patricians, employers, communities, etc - even your local sweetheart - would provide plenty of honest motivation to fight the 'invaders'. Think of what information your average Southerner heard leading up to the war. It's not hard to see how common soldiers were 'honor shamed' into fighting, how it fired into their manhood, how local news\authorities framed all the arguments, how prevailing local attitudes to slavery would agree with\reinforce a defense of the practice, and later - bitterly - how events (as the war wore on) proved to the soldiers that the slave owners were the only real beneficiaries. So, partially agree with you and very strongly partially disagree.

#3 - False Equivalence. Ending Slavery is not equivalent to full Civil Rights - this is a tired 'Lost Cause' attempt at excuse. The North was overwhelmingly anti-slavery, but not overwhelmingly abolitionist or full civil rights activist. The actual point is, and was, about Slavery - and Southern Leaders knew they were on the fading end of world opinion in their continued support of it.

#4 - Agreed - they should have thought about it in realistic terms of how to most effectively transition it. Several intelligent contemporaries on all sides did. Southern Leaders (being heavily invested slave owners) chose to fight rather than transition. That is the tragedy, the cause of 600,000 deaths, and why they absolutely deserve our distain - from every corner of the USA, north and south.

#5 - It is true that hotheads and rhetoric prevailed, and potential solutions floundered. As the entire civilized world turned gradually yet relentlessly against the practice, it is horrifying to witness how Southern Leadership evolved its 'arguments' in defense of it - from 'necessary evil' to 'positive good for both slave and master'. War COULD have been avoided, not without several painful efforts, costly allocations, disrupting social adjustments - no one said it would be easy, or even turn out 'fair' by 21st century standards (in fact a form of apartheid state could easily have been one likely outcome). But it could have happened - without bloodshed - IF Southern Leaders accepted the end of the institution. They did not, and shed blood to expand it. They fully deserve our, and the world's, disdain.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Sharpsburg D H. Lee went in with 30 guns, came out with maybe 12.
Lee did a good job at Second Bull Run and was on his way to becoming an accomplished gunner. Sending him west (keeping Pendleton, instead, and just for example) and then turning Lee into a corps commander by July 1864 was not the best use of his talents. So they ended up with Ezra Church.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
And as one researches deeper, the crux of the matter becomes evident; 'preserving the Union' keeps slavery out of the territories, which then become Free States, which then outnumber the Slaves states sufficiently to end slavery.

The southern leaders were arrogant men, but they were not stupid. A Union preserved as it then stood meant a Union that would one day end slavery.

Southern leaders rebelled to preserve the practice of slavery, killing 600,000 Americans (including poor southern boys) in the process.

They deserve everyone's distain.
As you mentioned, the central issue was really the expansion of slavery into the territories. Lincoln stated in his inaugural address that he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed. However, Lincoln and the Republicans were opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. With the population growth in the northern states, the south realized that the free states would eventually outnumber the slave states as western migration continued. This would eventually erode the national political power of the south and endanger the future of slavery. The southern states were also opposed to the total economic program of the Republican Party which favored free land, free labor, internal improvements, a high protective tariff and a national bank. The south opposed all of these measures which they believed would harm their agriculture based economy. Therefore, they decided to withdraw from the Union.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
As you mentioned, the central issue was really the expansion of slavery into the territories. Lincoln stated in his inaugural address that he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed. However, Lincoln and the Republicans were opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. With the population growth in the northern states, the south realized that the free states would eventually outnumber the slave states as western migration continued. This would eventually erode the national political power of the south and endanger the future of slavery. The southern states were also opposed to the total economic program of the Republican Party which favored free land, free labor, internal improvements, a high protective tariff and a national bank. The south opposed all of these measures which they believed would harm their agriculture based economy. Therefore, they decided to withdraw from the Union.
I wouldn't go too far on the supposed opposition of the southern states to big "internal improvements". That's the pitch of non-historians like DiLorenzo, etc but the 1860 platform of the Democrats' Breckinridge Wing included:

"WHEREAS, One of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is a speedy communication between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Therefore be it Resolved, That the National Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Rail road from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment."

The Douglas Wing had the same. The Republicans' platform did, as well. The only thing the Republicans added was "river and harbor improvements of a national character" - that would benefit places north or south of the M-D Line in moving and exporting the products of an "agriculture-based economy".
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Your reply did make me laugh. But still no proof, and I don't suppose needing a new Lt General and D. H. not being a Virginian and being senor MG over A. P. Hill would have had anything to do with Lee sending D. H. away would it? This was the first big mistake Lee would make on the Gettysburg Campaign, and I don't see A. P. having any better temperament than D. H. I doubt D. H. would have gotten sucked in a major engagement, when under orders not to, such as A. P. did on day one at Gettysburg. Opens up a whole new book of What If's.
Strange that D. H. got along with Johnston, Longstreet and Jackson. Must have been Lee's problem.
OTOH, D. H. Hill was eager and happy to rejoin his old Mexican War commander in 1863: Braxton Bragg. The good feeling lasted about a week, was soon completely gone.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I wouldn't go too far on the supposed opposition of the southern states to big "internal improvements". That's the pitch of non-historians like DiLorenzo, etc but the 1860 platform of the Democrats' Breckinridge Wing included:

"WHEREAS, One of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is a speedy communication between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Therefore be it Resolved, That the National Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Rail road from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment."

The Douglas Wing had the same. The Republicans' platform did, as well. The only thing the Republicans added was "river and harbor improvements of a national character" - that would benefit places north or south of the M-D Line in moving and exporting the products of an "agriculture-based economy".
All opposition on "internal improvements" should be looked at with a magnifying glass. There are plenty of examples of "internal improvements" that worked to benefit "the South".

Example: the Memphis Navy Yard and the ropewalk factory. The US Navy was opposed to building this. They did not want the ropewalk (KY-TN-AR-MO farmers did as a market for their hemp crop). They did not want a Navy Yard hundreds of miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico -- heck, they did not want the New Orleans Navy Yard built. They were completely happy with the new Pensacola Navy Yard. In the entire US Navy, there seems to have been only one officer who wanted the Memphis Navy Yard -- Lt. Matthew Murray (a Virginian-born, raised in Tennessee Southerner, although a brilliant one). Both were built, the Memphis yard and ropewalk were soon closed as useless.

Example: Federal flood control projects on the Mississippi River. Yet another Navy survey was completing in late 1860 and submitting recommendations to Congress for more projects. A young Robert E. Lee had worked on flood control near St. Louis in the 1830s.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
As you mentioned, the central issue was really the expansion of slavery into the territories. Lincoln stated in his inaugural address that he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed. However, Lincoln and the Republicans were opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. With the population growth in the northern states, the south realized that the free states would eventually outnumber the slave states as western migration continued. This would eventually erode the national political power of the south and endanger the future of slavery. The southern states were also opposed to the total economic program of the Republican Party which favored free land, free labor, internal improvements, a high protective tariff and a national bank. The south opposed all of these measures which they believed would harm their agriculture based economy. Therefore, they decided to withdraw from the Union.

Appreciate the comment, and I wholeheartedly agree with most of it. I do doubt that any concerns beyond the expansion of slavery into the territories would have been enough to start a war though.

And I'm always curious about the 'agricultural' argument. In 1860 the North still had 40% of its population involved in agriculture - and it produced half of the nation's corn, four-fifths of its wheat, and seven-eighths of its oats.

That's not exactly non-agricultural ... those are sizeable numbers ... that's just diversified. Food for thought anyway (pun intended).
 
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