The War of Southern Aggression

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Jul 6, 2016
I think a caveat is needed here, although historians make this same statement frequently but at heart it is not true. I can't comment on the situation in Kentucky as I have not studied it to any degree, but I am very familiar with West Virginia. West Virginia was a Union state on paper. For any historian to say West Virginia was a Union state without making some qualifications to that statement is incorrect, the implication being that it is not really different from Ohio or Pennsylvania. As Arthur Boreman, West Virginia's first governor (from Pennsylvania) said in 1863-

"After you get a short distance below the is not safe for a
loyal man to go into the interior out of sight of the Ohio River."

After the capture of Gen. Scammon (US) in 1864 and his men on a steamer on the Ohio River, the Gallipolis Journal wrote-

"With the commanding General of the Department, and his Quarter Master, in Libby Prison, captured by rebels within 35 miles of Gallipolis [Ohio]-a government steamer burned at the same time, it might seem to an unpracticed eye, that the State of West Virginia was not so intensely loyal as some persons wish it to be considered. The fact is that region of country is just as well stocked with rebels both armed and unarmed as any other portion of the South."

Unionism in West Virginia and Union control over West Virginia is greatly exaggerated by historians who have actually devoted very little attention to the situation there, as I noted in the lack of publications over the course of the sesquicentennial.
While loyalties were often divided in West Virginia it was nevertheless a Union state, just as Tennessee was a Confederate state despite union sympathies running high in portions of the eastern part of the state.

James Lutzweiler

First Sergeant
Mar 14, 2018
Likely an adjective before war.
Any one ever heard it called a "Just War"? "Unjust"?

I posted the following two paragraphs on another thread, conflating that one with this one. i look forward to some discussion of it.

In this connection, am I the only one who finds it significant that the planters chose for the presidency of the Confederacy not just another planter like themselves but a railroad planter --and one who knew the West and Southwest (read: "western territories") as well as, if not better than, Fremont, The Pathfinder, hisself (I used to say "himself," when I lived in Illinois and "Missesota," as one of my dear young Southern friends called the Land of 10,000 lakes)? Isn't it interesting that the presidential heads of the North and the South were both major transcontinental railroad devotees? Was that by accident? Why didn't Montgomery pick a planter to save slavery, if slavery was the primary core of the whole shooting match? Was there a planter in all of the South who knew the West and Southwest better than Jefferson Davis? If so, who? And while JD's memory is routinely cursed, especially in these statue-busting days, is it not true that this Mississippian, named after the bankrupt gentleman farmer, Thomas Jefferson, created a document (the Pacific Railroad Surveys) that dwarfed in content and significance the Lewis and Clark Reports authorized by his namesake? And is it not also true that one historian has found Thomas Jefferson's own Declaration of Independence rooted in his own exercise in personal debt repudiation to the British?

Would anyone join me in also calling the Civil War not just a War of Southern Aggression --or any of all the other valid characterizations seen on this thread-- but a Railroad War? Mind you, NOT exclusively a Railroad War, but a Railroad War nevertheless. Doesn't a "War for Western Territories" also fit? Was it really what James McPherson called it, "A Battle Cry for Freedom," when Lincoln called it a war for real estate, when young men were conscripted against their will to engage in battles in which they took no interest, when only slaves in some states were declared free and not others? I also like "A Battle for San Francisco" and "A Battle for San Diego" and "A Spat for Sand" (the Gadsden Purchase). Do these fit, too, elliptical thought they be? But then again, what isn't elliptical about a four-year fracas? That War needs a forum just like this to begin to touch the surface of it. let alone exhaust it. eh?

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