Why The Sentimentality Toward The South?

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
The sentimentality towards the South of past years is decreasing with each and every day. With the new racial awareness that is sweeping the United States, many of the symbols that identified the South are being removed and erased and people are starting to view the South in a different light, especially the leading figures that dominate its history. That being said, I think one reason some people have a soft spot for the South in their hearts is its culture of politeness, chivalry and the honor of tradition among many of its native residents. Southerners have always appreciated the land they live on and have strong ties to their families, have their own language and ways of speaking that are colorful and imaginative and have a culinary history that produces some of the best food in the United States. Their courage and determination during the Civil War against long odds also won them lots of respect too. Having lived in the South all my life, it's hard for me to say I'm an American before I'm a Southerner just because it's the land of my family and ancestors after they reached America and I have a strong affinity for the region that helped me become the person I am.

This is going to sound like "Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the theater?", but aside from slavery, most of the rest of Southern culture exemplified the positives that many of us have cited. Unfortunately one big stain can overwrite a lot of good.
 

Cycom

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, California
I have Nothing to apologize for. Slavery was terrible. It wasn’t the only National Sin we have had. And yes, it was a National Sin.
Wish all Americans had this mindset. Sins of the father and all of that.

Regarding your COVID take, you are wrong. Nothing to fear about people turning into Yankees, it’s far worse...a proper zombie outbreak!
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Slavery was terrible. It wasn’t the only National Sin we have had. And yes, it was a National Sin.

The ultimate result of this national sin is the existence of African-Americans. America without slavery would be an America virtually devoid of black people. We can discuss what that would mean, but there's no debating that those are the alternatives.
 

RobertP

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
The ultimate result of this national sin is the existence of African-Americans. America without slavery would be an America virtually devoid of black people. We can discuss what that would mean, but there's no debating that those are the alternatives.
Well sure, and it should be discussed. Who if anybody would be better off today? The bottom line is that 150+ years after the end of US slavery not many people want out and several hundred million want in if they get the chance. History is rough everywhere, we can’t only try to improve things going forward.
 

Will Carry

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
The Tar Heel State.
I love the South and I am proud to be a Southerner. My family was run out of Ireland in 1754 and came to Virginia, then North Carolina and on to Alabama. Scotts Irish they called us. The best thing about the South is the cooking! Fried Chicken and vegetables fresh out of the garden. Fried catfish and hush puppies and my favorite slow cooked pork on a wood fired oven. I like the Down East North Carolina pulled pork but I'm not a snob. I'll even eat that stuff they serve in Alabama that they call barbecue.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
in its time it was probably one of the best trained and disciplined armies in the Western Hemisphere and easily rivaled or was superior to other armies throughout the world, even some European ones,
That claim is a wrong as If I claimed that because one Danish "American football" team defeated another team, then we are the best at American football in the world.

The best army in the western Hemisphere was the British army deployed in Canada. Every single British infantryman went true a effective marksmanship program each and every year.
American soldiers usually went into combat without ever having fired their guns outside of combat.

By summer 1863 Lees men had still not learned that they had to clean their guns.
And and Meades men still have a lot of issue managing just to load their guns in combat.
He then in spring 64 ordered the issue of 10 rounds for training. The goal was to make sure that every infantryman could load and fire his gun correctly.

10 years before British line infantry was knocking Russian artillery out of action at 600+ yards. And it should be noted that when the British army left the UK and first shipped to Malta. All line infantry had smoothbores.
They received a small number of P1851 and all men was then instructed in how to use it... and when they finally shipped to the Crimean 3/4 of them had P1851s.
But during the time in Malta and later Varna they spend a lot of time being instructed in marksmanship... and fired of a lot of rounds.

The only other major army to do something similar was the Prussians. But a number of smaller states also did similar.
The Danish marksmanship program from 1855 was basically copy of the British system. Norway, Sweden, and some of the other smaller German stats also had programs for it.(But in some cases they tried but didn't have the money for the expenditure of ammo. but stil better than nothing)
Remember rifled muskets had been around since the mid 1840ties... teaching marksmanship to line infantry was not a new idea by 1861... but the Americans never managed to do it during the civil war.

And when it come to discipline I would argue that the Russians where way ahead of most others.
When one read about the slaughter they took in the Crimean.. and still attacked. That require discipline of a type that is hard to get from a citizen army. (The same with the Austrians.)

The simple fact is that the Americans never managed the discipline or tactical skill of the best professional armies in Europe.
(and their drill system was 20 years behind the development in Europe)

When American soldiers held firm in defense and went forward in the attack despite heavy looses it was In my opinion not discipline. But pure courage and guts. And that I actually find a lot more impressive.


But yes, Iam sure we can find cases of European armies that was worse.
The Danish army in 1848-50 was way way superior to the Danish army who fought in 1864.

The logistical abilities where also very good as the war got going.
Where it is well known how badly the British failed in the Crimean.
-------

I will suggest reading the book "The destroying angel" by Brett Gibbons.
He is a serving ordonnance officer in the US army, so no European bias there.
It give the story of the introduction of early rifle muskets, the use of the P1851 in the Crimean and then the P1853 in India, before covering the civil war and 1866. Its only 12$ on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/171985727X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

You will realize that the way the British used the rifle musket is simply not done to any real extent during the civil war.
 
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Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
That claim is a wrong as If I claimed that because one Danish "American football" team defeated another team, then we are the best at American football in the world.

The best army in the western Hemisphere was the British army deployed in Canada. Every single British infantryman went true a effective marksmanship program each and every year.
American soldiers usually went into combat without ever having fired their guns outside of combat.

By summer 1863 Lees men had still not learned that they had to clean their guns.
And and Meades men still have a lot of issue managing just to load their guns in combat.
He then in spring 64 ordered the issue of 10 rounds for training. The goal was to make sure that every infantryman could load and fire his gun correctly.

10 years before British line infantry was knocking Russian artillery out of action at 600+ yards. And it should be noted that when the British army left the UK and first shipped to Malta. All line infantry had smoothbores.
They received a small number of P1851 and all men was then instructed in how to use it... and when they finally shipped to the Crimean 3/4 of them had P1851s.
But during the time in Malta and later Varna they spend a lot of time being instructed in marksmanship... and fired of a lot of rounds.

The only other major army to do something similar was the Prussians. But a number of smaller states also did similar.
The Danish marksmanship program from 1855 was basically copy of the British system. Norway, Sweden, and some of the other smaller German stats also had programs for it.(But in some cases they tried but didn't have the money for the expenditure of ammo. but stil better than nothing)
Remember rifled muskets had been around since the mid 1840ties... teaching marksmanship to line infantry was not a new idea by 1861... but the Americans never managed to do it during the civil war.

And when it come to discipline I would argue that the Russians where way ahead of most others.
When one read about the slaughter they took in the Crimean.. and still attacked. That require discipline of a type that is hard to get from a citizen army. (The same with the Austrians.)

The simple fact is that the Americans never managed the discipline or tactical skill of the best professional armies in Europe.
(and their drill system was 20 years behind the development in Europe)

When American soldiers held firm in defense and went forward in the attack despite heavy looses it was In my opinion not discipline. But pure courage and guts. And that I actually find a lot more impressive.


But yes, Iam sure we can find cases of European armies that was worse.
The Danish army in 1848-50 was way way superior to the Danish army who fought in 1864.

The logistical abilities where also very good as the war got going.
Where it is well known how badly the British failed in the Crimean.
-------

I will suggest reading the book "The destroying angel" by Brett Gibbons.
He is a serving ordonnance officer in the US army, so no European bias there.
It give the story of the introduction of early rifle muskets, the use of the P1851 in the Crimean and then the P1853 in India, before covering the civil war and 1866. Its only 12$ on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/171985727X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

You will realize that the way the British used the rifle musket is simply not done to any real extent during the civil war.

I didn't say they were "the" best, just one of them. If all the various Confederate Armies from Texas to Virginia could impress and earn the respect of an officer of the Coldstream who came over with a pro-Union bias, Arthur Freemantle, and earn that on the basis on discipline, (certainly not uniformity at that time), and the ANV could earn the respect of a Prussian officer like Heroes Von Borcke, (granted he was an adventurer, and re-reading his memoirs here lately for the first time in many years I've concluded he full of ****), I'd say it was quite a disciplined and effective force. Plus there were Austrian officers lending they're expertise in places like Texas and Louisiana to the point that most fortifications there were designed by Austrian officers.

Through all of that with European officers not only serving in CS ranks and observing them, those officers tended to write very badly of US Army and Navy discipline being horrible. To the point you'd think the Union the underdog really. You don't get military's all around the world studying tactics of an army and so on with an army being worthless. From Jackson in the Shenandoah, and Forrest at Brice's Crossroads, Europeans militaries took note.

I never would've ventured to think it better in that department than your native Denmark or Britain when mentioning European Armies it could be better than, my thoughts were running to the smaller Southern European Armies. Plus even with Confederate logistics at they're worse, they still knew how to run a supply line better than the Imperial French Army did in the same era, as shown in the Crimea famously.

American armies certainly had courage and guts, but I think them a little more disciplined than a lot of folks would think. I'm well aware of Meade's issues in 1863 on loading, (which there's some evidence its overstated), but this about Lee's army not knowing how to clean they're muskets is a new one to me. I don't know I've ever read a memoir or book that stated it, and it was officer's like Freemantle from Britain that noted while they may be dressed in rags, all they're weapons and accoutrements were in "perfect order" and that that was all the officers insisted the men do besides a LOT of drill.

I'll have to look into the book you mentioned.

EDIT: Courage and guts are certainly essential, but they're nothing without drill and discipline of some sort. I think them walking hand-in-hand rather than two competing philosophies.
 
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Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Location
Northern Alabama
I didn't say they were "the" best, just one of them.
IIRC, in the book "War Through the Ages" by the famed military historian Lynn Montross, he wrote something to the effect that by the summer of 1863 the Army of Northern Virginia was arguably the best "light infantry" army in the world at the time. Unfortunately, I don't have the "chapter and verse" in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that was the gist of what he said. Now I'm no expert on how you split the hairs defining "heavy infantry" versus "light infantry" and so on in the context of the time period, but regardless, I'd say he meant the ANV was pretty darn good, and that included in comparison to the European armies of the time...
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
IIRC, in the book "War Through the Ages" by the famed military historian Lynn Montross, he wrote something to the effect that by the summer of 1863 the Army of Northern Virginia was arguably the best "light infantry" army in the world at the time. Unfortunately, I don't have the "chapter and verse" in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that was the gist of what he said. Now I'm no expert on how you split the hairs defining "heavy infantry" versus "light infantry" and so on in the context of the time period, but regardless, I'd say he meant the ANV was pretty darn good, and that included in comparison to the European armies of the time...
How can a force that never do any marksmanship training or live firing in training be the best at shooting?
(a pretty critical skill for light infantry)
Its like claiming that a NFL team that only play games but never practices can win the superbowl...
 

Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Location
Northern Alabama
How can a force that never do any marksmanship training or live firing in training be the best at shooting?
(a pretty critical skill for light infantry)
Its like claiming that a NFL team that only play games but never practices can win the superbowl...
I don't want to try to put words into Mr. Montross's mouth here, but my "take-away" when reading it (and that was ages ago), was simply that, in his opinion, they could have held their own in combat against the best, and beaten the pants off any "second-tier" armies of that time period anywhere in the world. This was his conclusion drawn after years of study...not mine obviously...and honestly I don't recall any quantitative comparison metrics like marksmanship or live fire training to back up his assertion. But when push comes to shove, you want an army that can win a fight, and I think that was his primary point and the principal conclusion that he had drawn.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
I never would've ventured to think it better in that department than your native Denmark
Just so we are clear. The Danish army in 1864 was not good. In fact it had a lot of issues.
The peacetime army in 1860 was ok, with battalion and brigade level drills each autumn. And some marksmanship training, and a much better drill system than the American system. And it, btw was larger than the US army...

But the mobilization in January 1864 had a lot of issues that really undermined its effectiveness during the 1864 war.

So if by some magic we put it up against a equal sized American force from the same year... I would put my money on the Americans.
(Or to put it in wargaming terms, in 1864 I would give the Americans better stats than the Danes... but the Prussians and brits better than both of them)
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Just so we are clear. The Danish army in 1864 was not good. In fact it had a lot of issues.
The peacetime army in 1860 was ok, with battalion and brigade level drills each autumn. And some marksmanship training, and a much better drill system than the American system. And it, btw was larger than the US army...

But the mobilization in January 1864 had a lot of issues that really undermined its effectiveness during the 1864 war.

So if by some magic we put it up against a equal sized American force from the same year... I would put my money on the Americans.
(Or to put it in wargaming terms, in 1864 I would give the Americans better stats than the Danes... but the Prussians and brits better than both of them)

Oh I was just avoiding commenting on something I don't know. English literature concerning Schiswig-Holstein, along with the Danish army is tough to come by.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Just so we are clear. The Danish army in 1864 was not good. In fact it had a lot of issues.
The peacetime army in 1860 was ok, with battalion and brigade level drills each autumn. And some marksmanship training, and a much better drill system than the American system. And it, btw was larger than the US army...

But the mobilization in January 1864 had a lot of issues that really undermined its effectiveness during the 1864 war.

So if by some magic we put it up against a equal sized American force from the same year... I would put my money on the Americans.
(Or to put it in wargaming terms, in 1864 I would give the Americans better stats than the Danes... but the Prussians and brits better than both of them)
Interesting, were the mobilization problems comparable to mobilization problems in America.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
it's not unusual for a waitress or store clerk to call me "Sweetie" or some other endearing name.

I've been called sweetie, honey, dear, darlin, love, or some similar term by waitresses quite a few times in my life and I really hate it.

Lady, I don't know you. So don't talk to me in a manner that feigns familiarity, much less using the same terms you use to refer to your spouse.

If I talked that way to a customer or coworker I'd probably get charged with sexual harassment.

"There are people one knows and people one doesn't. One shouldn't cheapen the former by feigning intimacy with the latter."
-Tony Horowitz, Confederates in the Attic, describing Shelby Foote's philosophy
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
Too much "states rights" is a bad thing (see secession) but the flat lining of "states rights" may ultimately have the unintended consequence

Something that has occurred to me frequently while studying Ancient Egyptian history is the... constant is the wrong word... recurring tension between centralization and regionalization in, I think, all human societies; forces pulling people together and forces driving them apart. Ancient Egypt went through this cycle of centralization, devolution, collapse, and reunification at least three times in its 3,000-odd years of history, basically until it was absorbed into the Roman Empire. I think the real genius of the founders of the current U.S. Constitution is that they realized this and attempted to construct a structure with enough "give" to it that it could handle both centralizing and decentralizing forces. (One could note, validly, that they did not find the perfect solution to said problem, Exhibit A being the war we all study here... but I think a measure of credit is due them for grasping the situation and *trying* to allow for it.)
 

Pete Longstreet

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Forum Host
Silver Patron
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Location
Hartford, CT
It's hard to top that quote from Grant. Like you, I perpetually find myself wanting the underdog to pull it out. For Buell not to show up in time at Shiloh. For Granger not arrive and spare Thomas from also being routed at Chickamauga. For Lee to actually hit both ends of the fish hook simultaneously. And on and on. But then I consider what confederate success would have meant and I recoil, and go waiiiiiiiit a minute there. Emancipation, good. Union, good. CSA goals, not so much.

My warm and fuzzies however are only for the guys stuck in battle, for the people left to fend for themselves on the home front and for the enslaved people finally seeing liberation come...and for those in areas that were never conquered and could only dream until the war finally ended. I have nothing but the highest regard for the freed slaves. That they resisted the natural impulses for revenge is truly inspirational.

I think what rivets me is the realization that most southern people were sucked into a maelstrom they could not avoid. The carnage and destruction were coming their way, regardless if they remained unionists or regardless if their state seceded only in reaction to Lincoln's call for troops to go override the choice of the original seven secessionist states by force and regardless if they were enslaved -- they met with violence frequently too.

The one great thing we did lose with confederate defeat was the idea that there are firm limits on what the federal government has a right to do. Deference to the states has continually eroded since, and we find ourselves increasingly in all-or-nothing political fights, much to our peril. Too much "states rights" is a bad thing (see secession) but the flat lining of "states rights" may ultimately have the unintended consequence of tearing asunder the nation once again. Let's pray history does not repeat!
I can agree with that assessment. I think about if the south had won, how it would have weakened the U.S. as a nation. Would the U.S. be the powerhouse it is today without the south? Could one survive without the other? That quote from Grant struck a cord with me. It's sums up the admiration for the Confederate solider, but also references how they fought for such a terrible cause. Although we know there was more to the "cause" than slavery... everything else is overshadowed by slavery. I'm able to separate why the south fought and it allows me to look at the war from strictly a military point of view and not political. I'm able to look upon the Confederate soldier with that of respect... rather than a "bunch of rebels fighting for their slaves". But as you indicated... yes, I'm glad it worked out the way it did.
 

Lubliner

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Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
While I think farming is a very respectable profession, I've never desired to be one. Turning back the clock to a simpler time would take away the computers I use daily, the books I read daily (there would still be books but far fewer and mostly without the amount of resources for research available now), and most of my past and present hobbies. Someone who loves hunting and fishing or handcrafts, and lives without air conditioning, is going to yearn for a simpler time far more than I ever would.

Pride holds no appeal to me. It's frequently stubborn, foolish, and irrational.

Southern honor might have appealed to me in the past, but knowing it was a shell of hypocrisy means It does not.

Most Americans love their underdogs, but I don't. Sometimes underdogs deserve to lose.

I've never been the rebellious type so that holds no appeal to me other.

Almost everyone wants a tribe and to be part of a group identity. They want to feel they belong. For some, that's the South.



All my direct ancestors in the last 200 years were born south of the Mason-Dixon Line yet I was never raised with any sense of Southern pride, heritage, or identity. I was simply raised as an American.
You have an interesting viewpoint. I find it healthy and likeable, and beyond certain strifes of undue persuasion.
Lubliner.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
When I think of southern culture the first people who come to mind are Robert Johnson, BB King, Al Green, Little Richard, James Brown and those who made it up to Chicago like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy.

And Elvis. And Steve Cropper.

I think courtesy in white southern culture springs from a culture of violence and seems a product compulsion rather than consideration. I think the common passive-aggressive behavior also springs from an undercurrent of violence.
 
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