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The Civil War: Where Did We Find Such Men?

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June 01, 2011

The Civil War: Where Did We Find Such Men?

By David E. Petzal

I’ve been a student of the Civil War since I was 13 and read a book by Mackinlay Kantor on the Battle of Gettysburg. What has never ceased to astound me throughout all my reading is how so many men showed so much steadfastness through so much adversity for so long.

Total killed for both sides was 620,000. That would be the equivalent of over 3,000,000 men today. In World War II, our total military deaths numbered 416,000. As Bruce Catton pointed out, simply to be in either army was dangerous.

If you were a Union soldier, and captured, you would go to Andersonville, or some place like it. If you were Confederate, you would go to Camp Douglas, near Chicago, or Elmira (NY) Prison, which were possibly worse than Andersonville.

If you were wounded, you could lie where you fell for days before anyone came to help. If you got help, the field hospitals to which you would be taken frightened many soldiers more than death.

If you were Confederate, you would be starving and in rags for much of the war. If you were a farmer, your family would starve as well.

If you were Union, you would have a uniform and enough to eat most of the time, but you would probably go into battle with the certain knowledge that your general commanding was a fool who would throw your life away.

Several times a year, for four years, there would be a battle with casualties of 20 to 30 percent. Today, a general who suffers 10 percent casualties would be relieved. Some regiments took 70 and 80 percent casualties in one battle. Some were virtually wiped out.

And they did this for four years. To paraphrase James Michener, where did we find such men?

Comments (122)

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from Tim Covington wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You have the field medicine exactly right. I have an ancestor who was injured in a battle near his home. Rather than let them take his leg, he grabbed a pair of crutches and walked home.

A couple of reasons we had less casualties in WW2 was we had much better field medicine (including the sulfa drugs and penicillin) and much better field sanitation. It is amazing how many people in the Civil War were killed by diseases related to poor sanitation.

As to where we got such men, you have to consider the times. Most people worked incredibly back breaking jobs where 60+ hours per week were considered normal. There was no air conditioning, no central heating and no body really had an idea of what a germ was or what it did. These people had already survived conditions that were almost unheard of by the time WW2 came about. They were the toughest and luckiest of those born in that time frame.

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from Sb Wacker wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Too right the standards of field medicine that a Roman Legionary could expect weren't achieved again until WWI. Cripes!
SBW

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from GunNut wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dracphelan couldn't have explained it any better. Today I see people whining over which job they want, or how many hours they get. Back then, if they were offered a job they would take it no matter how long or how hard it was, and I'm sure jobs were uch harder then than they are now. Simply put, people in todays society are a bunch of wimps.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I cannot imagine the horror and suffering those men endured. Quite a contrast to the pair of NFL ass*$#@s who over the weekend equated "slavery" with playing football in the NFL. Oh, and for an average of $2 million a year. The vast majority of people in the country have no idea of the sacrifices that have been made to ensure their freedom. America, land of the clueless...

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was born in 1899. I remember somebody that was visiting saying, "Pa (everyone called him Pa whether you were related or not), tell me about the good old days." My great grandfather called him a fool and told him he was living in the good days. Told him he didn't have to worry about his kids catching smallpox, polio, or TB or depending on whether it rained or not for his kids to eat.

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was born in 1899. I remember somebody that was visiting saying, "Pa (everyone called him Pa whether you were related or not), tell me about the good old days." My great grandfather called him a fool and told him he was living in the good days. Told him he didn't have to worry about his kids catching smallpox, polio, or TB or depending on whether it rained or not for his kids to eat.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgz:

I don't think the negativity regarding your postings are in relation to your comments, truculent as they may seem, but more in response to your "countrifying" treatment of the English language.

I fought through it for Mark Twain, but then he has a better literary reputation than you (at my location, at least).

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from Harold wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I read an interesting observation on the "Civil" War by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman in his book "On Killing". This book is interesting on many levels, but a passage about this war is germain to our discussion. In many of the early battles regiments (600 to 1200 men)lined up face to face and fired at each other as close as 30 yds away, on up to 150 or so. With the rifled muskets available at that time it should have been a much bloodier affair than it was. Casualty rates were about 1-2 a minute on each side. That means that the great majority of shots fired were misses. Think about it, they missed a large massed body of men at almost point blank range. Why? Well, either they were (1) poor shots (2) the excitement of battle over-rode their training (3)they had an innate aversion to killing other men, or (4) some combination of all of the above.

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from mdunlap wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz,
I think people are tired of you writing like you didn't get past the 3rd grade.

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You would have thought the generals of the day would have learned an important lesson from their predecessors in the American Revolution. Didn't our boys learn then that by fighting "dishonorably" they stayed alive longer? What a horrible time to have to live through...

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from Brian Robinson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

America survived the Civil War, it is going to survive this recession.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I'm not sure your opening statement shows much knowledge of the Civil War, Dave. Rebellion generalship was rather awful on the whole, and stayed that way throughout. US generalship was spotty, with generals performance seemingly deteriorating with promotion at least until Grant took charge. For every Burnside's Bridge you can find a rebel equivalently futile grand gesture. And the Icon Who Can Do No Wrong (Lee) was the guy who ordered Pickett's charge in the face of Pickett's strong objections.

So yes, the US had McClellan and Ben Butler. The rebels had Beauregard, Johnson, and AP Hill. The US had some brilliant guys too. Sherman, Grant, Sheridan, Reynolds.

Most War of the Rebllion casualties were from transmissible disease, as was the case throughout history basically until WW1.

Elmira NY was nothing near as bad as Andersonville. Most Elmira casualties were from disease. The death rate among incarcerated was about 25% of total, mostly of transmissible disease. Andersonville's casualty rate was about 35%, mostly from deliberate starvation.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I believe Dave was talking about those that braved the hot steel and gangrene, rather than the general officers.

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from SL wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"I read an interesting observation on the "Civil" War by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman in his book "On Killing". This book is interesting on many levels, but a passage about this war is germain to our discussion. In many of the early battles regiments (600 to 1200 men)lined up face to face and fired at each other as close as 30 yds away, on up to 150 or so. With the rifled muskets available at that time it should have been a much bloodier affair than it was. Casualty rates were about 1-2 a minute on each side. That means that the great majority of shots fired were misses. Think about it, they missed a large massed body of men at almost point blank range. Why? Well, either they were (1) poor shots (2) the excitement of battle over-rode their training (3)they had an innate aversion to killing other men, or (4) some combination of all of the above."

This was a great post, which brings us back to DP's question "where did we find such men". The answer is that they were simple draftees where most would have preferred not to have to fight in a war at all. Isn't that the case in all wars? The elite decide it's time for war, while the common man has to then fight and die in them. Any heroism soldiers show is generally to keep their own a$$es and those of their buddies alive. Love of country is probably the last thing on their minds. It's again the elite who write about these wars afterwards that try to portray these soldiers as patriots who loved their countries, while many of these heroes were probably cursing the country and people who put them in these godforsaken $#!+holes of battle.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz;

I second Amflier. Tried hard to read your pieces; gave up. People may speak in vernacular, but they never write in it unless they are quoting someone meanly.

Housekeeping time. The Civil War was not fought over greed. Nor was it fought over state's rights. high tariffs, or any other such nonsense. You don't kill 600,000 people over tariffs. What drove the war was hatred, genuine mutual hatred, and the slavery issue was at the root of that, just as it had been for years prior to the Civil War in Kansas and Missouri. If you question that, look at the genuine division in our country today over abortion, gay marriage, gun ownership, hunting, etc. and get back to me.

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from jim in nc wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

DP:
Speaking of the books you read, when are you going to give us another list of good military books?

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from SL wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

FocusFront, good post! I love it how southerners continue to down play the slavery issue to this day. The world was evolving and began to realize slavery was wrong, yet they wanted slavery as their state's right(and many probably still do). They got what was coming to them in my opinion. If you could call any war, a war of good against evil, this was it, and evil was the loser.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Well, Ok, but in my mind's eye I'm still going to end up picturing you as Emo Phillips in bib overalls and no front teeth...

Carry on.

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from Greenhead wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz:

Why do you insult everyone who has something to say about the way you write? Can you not have a disagreement without resorting to personal attacks?

The fact that this topic comes up a couple of times each month would give most people pause to reconsider their "style".

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

And yes, the generals were lousy in the war, but mostly because they failed to adapt. The last war they'd fought was the Mexican War, in which smooth bored muskets were used by most of the troops. In the Civil War both sides were armed with rifled muskets shooting Minie balls, accurate to hundreds of yards rather than dozens of feet. Lee was a good general, but most of his successes came when he could get the Union to attack him, when his army could hunker down and shoot charging Yankees, as at Fredericksburg. He didn't do as well at Malvern Hill, Antietam, or Gettysburg, because his troops had to do the attacking.

Our generals had nothing on the Europeans who fought WWI; their generals used the same massed bayonet charge tactics that failed in the Civil War, but they were going against machine guns and bolt action rifles. Their battlefield casualties numbered in the millions.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I live in the South. A lot of people down here still are angry with Lincoln, and have nothing good to say about Grant, either. That war still leaves a mark.

blackdawgz;

The key to good communicating is relating your message to your audience. I have no doubt that in the rarefied air you are used to inhabiting, your writing scores points for you. But we are just plainspoken shooters and hunters, and would prefer to read a post without having to decode heavy vernacular mixed with racial angst. Hey, nobody is grading this stuff, right?

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Honor and duty to ones "Country" (state) was of utmost concern to the people of the time, especially the south. I beleive it was Shelby Foote that said it was far easier for a soldier to face a hail of bullets than say, "No Marse Robert, I ain't gonna go..."

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Deihl,

You might want to read about Camp Butler. Andersonville and Butler are said editorials on how humans treat each other in times of war.

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from Harold wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

On focusfront's comments above: There is a supposedly true story of two German POWs who escaped a POW camp somewhere in the South. The two Germans headed for the hills and later found themselves deep in the mountains footsore, tired and above all, thirsty. In a "holler" they found a cabin with a well and started to drink. The owner, an elderly lady, got upset because they didn't ask permission and told them to "git". The Germans yelled and cursed at the old woman, who promptly took a rifle from behind the door and killed one German and held the other one until the law arrived. Later the local sheriff was congratulating the women for stopping the Germans. Suddenly the woman was totally remorseful and upset. She stated she didn't know they were Germans and wouldn't have shot them if she had known. The Sheriff responded by asking just what the heck did she think they were. The old woman responded, "Dang it, I thought they were Yankees!"

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Has anybody here ever seen blackdawgz and Yohan in the same room?

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I think I remember reading somewhere that at the Battle of Gettysburg, every last person in the United States with the name Jeb was killed:)

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I'm from the south blackdawgz, lived here my whole life, and people that talk and write like you generally get a nod behind their back and a comment of, "His family tree doesn't have any forks in it."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hexapolydactyly will produce typing like that of b'dawgz. ;)

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@focus - good posts.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@beekeep - What's your problem with Camp Butler. It housed over 200,000 US Illinois recruits and only 3000 rebellion prisoners, all from the capture of Ft. Donaldson, Ft. Henry, and Isl #10. Casualties were 168 dead, mostly from pneumonia. About 6%.

The US treated prisoners of war far better than the rebellion did. I think the principal thing you have to consider for the Elmira prison was that it operated throughout the war. After 1863, the physical condition and health state of rebel prisoners was increasingly poor. It made them more vulnerable to disease.

By contrast, most people in Andersonville died of starvation, plain and simple. The only other place where you see pictures of people who were abused to the extent of Union pows at Andersonville is photos of US-liberated nazi concentration camps at the close of WW2.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Keep writing Dave, there are many of us literate enough to read in vernacular, understand and agree with your political acuity. I perhaps think that this may be related to the fact that as a child, I read Nash Buckingham instead of Mark Twain, who I understand also wrote in vernacular.
I would imagine that some of my ancestors bought some of that land grant your ancestors sold. Damn carpetbaggers stole it from them and left my family close to broke after the war was over.
Illegitimi non Carborundum

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My family has been in Alabama since the 1820's when one of my great-great-great grandfathers was given 160 acres by the US government for fighting in the War of 1812. His son, one of my great-great grandfathers, was a private in Lee's Army and saw action at Gettysburg and other nasty places. Two of my other great-great grandfathers on my mom's side were also in Lee's Army serving together in an artillery battery. NONE of the three owned slaves. To my knowledge, their reasons for fighting were not recorded so I really don’t know why they were there and I really don’t care.

What I do know is that I and others like me are from the same genetic stock with the same temperament. Sure, we have grown up with indoor plumbing and soft beds. But, we also have the advantage of being better fed and better educated. It is my belief that put in a bad enough situation we would perform as well as our ancestors. Just look at the bravery and performance of our soldiers today if you don’t believe me.

Like Blackdawgs, I’ve worked hard and dangerous jobs: logging, coal mining, and in a foundry. I’ve swung a sledgehammer through many an underground shift going home with swollen knuckles. And, had to go back and do it again the next day and the day after that. It was an incentive to complete three college degrees and get a desk job for my older years. I’m saying all this to back-up what Blackdawgs has said here and I agree with him. Besides that, I enjoy the way he writes and don’t give a she-it what you detractors think. We in the South are confident in our abilities and our intelligence. Soldiers from our part of the country have proven themselves in every conflict of this Republic since the 1860’s and will continue to do so.

By the way, according to Wikipedia, here are the combat deaths:
Union = 140,414
Confederate = 72,524

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Diehl,

Camp Douglas existed for just 13 months. Total area was 40 acres and was divided into 3 prison compounds. Prisoners were housed in 21 wood-frame buildings, measuring 24x100 feet each and meant to house 100 men, three of these buildings were used as hospitals.

Prisoner log:

2,000 prisoners from the battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

1,000 prisoners from the battle of Island No. 10.

1,665 prisoners from the battles of Fort Hindman and Murfreesboro.

500 prisoners from assorted actions and venues

Total Prisioners held on 40 acers - 5,165 for the 13 month duration of operation.

Total confederate Dead in 13 Months - 866

Do a little better research next time.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To reply, but not to answer James Michener's question, "Where did we find such men?" I do not know but you could not find 620,000 men today in America who would demonstrate such courage, for so long, in such conditions, even if you looked in Alabama and Mississippi.
And focusfront, if hatred of the enemy is not instilled in the troops, as company commander, you have not done your job. Most of the Confederate troops came with that as 'factory standard' and was not needed to be added on as an option. They came rightfully sporting hatred because of northern politics and carpetbagging yankee's kept the hatred alive after the war was over.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Thanks Blackdawgs!

Beekeeper, it's just par for Diehl. He uses poorly researched 'facts' in just about every discussion.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Do a little better research next time."

On contrary I think you need to do better research. The total pop never came to 5163 at any time. It was fairly typical to transfer prisoners out. The 186 I mention are those who died of disease. The rest died of wounds as Camp Butler also had a very large hospital.

Like I said, no valid comparison with Andersonville at all. You need to do more homework and come back better-informed.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Beekeeper, it's just par for Diehl. He uses poorly researched 'facts' in just about every discussion"

Heh. Every six-fingered no-necked troll knows that 'where you live.'

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from Fruguy101 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The real fact of the civil war is that southern politicians were mad because all the northern politicians of the time were getting all the pork in the bills being passed. Educated men were the reason that the US split, and that has always taken back seat to the fact that slavery was frowned upon in the northern states. As has been the case ever since our country was formed, the politicians were the ones who started the fighting, but made the poor pay the ultimate price for their disagreements.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To all:

Nobody has his head in the sand about the history leading up to the war, or the atrocious treatment the South got during Reconstruction. Show of hands of those who think A. Lincoln wouldn't have handled Reconstruction differently than A. Johnson, U. Grant, R. Hayes? People got rich during the war because someone always does. Hitler got to kill six million Jews in retaliation for the Jewish bankers getting rich during WWI while the rest of Germany was ruined. He saw conspiracy, just as some do today concerning the Civil War.

My point was, and remains unchallenged, that you don't go to war over the price of cotton. And when the war goes as bad as it did as quick as it did, you don't keep fighting over the price of cotton. RES, war doesn't bring hate, hate brings war. Check out the Mideast, and tell me that peace there depends upon Israel giving up another thousand acres.

Blackdawgz, you prove me correct with every word you write. When you live in a world where there are two kinds of people, those who agree with you and those who are stupid #@$%&*#@, that's usually the way it is. I'm sure your cotton producing ancestors took a beating after the Civil War. The slaves took it before the war. By the way, Union troops wore wool.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

And as for casualties, approximately half the dead on both sides died of diseases caught in camp or as a result of being wounded. I don't see why that makes a difference. They were just as much casualties as if they had been shot on the battlefield, and just as dead.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Focus,
I thought that was what I said.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgz wrote (sic):

"Ah am retarred on SS Disability due to dementia.

Ah could nevva compose enny of this stuff, as the ideas wood nevva occur to me.

It iz from the dawgz and the people whose spirits coexist with their soulz.

They originate all ideas, butt Ah kin no longer spell, but communicate via phonetics..."

I assume the dementia and inability to communicate occurred after December of 2009 when you wrote:

"Those are some logical and well-planned goals. Don't ruin your dog with the way you think. Of course, the best field dogs are from field champion stock. What separates these fine dawgs from the rest is "instinct." Actually transferred from Mom via the psychological phenomenon of Imprinting, as well as inherited memories from both parents. A dog of excellent breeding will trace his lineage and training memories all the way back to at least Peter of Faskally."

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgs;

Is money all you are about? Is that the only reason you can come up with for fighting? If not, why should other people be different?

I think about the Iron Brigade, mostly Wisconsin farmboys but with some Michigan and Indiana foreigners as well. The Iron Brigade, which took its stand in a cornfield that was flattened by enemy fire, virtually every cornstalk shot off. That was the first brigade to meet the Confederates in Pennsylvania and begin the Battle of Gettysburg (the Iron Brigade was almost destroyed in that battle). Highest casualties of any brigade in the war, north or south.

Was THAT about money? Were they just suckers?

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

There were so many ironies in this war. A few examples include the "Chicago Conspiracy" wherein a group of Windy City businessmen and judges, in association with some Canadians, conspired to release and arm the rebs at Camp Douglas in an effor to gain Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio for the south. Due to one prisoner and a detetive the plan did not work out. In the Jones County Rebellion the citizens of that area wanted to secede from Mississippi and rejoin the union. A young southern soldier, I unfortunately can't remember his name, died at Gettysberg on his family farm, yes he was from there originally. In a brief moment of rest and reloading the Merrimac (aka Virginia) was fired upon by a Union wooden vessel while the Monitor was repairing on the other side of the bay. Even though th southern commander of the Merrimac recognized the Union ship as the one commanded by his own brother he still ordered a volley into he ship setting it afire and sinking it along with his sibling. Have you ever read the exploits of Captian Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama? He makes pirates look like Sunday school teachers. The death of General A. S. Johnson astride his horse at Shiloh bleeding to death while his personal surgeon was attending to private soldiers and perhaps turned the tide of the battle. Earlier at Fort Sumter the fort commander was a former arillery intructor at West Point. Across the harbor firing cannons at him was his best former student and one who was held over for a year after graduation to train other gunners at the Academy, General P. G. T. Beauregard. The wild rides of Nathan Bedford Forrest, J. E. B. Stuart, and John Singleton Moseby (later a friend of little Georgie Patton) still challenge the imagination. But ultimately it was the foot soldier like my great great grandfather who lost an arm at the Battle of the Wilerness. As soon as he was able to walk he was discharged and walkd home from Virginia to Georgia where he lived to be an old man. It goes on and on, yes what men indeed...

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

A couple other thoughts, Grant's in-laws were slave owners and Wm. T. Sherman resigned as president of a college in Louisiana (now known as LSU) to accept his U. S. commission once again. By the way Grant's name was not Ulyesses Simpson Grant it was...look it up.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

It seems every "war generation" produces the bravest of the brave from our society. Most of those braves souls never get to reap the benefit of their hard labor born under fire, unfortunately.
The Civil War, in my opinion, was the most futile of wars fought for no other reason then pompous ego rights from a once united country that fought together for independence. War colleges educated men to kill there own country men. Was this the cost we had to pay to become an independent nation? I know, I over simplify the entire political dynamics of this war, but to continue a "grudge" in the south over it doesn't make any sense either. The confederate flag waving really is over the top, too!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Grant's real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but he didn't want the initials H.U.G. on his belongings. The S. was made up at West Point and he liked the initials U.S. Yankeedoodle Dandy.....

Peace on Joan Baez, Black Crows and the others. Listen to some Georgia boys and watch the slide show. True Southerners will appreciate it, the rest can KMRA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-ty5yk5D2M&feature=related

Sic 'em Blackdawgz!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I mentioned to a friend that the number of American Civil War dead is more than the combined number of American deaths in WW1 and WW2, and his reply was "of course, the number would be that high, because on both sides, the men dying were Americans. The more realistic number would be to divide the death toll by half."
I write this not to trivialize those deaths, which were regrettable no matter how you look at it, but to provide an alternate view.

It was the first modern war, with troops getting to staging areas by way of railroad, preserving their legs for the furious charging and running ahead. It was the first war in which telegraphs relayed reports and orders from the field to command center and back, and also from field reporter/journalist/correspondent to newspaper and back.

Speaking of journalists, the Civil War is also regarded as the first war to feature professional war correspondents, writing independently, and not in the service as private chronicler/publicist of some general. It was also the first war to be photographed, thus introducing not only the American nation but the rest of the world to images of the true horrors of war.

Obviously the North enjoyed a great advantage in having a more extensive Railroad and telegraph network. This meant Southern troops had to do more marching. The telegraph advantage also allowed Lincoln to stay up to date with reports better than his counterpart.

It was the first war to extensively use air reconnaissance, using balloons. It was also the first war to see ground fire bring down a [lighter-than-air] craft.

They say there is a marked difference in the way the bodies of Northerners and Southerners decomposed. The deceased Northerners would blacken within hours and be bloated, like normal corpses, while the Southerners remained thin and fair, even pale, their faces unaltered, as if only asleep. They say that is because the Southerners were so hungry, they didn't have enough in their bodies to swell and decay. Some were getting by with one meal a day, some subsisted on soup, often going several days without any solid food. And most were barefoot.

It was also not unusual for Southern commanders, especially at platoon and squad level, to exhort their troops by saying the bluecoats have "cheese and potatoes in their haversacks". The carnage that followed was unspeakable.

Even more amazing is the number of foreign officers, most of them "gentlemen" in the old European definition (not just "men", but "gentlemen", of high social and economic stature, of aristocratic and even noble birth) who served on both sides. There were French and Spaniards, Poles and Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Irish, Scots and English. Just as in the War of Independence "4 scores and 7 years" earlier, these foreign officers did it for various reasons: experience, adventure, some did it for pay (as professional officers, not as mercenaries), and some did it for free, even paying for their own arms, horse and uniform, believing in "the cause" of the side they were in.

As in the American Revolution, the Civil war tore apart families. And the fighting was especially brutal when the combatants knew each other, because the feeling of betrayal and treachery was so much greater. While the new rifled muskets were more deadly, the fighting was much the same. A couple of volleys (although with deadlier effect), then the troops closed in. Bullets, butts, bayonets, knives, fists, knees, boots, teeth.

Perhaps the most amazing fact of all, how quickly in general the American nation healed and moved forward. Contrast that to the centuries-long (and still destructive) feuds among the Spanish peoples (Castilian vs. Catalan or Basque, etc.), or among the Slavs (as the numerous, interminable Balkan Wars demonstrate).

Sure, Yankees (not just the baseball kind) are still hated in many parts of the South, and Sherman is still considered a war criminal in Georgia, but the American nation moved forward in leaps and bounds after the war. They say the aftermath of the American Civil war is that finally, kicking and screaming, the entire US became an industrial power. Before the American Civil War, the US was still culturally and economically deferential to the British (especially the South, which proved fatal when the Union blockade couldn't be lifted at the Battle of Hampton Roads, probably the true most important battle of all), and the British Royal Navy absolutely ruled the waves. By the 1880's, the US had already overtaken Britain as the greatest merchant marine power in the world. By the 1920's, their navies are already equal. By the 1940's there was no longer any doubt which is the greater power.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Because most of the fighting took place in the South, and because most of the landmarks were bodies of water, the battles were referred to differently by both sides. One side used placenames like Manassas, while the other side referred to the stream (Bull Run). Same with Sharpsburg/Antietam.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

This is gross oversimplification, of course, but I think the fortunes of the South went south after Stonewall Jackson died. No other general in US history did so much with so little. His Shenandoah Valley campaign may never be duplicated again.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I never heard such crap as Black Dawgzs spouts, I doubt that he has ever been in MS or AL, we enjoy a standard of life here that is the equal of anywhere else in the US. We have poor people here just as there are in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and everywhere else, but many of the people here have bothered to become productive citizens and earn a good living wage, live in nice houses with running water, Elec and flush toilets, speaking of which, Black Dawgzs ought to be the next thing flushed. Most of us can read and a few (Grishom, Faulkner, Welty and Grizzard can even write)

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Unfortunately Stonewall accidently caught a bullet from a southern night guard when returning from a scouting mission. Let's see do our generals do that sort of thing today, night scouting patrols? As far as I am aware the only time the "stainless banner" was officially used was to cover Jacksn's coffin at Richmond but that may not be true. After at most limited use another vertical bar was added so the banner would not look like a surrender flag. We all have our oddities, Jackson prefered to suck on lemons even during battles. I don't know exactly why except he was a spritual man and often rode with one arm extended to heaven. In fact both sides had excellent, mediocre, and horrible generals with many of them being killed in their thirties. Earl Van Dorn, for instance, died from the bullet of a man alledged to be a minister. He believed that little Earl had been having an affair with his wife so ended it with one shot. By the way forgive me as I certainly know that Albert Sidney Johnston is the correct spelling of the admirable field commander's name, I accidently typed Johnson in a previous entry.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dixie was not the national anthem of the south but was a favorite tune of Lincoln's as it originated in Brooklyn. The "stars and bars" normally associated as being the flag of the Confederacy was actually one of many variations used officially and unofficially probably beginning with the Bonnie Blue when it was first raised in Jackson, MS. Of course there were many state, army, and regimental flags employed. They often symbolized the beliefs of the men standing under them, sometimes not. For the most part I agree that the wealthy politiians, perhaps from both sides, generally faired well during the war while those who could care less tended to be slain far more often.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Bellringer

You omitted Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee., Suh.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I no longer see Blackdawgs comments. I hope his account hasn't been deleted. I think the topic might have gotten the better of him as he usually is pretty insightful in the answers section, etc., despite the way he writes. He has been a contributor to the site a long time, I hope he comes back.

Now as to the topic, The Civil War always gets emotions up and probably will for a long time. I have my opinions on what caused the war as does everyone, thats not the point of Dave's post. The war was so vicious and costly to both sides, I believe the lessons here are to never repeat it.

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from 410skeeter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

to focusfront::
Envy and greed have historically back as far as you can go been the reasons for war.
The northerners would go South in the winter, see their plantations the idle slaves because it was idle times.
They bou$ght the slaves by the tens of thousands and put them in the shoe factories in New England(the largest business then as people did not own horses generally).
They died in such large vast numbers that records were not kept, It was unprofitable even as slave labor(you have to remember this was before central heat, penicillin, etc.
Envy grew..they destroyed the Souths Cotton Futures,
Now hate set in for trying to impose your will on another(the devils work and the normal response).
When Lincoln in his last speech said ""we shall go on from this as brothers and sisters" That was his death sentence, as there was no way the will-imposers from up north would allow that(Historically anytime a head of state is shot in the head, the most difficult target, it is because he knew his aggressor, fear of saying one word even one first name cause the choice of this target).When Reuters morse coded the death of Lincoln to London, their biggest fear had been realized because of their huge investment in the South, the British Stock Market crashed.
Now envy and greed realized, the South has yet to recover from the pillage and plunder.
Just to clear up the propaganda you have been programmed with "focusfront".

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Amflyer, Your obsession with Blackdawgs, lack of grammar is unseemly, he does not appear in this particular thread.

I do not find his writing style to be offensive, he is an educated man who enjoys satire, and uses it to advantage. It takes a lot of effort to write in this style, remember Mark Twain? It does not bother me in the least. If you want to "talk" to someone post in a thread that he has posted in, not on one where he has not.

You need to look into your lack of compassion for a man who has physical problems and get over your own insecurities and ego. Blackdawgs has many friends here that enjoy satire. I suspect that many do not enjoy your rants.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Moishe, the comments have been removed. I was commenting on his observation that others were less than positive about his postings.

And at the point where he's telling other posters to "STFU" and calling them a "stupid Mo-Fo" is the point where I stop caring.

It's just a blog. I don't take it too seriously.

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from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I have read that Jackson thought the circulation in one of his arms was poorer than in the other. Consequently, it became heavier and "unbalanced" his body. He often held it straight up so it could drain. A shrink friend of mine says that most of Jackson's physical obsessions were probably due to uncorrected poor vision, which can cause a number of eccentric physical symptoms.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ok I take your point, I have never seen him write STFU or Stupid mofo. So cant comment on that.

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from jws wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

For those interested in the civil war, and especially Gettysburg, I recommend reading "Killer Angels". The best field commander, by far, was Joshua Chamberlain.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"As it were I have never seen a six fingered, no necked troll down this way"

No mirrors in your cave then, @zzhat?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"No other general in US history did so much with so little."

Beg leave to differ. Grant's early Ohio River Campaign and, again, the series of running battles between Wilderness and the Petersberg siege. Nathanael Greene's southern campaign during the revolution. Patton's drive thru France after the breakout from the Contentin. Doug MacArthur's Inchon campaign.

As for Jackson. He was real good when he could face a detachment from an enemy main force. Not so good when the US had a full army on the field as at Kernstown.
Jackson simply blew it at Kernstown, then blamed Lew Garnett for the defeat even though Garnett saved Jackson's force.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

They history channel is having Civil War week and I have been watching every night. It is unbelievable. Today's men if they even deserve that title would have run to California.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ah, ha, ha... What's wrong Dr. Diehl? I would have expected a person of your educational background to be able to have a civil discussion without resulting to personal insult. Oh well, if you can't support your position I guess name calling is the next best thing. Oh... before you get back in out of the sun you can take time to K M R A! I'm done with 'ya. Continue to show your true ability and colors and spew forth all you like.

Cheers!

Bee

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

I think they or their ancestors already ran to California or Eastern California, formerly known as Arizona.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

O Garcia:

Good posts. You are right about Jackson. Gettysburg might have turned out differently if Stonewall had lived long enough to see it.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Strange. My history books showed the American civil war as ended in 1865. From the looks of it, they were a bit off.

If you feel an overwhelming need to cuss, yell and generally carry on, take out your frustration on something other than each other. Maybe Weatherby rifles, or something similarly deserving.

Right WAM?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@ Amflyer

Right! Like I have said before, there are two kinds of riflemen: Those that own a Weatherby and those .... Nevermind.

WAM

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from 007 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Mike, it appears to me that there are a lot of Southern boys on here. Do you really want to keep poking the hornets' nest?

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from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

146 years later why the north and south fought can still generate hot debate. A tragic, sorrowful time in America's history brought on by activists of that time period as well as pride, ego, and greed. I would like to point out that slavery was not started by the Europeans or Americans, but by Arabs and others of the Muslim faith. Read the history of Africa and the ivory explorers; evidence of this is given in nearly every account I have read and is still going on in Africa today. As to the men who fought for what they believed in whether they were north or south, Lord, were they some tough, tough men. What does the south have today? Oil refineries, NASA, great medical centers, computer giants, vast natural resources, etc. and a never ending tradition of gun ownership, fishing, hunting and love of the outdoors. What's up there in the north...mainly
anti gun liberals and......(sigh)POLITICIANS.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WAM sez:

"Right! Like I have said before, there are two kinds of riflemen: Those that own a Weatherby and those .... Nevermind."

...that rent them?
...that steal them?
...that suck eggs?
...that go hungry in the long cold winter?
...whose wives won't let them hunt anyway?

Do tell.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Gettysburg might have turned out differently if Stonewall had lived long enough to see it."

I don't see how. Jackson's best moments were as an army commander. If he'd been at Gettysburg he'd have commanded, what, Rodes' Division? What could he have done that Rodes didn't do? It was your basic rolling envelopment and when the US line was stretched too thin, it fell back. Attacking "harder" would just have produced more rebel casualties on Day 1.

On Day 2 the fight was in the Devils Den and on the left. You can't attack harder than Hood did. On Day 3 the fight was across the Emmitsburg road and then balls to the wall at Cemetary Ridge. And no one in the rebel army was going to take and hold Cemetary Ridge with all the artillery support there.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dr. Diehl,

It appears you are addressing an empty room. After all of your posturing it would seem no one really cares. Go strutt somewhere else as you appear incapable of having a civil discussion at any level with anyone.

Regards,

Bee

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@ Amflyer,

LOL! You crack me up! Almost spilled my coffee on that one!

Answer: None of the above

Correct choices:

...that wish they had one.
...that have convinced themselves that they don't need one.
...that have never learned to appreciate good rifles.
...that foolishly spend lots of money on POS rifles before they come areound to buying a good one.
...that don't handload and wilt at high ammo prices.

Still smiling!

WAM

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

'flyer

Gave you a +1 to offset the -1 you got ! Ha ha

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I declare the winner of the most personal insults and name calling competition to be 'Mike Diehl' with a total of 9 personal insults doled out to 2 written by the 'Beekeeper', who does get an honorable mention for the most creative insult. xxxxx=doe! Cracking me up! You could even best our all time greatest flamer if you push the envelope a little harder.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Just a few observations concerning some previous comments. Financial status played little role in determining who did and did not go to war, at least in the South. My own great, great grandfather was both relatively well to do and a member of the S.Carolina legislature who signed the order of secession. Far from leaving the fight up to others, he was with Beauregard the day the South fired on Ft. Sumter and continued to go back into action after one debilitating wound after another, including the loss of a limb. He spent the last months of the war at Elmira enjoying Yankee hospitality. To the extent Andersonville was worse because of starvation, be aware Confederate soldiers were starving as well, because there was no food. No one does that for money or position. In the case of Southern soldiers, there was that finely-honed sense of honor inculcated from an early age, but there was something beyond that --you were fighting to defend your land and your home. I remember being involved in a conversation a few years ago with some semi-power movers who thought it would be politically expedient to endorse the removal of confederate symbols, including the flag. I informed them that they might as well endorse spitting on my ancestors' graves, because they fought and died under that flag. One of the people on the other side of the discussion happened to be from Massachusetts, and Irish. I looked him in the eye and told him, "It's all about occupation." His eyes widened, he said he got it, and advised the others to drop the subject.
Southerners are a stubborn bunch. The Virginia General Assembly had come within one vote of outlawing slavery immediately prior to Lincoln's election. But when lawmakers thought that move was being dicated from the north, sentiments hardened the other way. I can still remember my own great grandmother describing how union soldiers had invaded her home and bayonetted the pillows the women made by hand, shaken the feathers from them and laughed that "it was snowing in Dixie." She was about 98 at the time and her eyes till flashed fire. If anyone wonders why southerners harbored resentments about the war for so long, bear in mind that generation after generation heard tales like that from their immediate relatives, who had live through it.
In some ways, though, I think the bravery and dedication to duty shown by union troops was even more impressive, since the majority had no personal stake in the outcome and were far more often conscripts. It is one thing to walk into a hale of bullets when your farm is the battlefield. It is another to do so when you are far away from home fighting for something intangible.
As for being motivated by hatred, one of the most common sounds at the end of any battle was that of soldiers joining together to sing together across the lines. Then, they would wake up in the morning and go back to blowing each other to pieces. Remarkable, tragic and magnificent.
On a slightly different but related subject, I would be curious to know if anyone has ever come across or laid hands on a "Quattlebaum rifle." That side of my family made them for the south and I have been trying to locate one for years. It was a pretty small production based in South Carolina and I do see occasional reference to them, but I would give my eye-teeth just to get a decent photograph of one.

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from blueridge wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Gentlemen,

I dare not get much into this, as my grt-grandmother was burned out by Sherman's soldiers. And people in the North often wonder why the fuss, still, among Southern people?

However, I lived for a time in New England, and have many friends up there, whom I would hate to oppose on the battlefield. I did manage to trade and swap some few pieces of ordnance from them, and consider them ''captured''...smile. I served with a New England police force for a spell, and quickly found out that they could not shoot well; we formed a pistol team, and honed skills--great bunch of guys. Still, most of them that had been in the service found that their training officers were from---you guessed it--Dixie. Let us smile put the Late Unpleasantness behind us. We are shooters, and we can admire what Dave Petzel brought up in this blog---the ernest courage of Northern and Southern soldiers, sailors and marines. I would recommend authors better than Cantor, however. The recent memoirs of Gen. Porter Alexander are magnificent, but were not intended to be published; they were done for his daughters, and sat at Emory University for years, undiscovered, until Dr. Gary Gallagher found them.

I served with a Virginia unit, 18th VA., Co. B, during the 125th anniversaries; I would commend more men serving now in the 150th. It beats any book you can read, to take part in the soldiering, yourself. For what it is worth, having been in the battle lines at Manassas, Gettysburg, and Saylor's Creek--I prefer the Springfield, 1863. A beautiful rifle. And I prefer the Gray.

Peace.

Blue

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"I declare the winner of the most personal insults and name calling competition to be 'Mike Diehl'"

I accept your prize. Massive retaliation is a moral good, IMO. ;)

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@Mreeder -- I guess you've seen pix of the historic marker at your ancestors' factory and flour mill?

One of your ancestor's guns might, possibly, be viewed at:

http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/flc&CISOPTR=191&RE...

The one pictured is a hunting rifle. Apparently the maker's mark is "E. Hall" and I'm guessing that CSA contract rifled muskets will bear the E. Hall mark.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

as allways its the middleclass masses or poor that fight in the wars and the rich that command them from a safe distance. normal working people for theire age.. fighting not for patriotistic reasons but to protect theire family and home. dont belive the hype of politicians or anyone else that has a financial or political interest in this ever.. the rest of the discussion just becomes moot and shows the lack of intelligence in the society in general.. the ol divide and conquer strategy works just too well even in this supposedly enlightened age.. crivens!

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WAM,
the .270 Weatherby is yet to be surpassed. Lazzeroni wouldn't even dare touch it.

(I hope this does not lead to a .270WSM w/ 24 inch barrel vs. . 270Wby w/ 26 inch bbl debate)

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Do I hear crickets chirping...?

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from 30-07 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

we all know slavery is wrong now. some new it then I am born and raised southerner. Most Americans at the time didnt care one way or the other about slaves, yes yankees too. there were even riots in the north about not wanting to fight for them. The south prabably had no chance at winning the war. If If Gen. Jackson had lived to Gettysburg he probebly influences Gen. Lee to do things differently there (his right hand). the dumbest thing we could have done after Lee surrndered was to kill Lincoln. He would have gone easier on us durring reconstruction.
Racial relations probably worsed durring recunstruction than they would have if the north had not raped the souths economy and resources.
Any time a northerner and southerner dissagree about anything (politics, sports, whatever) the northerner allways drags racism slavery and hillbilly type insults out.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

30-07,

That is a very neat and concise analogy. The victor has written history since writing was developed. The revisionists have at it from there. So many people have written of this issue over the years trying to convery to the feelings and attitudes of the times that much has been clouded and lost. Opinion became fact, fact became opinion.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i guess it just boils down to who wanted it more. those men were certainly dedicated.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

O Garcia

Researching the .270 Weatherby and 7mm Weatherby a while back, I found that there is not a dime's worth of difference between those two given the same bullet weight and construction. Same case, same velocities, just 0.007" bore difference. I prefer the 7mm Roy for heavierr bullet options. JMO

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@30 07 -- How do you figure reconstruction "raped the south's economy?" Apart from the absence of slaves, which were in fact more costly than hired labor, mostly northern money led to rebuilding, industrialization, and better infrastructure (through railroad improvement), did it not?

@Bee - "The victor writes the history" is an argument I regularly see written in the context of people trying to make obvious evil seem like ordinary business. It's the sort of thing that people say when trying to claim, for example, that "Japan was forced to attack Pearl Harbor," that treatment of allied pow's in the Imperial Japanese realm was "consistent with their standards of the day" (which it was not), etc.

Transmissible illness and contagion were facts of life for crowded environments in the mid-19th century. In army camps, prisons, hospitals, dense urban ghettos and the like. Elmira's and other US pow standards resulted in casualty rates that were common given pneumonia. But the people who left those camps walked out under their own power; they weren't ragged skeletons carried out on stretchers who'd been systematically and deliberately starved in the heart of a rural productive farmland.

There is no moral equivalence between the way the US treated rebel prisoners, or even between the way the rebellion treated US prisoners and Andersonville. That is why Andersonville's commandant was the first person ever hanged for what, these days, would be called "War crimes" or "crimes against humanity."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Wonder where other than Andersonville we have seen photographs like this one?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Andersonvillesurvivor...

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from 30-07 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@Diehl the prisoners at Andersonville were not intentionaly starved. The south didn't have enough food to feed its own army.
the heart of rich farmland was not being farmed at the time cause all able men were away killing yankees. As far economy the war itself realy wrecked it, but carpet baggers came down and exploited the south and further crippled it. As far as the evil well I cannot repeat cannot defend slavery, but the northerners of the time were not all abolitionists. They were a small percentage.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The problem is that they WERE intentionally starved. The problems feeding the armies in the field weren't of lack of food, they were due to lack of logistics. Moreover, CSA field units weren't remotely in the starved condition of Andersonville internees. The food was there. It just wasn't provided.

The Andersonville guards and the camp commandant (who was something of a 'toss under the bus' for CSA policy in this regard) and the civilians in the surrounding community were quite well fed. Withholding food was the intentional policy of the CSA - possibly of Wirtz himself although his frequent letters complaining of conditions suggest that the decision to deliberately neglect was made at higher levels.

Beyond that the point is moot. All the CSA had to do was release the prisoners. Instead in each case they tried to make it a lever for prisoner exchange. Comes a point where you have to make the moral choice about which path you walk, and then you are judged by the choice.

Reading between the lines, I suspect that the policy of starvation was deliberate in order to coerce the US into a prisoner exchange. But that is of course pure speculation. Impossible to prove.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My comment in re evil wasn't about slavery. It was about pow treatment at Andersonville. As to carpetbaggers, I'd bet a dollar to a doughnut that the biggest exploiters in the reconstruction south were locals. It's always that way. "Carptebaggers" is pretty much a trope -- a mythical outsider used as a scapegoat for every bad local decision in the context of the greater "lost cause" myth.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Carpet baggers were a fact of life during reconstruction. Opportunists did buy up property for back taxes but the worst of the carpetbaggers were the reconstructionist politicians. They used their positions of influence in the corrupt governments to grow fat on bribes, graft and outright fraud against southeners.

As far as the Victors writing history... proof exists in the history of every major civilization. China, Egypt, Greece, Rome etc. all wrote of how deplorable their enemys were. The Romans were probably the worst of the lot until we get to the 19th and 20th centuries when the Europeans had a hayday trashing one another.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

That seems a statement of opinion rather than fact. Where's the evidence that reconstruction destroyed the south's economy? The period of US military rule saw US funds, largely from outside the south, used to rebuild cities and ports, add new rail lines, and build alot of public schools. There's no particular evidence that the US army oversight of these activities was worse than CSA oversight, and there is compelling anecdotal evidence that reconstruction was a relatively GOOD period for the south. For one thing, states were required to allow emancipated slaves to vote.

It was only when reconstruction ended that blacks were once again denied the vote, and a bunch of Jim Crow laws piled on. Probably that's why reconstruction is so bound up in the lost cause myth. The plain fact is that it stopped people from continuing to treat American blacks in a vile fashion. Some southerners (obviously) resent that to the present day.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"As far as the Victors writing history... proof exists in the history of every major civilization."

That's a tautological argument you've made. Someone wrote the histories. Where victors wrote histories, it does not automatically follow that the histories were inaccurate. Where the losers write histories, it is most often evident that the histories are self-glorifying rationalizations that dismiss the losers part in precipitating conflict and usually posit a suite of couldawouldashoulda scenarios to make victory seem just within grasp prior to failure. Examples are legion. The Lost Cause Myth of the rebellion is a very good example.

Even the authors of the day (most of them anyhow), didn't try to dress up the Rebellion in the mythos it receives today. Longstreet's history was accurate. PGT Beauregard's was not.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Mike Diehl,
I'm sorry to see so many history revisionist changing the facts.
Some seem racist also.

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from buckstopper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Lee had Stonewall Jackson. Grant had Sherman. BlackJack Pershing had MacArthur and Patton. Eisenhower had Patton and Bradley. MacArthur had "Lightnin" Joe Collins in WWII and Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller at Inchon. Generals are only as good as their subordinates.

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from Bryan1980 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was an assistant to Stonewall and its kindda cool to be able to open photo albums and see photos that are almost 200 years old.

[url=www.leinwandtaxi.de]
Fotoleinwand
[/url]

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You must come from a line of long-lived men and be an old fart yourself for a g-gf to have served in the Civil War. He must have been born around 1842 or so. Sure it 's not a great-great GF?

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I can't decide if those men were Incredibly Brave, or Incredibly Stupid............

It's gotta take balls of steel to march across an open field, in a nice row of targets, toward a bunch of men shooting at you and trying to kill you.

Good Lord, we are all cowards today by that standard!

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WA Mtn Htr - In regard to the post by Brian 1980, I am 65, which ain't that old and my grandfathers were born in 1871 and 1873 respectively, it therefore is not inconceivable that my great grandfathers could have been of age to be in the Civil War.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Bellringer,

You are 5 years older than me. All my ancestors on the paternal line lived to 78-82 years old. My great grandfather Jobe was born in 1856, a mite young for Civil War service. One of his older siblings died from wounds in a civil war hospital and another from disease in internment. Confederates all. His father was born in 1810. My presumption of age based on the 1980 and the avatar. Perhaps I am incorrect in my assumption.

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from Hobob wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

We still have men of that caliber around today, they are overseas now and in the government protecting us while we sleep. Its not as obvious as standing in long lines getting mowed down because of the orders of some rich boy thats all. The grave tends to hide the sins of the past. People then were no better or worse. Disease killed lots more than battle then but the men were brave, and also cowards. Look at desertion rates for one.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To Mike Diehl, re. Quattlebaum rifle

Thanks for the photo link. I don't know if that is a gun actually built at the Quattlebaum rifle works but it may well bear a connection. A man named Elijah Hall, who had been a rifle maker in N.C., happened to bump into John Quattlebaum while he was on his way to AL. Hall and his brother hit it off John, who had founded the flour mill and rifle works you mentioned. The Halls ended up renting a house from John and opened their own rifle works, but it's possible they may have also worked for awhile in the Quattlebaum factory. General Paul Quattlebaum, the ancestor I had mentioned, took over the rifle works from his dad. They turned out the first percussion rifles made in the south and did contract work for the Confederate Army. From what I've read I think they mainly converted flintlocks to percussion and built their own barrels. The South Carolina Confederate Museum and Relics room is supposed to have a Quattlebaum rifle on display but I have never been there or been able to access the photo online. I know a couple of rifles are in the hands of Quattlebaum descendents but I've never met them myself. My old history professor at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, the late Col. Harold B. Simpson, ran the college's Confederate Museum and sponsored the Hill College blackpowder rifle team. Col. Simpson was an expert on Hood's Texas Brigade and wrote several books on the subject. He was in pursuit of a Quattlebaum rifle for years for his museum collection but could never lay hands on one. Incidentally Col. Simpson was from, if memory serves, Illinois, but as he always liked to joke, he considered himself a "good" yankee.
Thanks again for the photo. It's given me several new leads.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Being from the North, I remeber seeing reprints of local papers as the Northern Farmers joined as Volunteers to go fight for the Union. Some were even "paid" substitutes for others who couldn't leave their farms. This past Memorial Day, I listened to the roll call of locals who didn't make it back including one who was listed as missing, presumed dead. They were men of their time fighting for their neighbors and family for what they believed in, no matter what side they were on. My Grandfather kept the long barreled rifle, his Grandfather carried in the War, the top of his gunrack until the day he died.

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from DanP wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Disease and infection led to more casualties than direct fighting. Yet, the improvements in practice that came during the war boosted survival compared to just a few years before.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Sanitary_Commission

http://www.civilwarhome.com/sanitarycommission.htm

The sanitary commission did not always get along with the army's standard medical corp. They promoted Pasteur's ideas (which were emerging during the Civil War), and ultimately reduced mortality.

The civil war introduced a number of innovations: blitzkrieg-style advances taking advantage of rails, more modern logistics management, trench warfare, fighting techniques wrapped around longer-distance shooting (wiped out the battle-line formations so typical of revolutionary-era fighting), aerial observation, and introduced innovations from cutting edge medicine of the day.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

my aunt and uncle lived for a time in north carolina and on the elamentery school they had a giant confederate flag with a confaerderate soilder saluting it. and the school was 2 years old.

when i went to gettysburg when i was 9 me and my cousin bought some cap guns and uniforms and tride to be as autentic in the agust heat as our budgets and parents allowed. my favorite place was little round top were we even renacted Col. Camberlins famed charge. my little brothere who was 2 at the time was the confederate. i wish more people my age had a apprication of history.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

my aunt and uncle lived for a time in north carolina and on the elamentery school they had a giant confederate flag with a confaerderate soilder saluting it. and the school was 2 years old.

when i went to gettysburg when i was 9 me and my cousin bought some cap guns and uniforms and tride to be as autentic in the agust heat as our budgets and parents allowed. my favorite place was little round top were we even renacted Col. Camberlins famed charge. my little brothere who was 2 at the time was the confederate. i wish more people my age had a apprication of history.

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

First,slavery was absolutely an integral part of the southern agricultural economy.Upon that system great wealth was amassed and a affluent lifestyle enjoyed by the more priveledged southern planters and wealthy businessmen of the day.Most of us are aware that most southerners did not own slaves nor directly benefit from slavery.If anything it would most likely have been the opposite,few paying jobs available with some much"free"labor.
I would not deny that slavery was one reason for the war.However,consider if you will that it was not the only reason and the South did in fact fight for independence.The notion that a new country with certain freedoms guaranteed and the perpetuation of a certain culture could be born out of rebellion was hardly a novel idea.Our country was not even 100 years old and both sides had grandfathers and great grandfathers who had participated in the revolution against an oppressive government.A fine precedent had been set.The threat that the South was facing was the dismanteling and ultimately the total collapse of her economic system and her culture.I've read nothing in any of these postings to suggest that any of you would not defend your freedom and way of life.Case in point,our defense of our second amendment right.How vehemently we defend just that one aspect of being an American.
As wrong as slavery was,and is,it had existed on this continent since 1619 which, if memory of past history courses serves me right,was the year when slaves were first brought to the New World.Southerners with whom I am acquainted wish it had never happened,however in that day it was a common and accepted practice.It's a tragedy that the South became so dependent on human bondage.Eventually the institution would have come to an end but history took a more expedient and violent course.
Mike Diehl,reconstruction was anything but good for the South.The South suffered through those years being plundered and punished.It took years for many to regain their rightful property through the court system of the day.Freedmen in many cases received 40 acres and a mule from someone else's holdings.Doubtful that the same was granted freedmen in the North.In today's vernacular,"healing"just wasn't part of the plan.Punishment and further insult was more the order of the day,the same as when the North took Arlington and buried their dead in Robert E. Lee's front yard.
The brutality of the war is still unimaginable.The South was literally crushed.Sherman's"total war"left a path of complete destruction.The siege on Charleston left her a pile of rubble.It is still stunning to consider what Americans did to one another.It is no wonder that there was great bitterness that somehow seems to survive even today.
It would be a simple thing to name one reason for such a conflict but no one reason would be the whole truth.Suffice it to say,both sides fought for what they believed in,right or wrong,and they fought with courage which I think was the subject of dave's post.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Mike Diehl,reconstruction was anything but good for the South.The South suffered through those years being plundered and punished."

Could you provide some specific examples, other than the law requiring that black people be given the right to vote?

"Freedmen in many cases received 40 acres and a mule from someone else's holdings."

That'd be "bad" in what way?

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from Cody Christenberry wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

While there is a lot that we as a country have done wrong, I believe that the Civil War is just another example in our history that demonstrates the bravery and tenacity our people will fight with. Right or wrong, our brave men and women have fought and sacrificed greatly. I believe our service men and women today carry on that tradition. God Bless our troops, and God grant our leaders wisdom and a pure heart, so as not to sacrifice their lives in vane.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

From Wikipedia's article on the Reconstruction Era:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_Era_of_the_United_States
While 1877 is the usual date given for the end of Reconstruction, some historians extend the era to the 1890s.[142] Reconstruction is unanimously considered a failure, though the reason for this is a matter of controversy.

The Dunning School considered failure inevitable because they felt that taking the power away from Southern whites was a violation of republicanism.

A second school sees the reason for failure as Northern Republicans' lack of effectiveness in guaranteeing political rights to blacks.

A third school blames the failure of not giving land to the freedmen so they could have their own economic base of power.

A fourth school sees the major reason for failure of reconstruction as the states' inability to suppress the violence of Southern whites when they sought reversal for blacks' gains. Etcheson (2009) points to the "violence that crushed black aspirations and the abandonment by Northern whites of Southern Republicans."[143]

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

to Mike Diehl,
While I appreciate your desire to defend the union and the Army of the Republic against any and all criticism, your zealotry in every particular only discredits your arguments. I do not believe anyone of fair mind could regard the reconstruction period in the south as anything other than a period of plunder, political repression and corruption. It was nothing that Lincoln, who wanted "charity toward all and malice toward none," had envisioned. Farms and other properties were taxed at rates no one in the crushed, impoverished and war-ruined south could afford, and the occupiers who imposed those penalties routinely profited by them. Southerners who had taken part in the war -- which is to say nearly all of them -- were often denied the right to vote and certainly had no recourse to anything that could be called impartial redress.
The north had intentionally waged war on civilians and civilian structures (Sherman wasn't the first to do so on a grand scale -- that credit belongs to Santa Anna) in order to break the south's will to fight, but the result was that the southern economy was left in ruins. That is why cattle drives were launched in Texas -- there was no cash, there were plenty of free-ranging cattle, and people were desperate. I do not question that it was effective and a strategy for victory, but it certainly contrasted with what was the undeniable chivalry of Lee's army, which politely approached northern farmers on its way back from the defeat at Gettysburg, requesting food in exchange for the only currency it had to offer -- Confederate bills. I don't point out that fact in order to defend "the Lost Cause," but rather only to note that those in the path of Lee's army had very little to resent once it had passed. Those in the south were left to ponder burned homes and scorched fields.
I certainly will not argue that Andersonville was not an abomination; only that the general lack of food -- and there was a lack of food -- did in fact play at least some part in what happened there, though it does not excuse the misdeeds of the commander who was justly executed. I would merely argue that only defeated miscreants face such trials, and would again suggest that any fair, objective reading of what happened at the north's major POW camps would have also led to inquiries, convictions and just hangings, had the outcome of the war been different.
As for the causes of the war, slavery was certainly the passionate ember that set the flame, but as in most wars, free trade vs. protectionism played a large role, as well as the overall tension between an agrarian and a rapidly industrializing economy and a conflict of vision between those who favored a strong federal state and others who favored reduced federal power and stronger states. I would also remind you that it was the New England states that originally insisted on the right to secession, just as it was New England sailing ships that first brought the slaves to this country, purchased from the Arab traders who had captured them in the African interior with the assistance of other indigenous tribes.
In other words, there was plenty of blame and sorrow to go around in that war, just as there was much courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty. Given how much time has passed, I'd say we'd be better off to leave it at that.

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from shane wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

"the result was that the southern economy was left in ruins"

Because it was built on slavery. Duh.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The problem, MReeder, is that everything that you posted is factually incorrect. Consider slavery. Of the states that issued proclaimations as to their reasons for secession, two causes are named: 1) hostility to the institution of slavery in the expanding US, and, 2) the Federal govt's unwillingness to trample on Northern states' rights by requiring those states to aid and abet southern kidnappers (who were placing dubious claims against the persons of blacks in the north, even those long known to be either freedmen or persons who'd never been slaves at all).

As to reconstruction. There's still no evidence that the period of US Army admin was economically bad for the south save for the sudden absence of slaves. The chief criticism of reconstruction, historically, isn't the absence of economic development; the rapid industrialization of the south and the new roads and infrastructre are proof enough of the falsity of that thesis. Instead, it was the failure to secure the blessings of liberty for black people; it was followed by another hundred years of chickens**t Jim Crow laws and it was both the attempt to forefend those laws, and the freedom movement of the 1960s, that offends so many self-righteous CSA wannabe fanboys.

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Good post,MReeder.

Mike,won't take the bait on the right to vote.
"Bad in what way?"Confiscation and redistribution of property?You can answer that for yourself.

Shane,"built on slavery".Duly noted,repeatedly.No defense for slavery.

Further discussion,being futile,I'll end with a quote from the great American,Forrest Gump,"that's all I have to say about that."

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Mr. Diehl, in fact everything I posted was not only factually correct but obvious to anyone of logical mind. Trying to argue that the south was not economically damaged by a lengthy war conducted almost entirely on its geography is simply ludicrous. For God's sakes, people in Vicksburg were reduced to eating rats and mud during the siege, and they weren't the only ones. You might as well argue that Europe was not damaged economically by WWII. The fact that it later recovered with the help of the Marshall plan does not mean it was not a mess after VE day. Or perhaps you think the Hiroshima bomb boosted urban renewal in Japan?
It is equally silly to claim that protectionism was not a factor in the hostilities. The south needed open markets in Europe -- principally England -- to sell its cotton. The north wanted tariffs to protect its developing industries. That was always a backdrop to hostilities, and no reputable historian would argue otherwise.
It is an unfortunate fact that the resentment toward northern occupation and reconstruction included the imposition of laws restricting the rights of former slaves, but those laws were themselves a de jure reflection of de facto segregation and prejudice that was just as common and ever bit as vitriolic in many northern states and locales.
Racism in this country has hardly been confined by geographic borders. Recall that Lincoln had envisioned repatriating blacks to Africa, because he did not believe whites and blacks could ever live together. Yet few would argue that by the standards of the time he was enlightened. The vast majority of union citizens were not abolitionists and had no desire to fight a war to free southern slaves. That is why Lincoln emphasized saving the union, not freeing the slaves, and did not issue the Emancipation Proclamation until late in the conflict. Even then, his motivations were more tactical than idealistic.
As for the prison camps, again, I know of no reputable historian who would claim that atrocities, malnutrition and cruel treatment did not exist on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. But to argue that a lack of food in the south did not play a role in the deaths at Andersonville flies in the face of documented history. Prisoner rations consisted of about a pound of cornmeal and a bit of either bacon or beef each day. That is exactly the same provisions provided to prison guards. There is also substantial evidence to suggest that hookworm disease, a malady not understood at the time, led to many if not most of the Andersonville deaths.
Yet, in Alton, IL, where there was never a shortage of food, Confederate prisoners suffered from scurvy, anemia and other symptoms of malnutrition and died like flies.
Nearly 25-percent of the Confederate prisoners held at Elmira Prison camp in NY died of preventable conditions, including exposure, and the camp commander, Col. William Hoffman, was by any standard of human decency a vindictive monster. In fact, there is far more evidence to support his actual depravity than there is supporting the guilt of Henry Wirz, the Andersonville commander, who ended up dangling at the end of a rope. Yet, not a single union prison camp commander was ever prosecuted.
I wasn't going to address this issue again, because I didn't see the point and I'm tired of beating a dead horse. I am not going to waste my time providing concrete example after example of things that have not been in dispute for a hundred years, simply because you refuse to accept widely-accepted and documented facts which do not accomodate your theories. While I firmly believe that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, this is one case where I plan from this moment on, on this forum, to leave history to the dead. I will leave the self-righteousness, insults, smears, historical revisionism and ideological rigidity entirely to you.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

You're shifting the frame of references, MReeder. You and I were talking about alleged economic destruction that occurred during reconstruction -- which I contend was minimal and mostly caused by locals -- not economic destruction caused by the campaigns that ultimately raged across the south; those latter are, as you note, beyond dispute.

As to motives, all you need to do is read the aricles of secession (for those states that had 'em). Trade with England and tarriffs weren't on the radar. Failure to institutionalize slavery in new states, and failure to grant a blanket write of habeas corpus on a southerner's mere assertion to own a black man in a northern state, were preeminent in southern secession documents. The fiction of "states rights" was created in the general whitewashing post-bellum southern retelling of the tale. States rights had absolutely nothing to do with secession. Slavery was the beginning, middle and end of that story.

Allegations of northern racism are pretty futile in this context. In point of fact, there were no substantial Jim Crow laws in the north. There were of course privately owned concessions that made such laws a practice, but not by state writ. There's really no valid moral comparison between southern racism and Jim Crow laws on the one hand, and treatment of minorities in the north. It's a straw man comparison that withstands no level of scrutiny.

And no, there was no shortage of food avaialable to Andersonville guards. That ought to be fairly self obvious from the fact that none of the Andersonville guards starved to death. It's true that Henry Wirz was arguably not guilty of the crime though; it's clear that systematic starvation of northern prisoners seems to have been a policy established at higher levels. Possibly, as I noted before, in order to pressure the United States into prisoner exchanges.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

"I will leave the self-righteousness, insults, smears, historical revisionism and ideological rigidity entirely to you."

And I will leave the unsubstantiated claims and cheap rhetorical parthenon shots to you.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Meh. PARTHIAN shots. Gotta fire my spellchecker!

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Very well said MReeder. I am in total agreement with your posts and your assessment. Thank you for taking the time to point out his errors. I came to the same conclusion after a previous 'discussion'.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgz:

I don't think the negativity regarding your postings are in relation to your comments, truculent as they may seem, but more in response to your "countrifying" treatment of the English language.

I fought through it for Mark Twain, but then he has a better literary reputation than you (at my location, at least).

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I live in the South. A lot of people down here still are angry with Lincoln, and have nothing good to say about Grant, either. That war still leaves a mark.

blackdawgz;

The key to good communicating is relating your message to your audience. I have no doubt that in the rarefied air you are used to inhabiting, your writing scores points for you. But we are just plainspoken shooters and hunters, and would prefer to read a post without having to decode heavy vernacular mixed with racial angst. Hey, nobody is grading this stuff, right?

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from Tim Covington wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You have the field medicine exactly right. I have an ancestor who was injured in a battle near his home. Rather than let them take his leg, he grabbed a pair of crutches and walked home.

A couple of reasons we had less casualties in WW2 was we had much better field medicine (including the sulfa drugs and penicillin) and much better field sanitation. It is amazing how many people in the Civil War were killed by diseases related to poor sanitation.

As to where we got such men, you have to consider the times. Most people worked incredibly back breaking jobs where 60+ hours per week were considered normal. There was no air conditioning, no central heating and no body really had an idea of what a germ was or what it did. These people had already survived conditions that were almost unheard of by the time WW2 came about. They were the toughest and luckiest of those born in that time frame.

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from Harold wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

On focusfront's comments above: There is a supposedly true story of two German POWs who escaped a POW camp somewhere in the South. The two Germans headed for the hills and later found themselves deep in the mountains footsore, tired and above all, thirsty. In a "holler" they found a cabin with a well and started to drink. The owner, an elderly lady, got upset because they didn't ask permission and told them to "git". The Germans yelled and cursed at the old woman, who promptly took a rifle from behind the door and killed one German and held the other one until the law arrived. Later the local sheriff was congratulating the women for stopping the Germans. Suddenly the woman was totally remorseful and upset. She stated she didn't know they were Germans and wouldn't have shot them if she had known. The Sheriff responded by asking just what the heck did she think they were. The old woman responded, "Dang it, I thought they were Yankees!"

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

And yes, the generals were lousy in the war, but mostly because they failed to adapt. The last war they'd fought was the Mexican War, in which smooth bored muskets were used by most of the troops. In the Civil War both sides were armed with rifled muskets shooting Minie balls, accurate to hundreds of yards rather than dozens of feet. Lee was a good general, but most of his successes came when he could get the Union to attack him, when his army could hunker down and shoot charging Yankees, as at Fredericksburg. He didn't do as well at Malvern Hill, Antietam, or Gettysburg, because his troops had to do the attacking.

Our generals had nothing on the Europeans who fought WWI; their generals used the same massed bayonet charge tactics that failed in the Civil War, but they were going against machine guns and bolt action rifles. Their battlefield casualties numbered in the millions.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Mike, it appears to me that there are a lot of Southern boys on here. Do you really want to keep poking the hornets' nest?

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Just a few observations concerning some previous comments. Financial status played little role in determining who did and did not go to war, at least in the South. My own great, great grandfather was both relatively well to do and a member of the S.Carolina legislature who signed the order of secession. Far from leaving the fight up to others, he was with Beauregard the day the South fired on Ft. Sumter and continued to go back into action after one debilitating wound after another, including the loss of a limb. He spent the last months of the war at Elmira enjoying Yankee hospitality. To the extent Andersonville was worse because of starvation, be aware Confederate soldiers were starving as well, because there was no food. No one does that for money or position. In the case of Southern soldiers, there was that finely-honed sense of honor inculcated from an early age, but there was something beyond that --you were fighting to defend your land and your home. I remember being involved in a conversation a few years ago with some semi-power movers who thought it would be politically expedient to endorse the removal of confederate symbols, including the flag. I informed them that they might as well endorse spitting on my ancestors' graves, because they fought and died under that flag. One of the people on the other side of the discussion happened to be from Massachusetts, and Irish. I looked him in the eye and told him, "It's all about occupation." His eyes widened, he said he got it, and advised the others to drop the subject.
Southerners are a stubborn bunch. The Virginia General Assembly had come within one vote of outlawing slavery immediately prior to Lincoln's election. But when lawmakers thought that move was being dicated from the north, sentiments hardened the other way. I can still remember my own great grandmother describing how union soldiers had invaded her home and bayonetted the pillows the women made by hand, shaken the feathers from them and laughed that "it was snowing in Dixie." She was about 98 at the time and her eyes till flashed fire. If anyone wonders why southerners harbored resentments about the war for so long, bear in mind that generation after generation heard tales like that from their immediate relatives, who had live through it.
In some ways, though, I think the bravery and dedication to duty shown by union troops was even more impressive, since the majority had no personal stake in the outcome and were far more often conscripts. It is one thing to walk into a hale of bullets when your farm is the battlefield. It is another to do so when you are far away from home fighting for something intangible.
As for being motivated by hatred, one of the most common sounds at the end of any battle was that of soldiers joining together to sing together across the lines. Then, they would wake up in the morning and go back to blowing each other to pieces. Remarkable, tragic and magnificent.
On a slightly different but related subject, I would be curious to know if anyone has ever come across or laid hands on a "Quattlebaum rifle." That side of my family made them for the south and I have been trying to locate one for years. It was a pretty small production based in South Carolina and I do see occasional reference to them, but I would give my eye-teeth just to get a decent photograph of one.

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was born in 1899. I remember somebody that was visiting saying, "Pa (everyone called him Pa whether you were related or not), tell me about the good old days." My great grandfather called him a fool and told him he was living in the good days. Told him he didn't have to worry about his kids catching smallpox, polio, or TB or depending on whether it rained or not for his kids to eat.

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I'm from the south blackdawgz, lived here my whole life, and people that talk and write like you generally get a nod behind their back and a comment of, "His family tree doesn't have any forks in it."

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My family has been in Alabama since the 1820's when one of my great-great-great grandfathers was given 160 acres by the US government for fighting in the War of 1812. His son, one of my great-great grandfathers, was a private in Lee's Army and saw action at Gettysburg and other nasty places. Two of my other great-great grandfathers on my mom's side were also in Lee's Army serving together in an artillery battery. NONE of the three owned slaves. To my knowledge, their reasons for fighting were not recorded so I really don’t know why they were there and I really don’t care.

What I do know is that I and others like me are from the same genetic stock with the same temperament. Sure, we have grown up with indoor plumbing and soft beds. But, we also have the advantage of being better fed and better educated. It is my belief that put in a bad enough situation we would perform as well as our ancestors. Just look at the bravery and performance of our soldiers today if you don’t believe me.

Like Blackdawgs, I’ve worked hard and dangerous jobs: logging, coal mining, and in a foundry. I’ve swung a sledgehammer through many an underground shift going home with swollen knuckles. And, had to go back and do it again the next day and the day after that. It was an incentive to complete three college degrees and get a desk job for my older years. I’m saying all this to back-up what Blackdawgs has said here and I agree with him. Besides that, I enjoy the way he writes and don’t give a she-it what you detractors think. We in the South are confident in our abilities and our intelligence. Soldiers from our part of the country have proven themselves in every conflict of this Republic since the 1860’s and will continue to do so.

By the way, according to Wikipedia, here are the combat deaths:
Union = 140,414
Confederate = 72,524

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dr. Diehl,

It appears you are addressing an empty room. After all of your posturing it would seem no one really cares. Go strutt somewhere else as you appear incapable of having a civil discussion at any level with anyone.

Regards,

Bee

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from GunNut wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dracphelan couldn't have explained it any better. Today I see people whining over which job they want, or how many hours they get. Back then, if they were offered a job they would take it no matter how long or how hard it was, and I'm sure jobs were uch harder then than they are now. Simply put, people in todays society are a bunch of wimps.

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from mdunlap wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz,
I think people are tired of you writing like you didn't get past the 3rd grade.

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from SL wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"I read an interesting observation on the "Civil" War by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman in his book "On Killing". This book is interesting on many levels, but a passage about this war is germain to our discussion. In many of the early battles regiments (600 to 1200 men)lined up face to face and fired at each other as close as 30 yds away, on up to 150 or so. With the rifled muskets available at that time it should have been a much bloodier affair than it was. Casualty rates were about 1-2 a minute on each side. That means that the great majority of shots fired were misses. Think about it, they missed a large massed body of men at almost point blank range. Why? Well, either they were (1) poor shots (2) the excitement of battle over-rode their training (3)they had an innate aversion to killing other men, or (4) some combination of all of the above."

This was a great post, which brings us back to DP's question "where did we find such men". The answer is that they were simple draftees where most would have preferred not to have to fight in a war at all. Isn't that the case in all wars? The elite decide it's time for war, while the common man has to then fight and die in them. Any heroism soldiers show is generally to keep their own a$$es and those of their buddies alive. Love of country is probably the last thing on their minds. It's again the elite who write about these wars afterwards that try to portray these soldiers as patriots who loved their countries, while many of these heroes were probably cursing the country and people who put them in these godforsaken $#!+holes of battle.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz;

I second Amflier. Tried hard to read your pieces; gave up. People may speak in vernacular, but they never write in it unless they are quoting someone meanly.

Housekeeping time. The Civil War was not fought over greed. Nor was it fought over state's rights. high tariffs, or any other such nonsense. You don't kill 600,000 people over tariffs. What drove the war was hatred, genuine mutual hatred, and the slavery issue was at the root of that, just as it had been for years prior to the Civil War in Kansas and Missouri. If you question that, look at the genuine division in our country today over abortion, gay marriage, gun ownership, hunting, etc. and get back to me.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I think I remember reading somewhere that at the Battle of Gettysburg, every last person in the United States with the name Jeb was killed:)

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

There were so many ironies in this war. A few examples include the "Chicago Conspiracy" wherein a group of Windy City businessmen and judges, in association with some Canadians, conspired to release and arm the rebs at Camp Douglas in an effor to gain Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio for the south. Due to one prisoner and a detetive the plan did not work out. In the Jones County Rebellion the citizens of that area wanted to secede from Mississippi and rejoin the union. A young southern soldier, I unfortunately can't remember his name, died at Gettysberg on his family farm, yes he was from there originally. In a brief moment of rest and reloading the Merrimac (aka Virginia) was fired upon by a Union wooden vessel while the Monitor was repairing on the other side of the bay. Even though th southern commander of the Merrimac recognized the Union ship as the one commanded by his own brother he still ordered a volley into he ship setting it afire and sinking it along with his sibling. Have you ever read the exploits of Captian Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama? He makes pirates look like Sunday school teachers. The death of General A. S. Johnson astride his horse at Shiloh bleeding to death while his personal surgeon was attending to private soldiers and perhaps turned the tide of the battle. Earlier at Fort Sumter the fort commander was a former arillery intructor at West Point. Across the harbor firing cannons at him was his best former student and one who was held over for a year after graduation to train other gunners at the Academy, General P. G. T. Beauregard. The wild rides of Nathan Bedford Forrest, J. E. B. Stuart, and John Singleton Moseby (later a friend of little Georgie Patton) still challenge the imagination. But ultimately it was the foot soldier like my great great grandfather who lost an arm at the Battle of the Wilerness. As soon as he was able to walk he was discharged and walkd home from Virginia to Georgia where he lived to be an old man. It goes on and on, yes what men indeed...

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Moishe, the comments have been removed. I was commenting on his observation that others were less than positive about his postings.

And at the point where he's telling other posters to "STFU" and calling them a "stupid Mo-Fo" is the point where I stop caring.

It's just a blog. I don't take it too seriously.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ah, ha, ha... What's wrong Dr. Diehl? I would have expected a person of your educational background to be able to have a civil discussion without resulting to personal insult. Oh well, if you can't support your position I guess name calling is the next best thing. Oh... before you get back in out of the sun you can take time to K M R A! I'm done with 'ya. Continue to show your true ability and colors and spew forth all you like.

Cheers!

Bee

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I cannot imagine the horror and suffering those men endured. Quite a contrast to the pair of NFL ass*$#@s who over the weekend equated "slavery" with playing football in the NFL. Oh, and for an average of $2 million a year. The vast majority of people in the country have no idea of the sacrifices that have been made to ensure their freedom. America, land of the clueless...

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from Harold wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I read an interesting observation on the "Civil" War by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman in his book "On Killing". This book is interesting on many levels, but a passage about this war is germain to our discussion. In many of the early battles regiments (600 to 1200 men)lined up face to face and fired at each other as close as 30 yds away, on up to 150 or so. With the rifled muskets available at that time it should have been a much bloodier affair than it was. Casualty rates were about 1-2 a minute on each side. That means that the great majority of shots fired were misses. Think about it, they missed a large massed body of men at almost point blank range. Why? Well, either they were (1) poor shots (2) the excitement of battle over-rode their training (3)they had an innate aversion to killing other men, or (4) some combination of all of the above.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Honor and duty to ones "Country" (state) was of utmost concern to the people of the time, especially the south. I beleive it was Shelby Foote that said it was far easier for a soldier to face a hail of bullets than say, "No Marse Robert, I ain't gonna go..."

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Diehl,

Camp Douglas existed for just 13 months. Total area was 40 acres and was divided into 3 prison compounds. Prisoners were housed in 21 wood-frame buildings, measuring 24x100 feet each and meant to house 100 men, three of these buildings were used as hospitals.

Prisoner log:

2,000 prisoners from the battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

1,000 prisoners from the battle of Island No. 10.

1,665 prisoners from the battles of Fort Hindman and Murfreesboro.

500 prisoners from assorted actions and venues

Total Prisioners held on 40 acers - 5,165 for the 13 month duration of operation.

Total confederate Dead in 13 Months - 866

Do a little better research next time.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To reply, but not to answer James Michener's question, "Where did we find such men?" I do not know but you could not find 620,000 men today in America who would demonstrate such courage, for so long, in such conditions, even if you looked in Alabama and Mississippi.
And focusfront, if hatred of the enemy is not instilled in the troops, as company commander, you have not done your job. Most of the Confederate troops came with that as 'factory standard' and was not needed to be added on as an option. They came rightfully sporting hatred because of northern politics and carpetbagging yankee's kept the hatred alive after the war was over.

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from Fruguy101 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The real fact of the civil war is that southern politicians were mad because all the northern politicians of the time were getting all the pork in the bills being passed. Educated men were the reason that the US split, and that has always taken back seat to the fact that slavery was frowned upon in the northern states. As has been the case ever since our country was formed, the politicians were the ones who started the fighting, but made the poor pay the ultimate price for their disagreements.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To all:

Nobody has his head in the sand about the history leading up to the war, or the atrocious treatment the South got during Reconstruction. Show of hands of those who think A. Lincoln wouldn't have handled Reconstruction differently than A. Johnson, U. Grant, R. Hayes? People got rich during the war because someone always does. Hitler got to kill six million Jews in retaliation for the Jewish bankers getting rich during WWI while the rest of Germany was ruined. He saw conspiracy, just as some do today concerning the Civil War.

My point was, and remains unchallenged, that you don't go to war over the price of cotton. And when the war goes as bad as it did as quick as it did, you don't keep fighting over the price of cotton. RES, war doesn't bring hate, hate brings war. Check out the Mideast, and tell me that peace there depends upon Israel giving up another thousand acres.

Blackdawgz, you prove me correct with every word you write. When you live in a world where there are two kinds of people, those who agree with you and those who are stupid #@$%&*#@, that's usually the way it is. I'm sure your cotton producing ancestors took a beating after the Civil War. The slaves took it before the war. By the way, Union troops wore wool.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

And as for casualties, approximately half the dead on both sides died of diseases caught in camp or as a result of being wounded. I don't see why that makes a difference. They were just as much casualties as if they had been shot on the battlefield, and just as dead.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

A couple other thoughts, Grant's in-laws were slave owners and Wm. T. Sherman resigned as president of a college in Louisiana (now known as LSU) to accept his U. S. commission once again. By the way Grant's name was not Ulyesses Simpson Grant it was...look it up.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I mentioned to a friend that the number of American Civil War dead is more than the combined number of American deaths in WW1 and WW2, and his reply was "of course, the number would be that high, because on both sides, the men dying were Americans. The more realistic number would be to divide the death toll by half."
I write this not to trivialize those deaths, which were regrettable no matter how you look at it, but to provide an alternate view.

It was the first modern war, with troops getting to staging areas by way of railroad, preserving their legs for the furious charging and running ahead. It was the first war in which telegraphs relayed reports and orders from the field to command center and back, and also from field reporter/journalist/correspondent to newspaper and back.

Speaking of journalists, the Civil War is also regarded as the first war to feature professional war correspondents, writing independently, and not in the service as private chronicler/publicist of some general. It was also the first war to be photographed, thus introducing not only the American nation but the rest of the world to images of the true horrors of war.

Obviously the North enjoyed a great advantage in having a more extensive Railroad and telegraph network. This meant Southern troops had to do more marching. The telegraph advantage also allowed Lincoln to stay up to date with reports better than his counterpart.

It was the first war to extensively use air reconnaissance, using balloons. It was also the first war to see ground fire bring down a [lighter-than-air] craft.

They say there is a marked difference in the way the bodies of Northerners and Southerners decomposed. The deceased Northerners would blacken within hours and be bloated, like normal corpses, while the Southerners remained thin and fair, even pale, their faces unaltered, as if only asleep. They say that is because the Southerners were so hungry, they didn't have enough in their bodies to swell and decay. Some were getting by with one meal a day, some subsisted on soup, often going several days without any solid food. And most were barefoot.

It was also not unusual for Southern commanders, especially at platoon and squad level, to exhort their troops by saying the bluecoats have "cheese and potatoes in their haversacks". The carnage that followed was unspeakable.

Even more amazing is the number of foreign officers, most of them "gentlemen" in the old European definition (not just "men", but "gentlemen", of high social and economic stature, of aristocratic and even noble birth) who served on both sides. There were French and Spaniards, Poles and Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Irish, Scots and English. Just as in the War of Independence "4 scores and 7 years" earlier, these foreign officers did it for various reasons: experience, adventure, some did it for pay (as professional officers, not as mercenaries), and some did it for free, even paying for their own arms, horse and uniform, believing in "the cause" of the side they were in.

As in the American Revolution, the Civil war tore apart families. And the fighting was especially brutal when the combatants knew each other, because the feeling of betrayal and treachery was so much greater. While the new rifled muskets were more deadly, the fighting was much the same. A couple of volleys (although with deadlier effect), then the troops closed in. Bullets, butts, bayonets, knives, fists, knees, boots, teeth.

Perhaps the most amazing fact of all, how quickly in general the American nation healed and moved forward. Contrast that to the centuries-long (and still destructive) feuds among the Spanish peoples (Castilian vs. Catalan or Basque, etc.), or among the Slavs (as the numerous, interminable Balkan Wars demonstrate).

Sure, Yankees (not just the baseball kind) are still hated in many parts of the South, and Sherman is still considered a war criminal in Georgia, but the American nation moved forward in leaps and bounds after the war. They say the aftermath of the American Civil war is that finally, kicking and screaming, the entire US became an industrial power. Before the American Civil War, the US was still culturally and economically deferential to the British (especially the South, which proved fatal when the Union blockade couldn't be lifted at the Battle of Hampton Roads, probably the true most important battle of all), and the British Royal Navy absolutely ruled the waves. By the 1880's, the US had already overtaken Britain as the greatest merchant marine power in the world. By the 1920's, their navies are already equal. By the 1940's there was no longer any doubt which is the greater power.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

This is gross oversimplification, of course, but I think the fortunes of the South went south after Stonewall Jackson died. No other general in US history did so much with so little. His Shenandoah Valley campaign may never be duplicated again.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dixie was not the national anthem of the south but was a favorite tune of Lincoln's as it originated in Brooklyn. The "stars and bars" normally associated as being the flag of the Confederacy was actually one of many variations used officially and unofficially probably beginning with the Bonnie Blue when it was first raised in Jackson, MS. Of course there were many state, army, and regimental flags employed. They often symbolized the beliefs of the men standing under them, sometimes not. For the most part I agree that the wealthy politiians, perhaps from both sides, generally faired well during the war while those who could care less tended to be slain far more often.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Carpet baggers were a fact of life during reconstruction. Opportunists did buy up property for back taxes but the worst of the carpetbaggers were the reconstructionist politicians. They used their positions of influence in the corrupt governments to grow fat on bribes, graft and outright fraud against southeners.

As far as the Victors writing history... proof exists in the history of every major civilization. China, Egypt, Greece, Rome etc. all wrote of how deplorable their enemys were. The Romans were probably the worst of the lot until we get to the 19th and 20th centuries when the Europeans had a hayday trashing one another.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Mr. Diehl, in fact everything I posted was not only factually correct but obvious to anyone of logical mind. Trying to argue that the south was not economically damaged by a lengthy war conducted almost entirely on its geography is simply ludicrous. For God's sakes, people in Vicksburg were reduced to eating rats and mud during the siege, and they weren't the only ones. You might as well argue that Europe was not damaged economically by WWII. The fact that it later recovered with the help of the Marshall plan does not mean it was not a mess after VE day. Or perhaps you think the Hiroshima bomb boosted urban renewal in Japan?
It is equally silly to claim that protectionism was not a factor in the hostilities. The south needed open markets in Europe -- principally England -- to sell its cotton. The north wanted tariffs to protect its developing industries. That was always a backdrop to hostilities, and no reputable historian would argue otherwise.
It is an unfortunate fact that the resentment toward northern occupation and reconstruction included the imposition of laws restricting the rights of former slaves, but those laws were themselves a de jure reflection of de facto segregation and prejudice that was just as common and ever bit as vitriolic in many northern states and locales.
Racism in this country has hardly been confined by geographic borders. Recall that Lincoln had envisioned repatriating blacks to Africa, because he did not believe whites and blacks could ever live together. Yet few would argue that by the standards of the time he was enlightened. The vast majority of union citizens were not abolitionists and had no desire to fight a war to free southern slaves. That is why Lincoln emphasized saving the union, not freeing the slaves, and did not issue the Emancipation Proclamation until late in the conflict. Even then, his motivations were more tactical than idealistic.
As for the prison camps, again, I know of no reputable historian who would claim that atrocities, malnutrition and cruel treatment did not exist on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. But to argue that a lack of food in the south did not play a role in the deaths at Andersonville flies in the face of documented history. Prisoner rations consisted of about a pound of cornmeal and a bit of either bacon or beef each day. That is exactly the same provisions provided to prison guards. There is also substantial evidence to suggest that hookworm disease, a malady not understood at the time, led to many if not most of the Andersonville deaths.
Yet, in Alton, IL, where there was never a shortage of food, Confederate prisoners suffered from scurvy, anemia and other symptoms of malnutrition and died like flies.
Nearly 25-percent of the Confederate prisoners held at Elmira Prison camp in NY died of preventable conditions, including exposure, and the camp commander, Col. William Hoffman, was by any standard of human decency a vindictive monster. In fact, there is far more evidence to support his actual depravity than there is supporting the guilt of Henry Wirz, the Andersonville commander, who ended up dangling at the end of a rope. Yet, not a single union prison camp commander was ever prosecuted.
I wasn't going to address this issue again, because I didn't see the point and I'm tired of beating a dead horse. I am not going to waste my time providing concrete example after example of things that have not been in dispute for a hundred years, simply because you refuse to accept widely-accepted and documented facts which do not accomodate your theories. While I firmly believe that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, this is one case where I plan from this moment on, on this forum, to leave history to the dead. I will leave the self-righteousness, insults, smears, historical revisionism and ideological rigidity entirely to you.

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from Sb Wacker wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Too right the standards of field medicine that a Roman Legionary could expect weren't achieved again until WWI. Cripes!
SBW

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from Brian Robinson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

America survived the Civil War, it is going to survive this recession.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Focus,
I thought that was what I said.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgz wrote (sic):

"Ah am retarred on SS Disability due to dementia.

Ah could nevva compose enny of this stuff, as the ideas wood nevva occur to me.

It iz from the dawgz and the people whose spirits coexist with their soulz.

They originate all ideas, butt Ah kin no longer spell, but communicate via phonetics..."

I assume the dementia and inability to communicate occurred after December of 2009 when you wrote:

"Those are some logical and well-planned goals. Don't ruin your dog with the way you think. Of course, the best field dogs are from field champion stock. What separates these fine dawgs from the rest is "instinct." Actually transferred from Mom via the psychological phenomenon of Imprinting, as well as inherited memories from both parents. A dog of excellent breeding will trace his lineage and training memories all the way back to at least Peter of Faskally."

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I never heard such crap as Black Dawgzs spouts, I doubt that he has ever been in MS or AL, we enjoy a standard of life here that is the equal of anywhere else in the US. We have poor people here just as there are in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and everywhere else, but many of the people here have bothered to become productive citizens and earn a good living wage, live in nice houses with running water, Elec and flush toilets, speaking of which, Black Dawgzs ought to be the next thing flushed. Most of us can read and a few (Grishom, Faulkner, Welty and Grizzard can even write)

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Unfortunately Stonewall accidently caught a bullet from a southern night guard when returning from a scouting mission. Let's see do our generals do that sort of thing today, night scouting patrols? As far as I am aware the only time the "stainless banner" was officially used was to cover Jacksn's coffin at Richmond but that may not be true. After at most limited use another vertical bar was added so the banner would not look like a surrender flag. We all have our oddities, Jackson prefered to suck on lemons even during battles. I don't know exactly why except he was a spritual man and often rode with one arm extended to heaven. In fact both sides had excellent, mediocre, and horrible generals with many of them being killed in their thirties. Earl Van Dorn, for instance, died from the bullet of a man alledged to be a minister. He believed that little Earl had been having an affair with his wife so ended it with one shot. By the way forgive me as I certainly know that Albert Sidney Johnston is the correct spelling of the admirable field commander's name, I accidently typed Johnson in a previous entry.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Bellringer

You omitted Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee., Suh.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

They history channel is having Civil War week and I have been watching every night. It is unbelievable. Today's men if they even deserve that title would have run to California.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@ Amflyer

Right! Like I have said before, there are two kinds of riflemen: Those that own a Weatherby and those .... Nevermind.

WAM

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from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

146 years later why the north and south fought can still generate hot debate. A tragic, sorrowful time in America's history brought on by activists of that time period as well as pride, ego, and greed. I would like to point out that slavery was not started by the Europeans or Americans, but by Arabs and others of the Muslim faith. Read the history of Africa and the ivory explorers; evidence of this is given in nearly every account I have read and is still going on in Africa today. As to the men who fought for what they believed in whether they were north or south, Lord, were they some tough, tough men. What does the south have today? Oil refineries, NASA, great medical centers, computer giants, vast natural resources, etc. and a never ending tradition of gun ownership, fishing, hunting and love of the outdoors. What's up there in the north...mainly
anti gun liberals and......(sigh)POLITICIANS.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

30-07,

That is a very neat and concise analogy. The victor has written history since writing was developed. The revisionists have at it from there. So many people have written of this issue over the years trying to convery to the feelings and attitudes of the times that much has been clouded and lost. Opinion became fact, fact became opinion.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

O Garcia

Researching the .270 Weatherby and 7mm Weatherby a while back, I found that there is not a dime's worth of difference between those two given the same bullet weight and construction. Same case, same velocities, just 0.007" bore difference. I prefer the 7mm Roy for heavierr bullet options. JMO

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

to Mike Diehl,
While I appreciate your desire to defend the union and the Army of the Republic against any and all criticism, your zealotry in every particular only discredits your arguments. I do not believe anyone of fair mind could regard the reconstruction period in the south as anything other than a period of plunder, political repression and corruption. It was nothing that Lincoln, who wanted "charity toward all and malice toward none," had envisioned. Farms and other properties were taxed at rates no one in the crushed, impoverished and war-ruined south could afford, and the occupiers who imposed those penalties routinely profited by them. Southerners who had taken part in the war -- which is to say nearly all of them -- were often denied the right to vote and certainly had no recourse to anything that could be called impartial redress.
The north had intentionally waged war on civilians and civilian structures (Sherman wasn't the first to do so on a grand scale -- that credit belongs to Santa Anna) in order to break the south's will to fight, but the result was that the southern economy was left in ruins. That is why cattle drives were launched in Texas -- there was no cash, there were plenty of free-ranging cattle, and people were desperate. I do not question that it was effective and a strategy for victory, but it certainly contrasted with what was the undeniable chivalry of Lee's army, which politely approached northern farmers on its way back from the defeat at Gettysburg, requesting food in exchange for the only currency it had to offer -- Confederate bills. I don't point out that fact in order to defend "the Lost Cause," but rather only to note that those in the path of Lee's army had very little to resent once it had passed. Those in the south were left to ponder burned homes and scorched fields.
I certainly will not argue that Andersonville was not an abomination; only that the general lack of food -- and there was a lack of food -- did in fact play at least some part in what happened there, though it does not excuse the misdeeds of the commander who was justly executed. I would merely argue that only defeated miscreants face such trials, and would again suggest that any fair, objective reading of what happened at the north's major POW camps would have also led to inquiries, convictions and just hangings, had the outcome of the war been different.
As for the causes of the war, slavery was certainly the passionate ember that set the flame, but as in most wars, free trade vs. protectionism played a large role, as well as the overall tension between an agrarian and a rapidly industrializing economy and a conflict of vision between those who favored a strong federal state and others who favored reduced federal power and stronger states. I would also remind you that it was the New England states that originally insisted on the right to secession, just as it was New England sailing ships that first brought the slaves to this country, purchased from the Arab traders who had captured them in the African interior with the assistance of other indigenous tribes.
In other words, there was plenty of blame and sorrow to go around in that war, just as there was much courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty. Given how much time has passed, I'd say we'd be better off to leave it at that.

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You would have thought the generals of the day would have learned an important lesson from their predecessors in the American Revolution. Didn't our boys learn then that by fighting "dishonorably" they stayed alive longer? What a horrible time to have to live through...

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from jim in nc wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

DP:
Speaking of the books you read, when are you going to give us another list of good military books?

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from Greenhead wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

blackdawgz:

Why do you insult everyone who has something to say about the way you write? Can you not have a disagreement without resorting to personal attacks?

The fact that this topic comes up a couple of times each month would give most people pause to reconsider their "style".

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Deihl,

You might want to read about Camp Butler. Andersonville and Butler are said editorials on how humans treat each other in times of war.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Has anybody here ever seen blackdawgz and Yohan in the same room?

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Blackdawgs;

Is money all you are about? Is that the only reason you can come up with for fighting? If not, why should other people be different?

I think about the Iron Brigade, mostly Wisconsin farmboys but with some Michigan and Indiana foreigners as well. The Iron Brigade, which took its stand in a cornfield that was flattened by enemy fire, virtually every cornstalk shot off. That was the first brigade to meet the Confederates in Pennsylvania and begin the Battle of Gettysburg (the Iron Brigade was almost destroyed in that battle). Highest casualties of any brigade in the war, north or south.

Was THAT about money? Were they just suckers?

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Because most of the fighting took place in the South, and because most of the landmarks were bodies of water, the battles were referred to differently by both sides. One side used placenames like Manassas, while the other side referred to the stream (Bull Run). Same with Sharpsburg/Antietam.

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from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I have read that Jackson thought the circulation in one of his arms was poorer than in the other. Consequently, it became heavier and "unbalanced" his body. He often held it straight up so it could drain. A shrink friend of mine says that most of Jackson's physical obsessions were probably due to uncorrected poor vision, which can cause a number of eccentric physical symptoms.

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from jws wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

For those interested in the civil war, and especially Gettysburg, I recommend reading "Killer Angels". The best field commander, by far, was Joshua Chamberlain.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

I think they or their ancestors already ran to California or Eastern California, formerly known as Arizona.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

O Garcia:

Good posts. You are right about Jackson. Gettysburg might have turned out differently if Stonewall had lived long enough to see it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I declare the winner of the most personal insults and name calling competition to be 'Mike Diehl' with a total of 9 personal insults doled out to 2 written by the 'Beekeeper', who does get an honorable mention for the most creative insult. xxxxx=doe! Cracking me up! You could even best our all time greatest flamer if you push the envelope a little harder.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Do I hear crickets chirping...?

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from 30-07 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

we all know slavery is wrong now. some new it then I am born and raised southerner. Most Americans at the time didnt care one way or the other about slaves, yes yankees too. there were even riots in the north about not wanting to fight for them. The south prabably had no chance at winning the war. If If Gen. Jackson had lived to Gettysburg he probebly influences Gen. Lee to do things differently there (his right hand). the dumbest thing we could have done after Lee surrndered was to kill Lincoln. He would have gone easier on us durring reconstruction.
Racial relations probably worsed durring recunstruction than they would have if the north had not raped the souths economy and resources.
Any time a northerner and southerner dissagree about anything (politics, sports, whatever) the northerner allways drags racism slavery and hillbilly type insults out.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i guess it just boils down to who wanted it more. those men were certainly dedicated.

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from 30-07 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@Diehl the prisoners at Andersonville were not intentionaly starved. The south didn't have enough food to feed its own army.
the heart of rich farmland was not being farmed at the time cause all able men were away killing yankees. As far economy the war itself realy wrecked it, but carpet baggers came down and exploited the south and further crippled it. As far as the evil well I cannot repeat cannot defend slavery, but the northerners of the time were not all abolitionists. They were a small percentage.

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from buckstopper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Lee had Stonewall Jackson. Grant had Sherman. BlackJack Pershing had MacArthur and Patton. Eisenhower had Patton and Bradley. MacArthur had "Lightnin" Joe Collins in WWII and Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller at Inchon. Generals are only as good as their subordinates.

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from Bryan1980 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was an assistant to Stonewall and its kindda cool to be able to open photo albums and see photos that are almost 200 years old.

[url=www.leinwandtaxi.de]
Fotoleinwand
[/url]

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I can't decide if those men were Incredibly Brave, or Incredibly Stupid............

It's gotta take balls of steel to march across an open field, in a nice row of targets, toward a bunch of men shooting at you and trying to kill you.

Good Lord, we are all cowards today by that standard!

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

First,slavery was absolutely an integral part of the southern agricultural economy.Upon that system great wealth was amassed and a affluent lifestyle enjoyed by the more priveledged southern planters and wealthy businessmen of the day.Most of us are aware that most southerners did not own slaves nor directly benefit from slavery.If anything it would most likely have been the opposite,few paying jobs available with some much"free"labor.
I would not deny that slavery was one reason for the war.However,consider if you will that it was not the only reason and the South did in fact fight for independence.The notion that a new country with certain freedoms guaranteed and the perpetuation of a certain culture could be born out of rebellion was hardly a novel idea.Our country was not even 100 years old and both sides had grandfathers and great grandfathers who had participated in the revolution against an oppressive government.A fine precedent had been set.The threat that the South was facing was the dismanteling and ultimately the total collapse of her economic system and her culture.I've read nothing in any of these postings to suggest that any of you would not defend your freedom and way of life.Case in point,our defense of our second amendment right.How vehemently we defend just that one aspect of being an American.
As wrong as slavery was,and is,it had existed on this continent since 1619 which, if memory of past history courses serves me right,was the year when slaves were first brought to the New World.Southerners with whom I am acquainted wish it had never happened,however in that day it was a common and accepted practice.It's a tragedy that the South became so dependent on human bondage.Eventually the institution would have come to an end but history took a more expedient and violent course.
Mike Diehl,reconstruction was anything but good for the South.The South suffered through those years being plundered and punished.It took years for many to regain their rightful property through the court system of the day.Freedmen in many cases received 40 acres and a mule from someone else's holdings.Doubtful that the same was granted freedmen in the North.In today's vernacular,"healing"just wasn't part of the plan.Punishment and further insult was more the order of the day,the same as when the North took Arlington and buried their dead in Robert E. Lee's front yard.
The brutality of the war is still unimaginable.The South was literally crushed.Sherman's"total war"left a path of complete destruction.The siege on Charleston left her a pile of rubble.It is still stunning to consider what Americans did to one another.It is no wonder that there was great bitterness that somehow seems to survive even today.
It would be a simple thing to name one reason for such a conflict but no one reason would be the whole truth.Suffice it to say,both sides fought for what they believed in,right or wrong,and they fought with courage which I think was the subject of dave's post.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The problem, MReeder, is that everything that you posted is factually incorrect. Consider slavery. Of the states that issued proclaimations as to their reasons for secession, two causes are named: 1) hostility to the institution of slavery in the expanding US, and, 2) the Federal govt's unwillingness to trample on Northern states' rights by requiring those states to aid and abet southern kidnappers (who were placing dubious claims against the persons of blacks in the north, even those long known to be either freedmen or persons who'd never been slaves at all).

As to reconstruction. There's still no evidence that the period of US Army admin was economically bad for the south save for the sudden absence of slaves. The chief criticism of reconstruction, historically, isn't the absence of economic development; the rapid industrialization of the south and the new roads and infrastructre are proof enough of the falsity of that thesis. Instead, it was the failure to secure the blessings of liberty for black people; it was followed by another hundred years of chickens**t Jim Crow laws and it was both the attempt to forefend those laws, and the freedom movement of the 1960s, that offends so many self-righteous CSA wannabe fanboys.

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My great grandfather was born in 1899. I remember somebody that was visiting saying, "Pa (everyone called him Pa whether you were related or not), tell me about the good old days." My great grandfather called him a fool and told him he was living in the good days. Told him he didn't have to worry about his kids catching smallpox, polio, or TB or depending on whether it rained or not for his kids to eat.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I believe Dave was talking about those that braved the hot steel and gangrene, rather than the general officers.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Well, Ok, but in my mind's eye I'm still going to end up picturing you as Emo Phillips in bib overalls and no front teeth...

Carry on.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hexapolydactyly will produce typing like that of b'dawgz. ;)

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@focus - good posts.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@beekeep - What's your problem with Camp Butler. It housed over 200,000 US Illinois recruits and only 3000 rebellion prisoners, all from the capture of Ft. Donaldson, Ft. Henry, and Isl #10. Casualties were 168 dead, mostly from pneumonia. About 6%.

The US treated prisoners of war far better than the rebellion did. I think the principal thing you have to consider for the Elmira prison was that it operated throughout the war. After 1863, the physical condition and health state of rebel prisoners was increasingly poor. It made them more vulnerable to disease.

By contrast, most people in Andersonville died of starvation, plain and simple. The only other place where you see pictures of people who were abused to the extent of Union pows at Andersonville is photos of US-liberated nazi concentration camps at the close of WW2.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Keep writing Dave, there are many of us literate enough to read in vernacular, understand and agree with your political acuity. I perhaps think that this may be related to the fact that as a child, I read Nash Buckingham instead of Mark Twain, who I understand also wrote in vernacular.
I would imagine that some of my ancestors bought some of that land grant your ancestors sold. Damn carpetbaggers stole it from them and left my family close to broke after the war was over.
Illegitimi non Carborundum

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Thanks Blackdawgs!

Beekeeper, it's just par for Diehl. He uses poorly researched 'facts' in just about every discussion.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Do a little better research next time."

On contrary I think you need to do better research. The total pop never came to 5163 at any time. It was fairly typical to transfer prisoners out. The 186 I mention are those who died of disease. The rest died of wounds as Camp Butler also had a very large hospital.

Like I said, no valid comparison with Andersonville at all. You need to do more homework and come back better-informed.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Grant's real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but he didn't want the initials H.U.G. on his belongings. The S. was made up at West Point and he liked the initials U.S. Yankeedoodle Dandy.....

Peace on Joan Baez, Black Crows and the others. Listen to some Georgia boys and watch the slide show. True Southerners will appreciate it, the rest can KMRA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-ty5yk5D2M&feature=related

Sic 'em Blackdawgz!

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I no longer see Blackdawgs comments. I hope his account hasn't been deleted. I think the topic might have gotten the better of him as he usually is pretty insightful in the answers section, etc., despite the way he writes. He has been a contributor to the site a long time, I hope he comes back.

Now as to the topic, The Civil War always gets emotions up and probably will for a long time. I have my opinions on what caused the war as does everyone, thats not the point of Dave's post. The war was so vicious and costly to both sides, I believe the lessons here are to never repeat it.

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from 410skeeter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

to focusfront::
Envy and greed have historically back as far as you can go been the reasons for war.
The northerners would go South in the winter, see their plantations the idle slaves because it was idle times.
They bou$ght the slaves by the tens of thousands and put them in the shoe factories in New England(the largest business then as people did not own horses generally).
They died in such large vast numbers that records were not kept, It was unprofitable even as slave labor(you have to remember this was before central heat, penicillin, etc.
Envy grew..they destroyed the Souths Cotton Futures,
Now hate set in for trying to impose your will on another(the devils work and the normal response).
When Lincoln in his last speech said ""we shall go on from this as brothers and sisters" That was his death sentence, as there was no way the will-imposers from up north would allow that(Historically anytime a head of state is shot in the head, the most difficult target, it is because he knew his aggressor, fear of saying one word even one first name cause the choice of this target).When Reuters morse coded the death of Lincoln to London, their biggest fear had been realized because of their huge investment in the South, the British Stock Market crashed.
Now envy and greed realized, the South has yet to recover from the pillage and plunder.
Just to clear up the propaganda you have been programmed with "focusfront".

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Amflyer, Your obsession with Blackdawgs, lack of grammar is unseemly, he does not appear in this particular thread.

I do not find his writing style to be offensive, he is an educated man who enjoys satire, and uses it to advantage. It takes a lot of effort to write in this style, remember Mark Twain? It does not bother me in the least. If you want to "talk" to someone post in a thread that he has posted in, not on one where he has not.

You need to look into your lack of compassion for a man who has physical problems and get over your own insecurities and ego. Blackdawgs has many friends here that enjoy satire. I suspect that many do not enjoy your rants.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ok I take your point, I have never seen him write STFU or Stupid mofo. So cant comment on that.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@ Amflyer,

LOL! You crack me up! Almost spilled my coffee on that one!

Answer: None of the above

Correct choices:

...that wish they had one.
...that have convinced themselves that they don't need one.
...that have never learned to appreciate good rifles.
...that foolishly spend lots of money on POS rifles before they come areound to buying a good one.
...that don't handload and wilt at high ammo prices.

Still smiling!

WAM

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

'flyer

Gave you a +1 to offset the -1 you got ! Ha ha

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from blueridge wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Gentlemen,

I dare not get much into this, as my grt-grandmother was burned out by Sherman's soldiers. And people in the North often wonder why the fuss, still, among Southern people?

However, I lived for a time in New England, and have many friends up there, whom I would hate to oppose on the battlefield. I did manage to trade and swap some few pieces of ordnance from them, and consider them ''captured''...smile. I served with a New England police force for a spell, and quickly found out that they could not shoot well; we formed a pistol team, and honed skills--great bunch of guys. Still, most of them that had been in the service found that their training officers were from---you guessed it--Dixie. Let us smile put the Late Unpleasantness behind us. We are shooters, and we can admire what Dave Petzel brought up in this blog---the ernest courage of Northern and Southern soldiers, sailors and marines. I would recommend authors better than Cantor, however. The recent memoirs of Gen. Porter Alexander are magnificent, but were not intended to be published; they were done for his daughters, and sat at Emory University for years, undiscovered, until Dr. Gary Gallagher found them.

I served with a Virginia unit, 18th VA., Co. B, during the 125th anniversaries; I would commend more men serving now in the 150th. It beats any book you can read, to take part in the soldiering, yourself. For what it is worth, having been in the battle lines at Manassas, Gettysburg, and Saylor's Creek--I prefer the Springfield, 1863. A beautiful rifle. And I prefer the Gray.

Peace.

Blue

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@Mreeder -- I guess you've seen pix of the historic marker at your ancestors' factory and flour mill?

One of your ancestor's guns might, possibly, be viewed at:

http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/flc&CISOPTR=191&RE...

The one pictured is a hunting rifle. Apparently the maker's mark is "E. Hall" and I'm guessing that CSA contract rifled muskets will bear the E. Hall mark.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

as allways its the middleclass masses or poor that fight in the wars and the rich that command them from a safe distance. normal working people for theire age.. fighting not for patriotistic reasons but to protect theire family and home. dont belive the hype of politicians or anyone else that has a financial or political interest in this ever.. the rest of the discussion just becomes moot and shows the lack of intelligence in the society in general.. the ol divide and conquer strategy works just too well even in this supposedly enlightened age.. crivens!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Mike Diehl,
I'm sorry to see so many history revisionist changing the facts.
Some seem racist also.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

You must come from a line of long-lived men and be an old fart yourself for a g-gf to have served in the Civil War. He must have been born around 1842 or so. Sure it 's not a great-great GF?

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WA Mtn Htr - In regard to the post by Brian 1980, I am 65, which ain't that old and my grandfathers were born in 1871 and 1873 respectively, it therefore is not inconceivable that my great grandfathers could have been of age to be in the Civil War.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Bellringer,

You are 5 years older than me. All my ancestors on the paternal line lived to 78-82 years old. My great grandfather Jobe was born in 1856, a mite young for Civil War service. One of his older siblings died from wounds in a civil war hospital and another from disease in internment. Confederates all. His father was born in 1810. My presumption of age based on the 1980 and the avatar. Perhaps I am incorrect in my assumption.

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from Hobob wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

We still have men of that caliber around today, they are overseas now and in the government protecting us while we sleep. Its not as obvious as standing in long lines getting mowed down because of the orders of some rich boy thats all. The grave tends to hide the sins of the past. People then were no better or worse. Disease killed lots more than battle then but the men were brave, and also cowards. Look at desertion rates for one.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

To Mike Diehl, re. Quattlebaum rifle

Thanks for the photo link. I don't know if that is a gun actually built at the Quattlebaum rifle works but it may well bear a connection. A man named Elijah Hall, who had been a rifle maker in N.C., happened to bump into John Quattlebaum while he was on his way to AL. Hall and his brother hit it off John, who had founded the flour mill and rifle works you mentioned. The Halls ended up renting a house from John and opened their own rifle works, but it's possible they may have also worked for awhile in the Quattlebaum factory. General Paul Quattlebaum, the ancestor I had mentioned, took over the rifle works from his dad. They turned out the first percussion rifles made in the south and did contract work for the Confederate Army. From what I've read I think they mainly converted flintlocks to percussion and built their own barrels. The South Carolina Confederate Museum and Relics room is supposed to have a Quattlebaum rifle on display but I have never been there or been able to access the photo online. I know a couple of rifles are in the hands of Quattlebaum descendents but I've never met them myself. My old history professor at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, the late Col. Harold B. Simpson, ran the college's Confederate Museum and sponsored the Hill College blackpowder rifle team. Col. Simpson was an expert on Hood's Texas Brigade and wrote several books on the subject. He was in pursuit of a Quattlebaum rifle for years for his museum collection but could never lay hands on one. Incidentally Col. Simpson was from, if memory serves, Illinois, but as he always liked to joke, he considered himself a "good" yankee.
Thanks again for the photo. It's given me several new leads.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Being from the North, I remeber seeing reprints of local papers as the Northern Farmers joined as Volunteers to go fight for the Union. Some were even "paid" substitutes for others who couldn't leave their farms. This past Memorial Day, I listened to the roll call of locals who didn't make it back including one who was listed as missing, presumed dead. They were men of their time fighting for their neighbors and family for what they believed in, no matter what side they were on. My Grandfather kept the long barreled rifle, his Grandfather carried in the War, the top of his gunrack until the day he died.

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from DanP wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Disease and infection led to more casualties than direct fighting. Yet, the improvements in practice that came during the war boosted survival compared to just a few years before.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Sanitary_Commission

http://www.civilwarhome.com/sanitarycommission.htm

The sanitary commission did not always get along with the army's standard medical corp. They promoted Pasteur's ideas (which were emerging during the Civil War), and ultimately reduced mortality.

The civil war introduced a number of innovations: blitzkrieg-style advances taking advantage of rails, more modern logistics management, trench warfare, fighting techniques wrapped around longer-distance shooting (wiped out the battle-line formations so typical of revolutionary-era fighting), aerial observation, and introduced innovations from cutting edge medicine of the day.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

my aunt and uncle lived for a time in north carolina and on the elamentery school they had a giant confederate flag with a confaerderate soilder saluting it. and the school was 2 years old.

when i went to gettysburg when i was 9 me and my cousin bought some cap guns and uniforms and tride to be as autentic in the agust heat as our budgets and parents allowed. my favorite place was little round top were we even renacted Col. Camberlins famed charge. my little brothere who was 2 at the time was the confederate. i wish more people my age had a apprication of history.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

my aunt and uncle lived for a time in north carolina and on the elamentery school they had a giant confederate flag with a confaerderate soilder saluting it. and the school was 2 years old.

when i went to gettysburg when i was 9 me and my cousin bought some cap guns and uniforms and tride to be as autentic in the agust heat as our budgets and parents allowed. my favorite place was little round top were we even renacted Col. Camberlins famed charge. my little brothere who was 2 at the time was the confederate. i wish more people my age had a apprication of history.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Mike Diehl,reconstruction was anything but good for the South.The South suffered through those years being plundered and punished."

Could you provide some specific examples, other than the law requiring that black people be given the right to vote?

"Freedmen in many cases received 40 acres and a mule from someone else's holdings."

That'd be "bad" in what way?

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from Cody Christenberry wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

While there is a lot that we as a country have done wrong, I believe that the Civil War is just another example in our history that demonstrates the bravery and tenacity our people will fight with. Right or wrong, our brave men and women have fought and sacrificed greatly. I believe our service men and women today carry on that tradition. God Bless our troops, and God grant our leaders wisdom and a pure heart, so as not to sacrifice their lives in vane.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

From Wikipedia's article on the Reconstruction Era:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_Era_of_the_United_States
While 1877 is the usual date given for the end of Reconstruction, some historians extend the era to the 1890s.[142] Reconstruction is unanimously considered a failure, though the reason for this is a matter of controversy.

The Dunning School considered failure inevitable because they felt that taking the power away from Southern whites was a violation of republicanism.

A second school sees the reason for failure as Northern Republicans' lack of effectiveness in guaranteeing political rights to blacks.

A third school blames the failure of not giving land to the freedmen so they could have their own economic base of power.

A fourth school sees the major reason for failure of reconstruction as the states' inability to suppress the violence of Southern whites when they sought reversal for blacks' gains. Etcheson (2009) points to the "violence that crushed black aspirations and the abandonment by Northern whites of Southern Republicans."[143]

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from shane wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

"the result was that the southern economy was left in ruins"

Because it was built on slavery. Duh.

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Good post,MReeder.

Mike,won't take the bait on the right to vote.
"Bad in what way?"Confiscation and redistribution of property?You can answer that for yourself.

Shane,"built on slavery".Duly noted,repeatedly.No defense for slavery.

Further discussion,being futile,I'll end with a quote from the great American,Forrest Gump,"that's all I have to say about that."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

You're shifting the frame of references, MReeder. You and I were talking about alleged economic destruction that occurred during reconstruction -- which I contend was minimal and mostly caused by locals -- not economic destruction caused by the campaigns that ultimately raged across the south; those latter are, as you note, beyond dispute.

As to motives, all you need to do is read the aricles of secession (for those states that had 'em). Trade with England and tarriffs weren't on the radar. Failure to institutionalize slavery in new states, and failure to grant a blanket write of habeas corpus on a southerner's mere assertion to own a black man in a northern state, were preeminent in southern secession documents. The fiction of "states rights" was created in the general whitewashing post-bellum southern retelling of the tale. States rights had absolutely nothing to do with secession. Slavery was the beginning, middle and end of that story.

Allegations of northern racism are pretty futile in this context. In point of fact, there were no substantial Jim Crow laws in the north. There were of course privately owned concessions that made such laws a practice, but not by state writ. There's really no valid moral comparison between southern racism and Jim Crow laws on the one hand, and treatment of minorities in the north. It's a straw man comparison that withstands no level of scrutiny.

And no, there was no shortage of food avaialable to Andersonville guards. That ought to be fairly self obvious from the fact that none of the Andersonville guards starved to death. It's true that Henry Wirz was arguably not guilty of the crime though; it's clear that systematic starvation of northern prisoners seems to have been a policy established at higher levels. Possibly, as I noted before, in order to pressure the United States into prisoner exchanges.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Very well said MReeder. I am in total agreement with your posts and your assessment. Thank you for taking the time to point out his errors. I came to the same conclusion after a previous 'discussion'.

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WAM sez:

"Right! Like I have said before, there are two kinds of riflemen: Those that own a Weatherby and those .... Nevermind."

...that rent them?
...that steal them?
...that suck eggs?
...that go hungry in the long cold winter?
...whose wives won't let them hunt anyway?

Do tell.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"I declare the winner of the most personal insults and name calling competition to be 'Mike Diehl'"

I accept your prize. Massive retaliation is a moral good, IMO. ;)

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

WAM,
the .270 Weatherby is yet to be surpassed. Lazzeroni wouldn't even dare touch it.

(I hope this does not lead to a .270WSM w/ 24 inch barrel vs. . 270Wby w/ 26 inch bbl debate)

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

"I will leave the self-righteousness, insults, smears, historical revisionism and ideological rigidity entirely to you."

And I will leave the unsubstantiated claims and cheap rhetorical parthenon shots to you.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Meh. PARTHIAN shots. Gotta fire my spellchecker!

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from Amflyer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Strange. My history books showed the American civil war as ended in 1865. From the looks of it, they were a bit off.

If you feel an overwhelming need to cuss, yell and generally carry on, take out your frustration on something other than each other. Maybe Weatherby rifles, or something similarly deserving.

Right WAM?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Gettysburg might have turned out differently if Stonewall had lived long enough to see it."

I don't see how. Jackson's best moments were as an army commander. If he'd been at Gettysburg he'd have commanded, what, Rodes' Division? What could he have done that Rodes didn't do? It was your basic rolling envelopment and when the US line was stretched too thin, it fell back. Attacking "harder" would just have produced more rebel casualties on Day 1.

On Day 2 the fight was in the Devils Den and on the left. You can't attack harder than Hood did. On Day 3 the fight was across the Emmitsburg road and then balls to the wall at Cemetary Ridge. And no one in the rebel army was going to take and hold Cemetary Ridge with all the artillery support there.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I'm not sure your opening statement shows much knowledge of the Civil War, Dave. Rebellion generalship was rather awful on the whole, and stayed that way throughout. US generalship was spotty, with generals performance seemingly deteriorating with promotion at least until Grant took charge. For every Burnside's Bridge you can find a rebel equivalently futile grand gesture. And the Icon Who Can Do No Wrong (Lee) was the guy who ordered Pickett's charge in the face of Pickett's strong objections.

So yes, the US had McClellan and Ben Butler. The rebels had Beauregard, Johnson, and AP Hill. The US had some brilliant guys too. Sherman, Grant, Sheridan, Reynolds.

Most War of the Rebllion casualties were from transmissible disease, as was the case throughout history basically until WW1.

Elmira NY was nothing near as bad as Andersonville. Most Elmira casualties were from disease. The death rate among incarcerated was about 25% of total, mostly of transmissible disease. Andersonville's casualty rate was about 35%, mostly from deliberate starvation.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

It seems every "war generation" produces the bravest of the brave from our society. Most of those braves souls never get to reap the benefit of their hard labor born under fire, unfortunately.
The Civil War, in my opinion, was the most futile of wars fought for no other reason then pompous ego rights from a once united country that fought together for independence. War colleges educated men to kill there own country men. Was this the cost we had to pay to become an independent nation? I know, I over simplify the entire political dynamics of this war, but to continue a "grudge" in the south over it doesn't make any sense either. The confederate flag waving really is over the top, too!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Wonder where other than Andersonville we have seen photographs like this one?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Andersonvillesurvivor...

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"As far as the Victors writing history... proof exists in the history of every major civilization."

That's a tautological argument you've made. Someone wrote the histories. Where victors wrote histories, it does not automatically follow that the histories were inaccurate. Where the losers write histories, it is most often evident that the histories are self-glorifying rationalizations that dismiss the losers part in precipitating conflict and usually posit a suite of couldawouldashoulda scenarios to make victory seem just within grasp prior to failure. Examples are legion. The Lost Cause Myth of the rebellion is a very good example.

Even the authors of the day (most of them anyhow), didn't try to dress up the Rebellion in the mythos it receives today. Longstreet's history was accurate. PGT Beauregard's was not.

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from SL wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

FocusFront, good post! I love it how southerners continue to down play the slavery issue to this day. The world was evolving and began to realize slavery was wrong, yet they wanted slavery as their state's right(and many probably still do). They got what was coming to them in my opinion. If you could call any war, a war of good against evil, this was it, and evil was the loser.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

@30 07 -- How do you figure reconstruction "raped the south's economy?" Apart from the absence of slaves, which were in fact more costly than hired labor, mostly northern money led to rebuilding, industrialization, and better infrastructure (through railroad improvement), did it not?

@Bee - "The victor writes the history" is an argument I regularly see written in the context of people trying to make obvious evil seem like ordinary business. It's the sort of thing that people say when trying to claim, for example, that "Japan was forced to attack Pearl Harbor," that treatment of allied pow's in the Imperial Japanese realm was "consistent with their standards of the day" (which it was not), etc.

Transmissible illness and contagion were facts of life for crowded environments in the mid-19th century. In army camps, prisons, hospitals, dense urban ghettos and the like. Elmira's and other US pow standards resulted in casualty rates that were common given pneumonia. But the people who left those camps walked out under their own power; they weren't ragged skeletons carried out on stretchers who'd been systematically and deliberately starved in the heart of a rural productive farmland.

There is no moral equivalence between the way the US treated rebel prisoners, or even between the way the rebellion treated US prisoners and Andersonville. That is why Andersonville's commandant was the first person ever hanged for what, these days, would be called "War crimes" or "crimes against humanity."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

That seems a statement of opinion rather than fact. Where's the evidence that reconstruction destroyed the south's economy? The period of US military rule saw US funds, largely from outside the south, used to rebuild cities and ports, add new rail lines, and build alot of public schools. There's no particular evidence that the US army oversight of these activities was worse than CSA oversight, and there is compelling anecdotal evidence that reconstruction was a relatively GOOD period for the south. For one thing, states were required to allow emancipated slaves to vote.

It was only when reconstruction ended that blacks were once again denied the vote, and a bunch of Jim Crow laws piled on. Probably that's why reconstruction is so bound up in the lost cause myth. The plain fact is that it stopped people from continuing to treat American blacks in a vile fashion. Some southerners (obviously) resent that to the present day.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"No other general in US history did so much with so little."

Beg leave to differ. Grant's early Ohio River Campaign and, again, the series of running battles between Wilderness and the Petersberg siege. Nathanael Greene's southern campaign during the revolution. Patton's drive thru France after the breakout from the Contentin. Doug MacArthur's Inchon campaign.

As for Jackson. He was real good when he could face a detachment from an enemy main force. Not so good when the US had a full army on the field as at Kernstown.
Jackson simply blew it at Kernstown, then blamed Lew Garnett for the defeat even though Garnett saved Jackson's force.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The problem is that they WERE intentionally starved. The problems feeding the armies in the field weren't of lack of food, they were due to lack of logistics. Moreover, CSA field units weren't remotely in the starved condition of Andersonville internees. The food was there. It just wasn't provided.

The Andersonville guards and the camp commandant (who was something of a 'toss under the bus' for CSA policy in this regard) and the civilians in the surrounding community were quite well fed. Withholding food was the intentional policy of the CSA - possibly of Wirtz himself although his frequent letters complaining of conditions suggest that the decision to deliberately neglect was made at higher levels.

Beyond that the point is moot. All the CSA had to do was release the prisoners. Instead in each case they tried to make it a lever for prisoner exchange. Comes a point where you have to make the moral choice about which path you walk, and then you are judged by the choice.

Reading between the lines, I suspect that the policy of starvation was deliberate in order to coerce the US into a prisoner exchange. But that is of course pure speculation. Impossible to prove.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

My comment in re evil wasn't about slavery. It was about pow treatment at Andersonville. As to carpetbaggers, I'd bet a dollar to a doughnut that the biggest exploiters in the reconstruction south were locals. It's always that way. "Carptebaggers" is pretty much a trope -- a mythical outsider used as a scapegoat for every bad local decision in the context of the greater "lost cause" myth.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"Beekeeper, it's just par for Diehl. He uses poorly researched 'facts' in just about every discussion"

Heh. Every six-fingered no-necked troll knows that 'where you live.'

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

"As it were I have never seen a six fingered, no necked troll down this way"

No mirrors in your cave then, @zzhat?

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