Confederate History Month

"The SOUTH is a land that has known sorrows; it is a land that has broken the ashen crust and moistened it with tears; a land scarred and riven by the plowshare of war and billowed with the graves of her dead; but a land of legend, a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic memories.

"To that land every drop of my blood, every fiber of my being, every pulsation of my heart, is consecrated forever. I was born of her womb; I was nurtured at her breast; and when my last hour shall come, I pray GOD that I may be pillowed upon her bosom and rocked to sleep within her tender and encircling arms."

Edward Ward Carmack (1858-1908),
United States Representative, Tennessee

It's unfortunate if anyone is offended by my tribute to Confederate History Month, but I don't apologize for esteeming my Southern ancestors, or blame them for fighting an invading army that brought waste, fire and death to their homes and region.

My position is that the people of the Confederacy were no worse than anyone else -- particularly the ones who came South and made war on them.

I'm not one of those who claim, "The war had nothing to do with slavery." Nor do I accept the simplistic reasoning that slavery was the only reason for the war. A review of history plainly shows that there had been bad blood between north and South since colonial days; slavery was just an excuse to bring the animosity to blows.

I can't say it any better than Douglas Harper has written it:
Dealing with American history on this level requires patience and the ability to get past attitudes unwilling to go further than, "They had slaves, slaves were wrong, the South deserves everything it got." The American Civil War was "about" slavery like the Boston Tea Party was "about" tea. Slavery became the symbol and character of all sectional differences. It was the emotional gasoline on the sectional fires. Its moral and social implications colored every issue in terms of right and rights. William Seward, the Republican leader whose party made so much of this, recognized the fact: "Every question, political, civil, or ecclesiastical, however foreign to the subject of slavery, brings up slavery as an incident, and the incident supplants the principal question."

No matter what squabbles the regions had, and there were many, somebody always brought slavery into the argument, so that what has come down to us is an erroneous emphasis on slavery as the only issue.

All that's necessary to see there was far more to the war than slavery is to read the declarations of secession issued by the states. On anti-Southern blogs, you sometimes find the declarations with everything deleted but the passages referring to slavery.

This is possibly a photo of my ancestor, Private Balus Brackett, Company I, 39th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Army of Tennessee, C.S.A. Gilmer County, Georgia, "Gilmer Tigers #2" Joined the Confederate Army March 4, 1862. Fought in the Battle of Corinth, Miss, October 3-4, 1862

In any case, whatever others may choose, I will honor my Confederate ancestors and their causes, plural, their gallantry, their nobility, their sacrifice. Had the Confederate States of America prevailed, had slavery ended peacefully, the victim of economics and industrialization, as it had ended everywhere else up till then, I can't imagine the CSA would be any more screwed up today than the United States of America is....

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