Controversy at the University of Mississippi: More Threats

You’ll recall that the Mid-South Flaggers made much of their march on Oxford, Mississippi, a few weeks ago … and then they made much of the fact that they didn’t like the company they kept. Fair enough.

But this exchange on their Facebook page should remind us that the Mid-South Flaggers are no angels, either.

Old Miss Violence

Apparently the Mid-South Flaggers want to voice their own opinion but shut down those who disagree (which is fairly typical for the Confederate heritage movement, by the way). And as for threats of violence? Read the last comment.

We can now expect the usual calls to university officials demanding that a faculty member be silenced.

Another Online Resource

If you like sketches like these …

… then you might like to look at this:

CHARLES WELLINGTON REED PAPERS

The papers of Civil War soldier and artist Charles Wellington Reed, who served with the Ninth Independent Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery, includes approximately seven hundred sketches and correspondence relating primarily to the Civil War. The letters are often prefaced by drawings which further illustrate not only the rigors of military life, but also the amusing and mundane aspects. The contents of the letters and corresponding sketches well document the ways in which soldiers adapted to seasonal changes in the weather, how they amused themselves, and the routines of camp life in the Army of the Potomac.

Online presentation: http://www.loc.gov/collection/charles-reed/about-this-collection/

Finding aid in html: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms001005

Finding aid in pdf: http://rs5.loc.gov/service/mss/eadxmlmss/eadpdfmss/2001/ms001005.pdf

Reed won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg in rescuing battery commander Captain John Bigelow on July 2, 1863, when the 9th Massachusetts Battery came under attack that afternoon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Confederate Heritage Under Fire in Ferguson, Missouri?

We hear a great deal about the proper use of Confederate symbols, including the Confederate flag, and passionate defenses of the proper display of the Confederate battle flag.

Now comes word of the Ku Klux Klan’s interest in injecting itself in the situation at Ferguson, Missouri. Yup, just when you thought things could not get uglier.

Are we going to see something like this in Ferguson, Missouri?

Even some Klansmen seem confused about this. Others are not so confused.

I await the passionate protests by Confederate heritage groups against a white supremacist group using what its defenders deem a scared banner for such a purpose. After all, they have no problem attacking other people who don’t like the display of the flag in certain contexts.

If the Confederate Battle Flag does not represent white supremacy, folks, then let’s hear you denounce the KKK for using it … and let’s hear it with the same intensity and frequency that you use when you assail other groups.

Restore the honor.

I’m waiting.

The League of the South and the Sons of Confederate Veterans: A Poll

Just curious as to your impressions.

Research Exercise: Confederate Soldiers on Tariff Policy

I have heard it said that since the correspondence of Confederate soldiers does not often mention that the soldier in question was fighting to protect the institution of slavery, Confederate soldiers did not fight to protect slavery … and, ergo, the Confederacy was not established to protect slavery.

Let’s stipulate for a moment that this reasoning is on the mark, and let’s apply it elsewhere … specifically the oft-cited cause, the tariff. Surely, if the Confederacy was established to protest protective tariffs, then Confederate soldiers would write home about how they were risking life and limb to protest the imposition of protective tariffs.

So, folks, show me those wartime letters. Thanks.

August 19, 1864: Lincoln Stays the Course on Emancipation

Having pondered the issue of emancipation and war aims for several days, Abraham Lincoln was ready to explain what he had decided and why. He shared his thinking with Wisconsin Alexander Randall and Judge Joseph T. Mills. Mills left the following entry in his diary describing what the president told them:

August 19, 1864
The President was free & animated in conversation. I was astonished at his elasticity of spirits. Says Gov Randall, why cant you Mr P. seek some place of retirement for a few weeks. You would be reinvigorated. Aye said the President, 3 weeks would do me no good—my thoughts my solicitude for this great country follow me where ever I go. I don’t think it is personal vanity, or ambition—but I cannot but feel that the weal or woe of this great nation will be decided in the approaching canvas. My own experience has proven to me, that there is no program intended by the democratic party but that will result in the dismemberment of the Union. But Genl McClellan is in favor of crushing out the rebellion, & he will probably be the Chicago candidate. The slightest acquaintance with arithmetic will prove to any man that the rebel armies cannot be destroyed with democratic strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of the north to do it. There are now between 1 & 200 thousand black men now in the service of the Union. These men will be disbanded, returned to slavery & we will have to fight two nations instead of one. I have tried it. You cannot concilliate the South, when the mastery & control of millions of blacks makes them sure of ultimate success. You cannot concilliate the South, when you place yourself in such a position, that they see they can achieve their independence. The war democrat depends upon conciliation. He must confine himself to that policy entirely. If he fights at all in such a war as this he must economise life & use all the means which God & nature puts in his power. Abandon all the posts now possessed by black men surrender all these advantages to the enemy, & we would be compelled to abandon the war in 3 weeks. We have to hold territory. Where are the war democrats to do it. The field was open to them to have enlisted & put down this rebellion by force of arms, by concilliation, long before the present policy was inaugurated. There have been men who have proposed to me to return to slavery the black warriors of Port Hudson & Olustee to their masters to conciliate the South. I should be damned in time & in eternity for so doing. The world shall know that I will keep my faith to friends & enemies, come what will. My enemies say I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. It is & will be carried on so long as I am President for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without using the Emancipation lever as I have done. Freedom has given us the control of 200 000 able bodied men, born & raised on southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has sub[t]racted from the strength of our enemies, & instead of alienating the south from us, there are evidences of a fraternal feeling growing up between our own & rebel soldiers. My enemies condemn my emancipation policy. Let them prove by the history of this war, that we can restore the Union without it. The President appeared to be not the pleasant joker I had expected to see, but a man of deep convictions & an unutterable yearning for the success of the Union cause. His voice was pleasant—his manner earnest & cordial. As I heard a vindication of his policy from his own lips, I could not but feel that his mind grew in stature like his body, & that I stood in the presence of the great guiding intellect of the age, & that those huge Atlantian shoulders were fit to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies. His transparent honesty, his republican simplicity, his gushing sympathy for those who offered their lives for their country, his utter forgetfulness of self in his concern for his country, could not but inspire me with confidence, that he was Heavens instrument to conduct his people thro this red sea of blood to a Canaan of peace & freedom. Comr. Dole then came in. We were about to retire, but he insisted on our remaining longer. Dismissing the present state of the country, he entertained us with reminiscences of the past—of the discussions between himself & Douglass. He said he was accused of of [sic] joking. In his later speeches, the seriousness of the theme prevented him from using anecdotes. Mr. Harris a democratic orator of Ill, once appealed to his audience in this way. If these republicans get into power, the darkies will be allowed to come to the polls & vote. Here comes forward a white man, & you ask him who will you vote for. I will vote for S A Douglass. Next comes up a sleek pampered negro. Well Sambo, who do you vote for. I vote for Massa Lincoln. Now asked the orator, what do you think of that. Some old farmer cried out, I think the darkey showd a damd sight of more sense than the white man. It is such social tete a tetes among his friends that enables Mr Lincoln to endure mental toils & application that would crush any other man. The President now in full flow of spirits, scattered his repartee in all directions. He took his seat on the sofa by my side. Said I Mr President I was in your reception room to day. It was dark. I suppose that clouds & darkness necessarily surround the secrets of state. There in a corner I saw a man quietly reading who possessed a remarkable physiognomy. I was rivetted to the spot. I stood & stared at him He raised his flashing eyes & caught me in the act. I was compelled to speak. Said I, Are you the President. No replied the stranger, I am Frederick Douglass. Now Mr P. are you in favor of miscegenation. That’s a democratic mode of producing good Union men, & I dont propose to infringe on the patent. We parted from his Excellency, with firmer purpose to sustain the government, at whose head there stands a man who combines in his person all that is valuable in progress in conservatism—all that is hopeful in progress.

Whether Lincoln ever wavered on the issue of emancipation remains an issue of debate for some people. There is nothing to suggest that he did anything other than try out the advice given him by several leading Republicans in one of the drafts of his letter to Democratic newspaper editor Charles Robinson. But it was now clear that he would stay the course, come what may.