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Confederacy was defeated by the South(erners)


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Historian suggests Southerners defeated Confederacy

Valdosta State professor pens ‘Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War’

By JIM AUCHMUTEY

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Generations of students have been taught that the South lost the Civil War because of the North’s superior industry and population. A new book suggests another reason: Southerners were largely responsible for defeating the Confederacy.

In “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” (New Press, $27.95), historian David Williams of Valdosta State University lays out some tradition-upsetting arguments that might make the granite brow of Jefferson Davis crack on Stone Mountain.

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In a new book on the Civil War, Valdosta State University historian David Williams shows how the Confederacy wasn’t so much defeated by the Union as scuttled by its own disunity.

MEET THE AUTHOR

David Williams will discuss and sign "Bitterly Divided" at 7 p.m. Sept. 18. A Cappella Books/Opal Gallery, 484C Moreland Ave. N.E. Atlanta. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com

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“With this book,” wrote Publishers Weekly, “the history of the Civil War will never be the same again.”

Actually, historians have long fallen into two camps in explaining the Confederacy’s demise — one stressing the Union’s advantages, the other the South’s divisions. Williams gives vivid expression to the latter view, drawing on state and local studies done primarily in the past two decades.

The 49-year-old South Georgia native discussed his interpretations in an interview from Valdosta.

Q: You write that most Southerners didn’t even want to leave the Union.

A: That’s right. In late 1860 and early 1861, there were a series of votes on the secession question in all the slave states, and the overwhelming majority voted against it. It was only in the Deep South, from South Carolina to Texas, that there was much support for secession, and even there it was deeply divided. In Georgia, a slight majority of voters were against secession.

Q: So why did Georgia secede?

A: The popular vote didn’t decide the question. It chose delegates to a convention. That’s the way slaveholders wanted it, because they didn’t trust people to vote on the question directly. More than 30 delegates who had pledged to oppose secession changed their votes at the convention. Most historians think that was by design. The suspicion is that the secessionists ran two slates — one for and one supposedly against — and whichever was elected, they’d vote for secession.

Q: You say the war didn’t start at Fort Sumter.

A: The shooting war over secession started in the South between Southerners. There were incidents in several states. Weeks before Fort Sumter, seven Unionists were lynched in Tallahatchie County, Miss.

Q: Was the inner civil war ever resolved?

A: No. As a result, about 300,000 Southern whites served in the Union army. Couple that with almost 200,000 Southern blacks who served, and that combined to make almost a fourth of the total Union force. All those Southerners who fought for the North were a major reason the Confederacy was defeated.

Q: In the spring of 1862, the Confederacy enacted the first draft in American history. Planters had an easy time getting out of it, didn’t they?

A: Very easy. If they owned 20 or more slaves, they were pretty much excused from the draft. Some of them paid off draft officials. Early in the war, they could pay the Confederate government $500 and get out of the draft.

Q: You use the phrase “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” several times. Does this history anger you?

A: I don’t think it would be unfair to say that. It seems like the common folk were very much ignored and used by the planter elite. As a result, over half a million Americans died.

My great-great-grandfather was almost one: John Joseph Kirkland. He was a poor farmer in Early County, no slaves. He was 33, just under draft age, and had five children at home. He went ahead and enlisted so he could get a $50 bonus. A year later, he lost a leg at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Q: One of the biggest problems for the South was a lack of food. Why?

A: That does seem strange, because we think of the South as a vast agricultural region. But the planters were growing too much cotton and tobacco and not enough food. Cotton and tobacco paid more.

Q: You say the Confederate army stripped the fields of much of the produce and livestock there was, leaving civilians hungry. That sounds like Sherman’s troops marching through Georgia.

A: It was very much like that.

Q: When they couldn’t feed their families, Southern women started food riots. There was a big one in Richmond. Were there any in Georgia?

A: Every major city in Georgia had food riots. We’ve documented more than 20. In Atlanta, a woman walked into a store on Whitehall Street and drew a revolver and told the rest of the women to take what they wanted. They moved from store to store.

Q: The deprivations at home led to a very high desertion rate among Confederates. How bad was it?

A: By 1864, two-thirds of the Army was absent with or without leave. It got worse after that.

Q: There was a sort of Underground Railroad for deserters?

A: Yes. It surprised me that many Confederate deserters could count on the support of slaves to hide them and move them from one location to another.

Q: How important were black Southerners in the outcome of the war?

A: They were very important to undermining the Confederate war effort. When slaves heard that Abraham Lincoln had been elected, many of them thought they were free and started leaving plantations. So many eventually escaped to Union lines that they forced the issue. As other historians have said, Lincoln didn’t free the slaves; the slaves freed themselves.

Q: If there was so much division in the South and it was such an important part of the Confederacy’s downfall, why isn’t this a larger part of our national memory?

A: The biggest reason is regional pride. It gratified white Southerners to think the South was united during the Civil War. It gratified Northerners to believe they defeated a united South.

Q: Why do you think so much Southern identity has been wrapped up in the Confederacy? We’re talking about four of the 400 years since Jamestown was settled. It seems like the tail wagged the dog — and now you tell us the tail is pretty raggedy.

A: I think popular memory got wrapped up in race. Most white Southerners opposed secession, but they were also predominantly racists. After the war, they wanted to keep it a white man’s country and maintain their status over African-Americans. It became easy for Southerners to misremember what happened during the war. A lot of people whose families had opposed the Confederacy became staunch neo-Confederates after a generation or two, mainly for racist reasons.

Q: Has this knowledge affected your feelings about Southern heritage? Did you have an opinion about the former Georgia flag?

A: I had a graduate student who did his thesis on that. He looked into the origins of the 1956 state flag and concluded that the Confederate battle emblem was put there not to honor our ancestors but as a statement against school integration.

Q: So you saw no reason to defend that flag?

A: No, not in the least.

Q: Have the Sons of Confederate Veterans been to see you?

A: Yes. They didn’t really deny anything I had to say, but they weren’t real happy to hear it. I told them, “Well, I’m not making this up.”

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Your statements on Slavery is way off. Prehaps you should do more research on the subject, Abe Lincoln passed the EP in 1862 ramming it though a congress that had no reps form the seceeded Southern states, that is what freed the slaves, But it only freed the slaves in states in Rebellion, it was the 14th ammendment that freed them nationwide after the war ended. You find it shocking that Slavery even after 1862 was still legal in Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC as well as the border states.The Divisions in the South were of a military nature, many did not agree with the way Jefferson Davis conducted the War and they used their resources against the Davis Adminstation which harmed the Confederate war effort, General Lee wanted to bring up all the men stationed in the forts and on the coastline defense of GA, NC and SC to act against the defenses of Washington during his invasion of Penn in 1863 but Davis refused as his policy was to defend all points at all times against a more numberous foe and that is what ultimatly lost the war.The Souths biggest mistake during the war was the cotton embargo which allowed millions dollars of cotton stockpiles to rot in Southern ports hoping the British and France would come to the Souths aid and break the Northern Blockcade but the Europeans already had Stockpiles enough cotton in previous yrs, so the embargo brought the Souths ecomomy to its knees during the war, this was another failed Jefferson Davis policy that many state Governers frought against, using the blockcade running operations to benefit there states instead of the armies in the field which also explains the food shortage.

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If the South was to win the Civil War they would have HAD to have done it early on in the war. The North just plain out numberd the south 2 to 1 and for every Union solider that fell he could be replaced by 2 irish or german immigrants that were just constanlly pouring into the major northern cities. Not to mention Nothern industry was just light years ahead of the agricultural South. Who could barley feed and clothes its own soldiers. After in 1863 when Lee failed to take Gettysburg the South esseintally had no chance and it was only a matter of time before they collapsed.

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The south also had hardly any railroads compared to the north to mobilize it's armies, nor did it have the manufacturing capabilities to produce the ammunition or firearms needed in the struggle. Heck, if Robert E. Lee had joined the north instead of the south as commander, I think the war would have lasted 2 years tops.

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Lee was a great leader of men but in the aftermath of the war he became a mytar of the South because the defeated South needed a hero to lean on and they built him up to something he never was, The Real reason the South lost is because it suffered the greatest personal loss of any army ever with the untimely wounding and death of General Stonewall Jackson.

In one years time between May of 1862 and May of 1863, Jackson became a legend North and South, and terrorized the Northern Army and Lincoln with his rapid movements and surpising tatics that made him unlike anyother Civil war General, Jackson used relatively small forces to crush much larger northern armies on many battlefields, He was at the height of his career when he was struck down by three bullets some say were fired from Southern rifles, afterward, Lee did not perform as well in battle and later even amitted that had he had Jackson at Gettysburg, he would have won that battle and all evidence must be inclined to support that estimate.

Lee also said of Jackson when he heard of his wounding that he has lost his left arm but I have lost my right.

Lee fought the Battle of Gettysburg without his strong right arm and it showed........

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There is no question that their were major divisions in the hastly put together Southern Government, Jefferson Davis was a poor choice as President and he could not match Lincolns resources yet his policies attempted too and that is what drained the Souths manpower and materials far sooner than it should have...............

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There is no question that their were major divisions in the hastly put together Southern Government, Jefferson Davis was a poor choice as President and he could not match Lincolns resources yet his policies attempted too and that is what drained the Souths manpower and materials far sooner than it should have...............

Still its pretty amazing that they were able to put together the kind of Goverment they did complete with its own Constitution and Congress. Slavery and all that aside you gotta admire what they were able to do in such a short amount of time.

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johnny reb will rise again!!! just not this year!!!

South Postpones Rising Again For Yet Another Year

April 12, 2000 | Issue 36•13

HUNTSVILLE, AL–For the 135th straight year since Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, representatives for the South announced Monday that the region has postponed plans to rise again.

Enlarge Image South Postpones Rising

Three of the estimated 45 million Southerners who have not yet gotten around to rising again.

"Make no mistake, the South shall rise again," said Knox Pritchard, president of the Huntsville-based Alliance Of Confederate States. "But we're just not quite ready to do it now. Hopefully, we'll be able to rise again real soon, maybe even in 2001."

Pritchard's fellow Southerners shared his confidence.

"Yes, sir. The South will rise again, and when it does, I'll be right up front waving the Stars and Bars," said Dock Mullins of Decatur, GA. "But first, I gotta get my truck fixed and get that rusty old stove out of my yard."

"Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, we gonna rise again," said Sumter, SC, radiator technician Hap Slidell, who describes himself as "Southern by the grace of God." "I don't know exactly when we're gonna do it, but one of these days, we're gonna show them Yankees how it's done."

"Save your Confederate dollars," Slidell added. "You can bet on that."

The Deep South states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee consistently rank at the bottom of the nation in a wide variety of statistical categories, including literacy, infant mortality, hospital beds, toilet-paper sales, and shoe usage. Even so, some experts believe the region could be poised for a renaissance.

"The way things stand, things in the Deep South almost have to get better. Otherwise, the people who live there will devolve into preverbal, overall-wearing sub-morons within a century," said Professor Dennis Lassiter of Princeton University. "Either Southerners will start improving themselves, or they'll be sold to middle-class Asians as pets."

"My constituents are decent, hard-working folk," said Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in his 22nd annual "Next Year, By God!" speech on the steps of North Carolina's capitol building. "We are a proud people who mayn't have all that much fancy-pants book-learnin', but we live and die with pride in our proud heritage and the dignity of our forebears."

Helms' speech was met with nearly 25 minutes of enthusiastic hoots and rebel yells by the 15,000 drunk, unemployed tobacco pickers in attendance.

Though Southerners are overwhelmingly in favor of rising again, few were able to provide specific details of the rising-again process.

"I don't know, I reckon we'll build us a bunch of big, fancy buildins and pave us up a whole mess of roads," said Bobby Lee Fuller of Greenville, MS. "I ain't exactly sure where we're gonna get the money for that, but when Johnny Reb sets his mind to something, you best get out of his way."

"Oh, it'll happen, sure as the sun come up in the morning," said Buford Comstock, 26, a student at Over 'N' Back Diesel Driving School in Union City, TN. "The South is gonna rise up, just as soon as we get together and get all our s*** back in one sock. Then, look out, Northerners!"

"Yesiree," Comstock added, "one day soon, the Mason-Dixon Line will be the boundary between a great nation and one whose time done passed."

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johnny reb will rise again!!! just not this year!!!

South Postpones Rising Again For Yet Another Year

April 12, 2000 | Issue 36•13

HUNTSVILLE, AL–For the 135th straight year since Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, representatives for the South announced Monday that the region has postponed plans to rise again.

Enlarge Image South Postpones Rising

Three of the estimated 45 million Southerners who have not yet gotten around to rising again.

"Make no mistake, the South shall rise again," said Knox Pritchard, president of the Huntsville-based Alliance Of Confederate States. "But we're just not quite ready to do it now. Hopefully, we'll be able to rise again real soon, maybe even in 2001."

Pritchard's fellow Southerners shared his confidence.

"Yes, sir. The South will rise again, and when it does, I'll be right up front waving the Stars and Bars," said Dock Mullins of Decatur, GA. "But first, I gotta get my truck fixed and get that rusty old stove out of my yard."

"Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, we gonna rise again," said Sumter, SC, radiator technician Hap Slidell, who describes himself as "Southern by the grace of God." "I don't know exactly when we're gonna do it, but one of these days, we're gonna show them Yankees how it's done."

"Save your Confederate dollars," Slidell added. "You can bet on that."

The Deep South states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee consistently rank at the bottom of the nation in a wide variety of statistical categories, including literacy, infant mortality, hospital beds, toilet-paper sales, and shoe usage. Even so, some experts believe the region could be poised for a renaissance.

"The way things stand, things in the Deep South almost have to get better. Otherwise, the people who live there will devolve into preverbal, overall-wearing sub-morons within a century," said Professor Dennis Lassiter of Princeton University. "Either Southerners will start improving themselves, or they'll be sold to middle-class Asians as pets."

"My constituents are decent, hard-working folk," said Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in his 22nd annual "Next Year, By God!" speech on the steps of North Carolina's capitol building. "We are a proud people who mayn't have all that much fancy-pants book-learnin', but we live and die with pride in our proud heritage and the dignity of our forebears."

Helms' speech was met with nearly 25 minutes of enthusiastic hoots and rebel yells by the 15,000 drunk, unemployed tobacco pickers in attendance.

Though Southerners are overwhelmingly in favor of rising again, few were able to provide specific details of the rising-again process.

"I don't know, I reckon we'll build us a bunch of big, fancy buildins and pave us up a whole mess of roads," said Bobby Lee Fuller of Greenville, MS. "I ain't exactly sure where we're gonna get the money for that, but when Johnny Reb sets his mind to something, you best get out of his way."

"Oh, it'll happen, sure as the sun come up in the morning," said Buford Comstock, 26, a student at Over 'N' Back Diesel Driving School in Union City, TN. "The South is gonna rise up, just as soon as we get together and get all our s*** back in one sock. Then, look out, Northerners!"

"Yesiree," Comstock added, "one day soon, the Mason-Dixon Line will be the boundary between a great nation and one whose time done passed."

Dam thats harsh :lol:

is that real?

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you enjoy his class?

Yeah I guess. He's sort of soft spoken and mono-tone. He's truly obsessed with himself and his books though. But his tests are multiple choice, and he only has one paper project that is only 10 pages. Pretty easy stuff as far as upper-level history goes. I had him this past spring, and on the last day of class he told us all about his new book that was coming out, which seems like his old book, yet with a different cover. I took his Civil War class and I can't tell you $%*# about any battles of the war, but I can tell you all about the strife of the plain folk and the evil planters that held them down.

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Yeah I guess. He's sort of soft spoken and mono-tone. He's truly obsessed with himself and his books though. But his tests are multiple choice, and he only has one paper project that is only 10 pages. Pretty easy stuff as far as upper-level history goes. I had him this past spring, and on the last day of class he told us all about his new book that was coming out, which seems like his old book, yet with a different cover. I took his Civil War class and I can't tell you $%*# about any battles of the war, but I can tell you all about the strife of the plain folk and the evil planters that held them down.

Sort of a buff myself and think this would be interesting. The battles have been examined to death anyway and you wind up with some pretty silly personality cult opinions. :rolleyes:

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Lee was a great leader of men but in the aftermath of the war he became a mytar of the South because the defeated South needed a hero to lean on and they built him up to something he never was, The Real reason the South lost is because it suffered the greatest personal loss of any army ever with the untimely wounding and death of General Stonewall Jackson.

In one years time between May of 1862 and May of 1863, Jackson became a legend North and South, and terrorized the Northern Army and Lincoln with his rapid movements and surpising tatics that made him unlike anyother Civil war General, Jackson used relatively small forces to crush much larger northern armies on many battlefields, He was at the height of his career when he was struck down by three bullets some say were fired from Southern rifles, afterward, Lee did not perform as well in battle and later even amitted that had he had Jackson at Gettysburg, he would have won that battle and all evidence must be inclined to support that estimate.

Lee also said of Jackson when he heard of his wounding that he has lost his left arm but I have lost my right.

Lee fought the Battle of Gettysburg without his strong right arm and it showed........

I agree with ya there, but Lee also didn't listen to Longstreet who suggested they flank the north and take the higher ground, which is something Lee always did before. Gettysburg I'm glad happened because the Union was preserved, just a lot of things had to happen a certain way and they did. History is full of events like that.

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I agree with ya there, but Lee also didn't listen to Longstreet who suggested they flank the north and take the higher ground, which is something Lee always did before. Gettysburg I'm glad happened because the Union was preserved, just a lot of things had to happen a certain way and they did. History is full of events like that.

It was a manifestation of an attempt at a political victory but, IMO, a betrayal somewhat of the idea that the South merely wanted to secede, be left alone and protect itself. Lee and especially Jackson let their religiosity cloud their good sense at times. Jackson was a fanatic. I had an ancestor who actually served under him and died at the Battle of McDowell in the Shenandoah Valley. Gettysburg was a bloodbath. I read a book on the aftermath of it--dealing with the dead and wounded, the looters, etc. There was so much blood in the ground that certain berries came up red the next year that were generally green. Most of the Southerners were buried in shallow graves and later moved back South by the Daughters of the Confederacy after the war. The amputated legs and arms were stacked outside of medical tents ten feet high. Countless rifles were found with up to ten loads jammed in the barrels from soldiers who were so terrified they forgot to fire. Crazy stuff. If you have ever been there and see where Pickett's Charge began you know it was madness on Lee's part. Pickett hated him until the day he died.

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They were in rags. And there is always war profiteering. I read of a Northern shoe company that was being taken to task by the army for selling them shoes that the soles always came off of quickly and their response was they were supposed to be for the cavalry. :lol: did you know there was no such thing as left and right foot shoes before the war? Many and perhaps most of the Southern soldier's shoes had wooden soles. the average soldier was tiny by today's standards. Look at one of their uniforms ina museum some time. They wouldn't fit the average 13 year old.

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Anybody with an open mind and a love of alternative history should take a look at Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory series which is about 11 books I think, detaling what might have happend if the South had won the Civil War all the way up to an alternative WWII, they're pretty good.

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Anybody with an open mind and a love of alternative history should take a look at Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory series which is about 11 books I think, detaling what might have happend if the South had won the Civil War all the way up to an alternative WWII, they're pretty good.

I think Newt Gingrich also wrote a book on this topic. There was also one I read called Guns of the Confederacy where time travels supplied the South with AK47s. :lol:

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Anybody with an open mind and a love of alternative history should take a look at Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory series which is about 11 books I think, detaling what might have happend if the South had won the Civil War all the way up to an alternative WWII, they're pretty good.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check em out.

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I think Newt Gingrich also wrote a book on this topic. There was also one I read called Guns of the Confederacy where time travels supplied the South with AK47s. :lol:

Guns of the SOUTH but Yeah i've read that one too. It was more ScIFI than the Southern Victory series. Actually it was fans writing him wanting him to make a realistic version that made him write the series

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