Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The South from Country to Colony

From: bernhard1848@gmail.com

The South in 1865 voluntarily laid down its arms in deference to the Northern Constitution and its laws, though it experienced what the wife of Gen. Bryan Grimes called a "reign of terror."  She reported that "there was a report that they would hang all officers above the rank of captain and all their property would be confiscated."

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

The South from Country to Colony

"We stacked eight thousand stands of arms, all told, artillery, cavalry, infantry stragglers, wagon-rats, and all the rest, from twelve to fifteen thousand men.  The United States troops, by their own estimate, were 150,000 men, with a railroad connecting their rear with Washington, New York, Germany, France, Belgium, Africa, "all the world and the rest of mankind," as General [Richard] Taylor comprehensively remarked, for their recruiting stations were all over the world, and the crusade against the South, and its peculiar manners and civilization, under the pressure of the "almighty American dollar," was as absolute and varied in its nationality as that of "Peter the Hermit," under the pressure of religious zeal, upon Jerusalem . . . .

Those who took a serious consideration of the state of affairs, felt that with our defeat we had as absolutely lost our country – the one we held under the Constitution – as though we had been conquered and made a colony of by France or Russia.  The right of the strongest – the law of the sword – was as absolute at "Appomattox" that day as when Brennus, the Gaul, threw it in the scale at the ransom of Rome.

So far, it was all according to the order of things, and we stood on these bare hills men without a country. General Grant offered us, it was said, rations and transportation – each man to his native State, now a conquered province, or to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Many would not have hesitated to accept the offer for Halifax and rations; but, in distant Southern homes were old men, helpless women and children, whose cry for help it was not hard to hear.  So, in good faith, accepting our fate, we took allegiance to this, our new country, which is now called the "United States," as we would have done to France or Russia.

With all that was around us – the destruction of the "Army of Northern Virginia" and certain defeat of the Confederacy as a result – no one dreamed of what has followed. The fanaticism that has influenced the policy of the Government to treat subject States – whose citizens had been permitted to take an oath of allegiance, accepted them as such, and promised to give them the benefit of laws protecting person, property and religion – as the dominant party in the United States has done, exceeds belief.

To place the government of the States absolutely in the hands of its former slaves, and call their "acts" "laws;" to denounce the slightest effort to assert the white vote, even under the laws, treason; and finally, force the unwilling  United States soldier to use his bayonet to sustain the grossest outrages of law and decency against men of his own color and race! . . .

. . . [T]his has gone on until, lost in wonder as to what is to come next, the Southern white man watches events as a tide that is gradually rising and spreading, and from which he sees no avenue of escape, and must, unless an intervention almost miraculous takes place, soon sweep him away . . . "

(The Falling Flag, E.M. Boykin; Empire of the Owls, H.V. Traywick, Jr., Dementi Milestone Publishing, 2013, pp. 295-296)