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Southern Heritage Advancement Preservation and Education :: Forums :: General :: Articles and Article Archive
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The Confederate Cause and Conduct In the War Between the States _- Preface and Contents
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Sun May 17 2009, 01:51AM

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I am in the process of editing this series. I will combine all sections into one thread. The information will not change.


The Confederate Cause and Conduct IN THE War Between the States As set forth in the Reports of the History Committee of the Grand Camp, C. V., of Virginia And Other Confederate Papers

[Late]Medical Director Jackson's Corps, A. N. V.


With an Introduction by
Last Survivor of the Staff of "Stonewall" Jackson
I.. H JENKINS, Publisher

Richmond, Va. Copyright, 1907 by George L. Christian and !stuarll McGuire


The "History Reports " contained in this volume (with the exception of the last one) were prepared for the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans of Virginia, and are republished just as they were submitted to that body. When these papers were severally read to the Grand Camp, they were enthusiastically received and approved, were published in many of the newspapers of the country, and five thousand copies of each report were directed to he printed for general distribution.

The fact that this issue has been exhausted, coupled with the further fact that many letters have been received from nearly every section of the countrycommending these reports, has been deemed a sufficient reason to warrant their publication in this more permanent form. It will be noticed that there is some little repetition in the last report of some of the statements contained in some of the others; but it must be remembered that this last report was prepared for the United Confederate Veterans which had already endorsed many of the former reports prepared for the Grand Camp of Virginia,
and had directed that these should be incorporated in, and form a part of, the history reports of that great body of Confederate Veterans. The lecture on "Stonewall " Jackson and the account of the last hours and death of this remarkable man, prepared by his late Medical Director, are such interesting contributions to history, and have been so favorably received, that no apology is deemed necessary for inserting them in this volume.

Report by Dr. Hunter McGuire, Chairman ,
I. Slavery not the cause of the war.
II. Attempt of Northern writers to misrepresent the South and its cause.
III. The Northern cause will be finally adjudged the ' ' Lost Cause."
IV. Criticism of the writings of Mr. John Fiske, and of " Our Country, '* by Cooper, Estill and Lemon.
V. All the South asks that the truth be stated.
Report by Judge Geo. L. Christian, Acting Chairman, . 33
I. The right of secession established by Northern [testimony.
II. The North the aggressor in bringing on the war, established by their own testimony.

Report by Judge Geo. L. Christian, Chairman, ... 69
A contrast between the way the war was conducted by the Federals and the way it was conducted by the Confederates, drawn almost entirely from Federal sources.

Report by Judge Geo. L. Christian, Chairman, . . . 107
On the treatment and exchange of prisoners.
Report by Judge Geo. L. Christian, Chairman, . . . 141
North Carolina and Virginia in the Civil War.
Report of the History Committee of the U. C. V. , made to
the Reunion of Confederate Veterans, held at Richmond,
Va., May 30th-June 3d, 1907, by Judge Geo. L.
Christian, of Richmond, Va. , ..... 173
I. Which side was responsible for the existence of the cause or
causes of the war ?
II. Which side was the aggressor in provoking the conflict ?
III. Which side had the legal right to do what was done ?
IV. Which side conducted itself the better, and according to the
rules of civilized warfare, pending the conflict ?
V. The relations of the slaves to the Confederate Cause.
Stonewall Jackson — An Address by Hunter McGuire, M. D., L.L.D.,
Medical Director Jackson's Corps, A. N. Va., 191
At the dedication of Jackson Memorial Hall, Virginia Military
Institute, and repeated before R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, C. V.,
Richmond, Va., July 9th, 1897.
Account of the Wounding and Death of Stonewall Jackson, by
Hunter McGuire, M. D., L.L. D., Medical Director
Jackson's Corps, A. N. Va., 217
Published in the Richmond Medical Journal May, 1866.

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 03:31PM ]
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Fri Jul 14 2017, 03:47PM

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Virginia's Hope.

Here in Virginia our hope is in this Grand Camp, with its allies among the scholars in the State, and in the men upon whom the law has laid the heavy responsibility belonging to our State Board of Education. We are glad to know that these are good men and true; that they have on the whole given the public schools of Virginia by far the best set of books they have ever had. So we are glad to acknowledge the good work they have done for the State, however strongly we may dissent from and protest against some of their conclusions. With respect to the situation abroad, it describes it not unfairly if we say that the reasons for the existence of our History Committee are, in a modified form, the same that in 1861 brought into existence and moved to action the armies of the South.

"In the Sectional War" (not the "Civil War," for that title accords with the extreme national conception and admits that we were not separate States) we were called upon to resist an invasion of soldiers, armed and sent into our country by the concurrent purposes of several fairly distinct parties then and now existing in the North. They came seeking our injury and their own profit. A new invasion, with like double purpose, is being prosecuted by the lineal successors of some of these parties. Two of them chiefly concern us and our work. The one came— or sent representatives to the war—bent upon the destruction of our Southern civilization, the eradication of the personal characteristics, opinions, thought, and mode of life which made our men different, antagonists, and hateful to them. The other preferred war to the loss of material prosperity, which they apprehended in case the South should attain a position beyond the reach of Northern law-makers and Northern tax-collectors. Mr. Lincoln represented the latter, when, in reply to Mr. John Baldwin and Mr. A. H. H. Stuart, who, as representatives of the Virginia Convention, then in session, urged him to delay the action that opened the war, he asked, "What is to become of my revenue in New York if there is a 10 per cent, tariff at Charleston?" The following incident points to the former: About the year 1850 a distinguished Northern statesman said to a party of Southern congressmen, "You gentlemen will have to go home and beat your plow-shares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears, for the Northern school-mistresses are training a generation to fight the South."

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 03:47PM ]
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Fri Jul 14 2017, 03:49PM

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No longer concerning ourselves with the sentimental unionists and honest abolitionists—whose work seems to be over—we still struggle against the two parties we have described. These exist in their successors to-day—their successors who strive to control the opinions of our people, and those who seek to make gain by their association with us.

Co-operating with these and representing motives common to them all, is a new form of another party, which has existed since sectionalism had its birth; the party which has always labored to convince the world that the North was altogether right and righteous, and the South wholly and wickedly wrong in the sectional strife. This party is to-day the most distinctly defined and the most dangerous to us. Its chief representatives are the historians against whose work we are especially engaged. We are enlisted against an invasion, organized and vigorously prosecuted by all of these people. They are actuated by all the motives we have described; but they have two well-defined (and, as to us,) malignant purposes. One of them is to convince all men, and especially our Southern children, that we were, as Dr. Curry expresses their view, "a brave and rash people, deluded by bad men, who attempted in an illegal and wicked manner, to overthrow the Union." The other purpose—and for this especially they are laboring—is to have it believed that the Southern soldier, however brave, was actuated by no higher motive than the desire to retain the money value of slave property. They rightly believe that the world, once convinced of this, will hold us degraded rather than worthy of honor, and that our children, instead of reverencing their fathers, will be secretly, if not openly, ashamed.

They now seek to carry out their purposes not by the aid of armed soldiers, but through the active employment of energies, agencies, and agents, who are as the caterpillar and canker-worm for destructiveness, and as the locusts for multitude. The whole force of journalists, poets, orators, and writers of all classes is employed in their cause, especially the Northern history-makers, whose books have been and are now, to some extent, in the hands of Southern children.

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 03:50PM ]
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Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:01PM

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The character of the work has been in greater or less degree such as might have been expected. By every variety of effort, from direct denunciation to faint praise, by false statement and more subtle suggestion, by sophistry of reasoning and unexpected inference, by every sin of omission and commission, these writers have labored since the close of the war, as their predecessors had done before it, to conceal or pervert the facts of our history. In the past they have been to a great extent successful. Up to the war our people were as unknown as if they had lived on another planet— or known only to be condemned. The world has grown wiser. Therefore, these men, hopeless of retaining in the high court of the future the packed juries and prejudiced judges before whom they have heretofore urged their cause against us, gradually despairing of final success in distorting facts as touching either the legal aspect of the case or our military history, still retain the hope, and now bend their energies to the task, of convicting us all— leaders and people—of such motives as shall appear to the world, and to our children, as proof of dishonor; and rob statesmen, faithful citizen and soldier alike, of the admiration now justly accorded.

A distinguished writer has lately said that "history as written, if accepted in future years, will consign the South to infamy." He further observes that "the conquerors write the histories of all conquered peoples." Whether or not the records of mankind show this last statement to be true, it is certainly not true that all conquered peoples have so learned the story of their father's deeds; nor can it be shown that the conquerors have habitually sought to force such teachings upon them. Wiser statesmen have known with Macaulay, that "a people not proud of the deeds of a noble ancestry will never do anything worthy to be remembered by posterity." He is a stupid educator who does not know that a boy ashamed of his father will be a base man. Such a direct attempt to change the character of a people has been almost unknown. It is true that traces of the Latin language show us where the Roman legions marched. Norman French was the court language in England after the conquest, and entered our English speech. These results, long resisted by patriotic men, came by natural assimilation. The relentless and remorseless "man of blood and iron" did—as a last measure of utter subjugation— attack the minds of the children of Alsace and Lorraine through the books ordered for the schools. Through dire penalties these orders were enforced; in hopeless despair these provinces submitted. The Prussian is not entirely alone, and doubtless had thought of retributive justice in mind. For the demon Corsican, in his day of sweeping conquest, compelled conquered provinces to submit to French school laws. The most recent history furnishes one more example. Under date of June 28, 1899, we find an order of the United States Provost-Marshal-General in Manila compelling the attendance of all children between six and twelve at the reopened public schools and ordaining that "one hour's instruction per day shall be devoted to teaching the English language." "We have not yet heard what history of the present war the Philipinos are to study. It is not exactly in point, but it is interesting to note that the schools of French to-day use histories that teach the children how entirely Frenchmen won the American War of Independence. Doubtless an instance may be found here and there of compulsory study of the history of a conquest by the conquered people. When occurring it has been the conqueror's final and to his mind most radical expedient, applied by and with relentless force, and with deadly intent to change the minds and characters of the new subjects.

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:02PM ]
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Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:02PM

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It remained for these, our Southern States, with this State of Virginia leading and guiding the others, (as we fear the record shows) to present the first instance of voluntary submission to this last resort of the cruelest conquerors. The history of the human race furnishes no like example of men who, by their own action, have so exposed their children; of men, who, unconstrained, have dishonored the graves and memories of their dead. Our own people have aided and are still aiding, with "all the insistence of damned and daily school-room iteration," in the work of teaching those malignant falsehoods to Southern children; in the work of so representing a brave people to the world of to-day and the ages to come. How amazing the folly! How dark the crime!

The folly of crime for the State of Virginia is primarily ehargeable to the men, who, immediately after the war—when our hearts, if not our intellects, might have been on guard—brought Northern men and Northern histories into our schools and for years employed them to teach us why and how Southern men fought against the North. Certain honest efforts have been made to expel these books and their teachings. Differences of opinion should not, and do not, induce us to impugn the motives of faithful men; but we regret that these efforts have not been entirely successful.

The general views so far expressed have been presented before. The situation seemed to us to require their forcible repetition. Now, however, and by the last remarks with respect to the histories, we are brought to the special work expected from your committee of this year, the examination of the books allowed for use by the last ruling of our Board of Education, and now in use in the "public" and some of the private schools of the State.


To begin with, and in general: As the result of our examination and such scholarly aid as we have been able to secure, we have to report the positive conclusion that no Northern author has yet written a school history in which it is not easy to trace one or more of the purposes we have described and denounced. All that we have seen are for this reason unfit for use in Southern schools.

Nor do we hesitate to express the opinion that, standing, as these people do to the truth of history, conscious that their section is on trial with respect to the sectional war, and well aware of the growing signs that theirs is to be the "Lost Cause" at last— human nature being imperfect—fair history cannot be expected of Northern authors, unless they be of the rarest and boldest, worthy to rank with the inspired historians who wrote the simple truth. If they imitate these great writers they conquer self to an extent impossible for simple mortals; offend their own people, and fail of their market. They cannot do the first; fear to do the second; the third, their publishers will not allow. Ignorantly or knowingly, seeing with the blinded eyes of prejudice or intent that others shall not see, they are constrained to falsify the record in fact or in effect; otherwise they must be silent. They have not been silent.

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:04PM ]
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Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:06PM

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Without enlarging upon the point or using the abundant material to be had from English and American literature, we stop a moment for one or two evidences that these writers have need to plead their cause by such means as they can devise. The chairman of this committee on one occasion, being in England, heard a number of British officers of high rank, especially engaged in the study of military history, express their opinion—which we rejoice to recognize, and which these Northern men dread as the world's final verdict—that while Washington, Lee, and Jackson were of the great leaders of the world's history, the North had never produced a great commander; that Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan were not to be thought of; that the renegade Virginian, Thomas, was the only man on the Northern side who had approached that rank. On another occasion, travelling in New England, he encountered a gentleman who declared himself a student of history, and desired to be told how it happened that in every crisis of the country's history he found five times as many Southern men as Northern prominently managing affairs. He knew, he said, that the time would come when—utterly wrong and unjust, as he thought it— all the romance and glory of this war would gather around Lee and Jackson, and not around Grant and Sheridan. The passing years already prove the soundness of his judgment. Well may they dread to appear at the bar of their own consciences. With respect to their latest act of war, giving the suffrage to the blacks—a deed unsurpassed for hypocrisy as to purpose, malignant intent, and disastrous effect upon all concerned—these writers know that their best men are uniting to condemn it, and will ere long confess that it was indeed conceived in iniquity and born in sin, and is now itself yielding a legion of devils armed to torment the State. Alas! that teachers in our Southern States should, through any mistake of judgment or counsel, join the North in teaching that, as far as we are the sufferers, we reap the due reward of our deeds.

Fiske's History.

Now, to return and deal with the particular books we were set to examine:

First in order is Mr. John Fiske's History. This book has been very carefully examined, noting the changes appearing in the edition of 1899. Rev. Dr. Tucker's and Mr. Carter A. Bishop's reports upon it have already been submitted. The work done by both of these gentlemen is able and conclusive. To read their reports would, of course, overrun our time.

It is evident to all of us that Mr. Fiske is an able man and a student of history. He has seen, more plainly than any other perhaps (what the Northern orators and writers are silently or openly yielding), that every claim of the South, of such sort as naturally rests upon categorical facts, is already res adjudicata in our favor at the bar of the world. He knows from the writers around him (Mr. Lodge and others) that our claim to the right of secession cannot be resisted; that the right of coercion cannot be maintained; that the superior personal and military character of our leaders is beyond dispute; that estimating Americans, foreign mercenaries, and the negroes in their ranks, the average type and quality of their private soldier was far below ours; and their numbers so far superior that the Southern victories set the world wondering. He knows, too, that the records made up along the track of armies and their own statistics of deaths in prison have forever proved our higher civilization in war. So he foresees and dreads the day of doom, when, as already prophesied, history is to declare the truth triumphant and his the Lost Cause." His writings, the others as well as the history, prove his consciousness that there remains to his section only this last resort—to make the world believe that our motives were base—a charge which they hope will be answered with more difficulty, inasmuch as it rests upon unsubstantial and intangible interpretation of facts, and not upon facts themselves.

[ Edited Fri Jul 14 2017, 04:08PM ]
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Sat Jul 15 2017, 02:57PM

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"The Origin of the Late War," published by the Appleton's in 1866, but out of print for lack of Northern popularity, is a book pre-eminently, worthy of reading. Its author, Mr. George Lunt, of Boston, in Mr. Fiske's own State of Massachusetts, tells us that an unholy combination between Massachusetts Freesoilers and Democrats to defeat the Whigs, with no reference to any principle at all, sent Sumner to Congress and materially contributed to the cause of the war, partly through the Preston Brooks incident, which Mr. Fiske so unfairly describes. "Slavery," this author observes, "was the cause of war, just as property is the cause of robbery." If Mr. Fiske will read the Lincoln and Douglass debates of the time before the war; if he will lay aside preconceived opinion and read the Emancipation Proclamation itself, he will see that not even for Lincoln himself was slavery the cause of action, or its abolition his intent; that emancipation was simply a war measure, not affecting, as you know, the border States that had not seceded; even excluding from its operation certain counties of Virginia; simply intended to disable the fighting States, and more thoroughly to unite the rabid Abolitionists of the North in his own deadly purpose to overthrow the constitutional rights of the States. Just after the battle of Sharpsburg, from which, as you remember, he dated his abolition proclamation, he very clearly indicated his view of the cause or purpose of the war on his part. "If he could save the Union," he said, "by freeing the slaves, he would do it; if he could save it by freeing one-half and keeping the other half in slavery, he would take that plan; if keeping them all in slavery would effect the object, then that would be his course." Further, with respect to the provocation offered to the South that led to the war—so far as slavery was its cause—Mr. Webster, in his speech at Capon Springs in 1851, used these words: "I do not hesitate to say and repeat that if the Northern States refuse willfully and deliberately to carry into effect that part of the Constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, the South would no longer be bound to keep the compact." Mr Lunt and Mr. Webster were Massachusetts men, like Mr. Fiske. Mr. Webster was a great constitutional lawyer; Mr. Lincoln was President. Yet we do not learn from Mr. Fiske that any of these heresies or mistaken purposes had currency in Massachusetts or in the Union. He would teach all men that Mr. Lincoln claims immortality as the apostle of freedom. He is the co-worker with the orator of their absurd Peace Jubilee, who lately proclaimed that the flag of Washington was the flag of independence; the flag of Lincoln the flag of liberty.

"Demands of slave-holders," "Concessions to slave-holders." These and the like are the expressions our author uses to paint a picture of an aggressive South and a conciliatory North. Through and through this author's work runs the same evidence of preconception as to the causes of war, and predetermined purpose as to the effect his book is to produce; the same consciousness of the necessity laid upon him and his co-laborers; the same proof of his consequent inability to write a true history of the sectional strife; the same proof that his book is unfit to be placed in the hands of Southern children.

A curious observation is to be made. Just where we ourselves would say that slavery was the cause, or at least, the occasion of the outbreak of the war, Mr. Fiske does not see the connection. He would have us take even his own statement on that point with a very marked limitation. "Slavery was the cause," but only in so far as the action of the South made it so, and by no means in consequence of any act done by the North or Northern men. That is the doctrine that we must teach our children. Even the John Brown raid is outside of the group of causes. That was beyond question an overt act of Northern men. Therefore, the incident is to be minimized in history and effect. Those of you who remember the situation and possibly marched to Harper's Ferry on that occasion, will be surprised to note that Mr. Fiske says "he (Brown) intended to make an asylum in the mountains for the negroes, and that the North took little notice of his raid." There is no occasion for answering such a statement. We know that Brown and those who sent him here, aiding him to buy his pikes, etc., purposed war, intending that his fort should be the headquarters of an insurrection of the negroes., and purposed that his pikes should be driven into the breasts of Virginia men and women. All of us remember the platform and pulpit denunciation of our people, the parading, the bell-tolling, and other clamorous manifestations of approval and sympathy which went through the North and convinced the people of Virginia that the long-threatened war of the North against the South had at last begun. In this sense, perhaps, it was not of the causes of the war; it was the war. I myself saw the demonstration of the Northern people on that occasion. Happening to be at that time living in Philadelphia, it was instantly plain to me that I was in an enemy's country. The southern students around me saw it as plainly as I did. It took but a dozen sentences to open the eyes of the least intelligent. It was only to say, " Come on, boys I Let's go!" and three hundred of us marched over on our side of the line. The war for us was on, and I know that the State of Virginia knew that was what the North meant. Just how Mr. Fiske enables himself to make the statement quoted, we cannot understand. We only see another proof that his point of view distorts the picture in his mind, to such an extent that he ought not to be employed as a painter for us or our children.

Much has been said of Mr. Fiske's elegant style. We will only observe that the sugar-coating of a pill does not justify our administering poison. The Trojan horse may have been a shapely structure, but in its belly were concealed the enemies of the city. It has been said, perhaps untruly, that the rounded period marks the unreliable historian. There have been notable examples of it. And it is certainly true that an inconvenient fact does sometimes give pain to a writer who is in the habit of testing his sentences by his ear. This is the apparent explanation of some of Mr. Fiske's ob servations as to slave-breeding in Virginia.

[ Edited Sat Jul 15 2017, 03:04PM ]
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