Civil War History


This is to continue the discussion begun by myself and Mr. Bobjam in the “Accidental Racist” thread.

I’m responding to the last post in that thread.

I will happily find sources other than the KKK website, I didn’t realize you would be so upset by that.

“A notorious slave trader and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest became an obvious target for African American anger and contempt, especially in the late twentieth century. White Americans, however, have not always conformed to one particular view”(1). From a paper written by historian Court Carney on Forrest.

Or look at this review of a book that details the history of the KKK - the reviewer finds the author’s “sympathies to lie so patently with the [South] that his history is little more than thinly veiled propaganda.” Yet despite this bias the author’s carries out an “elaborate examination of circumstantial evidence to prove the well-known fact that General Nathan Bedford Forrest was the Grand Wizard and principal organizer of the Klan” (2).

Those are just two that I found. Looks like I wouldn’t really be “turning the credible writers and historians on their heads” and “becoming a wealthy individual and a celebrity of some note in the Civil War history arena.” Can you provide a source that proves that he was NOT the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, or at least that he was out of the organization well before 1870? If so, then I will consider your point.

However, your claim that Forrest was not a white supremacist is ridiculous - he fought AN ENTIRE WAR in order to maintain the “right” to keep one’s slaves, so I don’t think he’s very respectable even if you insist on denying the fact that he was involved in the violence of the Klan (not to mention the fact that just about everybody was a white supremacist back then). I’m arguing that Forrest actively used violence and intimidation to fight for white supremacy after the war through the KKK. Based on the fact that he was the Grand Wizard after the war, and the KKK committed acts of violence during that period, he must have condoned those acts.

Also, you promised to address Lincoln and abolition in a later post. Would you like to do that now or clear up Forrest first?

**1. The Contested Image of Nathan Bedford Forrest
Court Carney
The Journal of Southern History , Vol. 67, No. 3 (Aug., 2001), pp. 601-630

2. Invisible Empire, the Story of the Ku Klux Klan, 1866-1871 by Stanley F. Horn
Review by: Ray Allen Billington
The Catholic Historical Review , Vol. 25, No. 3 (Oct., 1939), pp. 359-360


Great Idea. But you do realize that history was written by the victor, in general.

Most of the fighters in the civil war were not fighting to keep slavery. They were fighting out of loyalty to their state.


Exactly. You will find that so minorities fount on the side of the South. This is especially true here in Texas. My family on my mothers side not only fought in the Texas War of Independence but also in the Civil War on the side of Texas. My family fought for a our state when it was threatened no because we wanted to enslave others.


Mine did too on my mothers side, they died in the black bean incident. On my dad’s side I have a relative who fought for the north and then came to Texas, Dr. Colley. Colleyville is named after him.


On mom’s side (and more specifically my grandfather’s) I have a distant relative from Georgia who fought for the Union believe it or not: he deserted the Confederate army and enlisted for the Union instead. Family histories a bit vauge after that but his return to Georgia must have been awkward for awhile…


How interesting! Mine survived. They served under Houston and were there when Santa Anna was captured.


Actually, I don’t think that the North initially wrote the history of the Civil War. The South actually defined the meanings and history of the war for the first decades after the war (see Edward Pollard and the Lost Cause myth). This myth is still prevalent today.

To those of you commenting on the fact that minorities (I’m assuming you’re talking about blacks?) fought for the Confederacy, this did not happen on a large scale - the large majority of slaves fled the Confederacy as soon as they could and refused to serve militarily. Why would you serve for an army that was fighting to oppress you? And slaves would have no loyalty to their states, if those states were bent on preserving slavery and legalized systematic oppression.


I think you are missing the part where we mentioned State Loyalty. My family is loyal to Texas and we have fought and bleed for it for many generations. My black side of the family cam here after the war.


But many of the secession declarations mentioned slavery as the reason for secession, and the Articles of confederation promised protection from ending slavery.


? The Articles of Confederation or the Constitution of the Confederate States?


The Articles of Confederation of the seceding states.


Huh, you know I have never heard it called that before…usually it’s just “The Confederate Constitution” or something similar. But yeah it not only prevented the anyone from moving against slavery but it actually required the Confederate Congress to actively protect the institution.


I think it’s a fair statement to say that most of the Rebel soldiers fought out of loyalty to their state, or perhaps out of genuine dislike for Northerners. But not to defend slavery. Slavery was an institution of the rich. Why should a poor white Southern farmer care about the economic loss of a rich man’s slaves? Unless he was convinced that freeing the slaves would mean economic competition and economic ruin for poor whites. Or he was convinced that this was all about Southern pride/solidarity, and to avenge the slanders of those awful Northerners.

In a large sense the Civil War was, like most wars, a grudge match. Southerners hated Northerners, and vice versa, and that prejudice fueled a political dispute to become one side’s religious crusade and the other’s noble cause.

Still fighting that blood feud today, I see.


Well slavery did make the South much different than the North: big plantations, few big cities, not much internal improvement, different accents, different philosphies, different morals, and to an extent different cultures. Even if one didn’t own a slave, slavery was still a part of the southern way of life (in fact it was a central part of their way of life, cotton was king after all), I’d say many of them were loyal not only to their states but to the South as a whole, as a seperate entity from the North. Even if they had little say on how the South was run…they weren’t the one who voted for secession anyhow, not originally.



You definitely nailed it here. My compliments.

[quote=“Jazzhead, post:13, topic:39880”]
I think it’s a fair statement to say that most of the Rebel soldiers fought out of loyalty to their state, or perhaps out of genuine dislike for Northerners
[/quote]I agree.

[quote=“Jazzhead, post:13, topic:39880”]
Slavery was an institution of the rich

[quote=“Jazzhead, post:13, topic:39880”]
Why should a poor white Southern farmer care about the economic loss of a rich man’s slaves?
[/quote]THAT was a primary reason why in the hills of Virgina (west of the Tidewater area), they seceded from the Confederacy and formed what is now known as West Virginia. Those poor people in the Appalachian hills didn’t have the wealth or property to sustain slavery, or even promote it. It was just not flat out part of their economy.

North Carolina is another good example. While they didn’t secede, they also didn’t field near as many troops as states like South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, where rich man’s plantations were abundant, and slavery supported the economy (and also the lifestyles of the rich . . . sipping mint juleps under the porticoes of a mansion.)

I don’t think too many in West Virginia and North Carolina did that . . . they were too busy plowing their fields and trying to make a living and struggling for three squares.

ALL of the areas of the South did NOT have anywhere near the industry that the North had . . . a notable exception being the Traddegar Iron Works of Richmond, which as far as I knew in the 1980’s, STILL existed . . . and some of the areas of the South did not have the economic prosperity of the Tobacco and Cotton plantations of South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. West Virginia, and North Carolina, to a lesser degree, had NEITHER, consequently they were REALLY impoverished even before the war.

[quote=“Jazzhead, post:13, topic:39880”]
Southerners hated Northerners, and vice versa, and that prejudice fueled a political dispute to become one side’s religious crusade and the other’s noble cause.
[/quote]Well put.


I’m not ignoring you, it’s just that it takes more time to compose a post that’s a substantial disagreement than it takes to fire off a quick “Atta Boy” like here.


Don’t forget East Tennessee they voted heavily against secession and *tried *to pull a West Virgina with less luck.


[quote=“Robert_Clay, post:16, topic:39880”]
Don’t forget East Tennessee they voted heavily against secession and *tried *to pull a West Virgina with less luck.
[/quote]You’re right.

Tennessee was retaken by the Union in 1862, and we also have Andrew Johnson’s origins there.


Cotton also ran a large part of the economy in the North.

My May ancestor, Asa May of Jefferson County Florida, supported an end to slavery that included the Governent re-imbursing slave owners for the loss of their investment in slaves. Being as a large portion of Government revenues came from the slave products, he argued it was fair for the Government to re-imburse the cotton planters for their loss. Remember, the clothes everyone in the North wore were made in Northern mills from cotton produced by slaves. Asa May’s son, Robert May, (my Father’s Mother’s daddy) served in the Confederate Army. My Father’s, Father’s, Father served in the Confederate Army, (never owned a slave and even voted Republican after the war). Both my Mother’s Grandfathers, (Thomas Dorsett and Sylvanus Chick) served in the 16th Maine Infantry Brigade, they fought to preserv the the Union, not to free anyone.

As for Texas, Clan Stewart was represented at the Alamo, Goliad, San jacinto, and Annahuac. the Lone Star Flag was designed by a Stewart. A Stewart signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. I’m sure Clan Stewart was repesented in the Texas Volunteers during the Defense against the unjust attack by the United States against the Sovereign Confederate States Of America.

As for slavery? It would have ended without the blood of half a million Americans being shed and without the century of violence that followed if the hotheads on both sides had been overwhelmed by common sense people. Why didn’t the Federal Government just outlaw the sale of goods produced by slaves? Why didn’t they ban the export of goods produced by slaves? They wanted the best of both worlds, that’s why! Oh yes, they did both these things after unconstitutionally invading the South.
Where in the Constitution does it deny States the Right to withdraw from the union they entered voluntarily? The Tenth Amendment clearly leaves that Right to the individual States.
I used to believe we are a better Nation than we would have been as two seperate Nations, I’m no longer sure of that.


If the South legally had the right to break away than how was the invasion unconstitutional? Withdrawing from the law of the Constitution means withdrawing from its protection and firing on Fort Sumner (federal property) was an act of war. If the South did not have the right to break away (which I believe) than the North was putting down a rebellion, something the federal government clearly has the right to do.


Fort Sumpter ws property of South Carolina, same as was all the Forts in Southern States abandoned by Federal Troops when ordered out by the States. Fort Sumpter was set up and used by Lincoln the same as Johnson used the Tonkin Gulf incident. It was the cover Lincoln used to invade Virginia.

The invasion was unconstitutional because war was never declared against the confederate States by Congress.

Federal troops were ordered to leave South Carolina property and in not doing so they became an illegal occupying force. Souh Carolina fired on the illegal occupying force legally and rightfully.