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View Diary: Remembering Gettysburg, 150 Years On (76 comments)

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  •  I'm native southerner, born into "a lifetime of (15+ / 0-)

    inherited sadness" (thanks Whiskeytown). My great-great Grandfather was in the 13th SC Regiment and drafted into the Confederate Army. He was wounded at Gettysburg and at Spottsylvania. He was then paroled from the army and survived.

    My view as you can guess from my tagline is Thank God that the confederacy was defeated. There were very few worse causes in history for which men fought than the confederacy's battle to make not only the southern US permanent slave states but also to extend it to Latin America, the Gulf and beyond. Too bad the south won the reconstruction. We were too forgiving IMAO.

    "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do..... Go back to your command, and try to think what are we going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do." Grant

    by shigeru on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:33:56 PM PDT

    •  Northern Politicians were far too willing... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsbadj, shigeru

      To sell out the freedmen.

      I have a great respect for U.S. Grant.  Besides his military ability I think him one of our most underrated presidents.

      It was nearly a century before another came along with a fraction of his commitment to civil rights.

      "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

      by Notthemayor on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:56:53 PM PDT

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    •  I've wondered... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Notthemayor

      ... whether and if so how the South could have been ended up being more progressive, less racist after that war, i.e. what form of reconstruction (whether more or less radical) could have had a different result than what we still see to this day.

      Even Davis recognized that Lincoln's assassination was a bad thing for the South; he knew that Johnson was going to give it to the South much harder than Lincoln.  And yet, there were others who were more harsh than Johnson.

      The beloved wife and I went on vacation to SC, GA, NC and VA last summer and saw several war /tours/museums/exhibits/presentations.  I never got a sense of any "damn, that was a bad idea after all."  Rather, it seemed as if a halo of sainthood had descended and still remains over Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis.

      The South doesn't let go.  I'm not saying there should be a massive guilt trip but there ought to be some collective recognition that it was wrong to start that war and that they were wrong on the issue that triggered the whole thing, slavery of other humans.

      My reading of history is that the war was fought over slavery, but that the only way that wealthy slave owners were able to sucker poor whites into risking their lives to protect the "property" of the wealthy was to appeal to Southern Pride, to vague notions of changes to "our way of life" being imposed by a dictatorial invader and to notions of God Him/Herself being on their side.  To some extent, I saw those ideas lingering to this day.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:16:54 PM PDT

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      •  In my heart... (0+ / 0-)

        I believe that Lincoln's determination and political wisdom would have led to a more just peace.

        Johnson talked tough but could easily be sweet-talked the old Confederate elites.

        Not surprising perhaps, since he had longed to be one of them.

        Anyone who doesn't believe slavery the cause of that war is fooling themselves.  Sadly, we've still a great many fools in this country.

        "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

        by Notthemayor on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:31:53 PM PDT

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      •  The south should acknowledge that the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Notthemayor

        war was fought to establish a slave empire and that this was wrong. Period. Regardless of how bravely and skillfully individuals fought the cause was vile. Should today's folks feel guilty about their ancestors - of course not, but acknowledgement of the evil and the evil intent should be included in any recognition of that heroism.

        "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do..... Go back to your command, and try to think what are we going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do." Grant

        by shigeru on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:28:15 AM PDT

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    •  My great-grandfather was at Spottsylvania (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      onanthebarbarian, Notthemayor

      Courthouse (the Battle of Laurel Hill) as a Colonel of 7th Maryland Volunteers. I have his 50 page memoir, written many years later and transcribed by his grandson.

      Unlike in movies, the army had already figured out that leading an infantry charge from the front against entrenched armed troops was folly, and it was more typical to urge the troops forward from behind, with the bugler to signal instructions, because if the lead officer was shot, the regiment would have no leader and be in disarray. And besides, horses were valuable.

      But getting ready to charge up a hill against the rebs, the regiment was already in disarray, so in spite of everything, he mounted his horse and "trooped the line", encouraging the soldiers to make speed up the hill, shoot carefully and not relent. And he assumed position in front of the ranks, raised his sword and gave the order to charge from out front.

      He (and his horse) where shot down 30 yards from the breastworks and he was captured, still alive but injured.
      His horse died protecting him from more rifle fire. While in Confederate custody he was treated relatively well, though his gold watch was stolen.

      He was exchanged about a week later, and two years later as a lawyer in Baltimore his watch arrived in the mail with an apology for having taken it, that that action was "unseemly"...

      He was awarded a significant medal for bravery for his actions, and now his G-G-G Grandson, my son, having heard the stories growing up in a military family, is now a Special Forces Green Beret Combat Medic, just back from Afganistan having helped a lot of wounded and injured...and 150 years ago seems like just the other day...

      Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

      by blindcynic on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:46:31 PM PDT

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      •  What a great thing to have in the family! (0+ / 0-)

        And my thanks to your son and your g-g-grandfather for their service.

        "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

        by Notthemayor on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:37:06 AM PDT

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