Thursday, November 19, 2009

Killer Angels and neo-Confederate Multiculturalism

Looking over the first page of the Introduction to The Killer Angels, I am -- no surprise here -- displeased with Shaara's characterization of the two armies.

Of the Army of Northern Virginia, Shaara writes:

They are rebels and volunteers. They are mostly unpaid and usually
self-equipped. ... It is Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. Though there are many
men who cannot read or write, they all speak English. They share common
customs and a common faith...

Of the Army of the Potomac:
It is a strange new kind of army, a polyglot mass of vastly dissimilar men,
fighting for union. There are strange accents and strange religions and
many who do not speak English at all. Nothing like this army has been seen
upon the planet. ... They are volunteers: last of the great volunteer armies,
for the draft is beginning that summer in the North.

Aside from beating these two descriptions up with big sticks of scholarship that, admittedly, have come largely since Shaara wrote, I have another important question. Would the modern neo-Confederate movement agree with this characterization of the Confederate Army anymore?

I pose this stemming from Jonathan Sarris' lovely characterization of the neo-Confederate movement's recent obsession with finding -- creating -- "Black Confederates" as an effort to find a "multicultural" Condfederacy and thereby counteract their well-deserved stigma of racism. Has the Anglo-Saxon Protestant A.N.V. been replaced by the equally mythological enlightened paradise of a rainbow coalition army fighting for libertarian values?

My my, What would the old boys think?


Unknown said...

My my, What would the old boys think?

I’m no “neo-Confederate” but I do have plenty of Confederate Ancestors in the 24th Miss. Inf, 31st Miss. Inf, 5th Tenn. Cav, and the 39th GA. Inf.

The big fight will always be the question of slavery, and the racism that goes with it…

“You came into our country with your army, avowedly for the purpose of subjugating free white men, women, and children, and not only intend to rule over them, but you make negroes your allies, and desire to place over us an inferior race, which we have raised from barbarism to its present position,
which is the highest ever attained by that race, in any country, in all time.”
General John B. Hood to General W. T. Sherman

“The Constitution of the United States was made by white men, the citizens and representatives of twelve slaveholding and one non-slaveholding State; and it was made for white men. It denied the right of citizenship to the negro race whether bond or free, and recognized them as property when they are held in bondage. The people of the Southern States now own near five millions of these negroes, and they are worth to them near three millions of dollars. They constitute an important element in society as well as the wealth of the Republic, and are the chief producers of more than two-thirds of the foreign exports of the Union. They are and ever have been, under all circumstances, and probably ever will be, incapable of free self-government. They are now more intelligent, better fed, better clothed, and more contented and happy than any other equal number of that race in any other part of the world, whether bond or free. The success of the republican doctrines would liberate among us this large number of negroes, would strike down our agriculture and commerce, involve us inevitably in a war of races, which would result in the murder of many of the white race of all ages and of both sexes, and in the burning and destruction of a large amount of property, and in the ultimate extermination of the negro race among us.”
Congressman John Reagan of Texas

That is what a couple of the “old boys” thought, and plenty more to agree with them. I stopped trying a long time ago to mask over the slavery/racist view that was widely published during the Secession crisis, and war, in the South. It was used as a major rallying point to get folk to polarize to the “Cause”, when other tactics were not going to work.

I have dealt with “neo-Confederates” on another BB, and it was a losing battle to convince them they were not looking at the whole truth as to why many in the South wanted to Secede. They always bring up unfair Tariffs, out-numbered representation in the Government, States Rights…anything BUT slavery.

Kevin Dally

Ghost said...

"...well-deserved stigma of racism..."


I don't believe the South has ever had any monopoly on this subject.

Strange that a blog supposedly directed toward a Southern audience has a contributor who regularly dishes out insults toward them.

Ghost said...

Mr. Lewis, wouldn't you be more at home on the Ed Sebesta site? --

Patrick Lewis said...


Slumming it with us here at AoT, I see, since you can't harass Levin any more. You confuse "about" with "sympathetic to" and historical inquiry with trolling.

Cullen Smith said...

Everyone knows that the south did nothing bad.The whole photos of the former slaves with their backs scarred were just from a bad bdsm session.Really it was sunshines,puppies,and rainbows all throught the south.The hardest thing the slaves had to do was deal with really hard,frozen ice cream.Come on,that's what the SCV says.