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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent

 
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/15/2013 8:18:15 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

Oops, I misread the tea leaves. John has requested a sabbatical from the game until school starts around August 12. He's got tons of irons in the fire right now - work, family, work, mod, work, work - so it's understandable and fine by me. Since I'll be backpacking the rest of this week, I'll perhaps get a chance to regain some perspective about sleep and this crazy game.


Arrgh. You do realize you'll have dozens of readers going through withdrawal?

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Canoerebel)
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/15/2013 8:23:02 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

John didn't sound at all like I imagined him to be.  He has an unusually deep voice.  I'm not sure exactly what I had expected, but for some reason I think I had formed a mental image of some surfer dude who is MUCH younger than me (five years, don't ya know).  Maybe Beach Boys, not Oak Ridge Boys ("oompapa, oompapa, mama!")  I was expecting casual and young; what I heard was polite, authorative and commanding.



Any trace of an Italian accent? The battle for AAR post/hit counts sometimes requires special measures...

Just a thought...

Hartwig

(in reply to Canoerebel)
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/19/2013 12:14:34 PM   
ny59giants


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Dan,

Finally getting around to reading, "This Terrible Sound" by Peter Cozzens due to a prior recommendation by you. In the first few chapters he mentions that parts of eastern Tennessee were friendly or at least not opposed to the Union forces moving in. Since I've been living in the NE corner of the state for the last 8 years, can you explain why this part of the Confederacy behaved this way??

Thanks!!

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/19/2013 8:21:20 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

Since I've been living in the NE corner of the state for the last 8 years, can you explain why this part of the Confederacy behaved this way??


Eastern Tennessee, and what is now West Virginia, had very few slaves. (Because of the terrain and climate, plantation-type farms didn't work as well in those regions.) Consequently, pro-Union sentiment was much stronger in these areas. (The North had a mirror problem: the southern parts of Missouri and parts of Kentucky felt an allegiance to the South, and tried fairly hard to secede.)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/19/2013 9:36:00 PM   
DOCUP


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Following up with what Capt. Harlock mentioned above about West Virginia. I am from South Western West Virginia. We have few slaves in what is now WV and parts of VA. There was more of VA that could have been drawn into WV but wasn't due to the debt of those area. People of the time didn't really see slavery as a good thing most a negative opinion of it, like we do now. The people of this region were pro Union or pro American and still is today.

I know that 2 members of my family fought one battle in the Civil war. It was a local battle. As the story goes they were first cousins one was Union and one was Confederate. They lined up againist each other. After the battle they both deserted and went home. those 2 muskets have been passed down ever since. My uncle has them now.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/19/2013 9:40:43 PM   
pws1225

 

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quote:

I know that 2 members of my family fought one battle in the Civil war. It was a local battle. As the story goes they were first cousins one was Union and one was Confederate. They lined up againist each other. After the battle they both deserted and went home. those 2 muskets have been passed down ever since. My uncle has them now.


Nice story.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 3:22:45 AM   
ssquibb79

 

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Capt Harlock Nailed it, most folks here in East TN didnt like being drug into the war by what they considered the rich plantation owners...there were quite a few small battles fought all over here. I have found many musket balls on our farm...and one of our neighbors plowed up a cannon ball....it was quite fun watching the local bomb squad make it inert

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 5:22:45 AM   
DW

 

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quote:

We have few slaves in what is now WV and parts of VA.


I should hope not.

I read once that part of the reason that W. Virginia had few slaves was the nature of the original settlement of the area. Many of the settlers were Germans who had migrated south from Pennsylvania, as opposed settlers in the more southern parts of western Virginia, who tended to come from eastern Virginia and the Carolinas. Pennsylvania Germans tended to be more anti-slavery from the get go.

When I read ny59giants question, I had to wonder if that also might be a factor in the eastern parts of KY and TN, being that they're in the same neck of the woods and were settled in the same time frame.

As a side note, one branch of my family is descended from the Pennsylvania Germans, and one of my ancestors, Daniel Shuster was a member of the Youghegenia Militia during the Revolutionary War period.

I know that after the Civil war, when W. Virginia had become a state, those who strongly supported being independent of Virginia wanted to shore up their control of the state against those who might be less sympathetic to the new reality and might be inclined toward re-unification with Virginia.

So, they actively advertised for settlers in the German parts of Switzerland, as the Swiss Germans were seen as having similar values and wouldn't have any lingering loyalty to Virginia, promising free land to any who would come.

Another branch of my family took the offer, and that's how they came to be here, and which is how I happen to know that tidbit of information.


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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 5:37:39 AM   
zuluhour


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Dan, A note to say I look forward to you and John continuing along. It has been one of the best opposing pair of AARs to read. I must say it has helped with the learning curve in so far as S&T is concerned and highly enjoyable as well. While I read quite a few of them now, there are so many good ones, I looked forward to reading John's in the morning over coffee and yours in the evening, after the toils of the day.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 7:10:49 PM   
Paladin1dcs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Since I've been living in the NE corner of the state for the last 8 years, can you explain why this part of the Confederacy behaved this way??


Eastern Tennessee, and what is now West Virginia, had very few slaves. (Because of the terrain and climate, plantation-type farms didn't work as well in those regions.) Consequently, pro-Union sentiment was much stronger in these areas. (The North had a mirror problem: the southern parts of Missouri and parts of Kentucky felt an allegiance to the South, and tried fairly hard to secede.)


This is true, but there's more to it than that. I'm actually from Southwestern Virginia and currently live in WV and can tell you that it was more to do with the fact that most people around here had a fairly modern outlook on things. They viewed chattel slavery as wrong, due to Biblical reasons, but they also didn't want to be dragged into a war, on either side, and were fiercely defensive of States rights. My own family had five siblings join the CSA, fighting in two different VA Regiments, but only after Lincoln demanded that troops be raised after SC troops fired on Ft. Sumpter. The common denominator for all of these areas, as others have pointed out, is that this idea of individual liberty and responsibility was widespread in the Appalachian Mountains.

It was literally a case of the President making matters worse than they already were.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 7:17:33 PM   
Paladin1dcs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DW

quote:

We have few slaves in what is now WV and parts of VA.


I should hope not.

I read once that part of the reason that W. Virginia had few slaves was the nature of the original settlement of the area. Many of the settlers were Germans who had migrated south from Pennsylvania, as opposed settlers in the more southern parts of western Virginia, who tended to come from eastern Virginia and the Carolinas. Pennsylvania Germans tended to be more anti-slavery from the get go.

When I read ny59giants question, I had to wonder if that also might be a factor in the eastern parts of KY and TN, being that they're in the same neck of the woods and were settled in the same time frame.

As a side note, one branch of my family is descended from the Pennsylvania Germans, and one of my ancestors, Daniel Shuster was a member of the Youghegenia Militia during the Revolutionary War period.

I know that after the Civil war, when W. Virginia had become a state, those who strongly supported being independent of Virginia wanted to shore up their control of the state against those who might be less sympathetic to the new reality and might be inclined toward re-unification with Virginia.

So, they actively advertised for settlers in the German parts of Switzerland, as the Swiss Germans were seen as having similar values and wouldn't have any lingering loyalty to Virginia, promising free land to any who would come.

Another branch of my family took the offer, and that's how they came to be here, and which is how I happen to know that tidbit of information.




That's part of it, but another large part has to do with how a good portion of the population was of Melungeon descent, so understood discrimination firsthand. Being a mixed race in those times was worse, in many ways, than being either fully black or fully white, as they were rejected by both races. They could own property, but were not allowed to vote and legal matters usually went against a Melungeon if a White were involved as well.

Combined with the high number of German immigrants and you can see why most people in this area had nothing for slavery.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/20/2013 10:39:50 PM   
princep01

 

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This as been mentioned in passing, but West Virginia did not exist when the American Civil War began.  It was part of the sovreign state of Virginia.  However, that portion of Virginia (like the mountain portions of eastern Tennessee) supported the Union, and the Lincoln administration allowed those counties to secede from Virginia and become a separate state (I believe statehood occurred in 1863, but could be off on the date).

This, of course, leads to the interesting issue of how a portion of a sovreign state can legally secede, but a sovreign state could not secede from a union of states?  This, in turn, leads us to the hypothesis that the Confederacy's secession was legal, though even as a resident of Texas I confess the moral depravity of slavery that underpinned the whole dispute and desire to break away.  Rather convenient about W Virginia...but, to the victors go the spoils.

One of the above commentators mentioned that portions of Kentucky and Missouri also favored the South.  This is very true.  What is often forgotten is that Tidewater Maryland so favored the South that there were riots in Baltimore sever enough to have the Union Army turn the guns at Fort McHenry on the city.  Now isn't that an ironic marvel!?  The very fort that inspired the National Anthem turning its guns on the city that it protected from English invasion in the Revolution.

But, that was the civil war.... it was chaos and cruelty beyond the imagination of most of us.  I hope that in my remaining life, I never see anything its equal here.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/21/2013 1:36:39 AM   
paullus99


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West Virginia joined the Union officially as a state in 1863 - and there were a number of Union sympathizers in both Eastern Tennessee (we almost had an Eastern Tennessee state, with a capital at Knoxville) and North Carolina as well.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/21/2013 3:56:29 AM   
DW

 

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When I started doing some serious reading about the Civil War period many years ago, I was very surprised at where there were pockets of support for a side that ran counter to what one would expect.

That there were was much confederate sympathy in the southern parts of Illinois, Indiana and eastern Maryland wasn't exactly mind blowing, and I had read that part of the reason Lee launched his incursion into Maryland that resulted in the Battle of Antietam was the hope that the presence of his army in Maryland would spur the locals to rise up. Unfortunately for Lee, Antietam was in an area of the state that was far more loyal to the union, so his hopes of an uprising failed to materialize.

But, I was dumbfounded when I learned that N. Carolina had more soldiers fighting with the Union army than any other southern state. Being situated between Virginia and the fire brands in S. Carolina, I had always assumed that their sympathies were similar, and it came as a big surprise that wasn't the case.

Another pocket of anti-secessionist sentiment in the south that I found very surprising was in northern Alabama. They were so anti-secession that they basically ejected secessionist supporters in the area and set up a state within a state. They were so firm in their convictions that the CSA decided that it wasn't worth the effort to try and bring them back into the fold, leaving them to their own devices for the duration of the war. Being a Yankee through and through, I had always considered Alabama as a solid member of the CSA and was shocked to learn that wasn't the case.

However, in light of this discussion, it makes more sense, as northern Alabama is also hill country and shares something of a geographical continuity with W. Virginia, eastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee.

Maybe there's something in the water in those mountain streams...

It also made me wonder where pockets of support for the opposing side might also exist that are counter intuitive and that I'm not aware of.

I hope CR takes some time to weigh in on this discussion as he's the real historian and it would be interesting to hear his take on the matter.


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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/21/2013 6:24:38 AM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: princep01

This as been mentioned in passing, but West Virginia did not exist when the American Civil War began.  It was part of the sovreign state of Virginia.  However, that portion of Virginia (like the mountain portions of eastern Tennessee) supported the Union, and the Lincoln administration allowed those counties to secede from Virginia and become a separate state (I believe statehood occurred in 1863, but could be off on the date).

Not exactly. Article IV, Section 3 gives the procedure for forming a new state from an old one. Congress, not the Executive, approves.

The trick is getting the state legislature to approve. The western counties, through the Wheeling Convention, made it so that they were the official legislature of Virginia, the guys in Richmond being rebel scum, and they themselves approved the split as a legislature of the whole. The trick is in getting the feds to agree that the rebels aren't the true lege any more, and as you say this was no problem. Federal troops helped seal the deal too. After the war two counties' status was still in dispute, but the Supreme Court ruled that they belonged to W.Va and after that everybody settled down and let the matter be.


This, of course, leads to the interesting issue of how a portion of a sovreign state can legally secede, but a sovreign state could not secede from a union of states? 

Hey, you're the lawyer. The state of Virginia decided to split all legal-like. Just that Virginia was being run at that point from Wheeling and not Richmond. Or at least so said the winners.

This, in turn, leads us to the hypothesis that the Confederacy's secession was legal, though even as a resident of Texas I confess the moral depravity of slavery that underpinned the whole dispute and desire to break away.

Nope, not legal. Article IV, Section 3 requires Congress to approve. They never did like the CSA very much.

  Rather convenient about W Virginia...but, to the victors go the spoils.

Thus it ever was.




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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 4:45:10 AM   
Canoerebel


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Just back from 50 miles and five days on the Appalachian Trail. We had a great time, but I am feeling a bit melancholy. My age showed and my younger companions leave me far behind each day. I have become a ball and chain, so I must reluctantly release them to plan their own trips in the future. It may be that I'll sometimes or always be doing these things solo in coming years. Sigh. (But, hey, what a privilege to be doing it!). Now, on to the current topic.

The circumstances leading to disunion have been of particular interest to me for more than twenty years. I've studied this topic closely and written about it a number of times. My knowledge isn't exhaustive, but it's relatively broad and deep.

The secession movement bitterly divided the South by 1860. One leading Georgia politician opined that, had the issue been put before the voters of the state, secession would have been defeated by 25,000 votes. But, in Georgia, each county selected two (or three, depending on size) delegates to meet at a convention. The delegate system made it easier to politic and sway sentiment. Even so, the delegates were roughly evenly divided over the issue. When it became clear that the secessionists had a small majority, many of the unionists decided to support secession so that Georgia would appear unified. After Georgia seceded, a majority of unionists cast their allegiance with the state, though a relatively small percentage remained loyal to the Union. Some of the latter assumed a difficult neutrality during the war while others actively served in the United States Army or in more clandestine ways. Unionist sentiment was strongest in regions that had fewer slaves, so in the North Georgia mountians the percentage of Unionists was considerably higher, though probably not reaching 50% of the population. Other regions of the South - northeast Alabama - was similar.

In some regions of the slave-owning South, unionist sentiment was even higher: northeast Tennessee, western North Carolina, western Virginia, northern Kentucky, western Maryland and northern Missouri. Some of these groups were so strong or numerous that they could prevent their states from seceding (sometimes with military help from the United States); others just remained hotbeds of anti-Confederate activity.

The Confederate constitution was originally signed by just seven states - South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. These were stronger secessionist states. Other states left much more reluctantly and belatedly, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Aggressive military posturing by the United States during the spring of 1861 - in response to Fort Sumter for instance - finally tipped the scales for these states (and Arkansas). Most of the citizens in these states cast their loyalty with the Confederacy, though as with the others, some didn't. In some areas, the numbers (percentages) of those remaining loyal to the United States was very high.

Some unionists in the South were yeoman farmers in mountainous regions with few or no slaves. But many unionists were large slaveowners. I can point you to countless examples in my section of Georgia. These men did not oppose secession out of any particular lenient feelings towards slaves, but because they felt that the United States was a prosperous and peaceful nation "bequeathes to us by the forefathers." They wanted to remain in the Union to settle the slavery issue via the political and constitutional process. Secessionists felt like there was no longer any possibility of doing so; that the North had sufficient political power to assert and impose its will in the matter.

There was very little abolitionist sentiment in the Deep South by 1860. Perhaps there was some in the border states, but not in the Heart of Dixie. I could give you countless examples of what (to our modern eyes) seems incredibly course sentiment about slaves and blacks by leading unionists on the eve of the Civil War. The vast majority were strong proponents of slavery.

In the end, revolution fever overcame the substantial voices of moderation that counseled against secession. I can imagine no greater despair than to have been a unionist in the South in 1861 and to have seen the country you loved dissolved, with all the death and disaster that ensued.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 4:49:49 AM   
princep01

 

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This, in turn, leads us to the hypothesis that the Confederacy's secession was legal, though even as a resident of Texas I confess the moral depravity of slavery that underpinned the whole dispute and desire to break away.

Nope, not legal. Article IV, Section 3 requires Congress to approve. They never did like the CSA very much
 
Moose, I agree with the last sentence, but I searched in vain for anything remoting saying that Congress must approve any state leaving the Union.  The referenced article and the rest of the Constitution say nothing directly on point.

The article you reference has two paragraphs.  The first paragraph covers creation of new states and, most interestingly, prohibits creation of any new states from within the jurisdiction of existing states without the consent of the state legislatures of both the old and new states and Congress.  No way West Virginia was anything but a rump state created by force of arms (Well, and likely the weal of the people living in those counties).  There is no way Richmond (the old state) agreed to the secession of those counties:).  It was the Moaist definition of soverinty that created West Virginia.

The second paragraph talks about the right of Congress to dispose of and regulate the property owned by the United States within the soverign states.  Again, not a peep about a state withdrawing from the Union.  Joining the Union did not make a state the property of the US.

I have to disagree with your conclusion on the Constitutional legality of secession.  Having studied, written and concluded long ago that the states, under the then existing Constitution, did have the right to withdraw, mine and the Confederacy's) legal victory would have been Pyhric at best.  From a practical point of view, such a legal victory would have made the US an unworkable nation.  While it is too bad that warfare was the means deciding the issue, it most surely did.  The result is sealed the with the blood of our ancestoral countrymen.

On another note, even in Texas there were considerable pockets of pro-Union sentiment.  Gov. Sam Houston was pro-Union and loudly so.  Several counties in northeast Texas (Gainesville area) actually fought the Confederate authorities.  Atrocities were committed by both sides.  Nasty stuff.   

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 5:59:17 AM   
Cribtop


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Indeed a rough history. My South Carolina ancestors certainly picked a side, for better or worse.

The family farm in Carolina still has the burned out wreck of the old plantation house. A stark reminder of a time when the nation divided. A patch of ground my family has owned and occupied since 1715, if you can believe it.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 10:01:37 AM   
JeffK


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From CR,
The Confederate constitution was originally signed by just seven states - South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. These were stronger secessionist states. Other states left much more reluctantly and belatedly, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Aggressive military posturing by the United States during the spring of 1861 - in response to Fort Sumter for instance - finally tipped the scales for these states (and Arkansas). Most of the citizens in these states cast their loyalty with the Confederacy, though as with the others, some didn't. In some areas, the numbers (percentages) of those remaining loyal to the United States was very high.

This I dont understand, "we can bombard your fort but get uppity when you want to do something about it"!!

Too many hotheads with romantic ideas of war pulling the strings, it would still take about 6 years of bloodshed to cure them.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 12:36:54 PM   
GreyJoy


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I am not, obviously, an expert of the American Civil War history, but, as far as i've read, the Southern States were "pushed" in a corner economically and politically more than military. The Fort Summer happenings (and the US reactions to it) were just the end of a long series of problems, whose roots were to be seen many many years before, when the economy of the North changed a lot and the expansion to the west (and North west above all) changed the Whole economic and political balance between the North and the South.
The choice of the seccession (and the consequent war) was just a consequence (well, probably just one of the POSSIBLE consequences) of what happened in the economy and politics of States of America.


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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 1:01:14 PM   
ny59giants


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Welcome back Dan.
I'm at the point in the book (The Battle of Chickamauga) that has had the first day of battle. So far it seems the winner of the battle will be decided by which side commits the least amount of mistakes. Rosecrans (Union) and Braggs (Confederate) both seem to be suffering from indecision due to lack of good intel (recon by their cavalry) and the biggest surprise I've read so far....insubordinate officers. Its been a while since I've read any books on the Civil War, but both sides have officers of various rank just ignoring orders or doing what they want. Again, expressing my ignorance, what this something more common than I remember or something unique to this area of country during the Civil War??

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 1:16:55 PM   
JeffK


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I think this was common to the era, Lee performed best when Stonewall Jackson was operating in synch with Lee's plans.

Plus, the amount of friction between the Commander working out his plans and the Regimental Commander setting out for battle created much space for misinterpretation. then you had the guys who thought they knew better.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:00:31 PM   
Canoerebel


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Chickamauga was near the end of the "civilian/gentleman's/amateur" era of the two armies.  By late 1863 and 1864, the real professionals were taking over.  But before then the armies could still be handled by amazingly incompetent leaders.  After Chickamauga, for instance, the U.S. removed the commanding officer and two-thirds of the corps leaders involved in that battle.  I don't think anything close to that happened thereafter, because by then the Crittendens and McCooks had been weeded out and the Grants, Shermans and Sheridans were rising to the top.

Some of the same issues for the Rebels.  After Chickamauga, Bragg was almost at war with his own subordinates - Longstreet, D.H. Hill, Leonidas Polk and Breckenridge.

But, overall, I think the divisional and brigade level commanders on both sides at Chickamauga did pretty darn well.

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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:07:56 PM   
Canoerebel


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Some of you may recall that the magazine I work for has been developing a story about Chickamauga for the sesquicentennial. Some kind forumates - Chickenboy in particular - even contributed some helpful comments. We've now nearly finished the story, so you guys get the first look at the first proof (I've noticed at least one typo thus far, so don't be alarmed since we still have about six proofing levels to go through). Six or so pages to follow.






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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:12:27 PM   
Canoerebel


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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:12:52 PM   
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:13:15 PM   
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:13:38 PM   
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 2:14:00 PM   
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RE: The Good The Bad & The Indifferent - 7/22/2013 3:20:57 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: princep01

This, in turn, leads us to the hypothesis that the Confederacy's secession was legal, though even as a resident of Texas I confess the moral depravity of slavery that underpinned the whole dispute and desire to break away.

Nope, not legal. Article IV, Section 3 requires Congress to approve. They never did like the CSA very much
 
Moose, I agree with the last sentence, but I searched in vain for anything remoting saying that Congress must approve any state leaving the Union.  The referenced article and the rest of the Constitution say nothing directly on point.

The article you reference has two paragraphs.  The first paragraph covers creation of new states and, most interestingly, prohibits creation of any new states from within the jurisdiction of existing states without the consent of the state legislatures of both the old and new states and Congress.  No way West Virginia was anything but a rump state created by force of arms (Well, and likely the weal of the people living in those counties).  There is no way Richmond (the old state) agreed to the secession of those counties:).  It was the Moaist definition of soverinty that created West Virginia.

The second paragraph talks about the right of Congress to dispose of and regulate the property owned by the United States within the soverign states.  Again, not a peep about a state withdrawing from the Union.  Joining the Union did not make a state the property of the US.

I have to disagree with your conclusion on the Constitutional legality of secession.  Having studied, written and concluded long ago that the states, under the then existing Constitution, did have the right to withdraw, mine and the Confederacy's) legal victory would have been Pyhric at best.  From a practical point of view, such a legal victory would have made the US an unworkable nation.  While it is too bad that warfare was the means deciding the issue, it most surely did.  The result is sealed the with the blood of our ancestoral countrymen.

On another note, even in Texas there were considerable pockets of pro-Union sentiment.  Gov. Sam Houston was pro-Union and loudly so.  Several counties in northeast Texas (Gainesville area) actually fought the Confederate authorities.  Atrocities were committed by both sides.  Nasty stuff.   


Been many years since I looked at this topic. I did some reading last night to refresh.

On WVa: I did extend my comments a bridge too far by claiming Article IV, Sec. 3 covers Congress approving a secession. More on secession in a minute. But. That portion of the Constitution does cover the WVa situation. You are correct that it is a 3-part process. Two state leges plus Congress. And in the case of WVa that is exactly what was done. The Wheeling Convention was recognized by Congress as the legal lege of Virginia in 1862. The guys in Richmond were rebels. Lincoln said so, and the Richmond bunch had both proclaimed themselves gone from the Union (not a factor from the legal POV of Congress), but most importantly were acting that way. By 1862 the CSA's states were corporately and individually in violation of the Constitution's enumerated powers for states. To then, as you do, claim they had a right to act in violation of Article I, Section 10, but also turn around and claim they were still the legal legislature for purposes of preventing a state division is not perhaps Maoist, but still a little bizarre. Looking at it from Virginia's POV they could have it one way or the other--a seceded state or the legal lege of a Union Virginia--but not both ways vis a vis WVa.

On secession, a huge roiling pot of theories, going back to the Federalist Papers and even before. But a couple of things which are facts:

1) "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;" Article I, Section 10. The CSA was a confederation; it's right there in the name.

2) "No State shall . . . coin Money; emit Bills of Credit;" ; "No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports"; "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."

The CSA, and its individual members, did all of these un-Constitutional things. They were then, rightly, branded as rebels, in active rebellion against the Union.

3) The USSC, in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869), in original jurisdiction and with the Chief Justice writing the opinion, stated conclusively that Texas had never legally seceded and had in fact been a state in the Union since first admitted. This precedent is the basis for litigation afterwards and is still controlling so far as I can tell.

Beyond these facts one gets into some pretty deep political philosophy weeds. One branch argues that "the Union" predated the United States. In this view the Union is the substrate upon which first the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution were laid. That the Union grew organically during the colonial centuries from shared effort and belief and this substrate formed the platform from which the Declaration sprang forth. In this view it is impossible to secede from the Union since the Union is the "universe" as it were of the nation.

In an offshoot of this view it is also argued, weakly it seems to me, that the question of sovereignty , so central to the CSA's argument on states' rights, is flawed since only the original thirteen states have true sovereignty. This gained through the severing of GB's sovereignty and establishment of a new form in 1776. All other states were formed from territory by acts of Congress and are thus a sort of piece of the whole and not separate as the originals are. Clearly Jefferson and other writers of the early 19th C. rejected this view and considered all states equal after admission. To do otherwise leads down some bad paths. But still, it's a theory.

Another argument in the secession line uses the Preamble's ". . . a more perfect Union . . ." to argue that, again, the Union already existed when the Constitution was ratified. It existed under the Articles, same entity. So the CSA, by claiming sovereignty stemming from constitutional ratification, was incorrect. In this view states had never had sovereignty which superseded the Union's. A counter to this is, however, that ratification took only a majority and not a complete number of the states in order for the Constitution to come into effect.

Yet another argument states the obvious fact that secession is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor has an amendment ever been moved through to correct this "oversight." Leading many to claim that it wasn't an oversight but on-purpose. Secession was discussed in the Federalist Papers and in many private letters between the Founders, yet it is not in the document. Why not? Jefferson I believe, in a treatise (?) around 1790 (?) said that the Union was a permanent entity UNLESS 1) revolution occurred, or 2) the States acted to change the Constitution is prescribed ways by amendment or by calling a constitutional convention to re-write the thing. In context, he considered the latter route sufficient means should the topic gain so much political force as to become pre-eminent, as it clearly did in the 1850s. That route was not taken in large part because the South didn't have the votes.

Finally, on the issue you raise concerning the second para of Article IV, Sec. 3. That portion reads:

"The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State."

Clearly Ft. Sumter was federal property. But in the sense of this constitutional section, when taken together with both common law and the 5th Amendment, the federal government "owns" the entire territory of the Union. The doctrine of escheat is tangentially related, and has deep historical roots. Private property, and on a higher level state property, is at the sufferance of the federal government's granting of rights bundles. So long as compensation is paid the federal government may take and use any property, including that of the states. Federal eminent domain is paramount,. A state park, for example, may be taken to build an army base so long as the federal government pays for the taking. Under this Section the CSA's use of armed force to prevent the federal government access to and control of land in the southern states was on its face unconstitutional and further evidence of rebellion. A status that, once arrived at, gives the Executive, with congressional action to raise armies, federalize the militia, appropriate funds, etc., extraordinary power to address and suppress. (Including suspending habeas corpus, one of Lincoln's supposed "crimes" in southern sympathizers' eyes.)

So I think there is constitutional support for the anti-secession argument. And the Supreme Court thought so too, down to the present day when Justice Scalia has given several speeches on the matter, albeit on somewhat different grounds. (He argues in part that secession is de facto and de jure unconstitutional simply because the federal judiciary would not grant standing to argue about it.)

The CSA's core argument was that state sovereignty trumps any other, a view widely held before 1860. The Civil War settled the matter in the negative, and there has been no move since to make the pre-war view a part of the Constitution despite widespread petitions and grandstanding in recent years in Texas and many states to attempt to re-litigate the matter. It could be definitively settled by amendment. That path always existed in the 19th C. as well.


< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 7/22/2013 3:43:23 PM >


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