Sunday, 16 August 2015

August 2015-For the People

For the People


Avalon Hill


 Cover Design by Rodger B. MacGowan, 2nd Printing 2006

Text by Lawrence see below.

Journal of Southern History Vol. XXXV
May 2015
"Did the Confederacy Concede too soon?"

The end of the Confederacy is a twice told tale in American History and is well described by many able Authors. One has to only think of the masterly work "An End to Valour" by Prof. Bruno Just, or "Confederate Sunset" by G Hird the popular Australian writer or what is considered by many to be the finest work on the subject "December 1862" by Doc. S. Thomas.

But what many writers do not consider could the Confederate States held out longer or even won? 
That is only the domain of popular counter factual novelists like David Potter "Decision at Chantilly" or Geoff Kirby "Southern Victory". All seem to think that the Confederate collapse in the winter of 1862 and the Hampton Roads Conference aboard the River Queen were fore ordained.

Admittedly the War was going badly for the South. It may be said to have never gone well. In his book "Yankee Crusade" T. Braune points out the whole Upper South or Border States which had slavery, were either in Federal hands or had never left the Union. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri all stayed loyal to the Union and the rallying of West Virginians to the Union, divided the Old Dominion.
Lincoln told his Cabinet "I would like to have God on our side, but I must have Kentucky!" Kentucky’s' efforts by it’s Governor Magoffin to be neutral were thwarted by a vigorous Union propaganda and political campaign.

Hoping to rally Maryland to the Stars and Bars and taking for granted a slave state would join the Confederacy a Confederate Force marched North, only to be intercepted by a Union thrust at Frederick.

(Image from

Facing three to one odds the Confederates where badly beaten. May 12th was the bloodiest day in American history so far, with 10,000 Confederate Casualties and 5000 Yankee Casualties in one day. Both sides were shocked but seemed determined. May 30th saw West Virginia secede from its' original State and declare for the Union.

By now the '90 Day' men called out for the Union were going home which put pressure on the Federal Government; just when an invasion of Dixie was needed men were going home! Kentucky descended into near anarchy as both sides marched and counter marched with much skirmishing and raiding.

The Union moved to Blockade the South using its superior naval forces to take Fort Pickens in Florida to use as a base to blockade the Gulf ports. After a bitter fight Pickens fell. General Banks the Union General commanding the Gulf used Pickens' to slowly strangle Southern commerce in the Gulf.

(Image from

General Burnside put down a Confederate rising at the battle of Rolla, Missouri, thus securing the State for the Union.
The Confederates unleashed a fleet of raiders on Northern commerce vessels, the' Alabama' and 'Florida 'being the most famous.  However in his study "Rebel Raiders at Sea” G. Singer has shown though a stinging blow to Union morale and interests, these handful of ships were never going to inflict a blow as severe as the Blockade on the South.

CSS Alabama (Image from

In the fall, Burnside's' forces advanced to Paducah, Kentucky to make a coordinated campaign with Buell, who was marching from the north of Kentucky. A.S Johnston beat the Unionists at Louisville, but had to fall back being out manoeuvred by the Yankee thrust by Buell.
Fierce fighting round Columbia meant it eventually fell to Burnside, with Dover falling to Buell. These victories were not cheap for the Union with over 10,000 killed wounded or missing. But it meant that Kentucky was firmly in the Union.

(image from

Adding to Confederate woes Fort Morgan in Alabama fell, further sealing of the Gulf coast. During the winter of 1861/2 both sides armed as best they could and trained hard for the spring campaign.

A sudden attack on Fort Pickens regained this valuable post for the Confederacy, and a Confederate Army advanced into Missouri. They were defeated at Ireton and the Federal Army under Curtis advanced into Arkansas.
At the Battle of Memphis the Confederates defeated a Union thrust into Tennessee. At Fayetteville in Arkansas, the Confederates were again beaten, with the fall of the whole State into Yankee hands probable.

Fort Pickens (Image from

The Union blockade strengthened, with more Southern ships caught. Lincoln gave his most celebrated speech at the dedication of the Federal Cemetery at Frederick "The Frederick Address" giving power and meaning to the whole Northern war effort.

At Manassas the Confederates under Lee struck at McDowell’s forces forcing them back in a major Union defeat. "Forward to Richmond" rallied an editorial in the New York Tribune. Not dismayed McDowell struck back, defeating Lee and driving him back to Brandy Station.

A major Union assault on Fort Pickens under Admiral Foote retook the Fort.
In August the Emancipation Proclamation was made, meaning an end to slavery if the South did not return to Union by January 1st 1863.
With a major invasion of the Mississippi Valley and Tennessee likely, southern Governors took stock. Thousands of slaves had fled to the Union lines, or to Federal enclaves in the Gulf and were unlikely to be handed back. Indeed, the Union Navy was employing Freedmen on its 'ships, the Army was using them for labour and unofficially arming and training them in some places, to be used in the summer Campaign as auxiliaries.

Armed Slaves were a southern nightmare: Could Slavery be saved if the Union was restored, at least for a time? Despite the objections of the Confederate President Davis a Delegation was sent to Washington, but Lincoln met them off Hampton Roads, Maryland. There, while both armies halted operations, terms were worked out. There were to be no treason trials but all those who had resigned Commissions either Federal or Military would have to apply for pardon to regain their civil rights or have thirty days to leave the United States. All state governments would be dissolved and there would be a five year Federal occupation of all states before there would be new elections. All Confederate Soldiers would have to hand in their weapons, take an oath not to fight again and would be allowed to go home. All ships of the Confederate Navy would sail to the nearest American port and surrender themselves, and the crews could go home. Slaves already freed under the Confiscation act would not be returned to their old bondage. If they wished to go to Liberia, they and their property would be sent free of charge by the Federal Government. Slavery itself would be abolished on January 1st 1873. $400 million would be available in Federal funds for any slave holders who freed their slaves before this date, with $200 a slave compensation being paid.

Even as the Conference went on, Kentucky voted to abolish slavery in that State. Both Delaware and Missouri debated to end slavery without coming to a conclusion. But it was noticed in Missouri the price of a male field hand fell from $1200 to $300. A truce till 1st January was declared while the Confederate Congress met in Richmond. The standard text on these debates is B Di Silva "The Richmond Debates; War or Peace?" They are better known to the General public as the background to the Novel by Margaret Mitchell and famous film "Bugles Rang True" the Wartime experiences of a Richmond belle and her family.

After A bitter debate Congress agreed on the Articles of Agreement. Jefferson Davis Vetoed it, but Congress passed it over his Veto. Davis and his family boarded the CSS Alabama, and travelled to Britain, never to return. With him were many other Confederates, too bold, too proud or too frightened to stay. "The Flight of The Mocking Birds" saw the wharves of New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah crowded with men and women sailing for Brazil, Cuba and Europe.

Could have the South held on Longer? 
Yes, but things would of not have got better. As soon as the truce was announced many Confederate soldiers left the ranks and went home, no longer willing to risk their lives. The Blockade was biting deeply and many Confederates were armed with shot guns or old muskets, with the Yankees armed with rifles and even some repeating carbines. This disparity did not help. Slave holders realized that their property was safer in the Union than out of it, and the attempt to save slavery by setting up a Slave Republic was a political error of the first magnitude. There were of course Southerners who were indifferent or even hostile to the Confederacy; "Lincoln's' Loyalists" By A. Horsley is a good one volume work. These people were certainly not going to risk their lives for the Confederacy and may even have been armed by the Federals. As it was Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia were devastated and 150,000 American lives were lost. Alternative fiction and websites are interesting, but the South was lucky to quit when it did.

No comments:

Post a Comment