The War of Southern Independence was the first modern war. In transportation fast transit by trains was introduced. Historically, no large army on the offensive had ever maintained supply lines as long as the Union would have to maintain in order to penetrate the lower South. The role of the railroads in re-supply was underestimated by the South. It was the first war which had instant communications - the telegraph - which among other things allowed more interference by Washington in military strategy and tactics. It was the first war in which armored ships were used - the Monitor and the Merrimac. Balloons were used for reconnaissance and photographs documented the war. Repeating carbines and breech-loading were introduced.
The North had three times as many horses as the South (an important military advantage since by the end of the war the Union army was losing around 500 horses per day). Of the over 128,000 industrial firms in the nation, only 18,026 were in the South.
Some statistics - Northern population: 22,200,000 Southern population: 10,600,000 (including 3,500,000 slaves) Northern industrial workers: l,300,000 Southern industrial workers: 110,000 Northern railroad mileage: 22,000 Southern railroad mileage: 9,280
Ft. Sumter April 12, 1861.
Antietam (Sharpsburg), the bloodiest day of the war with 23,000 dead.
Chickamauga, the worst defeat of the Union Army (lead by my cousin General Rosencrans).
Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle with 51,000 dead, the turning point of the war.
Cold Harbor, 7000 Union soldiers evaporated in half an hour in the highest killing rate of the war - no Confederates were killed.
Appomattox, April 9, 1865.
"My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some of the slaves and leaving others alone I would also do that." - Lincoln to Horace Greeley of the NY Tribune August 22, 1862.
Secession to protect slavery made no sense at all, even though some Southerners said so, because slavery was secured by the Constitution, by the Supreme Court and even by Abe Lincoln's public promises that he had neither plans nor desire to interfere with it. The war was actually a tariff war - Lincoln trying to hang on to millions of dollars per year in tariffs on Southern goods.
After the 1828 tariff law, the South almost seceded. In 1840, the South paid 84% of the tariffs, rising to 87% in 1860. They paid 83% of the $13 million federal fishing bounties paid to New England fishermen, and also paid $35 million to Northern shipping interests which had a monopoly on shipping from Southern ports. The South, in effect, was paying tribute to the North. The Republican platform of 1860 called for higher tariffs; that was implemented by the new Congress in the Morill tariff of March 1861, signed by President Buchanan before Lincoln took the oath of office. It imposed the highest tariffs in US history, with over a 50% duty on iron products and 25% on clothing; rates averaged 47%. Note the close proximity of this tariff to the start of the war on April 12. Cause and effect.
As the North American Review (Boston, October 1862) put it: "Slavery is not the cause of the rebellion ....Slavery is the pretext on which the leaders of the rebellion rely, 'to fire the Southern Heart' and through which the greatest degree of unanimity can be produced....Mr. Calhoun, after finding that the South could not be brought into sufficient unanimity by a clamor about the tariff, selected slavery as the better subject for agitation". (Source for this section - When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Succession, by Charles Adams)
The United States is a voluntary association created by the states and states have and had every right to secede. Lincoln was wrong. He did not have the authority, either Constitutional or moral, to make war on the South. The Declaration of Independence itself provides for secession - "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government..."
To determine the moral right in this matter, ask yourself this simple question: "Would any colony have agreed to join the Union if it had known it would have to fight to get out?" Not a single one would have.
Jefferson Davis in his inaugural address stated that, "the American idea [is] that governments rest on the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them at will whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established." Similarly President James Buchanan in his annual message to Congress in 1860 said, "The fact is that our Union rests upon public opinion and can never be cemented by the blood of its citizens...If it can not live in the affections of its people, it must die."
George Mason University Professor Walter Williams argues that Lincoln's defeat of the South meant the abrogation of the Tenth Amendment - that the concentration of imperial power in Washington was an inevitable result of the war. His analogy is that if you tell a wife she cannot divorce under any circumstances, then her husband can treat her any way he wants. The federal government can treat states any way they want and they want to reduce them to subjugated vassal extensions. As we shall see below, the war was death to the Constitution of the United States in many ways.
March 3, 1863 Enrollment Act of Conscription was the first national draft. Lincoln called for 300,000 draftees of which only about 80,000 were inducted in a total Army of 2 million. There were many draft riots in the North of which the one in New York City, July 13-14, 1863, with about 100 deaths and the capture of the Armory was the worst.
The draft is an immoral instrument to sacrifice the few, the weak and powerless, for the benefit of the sovereign. It allows the sovereign to engage in adventures that otherwise he could not, and allows him to cause more damage. It is a total abrogation of rights, a death sentence on the innocent.
The Federal Government imposed two direct taxes - one on the states in proportion of their population and the nation's first income tax in the Internal Revenue Act of 1862. This Act gave the power to seize property and prosecute. It was based on the principles of graduated, or progressive, taxation and of withholding income at the source. During the Civil War, a person earning from $600 to $10,000 per year paid tax at the rate of 3%. Those with incomes of more than $10,000 paid taxes at a higher rate. Additional sales and excise taxes were added, and an inheritance tax also made its debut. In 1866, internal revenue collections reached their highest point in the nation's 90-year history, more than $310 million, an amount not reached again until 1911.
The income tax was eliminated in 1872.
Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and 13,000 people were thrown into prison in Washington, DC, alone on charges never brought or made known. In his Proclamation of September 24, 1864, Lincoln by executive fiat ordered that all citizens who engaged in "disloyal practices" would be tried in military tribunals, with such practices decided at whim by Lincoln himself. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney informed Lincoln that he was engaged in practices that violated the Constitution he had sworn an oath to uphold. (Harold Hyman, A More Perfect Union, pp 85-86) Lincoln issued orders to arrest the octogenarian Taney but thought better of assaulting the most respected man in the country. The governor of New York reminded people that the founding fathers during the Revolution did not destroy men’s' rights - "THEY did not say liberty was suspended, that men might be deprived of the right to trial by jury, that they might be torn from their homes by midnight intruders."
Lincoln let his generals suspend 300 newspapers. As Encyclopedia Britannica puts it "He justified this action on the ground that he had to allow some temporary sacrifice of the Constitution in order to maintain the Union..." In other words, he destroyed the Constitution in order to save it. It is little wonder that Booth considered Lincoln a tyrant and expected Lincoln to create a monarchy. Lincoln's model of assuming war powers and concentrating power in Washington was the precedent used by Wilson and FDR as a tool to remake America into a socialist state. Their intense desire and eagerness to grab and use this tool lead them to mistaken and harmful war-mongering. When the Constitution fails them they have only to say "this is time of war - and war gives all needed power."
For more than two centuries after the age of Louis XIV, European civilians were so unmolested that they often barely realized that their rulers were at war, and ordinary travel and commerce between countries usually continued during hostilities. There was courtliness between rulers and officers of opposing armies, like the jovial fraternization between common soldiers as soon as peace was restored. A sort of golden rule prevailed; each victor realized that he might be tomorrow's loser, so everyone tried to avoid leaving a legacy of bitterness by treating the vanquished reasonably and often generously. Peace treaties politely avoided any tone of blame or recrimination.
Lincoln's policy of waging war on civilian areas shocked European observers. Lincoln justified this on grounds that he was dealing not with a traditional war, but with a rebellion, in which the entire enemy population might be treated as criminals and traitors. The idealizers of Lincoln have blamed his policy on the generals who merely carried it out, especially Sherman and Sheridan. Of course even Lincoln was unable to apply this view consistently; to do so would have meant executing nearly every Southerner, soldier or civilian.
Total military casualties are estimated at 623,026 dead which is more than all other wars, the Revolution through Vietnam, combined. Total deaths including civilian deaths from all causes is estimated at 1,094,453.
A final official estimate of the cost of the war made in 1879 was that it totaled $6,190,000,000. The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707. By 1906 another $3.3 billion already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners' pensions and other veterans' benefits for former Federal soldiers. In addition, during the war the dollar was devalued to two and a half times less than at the start of the war - a general calamity.
The best book on the war is Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant published in 1885 which costs about $12 in paperback.
Secession Amendment - An argument for State's rights
LSU's Civil War Center featuring links to every site about the War of Southern Independence.
Library of Congress War Between the States photos collection
The Official Investigation into the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln Judicial murder where an illegal military tribunal convicted 8 including 6 innocent people and murdered four based on manufactured testimony known to be perjured at the time it was offered. Two of three main government witnesses testified under false names because they were so disreputable, one was later convicted of perjury in another case. The third was certified by the Canadian Government as a fraud and a quack. A fourth witness, Louis Weichmann had false testimony coerced out of him and later recanted saying Mrs. Mary Surratt was innocent - she was the first woman executed by the United States. Certainly one of the blackest moments in American judicial history which still stains US. The man most responsible for this judicial murder was Secretary of War Edwin Stanton about whom there is strong evidence that he was the leader of the conspiracy which hired Booth to kill Lincoln!
"But who is the assassin? the man who in frenzied madness strikes the fatal blow or the tyrant who overthrows all government...who regards nothing of law except its power to punish and inflict its penalties to satiate his malice?" wrote Reverend Henry Clay Dean, Chaplain of the US Senate. Booth wrote that Lincoln's whole administration "has been one grand tragedy of systematic aggressions and encroachments upon rights."
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