The Bad Guys? Part 1

 

The scene is one of the most iconic in film history. The Battle of Atlanta near the middle of Gone With The Wind depicts the carnage of war. As Scarlett O’Hara searches for Dr. Meade among several wounded and dying Confederate soldiers, the camera pulls back to reveal dozens more, then hundreds of bodies, 1,600 in all. It was at this point of watching the film when my daughter asked if Joshua Chamberlain (her namesake) was there.

“No,” I told her. “He was a Union officer. But remember earlier, when they were reading the dispatches from Gettysburg? He was in that battle.”

The nine-year-old absorbed this, then followed up her question. “So these are the bad guys?”

“It’s complex,” I said.

And it is.

The civil war was fought for many reasons by many different kinds of people. Poor and working-class white Southerners typically cared nothing for the slave-owning plantation class; they fought from other motivations. Several of the Confederacy’s best generals argued for emancipation on tactical grounds, and sometimes moral ones, too.

Were Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, or James Longstreet bad guys? Certainly not. Nonetheless, they fought to preserve the newly formed Confederate States of America, whose foundational purpose was to maintain a society based on slavery. None of them owned slaves, there’s no evidence they agreed with slavery, but they enabled it all the same.

I love history. I come at the Civil War from a Yankee perspective. One of my fondest childhood memories was of the morning my dad and uncle liberated me from my third-grade classroom to take a jaunt up to Gettysburg. I always got a souvenir plastic saber with which to make war on the shrubbery. I wore a Union cap.

But the Confederates weren’t my bad guys; Russians, stormtroopers, or Cobra Command held that distinction. The Confederate soldiers, I was raised to respect.

After the Confederates, the villain du jour was the American Indian. They were the bad guys for an entire genre of movies. But I was taught to respect them too, because their story is also complex. For a while, Germans were the bad guys, but there were plenty of good, honorable German soldiers serving frustrated under history’s most notorious madman, and of all the people American GI’s encountered as they liberated Europe, it was the Germans they most related with.

Again, we see, it’s complex.

There is a major difference between a plantation overseer and a Confederate soldier, or a Sioux raiding party and their entire nation, or an SS platoon and German regulars, or the Taliban and an Afghan. History teaches there are vast motivations. The good guys aren’t always evident, and there’s rarely a clear formula about who the bad guys are. Sometimes they’re within the same ranks.

A better question is this: What are they fighting for?

People fight for many reasons, but mostly out of a desire to preserve something: a way of life, their homes, lives. If they’re not fighting to preserve something, they’re probably fighting to attain something, like freedom, resources, or a personal right. All of these are good reasons to fight. The problem lies in the reality that any of these motivations can be rooted in evil. Slavery is evil; so is Sharia Law, segregation, and a variety of personal “rights” we’ve come to condemn over the centuries.

There are good people who fight for horrible things. I don’t automatically condemn them unless they know full well what they are supporting. I believe the majority of them usually don’t.

A peasant farmer may take up arms with an evil regime out of a desire to protect his village. A child may be conscripted into an army he knows nothing about. A person may take up a passionate defense of an abstract right they have no first-hand experience with, but sounds important.

It takes time to understand the complexities of certain issues. Who has time to carefully weigh both sides of a conflict to determine which is right, and which is wrong? I contend most people take their most immediate impression, and in the absence of firm moral principles, run with whatever seems right at the time.

And this leads us to the real problem when ascribing the moniker of bad guys. Many people defend evil practices because they don’t understand them. The true bad guys choose evil things because they embrace them. Discerning the difference takes moral clarity, which is hard to achieve if one doesn’t accept moral absolutes.

Some of us are slow learners, and some of us aren’t interested in learning at all. That’s fine, but if we’re going to take a stand on an issue, we’d better know it inside and out. History will not be kind to those who choose sides arbitrarily.

I love history, because history knows there is such a thing as right and wrong. And it isn’t shy about showing the difference.

And innocent lives are always on the line.

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There are 78 comments.

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  1. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Thanks, Vince. 

    • #1
    • June 24, 2019, at 12:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. PHCheese Member

    Yea there is even a few good Democrats.

    • #2
    • June 24, 2019, at 4:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Juliana Member

    This is wonderful. Thank you.

    • #3
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Stubbs Member

    Excellent. Thank you.

    • #4
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Excellent post, Vince. I’m just not sure that I’m willing to let people off the hook so readily because they don’t know what they’re fighting for. Do we need to call them bad guys? Maybe not. But are they colluding out of ignorance? I think so. And I’m reluctant to give them a pass.

    • #5
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:46 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Do we need to call them bad guys? Maybe not. But are they colluding out of ignorance?

    Notice I titled it as part 1. Tune in next week. 

    • #6
    • June 24, 2019, at 7:44 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Yea there is even a few good Democrats.

    I saw this quote recently:

    “I will forever be a Lieberman Democrat. It hurts not to exist.”

    • #7
    • June 24, 2019, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. EJHill Podcaster

    The answer to a complicated question can often be found in a simplistic answer, such as the difference between the words “are” and “is.”

    In the April 27th, 1887 Washington Post, they noted a sea change in how Americans spoke about themselves. From the birth of the country to the outbreak of the Civil War, Americans spoke of the country in the plural. “The United States are…” The people saw the sovereign states as being independent of this federal system that provided for the common defense. People like Lee held allegiance first to Virginia, then to the United States. When Virginia left the Union, then so did Lee. And that was true all through out the South.

    After the war, the people saw it differently. The Union was now seen as complete. Thereafter we began to refer to ourselves as a single entity and we started to say, “The United States is…”

    Lest you think this is anecdotal and maybe a bit apocryphal, in 2013 a couple of linguists used Google’s N-Gram Viewer to search books in their digitized collection. Here are the results:

    As you can see, the crossover is complete around the time of the Post article. More telling is when the researchers limited the results to fiction writing, thinking that might yield results for the prevailing usage in casual speech. That showed the crossover coming much closer to the war’s end. 

    • #8
    • June 24, 2019, at 8:58 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  9. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    People like Lee held allegiance first to Virginia, then to the United States. When Virginia left the Union, then so did Lee. And that was true all through out the South.

    Abraham Lincoln and his wife were born in the slave state of Kentucky.

    John C. Fremont (1813-1890), the Union general who was the first Republican presidential candidate, was born in Georgia and married to Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s daughter.

    George Thomas (1816-1870), the Union general who fought much of the war around Tennessee and maintained his position at Chickamauga to allow the Union to time to escape to Chattanooga, was born in Virginia.

    John C. Pemberton (1814-1881), the Confederate general who held Vicksburg, was born in Philadelphia.

    David Farragut (1801-1870), the Union’s first admiral who captured New Orleans and Mobile Bay, was born in Tennessee and had two wives from Virginia.

    Henry H. Bell (1808-1868), the admiral who served as Fleet-Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Admiral Farragut, was born in North Carolina.

    Josiah Gorgas (1818-1883), the Confederate general who served as chief of ordnance, was born in Pennsylvania.

    Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892), Union quartermaster general for 31 years, was born in Georgia.

    Samuel Cooper (1798–1876), the highest-ranked C.S.A. general, was born in New York.

    John Taylor Wood (1830–1904), leading Confederate naval hero, was born in Minnesota.

    Richard Jordan Gatling (1818–1903), inventor of the Gatling gun with offices in Indianapolis, was born in North Carolina.

    John Newton (1822-1895), the Union General who led I Corps after Reynolds died at Gettysburg, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

    David Bell Birney (1825–1864), the Union general who was the son of an abolitionist and whose Gettysburg division was demolished at Devil’s Den, was born in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Albert Pike (1809–1891), the Confederate senior officer who led the District of Indian Territory, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Charles Clark (1810–1877), the Confederate general who led a division at Shiloh, was born in Ohio.

    Robert Hopkins Hatton (1826–1862), the Confederate officer who was ordered to stop McClellan’s drive on Richmond, was born in Steubenville, Ohio.

    Henry Wirz (1823-1865), perhaps the worst villain and the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes, was actually born in Zurich.

    • #9
    • June 24, 2019, at 9:52 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  10. Full Size Tabby Member

    Time and social and technological developments change how we see someone. As we judge today the actions or attitudes of people from a different time or place we must keep in mind that that it is nearly impossible for us today to appreciate all the circumstances under which the person of the past was operating. When I hear people today speak with righteous indignation and absolute certainty about some past people, I wonder what of our actions today people of the future will look back on and say, “How could they have done that?”

    The most obvious one is abortion. The arguments for and against abortion are almost identical to the arguments for and against slavery 200 years ago, so it is at least plausible that 200 years from now our descendants will look upon those who support abortion with the same disgust that we today look upon those who supported slavery 200 years ago. That should at least keep us humble about the certainty with which we condemn the actions of people who lived in a different time and place.

    • #10
    • June 24, 2019, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. DonG Coolidge

    I agree that there are two competing ideas: Federalism/subsidiarity is good vs. Slavery is bad. But there is no dilemma as it had already been decided that individual rights trump states rights. This is all very explicit in the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, while we might admire the rebellious spirit of the Confederacy, the slave states are the “bad guys”. Always were. Always will be. 

    • #11
    • June 24, 2019, at 10:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. EJHill Podcaster

    I’m not sure what your list is trying to prove there, Cloaked One. That there are always exceptions to the broad trends of demographics? That’s a granted. Or is a list of 17 people in a nation of 31 million supposed to disprove the theory?

    • #12
    • June 24, 2019, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    I agree that there are two competing ideas: Federalism/subsidiarity is good vs. Slavery is bad. But there is no dilemma as it had already been decided that individual rights trump states rights. This is all very explicit in the adoption of the Bill of Rights. 

    That wasn’t the case until the 15th Amendment.

    • #13
    • June 24, 2019, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    DonG (View Comment):

    I agree that there are two competing ideas: Federalism/subsidiarity is good vs. Slavery is bad. But there is no dilemma as it had already been decided that individual rights trump states rights. This is all very explicit in the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, while we might admire the rebellious spirit of the Confederacy, the slave states are the “bad guys”. Always were. Always will be.

    I submit to you that they were both the “bad guys.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. Coercive unification is just slavery by another name.

    • #14
    • June 24, 2019, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    People like Lee held allegiance first to Virginia, then to the United States. When Virginia left the Union, then so did Lee. And that was true all through out the South.

    Abraham Lincoln and his wife were born in the slave state of Kentucky.

    John C. Fremont (1813-1890), the Union general who was the first Republican presidential candidate, was born in Georgia and married to Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s daughter.

    George Thomas (1816-1870), the Union general who fought much of the war around Tennessee and maintained his position at Chickamauga to allow the Union to time to escape to Chattanooga, was born in Virginia.

    John C. Pemberton (1814-1881), the Confederate general who held Vicksburg, was born in Philadelphia.

    David Farragut (1801-1870), the Union’s first admiral who captured New Orleans and Mobile Bay, was born in Tennessee and had two wives from Virginia.

    Henry H. Bell (1808-1868), the admiral who served as Fleet-Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Admiral Farragut, was born in North Carolina.

    Josiah Gorgas (1818-1883), the Confederate general who served as chief of ordnance, was born in Pennsylvania.

    Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892), Union quartermaster general for 31 years, was born in Georgia.

    Samuel Cooper (1798–1876), the highest-ranked C.S.A. general, was born in New York.

    John Taylor Wood (1830–1904), leading Confederate naval hero, was born in Minnesota.

    Richard Jordan Gatling (1818–1903), inventor of the Gatling gun with offices in Indianapolis, was born in North Carolina.

    John Newton (1822-1895), the Union General who led I Corps after Reynolds died at Gettysburg, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

    David Bell Birney (1825–1864), the Union general who was the son of an abolitionist and whose Gettysburg division was demolished at Devil’s Den, was born in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Albert Pike (1809–1891), the Confederate senior officer who led the District of Indian Territory, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Charles Clark (1810–1877), the Confederate general who led a division at Shiloh, was born in Ohio.

    Robert Hopkins Hatton (1826–1862), the Confederate officer who was ordered to stop McClellan’s drive on Richmond, was born in Steubenville, Ohio.

    Henry Wirz (1823-1865), perhaps the worst villain and the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes, was actually born in Zurich.

    Thank you for this history lesson. I will be trying to find out more about the last guy on the list, the villainous Henry Wirz.

    ###

    • #15
    • June 24, 2019, at 12:20 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. DonG Coolidge

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    I agree that there are two competing ideas: Federalism/subsidiarity is good vs. Slavery is bad. But there is no dilemma as it had already been decided that individual rights trump states rights. This is all very explicit in the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

    That wasn’t the case until the 15th Amendment.

    No. Slavery was always immoral. And individual rights always trumped state rights. The 15th Amendment just corrected a bad Supreme Court decision.

    • #16
    • June 24, 2019, at 12:49 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. DonG Coolidge

    CJ (View Comment):
    I submit to you that they were both the “bad guys.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. Coercive unification is just slavery by another name.

    Nope. Unification is enforcement of the contract of the Constitution. Joining the USA was voluntary, but it is a commitment. The only legal way out is to get permission from 3/4 of the states.

    • #17
    • June 24, 2019, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    DonG (View Comment):

    CJ (View Comment):
    I submit to you that they were both the “bad guys.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. Coercive unification is just slavery by another name.

    Nope. Unification is enforcement of the contract of the Constitution. Joining the USA was voluntary, but it is a commitment. The only legal way out is to get permission from 3/4 of the states.

    It is not a contract in any legal sense. No one then existing (at the time of the War of Northern Aggression) or now existing has ever signed the Constitution. Nobody has ever been asked to sign the Constitution because nobody would be foolish enough to do so. And in no sense can it said to be voluntary.

    Let’s suppose the Constitution was some kind of contract. What is a typical penalty for when one party is in breach of contract? Generally, it isn’t to murder hundreds of thousand of people.

    • #18
    • June 24, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    it is at least plausible that 200 years from now our descendants will look upon those who support abortion with the same disgust that we today look upon those who supported slavery 200 years ago.

    I agree with the notion of keeping individual actions within their historical context, yet with both of these examples, many of the perpetrators contemporaries were/are screaming truth from the rooftops only to be met with indifference on the one hand, and violent opposition on the other. The fact that it took 200 years for some people to finally reject racism doesn’t excuse their forefathers caupability. The writing was on the wall in America at Jamestown 1619, and at the Supreme Court in 1973 respectively. 

    • #19
    • June 24, 2019, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I wonder what of our actions today people of the future will look back on and say, “How could they have done that?”

    Democracy.

    • #20
    • June 24, 2019, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. A-Squared Inactive

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Time and social and technological developments change how we see someone. As we judge today the actions or attitudes of people from a different time or place we must keep in mind that that it is nearly impossible for us today to appreciate all the circumstances under which the person of the past was operating. When I hear people today speak with righteous indignation and absolute certainty about some past people, I wonder what of our actions today people of the future will look back on and say, “How could they have done that?”

    The most obvious one is abortion. The arguments for and against abortion are almost identical to the arguments for and against slavery 200 years ago, so it is at least plausible that 200 years from now our descendants will look upon those who support abortion with the same disgust that we today look upon those who supported slavery 200 years ago. That should at least keep us humble about the certainty with which we condemn the actions of people who lived in a different time and place.

    People today forget how pervasive slavery was throughout human history. We look back on that period with today anachronistic morals and judge them.

    Rest assured, 150 years from now, people will look back on several widely held beliefs of today with the same level of disdain that we ascribe to slavery today.

    • #21
    • June 24, 2019, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Valiuth Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    People today forget how pervasive slavery was throughout human history. We look back on that period with today anachronistic morals and judge them.

    Rest assured, 150 years from now, people will look back on several widely held beliefs of today with the same level of disdain that we ascribe to slavery today

    And we are right to judge them. The prevalence of slavery may explain why so many people practiced it and why they thought it normal (because it was in a very strict sense). But the arguments about the propriety of slavery or impropriety are quite old too especially in the christian tradition. The oldest arguments for it could be characterized as utilitarian, but these arguments came from pagan cultures without a Christian ethic of human value. To square slavery with Christian philosophy about human dignity and worth required Southerners to create an especially pernicious racial doctrine, that still wrecks havoc to this day in our society. So I judge them according to the consequences of their actions. 

    • #22
    • June 24, 2019, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Vince Guerra: Were Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, or James Longstreet bad guys? Certainly not. Nonetheless, they fought to preserve the newly formed Confederate States of America, whose foundational purpose was to maintain a society based on slavery. None of them owned slaves, there’s no evidence they agreed with slavery, but they enabled it all the same.

    I think there are good things to say about these men, and I like your article. The Civil War was exceedingly complicated, and it’s a good idea to introduce your daughter to the concept of nuance. However, the statement that these guys didn’t own slaves is not correct. I guess you can argue that Lee was only holding his father-in-law’s slaves for a while, but all of these men had control of or owned slaves in the antebellum period. In Jackson and Longstreet’s cases, the numbers were small, but they existed none-the-less.

    • #23
    • June 24, 2019, at 3:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. philo Member

    Vince Guerra:…the villain du jour was the American Indian. …Again, we see, it’s complex.

    Since you started with an old movie reference I will reply with a newer one that was built on that “it’s complex” theme…and one that I, while being one of only three people who saw it, really liked. See Hostiles (preferably before Part 2 of this series).

    Great discussion.

    • #24
    • June 24, 2019, at 4:01 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. A-Squared Inactive

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    People today forget how pervasive slavery was throughout human history. We look back on that period with today anachronistic morals and judge them.

    Rest assured, 150 years from now, people will look back on several widely held beliefs of today with the same level of disdain that we ascribe to slavery today

    And we are right to judge them. The prevalence of slavery may explain why so many people practiced it and why they thought it normal (because it was in a very strict sense). But the arguments about the propriety of slavery or impropriety are quite old too especially in the christian tradition. The oldest arguments for it could be characterized as utilitarian, but these arguments came from pagan cultures without a Christian ethic of human value. To square slavery with Christian philosophy about human dignity and worth required Southerners to create an especially pernicious racial doctrine, that still wrecks havoc to this day in our society. So I judge them according to the consequences of their actions.

    And future generations will be right to judge you. 

    • #25
    • June 24, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra Post author

    philo (View Comment):

    . See Hostiles (preferably before Part 2 of this series).

    Great discussion.

    I will. Thanks.

    • #26
    • June 24, 2019, at 4:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra Post author

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    In Jackson and Longstreet’s cases, the numbers were small, but they existed none-the-less.

    This is news to me. I’ve asked around for a recommendation for a good book on Jackson and was referred to Lee’s Lieutenants by Douglass Freeman, but it’s massive and I haven’t started it yet. Thank you. 

    • #27
    • June 24, 2019, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. aardo vozz Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    People like Lee held allegiance first to Virginia, then to the United States. When Virginia left the Union, then so did Lee. And that was true all through out the South.

    Abraham Lincoln and his wife were born in the slave state of Kentucky.

    John C. Fremont (1813-1890), the Union general who was the first Republican presidential candidate, was born in Georgia and married to Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s daughter.

    George Thomas (1816-1870), the Union general who fought much of the war around Tennessee and maintained his position at Chickamauga to allow the Union to time to escape to Chattanooga, was born in Virginia.

    John C. Pemberton (1814-1881), the Confederate general who held Vicksburg, was born in Philadelphia.

    David Farragut (1801-1870), the Union’s first admiral who captured New Orleans and Mobile Bay, was born in Tennessee and had two wives from Virginia.

    Henry H. Bell (1808-1868), the admiral who served as Fleet-Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Admiral Farragut, was born in North Carolina.

    Josiah Gorgas (1818-1883), the Confederate general who served as chief of ordnance, was born in Pennsylvania.

    Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892), Union quartermaster general for 31 years, was born in Georgia.

    Samuel Cooper (1798–1876), the highest-ranked C.S.A. general, was born in New York.

    John Taylor Wood (1830–1904), leading Confederate naval hero, was born in Minnesota.

    Richard Jordan Gatling (1818–1903), inventor of the Gatling gun with offices in Indianapolis, was born in North Carolina.

    John Newton (1822-1895), the Union General who led I Corps after Reynolds died at Gettysburg, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

    David Bell Birney (1825–1864), the Union general who was the son of an abolitionist and whose Gettysburg division was demolished at Devil’s Den, was born in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Albert Pike (1809–1891), the Confederate senior officer who led the District of Indian Territory, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Charles Clark (1810–1877), the Confederate general who led a division at Shiloh, was born in Ohio.

    Robert Hopkins Hatton (1826–1862), the Confederate officer who was ordered to stop McClellan’s drive on Richmond, was born in Steubenville, Ohio.

    Henry Wirz (1823-1865), perhaps the worst villain and the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes, was actually born in Zurich.

    Private John Wesley Culp(1839-1863), born and raised in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, killed at Gettysburg July 3, 1863-fighting for the Confederacy- on Culp’s Hill, the site of his uncle’s home. His brother fought for the Union. Complex can also be quite tragic.

    • #28
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. aardo vozz Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    People like Lee held allegiance first to Virginia, then to the United States. When Virginia left the Union, then so did Lee. And that was true all through out the South.

    Abraham Lincoln and his wife were born in the slave state of Kentucky.

    John C. Fremont (1813-1890), the Union general who was the first Republican presidential candidate, was born in Georgia and married to Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s daughter.

    George Thomas (1816-1870), the Union general who fought much of the war around Tennessee and maintained his position at Chickamauga to allow the Union to time to escape to Chattanooga, was born in Virginia.

    John C. Pemberton (1814-1881), the Confederate general who held Vicksburg, was born in Philadelphia.

    David Farragut (1801-1870), the Union’s first admiral who captured New Orleans and Mobile Bay, was born in Tennessee and had two wives from Virginia.

    Henry H. Bell (1808-1868), the admiral who served as Fleet-Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron under Admiral Farragut, was born in North Carolina.

    Josiah Gorgas (1818-1883), the Confederate general who served as chief of ordnance, was born in Pennsylvania.

    Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892), Union quartermaster general for 31 years, was born in Georgia.

    Samuel Cooper (1798–1876), the highest-ranked C.S.A. general, was born in New York.

    John Taylor Wood (1830–1904), leading Confederate naval hero, was born in Minnesota.

    Richard Jordan Gatling (1818–1903), inventor of the Gatling gun with offices in Indianapolis, was born in North Carolina.

    John Newton (1822-1895), the Union General who led I Corps after Reynolds died at Gettysburg, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

    David Bell Birney (1825–1864), the Union general who was the son of an abolitionist and whose Gettysburg division was demolished at Devil’s Den, was born in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Albert Pike (1809–1891), the Confederate senior officer who led the District of Indian Territory, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Charles Clark (1810–1877), the Confederate general who led a division at Shiloh, was born in Ohio.

    Robert Hopkins Hatton (1826–1862), the Confederate officer who was ordered to stop McClellan’s drive on Richmond, was born in Steubenville, Ohio.

    Henry Wirz (1823-1865), perhaps the worst villain and the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes, was actually born in Zurich.

    Thank you for this history lesson. I will be trying to find out more about the last guy on the list, the villainous Henry Wirz.

    ###

    Henry Wirz was the commanding officer at the infamous Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia. I actually first learned of him when I was a child watching a television version of a play “The Andersonville Trial” with my family. If you ever see pictures of the prisoners from Andersonville, they look like concentration camp survivors. Chilling

    • #29
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    In Jackson and Longstreet’s cases, the numbers were small, but they existed none-the-less.

    This is news to me. I’ve asked around for a recommendation for a good book on Jackson and was referred to Lee’s Lieutenants by Douglass Freeman, but it’s massive and I haven’t started it yet. Thank you.

    I’d highly suggest Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne. It’s a very quick read and will tell you a lot about Stonewall. Gwynne was once a journalist in Texas, and he lives in Austin. He’s been shortlisted for a Pulitzer. He draws a sympathetic portrait of Jackson, though he is not hagiographic. It’s good history that’s easy to digest. You understand why this VMI professor was so revered by the Confederates, but you also understand how crazy-strange the dude was.

    • #30
    • June 24, 2019, at 6:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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