Why no Burning of Atlanta re-enactment?

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 4:18 pm by George Smith

It’s not hard to figure out.

Civil War re-enactment stories have peppered the nation’s newspapers, particularly this last weekend. All were in advance of the 150th anniversary of the Lee’s surrender to Grant on April 9 — this Thursday — at Appomattox.

The pieces are virtually alike. They deal with white men (“graybeards, they’re called) gently re-enacting elements of battles, almost all of them in the South where the majority of the war was waged. It’s family entertainment and a draw in tourism.

Dressed up in period piece uniforms and equipped with precise replicas of the guns and implements of the time, it’s an expensive proposition for the individuals involved.

There’s a melancholia shot through it. First, that the actors are now predominantly old men. There’s no great enthusiasm among the young to refill their ranks. That is some indication of progress.

The melancholia is also present in the very nature of how the battles are play-staged. None of the newspaper articles state what one can read of the reality of them in authoritative histories of the Civil War.

Both sides are honored, as if the Civil War was a clash between two armies of good men, both fighting for noble, if different causes. All the result of some tragic national misunderstanding, the nature of which cannot be mentioned without risk of ruining things.

Therefore, there is no re-enactment of the burning of Atlanta, described last year by the New York Times here.

There was, instead, a re-enactment of the Battle of Cheatham Hill — one of the last holding tactical victories for the Confederates in Sherman’s advance on Atlanta.

I’ve argued, sometimes whimsically, sometimes not, that the Confederacy won the Civil War.

The appeal of the ways of Dixie spread throughout the country where its old philosophies are still fueling culture wars, virulent hatred of the first black president, the worship of capital, the right to chain and depress labor so it can be stolen, somehow always equated with freedom, the resentment-filled campaigns over states rights and sovereignty and the marginalization and caging of enemies through predatory legislation.

The bed rock of the Republican Party, a party for those inclined to neo-Confederacy.

And it’s broadly acknowledged, the American dilemma for which no one has an adequate answer.

Yesterday in a sad editorial piece by columnist Leonard Pitts, marked at Pine View Farm, yesterday.

“Name the issue — immigration, race, abortion, education, criminal justice — and law and custom in Dixie have long stood stubbornly apart from the rest of the country,” wrote Pitts, in a good summation.

This, today, followed by a New Republic piece, unintentionally farcical, suggesting Lee’s surrender be made a national holiday, along with other measures designed to render illegitimate the South’s continued veneration of its Civil War soldiers.

Reconstruction was foiled and the United States could never do what it and the Allies would virtually a century later on the global stage when the costs in human lives and treasure were, by orders of magnitude, much greater.

Germany was de-Nazified and rebuilt. And Army General Douglas MacArthur reconstructed Japan, removing its worship of warlordism and instituting land reform to break up a system dependent on rich owners served by tenant farmers. Emperor Hirohito was not tried as a war criminal. But he was made a figurehead, his status as a deity expunged.

The thought experiment is an obvious one: Construct an alternate history in which the states of the Confederacy went through a similar process. Not one in which an entire mythology built on the imaginary nobility of a lost cause took root, slavery was repackaged through re-branding and immoral legal installations with the cooperation of southern money and industry in the need to maintain a labor force in poverty, of no social status, presumed inferiority and living in fear with no recourse.

Which brings the post to a small parcel of trivial reality on the alleged lessons to be learned from it all.

Here, a review of a new book on the war, from a newspaper in Montgomery, Alabama:

The Civil War is the lynch pin [sic — a review of the South and its role in the war with one of the most unfortunate mistakes in usage, it should be “linchpin,” I’ve seen in years. One is tempted to call it a true Freudian slip.] of the region’s history and self-image, and its memory runs like a river through the century and a half since it ended in the spring of 1865. Americans from other parts of this nation often wonder why its memory is so alive here. Historians have written countless books about every aspect of the conflict, but we still struggle to understand it …

His great grandfather, who was born shortly before the war and remembered it and its aftermath, told him stories as a boy that he could not forget. Their theme was the heroism and honor of white Southerners and the hardships they faced after the conflict.

How many of us growing up in the South have heard such stories and continue to remember them? I suppose most of us.

Gaillard only began to seriously question what he had heard and read growing up in the context of the civil rights era.

What the review actually means to say is anyone’s guess. And there’s no “struggle” among legitimate historians in understanding the Civil War.

“Horror and honor, the South sought to resolve that conflict in the years after the Civil War by emphasizing honor and heroism — not horror,” it reads. It resolved the conflict through a lot of other means, too, all of them well-documented, leading up to many of the problems we have now.

There’s not a single use of the word African-American or slave in the entire piece. The civil rights movement, yes. But the cause of it, gone missing.

Consider also, recent common use of the phrase, “War of Northern Aggression:”

A small ceremony is scheduled for April 18.

The event is called “Confederate Memorial Day,” but Edmondson said the event is not to honor the time the men served with the Confederacy, but what they did after the war …

The memorial day comes at a time that many lawmakers in Texas are starting to question the state’s romanticism as a member of the 13 states that broke away from the Union to form their own nation, though it was never recognized by foreign countries. The Civil War — or the “War of Northern Aggression” in the South — lasted from 1861 until 1865 and is considered the deadliest war in American history. — the Odessa American

“We have a big division in the country today, but at least we don’t have any states that have seceded yet,” [Franklin County Republican Carl Bearden] said.

He added that “it was generally known as the Civil War. Depending on which side you were on it was also known as the war of Northern aggression.”

While these were tough times, Lincoln stood on principle, Bearden noted.

Lincoln said America will never be destroyed from the outside, but from within, Bearden said, adding, “If you look at what’s happening today that’s what’s going on.”

Liberties and freedoms are slowly slipping away and people should be very scared about what is happening in Washington, especially in the White House, he said. — The Missourian

I married into a family that has generational roots in Gainesville. They go back long before the War of Northern Aggression. — The Gainesville (Georgia) Times

At a cemetery in Sparta, Tennessee, where the allegiance to the Confederacy is still very strong and they refer to the War of Northern Aggression, we attend a ceremony to honor General Dibbell who is buried there, and hear from fifth graders, in Civil War era uniforms, who were given the task of learning the biography of a Civil War figure.

[Nathan Bedford Forrest]: Soldier and social club member. — The NY Daily News

The link goes to a letter and it worth the quick travel, if only to see the picture and caption, the “social club” being the ku Klux Klan.

The U.S. government had functioned without an income tax for more than 100 years, except during the time of the War of Northern Aggression, when Abraham Lincoln passed an unconstitutional tax on income to fund his war machine. — Personal Liberty

It has been 150 years since the end of the Civil War. Some Southerners prefer to call it “The War Between the States” or “The War of Northern Aggression.” Many of our brave Southern ancestors fought for what seems to be a lost cause now, some even died for that cause. You may disagree with me but I believe that they fought and died for the right to have slavery, even though many had none …

I understand that some people believe the Civil War was fought over “States’ Rights” only, if so then it was over a state’s right to maintain the unholy institution of slavery. There was nothing noble, honorable or glorious about the institution of slavery. — Lynchburg (Virginia) News & Advance


Comments are closed.