Saturday, February 3, 2018

They Gulped the Blood and Gobbled the Flesh...

A post in the “Skewing Southern History Series”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’d become strained doing too many things at once and finishing nothing, so last summer I took a hiatus from blogging. My historical research, however, has not suffered, only the dissemination of my findings, aside from comments and what I hope have been appropriate shares on Google Plus, Twitter, and to a lesser extent, Facebook. But as I’ve stated before, sometimes something crosses one’s path that cannot be left go. Such was a Pinterest prompt for my  “Confederacy” board on which I pin photos of Confederate soldiers, Southern memorials, and other such tidbits related to a short-lived sovereign nation to which I pay homage.

The prompt was a photo of an unidentified Confederate soldier in cavalry boots (which I would have naturally pinned). I clicked the photo and was taken to an All Things Interesting article published on 27 September 2017. The title of the article was “America’s Darkest Hour: 39 Haunting Photos of The Civil War.” Now I’m not real big on dead soldiers on the battle ground, even Yankee ones, which considering my loyalties might be considered a little more palatable...though certainly not much. All I wanted was the fella in cavalry boots. But one had to click to go somewhere else to see the photos, so I started reading the article instead. At the git-go, it appeared to be a bipartisan accounting of a terrible tragedy that happened a long time ago; in short, a quick overview to accompany the photos, an account one would write for a child or foreigner who’d just parachuted in here and knew nothing of our War Between the States [talk about fire bells clamoring in the night]. I’ve got a pretty good laywoman’s knowledge of events, so initially there was nothing in there I wasn’t aware of. Then, halfway through the article (it isn’t a long one) came something I was not familiar with. I quote:

“For four deadly years, the country endured not only its bloodiest and most vicious military conflict, but also some of its cruelest racial hatred. Adding to the already immense heap of skulls, Confederates used disease, starvation, exposure, and outright execution to kill hundreds of thousands of former slaves during the war, a figure not included in death toll estimates thanks to a deliberate lack of record keeping.”

Not “hundreds”, y’all, not even “thousands”, but hundreds of thousands. And exactly when did this “lack of evidence” proving the occurrence of genocide come to light? And speaking of creating fact from non-existent evidence, why didn’t the writer take the gruesome lie one step further and explain away the absence of hundreds of thousands of Negroid skulls? Allow me to demonstrate: “There’s no evidence of the holocaust dear gullible reader (the article’s readership) because the Confederates ate the murdered slaves.”

Ha, you see, I really can write compelling fiction! Yes siree, that’s the perfect sequel to this horror story being attributed to my Southern ancestors, and my embellishment makes so much sense. The Confederates were, after all, hungry. Shortages were rampant due to invasion and blockade, so they “gulped the blood and gobbled the flesh and greedily gorged on the lifeless corpse[s].”* And once they had eaten their fill, they boiled the fat for soap, then ground the skeletal mass into meal for bread and cake. That’s why today’s fine teams of modern investigative journalists, such as the writer of the dung defecated in the ATI article, can’t find where the bodies are buried.

Let’s break down the above paragraph further. Consider the line about “a deliberate lack of record keeping?” That alone should tell any reasonable reader how far the writer will go to insult his intelligence. Why, if one were to do such a thing, would the executioners make a record of it? It’s not as if the victims had property to account for; they were property. Maybe that explains it. The executioners were keeping the murders secret from the rightful owners who were off somewhere else fighting Yankees. Ya think? Duh. Consider, too, the time it would have taken away from the army’s defending against invaders. I wonder if the writer of the article has any idea how many Yankees were running around in the South between 1862-1865. Certainly enough to come across hundreds of thousands of murdered slaves. I wonder if he/she even knows Yankees invaded the South or where the war was fought? Besides, don’t you know [I’m being facetious here], few Southerners could read and write, so keeping a record would have been difficult.

But the underlying implications are more sinister than that. Note the use of the words “deliberate lack...” By referencing a perceived requirement for such a record, of which someone in a position of power would have made a conscious effort to forgo, the writer is implicating the Confederate government in a conspiracy to annihilate its Negro population. Where exactly is the writer of this article going with this?

Yes, well, I know, too.

Next, let’s look at the line “used disease, starvation, exposure, and outright execution....” That is blatant plagiarism of Southern charges of Federal excesses (national policy) against Southern civilians, black and white. That is precisely where the writer of the ATI article stole that line. Such policy is a component of total war and during the War Between the States was routinely carried out by Federal officers in command in the South as sanctioned by their civilian head, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and blessed by their sanctified leader Abraham Lincoln.

The charge against the Confederacy is, of course, false, and the proof (other than those yet-to-be-uncovered heaps up skulls) is evident by the simple fact that such horrendous deeds make no sense. There’s no record, not because of poor record keeping or pre-sanctioned omission, but because it didn’t happen. Why would Southerners who had, for two and a half centuries, lived intimately with the Negro: Slept with him, ate with him, nursed and been nursed by him, fought and died along side him for more than two centuries in our nation’s struggles leading up to the War Between the States suddenly start exterminating him?  I’m not talking about Negroes who fell behind enemy lines and ended up in the Federal army. They chose to take up arms as soldiers (or we could hope so, anyway) and were fair game like all soldiers taking up arms and invading the sovereign South.

The charge of premeditated extermination [and that’s what paragraph four of the ATI article is] is equally oxymoronic in light of the fallacious argument that the South seceded to preserve slavery..., then decided to exterminate its slaves? But wait! Maybe we’ve stumbled upon yet another point to ponder. Is the “all about slavery” narrative morphing into “it was all about removing the perceived inferior race from the United States?”

Sorry, folks, that exclusive “white-man’s-only nation” attitude was the battle cry of another group.

I’m not going to argue that the antebellum white Southerner wasn’t racist; he definitely was. But his racism was predominantly benevolent, and no matter how demeaning that benevolence, it falls well shy of atrocity. I say this, one, because Southerners are basically good people and, two, because that benevolence helped them justify the institution. It was the Northern attitude towards the Negro that was malevolent and that malevolence played out against the “contaminated” South and white Southerners, who had supposedly degenerated vis-à-vis their superior Northern counterparts after two hundred and fifty years of intimacy with the Negro race. In my opinion, and this is strictly my opinion, the greatest shame of the Southern Democrats and the modern Klan (not the original) is their self-aggrandizing embracing, then making truth of, a Yankee lie.

In light of the sordid tale of genocide masquerading as “fact” presented above, the rather slipshod description of Davis’ capture near the end of the article comes as no surprise.

I had never heard of All Things Interesting, but it has a substantial readership and is part of the online media, PBH Network. There are no by lines, attributions, or supporting references in the 27 September article. Whoever wrote the thing conducted only superficial research in slapping the piece together. They are unconcerned with the war, its causes, its repercussions, or the people involved. They are either convinced that all right-thinking Americans regard those who defended/still defend the Confederacy as either dead or to have seen the light and become “good” Americans, or they’re trying to convince the rest of us that’s the case. Extant defenders are nothing more than lunatics who support “proven” racist traitors and represent only a fringe of the Southern population.

Promulgation of such lies is what ATI counts on to grow its readership. That’s how propaganda works. The Left (assuming ATI isn’t financed by the Left) finds such ignorance a useful tool to achieve its agenda.  This is the legacy “neo-conservatives”, many in leadership positions across the South, have left us. A large number of Americans don’t know where this nation, or they themselves, came from. They look at America’s ante-bellum past as they do that of the Roman Republic: It was long ago, and there’s no one invested in it any longer. They feel right in saying and/or accepting whatever nonsense they “think they know,” packaging it as truth, and shouting it to the world if it furthers their agenda. These born-yesterday Americans derive from two different sources, new arrivals and the much more egregious multi-generationals who find validation in detaching themselves from ancestors who sacrificed their immortal souls, according to their progeny’s self-righteous interpretation of right and wrong, to give them what they have today. We in the South have long been blessed with a paucity of both. Disgracefully, the number among the latter is growing.

*Beowulf for those of you who have forgotten that classic example of old-English alliteration from high school.

Thanks for reading,

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