Monday, April 22, 2013
The following selection is from a book written by Lt. Randolph H. McKim after the War Between the States. As many times as I have searched the reason why the Southern soldier fought the war, time and time again, I find that they were not fighting for the preservation of slavery, but for their independence. We can either believe the lies we have been feed or we can believe what the men themselves have to say. I have chosen to believe the later. McKim’s statement follows:
“But I am chiefly concerned to show that my comrades and brothers, of whom I write in these pages, did not draw their swords in defense of the institution of slavery. They were not thinking of their slaves when they cast all in the balance— their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — and went forth to endure the hardships of the camp and the march and the perils of the battle field. They did not suffer, they did not fight, they did not die, for the privilege of holding their fellow men in bondage! No, it was for the sacred right of self-government that they fought. It was in defense of their homes and their firesides. It was to repel the invader, to resist a war of subjugation. It was in vindication of the principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that "governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed."
“Only a very small minority of the men who fought in the Southern armies — not one in ten —were financially interested in the institution of slavery. We cared little or nothing about it. To establish our independence we would at any time have gladly surrendered it. If any three men may be supposed to have known the object for which the war was waged, they were these: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. Their decision agrees with what I have stated.
“Mr. Lincoln consistently held and declared that the object of the war was the restoration of the Union, not the emancipation of the slaves. Mr. Davis as positively declared that the South was fighting for independence, not for slavery. And Robert E. Lee expressed his opinion by setting all his slaves free Jan. 8, 1863, and then going on with the war for more than two years longer. In February, 1861, Mr. Davis wrote to his wife in these words, "In any case our slave property will eventually be lost." Thus the political head of the Confederacy entered on the war foreseeing the eventual loss of his slaves, and the military head of the Confederacy actually set his slaves free before the war was half over. Yet both, they say, were fighting for slavery!”
Source: “Soldiers Recollection: Leaves from the Diary of a Young Confederate” by Randolph H. McKim, pages 21-22, published 1910.
Photo: Lt. Randolph H. McKim