Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Grievous Reproach

This entry is from A Soldier's Recollections:  Leaves from the Diary of a Young Confederate with an Oration on the Motives and Aims of Soldiers of the South  by Randolph Harrison McKim, Late 1st Lieutenant and A. C. D. 3d Brigade, Johnston's Division, Army of Northern Virginia.

McKim was first as a private soldier, then as a staff officer, and finally a chaplain in the field during the conflict.

Not written on today's calendar day, but it was towards the beginning of his memoir which started with April 1861.   He expresses the Southern viewpoint quite well, in my opinion.

 And now I turn to the consideration of a grievous reproach often directed against the men who fought in the armies of the South in the Civil War. When we claim for them the crown of patriotism, when we aver that they drew their swords in what they believed to be the cause of liberty and self-government, it is answered that the corner-stone of the Southern Confederacy was slavery, and that the soldiers who fought under the banner of the Southern Cross were fighting for the perpetuation of the institution of slavery.

That is a statement which I wish to repudiate with all the earnestness of which I am capable. It does a grievous injustice to half a million patriot soldiers who were animated by as pure a love of liberty as ever throbbed in the bosom of man, and who made as splendid an exhibition of self-sacrifice on her behalf as any soldiers who ever fought on any field since history began.

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