Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dragoons July 2014 Camp Meeting - A Comparison Between North and South Leading to the WBTS, Part 2

Sam Reid's presentation continued:
Another example of corrupt government spending leading to debt accumulation is to examine Georgia which in 1865 had a balanced budget but only 6 months later after Reconstruction was $50 million in debt.

After Texas gained their independence from Mexico following the Texas Revolution in 1836 and the U.S. annexation of Texas culminating in the Mexican-American War between 1845 and 1847, Texas wanted to join the Union but the New England states opposed this seeing again a shift in power to the South and West, especially geographically with the huge land mass that is Texas and some proposed that Texas be divided into smaller states of comparable size to those in the east.

Fear was flamed in the North by claims that the South would conquer the North and implement their system of slave labor resulting in Northern factory workers losing their jobs.  Most immigrants in the mid-1800s were poor Irish and Germans who had been mistreated by their own governments and feared for their newfound livelihoods.  Wealthy Northerners bought thousands of copies of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and sent them to libraries and churches throughout the North.  Kansas was seeking statehood and Northerns led by John Brown armed militia to terrorize and kill Southern settlers to drive them out of the territory but newspapers reported that Southerners were burning Northerner's homes, an example of the corruption in the media which endures to this day.

Republicans came into being as the political party of the North with the goal of taking over Congress in order to raise tariffs for Northern industrialization and economic protectionism.  A census of 1860 showed 80% of the money coming into the U.S. Treasury was from the Southern states but 93% of the spending went to the Northern states and their infrastructure projects.  The richest states were Mississippi and South Carolina; Connecticut was the richest Northern state behind thirteen Southern states.  When the Republicans took control of Congress they passed the Morrill Tariff  which hiked import tariffs from 15% to 37% and then to 47%.  Lincoln campaigned not on abolishing slavery but on the promise that he would deliver the money from these tariffs collected throughout the Southern ports and, expectedly, Lincoln carried all the Northern states.

The Confederate Constitution actually stated that they would be a tariff free country.  The North knew they would be crippled with the secession of the Southern states and loss of their tariff income to the Treasury. The 1860 Democrat convention was held in Charleston but Douglas refused to support the idea of slavery moving westward so Southern delegates walked out of the convention. But in their absence, the Massachusetts delegates to the Democrat convention cast every vote for Jefferson Davis as their Presidential nominee.  A Davis-Lincoln campaign was possible but Davis did not run for office.  Davis was well liked throughout the North and was requested to make speeches from Boston to Maine in 1860 when he vacationed there.  William Lowndes Yancey pushed for secession with the spectre of Republican power but the Southern states waited until Lincoln was elected before they acted.  The Southern states waited to secede in 1860 and 1861, decades too late to avert war.  The War Between the States was inevitable when Lincoln said, "Who is going to pay the bills?" and vowed to collect the tariffs one way or another even in his inaugural address.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dragoons July 2014 Camp Meeting - A Comparison Between North and South Leading to the WBTS, Part 1

Sam Reid, Historian for Camp 1524 was the guest speaker for July.  He opened his presentation with a brief summary of the book "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas DeLorenzo A group of Northerners were determined to bring about their economic goals using the federal government including tariffs and taxation.  Lincoln's entire political career was based on high tariffs for internal improvements, pet projects. Political corruption was rampant, an unholy alliance between government and business.  This was the same system our Revolutionary forefathers fled from England.

Alexander Hamilton who served as Secretary of the Treasury believed the wealthy should constitute a ruling class and teh President should rule for life.  He believed the federal government should appoint state government officials and there should be only one house of Congress. He actually wanted a large national debt to be able to borrow money and a large army to invade neighboring Canada and Florida. In marked contrast and opposition, Virginian Thomas Jefferson believed in state's rights and the worth of the common man and he was able to get more of this ideas incorporated in the early governmental structure and the young nation's history.  From the time of the original thirteen colonies and states there were seven Northern and six Southern, the North controlled Congress and subsequently always sought to.

The 1789 Tariff Act import tax was popular with Northern industrialists including wool producers. These tariffs resulted in raising prices of all goods as they taxed imports and domestic producers raised their prices to match. But the Southerners who exported cotton did not want tariffs as their trading partners would implement tariffs of their own in response. The money from these taxes went to Northern industrial and infrastructure projects. John Adams, the second President of the U.S. was of the Hamiltonian ideal and his policies resulted in the escalation of the national debt to $80 million.  Jefferson subsequently took office and reduced the national debt to $30 million despite having made the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million.

Around the beginning of the 19th century there was a movement where many believed the country should be divided into Northern and Southern/Western.  The elite in New England saw a power shift to the South/West occurring and they proposed that the New England states should secede.  They needed New York to secede with them and they positioned Aaron Burr to run for governor of New York but Burr lost to Alexander Hamilton (and subsequently killed him in a duel) and the movement died.

Again in 1812 a group of New Englanders met in Hartford CT and drafted 10 Amendments they demanded otherwise they intended to secede.  There movement was strengthened by opposition to the bloodshed during the War of 1812.  But there arrival in Washington to present their demands coincided with news of Andrew Jackson's victory over the British in New Orleans and they returned home to attempt to indoctrinate the Northern populace of the evil Southerners and to purge their society of blacks in slavery.  The latter might be perceived as humanitarian but they passed legislation propagating their prejudice such as laws preventing blacks from immigrating to their states from elsewhere. They got rid of slavery because they had an alternative system of indentured servitude utilizing poor European/Irish immigrant and child labor for their factories and mills.  Whereas slaves had laws protecting them from mistreatment and requiring them to have food and medicine and basic care whether they were working or not, twelve year olds working in Northern factories were just terminated if they were injured or if their services were no longer desired.

In 1824 the Tariffs of Abominations was passed dictating 30% tariffs.  South Carolina and Alabama threatened to secede but negotiations led to lowering those import taxes and secession was averted.  In the North, if you had an infrastructure project like a railroad which would benefit your business, you would go to the state legislature for funding from the government promising them an industrial base benefiting your neighbours but instead, what often happened was like the $12 million canal project which received state funds and then promptly went bankrupt or the railroad company which only built a small few mile portion of the promised rail project. Thaddeus Stevens had a railroad built 35 miles thru rugged mountain terrain, coincidentally right past his personally owned mines and foundry when a 22 mile long road existed between the two points already - an example of the corruption which resulted in huge government debt increases.
Sam Reid Addresses the Dragoons July Camp Meeting

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pratville Dragoons July 2014 Camp meeting

SCV Camp 1524 held their monthly meeting at the Shoneys in Prattville on Thursday July 10th.  Over twenty Dragoons, wives and guests were present. Chaplain Tom Snowden opened the meeting with an Invocation followed by George Jenks leading everyone in the pledges to the United States Flag, Alabama State flag and the Confederate Battle Flag.   Commander Waldo presented the SCV Charge and made the Announcements.  Wives were welcomed and then Upcoming Events were highlighted including a recap of the recent Dragoons participation in the July 4th parade in Prattville.  The Godwin's annual Nathan Bedford Forrest birthday party in Selma on July 12th, the SCV National Reunioon in Charleston July 16-19th, and the camp's Indian Hills Cemetery cleanups on August 2nd and 16th, the latter of which coincides with the date for the distribution of the Dixie Butts, the camps annual fundraiser.

Announcements included the availability of camp stew and BBQ leftover from the Lions Club July 4th sale from 1st Lt Harold Grooms.  Larry Spears had a table set up at the meeting providing Dixie Butt coupons to everyone so that they could "Buy One and Sell One" as part of the camp's fundraising efforts.  Harold then gave a recap of the first Indian Hills cleanup day, part of a series to restore the cemetery in Prattville, the final resting place of a number of Confederate veterans and Dragoons heroes. Larry Spears then made a special presentation of a recognition certificate from the UDC to his father and Dragoon James Spears for his service as a World War II veteran, one of the greatest generation.

The guest speaker for the camp meeting was the Dragoons own Sam Reid who compared the Northern and Southern economic systems and the differences and animosity which led to the War Between the States.  The SCV Closing was then read by Commander Waldo and Chaplain Snowden closed another great camp meeting with a Benediction.  The next camp meeting will be held on August 14th, again at the Shoneys in Prattville and everyone is welcome to join us for another educational program and fellowship.
Larry Spears Presents Father James Spears with UDC WWII Recognition Certificate

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Wizard of the Saddle - A Commemoration of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest for His Birthday

By Clyde Wilson on July 14, 2014, provided by Tommy Rhodes, SCV Camp 1864.
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina where he was the editor of the multivolume The Papers of John C. Calhoun. He is the M.E. Bradford Distinguished Chair at the Abbeville Institute. He is the author or editor of over twenty books and has contributed to dozens of scholarly and popular publications.

The Wizard of the Saddle

One of the greatest men in American history was born on this date (July 13) in 1821 near the town of Chapel Hill, Tennessee, then known as Bledsoe’s Lick.

It is said that a few years after the great American war of 1861—1865 an Englishman asked General R.E. Lee who was the greatest soldier produced by the war. Lee answered readily: “A gentleman in Tennessee whom I have never met. His name is Forrest.”

When he was 17 Nathan Bedford Forrest’s father died leaving him with the responsibility for a family of eleven siblings. By 1861 he was a wealthy merchant, noted for integrity and benevolence, and a Memphis alderman. At the age of 40 he enlisted as a Confederate private but soon formed his own company. Declining to surrender when the fall of Fort Donelson was imminent, Forrest led his own and other troops to freedom in a winter march through swamps. He commanded the rear guard with great courage and skill in the withdrawal after Shiloh. By this time he was evidently a superb soldier and leader of men and commanded a division of cavalry (or more properly, mounted infantry).

Forrest’s explanation for his outstanding military successes in many different situations is often quoted: “I got there first with the most.” Sound military advice. But remember that Forrest never had “the most” of anything. So getting there first with the most could only be accomplished with extraordinary skill, exertion, and risk. General J.E.B. Stuart is rightly celebrated for his ride around the Northern army in Virginia. More than once Forrest rode a great circle around vast forces of enemies in occupied Tennessee and Kentucky and returned with a large booty of horses, provisions and equipment, prisoners, and recruits. Not to mention having destroyed immense quantities of the invading enemy’s supplies and infrastructure. Forrest’s successes against always superior forces are well told in the biographies by John A. Wyeth, Robert S. Henry, Jack Hurst, and Lochlain Seabrook. And in Donald Davidson’s epic poem “The Running of Streight.” 

Of course, Forrest’s success rests not only on military skill but also on the courage and dedication of the men who followed him. He was first of all a leader of men. He personally dispatched to hell, it is said, sixteen enemy invaders, was wounded several times, and had numerous mounts killed under him. 

Forrest was so successful that General Sherman called him “that devil” and wanted to have him murdered even if it broke the U.S. Treasury. After he had finished his killing and burning, Sherman is quoted as saying that “Forrest was the most remarkable man produced by the Civil War on either side.” It is a plain fact that the labels “devil,” “terrorist,” and “criminal” fit Sherman far better than they fit Forrest. Although Sherman was honest enough to investigate and repudiate the still-repeated lie that Forrest was guilty of war crimes at Fort Pillow.

Sherman sacrificed nothing for his cause. Forrest lost his fortune and his health (died at 56) and his beloved younger brother, but he never regretted anything except that he had not been given a larger role in the Confederacy until too late. We can compare the moral qualities of the two leaders thus: According to Sherman, “War is Hell.” I did not kill and burn out all those civilians. It was this abstract force out there called “war.” According to Forrest: “War means fighting and fighting means killing.” I accept responsibility for my actions.

Forrest of course has been banished from the American pantheon because Americans are determined to prettify their history and suppress the truth, which requires always the demonization of the evil South. Like George Washington and Andrew Jackson, Forrest was as American as can be. Allowing for different circumstances with the passing of a generation or two, Forrest almost exactly resembles Andrew Jackson. Both were born on the Southern frontier in poor circumstances. Both were self-made successes. Both were military nonprofessionals who became great commanders in defense of their people. Both were men of great integrity but who were not to be trifled with.

These days Forrest, for a lot of people, is hard to understand. One of those “historians” who regard everything positive that can be said about the Confederacy as naught but “a Lost Cause Myth,” wonders how anyone could admire such an awful character. The proper question is: how could so epic a hero in defense of his people not be admired? Has this spiritually and culturally impoverished but all too common American scribbler never heard of Hector at Troy, Horatio at the Bridge, Roland at Ronscevalles, or the defenders of the Alamo? It is perhaps relevant here to notice a great-grandson, General Nathan Bedford Forrest, U.S.A., who died in his thirties in 1943 in the air over Germany.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dragoons Dixie Butt Sale Fundraiser

Dixie Butt Sale Coming This Month

We will conduct our annual "Dixie Butt" fundraiser beginning at the July meeting, so have your budget and contacts in order, and be ready to "Buy One and Sell One" so that we can achieve our usual good results and have funds to answer the SCV Charge throughout the rest of the year, as we have done in years past.  

Dixie Butt tickets will be available at the July Dragoons camp meeting--just see Past Commander Larry Spears and tell him how many you want for yourselves and friends and family.  Members can take the tickets with them and turn in the money later. Important note:  When you sell any tickets, be sure to get the buyer's info on the larger part of the ticket, which you keep, and leave him/her the stub to use to pick up the butt on 16 August.

For the first time in several years, because of an increase in the amount we must pay for the butts due to market price increases, we will have to raise the price of our tickets to $30.  As always the butts will be cooked by Fatman's BBQ in Prattville.  Butts will be picked up in exchange for the ticket stub at Fatman's at the Marathon Gas Station, Main Street and Memorial Drive in Prattville, 7-9 a.m. on Saturday 16 August. 
Dragoons at the Dixie Butt Distribution August 2013