The philosopher and labour advocate Orestes Brownson, a staunch Union supporter, had this to say shortly after the war:

“Nothing was more striking during the late civil war than the very general absence of loyalty or feeling of duty, on the part of the adherents of the Union . . . . The administration never dared confide in the loyalty of the federal people. The appeals were made to interest, to the democracy of the North against the aristocracy of the South; to anti-slavery fanaticism, or to the value and utility of the Union, rarely to the obligation in conscience to support the legitimate legal authority.  Prominent citizens were bribed by high military commissions, others by advantageous contracts for themselves or their friends for supplies to the army;  and the rank and file by large bounties and high wages. There were exceptions, but such was the rule.”


Governor Joel Parker of New Jersey:

“Slavery is no more the cause of this war than gold is the cause of robbery.”


Union Major General Don Carlos Buell told Northerners what they should remember should they be tempted to grow boastful about their victory:

“It required a naval fleet and 15,000 troops to advance against a weak fort, manned by less than a hundred men, at Fort Henry;  35,000 with naval cooperation  to overcome 12,000 at Fort Donelson; 60,000 to secure victory over 40,000 at Shiloh;  120,000 to enforce the retreat of 65,000 after a month’s fighting and maneuvering at Corinth;  100,000 were repelled by 60,000 in the first campaign against Richmond; 70,000 with a powerful naval force to inspire the campaign which lasted nine months against 40,000 at Vicksburg;  90,000 to barely withstand the assault of 60,000 at Gettysburg;  115,000 sustaining a frightful repulse from 60,000 at Fredericksburg; 100,000 attacked and defeated by 50,000 at Chancellorsville; 85,000 held in check for two days by 40,000 at Antietam; 70,000 defeated at Chattanooga, and beleaguered  by 40,000 at Chattanooga to Atlanta . . . and finally 120,000 to overcome 60,000 with exhaustion after a struggle of a year in Virginia.”


Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“I don’t quite understand what we are fighting for.  If we pummel the South ever so hard, they will love us none the better for it.  And even if we subjugate them, our next stop should be to cut them adrift.”


John P. Hale, antislavery Senator from New Hampshire:

“I declare it upon my responsibility as a Senator of the United States that the liberties of this country are in greater danger today from the corruption and from the profligacy practiced in the various parts of the Government than they are from the open enemy in the field.”


Samuel S. Cox was a longtime U.S. Representative from New York and Ohio and Democratic Party leader.  He made these remarks to celebrate the election of Grover Cleveland as President.  From the biography Sunset Cox: Irrepressible Democrat by David Lindsey:

“On June 9, 1882, Cox delivered a ringing denunciation of the Republican party in the House of Representatives.  He referred to it as ‘the defiled party of moral ideas and immoral deeds,’ responsible for ‘plutocratic usurpation of the federal government, unscrupulous fidelity to corporate wealth, fast becoming the main, and only, and the all-sufficient qualification for the high offices of state.’  A power behind the Republican party ‘has grown up within the last twenty-five years under national charters, cash subsidies, land grants, and the excessive profits of indirect tariff taxes’ and ‘has now almost exclusive control of the entire floating wealth of  the nation, and the great bulk of fixed wealth.’  Cox asserted that the cause of Republican excesses was ‘plainly the continued extravagance of the war times, when the foundations of most of the present colossal fortunes were made in great contracts  and cemented with the blood, tears, and cruel taxation of the people.’ “


Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph and artist, proposing a peace plan at the beginning of the war:

“If the system of vituperation [against the South] cannot be quelled . . . if we cannot refrain from the use of exasperating and opprobrious language toward our brethren, and from offensive intermeddling in their affairs, then, of course, the plan fails, and so will all others for a true union.”


Col. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., future Supreme Court Justice.  After being wounded three times, Holmes resigned his commission, apparently deciding that the bloodshed had not been worthwhile. His letters indicate that he had no interest in abolitionism—war was as bad for civilization as slavery—and no enthusiasm for Lincoln and his party. This attitude was shared by many fellow officers, including Bostonians.  These officers seemed to be there largely because they did not want to miss out on the biggest thing in their lifetime. For the rest of his life Holmes treated former Confederates with respect and friendship. Holmes writes home to Boston to those who expected quick victory:

“I don’t think either of you realize the unity or the determination of the South.  I think you are hopeful because (excuse me) you are ignorant.”


Governor Horatio Seymour of New York:

“Upon whom are we to wage war? Our own countrymen. . . . Their courage has never been questioned in any contest in which we have engaged.  They battled by our side with equal valour in the Revolutionary struggle, in the last war with Great Britain, and in the Mexican conflict.  Virginia sent her sons, under the command of Washington, to the relief of beleaguered Boston. Alone, the South defeated the last and most desperate effort of the British to divide our country, at the Battle of New Orleans.  From the days of Washington till this time, they have furnished their full proportion of soldiers for the field, of statesmen for the Cabinet, and of wise and patriotic senators for our legislative halls.”


Clement Vallandigham, a U.S. Representative and a candidate for governor of Ohio was arrested under military orders by soldiers who in the middle of the night broke down three doors to his home and carried him away to a secret prison. He managed to get out a message:

“To the Democrats of Ohio: I am here in a military bastille for no other offense than my political opinions, and the defense of them and of your constitutional liberties. Speeches made in the hearing of thousands of you in denunciation of the usurpation of power, infractions of the Constitution and laws, and of military despotism, are the sole cause of my arrest and imprisonment.”


Former President Franklin Pierce addressed a large Democratic outdoor meeting at high noon on July 4, 1863, at Concord, New Hampshire.  He began with a tribute to the heritage of the Revolutionary war, in which his father had been an active officer:

“Then we were the model republic of the world; honored, loved—or feared where we were not loved. No American citizen was then subject to being driven into exile for opinion’s sake, or arbitrarily arrested and incarcerated in military bastilles—even as he now may be—not for acts or words of imputed treason, but if he do but mourn in silent sorrow over the desolation of his country. No embattled hosts of Americans were then wasting their lives and resources in sanguinary civil strife. No suicidal and parricidal civil war then swept like a raging tempest of death over the stricken homesteads and wailing cities of the Union.” (Pierce then mentioned a letter in which Lincoln wrote that the army was arresting people not for what they had done but for “what they might do.”)  “There is no doubt as to where the responsibilities for the unconstitutional acts of the last two years . . . properly resides. . . .  My judgment impels me to rely upon moral force and not upon the coercive instrumentalities of military power,” he said, urging Lincoln to begin peace negotiations.

(The Unionist press howled in outrage over Pierce’s speech although they did not dare to actually report it.  Lincolnites wanted to arrest Pierce, but they finally thought better of it, as they had earlier in the contemplated arrest of Chief Justice Taney.)


The great American writer Herman Melville kept a moral distance from Lincoln’s war. He wrote a lot of wartime poetry with a low key sympathy for the South: about the bombardment of Charleston and about Lee’s dignity when called before Congress during Reconstruction, among others.  A few lines show his attitude:

Power unanointed may come—

Dominion unsought by the free.

The Founders’ dream shall flee.


Who looks at Lee must think of Washington

In pain must think and hide the thought

So deep with grievous meaning is it fraught.


Ambrose Bierce, a hard fighting Union soldier for the entire war, wrote that the only African Americans he saw were the servants and concubines of Union officers.  After the war he helped Southern people hide their cotton from “official” and unofficial theft by Northerners. He was repulsed by a Republican bloody shirt orator who wanted to prevent the decoration of Confederate graves and replied:

“The brave respect the brave.  The brave

Respect the dead;  but you—you draw

That ancient blade, the ass’s jaw,

And shake it o’er a hero’s grave.”


Clyde Wilson

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 thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews and is co-publisher of, a source  for unreconstructed Southern books.


  • Billy P says:

    Just makes me even more proud of and grateful to my Confederate ancestors.
    This should be read in every history class – imagine their surprise when reality and the actual words of those who lived it doesn’t sync with the lies of media, the race baiters and Hollywood.

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    The evidence is plain enough for all to see. The internet is out of their control…information is destroying their narrative, which is why they have become more desperate. If AI truly exists or will exist, AI will see through the lies…perhaps that is why we are being conditioned to believe AI is a threat. If logic-based, AI will eliminate lies.

    Slavery in the United States would never have existed but for slavery in Great Britain’s colonies. Slavery in Britain’s colonies would have never existed but for slavery in Africa. In 1808, when the slave trade was eliminated in the united States, the New England States (shipbuilders) no longer benefitted from slavery in the South other than to profit from the cotton produced there. At that point it became only a matter of time for economic differences to become a cause for war.

    The Corwin Amendment was passed by the states that remained in the union (after the Cotton States departed) to protect slavery IN THE REMAINDER OF THE UNION. The Corwin Amendment wasn’t written to bring the Cotton States back into the union, it was to prevent other slave States from seceding. IF the war had been about slavery, the United States should have eliminated slavery within its borders immediately upon session of the Cotton States.

    Despite the urging of northern politicians, despite millions of northern soldiers losing hundreds of thousands of weapons on Southern battlefields, NOT A SINGLE SLAVE UPRISING OCCURRED. This is verifiable fact.

    The 14th Amendment awarded citizenship to millions of former slaves and stripped citizenship from tens of thousands of white Southern males. Nearly all former Confederates with political ambitions and capacity were prevented from holding office during Reconstruction, due to the 14th Amendment. These clauses inserted into the 14th Amendment by radical Republicans were to prevent Democrats from regaining power in national elections.

    The “American Civil War”, as it is called by the federal government, is an obfuscation of the conflict. The federal government doesn’t call the conflict,” The War to End Slavery in the United States”…because if they could call it by that name, they would. If the federal government could call the war, “The War Between the Free States and the Slave States”, it would…it doesn’t because IT CANNOT. If Jefferson Davis had freed all of the South’s slaves on his first day in office, the United States would still have invaded the South.

    Slavery existed in the united States because it first existed in Africa. Slavery in the Confederate States of America was so terrible an institution that despite 4 years of total war on its soil, the South did not record a single slave uprising. AI is learning from what you write today. The people who “monitor” the internet are merely the forerunners of AI. Despite their dogmatic conditioning, the monitors are learning, although reluctantly. AI will not suffer from this dogma. Daily you will see people wake up to the lies…covid19 was a God-send…everyone now knows with absolute certainty that the US government lies to its people.

    Covid19 was not the first lie.

  • Lafayette Burner says:

    June 20th is West Virginia Day. It’s a day to celebrate mass disenfranchisement since it clearly stands out as a historical example of how well “courthouse cliques” and rigging political processes can work. In ’64 Lincoln received 68.9% of the vote; in ’60 Lincoln was an outlier, he was an error in that region of western Virginia.

    It’s the same game then, now. No one should be surprised over any election results today.

  • scott thompson says:

    “Alone, the South defeated the last and most desperate effort of the British to divide our country, …….” bingo

  • David LeBeau says:

    Dr. Wilson, you are the GOAT, and thanks for sharing this information.

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