A review of Vicksburg: The Bloody Siege that Turned the Tide of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. (Regnery History, 2018).
On the eve of the War for Southern Independence an article was published in The New York Times which unequivocally announced why the North had to invade and conquer the South. The author of the article declared, “The commercial bearing of the question has acted upon the North….We were divided and confused [about Southern secession] till our pockets were touched.” The Union Democrat of New Hampshire added this observation, “The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods….No—we must not ‘let the South go.’” In an article titled “What Shall Be Done for a Revenue,” the Evening Post of New York warned that without tariff income from Southern ports, “the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up….the railways would be supplied from southern ports.”
These three citations are a small representative sample of the numerous editorials by Northern newspapers warning of the dire consequences to Northern commerce and industry if the South was allowed to establish its independence. Rather than being the vaunted champion of freedom and equality, it is obvious that the worship of the “Almighty Dollar” was the driving force in the North’s War to Prevent Southern Independence. Notice how the Evening Post of New York warned that Southern ports would be the recipient of railway commerce.
From early in the history of the Republic, the merchants of the Northeast lived with one great fear, losing its choke-hold on the nation’s commerce. If the expanding nation’s wealth flowed down the Mississippi River to the port of New Orleans and if Memphis became the hub for the nation’s major railroads, commerce would flow into New Orleans and the ports along the Southern East Coast and Gulf South. This is why early in the Republic’s history many Northeast merchants attempted to sell the Mississippi River to Spain (circa, 1779). Southern Historian, Francis Butler Simkins, noted the Yankee’s “money grubbing” nature declaring, “Northern capitalism was eagerly imperialistic…its success was creating a nation of dollar-worshipers…who regarded themselves as the lords of creation.” Empires are built and maintained by dollar-worshipers not by liberty-worshipers. According to James Madison, America’s Founding Fathers did not create an Empire but created a compound republic. Lincoln, the Republican Party, and their crony capitalist allies destroyed Madison and Jefferson’s compound republic and replaced it with an ever growing supreme Federal government—from which has sprung the Deep State. The South’s long-standing love for States’ Rights stood in the way of the North’s desire for a commercial empire. Therefore, the South had to be destroyed. Today, anyone who dares to proclaim any view that does not comport with the view of the Empire is assaulted in the well-used and jaded method of ridicule and questioning of one’s “historical credentials.” And if the Empire can produce a self-loathing Southerner who, like Judas, is willing to betray his people for a few Yankee coins, it makes the Empire’s work of defending invasion and oppression much easier.
Recently the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a review of Dr. Sandy Mitcham’s book, Vicksburg. The first portion of the review gave credit to Dr. Mitcham for his work but from that point forward a virtual anti-South tirade flows from the reviewer’s keyboard. The reviewer insists that Dr. Mitcham’s arguments and quotes are not properly “sourced” as is expected for “scholarly history.” A Southern historian or writer can barricade himself up to his eyeballs in “citations,” “references,” “primary source materials,” and it will do little to placate the running dogs and lackeys of political correctness. Traditional Southerners understand that any book which does not “toe-the-line” of the Empire’s view of the War will never be accepted as “scholarly.” The WSJ reviewer condemns Dr. Mitcham’s work on five broad grounds. (1) He claims that Mitcham’s maps are “sparse and sketchy.” Perhaps Dr. Mitcham understood that facts about the human element such as death, starvation, and terrorism inflicted on Southern civilians by the invader were of more interest and more important than “un-sketchy” maps. (2) The reviewer found fault with Mitcham’s description of Grant as “desperate.” After unsuccessfully attempting to take Vicksburg four times, Grant was indeed becoming desperate. It was Grant who had over 7000 of his men killed trying desperately to break Lee’s fortifications at Cold Harbor. Grant understood that it takes desperate measures to defeat men who are defending their homes and families from a cruel invader. (3) The WSJ reviewer was somewhat incredulous that Dr. Mitcham would condemn Sherman for his “overbearing cruelty.” Sherman, who suggested to the Federal Empire’s War Department that a whole class of Southerners “men, women, and children should be killed or banished” to secure victory is given a “get out of jail free” card by the reviewer. (4) Mitcham’s view of Lincoln is also condemned. Lincoln, the man who had the civilian grandson of Francis Scott Key arrested, tried, and jailed by military police and given a military trial, is not one who should be given a pass when looking for tyrants! (5) Mitcham’s refusal to kowtow to the Empire’s god of political correctness was more than the WSJ reviewer could tolerate, especially as it relates to slavery!
As Henrik Ibsen noted in ‘An Enemy of the People,’ “You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.” I can assure you that Dr. Mitcham had his fighting clothes on when he wrote Vicksburg. As a well-trained and honest historian, Dr. Mitcham abhors political correctness and its sycophants. Nevertheless, it is understandable why the WSJ would publish a review which criticizes Dr. Mitcham’s book; after all, no one has more to lose from exposing the lies, myths, and falsehoods which prop up the Yankee Empire than Wall Street. Yankees and their sycophants will never understand Dr. Mitcham’s view on the War because they do not understand that a conquered people never forget!