Patriot's History: The Civil War, cont'd (Chap 9)

Dixie (written 1850s, recorded 1921)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (composed 1862, performed by 20th Century Military Bands)
When Johnny Comes Marching Home (composed 1863, performed by 20th Century Military Bands)

As Lincoln shows his deep morality
by freeing slaves, the war in '63
for both the North and South has lows and highs.
Big government will bring the South's demise.

At Fredrick Douglass' urging, Lincoln spoke: to liberate
the slaves was now his 'duty.' And he didn't hesitate
to cite the moral - not political - necessity
of acting soon (he mulled the merits of a colony
for blacks, in way of compromise). Antietam brought the news
of Lee's retreat, and Lincoln, as the diplomat, would use
the opportunity, with honor, to emancipate
the slaves. While true the slaves he freed were under Southern state
control, the proclamation had sublime effects. It stirred
the South, earned Europe's deep respect, and most of all assured
the black that he was human, not a piece of property.
And back at Fred'ricksburg, with Burnside in a travesty
of stark defeat, and Stonewall standing tall (the Wilderness
displayed his nerve, Lee's expertise), a sense of hopelessness
consumed the President: "Our cause is lost!" But then a twist
of fate at Chanch'lorsville, with Stonewall killed. And he'd be missed
immensely, Rebels never quite the same. And "Pickett's Charge,"
at Cemetery Ridge, was General Lee's mistake, a large
success for Union forces. Now the North's economy,
an open Mississippi, and the rampage to the sea
by General Sherman ("war is hell") were quickly laying waste
the South; a win at Shenandoah, and Lincoln now could taste
a Northern victory; torpedoes 'damned' by Farragut
at sea; Atlanta, thanks to Sherman, now a desolate
and beaten town. Amazingly, the President was blamed
for showing mercy to the South. But with the end proclaimed
at Appomattox, all was well. At last the servitude
imposed on blacks was done (13th Amendment), with a mood
of selfless Reconstruction urged by Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth
would end the dream: the 'tyrant' put away, along with truth,
compassion, dignity. Consider now the certainties
about the war: the country suffered more fatalities
than all the wars through World War 2 - the South, percentage-wise,
the most. And government expansion would epitomize
the folly of repressing markets - South especially,
where soldiers starved as Davis confiscated industry
and liberty. Their histories are filled with irony:
in Southern states the slaves were running the economy;
and in the north, it's striking that the country's unity
depended on a group of men who had a history
of drinking (Grant), depression (Lincoln, Sherman said to be
afflicted), and (for Grant and Sherman) inability
to thrive outside the military. Lastly came a myth:
Lost Cause. Confederate defenders raise this monolith
of faulty thinking, that their honor and morality
were compromised by Northern avarice and tyranny.

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