Esteemed Sir…


…after reading your brief piece, "Confederate heritage? Forget it,"
I find it entertaining that so much muddled history could be placed in so few
words. I would include ALL of the proper factual historical references, but I
am not certain you have the patience to actually read them since they disagree
with you.

You wrote, "The senator’s bill would do all of Georgia a service by reminding
everyone of the desperate lengths to which the South was willing to go to preserve
the cruelty and injustice of slavery."

In 1861 President-Elect Lincoln worked in support of and wrote letters to state
Governors asking them to ratify the Corwin Amendment which would have forever
protected slavery as it then existed. In December, 1862, he offered gradual
compensated emancipation with slavery lasting until 1900. Neither Georgia nor
any other Confederate state accepted either offer because the war was being
fought over economic exploitation of the Southern agrarian states, not slavery.

Slavery remained legal and practiced in Union slave states until December, 1865,
some eight months AFTER Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The United States was
the last slave nation in North America.

You wrote, "Our children could work on their math…calculating how badly
the war damaged southern industry and agriculture and how long it delayed prosperity’s
arrival in the South."

The $1.5 Billion the South was forced to pay for Northern war debt and even
more to fund Union veteran pensions along with confiscation of Southern businesses
with continued exploitation of the South can be traced to the Federal government,
not the South:

"Eight decades after the end of Reconstruction, the National Emergency
Council created to examine the Depression of the 1930s reported its findings
to President Franklin D. Roosevelt: The South, it said, had been reduced to
the status of a colony." – Report of the National Emergency Council (Washington,
DC: Government Printing Office, 1937)

You also wrote, "Our children could tour Andersonville, where the Confederacy
so starved and weakened Union prisoners that an appalling 13,000 died there."

Ever hear of Elmira, NY, where more Confederates died than Union soldiers died
at Andersonville? Ever hear of Camp Douglas – documented as "80 Acres of
Hell" by a History Channel documentary – where any captured Black Confederate
[yes, they existed and were documented by Union forces] was summarily executed
upon arrival? Ever hear of Camp Morton, Indiana, where guards indiscrimately
fired into prisoners’ sleeping quarters at night, killing sleeping men; where
Union officers stole food and supplies that were supposed to feed the prisoners;
where scores of prisoners literally froze to death and were shot if they tried
to get close to a small stove; and where regular beatings of prisoners and even
cold-blooded murder while they were on detail outside of the prison?

You wrote, "We surely don’t want to re-enact the whipping of a slave or
the forced breakup of a black family or the sexual exploitation of black women
by their masters."

How about if we include the "thrill" murders of Black Southerners,
slave and free, by Union soldiers? How about reenacting the rapes of pre-teen
Black girls by Union "liberators" and their murders when they dared
to resist? How about reenacting the young Black men who were hunted down and
tortured to get them to "volunteer" to join the United States Colored
Troops? All of these unfortunate truths can be found in the Federal Official

Can we reenact Union Col. Turchin ordering his men to savage undefended Athens,
Alabama, for which he was court-martialed and convicted of war crimes? Can we
then reenact President Lincoln pardoning and promoting this convicted war criminal?
Again, unfortunate truths.

I thought not. I doubt that you have even a passing interest in history as fact.

Try this one, guaranteed to spin your head around:

"Almost fifty years before the (Civil) War, the South was already enlisting
and utilizing Black manpower, including Black commissioned officers, for the
defense of their respective states. Therefore, the fact that Free and slave
Black Southerners served and fought for their states in the Confederacy cannot
be considered an unusual instance, rather continuation of an established practice
with verifiable historical precedence." – "The African-American Soldier:
From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell" by Lt. Col [Ret.] Michael Lee Lanning,
Birch Lane Press (June 1997)

The measure of a historian was defined long ago:

"The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth.
The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall
be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." – Cicero (106-43

You are nowhere near that standard.

Michael Kelley
Pascagoula, MS