Attention anti-American South Carolinians, racists, white supremacists, and other assorted knuckle-draggers: the Civil War is over. Get over it.
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, was one of the last battles of the Civil War. It was the final engagement of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Lee, having abandoned the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va., after the ten-month siege of Petersburg of Petersburg, retreated west, hoping to join his army with the Confederate forces in North Carolina. Union forces pursued and cut off the Confederate retreat at the village of Appomattox Court House. Lee launched an attack to break through the Union force to his front, assuming the Union force consisted entirely of cavalry. When he realized that the cavalry was backed up by two corps of Union infantry, he had no choice but to surrender.
The signing of the surrender documents occurred in the parlor of the house owned by Wilmer McLean on the afternoon of April 9. On April 12, a formal ceremony marked the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia and the parole of its officers and men, effectively ending the war in Virginia. This event triggered a series of surrenders across the south, signaling the end of the war.
Initially, Lee did not intend to surrender, but planned to regroup at the village of Appomattox Court House, where supplies were to be waiting, and then continue the war. Grant chased Lee and got in front of him, so that when Lee’s army reached Appomattox Court House, they were surrounded. After an initial battle, Lee decided that the fight was now hopeless, and surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865. In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant’s respect and anticipation of peacefully restoring Confederate states to the Union, Lee was permitted to keep his sword and his horse, Traveller.
On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Southern sympathizer. Lincoln died early the next morning, and Andrew Johnson became the president. Meanwhile, Confederate forces across the South surrendered as news of Lee’s surrender reached them. President Johnson officially declared a virtual end to the insurrection on May 9, 1865; the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured the following day, May 10, 1865 in Georgia.
On June 2, 1865, in an event that is generally regarded as marking the absolute end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signed the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist, bringing a formal end to the bloodiest four years in U.S. history, although on June 23, 1865, Cherokee leader Stand Watie was said to be the last Confederate General to surrender his forces.
In Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas had remained a state ever since it first joined the Union, despite claims that it joined the Confederate States of America; the court further held that the Constitution did not permit states to unilaterally secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null” under the Constitution.
The war produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3 percent of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease, and 50,000 civilians. Binghamton University historian J. David Hacker believes the number of soldier deaths was approximately 750,000, 20 percent higher than traditionally estimated, and possibly as high as 850,000. The war accounted for roughly as many American deaths as all American deaths in other U.S. wars combined.
Based on 1860 census figures, 8 percent of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6 percent in the North and 18 percent in the South. About 56,000 soldiers died in prisoner of war camps.
Union army dead, amounting to 15% of the over two million who served, were broken down as follows:
- 110,070 killed in action (67,000) or died of wounds (43,000).
- 199,790 died of disease (75% of which was due to the war, the remainder would have occurred in civilian life anyway)
- 24,866 died in Confederate prison camps
- 9,058 killed by accidents or drowning
- 15,741 other/unknown deaths
- 359,528 total dead
In addition there were 4,523 deaths in the Navy (2,112 in battle) and 460 in the Marines (148 in battle).
Black troops made up 10% of the Union death toll, they amounted to 15% of disease deaths but less than 3% of those killed in battle. Losses among African Americans were high, in the last year and a half and from all reported casualties, approximately 20 percent of all African Americans enrolled in the military lost their lives during the Civil War. Notably, their mortality rate was significantly higher than white soldiers;
Incomplete Confederate records list 74,524 killed and died of wounds and 59,292 died of disease. Including Confederate estimates of battle losses where no records exist would bring the Confederate death toll to 94,000 killed and died of wounds.
A conservative estimate puts the number of Civil War deaths – on both sides – at roughly one million soldiers. Whether that number includes the 50,000 civilian deaths is unclear.
The Supreme Court’s 1869 decision would indicate that officially flying any flag other than the U.S. flag (excepting state and military flags) would be unconstitutional. Still, in the wake of the June 17 Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killings in Charleston, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has ordered the Confederate Flag to be removed from statehouse grounds, and probably any other state government facilities.
Certain Southerners are still fighting the Civil War. They are determined that the slave-owning South will rise again. They have associates in the North who agree. Why are they permitted – and should they be permitted – to wave the Confederate flag a century and a half after the Civil War ended?
For the same reason Liberals are allowed to burn the American flag: First Amendment rights. Some of us believe the First Amendment should not extend to burning the flag that stands as a symbol for individual liberty. Burning the flag defeats the purpose. Nevertheless, that is why Glenn Beck and his crew studiously avoided the enormous Confederate flag at his Washington rally, Defending Honor.
The Confederate flag bearer (I saw him; a bearded guy in a tattered hat) may have been a genuine racist. Or he may have been a mole, planted there by Glenn Beck’s enemies. In any case, the Confederate was on the Washington Mall, a public space. Had the event organizers had him removed, Glenn Beck may well have been subjected to a First Amendment lawsuit. Instead, the camera crews and still photographers studiously avoided him.
Dylan Storm Roof, according to reports, had also burnt the American flag, and there were photos of him posing with the Confederate flag. Clearly, he also hated America, almost as much as he hated black people. Why did he choose the church instead of the college he initially told a friend he planned to attack? In addition to its being an historic Black church, it was quite simply, a church, where attendees were unlikely to be carrying guns.
The Confederate flag, while historic, is not an official flag of the United States. Quite the opposite, in fact. Therefore, there is no legal reason why any state should be required by a minority of the public to fly it on public property. As a matter of fact, it is (if I read the 1869 Supreme Court decision properly) illegal to do so. The Confederate flag flew for four years as a separate, and ultimately illegitimate, country. Or would-be country.
The Confederate States of America were defeated in their effort at secession from the United States. The Confederate’s leading general official surrendered at Appomattox and subsequent generals followed suit. With no Army to protect him, the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, was captured by the Union Army. In short, they lost, their general surrendered, their president taken prisoner, and their flag taken down and replaced by state flags and the flag of the United States of America.
The time has come to make it clear to these sore losers, who defy America’s greatest principle – freedom – that their cause is, in fact, lost, as some scholars have termed it. The war is over. Freedom triumphed. From that time, in the Spring of 1865, to this, no one has had to be chained in servitude to a master (some would claim we labor in voluntary servitude, but that’s another matter).
No white person in the 21st Century and in their right mind sympathizes with Confederate racism or white supremacy. That civilized, moral society is being overrun is obvious. But that is a political threat, not a manifestation of some outmoded natural theory. Ignorance is as prevalent on one side of the extreme as it is on the other. In the middle are hapless victims of every race and color, unsure what peaceful means can be used to combat this scourge of racist hyperbole, immoral decadence, and political corruption.
We are beginning to question adherence to our own, legal flag, behind which hide opportunistic Communists, a traitor-in-chief and his minions, and corporate moguls like George Soros whose agendas will enslave us all.
We’re certainly not going to pledge allegiance or even recognize a flag that represents a long-lost cause that has been buried by history.
The Confederacy is dead; long live the Republic.