Geyyusburg monument

Confederate Monument

At Gettysburg 


Confederate statues and symbols are being torn down and destroyed all over the country. Recently I read that some people are calling for the removal of Confederate monuments from the fields at Gettysburg.  How sad.  Do they wish to erase history? Was the Union army fighting against ghosts? 

It is interesting that more and more of our citizens tend to label those Southerners who fought for the Confederacy as “traitors.”   It is true that these men fought against the Union, their former government; but in 1861 many Americans felt a greater loyalty to their state than to the central government, and many if not most citizens believed that a state had an intrinsic right to secede.  I am also convinced that most Southerners went to war primarily because of a sense of obligation to friends and neighbors; and, rightly or wrongly, they believed themselves to be under attack. 

In an ideological sense they were also fighting to defend a way of life, and that way included the pernicious institution of slavery; but fewer than a quarter of Southerners actually owned slaves.

I do not believe the secessionists were more traitorous than the patriots who took up arms against the British crown in 1776.  When we label someone a traitor it often depends on one’s point of view – and whether or not the rebellion succeeds.

(In all honesty, I must admit that I approach this subject with an inborn bias.  My grandfather Jordan and his five brothers fought for the Confederacy, and grandfather was wounded in that famous charge on the last day at Gettysburg.)  

One thought on “Traitors

  1. i agree with you. I am originally from Mississippi but moved to Maryland over 40 years ago. My grandmother’s father and his two brothers fought from 1861-65 in the 7th Miss infantry. One was killed and my great-grandfather seriously wounded outside Atlanta. They were farmers who did not own slaves but thought that their state was under attack (it was). They did not consider themselves traitors but defenders of their homes. My grandfather’s father was a physician who opposed secession and eventually changed the Mississippi constitution to eliminate slavery protect newly freed slaves. I am proud of them and my ancestors in North Carolina–who previously fought in the American revolution–labelled traitors by the British and had their properties destroyed for their allegiance to the the rebels. The civil war was originally fought by the North to keep the southern states in the Union-not to free the slaves. A historical fact that eludes many through a lack of historical education or an inability to accept facts contrary to their worldview.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s