The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won

The former accomplice states have always mythologized the South’s defeat to the North, depicting the Civil conflict as pointless, or as a struggle over states’ Constitutional rights, or as a David v. Goliath fight during which the North waged “total warfare” over an underdog South. In The fable of the misplaced Cause, historian Edward Bonekemper deconstructs this multi-faceted delusion, revealing the reality concerning the warfare that almost tore the country aside one hundred fifty years ago.

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William Oates, a former subordinate who didn't like Longstreet, submitted a piece of writing to the Southern old Society Papers that criticized Longstreet’s alleged tardiness, his war of words with Lee at Gettysburg, and his failure to honor Lee’s sacred reminiscence. yet, remarkably, he slipped in a few criticisms of Lee: “It could have been top for Lee to have flanked Meade out of his robust place and feature pressured him to assault and therefore to have acted at the shielding [as Longstreet had recommended]. . . . Lee, with all his powerful bold and adventurous spirit, would not have ordered the very unlikely, as used to be obvious to a talented observer. ” Oates’s criticisms of Lee’s most unlikely frontal attacks and failure to move at the defensive—all opposite to Longstreet’s advice—may were neglected by way of Early in his eagerness to submit Oates’s ordinarily anti-Longstreet article. 17 Lee’s aides’ denial of the dawn assault order and Oates’s feedback of Lee’s strategies, even if, have been misplaced in a tidal wave of pro-Lee and anti-Longstreet observation and courses that indelibly tested the parable of the dawn assault order and Longstreet’s accountability for the lack of Gettysburg. “For 3 generations and more—until the centennial anniversary of the struggle in 1960—Lee’s dawn assault order remained an unquestioned pillar of southern religion. ”18 Like a few of his nineteenth-century predecessors, Douglas Southall Freeman made Longstreet an enormous scapegoat for Gettysburg. After mentioning that Longstreet used to be “disgruntled” simply because Lee didn't settle for his recommendation, Freeman introduced a searing own assault on Longstreet premised at the imaginary plan for an early-morning assault: “Determined, it seems that, to strength a scenario during which his plan must be followed inspite of Lee, he behind schedule the assault at the correct until eventually Cemetery Ridge used to be crowded with males, while if he had attacked early within the morning, as Lee meant, he most likely can have stormed that place and elegantly can have taken around most sensible. Longstreet’s gradual and obdurate brain rendered him incapable of the fast bold and constant obedience that had characterised Jackson. . . . It was once Lee’s misfortune at Gettysburg that he needed to hire in offensive operations a guy whose complete inclination was once towards the protective. ”19 Freeman stated that a part of the blame for the “late” assault rested with Lee, yet Longstreet is especially a lot the villain of the piece: [Lee’s] maximum weak point as a soldier was once displayed besides Longstreet’s for whilst Longstreet sulked, Lee’s temperament was once such that he couldn't deliver himself to both shake Longstreet out of his undesirable humor through a pointy order, or to take path of the sector while Longstreet not on time. No candid critic of the conflict can keep on with the occasions of that fateful morning and never have a sense that Lee nearly surrendered to Longstreet, who obeyed merely while he may now not locate an excuse for hold up. Lee’s one optimistic order used to be that brought at approximately eleven o’clock for Longstreet to assault.

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