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Fort Pillow Massacre

[ 265 ] April 12, 2014 |

Battle_of_Fort_Pillow

On April 12, 1864, Confederate troops under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest massacred black Union troops attempting to surrender after their defeat at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. In a war of horrible things, this was probably the worst, as angry southerners got their revenge on their slaves leaving them by dyeing the river red with their blood. Of course, the same Southerners who prefer not to talk about Fort Pillow or even defend Forrest love to hate on William Tecumseh Sherman, whose troops engaged in no such activities on their march through Georgia and the Carolinas. The preeminent historian and Grant biographer Brooks Simpson:

When it comes to Forrest’s responsibility (or culpability), I’ll simply note that one cannot claim that William T. Sherman is a war criminal without accepting that Nathan Bedford Forrest is a war criminal. After all, Sherman did not issue orders calling for the raping of women or the destruction of property outside the laws of war. Nor did he issue orders for the destruction of Columbia in February 1865. One can hold him accountable for (a) the orders he issued and (b) his actions (or inaction) in punishing his own men for violations of the law of war. One would have to hold Forrest to the same standard, unless you think the destruction of property is a greater crime than cold-blooded murder … or whether you think crimes against white people bother you more than crimes against black people, especially those wearing the uniform of the United States armed forces. Once you say that Sherman must be held responsible for the actions of his men, you must say the same for Forrest.

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  1. Hogan says:

    I look forward to your new illustrated series “Dead Freed Slaves.”

    Also, fuck a bunch of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  2. Aimai says:

    Don’t the southerners who complain about Sherman basically keep NBF compartamentalized in some other part of their minds?

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Popularly, I don’t think they know about him much. The Sherman hatred, especially in Georgia, is a popular hate. It’s just what you do as a Georgian. For those who do know about him, I think some see his actions as a hero or they downplay it.

      • Unhinged Liberal says:

        Once you say that Sherman must be held responsible for the actions of his men, you must say the same for Forrest.em>

        I can accept that.

        So, where’s your post on the atrocities by Sherman?

        • Erik Loomis says:

          There were no atrocities under Sherman, or certainly none directed by Sherman. Of course since you are a racist, I’m sure the freeing of blacks is an atrocity for you.

          • Lee Rudolph says:

            Conversely, the killing of blacks was exactly equivalent to Sherman’s men’s actions—mere destruction of property!!!

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Sadly, there were.

            The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will need to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must either all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization is ridiculous…

            • Unhinged Liberal says:

              The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will need to kill the next…

              Damning, really damning. How *does* Professor Loomis, our resident professor of history, explain this? Here’s his quote:

              “There were no atrocities under Sherman”

              Again…how does one reconcile this statement?

              • cpinva says:

                “Again…how does one reconcile this statement?”

                geez, talk about low-hanging fruit. very easily, since you’re talking about two entirely different military actions, the civil war, and the indian wars. the claim is that Sherman allegedly committed, or condoned the commission, of atrocities, during his army’s march through GA, on the way to savannah. yet, you’ve not identified any.

                the comments quoted above, were made well after the civil war was over, and were in reference to the native americans, in the west.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  True, that. The context should have been obvious, but then again this is JenKnob we’re talking to, who isn’t the most intellectually honest player out there.

          • Unhinged Liberal says:

            Of course since you are a racist…

            What the readers don’t know (and probably don’t care about) is I have addressed Mr. Loomis in a very respectful way, but he has decided that suppressing all opposition to his opinions is the way to go.

            Again, I wouldn’t let my dog take a history class from him. His hatred of those he disagrees with would be detrimental.

            • wjts says:

              This is because you, sir, are an idiot.

            • DrS says:

              All he’s done is properly identify you as a racist based on words out of. Your own postings.

              You’re just a straight up racist. Sorry you don’t like being called one. Try being less of a racist.

              • Aimai says:

                Its not suppression if your revolting opinions are left up on the blog.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Its not suppression if your revolting opinions are left up on the blog.

                  Mmmm….what Erik doesn’t tell you and you’re unaware of is he tries very hard to suppress any opposing viewpoints.

                  Not only mine, but many dissenting posts are deleted if they don’t meet the “Loomis standard” of promoting his agenda.

                  The readers are largely unaware. Don’t think he’s interested in fairness or ‘diversity’.

                • KmCO says:

                  Mmmm….what Erik doesn’t tell you and you’re unaware of is he tries very hard to suppress any opposing viewpoints.

                  Not only mine, but many dissenting posts are deleted if they don’t meet the “Loomis standard” of promoting his agenda.

                  And what a loss for the world.

              • Unhinged Liberal says:

                You’re just a straight up racist.

                Let’s take your opinion and go with that.

                In a democracy, how does suppressing me serve democracy?

                • DrS says:

                  You’re not a victim. Noting that you think that certain types of people shouldn’t be considered people, while socially inconvenient to you is no crime against democracy.

                • DrDick says:

                  Nobody has suppressed you or your views. They have been left up on full display for everyone to see and laugh and point at. The fact that everybody here knows, and points out, that you are a raging racist in no way suppresses you.

                • In a democracy, how does suppressing me serve democracy?

                  One less vote from a stupid person, arguments over facts as opposed to lunacy, asshole behaviour out of the mainstream. Next question.

                • Unhinged Liberal says:

                  So…if you disagree…you should have no voice?

                  That pretty much it?

                • No, you asked about YOU. There are multiple advantages to you not existing. Mileage for others may vary.

                • Anonymous says:

                  One less vote from a stupid person…

                  that’s how those who disagree with you feel.

                • that’s how those who disagree with you feel.

                  Duh. I’m not on their blogs making an ass of myself by not knowing stuff and being a Klansman though, am I?

                • KmCO says:

                  In a democracy, how does suppressing me serve democracy?

                  This blog is not a democracy, moron. And suppressing your voice in this context would do us all a service.

                • Scott S. says:

                  In a democracy, how does suppressing me serve democracy?

                  Society is always improved when psychopaths and racists are kept locked up.

            • Scotius says:

              Yes, because your user name is so polite and respectful.

              • Faggot Bill says:

                …how does suppressing me serve democracy?

                A question that no one has been able to address.

                • DrDick says:

                  We have done so repeatedly. You are not being suppressed. Ridicule and derision are not suppression. Your comments are still here, on full display, for everyone to marvel at for their quintessential stupidity and racism.

            • cpinva says:

              “Again, I wouldn’t let my dog take a history class from him.”

              I’m guessing your dog is smarter than you, since he/she has wisely refrained from commenting on this thread. you might want to consider following that sage example.

          • Anonymous says:

            Of course since you are a racist…

            From Unhinged Liberal:

            What the readers don’t know (and probably don’t care about) is I have addressed Mr. Loomis in a very respectful way, but he has decided that suppressing all opposition to his opinions is the way to go.

            Again, I wouldn’t let my dog take a history class from him. His hatred of those he disagrees with would be detrimental.

            I have posted this many times and each time, Mr. Loomis has decided that any opposition to his big brain opinions is just not acceptable….

        • Hogan says:

          the atrocities by Sherman

          Please continue, Governor.

        • Anonymous says:

          Here’s a nickel, buy a hinge.

        • cpinva says:

          “So, where’s your post on the atrocities by Sherman?”

          more’s the pity, there weren’t any. perhaps, had Sherman ordered his men to destroy every single thing in and to the sides of their path, including the civilians, leaving nothing but a charred, post-apocalyptic wasteland in their wake, the south just might have gotten the hint. instead, he acted well within the accepted rules of war. leaving the traitors to bemoan the “horrid” treatment they’d received at his and his troop’s hands.

        • Hanspeter says:

          atrocities by Sherman

          Sherman’s only atrocity was not visting [insert one's town here] during his Heat a Peach tour.

        • MAJeff says:

          I’m reminded of a couple conversations with a friend of mine who moved from MN to ATL. I guess the biggest one was one day when we were chatting and he just said, “You know, Sherman didn’t burn enough.”

        • Colin Day says:

          One of Sherman’s corps commanders, Jefferson C. Davis (not to be confused with Jefferson F. Davis), once had a bridge cut behind his army, leading to the death or capture of newly freed slaves who were following Sherman’s army.

          • rea says:

            Davis was quite the piece of work. Earlier in the war, he shot his commanding officer dead–and had the politcal pull to get away with it.

            • Aimai says:

              Woah! History is amazing. Not only is Jefferson C. Davis a pretty awful fellow during the war but after the war he is instrumental in ending the St. Louis Strike about which I knew nothing before I googled Davis:

              Generally accepted as the first general strike in the United States, the 1877 St. Louis general strike grew out of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The general strike was largely organized by the Knights of Labor and the Marxist-leaning Workingmen’s Party, the main radical political party of the era. When the railroad strike reached East St. Louis, Illinois in July 1877, the St. Louis Workingman’s Party led a group of approximately 500 people across the river in an act of solidarity with the nearly 1,000 workers on strike.[1] The party transformed, through speeches and organization, an initial strike among railroad workers into a strike by thousands of workers in several industries for the eight-hour day and a ban on child labor. One speaker was noted to say,

              “ All you have to do, gentlemen, for you have the numbers, is to unite on one idea – that workingmen shall rule the country. What man makes, belongs to him, and the workingmen made this country.[1] ”
              At another large rally a black man spoke for those who worked on the steamboats and levees. He asked, “Will you stand to us regardless of color?” The crowd shouted back, “We will!”[1]

              The St. Louis strike was marked by a bloodless, efficient and quick take-over by dissatisfied workers of commerce and transportation in the area. By July 22, the St. Louis Commune began to take shape as representatives from almost all the railroad lines met in East St. Louis. They soon elected an executive committee to command the strike and issued General Order No. 1, halting all railroad traffic other than passenger and mail trains. John Bowman, the mayor of East St. Louis, was appointed arbitrator of the committee. He helped the committee select special police to guard the property of the railroads from damage.

              The strike reached the business sector by closing packing industry houses surrounding the National Stockyards. At one plant workers allowed processing of 125 cattle in return for 500 cans of beef for the workers. The strike continued to gain momentum, with coopers, newsboys, gasworkers, boatmen, bakers, engineers, cabinetmakers, cigarmakers, brewery workers, millers, and workers of various factory jobs all joining the general strike.[1] Though the East St. Louis strike continued in an orderly fashion, across the river there were isolated incidents of violence with one speaker stating, “The workingmen intend now to assert their rights, even if the result is the shedding of blood…. They are ready to take up arms at any moment.”[1]

              The strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city. On July 28, 1877, they took control of the Relay Depot, the Commune’s command center, and arrested some seventy strikers.[1] With the leadership imprisoned, the strikers surrendered, the wage cuts remained, and 131 strike leaders were fired by the Burlington Railroad.[2

              • Judkins Major says:

                If memory serves, he was also the first American governor of Alaska, and performed as well there as he did in his other endeavors (pissed off the local Russian and native communities so badly that he was recalled). I remember seeing his name in one of those Time-Life “Old West” books and doing a double-take.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      sure. there’s the ‘brag about our fighting capabilities’ side and the ‘we were victimized by people with better fighting capabilities’ side

    • Colin Day says:

      The Confederates seized the arsenal at Alexandria, LA, and turned over part of the haul to the Louisiana Military Academy (now LSU). The superintendent who had to sign for it? William Tecumseh Sherman, who was none too pleased about it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The civil war was the only war America ever lost on its own soil. People say the north won, but the south lost, and last i checked they’re still a part of the usa. Factor in the loss of life on both sides, and the fact that the north had to rebuild the south straight after fucking it right up, and yeah, you can file this one under the loss category. K.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      I imagine the descendants of the slaves would chalk it up as a win

      • Aimai says:

        I agree with Jim. Also the principle destruction wrought by the war to capital/property was in the freeing of the slaves. The South then couldn’t exploit the freed black population and its principle form of agriculture took a hit. But we shouldn’t have felt responsible for rebuilding that and there was nothing we could do to make up to the South for having to rely on paid labor. Their “loss” was not our “loss” as a country, but would have been very much to our gain if we hadn’t botched reconstruction.

        • Manny Kant says:

          How likely do you think it is that a very racist north wouldn’t botch reconstruction? I think it’s much more surprising that Reconstruction went as far as it did than that, eventually, northerners decided they weren’t going to maintain an indefinite occupation to preserve the rights of Black Americans in the face of Southern White resistance.

          We’re pretty lucky we got the 14th and 15th amendments out of it, to be honest.

          • Aimai says:

            I don’t think it was very likely at all that a “very racist north” wouldn’t botch reconstruction. But I can still mourn it.

            • Manny Kant says:

              Sure, I suppose. In that case, why not allow people to mourn the idea that it took a gigantic and bloody war to abolish slavery, rather than being done without bloodshed?

              It seems as though unrealistic thoughts like that are typically dismissed as neo-confederate wankery, while unrealistic thoughts like yours are just everywhere in any comment thread on a liberal blog about the Civil War.

              Both options seem like, if they could have happened, they’d have been better than what we got. But neither of them seems plausible at all. There’s a lot of plausible outcomes that seem like they’d be worse to me. For instance, if Seward had been the Republican nominee in 1860, as he very nearly was, it’s possible we’d have President Breckinridge in 1861. Fort Sumter could easily have ended up surrendered right after secession. One could easily imagine that Lincoln as president would have managed to remain in control of Reconstruction and proposed more moderate Reconstruction policies than the radicals did. Horatio Seymour might have won the 1868 election, ending reconstruction in 1869 (before the 15th Amendment) instead of 1877. If Clay had won the 1844 election, it’s quite possible there’d have been no Mexican-American War, which could indefinitely delay any Civil War over slavery. If McClellan had taken Richmond in 1862, the Civil War might have ended with slavery still basically intact. The Confederates might have held out long enough in 1864 to get McClellan elected, with who knows what consequences.

              I’m certainly not going to say we’re living in the best of all possible worlds, but I do think it’s very hard to see how Reconstruction could have plausibly gone much further than it did, while it’s rather easy to see how things might have been worse. It seems strange to me that so much of the focus is on a “what might have been” that really could never have been.

              • Aimai says:

                Not a lot of focus at all. I don’t see what your grievance is. I’m not writing an alternative history. But the fact of the matter is that African Americans and some Northerners fought hard to prevent Reconstruction from going down the tubes–it was not at all a forgone conclusion for them that the North was going to go for a soft focus reunion with the south. There were many points at which history could have gone another way.

                Discussing this or alluding to it isn’t some crime of fantasy–its a rebuttal to the insistence by the neo confederates that they were abused ruthlessly by the North. People like me who feel Reconstruction was botched and that we forgave the white south at the expense of the workers and the black freedmen are making an entirely different kind of argument–we are denying another legend of the South that it was forced to suffer like the Germans suffered after Versailles. We are denying them another myth of the lost cause.

                • Manny Kant says:

                  I don’t really disagree with any of this, but I do get rather sick of the frequent trope whenever the Civil War comes up on liberal blogs of people talking about how the North should have “gotten tough” with ex-confederates and hung them all, or whatever, which seems totally facile to me. The fact that we had to wait a century after the end of the Civil War for African Americans to be given full civil rights is a tremendous tragedy, but I do think it’s rather hard to see how things could have turned out significantly better.

                  I also think that this line of thought has a tendency to excuse the North of its very significant racism, and to identify us, good liberals of the early 21st century, with 19th century people who are really very different from us. In spite of the completely admirable efforts of African Americans and a small group of white northerners to ensure civil rights for Blacks, it seems to me that we should really recognize how unlikely that outcome ultimately was. That obviously doesn’t mean we should buy into Lost Cause narratives, but we should also be wary of narratives that act as though there’s some “but for” without which we could have had a much better outcome.

                  I’d add that German suffering after Versailles is almost as much of a myth as Lost Cause nonsense.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Since you are a horrible human being and a racist, I am not surprised you see the Civil War this way.

    • Hogan says:

      the south lost, and last i checked they’re still a part of the usa.

      Despite their best efforts to change that. So no points.

    • I think you need to think harder about what “civil war” means. And the government that was in charge of the country at the beginning of the war, and represented the majority of citizens, was in charge of the country at the end of the war.

      You might want to look up “won” and “lost” while you’re at it.

    • BubbaDave says:

      Not nearly enough loss of life. If we’d tried every rebel officer for treason and hanged the lot of them, maybe Reconstruction would have worked and the South wouldn’t be the backwards quasi-feudal parasite on real (productive) America that it is today.

      (Granted, I might not be here either, since I’m not sure whether great-great grandpa would have produced great-grandpa before his hypothetical hanging, but America would be a better place nonetheless.)

      • Murc says:

        This.

        The fact that Jefferson Davis and assorted others didn’t… I’m against the death penalty on moral and practical grounds, so I don’t want to say “swing”, but they should never have looked upon the sun as free men for the rest of their lives. (Davis was almost returned to Congress, for gods sake, and would have been if he’d been less prideful.)

        • Lee Rudolph says:

          Davis was almost returned to Congress, for gods sake, and would have been if he’d been less prideful.

          Do you think the House would have seated him?

          • Erik Loomis says:

            Alexander Stevens was returned to Congress and the House did not seat him, nor any of the other ex-Confederates the South sent in December 1865.

            • Anonymous says:

              Alexander Stevens was returned to Congress and the House did not seat him, nor any of the other ex-Confederates the South sent in December 1865.

              Exactly!

              They said they wanted to keep the union together, but gave them no voice in congress.

              Yeah…that.

              • Unhinged Liberal says:

                democracy’s a bitch!

              • Kingfish says:

                Yea, it’s almost like they expected the defeated traitors to act in bad faith and return Congress to it’s pre-Civil War antics.

                Or something.

                • Anonymous says:

                  yeah, let’s give them NO VOICE and call it democracy!!

                • Kingfish says:

                  Tell you what, I’d be perfectly willing to give all neo-Confederates a voice in our democracy, equal to 3/5s their population.

              • Nietzsche says:

                If the leaders of the South didn’t like being losers, maybe they should have tried winning the fucking war.

                • N__B says:

                  Or they could have been smarter and less evil and not committed treason to defend slavery.

                  I’m just spit-balling here.

                • Jennifer Steele says:

                  They just wanted out.

                  Pretty much all they wanted…

                  The North could have avoided more than three quarters of a billion deaths of breadwinners simply by allowing them to leave.

                  …bu NOOOOOooooooo…..

                  Say it ain’t so…

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  750 million people totally died in the Civil War.

                • N__B says:

                  How did their slaves feel about it, you pathetic piece of shit?

                • N__B says:

                  I don’t know how Erik’s comment snuck above mine, but I wasn’t responding to him. Check the time stamps and the kerning.

                • DrS says:

                  I don’t know how Erik’s comment snuck above mine, but I wasn’t responding to him.

                  Just one more example of how Loomis ruthlessly crushes the commentariat.

              • Walt says:

                Dude, what’s wrong with you that you’re going to defend traitors? People who committed treason in the defense of slavery, at that.

                • Murc says:

                  To be overly fair, I myself got no beef with traitors. This country was founded in a massive, concerted act of treason.

                  But the southern states committed treason in a fit of pique in order to continue being evil. Even if secession had been legal and not an act of treason, it still would have been wrong because of those facts.

                • Aimai says:

                  I’ve got a beef with traitors. Under the British we didn’t have democracy–by the time the South was trying to secede we did, however imperfect. The South were traitors to democracy itself. They took an oath to the country, they participated in the elections and in the taxes of the country as a whole, they wanted to use the military that belonged to the country as a whole–and they then pulled out of the compact because they didn’t like the direction the country as a whole appeared to be going in.

          • Murc says:

            The Senate, actually, not the House. And they might have seated him; the way I hear it, the votes were there to remove his 14th Amendment ineligibility to hold office if only he’d have made some public statements of contrition.

            He declined the position, however, so moot point. But still.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not nearly enough loss of life.

        What an ASSHOLE

        • BubbaDave says:

          Most of my closest friends would agree that I am capable of being not only an ASSHOLE, but an ASSHOLE. And yet, I don’t find myself defending treason against the United States. Or slavery. Or treason in defense of slavery. Or racism in general.

          So frankly, I may be an asshole, or even an ASSHOLE, and I’m still a better person than you.

          Maybe suicide is your best option at this point. Just sayin’.

    • bexley says:

      On this side of the Atlantic, I heard a bunch of insurrectionists were put down by the US government. I’d call that a win for the US and a loss for the traitors despite their subsequent whining.

    • UserGoogol says:

      Ignoring the potential subtext to your comment, that’s not entirely true anyway. During the American Revolution there were plenty of Loyalists who weren’t especially happy with how the Revolution played out. That side of the war was largely “The British” but plenty of Americans lost too. And of course Native Americans lost quite a few wars on American soil. They weren’t formally tied into the political structure of the United States in the same way as the Confederates and the Loyalists, but they certainly lost and they certainly weren’t happy about it. The Civil War was unique in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t the only time a subset of Americans found themselves unhappy with how a war fought on American soil ended up. And if the Civil War was a loss for America, what war isn’t? Even with wars fought overseas, we can get immigrants coming over afterwards.

    • cpinva says:

      “Factor in the loss of life on both sides, and the fact that the north had to rebuild the south straight after fucking it right up, and yeah, you can file this one under the loss category. K.

      please elucidate on this. specifically, what reconstruction-era “Marshal Plan” was put in place, paid for by taxes drawn from those states that constituted the union states, during the war? I ask, because I don’t recall ever having read/heard/seen of any such federal programs.

    • Unhinged Liberal says:

      …you can file this one under the loss category.

      It would be extremely difficult for anyone to say that up to 800,000 deaths is not a loss. Especially when you consider that the 800,000 deaths were breadwinners. There was no social safety net. The loss of these soldiers cause the misery of millions who depended on them for support.

      • cpinva says:

        so, you have no evidence then? I didn’t really think you did, but such an obvious change of topic leads me to believe LGM truly needs to hire a better class of trolls. for less than minimum wage of course, since they are all “free market” kinds of folks.

      • Pseudonym says:

        And it’s hard to say that liberating 3.9 million people isn’t a win, but you’ll still say it.

        • KmCO says:

          Why, it’s almost as if JenKnob doesn’t consider black lives to be as valuable as white lives!

          • Walt says:

            That’s what the “breadwinner” stuff has got to mean.

            • DrS says:

              I took that to be due to his raging sexism.

              • delurking says:

                Raging sexism and raging racism.

                It’s clear that he only counts as white males as “real” people — they’re the only ones whose work is real work, they’re the only ones whose lives are real lives.

                Makes you wonder why he thinks the Southern slaveholders fought so hard to hang onto their slaves, if the work those slaves were doing was so empty of value.

                • DrS says:

                  You know, I had half a sentence I there about how it’s very likely that it falls right in the intersection between his misogyny and is racism, but that half sentence fell at the intersection with bedtime.

                  It’s at least both.

  4. Bloix says:

    Forrest was a mass murderer. Sherman was not a war criminal by any definition, old or modern.

    On the destruction of Columbia, from the North Carolina History Project:

    Sherman claimed the town was already on fire when he arrived… it was likely caused by rogue Union soldiers and retreating Confederates…Pillaging was rampant against Sherman’s wishes, and Sherman spent much of the night protecting citizens, putting out the fires, and arresting disorderly soldiers. Three hundred and seventy soldiers were placed under arrest, two were killed, and thirty wounded. Sherman himself ordered the arrest of a drunken private and had the man shot when he resisted arrest.

    http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/882/entry

    • Anonymous says:

      Sherman claimed the town was already on fire when he arrived…

      Yeah…they just set themselves on fire as soon as they saw the Union forces coming.

      Who wouldn’t?

      • Bloix says:

        19th century cities were tinderboxes – wooden structures, most of them with fires burning in them for cooking, and for smithies and engines and all sorts of industrial and commercial reasons. Columbia was more fire-prone than most, with its warehouses stuffed with cotton. When the Union army approached, the civilian and military leadership of the city could have arranged an orderly surrender of the city. They chose to evacuate, leaving no public authority to watch over what was in effect a stack of dry wood and fiber with an open fire every few hundred yards. A larger city, Moscow, had burned under similar circumstances 40 years earlier.

      • DocAmazing says:

        It’s actually a fairly common tactic in wartiem: retreating forces who don’t give a shit about the local population will burn buildings and crops to deny them to the advancing forces. Kinda takes a bit of the polish off all that Confedrate gallantry feces.

        • Anonymous says:

          Speculation is….just that.

          But tjhanks for playing, anyway!

          • Bloix says:

            I don’t think the Confederates intentionally burned Columbia. I think the city burned by itself, perhaps helped along by Union soldiers who were happy to see the cotton warehouses flame into the sky. What is pretty clear is that Sherman did not plan to torch the city and that fire was an obvious risk that could have been avoided if the Confederates had left a skeleton force to surrender, thus allowing an orderly transfer of control.

            • Anonymous says:

              What is pretty clear is that Sherman did not plan to torch the city and that fire was an obvious risk that could have been avoided if the Confederates had left a skeleton force to surrender, thus allowing an orderly transfer of control.

              Fuck YEAH! It’s all their fault. They just set themselves on FIRE!

              Great stuff!

  5. wjts says:

    Your obvious bias is showing. Surely it would be more accurate to say that, “Brave Confederate soldiers – already understandably upset by the abrogation of state’s rights and unfairly high tariffs inflicted on them by northern aggressors – were deliberately and maliciously provoked into defending themselves by the colored troops illegally occupying Fort Pillow.”

    • “Stand Your Ground” revisionism….

    • efgoldman says:

      Couldn’t have snarked it better myself, so I won’t try.

    • Rob F says:

      Your civil war was of course about slavery. If you fought for the insurrectionists, you were definitely fighting for a so-called country that made the “right” to own your fellow men and women the most protected in the law of the land (emphasis original):

      Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was set up under the United States constitution. It is thus very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-”states’ rights” country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense. At least three states rights are explicitly taken away- the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders, and the freedom of states to trade freely with each other.

      States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system- the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute “bills of credit.” When people champion the cause of reclaiming state power from the feds, are matters like these at the tops of their lists of priorities?

      As previously noted, the CSA constitution does not modify many of the most controversial (from a states’ rights perspective) clauses of the American constitution, including the “Supremacy” clause (6-1-3), the “Commerce” clause (1-8-3) and the “Necessary and Proper” clause (1-8-18). Nor does the CSA take away the federal government’s right to suspend habeus corpus or “suppress insurrections.”

      • wjts says:

        Your civil war was of course about slavery.

        Nonsense. This position has been definitively refuted by any number of badly punctuated and egregiously misspelled YouTube comments. And MY civil war (i.e., the only one I’m fairly confident any of my ancestors fought in) was about defending the divine right of kings against the rebellion of the Parliamentarian rabble.

  6. Shakezula says:

    Nuh-uh, because it is the War of Northern Aggression, therefore everything the South did was in self-defense.

    Also, WNA — NWA. Coincidence? I. Think. Not.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If it promotes the political agenda of minorities….Erik’s all over it like Oprah on a baked ham!

    If it doesn’t….not so much…

  8. DB says:

    Nathan Bedford Forrest has long had my vote for the most vile, despicable human to ever claim to be an American.

    A pre-war slave trader, he was responsible for the massacre at Fort Pillow and a founder and member of the Ku Klux Klan terror organization. He made his post-war living by trading in the forced labor of convicts.

    No one can match his record for plain evil.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, good things came from the civil war like the end of slavery, but lots of Americans died, and half the country was laid to waste. And of course, southerners did horrible things to freed slaves. That too is part of the high cost of freedom that was paid in American blood. I’ll say it again, the civil war is the only war America ever lost on its own soil. If you count it as a win, thats like burning down your barn to rid it of mice. Sure, you accomplished your goal, but now you need to rebuild your barn and replace the contents.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Really, there are a lot of dead slaves that never tasted freedom because their masters just shot them. To assume that white people only died in the civil war is racist. To insinuate that the freeing of slaves was worth spilling the most blood on American soil since Columbus staggered off his boat is just plain ignorant. K

    • bad Jim says:

      So what did Lincoln do to make the South secede?

    • Aimai says:

      Serious question–is there some troll moron factory where Anonymous (K) goes to get his greenstamps where “To assume that white people only died inthe civil war is racist” is a points winning argument? We’ve talked a lot about the right wing attempt to use what they think of as “taboo” or “totemic” words to defend their nonsense arguments but this may take the cake (of course, I should also give props to “Lincoln might have regretted not offering to pay more for the slaves if he hadn’t been murdered by one of the kinds of people he needed to treat with in the run up to the war…”)

      A) No one has argued that only white people died in the war.
      B) Your argument is literally that “some black people were shot by their white masters.” Since their masters had the power of life and death over them prior to the war, its not an argument against the war. Its an argument against masters.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not going to/am not defending the perpetrators of this or any massacre. Simply stating that the civil war was a senseless conflict that cost us way too much in lives lost and American towns being laid to waste. If the north just bribed the south with the money they were about to spend on laying waste to the south and rebuilding it to free the slaves, about the same number of slaves would actually see freedom, and all those confederate and northern soldiers could have lived. K

    • bad Jim says:

      Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

    • The prophet Nostradumbass says:

      Shorter you: “The Union is really at fault because they didn’t bribe the Confederates to abandon their treasonous campaign”. You are an appalling asshole who deserves to be shunned everywhere.

    • Murc says:

      If the north just bribed the south with the money they were about to spend on laying waste to the south and rebuilding it to free the slaves, about the same number of slaves would actually see freedom, and all those confederate and northern soldiers could have lived

      This was impossible. You know why? Because you can’t buy and sell people.

      The many enslaved people in the United States at the time were not an asset to be bought and sold.

      • Manny Kant says:

        Eh. Plenty of countries ended slavery by paying off the slave-owners. That’s how it happened in the British, French, Dutch, and Danish Caribbean colonies, in most of Latin America, and in Washington, D.C., for instance.

        I have a very hard time with the idea that compensated emancipation is immoral per se. Isn’t it obviously better to pay off some assholes than to get thousands of people killed?

        The reason that Anonymous’s plan is impossible is what everyone below you has said – that there’s just no way the South would ever have accepted that deal. Again, they seceded not due to any actual threat of emancipation, but because they didn’t want people in charge who said slavery was wrong. It’s totally absurd to think they’d have been willing to accept proposals for compensated emancipation.

        • Murc says:

          Well, the proper response to a slaver is to knock them on the head and force them to compensate those they’ve wronged tenfold.

          “Compensating” them is grotesque. It makes a mockery of the word. If they offer violence because they wish to continue being vile, the proper response is to accept their offer.

          • jb says:

            Here’s the thing:

            Morally, you are absolutely right. It really is repugnant to compensate not the slaves (who, after all, were the ones who were wronged), but their masters (the very people who wronged them).

            However, practically speaking, the British government was not going to compensate the slaves, or even not compensate the owners. Had that been tried, it is quite possible that it would never even have passed Parliament, let alone been enforced. One could argue that in certain countries, compensating the slave owners was the only politically possible way that slavery could actually be abolished.

    • Sly says:

      If the north just bribed the south with the money they were about to spend on laying waste to the south and rebuilding it to free the slaves, about the same number of slaves would actually see freedom, and all those confederate and northern soldiers could have lived.

      Compensated emancipation depends upon slave owners agreeing to the “sale.” Lincoln spent the entirety of 1862 trying to convince the border states to agree to compensated emancipation. None of them were even remotely interested.

      And this wasn’t states like Mississippi, Georgia, or Virginia, where the slave population rose to near half a million in each state and the slaves made up a quarter to a half of the entire population. This was Deleware, which had less than 2,000 enslaved persons (less than 2% of the state population).

      Republicans broadly understood that the end of slavery would only come out by one of two means; by isolating the slave states and gradually making the institution more troublesome to keep than to preserve, or by military force. Their only mistake was assuming that the slave states would prefer the former to the latter.

    • lillois says:

      To take you seriously for a moment, what makes you think the South would have taken the bribe? Southerners demonstrated throughout the war, e.g. the union slaveholders of Kentucky and Maryland, that they would refuse offers to compensation for their slaves even in 1865, when the end was clear.

      Slavery wasn’t just an economic proposition for Southerners, it was a value dearly held, the organizing principle of their culture, and why would they have taken money in 1860 that would have changed all that?

      And then of course is the serious stupidity of the idea from a practical standpoint. In 1860 and early 1861 was the North just going to tax itself for this “bribe”? I assume the South would have refused to contribute a dime. And if Northern politicians had been fool hardy enough to tax only Northern states to the amount of 3 billion or so (which was real money in those days) just to pay Southerners to free slaves, then what follows? Would the southerners have treated the ex slaves any better than after Reconstruction, and without the minimum guarantees of 13th-15th Amendments? How long before debt peonage becomes the equivalent?

      So in your theory Southerners would get 3 billion, pretend to free their slaves, trap most of them in regimes even more white supremacist than Jim Crow and then use their politcal weight in congress to block any further amelioration of conditions.

      That’s your idea of how the Civil War ws to be prevented?

      White Southerners would give up their slaves and their slave society only at the point of a bayonet. And that’s what it took, a bloody expensive bayonet.

    • Barbara says:

      Actually, Lincoln floated the idea of compensated emancipation — paying for freeing the slaves. He couldn’t get any political traction for the idea even in Kentucky.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lincoln freed the slaves after the start of the civil war. They were kicking around the idea of freeing the slaves, the south said fuck that, we’ll secede, the north said fuck that, you can’t secede, a war started, then Lincoln issued the emancipation proclaimation, with the thinking that the south could not wage war without slaves working the fields keeping the economy going. K.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well someone should have told the south that before they started importing Africans. Someone should also have informed the African slave traders before they sold fellow Africans to be used as farm implements abroad. Seems they thought it was perfectly fine. Their reasons were purely economic, they would like to have someone else work their cotton fields and they would like to not have to pay them anything. Seems to me that talking to them in a language they understood ($) could have achieved the result of freeing slaves, sans millions of dead soldiers. K.

    • lillois says:

      Is this in reply to anything in particular?

    • LittlePig says:

      So basically you wanted to set up the existing red state welfare system (i.e. more in from the fed coffers than out paid in taxes) one hundred and fifty years earlier. Then, you say, the Southerners would have cooperated with the federal government.

      This explains the great love of the federal government widely held in red states today – they have been pacified with money.

      Right.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If Lincoln had lived longer, he may have, at some point after the war, regretted not offering a higher sum of cash for compensated emancipation, hindsight being 20/20 and all. K.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Again, not defending the south, or saying they deserve the cash, but lots of people died. Lots of slaves were shot before they ever even got to think seriously about freedom. What sum of money do you people consider too much to pay to avoid bloodshed that makes all the wars we have been in in the past three decades combined look like a kindergarten slap fight? K.

    • lillois says:

      Again, how would that actually have happened? At what point in 1860 or 1861 was the Seceeding south ready to give up slavery and the idea of expanding slavery in exchange for cash? What makes you think White Supremacy was purely an economic proposition for them?

    • Scott S. says:

      Pretty much every one of your comments here has been about defending the South. You’re just another Confederate apologist, and like all of them, you should die while on fire.

    • MAJeff says:

      At the time of the civil war, slaves were the largest source of property in the United States. They were worth more than the entire banking and railroad systems and all of the agriculturally productive land and mines. So, we’re talking about a LOT of money.

      But, here’s the other thing: the slave-owners didn’t want and wouldn’t take the money. They wanted their slaves. They attempted to leave the union not only to maintain slavery, but to extend it.

      You’re just babbling bullshit, and demonstrating how bugfucking stupid you are, yet again.

    • Sly says:

      Again, not defending the south, or saying they deserve the cash, but lots of people died.

      That you’re not posing the compensated emancipation question to the Slave Power – how much bloodshed was really necessary before they gave up the institution – does not make this statement appear genuine. Why was it the North’s obligation to bribe tyrants who would only accept a price in blood?

      • Aimai says:

        Also, to Sly’s other point, given that the North did offer to compensate the Slave Owners the onus was on the Slavers to accept–once they rejected the offers, which they did, the burden of guilt for “choosing” war belongs wholly to the South.

  16. Judkins Major says:

    Very long-time reader, first-time commenter (I think).

    It’s interesting and depressing to read the Fort Pillow section in Shelby Foote’s history of the Civil War. He’s so desperate to exonerate Forrest of any stain (even allowing for his ruthlessness in earlier mentions) that his position appears to be “yes, black prisoners were disproportionately targeted, but it wasn’t a massacre.” Honestly, dude.

    I think this is also *by far* the dumbest I’ve ever seen your reigning troll (and that’s saying something). If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think it was an LGM creation to make neo-Confederates look dumber (with which they need little help). At least K’s making actual points, insupportable as they are.

  17. mike in dc says:

    Wiki sez Forrest made a self-serving speech about racial reconciliation a couple years before his death. I’m pretty sure the fond regard for him that some Southern whites hold has little to do with his late-discovered penitence, rejection of racism and message of equality and reconciliation, though.

    • rea says:

      Forrest later claimed that he tried to stop the massacre–well, he would naturally make that claim. But, it doesn’t matter. Whenever Confederate troops captured blacks in arms against them, a massacre was sure to result. John Breckinridge’s troops massacred black priosners at Saltville in 1864, though to his credit, he tried (and failed) to have subordinates responsible for the killing courtmartialed. Even St. Robert E. Lee’s troops massacred black prisoners after the Battle of the Crater. It’s the nature of slavery–slaveowners can’t tolerate their slaves taking up arms against them. Slavery is genocide.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sherman went easy on the South, adding insult to injury and further inflaming their rage. His farsighted generosity goes a long way in explaining why Lincoln’s admonition in early ’65 to “let ‘em up easy” struck such a chord with him. He’d already done just that.

  19. Anonymous says:

    So im to understand that the consensus here is that yes, it was worth the death of 70 million to free 4 million? K.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Either way, being dead sucks way more than being a slave. One is not equal to the other. People died, towns were destroyed, then the north had to fix what they broke. If they had maybe offered the same amount they ended up paying for the war, slaveowners might have taken it. Could have avoided whatever the death toll was, or at least reduce the number of states in the war, thereby reducing casualties. Really, i would find it hard to believe that when faced with the choice of taking more money for their slaves, or going to war in their backyard, that southerners would have gone with the war in the backyard if the offer was high as the total cost of the civil war. K.

    • KmCO says:

      Either way, being dead sucks way more than being a slave

      Oh, thank you for being the authority to decide that once and for all. Why don’t you talk to people who have been freed from slavery/trafficking situations before deigning to speak for them, asshole?

    • Erik Loomis says:

      You are a horrible human being whose life is a net negative on the world.

      • Patricia Kayden says:

        Thanks for this post. Never heard of this event before. My opinion about the US Civil War is that whatever it took to end slavery was worth it. What’s important to remember is that even after slavery ended, Jim Crow pretty much started right away and it took until around 40 years ago for Blacks to get their full citizenship rights.

        I have no tears for those who died in the Civil War who supported the enslavement of human beings.

  21. KmCO says:

    Either way, being dead sucks way more than being a slave.

    Oh, thank you for being the authority to decide that once and for all. Why don’t you talk to people who have been freed from slavery/trafficking situations before deigning to speak for them, asshole?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yes, slavery sucks, but if being dead was better, slaves would have committed suicide. Really it was in the interest of the slave owner to keep the slaves content, at least so things run smoothly. If your workforce is continually making a run for it and/or killing themselves, you aren’t making any money. K.

    • Walt says:

      Dude, when you find yourself writing that slavery wasn’t so bad, you need to reconsider the sequence of life choices that led you to it. Most concentration camp victims didn’t kill themselves either.

  23. Anonymous says:

    You can always get emancipated if you’re a slave. You can’t be emancipated back from the dead. K.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Don’t ever get to thinking that i defend the confederacy, the right side won that war. Actually, im against any civil war as a whole. Generally, civil wars don’t do anybody any good. Sure, slaves were emancipated, at great cost of both union and confederate life. Many slaves were executed for “escaping” or just shot before they even heard of emancipation, if they can’t have ‘em nobody can was the thinking. If the south was reasoned with longer, and came around to the idea without the bloodiest shooting war ever fought here, more slaves would have gotten to actually see freedom, and less soldiers from both sides would have had to die. Just because someone was a confederate doesn’t mean they owned slaves. If you think about it, the actual soldiers out catching bullets for the confederacy probably weren’t rich enough to own slaves. K.

  25. […] influential reporters should have you worried about the future of journalism Your Jargon, My Jargon Fort Pillow Massacre University of Southern Maine, Facing Organized Opposition from Students and Faculty, Rescinds […]

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