Monday, November 23, 2009


The Lincoln administration's deliberate war on innocent Southern civilians would, if it happened today in any foreign nation, no doubt be considered a war crime. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell details the cruel way the O'Hara family was treated by a single forager, and then Gen. William T.Sherman's main army while burning and robbings his way from "Atlanta to the Sea." After reading Gone With The Wind, I wanted to read a straight history on the campaign for comparison, and found War Like the Thunder Bolt by Russell S. Bonds (Westholme, Yardley, Pa. 2009) to be an excellent read.

In his book, Bond gives a very good historical account of both the Atlanta campaign, as well as the burnings of Atlanta and the mistreatment of civilians. The campaign stretched from the summer of 1864 to that fall, leaving the whole region devastated, the city, as well as other towns, in ashes and many civilians destitute and in a starving condition. Battles of Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church and Jonesboro are all detailed, as well as the dramatic assumption of command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee by Gen. John Bell Hood.

We also read profiles of the many colorful personalities involved, including Confederates Hood, Joseph E. Johnston, Patrick Cleburne; Yankees Sherman, George Thomas, Benjamin Harrison, and civilians like 10-year-old Carrie Berry, who withstood the siege and occupation and recorded it in her diary. The mistreatment of civilians was every bit as portrayed by Mitchell in Gone With the Wind.

War Like the Thunderbolt, The Burning and Battle of Atlanta by Russell S. Bonds, Westholme Publishing Inc., Yardley, Pa.; 522 pages; maps, photographs; bibliogrpahy; endnotes; index; $29.95 index.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Sum of Good Government

Thomas Jefferson's "Doctrine of States Rights" was the political foundation of the government of the Confederate States of America. Here are some Jefferson quotes that summarize "Good Government."

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson to Maryland Republicans, 1809. ME 16:359

"The only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it." --Thomas Jefferson to M. van der Kemp, 1812. ME 13:135

"The first object of human association [is] the full improvement of their condition." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration and Protest of Virginia, 1825. ME 17:444

"The happiness and prosperity of our citizens... is the only legitimate object of government and the first duty of governors." --Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811. ME 13:41

"The energies of the nation... shall be reserved for improvement of the condition of man, not wasted in his destruction." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Address, 1801. ME 10:248

"Here... will be preserved a model of government, securing to man his rights and the fruits of his labor, by an organization constantly subject to his own will." --Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1815. ME 14:237

"The freedom and happiness of man... [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government." --Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1810. ME 12:369

"The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government." --Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:482

"To preserve the peace of our fellow citizens, promote their prosperity and happiness, reunite opinion, cultivate a spirit of candor, moderation, charity and forbearance toward one another, are objects calling for the efforts and sacrifices of every good man and patriot. Our religion enjoins it; our happiness demands it; and no sacrifice is requisite but of passions hostile to both." --Thomas Jefferson: to Rhode Island Assembly, 1801. ME 10:262

"All religions are equally independent here, our laws knowing no distinction of country, of classes among individuals and with nations, our [creed] is justice and reciprocity." --Thomas Jefferson to the Emperor of Morocco, 1803. ME 19:136

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Did the South Lose?

This is a question that has plagued many. Why did the South lose the war for Southern independence? I'm not speaking militarily, or referring to strategies, fighting ability, or armaments. These points have been studied and analyzed for almost a hundred and forty-five years. I speak here of something much deeper and far more important.

If the South was right, and we know that it was. If the Southern Cause was true, and we know that it was. If the Southern army was far more Christian than the Union army, and we know that it was. If the Confederate president and leadership were vastly more honorable and Godly than those of the Union, and we know that they were. And, if God is on the side of what is right, true, Christian, and Godly, and we know that He is. Then, why did the South lose?

There is one, and only one, possible answer, and to me it seems obvious. It's not over! Oh, the shooting war may have ended long ago, but the battle rages on. The struggle for what is right, true, and Godly has not ended. Our Southern heritage and the principles of our founding fathers are still under attack. And we, like those brave Confederates who faced the barbaric Union invaders, are still being forced to defend what is true and Godly against deceitful and demonic oppressors.

Consider the nation of Israel. In A.D. 70, and again in A.D. 135, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, renamed it, and denied the Jews any hope of ever seeing their homeland again. But, nearly nineteen centuries later, long after the Roman Empire had fallen, Israel rose from the ashes and is once again a strong and powerful nation. It's never over until God says it's over.

Consider also our Lord. He was executed as a criminal with criminals. His followers were in fear and despair. They had believed Him. Trusted Him. And now, He was dead. The Romans who crucified Him, thought it was over. The Jewish leaders who sought His death, thought it was over. Even His disciples and friends, thought it was over. But, it wasn't over. Three days later Jesus arose from a cold grave turning death into victory, and despair into joy.

The Bible tells us, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" The South's Cause of truth, freedom, justice, and Christian Godliness is not lost. It's just not over. And I know it's not over because we haven't won yet. We may not know God's plan, or exactly what He is going to do. But this we can know: It may take nineteen hundred years or just a few days, but God's side always wins.

Bro. Len Patterson, Th.D.

Chaplain, Army of Trans Mississippi

Sons of Confederate Veterans