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Making Sense of the Civil War

"Making Sense of the Civil War in Batesville-Jacksonport and Northeast Arkansas 1861 - 1874 Freeman K. Mobley. PD Printing/
GP Publishers Inc (Batesville AR ) 2nd printing November 2005

Diary of Alfred E. Matthews, originally from Ohio, School Teacher from Texas, due to the War, was walking from Texas to Chicago Illinois. A portion of his Diary about his passage from Batesville to Pocahontas is quoted in the book. In it he talks about the differences in soldiers by region and class, and refers to lies being told of about atrocities of Northern soldiers, and about Southerners joining the ranks after being told stories about Southern Travelers being murdered in their sleep while being in Northern States. They are described by Matthews as absurd lies of "plundering their property, ravishing their women and murdering their children." He stated that the "Numerous and very Absurd stories about the cruelties and outrages committed by Northern troops, had the effect of greatly increasing the secession army."

The book presents strong Evidence that many of the Confederates were not fighting the War in order to extend slavery, even though many of them viewed the War as the fault of the Southern Planters over slavery, They were fighting to protect their homeland. These men, who were not fire eating, supporters of slavery, they, in fact a large number of them detested slavery. The book also talks about how many loyal Arkansans and families, who could not support the Confederacy over slavery, who refused to serve in the Confederate Army. Many of them were later forced to serve in the Confederate Army. Some stayed until the bitter end, even though they were opposed to slavery and secession, some left for other states, some fled to union armies. Others deserted Confederate Army joined the Union Army, and then was captured by the Confederates, some hid in the hills, some armed themselves in "Union Militia," many went to other States to enlist in Union army. Some became true criminal bushwhackers, allied themselves with former confederates, and they had no loyalty to either side, and wearing the uniform of the occupying force.
Villainizing the Confederate Soldier, does not only, not accomplish anything to the good for the social welfare of others, but in fact continues to flame the embers of regionalism, hate, and racism. The Southern perspective villainizing the North, is the same. The US Army veterans for the most part had a respect for the Southern Soldiers, and the Confederates had a great respect for the Union veterans. Yes, especially in Georgia, where the war was so horribly waged against the civilian population, resentment continues to this day, because of the desolation left in the wake of Sherman's Forces, hastened the end of the Confederacy, preventing the war for going on for years. While, horrible, and some of my family was in the path, and experienced the horror of Sherman's terrible war, the powder still burns. Sherman, was not the horrible villain that the people make him out to be, nor was Robert. E. Lee the traitor and monster they made him out to be. It is hard to admit that about Sherman, as the stories were passed down, if someone did those things to me and my family today, I would be hard pressed not to hate and think they were a monster. However, in studying the character. background and leadership, you learn a lot about the reasons and motives of the conduct. Sherman did not want to hurt women and children, he did not want to leave them with absolutely with nothing, but he was tired of his men, dying, he was tired of being second guessed by the Northern politicians and media of the day, he was tired of war, and his men dying. He was committed to ending the war ass soon as possible. He realized the quickest way to win, was to take away their means to fight, and to remove their reasons to fight. He used similar tactics during the Indian wars out west. He was not a butcher, and heartless man, he was a ruthless General. He did not start the war, he did not want the war, but he did his utmost to finish it. I think his attitude was rampant throughout both armies.

This is a great book about the War and Reconstruction in Batesville, Jacksonport, Pocahontas and Northeast Arkansas. Mr. Mobley refers to the reconstruction as being an extension of the War. He states that the War in this area was 13 long years in duration.

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