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Posted By: on: 08/09/2000 11:42:11 EDT
Subject: The Cyberspace Confederacy

Message Detail:

Camp Herndon, Va
August 9, 2000

All Civil War Buffs:

Good morning from the battlefield country of Northern Virginia.  As has been my custom in the past, and somewhat neglected of late, I would like to share one of my emails that recently came in from my website.


Mr. Shotgun,

        I am a student currently working on a final year project at University. I might add that my University is in Manchester, UK. I think your site is a well made and a useful intellectual tool to boot. You will notice that I am not really asking a question as such. What I would like is for you to give me your opinions on the Confederacy in cyberspace. In this day and age I sincerely believe that the web is becoming the store of human knowledge and as a great man once said (so great that I appear to forgotten his name) that 'Knowledge is power'. But what if people are armed with the wrong knowledge? Do you think the vast amount of web sites on the Confederacy is evidence of a 'nation' attempting to re assert itself? Of a people coming to terms with a strange and dark past? Or do you feel that these web sites are the rambling thoughts of ecclectic but numerous individuals? Has myth taken over fact? Sorry I'm asking too many questions. I would be grateful to your reply, you'd make a Limey Southern Sypathiser happy.



Hi Simon,

        Thank you very much for your kind words about my website. The questions you pose are indeed very thought provoking and some I have thought a great deal about, especially with the advent of the Internet. I'm not sure just how much my opinions are worth when trying to understand the phenomenon of the rise of interest in the Confederacy as it existed in the American Civil War, but I will try to explain my feelings about it.
         If one understands why the South was fighting it helps to give a clearer picture as to why it is remembered, but as much as I would like to, I cannot, because of time constraints, go into the cause(s) of the war at this point. However, suffice it to say that the war came and when the smoke had cleared and peace was at hand, over 620,000 Americans lay dead as a result of over 10,000 battles and skirmishes. For the most part, all but two of these battles were fought on Southern soil. People tend to remember a war and it's effects when it was fought on their land. This is one of the factors to be considered when discussing the interest in the Confederacy. However, it is only one factor. I continue.
              After all the armies of the Confederacy had surrendered in the spring and summer of 1865, one of the darkest periods in American history began. "Reconstruction!" After the war, those states that once comprised the Confederacy were divided into five military districts and the heavy hand of military rule fell over the land. It was not until newly elected president Rutherford B. Hayes signed the bill removing all Federal troops from the South in 1877 that the once proud Confederacy was once again an equal partner in the Union. A man will get over losing a war, he will never get over having his home taken away from him. This is another factor to consider.
              When I was a young man growing up in rural south Alabama I remember well my Grandmother telling me of the stories that had been told to her about the Yankee army in the South. I knew more about Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee growing up than the average person knew about Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant in other parts of the country. One who was raised in the South was and still is very proud of their heritage. Not just because of the war, but who they are as a Southerner and who there family is. I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, trying to say that those from the North do not feel this way, but since there was not a family in the South that was not touched in some way by the war, Southerners tend to discuss that part of their history the most. While I don't believe that the Internet rekindled an interest in the Confederacy (it has always been there), it did provide a medium to share this interest with others around the world that was not there before. Since most Southerners feel very strongly about their heritage, it would follow that any website put up about it would be equally as strong. This is still another factor.
              I hope this gives you a better idea of why Southerners feel the way they do. Now as to the accuracy of the sites that speak to the Confederacy, I can only say that there are very good ones up there, some not so good, and others that are just out and out distortions of the truth. Most were put up to present the "other" side of the story that is not taught in school and probably have the best of intentions. However, many are so biased, even though the basic facts may be true, they are so skewed that what is actually said is far from what happened.
              On your question, "Do you think the vast amount of web sites on the Confederacy is evidence of a 'nation' attempting to re assert itself?", the answer is an emphatic NO! There is no more loyal person than a Southern American. To give an example, my father was career Army (27 years), in Germany at the close of WWII, in Korea twice during the "big hate" there, and had two tours in Vietnam. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I have two uncles that were career Navy (20 years each), both saw duty off the coast of Korea. I am retired Air Force (22 years) with a tour in Vietnam. All of us were Southern born, and Southern raised. Because we love our country "more", it does not follow we love our "heritage" less.
              Simon, I am very sorry to have been so verbose but for the question(s) you posed, there are no short answers.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)

        I am sorry that my first post in the new area is so long but I wanted check on the "new" capabilities and see
how they work. There may come a time in the future that I want to put a really long one up. Anyway, you folks take care and I will see you in the room!

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)

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