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

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

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 1621574547

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The former Confederate states have continually mythologized the South’s defeat to the North, depicting the Civil War as unnecessary, or as a fight over states’ Constitutional rights, or as a David v. Goliath struggle in which the North waged “total war” over an underdog South. In The Myth of the Lost Cause, historian Edward Bonekemper deconstructs this multi-faceted myth, revealing the truth about the war that nearly tore the nation apart 150 years ago.

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The Vicksburg Campaign, Part II: Running the Batteries,” North & South 1, no. 3 (Feb. 1998): 68–75. ———. “Decision in the West: The Vicksburg Campaign, Part III,” North & South 1, no. 4 (April 1998): 77–83. ———. “Stop Insulting Robert E. Lee!,” North & South 1, no. 5 (1998): 6. Rhea, Gordon C. “‘Butcher’ Grant and the Overland Campaign,” North & South 4, no. 1 (Nov. 2000): 44–55. ———. “Cold Harbor: Anatomy of a Battle,” North & South 5, no. 2 (Feb. 2002): 40–62. ———. “Fellow Southerners!”,

disunion have gone a long way toward answering that all-important question, ‘The Civil War was fought over what important issue?’”52 In fact, between December 1860 and April 1861, five of the early-seceding states (South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana) ultimately appointed a total of fifty-two commissioners (mini-ambassadors) to convince other Southern states to join them in the Confederacy. They were named by governors or secession conventions as official state

you capture the garrison of Savannah it certainly will compel Lee to detach from Richmond or give us nearly the whole South. My own opinion is that Lee is averse to going out of Virginia, and if the cause of the South is lost he wants Richmond to be the last place surrendered. If he has such views it may be well to indulge him until everything else is in our hands.”91 Before undertaking his early 1865 trek through the Carolinas, Sherman was still concerned about the possibility of Lee’s shifting

must attack him.” Longstreet apparently replied, “If he is there tomorrow, it will be because he wants you to attack—a good reason, in my judgment, for not doing so.”115 In his report after the battle, Lee defended his cobbled-together offensives of July 2 and 3 on the grounds that retreat would have been difficult and awaiting attack was impracticable because of foraging difficulties.116 General Alexander, however, found Lee’s rationale less than persuasive: Now when it is remembered that we

staff, and Lee himself rode part of the way south with Longstreet.127 Lee oversaw and approved Longstreet’s troop dispositions.128 Beginning their attack after 4 p.m., Longstreet’s forces fought bravely in the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, and Devil’s Den and almost captured both Big Round Top and the critical Little Round Top. This near-success indicates what a brilliant victory they might have achieved if Lee had turned them loose for a flanking attack instead of squandering them in frontal

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