03 March 2012

So You Want To Talk About Genocide?

Some of the folks over at Civil War Memory got into another SCV bash fest over a recent heritage event in Richmond. The eternally puckered-up got even more puckered up over a chant allegedly made by one of the Confederate reenactment units. That little ditty went like this:

What do we do?
Kill Yankees
How Many?
All of them

I must admit, not very original nor catchy, but you get the point. I suppose some of the puckered have never studied what some folks know as the Civil War and what others a bit more enlightened refer to as the War Between the States or, what the eminent historian Douglas Southall Freeman said the most accurate name would be: “The War for Southern Independence.” For if they had studied this event, they’d realize that killing yankees (Union soldiers) was the objective of Confederate soldiers (Hint - it's why they carried muskets). I realize that in a day when our military is often called on to perform humanitarian “meals on wheels” type assignments, that some moderns may have some difficulty grasping the concept of killing your enemy. But this actually can be verified. I ain't-a kiddin'. So when soldiers (or those portraying them) make war chants like that, it shouldn't come as a surprise. 

But surprised the folks at CWM were for they suggested these REENACTORS were advocating genocide. Again, I ain't-a kiddin'.

Lord help these folks if they ever have the misfortune to listen to the song below. No doubt their puckering would cause them to bite button holes in their seat cushions:

That catchy little tune was performed with great gusto at Gettysburg's 145th. I suppose I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there was none of that thar genocide takin' place in them thar parts. BTW, the 2nd South Carolina String Band is a well-respected and talented band which often plays at SCV and other history related events. Southern Soldier is, as might be expected, always rather well-received. You can read some reviews of the band here.

So, as difficult as it is for the educated among us, Confederate soldiers did in fact desire to "kill yankees." And if the WBTS scholars were as educated about that conflict as they claim to be, they'd realize that the chant at the Richmond event simply echoed one of Stonewall Jackson's admonishments to his fellow Confederates in regards to yankees: –
“Kill them. Kill them all” As I often point out, agendas tend to blind us from the truth about history. 

Now, let's discuss the term "genocide." Merriam-Webster defines the word as:

"the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group"

That, of course, does not include warfare. You would think the educated among us would at least know what the term genocide meant before they threw such an inflammatory accusation around so recklessly. Even Southern slavery, with all its inherent evils, did not rise to the level of genocide. But if you'd like an example of genocide in American history, you might consider the actions of former Union (yankee) Generals Sherman, Grant, and Custer against the American Indian. Though even that is arguable, it comes much closer to the definition of genocide than it does a bunch of good ole' boys reenacting Confederate soldiers. 

And, yes, I'd love to go to church with these folks. It's where all sinners should go.

On a bit more cordial note, I'll be posting an interesting link and some information Kevin shared with me recently.


Brock Townsend said...

Good piece and posted.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you Brock.

Michael Bradley said...

As any historian of the WBTS knows, it was Sherman who called for the deaths of "a certain class" of Southerners. Some of his subordinates took him at his word and killed large numbers of civilians. These U.S. officers practicing genocide included Burgage in Kentucky, Payne in Tennessee, and Milroy in Virginia and Tennessee. The orders given by these men to commit murders are in the Provost Marshal Records of the U.S. Army.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Professor Bradley - good to hear from you. I know you've mentioned the importance of the Provost Marshall Records before and how they are sometimes overlooked. If you'd be interested, I'd love for you to write something up as a guest post on that topic some time.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - I've asked you not to post here. The next attempt you make, I'll reveal who you are and where you're posting from.

Brock Townsend said...

Dorkhead writes.......:)


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"Gray-haired?" Hmmm . . . sounds like ageism to me.

"Ageism: stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination. This may be casual or systematic." Source: Wikipedia

I would classify that remark as stereotyping, wouldn't you? These folks can't seem to abide by their own rules and standards. I supposed "old" people are acceptable targets of derision.

Lindsay said...

Wow, maybe some people just have an overactive imagination :) A Civil War reenactment = references to genocide? Someone's been drinking the KoolAid.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

A bit much in my humble opinion. Isn't that what Confederate soldiers did?