Far more books have been written about the Civil War than about any other event in American history, 70,000 according to the Library of Congress. The film industry has made 174 films. It was the greatest event in our history, an event that defined us, an event that we can't get enough of.
The feedback from the May 1 article was surprising with both positive and negative. Some said it was history never covered in school, others said the article was anti-South. This week I am taking the opportunity to respond to the comments.
Yes, you are right. The flag in the May 1 article was not the Confederate government flag, but was the battle flag, which was a saltire flag with no white field. When I sent the email to the Leesville Daily Leader only the canton containing the crossbars with thirteen stars was visible. The white field was not.
The first point was made that succession by the South was illegal.
First, I covered secession of eleven states when thirteen stars made up the Confederate flag. This was because the two border states, Missouri and Kentucky, had two state governments, one pro-South and the other pro-North.
The second point was made that laws were passed to keep slave owners out of the war. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Sep. 22, 1862 and in October the Confederacy passed the Twenty Slave Law.
Many Southerners feared slave uprisings. Soldiers with twenty or more slaves were released from the military, not just Louisiana.
The third point made, that soldiers could pay $300.00 and avoid military service, was called the Substitution Law. Yes, the North also allowed substitution in the Enrollment Act of 1863.
The fourth point made that officers could resign from the war and go home. Officers didn't have an enlistment contract. Some resigned while others who did not properly resign were dropped.
The fifth point stated that the Union recruited more white regiments than black in Louisiana. Sources differ. According to Wikipedia, 22 regiments were raised, twelve black and ten white.
The sixth point was made that slave owners had the prime farmland. The land grant system was established in 1785. The system changed six times from 640 acres at $2.00 per acre ($33,544.00 in 2019 dollars) to 160 acres in 1862, which required only a $10.00 claim fee and $2.00 for the commissioner. By 1862 the prime farmland was homesteaded. Only the clay-covered hills remained.