The Mystery of the Civil War’s Camp Casey

From the Archive: President Trump says removing “beautiful” Confederate statues erases U.S. history, but the South ignored other Civil War heroes, the freedom fighters in the “colored regiments,” as Chelsea Gilmour noted in 2015.

By Chelsea Gilmour (Originally published on Feb. 26, 2015)

As much as Virginia loves its Civil War history — chronicling and commemorating almost every detail — Camp Casey isn’t one of the places that gets glorified or even remembered. Located somewhere in what’s now Arlington County, just miles from the White House and U.S. Capitol, Camp Casey was where regiments of African-American troops were trained to fight the Confederacy to end slavery.

A U.S. Colored Troop soldier in the Civil War.

While not the largest Union base for training U.S. Colored Troops (USCT), Camp Casey was one of the few located within the boundaries of a Confederate state. Yet, despite its historical significance, or perhaps because of it, Camp Casey has been largely lost to history.

In the decades after the war, as the white power structure reasserted itself across the South including in Virginia, the narrative of the Blue and the Grey took hold, two white armies battling heroically over conflicting interpretations of federal authority, brother against brother. Though slavery was surely an issue, African-Americans were pushed into the background, almost as bystanders.

In Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, statues of Southern heroes were erected seemingly everywhere. One city street called Monument Avenue is lined with statues starting with one to Gen. Robert E. Lee (erected in 1890) and then (between 1900 and 1925) others to Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Navy Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury and President Jefferson Davis.

If you drive north toward Washington along I-95, you see a gigantic Confederate battle flag flying next to the highway near Fredericksburg, the site of a Confederate victory in 1862, as well as frequent historical markers remembering not only battles but skirmishes. Across Virginia, there are eight national parks dedicated to Civil War battles and events.

The honors bestowed on Confederate leaders reach even into Arlington and Alexandria, though Union forces maintained control of those areas throughout the war. In 1920, at the height of Jim Crow segregation, parts of Route One, including stretches through or near black neighborhoods, were named in honor of Jefferson Davis, an avowed white supremacist who wanted to continue slavery forever. (In 1964, during the Civil Rights era, Davis’s name was added to an adjacent part of Route 110 near the Pentagon.)

Throughout Arlington itself, there are markers designating where Union forts and battlements were located. But there are no markers remembering Camp Casey, where the 23rd USCT regiment was trained and outfitted to go south to fight for African-American freedom and where other USCT units bivouacked and drilled on their marches south. Even Camp Casey’s precise location has become something of a mystery with county historians offering conflicting accounts.

That haziness itself raises troubling questions, since Camp Casey arguably was the most historically significant Civil War site in Arlington. It was not just some static fort that never was attacked but an active training ground for hundreds of African-Americans to take up arms against the historic crime of black enslavement.

Camp Casey’s Role

Named after Major General Silas Casey, who oversaw the training of new recruits near Washington, Camp Casey was in operation from 1862-1865 and served as an important rendezvous point for Union troops, accommodating some 1,800 soldiers. It also housed prisoners of war and included a hospital.

General Casey wrote the Infantry Tactics for Colored Troops in 1863, differentiating the training procedures for colored troops based on the racist notion that black soldiers were not as well equipped for combat or to follow orders, and would need to be spurred in order to fight as valiantly as whites.

To give an idea of Camp Casey’s significance as a USCT base, a letter from the camp dated Aug. 2, 1864, directs Colonel Bowman of the 84th Pennsylvania volunteers to forward all recruits for the colored regiments in the Army of the Potomac to the recruiting rendezvous at Camp Casey instead of Camp Distribution as previously directed.

There were 138 African-American units serving in the Union Army during the Civil War making up about one-tenth of the federal forces by the war’s end in April 1865 and at least 16 of those USCT regiments spent time at Camp Casey from 1864-1865, including the 6th, the 29th, and the 31st.

Camp Casey was the recruiting and training camp for the 23rd Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry with many recruits coming from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, Virginia, slave country about halfway between Washington and Richmond. In line with the standards of the time, USCT soldiers were not as well trained as white troops, were not given the best equipment, and were not paid as well.

USCT soldiers also faced hostility and mistrust from some white Northern troops, meaning that they often were not placed on the front lines but got assigned to “fatigue duty,” such as accompanying wagons and moving supplies. Nevertheless, USCT regiments battled heroically in several major clashes near the war’s end and faced special dangers not shared by their white Northern comrades.

When blacks were admitted into the Union Army, Confederate President Jefferson Davis instituted a policy that refused to treat them as soldiers but rather as slaves in a state of insurrection, so they could be murdered upon capture or sold into slavery. The USCT soldiers were trained to expect no mercy and no quarter if wounded or captured.

In accordance with that Confederate policy, U.S. Colored Troops did face summary executions when captured in battle. When a Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, was overrun by Confederate forces on April 12, 1864, black soldiers were shot down as they surrendered. Similar atrocities occurred at the Battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas, on April 18, 1864, and the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg, Virginia, on July 30, 1864. In one of the most notorious massacres of black Union soldiers, scores were executed in Saltville, Virginia, on Oct. 2, 1864.

Bravery Under Fire

When the 23rd USCT was dispatched to join the battle against General Robert E. Lee’s vaunted Army of Northern Virginia, one of Union General George Meade’s staff officers wrote in a demeaning letter about them: “As I looked at them my soul was troubled and I would gladly have seen them marched back to Washington. We do not dare trust them in battle. Ah, you may make speeches at home, but here, where it is life or death, we dare not risk it.”

An artist’s depiction of the scene at Petersburg before the Battle of the Crater.

However, on May 15, 1864, the 23rd USCT engaged in what may have been the first clash between Lee’s army and black troops. A chronology of the 23rd’s history cites Noel Harrison at Mysteries & Conundrums describing how the 23rd came to the support of an Ohio cavalry unit confronting a Confederate force southeast of Chancellorsville.

According to an account uncovered by historian Gordon C. Rhea, one of the Ohio cavalrymen wrote, “It did us good to see the long line of glittering bayonets approach, although those who bore them were Blacks, and as they came nearer they were greeted by loud cheers.” The 23rd charged toward the Confederate position causing the Southern troops to withdraw, suffering several dead.

But the lack of faith in the African-American soldiers’ commitment and skill would play a decisive role in the disastrous Battle of the Crater. The 23rd and 29th USCT regiments, both of which spent time at Camp Casey, were part of Union General Ambrose Burnside’s Fourth Division, which was comprised of nine USCT regiments.

These regiments (the 23rd, the 29th, the 31st, the 43rd, the 30th, the 39th, the 28th, the 27th, and the 19th) were to lead the charge against Confederate defenses after a Union-crafted mine explosion blew an enormous crater under Confederate lines. Plans were changed, however, at the last minute when General Meade refused to allow the USCT to lead the advance.

Instead, the war-weary white troops commanded by General James Ledlie (a notorious drunk, whose lack of presence, much less leadership, during the battle was notable) led the way. Instead of charging around the crater, as the U.S. Colored Troops had been trained to do, the unprepared white replacements surged into the crater and were unable to get out. Union troops piled in on top of each other and were completely stuck, serving as easy targets for the Confederate soldiers above.

Finally, the USCT were called forth and served as a last stand against Confederate troops. Since they had initially been trained for the operation, they knew to avoid the crater and search for higher ground. But by that point, the botched attempt to take Petersburg had deteriorated into a massacre.

Lt. Robert K. Beecham, who had helped organize the USCT 23rd regiment, wrote about the soldiers’ bravery: “The black boys formed up promptly. There was no flinching on their part. They came to the shoulder like true soldiers, as ready to face the enemy and meet death on the field as the bravest and best soldiers that ever lived.”

According to the National Park Service, 209 USCT soldiers were killed in the battle with 697 wounded and 421 missing. The 23rd USCT from Camp Casey suffered the heaviest losses, with 74 killed, 115 wounded, and 121 missing. Confederate troops murdered a number of the USCT soldiers as they sought to surrender.

After the Battle of the Crater, soldiers from the 23rd were among the Union troops to enter the Confederate capital of Richmond after it fell and were present for General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

The Mystery of Camp Casey

Arlington historians have various takes on why the history of Camp Casey has been so neglected with even its precise location a mystery. The Arlington Historical Society’s stance is that it is not unusual to have lost a camp’s location, since Arlington and Alexandria were both heavily fortified during the Civil War and there were many camps located throughout the area.

A Civil War-era African-American soldier and his family. (Photo credit: Encyclopedia Virginia)

Further, unlike a fort, which would consist of a large physical construction, most training camps had tents pitched in a field with only a few solid wood-framed buildings.

But Franco Brown, a historian with the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, had a different take on why its location has been mostly lost to history. Calling Camp Casey “one of the biggest mysteries of the Civil War,” he has spent the past eight years researching Camp Casey and had encountered many of the same difficulties that I did in finding definitive information.

While acknowledging that Camp Casey was not the biggest USCT base — Camp Penn in Pennsylvania and Camp Nelson in Kentucky were more important training locations — Brown said Camp Casey was largely lost to history because it wasn’t significant to the state’s dominant historians. They favored the conventional narrative of the Civil War, the storyline of two white armies, brothers fighting brothers.

“This information [about Camp Casey] does not want to be out it is part of their power,” Brown said.

Brown said a key factor to consider when questioning how Camp Casey could have been ignored is to look at the attitudes of Virginians and the South after the war. At the war’s conclusion, resentments ran high, and it would have been particularly galling to Southerners loyal to the Confederacy to acknowledge that there were African-American soldiers actively training on Virginian soil to fight for the North.

“After the war you get things like the KKK, which was started by five Confederate generals,” Brown said, “and they don’t want mixing of the races. The South is still mad about the Civil War. The South is still mad at the black man, because he helped win the Civil War.”

This explanation takes into account the realities of Virginia’s society and culture following the war and, in many ways, continuing to today. While there may be some truth to the argument that the story of Camp Casey was simply lost in the chaos following the war, it isn’t hard to imagine a concerted effort by resentful whites to diminish the role of black soldiers during the war.

Where Was It?

There even remains the question: where was Camp Casey? When I set out recently to try to solve that mystery, I found remarkably little information and some of it was conflicting. The National Archives in Washington had little about the camp, mostly letters and muster rolls, and it wasn’t until I asked the Arlington Historical Society’s official historians that they seemed to give the matter much thought.

As far as the exact location of Camp Casey, there are a couple of conclusions. One thing seems certain, that it was located on or near Columbia Pike, then the main thoroughfare from Northern Virginia to Washington D.C.

Some letters from the time suggest that the camp was within sight of the Custis-Lee Mansion overlooking the Potomac River (now known as Arlington House above Arlington National Cemetery). That and other references to landmarks, including its supposed proximity to Freedman’s Village, led some historical investigators to place Camp Casey on the south side of Columbia Pike, not far from the Long Bridge which crossed into Washington.

An advertisement on Sept. 5, 1865, from the Daily National Republican, a Washington, D.C. newspaper in circulation from 1862-1866, announced the sale of government buildings at Camp Casey situated “about one and one-half miles from Long Bridge.”

Jim Murphy of the Historical Society explained, “We think it [Camp Casey] would have been between the Long Bridge and Fort Albany, in a field in what is currently the [south] parking lot of the Pentagon. … We concluded it was located there after going through letters and dispatches from the camp that discuss the colored troops training next to a field.” (Long Bridge was located near today’s I-395’s 14th St. Bridge across the Potomac, and Fort Albany was just south of the current Air Force Memorial on Columbia Pike.) [To see a Civil War-era map of the area with some of the landmarks, click here.]

The Pentagon-parking-lot location would likely have put it within sight of the Custis-Lee mansion and would place it close to Freedman’s Village, a semi-permanent community for African-Americans freed by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation who escaped the Confederacy and were settled on a portion of Lee’s plantation on the north side of Columbia Pike.

But Franco Brown cites other evidence in letters from the soldiers placing Camp Casey in the vicinity of Hunter’s Chapel, which no longer exists but was then located at the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, about two miles further southwest from the location cited in the newspaper ad.

A lithograph of the Civil War’s Camp Casey in what is now Arlington County, though it was then known as Alexandria County.

Brown also has a contemporaneous lithographic depiction that puts Camp Casey on a bluff near an area that looks to be around the intersection of what is now Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive. “This area is at the highest apex of the surrounding land,” Brown said.

Brown also noted that the lithograph shows a tall tower in the distant left-hand background, the Fairfax Seminary, which still stands today as the Virginia Theological Seminary, about four miles further south in Alexandria.

Thus, he concluded that “the general vicinity [of Camp Casey] is likely between the present day locations of Glebe Road, Walter Reed Drive, Columbia Pike, and Route 50 [Arlington Boulevard].” Brown said he is confident in this conclusion saying, “I’ve got it within 500 yards of the original location.”

Brown’s location would place Camp Casey about three miles from the Long Bridge, among Fort Albany, Fort Berry and Fort Craig. There is also the possibility that Camp Casey involved several military way stations stretching along Columbia Pike, all known collectively as Camp Casey, which might explain the disparate descriptions of its location. [For an overview map of the forts in the Washington area, click here.]

Though Arlington County has no plans to honor Camp Casey (or even work to ascertain its exact location), county officials have responded to public pressure to acknowledge Freedman’s Village, where Sojourner Truth lived and worked for a time.

A map of Freedman’s Village, on the north side of Columbia Pike.

Freedman’s Village gave freed slaves refuge both during the Civil War and for decades later (until it was razed in 1900). In 2015, Arlington dedicated a new bridge on Washington Boulevard that crosses over Columbia Pike as “Freedman’s Village Bridge.”

It is a much deserved (albeit meager) recognition of the historic area which became a Freedom Trail for African-Americans, both those escaping slavery by heading northward and those marching southward as soldiers to end it.

Chelsea Gilmour, a lifelong resident of Arlington, Virginia, is a student of International Studies and World Religions and an assistant editor at

34 comments for “The Mystery of the Civil War’s Camp Casey

  1. August 26, 2017 at 23:38

    Suggestion for trying to find the location via other means than historical records: invite some metal detectorists to search the various possible sites (which are often for good reason off-limits otherwise). If there are specific finds that would tend to only be had by black soldiers, or other finds indicating such, that would perhaps even be more definitive evidence than if a trusted historical record were to be found. Facts on the ground as it were. Even if that specific location wasn’t found, it would at least be a good sample/effort and may yield other interesting data that’s lost to history.

    I’d suggest archaeologists instead, but they hate metal detectorists for digging things up, yet are not numerous enough to have done such themselves in any particular location. And a whole lot slower/meticulous. Though maybe a joint-effort would bear fruit. A lot of detectorists are very interested in history and also respectful of finds instead of covetous or mercenary, though they may lack onsite forensics/recording techniques. Archaeologist-led, with detectorists as grunts. Honestly, if an effort were properly sent to both groups and they could get along, finding it might be done in a matter of months, assuming general possible locations are fairly accurate.

    –metal detectorist and almost archaeology graduate.

  2. Mark Thomason
    August 25, 2017 at 12:47

    The Colored Regiments fought for the North. It was the North that ignored that part of its forces. The South has no monuments to Grant or Sherman either.

    • hatedbyu
      August 25, 2017 at 14:54

      read my reply above and watch the movie in the original post…..

  3. hatedbyu
    August 25, 2017 at 10:17

    i would like to educate some here instead of name calling and bullying.

    there is a video on youtube called “echos of the blue and grey”

    it’s long but tells some of the story of the veterans of the war, after the war. maybe some of you might be persuaded to look at what motivated these monuments in a different way. remember, causes aside, these were humans fighting other humans.

    and since i’m on the subject. my contention for this war and all others is that…..ALL WARS are started for reasons other than the stated ones. and especially with the passage of time can help change even that……(remember iraq?…..)

    so paul craig roberts has a new piece today about the motivations of the war….a good read, as he always gives us….

    ok, i’m done, you may now go back to calling me a racist.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 25, 2017 at 11:39

      I recommend people watch the video. I absolutely love watching old film footage of any kind, and this video is nothing but what I most enjoy.

      It is a great video, if you are interested in the ‘healing phase’ which occurred some years after the Civil War, and yes it was mostly white, but as you will see there were also Black Civil War Veterans as well, who joined in on the healing events which were thrown at the time.

      My great grandfather fought for the 26th Pennsylvania Regiment. He got wounded, and he received compensation starting with $2 a month, until it was increased to $14 a month, before he passed on in life. This video made mention of such benefits, as this video lifted many stones to uncover what the healing phase of this period depicts.

      Thanks for this video hatedbyu, and I’m not mad at you for providing it. Everybody’s perspective is of value, and your no exception. Joe

      • hatedbyu
        August 25, 2017 at 14:53

        thank you, joe.

        most people have no clue that blacks even fought for the south. i thought it interesting what the dude with all the feathers in his hat said…..

        two things i forgot to mention….

        most people don’t realize(especially those that throw around the word “traitor” so often….) is that almost every single confederate soldier, save for a handful, was given a pardon. are they still traitors then?

        also, most people who are out of their minds about slavery don’t realize that a.) it is still going on in the world today

        and b.) what the backstory is to the whole slave trade….

        in relation to b.) every one should read about the barbary slave trade.

        “bet ya didn’t know that”…….(many of those in there…..wikipedia has a pretty good article about it) also, there is some history that is contemporary to the events of the 1860’s

        let the sockpuppetry begin!

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 25, 2017 at 16:03

          I don’t know if you read my comment hatedbyu, but as much as I love history, it goes without saying that our problems with race in the U.S. isn’t as much about history, as it is about current events. I’m not saying these young white supremacist aren’t racist, but I think among the majority of them it’s more about their economic condition, than it is about anything else. What these young white men, and women if there are a few, need to know, is that all citizens, black or white are suffering from this modern day ‘Trade Agreement Happy’ America, which puts corporate profits ahead of any equal opportunity there maybe for any race of people, let alone the White race. White people need to quit using the Black race, or any other minority race, as their scapegoating for anything they think is unfair. This problem requires balanced leadership, and there is where all of our leaders let us down.

  4. Joe Tedesky
    August 24, 2017 at 23:18

    An old issue comes back to into the Pittsburgh news, after the Charlottesville racial episode. Stephen Foster, a native Pittsburgher, has his likeness immortalized as statue which is on display in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Plaza for about a century now. The problem is, is that along with Foster’s likeness there beside him is a banjo playing old black man who is a creation of Foster’s song entitled ‘Old Uncle Ned’, the banjo player is suppose to be Old Uncle Ned.

    Here is the revised lyrics;

    Old Uncle Ned
    by Stephen Foster
    revised lyrics by Cinzi Lavin

    There was an old field hand, they call’d him Uncle Ned.
    He’s dead long ago, long ago!
    He had no hair on the top of his head
    And his back, it was bent very low.

    Then lay down the shovel and the hoe,
    Hang up the fiddle and the bow:
    No more work for poor Old Ned.
    He’s gone where the good men go.

    When Old Ned died they take it mighty bad,
    Their tears run down like tje rain;
    Old master turn pale, and grew very sad
    Cause he’d never see Old Ned again.


    Now here are the Stephen Foster original lyrics;

    Old Uncle Ned
    Original Lyrics by Stephen Foster

    Dere was an old Nigga, dey call’d him Uncle Ned.
    He’s dead long ago, long ago!
    He had no wool on de top ob his head
    De place whar de wool ought to grow.

    Den lay down de shubble and de hoe
    Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
    No more work for poor Old Ned
    He’s gone where the good Niggas go.

    When Old Ned die Massa take it mighty bad,
    De tears run down like de rain;
    Old missus turn pale, and she gets berry sad
    Cayse she nebber see Old Ned again.


    His fingers were long like de cane in de brake,
    He had no eyes for to see;
    He had no teeth for eat de corn cake
    So had to let de corn cake be.


    I’ll let you decide what to think. For me it’s clear Foster capitalized on racism.

    These monuments praising historical heros of their time, are without a doubt put up with their own expiration date being their final demise, or maybe even resurrection, which ever occurs at the current moment in time. We can honor people for the good they did, but we must be honest to admit to their dark sides as well. This honoring of historical figures isn’t an easy thing to do with complete absolutism, since revisions of historical record may change certain defined narratives, as societal definitions will morph away from the monuments original intent.

    I would like to see statues erected of Fredrick Douglas or Harriet Tubman be on display. I’d also like to honor other notable historical people other than always military and political leaders of past wars be so deemed this prestigious place of respect. Even if we were to honor the many others who once lived, their legacies may only survive long enough until historical evidence produces another point of view.

    I will add this though, the longer we dwell on statues and untold histories, the longer we put off our drilling down into the real problems which nag our society. Each side, right and left, liberal conservative, are stressed out over the direction this country has gone. The great jobs their grandparents once had, are no more. These wars of conquest have only shredded the people’s civil liberties. Without a responsible media, American citizens feel threatened by the influx of foreign workers. I blame the media, for the hyped up spin, as I blame the government for not prosecuting the American businesses who continue to hire these migrants who have been victimized by NAFTA. It’s time we Americans come together, and long overdue we discuss these problems rationally and with our minds open to understanding, that we can be diverse if only we wish to learn from our past mistakes.

    It’s time we quit with the Facebook tirades, and it’s time we grow up and start listening to each other. Quit feeding the MSM a 24 hour news cycle, and start petitioning our government to be more responsive to our citizens needs, all citizens needs. We don’t need to agree on everything, but we could demand less taxes, better single payer healthcare, a regulated utility industry, adequate schools, better paying career jobs, and no more wars.

  5. historicvs
    August 24, 2017 at 21:44

    The Civil War was (and was not) a war of freedom, but not the high school textbook version.

    The southern spokesman John Calhoun summed up the region’s position succinctly in December 1812, when he explained to a fellow Congressman at the start of the session, “I admit your conclusions in respect to us Southrons — that we are essentially aristocratic. I cannot deny but we can and do yield much to democracy; this is our sectional policy. We are from necessity thrown upon and solemnly wedded to that party, however it may occasionally clash with our feelings, for the conservation of our interests. It is through our affiliation with that party in the Middle and Western States we control, under the Constitution, the governing of the United States; but when we cease thus to control this nation through a disjointed democracy, or any material obstacle in that party which shall tend to throw us out of that rule and control, we shall then resort to the dissolution of the Union.”

    “When we cease thus to control this nation” – did you see that? What happened in 1860 is that for the first time in U.S. history, the slaveholder lobby lost control of the executive branch of the federal government. And it lost to a party that stated the time had finally come to put an end to the unlimited expansion of slavery onto new land, which the great majority of the American people wanted to be theirs for free white homesteading. Nothing in the Republican platform that year threatened slavery anywhere where it was established, as Lincoln carefully affirmed in his first Inaugural Address. And with their northern allies –scornfully called “doughfaces”- slaveholders still controlled the federal Congress and the Supreme Court.

    But the “slavocracy” was contemptuous of democracy, had been from the very start. Its leaders refused to work within a system they despised and only reluctantly agreed to join back in 1788. John Adams summed it up in a 1775 letter to General Horatio Gates, “All our misfortune arises from a single source, the reluctance of the Southern colonies to republican government … The difficulties lie in forming constitutions for particular colonies, and a continental constitution. This can only be done on popular principles and maxims which are so abhorrent to the inclinations of the barons of the South, and the proprietary interests in the middle colonies, as well as that avarice of land which has made upon this continent so many votaries to Mammon that I sometimes dread the consequences.”

    The tiny slaveholder elite had grown fabulously wealthy (for at its heart, slavery was about stealing your employees’ wages. Having a pool of helpless victims on whom you could act out your psychosexual or sadistic personality disorder was just a bonus.) But the marginalized white southern population was becoming increasingly dissatisfied; there was never a “solid south” of later myth. Like all tyrants, the slaveholders constructed an imaginary enemy to distract their victims, in this case radical Yankee Abolitionists, who were in reality a politically impotent fringe element in the free states. Starting a war is every nervous elite’s most powerful tool to suppress domestic dissent, and this the Confederacy did with a vengeance, ruthlessly silencing the estimated 40% of southerners opposed to secession through widespread ballot fraud and by the free use of state-sponsored terrorism. Half a million white southerners, one in eight, would flee the Richmond tyranny in the war years.

    The pseudo-legalistic trumpery of secession came only after the slaveholders did their best to sabotage the 1860 election by keeping Lincoln’s name off the ballot in the nine southern states they controlled, and by shattering the Democratic Party into multiple factions. The fallback strategy of guaranteeing the election of what they anticipated would be a radical antislavery Republican President would give them at last what would appear to be a legitimate excuse to abandon the “government of the people” they so despised. Instead, at the last moment, the moderate Lincoln won the nomination over his nationally known extremist rival William Seward – because, unlike southern fantasists, GOP leaders knew that running an antislavery candidate would be suicide at the polls.

    But if you read almost any southern newspaper published in 1860, you’ll find that “Black Republican” Lincoln planned to immediately abolish slavery on taking office, grant the freedmen full political and social rights (chief among these would be the right to “amalgamate” with your sisters and daughters), and that his running mate, the nationally unknown Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, was himself a black man. Fake news promoted by a cynically manipulative ruling elite is not a new phenomenon in America.

    The actual shooting war was so aggressively waged for one reason: an expansionist foreign power at its southern border and in control of the Mississippi River would pose an existential threat to the internal security of the United States, and to the economic exploitation of the west. It is nonsense to think the northern power elite refused to “let the erring sisters depart in peace” because of anything as trivial to them as the human rights of mere slaves. The GOP abandonment of the freedmen in 1877 in order to retain political dominance is one of the most shameful betrayals in our history.

    It was Machiavellian brilliance on Lincoln’s part to maneuver the secessionists into firing the first shot. This unambiguous act of treason galvanized American public opinion to suppress the insurrection before the insurgents could build the strong military they would need for the inevitable war with the United States for annexation of the western territories, which was the crux of the free state-slave state conflict.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 25, 2017 at 10:44

      I cannot recall ever reading a better comment on this forum.

      Congratulations, and thanks.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 25, 2017 at 11:04

      Once again historicvs I get educated from your comment posting.

      I’ll just mentioned it, because I’m having a hard time trying to rediscover it, but once I saw a map from the 1860’s where it showed in blue and red where Americans sympathies were, when it came to support or lack of support amongst Americans over the topic of slavery. The map had some very surprising examples of mixed emotions. There were deep red county’s in the north, as there were reverse of that deep blue county’s where the citizens sympathies lied against slavery in the south. I thought I would bring this up, since you pointed out how the confederates rigged the voting to deny any opposition to secession, if I read that right. As usual the truth is never quite that absolute when it comes to what really took place, at any given moment in history.

      Again historicvs I enjoy your history telling. Joe

  6. mark
    August 24, 2017 at 20:16

    People seem to find it strange or somehow sinister that monuments to some Confederate military leaders date from around 1890. But that was when national figures like Lee and others who survived the war were coming to the end of their lives, giving rise to a sentiment they should be remembered after their deaths. You tend not to erect statues to living persons. Winston Churchill was a wartime leader from 1940. A statue was erected to him in the Houses of Parliament long after his death (I think) in the 1980s. I think that statues were erected in Britain to wartime military commanders like Field Marshal Slim and RAF Air Marshal Harris of WW2 very recently (around 2000?, not sure exactly when.) So I don’t think any delay should necessarily be viewed with suspicion.

    Regarding treatment of black Union soldiers when captured. The examples given like Crater do not seem to be cases of soldiers being murdered after being captured, rather suffering very heavy losses in the course of the fighting when they were in a hopeless tactical situation. A mine was exploded in Confederate positions, causing a huge crater, hence the name of the battle. The Confederates were stunned, but there was a delay in Union forces moving forward. They were given a chance to recover, and found the advancing black soldiers trapped at the bottom of the huge hole that had been created. They shot them like fish in a barrel. Probably horrific, but bloody fighting, not the murder of prisoners. The other example may be similar. There may well have been cases of captured black soldiers being murdered (or captured Confederate soldiers being murdered.) I’d be surprised if things like that did not happen in the course of such a brutal war. A lot of captured German soldiers were murdered by British/ US/ Russian forces. Atrocities like this are always a fact of life.

    The KKK. No one in his right mind would condone lynchings and things of that kind. But when the KKK was originally set up by a handful of bored ex Confederates it was done as something of a joke or drinking club, hence the outlandish costumes and titles like dragons and wizards. At that time post 1865 the South was subject to a brutal and oppressive military occupation, probably like the West Bank in Palestine. Southern women were prevented from visiting or placing flowers on the graves of their husbands or relatives killed in the war. Southern men were deprived of the vote. There were many rapes of white women by Union troops and marauding freed slaves. Women had to be hidden from them in remote places where they couldn’t be found. The South was invaded a second time by speculators of the greasiest type, the so called carpetbaggers and scallywags. High arbitrary “taxes” were imposed on southern owners by corrupt occupation administrations, and of course they didn’t have any northern currency, so land/ farms/ property were seized for a couple of cents on the dollar. State legislatures were made up exclusively of freed illiterate slaves who were stooges of the carpetbagger class. This goes some way to explain the later Jim Crow laws and lack of reconciliation. This exploitation and repression inevitably led to resistance with the KKK tarring and feathering carpetbaggers and running them out of town etc. This period after the war probably caused more hatred and extremism than the war itself. This is the background to the racial problems that existed for a long time after. That is not to justify any of the terrible things that happened then and later. But you have to set these things in their proper context.

    Why are we talking about these things now? Why not five years ago, or some other time? This is just a diversionary tactic by the Deep State, throwing up a divisive social issue to distract people from more important issues. Recently it was some nonsense about bathrooms for transvestites. Incite a mock battle over some peripheral issue like statues or bathrooms so people talk about that instead of what the financial elite are getting up to, or the Deep State getting its own way with Trump flip flopping again and escalating the 16 year old war in Afghanistan for another 4/8/10/20 years and spending another £1 trillion and losing thousands more lives.

    You may not agree with what I have said. I’m not an expert on the subject. Maybe I’m wrong. But if I am, it doesn’t matter. This is all a non issue. It’s just a distraction. Distract/ Divert/ Deceive. This will run its course, like transgender bathrooms and Russian hacking, then people will get bored with it and it will be something else. Just by talking about these issues we are playing into the hands of the Deep State.

    • mike k
      August 24, 2017 at 20:34

      If this not to justify the terrible things that happened, then why are you dragging all these alibis for the Klan into it? Too transparent. This race issue has really flushed out the apologists for Southern misdeeds. It’s all a neocon plot, eh? Nothing to see here…….. Right.

      • mark
        August 24, 2017 at 21:08

        No, I don’t really have a dog in this fight. The US is not my country, so it’s not really any of my business. I just don’t think it’s quite so black and white (no pun intended) as some people would have us believe. Tear down every statue and rename every street in your country if you want to. Fight huge street battles over it if you think it’s really worth it. Put all your time and energy into this. Forget about trivial issues like more troops being sent to die in Afghanistan. Give the whole country back to the surviving Redskins and come back to Europe if you want.

        But lunacy like this does seem to be contagious. Here in the UK people now want to tear down the statue of Admiral Nelson (died 1805) in Trafalgar Square, London. Apparently he didn’t support the campaign to abolish slavery. Perhaps they’ll let us keep the lions and fountains in Trafalgar Square. Unless they’re racist as well. I’m not sure.

        • Annie
          August 24, 2017 at 22:16

          Good for you Mark! People would love to turn this into a black and white issue, a North vs South issue, and too often forget the racism that existed up North during the period of slavery and before, and continues to this day. White neighborhoods, black neighborhoods, and lousy schools in black areas, etc. Economically blacks didn’t fare as well as whites under Obama during the so called economic recovery where most of that money went to the top. If that isn’t enough remember that during WWII no integrated fighting units, but a segregated army in WWII. No justice for blacks in the legal system, not up North, or down South. A constitutional right to a fair trial abandoned, where 94 percent, or more, of blacks and whites plea bargain their cases, and the black minority in this country constitutes the majority who are incarcerated. There are more important things to attack then statues, and a lot of blame to go around, and my statements in no way support racism of any kind.

          • mark
            August 25, 2017 at 14:42

            I certainly agree with all that. I wish they were putting all this energy into changing the US prison/ justice system, 2.3 million incarcerated, many of them young black men for minor drugs offences, who can’t vote/ get a decent job etc. when they’re released. The prison is just the modern version of the plantation. A friend of mine went to a wedding in Alabama and was shocked to see it was still 100% segregated, all white churches and all black churches.

        • Zachary Smith
          August 24, 2017 at 23:38

          Just for the record, here is an article about the Nelson Statue issue in the UK.


          So far as I’m concerned this is entirely an issue for the Brits. And while the rest of the world may wonder why statues in the US to traitors and criminals are debated at all, that’s our problem.

        • Brad Owen
          August 25, 2017 at 07:17

          Good insight. Distraction is right. But it goes further. A good descriptor to remember is the phrase from Occupy Wall Street (OWS): We’re the 99%. We are being played, we here in the U.S. AND you guys over there in the U.K. We’re being played by the 1%ers; the financiers, the Managerial Elite, significant portions of the intelligence communities, the presently ruling Establishment of the “Trans-Atlantic Community”, what the distilled essence of all former Imperial Euro-British Nations and their former colonials (such as us, Canadians, Aussies, NZers; as pertaining to U.K. connections) have come-to-be-called. Trump had the audacity, on the campaign trail, to speak of NATO and the old East/West divide as being obsolete, that we should be working with Russia and China, that we should be tending to our own Agro-Industrial and Infrastructure base, and so on. This, combined with the advent of BRICS, New Silk Road (which is a world-wide New Deal infrastructure development program for the “forgotten” colonies of former Empires) is all anathema to the “Western Empire” (to coin a handy phrase) and its “Managerial Elite”, the Political Leadership Class (civilian and military), Business, Finance, Intel Community(over in U.K. and Europe an additional group: Dynastic Royal Families). Any alliance between USA and Russia and China is a lethal threat to the game-playing and shenanigans of this Managerial Elite. They are seeking to eject Trump, by impeachment, 25th Amendment, even assassination if needed, and divide/distract the 99%ers to take their prying eyes off of the Managerial Elite and their wicked doings. “Russia did it” was torpedoed by VIPS, eliminating a convenient way to whip up enmity between us and Russia. Plan B is inducing self distraction/destruction of our decaying democratic institutions, perhaps devolving into Martial Law (sort of like when Greece was ruled by The Colonels), so that the Managerial Elite has a more direct hand on our manipulation, not having to expend energy on democratic suasion. This is why NOW is the time to try to irritate socio-cultural-political rifts within the 99%, by the Managerial Elite of the Western Empire.

          • Brad Owen
            August 25, 2017 at 14:39

            I would also add to the domain of the Managerial Elite: the Media Gatekeepers, major Publishing houses, Universities, and the professional propagandists of Think Tanks. They hold meetings at such venues as Davos, Mt. Peleren, Bilderbergers, CFR, Trilateralists, Tavistock, some other major European ones whose names escape me at the moment.

          • mark
            August 25, 2017 at 14:56

            I think it’s actually worse than 1%, Brad. The figure for the US is that the top 0.1% owns more than the bottom 90%, so around 300,000 own more than the bottom 300 million. But even that may be over optimistic. There have been credible reports and assessments that the US is owned and run by about 6,000 super wealthy individuals. The figure for the UK, which is smaller, is 5,000, and for the whole of South America is 58 families who basically own the whole continent.

          • Brad Owen
            August 26, 2017 at 08:58

            I know your numbers are correct, Mark, but when you add in their toadies and boot-lickers you easily get 1% or more. Add in the cowardly cooperators and the grossly misinformed, you might actually achieve the critical mass of 33% ; large enough to build armies and police forces.

    • John
      August 24, 2017 at 20:46

      Thank you, Mark… very true………. meanwhile back at the headquarters of Dr. Evil aka Dr. Deepstate the main agenda continues…..Look *dips* without the MSM Dr. Deepstate has zero voice to control you like (farm animals)……..Lol…….humans are a……little slow……

    • Zachary Smith
      August 24, 2017 at 23:28

      Regarding treatment of black Union soldiers when captured.

      You ought to take a look at that yourself instead of relying on “intuition” or the Lost Cause textbooks. Black faces in Union blues was a real problem for the South. Instant execution was the ideal situation, both of the Blacks and their White officers. If they survived capture, their treatment was several grades worse as POWs than of white soldiers. And that was darned bad.

      My earlier post about this is in “moderation”. You could duplicate the search I made in a very few minutes. Assuming that you want to learn what actually happened.

      You may not agree with what I have said….

      You’re darned right I don’t agree, and that’s because you’ve penned a bunch of Lost Cause fantasies. I’m not going to waste any more time here, for if you want to find out what happened in the Civil War you’ll go do some research of non-KKK sources. I doubt if that’s going to happen.

      The very last part of your post is probably correct – for like with the transgender bathrooms and the Immigration “dreamers” and the “sharia” law this is being used as a wedge by somebody.

      • Annie
        August 24, 2017 at 23:55

        Problems up North for the Blacks as well. What about slavery in the North? Want to learn about that? In the new colonies, blacks auctioned off in states like NY, Rhode Island, PA. Anything to say about that? No outrage there? Two hundred years of Northern Slavery? Look into that too Zachary. William Penn, a slave owner from PA, and a Quaker to boot, just an example. Instead of attacking Mark why don’t you look at the broader issues involved here, and why does a major have the police step down if there were any confrontations between the two groups in Charlottesville? Oh, and the mayor, was a Hillary supporter.

        • Zachary Smith
          August 25, 2017 at 01:10

          Problems up North for the Blacks as well. What about slavery in the North? Want to learn about that? In the new colonies, blacks auctioned off in states like NY, Rhode Island, PA. Anything to say about that? No outrage there? Two hundred years of Northern Slavery?

          Do you really suppose this is some kind of surprise for me? And what on earth does it have to do with the fabricated neo-confederate histories of the South?

          Regarding “Mark”, I’d simply like to see him learn some real history.

          • Annie
            August 25, 2017 at 02:02

            Well, it does if you think about it, black slavery had its’ beginnings in the North with the first colonies, It is the North that set an economic precedent for the country and established racial attitudes. The South, well we all know about slavery and the horrors of it, and the Jim Crow South, but how many people know it started up here in the North?

        • mark
          August 25, 2017 at 15:23

          There is another thing that is overlooked, Annie. I knew a black guy who served in the army. He experienced racism and dealt with it well, but one occasion he got a bit depressed about it. I told him about what happened in Ireland in the 12 years 1641-1652. There were a series of wars then under British rule and the population fell from 1,500,000 to 600,000. 500,000 were killed or died, but another 400,000 were enslaved and shipped off to America and the West Indies, and treated just like black slaves, put in slave ships and sold at auctions. Most slaves then were Irish, the African slave trade hadn’t really got going. Irish slaves were sold for £5, the relatively small number of African slaves for £50. So plantation owners went for the Irish. This carried on till about 1700. There was even slave breeding of Irish slave women with more expensive African male slaves. This isn’t really taught in Britain. Not covered up, but not many people are aware of it.

          This in no way justifies or minimises horrific black slavery. I was just trying to make the point to him there are always people who just want to exploit someone else, whether it’s Irish slaves or black slaves or people working in Bangladesh sweat shops for 15 cents an hour. They couldn’t care less about race or colour, they just want to live off the backs of someone else.

          • Zachary Smith
            August 25, 2017 at 20:24

            This isn’t really taught in Britain. Not covered up, but not many people are aware of it.

            I’d wager even fewer know of this in the US. It’s not taught here either. It’s my understanding that white slavery was halted in the US because the slaves of both races were beginning to make common cause – “we’re in this together”. By redefining slaves as strictly Blacks, the Elites shifted the Whites – all of them – into a different “common cause”. Now it’s “our white skin automatically makes us superior”.

            Thanks for mentioning the “white slave” angle – it has definitely been neglected in all the discussions.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 26, 2017 at 00:58

            mark – very interesting. I know that a lot of whites were brought over from Britain (prisoners and people just taken off the streets), but I had no idea it was 400,000.

            Paul Craig Roberts chimed in on why they started exclusively using blacks (and why they may have been so much more expensive). He said that they started off using whites, but they kept dying of malaria. They then tried using Native Indians, but they too died from malaria. The blacks were chosen because genetically they were 93% immune (coming from west Africa) to malaria. By default, they ended up being the slaves.

            It wasn’t because they were black, just that they were able to survive and work that put them where they ended up. If the whites had survived, the slaves would have been white.

  7. E. Leete
    August 24, 2017 at 19:13

    Equality: The Paradise nobody wants

  8. Zachary Smith
    August 24, 2017 at 18:47

    Headquarters Department Trans-Mississippi,

    ‘Shreveport, La., June 13, 1863. Maj. Gen. R. Taylor, Commanding District of Louisiana:

    General: I have been unofficially informed that some of your troops have captured negroes in arms. I hope this may not be so, and that your subordinates who may Lave been in command of capturing parties may have recognized the propriety of giving no quarter to armed negroes and their officers. In this way we may be relieved from a disagreeable dilemma. If they are taken, however, you will turn them over to the State authorities to be tried for crimes against the State, and you will afford such facilities in obtaining witnesses as the interests of the public service will permit. I am told that negroes found in a state of insurrection may be tried by a court of the parish in which the crime is committed, composed of two justices of the peace and a certain number of slave-holders. Governor Moore has called on me and stated that if the report is true that any armed negroes have been captured he will send the attorney-general to conduct the prosecution as soon as you notify him of the capture.

    I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

    E. KIRBY SMITH, Lieutenant-General, Commanding

    That’s from Google Books. How could he have been more clear? Execute both the captured “armed negroes” and their officers! But if they were fool enough not to do that, ship them out for a trial for “crimes against the State”.

  9. mike k
    August 24, 2017 at 17:26

    Hello civil war USA fans. Goodbye.

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