Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Civil War Violence  CSPAN  August 1, 2019 9:07pm-10:15pm EDT

9:07 pm
summer of 1948, richard nixon did not just win the republican nomination, he won the democratic nomination. he wagered everything and carry the day and ran unopposed in his first reelection campaign. >> explore our nations passed on american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. american history tv look at the civil war continues now with louisiana state university professor aaron sheehan-dean on his book the calculus of violence: how americans fought the civil war. this talk was part of the gettysburg college civil war institute annual summer conference. it is an hour. >> good morning everyone. peter carmichael. member of the history department at gettysburg college. also the director of the civil war institute. it is my pleasure this morning to welcome aaron sheehan-dean.
9:08 pm
he is a professor of southern studies at lsu. he is a native of michigan, not far from lansing. he did his undergraduate work at northwestern before spending some time working in washington dc as a congressional staffer. and then we have gone to the university of virginia where he studied under gary gallagher and published his dissertation with the university of north carolina press which is entitled why confederates fought family and nation in civil war virginia. his most recent book published by harvard entitled the calculus of violence: how americans fought the civil war. it was published in 2018. aaron at lsu is a great place for him being in baton rouge
9:09 pm
and not far from new orleans. he is a self-proclaimed foodie though he has lots of places to select from in new orleans. today he will talked with about his very important book and a book i should add has received two recent awards including the jefferson davis award from formally the museum of the confederacy and now the american civil war museum in richmond. let's welcome aaron sheehan- dean. >> good morning. thank you all. i will start by saying happy father's day to everybody in the audience. it is a weird thing to spend today on a sunday morning talking about violence but that is what we are going to do. as pete said, my book is called the calculus of violence and that is the promo part. so, we will get right into it. this lecture has a tendency as a friend said a long time ago,
9:10 pm
a 10 pound weight in a five pound sack. the mike has been walked out so i have to stay on the podium which is no fun for me because i have attendance to pace. it will instead get channeled out hopefully. we know that the civil war was a terribly bloody and violent war. the new estimate now and i think a reliable one though it is likely to go up is 750,000 dead. they are recalculating right now and doing demographic work to assess it. i spent some time trying to do my own counting particularly around noncombatants that were affected by the war. counting proved unsatisfactory in some respects. this is a book exploring the decisions that both people on both sides made on who they could turn lethal violence on and how the war was fought. i will give you my conclusion upfront and the conclusion of
9:11 pm
the book, the main argument of my book is that the civil war was both bloody and violent, unimaginably violent for most americans coming into it and at the same time also restrained and a war that could have been much, much worse. two or three times as many debt i would imagine if certain things happened. i hope right now, that may sound like a wishy-washy conclusion that says a little of this and a little that. i hope by the end it sounds nuanced and sophisticated. what i want to do is walk you through both sides of that. that is the ways in which the decisions that people make during the war facilitate in particular unnecessary violence. obviously war inherently involves violence and the laws of war, i will talk a fair amount about the laws of war, determine who the violence can be directed at and that is generally according to the western lots of work uniformed combatants. i will not spend a great deal time talking about technologies of war although some of those are in the book,
9:12 pm
discussions of things like minds. instead, the decisions people make about the boundaries of where that is drawn. how regular combatants and noncombatants treated. what sort of pressure can be applied to people outside of regular uniformed combatants. the beginning of my talk will focus on two military elements . who can fight a war and how do you fight a war? and a couple of cultural elements to determine who is inside the scope of lethal virus or substantial pressure and then i will turn to those elements that diminish or restrain the violence of war and author some concluding points about what looking at the civil war this way might teach us about military conflict in general and the civil war in american history. i want to start with the first question that americans were confronted with and my clicker
9:13 pm
, i have to go down i am clicking the wrong way. the first question is over who can fight? the lincoln administration is confronted with this almost immediately. lincoln doesn't leave that the confederacy, that secession is possible. he doesn't regard the confederacy at a real thing. he is talking about the so- called confederate state in air quotes and bunny ears he would be making. he refuses to acknowledge that secession is possible and that the confederacy exists as an independent state. that is a game and he gives it up. he has an effect lost the war from the beginning. the question happens as u.s. forces and confederate forces come into contact, what is the condition of these men claiming to be soldiers of this independent state that lincoln doesn't believe is independent. the difference is quite substantial. what confederates want is to be declared public enemies. this is a journalist riding in the new york times who
9:14 pm
describes the difference between being a prisoner of war which involves honorable restraint and a captured trader for which you may be harmed. it emerges really on the high seas first, there are confederate letters of marque that are issued by jefferson davis to privateers that are going out doing the work the confederacy doesn't have much in navy to start and neither does the u.s. at the start of the war. those men are captured, there are three ships captured. one goes to new york, one to philadelphia and the men on those confederate ships go into regular criminal court and in fact in new york the judge says to the jury, you have to decide whether we are at a state of war to determine the jurisdiction and the outcome of this case. you can imagine these men, the citizens of new york who ended up on this case thinking i don't think that is my decision, that is above my pay grade.
9:15 pm
the decision of whether we have war is taking place presumably at the white house or in some larger sphere. jefferson davis was observing this and drawing more and more concerned. the men who are held and they are held in new york and jefferson davis was to take an equal number of u.s. officers in this case, and he puts them in hard labor in richmond and says if the men captured on these privateers are executed i will do the same to them and i have captured. he issues and affect what is called a retaliatory threat and i will talk about retaliation as it works within the laws of war later. lincoln blinks in this instance. he recognizes an important restraint and the larger question of who can fight exacerbates the problems of the war. lincoln recognizes that he has to effectively agree that the confederacy is an independent state. in terms of how he treats those soldiers that they will
9:16 pm
be recognized as public enemies. and houston prisons and given medical care if they require it. that is a decision he is forced into by war. one place we see real tension on how lincoln believes the war should be fought, not that he wants an unrestrained war that he does not want to acknowledge the confederacy but he is forced to. we know the way the story plays out. eventually hundreds of thousands of confederate prisoners and union prisoners of war and after 1863 and the introduction of black soldiers and the collapse of the cartel that determines how you can exchange prisoners, more and more prisoners subject to worse and worse conditions and tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in union and confederate pow camps as a result partly of this question over how you resolve and how you recognize who has the legitimate authority to fight a war like this in the 19 century. the confederate face to this
9:17 pm
as well and they face this and the question of black soldiers. black men are recruited into the u.s. military. some are free men of caller and some enslaved men from places where i am right now in the lower mississippi valley area in the coastal south carolina and florida and outing kansas in late 1862. we know the story of black enlistment. after the emancipation proclamation in the army officially creates the u.s. ct and they are put into uniform as regular soldiers according to the lincoln administration and they are confronted by confederates who are reluctant to regard them as legitimate combatants. these men say the confederacy cannot legitimately fight a war so we do not have to award them the status of public enemy. jefferson davis's first instinct is to encourage his army to treat black soldiers captured as slaves and to be turned over to state
9:18 pm
authorities and punished under the laws for slave rebellion. we have heard patrick breen's discussion yesterday of what happens to those people in his discussion of the nat turner rebellion. the laws in every southern state are daft for slave insurrection. he knows that what he is doing is sending them to their death. the confederate congress endorses a variety of measures on this front and the confederacy begins this process although they are also confronted immediately by the fact that many men fighting in union blue are in fact free men of caller and had never been slaves. the confederacy is reluctant to change the status of those men and put them in a position or they might be executed. davis recognizes what is coming which is in july 1863 abraham lincoln issues a public proclamation declaring that if the confederate states army executes u.s. soldiers and he doesn't distinguish between white and black, if they
9:19 pm
execute or subject to hard labor u.s. soldiers than u.s. army do the same thing in response for the captured confederates. at this point both sides have tens of thousands of captured pows. the violence there has a real potential to spin out of control. it doesn't again because davis respects this threat. that isn't to say that black men experienced a just war because they do not. the confederate policy shifts to in some respects reflect the u.s. position. it is if there are no enslaved men in u.s. armies, if there are men who had previously held the classification under law of a slave, they have by this point escaped from their masters and they have come into a u.s. refugee camp of the sort that amy taylor described yesterday and they have enlisted in the u.s. army as regular men so they are no
9:20 pm
different from white soldiers in that capacity. once they are in the union army there are no slaves. the confederacy has to recognize that. that being said the confederate army like the u.s. army is enormously decentralized and in many interactions with black soldiers across the south atrocities are committed and black men are refused the opportunity to surrender and this happens most famously at fort pillow. it happens at plymouth and in north carolina and it happens insult phil in virginia and at the crater. we heard about this yesterday about the battle that transpired, those encounters certainly leave black men suffering in unjust war. that is black men in uniform were confederates refuse to allow them to surrender where they don't offer quarter, they don't offer medical treatment
9:21 pm
to wounded soldiers and that happens over and over again. hundreds of black men die unjustly, unnecessarily in confederate hands over the course of the war. that total might have been higher if the confederate states hadn't changed that policy to a slight degree. that issue of who can fight essential. the other issue is over how you can fight and what legitimate war looks like. they insist on regular uniform soldiers that if wars happen between states they happen then with regular armies chains of command, clear chains of command, men in uniform on battlefields armed and responding to proper authority so when a flag of truce is issued men respond to that and stop fighting in the ways they are supposed to. the problems in the confederate response to that developed quickly. this is in issue to a famous
9:22 pm
order issued in arkansas. the union army mostly abandons arkansas. the confederate citizens take it upon themselves taking direction here to organize themselves as he says in independent companies of 10 men led by an elected captain to conduct guerrilla warfare without waiting for special instructions. for the north this violates one of the central tenants of just war doctrine and of the laws of war were properly. the theory of just war is philosophical and it begins arguably with st. augustine and it extends really through catholic europe through the centuries as the allergens debate the ways in which military force can be conducted within the christian framework. those laws are put together by the dutch jurist in a 17 century but they have not been codified.
9:23 pm
in 1863 in the labor code which is a formalization of the ideas of just war. the central part of that just war relies on soldiers being able to discriminate among those people on whom they subject violence and the discrimination here is i will only subject lethal violence, those enemies in uniform and armed against me. noncombatants, citizens other people outside and uniformed enemies who have been wounded or lay down their arms they cannot be subjected to lethal violence. gorillas obscure all of this and that is a central problem and the problem that is marked out. when gorillas are organized independently and they aren't wearing uniforms and they don't have a chain of command, this then generates from the union what we would call today a counter insurgency strategy. the union will fight a regular work on most of the
9:24 pm
battlefields like gettysburg and also they will have to combat an irregular war or what we would call an insurgency. they didn't use that language and they didn't call their anti-guerrilla operations counterinsurgency but for those familiar with how that phrase works and the ways in which we have been fighting wars against very irregular enemies in the last decade the union effectively mounts a counter insurgency. the counterinsurgency comes under various headings. mark grimsley gave us a way to think about this years ago which is a hard worker. it is increasingly destructive of resources in response to the irregularity of gorillas there is an effort to destroy the resources upon which the guerrilla fighters withstand. almost no undergraduates are aware that because sherman had
9:25 pm
no visible presence in the commemoration wars of late we are mostly talking about taking things down. our commemoration wars are trying to get things named for william t sherman. this is my pitch to visitors board and they will not respond. sherman has a nice oil painting but it is in special collections in the men's room and on the third stall and that is really the best he gets at lsu. in popular memory his rate in georgia and south carolina are the pinnacle of a hard war approach that is the destruction of logistical resources necessary to sustain an army. i will talk more about sherman a little later. he gets credit for this. georgia get sympathy in south carolina but the hardware policy i think has more sharper edges in other places.
9:26 pm
i wanted to start with something from the shenandoah valley and that union officers confront in terms of how to punish and how to discourage and ultimately deter guerrilla warfare and this is part of the famous orders that john pope issues which leads me to call him a miscreant. this is part of the campaign as pope is heading out into virginia and he says to the people of the shenandoah valley that when there are operations to travel the railroad or telegraph they will be held responsible. these are underlined by him not by me, they will be held responsible. ordinary citizens will be held responsible for the violence committed by guerrillas. union officers up and down the mississippi river along both sides, the arkansas and mississippi side, guerrillas as hindman encouraged them to do, it probably brings out
9:27 pm
5000 men who flood the banks and they snipe at union transports coming down the mississippi iland he says that. he says to shoot, to kill transports and other vehicles of unarmed men, they are bringing supply personnel and they are not in a state of war, not a legitimate target under the regular laws of war but they get smacked out from the bushes and it is hard for union forces to track these men down. they had d to get a ship to the bank and offload those men and go out in a scouting party by which point these guerrillas are gone by half an hour and they are never recoverable. so the response from the u.s. is to increase the pressure, not lethal violence. he doesn't say we will begin arresting and executing civilians who happen to live near where guerrilla events happen but he does say is the pressure of our counter insurgency is going to fall on the communities that sanction and support guerrillas.
9:28 pm
guerrillas depends upon what historians today call a domestic supply line. the material, horses, fodder, food, and intelligence that guerrillas use to operate comes from regular civilians. those regular civilians present a peaceful face as the guerrillas themselves due to union officers in one moment and in the other will sanction and encourage violence that the union considers unjust. the escalation, the final moment of this policy comes in general orders number 11. this is by far the strongest counterinsurgency policy the army has ever enacted and the strongest pressure ever applied by the u.s. army to american citizens. the context for general order 11 in missouri is the ongoing guerrilla conflict there which seems in 1863 like it will inspire a lot of control. i won't give you all of the story here but suffice to say
9:29 pm
that they come in a raid on lawrence, kansas and this is an retaliation for the collapse of the jail in kansas city. they commit the worst single atrocity of the civil war and that is the massacre of lawrence. they take all the adult men and they define adults as men age 15 and up. right at the boundary of the age where you become an adult, that is merely taking children and they line up about 150 adult males and shoot them in the street and destroy much of the town and leave. this is the single worst in terms of scale, atrocity committed against civilians in the war. so, the union officers in western missouri need to respond to this and they are weighing a variety of options. the option they come to his general order number 11. it offers 30 days for all inhabitants of three and half western missouri counties and the options that citizens are given are two. move out of your domicile and
9:30 pm
take up residence near a u.s. army base come you take the oath of loyalty and you will be protected or you move out entirely and you are on your own. in either case about 20,000 people from this region are expelled from their homes and nearly all the homes and facilities in these three counties are destroyed. it is an enormous policy in terms of the size and scope. in many respects it looks a lot like the trail of tears. the u.s. army has turned this pressure on noncombatants before but only in indian war. i would suggest the reverberations here are particularly unsettling for white settlers who had gone to missouri partly because the u.s. army had expelled native people and now the army is turning around and deploying that same strategy against white settlers. this is the famous painting by george caleb bingham. he was a missouri politician and painter. he gives us the quintessential
9:31 pm
american 19th-century images. every u.s. history textbook is required to use his county vote to talk about antebellum democracy. he was a diehard unionist and he served in the legislature in missouri. he was a unionist state militia member. despite that he felt the general order number 11 was horribly unjust and it's pressure on union civilians in missouri was counterproductive. after the war in 1868 he uses his blush and gets the last word in on the tyranny that is general order number 11. thomas ewing, the issue who the general who issues the order comes to sherman's step brother and a dead civilian on the ground and more destruction , it is a little traumatized but the scale of destruction in general order number 11 is quite dramatic.
9:32 pm
this policy i would submit is a policy developed with the laws of war in mind as a way to apply nonlethal pressure to this problem of guerrillas. the problem created by the confederates refusal to fight the war way the war should be fought and as henry said, a policy that is consistent with those ways of fighting that we know from western european history over the preceding century. partly what they are thinking about is what is emerging along the kansas missouri order is a retaliatory or revenge expedition being led by angry kansans who are assembling at the border and ride into missouri and lincoln is very worried about what that would look like. lincoln and halleck sanctioned general order number 11 despite the scope it contains in order to curtail a more bloody and more
9:33 pm
irresponsible and unrestrained action from this irregular force accumulating on the border. ewing and halleck right to the governor and say stop stoking these fears. we are not going to allow kansans to come into western missouri and amid violence or what they would call military acts on their own. so these are the two military issues, who can fight and how do you fight? that generates a great deal of unnecessary violence as they manifest through the word. i want to talk quickly about a couple of cultural elements here. the first is the language of righteousness. both sides indulge in it particularly ministers but politicians as well, a language of righteousness that infuses the war and the violence of the war with a sacralization making that violence holy and imperative. kane and abel is one of the obvious parallels of the bible
9:34 pm
that northerners used to talk about how they see the politics of this affair going that this is a betrayal of a family. the family of the union that southerners created and in response what you have here is a call for unrestrained, you don't need to offer them much in the way of charity or compassion. as i say this is common on both sides, northern and southern ministers and newspapers in particular encourage a rhetoric of righteousness of moral indignation that is quite dangerous to control because of the way it spreads. there is no question that the sharpest issue distinguishing who suffers just violence, but as regular soldiers on the battlefield and those who suffer on just violence is race. black soldiers in the union army who fight across the continent experience a much
9:35 pm
less just war than regular soldiers do. this is one of many images at the time that ran at fort pillow. it draws enormous northern attention. u.s. congress sends an investigatory committee that gathers evidence and takes testimony. there's plenty of testimony from confederates as well describing what happens and be very clear about the way in which confederate troops singled out african-american soldiers for execution rather than allowing them to surrender. mark neely made this argument as well that when the war happens between white men, the violence tends to be less awful and certainly more necessary in that sense then when the war happens between white and black soldiers. i want to make that point so we are clear. one last cultural point here which is to think about the relationship to the sort of violence that people sanction in war. these are the two most famous or well-known white
9:36 pm
abolitionists from nobefore the war. one, john brown known for his willingness to engage in violence, the pottawatomie massacre in kansas in 1856, this is his son and him murdering proslavery kansans in disputes in the territories. brown filled with righteousness, and old testament figure. and of course the raid on harper's ferry as the culmination of this. william lloyd garrison is more typical of most white abolitionists. he comes out of the second great awakening and evangelical reform awakening and he is deeply committed to pacifism. during the mexican war when garrison sees a soldier on his way to mexico who has enlisted for massachusetts he writes to a friend i saw soldier on the street today in uniform and i recoiled as though i had seen
9:37 pm
a snake. he said i am in such an opposition to the military that it is a visceral sensation, a physical allergy that he has to inoculate himself against. once the civil war begins, garrison and other abolitionists are confronted against a terrible dilemma. do they sanction military violence on this massive scale in order to accomplish the outcome that they have been striving for for decades and not making great progress towards and there is disputes in the literature that republicans ran by slavery but it is fair that emancipation is not on the horizon in 1860. in a regular election of lincoln as president. now by 1862 it is on the horizon. part of the way that will happen is if the work goes on long enough. and it is fought with enough vigor that u.s. and lincoln has been quite reluctant on this has been compelled into
9:38 pm
emancipation. people like garrison and other white abolitionists who are theoretically committed to pacifism wind up being the most vigorous advocates of a hardware. they are the ones that want an army moving with power across the southern landscape destroying those socialization's. they are not calling on the wanton killing of slaveholders but they want slavery destroyed and it requires a vigorous war. we tend to think in a post world war ii era that the alignment of hawks and doves is that the hawks are in favor of general military power are the political conservatives and the doves are political liberals and that x what we have here are political liberal people like william lloyd garrison where the hawks and the political conservatives, the democratic party of the north who wind up being the doves and the democrats are in the north to make the argument about the laws of war and what proper oversight of the army is eager
9:39 pm
to see emancipation happen as part of the hard war policy. i would suggest that one of the things this teaches us is there is no necessary alignment between etiological position and where you stand on military force. what is important is what the war accomplishes and the case of the civil war shows a community of people were dedicated to progressivism and liberal values who see a war that might facilitate those that are willing to sanction violence in a way that you might imagine is quite surprising today. let me turn and try to uplift us here for a moment or two to talk about those things that restrain and bound the violence of war. there are a number of northerners that make this observation about the weird inversion of etiological inversion that happens as a result of the war. i want to talk about this guy, francis lieber that we heard about a little bit already.
9:40 pm
he is german born and comes to the united states in the 1830s and serves as a professor of law in south carolina and like all good academics is wrangling and trying to maneuver his way into a better position and gets his in 1860 when he comes to take a job as a professor of law at columbia. he is the smartest and most well read of anybody in the united states or north america on the laws of war and the philosophy of nations. he makes himself available, aggressive self-promotion to the state department. in 1863 they agree it would be a good idea if he writes a compendium, not of the laws of war, it is, he was also a good academic. he creates the origin of today's rules of engagement.
9:41 pm
as servicemembers going to conduct they carry a plasticized set of instructions about the rules of engagement that determines the ways in which they can function in a variety of contexts. this begins with lieber framing in 148 bullet points like not heavily footnoted but very specific. when you occupy a town, places with scientific instruments or hospitals need to be protected, universities need to be protected. university of alabama didn't fare so well, uva was protected. in general those laws are quite sharp and specific. one of the important points is that means after 1863 there is a clearer set of rules for determining and assessing conduct then there was in 1861. the war doesn't inevitably grow worse and worse. in fact the imposition of a structure to hold men accountable for how they behave
9:42 pm
as a soldier is present in a way after 1863 that wasn't at the war start. why do places indoors this? i would argue that both the north and south, the confederacy never issues a lieber code but they endorse the laws of war very similar. they drawn the same concept and they deploy them at the ground level with armies in much the same way and they do so, both sides the north and the south to sell for similar reasons. rightly because they want to attract european support. this issue of having global sanction for your nation is essential for both of them. and part of the way you attract that sanction and particularly for the confederacy and part of the way you prove to the world that you are modern sovereign state is you make war the war you the way you are supposed to make work according to the laws of war in line with european tradition. confederates are continuing to promote the strength that they exercise and the atrocities that the u.s. army's commit. in an effort to say we are the
9:43 pm
ones following the rule so we have our bona fide states. they are also doing so because they want their armies to respect their values. this is a letter from a confederate private, a guy named james anderson who came out to new orleans and moved west and enlisted in confederate forces. he is serving as a guard at andersonville and he writes his president to say we have guards here who think that shooting men who approach the deadline at andersonville, the line within distance of the stockade, that doing that will make them a big man. he said this is not how we make war. i make this statement to you, jefferson davis knowing you to be a soldier, statesman and christian, and he re-purposes the golden rule here. we should do as we would be done by. that is a way to fight war. there is a strategic reason for this that you observe the laws of war because you want as a soldier and potentially as a captive to has those same protections offered to you as
9:44 pm
well. according to northerners this stopped happening in 1864 when images like this started circulating. when u.s. captives of belle isle and richmond or andersonville and later in 1864 are released to u.s. authorities and they are released as 90 pounds of grisly bone. images like this from concentration camps in world war ii, horrific images. harper's weekly gives us a sense of how these get translated, newspapers can't print photographs. these circulate extensively in the spring of 1864 and they generate a sense of outrage among northerners for whom the agreement about protecting prisoners, although many confederates die in union pow camps. they regardless is a gross violation of war and it compels in the u.s. senate by february 1865 a vigorous debate on what is called at the time
9:45 pm
the retaliation provision or the retaliation resolution that the u.s. senate is considering endorsing policies that will mirror those of the confederate prisons in terms of food supply and health and access to water and protection like in andersonville with the goal that hopefully confederate pows will look effectively the same way. there is a vigorous debate in the u.s. senate and it crosses lines because it is proposed by a republican, ben wade is one of the egoist fighters but it is charles sumner, his republican colleague who said this is not retaliation, it is barbarism and savagery and it is not the way the u.s. fights it's war. the retaliation provision is voted down by the u.s. senate but it is one of those dramatic moments where we come to the possibility that the war could escalate quite dramatically and doesn't. one place to see how retaliation works out and i will offer just a minute or
9:46 pm
two here on retaliation as a part of a lot of work, it is in the lieber code. recognizes the harshest part of the laws of war and retaliation is not revenge. it is a recognition that your enemy has outstripped of the laws of war and has violated them. it gives you then as the opponent the opportunity to respond in exact kind. if they execute one of your officers you execute one of their officers. you don't execute a civilian. it has to be proportional in terms of the classification of people, and has to be exactly proportional in terms of the numbers. if they execute one, you may execute one. retaliation is a way of diminishing cycles of violence. by making that counter retaliatory move you then say to your enemy i have leveled the field and make sure it goes no further. one place where this happened all across the landscape, because of the decentralization of these armies individual commanders
9:47 pm
make these decisions and use retaliation to diminish and discourage unjust violence on their own without necessarily having recourse to washington. one of the places that happens is in the shenandoah valley. john mosby, 43rd calvary battalion regular enrolled commander but his units operate irregularly and he is most effectively a guerrilla. he said he wasn't and we can have the debate later. his forces are effective and hard to catch. and it frustrates custer who i am embarrassed to say is from michigan. in this case what he does is respond to the execution of one of his officers and there is wide consensus that a union officer had been captured and injured and his men didn't want to take him so they shot him and there are confederate witnesses to this and military
9:48 pm
witnesses and in response to that execution custer takes six men and hangs them in fort royal in late 64. again it is a disproportionate response. one isn't even a soldier. it is a man from port royal who rode with the confederates out of town. a gross violation there. and mosby knows it. he is a smart man. he is the only honest ex- confederate but of course he thought about slavery. that is what we did and thought about and i don't think it is a big deal. what he says to custer is your execution of those soldiers was unjust and i'm executing six union prisoners that i have. make sure this doesn't start happening again. and it doesn't. one of these cycles that you can see spiraling out of control and we might imagine that if you kill one and the
9:49 pm
enemy kills six and you kill 18 and you kill 50, instead in the civil war it stopped. retaliation works in this context to diminish violence. grant and sheridan are the commanders over custer. there is nothing in the record from them but one can sense that latent frustration that he has exceeded his capacity here and that mosby's response was in fact a lawful and proper response to what happened and one that diminishes the violence. two more points to make and then i will wrap up. the single most important factor limiting violence in the civil war is the decision of enslaved people to seek freedom rather than revenge. the discussion that we had yesterday about nat turner and about the violence with which turner behaved in 1831 with which he was using violence as a tool to break slavery, it is extraordinarily uncommon in the civil war itself. so, amy taylor talked about the hundreds of thousands of enslaved people who seek their
9:50 pm
freedom and come to freedom through u.s. army contraband camps over the course of the war, maybe half 1 million or 1/7 seventh of all of those people enslaved in the antebellum south, those people came to freedom and very rarely stopped to commit violence against whites which had been the fear not just of confederates for anticipating another haiti with the language the union and administration is using in the administration emancipation proclamation. it was probably the most vigorous abolitionist in lincoln's cabinet. we have to be very careful of emancipation because if we incite a violence direction there would be bloodshed and it will be on our hands, so there was a great deal of reluctance to endorse emancipation for this reason. in the event the enslaved people who freed themselves during the war moved to freedom, this is not a path of
9:51 pm
action, the act of escaping as amy described, is fraught with peril. it takes great bravery and courage to make this happen as well as physical stamina. the decision to withhold violence, to not cut the throat of your master on the way out, or set fire to the house as you leave, is an act undertaken for strategic reasons. they know they have a monopoly on violence and know the patterns of white people and we heard from the professor about the response about the traumatic response. probably 200 black virginians killed in the next month or two across the state accused of being in league somehow with nat turner in wheeling in places where they obviously had no connection. so they know that response, the tendency toward the overreaction, there is also of course, now the long-term edition, seeking deliverance and salvation but sees no purpose in exacerbating the unnecessary bloodshed. what southerners are probably saying and what they say is going to happen, it never
9:52 pm
happens. there's no question the u.s. civil war is the greatest slave rebellion of the 19th century. it winds up helping destroy slavery, it is not the revolution right southerners anticipate. there's none of that violence that happens that they imagined the way they think. certainly, the common northern white and southern assumption about haiti of a landscape drenched in blood, that decision here diminishes violence. you could imagine it is in fact, enslaved people in mass would rise up, you're not talking about another 500,000 dead in response, most of the violence comes from emancipation that is anticipatory violence by whites,
9:53 pm
regular soldiers, committing violence against those enslaved people trying to seek their freedom and not the other way around. this seems to me, kind of a overlooked point about these dynamics of the war. it limits the violence enormously. the civil war is not developing into a race war. the one that many expected. last is politics, in the north, lincoln has a divided government. he has democrats to deal with the confederacy, abolishing parties or party labels. let me say that they abolish party labels thinking that abolishes parties, it doesn't, of course but it means that poliss six politics configures this. lincoln is subject to partisan critique. they see criticism of the administration during the war, they believe that the worship be software more gentle and should not affect slave early slavery. the democrats take advantage of that. there is the continual partisan pressure to diminish the violence and then of course, the political role which for lincoln is reunion. it means he needs to conduct a war with the bare minimum amount of violence in order to
9:54 pm
reunify the country, if you fight a war in which there is a general order in every state, to accumulate and gather overtime, he makes reunion impossible. so lincoln is continuously triangulating about what level of violence is nessus very to achieve the outcome which is the discretion of the parties and their inability to fight to begin this process. it took decades, even with all of the measures i discussed that the union adopts as ways to curtail the violence. so very quickly, in what way is this of aiming of war of both malice and charity, not one or the other, he talks about charity at the end but the war was fought with a great deal of malice. it means that war is not exceptional, most civil wars look like this, most civil wars
9:55 pm
have both restraint in them and also, extreme violence. it's also important, i think, to observe the civil war doesn't move in a linear fashion. the violence of the work doesn't necessarily escalate perpetually. this is the kind of model that i think we map with almost every conflict, it has enemies fighting one another growing more embittered, the violence will escalate, we see this in world war ii with the pacific theaters, john dower's famous book, war without mercy, there is this inevitability to that that war itself compels people into more and more violence. and in the civil war, it contradicts that, what we see in the civil war are cycles of violence. like in the shenandoah valley when custer executes the six men unjustly and the cycle winds down and escalates the and d escalates. this is partly because of the scale of the war, this sheer scope of it. to regulate how they behave overtime, there's a code in
9:56 pm
1863 that was not there in 1861. it provides structure for punishing people who violate it. i got a great material in the book. these are punished with great vigor by the union army, particularly once the structure is in place in 1864 and 1865 we see a great deal of punishment for union soldiers on those cores. one point is that state matter, lincoln acknowledges this implicitly, it's easier to contain the violence of the war and destruction properly when dealing with another state, another's dateless entity with gorillas, it's very hard to do this -- the popular stance with states right now, advocating nationalism as a force that in fires people to have respect for their state and commit themselves to monitoring and policing the actions of the
9:57 pm
state in a democracy where these places were when the army goes out the actions it takes reflecting our values and democracy, hiding behind an emperor or a king, 19th century americans know this as we do today, i hope. so they are invested in the ways in which the war is fought. this is part of how they functioned, you don't have to deal that with stateless entities, last is to remind us there is no just war, in its summative way, was the civil war just war, yes or no? vote here, i would not vote having tried for a long time to answer that question, the civil war was just and unjust, every work contains malice, and what that tells us, it's the importance of paying careful attention, knowing there's a likelihood that our troops and enemies troops will violate the customs of how war should be fought and our job as citizens
9:58 pm
and sometimes as members of the military is to correct for that, to be careful attention to try to make sure there's less malice and more charity. thank you. [ applause ] >> we have 10 minutes for questions here. we will start on the left ear. gary smith from connecticut. we will read the numbers of troops who found their way to the confederate prisoner of war camps. there are not good numbers on this, there are prisoners, we know that there were black prisoners in andersonville, dealing with, if any of your teachers, patricia's book, a book about this magnificent and very hard read, it deals with
9:59 pm
this question. hundreds ado, the problem is, we don't know how many don't. trying for a while to keep track of these incidents, i'm still reading through these and finding moments when the platoon of 12 soldiers is captured and as it often happens as they are being marched there there's an attempt to escape and then they are all killed. sometimes this happened. it is weird when all 12, it does not look like the escape got very far. it shows that we don't know, certainly thousands, that make it into the prisoner of war camps but we don't necessarily know how many don't. >> thank you. >> yeah. >> thank you, stan from massachusetts, i'm curious, there's lots of evidence of confederates showing restraint for union soldiers in not shooting them when they could. so that's a little different than executing african-american soldiers like at the battle of crater, i've seen a lot of
10:00 pm
information about confederates during the time and afterwards, justifying the murder of the african american soldiers but i wonder, have you run across in any of your research, any remorse for that? >> there's not a great deal of remorse. the newspaper treatment sort of dives right in, jefferson davis talks about this heroic victory, you know, davis was never one to withhold from a bad cause, he did not take on emancipation. this is going all in, if you're going to be wrong be wrong on account of a biblical scale. so there's not a lot of public remorse but there is certainly soldiers and a famous testimony who writes about him, he writes clinically saying that this is what happens. it's clear he thinks this should not have happened, his brains could have been scooped up from any quantity with the
10:01 pm
skulls being bashed in with rifles. but no, i have not seen a great deal of that. what you see is that this happened in a way that the union has over dramatized this and that it wasn't that bad that we were trying to take the fort and it was an accident, but not a very clear reckoning with that, among the wartime generation. even though as i said, there's plenty of evidence from people who talk about it. and there was private correspondence, and private correspondence there were people who said this is not how we should behave. confederate soldiers like union soldiers regulate themselves all the time. and after they crossed into pennsylvania, many confederate soldiers were there, this is not how we are supposed to fight, it's easier for them to criticize that than i think it is the treatment of black soldiers because it's not such a rail. >> thank you. >> kristin from fairfax virginia.
10:02 pm
in regard to your discussion on retaliation, did you find any evidence of the confederate military and political leadership acknowledging the guerrilla's response to the j hawkers, the union militia along the western border in missouri ? justified retaliation? >> the kansas guides who came over, in western missouri if there's any place you would want to be during the civil war, it's living along the kansas-missouri border. the j hawkers were the people coming into missouri. there was a sense that yes, the confederates justified this, they don't use the word retaliation because they were proceeding in an irregular sort of way it was kind of more like cycles of revenge. if anyone saw a escalating series it would be this place. what i was apprised about was how this deep the awareness of it went.
10:03 pm
born from enslaved parents in louisiana, she makes her way, a free woman living in upstate new york, her sons fight in the 55th massachusetts, she writes to lincoln in the mid summer of 1863 before these issues for retaliation provision, she says we need to retaliate. she says it in the letter. she's not saying to lincoln we need to kill white soldiers but we need to make them know they can't kill hours. and so even at that time at the citizen level among people you'd be surprise, they understand retaliation is a feature of war that ensures balancing in order to restrict the overall violence. both sides are quite aware of that. sometimes they use the language as i say, a little bit sloppily, but yes, they were certainly framing that has, you started it and we are getting back. but this has been going on since the 1850s. so. >> yeses dennis doyle. professor, have you seen in your research, a group of
10:04 pm
soldiers refuse an order based on their own ethics or morality that they refused in that command, in order to commit an act of violence? and what were the repercussions if they did do that? >> this is a good question. i didn't. so i think the short answer is no, i didn't see anything explicit like that. there were times when, i mean certainly, orders got countermanded. issues that i don't deal with very well at all was violence against native people, the uprising minnesota the kind of the town fathers of minnesota as the settlers they want 300 of the men involved in that uprising executed, lincoln diminishes that and curtails it to only 38 but still is the largest execution in american history and shocking on its
10:05 pm
scale. it's one of those places where there's this intervention and part of what happens after 1960 1863 is where the judge advocate general, the u.s. army, they review these. they review punishments mostly and at least review the way in which the union army is being consistent about how we have exercised violence against men in their care there are these views that need to happen. generally if you disobey orders, you get accused and leave this happened in a few places. the regimen, the mutiny and is fusion rates are higher for the regimen. and basically violence was being committed against the members of this regimen, they took up arms, i mean, i think they are justified in doing that, this is not actually a mutiny in the classical sense but there are six of them who were executed for mutiny and their parties and their bodies are buried.
10:06 pm
more across the army in a way. >> john rollins from washington dc. are there any examples of the opposite occurring, in other words, mistreatment or execution of confederates by black troops? >> there's certainly a great deal of unnecessary death of confederates held in union camps in general. one made an argument in his book most strongly singer's argument, a malignant and intent producing unnecessary deaths and the union has less excuse for this than the confederacy like nl myra, they had the resources to care for people in a way the confederacy was more strapped i do not quite see this as intentional there was a great deal of maligned neglect on part of the union in dealing with the confederates. there
10:07 pm
are isolated instances where particularly after along the mississippi river, where black troops who engaged with they would shout no surrender, they famously write to washburn who is the commander in memphis and says, i heard a report that the soldiers in memphis, i heard a report that they went on bended knee and took an oath to offer no surrender, a gross violation of the terms of war and i will respond in time to my men who encounter these people. he wrote back and says, i did not hear that happened but if it did, i'm glad it did after what happened at fort pillow, your men don't deserve quarter and i expect this is what how the war was conducted. there are moments there in mid 64 along the mississippi river, i think this happens, the general, this doesn't in fact,
10:08 pm
produce a cataclysm of violence there. >> our popular view of the end of the civil war is that we are exceptional in that, there's very little retaliatory violence after the war, putting our civil war in the context of others, how accurate is this popular view? >> this is 100% accurate, partly in my next book in the context of others around the world, in this next book, i'm not getting all the way to the commune but in some ways this is a useful story. this is a kind of workers revolt and yet also a secession of enterprise, making itself independent, the national army prefaced this at the end of that where they killed probably 25,000 in the streets of paris, a week of bloodletting with bodies lined up, famous photographs of this, those who had fought on behalf of the
10:09 pm
commune. they were killed just there, nothing remotely similar, one is killed, executed at camp ferguson, basically all for war crimes, a handful but there's no treason prosecution, like the book on this, talking about this very rapid shift of sentiment in the north amongst people like henry beecher, in the context of the rest of the world with the patel in the rebellion, the siege of the city, you don't take visitors, you close the city up and let it ferment for weeks or months until 10,000 people are dead of cholera then you take the city, nothing like this ever happens, there's this enormous restraint demonstrated, and in that respect, this was quite exceptional and one that we might look back to as a model for how to treat people in this sense, one more western. i think we are actually all
10:10 pm
done here, thank you very much i appreciate your time. >> this is a special edition of american history tv , a sample of the compelling history programs that air every weekend on american history tv, like lectures and history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nations history, enjoy american history tv, now and every weekend on c- span 3. friday remarks from assistant secretary of state christopher ford, on potential ways that the u.s. could work toward eliminating weapons of mass destruction in the middle east. he will speak live starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. right after that, leaders of the u.s. and japanese military discuss the u.s.-
10:11 pm
japanese alliance and their strategy to respond to regional and global security challenges. the events hosted by the center for strategic and international studies, it starts live at 2:30 eastern on c-span. and friday night, campaign 2020 coverage with remarks from acting white house chief of staff nick mulvaney. he will speak at the annual silver elephant gala hosted by south carolina's republican party. that starts live at 8:15 p.m. eastern also on c-span. american history tv continues friday night, with a look at u.s. foreign policy. we will start with a look at american democracy and post- world war ii japan. then, a discussion on containment policy in southeast asia. followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the cuban revolution. american history tv airs friday at 8:00 p.m.
10:12 pm
eastern. here on c-span 3. this weekend on book tv, saturday at 7:45 eastern, in his latest book the public option, donations, the former policy director for senator elizabeth one, talks about the effectiveness of government involved in promoting opportunity and equality. >> the public option for broadband could go a long way in addressing the challenge of access, while introducing competition into some of these concentrated markets. this isn't a pie in the sky idea, chattanooga, a city of 180,000 people, has had 1 gb download internet, extremely fast internet as a public option since 2010, today more than 100,000 of their people and businesses take advantage of the public option there. >> then sunday at 2:00 eastern, in-depth is live with the author and historian lee edwards. at 9:00 p.m. eastern on afterwards, this
10:13 pm
author talks about his first- hand account of the far right movement and his origin. >> there is no agreement across the subculture other than who the enemy is and what the nature of the enemy is. there is no authoritative police state or those who are complete and assist. i'm going to be a citizen of the world, not in the sense of i don't owe allegiance. there's those who are american first. we will take our country back. will have very little agreement other than who you are against. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span 2. the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has
10:14 pm
provided america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington dc and around the country. so you can make up your own mind, created by cabell in 1979. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. next, american history tv. university of georgia professors stephen berry looks at his work on the digital history project, private voices. which gathers and digitizes letters written during the civil war. this was part of the gettysburg college civil war institute's annual conference. it is close to an hour. >> let me introduce myself to the c-span audience, carmichael the director of the civil rights member of the history department here at this college. it is my pleasure to welcome my good friend stephen berry


1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on