tv Lorien Foote Rites of Retaliation CSPAN October 7, 2022 9:17am-10:21am EDT
funding for c-span two comes from these television companies and more. including mitt co-. so tonight's event is a very exciting one our speaker is dr. laurian foote who is the patricia >> so tonight's event is a very exciting one. my top -- speaker is doctor lorien foote, which is the professor of history at texas a&m university and she is the author of four books, and the editor of two additional books. and these are on a variety of civil war techs, including things like violence in the union army, and u.s. p.o.w.s who escaped from imprisonment in the confederacy. and that project gave rise not
only to a book, but also a really interesting digital humanities project called fugitive federals, which among other things, will allow users to track the [inaudible] as they escaped the -- in the confederate states of the war. i most -- her most recent book which is the subject of tonight's event, and my proffer this evening,'s rights of retaliation, civilization, soldiers, in campaigns in the american civil war. this came out just a few months ago from u.n.c. press. i really enjoyed reading, it and i know we are going to enjoy listening to doctor foote talk about it, and it is available at all booksellers under the sun wherever you buy your books from, and no doubt you can obtain a copy of rights of retaliation. so tonight's agenda is doctor foot will speak for about 30 to 35 minutes, and we are not
super strict, but that is the general target. and we will have time for discussion at the end and so we always invite audience questions and comments and so far at least the audience has never failed to provide us with excellent questions in comments, and i'm sure tonight will be no exception. the way that you can do that is by typing directly into the q&a button on zoom. so the chat function will not work, you won't be able to turn on your microphone or your camera, everything we will do through the q&a box and then doctor foot and i will keep an eye in the q&a box and we will get to as many questions as we can. we will wrap up at the latest by about 8:15 eastern time. and so just a little bit of or an hour from now. and so that's all from me from now, but i'm really grateful to for doctor foote to join us this evening, i'm really looking forward to the top, and so i think we should give her a virtual round of applause and welcome her to our screens,
thank you so much for being with us. >> back to quigley, thank you so much for inviting me, i am just elated to be here, and to share the research with you. i found it fascinating and so i hope that the audience will find it fascinating as well. so i want to begin by telling you about something that happened on february 23rd, 1865. the confederate leadership convicted a act to violate the principles upon which they had promised to fight their war for independence. on that day, confederate agents in virginia delivered to the united states 14 black union soldiers for exchange as prisoners of war. four days later, the u.s. naval commanders in the gulf of mexico proposed that free black sailors and soldiers fighting in the confederacy and mississippi be treated as prisoners of war. confederate military officials agreed. and these two moments happened because u.s. authorities had conducted a retaliation ritual
in the south to to protect and northern born free black u.s. soldiers. and this ritual change confederate policy. today, many rioters and historians complete retaliation with revenge. but during the american civil war, retaliation was a ritual with a purpose, and that purpose was to negotiate civilized war and manage how campaigns were conducted. and so what i would like to speak with you tonight about is this ritual of retaliation and how it worked to change peoples behavior during campaigns. and so i'm going to share my screen with you here, to help you follow along. let me get that shared. and then i will continue. and so that is the starting point that i want to be sure that we all understand, that retaliation is a ritual with a purpose to negotiate civilized war and manage how campaigns are conducted. so retaliation is consistent with the code --
hold on a moment -- with the code that gathers the conduct of u.s. armies in the field which is general order number 100. this was issued on april 24th 1863. article 27 of general orders claim that civilized nations had retaliation as the strongest feature of war. a reckless and we often least his opponent no other means of securing himself against the repetition of arborist outrage. and this is not revenge but rather a means of quote, protective retribution. retaliation was only legitimate if it was done cautiously and unavoidably, and only after careful inquiry into the real occurrence. the author of the code, francis lieber, who was an expert on the international laws of war, cautioned that unjust or inconsiderately a shun removes the belligerents farther and farther from the mitigating
rules of regular war, and by rapid steps, leave them nearer to the war of savages. so i think that these lines and this are interesting. the reference, the civilized aspects of war, and the war of savages. because this is going to get us to one of the themes of my project, which is actually civilization and what it meant to americans who are fighting the civil war. because retaliation against prisoners of war is actually a common feature in american civil war. field commanders use retaliation nearly every military campaign. and civilian leaders frequently return to the practice when they confronted contentious policy issues. union and confederate officials shared a ritual of retaliation, and played an important role in determining how each side fought the war. equally important, retaliation reflected the cultural worldview of civilization. americans talked constantly about civilized war.
anybody houston only a little bit of research into the primary sources in a civil war will acknowledge that the word civilization, the word savage is used constantly and correspondents, diaries, official correspondence. americans liver their correspondents with reference to the rules of civilized war and they incessantly accuse the other side of savagery in private and public formats. this is because americans in the civil war era consider themselves to be part of a transatlantic set of civilized nations that they believe represented the pinnacle of social evolution to that point in history. and so there are three essential elements to civilized war as the majority of americans understood it at this time. the first is restraint. self control, order, and deliberation that underlies the violence of the civilized war which was most easily defined in contrast with its opposite. animal like anger, uncontrolled
passion and unlimited and indiscriminate violence that marks a savage conflict. civilized nations fought with -- who represented the state and who are under the disciplining control of judgment officers. gentleman officers ensured that the effects of violence on non combatants were in the second indispensable aspect of the civilized war was that combatants participated in the accumulated wisdom of civilized people, stretching back to ancient times. americans perceive themselves as part of a shared history and took care to contextualize every aspect and action taken in warfare as a consistent outgrowth of that history. they mind history for examples of warfare to justify their policies or to accuse their enemies and consistently and constantly cited presidents for the actions that they took. official private correspondence during the civil war was filled with historical references, finally, civilized war was honorable.
not in the modern sense of just or virtuous, but and it's classical definition. nations had a reputation to uphold before an audience. you cannot claim yourself to be a where the nation, unless other civilized nations acknowledged your claim. being in the confederacy they had to convince other civilized nations to preserve and judge them about the righteousness of their conduct. civilized war is a performance where rhetoric in protocol and etiquette were vitally important to establishing a nations claim to supply status. and the purpose of retaliation is to reinforce the customs of war among civilized nations. military leaders on both sides in the civil war agreed on the basic rules in the established rituals of retaliation. retaliation is different from revenge by both purpose and procedure. its intent is to prevent the enemy from continuing with a
specific barbaric acts and to enforce the civilized use of war. major general henry pollack served as general-in-chief or union armies for nearly two years in was and acknowledged authority on the subject, wrote that the object of retaliation is deterrence and prevention. as lincoln instructed one of his generals, and here i am quoting him, i wish we could do nothing really for revenge. for what you may do shall be done solely with reference to the security of the future. confederate secretary for james a seven believe that the point of retaliation was to produce a thorough reformation of the offending nation. head of the confederate bureau of war fought that -- shooting of prisoners would do that and prevent suffering. and so a combatant who is considering retaliation wrote a letter to his opponent that contained several elements
placed in sequence. i was a statement of the desire to fight the war uncivilized principles. this was always the first thing that the writer did in his letter. then the writer named a specific barbarous act that the enemy had committed. it supposedly violated the international customs of war. and then the letter writer often took an opportunity for the recipient of the letter to disavow this barbarous incident by offering three suggested explanations. the first was that perhaps the writer of the letter was misinformed and the incident had not actually happened a second acceptable explanation that the incident did happen, but that the guilty parties who committed the atrocity had acted without the sanction, the official sanction of the military that they were in. it's already colleges that
periodically a soldier will commit an atrocious act that was not sanctioned by his people. a third possible explanation is that yes the incident happened, but it was not sanctioned and the perpetrators will be punished by the side whose soldiers or officials committed the atrocious acts. and so the address, see the person who receives a letter, would provide evidence that the perpetrators would be punished. it's within the right of the letter concludes it was a time limit to receive the response. if he hasn't received an acceptable response within that time limit, then the writer of the letter names a specific measure of retaliation that will be implemented against a named individual or group of people. that retaliation is supposed to be proportional to the offense that was committed. these negotiations blamed every military campaign that occurs in the civil war but
specifically in the department of the south, which i chose as a subject for my book because i thought it was important if you go in on one military theater, because retaliation is best understood if you follow retaliation incidents from beginning to end, and follow the characters in each theater, because only then can you understand the nuances of how retaliation works. and so my book includes the military history of the department of the south the covers as officers, soldiers, and his campaigns, raids, battles, barred, months and for our purpose here, i want to use three examples. free points of contention between the union and the confederacy in the department of the south, and the retaliation incidents the kind of exemplify how this works. the first issue of contention and department the south was the union's deployment of black soldiers. here, the union successfully used retaliation to change confederate policy towards black and u.s. soldiers who have been born free in northern
states. it's what begins in 1861 in 1862 when an abolitionist union general david hunter created regiments of black soldiers from south carolina, georgia, and florida, and deploy them in raids along the coast of south carolina and georgia to destroy plantations and liberate enslaved people. and so here is a map that kind of shows the south carolina islands which the union military took control of in 1861. this is the source that hunter sought for recruits, and these are going to be the rivers that he is going to use for raids by 1863 as many of us have heard of, there are roads like the -- river raid by portions of the second south carolina, and so you can see here, the burning of the rice fields and deliberating and enslaved people. the confederate government, after a very interesting
internal investigation, issued a retaliation resolution that required black soldiers, even if they were born free in northern states, to be turned over to the states for trial as servile insurrectionists. and so many historians are familiar with this resolution in may of 1863 by the confederate congress which said that confederate military courts can try u.s. commission officers and incite violent insurrection, and otherwise punish them. and then the language in the resolution is very specific. even if born free any northern state, it would be delivered to state authorities in the state where they were captured. and so it took until the summer of 1863 for confederates to take any black prisoners in the department the south after this retaliation resolution was issued but it happened in the summer of 1863, we captured black soldiers who had been
captured on -- island and then also in an attack on fort wagner, here in charleston harbor during the union military efforts to capture charleston. but at the same time, that these black soldiers from the 54th massachusetts, both of whom were born free in northern, states were captured. the u.s. war department received a letter, smuggled tunis out by three black sailors of the union navy, asking for protection by the u.s. government. warren h. brown, william h. johnson, and william wilson were three black sailors who had been born in the state of new york. they managedthere should have b, but all of the white sailors have been exchanged. they were put in the charleston jail. they managed to smuggle this letter which found its way eventually to the u.s. navy department, and with this letter, which gave specific evidence of what confederates we're doing with northern black
u.s. military personnel, the union war department was able to act. they also had the backing, the union war department, a v incredible publicity in the north and in europe about the fate of the prisoners of the 54th massachusetts, because the regiments organizers were rich and powerful republicans with international ties. because of the situation, the united states issued a general order to 52 on july 31st, 1863. it's stated that any captured person on account of his color and for no offense against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism in a crime against the civilization. so the retaliation, and this order was that a confederate p.o.w. will be put to hard labor for every u.s. soldier slate sold into slavery, and that the united states would execute a p.o.w. for every u.s. soldier put to death. and so historians are well aware of general order to 52, what they completely messed
because they have not gone into the weeds of retaliation incidents across time and specific departments is that this order was issued it specifically addressed and the department of the south, and explicitly addressed the capture of northern born free black soldiers. and the retaliation correspondents of those that goes along with this general order, the confederate war department received a message in their own internal correspondence, and it's clear that they understand that this order was issued to protect free black soldiers particularly because what other historians have missed is that the u.s. government sets aside three white south carolina soldiers and prisoners of war as hostages to secure the enforcement of this border. and the confederate war department again understood that these three white south carolina soldiers were hostages for the men of the 54th massachusetts, but more specifically, the three black sailors from new york.
so this created a crisis in the confederate war department because some within it argued that the u.s. did have the right to harm its own citizens as free black man. for example, the director of the confederate bureau of war, he wrote to his superiors, it's very clear that the united states have the right to enlist any of their own citizens. they have long in the states regarding citizens, as a massachusetts, allowing them the right of suffrage. international tension also suede secretary of war james a. seddon and president jefferson davis, as they recognize the publicity surrounding this retaliation issue, and that the civilized world was watching what they were going to do. so eventually, they ordered southern governors to ignore the retaliation resolutions, and to put free born black u.s. soldiers who were captured at the battle of --
in florida, which happened in february of 1860, four and andersonville, with white prisoners of war. and so after black soldiers were captured, after a massacre that occurred but i can talk about in the q&a, those teen -- those that were captured were treated as prisoners of war and put in andersonville with white p.o.w.. the soldiers of the 54th who were captured in charleston were eventually integrated into the confederate military present system and those three black sailors from new york were exchanged. and additionally, the confederacy actually puts in writing their change of policy. and so he gave instructions to governors of the congressional front because of the embarrassments of free black prisoners, and he talked about the serious consequences from rigid enforcement of the act, and they're he's talking about the execution of those three white south carolina hostages, and he orders governors and
confederate military officers to treat free black man as p.o.w.'s, and some indicative of inferior consideration. and then the confederacy finally in february actually puts amendments to their retaliation resolution to make a distinction between formerly enslaved black soldiers and black soldiers born free in the north. the language changes from employing negro slaves, changes to employ negro slaves instead of employing negros at war against the confederate states. it repealed the sections that required military orders to execute or punish an officer, and it repeal the section that required confederate officers to deliver black prisoners to state authorities. and this long retaliation incident that occurred, eventually the confederacy changes its policy and puts it in writing. the second big issue apparent in the department of the south was confederate treatment of union p.o.w.'s. my research and covered a
retaliation incident that academic historians have been completely unaware of. in 1860, for the commander of the department this out with john g foster. and when confederates brought union prisoners from georgia to charleston, during the federal bombardment of the city and put them in locations under fire from union guns, he received permission to bring the confederate p.o.w.'s to the islands in the charleston harbor and put them under fire. and so this aspect, historians know about it, the both the union in the confederacy of prisoners of war to charleston harbor and put them under fire. but here is the point that was not known until you follow the retaliation through to its conclusion. during this time, the condition of the union prisoners, and andersonville, and in georgia, became known to foster because escaped prisoners crossed into union lines and reported what was going on particularly below the quantity and quality of the
rations. and so when confederates ultimately removed the union prisoners from charleston, foster sent the confederate p.o.w.'s that he still held, and he sent them to fort pulaski in georgia and in hilton head and i have a picture here of the building where he put them. he ordered that the 600 confederate prisoners of war, received the same rations that union prisoners had received at andersonville. under this regiment, the confederate officer sickened and federal medical inspectors wrote that their health could not be sustained under that dye it interestingly, fosters retaliation was actually not legal and not an example of how the retaliation ritual was supposed to work. because they did not notify his opponent about what he was doing, and if you don't notify your opponent, they can't change their behavior. and so because of that, but he was relieved of command, his subordinates who always disagreed with retaliation,
some of whom even try to mitigate the condition of the prisoners, they were able to convince the new commander to stop this retaliation the third issue was federal treatment of non combatants. this was highlighted during sherman's march to d.c. and through south carolina. during this campaign, william becomes a sherman, marching his army through georgia and up through south carolina. union officers and his staff and in his command, and so i have a picture here of sherman staff officers in the 1865, they were very concerned about civilization and how to maintain self control and discipline of soldiers while unleashing them to destroy resources and wage psychological warfare on the confederate population. and so it's really interesting that right before sherman's march, the staff was joined by henry hitchcock. he was new to the war and had been a lawyer in st. louis and
he was related to ethan allen hitchcock who is the u.s. commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, and he decides in the fall of 1864, he wants to join the union army. his uncle sets up for him to be on sherman's staff. and hitchcock brings to the war, a typical concern about civilization. he becomes obsessed about whether this army that he is joining is behaving in a civilized fashion and so he conducts a personal investigation that he records in his diary, and every night he sits down with other officers and ask the questions, did human pillage, they act surprised today, how barbaric were they? did you do nothing to stop them if they were behaving in a barbarous fashion. he records the off answers of officers in his diary. his obsession and that of other like-minded officers was because the international offices of war allows for foraging, but pillaging is the hallmark of a savage army. it is a sign of out-of-control
soldiers who are looting and destroying for no reason the violence and bloodlust. and so there is a faction of sherman's army of officers in sherman's army they become increasingly convinced over the course of a campaign that a portion of their army is out of control. and as a faction of officers that claim that it's not, and there were only a few men who were pillaging, and that no army can control everyone. and so this reaches a summit point when sherman's army arrives in south carolina and finds that the behavior in misbehavior escalates. what happens is that starting in jordan, but escalating south carolina, confederate soldiers and citizens began murdering union stragglers and foragers after they surrender. this is going to launch another retaliation. union general -- patrick who is the head of
germans cavalry, wrote his counterpart, general joseph wheeler, about the murder of 18 union soldiers whose throats had been cut. and kill patrick follows the protocol in the ritual of palliation and he follows it exactly. he specifically describes the incident, the atrocity, he asked for an explanation and then he said, if no explanation is forthcoming, that he would shoot 18 confederate prisoners. wheeler responded, as you should respond in this ritual, and he said that he was shocked and outraged here about this. he promised to investigate, he promised to do justice and he said that if the report was correct, that he agreed that retaliation should happen, but he preferred that it would be inflicted on the guilty party, and not an innocent prisoners of war. and so kirkpatrick was satisfied, and he said that he trusted wheeler to investigate and find the guilty parties. and then kill patrick makes a extraordinary statement that
reflects his obsession with pillaging and civilized warwick that we see in both armies during the american civil war. here is what he said. he writes to wheeler, it stragglers from my command are found in the houses of any citizens, committing any outrage, my own people are directed to shoot them on the spot. and of course i expect officers and shoulders of your command to do the same. and so here come patrick is encouraging confederate officers to shoot union soldiers if they are caught entering houses or committing other outrageous. and so this should have ended matters. but would kill patrick reported to sherman that the 18 union soldiers had papers on their bodies that said, death to all foragers, sherman ordered be needed execution of 18 prisoners of war. and here was why. the sign on their dead bodies
said death to all foragers, indicated that the union soldiers were mutilated and killed and their throats were cut because they were foragers and not pillagers. and sherman knew that it was a war right under the international law of war, for invading armies to forge the countryside. he then ordered his commanders to take life for life, if any foragers were murdered and to leave labels on their bodies indicating the intention to kill man for man. sherman did this because he fought the people of the confederacy would police themselves if they truly believed a terrible punishment on their soldiers or their community would follow. and so after sherman issues this order, the next day, federal scouts found the bodies of 21 union entry men naked with their throats cut. so sherman wrote that
lieutenant general wade hampton, who owned all cavern south carolina, he had been burned and pillage by union soldiers just a few days before. sherman wrote to hampton that foraging was a war right, and that he would protect his foragers with retaliation of life. he also wrote that he would not protect the pillagers. he told hampton in this letter, that if the people resisted his foragers, he would not -- and sherman back this up with orders that he issued to the brigades in his army. this was on february 25th, 1865. and here is what he said, he ordered officers in his army to retaliate life for life and any forgers for killed after copier, and to keep a record. he also ordered that forger should be kept within reason abounds for the sake of discipline. and then he said, i will not protect them when they entered
dwellings and commit want to waste such as women's apparel, jewelry, and things that are not needed by our army. he also instructed his commanders that citizens of south carolina resisted foragers, i will not be in that wrong. accept toand here again we see w retaliation is a way for commanders to put on record what they will accept, what they won't accept, and show how they are following the civilized rules of, war and to actually change their orders and attempt to curve the behavior of soldiers if that becomes necessary for this ritual. it's a hampton road back, that he would execute two prisoners for everyone confederate prisoner who was executed. he characterized union foragers as thieves who robs citizens and fired their houses and he said that he ordered his men to shoot down all soldiers who are caught burning houses. he told sherman that his army
was composed of wild beasts, rather than men. and it's interesting, because in the retaliation correspondents, there is a constant use of animal metaphors, because civilization draws a sharp distinction between the human and the animal. the worst thing that you can do is accuse someone of being animal like or animalistic. he satisfied 56 prisoners of war as hostages and case sherman continued his execution policies. but sherman did execute, and he executed 43 prisoners of war in south carolina. more than any other commander during a single campaign. in this case, retaliation reflected an escalating cycle of violence, rather than keeping violence in check. and so i use this retaliation incident to talk about how retaliation and miss function and misfire instead of checking violence, it can actually be something that contributes to a
escalating cycle of violence. in this case, it is a conflict storm of the personality of the commanders, the stakes the chairman makes during this ritual, but also a pattern of revenge and violence that had occurred throughout this campaign. and so americans on both sides, in conclusion, are deeply concerned about this escalating violence in the department of the south. for it seemed to undermine the important pace that their war was civilized. and so my book is really about the worldview of civilization. what americans meant by, this and what it meant for their identities and then also shows what happens as we see here in sherman's campaign, when americans begin to fear that they are not as civilized as they thought. they proclaim at the beginning of the war that they have a place in civilization, and they're going to fight a war with restraint and honor. and then they look at where
things are, and they don't see that restraint, they fear that they have committed acts that train them before the world of public opinion. studying the rights of retaliation allows us to understand the war as americans experienced it, not just as a crisis of nationhood or a crisis of republicanism, but that they experienced it as a crisis of their civilization. so if you are interested in learning more about the crisis of civilization, as dr. quickly mentioned, you can buy my book, writes of retaliation on amazon, and many other booksellers, and then you can also see the website, which is currently having an online sale that would be 40% off if you order using the discount code that i have here on the slide so many gwen stop sharing my screen if you want to jot down the discount code, you can do that quickly now. or we can go back and look at this later on but i want to get
back to full screen so that you can see me better, and then i will stop sharing. i am ready to take questions. . the wonderful, thank you so much for your presentation, that was really fascinating, and i encourage everyone to type your questions into the q&a box. we have a question about the practice of trying to persuade or course prisoners of war into joining your services, galvanization it is sometimes called. that play into the retaliation culture at all. didn't have any impact on retaliation? >> that is an interesting question that no one has asked me before. i don't see that it did. i don't come across, of course i came across the discussion of galvanize soldiers, both by soldiers in the department of the south, and there were
soldiers who were galvanized in apartment the south, but i did not see that actually impact the retaliation ritual or discussions of civilization in any way. >> thank you. we have another question about the ongoing indian wars, and the ways at which those conflicts contributed to the retaliation culture [inaudible] [inaudible] in the book. >> that's a great question. one of the things that occurs is that civilized combatants make a distinction between when they are fighting other civilized combatants, and when they are fighting people that they view as savages. and so people that are viewed as savages because they do not have restraint, because they don't have honor, you cannot use retaliation to run for
them. and so the view is that you have to fight savages like savages, because you cannot apply the rules that you could apply if you were fighting a civilized opponent. and so you're not going to see the same kind of customs and rituals and etiquette in the indian wars because those opponents are viewed as savages. and so, it's interesting to, a lot of times in the retaliation correspondents, that plays out and how commanders are going to treat them like gorillas within the confederacy because guerrilla warfare is seen inherently as savage warfare. general orders number 100, it does not recognize the guerrillas as legitimate combatants. they can be summarily executed, they can be treated as pirates, highway robbers and savages, and so we see a very different dynamic about how the union is going to respond to guerrilla warfare and indigenous people
for fair because those are viewed as not legitimate combatants who are behaving in a savage way. >> yes, that makes a lot of sense. one of the questions i'm sure that you get asked a lot is how did all of this apply to warfare in other campaigns, including guerrilla warfare in the civil war. >> and it's very interesting, because the guerrilla warfare and retaliation regarding that has a very different dynamic. in an essay that i have in a book called crossing the deadline, it's edited by mike gray, i go into a lot of detail about guerrilla warfare, because there is a lot of retaliation along the mississippi river because grant and sherman in 1862 in 1863 are really concerned by guerrillas who are firing from the banks of the mississippi river onto unarmed union transports. and so this launches a whole
retaliation incident with pemberton, the confederate general at vicksburg, and these incidents are always very different because the problem is that the confederate military leadership, while they would use retaliation to defend partisans, they actually are also uncomfortable with unaffiliated guerrilla. and other, words the confederate leadership could see is that the guerrillas are not a civilized component of war. people who are not in uniform, who are not responsible to the commander who is part of the state because their violence is not regulated, it is out of control. and so the confederacy kind of fails in all of their retaliation incidents in the mississippi because the confederate leadership was basically conceding the union position on gorillas. and they won't do anything about unions summary executions
of gorillas in missouri, kentucky, and along the mississippi river. so, we often get comments on social media about the events that we are hosting. this reminds me, one of the comments i saw about this event was something like civilized warfare, there is no such thing. it is a problem, isn't it. when you think about what these guys are doing to each other, or even in the difficulties of claiming that it is civilized. i think that is one reason that i think it is important. we can, as modern people, make these comments that there is no such thing. but, they believe there was such a thing. they really believe it. and, if we are going to understand how they do the things they did, but still,
o'connor sauvignon syphilis were. we need to understand how this worldview accounted for the atrocities and what we were trying to do about it. the whole thing is that is where retaliation existed. americans were involved with the atrocities that occurred. that their own side had. that was within the customs of war. something that you are supposed to be able to do about it to rain that back in. to try and stop those atrocities from escalating. and so, that is what they were trying to do with these rituals that the implemented. now, whether they worked or not, we also have to understand that when they worked, how they worked. we have to understand their worldview. we may not think the world is civilized, like they did. >> yes, that was really well put. thank you. one viewer is asking about the discreet direction of pie --
we are not talking about retaliation, or revenge, we are talking about destruction of property that can help one side or the other achieve their war aims. how does that fit into the retaliation? >> that is a great question. that is part of what the ritual is also designed to do. so, of course, the customs of war and into the national war of school have rules. they have put down being in complex places with european philosophers and experts. eventually, the united states is going to try to come in and enforce these. the point is, within the customs war there are aspects of war, such as, destroying private property. when is that legitimate? when does it cross the line? who can do it? can you forge, in particular ways, and not in other ways? these are things that there are debates about. at the beginning of the presentation you have to mind
history. for example, what have civilized nations done in their warfare? that is part of what i do. you can provide examples for roman warfare, french warfare, british warfare, that can justify different practices. so, one of the things, for example and the union of charleston, there was a metropolitan education that went into the heart of, can there be destruction of private properties through bombardment, and where does the, and how far away do you have to be to be able to bombard a city? do you have to have a city under siege for it to be legitimate for you to bombard the city? do you have to give notice in advance? these are questions. it was not clear what the answers were. that is where the rituals allowed both sides to debate. and so, a lot of the letters i read, i mean, the commanders who were writing these letters, they were ten pages long and
they were filled with references to past conflicts, and learned books, trying to prove that you committed an atrocity. here are all of the historical examples that show that this atrocity, it is not acceptable. and then, the other side, they will say, wait a minute. there are counter examples. the british did this. the french did this. the romans did this. and so, what we did does not file under the laws of war. you can just throw private property in these circumstances. and so, it allows them to sort through areas where it is a little cloudy. >> the letters are really interesting, to me. listening to your presentation, in particular. i was so reminded of the dueling correspondence and the precision, and exhausted mid with what they were exploring the issues, accusing each other. i found them leaving the opportunity to back out. i will say, it did not really
happen that way. we cannot explain. it of the parallels there, did people bring lessons from dueling correspondence to this retaliation culture? >> yes, i think that gets back to their belief that uncivilized war the officers are gentlemen. so, they would come to this with one of the essential hallmarks of a gentleman, which is on. are they do understand that reputation matters and so what they understood from this was something that they understood as how to put that into their retaliation duels as well. and i mean, i think it is interesting, because, one of the things that i saw frequently in an internal correspondence, when officers, or civilian administrators are discussing whether to start a retaliation ritual, or how they will respond to it, they always say something like, how will
this look to the eyes? they use that phrase, a lot. because, they really believe they know everyone will be able to correspond. they know that someday someone will be able to sit down and read their correspondence and they really care how they are being judged. the honor even extends to people are going to look back to this in the future. so, if we do, this will history condemn us? that matters to them. that is part of honor. >> yes, i think that goes into one of the other things i really like about the buck. the sense that in that moment, they are playing to the court of international opinion around them. not only in the future but in the present tense. they are worried about what other people, especially quote unquote civilized nations, think about what they are doing. >> i think that is why they backed down on the issue of soldiers. the confederation is convinced
that they are in a position of people who are formerly enslaved. they believe that they can point to all of these examples and they will say, even napoleon did not free russian serbs. you never start a insurrection when you are combatting an enemy. so, they think they are on solid ground but recognize, actually, the idea of employing your own citizens, even if those citizens would be considered enslaved people for one of these. and their correspondents frequently talk about, this is embarrassing, this is dangerous. it is very clear that the unions international publicity campaign around the 54th massachusetts confederates believed that they are in the international court of public opinion. that is one reason they shift gears on that one >> thank you,
one viewer was asking whether there was a prisoner exchange system in the south like there was and other places. how did the early use of black troops in this region influence that? >> right, that is a question. i did not go into detail on this topic at all. i spent a lot of time talking about what happens in 1861 and 1862. not only are they trying to raise the black regiment but also, black men on the islands are trying to protect their local communities from confederate raiders who are crossing onto the islands and trying to kidnap people and re-enslaved them. and so, there is an incident where confederates capture six black men who are in federal uniforms. this is really before any soldiers have been mustered into the union army. the confederacy will execute
these soldiers. so, he starts on his own stopping exchanging prisoners. he wants to protect, not only soldiers were black men who are trying to protect themselves. and so, he tells his counterpart that he is doing. this, so there is a breakdown in the exchange of the department of the cells. there is an exchange in the wider military conflict. he even has when the first south carolina starts escalating its range in 1862 hunter instructs them to capture prominent what citizens so he can hold them as hostages. for the safety of his black soldiers. and so, these hostages, from the beginning of the war or trying to do that. and then, something, and a
different way of answering that question, frank foster and sam jones who is a key veteran commander from southwest florida in 1864, they tried to conduct a whole bunch of prisoner exchange is. even when their superiors told him not to. they are so traumatized by their commander on the ground, for hearing the first reports about this and what is happening. and so, in addition to trying to retaliate he also desperately wants there to be a prisoner exchange. he keeps trying to range and exchange prisoners with his counterpart. both of them get so under control and used so many special exchanges that both the union department they say you stop now. and so, there are a lot of local exchanges that have to go through at some point. >> great, we have, it sounds
like, more of a philosophical question. it goes like this, you sketch out the rational argument about rationality. what was the discourse if any on the applicability of the music argument and the movements are attribute of justice to an eye for an eye? >> that is a great question. let me answer that in a way i can. to enter your specific question and answer a point you did not ask. there is a lot of discussion among philosophers. not so much ordinary officers who still use this workload and to understand it. there is a lot of discussion, for example, on neighbors as they tried to write general orders. and how it kind of oversees a lot of the retaliation.
how you applied principles from the bible principles from international customs of war. so,-for-tat actually is the's eye for an eye, -for-tat. it was used in these two and munsey eight the principle that you never go above-for-tat. it has to be related to that. part of that, is of course, you are trying to limit the violence. part of it is the the judeo-christian tradition. it is drawing from that tradition, so, on that note, i have to throw in, and they talk about this a little bit in the book, a lot of christians who are active in bible studies, who are particularly identified as questions, they are vocal opponents of retaliation.
they view that christianity should trump civilization and that christians do not retaliate in the same way. that it does not matter if you are committing atrocious acts. you do not respond to that by killing innocent prisoners of war. you are supposed to love your enemy and retaliation undermines that. there are important places, both nationally and not, that are against retaliation. and so, that is an interesting sub part of that. i will throw this in as an example. when the union leadership in washington d.c. is considering national retaliation against confederate prisoners of war, even ellen hitchcock, who is worried about how this will look, in history, he writes letters to prominent reformers in new england.
he says, okay, we are thinking about cutting the ration for prisoners of war. should we do that are? not what do you think? >> he writes, sophia ppd man, he writes, sophia adi hawthorne. marianne and some other people in new england asked if they could, and it is really interesting, because one of the parts actually says there cannot be retaliation because of christian principles. we just have to do the right thing regardless of whatever what side is doing. and you cannot second or starve anyone. even if it is allowed by the rules of retaliation it would be wrong. so they are really exploring this before they do anything. and, again, if retaliation is done properly or so invokes to investigate. you are not supposed to do it it a spirit of passion. and so, there are times when it is operating and they are actually trying to wage opinion
for who the they are important and who they think would tell them to react to. >> i thought that question might stump you but you obviously gave it a lot of thought. in the 1860s with people giving a lot of activists thought to. that i have another question different from the others. it is about the process of writing the book. what readers and listeners might not know, immediately, is the book took shape in the context of a distinguished lecture series. that was at penn state university. and, i was wondering, how, and if it is all affected from when he wrote the book to when you approach the topic and the final topic. would it have been different if you had done the usual thing and gone with a topic from a book and gone out and written
it? >> i think it would've. here is why. i was so honored and privileged to be able to present these lectures in state universities and the purpose of that is you have three nights to get to the three lectures. and then, you have this audience with faculties that are out in the public. by doing three lectures i was able to present my ideas, very much into. and then i got all these questions. at the end, the director of the civil war center said she would send me a six page report about what people were saying after the lectures. and so, what was in that report was the fascination with the civilization aspect. and so, that really got freaky. it was like how to bring that
out in a different way. i think there was a ritual and they really wanted to focus on the effect on the campaigns and help her tell you should work in the military aspect. that really got me thinking about the world view that was the overarching element where all the rest of us were operating. those lectures with sheep this-ization aspect. >> that is really interesting. i think that was very referenced. i think that huge significance where you make the argument that the civil war was not just, you know, a crisis of nations, it was also about different definitions of trying to define civilization. or civilized warfare and what it might look like. i think that is a really important argument to make. >> i think it was one of those where the rows lectures made an injunction with, i already
started the research for my next project. it entails, actually, a lot of animal studies literature. and so, i was starting to read the animal studies literature. it was as i was getting ready to write rights of retaliation. and that was really helpful. the animal studies literature does a lot. how people in the 19th century view humans and animals, and their constant loop of civilization of savagery of animals, reading these pieces of literature gave me a whole new way of understanding when they say things like, wild beast. or when every prisoner of war talks about being treated like hogs, being put in penn lake sheet, and being treated like hogs. before those metaphors, i understood what they were saying. they turned it and the significance one over my head. i did not really understand how people viewed the difference between humans and animals. understanding that really
helped me understand the civil movement. >> yes. >> so, earlier we touched on a theme. we said that leaders on both sides were playing to the court of international public opinion. they were thinking about their place in history, and that kind of thing. how did that actually work out for them, would you say? did these examples of retaliation, these carefully, you know, corresponded things, and so on, did they go on to be used in future conflicts around the world? did it stay restricted to the american civil war? >> i think it has a little bit of an effect. it was interesting to me because these times reprint in fall a lot of retaliation correspondence. it occurs in the department of the south. the british really we're watching these campaigns and seeing how it played out.
and so, i think we see the impact of that. it is in the fact that international conventions that occurred in the 18 80s and 18 90s, you know, european militaries are not respecting them at that point. still, they are not considered the u.s. army that has been re-demobilize and remains a significant force. but, it is clear that because of the influence of general orders, number 100, on this, and the treaties that are there, it is clear that this did have an impact on how european nations started to codify their own international laws of war. because, general orders have influenced that strongly. and so, i think between the fact that they are watching these retaliations occur, and that the war does produce that order, it does impact what we are thinking of labor. did that answer your question? >> yes, absolutely.
that was really useful. so, it seems as though it is one point. it is influenced by the international laws of ones that already exist. and then, it goes on to affect people. and people's thinking about the laws of war. >> yes, because, i mean, for a century after this how we were defined, this was based on his reading. that, at the end of the day, has been a modification that, i mean, i read some of the literature on the laws of war, today, when i was researching for this book. and, i mean, they basically used the definition from this. >> very interesting. so, i think we are about to wrap things up, here. i just have a couple of things to say by way of congratulations. one of them is to think everyone in the audience for attending this evening. it is really good of you to
bring your questions, and comments, and interest in the topic. we really appreciate that. i also want to think donors over the years to virginia's center for civil war studies. they make everything we do possible. i really appreciate this and the support. i hope i see audience members at future events whether it is on webinars. i mentioned that the next one is on april 26. we also have in-person events in plastered. we have our annual civil war weekend coming up at the end of next week. i'm very much looking forward to it. i hope i see some of the attendees at the future of events. i would also like to think our speaker for bringing such a fascinating presentation given great, really thoughtful answers to the questions, as. well i'm sure i'm not the only one intrigued by her next project. hopefully, once that takes shape, you know, you will be able to come back and tell us all about that one, as well. for now, thank you very much for being with us this evening.
very much appreciated. >> thank you so much. >> c-span now is a free mobile act featuring your unfiltered view of what is happening in washington. live and on demand. keep the days livid biggest amounts of life floor proceedings and hearings from congress. white house about, the courts, calm pains, and more from the world of politics. all at your fingertips. you can also stay current with the latest episodes of the washington journal and find some scheduling information for c-span's tv networks and radio. plus, a variety of compelling podcast. c-span now is available at the apple store and google play. download it for free today. c-span now your front row seat to washington anytime, anywhere. speaker andrew roberts good evening everybody. i'm very happy to welcome you to the hoover institution and welcome our distinguished sp