William Thorpe a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumnus stood at the former site of the Silent Sam memorial at the UNC campus. Thorpe said that " The Union soldier is the best representation of the university's motto, Lux Libertus. Light. Liberty. The Union soldier represented remarkable patriotism, valor, and morality," Thorpe said. "We're here on Dr. King's birthday, Jan. 15, 2019, to raise awareness of the Union soldier who fought and died to preserve all of the rights that we all enjoy today" (CBS 17). The details that are expressed by Mr. Thorpe are not only false but also vindictive against Southern History.
The remainder of this article will be an open letter to Mr. William Thorpe, Alumnus University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Your comments regarding the Union Army are not only false but also degrading to the South. The Union had no intentions to ever tamper with the institution of slavery; this was made clear in Lincoln's first inaugural address. Also, the "Union Soldier" you speak so highly of isn't regarded so greatly in history. This letter will feature at least two examples of how far the Union Army went to actually oppress the South. Actually, Silent Sam the statue you regard as being "divisive" was erected to honor the students of UNC who volunteered to fight for the Confederacy. It would be more disrespectful to erect a Union Monument than to just leave a blank ground, neither of which I agree with.
The Confederacy, when conceived, commissioned William Porcher Miles to design a flag for their new nation. Mr. Miles worked for a great deal of time solely on this project. He is even quoted with calling it his "pet". When the final version of the flag was completed, Mr. Miles said, "May the career of the Confederacy, whose duty it will then be to support and defend it (the flag), be such as to endear it to our children's children, as the flag of a loved, because a just and benign, government, and the cherished symbol of its Valor, Purity, and Truth. Respectfully Submitted, WM. Porcher Miles (Chairman) (Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865).
Mr. Thorpe, how can a flag be divisive when the flag never stood for slavery? Jefferson Davis is quoted with saying, "We are not fighting for Slavery. We are fighting for independence; and that, or extermination, we will have" (New York Times).
When the Union is so swell Mr. Thorpe, how can it be that their leader is so wretched? Abraham Lincoln may be quite the star in history, but recently he has been revealed in a much darker sense. Lincoln in his March 4, 1861, Inaugural Address made some stunning revelations that he would soon go against. Keep in mind that by March 1861, already six states had seceded from the Union. On the subject of slavery, Mr. Lincoln said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so" (Yale Law Library).
Lincoln also said in regards to states' rights, "Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes"(Yale Law Library). This statement was soon broken by the federal government when Lincoln began invading a "foreign nation"
(Confederate States of America). Lincoln, in the middle of his speech reassured the citizens that there would be no bloodshed. He confirms with, "In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere" (Yale Law Library).
This becomes yet another broken promise to the U.S. citizens. In his speech, Lincoln voices his support for a new amendment that had passed in the House and the Senate, which he offered to the South as a bartering deal. The "Corwin Amendment" would allow a state to keep its slaves and the passage of the amendment would prevent federal intervention into the State's institutions of slavery, thoe only catch is that the State must readmit itself to the Union (WBUR).
The Union soldier himself is recorded throughout history in many negative connotations. The Rape of Athens, Alabama, is just one of many examples in which the Union soldier is involved. In May of 1862, Federal forces swarm the town of Athens; they began a period of looting, theft, destruction, which included the burning of over 200 bibles, the gang rape of women, including the pregnant wife of a Confederate cavalryman (George C. Bradley and Richard L. Dahlen, From Conciliation To Conquest, 2006).
The Event of the Roswell Mill women is yet another event that causes my blood to boil. The Union Soldier was not commonly composed of good men. Most men in the North wanted nothing to do with the war. Conscription forced many into the war with no choice. According to Georgia Encyclopedia, "In July 1864 during the Atlanta campaign General William T. Sherman ordered the approximately 400 Roswell mill workers, mostly women, arrested as traitors and shipped as prisoners to the North with their children. There is little evidence that more than a few of the women ever returned home" (georgiaencyclopedia.org). Mr. Thorpe, what happened to those men you spoke so highly of? Were they not fighting for Liberty and Valor? No, Mr. Thorpe, the answer is No.
When a government can declare war on a sovereign nation, invade said nation, commit horrendous war atrocities on that nation all without ever being tried for war crimes, where does the order begin? What about those Generals such as Sherman or Turchin who looted, pillaged, and burned houses? Turchin was court-martialed by his superior officer Don Carlos Buell. In turn Lincoln promoted Turchin to a superior rank, therefore nullifying his court-martial. Turchin was greeted back to Chicago with a grand ball where the band played "Lo the Conquering Hero comes" (George C. Bradley and Richard L. Dahlen, From Conciliation To Conquest, 2006).
Contrary to popular belief Lincoln didn't make slavery an issue until January 1, 1863, when he was hoping to gain reelection. That is when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in those states not controlled by the Union. Mr. Thorpe, how did Lincoln free slaves in territories that he did not control? The answer is that he still believed he had power in the states which were no longer a part of the Union. The 13th Amendment I would like to add did not free slaves in the northern slaveholding states (The Emancipation Proclamation).
Mr. Thorpe, it is not only a disrespect to the Confederate soldiers to remove their monument from the university, but it is to spit in their faces to replace it with a monument of their sworn enemies. The South was made to "howl" by General Sherman. Turchin commanded men who raped women and burned Bibles. This is the same Union Army you speak so highly of; however, you were misled into believing that the Union was fighting for rights. The fact of the matter is, the Union was fighting to, in Lincoln's eyes, preserve the Union. The South fought because they were invaded. Their homes were burned by Yankee pillagers, soldiers who burned crops and salted the dirt in fields out of pure meanness. The Union Army is not a proper symbol to replace Silent Sam, who shouldn't have been moved in the first place.
Zachary C. Grizzard
Andrew Jackson Grizzard
48th Georgia Infantry Company A.
"Deportation of Roswell Mill Women," New Georgia Encyclopedia, accessed January 16, 2019, https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/histo....
"Journal of the Confederate Congress Home Page: U.S. Congressional Documents," American Memory: Remaining Collections, accessed January 16, 2019, https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcc.html.
"SOME WORDS ON PEACE AND WAR.; A Statement by Mr. Horace Greeley," Breaking News, World News & Multimedia - The New York Times, last modified July 29, 1864, https://www.nytimes.com/1864/07/29/archives/some-w....
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George C. Bradley and Richard L. Dahlen, From Conciliation to Conquest: The Sack of Athens and the Court-Martial of Colonel John B. Turchin ( Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2006), xx.
Robert Richardson, "UNC Alumnus, Donning Union Uniform, Celebrates Silent Sam's Removal," WNCN, last modified January 16, 2019, https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/orange-count....
WBUR, "The 'Ghost Amendment' That Haunts Lincoln's Legacy," WBUR, last modified February 18, 2013, https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2013/02/18/the-ot....