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Why the Confederacy Lost

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2009

Extract

In one of his New Yorker short stories, Donald Barthelme introduced a character named Francesca, a young woman who was a Robert E. Lee freak. Whenever she was with Thomas, the protagonist of the story, Francesca babbled on endlessly about Lee's Lost Order No. 191, or the tactics of Pickett's Charge, or the Confederate government's failure to resupply Lee's army at Amelia Court House. Even Francesca's eyes were Confederate-gray, reflecting “a lifelong contemplation of the nobility of Lee's great horse, Traveller.” However, as the anomie which usually engulfs Barthelme's characters overtook her, Francesca was finally forced to admit that “ ‘Lee was not without his faults.… Not for a moment would I have you believe that he was faultless.’ ” Thomas roused himself to ask, “ ‘What was his principal fault?’ ” To that, Francesca offered a one-word reply: “ ‘Losing,’ she said.”

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Notre Dame 1973

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References

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2 See Donald, David, ed., Why the North Won the Civil War (Baton Rouge, 1960)Google Scholar, for a representative collection of essays.

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27 For instance, O. R., Ser. I, Vol. VII, 532; Vol. VIII, 641–42, 688; Vol. XIII, 451; Vol. XXII, pt. i, 860–66; Ser. II, Vol. I, 270, 281, 411. See also Edwards, John N., Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare on the Border (St. Louis, 1879)Google Scholar; Connelley, William E., Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, 1910)Google Scholar; Brownlee, Richard S., Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy (Baton Rouge, 1958)Google Scholar; Castel, Albert, A Frontier State at War: Kansas, 1861–1865 (Ithaca, 1958)Google Scholar, and many articles; Monaghan, Jay, Civil War on the Western Border (Boston, 1955)Google Scholar; etc. Also, Mink, Charles R., “General Orders, No. 11: The Forced Evacuation of Civilians during the Civil War,” Military Affairs, XXXIV (1970), 132–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kibby, Leo P., “Some Aspects of California's Military Problems During the Civil War,” Civil War History, V (1959), 251–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Smith, Duane Allen, “The Confederate Cause in the Colorado Territory, 1861–1865,” Civil War History, VII (1961), 7180CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 For example, O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XIII, 33; Vol. XXII, pt. ii, 857; Vol. XXVI, pt. ii, 348, 379, 382; Vol. XXXIV, pt. ii, 942, 957–58; Vol. LIII, 907–8; Ser. IV, Vol. II, 48; Proclamation, “To the People of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas,” Shreveport, Southwestern, 09. 16, 1863Google Scholar, and San Antonio Herald, Sept. 26, 1863; Lee to Davis, June 26, 1864, in Freeman, Douglas S. and McWhiney, Grady, eds., Lee's Dispatches to Jefferson Davis, 2d ed. (New York, 1957), pp. 4357Google Scholar; Berry, Thomas F., Four Years with Morgan and Forrest (Louisville, 1880), pp. 161–65Google Scholar; E. K. Smith to Thomas Reynolds, June 4, 1863, Letterbook, Kirby Smith Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina; O.R., Ser. I, Col. XXXIII, 1081, 1252.

29 Rowland, Dunbar, Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist: His Letters, Papers, and Speeches (Jackson, 1923), VI, 407Google Scholar, 410, 413.

30 Eisenschiml, Otto, The Hidden Face of the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1961)Google Scholar; Davis, , The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, II, 679Google Scholar, 696; and almost any current biography of a Confederate general other than Lee or Jackson. For the debate about Connelly's view of Lee, see Connelly, Thomas L., “Robert E. Lee and the Western Confederacy: A Criticism of Lee's Strategic Ability,” Civil War History, XV (1969), 132Google Scholar and passim; Castel, Albert, “The Historian and the General: Thomas L. Connelly versus Robert E. Lee,” Civil War History, XVII (1970), 5063CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lemal's, Richard F.Communication,” Civil War History, XVII (1971), 171–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Lemal's essay is especially pertinent.

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42 It can be argued that the Confederate leadership was incapable of knowing what their country's revolutionary heritage was. Compare the usual elitist images of the Revolution with Lemisch, Jesse, “The American Revolution Seen from the Bottom Up,” in Bernstein, Barton J., ed., Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in American History (New York, 1967)Google Scholar; Wood, Gordon S., “A Note on Mobs in the American Revolution,” William and Mary Quarterly, XXIII (1966), 635–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lemisch, Jesse, “Jack Tar in the Streets: Merchant Seamen in the Politics of Revolutionary America,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., XXV (1968), 371407CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Barrow, Thomas C., “The American Revolution as a Colonial War for Independence,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., XXV (1968), 452–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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53 Thomas, , The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience, pp. 58Google Scholar ff; Wesley, The Collapse of the Confederacy; Stephenson, Nathaniel W., “The Question of Arming the Slaves,” American Historical Review, XVIII (19121913), 295308Google Scholar.

54 Rowland, , Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, VI, 530Google Scholar. Compare with the abridged and conventionalized text in Davis, , The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, II, 677Google Scholar.

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