A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Over the Edge
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
At the end of this article, beneath the notes I have cited, is "Actual Citation from Book," Mitcham's endnotes for Chapter XIII.
WANTED TO MENTION as a side note that Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. has an article in the latest Confederate Veteran magazine (January/February 2022) entitled "War, By The Numbers," which is outstanding.
The footnotes in "War, By The Numbers" are at the bottom of each page, which I love. You are able to read them as you read the text thus enhancing the text even more.
Here is an example from "War, By The Numbers," which everybody should keep at hand when taking on the historically challenged:
The North had every advantage. The population of the United States in 1860 was 31,443,321. Of this, 9,000,000 people resided in the Southern states. This included 3,500,000 slaves, giving the South 5,500,000 white people from which to field their armies. According to John H. and David J. Eicher, the "Military Population" of the North (white males aged 18 through 45) was 3,954,776, as opposed to 1,064,193 for the South. Another roughly 191,000 black men served in the Union Army, as opposed to 80,000 to 96,000 in the Confederate Army. At their maximum extent, the Northern armies fielded more than 1,000,000 men. During the 1861 to 1865 period, 2,898,304 men served in the Union Army. That was 1,812,121 more troops than served in all of America's other wars combined up until that point. We do not know exactly how many men served in the Confederate Army because many Southern records were lost or destroyed at the end of the conflict. Estimates vary between 600,000 to more than a million, with 800,000 to 850,000 being commonly cited figures. General Cooper and Thornton H. Bowman, however, put the number at 600,000. It is unlikely that President Davis and his generals ever fielded more than 300,000 men at any one time. [This paragraph in Confederate Veteran includes footnotes 4 to 8]
The reason I have done this series on Mitcham's It Wasn't About Slavery is because he covers everything of historical value in a clear, concise manner. Nothing is left out.
People such as SCV seeking truth, have it with Mitcham in a thorough, well-argued narrative, which is highly quotable and powerful for any Southerner arguing against the fraud that comes out of academia and the news media in this day and age, an age defined by ignorant "wokeism" and those who push it (mostly the same ones pushing racist Critical Race Theory and the fraudulent 1619 Project).
BACK TO It Wasn't About Slavery, Chapter XIII, "Over the Edge," Part Two.
The Virginia secession convention was alarmed that "Lincoln's inaugural address had in it hints of coercion and usurpation of power, that Lincoln had rejected the Crittenden Compromise, and that he refused to meet with the Confederate peace delegation sent by President Davis" so they sent a peace commission of their own to meet with Lincoln and find out his views.
Virginia's peace commission was made up of "William B. Preston, Alexander H. H. Stuart, and George W. Randolph," all Union men:
'If our voices and votes are to be exerted farther to hold Virginia in the Union, we must know what the nature of that Union is to be . . . ' Mr. Preston declared. 'If the power of the United States is to be perverted to invade the right of States and of the people, we would support the Federal Government no farther.'1
On "April 2, the very day Lincoln approved a secret act of war, 'Honest Abe' asked Seward to send Allan B. Magruder, the judge advocate of the U.S. Naval Court" to "confer" with "Stuart, Judge George W. Summers (a highly respected member of the Virginia Convention and a solid Union man), and convention president John Janney."2
Magruder was apparently on a mission to lie and mislead because he "told the Virginians that he was authorized by Seward to inform them that Fort Sumter would be evacuated on Friday of the following week."3
Magruder said Seward wanted Summers, Janney, or Stuart "to come to the White House for a secret meeting" at Lincoln's behest or with his consent, but they sent John B. Baldwin instead.
Baldwin was "smuggled" into Washington in the early morning and "driven to the home of Magruder's brother, Captain John B. Magruder, the future Confederate general, where he ate breakfast."
Allan Magruder "then conducted him by carriage (with windows carefully covered) to Seward, who took him to the White House."4
Around 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 4, Colonel Baldwin was told by a White House porter that he probably would not be able to see Lincoln because Lincoln was already meeting with "several important visitors."
The porter returned and "told the guards to admit Baldwin at once."5
Lincoln was in a meeting with "three or four elderly men" but ended the meeting "abruptly." Lincoln then
escorted Baldwin upstairs to a private bedroom and closed and locked the door. The president sat on the bed and asked the colonel about the true sentiments of the majority of the Virginia Convention delegates. He spat on the carpet from time to time throughout the interview.6
Baldwin told Lincoln Virginia would not secede "if the new administration respected the Constitution and did not abrogate the rights of any state. This would have included taking military action against the cotton states."
The disgusted Lincoln answered:
'your Virginia people are good Unionists, but it is always with an if! I don't like that sort of Unionism.'7
Baldwin then explained to Lincoln that "all free men could only be conditional Union men. When Unionism treated groups or sections of people unequally, the benefit of the Constitution was lost."8
Virginia had voted against Lincoln but Baldwin assured Lincoln Virginia would be loyal and help Lincoln keep the border states in the Union if he obeyed the Constitution.
Secession, however, was a constitutional right, and Virginia did not believe the federal government had any right to coerce a state by force of arms.9
Lincoln continued thinking the South was blowing hot air, "'a game of brag,'" but Baldwin assured him that was not the case.
Lincoln must have been delusional to witness conventions of the people in seven Southern states as they thoroughly debated the one issue of seceding from the Union, then voted to do it. How could Lincoln still think they wanted to remain in his union?
Lincoln saw them set up a brand new nation on this earth, a continuance of the original American republic of the Founding Fathers with arguably a better constitution than the U.S. Constitution.
For example, the Confederate Constitution, in addition to outlawing protective tariffs and establishing a low 10% tariff for the operation of a small federal government in a states' rights nation, also made it unconstitutional to tax one state then spend the money in another.
The Confederate Constitution was committed to free trade and it required bills to be properly labeled. The president would serve one six-year term so he was not constantly running for reelection.
Slavery was not required in the Confederate Constitution. Slavery was up to individual states.
The Confederate Constitution also allowed free states to join the Confederacy, which petrified Lincoln because several, especially along the Mississippi, were highly attracted to the South's low tariff and free trade economic philosophy. Why should those states pay high tariffs to enrich the North at the expense of the rest of the country?
Of course, Lincoln was the first sectional president in American history. He was president of the North and was looking out for the North only.
It is important to point out that while Baldwin was talking to Lincoln, there were more slave states in the Union than the Confederacy. There were nine in the Union, soon to be 10 with the admission of West Virginia as a slave state into the Union, while there were only seven in the Confederacy.
The nine Union slave states in early 1861 were Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The seven Cotton States that seceded and formed the Confederate States of America were South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
As Baldwin talked, Lincoln's eyes finally opened. Lincoln
slid off the edge of the bed and began nervously pacing back and forth. 'I ought to have known this sooner!' he snapped, clearly perplexed. 'You are too late, sir, too late! Whey did you not come here four days ago, and tell me all this?' There was a look of fury on the chief executive's face. He was now pacing furiously and grasping his hair as if he were about to pull it out by the roots. He was obviously highly agitated.10
Baldwin said he came as fast as he could but Lincoln said "'Yes, but you are too late, I tell you, too late!'"11
took this to mean that coercion had been decided on within the last four days. Unlike Baldwin, Lincoln knew that there were four war expeditions already sailing south.12
Lincoln's advisors had convinced Lincoln that Southerners were so afraid of "servile insurrection" that they would back down and that would "solidify the Republican triumph at the polls" so what Lincoln should do is "force a confrontation."
Baldwin wanted a "'peaceful union proclamation'" that "would paralyze the secession movement"13 but Republican greed for money could not be satisfied by words or even blood. Colonel Robert Dabney, D.D.
recalled that 'the policy urged by Colonel Baldwin would have disappointed the hopes of legislative plunder, by means of inflated tariffs, which were the real aims for which free-soil was the mask.'"14
Lincoln wanted Baldwin to adjourn the Virginia Convention "sine die" since it had already voted down secession three times but Baldwin "rejected the idea out of hand."
He "sensed that Lincoln wanted war and tried to persuade him to let the south go peacefully."
He "pointed out the historical and economic ties it had to the North and predicted that they would eventually lead the Southern states back into the Union."15
'And open Charleston, etc., as ports of entry with their 10% tariff? What, then, would become of my tariff?'16
Lincoln was shocked because he knew that "war, made inevitable by his actions, was about to start" unless he backed down.
Until now, he "did not think Virginia would leave and join the fight." Reverend Dabney later wrote that Lincoln "'had not manliness enough to recede.'"17
Colonel Baldwin lost respect for Lincoln because he realized Lincoln's "purpose in calling the meeting was not peace but to get the convention to adjourn. This would make it easier for the North to win the war by keeping Virginia from seceding with the other border states."18
The New York Herald saw through Lincoln too. On April 5 it editorialized:
We have no doubt Mr. Lincoln wants [President Davis] to take the initiative in capturing . . . forts in its waters, for it would give him the opportunity of throwing [to the South] the responsibility of commencing hostilities.19
Gideon Welles sent his orders to Captain Adams in Pensacola "via a special messenger, Lieutenant J. L. Worden, USN, who traveled by rail from Washington to Richmond to Augusta to Atlanta." Worden memorized Lincoln's war orders then burned them. He arrived midnight April 10 in Pensacola.20
The next day "he met with Braxton Bragg, the Rebel commander in the Pensacola area and assured him he had a verbal message of a "pacific" nature for Captain Adams" so Bragg let him deliver it, which Worden could not do right away, due to bad weather.
Meanwhile, Union commander Israel Vogdes committed an act of war by breaking the armistice between Union and Confederate forces in Pensacola. He reinforced Fort Pickens "with a mixed marine/army battle group."21
Worden avoided Bragg and left Pensacola for Montgomery arriving the morning of April 13 where he was arrested. Confederates had fired on Fort Sumter so Bragg knew Worden's message for Adams was not "'pacific.'" Southerners held Worden as a POW and not spy, luckily for him.
Worden later commanded the USS Monitor in her famous battle with the CSS Virginia (aka Merrimac).
Events in Charleston now "raced to their conclusion":
Jefferson Davis, Governor Francis W. Pickens of South Carolina, and Confederate brigadier general P. G. T. Beauregard, the commander of Southern forces in Charleston, had about enough of Abraham Lincoln's subterfuges. They were no fools, and they realized Lincoln and Seward were playing for time so that they could get their military forces in position to reinforce Forts Sumter and Pickens. . . .22
Southern leaders realized Lincoln was determined to start the war: "Lincoln presently had five war expeditions in Southern waters or preparing to enter them."23 He and Secretary of State Seward continued to lie to Southerners that the Fort Sumter garrison would be removed.
On Monday, April 8, Confederates "intercepted a letter from Major Anderson" Lincoln's commander inside Fort Sumter, to Lincoln through Secretary of War Cameron. Anderson, who was in the best position to know Lincoln's intent, ended his letter with:
'We shall strive to do our duty, though . . . my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced.'24
Anderson "sees" that the war is to be "thus commenced" by Abraham Lincoln.
Southerners tried to avoid war until the last minute but the insidious Lincoln had arranged things so tightly they could not fail. Even if they had he would have arranged something else because he was determined to start his war. Every minute that went by, the South got stronger and the North got weaker. If Great Britain was to recognize the new Southern nation and offer military aid, the North would not be able to beat the South. Lincoln knew there was no reason whatsoever to wait even one second longer.
At 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861, with all offers to evacuate rejected by Major Anderson at Lincoln's direction, and with multiple belligerent naval forces on the way to Southern destinations, Fort Sumter was bombarded by Confederates in Charleston Harbor for 34 hours:
Fort Sumter hauled down its flag on April 13. The fort was severely battered but, remarkably, there were no casualties. The formal surrender took place on April 14.25
Anderson later wrote that they "'marched out of the fort Sunday afternoon the 14th instant, with colors flying and drums beating, bringing away company and private property, and saluting my flag with fifty guns.'"26
On Monday, April 15, Abraham Lincoln officially started the War Between the States with "a proclamation declaring that an insurrection had begun . . . ." He "called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the 'rebellion.' This would be the largest military force ever assembled on the North American continent to that date."27
Congress was not in session so the immoral Lincoln, rather than calling them back immediately, set a special session for July 4, almost three months away. He wanted to make sure the war was well underway and unable to be stopped before facing Congress.
The Virginia Peace Commission had gone to the White House April 12 and after a brief meeting with Lincoln were told to come back the next day, which they did. They urged forbearance and the evacuation of Fort Pickens and Fort Sumter but:
Lincoln objected because all the goods from Europe would be imported through the ports of Charleston, etc., and his sources of revenue would dry up. 'If I do that, [Lincoln stated to Commissioner Stuart] what will become of my revenue? I might as well shut up house-keeping at once!'28
Virginia was ordered to "supply five regiments for the Union Army."
Virginia Governor John Letcher wrote to U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron the next day, April 16:
'You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the [Lincoln] Administration has exhibited toward the South.'29
The next day, April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded voting 85 to 55 for secession. She was followed by Arkansas, May 6; North Carolina, May 20; and Tennessee, June 8.30 The issue for these states was unquestionably federal coercion. They were horrified that Lincoln and the federal government would invade peaceful states and murder their citizens, which was clearly unconstitutional.
Mitcham writes that "The Northern public, unaware of what had happened behind the scenes, united behind the flag, just as Lincoln thought they would. Old Glory was fired on! It was time to forget political differences and rally behind the colors!"31
Mitcham writes that "President Davis made a serious miscalculation when he ordered his batteries to fire on Fort Sumter. He awakened a sleeping giant, and there would be hell to pay."32
I must take slight issue with Dr. Mitcham's use of "serious miscalculation." What else was Jefferson Davis going to do? Lincoln was going to force the Cotton States back into the Union or face economic devastation of their own doing with horrible legislation such as the Morrill Tariff. The Morrill Tariff threatened to destroy the Northern shipping industry overnight because ship captains were comparing the South's 10% tariff with the North's astronomical Morrill Tariff that was 47 to 60% higher, and they were heading South.
Lincoln thought it would be easy to whip the South because he had four times the white population of the South and maybe 200 times the armaments along with other enormous advantages.
Lincoln also knew that the South with British military aid would be unbeatable by the North.
A free trade South on the North's southern border with 100% control of King Cotton would be formidable, even devastating economic competition.
Preventing that was exactly what Lincoln was committed to. Again, Lincoln was the first sectional president in American history. He was president of the North so he was looking out for the North.
He could see that if the North could beat the South in a war, the North would rule the entire country. Alexis de Tocqueville had predicted that any state gaining control of the federal government, such as the North had now done, would make the rest of the country tributary to its wealth and power.
Northern cities such as New York, Boston et al. would be rich as well as the cultural and economic leaders of our great country for all time or at least the foreseeable future, and that has been the exact case. That's what Lincoln and the North were fighting for, certainly not to end slavery.
Mitcham ends this chapter with a powerful illustration.
He asks rhetorically "was the Confederacy responsible for the start of the Civil War? After all, it did fire the first shot."
He then writes:
At 6:37 a.m. on the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Ward, a 1,267-ton destroyer, spotted a Japanese submarine trying to sneak into Pearl Harbor. She attacked it with her main battle guns and depth charges and sank it. These were the first shots fired in the Battle of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese did not attack the U.S. naval base until 7:48 a.m.
Did the United States start World War II? After all, she did fire the first shot.
The answer to such rhetorical questions is, of course, "No." In each case, the aggressor did not literally fire the first shot, although they did plan for war and decided to launch aggressive actions, such as violating the territorial waters of their foe; . . .33
Abraham Lincoln got his war and was pleased but "concerned that his friend, G. V. Fox, was depressed that his Fort Sumter mission had failed."
Lincoln wrote Fox on May 1 stating "'I sincerely regret that the failure of the late attempt to provision Fort Sumter should be the source of any annoyance to you . . . . '"
'You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.'
Charles W. Ramsdell in his famous treatise, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter," gives additional powerful evidence. The usually tight-mouthed Lincoln confessed his entire plot to his friend Orville H. Browning in July, 1861, not knowing Browning would go back to his room later and put it all down in his diary. In his entry for July 3, 1861,34 Browning wrote:
He told me that the very first thing placed in his hands after his inauguration was a letter from Majr Anderson announcing the impossibility of defending or relieving Sumter. That he called the cabinet together and consulted Genl Scott --- that Scott concurred with Anderson, and the cabinet, with the exception of P M Genl Blair were for evacuating the Fort, and all the troubles and anxieties of his life had not equaled those which intervened between this time and the fall of Sumter. He himself conceived the idea, and proposed sending supplies, without an attempt to reinforce giving notice of the fact to Gov Pickens of S.C. The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter --- it fell, and thus did more service than it otherwise could.
Mitcham concludes this outstanding chapter with a dramatic statement by Francis Key Howard, a grandson of Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star-Spangled Banner." People all over the North who opposed Lincoln's war were being arrested and Howard was one of them.
Mitcham points out that Howard was "ironically . . . incarcerated in Fort McHenry, Maryland" about which Francis Scott Key wrote his famous song. Howard wrote:
'When I looked out . . . I could not help being struck by an odd, and not pleasant coincidence. On that day, forty-seven years before, my grandfather, Mr. F. S. Key, then a prisoner on a British ship, had witnessed the bombardment of Fort M'Henry. When, on the following morning, the hostile fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular throughout the country, 'The Star-spangled Banner' . . . The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving in the same place, over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed.'35
A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Tyranny and Emancipation
(Click Here to go to previous week: Part Eleven: Chapter XIII, Over the Edge, Part One)
(Scroll down for:
It Wasn't About Slavery, Actual Citation from Book)
1 Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2020), 143.
5 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 144.
8 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 145.
13 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 146.
17 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 146-147.
18 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 147.
22 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 148.
24 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 149.
25 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 149-150.
26 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 150.
28 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 150-151.
29 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 151.
30 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 152.
33 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 153.
34 Charles W. Ramsdell, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 3, Issue 3 (August, 1937), 259-288. Ramsdell cites Browning's quote as coming from Theodore Calvin Pease and James G. Randall (eds.), The Diary of Orville H. Browning, 2 vols. (Springfield, Ill., 1927) 1, 475-76.
35 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 154.
It Wasn't About Slavery,
Actual Citation from Book
Lincoln held many meetings before War began with individuals and groups from both the North and the South and of all persuasions. Not once, not once did he mention “slavery”, but every time, every single time, he asked “What will become of my revenue”? Kinda says it all.
Another wonderful, enriching article, Gene.
You are so right. The war was 100% about Northern economic domination of the rest of the country but especially domination of the South since we were producing the wealth of the country as noted by the great Thomas Prentice Kettle in Southern Wealth and Northern Profits, and other economists of the time.
I’m so glad Mitcham gives us Lincoln’s exact quotes about his panic over losing the tariff revenue generated by the South.
Really, Lincoln started his war because he and other Northerners did not want to compete with a powerful free-trade South allied with Great Britain on his Southern border.
Lincoln was a weak man seduced by the fact that he had four times the white population and 200 times the arms. He thought it would be easy but he found out after 750,000 men were dead and a million maimed that it is not easy to crush a people who hate tyranny and want to govern themselves.
The one thing that is provable beyond the shadow of a doubt is that the North did not go to war to free the slaves. They went to war because they wanted Southern tariff money, and the captive Southern manufacturing market, and to ship Southern cotton, which were the sources of their wealth.
They didn’t want that Southern wealth turned back on the South because we would have buried them economically with 100% control of King Cotton. Lincoln and Northern leaders knew that, as admitted by many Northern newspapers of the time.