tv The Civil War Competing Memories of the Civil War CSPAN August 4, 2018 2:11am-3:10am EDT
i am very excited to introduce our next guest and speaker. she is a bright light in the field of the american civil war. because shedearly is a daughter of the shenandoah valley. our own caroline jenny will be our next speaker. a professor of american civil war and director of the john l now institute. previously a professor of history at purdue university. we are glad to have her back here in virginia. she is a specialist in the civil war era. she's the author of burying the dead but not the past. she is also the author of remembering the civil war.
selected fromeen the history book club and military book club and has won the charles s snyder award that was given to her by the southern historical association. monographs,to her she is -- she is co-edited with gary gallagher the book on cold harbor. she has been the author of essays on the civil war and its aftermath and has appeared on the john journal of southern history. public speaker and has given many presentations and we are very much pleased to have her with us today. please welcome caroline jenny.
[applause] good morning. it is great to be back home. thank you for the wonderful introduction. in front ofo stay the microphone. i have a bad habit of wandering of bits i will catch myself hopefully and get back here. of thepick up on a lot things that dr. robertson talked about but we will go back to 1865 to try to understand in some ways how we got to where we are today. mid-90's,east the there have been calls to remove the confederate flag, monuments, or change names of buildings and schools from the southern landscape. of thatific killings
church and south carolina in 2015 brought renewed efforts to purge the self of its confederate symbols. in the wake of that tragedy south carolina legislature voted to remove the flag from the front of the statehouse. in october of 2015 students at ole miss decided to remove the mississippi state fight from their campus because it contained the confederate battle flag. not just the flag. soon confederate monuments school names were also being debated. in august of 2015 students at the university of texas decided to remove statues of jefferson davis from the quad and in 2017 both robert e. lee and hours in the justin welby removed. committeess convened to discuss monument removal.
4 monuments were removed from new orleans. then there was charlottesville. august 11 and 12 last year. white supremacists gathered there under the pretext of monuments from being removed. this was voted on by the city council in february. the unthinkable happened, the murder that followed in the then monuments in baltimore, durham, and elsewhere were toppled by kreuz or relocated by governments. debates have served as a reminder to the nation of the deep intense and sometimes violent nature of the civil war or perhaps more precisely confederate memory that continues to permeate our country. is place thesedo
debates within a context by examining the way in which they survived the war and thought to remember it. how did they explain it to their children? consciously and unconsciously exaggerate minimize contradict and/or intimate issues from the telling? , thewere the implications social political or otherwise of the ways in which they remember their civil war. i want to begin with some images. you ofe one before confederate veterans and union veterans shaking hands over the bloody chasm. many of you are familiar with or perhaps this one another here of grizzled old veterans coming together clasping hands with their former enemies. many of these pictures used at .he end of ken burns's film
created somehave misunderstandings. today i want to offer a corrective by focusing on three key aspects of the way in which the civil war generation remember their war. an emphasis on reconciliation that urged the war generation to move beyond the bitterness of the past, this was not the primary way in which most participants of the war chose to remember the war. unionist remembered and celebrated the union cause. confederates crafted their own memory. the lost cause. rather than embracing reconciliation, most of veterans harbored intense sectionalism throughout the remainder of their lives. this picture is a great example
that neither one of these men looks too thrilled to be shaking hands with the other [laughter] like to debate which one is being more forced to do so. contemporary commentary suggests that slavery was forgotten by the war generation in the name of reconciliation. this simply is not true. on the contrary, african-americans certainly celebrated the war is war emancipation. white union and confederate veterans frequently addressed the issue of slavery and emancipation years and even decades after appomattox. both sides distort in the that slavery played into their causes. finally i will talk about someone else who is missing from this picture, that is women. this was not a male only event.
, theist and confederate women of both sides played important roles in crafting the worst memory. let's start in the immediate aftermath. the way in which the unionist celebrated and tried to commemorate the union cause. aftermath ofate the war, the summer of 1865 union veterans were clear about why they fought and what they had achieved. they had saved the union and many would have added and it slavery. to the creation of the largest veterans organization in fact the largest fraternal organization of the 19th century, the grand army of the republic. here is a group from west virginia but they are in every the formerding
confederate states. here we have kansas and another group from maine. they did so through the observance of memorial day's beginning in 1868. as a side note if you have ever been to the dayton national cemetery in ohio, the road that leads into it is gettysburg road which suggests something about what was important to these men. monument dedications here we are back in gettysburg, the 1880's 1890's gettysburg was a union memorial park. hundreds of union monuments going up on this field. such important field especially for the army of the potomac. other battlefields were conserved. they worked tirelessly in other words to ensure that their memory of the war the union memory of the war would never be by thatn nor eclipsed
of confederate veterans. too many lives have been lost in to do otherwise. confederates were no less determined to preserve their memory of the war. they needed to explain what they had fought for as well is why they had lost to their children and grandchildren. the lost cause was made up of at least four tenants. that is a term coined by them not academics. confederate search soldiers had fought honorably and bravely. they had not been defeated but overwhelmed by insurmountable odds by superior northern materials and manpower. increasinglyates denied that slavery had been a cause of the war the most asserted catalysts are not a have been sanctioned by the constitution and providence. above all they insisted that secession has been
constitutional. there cause have been just that they had not committed treason. iny expressed the sentiments many the same ways as union veterans. the creation of confederate national cemeteries but you will notice here this one laid out by states not by union. national cemetery laid out as such is gettysburg. beganerate memorial days as early asspices 1866. soldiers organizations such as the re: we can't -- they had reunions, they had periodicals the confederate vatican veterans which began in the early 1890's.
periodicals. all of these are ways in which they sought to make sure the understood what they had fought for. former confederate general explained why it all mattered so much. southcannot justify the in the act of secession, we will go down in history as solely brave impulsive rash people who illegal manner to overthrow the union of our country. they are always worried about this question of whether or not they had been treasonous. these respective memories grow. union and confederate. union veterans seized at the lost cause with its distorted and reimagined renderings of the confederacy. most of the time when veterans are getting together, they are
doing so with their brethren. doing it with other union or confederate veterans. they are not often in mixed group settings. 1880's there are hundreds of monuments going up. each state would often have a day in which they would dedicate numerous monuments. this is a picture from michigan day in 1889. in speaking to a crowd of union veterans on that day, former warned that it must never be forgotten that the force which was the deciding one between combatants so nearly include matched was the strength of our cause and the moral weakness of their cause. we fought for union and liberty, they fought for disunion and slavery. nothing can gloss over the difference.
the rebellion he intoned had not been -- did not have a redeeming feature. it was bad. not uncertain what this war was about. while union veterans certainly celebrated reunion, the reunification of the country. that's precisely what they fought for. of course they celebrated reunion. reconciliation was something different. [no audio] for many union veterans this is much more important than the role of slavery at least in the 1880's and 1890's. we should not forget they committed treason they said at occasions like this. while they conceded defeat, many confederates could be as fierce
and to their former enemies as unionists were. at the dedication of the richmond monument in 1894, confederate privates had this to say. brute force cannot settle questions of right and wrong. the south was in the right. the cause was just. the men who took up arms patriots. we may have lost on the battlefield that doesn't make our cause any less just. these are the things being said to one another. they insisted that losing did not put them on the wrong side of the moral equation. they likewise took aim at the union cause. they accused yankees of causing all of the bloodshed and argued that most union soldiers had not gone off to war to end slavery. [no audio]
it wasn't just that they refuse to forget. power socialad ramifications. let me give you an example. i assume you all know these men are. for union generals and one became republican presidents in the wake of the war. what better way to garner votes. encouraging union veterans to support the republican party. republican party also supported pensions for union veterans. a way of mobilizing. likewise usedes the war's for political purposes. reclaim theng to south carolina governor's mansion for republicans, former
general embarked on a tour of the state accompanied by hundreds or thousands of armed and mounted local rifle clubs composed primarily of confederate veterans and their sons. the lost cause was more than a nostalgic longing for the past. it heralded a united resistance against a federal [no audio] by the 80's and 1890's americans were celebrating a culture of reconciliation. the first five national military parts or done so in the name of reconciliation. popular magazines celebrated the heroic of both sides.
here we have grant and lee of the way memory workplace and to politics. the 1982 populist campaign had a .onfederate and union veteran encouraging northerners and southerners to embrace their former foes in the spirit of utterly love and american progress. all of thesenot accounts, the causes of the war were left out. on the there was a focus battlefield bravery of all soldiers. in fact most of these accounts limit themselves to discussing things that happened between april of 61 to april of 65. we don't talk about the causes of the war, we don't talk about
the consequences of the war, we talk about the bravery of the american soldier. this culture of reconciliation, whether it's going to a play or a ballot. the appeals of reconstruction were behind him. the 1890's. to both sides. picketed -- their political and commercial reason for celebrating a reconciled -- a reunited and reconciled nation. one of the great pieces of doing
the research for this book was finding out one of the first blue griever unions happened in my town. i was a guide at the caverns when i was in high school. by 1881 brochures like this have made their way across the country. group of veterans decided they wanted to see the grand cavern. they basically invited themselves down to see the caverns, if only the confederate veterans would extend them an invitation to come down on the anniversary of manassas. recently illuminated and a little bit later that fall and
september they invite the men up to page county for a joint reunion. these things do happen but they happen only occasionally. that's why there is so much press about them. most of the time that are in spending time with their own ilk. the famed reunion of the ticket at gettysburg in 1887 almost didn't happen. some virginians openly question the loyalty of their brethren who agreed to go to pennsylvania. and reports that the confederates wanted to place a memorial behind union lines created an immense outpouring of reaction from northerners.
the ohio governor threatened to use an ohio national guard to prevent such sacrilege. this reunion did happen, but it wasn't as easy as many of the newspaper reports would have you believe. the following year, the 25th anniversary of the battle, many veterans were increasingly angry that all the focus of gettysburg was on picket and these virginians. gettysburg was the army's first clear victory over the army of northern virginia. park,as a union memorial and they felt their more -- their park was being destroyed by all these confederates coming to gettysburg. former counselan said -- he was perfectly content that the x rebels stay at home.
in fact many of them did. nearly 20,000 union veterans and families came to gettysburg to dedicate monuments, to rejoice in their most famous tri-amps most confederates did not attend. although the gentleman in the middle is none other than your first corps commander. a this point he had become republican, so he was persona non grata, though he was welcomed by many new -- many union veterans. the 50th anniversary, this very famous blue great reunion, likewise expressing similar sentiment. members of the rich and test redmond-based -- launched a protest against this.
st. george tc brian had this to say. i do not see how any man who came back in april of 1865 to smoky ruins and desolated fields , who fought through existence of six bitter years of reconstruction and remembers the wormwood of those days can celebrate side-by-side victors in our defeat in the most important battle of the war. reunions only affect a superficial healing of the sore. leaving beneath the surface the smarting, irritating pass. i cannot go to gettysburg where they can -- where the grand army while we doed recall it only with tears and deep sorrow. not the lovefest that photos like this would suggest.
if you look at all the pictures that were taken from the 1913 , marvelous pictures show men in confederate camps with other confederates or in union , ratherth other unions than staged photographs of the members together. in 1912 confederate veteran of itth carolina observed that is all right to talk about a restored union. but my loyalty stops at the war. those days are still unreconstructed. and i cannot buy all discussion about the blue and gray shaking hands. many more veterans did not go to these that actually went to them. my second point.
the role of slavery was not forgotten by the war generation. debatesthe most intense about the veteran and their children centered on the cause, namely the role that slavery played on causing the war. african americans never forgot about the role of slavery. perhaps the opportunity for civic and political equality. united states veterans marched in parades. they were emancipation day celebrations in 1888. in places like texas and still more emancipation day parades. all paying homage to the fact that union victory and african-american soldiers helped
save the union and end slavery. but white veterans, both union and confederate, often fail to forget that slavery played a role in the war. the dedication of the very first national park to come out of chattanooga was an occasion that was supposed to be a shining example of the reconciliation of spirit of the late 1800s. for three unseasonably warm days, more than 53,000 people have enjoyed this reconciliation of spirits. had come to celebrate the dedication of this park and the memory of all americans. we are supposed to talk about fraternity and healing. even in this occasion where they are with confederate veterans, union veterans can't help but talk about the role of slavery.
crowd, they in the say things like this. the principles confederates fought for meant the perpetuation of human slavery. aey were fighting for condition in which the humanity of the age protested. palmereneral john in likewise informed to those in the blue and the great african slavery had been "the root of sectional bitterness. not only did u.s. veterans forget that slavery had caused the war, but many of them thelighted their role in emancipation. in a bit of revisionist history, or selective memory, they went so far to suggest that union soldiers had been motivated by abolitionist sentiment. here's what he says again. more than one million men came
down from the north, shouting as they know -- as they march. again, both sides are involved in this revisionism. it's an exaggeration to say the least, but most union veterans agree slaveholders undermined the national union and only slavery's demise can ensure the union's survival. here is my word of caution, my soapbox. although race and slavery were : 19lutely intertwined century americans understood that slavery and race were two different things. slavery was an institution. uniontitude of white veterans toward slavery, african-americans and race were exceedingly complex and varied. white veterans admitted black veterans into the post.
in some cases, white women worked alongside the wives, widows and daughters of united states colored troops. and from boston's famed memorial at 54th massachusetts to what i is the largest civil war monument in the country, if we leave aside the lincoln memorial, the grand monument in the center of indianapolis. this too plays homage to the role of slavery in the war. albeit in paternalistic ways. union veterans knew that the war had been about slavery. they had not forgotten that african americans slavery had been part of the war. this does not mean that most white union veterans or white northerners in general soft civil and political rights for newly freed men and women.
we seem to have forgotten that racism and emancipation can and did go hand-in-hand. slavery and race could be separated out in the nines -- the minds of northerners. soapbox done. confederate veterans weren't silent on the question of slavery. here we will go back to ofttanooga at the dedication 1895. the one armed kernel, now governor of alabama had been sitting in the audience say all these things -- audience, listening to them sale these things. he prepared comments that were supposed to be reconciliatory in nature about the american soldier. he tosses them aside when he gets up on stage.
he blames yankees for starting the war. theirs "they're great -- aggressive fanaticism cause an ocean of tears to be shed, sacrifice the lives of millions of men and untold treasure. he goes along to defend slavery. been a lawful state institution and the responsibility laid with the states alone. the notionllenges that abolition had been one of the grand objects of northern soldiers. and he started that such was the revisionist interpretation of the radicals. "you cannot more deeply offend a --on soldier then i should say lines of union veterans started gathering on the side of the stage. of this is, even where
it had been carefully orchestrated to celebrate reconciliation, even here they are talking about slavery. especially in the first decade, countless confederates defended the constitutional rights of southerners to own slaves, and conceded this was their right, to protect state right. in the retrospect slavery seems like such a monster thing that some of us are trying to prove that slavery was not the cost of the war. but confederate soldiers were slaveholders. slavery was increasingly being condemned around the world and more and more confederates did try to distance themselves from slavery as something they had fought to reverse. but they still talked about slavery.
they spent an exhaustive amount of time talking about facebook slaves. our opponents have published times of literature giving the dark side of slavery. people to share stories of faithful slaves during the war. and in their efforts to erect monuments to faithful slaves, the south carolina monument in 1895 being one of the most famous. the story went slaves were happy and care for -- cared for. they have been faithful not only to their owners but to the confederate nation. all of the stories paid homage to the black men and women who place." whoow their didn't challenge the racial hierarchy by trying to vote or sitting on a first-class passenger car.
all this to say neither side remained silent on the question of slavery. a anything slavery proved powerful and divisive strand of memory. which brings me to my third point. women and gender, the ways these play into the memory of the war. confederate women were already mentioned in playing a special role in grounding the lost cause. they converted the first national cemeteries. they had kept registers of the confederate dead, you and states government dead for union soldiers. and they had been the first to raise monuments such as the one in hollywood cemetery. andhe memorial days toication they paid homage confederate women for natalie what they had done to serve the cause but equally as important
what they did after the war to preserve the memory. to the lostentral cause. union veterans on the other hand largely neglected either women as either central to the war or its memory. there were a few efforts in the immediate aftermath to pay homage to women on the hold -- on the home front. more than anything there had been son women groups in the north who had been offering to form ancillary units -- form auxiliary units. for nearly 20 years the they rebuffed their efforts. 's mental 1883 that the women's relief corps was accepted as auxiliary to the ga are. are absolutely astounding. 118,000 women are members by the but theyhe-century, never have the voice, they never have the outlet as their
southern counterpart. women played important roles in resisting reconciliation. the united daughters of the confederacy, which formed in part to provide a so-called antidote to the bluegray gush. is one of the founders writing to her counterpart. "i am paying to see realized some year of our people have accepted and preached the creed that there is no north, no south, but one nation. no true southerner can brace this, and those who do should be ostracized by the united daughters of the confederacy. former confederates, to their part, gravitated to this pre-found women were useful in andsting reconciliation keeping the flames of sectionalism alive. northern men could discount the things the udc said.
they could hear them prattle on about the horrors of the troops, the righteousness of secession, the unconstructive sentiments of women. all of these things that were benign because they came from the mouths of women. union women could be equally disdainful of reconciliation is to efforts. we have the national wrc president fiercely objecting to a suggestion that union women should decorate the graves of on memorialsoldiers day. "treason is treason, whether living or dead, are blue -- our boys in blue were loyal. never while life shall last that we that of urc will honor the grave. return to where he began, how do these competing memories of the warfare in the 20th century?
although most northerners to not succumb to the lost cause, by the 1920's and 1930's it seemed as if the confederate memory of the war had eclipsed that of the union. groups worked vigilantly to keep the lost cause alive. the monuments that were created , most ofese years these monuments go up between the late 1880's, starting in the 1890's through about 1915. there is another way to the early 1920's. this corresponds to the height of veterans association, both union and confederate. there is a correspondence to the dying off of veterans. and the response is not one of defiance but union veterans are putting their monuments up in places like gettysburg and in
town communities across the north. especially when the udc became involved. they put up their monument. the correspondent's to the veterans group, the corresponding women's group. and of course, the 50th anniversary of the war, 1911-1915. making sure textbooks told the right version of the war. groups like children of the confederacy, that's not that cheap -- that soft to teach children about the war. undergoinghas been -- they have actually removed confederate from competitor at memorial hall, which was a fellowship for female descendents of the confederates there and vanderbilt.
georgia had a similar program. but columbia, university of pennsylvania, and vassar had fellowships for the descendents .f confederate veterans ironically the success that the union had and talked about preserving the union led to its steady demise in the popular imagination. having fought to preserve the nation, they encouraged former wearables -- encouraged formal .earables -- former rebels as symbols go, it was increasingly difficult to separate the united states from to the united states of 1880's or 1920's. to see a flag and say
that's a 36 star flagged as a post more stars being added. even as the union cause became more amorphous the veteran -- the confederate cause remained distinct. its memory, it's symbols continue to stand apart, suspended in time and inseparable from the war, captured, of course in the and movieestseller gone with the wind. it appears as though the confederacy was the civil war. centennial, the lost of theo the long side reconciliation as the predominant memory of the war, and here we have the rate -- the flag being raised.
all of this is a product of the 20th century americans. >> that was a wonderful talk, and we do have time for some questions. working,ieve they are so lean into them. they should be working just fine. we will take as many questions as we can before we are out of time. >> professor robertson mentioned the 1906 legislation that soldierd confederate should be treated as all-american veterans. comment on the university of virginia's removal of the plaques with the names of the students and faculty and staff who died while serving in the american army.
when the new president comes in, would you object and ask him to put those backup? wouldn't it be more appropriate to put those plaques backup? >> i will snowball from the your first question. mckinley's proposition that talks about soldiers being treated equally is about graves, it's not about pensions. confederate veterans are still not going to receive veteran -- receive pensions paid -- pensions. that's why you have the confederate grave markers. this is suggested during the spanish-american war.
they don't want to be included with a strong contingent. there is a bit of background to that as well. in terms of the plaques, i have not been part of that conversation yet. to your point about adding other plaques and monuments, one of the things they are doing is looking for an alumni who served in the union army. we are working in the background to find a way to make that part of the story.
we are looking at members of the united states color troops. thewho served in the 54th, 55th, and other various units were born in that county. we are making an effort to look broadly. >> i'm going to ask you if the memorials and the the statutes was in direct reference to the overall arching --er -- arching narrative >> as historians we often get muddled down.
context is important. att because things happen the same time doesn't mean there is a causal relationship between them. they are absolutely happening at the same time. that the primary reason these organizations are raising funds? that has been going on for 20 years. if we had asked the men and women involved, their primary talk about a common soldier. being ainclude slaveholding nation? absolutely. that is part of that context.
up atot denying they go the height of the jim crow era. the primary purpose of -- is that the primary purpose of putting it up? >> i really enjoyed the presentation. click question about the reception of these monuments. why they were made and how they were received by the people who created them? debates todayat is not about the people who made them but the people who live there and experience them. i don't know anything about that. i don't know how african-americans who walked under robert e. lee felt or
was his name? john mitchell was a member of the city council at the time. he is the -- he is beside himself. we have that. rich of be wonderfully people confronting monuments. to think about a way in which the lincoln memorial -- i happen to think it is the biggest and most important of the civil war memorials in this country. whether it is marian anderson or martin luther king and using this monument -- that's the thing about monuments. that needs to be part of our conversation.
when his monuments are put up, they are intended to speak for themselves. it is supposed to endure forever. will look at the monument without thinking about august of last year. the memory changes, the meaning changes. nothing is set in stone. whatever their intention was in 1890, 1913, that is incredibly important. i think that is the heart of the matter. we also have to take into account the way in which their meeting will continue to change. i'm sure john will talk about it later. >> we have time for one more
question. >> how important is the location of the monument that represents confederate monuments outside the courthouse. how important is that placement? >> i think that is everything. the reason it goes up in particular places, why choose the new university -- the university of north carolina to put your monument up as opposed to the battlefield. they are putting up the monument.