From Volume 12 of Confederate Military History Edited by CSA Veteran, Brigadier-General Clement A. Evans. General Clement A. Evans and Co-author Volume XII – Military and Post War History
Confederate States Navy by Captain William Parker.
Confederate Military History is a 12-volume series of books written and/or edited by former Confederate Brigadier General Clement A. Evans that deals with specific topics related to the military personalities, places, battles, and campaigns in various Southern United States states, including those of the Confederacy.
The Reconstruction that the South went through at merciless hands of the North after the War of Northern Aggression.
With all that’s currently going on with the Confederate Veterans Graves, Monuments, Memorials, and the Confederate Flags I am reminded of the lowest Scum of the Earth with their own Agendas and Nefarious Schemes to once again put the South and its People at a disadvantage as to make us Scapegoats and to further rob of us of our Wealth of History, Heritage and Dignity. But as a reminder, I will share what the Author, a Confederate Veteran, and his fellow Peers and Inhabitants of the South went through and Thought about it at the time. These are excerpts from a volume in a set of books he co-Authored, he wrote about the sleaziest People and times when they took advantage of the South.
Except now it’s the Socialist and Racist Liberal Democrat Party and their backed Goons and Thugs of Domestic Terrorists known as Antifa and BLM. Who once again wants to rob us of our Dignity. See if these names of scum fit with today’s Version of Low-Life.
“His like the world has never seen from the days of Cain or of the forty thieves in the fabled time of Ali- Baba. Like the wind, he blows and we hear the sound thereof, but no man knoweth whence it cometh or whither it goeth. National historians will be in doubt how to class him. Ornithologists will claim him because in many respects he is a bird of prey. He lives only on corruption and takes his flight as soon as the carcass is picked. He is no product of the war. He is a “canker of a calm world’ and of peace, which is despotism enforced by bayonets. His valor is discretion; his industry perpetual strife; and his eloquence ‘the parcel of a reckoning’ of chances as he smells Out a path which may lead from the White House to a custom house, a post office, the internal revenue bureau, or perchance, to either wing of the Federal capitol. His shibboleth is ‘The Republican Party.’ From that party, he sprung as naturally as a maggot from putrefaction. Wherever two or three or four negroes are gathered together, he, like a leprous spot, is seen, and his cry, like the daughter of the horse leech, is always, Give, give me office. Without office he is nothing; with office, he is a pest and public nuisance. Out of office he is a beggar; in office he grows rich till his eyes stick out with fatness. Out of office he is, hat in hand, the outside ornament of every negro’s cabin, a plantation loafer and the nation’s laze-rone; in office he is an adept in ‘addition, division and silence.’ Out of office he is the orphan ward of the administration and the general sign-post of penury; in office he is the complaining suppliant for social equality with Southern gentlemen.” (Norwood.) This is a splendid picture in general of the carpet-bagger during the days of reconstruction.
Alabama had become insolvent, and “Governor Lewis, Republican, said to the legislature that he could not sell for money any of the State bonds.” The State debt had grown to the enormous sum of $25,500,000, besides county and city debts of vast sums. “Corruption marked the Republican management as its own. The scoundrel class was in office. Strife between whites and blacks still stirred up by Spencer and his henchmen. Immigration was prevented, emigration from the State by whites going steadily on. Capital shrank from the State into which it had corruptedly rushed a few years ago. For six years the State had been losing at all outlets.” Such was Alabama. It was even worse in South Carolina, Louisiana and other States.
In North Carolina, July 4, 1868, “this new State government was organized. Senate, 38 Republicans, 12 Democrats, 12 carpet-baggers. Outside the legislature, in the lobby, a swarm of the same kind, . . . all of them disreputable. The treasury was robbed, the school fund stolen to pay per diems. The educational investments in securities were sold out at nearly one-third their par value to the Republican treasurer for himself and his associates …. In less than four months, this legislature authorized a State debt of over $25,000,000 in bonds, in addition to $16,000,000 for various minor schemes. The entire debt imposed by reconstruction on North Carolina exceeded $38,000,000, while the taxable wealth of the State at that time was returned at $120,000,000. . . . Similar corruption in municipal bonds. Yet not a mile of the railroad was built, although $14,000,000 in bonds were actually issued. Not a child, white or black, was educated for two years; not a public building erected, no State improvements anywhere.” (Noted Men of the Solid South.)
Alabama’s debt, before Republican rule,was $8,336,083; at the end, $25,503,593.
In North Carolina, the assessed property in 1860 was $292,000,000; taxes, $543,000. In 1870, assessed property, $130,000,000; taxes, $1,160,000, showing a difference between local government and enforced military government under carpet-baggers.
In South Carolina, in 1860, the taxable property was $490,000,000; taxes, $400,000. In 1870 (Republican rule), assessed property, $184,000,000; taxes, $2,000,000 a year. In Georgia, in 1860, the taxable property was $672,322,777; in 1870, $226,329,767. When Governor Bullock became governor, the State debt was $5,827,000; at the date of his flight, the debt was reported to be $12,500,000; bond endorsements amounted to $5,733,000, aggregate over $18,000,000.
In Florida, property decreased in value 45 percent in eight years of Republican rule, from 1867 to 1875.
In Mississippi, 6,400,000 acres of land were forfeited to the State in payment of excessive taxation, and large amounts were collected as taxes and squandered.
In Louisiana, during Republican rule, New Orleans city property decreased in value $58,104,864 in eight years. County property decreased more than one-half, or from $99,266,839 to $47,141,690. One hundred and forty millions of dollars were squandered with nothing to show for it; State debt increased more than $40,000,000; city property depreciated 40 percent, county property 50 percent.
The Union League in the South was formed to establish the black man’s party, and bind the negroes by secret organization to the Republican party, so they could be detached and taken entirely from under the control of the white people of the South. The “Union League is the right arm of the Union Republican party of the United States, and no man should be initiated into the league who does not heartily endorse the principles and policy of the Union Republican party.” There were two divisions of the league, one for the whites and the other almost entirely for negroes, with a few whites to instruct and lead them. With few exceptions, the whites of the South were excluded. Even brigadier-generals, commanding States, entered the league for political purposes. (Swayne.) The league was surrounded by mystery, had grips and mysterious signs, and the negroes were sworn: “to vote only for and for none but those who advocate and support the great principles set forth by the league to fill any office of honor, profit, or trust in either State or general government.” (By-Laws of the League.) This league, in practice, taught that the white men of the South were enemies of the negroes, and it excited the latter to deeds of disorder and interference in every way with the whites. The poor negro could not withstand the strong will of the whites from the North, who were controlling him, against all advice and friendly appeal from the Southern whites. Friction, conflict, disorder between whites and blacks were incited to prolong the important and lucrative offices held by the carpetbaggers. It was the stock in trade of the Republicans in the South to keep up the vindictive and hostile legislation of Congress, and it is needless to say that members of the league had the ear of Congress.
“But there was a companion to this abominable dynasty in the dangerous order of the Ku Klux Klan. The one caused the other. The Ku Klux Klan was the perilous effect of which the odious league was the unhealthy cause. The Klan was a veritable body, founded in a holy object, and often prostituted to violence under great provocation. The writer knows all about it and shared in its legislative work. It combined the best men of the State, old, virtuous, settled, cautious citizens. Its object was the preservation of order and the protection of society. It used mystery as its weapon. It was intended to aid the law, and prevent crime. In the license of the era, it was a matter of self-defense against plunder, assassination, and rape. Both the league and the Ku Klux Klan were excrescences of reconstruction, and the natural outcome of abnormal politics and abortive government.” (Avery’s History of Georgia.) The writer of this chapter never knew personally of this Klan. He saw the effect of it in a negro county of Mississippi (Noxubee), where there were ten negroes to one white person. The lawlessness and tendency to riot and override the laws of social life became so great that a crisis appeared to be near, as shown by abusive language, disorderly meetings, and incendiary proceedings. This existed for months. One night about two hundred white men clothed in white sheets, in single file on horseback, without uttering a word, rode through the thickly-settled negro portions of the county. They appeared without warning at dark. They disappeared just before dawn. The effect was electrical. The negroes gave little more trouble in that county, notwithstanding the league and their secret organization.
SUMMARY OF RECONSTRUCTION;
The terrible ordeal of reconstruction may be said to have lasted from 1865 to 1876, twelve years before the whites got hold of the States again. No people had to undergo so dark a period with such complications, having 4,000,000 slaves suddenly enfranchised, with no preliminary training to fit them for the great responsibility of the ballot. “Our ancestors placed suffrage upon the broad common-sense principle that it should be lodged in and exercised by those who could use it most wisely and most safely and most efficiently, to serve the ends for which government was instituted . . . not upon any abstract or transcendent notion of human rights, which ignored the existing facts of social life… I shall not vote to degrade suffrage. I shall not vote to pollute and corrupt the foundation of political power in this country, either in my own State or in any other State.” (Senator Buckalew, of Pennsylvania.) It seems strange now that statesmen of the Republican party in control of the government, even after so terrible a war, and mad with absolute power, could have gone so far in error as to place those who had been slaves but a few years before, and were now led by corrupt and reckless adventurers, in charge of framing governments for the Anglo. Saxon race in the South It seems now that they could have seen they were attempting an impossible problem; but they did not, even when warned by cool-headed statesmen who did see it. Passion and prejudice reigned supreme. Those who were conservative were misled by the colored representations of designing partisans. The negroes were as clay in the hands of the potter. They had never before felt the strong hand of strong men, ruling them and using them in affairs, in which they had had no experience, for political ascendency The negroes were never very much blamed by the Southern people, for the whites felt that the influences surrounding the negro, backed by military power and the moral support of the government of the great republic and of the State governments, were irresistible under the circumstances.
The conduct of the true citizens of the South during the days of reconstruction surpassed in wisdom, endurance, patience, and subordination to the law (military law), any traits they had displayed in the war. They never yielded moral support to the corrupt legislation surrounding them, but patiently waited for the time to come when they could act together to restore local self-government. This time came when the corrupt influences of those in power had passed beyond endurance. The better element of the Republicans in the South, composed of Northern men, could not stand the stealing and general corruption which threw the spoils mainly into the hands of the few officeholders. They began to separate from the extremists as they “saw the handwriting on the wall,” and to approach the true citizens of the State. All thinking men now saw that there was no doubt that white civilization itself, the very existence of society, was at stake. The white people arose as one man to correct the evil. They appealed to all to help (white and black), no matter what had occurred in the past. The moral pressure and presentation of the open frauds and crimes accomplished under the form of law were irresistible. It amounted almost to another revolution, and one after another, the States were recovered by the white people within their borders. Illegal and corrupt returning boards, under the semblance of law, prevented the consummation for a time, as the Federal power was slow to relax its hold, but it was seen on every hand that the end was near and that the corrupt governments, set up under the reconstruction law, remained only because held up on the points of the bayonets of the United States army.
The carpet-bag government in Louisiana fell in a day (September 14, 1874), and was powerless when the military (United States troops) were not interfering. One company of United States troops, after a few days, reinstated the corrupt government for a time. This was an object-lesson that every citizen of the North could understand, and the conservative men there began to change their views in regard to the South and to understand that Congress had made a mistake in its zeal, as it supposed, to gather in the results of the war, and afford protection to the negro race in its freedom. It was shown, too, that no change could be made under Republican rule in the South, as was demonstrated by Governor Chamberlain’s effort in South Carolina. Their régime was a stench in the nostrils of every respectable man, North or South. It could only be done under the Democratic party, and all good citizens flocked to its standard and worked under it, till what was desired was accomplished. “The conduct of the Republican party in the South was such as to repel patriotism and decency . . . and a monumental warning to those who seek party advantage through illegitimate legislative enactment.” (Noted Men of the Solid South.)
The cost to the South was great, but her citizens did not repine, but began to work with a will to revoke all improper and corrupt legislation, to restore the economy in public expenditures, to reduce taxation, to do away with useless offices, to make the schools efficient, and to build up the waste places. The conservative element in Congress was strong enough to enforce “hands-off.” In fact, Congress, as early as May 1872, had passed a general amnesty bill removing political disabilities from almost all citizens who had been disfranchised, still excepting those who had been officers in the judicial, military, or naval service of the Confederate States. The carpet-baggers had taken their “carpet-bags” and gone to a more congenial clime, where they lost their identity as a class, having the scorn and contempt of all respectable citizens.
The supreme court, too, had rendered several decisions tending to recall Congress from its proneness to legislate beyond the limits of the Constitution. The negroes, who could not resist being led to extremes in the hands of the “masterful” carpet-baggers, now easily and readily yielded to the will of the Southern whites, and began to return to more industrious habits and conditions, and were less disposed to spend their time as politicians and lawmakers. They began to realize that they were not competent to withstand the nerve and moral pressure of the white man, whether he was a carpet-bagger and using him for his own advantage, and for corrupt and vindictive purposes, or the Southern white man who intended to rule and preserve white civilization and society at all hazards. The normal condition of the Southern States, being again ruled by the whites, by the educated people and the property-holders, was accepted by the people of the North as the only true solution in the reconstruction of the States. The restoration of the governments of the States to their own people left them heavily burdened with debts put upon them under the guise of law. They had to start with this great burden upon them in their work of restoration. Even after the States were restored, for many years there was a large element of the Republican party that still desired to interfere in the internal management of the States. Some force bills were passed by Congress to carry into effect the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. This uncertainty, in again resorting to extreme legislation, kept capital away and made it timid. It had become thoroughly panic-stricken during the corrupt days of reconstruction and had fled from the South and sought other channels, mainly in the development of the Northwest. It showed no disposition to return for many years, even after recuperation had begun in earnest with Southern hands and Southern capital.
The struggle of Southern men during reconstruction, in fact, of the whole Southern people, under adverse political, social, and commercial circumstances, was the most remarkable feature in those dark days. They never lost confidence in themselves, patiently bided their time, and achieved a most remarkable victory over all malign influences. Although they had had such sad experience with the carpet-baggers, they at once invited immigration to assist in building up the South, but they preferred bona fide citizens, not the class which had lived off of them so long, and which had fled when the purse and power had been stripped from them.
It cannot now be a question that the policy of the Northern statesmen was a failure, and that the wisdom of Southern leaders was superior in their ideas of reconstruction. “Reconstruction accomplished not one useful result and left behind not one pleasant reflection.” History will certainly condemn the legislation that entailed such misery, such corruption, such profligate expenditure of the money of an impoverished and crushed people, and in establishing negro governments at a time when the whites of the South had the best intentions of protecting the negroes in their new given freedom. “The experiment being tried, all interests, not least those of the blacks themselves, were found to require that the superior race should rule. It seems strange that even any were so dull as to expect the success of the opposite policy.” Governor Chamberlain, of South Carolina (Republican), said: “The Republican party in power was not all nor nearly all Northern adventurers, Southern renegades, or depraved negroes. Among all the classes so described were worthy and able men, but the crude forces with which they dealt were temporarily too strong for their control or their resistance. Corruption ran riot; dishonesty flourished in shameless effrontery; incompetency was the rule in public offices.” (Noted Men of the Solid South.)
Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida were not entirely reclaimed till after President Hayes was inaugurated in 1877. One of the first acts of the new president was to order the withdrawal of the United States troops from the South. As soon as this was done, the Republican governments in the Southern States at once fell to pieces, and the Democratic State governments, which had been legally elected and had claimed to be the true governments, took their places. The rule of the white people was once more inaugurated in all the lately seceded States. They had governed these States from their earliest colonial or territorial days until the reconstruction policy of the presidents (Lincoln and Johnson) was overturned by the armed forces of the government, as the Confederate government had been overturned by the same force in 1865, and the negro governments established in their places in 1867, under the reconstruction laws of Congress. As already explained, this reconstruction might be styled “destruction,” for it took what little the Southern people had left after coming out of the war which had impoverished them, and left their country devastated and devoid of nearly all property.
The assessed property in 1876 was about one-third of what it was in 1860. Two-thirds of the wealth of the Southern people had been swept away, and the South was helpless and bankrupt. However, as soon as the white people realized that they again had control of their country, that the eleven years’ trial of negro lawmaking and legislation was about ended, they at once went to work with a will to correct the corrupt and vicious legislation of the experiment of negro suffrage, in administering the affairs of the great States, and with heart and soul to reassert their influence and rights in the union of their fathers.
In so far as their material resources were concerned, they were about in the same fix that they were in 1865, in fact, worse off than when they laid down their arms. At that date, the total debts of the States were about $87,000,000. They had been compelled to repudiate all debts contracted for carrying on the war. In the ten years of negro legislation and government, conducted under carpet-baggers, the additional debt of $300,000,000 was added to the burdens of the people of the South.
The Republicans in Congress gave the ballot to the negroes as a weapon of defense of their freedom and to keep the party in power. But the first result of negro suffrage was a saturnalia of ignorant and corrupt government such as the world has seldom seen. The debts of the Southern States were rolled up to an enormous extent. At the close of the war, the debts had aggregated $87,-000,000. Reconstruction added $300,000,000, and a great part of this was squandered. (Judson.)
Public and private debts remained as a legacy to remind the people of the war and its consequences. These debts were paid by many, compromised by many, and in many cases could not be paid at all. As yet, the people were not sure that there were not to be further attempts at readjustment. Capital had long since fled from the South and was diverted in other directions. Money could only be had at enormous rates of interest (75 percent to 80 percent). The North and West were enjoying the greatest financial prosperity in their history. All capital was being used in booming and building up the Northwest into new States and increasing their material wealth. This was being done to its utmost limit, and there was no money to help the South. The great Western railroads were being built, backed by enormous grants of public lands by Congress, and these roads were planting immigrants (500,000 foreign) and citizens from other States in the West. Immigration had even gone westward from the people of the South who had despaired of better days. There was no immigration southward. The increase in population was only the natural one. There were but few banks, and Southern men had few friends among the great financiers anywhere. The South, in its looted and prostrated condition, offered no invitation to capital which promised even prospective returns. Northern capital strictly avoided the South in those gloomy days. To all appearances, the South was paralyzed. Her great wealth, as shown by the census of 1850 and 1860, which had been the accumulation from the earliest days, in slave property and material investments in all possible directions, had been swept away.
The social fabric of the people had been uprooted and turned upside down. The negroes had not only been freed as the result of the South’s failure in the war, but they had been made lawmakers and put to governing States, whose people had been as progressive and aggressive as any element of the Anglo-Saxon race in any part of the world. The Southern people had before them the lamentable failure of their brothers at the North to restrain their bad blood and forego Anglo-Saxon determination, indifferently to friend or foe, to carry out their own purposes by putting negro governments over men of their own race for whom they showed at that time no sympathy or generosity.
But the white people of the South began to realize again that their destinies had fallen into their own hands. They recalled the terrible ordeal through which they had passed, a fiery furnace, as it were, of devastating war and reconstruction and destruction of over fifteen years. Every true citizen realized the fearful conditions surrounding him to begin social, political, and material life anew. A condition without a precedent in history confronted them. Their brothers of the North were still hostile, suspicious, distrustful, and watching them with vigilant eyes, possibly to try a new experiment in restoration.
Yet they were at least able to face the future and apply their wisdom and statesmanship to the upbuilding of a new civilization, having to accept the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution irrevocably, although fastened on them by the bayonet; and having negro suffrage as a fixed fact, and that, too, in face of the great burdens imposed on them in the ten years’ experiment. It looked as if the effort they could not avoid in the solution of the intricate problem was made hopeless by the conditions they had to accept. Two races differing in almost every respect, one a governing race with a proud prestige of success, the other a docile, inexperienced, uneducated race without a record, had to live side by side with equal political power and rights.
The new problem which Southern statesmen had to face and solve, was surrounded by every possible adverse condition. At the same time, the need most pressing above all others was to restore confidence and prosperity and provide employment to hands made idle by the destruction of all manufacturing enterprises and all employments not strictly agricultural. Although the South was mainly agricultural, because her peculiar conditions made her so before the war, still she had been proportionally doing her share in all lines of development before the struggle. The almost total destruction of all these lines of industry reduced her people in starting, to the one primitive pursuit of every people–agriculture, as an immediate way of making a living. The Southern people knew their great unequaled resources in climate, soil, rivers, seacoast, rainfall, iron, coal, timber, agriculture, and everything necessary to make people rich and prosperous. They knew that they had every condition essential to success. They realized that the race question was settled possibly for a time, and with discretion on their part, passion and prejudice must necessarily die out. They knew that with patriotism, patience, and fidelity, and good principles, success might be assured. They were conscious that in the ordeal through which they had passed, they had preserved their self-respect and honor, and there was nothing to be ashamed of in their conduct. And they now determined to enter with courage and skill the great future before them, relying on their strong arms and hearts and on their own meager resources, for it has been shown that there were no friends at hand to aid them materially. The only friends they had politically were the Democrats at the North, and these friends had never deserted them from the time the war closed.
OBITUARY OF CAPTAIN WILLIAM HARWAR PARKER. AUTHOR OF VOLUME 12 OF CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY:
Capt William Harwar Parker
BIRTH 8 Oct 1826
New York, USA
DEATH 30 Dec 1896 (aged 70)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Norfolk, Norfolk City, Virginia, USA
PLOT ELM, Block 1ST A W, Lot 30, Space 9E
MEMORIAL ID 104701381 ·
Captain Wm. H. Parker.
Washington, Dec. 30 – Captain Wm. H. Parker, of Richmond, Va., died here today
of apoplexy. Captain Parker was formerly president of the Maryland Agricultural
College and before the war he was professor of astronomy at Annapolis.
At the beginning of the late war he resigned from the federal navy, and,
entering the confederate navy, became one of its most prominent officers. At the
time of his death he was engaged upon a history of the confederate navy, which
he was commissioned to write by the Historical Society of Virginia.
Captain Parker was a son of Commodore Foxhall Parker, of the old navy. He was a
classmate of Admirals Franklin and Ramsey at Annapolis in 1842, when he entered
the navy as a midshipman. During President Cleveland’s first administration he
was minister to Korea and since resigning that office he has lived a quiet life
engaging in literary work.