Copperhead Chronicle

  April, 1999                               Special Editorial 

by Al Benson Jr.

A few years ago I read an interesting book written by Clifford Dowdey entitled The History Of The Confederacy 1832-1865.  While I did not agree with all that Mr. Dowdey said, I felt that, in the main, he sought to be fair to the South.  His book also brought out a point I had never even considered until I read it.  He stated, on pages 411 and 414 of his book, that the confederacy never had a formal, or official end.    He noted that all the Confederate generals surrendered their armies, as none of them had the authority to surrender anything more.  Even Jefferson Davis, when captured, was only captured.   There was never any formal surrender of the Confederacy as a nation.

Although I mention Dowdey's book as my source for this information, I have checked out other sources and have not, at this point, found information to contradict Dowdey's assertion.  Other histories of the Confederacy have been checked into, and they seem to be in silent agreement that the confederacy never had an "official" end.  Two of the best know are A History Of The Southern Confederacy by Clement Eaton, and The Story Of The Confederacy by Robert Selph Henry.  These books, both reliable histories, can be noted for their lack of any 
mention of a formal end for the Confederacy.  They record
the surrender of the various armies, and all the rest that
followed, but no mention is made at all of the Confederacy
ever being officially terminated.

Alexander Stephens Concurs

Alexander Stephens, in his monumental two volume work
A Constitutional View Of The Late War Between The States
says much the same thing, except he expresses it in different terms.  Stephens notes, in volume one, the main reason for
the war: "The conflict in principle arose from differing and opposing ideas as to the nature of what is known as the 
General Government...It was strife between the principles of Federation on the one side, and Centralism, or Consolidation, 
on the other."  Stephens is stating clearly that the struggle was over liberty on the one side vs. collectivism on the other. 
Is our struggle today any different? 
Are we not still engaged in this battle? 
Stephens goes on to disclaim slavery as the real cause of the
war.  He notes that "Some of the strongest anti-slavery men
who ever lived were on the side of those who opposed the centralizing principles which led to the war." 
Stephens reiterates that fact on page 631of volume two. 

The Reason Is Still There

Moreover, Mr. Stephens contends that the true cause of the 
War For Southern Independence was not lost in the surrender of confederate armies.  He states, in volume two of his work, starting on page 651: 
"So you see, my opinion is that the Cause which was lost at Appomattox Court House, was not the Federative Principles upon which American Free Institutions was based, as some
have very erroneously supposed. This is far from being one 
of the results of the War.  The Cause which was lost by the surrender of the confederates, was only the maintenance of this principle by arms.  It was not the principle they abandoned. 
They only abandoned their attempt to maintain it by physical force... 
This principle, therefore, though abandoned in its maintenance on battle-fields, still continues to live in all its vigor, in the 
forums of Reason, Justice, and Truth, and will, I trust, there continue to live forever."

Analyze what Stephens has said.  The Causes for which the Confederacy came into existence, Christian self-government 
and the rights of the individual states within the framework of
a federation (confederacy) still exist.  They have not been, nor can they ever, be truly done away with.  They can not be done away with because the concepts of self-government and limited national power are scriptural
(Galatians 5:22-23 and Romans 13:1-7).

The true reasons for which the Confederacy was organized
(even though some of its founders may not have fully realized them) are not gone.  They remain to this day.  The struggle called the "Civil War" did not resolve anything.  It only proved that one nation can prevail over another if it has superior numbers and resources.  The Northern bayonet may drive
truth to the ground, but it will not be able to keep it there. 

It just may be, in God's Providence, that the Confederacy had
no formal end because the truths she stood for (though imperfectly),  rooted in Holy Scripture, have no end. 
Alexander Stephens has borne eloquent testimony that the Cause still lives, even as its adherents still live today.  The spirit of secession, which is akin to biblical separation, thrives in our day.  What remains is for those that understand these truths in this hour in our history to proclaim them from the housetops.

 The end 

1857 PENNY

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