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Letter: How war is perceived

Benjamin Greaves re Civil War

Published on September 29, 2017 12:01AM

I read, in the Sept. 8 edition of The Daily Astorian, Jay Reeves’ and Felicia Fonseca’s comments on the Civil War, “We’re still fighting, more than 150 years after Appomattox.”

It is illogical to fight a war over slavery, especially a war one is bound to loose. What possible good could such a war bring. Take “reconstruction.” Was this designed as a way to sentence our black brothers and sisters to hundreds of years of virtual slavery? To drive a wedge between the races? Let us hope not, but …

Today slavery flourishes in many nations where it is legal or illegal, even here in the U.S. I say without fear of contradiction that there are now more slaves in New York City than there were before the Civil War. Is anybody doing anything about this? Are they trying to start a war?

The part of the Civil War both sides wish to sweep under the table is the participation of blacks. The North encouraged blacks to join them in a fight for their freedom — more bodies for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to lose, along with mercenaries from Europe. When Grant took over, the body count was 2-1 in favor of the Union. When the war ended, the South was ahead 2-1, despite having to fight most of that time short of ammunition, and other necessities of war.

Union blacks faced modern repeating gunfire armed with fake rifles with fixed bayonets. Blacks were thought not to be able to handle a real rifle. While Gen. William T. Sherman was marching his way across Georgia, a mop-up Union army evacuated its white wounded, but left its black wounded behind, to be massacred by civilians.

Both Union and foreign observers of the Confederate artillery, Gen Robert E. Lee’s long arm, mentioned that many blacks were participating in this very effective contingent. One might well wonder how well an army would perform if it didn’t implicitly trust its artillery.

In conflicts, sometimes the side of right wins, sometimes the side of right loses. This may have a great deal to do with how a war is perceived, and why those who document history come to different conclusions.

Benjamin A. Greaves



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