There are so many different accounts of the War Between the States. Everyone is unique and priceless -- at least among those who were writing of first hand experiences. The bravery and tireless loyalty of battered and bedraggled Southrons who fought to the last, the priceless courage of the women and "old folks" at home, the steadfast hope until the bitter end -- we're all familiar with these sentiments, but each story is unique.
Yet among the unique stories of our war of independence for the South there are a few that stand out. One such memoire is "Destruction and Reconstruction" by Lt. General Richard Taylor. Taylor is the son of U.S. President Zachary Taylor, he was born and raised in Kentucky, studied in Scotland and France and finally settled in Louisiana. He was educated and genteel. Yet without mincing words, he presents a veritable who's who of the second half of the Nineteenth Century in truly nuanced accounts of battles from Stonewall Jackson's Shenendoah Valley Campaign to the guerilla warfare of western Louisiana to his final surrender in 1865 in Citronelle, Alabama in the last stronghold of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi River.
That's where most memoires end. Taylor takes us further. He goes on to describe in some detail the era now known as Reconstruction and ponders at some length its meaning. He tells why he believes Southrons make better soldiers: i.e. because they are surrounded by hard work and privation as comes with agrarian life while Northerners are surrounded by luxuries and dependence on manufactured goods to such a degree that it weakens their character.
If you want to understand why the South is still under siege today, read this book. So much of what we, as Southrons, suffer under, the political wrangling, the cultural genocide of our customs and way of life, the hate-mongering of Northern sychophants and the social engineers they cling to is all in this book. Perhaps General Taylor himself says it best: "The leaders of the radical masses of the North have indicted such countless and cruel wrongs on the Southern people as to forbid any hope of disposition or ability to forgive their victims; and the land will have no rest until the last of these persecutors has passed into oblivion" Sadly, he did not quite have the foresight to see that the persecutors' children would take up the mantras of their forebears.
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