Nearly fifty years ago, during my tour of America on a Triumph motorcycle, I stopped at a Civil War Museum and burial ground for Civil War soldiers in Northern Alabama. I’ve been a student of history, and this seemed to be a curious part of America’s history.
The museum was run by the Daughters Of The Confederacy. A group that dedicated themselves to their work and the history of the Civil War Era. Their dedication to the memory of The Lost Cause or War of Northern Aggression and to the heroes of the Confederacy was awe inspiring if not a little frightening to a Canadian teenager. I paid to attend a formal history lesson and was barraged with a mass of history from the Southern perspective.
I admired the ladies with their period dress and astounding command of historical facts. I was also spellbound, while listening to the stories, but I noted a slight inconsistency with the history lessons I had studied; in their versions of history, the South was always victorious.
I have always been considered more horse than man; so it was natural for me to study the great cavalry men of the Civil War period. I knew the accomplishments of Nathan Bedford Forrest well and since he had operated in this particular theater, the lady mentioned him several times in her lecture.
If Lee would have had a few more Generals like Forrest and Jackson, the South would have won the war; at least, this is my belief. Jackson was a trained military man and veteran of the War with Mexico, but Forrest was an anomaly. A slave trader and plantation owner, he became one of the greatest cavalry generals in the history of the world, with no formal training. I’ll not catalogue his exploits and accomplishments, but they are filed away behind the screen you are reading if you doubt me.
Now as much as I loved reading about the strategy and audacity of Forrest, even he would have been surprised at his accomplishments during our informal history lesson. It was an excellent lecture, just a little bit over the top. However, our instructor was such a good lecturer, she left me wanting to review my books back home to check up on my memory.
I would have never challenged her historical views; I could have listened to her for hours or even days. Eventually, a man from the North rudely interrupted her lecture, “Yea, but we whipped you.”
He didn’t look to be over 35 and certainly less than 120 years old, but I think he was referring collectively to the armies of the North and thus he included himself in the glory of their victory.
She never broke stride, “You whipped us, and have you been to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburg, St. Louis, and Boston. I think you should visit those cities and then tour the South and then tell me who won the war.”
I have no way of knowing whether she made an impression on the rude man, but she made a lasting impression on me.
A few hours ago, President Obama won reelection. He gets to keep the jets and choppers, but I am afraid he will realize a hollow victory when he looks upon an electorate that is in desolation; a condition he fabricated during his term and campaign. He has a large percentage of the electorate that no longer trusts his motives or loyalties, especially after the Benghazi Debacle. For the first time in history, five hundred generals and admirals endorsed the challenger, instead of an incumbent president. This is just one step below a vote of no confidence from the military.
He can still preen and pose with the not so bright hens on The View, but in an historical context, this type of behavior is not presidential, but good enough for a majority of Americans. However, after 50 years, I have a fairly good understanding of the victory that the Daughter Of The Confederacy was talking about, and when reality settles in on Obama, he will also realize the hollowness of his victory.