"It is a duty we owe to our posterity to see that our children shall know the virtues and rise worthy of their sires."- Jefferson Davis
Our suggestion?, our choice?, our privilege? No our duty to posterity to tell them the story of their ancestors and what they stood for. The duty left to us by our forefathers is not to bury their principles with them but to carry them on for future generations. Just as it was the duty of 622 men of Bryan County (37 percent of the free population in 1860) to leave their farms, homes and families and fight for a cause they felt was right. The same cause that their forefathers had fought the British for ninety years earlier, the cause of independence.
Wait, the South didn’t secede to keep their slaves? In 1860, the abolition of slavery would have required a 2/3 majority vote in the senate. The balance of Slave states versus Free states stood at almost 50-50. Thus, if the South wanted to keep their slaves all they had to do was stay in the Union. Slavery was ended as way to weaken the South’s agriculture-based economy and to gain Republican voters during Reconstruction (1865-1877).
Estimated numbers of blacks serving in the Confederate Army range from 30,000 to 65,000 with thousands more serving in state militias. 13,000 of these saw actual combat while others served as cooks, farriers, commissaries, ordinance workers, teamsters, hospital stewards and musicians. They served in integrated units and received equal pay with white soldiers, something the United States Army didn’t do until World War II. Would these men have fought to keep their fellow blacks in bondage? Also eighty percent of Southerners didn’t own slaves and more than half of the remaining twenty percent owned less than five and worked beside them in the fields. Would they have offered to give their lives in the worst war in American History for the benefit of their rich neighbors?
The truth is that these 622 men fought for independence from a government who trampled the Constitution and told them that their way of life was no longer suitable. The North went to war without Congressional consent, suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned legislatures in the Border States along with everyone else who didn’t agree with them, burned schools, homes and churches in every Southern state, and murdered over 50,000 civilians in their conquest of the South. These are the same if not the worse conditions that prevailed during the Revolutionary War. The South merely wanted to break away from this oppressive government that threatened their way of life and govern themselves.
Let us remember these men, who though not victorious in their struggle for liberty, dared to fight the most powerful nation in the world for a cause that they believed was just. In February, permission was granted to me to form a memorial committee from the Pembroke City Council, but the work has just begun. Please help us fight the ignorance surrounding the memory of the Confederate soldier by erecting a memorial in Bryan County to Co A and I, 25th Infantry, Co E, 47th Infantry, Co H and K 7th Cavalry and Co A, Georgia Coast Militia. By doing so perhaps we can assure that their names and the principles for which they fought are not forgotten. For more information or to make a contribution please contact Alex Floyd at email@example.com.