The Great Retcon of Our History

These things all start off innocuous enough. You start delving into research on an upcoming piece about the 1864 Valley Campaign, pulling up several sources and books and doing “your googles,” so as to have a brief biography on the subject material. In this particular case, I happened to be pulling up information on David Hunter and the burning of the Virginia Military Institute as retribution for their role in the Confederate victory at New Market. As I began reading down ye olde wiki entry on Hunter, I notice the little blurb about his role in “General Order no. 11.”

General Order no. 11 was Hunter’s decry that invoked immediate emancipation on all slaves in Georgia and South Carolina. David Hunter was also the first Union general to begin recruiting ex-slaves into the Union army (1st South Carolina U.S.). The interesting bit that caught my eye was this gem:

Despite Lincoln’s concerns that immediate emancipation in the South might drive some slave-holding Unionists to support the Confederacy, the national mood was quickly moving against slavery, especially within the Army.[8]

This little gem was eye opening for me. As someone who has spent the better part of two decades studying this war, I was astonished to find that the sentiments of the Union army had apparently turned towards abolitionism, particular before the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation. This is even more incredible to me, considering that after the proclamation went into effect, between 1/4 to 1/3 of the Army of the Potomac deserted.

Most of your mainline Civil War historians, who study the Union Army, are of a consensus that abolitionism was a minority opinion and greatly resisted among the rank and file of Union soldiers. What is even more astounding to this blatantly false assertion was the timing: April of 1862.

And, here is where I began to see the evidence of the (((usual))) suspects at work. Going through the lists of citations for the Hunter wiki entry, I found this:

Berlin, Ira, et al. Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War. New York: The New Press, 1992. ISBN 1-56584-120-4.

Every. Damn. Time. (((Ira Berlin))) was a professor of History at the University of Maryland. His body of work includes such prizes as, Slaves Without Masters, Many Generations of Captivity, and The Making of African American. The Tribe has had its hooks in the history of slavery and servile insurrection since Jewish communist Herbet Aptheker first published American Negro Slave Revolts in 1936. That particular book has become the Torah of African studies, and particularly understanding both slavery in the Americas, as well as, most modern interpretations of slave revolts.

Even in something as seemingly unrelated and innocent enough as researching basic biographical information on a Union general and my own reasons to detest him; you can’t help but find cultural subversion from the (((usual))) source.

-By William Poole