This week, ECW historians are offering their thoughts and reactions to recent events related to Confederate memory. We’re pleased to welcome author Joe Owen.
Has the South finally lost the Civil War?
My answer is that the South lost the war the minute they fired on Fort Sumter and refused to talk to the North and Abraham Lincoln about the issue of slavery.
As for the modern timeframe, no, the South hasn’t lost the war as of yet.
As long as there are Sons of Confederate Veterans; the decedents of Union Veterans and the GAR who honor the history of the South; great and honest historians of re-enactors; the National Battlefields and Military Parks who present accurate and honest interpretations to the public about the campaigns, battles, and history of the Civil War; those who honor their forefathers in an honorable way with commemorations, meetings, dedications at gravesites, and other venues—no, the South hasn’t lost. Not as long as authors write and edit about Southern history and its leaders, military, civilians, battles and campaigns from 1861-1865 in proper context and not with those “publishers” who are nothing but Neo-Confederate revisionists.
The South is going through an anti-Confederacy revisionist agenda right now with the media and people in power who are so bent against anything about the Confederacy except to see it tarnished, ashamed, and—in some viewpoints—erased from American history. However, the historians, authors, lecturers, professors, and students of not only Southern but American history have shown that it’s possible to remain true to history in a truthful way, by researching for new facts and accounts and presenting their findings and views in an honest and rational way.
My wish is that future generations continue to be interested in the Civil War and be fascinated with it in an open, honest, and meaningful way to keep the memories, sacrifices, and devotions of the soldiers and civilians who endured through it in ages to come.
Joe Owen is a National Park Service historian and author of an upcoming book about Texans at Gettysburg.