by Al Benson Jr.
Have just finished reading Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864 by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. It was a very informative book on the infamous Red River Campaign (and Union cotton-stealing expedition) in Louisiana in the Spring of 1864.
Union General (and presidential aspirant) Nathaniel (Commissary) Banks led a Union army of over 30,000 men, which included several U S Navy boats and Commodore David Dixon Porter in a campaign to capture Shreveport, Louisiana for the glorious Union. The Navy folks and their vessels were supposedly along to aid General Banks in this effort, but most of them were much more interested in “appropriating” as much Louisiana cotton as they could get their hands on. Made no difference whether it was cotton owned by the Confederate government or privately-owned cotton, as the Navy got a cut out of whatever they managed to “confiscate.”
Opposing this Northern redistribution of Southern wealth by Lincoln’s “indestructible” Union was General Richard Taylor and a little over 5,000 men, mostly from Louisiana, Texas and Arizona. Believe it or not, with over 30,000 men and the help of the U S Navy, Banks couldn’t get it done, and Dick Taylor, as they say here in Louisiana, “whupped his ass.”
After he got as far as Mansfield and got solidly beaten there, Banks started his retreat back south. But at first he refused to call it a retreat, rather he labeled it a “retrograde” movement. That’s Yankee/Marxist language for a retreat without coming out and admitting it. However, the Yankee/Marxist soldiers who had been legitimately defeated at Mansfield were going to make sure they got back at the folks in Louisiana because they tried to defend their homes and property. Louisiana folks hadn’t learned that when the Yankee/Marxists come calling then defending your home and property is a no-no. Yankee/Marxists have no use whatever for private property–unless they can steal it, and naturally they always steal it for “the people.”
According to Mr. Mitcham, Confederate Lt. Col. Francis Richard Lubbock wrote: “The demoralized enemy in their retreat left no houses or fences, stock or supplies, behind them. Everything of any possible value was taken or destroyed.” And Elias P. Pellet of the 114th New York Volunteers was honest enough to agree with Lubbock in his history of the 114th Regiment when he wrote: “Destruction and desolation followed on the trail of the retreating column. At night, the burning buildings mark our pathway. As far as the eye can reach, we see in front new fires breaking out, and in the rear the dying embers tell the tale of war. Hardly a building is left unharmed…The wanton and useless destruction of property has well earned (A. J. Smith’s) command a lasting disgrace…” A. J. (Whiskey) Smith was one of the Yankee/Marxist commanders under Banks and he had that nickname because he was rather too fond of the bottle.
Mr Mitcham also write: “To deprive both Rebels and civilians of food and water, wells were fouled and animals were shot, including cows, calves, hogs, horses, chickens, and mules. Houses, barns, corncribs, smokehouses, chicken coops, and Negro cabins were all burned.” It seems that “Firebug” Sherman in Georgia was not the only Yankee/Marxist arsonist during the War. It was probably a toss-up between Whiskey Smith and Phil Sheridan in Virginia as to who would get second place to Sherman. This commentary regarding Yankee arsonism is on page 250 of Mr. Mitcham’s book. He continues with more of the same on pages 259-60. Not fun reading unless you are a Yankee arsonist. They literally destroyed everything in their path even when it had no military value. You have to understand, they were making war on civilians as well as soldiers, and what’s more, they seemed to enjoy doing it.
On page 306 Mr. Mitcham made a very telling observation, which most folks today would probably not even think about. He wrote: “It took Louisiana almost a century to recover from the war, and it has yet to recover its previous position. In 1860, it was ranked second in the Union in per capita income, and half of all American millionaires lived along the Natchez-New Orleans axis. Today it ranks forty-first in per capita income…”
The thought occurred to me, as I read this, that, starting with the major cotton theft here in Louisiana and in other places in the South as well, the War of Northern Aggression was one gigantic redistribution of the wealth scheme, not only to destroy our culture but to bleed us dry financially also. Didn’t von Clauswitz say that “war was the pursuit of political goals by ‘other means.'” If the “political goal” is to destroy the South, then for the Yankee/Marxist, war is a legitimate option.
You might say that this was the “Neanderthal version” of cultural Marxism, along with “reconstruction” later that was to deliver the coup d’ etat to the culture, faith, and financial stability of the South. They weren’t able to take it quite as far as they would have liked to, but give the Yankee/Marxists credit–they did their absolute best to contribute to our destruction and demise as a distinct people–and they are still working on that as I write this.
Our problem is that the majority of our folks don’t realize that “those people” are still fighting their war against us. We quit fighting. They didn’t! All they did was to change their tactics. We are seeing the latest development of their new tactics in our day.
To their way of thinking the War will not be over until they have completely destroyed us, our faith and culture. They want our grandchildrens’ souls in their hip pocket. That’s a truth we have to begin to realize and so far, I don’t think we’ve grasped it yet.