by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
Years ago I picked up a book in a used book store called Promise of Glory, written by a C. X. Moreau. It was historical fiction about the Battle of Sharpsburg in 1862. It was a good book and I enjoyed it, so I hung onto it. It was good historical fiction and I agreed with much of it, but there was one place in it where the author got his history wrong.
In one place, on page 38, Moreau made a statement I have to disagree with. He wrote: “There was no way around that. They (the South) had broken the faith. Lee, Jackson, all of them. Late at night, around their campfires, with a bottle going around, his officers spoke of it in hushed voices.”
The whole idea of it, from this one little fictional exchange, was that, somehow, the War was the fault of the South. Supposedly they started it when they fired on Fort Sumter, and now that they had broken the Covenant there was no turning back. Needless to say, I disagree.
Recently, I got a letter from a friend in New Jersey, along with a copy of a book, a thin little volume called The Truth of the War Conspiracy of 1861. The little book was written by Huger William Johnstone, who had served with the 5th Georgia Volunteers during the War of Northern Aggression.
My friend’s letter noted that: “I didn’t know that an armistice between the Federal government and the Confederate government existed until I read this book a few years ago. Lincoln had several plans to break that armistice and actually did break it by reinforcing Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida on the evening of April 11th. Just a few hours before the bombardment of Fort Sumter began. Lincoln broke that armistice on March 12, before he was inaugurated–by ordering the reinforcement of Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens. This act and subsequent violations of the armistice made the North the aggressors, not the South.”
It seems that Mr. Johnstone spent several years going over the records of the War and trying to put much of it together in a coherent manner. He stated, at one point, that “The mystifying dis-arrangement of those records was a work of genius. It seems easy now, but I was years in getting the facts into chronological sequence. In 1917 I succeeded in perfecting proofs fixing the responsibility for the ‘War Between the States,’ 1861-1865, on one man–Abraham Lincoln.”
Johnstone mentioned a Yankee Major, Major Vogdes, who he later met as General Vogdes, at Fort Adams, Rhode Island. Vogdes recalled the incident in question and stated that he had “…reinforced Fort Pickens before Fort Sumter was attacked, but that this act was overshadowed by the clamor and furor about Fort Sumter.” If his recollection was correct, and we have no reason to think it was not, that means that the North broke the armistice by reinforcing Fort Pickens!
In the process of putting this material together, Johnstone says he “held frequent imaginary conversations, discussions, arguments, with my loyal, trusted friend, the Blade–(my old service sword, which hangs on the wall, environed by books, records, and memories.)” In other words, he used his old sword as something to bounce his ideas and thoughts off as he put this material together.
While this may sound odd to some, it is really not that novel an idea. Many who have no one to talk to in the midst of their research will often bounce their thoughts off some inanimate object to see how they sound on the rebound. In a manner of speaking it is sort of like talking to oneself, or thinking out loud, which is not all that uncommon.
In 1864 Lincoln sent a message to Congress, in December, which emphasized this sentence: “I simply mean to say that the war will cease, on the part of the Government whenever it shall cease on the part of those who began it.” This was classic Lincolnian deception. If the truth were known, the US Government and Lincoln started the war by committing “at least four flagrant acts of war, against two vital points in the South, weeks before Fort Sumter was fired on. That these acts were secret, and the most treacherous known to civilized diplomacy, does not weaken the force of the facts. The secret emphasizes the treachery. Had secret orders been obeyed, or other like orders not miscarried, war would have been openly inaugurated at a point five hundred miles from Fort Sumter, long before Fort Sumter was fired on. That the first open clash was at Fort Sumter, was an accident, caused by a misfit in Abraham Lincoln’s schemes to force war ‘at any risk or cost.'”
Johnstone observed, accurately, that “There was a solemn agreement, an Armistice, existing at Charleston, entered into by the United States Government and South Carolina officials on December 6th, 1860; and a special agreement, armistice, at Pensacola, entered into by the United States and Florida authorities on January 29th, 1861,–(both filed in United States War and Navy Departments–by which the United States agreed not to attempt to reinforce Major Anderson, nor Fort Pickens; and South Carolina, Florida and the Confederate authorities, agreed to make no attack on Major Anderson, or Fort Pickens, while these solemn agreements were observed. To violate an armistice is considered a treacherous act of war.” Lincoln violated the armistice and, therefore, started the war!
Johnstone further noted “For either party to prepare to act against a point covered by an armistice, is an act of war. It has been held, and rightly, that for any person to visit a fortification, where an armistice exists, with the intent to advice or plan means or methods, to strengthen such fortification is the act of a spy, a reinforcement, and an act of war. So that any act, any order intended to change the existing status quo at any vital point, especially where an armistice exists, by strengthening, or arranging to strengthen such a place, thus making force necessary, is a treacherous act of war. Yet you say that the United States Government, and Abraham Lincoln, ordered and secretly organized and sent, armed expeditions, under ‘secret’ instructions, to commit acts in violation of existing ‘armistices.’ Why to organize such a force, to mobilize it, for such a purpose, is an act of war. Where an armistice exists, such an order is a flagrant act of war.”
While it may seem that Johnstone is belaboring this point, he is trying to get across the truth he has presented here via repetition. If Lincoln broke the armistice, then Lincoln started the war!
Johnstone notes that: “Bear in mind that Captain Vogdes, U.S. Army was sent with an armed force, on the U.S.S. Brooklyn, to reinforce Fort Pickens, in January 1861; but was stopped by the armistice of January 29th at Pensacola bar, and that this armed force remained there, under Captain Vogdes, on the Brooklyn. As soon as Lincoln became President and Commander-in-Chief, these facts became known to him, officially; and the following order was sent to violate the existing armistice, reinforce Fort Pickens, and inaugurate war. It is well known that General Scott was opposed to war; but he obeyed the Commander-in-Chief, Abraham Lincoln. I quote the record.” (Extract) “Hd. Qtrs. of the Army, Washington, March 12, 1861. Sir: (C) At the first favorable opportunity, you will land your company, reinforce Fort Pickens, and hold same until further orders, etc. By command of Lt. Gen. Scott. Signed E. D. Townsend, Asst. Adjt. Gen.”
On April 11th, at nine in the evening, the Brooklyn landed the troops and marines on board and reinforced Fort Pickens–in violation of the armistice. This occurred the day before Fort Sumter was fired on!
But, the point to be made here is that this whole scheme was planned a whole month before Sumter was fired on! Johnstone here notes two points. “First: That the South was diligently using every means possible to preserve and establish peace; and used no treachery. Second: That the United States Government and Abraham Lincoln, deceived the people; deceived Congress, deceived the Confederate States Commissioners, by hypocritical ‘yearnings’ and ‘private’ ‘confidential’ and secret official acts, all done to insure Lincoln’s scheme to force war on the South.” All the time seeking to make it appear that the South opened the hostilities when actually it was Lincoln that did!
Johnstone’s book is available on Amazon and is not a long read, but you can tell he is not someone who wrote for a living, so you need to take that into account. That being said, his book proved on thing–Lincoln broke the Covenant and started the war and the Yankee/Marxists in our day need to be constantly reminded of that and to know that we are not about to let them forget it!