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What the South fought for: An interview with a civil war soldier

Uploaded on Feb 1, 2011
Confederate soldier Julius Howell talking about his capture and imprisonment at the Union prison camp at Point Lookout, Md. Howell was born in 1846 near the Holy Neck section of Suffolk, in the Holland area. Read more:

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was a rebuttal to a comment below. reposted there.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

I've done that before

More than once. :)



A classmate in 7th grade

made me know something was not right about the Civil War "history" as I knew it. I was REALLY good at getting good grades, so I did not clutter my mind with wondering what REALLY happened and continued to do what got me rewarded... bahhh...
Anyway, she was born and raised in St. Louis, south of the Mason-Dixon line, and moved to Ohio. My hometown included houses on the "underground railroad" and I grew up quite proud of the history of my little village. This girl was very vocal, in a good-natured way, that the South was right. She used to say "Save your Dixie cups, the South will rise again!" every time she got a drink. She was really intelligent, the only child of two highly educated parents. And she was black.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

That's rare

Thanks for sharing


I'm really blown away by this. It never once occurred to me that I'd hear something like this in my whole life from the Civil War. My grandfather told me lots of WWII stories which have a certain similar ring.

Could you imagine an audio interview of a soldier from Valley Forge?

Had to give another


The Southern Confederacy outlawed the Importation of Slaves

For what it's worth, the Southern Confederate Constitution outlawed the importation of slaves from all areas except the Northern territories (and, contrary to Glenn Beck's attack saying that it didn't contain the Bill of Rights, the Confederate Constitution contained all 10 amendments---it was just embedded within it rather being "amendments" to the document...another lie from Mr. Beck).

Article I, Section 9, Clause 1, states:

"The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same."

Whether or not the states seceded for the States' rights or slavery, or both, or doesn't change the fact that this clause seems to have been the key that would have ended slavery peacefully, essentially saying "when the North stops selling us slaves they get from Africa, we'll stop having them." Considering the Constitution forbade anyone in the Confederacy to import slaves from from anywhere but America, the only way that the South could get new slaves would be to buy them from the North.

So perhaps there's more to this than "it was 100% about slaves" and "it was 100% NOT about slaves!"

Republicae's picture

The Commonwealth of Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia was the first State to outlaw the importation of slavery in the Union in 1832 I believe, although there was a general importation ban for all the States in 1807 to little effect.

As far as slavery being the cause of the war, if that were the case then why would Lincoln attempt to make a deal with the Southern States to protect slavery forever through a Constitutional Amendment known as the Corwin Amendment. Equally,if slavery had been the reason for the South's secession they could have simply returned to the Union and slavery would have been protected. The South could have completely avoided the devastation of war by simply accepting Lincoln's deal.

"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

Virginia outlawed slave importation in the 1780s.

"It was the Americans, after they had achieved their independence from Britain, who took the lead in the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Many newly independent American states, such as the Carolinas, Maryland and Virginia, outlawed the importation of slaves from Africa in the 1780s. In 1778, the trade was described as corrupted by an immoral ‘lust for gain,’ and Virginia voted to free all illegally imported Africans."

"The truth is that neither British nor American imperialism was or is idealistic. It has always been driven by economic or strategic interests." - Charlie Reese



Why did the South secede?

Why did the South secede? Let's hear it straight from the Southern States. [Spoiler alert: the declarations passed by the states all prominently, and sometimes exclusively, talk about slavery. Very few mentioned tariffs, and if they did it was buried in a list of slavery-related concerns.]

And of course I'm aware that individual people fought for many different reasons. Sure, I'm willing to bet that many people just did it out of patriotism for their native states, for solidarity with their own kind, etc. But don't kid yourselves that the decision-makers -- the elites that filled the halls of the state legislatures -- seceded for some reason other than slavery.


"The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.

With these principles on their banners and these utterances on their lips the majority of the people of the North demand that we shall receive them as our rulers.

The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization."


"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."

South Carolina:

The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

Okay, let's assume you're correct

that the Gulf States seceded purely because they were afraid if they stayed in the Union, slavery might one day be ended through a Constitutional amendment. So what? Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia all voted to stay in the Union until Lincoln demanded they help him force the Gulf Stares back into the Union. So, concern over the future of slavery certainly played a role in causing the Deep South states to want to break away because of the dependence of their agricultural economy on slavery, but, it didn't have anything to do with the Upper South states seceding.

The attitude of most Northerners before many Southerners started making threats if the North tried to stop them and the subsequent firing on Fort Sumter was to let them go in peace. The slave owner Grant claimed that if he thought the war was about slavery, he would turn his sword over to the enemy and switch sides. Lincoln claimed if he could preserve the Union without freeing a single slave, he would do so.

"The truth is that neither British nor American imperialism was or is idealistic. It has always been driven by economic or strategic interests." - Charlie Reese

With all due respect,

I have to disagree with your conclusion that secession must have been due to slavery because of the many times slaves were mentioned in the southern states' Declaration. That's like saying if Texas secedes because Obama decides to ban guns with an Executive Order, it must be because Texans like having guns.

No. The southern states were arguing a much bigger issue.

If you read the entire South Carolina Declaration, no less than 24 'compact' violations were cited, all under the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. In other words what good are compacts when one, two, or three parties flagrantly disregard their end? And the sacrificial lamb is your sovereignty? Your unalienable rights? Your own slavery?

Look at us today. All because the southern states lost that argument.

End note: If the Civil War was about or mostly about ending slavery, why is slavery alive and well in the USA today? Because it's not farmers who own slaves-out in the clear light of day like back then... Today it's the Govt and their masters...and we're all caught up in that web of slavery, one way or another.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina


Thanks so much. Like a time machine!!

15 siblinngs!!

Baptist Ministers must of made some decent coin to allow for this. I guess the rooms were allowed for.

Nevertheless that is amazing.


I'm still blown away by this

Thanks again

The American Republic...

...died in 1865.

P.S. Why the North fought the war

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Wow. What an interesting

Wow. What an interesting piece of audio from an eyewitness of this countries civil war. Amazing.

"We didn't fight for the

"We didn't fight for the preservation or extension of slavery," he says. "It was a great curse on this country that we had slavery. We fought for states' rights, for states' rights."

1) This is very. very easy to

1) This is very. very easy to say in 1942, when everyone knew that slavery was bad and an individual is looking to justify his actions.

2) Just like modern soldiers don't fight to kill alquada or destroy Muslims; the elite people, the military-industrial complex has its reasons for going to war, and the soldiers are just the pawns. The Confederancy's number one reason for going to war was to keep slaves. The people in power in the South wanted slavery to be protected, and that is why they got the masses to fight.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:


Specific cuts; defense spending:


The North was JEALOUS of the South becasue the South PRODUCED and traded.. the North sold out the England's Industrial Revolution and the rich in the NE bought industrail corporations and nneded slaves themselves, but the slaves didn't want to move North, and while no one wants to be a slave, many slaves actually had good terms where their work was rewarded with share crops and land, and the North didn't like the South giving blacks land.

The North didn't want Blacks, the elite who bought into the industrail complex did. Ever hear of a Buffalo soldier


OK let's make a deal. I can

OK let's make a deal. I can be a 'corporate slave' and you can be an actual slave.

Would depend on who was my Master

There were good masters who LOVED and respected their slaves so much so, that as the gentleman in the film suggested, half the slaves remained, served their terms, were not only freed, but given land and grain, animals and peace to enjoy life.

In New Orleans, you can still see where the Master and Slave lived next door to each other. They had bonds and trust, LOVE and respect the North doesn't want to admit.. But the North did not welcome the freed slaves with open arms. They killed many who dared come to their communities.. NOT IN THEIR BACK YARD applied.

Spot on, Granger-

Govt training revision history would have us believe the South was comprised of plantations only and that the northern states were bleeding heart humanitarians....both false.

We probably wouldn't be fighting over the last two remaining bill of rights today has the South won the Civil War.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

Slaves of the corporate

Slaves of the corporate machine? The people in chains and under the whip and women raped in slavery would gladly have traded places with these "corporate slaves."

My own family began in the USA as indentured slaves

They were freed after their service was completed 35 years.

On my Mother's side, her Father arrived in the USA from Sweden and no sooner did he touch land, when he was drafted and put on a ship to fight in the Civil war.

Are we not slaves to the corporate machine under the IRS?

As the gentleman in the film tells you, many slaves who were freed remained on the plantations. I'm sure life was brutal and miserable for many, but I am also sure, and KNOW that many slaves were LOVED, respected, treated very well, given shares of the crops and even the opportunity to own land.

That is the history that doesn't get told much, however, slavery was part of life, had been from the time men could remember, so many accepted their place, and did their best, and truely, many were LOVED, HIGHLY RESPECTED, and made free, not to starve, but with 40 acres and a mule and more to thrive.

Many slaves went North and found they were unwanted, no work, no home, no community.. they were left to starve, and killed for coming to areas that didn't want them. That's a fact.

First of all, only black

First of all, only black people were chattel slaves in the Americas e.g. they "served" for life and passed down that status to their children. Indentured service, which ended after a term of years, could not passed own and was not slavery.

Having said that, I agree that coerced labor, such as indentured service, has much in common with chattel slavery. The poster, however, was not making that argument. He or she seems to have been claiming that working for wages was akin to slavery.


Liberia was established so that Blacks who had served their terms had a place to go.

Huh? Sure there were black

Huh? Sure there were black indentured servants. There were also some free blacks and even a few owned slaves. There were NO white chattel slaves in the Americas, however. Not a single one.

Actually, there were

There are several historical accounts of the British bringing Irish slaves to America. I have just one link that explains this. If you want more, let me know.