Why were 52,000 Confederate prisoners incarcerated
at Point Lookout? Why did over 14,000 of them die? Why did many
of them suffer from exposure, starvation, and sickness? Why were
many also deliberately murdered? Listen to a statement from the
Southern Historical Society Papers:
“The negro guard would, almost without warning,
fire among the prisoners, and this at last culminated in the murder
of a poor, feeble old man named Potts, a prisoner, one of the most
harmless creatures in the pen. He was hailed by one of the guard
while approaching his ward, ordered to stop, and shot dead while
standing still...” Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1890.
Most that are here today are familiar with these
facts. They do not need to be dwelt upon. We must ask why these
men were here and why they were treated in such a manner. One immediately
responds the reason they were here is because they
were prisoners of war and one of the reasons they
were ill-treated due to the deliberate policy of the federal government.
Preamble to H.R. 97, passed by both houses states:
“Rebel prisoners in our hands are to be
subjected to a treatment finding its parallels only in the conduct
of savage tribes and resulting in the deaths of multitudes by the
slow and designed process of starvation and by mortal diseases
occasioned by insufficient and unhealthy food and wanton exposure
of their persons to the inclemency of weather.”
On top of that one must add the sectional
hatred that was exhibited towards Southerners
in general and Southern soldiers in particular. If you think
the word hate is too strong, listen to ardent abolitionist
and radical republican Wendell Phillips:
“The Republican Party is in no sense a national
party; it is a party pledged to work for the downfall of democracy,
the downfall of the Union, and the destruction of the United States
Constitution. The religious creed of the party was hate of democracy,
hate of the Union, hate of the Constitution, and hate of the Sothern
Radical Republican and Congressman Thaddeus
“This talk of restoring the Union as it
was, and under the Constitution as it is, is one of the absurdities
which I have heard repeated until I am sick of it. There are many
things which make such an event impossible. The Union never shall,
with my consent, be restored under the Constitution as it is!...
The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is – God forbid
it! We must conquer the Southern States and hold them as conquered
provinces.” America’s Caesar, Greg Durand
There is no need to wonder as concerning their
attitude when it is so plainly stated and is evidenced by their
Let us ask the question again, why
were there Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout as well as
the other Northern prisons? In answering that
question, I am reminded of the words of Gen. Lee
to one of his subordinates. On one occasion,
one of Lee’s officers, surveying an upcoming battle,
looked upon a sea of blue coats before him. In frustration
and desperation, he exclaimed loudly, “I wish all of
those people were dead!” Lee responded, “Why sir,
how can you say such a thing?” The officer responded, “General
Lee, do you not wish they were dead?” “Of course
not,” replied Lee, “I wish they were home tending
to their own business, leaving us to do the same.”
Quiet frankly the Yankees did not have any business
in the South. If the doctrine of States Rights was
to be honored, if the Constitution meant anything, if there had
been an ounce of common sense and decency; the Yankees would have
taken care of their business and left us to take care of our business. However,
it has even been the propensity of the Yankees to endeavor to run
and ruin every ones’ lives when they cannot even run their
I am not trying to be difficult, mean, and ugly
when I say that because everyone knew their propensities and personalities.
Listen to the definition of Yankee as given by Chaplain
Nicholas Davis, originally from Limestone, Alabama
but a member of the 4th Texas Vol. Inf., CSA:
“Yankee: The popular
name for the citizens of New England. This is what Webster says
it means: ‘A name for the people of New England.’ And
as their history is well known to the civilized world, the whole
world will understand us. The word extends to all their ten thousand
schemes of deception and fraud, and comprehends their every act
of lying and stealing, from the days of Washington ‘til the
present hour, in all their political, legislative, executive, commercial,
civil, moral, literary, sacred, profane, theological and diabolical
history. The word ‘yankee’ when thus applied means
meddlesome, impudent, insolent, pompous, boastful, unkind, ungrateful,
unjust, knavish, false, deceitful, cowardly, swindling, thieving,
robbing, brutal, and murderous. This yankee country has given birth
to socialism, Mormonism, spiritualism, and Abolitionism, with every
other devilism that has cursed the nation of unionism.”
If only Chaplain Davis had spoken plainly; we
would not have to guess as to his position on the Yankees.
Professor Clyde Wilson uses
the term “Yankees” to designate “that peculiar
ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized
by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, lack of congeniality, and
penchant for ordering other people around. Puritans long ago abandoned
anything that might be good in their religion but have never given
up the notion that they are the chosen saints whose mission is
to make America, and the world, into the perfection of their own
Now, let’s ask the question again. Why were
Confederate soldiers prisoners at Point Lookout? The answer is
much larger, greater, and more important than simply that they
were captured soldiers. The truth is that there should not have
been any captured soldiers because there should not have been a
war. If the Constitution had been followed, obeyed, and honored;
there would not have been a war. The fact that there
was a war and the fact that there were prisoners of war speaks
of the tyranny, despotism, and wickedness of the Lincoln administration
and the radical republican who supported him.
Lincoln admitted to six Constitutional violations,
yet, the truth is there were many more violations. In one message,
I have documented 13 Constitutional violations. Other authors have
documented as high as 17 violations.
Isham Harris, the Governor
of Tennessee used the basic outline of the Declaration of Independence
in his denunciation of the Lincoln regime in his second message
to the Tennessee Assembly. Listen to his words:
WHEREAS, an alarming and dangerous usurpation of power by
the President of the United States has precipitated a state
of war between the sovereign States of America:
Therefore, I, ISHAM G. HARRIS, Governor of the State of Tennessee,
by virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Constitution,
do hereby require the Senators and Representatives of the two
Houses of the General Assembly of said State, to convene at
the Capitol in Nashville, on Thursday, the 25th day of April
inst., 1861, at 12 o'clock M., to legislate upon such subjects
as may then be submitted to them.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my
hand and caused the great seal of the State to be affixed at
the Department at Nashville, on the 18th day of April, A.D. 1861.
By the Governor: Isham G. Harris,
J. E. R. Ray, Secretary of State
Legislative Message, April 25, 1861.
Nashville, April 25, 1861
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The President of the United States - elected according to the forms of the
Constitution, but upon principles openly hostile to its provisions --having
wantonly inaugurated an internecine war between the people of the slave
and non-slave holding States, I have convened you again at the seat of
Government, for the purpose of enabling you to take such action as will
most likely contribute to the defense of our rights, the preservation of
our liberties, the sovereignty of the State, and the safety of our people;
all of which are now in imminent peril by the usurpations of the authorities
at Washington, and the unscrupulous fanaticism which runs riot throughout
the Northern States.
Governor Harris, in his speech, continues to
detail and outline the tyranny and despotism of the Lincoln administration.
James Henly Thornwell,
Presbyterian pastor, author, and theologian, who died in 1862 said
in a tract entitled ‘Our Danger and Our Duty’ in regard
to the consequences of a Northern victory, ‘If
they prevail, the whole character of the Government will be changed,
and, instead of a federal republic, the common agent of sovereign
and independent States, we shall have a central despotism, with
the notion of States for ever abolished, deriving its powers from
the will, and shaping its policy according to the wishes, of a
numerical majority of the people; we shall have, in other words,
a supreme, irresponsible democracy. . . The avowed end of the present
War is, to make the Government a government of force.’
Lincoln’s war destroyed the Jeffersonian republic. A republic is ruled
by law. Lincoln replaced the federal principles of 1789 with the ideological
foundations of today's welfare/warfare state. His administration was characterized
by paranoia, a lust for power, and rampant corruption. He wanted a centralized
government that concentrated power into his hands and the hands of Washington,
Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton,
declared that "Every department of the Government was paralyzed
by treason." "Traitors" were to be found in the
Senate, in the House of Representatives, in the Cabinet, in the
Federal Courts . . . Treason was flagrant in the revenue and in
the post-office service, as well as in the Territorial governments
and in the judicial reserves. Stanton should know, he was one of
In 1864, Edward Bates, Lincoln's attorney general,
lamented that "the demoralizing effect of this civil war is
plainly visible in every department of life. The abuse of official
powers and thirst for dishonest gain are now so common that they
cease to shock."
Charles Francis Adams, the Massachusetts historian wrote:
How can we justify the acts of Mr. Lincoln’s
administration? An unconstitutional policy called for an unconstitutional
coercion. An unconstitutional coercion called for an unconstitutional
war. An unconstitutional war called for an unconstitutional despotism.
Authority uncontrolled and unlimited by men, by Constitution, by
Supreme Court, or by law was Lincoln’s war policy. Rutherford,
A True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln, chapter 5.
In his December 1861 lectures in Boston and New
York City, Northern abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared
that "We live today, every one of us, under martial law. The
Secretary of State puts into his bastile, with a warrant as irresponsible
as that of Louis XIV, any man whom he pleases."
It was Secretary of State, William Seward who
boasted that he could have anyone arrested anywhere simply by ringing
Seward gave a speech on the “Irrepressible
Conflict” and even Daniel Webster,
who was no friend of the South, after he read the speech, is attributed
"If these infernal fanatics and abolitionists
ever get power in their hands, they will override the Constitution,
set Supreme Court at defiance, change and make laws to suit themselves,
lay violent hands on those that differ with them in their opinion,
or dare question their infallibility; and finally, bankrupt the
country and deluge it with blood." Publications of the
Southern History Association, Vol. VIII, p. 217 (1904).
Documents of the period show more than 38,000
political prisoners in northern jails. In The Life
of William H. Seward, Frederick Bancroft wrote: The
person "suspected" of disloyalty was often seized at
night, borne off to the nearest fort. . . . Month after month many
of them were crowded together in gloomy and damp case mates, where
even dangerous pirates captured on privateers ought not to have
remained long. Many had committed no overt act. There were among
them editors and political leaders of character and honor, but
whose freedom would be prejudicial to the prosecution of the war.
Lincoln suspended habeas corpus everywhere, arrested candidates,
and banished Ohio congressman Vallandigham from the country. More
than 300 newspapers were closed. Secretary of War Stanton told
a visitor, "If I tap that little bell, I can send you to a
place where you will never again hear the dogs bark." Neither
habeas corpus nor freedom of the press were ever suspended in the
South, even in the most desperate of times. The Raleigh
News and Observer wrote after the war "It is
to the honor of the Confederate government that no Confederate
secretary could touch a bell and send a citizen to prison."
“ Lincoln ordered the arrest of Baltimore
police Chief George P. Kane, police commissioner Charles Howard,
as well as fellow commissioners: William H. Gatchell, John W. Davis,
and Charles D. Hinks. Baltimore Mayor George W. Brown was arrested
and sent to Fort McHenry. The men were incarcerated because they
dared to publically disagree with Lincoln and refused to carry
out the president’s tyrannical orders.” President
Abraham Lincoln: An American Tyrant by Dave Gibson, 12/29/05 americandaily.com.
Yes, Lincoln was that tyrannical. He even caused
an arrest warrant to be issued for Supreme Court Justice Roger
Taney because Taney wrote a brief denying Lincoln’s suspension
of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Why was Congressman Clement Vallandingham banished
from the country? Clement Vallandingham, a well-known peace Democrat,
was arrested for violating General Burnside's order after
he called the war "wicked, cruel, and unnecessary" and
urged his audience to vote "King Lincoln" out of office.
Yes, Lincoln was acting like a king, but not
just any king, he was acting tyrannically and despotically. He
was overturning the foundations of our republic. He sought to centralize,
bureaucratize, and monopolitize all power into his hands.
From a January 1863 Star article: “There
is no act of tyranny more odious than that which strikes at
the liberty of the press—the freedom of thought and speech...
for all time to come, history will point back to the reign
of Abraham Lincoln, as having displayed a timidity most ludicrous,
a terror most abject, a despotism most foul and hideous, a
tyranny utterly regardless of all moral considerations, trampling
under foot all the guarantees of a written Constitution, which
he solemnly swore before God and the world, to maintain, revere,
Lincoln’s war destroyed our Constitution,
devoured our republic, changed our manner of government, repealed
the rule of law and led us into an empire.
Lincoln was the father of “executive orders,” “executive
privilege,” and the one who taught all other presidents to by-pass Congress
and use “executive power” to their own advantage and the advantage
of their party.
One of the reasons there is so much fraud, corruption,
and unconstitutionality in Washington, DC today is because of Lincoln.
In fact, Doug Thompson,
the founder of Capitol Hill Blue out
of Washington, DC, wrote an article on March 9, 2007, in which
“Turn off the life support: America is
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to pull the
plug on this failed democratic republic called The United States
of America. Turn off the life support. Disconnect the IVs. The
US of A is brain dead with no chance for revival....
It doesn’t matter who controls Congress.
Congress is a dead institution, ruled by timid legislators who
no longer exercise any real role in the governing of this nation.
It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court may or may not do.
The President of the United States has declared himself a “war
time President” and granted himself dictatorial rights that
no one in Congress or the Court appears able to successfully challenge
We need to rethink this experiment called America.
Maybe we need to start with a clean sheet of paper.... Maybe it’s
time for a new American Revolution. After all, the last one started
because another guy named George tried to destroy our way of life.”
I am not necessarily attacking any one party
or any one president, the point that I am making is simple. Practically
everything that we consider wrong, wicked, and unconstitutional
in our day can be traced back to Abraham Lincoln.
The truth is plainly stated by Joseph
E. Fallon in his essay Lincoln and
the Death of the Old Republic. He wrote:
Since 1861, the United States has had a government
of special interests, by special interests, and for special interests,
dedicated to the proposition that their power and profits "shall
not perish from the earth."
With the background of history that I just enunciated
firmly in mind, let us ask the question again. Why were Confederate
soldiers prisoners in Point Lookout? Why did they suffer, bleed,
and die horrible deaths? Before I answer that question, allow me
to ask another one.
Do you remember the scene in Braveheart where William Wallace was being disemboweled
and in excruciating pain? He was asked if he wanted to say anything. Of course
they were hoping that he would recant. Instead, with the last of his breath,
he shouted “FREEDOM.”
The reason our Confederate soldiers
were made prisoners of war is simple. They were fighting for
freedom. They were fighting against tyranny, despotism, and
the destruction of our republic. They were fighting for the
Constitution, for self-preservation and were fighting in defense
of their homes and their country.
“After the secession of the state of Virginia, "Benjamin
W. Jones found that 'the determination to resist invasion-the first
and most sacred duty of a free people-became general, if not universal'".
Historian William C. Davis then stated, "that determination
sent him into the army, and thousands more with him".4 Carlton
McCarthy wrote in his memoir with some poetic prose, that the Southerner "dared
not refuse to hear the call to arms, so plain was the duty and
so urgent the call. His brethren and friends were answering the
bugle-call and the sound of the drum," and "to stay was
dishonor and shame"!5 Defense of the home and duty with honor
seemed to be very strong primary reasons for enlisting for the
average Confederate soldier. McCarthy's quote points out another
factor as well.” Volume XIV, No. 4, October, 2000, Confederate
Soldiers: Why Did They Enlist? by Michael Baxter Shock.
You must remember, the South did not invade the
North, the North invaded the South!
When we think of our Confederate soldiers, we
must remember that they were indeed right! They were not fighting
for what they believed was right; they were fighting for that which
They fought valiantly; endured suffering bravely,
died courageously, and lived magnanimously. They fought for liberty,
freedom, self-defense, a limited government under the Constitution,
states rights, and to retain the republic as it was handed down
from our fore fathers.
We dedicate this park, this monument, to those
who deserve to be remembered, honored, and vindicated. THEY FOUGHT