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 people.”
Radical Republican and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens said:
“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 numerous deeds.
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 own.
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 image.”
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, DC.
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 the traitors.
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 a bell.
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 as saying:
"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, and support.”
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 he said:
“Turn off the life support: America is dead”.
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 him....
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 was right.
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 FOR FREEDOM!