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“Of all the scandals disappearing in the flames of Conrad Corfield’s bonfires, none had left a trace quite as distasteful as that of the forty-year reign of the prince of a small state of 800,000 people on the edges of the Rajasthan. The Maharaja of Alwar was a man of such charm and culture that he had been able to seduce a succession of viceroys into tolerating his activities. He happened to believe that he was a reincarnation of the god Rama. As a result he constantly wore black silk gloves to protect his divine fingers from the contaminating touch of mortal flesh, even refusing to remove them to shake the hand of the king of England. He engaged a number of Hindu theologians to calculate the exact size of the turban of Rama so he could make a copy for himself.”
— Freedom At Midnight, 1975

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“We would tell him that this is no time to fight with one hand, when both are needed; that this is no time to fight only with your white hand, and allow your black hand to remain tied.”
— Frederick Douglass, 1861

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“Over time, Lee needed to draw more and more food and fodder for his army via railroad from the fertile Shenandoah Valley, which, remarkably, had managed to avoid the serious devastation. But the principal line, the Virginia Central Railroad, was in such serious need of repair by early 1863 that the superintendent informed Jefferson Davis its ‘efficiency is most seriously impaired.’ Despite a reduction of freight loads by 25 percent, the line still suffered four derailments in five days that winter due to faulty track, and this at an average speed of eight miles per hour. Repairs were impossible because laborers were unavailable. Many white workers were in the army, the superintendent complained, and black workers ran off with the Federal troops, as had nearly all the local slaves. Essentials like railroad ties, in ample supply before the war, were unobtainable, even at triple their prewar price, because there were no workers to chop down trees and make them. As a result, over the final two years of the war, Lee had to look toward the Carolinas and occasionally Georgia for more and more supplies, at greater expense to the Confederacy over railroads heavily burdened and suffering increasingly from disrepair. Nor was this problem unique to Lee’s army. Overused, inadequately maintained railroads burdened other Confederate commands as well—and the southern economy as a whole.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“As Federal troops pushed up the Peninsula toward Richmond in May 1862, discipline and loyalty among slaves for their masters began to erode. First a dozen fled to Union lines, while the remainder at one plantation enforced a work stoppage, despite entreaties from Ruffin’s son-in-law to return to the fields. Over the next few weeks, more and more slaves slipped off to the Federals, sometimes in dribbles, other times in droves, so that by the end of June there were not enough slaves left to care for the crops and animals. Cutting losses, Ruffin’s son sold much of his share of slaves and livestock and relocated his remaining bondsmen to the south near Petersburg. His father attempted to salvage what was left of his property, but the haunting question remained: Why this rash of runaways, when ‘no where were they better cared for, or better managed & treated, according to their condition of slavery?'”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“As Federal armies penetrated deeper into the Confederacy, blacks flocked to Union lines for sanctuary from slavery. At first, Federal troops returned runaways who were not employed on Confederate military projects to their masters. This should not be, as Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan lectured Lincoln, a war to destroy slavery; rather, the object of the war was to save the Union. But for many northerners in and out of uniform, the situation was not that simple. Some soldiers abhorred the notion of returning anyone to slavery, while others found the practice of assisting masters in retrieval of slaves a nuisance that took away from their ability to wage war. It was also galling to civilians and soldiers alike that the Federal government was aiding individuals who had cast their lot with secessionists. By early 1862 the War Department prohibited the use of Federal troops in the retrieval of runaway slaves, and four months later, Congress went even further. In the Second Confiscation Act, it freed all escaped slaves of Rebel masters upon their entering Union lines.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“It all began on a quiet May night in 1861 near Fort Monroe in Virginia. Three slaves, hired out as laborers on a Confederate fortifications project, slipped away from quarters, commandeered a canoe, and paddled into Union lines. The following morning, a Confederate officer approached the fort under a flag of truce. He came, he stated, to claim the runaways based on the fugitive slave law. The Federal commander Brig. Gen. Benjamin Butler refused to hand over the slaves. A shrewd courtroom lawyer and prominent politician before the war, Butler insisted that since Virginia had seceded from the Union, the fugitive slave law was inapplicable. Furthermore, since the Confederates had used these men for strictly military purposes, they were contraband of war and therefore subject to confiscation. Then, without much thought, Butler hired them for pay to construct a bakery for Federal soldiers. In one eventful day, Butler had, in effect, freed three slaves and then employed them to work for the Union army. The secretary of war promptly endorsed Butler’s rationale, and two months later Congress passed the First Confiscation Act, which converted policy into law. Together these three slaves and Benjamin Butler had stuck a monstrous blow for freedom and the Federal war effort. They carved out the first path for wartime emancipation and set a precedent for military employment. Once the Federal government granted tacit freedom to runaways hire to labor for the Confederate military, it opened the door for all sorts of other cases and set the Lincoln administration on the rocky trail toward emancipation. And once the War Department began hiring blacks for wages, the practice initiated the breakdown of opposition to the use of blacks in other military capacities. First it was the construction of a bakery, then the erection of fortifications, and later labor as teamsters and cargo handlers. In each instance, blacks filled jobs traditionally performed by soldiers, which enabled military authorities to place more troops in combat commands as early as 1861.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“Any different policy in regard to the colored man, deprives us of his help, and this is more than we can bear. We can not spare the hundred and forty or fifty thousand now serving us as soldiers, seamen, and laborers. This is not a question of sentiment or taste, but one of physical force which may be measured and estimated as horse-power and Steam-power are measured and estimated. Keep it and you can save the Union. Throw it away, and the Union goes with it.”
—Abraham Lincoln, unfinished letter to Isaac M. Schemerhorn, Sept. 12, 1864

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“But suppose in the spring of 1864 [Lincoln] had to muster out of service one of its two primary commands, the Army of the Potomac or Sherman’s Army of the West. How would that have effected the outcome of the war? Could Grant have even adopted this strategy without those 100,000 men? How would the campaign of 1864-65 transpired? Such conjecture helps to elucidate, in just one area, the critical contributions of blacks to the defeat of the Confederacy. During those key months in the late spring and summer, when the picture for the Lincoln administration looked bleakest and the Union desperately struggled to maintain its uniformed strength, more than 100,000 blacks were serving in the Union army and thousands more were in the Federal navy. In fact, there were more blacks in Union blue than either Grant commanded outside Petersburg or Sherman directed around Atlanta. Their absence would have foiled Grant’s strategy and quite possibly doomed efforts at reunion; their presence enabled Grant to embark on a course that promised the greatest hope of Federal victory. At the outbreak of the war, leadership on neither side envisioned the varied and dramatic contributions that blacks would make to Confederate defeat. Nearly 180,000 served in the Union uniform with muskets in hand. As newfound laborers for the Federal war effort, blacks grew cotton and foodstuffs and aided in all sorts of construction and logistical endeavors, and as lost laborers for a fledgling wartime nation that so depended on its slaves for food production and other essentials, blacks caused shortages, hardships and disillusionment among soldiers and civilians alike. Slaves who could not run away to northern lines supported the Union war effort through work sabotage, general unruliness that created insecurity among white southerners, and assistance to Federal troops who escaped from Confederate prison camps. Blacks alone did not win the war, but timely and extensive support from them contributed significantly and may have made the difference between a Union victory and stalemate or defeat.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“During the final year of the war, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant employed his overwhelming superiority in manpower to defeat the Confederacy. Simply stated, Grant’s plan was to mobilize every available man, apply pressure on all fronts, and stretch the Confederacy to enable forces under Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to break up one of the two primary Confederate commands, the Army of Tennessee. Then, with all other forces maintaining the same stranglehold, Sherman’s army was to devastate the Confederate military infrastructure — its railroads, its factories, its agriculture, and its labor supply — thus bringing the Confederacy to its knees.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“This transformation of northern will illustrates the point made earlier that the will of either the northern or southern people was primarily a result of military victory rather than a cause of it. Events on the battlefield might have gone the other way, on these and other occasions during the war. … To understand why the South lost, in the end, we must turn from large generalizations that imply inevitability and study instead the contingency that hung over each military campaign, each battle, each election, each decision during the war.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992