An Insult

I am about to create a stink that will make an open septic tank smell like a field of roses, but from a personal belief standpoint I have to address it.

During a discussion on the status of Confederate statues, General David Petraeus referred to Confederate generals like Lee, Bragg, Longstreet and others as traitors. At that moment I lost much respect for him. After he made that statement, a few others began using that reference as well.

Many of these men had fought in conflicts side by side with other senior officers that would later become their opponents during the Civil War. The reasons for the action of secession were many, and I do not agree with some of them, but before you call these men traitors let me remind you of something…

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Sound familiar? It should. Another group who were labeled traitors drafted this document and sent it to King George decades earlier. The difference is, they won.

Just so my position is known, I have done research on my family history. I discovered that my family has a long history of involvement in government as well as the military at very high levels. I am descended from several individuals who were commissioned officers in the Revolution including a founder of the Culpepper Minutemen, the first organized militia raised to confront the British. I am also descended from John Marshall, the 4th Chief Justice of the United States.

My family had a strong presence in Virginia which means they sided with the Confederates when that conflict began. I am related to James K. Marshall who commanded the 52nd NC regiment and at one point took command of Pettigrew’s brigade after Pettigrew was wounded at Pickett’s Charge before he was killed at the wall.

I also discovered that I had a relative who was a Battalion Surgeon for the 3rd Delaware Infantry. So, it appears I have ties to both sides.

From what I can find, my family has been involved in every military conflict since the founding of this country. Needless to say, I am very proud of my military heritage. That being said, when anyone refers to members of the Confederacy as traitors, I take that as a personal insult to my family’s sacrifice for this country. In my opinion, because of my family history, you are referring to me and my ancestors like General George C. Marshall (the Marshall Plan), my uncle that died on a Japanese hell ship as a prisoner of war, and my two grandsons currently serving in the Marines and Army, as descendants of traitors. Be glad dueling has been outlawed.

The Civil War had many causes. Slavery was a big one. And while I consider slavery an abomination and a stain on the history of this country and mankind in general, remember that those that fought for the Confederacy were fighting for their beliefs, principles, and a desire for self-governance without interference from others that would force them to accept their beliefs and principles, be they right or wrong. (Again, sound familiar?)

President Lincoln’s main reason for his actions was to preserve the United States as a unified, whole nation. As he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”, and he was right.

To refer to the those of the Confederacy as traitors is insulting and wrong. They were not betraying the country; they were following an earlier example by wanting to form their own nation.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Alan Marshall

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