Stephen Budiansky’s The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox is another one of these anti-Southern revisionist screeds by Jewish historians that attempts to rewrite the history of Reconstruction from the perspective of the poor, misunderstood Yankee carpetbagger, the noble scalawag, and the emancipated free negro.
Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution was the pioneering work in this field. Nicholas Lemann’s pop history Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War focuses on the violent overthrow of Reconstruction in Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
Budiansky’s The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox is a more breathless account of the same pivotal events in the Redemption movement. It is a story of “violence, racism, division, and heroism that sheds new light on a crucial time in America’s history.” Fortunately for us, it includes some newspaper excerpts that gives us some insight into the mindset of our ancestors, which I have been sharing here for several days now.
The Bloody Shirt is told from the perspective of the two most hated carpetbaggers in Mississippi, Gov. Adelbert Ames and Albert T. Morgan; the scalawag General James Longstreet who became a turncoat Republican and whose colored army was defeated by the White League at the Battle of Liberty Place; Prince Rivers, a free negro who became a South Carolina state legislator; and Lewis Merrill, a Union Army major engaged in exterminating the Plains Indians who was redeployed to the South to put down the Ku Klux Klan.
The verdict of Appomattox was never fully accepted in Dixie. The Yankees won the war, but they lost the peace. Slavery was abolished, the Union was saved, but negro equality and carpetbagger rule proved to be intolerable.
In the aftermath of the War Between the States, we are told there was a guerrilla war by unreconstructed Southerners that claimed the lives of some 3,000 carpetbaggers, scalawags, and negroes that supported the Republican Party, whose experiment in multiracial democracy was violently overthrown by paramilitary organizations composed of ex-Confederates like the Ku Klan Klan, the White League, the White Line, and the Red Shirts.
There was a war against BRA in the South: it was a war that was explicitly waged to overthrow multiracial democracy, and it was inspired by the unshakeable belief among the natives that Dixie was and ought to remain a “White Man’s Country.”
The book is full of moving scenes of Southern resistance to the American occupation like the White League successfully charging James Longstreet’s colored troops in New Orleans while giving the rebel yell, the impeachment of Adelbert Ames by the Redeemers, Albert T. Morgan fleeing Mississippi with his colored wife and mulatto children in tow, thousands of mounted Red Shirts overthrowing the government of South Carolina, Major Lewis Merrill’s helplessness before the insurrection in the Louisiana countryside, and the fall from grace of Prince Rivers, who ended his life sitting erect as a statue and driving a coach for White people, performing the same job that he had performed in slavery.
“On a late summer day in 1874, General Longstreet rode his horse down Chartres Street through the silent French Quarter, south to the United States Custom House on Canal Street, and could see the barricades in the streets beyond. Every wall he passed was plastered with the placards that had suddenly sprung up across the city the day before.
CITIZENS OF NEW ORLEANS: FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN THE SILENT BUT INDIGNANT SUFFERERS OF OUTRAGE AFTER OUTRAGE HEAPED UPON YOU BY AN USURPING GOVERNMENT. MONDAY THE 14TH OF SEPTEMBER CLOSE YOUR PLACES OF BUSINESS WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION, AND, AT 11 O’CLOCK, A.M., ASSEMBLE AT THE CLAY STATUE IN CANAL STREET.
From their dangerously exposed spot at the head of Canal Street, the Metropolitans opened up with their Gatling gun and twelve-pounders, firing south toward the White Leaguers at the head of Poydras Street. A rail of bullets came back. From behind cotton bales and piles of freight, from behind a slow-moving freight train they sent creeping along the tracks by the levee, from windows of nearby buildings, the White Leaguers fired on Badger’s gunners, and several dropped dead in an instant. Badger leapt down from his horse to help serve the guns.
Letting out a rebel yell, two companies of White Leaguers charged the guns down the open levee.
Longstreet heard the old Confederate battle cry and turned pale. Badger fell with four bullets in him, a broken arm, and a shattered leg that would shortly have to be amputated.
The Metropolitans ran. One of the White League captains later said that it was only with the greatest difficulty that he had restrained his men from firing particularly at General Longstreet.
The best part of it all though is that the carpetbaggers like Adelbert Ames and Albert T. Morgan eventually came to be seen as unscrupulous fanatics and villains in the North itself who had lorded over and exploited a proud but defeated people in a moment of weakness. The Dunning School at Columbia University dominated studies of Reconstruction until the aftermath of WW2.
The myth of the Lost Cause soared with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of Nation. It soared even higher after Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. After Northern Whites feasted their own eyes upon the poor oppressed negro in the Great Migration, he came to be seen as less of a sympathetic figure in the region.
Reconstruction came to be seen as a horrible mistake. That was the prevailing view in America right down until the Civil Rights Movement. Even the Yankees turned against the Civil War and questioned what they had been fighting for at Gettysburg as the Money Power and the Gilded Age destroyed New England.
Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation took a serious blow in the North after his presidency became notorious for corruption. The dignified and aristocratic Robert E. Lee became an American hero who fought to preserve America’s Jeffersonian agrarian traditions. Jesse James, who came to be remembered as a romantic Confederate outlaw, targeted the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota because of Adelbert Ames and Beast Butler’s investment in it.
If you hate and despise BRA for all the right reasons, you will probably enjoy reading this book, but not for the reasons intended by the author. The Bloody Shirt will leave you wondering how anyone but Jews could see the carpetbaggers as the good guys and Reconstruction as anything but tyranny.
Note: The Jew Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory is another one of these people. Below are some of his beloved Union black soldiers played by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. You can watch Robert Shaw’s martyrdom for BRA.