Confederate Echoes

by Albert Theodore Goodloe


Confederate Echoes by Albert Theodore Goodloe

Originally published in 1907, this is the memoir of 1st Lieutenant, Rev. Albert Theodore Goodloe, M.D. of his time in Company D of the 35th Regiment Alabama Infantry.

Excerpt from the book

THESE Confederate Echoes are written from the standpoint of a Confederate patriot in the "early sixties" (from the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, in 1860, to the downfall of our Southern Confederacy, in 1865), and they are expressed in terms then employed throughout the South by citizens and soldiers in regard to governmental, military, and other affairs with which we had to do in those stirring, epoch-making days. How else could the genuine Southerner of that eventful period be known to others than by allowing him an audience with them in his own form of speech, as he gives utterance to his views of men and things, his convictions, etc.? In a straightforward, unrestrained way he did not hesitate to give his estimate, especially, of men in authority on both sides of the Ohio River, and comment at will on the management of affairs by them, as he took in the situation. He was a veritable son of Liberty, who claimed and exercised his sovereign right to do his own thinking and talking and acting without reference to the opinion of others, whatever might be their standing, or the consequences that might follow, of hurt or otherwise. There was a bold manliness in this Southern Confederate everywhere that dreaded not to assert itself in any presence or under any circumstances, and there was no mistaking the meaning of his utterances or actions. His majesty of character entitles him to live on through the ages following, not simply as a record in the cold annals of history, but as his real self perpetuated. To meet the demand, a photograph, true to life, must be taken and transmitted to posterity. This book is this photograph, so far as the author could accomplish the desired end. That is to say, the language and tone of it are intended to be the echoes of the old Southrons as they met the issues that were thrust upon them by Lincoln and his supporters. They shall never die while I can keep them alive, and their Confederacy shall never perish from the earth while I can prevent it.

As to the propriety of publishing a book of this kind at this remote period from the overthrow of the Confederate States of America by Lincoln’s soldiers of "every tribe and nation," some persons will consider that it is a mistake, inasmuch as it is calculated to arouse afresh the animosities of the former days of wrath and blood in this country. This need not be the effect of it, and is not likely to be among fair-minded and intelligent people anywhere, in the North or in the South. But be that as it may, must we fail on any account to show to our offspring and to the world at large what we were, what we undertook, and what the significance of our undertaking was in all its bearings; and thus allow all who may so desire to see with our eyes, as it were, what we beheld while struggling to be disengaged from our despotic pursuers, and to establish an independent nationality of our own apart from them?

There are those sometimes, even in our own midst, who insist that we are "fostering strife" between the North and the South by talking and writing about the war times in this country from a Southern standpoint, unless we do so in a kind of apologetic or humorous way, as though we are sorry that we fought the Yankees, or that we were only "funning" when we did so. They are much given to saying—those who are free-spoken on the subject: "I thought the war was over. Let the dead past bury its dead."

Most of such nonsensical talk comes from a certain class of self-constituted and self-announced "reformers" of the woman-suffrage, politico-ecclesiastical type found here and there, who, in order to succeed in their wild projects, are joining forces with the Plymouth Rock fanatics for the purpose of consigning to oblivion the blessed Old South and its orthodox supporters. Much of this talk also is the grating and hypocritical whine of the post-bellum renegade from our ranks who, having abandoned us in our efforts to prevent negro supremacy in the South during the reconstruction period and maintain our rights in the government as white citizens, has gone into the camp of our never-wearying maligners and persecutors, and is now trying to "break the Solid South" for his own exaltation among our unnatural and bitter adversaries. A few good-meaning people talk thus, who have but little strength of conviction, and are not particular which side they are on, if only they may be exempt from antagonism or contradiction in the smallest degree. Absolute quietude is what they want, regardless of who was right or who was wrong on war issues; and indifferent, indeed, as to whether the North or the South was responsible for the war.

Actually, on one occasion, while we of the John L. McEwen Bivouac, of Franklin, Tennessee, were arranging to bury one of our comrades who had just died, a prominent merchant of that town, of the modern reformatory persuasion, took offense at our meeting for that purpose and said to me in an impatient tone: "I see no good to come of such as this. I thought the war was over." My reply was: "Yes, the war is over, but we still bury our dead comrades when requested to do so." His only answer to this was a fretful repetition of what he had already said. This man had never fought any Yankees. I could not but announce to the great assemblage at the burial service, conducted by me as Chaplain, in connection with some needful explanatory remarks about our organization, what had occurred in the conversation with this gentleman, that those knew best that the war was over who helped as true patriots to fight the battles of the South.

That there should be a disposition on the part of Southern people to fraternize in a Christian and manly way with those of the North, it is well here to say; and so far as mere animosities of a personal nature are concerned, the dead past should bury its dead. But principles such as we fought for must not be buried; nor must there, for any consideration, be any blank or compromising pages in the history of the war with Lincoln from a Southern point of view. No one has any stronger desire for genuine fraternity with the North than the one who writes these lines; but, for one, I cannot afford to "foster" it by evading vital issues and ignoring fundamental facts; much less can I do so by banishing from my mind the fond recollection of the illustrious supporters and defenders of the dear Old South, more precious to me than all other peoples and lands.

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