Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Why the South Lost, Explained in One Photo

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on September 18, 2012

More dudes carrying flags than guns is no way to fight a war.

Image: Confederate infantry re-enactors re-create the Battle of Bloody Lane on Saturday in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Via CNN.

31 Responses

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  1. Josephine Lindsay Bass said, on September 18, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Andy’s satire Explained in one photo is as usual short on facts; I don’t think they had room in that photo for the
    87,000 on the Union side and 45,000 for the Confederacy – the union lost more men then the Confederates and historians call it a draw, but not ole Lincoln, well that is another myth for another day.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2012 at 7:07 am

      You have a nice day, Josephine.

    • Rob Baker said, on September 18, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Actually, if you study any sort of military history, Antietam proves to be more of a Union victory than a Confederate one. There are three levels that you need to concentrate on. Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. Strategy is the highest level of planning. It can be political. But overall, it is the all encompassing plan and outcome that can shape a war. Tactical is the actual movement of troops on the ground at the battle. Operational is an intermediate level that converts strategy into tactics. It can involve the organization of troops and the march to get to the battle.

      In the case of Antietam, regardless of numbers, the battle was tactically a draw. It’s outcome is inconclusive. The Federals lost more men, but percentage wise lost fewer men than the Confederates. The 12,000 or so Union casualties accounted for around 25% of McClellan’s forces. The 10,000 or so accounted for something like 31% of Lee’s. That is the numbers break down. As far as the fighting goes, the Confederates were checked numerous times. Their advance was stopped and the next day they left the field in the hands of the Union. Tactical victory, although inconclusive, leans towards the Union. The only thing that would have made it soundly a Union victory would have been if McClellan had committed his reserves and overwhelmed the Confederates. But that is an “IF” situation.

      Strategically the battle is a huge Union victory for several reasons. The Confederate plan to bring the war North was stopped in its tracks. In fact, the entire 1862 invasion into the North by the different theaters of operation proved to fail. The CSA never secured a major Northern victory. The CSA’s plans of a victory in the north resulting in the recognition of the CSA by the French and British did not come to fruition after the “draw.” Those plans were abandoned/halted.

      Facts are stubborn things. You can hold on to the aspect of the “Southern Cause” all you want. You can refer to the history of the events as “myths” as well. Ultimately, your modern political projection onto the past falls short of anything analytical; or accurate.

    • crazytrpr said, on September 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Strategic union victory, Lee’s march north was checked and unable to damage the North’s society and economy.

      The campaigns that won the war were: Union’s control of the Mississippi river cut the south in two, Serman’s March and Phill Sheridan’s Shenandoah campaign were they put the Souths economy to the torch, and the union navy’s blockade. Even if the union had been able to capture Richmond or even defeat the Army of Northern Virginia early in the war, the South still had the means/will to fight on.

      After the south got cut in two, was devestated by Sherman and Sheridan, on top of more effective blockade as the war wore on, it was game over. Time to get everyone to the negotiating table and haggle out the best deal you can. Nobody sane on either side wanted a guerrilla war.

  2. Corey Meyer said, on September 18, 2012 at 8:34 am


    I saw this last night and thought the exact same thing. If you look close I think you can see Susan Hathaway. 🙂


    Thanks for the recap of the significance of Antietam. I enjoyed it, but am quite certain it will all be lost on the likes of Josephine Bass.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

      There are — maybe — two companies’ worth of soldiers in that image, and a division’s worth of flags. Hilaritas!

    • Rob Baker said, on September 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I do what I can. I just find it bizarre that certain elements of the heritage movement are creating so much denial that they attempt to claim victories where there are none.

      • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

        Well, you remember the Virginia textbook business a couple years ago, right? I just read on SHPG that the inclusion of black Confederates in it was reviewed and vindicated by the state board of education.

        And then there’s the rather blatant misrepresentation of what’s written in Kevin’s book. It’s an outright falsehood, but (as with his repeated plagiarism) Gary will have exactly zero consequence for making it.

        These are the self-appointed Defenders of Southron Honour.

        • Rob Baker said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

          Do you have links?

          • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:20 am


            It’s hard to imagine that 2 years ago a Virginia Textbook came under attack because the author stated that there were thousands of blacks who fought for the Confederacy. Well, how did the story end in 2010? Virginia’s Education Department approved the textbook.



            • Rob Baker said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:24 am

              Ah yes. When exactly did the Virginia School board approve the textbook?

              • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

                They initially approved the book, without detailed review, sometime before the 2010-11 school year. After it became news, the board alerted school districts to the error in October 2010. They approved a corrected version of the text in 2011:

                The Virginia Board of Education has approved revised versions of two history textbooks found last year to contain inaccuracies and questionable research, a decision that is drawing criticism from some lawmakers and academics.

                The errors and dubious scholarship in “Our Virginia: Past and Present” and “Our America to 1865,” both published by Five Ponds Press, will be fixed in the next editions, according to the state Department of Education, making the books appropriate for elementary and middle school classrooms. The board approved the books last week.

                Reports of extensive errors in Virginia social studies textbooks prompted state education officials on Wednesday to propose revamping the approval process to prevent the issuing of flawed textbooks. Fairfax County officials also said they may discontinue using one of the books.

                The new state procedures would require that publishers hire context experts and provide extensive new documentation for claims in their textbooks. Education Department staff also would do more-detailed reviews before passing the books to the small groups of classroom teachers who traditionally have reviewed them, according to a statement from Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright.

                “Virginia students deserve textbooks that reflect the quality of the commonwealth’s nationally recognized history and social science standards, and as the errors found by the reviewers clearly show, the review process must be improved,” Wright said.

                Proposed changes would require the Virginia Board of Education’s approval.

                The Education Department began increasing its scrutiny of textbooks after The Washington Post reported in October that one provided to fourth-graders, “Our Virginia: Past and Present,” included a controversial claim that thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War. The claim is often made by Confederate heritage groups but rejected by most historians. That book’s author, Joy Masoff, has since apologized for that problem, as has the publisher, Five Ponds Press of Weston, Conn.

                Historians that the department selected to review “Our Virginia” and another book by same publisher, “Our America: To 1865,” submitted lists of dozens of errors this month. A review of books by other publishers also found problems with some depictions of events in the Civil War. State officials plan to meet Jan. 10 to discuss the historians’ concerns.

                The author of that book, Joy Masoff, has no actual background or training in history, and primarily used the Internet in her “research” for the book in question. So it’s entirely fitting that the SHPG folks would embrace that narrative, because it’s entirely consistent wit their own notions of scholarship.

  3. Pat Young said, on September 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    As my neighbor used to say “You maka me laugh”.

  4. Martin Husk said, on September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Very funny Andy. I actually laughed at the photo before I read your caption. Kinda hard to hide in the bloody lane with all those flags. Why not just carry a sign that says “Here we are!”

    • Corey Meyer said, on September 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      So very true.

    • Josephine Lindsay Bass said, on September 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Why don’t you ask them? But am quite certain their answer will all be lost on the likes of Corey and Andy and their ilk of wannabe historians. Alas, they are biased tools of the liberals and lincoln lovers.

      • Andy Hall said, on September 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

        You’re making an awful lot of a snarky joke about a picture of farby reenactors. It’s a funny picture.

        • Josephine Lindsay Bass said, on September 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

          We are OFFENDED – more by the comments than the picture.

          • Andy Hall said, on September 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

            So? You’re always “OFFENDED.” I’ve never known you not to be “OFFENDED.” It’s what you do.

            • Rob Baker said, on September 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm

              more by the comments than the picture

              You posted the first comment……

              • Josephine Lindsay Bass said, on September 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

                No I did not baker! this is the first insult
                Why the South Lost, Explained in One Photo
                Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on September 18, 2012

              • Rob Baker said, on September 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

                That wasn’t a comment……the was a part of the post.

                It’s ok, keep trying.

              • Andy Hall said, on September 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

                Rob, cut Josephine some slack. I think she’s working on an absurdist comedy routine. That bit wasn’t quite as funny as George Purvis’ classic, “I said I had never heard of DeWitts website and I still haven’t,” but it’s running a close second.

              • Rob Baker said, on September 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

                Oh I remember that post. One of the few times I’ve seen Kevin outside of What a show.

  5. David Tatum Jr said, on September 23, 2012 at 8:27 am

    LOOOL – Good one Andy !

  6. Al Mackey said, on September 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Andy, just yesterday I was on a battle walk at Gettysburg following Tige Anderson’s brigade on its July 2 attack. Toward the end of the attack, according to Matt Atkinson, it seemed as though the confederate battle flags outnumbered the confederate soldiers. That was, of course, after four hours of intense combat. The comment reminded me of this post of yours.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      That’s pretty interesting — I can see that, given that the colors would always be picked up and carried forward, as long as they were able.

  7. Dick Stanley said, on September 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    The farbys not only have too many flags, they’re violating the first rule of infantry combat: They’re all bunched together, making it likely every one of them could be killed by a couple of well-aimed artillery shots. At least there don’t seem to be the usual number of overweight ones.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      The farbs who look like me never made it to the fence.

  8. tyson said, on October 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

    These Northerners are really manly, harassing a woman. Typical.

    • Andy Hall said, on October 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for taking time to comment, but you shouldn’t worry too much about Ms. Bass. She has a long history, on this blog and elsewhere, of name-calling, making ridiculous statements, and expressing violent rhetoric against bloggers she dislikes. Her reception in this thread is based on that reputation, that she’s actively cultivated for years. The response to her here is, frankly, more civil than she deserves.

      Ms. Bass doesn’t get a pass on bad behavior because she’s female, and shouldn’t.

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