Monday, April 18, 2011

Pensacola Florida the Start of the Civil War?

Recently, the news brought out the fact that we are nearing the 150th anniversary of the start of "The War of Northern Agression" (What some call the "Civil War).   And, they brought up the fact that I've heard very seldom mentioned, that the Civil War might have started in Pensacola, and not in South Carolina.

Growing up just across the bay from Pensacola, Florida, I feel privileged to be so close to such a historical place. Pensacola (once called Panzacola by the Spaniards) is the oldest city in America, being the first colony of Spain on American soil.  In fact, I was raised very close to the first Spanish Mission on American Soil over here on what is now known as Garcon Point.

The Spanish History in this area is amazing, as the Spanish sailed all throughout this area. In fact, just about three miles across the bay from where I live on Bayou Chico I believe it is (maybe it’s Bayou Texar), they discovered a 1600 century Spanish sailing ship. You can see a replica of it today at the T. T. Wentworth museum downtown.

And, if you were to go downtown, you would see a small fort on a hill which represents the battle fought there between the British and the Spanish. There is a small bust there to a man named Galvez, of whom Escambia Bay was once named. It was called “La Bahia de Santa Maria de Galvez.” I’m with you. It’s just much easier to say Escambia Bay!

The rich Spanish heritage of the Pensacola area is everywhere. But after the Americans took over Florida, that heritage quickly faded. But they are still discovering Spanish artifacts today.

Pensacola is known as “The City of Five Flags,” for the five countries that once ruled this area. They include: Spanish, French, British, American, and Confederate.

So the Pensacola area in rich in culture and diverse in its heritage.

This brings us to the Civil War. Not only does Pensacola hold claim to being the first founded colony in the new World, but it also holds claim to being the site of where the Civil War started. Many believe it started in South Carolina and Fort Sumter. But they conveniently omit what really happened down here in Pensacola several months earlier.

With the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it’s about time we look at what really happened. Hopefully, Pensacola will receive it’s rightful honor and place in history as the site of the start of this dreadful and bloody war.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Last week was the the 150th anniversary of the start of what some call the "Civil War."  (There was nothing civil about it!)  I remember being taught the truth about that war in a public school in the South.  They rightly gave me the facts about the engagement and not the feelings.  Simply put, the war was another war of Independence against a tyrannical government in which state's rights was the determining factor.  Slavery had very little to do with the war.  However, it would be wrong to say it didn't play a role.  It did.  The North hated slavery, but the constitution (and even the Bible) allowed it.  Northerners didn't seem to care about the Constitution, and because they had a higher population, they passed laws against the South, especially the collection of high tarrifs (ever heard of the Morrill Tarrif? You should really look that up.  What an injustice!).  The South only wanted to be left alone.  Just as the colonies separated from England crying, "No taxation without representation!" So to, the South desired relief from economic slavery to the North which they found in leaving the Union.  But the American colonies were praised for their Independence from England, while the South was villified for it's secession from the North.  How can this be?  So much for being consistent.
Many say the South started the war.  This is a fallacy.  It was Mr. Lincoln who sent warships to South Carolina.  This is an act of agression, which justifies self-defense.  And, most people won't even look at the fact that the Southern General cordially gave those in Ft. Sumter 30 days to leave.  When he learned they had no food left, every morning Southerners took a boat full of food for the Union troops to eat.  Just a little thing called, "Southern Hospitality!"  But that's conviently forgotten by modern historians who vehemently villify and ridicule the South, making them out to be the evil rebels, while exalting the North as the great emancipator.
The truth is, when you study history (which most people don't do), the greatest injustices were those of the North against the South.  Sherman burned, raped, and plundered the South in actions that were not only immoral but against the rules of war.  Lincoln did away with the writ of habeus corpus and many other legal rights of the individual, often times locking citizens up indefinetly without trial only upon suspicion with no evidence whatsoever.  Soldiers were drafted by the North and forced to fight against their will, which caused riots in the streets in New York.  (What you never heard about that?  You should really study your history).
But probably the saddest thing about the "Un" Civil war was the bloody carnage.  Hundreds of thousands of people died butcherous deaths from huge led bullets which ripped through their bodies.  Those who survived had to have limbs cut off, the modern medical practice of the day to save lives. 
But have you ever stopped to ask, "Why did all this happen?
The Victors claim it was all because of slavery and they were only protecting a certain group of people, fighting for their freedom.  But what about the freedom of others?  Is it right to take away one man's freedom to give it to another?  It is right to kill your neighbor so you can free his neighbor? 
Even though the Civil War ended in 1865, for a lot of people in the South, it's still not over.  They view the war differently than the North.  They feel their rights were trampled upon.  For the constititution gave them the right to seceed from the union when they so desired.  When they did so, they were attacked by an invading force.  Their goods were then stolen by invaders and their homes burned and their women ravished.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, their good names were tarnished by those who claimed they were rebellious.  (Most of the South were moral, erect, God-fearing, Bible Believing Christians).  And, after the war, they were subjugated in the most cruel manner as carpet baggers entered their land and kept them under subjection to a government that went against it's own constitiution in order to subjugate its populace.
Was the South right?  That's for you to decide.  But don't decide based on feeling, rather on the facts.  For it's easy to villify a people you know nothing about and label them something because they practice something you feel is wrong.  But whether slavery was right or wrong is not the issue.  In fact, slavery is still practiced today all throughout the world (it's still around in Muslim communities).  Why then isn't their a Civil War to stamp that out?  Where's the consistency?
As we look at the fruit of the Civil War, we see that it got rid of slavery, and it eventually unified the country once more.  But at what cost?  There is still no writ of habeus corpus.  If fact, most people don't even know what this is!  It's only a fundamental right of a freely governed society in which citizens are viewed as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law!  Sadly, in our day and age, it's the exact opposite.  You are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent in a court of law.
We have only Lincoln and the corrupt politicians of the North to thank for our loss of freedoms in America.  In fact, if you really want to place blame on someone, then why not blame the North for everything, as it was NORTHERN and BRITISH ships that brought slaves to America in the first place and sold them to the South!  How are they held innocent for this, but the South villified for owning slaves?
The Civil War was a horrible, bloody event.  One that we would do well to forget.  But it's hard to let it go.  Three groups still remember that war, and they all remember it differently.  
Northerners love to look at themselves as the great emancipators.  Blacks still look back at their years of slavery, and demand recompense for it, even though they've been freed.  And Southerners look at themselves as the victims who were attacked by an invading force which stripped them of their freedoms.
Which was right?  Political Scholars state that Constitutionally it was the South.  Moral Historians agree it was the North, which did man a favor in abolishing slavery. 
In short, there is still much debate over the issue, and much mistrust and anger still found in the hearts of men.  Northerners still look at Southerners as dumb hicks and rednecks who should never have owned blacks.  Southerners still view Northerners as city slickers who don't have a clue and shouldn't stick their noses into other people's business.  And many blacks still look at whites as the evil Master bent only upon subdueing them and keeping down.
In short, one has to wonder if the Civil War really is over.  For anger still lingers in the hearts of men.  Racial, political, and moral tension abound now probably more than ever, dividing America rather than healing it.
So happy 150th anniversary America!  You started a war years ago that might have led to the union of the nation of states, but it hasn't healed the hearts of men.  And it is seldom forgotten by many.
I only pray that there are no more Civil Wars, as it would destroy our country even more, as the hatred in men's hearts would lead to unfathomable travesties, and unwanted destruction. 
As we commemorate 150 years ago the beginning of this war, and we ponder what caused it, and what the fruit of it is today, let's also make it a point to forgive one another.  I'm a Southerner.  I was born in the South.  I forgive the North.  Are you a Northerner?  Can you forgive me? 
I'm also white.  I never owned slaves.  If you are black, can you forgive my ancestors that might of owned slaves and not hold it against me?
The Bible says, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  If America continues to be divided, it will eventually fall.  It's time it unites, but not on a false premise and not under a corrupt system of government.  What America needs is FREEDOM FOR ALL, and JUSTICE TO EVERY CITIZEN ALIKE.  Only this will erase the memory of the horrible and bloody Civil War.