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The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers

The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers

Total War from the Bottom Up?

(p.142) The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers
This Distracted and Anarchical People
Michael J. Bennett
Fordham University Press

This essay contends that there are inconsistencies in the Freedom School's interpretation of the Civil War as simultaneously a redemptive national conflict and the first modern total war. Examining Confederate atrocities against Union soldiers, it argues that white southerners so passionately hated the North that they frequently disregarded the rules of war. He thinks that historians have avoided accounts of atrocities because they represent everything that the war was not supposed to be about: treachery, brutality, and killing without meaning. The unreasoning savagery made the conflict a total war, stripping the Civil War of its ideological and redemptive power.

Keywords:   Total War, Black Flag, Atrocities, Brutality, Confederate Soldiers

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