Shotgun's Opinion Page
These are opinions I have developed over the years and are not intended to be presented as facts. They are exactly as the name implies "OPINIONS." It does not make them right, nor does it make them wrong, it merely makes them mine.
My Southern roots run deep and are well nourished by the blood of my ancestors, but when the dust has settled and the discussions are finished, I am first, foremost, and always, proud to be an AMERICAN!
Definition of War:
War is not a John Wayne movie. It is a dirty, filthy, stinking, and most of all, deadly business that respects neither social position, age, nor gender. It is about killing people and breaking things. If you kill more of them and break more of their things, your side generally wins. This is what war is, never forget it!
Definition of an Optimistic in Combat:
This is a man who has been shooting at you all day, suddenly runs out of ammunition, throws his arms up, and yells "I surrender" and fully expects you not to kill him.
Definition of an Enemy in Combat:
War is War! Your enemy is your enemy! He no longer is your fellow countryman, your brother, your cousin, or your father--he is your enemy. Men going to war do not believe this. Men in war despise this. Men coming from war preach this!
Causes of the Civil War:
Here's how I feel about the cause(s) of the war (remember, my opinion only): Try to imagine the war as being an old wagon wheel. At the center is a "hub." For the sake of discussion, I will call the hub, "States Rights." If all we have is a hub, there is no wheel (war). Now extending from the hub are spokes. For the sake of discussion, I will call the spokes "injustices" (tariffs, unjust laws, etc.) either real or perceived by the South. With only a hub and spokes there is still no wheel (war). Now around the outside of every wagon wheel there is a rim, the rim is what binds the spokes and the hub together to make it a wheel. The rim, for the sake of discussion, I will call slavery. Now if you take the hub, and the spokes, then bind them together with the rim, you now have a wheel. In other words, I believe that States rights were at the center, injustices were the support, and that slavery was the catalyst.
Now, having said that, I would like you to take a look at what, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest men to come out of the war had to say, Lt. Gen. John B. Gordon, CSA. He was not only a great warrior, he was a great politician after the war, a great speaker and a great writer. This is from his book, "Reminiscences of the Civil War"
Causes of the War
Turning Point of the Civil War:
Most historians agree that Gettysburg was the turning point of the war. However, as in many things in life, I disagree. I firmly believe that Gettysburg was the loss of a battle only. Lee escaped with his army intact. Agreed it was a beaten and battered army, but it was still intact, as the next two years would prove. However, when Vicksburg fell, the Mississippi was lost, and when the artery is severed the body will die.
Slavery was an evil institution and should have never been allowed to exist, much less have a whole country grow up around it. I believe that as the Industrial Revolution moved into the South, slavery would have been died of its own evilness. Thus, 620,000 American lives would not have been lost. However, this is easy to say when you are in the 20th century and not living in bondage.
I believe that "Reconstruction" began as punishment and was carried on as a means of transferring wealth from those that had to those that had not. In my opinion, the racism that exists in this country today is a direct result of the "Reconstruction Era." Had Lincoln lived, there would have been no "reconstruction" as it occurred. The Southern people would have gotten over losing a war and the ex-slaves would have gradually been assimilated into society. However, no one gets over having their homes taken away.
Favorite Quote From the Civil War Era:
" ... It will be a glorious day for our country when all the children within its borders shall learn that the four years of fratricidal war between the North and South was waged by neither with criminal or unworthy intent, but by both to protect what they conceived to be threatened rights and imperiled liberty: that the issues which divided the sections were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an ocean of fraternal blood."
- Lieutenant General John B. Gordon, CSA
Favorite Quote From a Fictional Book:
To set the scene, Lee is talking to Longstreet on the second day of Gettysburg: "...They rode on for a while in silence, a tiny island in the smoky stream of marching men. Then Lee said slowly, in a strange, soft, slow tone of voice, "Soldiering has one great trap."
Longstreet turned to see his face. Lee was riding slowly ahead, without expression. He spoke in that same slow voice.
"To be a good soldier you must love the army. But to be a good officer you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. This is . . . . . a very hard thing to do. No other profession requires it. That is one reason why there are so few good officers. Although there are many good men."
"The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
A Soldier's Life:
"Days and weeks of sheer boredom, interspersed with times of stark terror!"
Shotgun's Life Rules:
I will not lie, I will not cheat, and I will not steal. I will harm no other person, save in defense of my life, my country, or my family. Every other rule in life is someone else's and I am not bound to follow them unless I so choose.
My favorite description of Robert E. Lee:
"The Character of Lee"
"He possessed every virtue of the great commanders, without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guilt. He was a Caesar without his ambition; a Frederick without his tyranny; a Napoleon without his selfishness; and a Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and loyal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles."
(From the Address of the Honorable B.H. Hill before the Georgia branch of the Southern Historical Society at Atlanta, February 18, 1874.)
Here is a great modern day newspaper article written about Lee. I think you may find it interesting. Article on Lee
Shotgun's Combat Rules to Remember:
1. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are. 2. In coming has the right of way. 3. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection and no inspection ready unit has ever passed combat. 4. Never make yourself conspicuous in combat. It draws fire and irritates all those around you. 5. If you fortify your position so well the enemy can't get in, you can't get out. 6. There is nothing more dangerous than an officer with a map. 7. If the enemy is in range of your guns, you are in range of his. 8. The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at. 9. There is nothing more satisfying than having someone take a shot at you and miss. 10. When in doubt empty the magazine. 11. Never underestimate the killing power of untrained soldiers in large numbers.
Shotgun's Temper Rule to Remember:
Lose your temper in combat and it can get you killed. Lose your temper in public and it can land you in jail. Lose your temper with your friends and you will dine alone!
Shotgun's Monkey Principle of Management:
"When someone comes into your office with a monkey on their back, you make sure that they leave with that monkey. The care and feeding of other people's monkeys can get very time consuming and expensive."