60th Virginia Infantry Regiment
Patriotic Resolutions of a Lost Cause
Just before what many southerners called, “The Second War for Independence,” there was a assembling of southern thoughts and attitudes spoken and written, for and against secession. As the war progressed the reasoning or justification for what was proposed to be a short skirmish silenced, as the reality of a long war was recognized, causing some to proclaim their vindication of the Confederate Cause as well as endeavoring to bolster patriotic opinion in one’s town, city, or brigade, became paramount. The Confederate army’s declarations in defense of the Cause began to surface in early 1864. This was in reaction to the Third Conscription Act and the reenlistment requirements of the existing veterans to no longer enlist for a year, or two, or three, but rather, “for the war.” The Confederate Congress, and states such as Georgia, had already began to proclaim their determination just a brief twelve months preceding.
The most noticeable and largest display of public patriotic rhetoric occurred after the Hampton Roads Peace Conference on February 3, 1865. This event was a precursor to a historic public exhibition of southern patriotic resolutions, and speeches for the Southern Cause. After President Lincoln’s Peace rejection, the outpouring of soldiers and citizens around the Confederacy and primarily in the Army of Northern Virginia in the trenches of Petersburg and Richmond were overwhelming. For the last time in their war for independence, these men described their struggle on a national level and voiced their resolve to continue, to the death, if need be. After four years of subjection and President Lincoln’s rebuff to the Southern Peace Congregation, the people of the south realized that negotiations and surrender was not options and thus met to articulate why they were fighting or chose their lot of secession. The outcome of these meetings generated resolutions that brought about unity for the last push of the Confederacy in an attempt to sustain its existence.
Just three days after the Peace Conference, General Robert E. Lee was promoted to General & Chief and Commander of all Confederate military forces. Less than five weeks after the Confederate Congress declared General Lee’s promotion, these southern legislators authorized the enlistment of black soldiers into the southern arm forces. The aims of southern ideology were rapidly changing as mere survival came into view.
The annihilation of General Jubal Early’s Valley Army at the Battle of Waynesboro on March 2nd permitted General Sheridan’s 10,000 troopers to reach General Lee’s siege lines and flank the longstanding nine-month barricade. The end was imminent. Although, the actuality didn’t prevent countless soldiers and citizens of the south from exercising their last opportunity to voice their disdain for the northern government, their faith in their new commander, their validation to arm the black male population, or their determination to gain sovereignty and independence.
This narrative is a thought provoked dissection of some of the 175 resolutions identified depicting the philosophies and logic behind the sacrifices and fortitude for the Southern Cause as written by the men that gambled everything they knew and loved for something greater than themselves; the formation of a new government consisting of southern states.
Due to be released in 2019.
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