J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Southern Duty

When Lincoln called up 75 thousand men to invade the Independent Southern States on April 15, 1861, his unconstitutional act prompted the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas to secede, joining the newly formed country, the Confederate States of America. Thus, with the invasion of the South, this began the bloodiest war in our American history.

When the South was invaded, Southern States called upon their sons to do their duty to defend their state, homes and family from invasion. These men went to do their duty, not as aggressors or in the spirit of conquest, but to protect their homeland from an unjust invasion.

More than half of all the casualties on both sides were from the hardships and disease found in camp life. This was especially true for the Southern troops who nearly always lacked the basic necessities of food, clothing and medical supplies, unlike the Northern troops, who had plenty.

The sacrifices made by the Confederate soldier are incomprehensible today. They would march for days with little or no rest, very little food, some with no shoes and in the heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter. Fatigue, hunger and sickness were common place for these soldiers.

Despite the hardships endured by the Confederate soldiers they pressed on to perform their duty. In nearly every conflict these soldiers were typically outnumbered and out gunned 3 to 1.

The “Rebel Yell” made these brave soldiers famous. It demonstrated a fighting spirit, courage, tenacity and gallantry allowing them to prevail in most of the major conflicts of the war. Sadly they fought an invader with unlimited reserves and resources, making victory impossible.

Even during the last year of the war when they knew that victory was impossible, the Confederate soldier continued to fight courageously to protect their homes and families, to the very end.

They received no great bounty or pay for their service nor did they ask for any monuments or special attention. They wished only to be remembered with the truth behind their heroic and noble struggle, in America’s second War for Independence.

April is Confederate History Month and commemorates the men and women of the Confederate States of America who came from all races and religions that include: Irish-born General Patrick R. Cleburne, Black Confederate drummer Bill Yopp, Mexican born Colonel Santos Benavides, Cherokee born General Stand Watie and Jewish born Confederate Nurse Phoebe Pember who was the first female administrator of Chimboraza Hospital in Richmond, Virginia where she served until the end of War Between the States.

Nearly 258 thousand Confederate soldiers died protecting their homes, families and our Constitution. They fought bravely and nobly against overwhelming forces and odds. They suffered incomprehensible hardships to the very end. They were called to their duty as Americans….as fathers and as sons. They served without hesitation and we owe each of them to make sure the truth be told about them and the War. These soldiers are our ancestors and without hesitation or question, deserve respect, honor and dignity from each of us.

Deo Vindice!

(This article courtesy of the “Southern Comfort,” Samuel A. Hughey Camp #1452 SVC, Hernando, MS)

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