GDG- GDG - A Movable Feast

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Mon Jan 23 14:20:21 CST 2012

Hi Jim-
When I take friends or tourists to a Civil War battlefield or  do the John 
Wilkes Booth Escape Route tour I have to explain the motivations for  the 
actions of either side-  ie. the strategies.  Tactics, as we know,  is a 
subset of strategies, which is the efforts undertaken to achieve long term  
goals,ie (Again) to win the war.
I about never refer to the "Lost Cause".  Not that there  is not something 
to it but for an understanding of the Civil War it is almost  irrelevent .   
It is a post-war perspective.
In the post-war period, 1870s to 1900s (?) it was referred to  often in the 
South but you can pick up a hint of lack of culpability in  undertaking the 
war.  "It is not our fault that we lost.  It was a  Lost Cause."
In one way I think that the resort to the phrase is full of  pathos.
But part of the "usefulness", what have you, is the "comfort"  it provided 
to Southernors after the war.  If you were some 70 yr old  veteran sitting 
on the front porch with your CW fellow vets and you were  remembering 
comrades killed in the war you could say that it was a Lost Cause, you could never 
win anyway, which would kinda  lift the onus of failure.  I suppose to those 
vets sitting on the front  porch unable to forget being in the middle of 
combat in, say, 2nd Man., it would  provide some comfort "We tried our best,,, 
but it was  a Lost  Cause".
If you were a family in the 1870s/1880s and there was an empty  chair at 
the dinner table and grandfather or father or brother were missing  and their 
honored spot at the table vacant and still the family could sigh and  say 
yes it was a Lost Cause...
I think it was a way for Southernors to explain the shock and  pain of 
losing the war and provide emotional comfort and restoration of pride to  an 
already prideful people.  
"Just  the facts, ma'am." 

Your Most Obediant Servant

In a message dated 1/23/2012 2:18:01 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
cameron2 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
<<  However, we always have to return to  our roots, which is Gettysburg.  

Which, of late, happens  less and less.
In the spirit of things, however, I do agree with your  earlier post about 
never having heard "Lost Causer" defined as one who  believes that 
Confederate defeat was inevitable as long as the Union retained  the will to fight.  
Although I suppose that could be an element of what  the term implies.  I've 
always thought of it more along the lines of a  "moonlight and magnolias" 
romanticised view of brave yoemen and bold cavaliers  defending a doomed way 
of life, tinged with a lingering sadness that such a  graceful way of life 
had passed.
To me, a true "Lost Causer" is also, like  a true Confederate, someone of 
the period.  What we have now I'd call a  "neo-Lost Causer", much the same as 
we now have "neo-Confederates."  But  I still hate these "causes" 
outbreaks, because they always seem to turn ugly  as everyone defends their own 
particular piece of the moral high  ground.

Jim Cameron    
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