The Myth of a Weak Confederacy

The Confederacy WAS a Viable State.

By Paul Burkholder
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Debate at the January 2008 Roundtable meeting was: “The Southern Victory of 1865: Was the Confederacy a Viable State?” Five members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those five presentations.


CSA Independence

I think most of us would agree that, with a not too absurd twist of fate, there were several points before 1865 when the Confederacy could have won its independence. The Confederacy’s best chance for a viable independence with the least absurd twist of fate occurred in the fall of 1862 when Lee was invading Maryland, Bragg was invading Kentucky and Lord Palmerston’s government in London was seriously deliberating English intervention.

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Follow the Money

The Confederacy WAS a Viable State.

By Hans Kuenzi
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Debate at the January 2008 Roundtable meeting was: “The Southern Victory of 1865: Was the Confederacy a Viable State?” Five members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those five presentations.


For purposes of this debate, I have assumed that the Confederacy survived the Civil War as an intact sovereign nation. This may have occurred in a number of ways: through victory on the battlefield, as the result of some domestic calamity or due to the intervention of a foreign power. In any case, it is my position that with the conclusion of hostilities, the Confederate States of America would have not only survived but thrived as an independent republic.

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‘Too Small for a Republic…Too Large for a Lunatic Asylum’

The Confederacy Was NOT a Viable State.

By Peter Holman
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Debate at the January 2008 Roundtable meeting was: “The Southern Victory of 1865: Was the Confederacy a Viable State?” Five members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those five presentations.


After the order of secession had passed the South Carolina legislature in December 1860, the old anti-nullification attorney James L Petigru was asked if he would now, at last, support his native state. “I should think not!” he replied. “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for a lunatic asylum!” And that, despite the fantastical notions we discuss tonight, is the key to answering the question – was the Confederacy a viable state following their victory of 1865?

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The Second Shot Heard ‘Round the World

The Confederacy WAS a Viable State.

By Thomas E. Stratton-Crooke
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Debate at the January 2008 Roundtable meeting was: “The Southern Victory of 1865: Was the Confederacy a Viable State?” Five members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those five presentations.


The “genesis” of the Civil War may be found at the time of the American Revolution which began in 1776. Therefore it might be construed by some to say that the Civil War started in 1776.

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Hysteria, Democracy and Terrorism

By William F.B. Vodrey
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2003, 2007, All Rights Reserved

On July 7, 1865, Mary E. Surratt was hanged in the Arsenal grounds at Washington’s Old Penitentiary Building, having been convicted of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Also executed were Lewis Payne, George A. Atzerodt and David Herold. Mrs. Surratt’s execution was perhaps the most extreme example of how the American rule of law was put to the severest test – and in some ways failed – in the cauldron of the Civil War.

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Remembering 9/11

By William F.B. Vodrey
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The Roundtable’s September 2013 meeting was held on the twelfth anniversary of the horrific events of 9/11/2001. Past president William Vodrey opened our meeting that night with the commemoration below.


On this day in 2001, the United States was attacked by religious fanatics who struck at some of the most visible symbols of American commerce, military strength and self-government. In doing so, the terrorists remorselessly killed thousands – men, women and children – whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Child of the 60s

By Paul Burkholder
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2012, All Rights Reserved

I was born the same year as the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable (1956), which means I grew up in the 1960s. As I reflect on the 60s, I marvel at the density of events. From 1963-68, we experienced the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and three freedom riders in Mississippi, not to mention the less tragic murder of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. Assassination was a common political recourse in 1960s America.

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When Legend Becomes Fact

By Paul Burkholder
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2012, All Rights Reserved

I think the historiography of the Civil War – the story of how the Civil War history was created and handed down to us – is as interesting as any other aspect of the Civil War. There may be other instances when the history of a war was written by the losers of the conflict, but I’m not aware of one. That, of course, is exactly what happened with the American Civil War; its history, as Americans have been taught it for the last 145 years, was largely written, framed and colored by veterans of the Confederacy and those sympathetic to its cause.

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A Rebuttal to “Shelby Foote Was Wrong!”

By Greg Biggs, President, Clarksville TN CWRT
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October 2014.


I read with interest the Dick Crews op-ed on how Shelby Foote got it wrong when he called Nathan Bedford Forrest one of the two geniuses of the Civil War. Forrest remains a controversial figure of the Civil War but he was, as Foote suggested, a true genius.

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Shelby Foote Was Wrong!

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October 2014.


Way back in the year 2000, when William Vodrey was President of our Roundtable, Shelby Foote was our big name speaker. You can argue that Ed Bearss or Bruce Catton are bigger name Cleveland CWRT speakers, but Shelby Foote was by far the most expensive.

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