Over the years I've done a lot of traveling through the South.
I've been to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas. I've always enjoyed the South. I've marveled at the slower pace of living and the some of the history, values and tradition that are imbedded in that part of the country.
And, since I've always been a great fan of small towns and small town life, I've visited many small southern towns. Traveling through these hamlets I've invariably noticed that in practically every town square, space was set aside for a statue of a Confederate soldier and/or a memorial for those who fought for the South in the Civil War. Yes, Johnny Reb stands tall in countless towns throughout the South.
How did this happen and why is this so?
Well, it's important to remember that the South is the only area of the country ever to be invaded and destroyed -- on a massive, unparalleled scale -- by its own countrymen. The South was ravaged. Southerners were more than humiliated -- they were nearly wiped off the face of the earth. In fact, it's been estimated that the South suffered nearly a half million casualties during the Civil War. This should not be surprising as the Civil War was America's bloodiest conflict ever. Understand this -- we lost more of our own in a battle after battle against one another (a mortal "family feud," if you will) than we did in any other conflict, including World War II.
The South was the primary battlefield of the war and suffered most of all with $10 billion in property damage and two-fifths of its livestock destroyed. Whole areas of the South were leveled -- in many cases simply left as scorched earth. Union soldiers raided farms and plantations, stealing and slaughtering cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep and hogs and taking as much other food–especially bread and potatoes–as they could carry. (These groups of foraging soldiers were nicknamed “bummers,” and yes, they burned whatever they could not carry.)