Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The war between the states. . .
Having been raised in the city from birth to 25, war was a way of showing respect and honour to this country. It was a way of contributing to the freedoms. . . Speaking freedoms. Religious freedoms &c. I grew accustomed to war. My late dad and his brothers were in the military. My great-uncle committed suicide due to the sights he saw of WWII. What about the Civil War?
I wondered about it. I read about it. We were taught in school about it. So I knew something about it. Did I really know about it?
Recently, I have looked back into this war, with a newness of sight of which cometh from the Lord of Light and the Father of all Mercy. I learned and saw the grim, bleak, and black side of this ignoble strife—646,392 soldiers died and well nigh a million suffered wounds and scars for the rest of their lives.
Last year marked 150 years since its beginning. What is the worth of this war? What does it mean to me? Well, it was senseless and tragic, and its meaning is simple: Death. Another dead soldier. In this case it could have been another dead relative. Also, some of my ancestors fought in it, lost their lives.
Now what? Those flags, which stand for this country, I just tolerate it. I don't pledge allegiance, save to the cross of Christ, who said: "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight. . ." My kingdom, of which I Seek out, is not of this world. All weapons of warfare are carnal. For our True weapons are not, because we wrestle not with flesh and blood. We are to put on the entire armour of our Lord God Heavenly Father. Not bullets or gunpowder, not swords and maces.
The scenes I saw of this dreadful war, were astonishing! The aftermath was heart rending. I find new eyes to see with, which before used to see this as beautiful, now find the same or similar scenes horrible, nightmarish, devilish. Add up the death toll: 646,392 dead 1,000,000 scarred and wounded. A staggering figure is what that is! (I wish I could paste that picture here of the gravediggers at Hanover County, from the battles of Gaine's Mill and Cold Harbor, VA. That one is chilling, for the soldiers are merely skeletons of men!)
Nonresistance. Nonviolence. Non-swearing of oaths. Obedient to the laws of the land, but where those contradict those of Christ, I obey God rather than men. How can this thing of war be beautiful to anyone? I say this—Thou, O Father, keep me fastened to Thee, from this moment to the next, from this day onward. Help me never turn my eyes towards nothing but Thee and Thy Gentle Children. "Thou that rulest both wind and water, Stand by me. . ."
Blessings to ye all, Friends.
"Dear Lord and Father of mankind, Forgive our foolish ways; Reclothe us in our rightful mind, In purer lives Thy service find In deeper reverence praise. . . Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace." John Greenleaf Whittier: 1807—1892
I happened to find, not a very good "militant nonviolence" figure in the Civil War. . .
Samaritan At Fredericksburg
"At the battle of Fredericksburg on Twelfth Month 13th, 1862, Union General Ambrose Burnside stubbornly but futilely hurled five divisions against withering Confederate volleys from behind a stone wall at the foot of Marye's Heights. The Federals left thousands of dead or wounded on the slopes beneath the impregnable Confederate position.
The next day, moved beyond all endurance by the suffering of the wounded across the wall, Sgt. Richard Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers loaded himself with canteens, crossed the wall and went to succour the fallen enemy. There was a mighty cheer from the Union lines when they saw what he was doing, and not one shot was fired for an hour and a half while Kirkland carried water to the wounded. The beaten Union forces retreated that night. Less than a year later, Kirkland himself fell at Chickamauga."
This is as close as I could find to what thou wast saying. With so many different things at stake, peace rallies or marches, would not have added, it seems. The south was as determined to have their way, as well as the north. . .
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
What a great story! Yes, it helps to have these kind of examples.
I wonder how many times someone showed a glimpse of "we're all in this together" to the other side, during that war. When you think about it this way, war almost seems like it provides an opportunity that is never available in peacetimes. What I mean is that it provides the recipe -- it points to the solution in such a straightforward manner: for example, 1) go to the 2 elements that are "at war," notice which side everyone thinks you are on and the one you are most sympathetic to, and then 3) do acts of open-hearted kindness for the other side.
What do you think?
A waffle grille. A caldron of the massacred boiling over a five year fire. A skillet. . . Heroic, stoic, and bravery would have failed to stop this one. It seems, in looking through the pages of time, that the perplexity and complexity of this war was destined to march onward.
The dead fell at a tremendous rate. Several heated generals from both sides all with one hot plan, to put an end to their foes with force of arms. Standing up or ratifying a group stating that we are in this together would not have hindered Grant's pursuit of Lee or the other way around.
What would I have done in this time period? I put that to the fictional case for my own self. What good could I have done? I add that to the case. Put the case that I do not believe in killing or taking lives with carnal weapons. That violence met with more violence will not stop or end violence that has already begun. Put the case that I wish to peacefully pursue something useful in the eyes of both sides to try to be "militant nonviolent," and my cause is honourable, noble, and purely just in God's Light. Put the case that I act on the elements above to the end others may see the horrific, ignoble strife as what it is, and to stop. Put the case that stubborn generals do not see the notions as I had intended, rather as a threat. That I have become a nuisance to their causes and see me as a threat to their intentions. That even peaceful and noble, even loving and kindhearted—coming only in the name of God as did many martyrs; I was still interfering with their plans at every turn. Put the case that some few did listen. Put the case that even a Sgt., Lt., or a drummer and a few others listened to me and found what I had to say was interesting and right. But add to the case that the bearing by other forces not to be found in the battle array was the agent of this disgrace, and the harder I try the more vicious it advances itself, so that I am thwarted at each injection of Truth. Thwarted to speak openly. Told to leave. Warned most vehemently. Threatened. My purpose and cause shattered like a glass window pane. All the good I would, but none to finally hear. Instead of being a welcome sight and succour of both sides I find myself being charged at. Fleeing for safety from the hands of both sides in a trench of mine own, I ask myself, why, and see the advancing forces approaching. I hear the drummer, almost a funeral march as it were with bugles and all. My death mask unveils, the smoke reveals the plans I forged in peace and God's Light. Yet it lay mouldering in the ash pits of the Union and Confederate campsites of the night prior. I had better flee, be ground to ashes by either side, or take the first bayonet or sword I find and fall upon it.
For which side would these peaceful notions get reconised? The Union, if they had warned me to keep out of sight lest I should be gunned down? Nay. The Confederate, if they had hunted me into trenches of mine own making, as it were? Nay. My funeral and knells would have been better used in some other capacity, than to make a noise of that each side knew the best, Death. The sound of war was the only ointment each side knew, and to do otherwise would amount to my blood and life mingled with those of the fallen, or amputees in makeshift hospitals. Death would set in one way or another.
"Turn to him the other also." If death was imminent and I constructed such a plan, it would be somewhat suicidal. I'd in the end would have accomplished nothing more than another casualty, even though I stood for peace. "Light hath come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil." Also, have ye heard the saying, "Play with fire and thou wilt get burnt"? "Speak softly, but carry a big stick"? Where are the, "Wise as serpents but innocent as doves"?
Sympathy, as good as it is, would not have ended this horrible conflict. Though I see the aspect of what thou sayest, I think this was one stiffened war, with hatred so deeply entwined on both parties, I don't really know that even these points thee mentions would have worked. I'm quite positive that:
many times someone showed a glimpse of "we're all in this together" to the other side
but notice how few were the "militant nonviolent" and notice the ultimate result was war: 1861—1865.
Sgt. Richard Kirkland is the only example I have come across, but he too, carried weapons. A sad time, was it not? Hard to say what we'd do if we were in that era, don't ye think? We wouldn't speak with a gun, would we?
This was a terrible time period. The hording of gold and silver and other coinage in circulation, made many problems. It was hard to come across moneys. The Confederate states had their own coinage and legal tender printed and issued, but that did not last long of course. . .
One other interesting things I nearly forgot was the issue of the lowly 2 cent piece of 1864—1873 designed by James B Longacre. It was the first coin to bear the words, "In God We Trust." The same act that instated this piece, did away with the silver three cent piece and the silver half dime (though the nickel three cent piece was not discontinued until 1889).
It was a force that even the well meaning person would have had trouble with. An internal issue. A divided house, nay, country. Wouldn't thee agree?
I've been a pacifist far longer than I've been a Quaker. When I was in third grade, my school had "Civil War Week" where we dressed up in clothes of that era, some students played as slaves, and many others as soldiers. Each classroom was a one-room-schoolhouse representing a state, and the northern states helped the slaves escape. I put on a bonnet and claimed to be a Quaker, knowing they were pacifists of that period, and complained quite a bit that this was glorifying violence.
Thank thee for sharing, Mackenzie.
I guess, in my youth, if such a class activity occurred I would have delighted to be a part of it. Sadly to say it, but that is the truth. I wasn't raised nonviolent. I adopted that later on, as I gave myself more to God's Word and Son. . . the Light of Christ to enlighten my heart in this matter. Glad thou grabbed a bonnet and did as ye did. I can't imagine, in looking back, why people would go to such an extreme war over slaves. I regret that, perhaps my own ancestors, (mostly Irish on both sides with English, Scotch, Welsh, Gaelic, a bit of German, and Native American) may have inflicted ill upon slaves or had a different view on slavery. I would say this: pardon me, any of ye, if any of mine own relatives, though generations ago, would have mistreated a single slave. (Thank thee, Mackenzie, for adding us as a Friend!)
What do ye think of reenacting that takes place at some of the Civil War battle Historic Sites? I guess in reading what thee posted, caused me to do some thinking on it. . . I haven't found a lot of "militant nonviolent" persons during the Civil War. The only one that came really close was Sgt. Richard Kirkland, posted elsewhere.
Friends, what think ye of this awful war? Would pacifists, militant nonviolent, or peace talks would have ended this? Was it too complicated? Looking at the death toll, 646,392, is nearly unrealistic and makes me wonder if anything would have changed that outcome?
I often think the South should have just been allowed to leave, but you know, leave the border open to escaping slaves. Maybe I'm just a big fan of FDR, but the self-determination of nations is something I think is important and if held in importance by others would avoid wars. The Scots may be allowed to vote on their own independence soon, and I think that's how it should work.
I personally find living history villages much more interesting, especially as I'm a textiles nerd. I can now see the value of living history sites in the places where the events occurred, for education, but I think you need to really get a sense of scale going to make it work. 200 kids running around with plastic guns doesn't show the gravity of the situation the way a large reenacting group that can actually end up with thousands playing dead does. The sense of "no seriously, a LOT of people died, an overwhelming number, LOOK! See how awful it is!" has to be there. I think it's necessary to show the horror of the war to make people see why it shouldn't happen again.
I actually do some reenacting/recreating, though Renaissance for me. I will be at the Pennsic War next week. It's not a recreation of any real event, and it's organized into timed rounds with scores tallied, like a tournament. I tend to describe combat archery in the Society for Creative Anachronism as being "medieval paintball." There is a real village that springs up around it. Over 11,000 people are expected each year, the vast majority of whom are cooks, bards, artisans, merchants, etc. I know one Friend who, when her meeting was concerned about her participation in this group, answered: if only all the world's wars were this way, with little worse than a bruise or turned ankle and both sides buying each other beers at the end.
That seems like a good point to me, one that I may not have thought of, reenacting being able to "show" instead of "tell," just how horrible it was. I appreciate this. I know an older teacher, nay, actually "summer-school" teacher of mine who does a lot of Civil War reenacting. I think he even appeared in a drama film on the war, his role was actually two different parts. He played a telegraph operator and he also did one of the soldiers that stormed over a hill, though it was so many people I couldn't find him in that portion. The telegraph operator, yea, it was him.
True, the south could have allowed the slaves to leave, but they did not. Friends (Quakers), with some Brethren and Mennonites, the Underground Railroad formed to evacuate the slaves to free states and Canada—especially in and near the Queen's Bush area of Ontario. It seems like the cruel treatment to slaves should have awakened people to the potential for a conflict in the making.
Well worded! "I think it's necessary to show the horror of the war to make people see why it shouldn't happen again." Of course we cannot undo what is done, especially over one hundred and fifty years ago, but we can learn from the past to avoid a "rehash" in times present or to come. Yea, I agree, if all conflicts and wars were nothing more than a bruise or a turned ankle and both sides at least buying soft drinks or coffee, what a difference that would be. . .
Sadly, the dead are hurled back to the enemy, and vise versa, to be buried. I had opportunity to visit the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, and saw the rows and rows of identical Confederate headstones. How sad and eerie they seemed. I thought immediately of two stanzas from Alfred Tennyson's "In Memoriam A. H. H." which goes:
Old yew, which graspest at the stones That name the underlying dead, Thy fibers net the dreamless head, Thy root are wrapt about the bones. The seasons bring the flower again, And bring the firstling to the flock; And in the dusk of thee the clock, Beats out the little lives of men. (From Part II by Tennyson, 1809—1892.)
Friends I have always wondered how this country could have nearly split in two. Slavery. . . I detest what those people endured. (Perhaps at the hands of some distant ancestor of mine!) I cannot believe the horrors of what all the slaves underwent. Why was freedom of slavery not more immediate? Why this terrible KKK? Why segregation? I just do not understand. If Lincoln proclaimed them free, why did it continue onwards in some respects?
This war was bad enough, with 646,392 dead, but mistreatment of slaves and in a lot of incidents they were killed. I really appreciate African American peoples. I like their hymns and spirituals. They speak of longing for a better time, heavenly Angels, and God's Paradise. A lot of them are in minor keys, when I play some of them on the piano: D minor, E flat major with a lot of relative C minor tones brought forth.
Yet why didn't the end of this war put an end to mistreatment of African Americans? Lincoln did sign the documents in late September 1862 to end slavery. Why the lingering effects? Was it still a resentment of the north? A more subtle tactic to harbor hatred of the north for the surrender at Appomattox?
Just some thoughtful questions, as I have looked over documents on the Civil War. . . .
Racism didn't come from slavery. Slavery of Africans came from racism. Treating a symptom doesn't cure the cause.
Thee worded it well. I say thou art quick! Lincoln treated and soothed the symptoms, while not fully addressing a solution to the cause. Thus he never solved the problem.
The war ended. The north and south gradually mended. Yet the lingering side effects of the war loomed on for years. Crops were damaged. Homes, businesses, buildings, and in some cases whole cities were destroyed.
It still seems to have been some resentment of the north too, though I stand to be corrected. . .
That picture I pasted in an earlier post paints the war as it was. Death. Skeletons. Gloom. Waste. Doom.
It took all of that to go through to get to where we are now. I feel like we could all learn from this or any war: by not repeating it—not meeting violence with more violence.
Thank thee for that note and all of ye Friends.
Can ye imagine there was a time in my past, being still uncertain of things to come and the outcome of decisions, that I was serious about joining the army. I actually wished to be like my late father and other of mine own ancestors, "serve our country to protect our freedom." Can ye imagine that of me?
I was told to come back, at the time I had not graduated from high school and only 16, when I was 18 or older. I didn't go to their office, they actually came to my late deceased parents home to talk to me about it. By this time, I had really no interest in doing so. I was not living as I am now, nonviolent, nonresistant, and non-swearing oaths, but I refused the offer.
I could have been on a field in Iraq or Afghanistan, dead and buried. Mouldering in my own cell, like those of the Civil War era are—sleeping. I am glad that I never did such a thing. It would have gone against my conscience very much so then and now. Am I nonviolent during other times when there aren't any wars? I put that question to myself. . . Do I seek peace towards all, even my worst enemy? I put that question to myself. . . Am I truly non-hostile toward others? (Which is a military spirit.) I put that to myself. . . Now, where do I come out at? I hope that it will be positive and not negative. . .
I long to keep peace with all. I long to be less like myself and more like the Lord God our Heavenly Father of Light. No weapons to kill. Just heart, hands, and voice I come with. "Jesus keep me near the cross, There a precious fountain. . ."