The Index – 13 April 1865
Written on 13 April 1865, this page of The Index balances the realisation that the Confederacy’s days were drawing to a close following General Lee’s surrender on 9 April, with praise for the conduct of Southern states and their defence of the right to independence.
‘All men worthy of the name will strike a blow for liberty’ the article states, stressing that the battle for secession was not in vain. Praise is given to ‘the gallantry of the men and the devotion of the women’ to the Confederate cause both on the battlefield and at the home-front. So great was the commitment to the cause that their service should be placed in history above the great conquering fighters of the ancient world.
The tone of the piece echoes the sentiment in Lee’s farewell address to his men after surrendering, which stressed loyalty to the Confederacy and honour in defeat.
The article ends by emphasising how the flames of secession and loyalty to the Confederacy had not been diminished, overlooking the reality that war-weariness had sapped moral amongst soldiers and their families during the final months of the war. Nevertheless, The Index portrays a continued feeling of Confederate patriotism in an eloquent way that speaks much to the post–war continuance of Southern pride after the Civil War:
Her President, her General, her Congress, still breathe the language of patriotic courage, and urge on the soldiers to yet more gallant deeds. Letters written in the recesses of the home, and not destined for the public eye, tell the same stories of Christian devotion and of unfaltering resolution. All things are possible, and it may be that the Southern States are doomed, in spite of all their efforts, to fall; and, like the strong man, to drag down half the world in their crash. But if any man who has watched the career of the brave people of the Confederacy from April 12, 1861, to this hour, is not persuaded that the struggle will end only with the destruction of the last division of the army of General Lee, but prefers the hopes or the surmises or the prophecies of Northern politicians to the stern facts of history, he has a memory that is interior to his intelligence, and an understanding that is the slave of his hopes or his fears.