I have a fairly large file of emails that I’ve accumulated over the years from folks who interpret my writings as anti-South/Confederate or some other variation. It’s a narrative that I’ve grown accustomed to and represents a clear misunderstanding of what I do. More importantly, it reflects an oversimplified reading of the past, particularly when it comes to what I’ve written about Confederate camp servants and black Confederates.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I read the following comment from Mr. Ross Williams of Grand Rapids, Minnesota that was recently posted to a column I published on the relationship between John Christopher Winsmith and his camp servant, Spencer. I did my best to interpret the available evidence, which comes down to Winsmith’s own letters as well as my understanding of the relevant secondary literature. As is the case with many of these stories I am left with more questions than answers.
After being accused for so long of being a “South hater” it is strange to suddenly be accused of being a slavery apologist. Which reminds me, I haven’t heard a peep from my Southern heritage friends about this essay.
I really would like to know what they think of it.