Johnny Yuma’s Appomattox

On this day in April 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.  Those of you who continue to harbor hatred for Grant and the rest of the “yankee horde” would do well to listen closely to Johnny Yuma.  In this episode, Johnny explains to a young boy, who lost his father in the war, to put aside his hate and embrace forgiveness and reconciliation.

This episode beautifully captures the reconciliationist spirit of the Civil War Centennial.  “Well Mr. McCune, here is how I look at it.  In a way everybody who fought for either side was at Appomattox.”

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“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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15 comments… add one
  • Varmintito Apr 12, 2011 @ 12:44


    Yeah, Reconstruction was a real affront to the decent sensibilities of the South. Imagine, black people having the gall to think themselves the equal of whites, why some of them even sent their kids to school, and voted, and served in the government. And the Yankee government rubbed our face in it, even passing a Constitutional Amendment that said they were entitled to the same rights as white people. Thank goodness we had true blue southern patriots like General Forrest to combat that crazy thinking. Once we got rid of reconstruction, it was back to the way it should be.

  • Neil Hamilton Apr 10, 2011 @ 22:55

    Mr. Bearden,

    In all my trips through the South, which have been many over the years, I know of no time where I made the effort to rub in the noses of the people I met there about the ultimate outcome of the Civil War. The people I met were kind, polite, egar to help us with directions and answer our questions on just about anything we had to ask.

    I suggest it takes a willful effort, an almost daily concentration to hate. It has been my experience one really has to work at such to keep up the effort that the emotion hate demands. The South, in my own view, has so much going for it, not the least of which are the people who call it home, who were born and raised there. An automatic smile comes to my own lips when I think about returning there on future trips, so pleasant were my times there.

    I would rather concentrate on that memory, than the long ago past events of Appomattox and Reconstruction. There’s no profit in holding onto hate as there is no return on it.


  • Billy Bearden Apr 10, 2011 @ 17:11

    Current census results clearly show the racial beliefs of the North – most segregated area in the country.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 11, 2011 @ 0:59

      You seem to be fighting a personal war on this site. No one is making the claim that racism was/is a characteristic of the South to the exclusion of the rest of the country. I guess this allows you to sleep better at night.

  • Billy Bearden Apr 10, 2011 @ 4:36

    I must say I am not familiar with anyone who is anti Grant like they are anti Sherman or anti Lincoln
    but Perhaps, and this is just from my POV, but perhaps,
    had the surrender been the final event, the last chord of a sad song, then perhaps
    things like ‘continued hatred harbored toward the yankee horde’ might have been
    much less or almost non existant. However, I feel sure it was the second invasion after the victory – the rubbing our noses in defeat and stomping on the man who was down thru reconstruction that insured the feelings we are familiar with 150 years later.

    Then of course noone can name a single southerner who went north to dictate how yankees must live, but we see daily the northerners who move south and force thier yankee ways on southerners – so actually they keep this animosity stirred up against themselves

    • Kevin Levin Apr 10, 2011 @ 4:54


      Your comments betrays numerous assumptions about who is a legitimate southerner. What about the thousands of black southerners (Exodusters) who moved to the midwest, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of black southerners who migrated to the North during the “Great Migration.” They forced white northerners to confront their own racist attitudes.

      Thanks for illustrating for all of us what happens when the past is viewed through the narrowest of lenses.

    • Rob in CT Apr 13, 2011 @ 8:17

      It’s pretty astounding to view reconstruction as simply “northerners who went south to dictate how southerners should live.” First, obviously you mean White Southerners. The former slaves? The “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags” were the only help they got. If not for Reconstruction, they’d have gotten the “Redemption” period straightaway in 1865 (instead of in 1877). 100 years of Jim Crow (instead of a mere ~90). Do you view the 1965 Civil Rights Act in the same way? Busybody Yankees telling you how to live?

      How is Reconstruction, with its Freedmans Bureau, “rubbing your noses in it?” Why do you use “our” anyway? You weren’t alive, you’ve never owned slaves… you’ve never experienced Reconstruction. Your ancestors, maybe.

      Alas, for the crime of attempting to actually ensure that freed slaves could vote and participate in society without being subjected to the tender mercies of the KKK, the damned Yankee is a villian.

      None of this, by the way, means that I’m unaware or forgiving of racism in the North (of which there was and is plenty).

  • Neil Hamilton Apr 9, 2011 @ 20:49


    It simply makes no sense whatsoever to zoom right by the message, learn nothing from it, and go on the attack.

    I understand emotion, attachment, indignation, etc., but there was a sincere message being presented here, that of reconciliation and the “binding up of the nation’s wounds.” This episode that was presented here had that message and the idea the past is the past and it is time to move on to the future.

    Your comments added nothing to that nor do they help with the study of history. I truely do not understand that if all you gather from this site is unhappiness, why come here and comment?

    Thanks, Kevin, for another take on our memory of the Civil War and how some chose to remember it. Really enjoyed the trip down memory lane.


  • Connie Chastain Apr 9, 2011 @ 12:25

    Can’t wait to see if Andy’s gonna bring up the fact that Johnny Yuma was a “fictional character that only existed on a Hollywood backlot, where characters never dealt wtih really serious military invasion, conquest and dictatorship, and where African Americans were almost invisible.”

    Nah, hell will prob’ly freeze over first.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 9, 2011 @ 12:45


      Why are you singling out Andy? Do you have any idea of how obnoxious and angry you sound?

      • Connie Chastain Apr 9, 2011 @ 12:54

        Because, he’s the one who wrote, “…the kid looks just like friggin’ Opie. There’s one well-known Southron heritage site that, when the author wants to refer to traditional, rural Southern virtues, also mentions Mayberry — a fictional town that only existed on a Hollywood backlot, whose law enforcement officers never dealt with really serious violent crime, and where African Americans were almost invisible.”

        You think I sound obnoxious and angry, but apparently you didn’t notice how smug and arrogant HE sounded….

        Gooses and ganders, pots and kettles, motes and beams, and all that….

        • Kevin Levin Apr 9, 2011 @ 13:00

          I can’t think of one comment that you’ve left here in which you contributed something substantive to the discussion. All you do is monitor what other people on this forum have to say and then attack. I dub you “Angry Old Lady of Civil War Memory”.


          • Connie Chastain Apr 9, 2011 @ 13:07

            I just have a really low tolerance for hypocrisy when it comes to my people, my region, their history and heritage; particularly when it’s exhibited by people who are no better than those they denigrate.

            And if I may ask, what substantive something did Andy’s smug, arrogant comment contribute to the discussion?

            • Kevin Levin Apr 9, 2011 @ 13:13

              Andy has been a regular commenter on this site for a few years now and I highly respect his knowledge of the period and his willingness to share it on this site as well as his own. You on the other hand have absolutely nothing substantive to offer beyond criticism of others. There is no evidence that you’ve read much of anything on the Civil War and related topics and yet you claim to speak for “my people, my region, their history and heritage.” Now that is a complete joke.

              You speak for no one but yourself. Now please go away and stop wasting my time.

            • Andy Hall Apr 9, 2011 @ 13:33

              It’s my people, my region, my history and heritage, too. If my writing or comments offend you, go elsewhere. I don’t post to your blog, and for the life of me don’t understand why you’re so upset. If you want to focus a lot of thought and energy and emotion on how I supposedly “denigrate” things you hold dear, OK, but understand that’s a choice you’re making for yourself.

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