04 July 2011

148th Anniversary of the Fall of Vicksburg

Today marks one of the turning points in American history. Vicksburg, Mississippi succumbed to a lengthy Northern siege on July 4, 1863, the day after the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg.  With the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate States were cut in two, and the Union Army controlled the Mississippi River.

From the Wikipedia entry:

The Confederate surrender following the siege at Vicksburg is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, the turning point of the war. It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war. The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender.


Timmy said...

You are absolutely awesome! I mean that, seriously. 10. Your internal Censor must be off for the holiday.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit the national battlefield at Vicksburg, I suggest everyone do so. It a day drive from St. Louis, and an awesome national treasure.

StGuyFawkes said...

Tim wrote,

"The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender."

And so, I gather, neither will "St. Louis Catholic."

Consider this: do you think that some of the readers of this self-styled Roman Catholic blog might find the fall of Vicksburg a subject just a mite "off topic?"

Bsdouglass said...

I bet the Washington Blues didn't...

Andy said...

St.Guy Fawkes,

Is there a subject off topic for the truly Catholic minded? Does not our Faith permeate our every thought, word and deed? Certainly that would include our view of history. No?

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Andy,

You wrote, "Does not our Faith permeate our every thought, word and deed? Certainly that would include our view of history. No?"

Well said. Nonetheless, the Catholicism implicit in a revisionist view of Lincoln, The American Civil War, the "nullification" (pun intended) of our celebration of the Fourth, the assertion that the name of the Communist "Abraham LIncoln Brigade" implies that Lincoln was a communist, the preference for the politics of Rand Paul, the euro-monarchist views of "Tradition, Family and Property", a fear of patdowns by the airport security police, all these eclectic enthusiasms and anxieties, dropped into the mix, "tout court", as if to say, here is something inherently Catholic, just because I like it, or uncatholic, because I don't, well that leaves me wanting a little more in the manner of showing and arguing and elucidating. Much as St. Thomas would require.

Look, show me how Catholicism permeates Vicksburg's choice to mourn their dead rather than honor the republic and I'll rest content.

Oh, I agree with you, Catholicism embraces all things. I just think a little more elaboration is needed.

St. Guy

Latinmassgirl said...

St. Guy,

I am very sure that St. Louis Catholic and his family celebrated the independence of our country yesterday. Do not think his love of the perfect, "never-to-be" monarch. or his embracing of revisionist history, or his endearing paranoia idiosyncrasies has tainted his love for his and his family's country. He is a personal friend of mine and has told me that he loves our country, so that is enough for me.

What it all comes down to is this: what other country is better than ours, even though ours is imperfect, just as EVERYTHING in this world is and always will be flawed? Absolutely no other country comes close. I am sure we wouldn't have such an enormous amount of hopeful immigrants if our country were say, communist like North Korea, Cuba, China and the wanna-be-commies in Europe, that are now beginning to see their great errors. Although, if we have four more years of Obama's "change", we will continue to be "Slouching Towards Gomorrah."

God bless our country and let goodness prevail.

Anonymous said...

I imagine there is a relationship between this blog post and a recent article published at Lew Rockwell's site concerning the 4th and the lack of the celebrations thereof. I skimmed Lew's article this morning before seeing these blog comments so i imagine if you read the following, then perhaps you would have more of the background information http://lewrockwell.com/north/north1002.html

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear LatinMassGirl et alios,

I don't doubt the patriotism of Timman or STLCATH.

My concern is that the average reader might not detect the golden thread of Catholic political theory which unifies views as diffuse as neo-confederate historiography, Hapsburg monarchism, anti-welfare state activism, and foreign policy isolationism.

The connection as I read it would be fairly well served by calling the political theory of this blog Chestertonian-Bellocian localism.

There is a coherant view in Chesterton and all Catholic medievalists which favors the particular, local political culture to the detriment of the more general universal power, except in the case of the Church which is the only true political culture which can contain all the societies within God's creation.

So even Aristotole begins with the polis or city-state as the truest expression of man's political/ethical definition.

Thus, the separate, secessionist confederate, state might have been the better long term defender of political freedom than the mega-state created after the Civil War and the adoption of the Civil War amendments to the Federal Constitution.

Similarly, since almost all western monarchies were essentially forms of limited government more dependant upon their vassals than the reverse, therefore, monarchism would deserve a high place in any discussion of a proper Catholic polity.

How this fits in with the views of "Tradition-Family and Property"
is a problem I'll not go into now.

But my complaint is that the political theory of St. Louis Catholic is coherant to the esoteric few conversant in Chesterton, Charles Maurras and Aristotle.

To most readers I would guess the political views of the blog look like a dog's breakfast of left over bits and pieces of defeated ages.

How much of the past can we proffer without seeming nutty?

I fondly remember taking the Extrordinary Mass at St. Agatha's in the 90s and hearing a great story about Fr. Rodis.

The story goes that some of his congregants, being members of The John Birch Society, took to passing out copies of "American Opinion" after Mass on the chruch steps.

Father made them stop.

I don't know if the story is true but I bet it is. Fr. Rodis was always practical and he realized the Traditional Form didn't need to look nuttier than the Modernists were going to make it seem.

So also the leader of Opus Mariae once told me that the advantage he felt his traditional order had over the SSPX was that his order was purely American and didn't need to settle the French Revolution or answer for the Vichy Regime.

My take is that we can be Orthodox Catholics as Americans and we don't need to look for hidden natural aristocracies as does "The American Society for Tradition Family and Property."

Just my view. Although I do love Grace Kelly and them Hapsburgs.

Happy Fourth.

St. Guy

thetimman said...

I am greatly enjoying the combox on this one.

Anonymous said...

I probably should stay out as I must admit this Catholic philosophy that StGuyFawkes has articulated well is above my pay grade.

Not having as much initial insight as SGF articulated, I had wondered if this post was as sour grapes as the black historian on "This Week" (see video at NRO G.Will was quite excellent) who could not see past the color of his skin to discuss the constitution. It's done. It's history, for better or worse. We have to forgive and move forward.

I shan't defend the augmentation of federal power and injustices of Lincoln, but I can't help to note that had Vicksburg not fallen it is equally possible that the town might still not be celebrating US Independence Day on July 4.

StGuyFawkes said...


Cease being a spectator and come out into the open!

Rather than imitate the Straussian neo-cons, who hide their doctrines in commentaries, you might commit yourself to a formal exposition of your views on Christian polity.

Otherwise you will suffer the dread fate of having me as your interpreter.

Name your sources and texts, elucidate your political theory.

St. Guy

Bsdouglass said...

If the South had survived the War intact as a country, it would still have celebrated July 4th I imagine. Geo. Washington was on the seal and the war effort was thought of as a second war of independence (both were wars about secession after all). The Southerners in PA looked forward to celebrating a victory on the 4th as much as the Yankees.

For Vicksburg, the 4th became a terrible day as a reminder of the country which they were once part of had invaded them and reduced them to eating shoe leather and dogs.

As for Lincoln being a Marxist, he wasn't, but Marx liked him and so did the German '48ers in his army. It's amazing that this little bit of history is not better known, but especially odd given the history of the Germans in St. Louis and in particular Joseph Weydemeyer who was something of a local Marxist wannabe demagog.

StGuyFawkes said...


My understanding is that the German immigrants in Mr. Lincoln's army were disappointed refugees of the 1848 Revolution in Germany; and, they saw in the American Civil War a chance to advance their ideology onto foreign soil. Of course Marx covered the War for a Viennese newspaper.

Bsdouglass said...

Marx did more than cover it, he was a big fan of the Great Dictator who he saw as fighting the same fight. Hence this letter: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/iwma/documents/1864/lincoln-letter.htm

For his part, it seems the white house was rather more confused than anything.

As for your view of the '48ers some were just soldiers, but most of them were radical Marxists and infested both the Army and the Republican party. Weydemeyer is a most interesting example since he was posted to St Louis and spent his time preaching Marxism and celebrating the 1st International in the papers. There is actually a pretty good book on him called Joseph Weydemeyer: pioneer of American socialism. Also, Red Republicans and Lincoln’s Marxists discusses the Marxist link to the Republicans and Union Army.

The St Louis Hegelians also loved the '48ers and thought that they were some glorious force sent to show the world that St Louis was meant to save the world or something. Of coruse they then just go and give Dewey his start by publishing him and make sure to destroy American education.

StGuyFawkes said...


I spent a lot of time in graduate school with Hegelians and have always wanted to know more about the St. Louis Hegelians. I've heard that the Eads Bridge was somehow influenced by them. Or maybe Eads himself read Hegel.

On an unrelated note, I've recently discovered that the Irish Union troops became the backbone of the American Fenian movement which funded the 1918 Irish revolt and attempted to invade Canada as a rebuke to England.

Different revolution and I assume a different philosophy.

St. GUy

Anonymous said...

Best. Combox. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Not to mock, but wait until Glenn Beck gets a hold of this "secret" American history never told in schools.

thetimman said...

anon at 9:28,

It's up there, but I'm thinking the bare shoulder combox or the burroughs prom combox would surpass.

Bsdouglass said...


Yes, I'm an economist but would rather be a philosopher and in planning my move to the Rome of the West decided to look into the history. Before last fall, I had never heard of them before and yet in their day, it seems that the St. Louis group was right up there with the Concord folks. St Louis also seems to have been quite active in the American Socialist movement as well at the same time. What the heck has happened to America?

As for the bridge, how the heck does a bridge reflect Hegel? Then again, it does have three steel spans.... Reading the old history of the St Louis group, it's like reading occult number theory or something. But then again, I detest Hegel. Google books has several fully scanned books about them up, or at least large chunks. It's fun reading. Also, the Journal of Speculative Philosophy is still out there in libraries.

The Fenian invasion of Canada was just funny. Another event that sadly, very few know about. Then again, this is the country that plays the 1812 Overture on July 4th...and we think we won the war of 1812 at New Orleans.

Also, I think it was the St Louis bunch that coined the american use of the term "personalism" which then got transferred to Boston and used in a way that has nothing to do with the Catholic sort.

Anonymous said...

Timman, BS Douglas, Mr.guyfawkes,

Hegelian conspirators? Disappointed German revolutionaries? Wedermeyerian fifth columnists ? Lincoln as a socialist dictator?

I LOVE this blogsite! You boys make the John Birch Society look like a paragon of reason and enlightened thought.

POI: Three of my great-grandfathers immigrated from Germany in the 1840-50’s, (okay- one was from Alsace), and all three participated in the Civil War on the side of the North. Two were in Illinois regiments and one, (the Alsation), was a Kansas “irregular”. The two from Illinois fought because they believed that it was the right thing to do; defend THEIR country and THEIR freedoms. The Alsation fought because the Missouri irregulars were roaming around Kansas making trouble for the Kansas farmers. He fought back.

Marxists conspiracies? “Red Republicans?” I think not. Probably more so plain ol’ patriotism.

Sometimes a cigar is just….a cigar.

I can’t recall anyone in the family talking about our granddads being “disappointed revolutionaries” from the old country. Quite the contrary. All three hightailed it out of Germany as young men to avoid being drafted into the Prussian Army. If they were alive today, I imagine that all three would be guffawing load and hard over you boys’ slavish dedication to the Hapsburg monarchy.

I know I am.

a postscript:
“…a reminder of the country which they were once part of had invaded them and reduced them to eating shoe leather and dogs.” – BSD

Hey, ain’t nothing wrong with dog when properly prepared!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I dunno. From a humor perspective, yes, the bare shoulders combox wins the internet. And prurient, too. [runs off. . . hides. . . covers head]

For actually being informative and interesting, however, this one os tops.

thetimman said...


Including me in the dialog bt sgf and bsd?

Bsdouglass said...


"Hegelian conspirators?"

You should read how they thought of themselves and the magical convergence of the fates in St Louis' role in saving the Union... like I said, like reading esoteric numerology stuff

see: http://books.google.com/books?id=DrlCAAAAIAAJ&dq=st%20louis%20snider&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Anonymous said...

"Including me in the dialog bt sgf and bsd?" -tm


YOU started this circus!


Anonymous said...

"I spent a lot of time in graduate school with Hegelians and have always wanted to know more about the St. Louis Hegelians. I've heard that the Eads Bridge was somehow influenced by them. ...

... I've recently discovered that the Irish Union troops became the backbone of the American Fenian movement which funded the 1918 Irish revolt and attempted to invade Canada as a rebuke to England."- Mrguyf

The Eads Bridge allowing itself to become influenced by - a secret society of STL based Hegelian/socialists?

Disgruntled Irish/American Civil War veterans raising money to overthrow the Canadian government?

Mr.guyf hangin' with Hegelians? (can't you find a better class of people with whom to associate!)

Stop it! PLEASE!
I'm peeing my pants!



StGuyFawkes said...

To cdg,

Check out Wikipedia's entry on the 48'ers:

"In the United States, many Forty-Eighters opposed nativism and slavery, in keeping with the liberal ideals that had led them to flee Germany. Several thousand enlisted in the Union Army, where they became prominent in the Civil War. In the Camp Jackson Affair, a large force of German volunteers helped prevent Confederate forces from seizing the government arsenal in St. Louis just prior to the beginning of the war."

CDG, although I don't believe all or even most German immigrants joined the war effort for reasons of liberal politics it's a fact of history that both Irish and German immigrants brought the struggles of their native lands to their new country. The Fenian and the German ’48er enthusiasms are both matters of historical record.

I wish to give all respect to your ancestors and certainly don’t wish to make you laugh, fall, or become incontinent. To that end I encourage you to keep control of yourself in this combox.


I'm not crazy about Hegel myself. I did graduate work all the way through Kant, Fichte and Schelling. Hegel's "Phenomenology" is just too weird and dense. The idea of consciousness becoming it's own object seems like a dog unsucessfully chasing his tail.

Your link to the letter by Marx on behalf of the "Workingman's Association" was a good read to the extent that it showed that Marx could be a "vulgar Marxist" meaning he'd abandon his real theory of history just to join the mob when he needed to.

I think his actual view was that the Northern cause represented a defeat of the Feudalistic basis of the Southern part of the republic and so would set the stage for an industrialization and the creation of an industrial proletarait who would create the real revolution in the next swing of the dialectic.

I could be wrong.

St. Guy

Bsdouglass said...


It wasn't a secret society, they were quite well known in the US at the time. At least in philosophy circles. It's just that no one seems to know about them any more. But, being followers of Herr Hegel they tended to look at things a little off.


I suspect you're right. I'd like to know what the reaction was when they got the letter in DC. If Lincoln ever saw it (which I doubt) he probably had no clue what they were talking about. And if he did he thought, wait, that's what I'm doing?

Anonymous said...

you boys are takin' this WAY too seriou.....



StGuyFawkes said...

To STLCATH, BSDOUGLAS, cdg, and all,

Yes, there was a connection between the Eads Bridge and Hegel.

BSDOUGLAS offered above a link to a remarkable text and primary source for the study of the St. Louis Hegelians. The title of the work is "The St. Louis Movement in Philosophy, Literature, education, psychology" The author is one Denton Jaques Snider who describes himself as the "sole survivor" of the Hegelian movement.

One quote shall suffice to illustrate the connection of the Eads Bridge to Hegel, at least in the mind of the St. Louis Hegelians. Snider devotes a whole chapter to the bridge and writes of the structure,

"There! Behold now God's thought creating the world, even embodied in one little man; see your gossamer abstractions turning concrete and practical; and just watch your Hegel's Logic with its intricate firespun web of pure abstractions realizing itself in yonder structure...."


The passage is remarkable for illustrating the Hegelian (and Marxist) tendancy to see every cultural artifact (and artist) as an expression of the "geist" or World Spirit as that Spirit is configured in that particular historical epoch.

Thus, irrespective of what Eads himself thought he was doing when he designed the bridge, his bridge was but an expression of the general historical consciousness or spirit ("geist") of the era.

This pre-sages totalitarian thinking in many indirect ways. BUt the essence is that there are no historical individuals, or things, but only moments in the dialectical life of the Spirit. The Hegelian Spirit is sometimes called History, or God.

All said, the Eads Bridge was appropriated by the St. Louis Hegelians as an expression of their movement. It became their mascot.

And now I must admit that I have taken this thread, very, very off topic.

St. Guy

thetimman said...

I have to say, cdg, that I have found your comments in this combox exceptionally amusing.

One of those We Are the World moments.

Mother Crab said...

Do I not get exchanges like this because I only talk about beer and/or beer cows? Do I need to step things up?

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Mother Crab,

I can't for the life of me see why anyone could tolerate this thread other than BSDOUGLAS and me.

I do appreciate the irony that the thread started with my complaint that the battle of Vicksburg was "off topic", following which Mr. Douglas and I proceeded to take things VERY, VERY OFF TOPIC into the nearly occult world of mid-19th Century mid-Western American Hegelians.

I'll try to draw some
humility from that.
St. Guy

Bsdouglass said...

I'm sure a good Hegelian could explain to you how beer and cows and beer/cows mystically combine into the great world-cow-beer-spirit or something.

Anonymous said...

I support states rights! Every state has the right to leave the Union! Saint Louis should become a city state under one monarch...kind of like Lichtenstein or something.