Sunday, November 11, 2012


"For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago."

William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust - 1948


  1. The Lost Cause lives, even if it reads like a lamentation. Faulkner implies that the Southern mind is stuck in the Civil War. He may be right. When he wrote, how many white southern men heard stories about the War from their grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Their teachers also came from that background.

  2. I think it is the feeling that they were beaten by people that did not like them, nor their way of life, that has made the first generation of veterans' offspring to be bitter toward those who are not of that heritage. This is still in the process of being "handed down" to other generations today. The idea that it was not the "cause", but the overwhelming resources and material that lost the war. An American that has an "us versus them" attitude toward all those from north of the Potomac, then west to the plains. Has been difficult to change in some parts of NC and VA that I personally have seen.

  3. To me, it doesn't seem odd the enormous length of time it's taken to remove the memory of the Civil War. We are all deeply "situated" within its history --its agonizing narrative. How many centuries WOULD it take for the South to forget the wholesale destruction of its culture, or the single explosive image of Pickett's charge? I can't imagine the war could ever be forgotten. Or even---for the South, perhaps---forgiven.