- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 22, 2002

At the end of May 1865 in New Orleans, Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner surrendered the last significant Confederate forces still in the field. Gen. Joseph Orville Shelby refused to surrender, however, and led his Iron Brigade to Mexico to enter the service of the Emperor Maximilian. Judah P. Benjamin, who had been Confederate attorney general, secretary of war and secretary of state, feared he would be tried for treason and escaped to England, where he became an eminent barrister.

Several years after the war, five former Confederate generals were among four dozen veterans, mainly Southerners, who accepted commissions in the Egyptian army. Several thousand other Confederate veterans and their families emigrated to Brazil, where slavery had not yet been abolished and where some of their descendants live today in a city called Americana.

Most of the men who had been Confederate officers and officials remained in the reunited United States. Some of them left the shattered South and went North to seek their fortunes. Some, in fact, had come originally from the North, such as John C. Pemberton, the Confederate general who surrendered Vicksburg to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1863. After the war, Pemberton, who had been disowned by his family, went back to farming in Pennsylvania, whence he had come.

Among those going North was John Mitchel, an Irish patriot who years earlier had been exiled by the British to Tasmania but had escaped and made his way to New York. Mitchel later moved to Richmond, where during the war he edited the Richmond Examiner after its fiery proprietor, John Moncure Daniel, was wounded in a duel with the Confederate treasurer. Soon after the war, Mitchel moved back North to write for the New York Daily News and was imprisoned briefly for the favorable accounts he gave of the Confederacy. Mitchel eventually returned to Ireland and was elected to the British Parliament despite attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to bar him as a felon.

Another former Richmond editor, Roger Pryor of the Enquirer, who had served as a Confederate brigadier general, capped his career by becoming a justice of the New York State Supreme Court. Burton N. Harrison, a young Yale graduate who was the private secretary of President Jefferson Davis throughout the war and was thereafter imprisoned for eight months in the North developed a highly successful law practice in New York City.

Some former Confederate officers eventually won federal posts. Shelby and his Iron Brigade had gone to serve Maximilian in Mexico, but Maximilian ended up before a Mexican firing squad in 1867. Shelby came home to Missouri, and after a successful business career served as a U.S. marshal from 1893 to 1897.

Confederate Gen. James Longstreet also was later a U.S. marshal. He also served as American minister to Turkey and in 1897 was named U.S. railroad commissioner to succeed another former Confederate general, Wade Hampton. Yet a third former Confederate general also served as a U.S. railroad commissioner: Joseph E. Johnston, who also served as a member of the U.S. Congress from 1879 to 1881. Johnston died at the age of 84 in 1891 after contracting pneumonia from standing in the rain at the funeral of his old adversary William Tecumseh Sherman.

At least two other top Confederate officers served the United States abroad after the war. Henry R. Jackson of Georgia, who had been a Confederate general, was named American minister to Mexico in 1885. The great Southern guerrilla leader John Singleton Mosby, who did not surrender in Virginia until several days after Robert E. Lee had done so at Appomattox, became American consul at Hong Kong in 1878 and did admirable service, uncovering a nest of official corruption.

Among Southern writers moving North was George Cary Eggleston, a resident of Virginia whose work attempted to interpret the South to Northern readers (while his Indiana brother Edward wrote "A Hoosier Schoolmaster"). Edward A. Pollard, another of John Moncure Daniel's colleagues at the Richmond Examiner, moved to New York and wrote copiously about the war, including "The Lost Cause," long considered the standard account from a Southern viewpoint. Pollard later sharply changed his views and argued that secession had been wrong and the South had deserved defeat.

Other Southern writers, while not moving North, found Northern publishers receptive to their work. Between 1866 and 1885, Northern publishers brought out almost two dozen books by the Virginian novelist John Esten Cooke, including his stirring war novels "Mohun" and "Surry."

Publication of such works in the North reflected both the interest of Northern readers and the fact that all the major publishing houses were Northern. Even Jefferson Davis and his wife, Varina, found publishers in New York, he for his 1881 account of his presidency, "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government," she for her 1890 memoir of her husband.

By then, works were being written by a newer generation of Southerners, including George Washington Cable of New Orleans, who had been wounded twice as a young Confederate soldier but whose postwar novels of Louisiana reflected his hatred of slavery and racism. When it came to moral honesty, the Apostles were mere policemen compared to Cable or at least so said another who wrote of the prewar South, Mark Twain.

Peter Bridges served 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, his last post was as ambassador to Somalia. His forthcoming book, from Kent State University press this fall, is a biography of Richmond editor John Moncure Daniel, "Pen of Fire." He lives in Northern Virginia.

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