Primary Resource

U. D. C. Catechism for Children (1904)

In this U. D. C. Catechism for Children, published in 1904 for a Texas chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and later republished in Staunton, Cornelia Branch Stone provides a Lost Cause interpretation of the American Civil War (1861–1865) through a question-and-answer format intended for rote memorization.

Transcription from Original

U. D. C. CATECHISM FOR CHILDREN.

[1] What causes led to the war between the States, from 1861 to 1865?

The disregard, on the part of States of the North, for the rights of the Southern or slave-holding States.

[2] How was this shown?

By the passage of laws in the Nothern States annulling the rights of the people of the South—rights that were given to them by the Constitution of the United States.

[3] What were these rights?

The rights to regulate their own affairs and to hold slaves as property.

[4] Were the Southern States alone responsible for the existence of slavery?

No; slavery was introduced into the country in colonial times y the political authorities of Great Britain, Spain, France and the Dutch merchants, and in 1776—at the time of the Declaration of Independence—slavery existed in all of the thirteen colonies.

[5] How many of the colonies held slaves when the federal constitution was adopted, in 1787?

All except one.

[6] Did slavery exist among other civilized nations?

Yes, in most all; and our mother country, England did not emancipate her slaves until 1843, when Parliament paid $200,000,000 to the owners.

[7] After the first introduction of slavery into the colonies, how was the African slave trade kept up?

By enterprising shipowners of New England, who imported the slaves from Africa and secretly sold their cargoes along the coast, after the States of the North had abolished slavery.

[8] Why did not slavery continue to exist in the States of New England?

Because they found it unprofitable, and they sold their slaves to the States of the South.

[9] What great leader in the Northern army owned slaves?

Gen. U. S. Grant, who continued to live on their hire and service until the close of the war, and after the emancipation proclamation had been published, while he was leading armies to free the slaves of the South.

[10] When the Northern States had sold their slaves to the South, what did they then do?

They organized a party to oppose slavery, called the "Abolition Party," which advocated all means to abolish slavery, with no intention of paying the people of the South for their property.

[11] When did the South become alarmed?

At the election of Abraham Lincoln by this party, which was pledged to take away the slaves and offer no terms of payment to the owners.

[12] Did the people of the South believe that slavery was right?

No, not as a principle; and the colonies of Virginia and Georgia had strongly opposed its first introduction, but after the Constitution of the United States had recognized the slaves as property, and the wealth of the South was largely invested in negroes, they did not feel it was just to submit to wholesale robbery.

[13] How were the slaves treated?

With great kindness and care in nearly all cases, a cruel master being rare, and lost the respect of his neighbors if he treated his slaves badly. Self interest would have prompted good treatment if a higher feeling of humanity had not.

[14] What was the feeling of the slaves towards their masters?

They were faithful and devoted and were always ready and willing to serve them.

[15] How did they behave during the war?

They nobly protected and cared for the wives of soldiers in the field, and widows without protectors; though often prompted by the enemies of the South to burn and plunder the homes of their masters, they were always true and loyal.

[16] What were the principles of the Southern people?

They believed that each State should regulate her own affairs, according to its best interests, with no meddling with the management of other States, and that each State should loyally support the Constitution of the United States.

[17] Who was most prominent in defining "States Rights?"

John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina.

[18] What steps did the Southern people take after the election of Mr. Lincoln?

They seceded from the Union, and at once took possession of the forts, arms and ammunition within their borders.

[19] Did the forts surrender without resistance?

In nearly all cases.

[20] In what order did the States secede?

South Carolina, December 20, 1860.

Mississippi, January 9, 1861.

Florida, January 10, 1861.

Alabama, January 11, 1861.

Georgia, January 19, 1861.

Louisiana. January 26, 1861.

Texas, February 1, 1861.

Virginia, April 17, 1861.

Arkansas, May 6, 1861.

North Carolina, May 20, 1861.

Tennessee, June 24, 1861.

Missouri, October 31, 1861.

Kentucky, November 20, 1861.

[21] What other State attempted to secede?

Maryland.

[22] How was this prevented?

The Maryland Legislature was closed by the United States marshal and the secession members were sent to prison on September 18, 1861.

[23] What had happened before this in Baltimore?

Federal troops in passing through that city to invade the South, were attacked on April 19, 1861, by the citizens of Baltimore and a fight ensued in the streets, and the first blood of the war was there shed.

[24] Did Maryland take any part in the cause of the South?

Yes, most valiant part, furnishing many regiments of men and other aid for carrying on the war, and those who gave this aid endured persecution and imprisonment by the Federal authorities, as well as from those at home who opposed secession. Maryland was only kept in the Union by force.

[25] What honor did General Lee confer on Maryland officers?

In the last retreat of the world-famed fighting army of northern Virginia he appointed Col. H. Kyd Douglas and Col. Clement Sullivane, two staff officers, one twenty-four years of age, the other twenty-six, to command the rear guard of the two divisions of the little army on its way to Appomattox.

[26] What was the first step taken by the seceded States?

They proceeded to organize a government, by uniting themselves under the name of the Confederate States of America, and adopted a Constitution for their guidance.

[27] Whom did they elect as their President?

Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, senator from that State in the Congress of the United States, when Mississippi seceded, and already distinguished as a soldier and statesman, having gallantly served in the Mexican war, and as secretary of war under President Pierce, and member of both houses of Congress.

[28] Did he resign his seat in the Senate as soon as his State seceded?

No. His State seceded on January 9th, and he remained in the Senate until January 21st, pleading for some pledge from the North that would secure the interests of the people of the South.

[29] Does it appear from this that he led his people to secession?

No; like General Lee, he was led by the people of his State, obeying their call, and believing that his first duty was to his State.

[30] Who was elected Vice President?

Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, eminent in his country's history.

[31] Had the Confederate States any other President or Vice President?

No; Mr. Davis was the first and only President, and there was no other Vice President than Mr. Stephens.

[32] Where did the first Congress of the Confederacy meet?

At Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861, and on the 9th of February Mr. Davis was unanimously elected President, and inaugurated on the 18th of February, in the Alabama State House, Montgomery was the first capital of the Confederacy.

[33] Who did Mr. Davis select for his cabinet?

Robert Toombs, of Georgia, secretary of state; Leroy P. Walker, of Alabama, secretary of war; Charles G. Memminger, of South Carolina, secretary of the treasury; Stephen H. Mallory, of Florida, secretary of the navy; Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana, attorney general, and John H. Reagan, of Texas, postmaster general. The last three named continued in the cabinet as long as the government lasted.

[34] Where and when was the capital moved?

To Richmond, Virginia, on May 6, 1861.

[35] Did the Confederacy have a flag?

Yes; Congress, on March 6, 1861, passed an act adopting the first flag of the Confederacy, called the "stars and bars."

[36] How many stars had this flag at this time?

Seven, as only that number of States had then seceded, but other stars were added as the other States came into the Confederacy until there were thirteen. There were three bars, two red and one white.

[37] Why was another flag adopted?

Because the "stars and bars" were mistaken, at the battle of Manassa for the flag of the United States, and it was unsafe to use it in battle.

[38] Who designed the battle flag?

General Beauregard, after the battle of Manassaa, and his design was adopted by Congress as a battle flag and used throughout the war.

[39] What was the battle flag?

The cross of St. Andrew on a field of red, the cross blue, on which was thirteen stars.

[40] What other flag was used?

This battle flag on a large field of white was adopted by Congress as the flag of the confederacy, byt it was found that so large an expanse of white might be mistaken for a flag of truce, and Congress ordered a band of red across the end of the white field.

[41] Was this last flag ever used?

No; it was adopted just before the fall of the Confederacy, and was never used.

[42] How are these flags used by the different Confederate organizations?

The Confederate Veterans have for their emblem the battle flag, and the Sons of Veterans have adopted the last flag of the Confederacy, while the Daughters of the Confederacy use the "stars and bars," the first flag adopted by the Confederate States.

[43] When was the first shot fired in the war between the States?

At Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, on April 12, 1861.

[44] Where did the last fight occur?

At Palmetto ranch, near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, between a Confederate force of 300, under Gen. James E. Slaughter, and a Federal force of 500, commanded by Col. T. F. Burrett.

[45] Where was the first battle fought?

At Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, and it was a great victory for the Confederate army.

[46] How many were enrolled in the Federal, or Northern army?

Two million, seven hundred and seventy-eight thousand, three hundred and four (2,778,304).

[47] What number was enrolled in the Confederate army?

Six hundred thousand (600,000).

[48] How many more men were in the Northern army?

Many more than three times as many as the South had in the field.

[49] How many years did the war last?

Four years, and there is no record, in all the world's history of an army that endured more privations with greater fortitude, or fought more bravely than the soldiers of the Confederacy.

[50] Under what disadvantages did the Confederate army fight?

Not only did the Confederates have greatly inferior numbers, but they were poorly armed, often scarce of ammunition, and scantily fed and clothed.

[51] What was the spirit of the army?

Always ready to follow their leaders and never willing to give up the fight. "Victory or death" was their motto.

[52] Who was made commander in chief of all the Confederate forces?

Robert E. Lee, the best beloved and honored of all the Confederate generals.

[53] When did the war come to a close?

When General Lee surrendered his army, at Appomattox, Va., on April 9, 1865.

[54] How many men did he surrender?

About 25,000.

[55] To what Northern general did he surrender?

Gen. U. S. Grant, who had 120,000 men in his army.

[56] Was the Confederate army defeated?

No; it was overpowered by numbers, and its resources exhausted.

[57] What soon followed General Lee's surrender?

The surrender of all of the Confederate forces and the capture of President Davis and his cabinet in Georgia.

[58] What were the conditions of surrender, as made by General Grant?

These conditions were liberal and generally observed, except in the case of President Davis and some others. Mr. Davis was subjected to many humiliations, even to being put in irons.

[59] Why do the people of the South honor him so greatly?

First, for his integrity of character as a man and patriot, and because he suffered the greater martyrdom for their cause.

[60] Were the people of the South punished for engaging in the war?

Yes; by losing nearly all that they possessed, and further, by having a horde of men called "carpet-baggers" sent down to the South, their devotion to their country and to the cause of right, with no bitterness toward the government of the United States, under which we now live.

[63] What other purpose have the Daughters of the Confederacy?

To teach their children from generation to generation that there was no stain upon the action of their forefathers in the war between the States, and the women of the South, who nobly sustained them in that struggle, and will ever feel that their deathless deeds of valor are a precious heritage to be treasured for all time to come.

[64] For what was the army of the South particularly noted?

For its great commanders—great as soldiers and great as men of stainless character—and for the loyalty of the men in the ranks, who were dauntless in courage, "the bravest of the brave," ever ready to rush into the "jaws of death" at the command of their great leaders.