Eleven states seceded from the Union in 1861. Each of those states honors it’s sons who fell during the war, but today is the anniversary of Gen. Johnson surrendering the last Confederate field force to Gen. Sherman and is recognized by four of them (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi) as Confederate Memorial Day.
The causes of the War Between the States are varied and complicated. Whether they be political, economical, ideological, or societal, they are as diverse as the states which comprised the fragile Union in 1861. Although there is no one overriding factor that can be called THE cause of the war, the average Johnny Reb knew what he was fighting for. He did not march to the sound of the guns because of Yankee export tariffs on Southern goods or to defend the institution of slavery. No, he marched to war for the same reason Americans have always done, and still do today; to defend his homeland. His state was that home, where his family was born and raised, where his mother, wife, or sweetheart waited with anxiety for his return. He recognized the sovereignty of his state and her borders and was willing to bleed for them. That very same sovereignty is still at issue 150 years later. It was for that sovereign independence which he fought, for which he died. Modern revisionism can not, must not, belittle the nobility of his cause, the courage of his heart, or the totality of his sacrifice for his hearth and home.
More than 258,000 sons of the South never returned to that home for which they gave so much, more than a quarter of the total estimated wartime strength of the Confederacy. 94,000 died in battle, 164,000 more of disease. They gave their last full measure of devotion, and the cause for which they died is as valid and just today as it was 150 years ago.