The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

40
On the State of the Country Bill Arp

"Sweet land of Liberty, of thee I sing."

Not much I don't, not at this time. If there's any thing sweet about liberty in this part of the vineyard, I can't see it. The land's good enough, and I wouldn't mind hearin a hyme or two about the dirt I live on, but as for findin sugar and liberty in Georgy soil, it's all a mistake. Howsumever, I'm hopeful. I'm much calmer and screener than I was a few months ago. I begin to feel kindly towards all people, except some. I'm now endeaverin to be a great national man. I've taken up a motto of no North, no South, no East, no West; but let me tell you, my friend, I'll bet on Dixie as long as I've got a dollar. It's no harm to run both schedules. In fact it's highly harmonious to do so. I'm a good Union reb, and my battle cry is Dixie and the Union.

But you see, my friend, we are gettin restless about some things. The war had become mighty heavy on us, and after the big collapse, we thought it was over for good. We had killed folks and killed folks until the novelty of the thing had wore off, and we were mighty nigh played out all over. Children were increasin and vittels diminishin. By a close calculashun it was perceived that we didn't kill our enemies as fast as they was imported, and about those times I thought it was a pity that some miracle of grace hadn't cut off the breed of foreigners some eighteen or twenty years ago. Then you would have seen a fair fight. General Sherman wouldn't have walked over the track and Ulysses would have killed more men than he did-of his own side. I have always thought that a general ought to be particular which side he was sacrifisin.

Well, if the war is over, what's the use of fillin up our towns and cities with soldiers any longer? Where's your reconstruction that the papers say is goin on so rapidly? Where's the liberty and freedom? The fact is, General Sherman and his caterpillars made such a clean sweep of every thing, I

BILL ARP, so called, A Side Show of the Southern Side of the War ( New York, 1867), pp. 139-146.

As reconstruction developed in the South, Bill Arp, popular humorist, saw the grim inconsistencies between the humanitarian theories and the political practices.

-472-

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