Decorated War Veteran, Award Winning Author Addressed 16th Reg. SC Volunteers, SCV
Leonard M. “Mike” Scruggs was the guest speaker at the June 23 meeting of the Greenville S. C. camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. His topic was his latest book: The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths.
Mike Scruggs is a real estate broker living in Hendersonville, N. C. Previously he was an investment executive with a major Wall Street firm. He holds a BS from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University.
A former USAF intelligence officer and navigator, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War. His military awards include The Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and several Air Medals.
His previous books include The Un-Civil War: Truths Your Teacher Never Told You (2006) and Lessons From the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You (2009).
He writes weekly commentaries for the Asheville Tribune, Hendersonville Tribune in North Carolina and The Times Examiner in South Carolina.
He is recipient of the North Carolina Society of Historians prestigious D. T. Smithwick Award for Excellence.
Scruggs dedicated his latest book “to the Southern people and to all those of every section, race, or nation who have, with persevering courage, striven for truth and the good of their people.”
Scruggs quotes Major General Patrick Cleburne, who reminded his comrades of the possible cost of surrender:
Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy, that our youths will be trained by Northern school teachers; learn from Northern school books their version of the war; and taught to regard out gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects of derision.
Gen. Cleburne’s prediction was accurate. Two decades after the end of the war, prominent theologian Robert L. Dabney, speaking to graduates of Hampton Sidney College told them that northern interests were making extreme efforts to falsify and misrepresent history in order to justify the war and sustain Northern dominance.
With a gigantic sweep of mendacity, this literature aims to falsify or misrepresent everything; the very facts of history, the principles of the former Constitution as admitted in the days of freedom by all statesmen of all parties.
Scruggs explained that, “Union propaganda generally served up a self-justifying misrepresentation of the war as a morality play in which a noble Union Army marched forth to battle for the glorious purpose of emancipating downtrodden slaves from evil Southerners.”
The mendacity noted by Rev. Dabney continues. Scruggs states emphatically that “no serious student of the “Civil War” believes that the Union invaded the South to emancipate slaves.
“Such ignorance, however is commonplace. This propagandistic version of the war is commonly taught in public schools, and, in ignorance, even in many Christian schools, yet it has little basis in fact.” Slavery was an issue, but not the issue causing the war. Scruggs documents the factual causes in his book, using sources from the North, South and England.
President Woodrow Wilson was asked how the role of slavery became so distorted and exaggerated as a cause of the “Civil War,” Wilson answered:
It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for maintenance and extension of slavery.
The North and South had fundamentally different interpretations of the Bible and the Constitution. The South was more conservative. Southern Baptists are one carryover from that differing interpretation of the Bible. But the overriding issue was tariffs imposed on the South to benefit Northern industry that virtually compelled the cotton producing states to secede from the Union.
Scruggs concluded that, “The immediate cause of armed conflict beyond the bloodless Fort Sumter confrontation was, however, Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops on April 15 to put down the “rebellion” of seceding states and assure the tariff was collected.”
Scruggs writes in the Foreword to his book, that the primary purpose is to “rescue the South from decades of slanderous propaganda.”
He goes about doing this by exposing the historical errors and myths about the War for Southern Independence “that have been imposed on a public largely unaware that historical truth has been considerably obscured by modern political correctness.
“Fortunately this can be done without using a single Southern source. However, I have made it a point to use Northern, Southern, and British sources to get a three-line navigational fix on the truth… Truth is the surest foundation for liberty.”