The War of Southern Aggression

The following passage was written by a Confederate soldier who, on 6 April 1862, was captured at the Battle of Shiloh and eventually incarcerated at Camp Douglas. He describes the events immediately following his seizure by Union soldiers:

On the way, my guards and I had a discussion about our respective causes, and, though I could not admit it, there was much reason in what they said, and I marvelled that they could put their case so well. For, until now, I was under the impression that they were robbers who only sought to desolate the South, and steal the slaves; but, according to them, had we not been so impatient and flown to arms, the influence of Abe Lincoln and his fellow-abolitionists would not have affected the Southerns pecuniarily; for it might have been possible for Congress to compensate slave-owners, that is, by buying up all slaves, and afterwards setting them free. But when the Southerners, who were not averse to selling their slaves in the open market, refused to consider anything relating to them, and began to seize upon government property, forts, arsenals, and war-ships, and to set about establishing a separate system in the country, then the North resolved that this should not be, and that was the true reason for the war.

From The Autobiography of Sir Henry Morton Stanley. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909.