As a student of the American Civil War, I read with interest David Moore's letter published September 19. Very quickly I found that Mr. Moore's version of Civil War history reflected something I've heard from others...that the federal government was the aggressor and that the Confederacy was "just defending itself". This is just not true.

Looking at a timeline of the Civil War, the Confederacy was formed in February, 1861 (secessions started in December, 1960) because seven states did not like the outcome of the 1860 election. Lincoln was inaugurated on April 4, 1861. Confederate forces (about 5,000-6,000 in number) fired on the federal post of Fort Sumter (defended by 85 federal troops), Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. Confederate artillery began firing at 4:30am. The federal garrison did not return fire until 7:00am...hardly a sign of federal aggression. April 15, 1861 Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers. May, 24, 1861 Union troops cross the Potomac River and occupy Arlington, Virginia. June 3, 1861 first skirmish between Union and Confederate troops near Philippi, Virginia (now in West Virginia).

This was a Civil War. Families were divided and fought on both sides, especially in the states of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. At least two of Lincoln's brothers-in-law served in the Confederate army. Brothers Thomas and George Crittenden were generals in the Union (Thomas) and Confederate (George) forces.

Paul Hinson, Oakland

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