I’ve been writing the Civil War Daily Gazette for over a year and a half. In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with some wonderful readers who, through their insight, knowledge and passion, correct my mistakes and add to my omissions. There are few things I like more than when someone teaches me something.
For the most part, all of these people have been kind and happy to help. Except one.
A few months back, a reader attacked me for my interpretation of a battle. He wasn’t just upset, he was obnoxious. I was taken aback by this since most people aren’t actually that obnoxious.
First he claimed to be of Cherokee and Southern blood and was not happy with how I portrayed the South’s policies towards the Cherokees. He attacked me for calling Southerners racists (I didn’t), when it was the white northerners who were racists (never said they weren’t). He complained that the north kept attacking “us” (the natives) long after the Civil War. Also, he’s from Virginia, so I’m not really sure who this “us” was.
His long, ranty and rambling comment caught me by surprise, since most people are civil. But more soon followed. He would say things like: “What a big bag of baloney,” and call me confused. It really wasn’t that big of a deal.
From the natives, he moved on to defending Virginia. He first took issue with my use of the word “Manassas,” which was used by officers of both armies (and many people today) to denote the battlefield of the first major battle of the war. In another long, ranty comment, he went on and on about how Manassas didn’t exist, that it was Bull Run, etc etc.
This is when he started with the personal attacks. “All in all I enjoy your articles. I use them as teaching examples to show the kids what revisionism of history looks like, and we examine the non-neutral northern biases that exist in almost all of your articles.” I don’t think he’s actually a teacher. Not a real one, anyway.
The thing is, every time I’d reply, I’d do so in a fair and calm manner. I’d explain myself and my research and was very respectful. But he would never answer back. It soon became clear that he wasn’t looking for any dialog, he was just having a knee-jerk reaction to things that didn’t fit his weird ass “the south was perfect will rise again” silliness.
I tried so hard to just ignore him. “Tears are welling up in my eyes from laughter. That is the most hilarious account of 1st Kernstown that I have ever seen!” began one of his longest rants that took me to task for not properly (in his mind) explaining that a Confederate defeat was actually a Confederate victory. He somehow got the Marines involved in it and… I don’t know… it’s one of those rants you just sort of stop reading about a third of the way through. He’s neither interesting nor literate.
When it came to the Battle of Shiloh, a very clear Confederate defeat, he again piped up. “At Shiloh they will lose most of the battle, more killed and casualties, their entire strategic objective will come to a complete end … yet … the Neo-Yanks hail this as a “victory”. LOL!” Seriously? LOL? This is an adult male who is probably around fifty-ish.
One of his more recent comments began: “Ahem … uh …. gee … look at all the fighting now going on between Darth Lincoln and his Sith Apprentice McClellan over where to put people, how many they have, and the utter failure of Pinkerton and the other Blue Devil contractors in gathering intelligence.”
To a post about Lincoln abolishing the slave trade: “Holy Toledo, Batman, the Neo-Yanks sure love to re-write history and load the wheelbarrow full of manure. Geez. LOL!!”
He’d also go on about New York school textbooks, how Lincoln was an atheist, and, of course, how the South wasn’t fighting to keep slavery.
That was when I decided that I put way too many hours into the project to have to deal with some weird little neo-Confederate’s taunting. This fellow is now banned. And that is sort of great and sort of sucks.
It’s nice to not have to deal with him, but it sucks that people can’t engage in some rational discussion about this. Neither he nor I are experts on this subject. If he would present his views in a calm and adult way, backed up with sources, etc., then I’d love to talk about. But he never engaged in anything more than trolling. That gets old real quick.
I certainly don’t feel bad. And most of all, I’m fortunate that he’s been the only one thus far. If I could finish out that war (and thus the project) having only banned this one nut, I’d be very happy.