Those were the words Robert E. Lee used to describe the Confederate Congress at Richmond after one of his trips to get better food for his troops. Mark Twain would later say that America had no native criminal class – with the possible exception of Congress. Both were correct and the history of the union government is one of such massive fraud and waste that it might make the current crop of thieves blush at how little the have really looted. Unfortunately the union could better afford it and just as they could rifle more cannons and mould more bullets they could print more money and that ultimately won the war for them.
Although Thomas is one of the best writers on the war I don’t think he puts enough emphasis on the spiritual unity of the South. Social conditions change with everything else but if there is a strong religious core the center will hold. Between transcendentalists, free-thinkers, utilitarians and every branch of nonconformist nincompoop in the book the north had long since abandoned Christianity in any recognizable form. The South was still profoundly Christian and it was these values that would allow it to survive the ravages of war and the privations of military occupation for 12 years after “peace” had been declared.
The moonlight and magnolias South never really existed outside of novels. Life in an agrarian society is too difficult to support the kind of life pictured in Gone With the Wind on the scale imagined by Hollywood. What did exist were the ties of family, the belief in the dream of the founders and the surety of the faith. While their leaders may have failed politically the work goes on; the cause endures; the hope still lives; and the dream shall never die.
The Confederate nation, 1861-1865 New York : Harper & Row, c 1979 Emory M. Thomas Confederate States of America History Hardcover. 1st. ed. xvi, 384 p.,  leaves of plates : ill. ; 22 cm. Bibliography: p. 323-372. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
In this vividly told history, enlivened bv passages from diaries and letters of the period. Professor Thomas traces the development of Southern nationalism from its foundations in the Old South through its confirmation in the establishment ot the Confederacy and in the first years of the war for Southern independence.
Discussing major battles. Confederate politics and diplomacy, and the effects of revolution on the social and economic life of the Confederate nation, he shows how war changed the “Old South” into the “Confederate South” in which the master-slave relationship, the domination by the planter class of middle and lower-class whites, and even the rights of sates and individuals vis-a-vis the central government in Richmond — the “cause” — began to crumble.
There were bread riots, strikes, resistance to conscription and confiscatory taxation, and new authority for blacks and women who were left in charge while their masters and husbands were away. Even had the South won the war, and Southerners confirmed their self-determination, the original “cause” would have been transformed.