Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist: Selected on Revolution, Recognition, and Race [NOOK Book]


The life of Henry Hotze encompasses the history of antebellum Mobile, Confederate military recruitment, Civil War diplomacy and international intrigue, and the development of a Darwinian-based effort to find scientific evidence for differences among human “races.” When civil war broke out in his adopted country, Hotze enthusiastically assumed the mindset of the young Southern secessionist, serving first as newspaper correspondent and Confederate soldier until the Confederate government selected him as an agent, ...
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Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist: Selected on Revolution, Recognition, and Race

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The life of Henry Hotze encompasses the history of antebellum Mobile, Confederate military recruitment, Civil War diplomacy and international intrigue, and the development of a Darwinian-based effort to find scientific evidence for differences among human “races.” When civil war broke out in his adopted country, Hotze enthusiastically assumed the mindset of the young Southern secessionist, serving first as newspaper correspondent and Confederate soldier until the Confederate government selected him as an agent, with instructions to promote the Southern cause in London. There he founded, edited, and wrote most of the content for The Index, a pro-Southern paper, as a part of the effort to convince the British Government to extend recognition to the Confederacy.
Among the arguments Hotze employed were adaptations of the scientific racism of the period, which attempted to establish a rational basis for assumptions of racial difference. After the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865, Hötze remained in Europe, where he became an active partisan and promoter of the ideas of Arthur de Gobineau (1816–1882) whose work Essai sur L’inégalité des Races Humaines was a founding document in racism’s struggle for intellectual respectability.
This work consists of a biographical essay on Hotze; his contributions to Mobile newspapers during his military service in 1861; his correspondence with Confederate officials during his service in London; articles he published in London to influence British and European opinion; and his correspondence with, and published work in support of, Gobineau.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This volume represents a valuable contribution to Civil War scholarship. The author’s introduction and notes will draw greater attention to one of the period’s more intriguing figures and will suggest Hotze’s status as the most cosmopolitan advocate of the Confederate cause in Europe.”
—Robert E. Bonner, author of Colors and Blood: Flag Passions of the Confederate South
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817381110
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 3/16/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 251
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Lonnie A. Burnett is Associate Professor of History at the University of Mobile and author of The Pen Makes a Good Sword: John Forsyth of the Mobile Register.
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Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist

Selected Writings on Revolution, Recognition, and Race


Copyright © 2008 The University of Alabama Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8173-1620-4

Chapter One

Three Months in the Confederate Army


The twenty-third of April, 1861, is a day long to be remembered in the local traditions of the city of Mobile. About noon the rumor had flashed through the town that the Governor of Alabama had accepted the services of the Mobile Cadets, and of another volunteer company, and had summoned both to repair instantly to the capital of the state, then also the provisional capital of the new- born Confederacy. Four hours are a brief space of time for preparation and leave- taking to men who are suddenly summoned from home and family and business to battle-fields a thousand miles away. Yet at four in the afternoon a vast multitude had already collected before the city arsenal, where the public arms were deposited, and in the capacious hall of which the two companies were then forming. An hour later the doors were thrown open, and forth stepped, with measured tread, Mobile's first contingent to the War of Independence. It was not now a holiday parade, such as had often enlivened the streets of the peaceful city. Theshowy uniforms in which, in happier times, harmless citizens delighted to play at soldiering, had been left behind, and officers and men were clad in a stout, serviceable gray, specially selected for a rough campaign. There was something, too, in the countenances of the men, their carriage and bearing, that would have indicated to a mere stranger more impressively than the swelling knapsack and the heavy blanket strapped to it, that the youths before him were animated by a stern resolve in the discharge of a patriotic duty.

At the wharf a halt and a "rest" were ordered, and then came the last leave-taking of mothers, sisters, sweethearts, wives; the hand-shakings of friends and companions, the blessings of old men, the final exhortation of father to son, the sobs and tears of agonized women. There was a feeling of relief when the command "Attention" cut short the painful scene. A few minutes later, the two companies had formed again on the upper deck of the steamer, overlooking the agitated sea of human beings that overflowed the wharves and all approaches to them; for the whole population of Mobile had assembled to bid "God speed" to the brave young hearts that day departing, many of them never to return. And now the shrill whistle of the steamer, the splash of revolving wheels, the solemn toll of church bells, the booming of salute guns, cheers after cheers from thousands of lungs, waving of hats and handkerchiefs-and the city of Mobile had lost the elite of her youth.

Two hundred young men occupy a small space, numerically, in the population of a large commercial city; but among these young men, almost every family of wealth and social standing had its near and dear representative. Most of them had been raised in affluence; a very large proportion was college bred; many had already given promise of distinction at the bar, in literature, or in the higher spheres of commerce. Now they had become common soldiers-mere unthinking machines-whose places, some said, might as well and better have been taken by men less valuable to the community. But the young men thought otherwise. They felt that in the struggle in which their country was engaged, every odd was arrayed against it. They felt that in a war for a nation's existence it was a privilege to be allowed to bear the first brunt; and that it became them, sons of wealth and luxury, to set an example of self-sacrifice, of cheerful devotion, of patient endurance, of orderly demeanor, and true soldierly discipline, to those less favored by fortune. They did not wait for commissions, so tempting, to youthful vanity and even more mature ambitions; but, with a full sense of the consequences, they stepped into the ranks as "enlisted men" for a term of twelve months.

The Mobile Cadets, being the oldest organized volunteer company in the state, claimed the honor of being the first in having their services accepted for actual duty in the field. When the proclamation of President Lincoln destroyed the faint hopes of peace which had sprung up during the month of his hesitation, the company decided by a vast majority, to place itself upon a war footing, and tender its services in the proper quarter. The small minority, whom circumstances prevented from joining their comrades were honorably excused, their places supplied by a most fastidious system of balloting among a large number of applicants, a simple and serviceable campaign uniform procured, all deficiencies in equipment and accoutrement supplied, daily morning and evening drill instituted; and in less than ten days a troop of young men, originally united for purpose of military amusement, had been transformed into a well-officered, well disciplined company of soldiers. Nor were the Cadets the only company which pursued this course. In Mobile, and in other cities of the Cotton States, as also in the rural districts, companies similarly situated acted in a similar manner, without awaiting each other's example. There was at first some doubt whether the authorities would receive this class of volunteers, and many weighty objections were raised against it, chiefly on the ground that these young men could be more useful to the state in less humble capacities. But the necessity of promptly pouring upon the exposed frontier of Virginia, then but a few days previously acquired to the Confederacy, troops having already at least the elements of effective organization, and a certain proficiency of drill, prevailed over all other reasons; and thus, on the 23rd of April, five days after the secession of Virginia, the Mobile Cadets received their marching orders to the "Old Dominion." The first levies of the South were exclusively among the gentlemen of the South.

A set of hurried notes, written at irregular intervals, mostly with no better desk than a camp-stool, or a knapsack laid on the grass, can scarcely deserve the name of journal. They were intended to reproduce more vividly at some future day the impressions of the hour to the writer's mind, rather than to serve as a record of adventures, of which, indeed, his connection with the company was singularly barren. Battles and sieges and hair-breadth escapes, therefore, the reader will not find in them, nor even the stories of painful marches or harassing retreats, or much if any of the soldier's stern work. Hardships and fatigues there undoubtedly were, but so light compared to those so bravely borne by others more fortunate in the field of action assigned to them, that memory refuses to chronicle them. The most these unpretending notes can promise is a glimpse into the interior of the armies of the young Republic while it was collecting its resources and gathering strength to resist the blow aimed at its vitals. The creation of an army of 400,000 men scattered over a territory of near a million square miles, within a space of less than twelve months, in the face of an enemy overwhelming in numbers, as in the appliances of war, by a Government scarcely formed, and dating but of yesterday, is a spectacle so novel and so replete with interest, that even the feeblest effort to throw light upon it may not go altogether unrewarded.

The writer's sole object, he frankly admits in advance, is to assist in bringing his countrymen, and their just cause, more favorably before a foreign public than they and their cause have been brought through the representations of their enemies. But he will not seek to further this object by falsifying facts or investing them with a fanciful coloring. To impartiality he does not pretend. No man thoroughly and earnestly enlisted in any cause, right or wrong, can honestly do so. Writing in a distant place of safety about companions in arms, who are still undergoing every hardship and privation for their country's sake; it would be difficult not to treat them with that loving-kindness and forbearance which, when he was among them, all imposed upon themselves the duty of practicing toward each other. But if this bias may sometimes bear him to a more favorable judgment than a stranger would have pronounced, at least he can venture to promise that he will say naught he himself does not believe true, nor suppress anything that is necessary to form a correct opinion. For this reason he has thought it better to leave his notes, rough as they are, without material alterations or emendations, and to be sparing of post-dated comments, except where such are absolutely needed for the intelligence of the reader.


On board steamer St. Nicholas, Alabama River, April 25, 1861

The scene before me deserves a record, though my shoulder is strained, and my fore and middle fingers ache with "Carry Arms." Here, on the floor of the vast saloon lie some 300 men, so closely packed that it is actually impossible to tread through or between them. The folding doors of the ladies' saloon (for we have ladies on board, and not a little proud of them we are-the young wives of our second Lieutenant and of our Orderly Sergeant, accompanied by two unmarried sisters of the latter) have been closed, and though it is not nine o'clock yet, every one that does not wish to stand up during the night, has been compelled to occupy his considerably less than "three by six" on the saloon floor. I have been one of three lucky ones to whom the Captain has given a berth in his "state room," and I further enjoy a little corner at the first clerk's desk, whereon to write.

Fun and merriment run riot in the saloon, for "taps" has not beat yet. It is amusing to watch the good temper and real wit with which men defend their heads against some other men's legs, and the sham battles which are waged between inconveniently shortened antipodes. But even more pleasing is the cheerful readiness with which a place is sought and given to some luckless struggler who has neither cabin berth nor floor room. The more the merrier is the motto, and the saloon floor, omnibus-like, is never full, though I expect very shortly they will lie in strata like salt herrings.

Not a quarrel has yet occurred nor even a high word spoken, though there has been so much drinking that the officers threatened to shut up the steamboat bar. Strange enough, there has, however, been no drunkenness, the mental excitement apparently preponderating over the physical.

At various landings we have taken in other companies from the rural districts; stalwart, good-looking fellows, a little rougher in their manners and appearance than our city-bred gentlemen, but lacking in no essential of courtesy and good-breeding. In their green hunting shirts, for the country companies have not yet had time to uniform themselves, they have much the appearance of good-humored savages. But they represent the best families in the land, and are most of them young planters, with a sprinkling of lawyers and doctors, and one or two editors among them. Our fraternization with them would not have been out of place among the scenes of the French Revolution, so exuberantly enthusiastic have been the demonstrations on both sides, though I doubt whether as much of the blood of the grape was shed on those bygone occasions as there was whiskey in these. Well why not? In a day more we shall be under the rigid discipline of common soldiers. Everybody believes that our destination is Western Virginia, and perhaps a bit of Pennsylvania, and that in ten days we shall "have a chance at the Yankees."

We drill six hours a day on the upper deck, and the sun is excruciating. Many of us are "green" in the manual, and each of the older members acts as instructor to an "awkward squad." One or two of the most awkward ones were discovered late last night, long after "taps," rehearsing, in solitary despair, the hard-learned lessons of the day. The thing was too ludicrous and, besides, too well-intentioned to provoke more than a formal reprimand from the officer of the guard.

Yesterday the two Mobile Companies held a meeting with one of the Captains in the chair, and one of the privates as Secretary, to pass complimentary resolutions to the owners and officers of the steamer St. Nicholas. The reason was that while the Governor paid only for deck passage and soldiers' rations, we, as well as the other companies, had all received first-class passage and saloon fare. Though 500 men, in rotation of companies, sat down to each meal, the tables from morning to night groaned under the weight of good cheer, and even the stock of fresh milk and butter and of ice, so scanty on crowded river steamers, had never given out. The resolutions were passed, and a collection made, amounting to 263 dollars, for the purpose of purchasing a suitable testimonial to the Captain and first clerk of the liberal steamer.

Tomorrow, our third day from Mobile, we shall be at the capital, there to be formed into a regiment, and then "on to Washington!"


Montgomery, Alabama, April 25, 1861

Most of us were a little disappointed on arriving here late last night. The éclat that had been given to our departure from Mobile caused us to expect some corresponding demonstration in our honor at Montgomery. Instead of this we found the city dark and silent, the wharves deserted, and neither quarters nor commissariat stores provided for us at the end of a short but tedious march to the "Fair Ground," about two miles from the city. It was not until after midnight that we were able to wrap ourselves in our blankets, supperless, on the rough plank floor of the Exhibition building. The excitement of the leave-taking from home and friends, and of the gay trip up the river, had now subsided, and the first lesson learned, though a wholesome, was not a pleasant one-that in leaving home we have also left behind the individual and collective importance our youthful vanity had tempted us to ascribe to ourselves. This morning the State Commissary sent us for breakfast twenty pounds of soap, which is suggestive but not nourishing. Hungry stomachs, however, refuse to appreciate the point of the joke, and prefer the barrels of salt pork and ship biscuit which the officers have sent for from the city. Blunders of this sort are no doubt inseparable from a quartermaster's and commissary's department, which are as yet improvised, rather than organized; but though every man of us would be ashamed of complaining, yet human nature cannot be expected to abstain from comments which are not always complimentary to his Excellency the Governor and his military staff. Our officers have determined to take the commissariat into their own hands until we shall enter the service of the Confederacy, whether the Governor allows a commutation for our rations or not.

The pork and biscuit breakfast was not, however, without some features of the picturesque. There was not much room for cookery, and even such as there was had to be performed without apparatus or utensils of any sort. The few that had pans fared no better than those who had only sticks with which to toast their bacon; and every device to make the pork less salt, or the biscuit less hard, ended in signal failure. The bill of fare afforded no other choice than between burnt bacon and raw bacon. But when breakfast was over, no one could fail to perceive the foresight of the commissary, who had sent us so timely and bountiful a supply of soap.

During the day we have been either drilling or putting things to right in our temporary barracks. Our drill-ground is a large enclosure used for the annual cattle show or State Agricultural Fair; and the frame building, devoted to the exhibition of specimens of home industry, serves as barracks. A considerable amount of cleaning up and some carpentering has made the latter comparatively comfortable. Our city youths are not much used to the broom or the besom, nor to the axe and saw; but each one's awkwardness and grotesqueness of appearance affords merriment to all the rest, and, upon the whole, the task is moderately well performed.

This afternoon a huge board appeared at the barrack-door, on which was inscribed the pathetic notice which follows:


Late on Thursday night, on leaving the steamer St. Nicholas, between the wharf and the fair ground. My Military Enthusiasm. The honest finder is earnestly entreated to return the same to the disconsolate loser, and will have the consciousness of a good action for his reward.


Excerpted from Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist by LONNIE A. BURNETT Copyright © 2008 by The University of Alabama Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface 000
Introduction: Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist 000
Part One: "A Consciousness of Doing Something Fine"
Three Months in the Confederate Army 000
The cadet Letters to the Mobile Register 000
Part Two: "What Prevents the Recognition of the Confederate States?"
An Apology to the Tribune 000
Henry Hotze's Commission 000
The "Washington's Birthday" Leader 000
"The Question of Recognition of the Confederate States" 000
The Index on Recognition 000
The Ebb and Flow of Recognition: Diplomatic and Personal Correspondence
A Primer on Southern Society 000
The Genius of the Editor 000
A Plan to Take the Index to America 000
Part Three: "The Natural History of Man"
Excerpt from "Analytical Introduction and Copious Historical Notes"
"The Position and Treatment of Women among the Various Races of Men as
Proof of Their Moral and Intellectual Diversity" 000
The Register Reviews Moral and Intellectual Diversity of Races 000
Letters to Gobineau 000
The Index on Racialism 000
Appendix: Original Descriptive Roll of the Mobile Cadets, Co. A, Third
Alabama Regiment Infantry 000
Notes 000
Index 000
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