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Were The Rebels Illegal Combatants?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by BorderRuffian View Post
    By international law of the time the Confederates were recognized as a belligerent power. They had certain rights and were not pirates or "illegal combatants."

    The United States had an extradition treaty with Britain (1842).
    How many Confederate agents/rep's ("rebuhls") were arrested in Britain and turned over to the US government? None.
    How many arrested for "piracy?" None.

    How many rifles were Confederate agents/rep's able to purchase in Britain? 400,000.
    How many ships did they contract for? A fleet's worth.
    Belligerents, yes. They were not officially recognized, however.
    The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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    • #32
      This would mean that the UK was responsible for arming, training, equipping (and in many cases feeding) illegal combatants all over Europe and beyond during WW2.

      While some Confederate forces acted illegally (like every other soldier in History), the Confederate Army was certainly legal - just on the wrong side.
      Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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      • #33
        Originally posted by hellboy30 View Post
        So did the Confederacy make them legitimate with the Partisan Ranger Act of 1862?
        No, if the other source you quote is right in claiming that they operated independently from any command structure. That went against both pre-existing customary law and the Lieber Code, and if we want to use today's parameters, it's still against the rules (Hague IV 1907).
        Michele

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        • #34
          Originally posted by the ace View Post
          This would mean that the UK was responsible for arming, training, equipping (and in many cases feeding) illegal combatants all over Europe and beyond during WW2.
          If you are thinking about partisans in WWII, yes, sometimes the UK did exactly that. Both British and US designers even came up with firearms that would only have a point in existing if used by people who carried them not openly, i.e. as illegal combatants. Some of these were indeed distributed to resistance movements, though by no means all of them.

          But most partisan units actually had enough control over their territory that they wore some semblance of uniform or distinctive emblem, carried their arms openly, etc.
          Michele

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            No, if the other source you quote is right in claiming that they operated independently from any command structure. That went against both pre-existing customary law and the Lieber Code, and if we want to use today's parameters, it's still against the rules (Hague IV 1907).
            Out of curiosity, how would you classify privateers like CSS Alabama?
            The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by hellboy30 View Post
              Out of curiosity, how would you classify privateers like CSS Alabama?
              The Paris Declaration 1856 had made privateering illegal - among signatories. The USA were no signatory. Therefore they could use privateers, and their enemy could use privateers. During the war, the US government stated that it would adopt the principles of the Declaration - for the duration of the war. That still comes short of actually accepting to be bound by it, as by signing it, and in any case, it could only be a unilateral renunciation to their rights, not binding on their enemy.
              The CSA had made it clear that privateering was legal as far as they were concerned, and did not sign the Declaration.
              Thus Confederate privateering was not illegal.
              Michele

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              • #37
                Originally posted by R. Evans View Post
                Recently I've been reading up on the US justification for how we should treat "illegal combatants" in the War on Terror. What I was wondering is that using the justification of today for their treatment during the Civil War Era, would it have been legal for the Federal forces to shoot, torture (enhanced interrogation) or otherwise maltreat any Rebel soldier that fell into their hands? After all the CSA was not recognized as a legal entity by the US or any other established country during the period. So therefore wouldn't anybody caught in arms against the US forces be an "illegal combatant"?

                Now while this might inflammatory to some, that is not my intent. What I'm trying to establish is that the US was incredibly lenient in it's treatment of Rebels taken under arms, considering how we treat "illegal combatants" today. As harsh as Jefferson Davis' treatment was to some, (and to me, no reason he had to be kept in chains) imagine if the US had "waterboarded" him? Or Lee? And then summarily executed them?

                I would argue that taken as whole, the US was incredibly forbearing and lenient in it's treatment of the Rebels.

                What say you?
                I say that the Federal forces that engaged in killing civilians and using the excuse of calling them "bushwackers" should have been tried for murder.
                My worst jump story:
                My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                No lie.

                ~
                "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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                • #38
                  There was a precedent for treating Confederates as POWs. In the AWI members of the Continental Army were under British law traitors and therefore liable to be hanged if taken prisoner. None were and whilst prisoners taken by both sides were not treated well by modern standards they were all treated as de facto POWs if not de jure
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                    Also the Union Army and the Confederates exchanged POW's for quite a while. That says to me that the Union Army recognized the Rebel Army.

                    Pruitt
                    That was not done through political channels, but through military channels.
                    There was a fine line walked by Lincoln's Administration, he allowed his military staff to negotiate terms of surrender with rebel force leaders, military officers, the mayors of towns that the Union occupied were usually chased out of town and replaced with a provost Marshall or a military administrator.
                    Even when the war ended, there never was a treaty signed between the federal government and the confederate "government" because to do so would have given the CSA legitimacy.
                    Jefferson Davis and his administration was not an issue. The treaty was between the military leaders, Grant and Lee. Not Lincoln and Davis.
                    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post
                      I say that the Federal forces that engaged in killing civilians and using the excuse of calling them "bushwackers" should have been tried for murder.
                      Quite often they violated their own "Lieber Code."
                      {}

                      "Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight." -Proverbs 18:17

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post
                        I say that the Federal forces that engaged in killing civilians and using the excuse of calling them "bushwackers" should have been tried for murder.
                        Likewise for the Confederacy? What about the fact that the Partisan Ranger Act put many folks into harms way by giving them the idea that they could tote a gun, kill some Federals, then blend back into the population? What about when the Confederate & State governments told the people to rise up against Sherman's troops in the March? Doesn't that put the blame on them for asking civilians to do just that?
                        The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by BorderRuffian View Post
                          Quite often they violated their own "Lieber Code."
                          As did the Confederates. And even worse, to their own civilians.
                          The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Michele View Post
                            The Paris Declaration 1856 had made privateering illegal - among signatories. The USA were no signatory. .
                            Their argument was that as country without the resources necessary to support a large blue water navy the USA if faced with a war with a major naval power (ie Britain or France) would need to be able to draw on private enterprise.
                            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by BorderRuffian View Post

                              How many rifles were Confederate agents/rep's able to purchase in Britain? 400,000.
                              How many ships did they contract for? A fleet's worth.
                              All these weapons and ships were purchased through third parties, they were not officially sold to the Confederacy.

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                              • #45
                                Michele

                                You have an impressive legal mind and I appreciate your postings but I do not believe much of what you say in related to a common southerner yeoman and his family caught in the middle of an illegal armed insurrection involving a murderous and bloody civil war within a national government. If he be loyal Unionist in Catahoula Parish, his nearest point to lawful governance is over 100 miles so that he may get legalized to fight. It was a dangerous and hazardous trip plus he must have a healthy horses and stay off the normal routes heavily patrolled by treasonous insurrectionists. You said he had to wear a visible item showing him being a Unionist. That would be a death warrant for immediate summary execution or a brutal incarceration. His only visible item/emblem was a double barrel shotgun packed with extra gunpowder and heavy shot plus maybe a revolver. These weapons highly effective in a Swamp due to fact at short range one could kill and/or severely impair several men with one blast thereof. In Swamp, with its heavy undergrowth men tend to bunch together weaving through. Thus the reason Confederates stay out of those Swamps even with a small number of jayhawkers within.

                                I reject any significant impression from your saying "assuming they weren't simply deserters or highway robbers" as the saying goes "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". An as relative even armed deserters and robbers were tearing down the Confederate system.

                                I reject your knowledge of geese (what's good for the goose is good for the gander law) in that I know not what their "goose law" is about as I do not talk to a goose and a goose has never talked to me!
                                Last edited by Bo Archer; 17 Feb 16, 20:29.

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