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Were The Rebels Illegal Combatants?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    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.
    Right, which is a somewhat iffy argument but one which (I think) passes muster... if the US accepted the corollary. (Which was that, having not signed it themselves, they were thence vulnerable to privateeing and had no redress. Treaties are bilateral.)
    As they then considered the CS privateers to be pirates, at least at first, I think it shows a considerable hypocrisy. (We're rather fortunate that they didn't execute the crews of the privateers, as that would have been quite illegal and probably would have inflamed Southern opinion far more... which would have opened the door to a path leading to widespread guerilla warfare continuing well after the surrender.)

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    • #47
      Originally posted by redcoat View Post
      All these weapons and ships were purchased through third parties, they were not officially sold to the Confederacy.
      Although of course they all knew that's where they were going
      Arms dealers are seldom scrupulous but frequently punctilious with reference to the law.
      Whistler was an arms dealer.
      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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      • #48
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        Although of course they all knew that's where they were going
        Knowing and proving in a court of law are not the same.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by redcoat View Post
          Knowing and proving in a court of law are not the same.
          Exactly - read the 2nd line of my previous post.
          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)

          Comment


          • #50
            The funny thing is, the Union purchased plenty of stuff from the Brits too - complete non-intercourse neutrality would have basically wrecked the Union war effort. To the tune of several hundred tons of gunpowder and vast amounts of raw materials... as well as weapons.

            Between 1st May 1861 and 31st December 1862 Britain shipped 341,000 rifles and 49,982,000 percussion caps to the North- a figure which some suggested could be revised upwards by between a third and a half to allow for items shipped as hardware.

            That's enough to arm a huge fraction of the Union army - and probably ended up also arming quite a lot of the Army of Northern Virginia from captured weapons, say.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by hellboy30 View Post
              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?
              Right, all Southerners are bad.
              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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              • #52
                Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
                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.
                You take your chances and you pays your money.
                While the majority of the Italian partisans in WWI wore a distinguishable emblem and carried their arms openly (and were subject to a hierarchy of sorts and largely complied with the laws of war), that was because they had created no-go areas which they (shakily) controlled. However a minority of the partisans fought in cities, under cover, wearing civilian clothing and using sidearms and bombs they could hide.

                I'm not saying anything about the patriotism, loyalism, or righteousness of either kind of partisan. I'm not saying that the latter should have opted to behave like the former, or given up the fight.

                The latter type of partisans knew perfectly well that they would be killed out of hand, or tortured first and then killed, if captured. They decided that the harm they could do to the Axis was worth the price they might have to pay.

                What I am saying is that the Axis forces broke the laws of war when they executed summarily the former type of partisans, but did not break the laws of war when they did the same to the latter type of partisans. That's all.

                The same applies to Unionist partisans in the South - and (goose and gander, I guess you know it's a figure of speech) to the Confederate partisans in the North.

                The laws said (as opposed to what angry armed men in a swamp might do on the spot) that even behind the lines, partisans wearing an emblem and operating under orders should have been captured if possible and granted POW status. Armed hostile civilians in civilian clothing and not operating under orders should not have been treated as POWs.

                That's what the laws said. Whether that was practical, complied with, etc. is another kettle of fish (no, I'm not talking about actual fish).
                Last edited by Michele; 18 Feb 16, 02:26.
                Michele

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post
                  The funny thing is, the Union purchased plenty of stuff from the Brits too - complete non-intercourse neutrality
                  Uhm. What customary law or treaty in force before 1860 and concerning the duties of neutrals are you thinking about?
                  Michele

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Michele View Post
                    You take your chances and you pays your money.
                    While the majority of the Italian partisans in WWI wore a distinguishable emblem and carried their arms openly (and were subject to a hierarchy of sorts and largely complied with the laws of war), that was because they had created no-go areas which they (shakily) controlled. However a minority of the partisans fought in cities, under cover, wearing civilian clothing and using sidearms and bombs they could hide.

                    I'm not saying anything about the patriotism, loyalism, or righteousness of either kind of partisan. I'm not saying that the latter should have opted to behave like the former, or given up the fight.

                    The latter type of partisans knew perfectly well that they would be killed out of hand, or tortured first and then killed, if captured. They decided that the harm they could do to the Axis was worth the price they might have to pay.

                    What I am saying is that the Axis forces broke the laws of war when they executed summarily the former type of partisans, but did not break the laws of war when they did the same to the latter type of partisans. That's all.

                    The same applies to Unionist partisans in the South - and (goose and gander, I guess you know it's a figure of speech) to the Confederate partisans in the North.

                    The laws said (as opposed to what angry armed men in a swamp might do on the spot) that even behind the lines, partisans wearing an emblem and operating under orders should have been captured if possible and granted POW status. Armed hostile civilians in civilian clothing and not operating under orders should not have been treated as POWs.

                    That's what the laws said. Whether that was practical, complied with, etc. is another kettle of fish (no, I'm not talking about actual fish).
                    Surely Unionist partisans operating in the south, whether or not they were in uniform or under orders would have been acting lawfully in any actions they took against the Rebels? The partisans would have been acting in support of the legitimate government whilst the Rebels had no legitimacy. Thus the execution of Unionist partisans by Confederates would be akin to bandits killing civilians who had attempted to resist them.
                    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                    • #55
                      You would have to take these cases individually. Many Southerners from the affected areas volunteered for Confederate service, became disenchanted and went home. Once home they had to hide from the authorities looking for deserters and draft dodgers. These men took to the woods and swamps. There they tended to band together and were often better armed and mounted than the local Sheriff and Militia.

                      Some of the Unionists were able to enroll in Federal service and acquire modern breechloaders or repeaters. They then went home and proceeded to take out any neighbors they disliked. Some of these feuds predated the war and went back sometimes to when the area was settled.

                      The example Bo gave above is an example of "justice" in the backwoods and swamps.

                      These men knew what would happen if they were caught. They could have gone in on one of the many amnesties offered, but they chose to stay close to home.

                      This was the dirtiest kind of war. Confederate Partisans were often enrolled in Partisan Ranger Companies. These guys gave the Union fits in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia. They also appeared in other Confederate states overrun by Union troops. The Union also raised units of ex-Confederate servicemen. One reason Fort Pillow got out of hand was one of the units stationed there was Tennessee Unionists that were chastising the local Confederate families.

                      Each side thought they were lawful. The trick was not to be caught!

                      Pruitt
                      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Michele View Post
                        Uhm. What customary law or treaty in force before 1860 and concerning the duties of neutrals are you thinking about?
                        The Confederates sent Purchase Agents with cash. The Union also sent Agents, but the Bureaucracy in Washington did not honor the contracts signed! So the Confederacy bought up all the surplus Enfields there and the Union had to settle for older Austrian and German muzzle loaders. They may have even bought French Muzzle loaders. When Vicksburg surrendered, Grant allowed his units armed with these unreliable Muskets to exchange them for Enfields the Confederates surrendered. All the European countries were willing to sell surplus firearms for cash!

                        Pruitt
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                          The Confederates sent Purchase Agents with cash. The Union also sent Agents, but the Bureaucracy in Washington did not honor the contracts signed! So the Confederacy bought up all the surplus Enfields there and the Union had to settle for older Austrian and German muzzle loaders. They may have even bought French Muzzle loaders. When Vicksburg surrendered, Grant allowed his units armed with these unreliable Muskets to exchange them for Enfields the Confederates surrendered. All the European countries were willing to sell surplus firearms for cash!

                          Pruitt
                          Actually there were so many Enfields in Britain that the Union got plenty - but most of them were purchased by the individual states, in 1861.


                          "I beg to inform you that the authorities of this State have ordered the purchase and manufacture of 20,000 Enfield rifles and muskets, some of which have been received from England, and with which one regiment of volunteers have already been armed" (J. Meredith Read, Jr, Adjutant General of New York, 14 June 1861; The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies, Series 3 - Volume 1, p. 273)
                          "no rifled muskets of the Enfield pattern can be procured in England... All the private establishments in Birmingham and London are now working for the States of Ohio, Connecticut, and Massachusetts" (George L. Schuyler, August 16 1861; The war of the rebellion, Series 3 - Volume 1, p. 418)

                          The Union basically purchased every firearm it could find in Europe, partly to deny them to the CSA - with less than perfect success, since about 80,000 Enfields went to the Confederacy and 436,000 to the Union by the end of purchases in 1864. (It's 117,000 by the end of June 1862.)



                          Mind you, look at Pierce:



                          Performing all the duties of neutrality toward the respective belligerent states, we may reasonably expect them not to interfere with our lawful enjoyment of its benefits.... In pursuance of this policy, the laws of the United States do not forbid their citizens to sell to either of the belligerent powers articles contraband of war or take munitions of war or soldiers on board their private ships for transportation; and although in so doing the individual citizen exposes his property or person to some of the hazards of war, his acts do not involve any breach of national neutrality nor of themselves implicate the Government. Thus, during the progress of the present war in Europe, our citizens have, without national responsibility therefor, sold gunpowder and arms to all buyers, regardless of the destination of those articles. (Franklin Pierce: "Third Annual Message," December 31, 1855. )


                          (What's good for the goose is good for the gander!)


                          As for warships, the US Supreme Court determined in the case of the Santissima Trinidad that "the sending of armed vessels or of munitions of war from a neutral country to a belligerent port for sale as articles of commerce is unlawful only as it subjects the property to confiscation on capture by the other belligerent. No neutral state is bound to prohibit the exportation of contraband articles." The ships sent to the Confederacy are not armed, and thus their sale is technically legal as per the 1819 Foreign Enlistment Act. Despite this, Britain stretches the law on the Union's behalf: she would have seized the Alabama had the Queen's Advocate not gone insane at an inconvenient point, she did seize the Alexandra and the Oreto only to have the seizures overturned because of a lack of evidence, and she prevented the Laird rams from joining the Confederate navy by buying them.



                          There are a myriad small ways in which Britain bends the rules to help the Union: letting her adhere to the Treaty of Paris which she never signed, banning both sides from bringing prizes into her ports, stopping inspections of the blockade to see if it's effective, allowing Union warships to coal at British ports, and so on.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                            Surely Unionist partisans operating in the south, whether or not they were in uniform or under orders would have been acting lawfully in any actions they took against the Rebels?
                            Surely not.
                            The fact that the government you are serving is legitimate or not is neither here nor there, as mentioned. The Free French soldiers in 1941 were not serving the legitimate French government, yet they were regular troops, in uniform etc., and thus entitled to be treated as POWs if captured (and they were).

                            Thus the execution of Unionist partisans by Confederates would be akin to bandits killing civilians who had attempted to resist them.
                            The Union itself disagrees with you, as made plain by the Lieber Code.

                            You can also see that your reasoning is faulty if you apply it across the whole board. If serving an illegitimate government deprives you of any legitimacy, then why limiting such a theory to the partisans? The fully uniformed, regularly raised, serving in organized bodies of troops, complying with the laws of war, soldiers of the CSA army would also be serving an illegitimate government, wouldn't they? Shouldn't then the Union just treat them all as traitorous brigands?

                            The answer is no, of course. It was already so back then, let alone if we want to compare the situation at the time with the present day laws (see Article 1 Additional Protocol II 1977, as well as other articles from Geneva III 1949).
                            Last edited by Michele; 18 Feb 16, 03:44.
                            Michele

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                              The Confederates sent Purchase Agents with cash. The Union also sent Agents, but the Bureaucracy in Washington did not honor the contracts signed! So the Confederacy bought up all the surplus Enfields there and the Union had to settle for older Austrian and German muzzle loaders. They may have even bought French Muzzle loaders. When Vicksburg surrendered, Grant allowed his units armed with these unreliable Muskets to exchange them for Enfields the Confederates surrendered. All the European countries were willing to sell surplus firearms for cash!

                              Pruitt
                              Well, but that was not my question. My question was about the concept of "non-intercourse" (weird wording in itself) neutrality" as embodied in any law, customary or treaty-based.
                              Michele

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                              • #60
                                Like I said, the British sold what they had to sell to the ones with cash. They then manufactured more. Enfields were imported into the Western Confederacy for several years. The Two Band Musket "Musketoon" were very popular with Confederate Cavalry in the TransMississippi.

                                I have had my eye on a Two Band Enfield offered by Cabelas for years!

                                Pruitt
                                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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