Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 9

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Page 9

Secondary Scholarship | 2007
Transcription weakness and might cause Southern Border States to hesitate or decide
against secession and joining in a confederacy with sister Southern states. It
is signed with the pseudonym "Moultrie" which is not a known Simms
pseudonym, but the frustration with diplomacy and the eagerness to see
Anderson removed are the same sentiments Simms expressed repeatedly to
Miles and Jamison throughout the month of January.
The second is a highly interesting essay which addresses the dilemma
faced by Southerners in the United States military. It begins: "Is the military
allegiance of officers and men of the Army and Navy of the late United
States due, under present circumstances, to the Government as represented at
Washington?"23 The argument of the author is that each member of the
military has the right to decide for themselves now where their allegiance
lay. Americans were citizens of sovereign states and no citizen, even those in
military service, was bound to a government in which their state no longer
had representation. With secession, Southerners no longer had representation
in Washington and thus Southerners in the military were free to decide for
himself where his allegiance lay. However, the states of these individuals did
have a right to expect their loyalty as the states were prior to the Union. On
the individual level, it is the logical conclusion of the states rights view of
the Union. Speaking of the soldier, the author states, "The oath which he has
taken to support the Constitution and laws of the .Confederacy [the Union] is
for-him to absolve. It was not a confederacy of individuals, but of States
States have acted, not individuals, and the sons of those States that have
withdrawn are surely absolved."24 The author of the editorial is signed it with
the initial "S" which Simms is known to have done frequently through most
of his literary career.25
"The Rashness of South. Carolina," published in the Mercury on 28
January 1861 is also a probable Simms contribution. It is a rebuke to
Southerners who were critical of South Carolina's separate secession instead
of working in unison with other Southern states. This was aimed at
cooperationists who now voiced fear that South Carolina's actions might
precipitate a war which would involve the rest of the South. The author
names these people "phlegmatics." South Carolina's determination to secede
if Lincoln was elected was well known, and it was South Carolina who had
the courage to act first while politicians in other Southern states hesitated. I
war resulted it would be the fault of those who hesitated and failed to act
when action and not talk was. required. More faith was placed in the people
of Southern states who had yet to secede. They would be the ones in the end
to lead the politicians toward secession. This article spoke to a fear among

23 Charleston Mercury, 22 January 1861.
24 Ibid.
25 James E. Kibler, Jr., Pseudonymous Publications of William Gilmore Simms,
(Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1976), 73.