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Doc. 25.-Southern Reconstruction.

Governor T. H. Watts's letter.

State of Georgia, Quartermaster General's office, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 19, 1863.
Sir: I herewith enclose you for publication a letter from Hon. T. H. Watts, governor elect of Alabama, which explains, in terms unmistakable and unequivocal, his views on that foul heresy called “reconstruction.” Never were sentiments more pregnant with patriotism and devotion to our struggling cause penned. Every true son of the South will conclude the reading of this letter with spirits more buoyant and confidence more steadfast. Nor will our noble women fail to exclaim, “Governor Watts is right: rather than be subjugated we will march to the field of strife and hare our bosoms to the bullets of the cruel invader.”

With such leaders, such soldiers, and such women, we must, we shall be free.

Confederate States of America, Department of justice, Richmond, September 12, 1863.
Hon. Ira R. Foster, Q. M. Gen. of Ga., Atlanta, Ga.:
dear Sir: I have to-day received your letter of the first instant, forwarded to me from Montgomery, Alabama, and hasten to reply. You say that my name, since the Alabama election, has been freely used by many in connection with “reconstruction,” meaning thereby that some people in Georgia suppose I am in favor of re-union with the Yankee government of the North. I am surprised and mortified that anybody in the South should so interpret the Alabama election. If those who claim my election as indicating any such feeling in Alabama, had read my letter of twenty-first March to General Lawler, and my short address to the people of Alabama, dated eighth June last, they would never have entertained such false notions.

It is due to the gallant people of my state to call attention to the resolutions of the recent called session of the legislature, passed unanimously, pledging all the men and resources of the state to prosecute the war until the independence of the Confederate States is fully established.

For myself, I will not forfeit my self-respect by arguing the question of “reconstruction.”

He who is now, deliberately or otherwise, in favor of “reconstruction” with the states under Lincoln's dominion, is a traitor in his heart to the state of his residence and to the Confederate States, and deserves a traitor's doom. If I had the power, I would build up a wall of fire between Yankeedom and the Confederate States, there to burn, for ages, as a monument of the folly, wickedness, and vandalism of the puritanic race! No, sir! rather than re-unite with such a people, I would see the Confederate States desolated with fire and sword.

When the men of the South shall become such base cowards as to wish for such reunion, let us call on the women of the South to march to the battle-field, and in the name of the God of justice, bid them fight under the banner of the Southern liberty! The call would not be made in vain. Let the patriot sires, whose children have bared their breasts to Yankee bullets, and welcomed glorious deaths, in this struggle for self-government, rebuke the foul spirit which even whispers “reconstruction!” Let the noble mothers, whose sons have made sacred with their blood so many fields consecrated to freedom, rebuke the fell heresy! Let our blood-stained banners, now unfurled “to the battle and the breeze,” rebuke the cowardice and cupidity which suggest “reconstruction.” The spirit of our heroic dead — the martyrs to our sacred cause — rebuke, a thousand times rebuke, “reconstruction!”

We have little cause — for despondency, none for despair! Let us nerve ourselves afresh for the contest; and let us not forget that

Freedom's battle, once begun,
Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won!

If we are true to ourselves; true to the memories of the past; true to our homes and our firesides, and true to our God, we cannot, we will not be conquered! In any and in every event let us prefer death to a life of cowardly shame!

Your obedient servant,

1 This letter was originally addressed to the Editor of the Atlanta Intelligencer.

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