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by William B. Rogers, MD

I've just returned from a great week stomping through the hills and woods around Chancellorsville, Virginia. I learned considerably more than I bargained for. I usually do when I'm lucky.

A serious student of history will reach a point where the "myths" fall away and the truth stands forth. (Not that "myth" doesn't contain a reference to universal and timeless truth, usually expressed in metaphor and symbol...but it is a different sort of truth than that of the day-to-day, practical stuff.) My Civil War studies have finally brought me to that point, at least for a quick view of the truth, anyway. The foggy mists of myth do tend to rush in to cover it up again.

I now realize that that the great battles of the Civil War in Virginia--the two at Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, then Wilderness, Petersburg--were all about a popular running gun-battle between Richmond and Washington. Henry Halleck (in agreement, for a change, with Winfield Scott) referred to it as a "trading of the queens." And it had very little, if anything, to do with the ultimate viability of the Confederate States of America (which in my view was a last ditch effort by patriots to get the government of the USA to move back into its original constitutional constraints and away from oligarchy at best and monarchy at worst).

All those great battles, the dramatic conflict between the boys in Blue and the boys in Gray, with those long marches into the face of cannister belching cannons, were not much more than a pissing contest of epic and cataclysmic proportions.

The real destruction of the CSA (and thus the original constitution of the founding fathers) was occurring quietly and surreptitiously in the Western theater of the war. The war was lost in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas. And the dumbasses in the Army of Northern Virginia didn't get it...until it was too late and the Mississippi River had fallen into Union hands while every Confederate port along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf Coast had been blockaded.

This is a tragedy that only a few historians are beginning to tell.

(For more on this read: "Two Great Rebel Armies" by Richard M. McMurry. )

As for me, I'm continuing to explore the idea of the "loss of the republic" which I think was certainly at risk from Day one...probably from the day that illegal constitutional convention met in Philadelphia. (Which was a meeting that Patrick Henry was invited to attend, but he refused saying, "I smell a rat.") The loss of the republic was certainly sped on its way when "Honest Abe Lincoln" (another mythologized icon that will require a renewed and politically incorrect assessment by historians) suspended habeas corpus and resorted to martial law in the interest of "saving" the form of government he was in the process of destroying.

The historical perspective I now possess supports a passionate interest in the RKBA movement. We need RKBA now more than ever. It may be our last hope to remain free...or better stated: to regain security for our freedom, the loss of which creeps over us very slowly and quietly because even as our chains are forged and linked, we remain the most free of all the countries of the world.

If I weren't always on the verge of tears about this issue, I'd laugh out loud.

Dr. Rogers is the Director of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, an organization devoted to identifying the very few gun laws which are sensible, and getting rid of the rest.  You may visit their website at