Thanks Little Hawk, Mary Kentucky and assorted guests for pointing out some things I have overlooked for a lifetime. Since I have avoided studying the time period due to my personal biases and my own perception of the political reasons leading to the war, I have as a result also missed learning about many of the things you point out. I may have to do further research in time. As a kid I didn't take much interest in history lessons and I have found others here who agree with me that the public-school history texts were abysmally poor in style and in ability to generate or maintain interest in the subject. As I have aged I have found tremendous gaps in my historical knowledge and an increasing interest in filling some of them, but hardly enough time to satisfy it all.
Ditto from me on the achievements, beauty and grace of the south; I sure didn't mean to dismiss the parts I grew up in. I haven't moved away and don't plan on it! If the rest of you lead good and worthy lives, when you die you may go to Texas.
OK, OK get the ripe vegetables back out... 8>)# michael