While it is the general purpose of this web site to concentrate on documents and opinions expressed before the end of the war, it is interesting to see some of the comments made in the immediate aftermath of the war.
The following comments were made in letters to President Andrew Johnson, and can be found in the Papers of Andrew Johnson.
From: Sterling Cockrill, planter from Courtland, AL, 18 Sept. 1865
"We have much to say in vindication of our conduct, but this we must leave to history. The bloody conflict between brothers, is closed, and we 'come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.' The South had $2,000,000,000 invested in Slaves. It was very natural, that they should desire to protect, and not lose this amount of property. Their action in this effort, resulted in War. There was no desire to dissolve the Union, but to protect this property. The issue was made and it is decided."
From: Ladies of Greenbrier County, WV, 22 Sept. 1865
"Our plain view of the war is simply this. For a long series of years the people of the North differed with those of the South upon the question of slavery and the relations between the states and Federal government. All peaceable means of adjustment were resorted to and failed to reconcile us. At last the controversy was referred to that tribunal from whose decision there is no appeal--to the tribunal of war,--the arbitrament of the sword."