The Shelton Malol Massacre Analysis

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In the isolated town of Shelton Laurel, North Carolina thirteen Unionist mountaineers were killed by the Confederate Army of the South in early 1863 in an event so horrendous it was later known as The Shelton Laurel Massacre. The Shelton Laurel Massacre as well as the guerilla warfare between that was occurring at the time in secluded parts of the Appalachian Mountains were argued by many scholars, almost completely overlooked, ignored, unnoticed and disregarded events of the Civil War and still today unknown events yet important Civil war events. The Shelton Laurel Massacre was depicted by Paludan as a ruthless, cold-blooded and cruel genocide of thirteen people that not only resulted from, but is only rationalized by the personal disputes between people. One can come to this conclusion by using a variety of passages from the book that depicts the law in contrast to what actions were actually committed. This idea of using personal disputes instead of concrete facts to get one’s enemy killed or in trouble with the Confederate Army is established by Paludan on page 77 when it is stated that, “many took the opportunity that the war brought to revenge old debts". This passage is gives the setting and mindset of the people that lived in the remote town of Shelton Laurel. This passage gives enough of a doubt to say, and almost proving, that when given the situation one was more likely to try “to revenge old debts" and personal disputes than give truthful responses that could end with a person, or people, being killed. This passage becomes essential later in the novel. On page 88 Paludan asserts, “While guerillas could be killed if engaged in battle and could be denied the right to become prisoners, once they are captured they could n... ... middle of paper ... ...most forgotten by time. A good deal of responses can arise from the depictions of the actions the Confederate Army took in the days leading up to the event that happened in early January 1863 in this novel, Victims, by Shaw Paludan. However, one thing is for sure. In my own opinion the Confederate Army did not effectively handle a crisis but instead created one. By international law applying to guerilla warfare, taking prisoners of war and execution procedures, they were not justified in their actions. These people were taken from their homes, their wives one loved ones. The actions made against those thirteen were those associated with of people who of which had personal vendettas, disputes and ultimately, in layman’s terms, a score to settle. “A military or a civilian court had to try them. Execution of a prisoner without such a proceeding was murder.”(Paludan,88)

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