Empire of the Owls: Reflections on the North’s War against Southern Secession


By:  H.V. Traywich, Jr.

Foreward by Dr. H. Jackson Darst

354 Pages


SKU: 116140 Categories: ,


In the middle of the nineteenth century steam power replaced muscle power as the prime mover of civilization, and the Industrial Revolution roared across the world. A new World-Cycle, the Machine Age, was born. But in the Southern United States men took up arms against the imperatives of the machine, and their Lost Cause marked the end of the Age of Agriculture – the Age that had given rise to all of the ancient civilizations. By the editing of contemporary diaries, letters, essays, newspaper editorials, memoirs, histories and official records, and the collation of them into a narrative form, this work offers a contemporaneous portrait of the old Republic, the Old South, the storm-tossed Confederacy, and the revolution that swept it all away. This work is presented as a Bard singing the Confederate Epic, but to a de jure Federated Republic in the last stages of transformation into a centralized Colossus that knows no bounds, it speaks Truth to Power. The secession of the Southern States remains as its rebuke, and the secession of Virginia – “The Mother of States and the Mother of Presidents” – remains its most monumental indictment in history.

Why Virginia Seceded from the Union

When a strictly Northern sectional majority elected Abraham Lincoln, the presidential candidate of a strictly Northern political party, it precipitated the secession of the Cotton States. Virginia called a Peace Conference of all States to try to preserve the Union that she, the “Mother of States and Statesmen,” had done so much to create, and she offered her Judges to serve as mediators between the two sections during the crisis of the Union. But she made it plain to the Lincoln Administration that she would brook no coercion of the seceded States to force them back into a Union that had been created and voluntarily entered into by sovereign States with their separate, sovereign ratifications of the Constitution. Virginia had specifically made it known at the time of her own ratification of the Constitution in 1788, that she retained the right to withdraw from that Union if she ever found it to be “perverted” to her “injury and oppression.” The same condition had been specified by both New York and Rhode Island, but after their recently won independence, it was fully understood by all that no State at the time would have voluntarily entered into any Union that they knew they could never get out of. No objections to this condition, then, were made by any States party to the founding of the Union. But by 1861, things had changed…

“This is an unusual and marvelous book. Since the War there has been an endless stream of volumes about he Cause and conflict. Some have been personal recollection of participants, but most are secondary accounts – such as Douglas Southall Freeman’s monumental works. This volume places the reader in the center of activities through the use, in large part, of selected accounts by contemporary writers.”  ~  Dr. H. Jackson Darst

Book I – Spring 1861

Book II – Summer 1862

Book III – Autumn 1863

Book IV – Winter 1864

Book V – Spring 1865

Along with: End Notes, Works Cited, and Illustrations

About the Author:

H.V. Traywick, Jr. graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1967 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a Regular Commission in the US Army. His service included command of an Engineer company in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. After his return he ” wandered in search of the Truth,” and ended by making a career as a tugboat captain. During the time he was able to earn a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Richmond, with an international focus on war and cultural revolution. He currently lives in Richmond, where he studies history and cultural anthropology, and occasionally commutes to Norfolk to serve as a tugboat pilot.


Additional information

Weight 1.8 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 1 × 9 in


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