In his letter (“You’re confusing patriotism with treason,” The Daily News, June 19), David F. Smith denies the patriotism of Confederate soldiers and charges them with treason. I believe he's wrong on both counts, both as a matter of law and in light of history.
As for the law, the withdrawal of a Confederate state from the Union absolved its citizens of any further loyalty to the Union. In taking up arms in defense of the South, a Confederate soldier was acting patriotically toward his government, both state and national.
As for history, after Appomattox the U.S. government never tried, let alone convicted, any former Confederate for treason.
C. Michael Harrington