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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010


Excerpts from Remarks Celebrating Confederate Memorial Day
Old Warrenton Cemetery Confederate Gravesite
Sponsored by Black Horse Camp #780
Sons of Confederate Veterans
May 30, 2010
by Thomas Moore

The hallmark of a healthy, vibrant People is their stories, traditions, folklore, tales, and legends, both the true and the mythic. In rich, viable cultures, it’s not just the rulers or politicians or captains of industry who are celebrated, but also the historians, the bards, the storytellers. These individuals are the repository of the collective memory of a People. Without it they have no i dentity. And with no identity, with no “individuation” as a worthy and distinct People, their society has no sense of purpose or direction. A People with no knowledge of their history, with no collective memory, have literally become senile. Collectively, they are just as dysfunctional as an individual with acute Alzheimer’s disease.

I believe we Southerners are a distinct People, with our own particular folkways, traditions, customs, music, speech, and a common history lived out in a shared space. In essence, we are an authentic nation. In fact, I believe we are the last authentic Western civilization in the historic sense of the word “civilization,” especially in contrast to today’s America, with its militant secularism, tawdry commercialism, and infantile celebrity worship that pass for civilization. One thing that distinguishes us in today’s America is that we Southerners understand the truth that we a re what we remember. We are a people rich in memory.

You can see this in our continued reverence for our heroes – especially the distinguished Southerners who were the main figures in founding America as a great constitutional republic, a confederated union of sovereign states, as created by the Founders in 1787. And we honor equally those who fought to keep it so from 1861 to 1865. They sacrificed much to prevent it from degenerating into a unitary state, a virtually unlimited, authoritarian, centralized national polity, which is what the USA is today, thanks to the Northern victory in 1865.

For many decades after the War ended, the Southern people followed the admonition of General Lee and other Confederate leaders to obey the law and conduct themselves as loyal Americans. When Federal occupation ended in 1877, the South found itself being ac cepted, slowly, grudgingly, because America’s expanding commercial and political ambitions needed our proven valor and military aptitude. And of course, our vast natural resources and our tax revenues.

In the 1890’s a kind of social truce emerged between North and South, sometimes called the “Grand Bargain.” Under this truce the North agreed to stop demonizing the South. They acknowledged the South had been sincere and honorable in The War, although misguided in trying to break up the Union. They agreed that the courage and dedication of the Southern armies were worthy of praise, even in a wrong cause. Confederate heroes like Lee and Stonewall Jackson were honored as American heroes. Southerners were allowed back in the fold as citizens, though never quite on an equal footing with the rest of Americans.

In exchange for being allowed to erect our Confederate monuments, fly our flags, display our revered symbols, and pay tribute to our heroes, the South conceded it was best for the Union not to have broken up. We became loyal, patriotic Americans, giving our full energies to building the country. We paid our taxes and sent our sons to fight America’s wars – and today even our daughters. We went along with the burgeoning American empire because that is what the powers decreed.

The South has kept this bargain many times over. No part of the country has been more loyal and more patriotic than the South. The Stars and Stripes fly more ubiquitously in the South than in any other region. In every war from 1865 to the present, Southern men have served bravely, representing a disproportionate share of the enlisted ranks and officer corps -- and of the dead and wounded. Nearly half today’s casualties in Afghanistan are from the 14 Southern States.

But sadly, the Grand Bargain has been broken, even while we Southerners are expected to continue living up to it. As Dr. Clyde Wilson, one of the South’s most distinguished historians, has said, “Our Confederate heritage is being banished to a dark little corner of American life labeled ‘Slavery and Treason.’ The people who seek to destroy our heritage are not folks we can win over by presenting historical evidence and assuring them we are good, loyal Americans free of hate. They could not care less about truth or heritage. We are not in an argument over the interpretation of the past. Our very identity as Southerners -- today and tomorrow, as well as yesterday -- is at stake.”

And the people cited by Dr. Wilson are not just Liberal Democrats and the perfervid ranks of the radical Left. They include so-called conservative Republicans as well. I know from exp erience, up close and personal and from the inside: the Republican Establishment to which so many Southerners have given their loyalty secretly despises us as much as the Democrats. In fact, the more loyal we are, the more the GOP Insiders and Neo-Cons despise us.

Today our ruling elites and their media lapdogs equate this Flag with the Nazi swastika, and the men who fought under it with Hitler’s legions. General Lee, a leading voice after the War for racial as well as political reconciliation, is dismissed with contempt as leader of an army of slave-drivers

Need I remind anyone here what happened when Governor Bob McDonnell recently tried to revive Virginia’s time-honored practice of honoring her Confederate history? The might of the establishment fell on him in full fury. The clamoring voices of moral sanctimoniousness insisted the Confederacy c ould only be cited if it was characterized as an exercise in treason, and that its soldiers fought only to enslave others. The Governor of course back-pedaled. He tried to apologize. He clearly hadn’t yet learned that you can never apologize enough or abase yourself abjectly enough before the altar of Political Correctness. I guess he knows it now.

The latest assault of the Marxist attempt to re-write history is by Roland Martin of CNN. In an April broadcast he attacked Governor McDonnell’s Confederate History proclamation, claiming -- his words – that “celebrating the Confederates is akin to honoring Nazi soldiers for killing of Jews during the Holocaust,” and that Confederate soldiers should be considered "domestic terrorists."

Do you feel insulted, or worse, assaulted? If not, you should. This is a gross insult – to you and to me a nd to the truth. But it’s more than an insult, as bad as that is. It’s more than a malicious lie borne of Political Correctness.

This kind of expunging of memory has profound and troubling political implications. Such acts have been the trademark of totalitarian regimes throughout the ages. The Communist dictator Stalin understood this principle. He said, “Who controls the past controls the present.” If despots can make you believe a false story about the past, they can control and manipulate your actions in the present for their selfish purposes. If they can label you as an enemy of the state, then you’re fair game and defenseless.

Stalin went to extraordinary lengths to expunge the names and images of his one-time colleagues and later rivals like Kirov and Trotsky from the pages of books and newspapers. Hitler had the ancestral village of his natural grandfather razed and tried to eliminate its very memory (from a fear the man was Jewish). The Jacobins of the French Terror, Mao Tse-Dong and the Red Chinese, and the Khmer Rouge all engaged in this most common behaviour of despots: warring against history and erasing memory. It recalls to us the words of Czech writer Milan Kundera: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

These are the ominous parallels with the campaign against Southern history and identity. This attempt to expunge memory and re-write history is a form of aggression. It’s a key strategy in the “cold civil war” raging in our country. It’s part of a new political paradigm that supersedes the old Left-Right paradigm. It supersedes the false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats, who are really just two wings of the same bird of prey, simply two gangs fighting over the spoils.

The real conflict today is between those who still cling to an older tradition of human dignity and liberty versus those who seek to control, exploit, and plunder their fellow man. It’s between those who still worship and serve God and those who worship and serve the state.
The relentless campaign of hatred, vilification, and elimination of all things distinctly Southern from the public sphere is not an inconsequential matter. It tells us our culture is marked for extinction. And why do the power elites want to destroy it?

Because the old Jeffersonian idea of personal responsibility, individual liberty, and limited government is the Southern political ideal. And that ideal is precisely the target. To eliminate it, Southern history and memory which have nurtured it, must be destroyed. And if the culture which shelters these ancient ideals is destroyed, then the liberty which sprouted and flourished in its soil, the personal freedoms which it sustains, will not be far behind.
Seen in this light, the cause of the South and the preservation of its memory, its traditions, and its symbols is the cause of decent men and women everywhere who love liberty and seek to live in dignity.

Thomas Moore is Chairman of the Southern National Congress.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Edgerton To Speak At Sesquicentennial Event On Lake Conroe

H. K. Edgerton, social activist and defender of "Southern Heritage" will speak at the 2011 Confederate Heroes Day Cotillion marking the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States to be held at April Sound Country Club, January 22, 2011. A former President of the Asheville North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Edgerton is known nationwide for his defense "Southern Heritage" and is often seen wearing a Confederate Uniform and carrying the Confederate Battle Flag which he refers to as "Saint Andrew’s Cross". H. K. proclaims that "No true Southerner would allow themselves to be pulled into the abyss held only by traitors. Confederate Heritage is who I am and any one who calls themselves Southern. It is a honorable heritage constituted by a honorable people who just happen to go to war with his brother from a different region of the country and one who has been wronged for far to long in the accountings of this heritage and the symbols that bare much of that out".

H. K. is a life long resident of Asheville, North Carolina and is the son of the late Rev. Roland Rogers Edgerton and Annabelle Edgerton. Mrs. Annabelle Edgerton, is the only Black woman to receive a Confederate State Funeral, and has a Heritage Award presented each year in her name by The North Carolina Order of Confederate Rose.

Since the late 1990’s, H. K. has waged a one man protest against "Southern Heritage" violations. Mr. Edgerton was launched into the national spotlight while trying to settle racial unrest in his hometown of Asheville when he was ousted as president of the local chapter of the NAACP for what some members perceived to be collaborating with the enemy. Despite adversity, H. K. held fast to his belief that all Southerners, regardless of race, should unite under "Saint Andrew’s Cross" and began his vigil to explain the "true history of the South". Once again, he received national attention for his 2003, "March Through Dixie", traveling 1,400 miles, carrying the Confederate Battle Flag from Asheville, North Carolina to Austin, Texas to protest the removal of Confederate Memorial Plaques from the Texas Supreme Court Building.

More information about H. K. Edgerton and his mission toward uniting all Southerners can be found on his website at The Confederate Heroes Day Cotillion and Sesquicentennial Celebration will be held at April Sound Country Club on Lake Conroe, 1000 April Sound Blvd., Montgomery, Texas, Saturday, January 22, 2011 starting at 2:30 pm.


June 3, 2010 marks the 202nd birthday of Jefferson Davis, president of the nation Confederate States of America which existed only from 1861-1865. The new nation formed from 13 Southern states was complete with a Constitution, Postal Service, president, senate, congress and cabinet members. After the fall of the new nation the states that were members of the confederation were required to undergo formal procedures for readmission to the nation United States of America. If these Southern states had only been in rebellion and not out of the union a formal readmission would not have been required.

The principle for which the Confederate States contended was "States Rights" and the "Cause" was Southern Independence. In the spring of 1865 Confederate forces were forced to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources and States Rights was given a crushing blow and stigmatized by association with slavery. Former Confederate president Davis stated "The principle for which we contended is bound to reassert it's self, though it may be at another time and in another form". I think it is fair to say "The issue of States Rights has been thrust to the forefront of American politics". The election of a Socialist president and the appointment of a Socialist cabinet and Supreme Court member has brought forth the Tea Party Movement and various states have declared and reaffirmed State Sovereignty and are bringing law suits against the Federal Government. The modern States Right movement actually began during the Clinton administration.

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "The powers not delegated to the United States (Federal Government) by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or the people". Our founding fathers (primarily Southern gentlemen from Virginia) designed the American system of government in the form of a Constitutional Federal Republic composed of a Limited Federal Government and Sovereign States. It was intended that the Federal Government have minimum control or interference in our personal daily lives and business affairs. The founders did not have in mind a gigantic Federal bureaucracy but rather a Federal Government that would abide by the 10th amendment. The Federal Government was to be small, have limited powers, take care of national events, defend America's borders, maintain the national army, and manage foreign relations. The rest of the rights and responsibilities belonged to the States
and the People.

President James Madison stated" If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, take religion into their hands, appoint teachers in every state and pay them out of the public treasury, take education of children into their hands and establish schools throughout the Union, assume provision of the poor, undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads, in short everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress. It would subvert the very foundations of Limited Government established by the States and the People".

The greatest Statesman that the American Union has yet produced was John C. Calhoun (The man that Dougherty county's neighbor on the West side Calhoun county was named for) of South Carolina. He understood thoroughly the correct and proper operation of the Federal American Republic better than any American before and after including the Founding Fathers as he had the advantage of hindsight. In the 1840's he wrote "A Disquisition On Government" and "A Discourse On The Constitution And Government Of The United States". Yet he is the Cassandra of American Politics and his masterpieces are seldom read or taught in America's schools. You may recall that in Greek mythology that the Trojan princess Cassandra was given the power of prophecy by Apollo but with the condition that no one would believe her. Calhoun stated "The Constitution has admitted the jurisdiction of the United States within the limits of the several states only so far as the delegated powers authorize; beyond that they are intruders, and may rightfully be expelled". He is also quoted as saying "To maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the American system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally the will of the executive, by influence of it's patronage, will supersede the laws". Calhoun further stated "The error is in the assumption that the General (Federal) Government is a party to the constitutional compact. The States formed the compact, acting as sovereign communities". Americans have been indoctrinated to believe that the U.S. Supreme court is the final authority of the "Law Of The Land". Not so. It is the States that were intended to hold the power to make the final determination as to whether a law is in the best interest of it's citizens.

The ratification of the Federal Constitution of 1787 by the various states established a system of government whose operations and interactions were not and could not be wholly understood by the framers. Concerning the division of power between the General (Federal) government and the States, two groups formed: those who feared that the Federal government would absorb the powers reserved to the States (Anti-Federalists) and those who feared that the Reserved powers would absorb the Delegated powers (Federalists). The conflict that actually did emerge was different from that envisioned by the framers. A majority of states (Northern) captured the power of the Federal government and this combined power squared off against a minority of states (South). It was intended by the Founding Fathers (Framers of the Constitution) that the Federal Limited Constitutional government by virtue of it's structure and independent of the vices of it's office holders, was
to be a government of all members of the union without sectional prejudice.

If there is a single over-arching lesson to be learned from the American Civil War (War of Northern Aggression), it is that by 1860 the knowledge and skill in self-government was not to be found except in the Southern states. The failure of the bid of the Southern states for "States Rights" and "Independence" sealed the political fate of Americans for decades and perhaps permanently unless the "Current States Rights Movement" can reverse the usurpation of power by the Federal government. Abraham Lincoln is the father of the current Socialist American government. The defeat of the Southern armies involved the defeat of the existing impetus for liberty. Unequal to the moral and intellectual demands of a more complex constitutional order the American states were reduced to "glorified administrative districts submissive and answerable to a central imperial power in Washington DC." By a lethal combination of military and legislative warfare the people of the States were reduced from being citizens of a Constitutional Federal Republic to subjects of an empire.

Government cannot establish and guarantee liberty. Liberty can only be established and maintained by the skillful ongoing self-assertion of a people guided by insight and political knowledge. It is my opinion that only one candidate for Governor of Georgia has the necessary knowledge, skills, fortitude, and character to lead Georgia back to freedom from Federal tyranny. That man is Republican candidate Ray "States Rights" McBerry. He is winning in every debate statewide but the news media and current Republican leadership is trying to suppress his victories going so far as to ban him from a recent Atlanta debate. His political slogan is "Not Washington-Not Atlanta-But Georgia First".

James W. King
Past Commander
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
Albany Georgia

Sunday, May 23, 2010


By Bob Hurst

There was once a time in America when all across the Southland the melodious and uplifting strains of "Dixie" were heard during athletic contests, parades and many other social gatherings and occasions.

There was a time when Southern schools taught of the nobility and character of Robert E. Lee, the military genius and absolute goodness of Stonewall Jackson, the boldness and flair of Jeb Stuart, the audacity and brilliance of Nathan Bedford Forrest and the courage and honor of Jefferson Davis.

There was a time when monuments and statues were regularly raised on courthouse lawns to honor the deeds, the devotion and the spirit of our Confederate ancestors and heroes plus celebrations were held at these iconic sites to remember the heroism of the remarkable Confederates who had fought so hard for the independence of the Southland.

But times change.

About five decades ago this country went through a paradigm shift and began a transformation to a place many of us were, and still are, uncomfortable with. The putrid wind of political correctness began blowing its foul fragrance across this land with especially severe impact on our beloved South. It became verboten to play or sing the wonderful "Dixie" at any of those venues where it had been so common before. Why, the student senate of my undergraduate alma mater, one of the most conservative universities in the country, even voted to have the school band stop playing that wondrous melody at home football games. I never imagined that even a handful of students at Auburn would have voted that way much less the entire student senate.

Another great Southern university, Ole Miss, was every Southerner's "other" favorite school because they were the "Rebels" and their fans waved the Confederate Battle Flag at athletic events. That, too, changed a few years back when a liberal administration banned the waving of the CBF in the stands at athletic contests. They even changed the school mascot from a well-recognized Southern gentleman figure to something absolutely indescribable.

Many other things of this nature have happened throughout our Southland as political correctness has come to dominate so many aspects of our lives and one of the primary targets for extinction by the PC crowd has been anything having to do with the Confederacy. That is why I found two recent events here in our hard-to-recognize-as-still-Southern state of Florida to be so gratifying and inspiring.

The first occurred on April 24 in Trenton, the county seat of Gilchrist County. On that date a brand new monument was dedicated to the Confederate soldiers who hailed from that part of the state. The key point about the dedication of this monument is that the memorial is located on the grounds of the county courthouse - a public place.

Now, there was a time when it was not unusual at all for Southern groups, primarily the United Daughters of the Confederacy, to have Confederate monuments erected on public property with the full cooperation of elected officials. This, sadly, has become a thing of the past. Too many city, county and state officials are now so afraid that someone might claim to be "offended" by any display of pride in the Confederacy that they meekly give in to the complaints of the Always Complaining People.

This is why it was so inspiring to me to watch two members of John Hance O'Steen Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans remove the covering from the monument and reveal to the large crowd in attendance the most recent memorial to our ancestors. I could also detect the pride felt by Camp Commander Clement Lindsey and camp member John Aulick, Jr. as they did the honors.

I know from previous conversations with Commander Lindsey that this was a project several years in the making and I can only say," Job well done, gentlemen, you did us all proud." Kudos to everyone involved in this remarkable project.

By the way, making this accomplishment even more gratifying is the fact that just a couple of years ago the officials in a nearby county had had a Confederate monument moved from the spot at the courthouse in that county where it had sat for decades.

Also remarkable was the good (and fair) coverage that the event received in the very liberal Gainesville SUN newspaper. The article even contained a picture and was located on the front page of the "Local and State" section. Good job, SUN!

Only two days later (April 26) and not far from Trenton, another wonderful event took place. In Cross City, the county seat of Dixie County, a Confederate Memorial Day celebration hosted by Dixie Defenders Camp,SCV, was held on the steps of the courthouse in that fine town. Not only was there a good-sized crowd in attendance but both the city commission and the county commission presented proclamations to the camp declaring that day as Confederate Memorial Day in the city and county. Among those in attendance in front of the courthouse were many people who worked inside the building and a number of elected officials.

As nice as all this was, the most electrifying moment of the day came when (by permission of the county manager and county commission) the Third National Flag of the Confederacy (the current governmental flag of the Confederacy) was run up the sole flagpole at the courthouse and remained there throughout the ceremony. The Third National did not fly alone, however, as just beneath it was hoisted a new Confederate POW flag that was designed by a member of the Dixie Defenders Camp.

I know how hard Camp Commander Joe Sparacino has worked over the past several years to develop a good rapport with the government officials in the city and county. It all paid off with this wonderful and inspiring event which I understand Commander Sparacino hopes to make an annual affair.

I had the privilege of being one of the two speakers for the event (Tampa radio personality Al McCray was the other) and I can say, without reservation, that I will always be proud of my participation in this great occasion and will always look back upon it with fondness.

Since I'm writing about fine events, let me conclude with a heads-up for everyone in this area about an upcoming event that you should fine interesting.

My very first CONFEDERATE JOURNAL article for this magazine, written almost five years ago, was about the terrible damage done by Hurricane Katrina to magnificent Beauvoir, the retirement home in Biloxi of President Jefferson Davis. The huge wave surge and winds did extensive damage to the house itself but simply destroyed the other structures on the property including the museum/library.

The Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, owns and operates Beauvoir and has overseen the complete restoration of the wonderful old house which has been re-opened to the public. Now it is time to rebuild the museum/library and this, of course, will require financial support.

On June 19, 2010, Col. David Lang Camp, SCV, in Tallahassee will host a Jefferson Davis Banquet to help raise money for this rebuilding program. While the Mississippi Division holds title to the presidential shrine, this wonderful place is the responsibility of all true Southerners and especially those in the SCV, OCR, UDC, CoC and other Southern heritage organizations. I invite those of you living in this area to contact me about tickets to the banquet and if anyone reading this article would like to contribute to this worthwhile cause (any donation is appreciated) then please feel free to contact me about this. My contact information is at the end of this article.

Richard Flowers, the curator at Beauvoir, will be the keynote speaker for the evening and will also bring many items from the Beauvoir store (books, collectibles, etc.) which will be available for purchase by those in attendance at the banquet.

I plan for our camp to continue hosting this banquet annually at least until such time as the library/museum is completely rebuilt and again open to the public. I encourage you to help us make this first event a real success.

For the Cause.


Bob Hurst is a Southern Patriot who belongs to a number of heritage, historical and ideological organizations. He has a special interest in Confederate history and the antebellum architecture of the Old South. He is Commander of Col. David Lang Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, in Tallahassee and is 2nd Lt. Commander of the Florida Division, SCV. Contact him at or 850-878-7010.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Remembering Jefferson Davis

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., ( Speaker, Writer, Author of book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country” and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans

"Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again.''
----Jefferson Davis

Monday, the 31st day of May, in the year of our Lord 2010, is Memorial Day. It was on Memorial Day--Wednesday May 31, 1893, when the remains of Jefferson Davis was re-interred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Thursday June 3rd, is the 202nd birthday of Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson Davis served the United States as a soldier, statesmen and Secretary of War. He was also the first and only President of the Confederate States of America.
On Saturday, April 24, 2010, a statue depicting Jefferson Davis and two of his sons Joseph and adopted Black son Jim Limber was unveiled at Beauvoir, , the last home of Jefferson Davis located on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast.
If you listen closely, and the wind blows in the right direction, you might hear a train whistle in the distance.

When I was growing up near Atlanta, Georgia this and the sound of "taps" from nearby Fort McPherson were special sounds. Today, air conditioners and closed windows segregate the sounds of the trains, owls and the wonderful sounds that are nature's symphony at night.

On Sunday, May 28, 1893, a few days before "Memorial Day", in New Orleans, a story began that overshadowed all other events reported in the newspapers of the South and that of the North.

This was the day when the remains of Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederate States of America, laid in state at Confederate Memorial Hall in the historic crescent city of New Orleans.

Jefferson Davis died in 1889 and was buried at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. Four years later, May 27, 1893, his body was moved from the burial site, placed in a new heavy brass trimmed oak casket and taken to Confederate Memorial Hall where it was placed on a huge oaken catafalque.

At 4:30PM, May 28th, a funeral service was held for Mr. Davis and a moving memorial address was delivered by Louisiana's Governor Murphy J. Foster as thousands listened. There were no sounds of cars, planes, sirens, cell phones or sound systems. They did not exist. A reverent silence fell among the people as the casket was given to the commitment of veterans from Virginia who had been sent to receive it.

The procession then formed for a slow march to the railroad station on Canal Street.

Train No. 69, with Engineer Frank Coffin, waited patiently as the casket was taken to the platform and passed through an open observation car to a catafalque. The cars wall could not be seen due to the many flowers.

This was the vision of Mrs. (Varina) Jefferson Davis when she began three years previous to secure a funeral train and military escort for a 1,200 mile train trip from New Orleans, Louisiana to Richmond, Virginia.

Train engine No. 69, of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad slowly pulled out of New Orleans Station at 7:50PM. L and N Railroad later became CSX Railroad.

Newspaper reporters from New Orleans, Richmond, Boston, New York and the Southern Associated Press were guests on the train.

After a brief stop at Bay Saint Louis, and a slow-down at Pass Christian, where hundreds of people lined the tracks, the Jefferson Davis Funeral Train stopped at Gulfport, Mississippi, near Beauvoir which was the last home of Jefferson Davis. It was here that Davis wrote his book, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government."

Uncle Bob Brown, a former servant of the Davis family and a passenger on the train, saw the many flowers that the children had laid on the side of the railroad tracks. Brown was so moved by this beautiful gesture that he wept uncontrollably.

In Mobile, Alabama, the train was met by a thousand mourners and the Alabama Artillery fired a 21-gun salute. Locomotive No. 69 was retired and Locomotive No. 25 was coupled to the train. The new train's Engineer was C.C. Devinney and Warren Robinson was its fireman.

Church bells rang in Montgomery, Alabama when the train pulled into the city at 6:00AM on May 29th. A severe rainstorm delayed the funeral procession to about 8:30AM when a caisson carried the body of Davis to Alabama's state capitol. A procession carried the casket through the portico where Jefferson Davis, in 1861, had taken the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America.

The casket was placed in front of the bench of the Alabama Supreme Court. Above the right exit was a banner with the word "Monterrey" and above the left exit was a banner with the words "Buena Vista." During the War with Mexico Jefferson Davis was a hero at Monterrey and wounded at Buena Vista.

All businesses and schools closed, and church bells toiled during the procession to and from the capitol. In final tribute, thousands of people of Montgomery, including many ex-soldiers and school children filed by the casket.

At 12:20PM the funeral train departed over the Western Railway of Alabama and Atlanta and West Point Railroad for Atlanta. At West Point, Georgia the train stopped under a beautiful arch of flowers to pick up Georgia's Governor William J. Northen and staff.

At 4:30PM the funeral train pulled into Union Station in Atlanta, Georgia. It is estimated that 20,000 people lined the streets as the funeral procession made their way to the state capitol. Atlanta’s Gate City Guard, which had served as Company F, 1st Georgia (Ramsay’s) during the War Between the States, stood guard over the president.

At 7:00PM the train went north on the Richmond and Danville Railroad, which later became Southern Railway and, today, Norfolk Southern Railroad. The train traveled through Lula, Georgia, Greenville, South Carolina and stopped at the North Carolina capitol at Raleigh.

A brief stop was made in Danville, Virginia where a crowd of people gathered around the train and sang, "Nearer My God To Thee" as city church bells toiled.

Finally, the train reached Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday, May 31, 1893, at 3:00AM. It was Memorial Day. Mrs. Davis met the train and her husband's casket was taken to the Virginia State House.

At 3:00PM, May 31st, the funeral procession started for Hollywood Cemetery. The caisson bearing the casket was drawn by six white horses. Earlier rains kept the dust from stirring from the dirt roads.

With Mrs. Jefferson Davis were her daughters, Winnie and Margaret. Six state governors acted as pallbearers. It was estimated that 75,000 people attended this final salute to President Davis. The ceremony concluded with a 21-gun salute and "Taps.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Confederate Memorial Day Service to be held Sunday, 30 May 2010 at Old Warrenton Cemetery

By Gar Schulin, Black Horse Camp #780, Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans

WARRENTON, VA - The annual Memorial Day observance at the Confederate War Memorial at the Old Warrenton Cemetery in Warrenton, Virginia, will be held Sunday May 30th at 2:00 PM. The memorial observance is open to the public and is co-hosted by the Black Horse Camp #780, Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans; and the Black Horse Chapter #9, Virginia Division United Daughters of the Confederacy. The public is encouraged to participate in this very special annual observance which includes Color Guard members; rifle volleys by the 4th Virginia Cavalry, Company H, "The Black Horse Troop;" and Striblings Battery, who will fire three artillery volleys from their 12-pound Napoleon cannon. Live performance of period music by Evergreen Shade, Mrs. Anne Howard and Dr. John Tole, will also pay tribute to Virginia's fallen defenders.

Mr. Thomas G. Moore, distinguished scholar and author, will deliver the 2010 Memorial Observance keynote address, "The Struggle of Memory," taken from the famous Czech author Milan Kundera, who wrote, "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."

Mr. Moore is an author, editor, and consultant to defense and firearms companies, with 25 years combined experience in government and business. He has published extensively, and is considered one of the defense policy community's most persuasive and original writers.

From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Moore was Director of Defense and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, one of America's leading public policy institutions. From 1992 to 1995, he served on the Senate Armed Services Committee Professional Staff. Prior to serving on the SASC he was Military Legislative Assistant (1990-1992) to former Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY). From 1988 to 1990 he was a Reagan Administration appointee in the Department of Defense, serving as liaison between OSD and the Congress on the Strategic Defense Initiative; and advised OSD on matters related to SDI, the ABM Treaty, military space, and arms control. Mr. Moore was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve (Armor Branch), and completed the U.S. Army Armor Basic and Infantry Officer Advanced courses. In 1998 he was appointed to the Congressional Commission on Military Training and Gender-Related Issues, and helped conduct a comprehensive survey of training and operational units of the Armed Forces in CONUS and overseas.

He is a 1970 graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina; attended the University of Grenoble, France under a French Government Scholarship, and earned an M.A. in National Security Affairs from Georgetown University.

More recently, Mr. Moore serves as a scholar with the Stephen Dill Lee Institute, and is the current Chairman of the Southern National Congress. He is also the award-winning author of the history-themed suspense novel, The Hunt for Confederate Gold, which masterfully weaves past and present events in a thought-provoking, gripping saga which promises to leave readers with an enlightened and renewed feeling of hope about the future of the United States of America.

As current generations of Americans approach the Sesquicentennial of the massive rupture of our American political system and the bloodiest conflict of the 19th Century, many seek to gain a broader understanding of the epic struggle from 1861 to 1865 on our American continent. In this context, it is worth noting the words written by Miss Ida F. Powell, United Daughters of the Confederacy in May, 1930, "We maintain, that the conflict was not a 'Civil' War, but was a 'War Between the States.' Each Southern State seceded from the Federal Government after mature consideration, seceded with all the dignity and weight of their State governments and State conventions back of them, and formed an independent constitutional government- the Confederate States of America."

"The South did not fight to overturn the Federal government. It did not wish to destroy that government and set up a rival administration in its place. The Southern States simply desired to withdraw peaceably from what had hitherto been considered a voluntary union of States, to leave the Northern States intact, with their recognized government untrammeled, and to form an independent government of their own. The South fought to repel invasion, to protect its homes and its inalienable rights as free men, and it was between two constitutionally organized governments that the war was waged."

It has been written that Virginia is sewn into the very fabric of American history. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, and countless other patriots first drew breath on Virginia soil. In many respects, American Independence began with Virginia. It was Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia, who first proposed on June 7, 1776, that the Continental Congress declare independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was itself a secession document, listing the reasons for the separation from the British Crown. The distinguished historian Dr. Clyde Wilson, editor of the John C. Calhoun Papers, perhaps summarizes it best when he observes Lee's decision to resign from the U.S. Army to serve in the defense of the invaded South was one of the most important and monumental decisions in American history, similar to George Washington's gradual increasing resistance to the acts of the British ministry (whereupon he came to believe the English government had a deliberate intent to subvert Virginia's traditional liberty). The progression of Lee's thought in regard to Abraham Lincoln and an increasingly hostile Republican Party toward a large portion of the voluntary Federal Union was exactly the same. Was George Washington, who had held a royal commission, a traitor for fighting the invaders and would-be conquerors of his country? Was he obligated to fight for the King against the American states?

By 1861, faced with the harsh realities of a voluntary Union which had become unworkable, Virginians followed other Southern States in secession after careful deliberations and conventions, and in the aftermath of Lincoln's announcement of his intention to invade the Southern States by force of arms. To better gauge the sentiments among Fauquier County, Virginia citizens of the mid-19th Century, history has recorded only one man cast a vote for Lincoln at the Old Warrenton Court House in the 1860 Presidential election while having to carry a sidearm to do it. Several months later in 1861, the Fauquier County vote for Virginia secession was 1809 to 4 in favor. Clearly, in Virginia and throughout the South, with the carefully considered official act of secession, a solemn act of the sovereign people representing the consent of the people, represented the most fundamental principal of American government.

In our current time, many essential truths of the mid-19th Century have been suppressed or omitted to perpetuate the myth in recent decades that the War Between the States came about as a holy crusade to abolish slavery on the American continent, or more specifically, "The War was fought over slavery." The problem with this myth is that it simply isn't true according to the historic record. Dr. Donald Livingston of Emory University astutely notes that upon closer scrutiny, myths aren't actually supposed to convey the facts, but rather, only the "meaning" of the facts. Clearly, the historic record reveals the War Between the States involved far more complex issues including States Rights; a highly unfair economic relationship among the States as it related to tariffs; and economic control over territory and resources, among others.

As for the slavery issue, most Americans today know the institution of slavery was and is evil. Most thoughtful and educated Southerners and Northerners alike understood this at the time of the War Between the States. Seldom mentioned in the public realm, schools and universities today, is the key point that in America, slavery was a national blight in 1861 and not just a Southern problem. Robert E. Lee himself deemed slavery as un-Christian. Lee had married well, and in fact had inherited some 170 slaves upon marriage. However, Lee emancipated his acquired slaves long before Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. To the contrary, the Union Army General who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox kept his slaves that he owned throughout the war, citing "good help is hard to find." Indeed, much tribute today is given to Harriet Tubman in the history books for her efforts to free 70 slaves via the Underground Railroad (a railroad which, by the way, did not end in freedom for any slave apprehended in the northern states and returned to their owners, as the Fugitive Slave Laws were being fully enforced by the Lincoln Administration). Yet Harriet Tubman is richly deserving of such recognition today that is both honorable and fitting. By historic comparison, it is never noted today- but should be noted- that Robert E. Lee freed 170 slaves on his own accord, and did so having educated many of them to read and write and after having accrued the equivalent of one full year's wages set aside for them before freeing them to give them the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. It was Lee's Christian approach to gradual emancipation that is worth noting, rather than the overnight freedom which found many former slaves starving and left to forage for themselves off the land with no food or lodging or protection from the weather. In a letter to his wife in 1856, Lee wrote, "In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral and political evil in any Country," and as "the final abolition of human Slavery is onward. we must give it all the aid of our prayers and justifiable means of our power," but "emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influence of Christianity, than the storms and tempests of fiery Controversy."

Dr. Livingston further notes the virulent one-dimensional agitation that began in New England in the 1830s for immediate and uncompensated emancipation and which gradually spread throughout the North. He also questions the moral content of this agitation, and the Northern Anti-Slavery rhetoric in general, for the institution of slavery was not of Southern origin (the first colony to legalize the slave trade was Massachusetts in 1641; and for 160 years, New England grew wealthy by plying the international slave trade; and for 220 years, New England serviced the slave economies from the South to Brazil). Dr. Livingston also notes the New York of 1861 was largely built on cotton which fueled the hungry textile mills of the emerging industrial revolution in America and abroad. Historian Eugene Genovese reminds us that slavery was a national enormity, and that from our perspective today, it would require three things: emancipation; compensation to slave holders; and integration of freed slaves into American society as social and political equals; but this is not at all how Northern antebellum Americans thought. It is documented fact, that by the time of the signing of our Constitution in 1789, slavery had been an institution in New England for over 150 years; and by 1861, at the outset of disagreement over a Union which had become unworkable, there were 8 slave states in the North and 7 slave states in the South, but these facts are conveniently omitted from modern history books.

Quite clearly, less than five percent of the Confederate army soldiers came from families who owned slaves, yet they sacrificed for liberty and Constitutional government for four long years under the worst conditions imaginable that had nothing to do with the preservation of slavery. Dr. Livingston also notes by 1861, no national party of any significance, since the founding of our nation 70 years earlier, ever advocated or advanced a bill in Congress abolishing the institution of slavery. Abraham Lincoln himself once said he could accept slavery lasting for another 100 years provided that it could be confined to the South. Before the war, Lincoln even drafted an emancipation plan for New Jersey that would take effect in 1914. Just how far the North and Lincoln were prepared to go in supporting slavery in the South can be seen in an Amendment to the Constitution by Congress on March 2, 1861. This Amendment, extensively lobbied by Lincoln himself prior to his taking office, ordained:

No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere with any state with the domestic institutions thereof including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of the said State." Here, in these very words, the protection of slavery was tied to the Union itself. If the Southern states truly wanted to preserve slavery within their borders, all they needed to do was to remain in the Union in the Spring of 1861.

Warrenton and Fauquier County has a rich Confederate heritage, as it was also the home of General (and later U.S. Senator) Eppa Hunton; two-term Virginia Governor and Major General William "Extra Billy" Smith; and General William Henry Fitzhugh Payne. Thomas Marshall, Grandson of John Marshall, commanded the 7th Virginia Cavalry after the death of Turner Ashby, among many other local heroes. General Lunsford Lindsay Lomax farmed near Warrenton after the war. All were heroic men who lived in a heroic age.

Compatriot George V. Godfrey's research indicates Warrenton's town cemetery holds the remains of almost 900 Confederate Soldiers; approximately 600 having died in that great struggle. Two Confederate Generals, William Henry Fitzhugh Payne and Lunsford Lindsay Lomax are buried there. Captain John Quincy Marr, the first Confederate soldier to die in the War Between the States, rests in his home town cemetery. And it should be noted Warrenton is the final resting place of Colonel John S. Mosby.

The Virginia Division S.C.V. Commander notes the citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to peacefully, legally secede from the voluntary Union of States. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our Republic and represent the foundation on which our nation was built.

Today, the spirit of the Founders, and those brave individuals who sacrificed all for our Constitutional Government in the mid-19th Century, lives on in the hearts of the more than 3,100 members of the Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Black Horse Camp #780 S.C.V. encourages all eligible males of lineal descent to join our heritage preservation ranks by contacting Commander David Goetz at: ; or via our web site:

The S.C.V. is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Organized at Richmond, Virginia in 1896, the S.C.V. continues to serve as a historical, patriotic, and non-political organization dedicated to ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy is the outgrowth of many local memorial, monument, and Confederate home associations and auxiliaries to camps of United Confederate Veterans that were organized after the War Between the States. The National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Nashville, Tenn., on September 10, 1894. Membership is open to women no less than 16 years of age who are blood descendants, lineal or collateral, of men and women who served honorably in the Army, Navy or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America, or gave Material Aid to the Cause. The objectives of the U.D.C. organization are Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial and Patriotic, including to collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States and to protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.

The Black Horse Chapter #9, United Daughters of the Confederacy of Warrenton, Virginia, encourages all eligible females to join their heritage preservation ranks by contacting the Virginia Division U.D.C. web site at:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Civil War Preservation Trust Releases Annual Report on Nation's Most Endangered Battlefields

Best-Selling Author Jeff Shaara Joins Trust to Unveil “History Under Siege” Report

(Washington, D.C.) – The iconic Pennsylvania battlefield synonymous with American valor, now facing a second attempt to bring casino gambling to its doorstep; a Virginia crossroads where a single marching order set the Union army on the road to victory, now proposed for a monstrous commercial development; and a rocky Arizona spire where Confederate and Union forces fiercely faced off, now jeopardized by state budget cuts; are some of the nation’s most endangered Civil War battlefields.

At a news conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) unveiled its annual report on the status of the nation’s historic battlegrounds. The report, entitled History Under Siege™: A Guide to America’s Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields, identifies the most threatened Civil War sites in the United States and what can be done to save them.

“All across the country, our nation’s irreplaceable battlefields – these tangible links to our shared history – are threatened by inappropriate development, misguided public policy, limited financial resources and, in some cases, simple apathy,” said CWPT President James Lighthizer at the report’s unveiling. “Next year marks the Sesquicentennial of the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history, and as we prepare for that seminal moment, it is an opportune time to shine a spotlight on the places that tell America’s story.”

Joining Lighthizer at the news conference was best-selling author Jeff Shaara, who also serves on the CWPT Board of Trustees. The author of nine New York Times bestsellers, Shaara’s novels, including the Civil War-themed Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, have been praised by historians for their painstaking research. His only non-fiction work, Jeff Shaara’s Civil War Battlefields, is a unique and personal tour across ten of America’s most hallowed battlegrounds. In testament to his commitment to historic preservation, Shaara donated the entire advance from the project toward battlefield protection efforts.

“Nothing creates an emotional connection between present and past like walking in the footsteps of our Civil War soldiers,” said Shaara. “I hope that by drawing attention to endangered Civil War battlefields, Americans will this see hallowed ground in a new way and understand that these sites must be preserved for future generations to experience.”

Also taking the podium at the news conference was Dr. Mark Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University. A Civil War scholar and retired army officer, Snell was appointed to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission last summer by Governor Joe Manchin, and was subsequently elected vice-chairman.

“Particularly on the eve of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, there is no more fitting commemoration of American valor than respectfully protecting the land where our soldiers fought and bled,” said Snell.

For three days in the summer of 1863, 160,000 men in blue and gray fought the Civil War’s largest and bloodiest battle around the crossroads town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected a proposal to build a slots parlor near Gettysburg’s East Cavalry Field, citing widespread public opposition to the plan. However, earlier this year the same chief investor rolled the dice again and announced plans for another Gettysburg casino. Although smaller than the previous proposal, this casino would be only one half-mile from Gettysburg National Military Park.

In May 1864, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s bloody Overland Campaign began in a tangled mass of second-growth trees and scrub known as the Wildness, Virginia. When portions of Grant’s army attacked elements of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army on May 5, 1864, it was the first time the two legendary commanders met in battle. In August 2009, the Orange County, Va. Board of Supervisors approved a massive commercial center featuring a Walmart and four retailers at the gateway to the historic battlefield. A lawsuit to block the project is pending.

While most of the battles of the Civil War took place on southern soil, Confederate and Union forces engaged in their westernmost struggle at Picacho Peak, Arizona, on April 15, 1862. Confederate Capt. Sherod Hunter raised his flag in the small, frontier settlement of Tucson, hoping to take another step toward the Pacific and the creation of an ocean-to-ocean Confederacy. The Confederate rangers were met by a detachment of Union cavalry under the leadership of Lt. James Barrett near Picacho Peak, a rocky spire 50 miles northwest of Tucson. Although Picacho Peak State Park is a popular tourist destination, it will close to the public on June 3, 2010, due to drastic cuts in the state budget – less than one year before the sesquicentennial of the war.

The Civil War Preservation Trust is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promoting appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. History Under Siege is composed of two parts; one identifying the 10 most endangered battlefields in the nation, and a second section lists 15 additional “at risk” sites also confronted by serious threats. Sites discussed in the report range from the famous to the nearly forgotten, but at least part of each site is in danger of being lost forever. Battlefields were chosen based on geographic location, military significance, and the immediacy of current threats.
History Under Siege™ also includes:

Camp Allegheny, W.Va., December 13, 1861: Early in the war, North and South both strove to gain control over the western counties of Virginia, meeting in a number of engagements among the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. Today, the scenic beauty of Camp Allegheny, West Virginia stands to be compromised by a field of 40-story-high wind turbines — 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty — to be built within view of the battlefield.

Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864: In the fall of 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan marched up the fertile Shenandoah Valley, stripping the countryside bare to starve out Confederate forces. After a daring Confederate surprise attack at Cedar Creek, Union forces launched a crushing counterattack, extinguishing the South’s last hope of recovering the Valley. In 2008, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors approved a massive expansion of the mine operating adjacent to Cedar Creek, which would destroy nearly 400 acres of battlefield land crucial to telling the story of this decisive struggle.

Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C., July 11–12, 1864: Fort Stevens was part of an extensive ring of fortifications surrounding Civil War Washington, but in July 1864 those defenses were vulnerable to a direct attack by Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. President Abraham Lincoln, watching the action from Fort Stevens, came under fire from sharpshooters. Last year, a church adjacent to the fort applied for a zoning exemption to build an immense community center complex. The new construction would tower over the fort, significantly degrading the visitor experience.

Pickett’s Mill, Ga., May 27, 1864: The Battle of Pickett’s Mill was one of the most stinging Union defeats of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign and the first serious check on Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s momentous campaign against this Confederate transportation center. Although Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site is widely regarded as thoroughly preserved and interpreted, the park was forced to reduce its hours significantly due to budget cuts, and last autumn it was inundated by floodwaters that destroyed footbridges and a portion of the historic mill.

Richmond, Ky., August 29–30, 1862: Confederate Maj. Gen. Kirby Smith’s newly-dubbed “Army of Kentucky”—a bearded, shoeless band of rebel soldiers — marched north in the soaring heat of August 1862 and encountered a hastily-formed Union force led by Maj. Gen. William Nelson. The ensuing battle became one of the most decisive Confederate victories of the Civil War. Although the battlefield has been well protected to date, future preservation efforts will be complicated by the addition of a new highway interchange, paving the way for significant commercial growth in an area that has previously experienced little development pressure.

South Mountain, Md., September 14, 1862: In early September 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee launched an audacious invasion of the North. But when a copy of his orders was discovered by Union soldiers in a field, wrapped around cigars, federal commanders were able to move quickly against the vulnerable Confederates at the Battle of South Mountain. In December 2008, Dominion Power purchased 135 acres of battlefield land for a proposed $55 million natural gas compression station, a plan that has been subsequently suspended with an option to re-file.

Thoroughfare Gap, Va. August 28, 1862: Although a relatively small engagement, the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap was of immense strategic significance, setting the stage for the battles of Second Manassas and, ultimately, Antietam. In February, consultants began seeking comments from the preservation community regarding a proposal to build a 150-foot-tall communications tower within the core battlefield area at Thoroughfare Gap. Although construction of Interstate 66 in the 1960s saw portions of the mountain gap widened, the area retains much of its rural, scenic beauty.

With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT has preserved more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land across the nation. CWPT’s website is

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

“Tell the Whole Story”?

By Bill Vallante

As the Sesquicentennial approaches and as some of its events begin to kick off, in Virginia and elsewhere, I’m hearing the phrase “Tell the Whole Story” more and more. “We need to tell the whole story” rings loud, clear and repeatedly in recent articles in the Richmond Times Dispatch and in Virginia’s Style Weekly Magazine. And in the context of those articles, there is no mistaking the fact that the phrase refers to, as one article put it, “the suffering and pain of human bondage.”

“Tell the whole story” – it’s a phrase that I continually heard coming out of the mouth of Museum of the Confederacy Director Waite Rawls back when I was a member of that organization. I resigned that membership 2 years ago in disgust over a number of issues, among them, the MOC cozying up to Doug Wilder’s Slavery Museum, and its public announcement that it was giving serious thought to dropping the word “Confederacy” from its title. I always wondered what Mr. Rawls meant by “tell the whole story.” Now that Sesquicentennial events are starting, I think I know, because I hear that phrase repeatedly, not only out of his mouth, but out of the mouths of people like Richmond Delegate Dolores McQuinn, a black woman whose favorite word seems to be “reconciliation,” Sesquicentennial planners, wack-ademics, newspaper editorialists and others.

Call me jaded and suspicious, but when I hear “tell the whole story,” coupled with words like “reconciliation,” I keep wondering if it means that someone needs to apologize. I hope they are not expecting that someone to be me because I assure you that the Pope will convert to Islam before that happens. In my life I have dealt happily and successfully with more different people from more different backgrounds than Al Sharpton has grievances. I have no guilt about anything, and am sorry for nothing, at least not insofar as my dealings with others are concerned. Need “Reconciliation?” Go somewhere else. I don’t do reconciliation.

Nor will I jump on the insanity bandwagon and start apologizing on behalf of past peoples doing what was common and quite the norm in their time. As I’ve said before, more and more I grow convinced that for the past 20 or 30 years, someone has been putting “stupid pills” in America’s water supply. I need to apologize because the America of 150+ years ago had slavery? I don’t think so. Charley Reese, former journalist for the Orlando Sentinel, once said that ‘the people of the past don’t owe anyone an apology. They, like us, fell out of the womb into a society that, like all societies, had pre-existing customs and mores. They played the cards that God dealt them the best way they knew how and that’s all that you can expect of them. It’s our play now, and the pot is the future.’ I stand with Mr. Reese on this one. And I will not budge for anyone. I don’t do apologies, I don’t do “reconciliation” and I don’t do “stupid pills” either.

Does “tell the whole story” mean telling the actual story of life as it was, good as well as bad, or, does it mean telling the story that the current crop of Sesquicentennial planners think that certain people would like to hear, or, a story that conforms to what might be called a politically correct agenda? I wonder if the version of “the whole story" that is being promulgated, at least in Virginia, will include things like......

Dick Poplar - a free black man from Petersburg who joined the 13th Va. Cavalry and who elected to spend 19 months in Point Lookout rather than take the oath of allegiance to the United States?

The unnamed black man who was hung by Union Col. Dalghren for giving him the wrong directions during his 1864 raid on Richmond? (Warning! Never give a Yankee directions!)

Phillip Slaughter, the free black musician whose band assisted the 150 old men and young boys who defended Petersburg against a union cavalry force of 1300 on June 9, 1864? Slaughter and his musicians repeatedly played “Dixie”, while moving hurriedly from one spot to another, in the hopes of confusing the Yankee attackers by making them think that there were several Confederate regiments in the area instead of a motley collection of home guards!

The free black woman who Union General Milroy tossed out of Winchester because she refused to remove a black corsage from her dress after Stonewall Jackson died?

The African American churches in what I think is the Roanoke area that were founded by former slaves who were students of Stonewall Jackson's bible school?

Or Levi Miller, a Virginia slave and bodyservant? - “The body of Levi Miller, one of the few colored men regularly enlisted in the Confederate army during the Civil War, who died at Opequon, this county, yesterday morning, will be taken on Monday to Lexington Va., for burial."

Or Jason Boone – an ancestor of a woman from Norfolk who I have had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions? Boone was a free black farmer and who served as a laborer in the Confederate forces and who told those who would listen after the war, "I fought to defend what was mine"?

Or Jefferson Davis and his wife, who, in February 1864, rescued and adopted an abused free black child named Jim Limber? Little Jim lived in the Confederate White House until the end of the war. He played with, ate with and slept with the Davis children, and he functioned as a part of that family. As I recall, the Sons of Confederate Veterans commissioned a sculptor to make a statue of Davis and the child, and then offered it to the Tredegar Museum. Tredegar officials acted like they were being offered a case of bubonic plague.

Or the actual story of Nat Turner’s rebellion? I’m talking about the 61 white people who were killed, 47 of whom were women and children, including an infant who was held by one leg and bashed to death against a wall, and a 3 year old child who was beheaded.

And how about the fact that not all of the 189,000 men of the United States Colored Troops were freedom fighting volunteers? Many of those from the North were conscripted. Others were paid bounties for their service. Others, slaves “liberated” from their owners and in some cases carried off by Yankee troops, were forced to enlist and in some cases threatened with being shot if they did not. Still others, runaways in most cases, took the opportunity to join something that would at least give them the necessities of life, i.e., clothing, shelter, food and medical care, even if joining that “something” meant they could get killed! The alternative in those days, you see, was to starve or die of malnutrition or exposure. It was a matter of simple survival. Let’s see…where in the numerous USCT plaques and monuments that I have seen in the Richmond/Petersburg area have I seen these parts of “the whole story”?

It’s funny how I never see or hear things like these. I guess they are not part of “the whole story?” Nor do I expect that these “inconvenient truths” will ever become part of the “story.” If you’ve ever wanted an example of how a group of words which appear to mean one thing can end up meaning the complete opposite, you have it right here. “The whole story,” in case you haven’t already guessed, isn’t really “the whole story.” In an effort to get away from a “Gone With the Wind” picture of slavery and the war, the wonderful world of wack-ademics has created an “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” picture in its place. Since none of us were alive at the time of the war and since none of us saw it first hand, we are left to wonder where the truth lies, and indeed, what “the whole story” really is. I submit, that as in most cases like it, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes, and that it is a pity that few of us in these next 4 years will ever get to see or hear it.

Bill Vallante,, is an associate member of the Jeb Stuart Camp 1506, a reenactor in the 9th Va. Inf., Co. C, and is living "behind enemy lines" in Commack, N.Y.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slavery and Marketing the Sesquicentennial – or Insanity in Old Virginia

By Bill Vallante

Friends of mine in Virginia recently alerted me to a colorfully entitled article, “Breaking the Chains,” which was featured in the online “Style Weekly” magazine.


The article praised and touted the more modern-day presentations of the “civil war,” i.e., those which focus on slaves (no mention of pro-southern slaves of course), women, southerners who fought for the union, and other irrelevant niceties. No mention in the article however, about these presentations drawing crowds that are a lot smaller than what “peecee” sesquicentennial organizers would like. One poster on a twitter page described the popularity of such celebrations thusly: “Ed Ayers & his 'Future of Richmond's Past' is having the same effect on heritage tourism in Richmond as would a good outbreak of cholera." (Couldn’t have said it better myself!)

The article especially highlighted the interaction and cooperation between Richmond Delegate Dolores McGuinn, a black woman who frequently pontificates and whose favorite words seem to be “reconciliation” and “emancipation”, and her sidekick Waite Rawls, noted (or “infamous”, depending on how you feel about him) Museum of the Confederacy director. The two have become fast friends it seems. Two other curators were mentioned, Maureen Elgersmann Lee, director of the Black History museum and Christy Coleman, director of the Tredegar Museum (the same museum that has the gift shop which sells those hideous Harriet Tubman bobblehead dolls).

I learned many things from this article –

I learned that Virginia Governor McDonnell’s “Confederate History Month” proclamation was “infamous.” And I learned that slavery is “America’s greatest trauma.”

I learned that we should rejoice now that “civil war” celebrations focus on slavery rather than on the men who fought in the war. I learned that modern day “Confederate sympathizers” have the wrong view of history but there are efforts afoot to fix this view. I learned that the war was all about slavery and that there appears to be no discussion to the contrary, at least not in


I learned that some people are still living in poverty because of slavery and that others are wealthy because of it, and that something needs to be done about that. They say we need something called “reconciliation”, which I guess means that someone needs to say they are sorry. (I just hope they are not expecting that someone to be me ‘cause there’ll be snowball fights in hell before that happens!)

I learned that black children can be “emancipated” by showing them presentations which tell them that the war was ALL about them, and by implication I suppose, that the world revolves around them. And I learned that when Christy Coleman was a character (slave) interpreter at Williamsburg, one tourist’s child kicked one of the other interpreters (I’m guessing the child was black and the interpreter was white. I’m also guessing, from what I read in the article, that no one had a problem with it).

I learned that Richmond needs to learn how to better “market” this “new” (or bastardized, if you prefer) version of history (because so far, this new version seems to be going over like a lead balloon in a snowstorm). And I learned that some people are dismayed and confused about the failure of Doug Wilder’s National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg (which in recent times seems to be doing its best imitation of the “Titanic”.)

And finally, I learned what I knew years ago before I resigned my membership to the Museum of the Confederacy – that Waite Rawls’ head is buried so far up so many peoples’ collective posteriors that it would take a global positioning satellite to locate it and a heavy duty tow truck to pry it out.

So then, do I have any thoughts on this “Style Weekly” article? Gee, I thought you’d never ask!

MEMO TO: the folks at “Style Weekly,” and, to all those who complained that Virginia’s governor FORGOT to REMIND you of the “PAINFUL REMINDER (of slavery)”, and, to all those who seem to feel that the people of the past owe you an apology and that their descendents need to grovel at your feet, and, to all those who plan to turn the Sesquicentennial into a diversity dog and pony show and actually think they can make money marketing such insanity:

Who voted slavery "the greatest trauma in American history?" Coleman? Rawls? McGuinn? Elgersman? “Style Weekly”? Was there an election? Why wasn't I told? I would have like to have voted. I’m not sure what I would have voted for, but I know what I would not have voted for. I wonder how the Native American would vote if he were asked what was the greatest trauma in American history? I wonder how the families of those killed in the Twin Towers would have voted? In any case, it seems to me that the question, at the very least, is open to interpretation, and is a matter of opinion.

And speaking of opinion, I had no idea that the cause of the war, a subject which has sparked DEBATE since the war ended (ya'll remember what a DEBATE is, don't you?), had been resolved and is now written in stone? (I'm being sarcastic in case anyone hasn't caught on). But what do I know? I'm just a "Confederate sympathizer."

And what is it with this "infamous proclamation" stuff? The governor's proclamation to declare April "Confederate History Month" was not a governmental mandate. No one was compelled to run out into the street and sing "Dixie", wave a flag or scream that "the South will Rise Again!" It was a proclamation which addressed the history of a rather large group of Virginians whose ancestors participated in the event which resulted in America becoming a "nation" in the truest sense of the word. This is what we today call "infamous"? If you didn’t like it you were under no obligation to celebrate it. You could have left in peace your fellow citizens, who have repeatedly told you that they simply want to celebrate their “heritage” and that they don’t “hate” you, to do that which is important to them. But you didn’t. You whined, cried, and stamped your feet and threatened to break your toys. You made life miserable for not only everyone else but yourselves as well.

Allowing children to "kick interpreters"? If I had kicked a museum interpreter when I was a kid, my dad would have hit me so hard he would have knocked me into the following week. Moaning about why other people have more stuff than you do? And you should do exactly what, about this? Take some of their stuff away from them to even things out? In civilized societies, we call this type of thing “STEALING!”

Oh yes, and then there’s Doug Wilder's Slavery Museum, which claimed, on its website, that slavery as practiced by non-whites or in the ancient world was “different” from European or American slavery because slaves in non-white or ancient cultures weren't used as laborers. Instead it claimed that slaves in non-white or ancient societies were "status symbols." Examples given of "status symbols" were, "eunuchs" and "concubines". Ok, let’s have a show of hands….how many of y’all want to be eunuchs? What? No one wants to be a “status symbol?” And you folks can’t figure out why the National Slavery Museum has never even been able to even taxi away from the terminal, much less get off the ground?

All this angst and all this wondering about whether or not Richmond can ever make a financial go of promoting this new and enlightened version of history and whether or not such things will ever be a tourist draw? I submit the answer is right in front of your noses and in the article itself - in the annual visitor figures of the highly touted but nearly deserted Tredegar Museum. 21000 visitors per year? That’s an average of 60 people per day. I’ve seen more activity than that in a morgue! And at an average cost of $5pp. entry fee, how much money is this place taking in? $100,000/year? That doesn’t even pay the phone bill! Maybe “Style Weekly” should do a story on how much taxpayer money is being siphoned off to keep the sinking Tredegar ship afloat?

And I submit, that if Ms. McGuinn wants to “emancipate future generations of African American children,” that there are more practical things she could do – addressing a 70% rate of illegitimate births for one thing. Development of a cultural tradition stressing education as a means to success in this world and which rewards the child who does well in school, for another. Blaming people who lived in the past for doing what was common to their time and expecting their descendents to feel sorry and fall down on their knees groveling isn’t going to improve matters any. It won’t bring “reconciliation” and it certainly won’t bring in the tourist dollars, which leads me to my last point…

Living in and being from, the North, I can tell you with great certainty that there is no shortage of Northerners who are very interested in “the civil war.” Some are quite steeped in their knowledge of it and some are not. Some, like yours truly, cheer for the South. Others, as you might expect, root for the North. Still others, most in fact, don’t really give much thought at all to taking sides. Under normal circumstances, all 3 types would be inclined to travel to the South and in doing so, release their Yankee dollars into the Southern economy.

However, the last thing they want is to travel hundreds of miles to experience a "diversity" dog and pony show. Even those who go in for that sort of thing won’t do it. They can stay home, save the money and get the same crap right where they live. Exhibitions that focus on slaves, women, and southerners who fought for the north aren’t going to cut it. If y’all decide to go that marketing route, then get used to the stillness and deafening silence of the types found at the Tredegar Museum. Yes, there is a place for such things to be sure. But such things are not the “main course” when it comes to “the civil war.” No sane Northerner is going to travel hundreds of miles and spend a tons of money just to dine on the appetizer and leave without having the main course.

Northerners want to see where the battles were fought and learn about the brave men on both sides who fought in them. They want to learn about what these men did, see where they did it, and marvel that they had the courage to do it. And they want to pause and reflect - if they were in the same position, how would they behave, would they be as brave, and why? And they want to do that without a “peecee” interpreter telling them what they should be feeling and thinking.

Go ahead, ignore my advice. According to y’all, I’m just one of those “Confederate Sympathizers” so what do I know? Just make sure you prepare yourself for that “outbreak of cholera.”

Bill Vallante,, is an associate member of the Jeb Stuart Camp 1506, a reenactor in the 9th Va. Inf., Co. C, and is living "behind enemy lines" in Commack, N.Y.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

TN. Confederate Decoration Day June 4th.

Click to enlarge

Confederate Decoration Day June 4th.

I'll have all my Dixe banners out...PoP

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

U.S. Marines boot recruits with Confederate tattoos

You won't believe what military thinks of historic southern symbol
By Chelsea Schilling

Nazis, Confederates, and Stupid Pills in the Water Supply

by Bill Vallante
Georgia Heritage Council

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Compassion Of The Left

By Al Benson Jr.
Anti-Establishment History
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