SHNV's Supporters for Apr. 2012:
Brock Townsend
Faithful Southron, THANK YOU!!

Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SCV Opposes Museum of the Confederacy’s De-consolidation Plans

Columbia, Tennessee (PRWEB) August 01, 2013

Michael Givens, Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) issued the following statement today expressing concern over the Museum of the Confederacy’s rumored intent to merge itself with other Virginia historical groups:

“The Museum of the Confederacy holds an important trust as the repository of the world’s finest collection of Confederate memorabilia. Recent reports indicate that the Michael Givens, Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) issued the following statement today expressing concern over the Museum of the Confederacy’s rumored intent to merge itself with other Virginia historical groups:

“The Museum of the Confederacy holds an important trust as the repository of the world’s finest collection of Confederate memorabilia. Recent reports indicate that the Museum of the Confederacy leadership is rapidly moving forward with a plan which will result in effectively closing the Museum of the Confederacy, selling its building in downtown Richmond, and dispersing its collection among several historical groups.

The SCV strongly opposes this plan and urges the Museum of the Confederacy board to reconsider. While no doubt well-intentioned, this course of action will seriously jeopardize the integrity of the collection as well as the continued viability of the historic White House of the Confederacy which the Museum of the Confederacy also oversees.

Generations of Southerners, including many of the veterans themselves, contributed a king’s ransom to the Museum of the Confederacy in the form of priceless antiques, family heirlooms, and relics of the Confederate cause of incalculable value with the express intent that these antiquities would be carefully preserved and honorably displayed. As a result, the Museum of the Confederacy’s collection grew to be a world-class museum of the treasures of the late Confederacy. To scatter this precious collection across several venues and organizations will only diminish its importance.

The SCV urges anyone who shares our view of this important collection to let their voices be heard so that the Museum of the Confederacy can return to being the home of the Confederacy’s most important artifacts.”

Formed in 1896, The Sons of Confederate Veterans is an international organization of male descendants of Confederate soldiers and the nation’s largest military history and genealogy society, with over 30,000 members.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of short stories, Author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee.

Winston Churchill once said, "The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans,, hosted their 118th National Reunion during the month of July, 2013 in Vicksburg, Mississippi and Christine Barr an award-winning professor of English and resident of Katy, Texas wrote a beautiful article about the SCV Convention and Southern Heritage. Read more at:

Do you remember the movie and the actor who said, “I give you our homeland, glorious in defeat, gallant in victory and brave in her hour of grief…Gentlemen, I give you the South and confusion to all her enemies?” See the answer at end of article.

You ain’t just whistling Dixie; I’m American by birth and Southern by the grace of God and….

Do you remember when men and women of African, Asian, European, Hispanic, Jewish, Oriental and American-Indian ancestry were proud to be Americans? In the peach state, we are Georgia Crackers, love catfish and hush puppies, miss Lewis Grizzard and stand up when the band plays the National Anthem or Dixie. We once even had a baseball team called the “Atlanta Crackers” but still love RC Cola and moon pies, fly Delta and read “Uncle Remus” stories to our children.

A young Southern lady recently told me that songs like “Dixie” and “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” offended some people and probably why they should not be played.

The question today might be are we still the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave or have we become the land of the offended and home of always complaining people?

It seems like some folks are offended by anything they don’t understand, while others aren’t offended but are afraid to speak up in fear of being called racist…But, then there are many brave folks who proudly stand up for what they believe is right.

During my childhood of the 50s, songs like “Swanee River”, “Mammy” and “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee”, all best sung by the late great Al Jolson, were very popular in the South and throughout the USA. At my elementary school we sang songs that included a Southern--War Between the States song “Goober Peas.” There are probably some who have a problem with this song about Confederate soldiers sitting of the road side and eating goober peas—peanuts…But, even Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, played by Alan Alda, on the 70s hit TV show “Mash” sang this song in one of those many memorable episodes.

Do you remember the grand finally in the 1941 movie “Babes on Broadway” starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland? The song performed was “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” written by Louis Wolfe Gilbert and Lewis Muir that include these words: “Way down on the levy in old Alabamy, there’s Daddy and Mammy, there’s Ephraim and Sammy. On a moonlight night you can find them while they are waiting, the banjos are syncopating what’s that they’re saying. What’s that they’re saying? While they keep playing a-humming and swaying it’s the good ship Robert E. Lee.”

As a child my Mother woke my sister and me on schools days with such wonderful songs such as: “zippy de doo dah” from the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South.”

The answer to the question at beginning of this article is the great Lionel Barrymore in the classic 1935 Fox movie “The Little Colonel” also starring the delightful Shirley Temple.

You all come back now, you here!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


By Bob Hurst

On April 19, 1861, there was a clash in Baltimore between Union troops and pro-Southern civilians. This came to be known as the "Baltimore Riot" and resulted in what is generally considered to be the occasion of the first bloodshed of the Great War of 1861-65.

Before the conflict occurred, anti-Union sentiment was strong in Maryland and Baltimore was a hotbed of pro-Southern support. Baltimore's mayor and police chief were known supporters of the Southern Cause. In fact, before his inauguration in March 1861, Abraham Lincoln had had to sneak through Baltimore on his way to Washington, D.C. because of rumors of an assassination plot. The hostilities that had begun at Fort Sumter on April 12 only increased the tension in Baltimore between Union and Confederate sympathizers.

When troops from Massachusetts, who were answering Lincoln's call for volunteers, arrived in Baltimore on April 19, they had to be taken through the city by horse-drawn carriages because the rail lines that had brought them there did not go through the city itself. An angry crowd of Southern sympathizers had gathered along the streets carrying the yankee troops and began blocking the carriages and forcing the troops out of them.

This contingent of secessionists along the route began throwing rocks at the Union troops who, in return, began firing into the crowd with their rifles. This resulted in total chaos and the police were called in to hold back the crowd and allow the troops to reach the train terminal on the west side of town and proceed to Washington. During this encounter, four Union soldiers and twelve civilians were killed with many others being wounded.

Maryland officials were outraged at this happening and demanded that no more Union troops be sent through the state. Baltimore's mayor and police chief even authorized the destruction of several rail bridges to prevent northern troops from entering the city.

Northern newspapers and the Lincoln Administration were outraged at these events. Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York TRIBUNE newspaper, even called for Baltimore to be burned to the ground.

Lincoln soon ordered a large contingent of Union forces into the city and marshal law was declared. The police chief, George P. Kane, city commissioners and other elected officials and some private citizens were arrested. Also arrested were a number of state legislators who had been identified by Lincoln spies as favoring secession and also newspapers publishers and owners who were known to favor secession.

The roles played by Baltimore Police Chief George P. Kane and Maryland Governor Enoch Louis Lowe in working to keep Union troops out of Baltimore and Maryland is well-recorded and well-known. What is less well known is that there was a third party intimately involved in this plot to keep Union troops from passing through Maryland. He was an outstanding individual who was truly dedicated to the Cause and eventually reached the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate Army. His name was Bradley Tyler Johnson.

Bradley Johnson came from a prominent and very interesting family. One grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War and was the brother of a Maryland governor. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney was a relative as was Francis Scott Key. One of his cousins married John Quincy Adams who would become the sixth president of the United States.

Johnson graduated from Princeton and then Harvard Law School. He became a respected attorney and eventually the state's attorney for Frederick County, Maryland. He married a lovely woman who was the daughter of a prominent North Carolina congressman and also a close friend of Empress Eugenie of France. The marriage of Bradley Johnson and Jane Saunders proved to be the proverbial "match made in heaven" as she played a major role in both his legal career and his military career.

The day after the riot in Baltimore, Chief Kane sent Johnson a telegram requesting that he bring to Baltimore a unit of troops that he had raised to ensure that there would be Confederate troops on hand should more Union forces attempt to enter the city. On May 8, 1861, Bradley Johnson, now with the rank of colonel, took his troops across the Potomac River and into Virginia and reported to the commander of the Virginia militia at Harper's Ferry. The day before he left, Jane Johnson had turned over their house in Frederick to a secessionist delegation that was meeting with the Maryland legislature. She then went to Virginia to await his arrival. They would never again live in the house in Frederick and, because of Lincoln's imprisonment of Confederate-friendly legislators and others, Maryland would never secede.

While this act of devotion on Jane's part was exemplary, she soon performed in a manner that is almost indescribable.

Although Colonel Johnson's troops had uniforms that he had paid for himself, their only equipment was what they had of their own. This meant few replacement weapons and very little ammunition. Since Maryland had fallen under the control of Federal troops there was no governmental help forthcoming from that source and Virginia was pushed to supply its own wants with weapons, ammunition and other necessities.

Facing this dilemma, Jane Johnson went into action. Boy, did she ever!

She first went by train to Raleigh, North Carolina. There, at the capitol with her congressman father at her side, she addressed the North Carolina Legislature with an impassioned plea for weapons and munitions for her husband's unit. The legislature came through with weapons and ammunition sufficient for 500 troops - far more than Colonel Johnson had in his command.

To ensure the safe delivery of the supplies to her husband's unit, she rode in the train car carrying the weapons and supplies rather than a passenger coach. She also found time to approach the citizens of Petersburg and Richmond for monetary donations (which proved to be substantial) to purchase tents for the unit. When I say that this woman was something, I mean that she was REALLY something!

For all that she had accomplished for her husband's unit, the 1st Maryland, Jane Johnson received the personal thanks of the new Confederate commander in the Shenandoah Valley - a young colonel named Jackson. He would later march into immortality as "Stonewall".

Her husband was soon to make quite a name for himself, also.

By late May of 1862, Colonel Bradley Johnson and his 1st Maryland Regiment had performed well for Major General Thomas Jackson's Army of the Valley for a full year and many of the troops were ready for a change. Their enlistments had expired for about half the unit and many of these soldiers had requested a transfer to the cavalry. These requests, however, were denied by the Confederate government. This greatly angered these troops so they demanded discharges which were denied by Colonel Johnson.

Noting their anger, Johnson confiscated their weapons and placed them in the custody of the other troops who were remaining steadfast. Being unaware of this situation, General Jackson ordered the 1st Maryland to the front as his army approached Front Royal.

What followed was one of the finest motivational speeches given during that war or any war.

Colonel Bradley Johnson brought all his troops together and called them to "attention". He then read the orders from General Jackson. He then explained very carefully to the unit that this meant that he would have to return the orders to General Jackson with the explanation that his troops would not be able to fight because they were demoralized since some transfers had been denied and that some of his troops were just tired and wanted to go home. He then ended his speech by telling his troops that he was now ashamed of being a Marylander and saying to the assembled troops, "Go Home...boast of it when you meet your fathers, brothers, sisters and sweethearts. Tell them it was you who, when brought face to face with the enemy, proved be cowards."

My, did his tactic work! Shades of General Patton, his troops, unwilling to be considered "cowards", began clamoring for the return of their weapons. They then marched to the front of Jackson's forces and proved to be an amazing fighting machine as they led the Army of the Valley to victory at Front Royal and again days later at Winchester.

To show how inexplicable political actions can be, after the Valley Campaign the 1st Maryland Regiment was dissolved by the Confederate government for political reasons. General Robert E. Lee, however, appointed Colonel Bradley Johnson to command a brigade of four Virginia regiments. His new unit performed admirably at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg and General Jackson was so impressed that he recommended Johnson for promotion to brigadier general. In one of those hard-to-understand instances where politics takes precedence over performance, he was not approved for promotion - ostensibly because he was from Maryland rather than Virginia.

Bradley Johnson's greatest triumph came on March 1, 1864, when his small unit was able to stop the advance on Richmond of the Union forces of Kilpatrick and Dahlgren and force their retreat even though his forces were outnumbered more than 50 to 1. For this amazing feat he was lauded as "the savior of Richmond" and was presented with a commemorative saber by General Wade Hampton. Despite the accolades, he did not receive a promotion to brigadier general.

Finally, four months later, Colonel Bradley Johnson received his long-deserved promotion to brigadier general and took command of a cavalry brigade in General Jubal Early's army in the Shenandoah Valley. He was also with Early on his raid into Maryland. Later, General Johnson was involved in a controversial action near Moorefield, West Virginia, where troops of General Johnson and General John McCausland were defeated by Union forces in a surprise attack. General Johnson blamed General McCausland for the defeat and McCausland blamed Johnson. Johnson requested an investigation but one was never held and General Early sided with McCausland in the matter, possibly because of the Virginia connection.

General Lee, based on Early's decision, removed Bradley Johnson from field command and for the last few months of the war he served as commander of Salisbury Prison in North Carolina.

When the war ended, Bradley Johnson returned to the practice of law - first in Richmond for 14 years and then in Baltimore for 20 years. While in Richmond he served as President of the Richmond City Council and also served in the Virginia Senate. Throughout his after-war years he worked toward founding and supporting Confederate veterans organizations and retirement homes for veterans.

In December 1899 his beloved Jane passed away and he never recovered. He died less than four years later at his son's home in Virginia. His coffin was draped with a Battle Flag of the 1st Maryland Cavalry.

Even though he experienced disappointments during the War because of the delayed promotions and because of General Early siding with General McCausland, Bradley Johnson remained dedicated to the Cause of Southern Independence and remained true to his beloved Confederacy until the very end.


Bob Hurst is a true Son of the South who has special interests in the Confederacy and the antebellum architecture of the South. He is Commander of Col. David Lang Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, in Tallahassee and also 2nd Lt. Commander of the Florida Division, SCV.

Friday, July 12, 2013


All you politically incorrect folks, come celebrate the South with the Jones County Rosin Heels SCV Camp at the Southern Heritage Conference at Bethlehem Baptist Church about 5 miles east of Laurel, MS. on Highway 184 E. We’ll have in your face speakers, music, food and fellowship!

Our speakers are, MS. State Senator Chris McDaniel, Mr. Ryan Walters, Doctoral candidate in history at USM (An actual conservative), Mr. Al Benson from LA., who is publisher of the Quarterly publication, The Copperhead Chronicle and co-author with Donnie Kennedy of the book, Red Republicans & Lincoln Marxists, along with Miss Bonnie McCoy who will play some fiddle tunes, as well as sing and tell of some of their history and how they connect with the South Some of the speakers may also show how America’s current issues are related to the War. Doors open Friday, August 9 at 6:00 PM to visit, shop and get seated to start at 7.00pm. Doors open Saturday morning at 8AM and will begin at 9.00 AM, August 10. We’ll have a mid-morning break and will break again for dinner at noon and eat on the premises, and return to the church gym for the afternoon session.

Saturday night, dress casual or dress out in Confederate uniforms and antebellum ball gowns or wee kilties for the Saturday evening supper and Confederate Ceiledh (kay-lee). At 5:00 PM everyone needs to begin gathering for supper as well as all uniformed participants so they have time to practice posting the colors after supper. We will begin supper promptly at 5.30 PM and begin the Ceiledh at approximately 6:30 PM. At a Ceiledh, everyone is invited to sing, tell a joke, read a poem, etc. Once again we will need all uniformed Confederates and kilted Scots to bring weapons and join in to protect the colors, and piper. Also know that you may attend without eating.

CONFERENCE TICKETS - $25.00 per family, (This means extended family also) & $15.00 for an individual



Mail check to: Jones County Rosin Heels, P. O. Box 52, Laurel, MS 39441
PHONE: 601/649-1867 days, 601/319-7027 OR 601-428-5570 nights, email: or

Convention Hotel is Comfort Suites - Call 601-649-2620 and tell them you are with the Southern Heritage Conference for special rate.


NAME _____________________________________________

MAILING ADDRESS ________________________________________________

PHONE _________________ EMAIL____________________________________


_________ OF US FOR SUPPER @ $15.00 EACH.





Vendors tables are free, but limited, SO PLEASE LET US KNOW ASAP HOW MANY YOU REQUIRE.
P. O. Box 52
LAUREL, MS 39441

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Slavery Was the Excuse for War, Not the Reason

Fellow Southrons,

When arguing the causes of the War against the South, our enemies, opponents and clueless minion's harp on "slavery" (TM) as the main or overriding cause of the war. It can be shown that the political leaders of the deep South in 1860 chose secession rather than remain in a "union" led by the Charles Schumers, Barrack Obamas & Nancy Pelosis of their day. One can rightly argue that the secession of the lower South was caused in part, by the maniacal and unreasonable agitation of the slave question by Northern radicals and and brought to a breaking point in 1859 by the lunatic John Brown's raid. "How can we remain in a "union" with people who wish to murder us in our beds?" Southern leaders queried.

Still secession of the lower South did not cause a war. The upper South remained loyal to the "union," and made no move to leave the federal compact until the dictator Lincoln made the war one of invasion & subjugation of their Southern kinsmen.

A hellish & illegal invasion caused the war, not slavery.

But let's assume for a nanno-second that slavery did cause the war. Would the South be justified in resisting an invasion of their homes, by a combination of Northern states? ABSOLUTELY YES! So even assuming (which I do not) that slavery "caused" the war, my ancestors still had the God-given, inalienable right to self-defense against the murderous onslaught of their former northern fellow citizens.

The war was really about economic domination and subjugation of the South by other than peaceful means. To that end slavery was the excuse for war, not the reason. As in other modern wars, follow the money and you will usually arrive at the real cause for conflict!

The descendants of northern war-criminals bleat continually about slavery, slavery, slavery to salve their worried conscience, if the war was not this holy, sanctified crusade, these folks would have to wallow in shame for the innumerable war crimes committed by their ancestors.

Most everyone knows this, whether or not they will admit it.

But we bear no grudge, no chip on our shoulder, to our many friends in the North. Many of you have figured out that the defeat of the Confederacy was a defeat for all Americans who believe in constitutionally guaranteed liberty, and that the slavery we all endure under Big Brother started with his great great grandfather Abraham the "railsplitter."

For the rest of the clueless population North or South, the "war" will be over, we will "get over it," when you stop making war on the Confederate community, when you stop attacking our culture, our heritage and our right to exist. When that happens, when that ever happens, coupled with some over-due contrition & repentance for northern war crimes - I think you will find us quite ready to forgive and make peace.

Until that happens I leave you with this epitaph for an unknown federal soldier's grave (penned by a Southerner)

The yankee host with blood-stained hands
Came Southward to divide our lands
This narrow and contracted spot
Is all this yankee scoundrel got'


Kirk D. Lyons
Chief Trial Counsel
Southern Legal Resource Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 1235
Black mountain, NC 28711

Sunday, July 07, 2013

“North Carolina Perspectives Guide the War Between the States Commemoration”

“The Sesquicentennial’s Midpoint” – a July 2013 Interview with Bernhard Thuersam, NC WBTS Sesquicentennial Commission Chairman.

The observance of North Carolina’s War Between the States Sesquicentennial is now in its third year, paralleling 1863 and chronicling its effect upon North Carolina and its people. Just past is the observance of North Carolina’s participation at the three-day battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which saw many Tarheels journey northward to follow the footsteps of their ancestors, many of whom did not return from that battlefield.

The Commission Mr. Thuersam leads is a 12-member group of private individuals from across the State, from Cape Carteret and Wilmington to Tabor City and Southern Pines, to Granite Falls and Asheville – and includes Commander Thomas Smith, Jr., North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Equally impressive is the Commission’s Academic Board with Dr. Clyde Wilson, native Tarheel and retired Professor of History at the University of South Carolina on board, and Dr. Boyd Cathey, retired Registrar at North Carolina Department of Archives & History.

What The Sesquicentennial Commission is Commemorating

“Our opening webpage header, “Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty” makes it clear what we are commemorating, and the content affirms why we are observing this important time of North Carolina’s history,” states North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission Chairman Bernhard Thuersam of Wilmington. He adds: “we also entitle the website “A State Forced Out of the Union” to make it clear why North Carolinians helped form a more perfect union with other Southern States – Unionists were more numerous than secessionists in early 1861 but the uncompromising nature of Northern Republicans would force them to find a more perfect union elsewhere.”

A Work in Progress

The Commission chairman said the website continues to be “a work in progress” as three new webpages have been recently published: “North Carolina’s View of Secession” drawn primarily from Dr. J. Carlyle Sitterson’s seminal study “The Secession Movement in North Carolina and published in 1939; “Women and Children Face the Invader” which reveals the reality of war at home and how it was faced by noncombatants; and “The Tariff Origins of the War,” a concise and informative look at the economic factors that really caused the war.

Thuersam said the Sesquicentennial itself, and greatly-increased public interest has spawned “War Between the States Era” walking and driving tours of North Carolina towns and cities, one operating in Wilmington since 2011 and similar ventures started or planned in Raleigh, Charlotte, Burlington, Fayetteville, Kinston and Plymouth. He adds that “our website hits are nothing short of phenomenal and so many people want to know more about that period, and the North Carolinians who lived, fought and died then.”

Impact to Date of the Sesquicentennial Commission and its Website

Asked what impact he feels the Sesquicentennial Commission, its website and efforts have had since 2011, Thuersam responded: “I see in the print and online media more discussion of that period today and a far better appreciation and recognition of the North Carolinians of that time -- plus the individual heroism they displayed both at the front and at home. The human story of sacrifice, valor, courage and suffering of that time has finally come to the forefront.”

Thuersam added, “I am happy to see many moving away from referring to North Carolina’s soldiers of that time as simply “Confederates,” and more properly seeing them as husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, all who fought and gave their lives to defend Hatteras, New Bern, Kinston, Plymouth, Fort Fisher, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and many far away battlefields. To me this means the Commission has been fulfilling its mission of public awareness and education very well, and it is a satisfying feeling”

The website provided high visibility for the many memorial observances across the State this year and Thuersam remarked that “I had the very high privilege of speaking at the Robert E. Lee Birthday at the State Capitol, as well as the Columbus County Memorial Day service, both great honors. There is no better way to honor your ancestors, and to keep the flame of their patriotic passion burning in your heart today.”

What is Coming Up This Year and Next?

Thuersam provides an idea of what is going on with the Commission today and what is being planned: “Well, we receive much good feedback regarding our “Patriots of ‘61” page which briefly tells the story of the many men and women from around the State who served North Carolina during that war, and this will certainly be added to with our research. We will also continue to add pages we think give the reader a well-rounded view of the war, and why it happened.”

Any Controversial Topics on the Website?

“A surprising topic we handled well, I think, was that of treason against North Carolina. We were encouraged to explore this long-neglected subject by many on the Commission and people across the State. The webpage begins with a clear analysis of what constitutes treason, especially by the standards and laws of that period, and how it adversely affected North Carolina and its war efforts. I think our tackling this topic shows our commitment to history, warts and all, and not leaving ignored stones unturned.”

A Living History Program in the Works:

“We are in the planning stages of a very interesting living history program which has three talented impressionists in the characters and uniforms of Generals Robert F. Hoke and William H.C. Whiting, and Colonel William Lamb. Our tentative program has them all on stage discussing the period from late-1864 through the fall of Fort Fisher and retreat from Wilmington -- allowing the audience to feel as if they are witnessing those officers and their viewpoints firsthand. What a great way to present our history!”

He adds: “This will be followed up with a similar program featuring Generals Joseph E. Johnston, Hoke, and William Hardee at the time of Bentonville. Once again, the audience will not only learn history, but experience it as well.”

What Happens When the Sesquicentennial is Past?

“The search for history and its remembrance is an endless task, and the Commission feels that we are engaged in the important task of compiling important information for not only us today, but for future generations as well. We are already discussing the publication of the website content into a book available both in digital and book forms, this is most important for our young people to use for learning and research. The Commission’s task is educational, and we are doing this to the best of our abilities, and for the sake of future generations.”

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Remembering Mary Surratt; Marylander and Southerner

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of short stories, Author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee.

Jefferson Davis President of the Confederacy said:

“I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it.”

America had not yet celebrated her 85th birthday when the South seceded from the Union in the year of our Lord 1861. Secession was recognized as a God given right that was also exercised by the 13 American Colonies in their separation from Great Britain in 1776 to form the United States of America.

Some say America and the Constitution died a little with General Lee and the South at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia in April 1865.

The courtesy and respect shown by General Ulysses S. Grant and his men to General Robert E. Lee and his weary men at the surrender and Lincoln’s wish for a peaceful re-uniting of the North and South would be short lived. The President’s death would be replaced with a bitter hatred by some in the North toward the men and women of the former Confederate States of America.

It has been written that Maryland sided with the Union but the truth is.

The State Legislature of Maryland prepared to vote on secession in 1861 to join the Southern Confederacy but Federal troops were sent to squash their attempt. There is little doubt that many Marylanders resented this attack on their States rights and many were sympathetic to the cause of the South including the Surratt’s who owned a boarding house and tavern. The home to the Surratt’s would be named Surrattsville and today is Clinton.

Mary Surratt’s husband John H. Surratt died of a stroke while in Confederate service in 1862 and her son John, Jr. quit his studies at St. Charles College in July 1861 and became a courier for the Confederate Secret Service, moving messages, cash and contraband back and forth across enemy lines.

In 1864 Mary and her children John, Jr. and Anna moved into a townhouse in Washington, D.C.

The Reconstruction Era of 1865-1870 would forever change America.

July 7, 1865 was a dark day in America. On this day Mary Surratt, a Mother, Wife, Marylander, and Southerner would become the first woman to be executed by the United States Federal Government.

Mary Surratt was held at the Old Capitol Prison's annex and then at the Washington Arsenal. She was brought before a military commission on May 9, 1865, charged with conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. Her lawyer was United States Senator Reverdy Johnson.

Mary Surratt’s daughter Anna Surratt pleaded for her Mother’s life to Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt but he refused to consider clemency. She also attempted several times to See President Andrew Johnson, but was not granted permission to see him.

Mary Surratt continued to assert his innocence and at noon on July 6th was told she would be hanged the next day. She wept controllably. She was joined by two Catholic Priest’s (Jacob Walter and B.F. Wiget) and her daughter Anna. Father Jacob would stay with her almost to her death.

On July 7, 1865, at 1:15 P.M., Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt were escorted through the courtyard and up the steps to the gallows as more than a thousand people looked on. Mary Surratt was wearing a black bombazine dress, black bonnet and black veil and either because of weakness from her illness or fear or both she had to be supported by two soldiers and her priest. She declared she was innocent up to her death.

From the scaffold, Powell said, "Mrs. Surratt is innocent. She doesn't deserve to die with the rest of us.”
Was there a conspiracy against the South and those sympathetic to their cause or were these people guilty of the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln?

Dr. Samuel Mudd an American Physician was convicted and imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Lincoln. He was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and released from prison in 1869. His prison record however still stands and his conviction has never been overturned.

To learn more about Mary Surratt read: Mary Surratt: An American Tragedy by Elizabeth Trindal.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Fort Pillow Attack

It is almost as difficult to find consistent information about the incident at Fort Pillow as it is to determine the moral significance of its outcome. Scholars disagree about exactly what transpired on April 12, 1864 at Fort Pillow, when General Nathan Bedford Forrest captured the fort with his 1,500 troops and claimed numerous Union lives in the process (Wyeth 250).

It became an issue of propaganda for the Union, and as a result the facts were grossly distorted. After close examination it is clear that the ³Fort Pillow Massacre² (as it became known by abolitionists) was nothing of the sort. The 1,500 troops under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest acted as men and as soldiers in their capture of Fort Pillow.

It is first necessary to understand what happened in the battle before any judgment can be made. A careful study performed by Dr. John Wyeth revealed the following information: from April 9-11, 1864, troops under the command of Ben McCulloch, Tyree Harris Bell, and Brig. General James Chalmers marched non-stop to Fort Pillow to begin their assault under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Confederate sharpshooters claimed the lives of several key Union officers during the morning assault on the fort. The losses included the commanding officer Major Lionel F. Booth and his second in command shortly after that. These losses created a complete breakdown of order and leadership among the Union troops within the fort. (251)

During the morning engagement, the gun boat the New Era was continually attempting to shell the Confederate forces from the Mississippi, but with minimal success. The Union forces fought back heartily until around one o¹clock in the afternoon, when both sides slowed down. Around that time the New Era steamed out of range to cool its weapons. It had fired a total of 282 rounds, and its supplies were almost totally exhausted. During this hiatus in the firing, while Confederate troops waited for supplies that would arrive around three o¹clock, Forrest was injured when his horse fell on him after being mortally wounded (252).

When the supplies arrived, Confederate troops under a flag of truce delivered a message from Forrest that said, ³My men have received a fresh supply of ammunition, and from their present position can easily assault and capture the fort,² (253). Forrest demanded ³the unconditional surrender of the garrison, ² promising ³that you shall be treated as prisoners of war² (253). This agreement was refused by Major William F. Bradford using the name of Major Booth, and Forrest was left with no option but to attack (Long & Long 484).

Without a word, Forrest rode to his post, and a bugle call began the charge. The soldiers stormed the fort under the cover of sharpshooter fire. The Union spent their rounds on the charging mass, and the second wave was to all intents and purposes a ³turkey shoot.² As hordes of soldiers came over the wall, a considerable number of Union lives were lost to point blank fire, an action that was deemed murder by the northern press. (255) However, it must not be forgotten that those Union troops who died were in the process of reloading their rifles. Even knowing that they were severely outnumbered, they had demanded the fight (Henry 255).

By this point most of the Union officers in the fort had been killed, and the remaining troops fled the fort toward the river where they had provisions waiting. There was also a plan for the New Era to shell the Confederate troops in the fort with canister, but the shelling never happened. (Confederate troops were waiting at the bottom of the fort to prevent access to the supplies by the Union forces. With the Union flag still flying upon the fort and Union forces still firing on the run, Confederate troops claimed many more lives on the river bank.

It was reported by Colonel Barteau that they made a wild, crazy, scattering fight. They acted like a crowd of drunken men. They would at one moment yield and throw down their guns, and then would rush again to arms, seize their guns and renew the fire. If one squad was left as prisoners ... it would soon discover that they could not be trusted as having surrendered, for taking the first opportunity they would break lose again and engage in the contest. Some of our men were killed by Negroes who had once surrendered (256).

The report of Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn, Sixth U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery confirmed this in which he reported: "There never was a surrender of the fort, both officers and men declaring they never would surrender or ask for quarter."

With this type of activity, it is understandable how a superior force could claim so many casualties. However, the issue is not so clear to Civil War historians. The first and biggest problem has to do with the information that different historians base their opinions on.

For example, in a historical account written by Carl Sandburg it is reported that Forrest¹s troops stood 6,000 strong. This is slightly inflated from the actual 1,500 that were present. In this same account Sandburg claims that the ³battle ended as a mob scene with wholesale lynching² (Sandburg 247).

It was distorted information such as this that was used by the Union as propaganda against the South. After the incident General Kilpatrick was quoted saying Forrest had
³nailed Negroes to the fences, set fire to the fences, and burned the Negroes to death² (Hurst 321). With reports like this, it is understandable why abolitionist were outraged.

The Congressional Committee released a summary after the event. It stated ³that the rebels took advantage of a flag of truce to place themselves in ³position from which the more readily to charge the upon the fort²; that after the fall of the fort ³the rebels commenced in an indiscriminate slaughter sparing neither age nor sex, white or black, soldier or civilian²; that this was ³not the results passions excited by the heat of conflict, but of a policy deliberation decided upon and unhesitatingly announced²; that several of the wounded were intentionally burned to death in huts and tents about the fort; and the ³the rebels buried some of the living the dead.² (Henry 260)

LT Van Horn reported that "Lieutenant John D. Hill, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, was ordered outside the fort to burn some barracks, which he, with the assistance of a citizen who accompanied him, succeeded in effecting." This accounts for the barracks allegedly burned by Confederates in which wounded Union soldiers were supposed to have perished.

Union officers were in charge of burials and made no such report of living burials.

In the intensive studies performed by Dr. John Wyeth there were more than fifty soldiers that were present at this battle who gave sworn testimonies contradicting these findings.(260) This suggests that the Union fabricated the truth to aid in its own cause. The fact is that most of what was said about Forrest¹s unethical actions were false accusations.

Testimonies from several different sources (both Union and Confederate) claim that there were no movements under the flag of truce, but that they had their positions hours before. (Henry 260) It is true that the losses were huge in this battle, but that is typical of many significantly unbalanced battles. According to Wyeth there was only one incident of force against the Union after the Union flag came down, and that resulted in an on the spot arrest.

LT Van Horn's report makes no mention of any "massacre" or misconduct on the part of Forrest or his men and was for a time a prisoner himself, reporting "I escaped by putting on citizen's clothes, after I had been some time their prisoner. I received a slight wound of the left ear"

This entire incident was blown totally of proportion. It is tragic to lose even one life, but on a battle field, death is inevitable. This event became a monumental point in the war because of exaggeration and lies told by Union supporters. These lies strengthened the Union cause and further blemished the reputation of Confederate forces. Morally, there is no fault in Forrest¹s actions.

Reference Materials:

Henry, Robert Selph. "First the Most"-Forrest. . New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1944.

Hurst, Jack. Nathan Bedford Forrest-A Biography. New York: Alfred Knoph, 1993.

Lee, Guy Carleton. The True History of the Civil War. Philadelphia: I.B. Lippincott, 1903.

Long, E. B. and Barbara Long. The Civil War Day by Day-An Almanac. New York: Doubleday, 1971.

Sandburg, Carl. Storm over the Land--A Profile of the Civil War. New York: Harcourt Brace: 1939.

Wyeth, John Allan. That Devil Forrest -The Life of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1959.

Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. 32, Part 1, pp. 569-570

Report of Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn, Sixth U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, of the capture of Fort Pillow

Student Essay - Cal Poly

Numbers 16. Report of Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn, Sixth U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, of the capture of Fort Pillow – Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol. 32, Part 1, pp. 569-570


Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tenn., April 14, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the battle and capture of Fort Pillow, Tenn.:

At sunrise on the morning of the 12th of April, 1864, our pickets were attacked and driven in, they making very slight resistance. They were from the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry

Major Booth, commanding the post, had made all his arrangements for battle that the limited force under his command would allow, and which was only 450 effective men, consisting of the First Battalion of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, five companies of the
Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry and one section of the Second U. S. Light Artillery. (Colorado, Lieutenant Hunter.

Arrangements were scarcely completed and the men placed in the rifle-pits before the enemy came upon us and in ten times our number, as acknowledged by General Chalmers. They were repulsed with heavy loss; charged again and were again repulsed. At the third charge Major Booth was killed, while passing among his men and cheering them to fight.

The order was then given to retire inside the fort, and General Forrest sent in a flag of truce demanding an unconditional surrender of the fort, which was returned with a decided refusal.

During the time consumed by this consultation advantage was taken by the enemy to place in position his force, they crawling up to the fort.

After the flag had retired, the fight was renewed and raged with fury for some time, when another flag of truce was sent in and another demand for surrender made, they assuring us at the same time that they would treat us as "prisoners of war."

Another refusal was returned, when they again charged the works and succeeded in carrying them. Shortly before this, however, Lieutenant John D. Hill, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, was ordered outside the fort to burn some barracks, which he, with the assistance of a citizen who accompanied him, succeeded in effecting, and in returning was killed.

Major Bradford, of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was now in command. At 4 o'clock the fort was in possession of the enemy, every man having been either killed, wounded, or captured.

There never was a surrender of the fort, both officers and men declaring they never would surrender or ask for quarter. [Emphasis added, ed.]

As for myself, I escaped by putting on citizen's clothes, after I had been some time their prisoner. I received a slight wound of the left ear.

I cannot close this report without adding my testimony to that accorded by others wherever the black man has been brought into battle. Never did men fight better, and when the odds against us are considered it is truly miraculous that we should have held the fort an hour. To the colored troops is due the successful holding out until 4 p. m. The men were constantly at their posts, and in fact through the whole engagement showed a valor not, under the circumstances, to have been expected from troops less than veterans, either white or black.

The following is a list of the casualties among the officers as far as known: Killed, Major Lionel F. Booth, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Major William F. Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry; Captain Theodore F. Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry; Captain Delos Carson, Company D, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Lieutenant John D. Hill, Company C, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Lieutenant Peter Bischoff,* Company A, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored). Wounded, Captain Charles J. Epeneter, Company A, prisoner; Lieutenant Thomas W. McClure, Company C, prisoner; Lieutenant Henry Lippettt, Company B, escaped, badlywounded; Lieutenant Van Horn, Company D, escaped, slightly wounded.

I know of about 15 men of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored) having escaped, and all but 2 of them are wounded.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,

2nd Lieutenant Company D, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored).

Lieutenant Colonel T. H. HARRIS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War; Richard Taylor, Lieutenant-General in the Confederate Army. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 549 and 551 Broadway,1879, pp.200

I doubt if any commander since the days of lion-hearted Richard has killed as many enemies with his own hand as Forrest. His word of command as he led the charge was unique: "Forward, men, and mix with 'em!" But, while cutting down many a foe with long reaching, nervous arm, his keen eye watched the whole fight and guided him to the weak spot. Yet he was a tender-hearted, kindly man. The accusations of his enemies that he murdered prisoners at Fort Pillow and elsewhere are absolutely false. The prisoners captured on his expedition into Tennessee, of which I have just written, were negroes, and he carefully looked after their wants himself, though in rapid movement and fighting much of the time. These negroes told me of Mass Forrest's kindness to them.

"Was There a Massacre at Ft. Pillow?" John L. Jordan, Tennessee History Quarterly VI (June 1947), pp 99-133:

"...burial details were composed of Union troops under Union officers, a fact which clears Forrest's men of the charges that they buried Negro wounded alive...Union casualties may have amounted to less two hundred killed, wounded, and missing
Please LIKE my
Freedom Watch
Facebook page
share it with friends

Please LIKE my
Southern Heritage News
& Views Facebook page
share it with friends.