Thursday, July 30, 2009

CSS Alabama Cannon Conserved

Underwater Archaeologist Reunites with Civil War CannonStory Date: 7/28/2009 2:46:00 PM

From Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) underwater archaeologist and conservator was recently reunited with an artifact from his university graduate work, a Civil War-era cannon from the Confederate raider CSS Alabama.

Alabama sank off Cherbourg, France June, 19, 1864, following an epic battle with the Union steam sloop-of-war Kearsarge.The 32-pound pivoting Blakely gun was raised from the CSS Alabama wreck site and sent to Texas A&M University for conservation during the summer of 2005."I was employed as a graduate student conservator at the Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL) in Texas A&M's Nautical Archaeology Program at that time and was already working on a collection of CSS Alabama artifacts previously recovered from the site," said George R. Schwarz in a recent interview."I began working on the cannon, first mechanically removing the hard encrustation that covered most of the iron surface. To do this, we used a careful combination of hammer and chisel to remove large pieces of encrustation. Afterwards, we used a pneumatic chisel to gently blast away the thinner layers of concretion until the surface of the cannon was mostly clear. In the process, we discovered a brass rear gun site that was very well-preserved."

After this initial basic cleaning Schwarz and other CRL conservators performed the electrolytic reduction (ER) conservation treatment of the rare piece of ordnance."Once the cannon is cleaned, it is placed in a large steel vat filled with an electrolyte, usually a percentage of sodium hydroxide," continued Schwarz. "A power supply feeds a low current density directly to the cannon via medium gauge wires and Mueller clips. In time, the low current density gently causes the evolution of hydrogen from below the iron surface, effectively removing the chlorides that had impregnated the iron after 130 years in seawater," continued Schwarz.

"Periodically, the chloride levels of the electrolyte are monitored, and once they reach a certain point, the cannon is removed and the electrolyte is changed. Meanwhile, the cannon is once again mechanically cleaned before being placed back inside the vat. This process continued for a period of roughly three years, until the chloride content was very low. Then, the artifact was given three baths of boiling deionized water, painted with tannic acid, and dipped in boiling microcrystalline wax to seal it from the effects of moisture and other environmental problems.

"While cleaning the bore of the cannon the conservators were surprised to discover an unfired shell still lodged inside.This shell was carefully removed by members of CRL, made inert by a Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Camp Lejuene, N.C., and subsequently conserved.

In May 2008, Schwarz began working as an archaeological conservator and manager of the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch Conservation Laboratory located on the historic Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.Part of his duties, in addition to operating the lab, is to manage the collection of NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) artifacts. This includes issuing loan agreements to various museums interested in displaying U.S. Navy artifacts from underwater archaeological sites.

Currently, UAB is responsible for curating approximately 1,400 of 9,000 artifacts in its inventory. The rest are on loan to museums and other institutions for display or research. Schwarz also keeps track of U.S. Navy artifacts that are being conserved by other conservation labs, such as Texas A&M's CRL. A batch of recently conserved artifacts from CSS Alabama, including the cannon and other artifacts he had worked on, were ready to be returned to NHHC UAB Conservation Lab for curation in June 2009.

The cannon is now in the warehouse next to the Conservation Laboratory and awaits placement in the National Museum of United States Navy for exhibit."As a graduate student conservator at Texas A&M, I never imagined I would be among the recipients of the conserved cannon and other CSS Alabama artifacts I was working on at the time. When they were delivered to NHHC last month, however, I could fully appreciate the effort that was put into the conservation of these once-submerged links to our Navy's culture and history. It was worthwhile because now modern Sailors and the general public can enjoy them in their preserved state. It is one thing to be working on them in a secluded laboratory, and another altogether to see visitors' awed expressions as they imagine how these objects were used by Sailors during the American Civil War at sea," said Schwarz.

Alabama was the scourge of the American merchant fleet during a two year commerce-destroying campaign before she sank during the battle with Kearsarge. A French Navy mine-hunting ship discovered Alabama's wreckage in 1984.Since the shipwreck lies in French territorial waters, the governments of the United States and France agreed in 1989 to establish a binational project to document and protect the wreck site while working to recover and conserve artifacts.

For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit

New Visitor's Center At Carnton Plantation

Carnton Plantation opens new visitors center
By Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN
July 29, 2009

FRANKLIN — Today, visitors to Carnton Plantation will get their first glimpse inside a long planned project to bring modern amenities to a site with ties to Franklin's Civil War past.

The new, $1.2 million Fleming Center opens its doors for a soft opening Wednesday that Carnton supporters have been hoping would come for years. At 7,000 square feet, the new visitors center offers ample event and exhibit space, as well as new restrooms, water fountains and office space for staff. The center will replace the doublewide trailer used at the site for years.
The upgrade will improve visitors' trips to the museum and will mean more guests can use Carnton for events like weddings and receptions, said Margie Thessin, plantation interim executive director.

"For us, events are fund-raising," Thessin said. "We really hope that people like to come out and take a look."

During the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, the plantation's main house was used as a hospital. It is adjacent to the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, the largest privately held Confederate cemetery.

The center, which sits behind where the trailer is located, is named after Sam Fleming, a Franklin native and Middle Tennessee banker who was a lifelong supporter of the museum. His widow, Valerie Fleming, raised money to build the center and name it after her husband. An official dedication ceremony will take place Sept. 12.

Exhibits planned for the center include a new Battle of Franklin exhibit that will feature relics from the battle, including presentation swords and other artifacts. In September, the center will host an exhibit focusing on Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, who was defeated at the Battle of Franklin.

"We feel like this exhibit is going to draw people from all over the country," Thessin said.

The center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays, the center will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Post Convention GEC Meeting

Synopsis of Post Convention GEC meeting held Saturday July 25.

Meeting began at 1:40 PM with pledge, salute and prayer.

1. 14 members present and quorum attained.

2. Discussion of the Hardwick Case in South Carolina. GEC vote to provide financial support to continue the case.

3. GEC voted to establish a Building Fund for a
n SCV office building / museum.

4. GEC voted to create a Heritage Promotion Fund.

5. Executive Director Sewell stated that numerous members had purchased a membership in the Sesquicentennial Society
in the last two days. GEC voted to have Director Sewell creates a payment plan so members could spread the 200 dollar cost to join the society over several payments. Details later.

6. GEC voted to create a Bicentennial Fund to be used for commemorations of the 200 year anniversary of the War For Southern Independence. The monies in this fund will be restricted so they will be available for the bicentennial.

7. Compatriot Philip Davis gave the GEC a report on the 2011 SCV Reunion to be held in Montgomery, Alabama.

8. Texas Division requested free advertising in the Veteran to assist in raising funds for a flag display. GEC voted to give
the Texas Division a full page add in two issues of the Veteran.

9. CIC McMichael announced the Fall GEC meeting would be
held Saturday , October 17 at Elm Springs.

Meeting ended with prayer and the singing of Dixie!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Battle Of Atlanta

Remembering the Battle of Atlanta
Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Sunday, July 26, 2009

July marks the145th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta that marked the beginning of the end of the Southern people’s quest for independence.

Are today’s children taught about the War Between the States Battle’s of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Jonesboro, Fredericksburg, Pea Ridge, Vicksburg, Kennesaw Mountain, Nashville and Atlanta that ultimately led to Gen. Sherman’s March to the Sea?

Did you know that Confederate Brigadier Gen. Stand Watie, an American Indian, held the highest rank on either side, Union or Confederate, or that Black Confederates helped defend Atlanta and are buried on the grounds of a famous Atlanta Black University?
In July, 1864, a free-black man, Soloman (Sam) Luckie, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta barber was talking to a group of businessmen when a cannon shell burst wounded him. The white businessmen took him to their surgeon where he died from the wounds. Luckie may have been one of the first casualties of General Sherman’s assault on Atlanta. A street was later named in his memory

For the remainder of this article see the link below:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friday and Saturday Convention Business

The Friday July 24 business session meeting began at 9 AM.

1. Time and Place Committee report was given by Chief of Staff who is also a member of the Time and Place Committee . The committee reported that at the spring GEC meeting held at Elm Springs four bids were heard for the 2012 Reunion. The Time and Place Committee recommended the bid of the Murfresboro Camp No. 33 of Murfresboro TN be accepted by the GEC. The GEC voted to accept the recommendation of the Time and Place Committee and refer the recommendation of the Time and Place Committee to the General Convention. The General Convention in Hot Springs voted to accept the bid of the Murfresboro Camp No. 33 to be the host of the of the 2012 General Convention.

2. ANV Commander Brag Bowling gave a report on the recent work of the Stephen D. Lee Institute.

3. Sesquicentennial Society Report - The GEC approved the formation of the Sesquicentennial Society at its spring meeting at Elm Springs. The dues of the Society ( one time ) will be 200 dollars. 150 dollars of this amount will be allocated to a building fund to construct a new office building and museum on the grounds of SCV headquarters at Elm Spring. The remaining 50 dollars will go into a fund to be used at the Bicentennial of the War for Southern Independence.

4. The convention held a discus sion of the licensing agreement of the Sesquicentennial logo with Dixie Outfitters.

5. ANV Commander Bowling gave his Army of Northern Virginia report.

6. AOT Commander Kelly Barrow gave his Army of Tennessee Report.

7. ATM Commander Todd Owens gave his Army of Trans-Mississippi Report. The convention took a break from 10:35 AM to 10:55 AM.

8.Virginia Division Commander Sawyer gave a report on Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. The SCV will be given the cemetery. This will resolve a long standing issue between the SCV and the city of Richmond regarding the care of the cemetery.

9. 2010 Reunion Committee Chairman Ron Wilson gave the phone number for the host hotel for the 2010 reunion in Anderson, South Carolina. The number is 864-964-0100. This number and NOT the 800 number for the Hilton H otel chain must be used to get the SCV rate at the hotel. The Hilton Garden Inn is the host hotel.

10. There was a proposal made that the SCV adopt a flag for Confederate POW / MIAs. The proposal was defeated.

11. The CIC lead a discussion of the SCV affinity credit card. After the discussion the body voted to pursue a SCV credit card with a variety of art work.

Meeting recessed at 11:50 until 10 AM Saturday.

Saturday July 25 Meeting:

The Convention assembled at 10:00 AM after the conclusion of the Army Meetings.

The Convention began the consideration of the proposed amendments to the Constitution and Standing orders.

A. Constitutional Amendments.

1. Amendment 1 passed with amendments to further clarify that A rmy C ommanders AND A rmy C ouncilmen would submit nominations to the CIC for membership on the disciplinary committee.

2. Amendment 2 was withdrawn by the author.

3. Amendment 3, which raised the number of members required to form a camp, was defeated.

4. Amendment 4 , defining discipline procedures, passed.

5. Amendment 5, which would extend the term of the CIC and Lt. CIC, failed.

B. Standing Order Amendments

1. Amendment 1, which allows the GEC to create special purpose endowment funds, passed.

2. Amendment 2,3 and 4 were considered as a group. These amendments create a Convention Planning Committee, in place of the existing Time and Place Committee, and Heritage Promotion Committee as standing committees. Amendments passed.

3. Amendment 5 creates a standing Youth Enhancement Committee. motion was proposed to postpone consideration of the amendment. Motion passed and amendment postponed.

C. Ed Butler, Chairman of the Heritage Promotion Committee, addressed the convention regarding the placement of flags and other monuments in prominent places.

D. Convention considered the following proposed resolutions:

1. Resolution No.1 thanking the Keller Camp for their work on the Convention as host was passed. Author Chief of Staff Chuck Rand.

2. Resolution No. 2 by AOT Commander Kelly Barrow, passed. - Condemning those who misuse confederate symbols.

3. Resolution condemning the town of Jonesboro,TN for refusing to accept bricks denoting Confederate service in their veterans memorial was passed. Author Kirk Lyons of North Carolina.

4. Resolution submitted by Kirk Lyons recognizing the long service of Russell Darden and naming all future undesignated scholarships to the Sam Davis Youth Camp be named as Russell Darden Scholarships. Compatriot Darden was a 57 year member of the SCV who passed away during the past year. Resolution passed.

5. Resolution proposed by North Carolina Division Commander Tom Smith stating that only Confederate or Confederate State flags be displayed at monuments and memorials erected as part of the work of the Heritage Promotion Committee. Resolution failed.

E. Motion made by Alabama Division Commander Robert Reames to have Resolution No. 2 made to be the permanent official policy of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Motion passed.

F. Chief of Staff Rand gave a brief report to the convention.

G. Business meeting concluded at 12:15 PM with remarks by CIC McMichael , prayer and the singing of Dixie!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hot Springs Convention Report for July 23

Report on the Hot Springs Reunion - Thursday July 23.

Opening ceremonies opened at 8:30 AM by Convention Chairman Loy Mauch and included a musical program and greetings by the Mayor of Hot Springs, the hotel manager, the SUVCW, The United Daughters of the Confederacy, The Children of the Confederacy the Arkansas Division Commander, ATM Commander and the Commander in Chief.

Business began at 10 AM.

1. Adjutant announced that a quroum had been achieved.

2. Convention adopted the Special Rules of Order for the convention.

3. Minutes of the 2008 Convention in Concord, North Carolina were adopted.

4. CIC McMichael discussed the now completed purchase of 8 acres adjacent to the Elm Springs home. This land is situated very close to the home and gives the SCV control of the land in the immediate vincinity of our headquarters.

5. Adjutant in Chief Mark Simpson presented his report to the convention.

6. Executive Director Ben Sewell made a report to the convention and the delegates gave him a standing ovation for the service he has given to the SCV.

7. The proposed SCV budget for the next year was presented to the delegates. It was adopted as presented with a request for additional detail in the future.

8. Lt. CIC Givens presented his report to the convention.

9. Past CIC Ron Wilson spoke to the convention regarding the 2010 general reunion to be held in Anderson, South Carolina. The business meetings will be held at the local convention center with the main hotel to be used will be the Hilton Garden Inn where the room rates are $80.00 per night. Commander Wilson aslo gave a report on the recently concluded Sam Davis Youth Camps and was presented with a cowboy hat by the members of the youth camp held in Texas.

Business concluded just after noon and the body recessed to meet on Friday at 9 AM.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pre-Convention GEC Meeting at Hot Springs

Condensed Account of GEC meeting of July 22, 2009 at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

1. Invocation, pledge and salute to Confedrate flag given and Charge given by CIC McMichael

2. Minutes of GEC Spring Meeting and the teleconferences (3) which took place over the months since the Spring GEC meeting at Elm Springs were approved.

3. GEC adopted new Roll Of Honor Certificate

4. GEC adopted new Life Membership Certificate which will list the ancestor of the life member in addition to the name of the life member.

5. Division Commander James, of the Texas Division, requested that the GEC approve the use of the SCV Logo on vehicle tags to be issued by the State of Texas. The Division is preparing to file the necessary paperwork to have the State authorize issuance of SCV tags in Texas. The GEC voted to approve the use of the SCV Logo as requested.

6. Adopted Sesquicentennial Society Medal and Membership Certificate.

7. Brief Report was given by past CIC Ron Wilson regarding preparations for the 2010 Reunion to be held in Anderson, South Carolina.

8. Loy Mauch, Chairman of the Hot Springs Reunion Committee, gave a report regarding the preparations for the Hot Springs Reunion.

9. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year was presented to the GEC.

10. The GEC discussed the proposed amendments for the Constitution and Standing Orders to be considered at the Convention.

11. Brief executive session was held.

12. Meeting closed with a prayer and the singing of Dixie!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gettysburg Reunion - 1913

Remembering the Gettysburg Reunion of 1913
Calvin Johnson
July 17, 2009

Do you know who Gen. Robert Edward Lee, Major Gen. George Edward Pickett and Major Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain were? Are children still taught about these men and all those who met on the famous War Between the States battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania? Some call the Gettysburg Battlefield the most haunted place in America as many thousands died on that fateful month of July 1863.

The story of the Battle of Gettysburg and 50th Anniversary Reunion would make for a heart-warming and touching TV Historic mini-series or Hollywood movie."Comrades and friends, these splendid statues of marble and granite and bronze shall finally crumble to dust, and in the ages to come, will perhaps be forgotten, but the spirit that has called this great assembly of our people together, on this field, shall live forever."

The rest of the article can be found at:

Monday, July 13, 2009

ANV Awards Scholarship

July 13, 2009

Army of Northern Virginia
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Columbia, Tennessee


South Carolina student wins SCV scholarship

The Army of Northern Virginia of the International Sons of Confederate Veterans is pleased to announce that Michael C. Griffin, Jr., of Hanahan, South Carolina, has won the ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA SCHOLARSHIP for 2009. In addition to a financial award of $1000 the winning essay will be published in Confederate Veteran Magazine, a publication of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Mr. Griffin is a recent graduate of Northside Christian School in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The winning essay was titled “A Natural Leader” and deals with the actions of Robert E. Lee in dealing with the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, by abolitionist John Brown.

The ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA SCHOLARSHIP is awarded annually to a high school senior. The purpose of the scholarship is to promote history in our schools. Only students living in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are eligible for the award. A panel of academics chaired by Mr. Richard Williams of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, reviews all essays and decides the winner.

Any newspaper wishing to publish the winning essay should contact Brag Bowling at 804-389-3620.

Brag Bowling
Army of Northern Virginia

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gen. Forrest Remembered on his 188th Birthday

Gen. Forrest and the Confederate flag
Calvin E. Johnson Jr.

By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Saturday, July 11, 2009

Monday, July 13th, in the year of our Lord 2009, is the188th birthday of American legend and Southern Hero--Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
President Obama continued a century-old tradition, on Memorial Day, by honoring American Servicemen and women buried at Arlington National Cemetery and sending a wreath to the Confederate and Black Union soldier’s section.

Some criticized Obama for remembering the Confederate soldiers buried at section 16 but, like his predecessors, the president did the historically-correct and Patriotic thing in remembering ‘All’ American Veterans.
Almost a century earlier, on June 4, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson spoke at Arlington National Cemetery on the occasion of the unveiling of a new Confederate Monument by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. His speech echoed praise for the Confederate soldier and he received applause from a crowd of thousands that included Confederate and Union Veterans.

Will the circle, of remembering our American family, be unbroken?
Some, today, seek to ban the Confederate Battle flag, the blood-stained soldier’s banner of many hard fought battles, from Veterans Day events and the soldier’s monument at South Carolina’s State Capitol. There is also a push to ban the Confederate flag at all NASCAR races.

Some groups claim the Southern flag is offensive to Black people.
But, what do they say to Black folks who call the Confederate flag a symbol of Southern Pride like Nelson Winbush of Florida who is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans— Mr. Winbush speaks truthfully and from the heart about the War for Southern Independence, 1861-65, and of his grandfather who fought for the South. He may even ‘proudly’ show you a picture of himself, as a child, with his Grandfather, Louis Napoleon Nelson, who rode with Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in Company M of the 7th Tennessee Cavalry and was buried with his Confederate uniform and Confederate flag draped casket.

Gen. Forrest said of the Black men who rode with him, “These boys stayed with me ... and better Confederates did not live.”
You might also ask Black Southern-Historian H.K. Edgerton who marched across Dixie from North Carolina to Texas attired in Confederate uniform, carrying the Confederate flag and educating many Black and White people along the way about their Southern Heritage. Edgerton is also past president of the local NAACP Chapter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Was Gen. Forrest an early advocate for Civil Rights?
Forrest’s speech during a meeting of the “Jubilee of Pole Bearers” is a story that needs to be told. Gen. Forrest was the first white man to be invited by this group which was a forerunner of today’s Civil Right’s group. A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event.

Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan Bedford Forrest delivered this speech.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none. (Applause.)
I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us.
When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.” (Prolonged applause.) End of speech.

Nathan Bedford Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis, Tennessee.

Some people have claimed that Forrest was associated with the Ku Klux Klan but he officially denied participation. He encouraged the friendly reunion of North and South and the remembrance of both the Confederate and Union Dead.

Forrest died on October 29, 1877, in Memphis, Tennessee and is buried with his wife at Forrest Park.

Lest We Forget!!

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson, Chairman of the National and Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate History Month lives near the historic town of Kennesaw and he’s a member of the Chattahoochee Guards Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is the author of the book ”When America Stood for God, Family and Country.” Calvin can be reached at:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gen. S.D. Lee's Desk Donated to Museum

Lee's campaign desk donated

The Post and Courier
Monday, July 6, 2009

It is called a campaign desk, an Antebellum-era box of mahogany and inlaid ivory that once carried papers, pens and Confederate stamps, and provided a stable writing surface on the battlefield. In other words, it is, as J. Grahame Long calls it, a Civil War laptop.

The desk would be valuable enough on its own, but this one, donated to the Charleston Museum this week, belonged to Lowcountry native and Confederate Gen. Stephen Dill Lee.
"It's nice to see personal items like this," said Long, the museum's curator of history. "Uniforms and weapons are nice, but these items help humanize a person."

The desk, donated by a descendent of Lee, likely saw more action than most Confederate soldiers. The general traveled the battle-scarred countryside throughout the war, fighting at Sharpsburg, Vicksburg, Franklin and Manassas. He likely carried the fold-out desk top everywhere he went.

"These were common and in high-demand, especially among officers in the Civil War," Long said. "It would have traveled with Lee, but obviously he loved it very much. He took care of it."
The desk is in near pristine condition and still carries mementos of this nation's deadliest period. Inside, there are a few Confederate stamps stuck to a lid, and there are two contemporary bullets where the ink well once sat.

He may not have been the most famous Lee from the war, but Stephen Dill Lee played an important role in the War Between the States. On April 11, 1861, Lee and Col. James Chestnut, husband of the famous Civil War diarist Mary Chestnut, rowed out to Fort Sumter to deliver the surrender ultimatum to Union Major Robert Anderson.

Charleston Museum curator J. Grahame Long looks at a Civil War-era campaign desk that once belonged to Confederate Gen. Stephen Dill Lee. The desk was donated to the museum by one of Lee's descendants. Some folks claim Lee even fired the first shots on the fort a few days later.
It's unlikely the surrender note was penned on this desk, or that Lee even composed it, but the antique is still an important piece of history.

Brag Bowling, chairman of the Stephen Dill Lee Institute, the education outreach program of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said Lee is a major figure of the era. Although he eventually rose to the lofty rank of corps commander in the Western Confederate Army, he is perhaps even better known for his post-war work.

Lee eventually settled in Mississippi and became president of the state university there. He spent the final decades of his life trying to educate Southerners about the war.
As commander of the United Confederate Veterans, Lee charged the Sons of Confederate Veterans with upholding the honor and history of the South's soldiers.
It is a mission, Bowling said, the SCV continues to this day, and it's why the institute is named after Lee. No doubt some of those ideas promoted by the Charleston native in his life were composed on the desk, which is expected to go on display in August.
"That is a very valuable relic," Bowling said.

Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or