Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jefferson Davis Library Plans Move Forward

New Jefferson Davis library planned

Associated Press - October 7, 2009 6:14 AM ET

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - A contract has been signed to build a new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum at Beauvoir, the Gulf Coast house that was the retirement home for the president of the Confederacy.

Beauvoir's Director Rick Forte said Tuesday's signing was the result of 4 years of work.

The J.C. Dukes Construction Company of Mobile, Ala., won the $10.4 million contract, according to WLOX television.

The old library was demolished after being heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide 90% of the money for the project.

Information from: WLOX-TV,

Homestead Parade On Again

Confederate flag may fly in VFW Homestead parade
Written by ELGIN JONES

HOMESTEAD – Undaunted by the cancellation of the traditional Homestead Veterans Day Parade, a group of veterans on Wednesday announced that it is organizing its own parade, and would not necessarily ban the Confederate battle flag from being displayed in it.

Officials with the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) say they have submitted a permit application to the city of Homestead, seeking to hold this year’s Veterans Day parade in the city.

The revelation came a day after the South Florida Times reported that the Military Affairs Committee (MAC) of the Greater Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce, which has previously organized the 47-year event, voted recently to cancel this year’s Nov. 11 parade. The move followed an announcement by the MAC last month that it would hold the parade, but ban the display of the Confederate battle flag.

The flag is a symbol of southern pride to some, but represents slavery, lynching and racial mistreatment to others.

“We made the decision to go forward, and we just put the application in. I don’t know if we are going to get any resistance to it, but the application has been filed with the city, and we are waiting for the permit,” said William Thibault, a retired veteran who is working with the Arrant-Smith VFW Post 4127 in Homestead to organize the alternative version of the parade.

Homestead city spokeswoman Lillian Delgado said in an email that the VFW has not yet submitted an application to hold the parade.

The VFW is sending out invitation applications from an established list of past parade participants, with a Nov. 6 deadline for them to be returned.

Thibault said the group would not automatically bar the Sons of Confederate Veterans from participating.

“First of all, I have no comment on that because I don’t know who will or will not respond to the applications we are sending out,” Thibault said. “This will not be a decision made by me alone. The committee allows for participation by any organization that honors veterans, and if they tell us on their applications what their theme is, and whether they will have floats, etc., then a decision will be made whether they meet our requirements or not.”

But already, Gregory E. Kalof, a commander in the Miami-Dade County-based Private George Perry camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said his organization will participate in the VFW parade, no differently than other veterans organizations.

The parade is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11 at noon in downtown Homestead, according to the forms that the VFW is sending to would-be applicants.

“This parade, honoring the memory of the men and women who have fought to defend our nation and liberty is the oldest and, usually, the largest Veteran’s Day celebration in Miami-Dade County,’’ the form reads. “As such, we expect all entries will be designed to convey the patriotic theme of the holiday.”

Thibault said the VFW has been assured that it will get financial and other support, but did not elaborate on the source of that support. The city of Homestead has provided financial support to previous Veterans Day parades.

The MAC canceled its version of this year’s parade after several participants pulled out due to controversy surrounding the participation of Confederate States groups in last year’s parade, and the display of the Confederate battle flag during the event.

The Miami-Dade NAACP and some residents opposed the participation of Confederate organizations, and threatened an economic boycott of the chamber’s member businesses if those groups were not barred from participating in future parades.

After the MAC canceled its version of this year’s parade, Bishop Victor T. Curry, president of the Miami-Dade NAACP, said in a statement emailed to the media on Tuesday: “The Sons of the Confederate Veterans organization and the Confederate flag have no place in a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored and taxpayer-supported event.’’

Curry also said, “The NAACP and the coalition of organizations and concerned Americans does not desire the cancellation of the parade but rather a parade that will truly honor U.S. veterans and not insult significant numbers of our citizens.’’

He continued: “Confederate symbols are symbols of support for white supremacy, resistance to desegregation and fighting to maintain slavery. They are as offensive as the Nazi swastika.’’

Neither Curry nor other NAACP officials could be immediately reached for comment about the VFW’s plans for its own Veterans Day parade.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SCV On-Line Mall Now Available


You may remember a few years ago when we had a deal with Amazon where the SCV got a percentage of the money you spent there. Wouldn't it be nice to have places to shop where a portion of your money goes to support the SCV? Now you have that place, a whole mall in fact. A mall with hundreds of stores where each purchase helps the SCV. There you will find all the big name stores that you may already order from. Also there are discounts and coupons available.

We now have the SCV on-line Mall. We have partnered with an organization called We-Care.

Their motto is Shop with Purpose. Well we certainly have a purpose!

The link is:

Of course this can only be a successful venture if we use it. Please immediately book mark that page. For those who might forget to go there before shopping, you can download a reminder, so that if you go to, for example eBay or Amazon, a box will pop up that asked is you want a portion to got to the SCV, you will of course say yes! You can find the reminder program under the Downloads tab on the Mall page or go to :

Please go check this out and spread the word. Anyone can shop there! Send the links to all your friends and family. Use it for business purchases. Put in on your social networking sites like facebook. Make it a part of your signature on your emails. Put the link on your personal webpage. Below I have placed a web banner that you can attach the link to. I ask all SCV webmasters to put it on their sites. Notice that I have not used the SCV logo on the banner, that way any of our friends, like the UDC or OCR, can place it on their sites as well!

I truly believe this program will benefit us greatly. Be sure to forward this email to your contacts,and place this information in your newsletters. I hope you all enjoy using this service and I appreciate your efforts.


Chuck McMichael

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mississippi Battlefield to be Preserved

Friends of Raymond take an impressive step

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Persistence has paid off for the Friends of Raymond in the group’s effort to preserve more of a Civil War battlefield. The beneficiaries will be generations to come.

Saturday, the self-formed group cut the ribbon to 67 additional acres in Hinds County, part of the site where 16,000 soldiers fought on May 12, 1863, and about 1,000 were killed, wounded or declared missing.

The fighting between Union and Confederate troops was part of the Campaign for Vicksburg, led by Gen. U.S. Grant. All previous strategies to capture the city and, thus, split the Confederacy and return control of the Mississippi River to the Union, had failed. Grant had ferried his troops across the river from Louisiana at Bruinsburg, west of Port Gibson, and in a mission fraught with risks, was moving his army up central Mississippi as his supply lines grew longer and longer. The stakes for Grant, and for the future of the nation, were high.

Southern forces did not want to retreat into Vicksburg. Although it was a natural fortress, it was clear enough that an army pinned down would eventually be an army defeated. So, though the North had vastly superior numbers, there was fierce fighting almost every day as Grant tried to advance.

Last week, a PBS series by Ken Burns reminded TV viewers that national parks didn’t just happen. Preserving the nation’s natural and historic treasures almost always started at the grassroots. Congress doesn’t appoint committees to look at maps and decide what to save. Individuals and organizations petition to advance the process. Indeed, this is how the Vicksburg National Military Park was created in 1899.

If or when the battlefield near Raymond will be submitted for federal consideration is not known, but the efforts of the Friends of Raymond, including Parker Hills, a retired general and past president of the group, are certainly admirable. He has good reason to celebrate the acquisition. “This is the core of the battlefield, where I would say at least 85 percent of the actual combat took place,” he said.

The Friends of Raymond was chartered 11 years ago and has a mere 200 members. The group raised $115,000 and the Civil War Preservation Trust added another $102,500. That left $217,500 needed from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to complete the purchase.

Initially, interpretive trails and signs are planned. Over the years, however, expect more, perhaps even monuments honoring the soldiers.

What a great comment about America it is to see citizens initiating preservation of our nation’s history. It was everyday people who struggled in combat. How fitting that everyday people are taking action to assure how they shaped America is never forgotten.

New Park To Open In Virginia

Va. Side of White's Ford Slated For Park

We have good news from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority on the preservation front. Park officials have announced plans to purchase a 275-acre farm on the Potomac River that includes the ford where the Army of Northern Virginia crossed into Maryland on Sept. 5-6, 1862, bringing the war to the North. Twelve days later came Antietam.

The property, near Leesburg, Va., includes the home and farm of Elijah Viers White, commander of the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry. The ford, named for him, is a wide, shallow crossing on the river where the water is usually only a few feet deep.

On the Maryland side, the shoreline is already protected as part of the C & O Canal National Park. Re-enactors often stage a crossing on the September anniversary but have only been able to enter from the Maryland side, cross over to Virginia, then turn around and march back.

This is the place where historians often note how the Confederates entered the North, with flags held high and regimental bands playing "Maryland, My Maryland," a song written after the 1861 riots in Baltimore when Union troops were attacked as they passed through that city. The song, a powerful indictment of the federal occupation of the state, is now Maryland's state song.

Confederates were expecting hundreds to thousands of Maryland men to immediately join their cause as they marched through the state, but few did so.

White and the 35th Battalion fought in Jackson' s Valley Campaign and were among the first units to arrive at Gettysburg.

After the war, White returned to his farm, ran successfully for sheriff and took over operation of Conrad's Ferry, now known as White's Ferry. The ferry, a few miles down the river from the ford, was once one of about 100 ferries that crossed the Potomac River but is the last one still in operation today.

According to a press release, the Authority plans for White's Ford Regional Park to be used for camping, fishing and hiking and will preserve White's house.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Memorial Held at Point Lookout

4,000 Ghosts Honored at Point Lookout Prisoner of War Cemetery
ST. MARY'S COUNTY - 10/13/2009

The Captain Vincent Camalier Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans along with the Point Lookout Prisoner of War Association held a Memorial service to honor the 4,000+ prisoners buried at the Confederate cemetery on Point Lookout on Saturday, Oct. 10.

According to Jim Dunbar, association head, the event held each year to honor the descendants of those Confederate soldiers that died at the Camp Hoffman prison. “There were probably close to 14 thousand men that died in the prison,” said Dunbar. “The monument has the names 3,300 men that died and we have gone through records and uncovered an additional 700 names that need to be honored.

The moving service included color guards, re-enactors and guest speakers. After the service the Confederate Memorial park next to the cemetery was opened for an all day event of celebration, living history, food and more speakers.

One of the speakers, H.K. Edgenton, a black Confederate activist who works to provide the ‘real truth’ as President of Southern Heritage 411, Inc. Edgenton gave an impressive, passionate speech to the audience as part of the ceremony designed to tell the facts from the perspective of hundreds of thousands of black people who love and support the south, its people, customs and history.

The prison – a facility for Confederate prisoners of war was built at Point Lookout on the tip of the peninsula at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. During the two years the camp was in operation from August 1863 to June 1865, the prison was jammed with inmates, easily overwhelming the camp’s capacity of 10 thousand. It is estimated that at any given time, the camp contained from 12 thousand and to 20 thousand prisoners. During its two years in operation, it is estimated that 50,000 military and civilians were held.

The camp was laid out in a series of streets and trenches designed to drain runoff. It was surrounded by a fourteen foot parapet wall. Prisoners lived sixteen or more to a tent and suffered from short rations and limited fire wood in winter. When the coffee ration was suspended for federal prisoners at Andersonville, the Point Lookout prisoner lost theirs as well.

The worst suffering came because the physical conditions. The ground was flat and sandy and at almost sea level so that was just above high tide, adding to the misery, including every imaginable weather extreme, from blazing heat to bone-chilling cold.

Preservation In Franklin, TN

Preservationists target second pizza place

Franklin's Charge hopes to have replica cotton gin built
by 150th anniversary of 1864 battle

By Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN • October 15, 2009

FRANKLIN — Franklin's reclamation of its battlefield land could take another leap forward in time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.

Organizers of local nonprofit Franklin's Charge are negotiating to buy the Domino's Pizza restaurant and Four Star Market at the corner of Cleburne Street and Columbia Avenue and convert them into a new park, where a replica of a cotton gin that once stood there would be built.

The buildings and land are owned by developer and longtime resident Don Cameron, who says he's willing to give Franklin's Charge a chance to buy the buildings for the park, but he says he won't wait forever.

"I want to be more than fair about it," said Cameron, who recently had the site reappraised. "It's time to fish or cut bait with them. I've agreed to do it, and now it's time for them to step up to the plate."

If the deal happens, it would be another reclamation of land where hundreds of soldiers died when four Confederate divisions met Union forces on Nov. 30, 1864, in the fighting of the Battle of Franklin. The 150th anniversary would be in 2014. In 2005 a Pizza Hut restaurant across the street from the land was demolished.

Details of the deal are emerging after a weekend in which thousands of people and national media attention turned to Franklin for the funeral and burial of an unknown soldier killed sometime around 1864. The soldier's bones were accidentally unearthed in May and reburied Saturday in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Ernie Bacon, president of Franklin's Charge, said the high attendance for the funeral proved there's great public interest in historic-themed events and sites.

"I think it speaks very well for the value of heritage tourism," Bacon said.

Franklin's Charge is a local coalition of local nonprofit groups first organized for the $5 million purchase of a 110-acre golf course adjacent to Carnton Plantation that will be a Civil War park.

Bacon says Cameron's land at that intersection is a key piece to creating the larger plan for land begun years ago. He said negotiations have been ongoing.

"We're reclaiming what land is available to us now," Bacon said. "The property on that corner is significant because of the intense fighting that occurred during the Battle of Franklin."

Sale is 'not a business deal'

Cameron, who can trace his family roots here to the earliest days of the city's founding, said he's previously turned down offers to sell that land to other investors, including a bank.

"This is not about a business deal," Cameron said.

In 2005, city officials paid $300,000 for roughly a quarter of an acre on the thern side of the intersection where the Pizza Hut once stood. After a public ceremony was held where the restaurant was torn down, a park was built commemorating where Confederate Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne was killed during the Battle of Franklin.

Last year, Franklin's Charge bought a house and property at 1219 Columbia Ave. for $950,000 to add to land for the park. The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County already owns the Carter Cotton Gin property, which adjoins this land. Carter House, considered the site of the most intense fighting, is across the street on Columbia Avenue.

Bacon, who was an alderman when the city bought the former Pizza Hut land as well as the Eastern Flank property, said the group would not seek public money to pay for this acquisition.

The group might turn to the Civil War Preservation Trust for grant money.

"We're stepping up our fundraising," Bacon said.

Cameron declined to give the sale price of the land. County records show Cameron Properties bought the site, which includes addresses 1221 through 1225 of Columbia Avenue back in September 1997 for $620,000. No contract for a sale of the property has been made, and Cameron declined to say what the sale price would be.

Bacon estimated that Franklin's Charge would spend $3.2 million, including last year's purchase, the purchase of Cameron's property and building a replica of the former cotton gin.

Meanwhile, plans are under way for this year's commemoration of the Battle of Franklin. Volunteers will light 10,000 candles as part of an annual commemoration of the battle, which is set for Nov. 28 at the Confederate Cemetery at Carnton Plantation.



On Saturday October 17, 2009 the General Executive Council (GEC) held the annual fall meeting met at Elm Springs.

Below is a condensed account of the actions taken at that meeting.

1. Meeting opened at 8:30 AM with prayer, pledge, salute to the Confederate Flag and reading of The Charge.

2. Roll Call of Officers made. Thirteen were present and a quorum was established.

3. The Minutes of the pre and post Convention GEC meetings, held at Hot Springs, AR, were reviewed and approved.

4. Commander In Chief McMichael announced that an agreement has been reached with the trustees of Mt. Jackson Cemetery in VA regarding the financial support the SCV would provide. A large benefactor of the SCV asked the SCV assist the cemetery with some of the funds he left to the SCV. An agreement regarding this support was agreed to by the SCV and the cemetery trustees.

5. Executive Director Ben Sewell gave a report to the GEC outlining what maintenance work had been completed on Elm Springs. He discussed the increased rate of new membership applications and reinstatments of former members that GHQ has been receiving. He also stated that members have been making donations to the SCV Building Fund when renewing or reinstating their memberships.

6. Adjutant In Chief Simpson reported that the SCV had received two requests for funding of heritage related memorials. One request was deferred pending further discussion with the camp requesting funding. The request that was approved by the GEC will fund the procurement and installation of an historic marker for William Porcher Miles - designer of the St. Andrews Cross pattern Confederate Battle Flag - at the cemetery where he is buried in Monroe, County West Virginia.

7. Lt. Commander In Chief Givens discussed membership growth and the development of a speakers list for each division.

8. The Sam Davis Camp of Brentwood, Tennessee requested the GEC approve their proposed camp articles of incorporation. After discussion the GEC approved the camp incorporating. Note: the SCV Constitution requires any camp that wishes to incorporate receive the permission from the GEC.

9. The GEC approved two additions to the convention guidelines. The first requires approval if the host camp wishes to alter the schedule of events that had previously been approved by the Commander in Chief . The second addition establishes deadlines for reunion host committees to submit convention information to the Convention Planning Committee for review prior to publication in the Confederate Veteran.

10. The GEC approved a policy on the use of the SCV logo. The details of the policy will be published on the SCV Telegraph, SCV Blog and the Confederate Veteran.

11. The GEC approved allowing Dixie Outfitters ( who we have an agreement with to sell shirts bearing the SCV Sesquicentennial logo ) to also sell license plates bearing the Sesquicentennial logo under the same conditions as the shirts are sold.

12. The Hardwick Case in South Carolina was discussed. The Litigation Review Committee will review the case and make a recommendation to the GEC regarding how to proceed.

13. Heritage Defense Chief Frank Earnest discussed the offer of a donation of land located on Interstate I-95 near the North Carolina / Virginia state line to the SCV.

14. Rev. Fayard discussed plans for the ground breaking for the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library at Beauvior. The ground-breaking will be on Sunday December 6, 2009 -the anniversary of the death of President Davis. More details will soon be forthcoming.

15. The GEC voted to establish the rules that would govern the SCV's Bicentennial Endowment Fund.

16. The GEC voted to allow non-SCV members to join the Sesquicentennial Society.

17. An executive session was held dealing with SCV employee compensation and one disciplinary case.

18 The Commander In Chief announced that the SCV had established a relationship with an on-line mall. SCV members who purchase items thru the mall will generate funds for the SCV. Details to be soon announced.

19.Commander in Chief. McMichael announced the next meeting of the GEC would be on Saturday March 13, 2010 at Elm Springs.

20. The meeting ended with a closing prayer and the singing of DIXIE!

Prepared by:
Chuck Rand
Chief of Staff

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Confederate Canteen Donated to Port Hudson

Minnesota man donates artifact to Port Hudson
Advocate Baker - Zachary bureau
Published: Oct 13, 2009

PORT HUDSON ( LA ) — A Minnesota couple has returned a Confederate soldier’s canteen to caretakers of the Civil War battlefield where it was found more than 146 years ago.

“I figured it belonged here,” said Torney Marshall, who inherited the wooden canteen but decided to donate it to the museum at Port Hudson State Historic Site.

The canteen is built in the same manner as a wooden barrel, with two round pieces of wood separated by short stave-like pieces of wood around the circles’ circumferences.

Two bands of iron, similar to barrel hoops, hold all the pieces together.

A pewter neck completes the canteen, which Port Hudson Curator Mike Fraering said probably had a cork for a stopper.

Port Hudson’s museum has no authentic Union canteens, which were made of thin metal saucers soldered together, Fraering said.

Marshall’s donation now gives the museum two wooden canteens, although the one donated 20 years ago had no documentation to show that it was used by a Confederate soldier, Fraering said.

“The most notable thing about this one is that it’s documented,” site Manager Gregg Potts said.

A fading label, written in brown ink, pasted on the canteen tells its story:
“Rebel Canteen. Taken from the battle of Port Hudson, La., during the grand charge, June 14, 1863, by Pfc. John Little, 53rd Reg., Mass. Volunteer Infantry.”

Fraering said the 53rd Massachusetts Regiment participated in the June 14 assault on a Port Hudson fortification known as the “Priest Cap,” now on private property, and the canteen probably belonged to a soldier either in the 1st Mississippi Infantry or 49th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Marshall, of Hanover, Minn., said John Little was either the father or grandfather of a woman who later married his dad’s uncle, William Marshall.

The canteen was passed on to Torney Marshall when his father died.

“I never saw it until he passed away. Even after I acquired it, it didn’t mean that much to me until I started looking into Port Hudson,” he said.

Marshall said he offered to donate the canteen to the museum “a number of years ago” but could not get assurances that it would remain at Port Hudson.

Passing through the area again two years ago, Marshall and his wife, Marion, “got a completely different story.”

“We were assured it would stay here, and I decided it would come here,” said Marshall, who was en route with his wife last week to Hanover from Sarasota, Fla., when he stopped at Port Hudson.

After the canteen is appraised and the necessary legal documents are completed, the canteen will be placed on exhibit, Fraering said.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

General Robert E. Lee Remembered

Death of General Robert E. Lee
Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Sunday, October 11, 2009

The headline from a Richmond newspaper read,;

“News of the death of Robert E. Lee, beloved chieftain of the Southern army, whose strategy mainly was responsible for the surprising fight staged by the Confederacy, brought a two-day halt to Richmond’s business activities.”

The United States flag, which Robert E. Lee had defended as a soldier, flew at half mast in Lexington, Virginia and throughout the USA.General Lee died at his home at Lexington, Virginia at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, October 12, 1870. His last great deed came after the War Between the States when he accepted the presidency of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University. He saved the financially troubled college and helped many young folks further their education.

Some write that Robert E. Lee suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on September 28, 1870, but was thought to greatly improve until October 12th, when he took a turn for the worse. His condition seemed more hopeless when his doctor told him, “General you must make haste and get well—-Traveller—-has been standing too long in his stable and needs exercise.”

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Cadet William Nalle said in a letter home to his mother, dated October 16, 1870; “I suppose of course that you have all read full accounts of Gen Lee’s death in the papers. He died on the morning of the 12th at about half past nine. All business was suspended at once all over the country and town, and all duties, military and academic suspended at the Institute, and all the black crape and all similar black material in Lexington, was used up at once, and they had to send on to Lynchburg for more. Every cadet had black crape issued to him, and an order was published at once requiring us to wear it as a badge of mourning for six months.”

Read entire letter on Virginia Military Institute website

The rains and flooding were the worse of Virginia’s history on the day General Lee died. On Wednesday, October 12, 1870, in the presence of his family, Lee quietly passed away.The church bells rang as the sad news passed through Washington College, Virginia Military Institute, the town of Lexington and the nation. Cadets from VMI College carried the remains of the old soldier to Lee Chapel where he laid in state. Memorial meetings were held throughout the South and as far North as New York.

At Washington College in Lexington eulogies were delivered by: Reverend Pemberton, Reverend W.S. White—Stonewall Jackson’s Pastor and Reverend J. William Jones. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis brought the eulogy in Richmond, Virginia. Lee was also eulogized in Great Britain. When all settled down, Mrs. Robert E. Lee said, “If he had succeeded in gaining by the sword all the South expected and hoped for, he could not have been more honored and lamented.”

Many thousands witnessed Lee’s funeral procession marching through the town of Lexington, Virginia, with muffled drums and the artillery firing as the hearse was driven to the school’s chapel where he was buried.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew and appreciated our nation’s rich history. President Eisenhower was criticized for displaying a portrait of Robert E. Lee in his office. This was part of his response; “Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by this nation.”

Robert E. Lee was the hero of the Southern people and admired both North and South of the Mason-Dixon Line. This Christian- gentleman’s last words were, “Strike the Tent.”

There will be a Remembering Robert E. Lee Program at Lee Chapel on Monday, October 12, 2009.

Calvin E. Johnson Jr. A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson, Chairman of the National and Georgia Division,Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate History Month Committee— 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:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Battlefield Trail Opens in New Mexico

N.M. Civil War trail tells tale of 'the Gettysburg of the West'
By Susan Montoya Bryan

Interpretive markers in Glorieta Battlefield tell the story of a Civil War battle near Pecos, N.M., that historians call "the Gettysburg of the West."
PECOS NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK: Pecos, N.M.; or 505-757-7200. Located about 25 miles from Santa Fe; $3 entrance fee.

To access the new 2 1/4-mile Glorieta Battlefield Trail, stop at the park visitors center to obtain directions, a printed trail guide and other information. The trail is about a 15-minute drive from the center. Winter hours for the visitors center are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily (closed Christmas and New Year's Day).

Two-hour van tours of Civil War sites in the area are offered every Saturday at 1:30 p.m., departing from the visitors center, $2 per person, six people per tour.

N.M. Civil War trail tells tale of 'the Gettysburg of the West

"The Glorieta Battlefield Trail -- more than 2 miles through the wooded and rocky hills southeast of Santa Fe -- has been in the planning stages for several years. It's aimed at educating people about the decisive 1862 battle.

ALBUQUERQUE — The plan was to march up the Rio Grande, capture the city of Santa Fe and seize the thousands of rifles, dozens of cannons and other supplies at Fort Union for a campaign that would expand the Confederacy's borders all the way to the California Coast. But Union soldiers stood their ground at a pinch along the Santa Fe Trail known as Glorieta Pass, resulting in a battle that historians often refer to as "the Gettysburg of the West."

Until recently, public access to the Civil War battlefield was limited. But earlier this year, the National Park Service opened a new trail that allows visitors to explore the area. The Glorieta Battlefield Trail — more than 2 miles through the wooded and rocky hills southeast of Santa Fe — has been in the planning stages for several years. It's aimed at educating people about the decisive 1862 battle.

"In many ways the Civil War was a defining moment for this country but very few people know much about this campaign," said Jim Houghton, a Civil War buff and president of the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition. "Had it been successful, the outcome of the war could have been significantly changed."

Unlike states in the East, New Mexico isn't known for its Civil War battlefields, of which there are less than a handful. Still, preservation of such sites is a priority for the Park Service, said Christine Beekman, chief of interpretation and visitor services at Pecos National Historical Park, which oversees the Glorieta Battlefield.

The park acquired much of the land necessary for preserving the battlefield in 1990. But it wasn't until it acquired a key piece of property at Pigeon's Ranch — which was used during the battle as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops — that planning for the trail began in earnest.

After two years of work by the park and several volunteer groups, the trail is lined with metal signs that recount what happened during those last few days of March 1862.

The Confederate soldiers, which had mobilized in Texas for the mission westward, were out for supplies, weapons, sympathetic recruits, gold and silver in Colorado and California's blockade free ports. By late March, they had already taken Fort Fillmore near Mesilla and Albuquerque and were camped at the west entrance to Glorieta Pass. On the other side was the Union.

After two days of exchanging volleys and another day of burying the dead, the Confederate troops took Sharpshooters Ridge, gained the upper hand and forced the Union colonel to order his troops to fall back.

With their attention turned to the battlefield, the Confederate troops had no idea that another group of Union forces had circled around and destroyed their supply train. With that, the Confederates had to retreat without food or supplies, ending their plans to take the West.
Houghton said the challenge at Glorieta has always been that a state highway bisects the battlefield.

"By placing this trail on the ridge, it gives visitors an opportunity to actually hike through parts of the battlefield in a safe manner and it also gives them a panoramic view where they can look down on portions of the battlefield," he said. The new trail was dedicated in June.
Beekman said it's also important for visitors to see the topography and other obstacles at Glorieta Pass that would have hampered the troops during battle.

Glorieta has been listed in years past as one of the most endangered and at-risk Civil War sites in the nation by the Civil War Preservation Trust in Washington, D.C. Trust spokeswoman Mary Koik said preservation and interpretation of such sites is becoming more important as development increases.

"Every day about 30 acres of Civil War battlefield get paved over," she said. "It's certainly something that's going at an alarming rate."
Part of the problem, she said, is people are unaware that such historic sites can exist in their communities.

"It's sad but true," she said. "Often folks will have this history quite literally in their backyard. You may drive by it every day but you'll never really connect to what's there. That's why having these trails and signs, interpretation of the battlefield, is really important."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ANV Declares Hayward Shepherd Day

October 1, 2009
Army of Northern Virginia
Sons of Confederate Veterans


The Army of Northern Virginia of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will kick off the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States on Saturday, October 3, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, by holding their annual meeting beginning at 10:30 at the Block house (John Brown’s Fort). The purpose of the meeting is to announce that October 16 will be known as HAYWARD SHEPHERD DAY, honoring the unfortunate black citizen who met his death as John Brown’s first victim 150 years ago.

Hayward, a faithful employee and Baggage Master of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was murdered in furtherance of John Brown’s nefarious scheme to capture the arsenal in that famous city. The SCV will honor Hayward Shepherd by placing a wreath at the 1931 marker honoring him across from the Engine House where Brown’s raid ended. Mr. Richard Hines, a well known historian from Alexandria, Virginia, will discuss the real John Brown.

Many today try to whitewash Brown’s crimes and call him a martyr. Mr. Hines will discuss Brown’s true motivations and his association with a group of famous Northern abolitionists (the Secret 6) who financed his plot and encouraged him to murder and commit crimes against his fellow Americans. The public is welcome to come see the wreath laying and hera Mr. Hines speak.

Anyone desiring information about this ceremony may contact Brag Bowling at 1-804-389-3620.

Brag Bowling
Army of Northern Virginia
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Veteran to be Re-interred in Franklin, TN

Unknown Civil War soldier to be reburied Oct. 10
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Uniforned sentries stand guard while mourners exit the gates of Rest Haven Cemetery.

FRANKLIN – The sons of two Civil War veterans who fought for separate causes will meet for the first time over the unearthed remains of an unknown soldier, whose body never made it home from the battlefield 145 years ago. Harold Becker, 93, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and James Brown, Sr., 97, of Knoxville, Tenn., will join together to help re-inter the unknown soldier’s remains, discovered in a shallow grave during a commercial construction project on the field where 10,000 casualties fell in five hours at the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864.

Becker’s father, Charles Conrad Becker, fought through the horrific battle at Franklin with the 128th Indiana Infantry, U.S.A., while Brown’s father, James H. H. Brown – 8th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A. – saw his regiment cut in half at Gettysburg. On Saturday, Oct. 10, they will shake hands over the new grave of an American soldier. “Most folks don’t consider the sacrifice that these soldiers made, certainly on both sides,” said Robin Hood, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who is chair of the City of Franklin’s Battlefield Task Force. “And his family was left alone, to eventually come to closure with the fact that he was killed in action in some field a thousand miles from home.”

Thousands like him were buried with simple gravestones marked "Unknown", including approximately 750 in Franklin. It is not known for which army the Unknown Soldier fought. A coffin containing his remains will lie in state at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 510 West Main Street in Franklin – the circa 1827 sanctuary which served as barracks for Federal troops during their occupation of the town in 1864 – from 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 until the funeral ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. One Federal and one Confederate honor-guard sentry will be posted at the front doors of the church during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. visitation period each day and prior to the ceremony on Saturday morning.

The soldier will receive full military honors from re-enactors representing brothers-in-arms from both the United States and the Confederacy. On Saturday morning, a Union and a Confederate Chaplain will conduct a brief funeral service in the church. Following the service, the flag-draped casket will be borne from the church by uniformed pallbearers (Confederate and Federal) and placed on a waiting, horse-drawn caisson in front of the church. Accompanied by a color guard, honor guard, period musicians, and hundreds of uniformed re-enactors, the caisson will travel down Main Street and around the Public Square to the Rest Haven Cemetery gates. As the procession leaves St. Paul's and continues up Main Street, townspeople and visitors are invited to fall in behind the ranks of the marching re-enactors.

After arriving at Rest Haven Cemetery, a brief eulogy will be delivered by the chaplains, and will conclude with period-appropriate military honors including a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps” by a uniformed bugler. Active participation in the ceremonies at Rest Haven and at St. Paul’s will be restricted to uniformed re-enactors, but the public is encouraged to view the ceremonies.

Re-enactment units that wish to participate should contact Robert Huff at (615) 500-8211, or via email at more information, visit

SCV Fights to Honor Veterans

Crossing conflict: SCV fights to Honor Confederate Veterans in West Virginia

Princeton Times

PRINCETON — Capt. Hercules Scott died at the age of 89 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. That’s all the information his tombstone reveals, but Richard Lockhart and John Fleming know there’s much more to Scott’s story.

“He fought in Gettysburg and survived Pickett’s Charge,” Fleming explained, referring to the failed Confederate attack on the center of the Union forces during the third day of battle in Gettysburg, Pa.

As the two leaders of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans spoke Wednesday, they pointed to a photo of Scott’s grave and a small wooden cross standing low to the ground at the front of his tombstone.

That cross was one of 49 the Flat Top Copperheads placed in tribute to the service of Confederate veterans buried inside Oakwood Cemetery last spring.

Aside from knowing their names and bits of their histories, most of these soldiers were complete strangers to Fleming, Lockhart and other 46 Sons of Confederate Veterans who volunteered their time and effort to honor the men who fought alongside their ancestors.

They raised funds to create small-scale replicas of the Southern Cross of Honor to pay tribute to local men who picked up arms in the conflict they prefer to call “The War Between The States.” Traditionally, the Southern Crosses are cast iron and created in 11-inch squares. The local versions were only about 6 inches high and wide and were constructed of wood.

“Our purpose in doing this is simply to mark the Confederate veterans’ graves,” Lockhart said. “There’s no racism, no hatred, involved.”

In May, the SCV members placed the crosses at the graves, where they reportedly remained and even attracted several visitors to the cemetery situated on Main Street in Princeton.

“The 48 Southern Crosses were installed so visitors to the cemetery could easily recognize their graves as those of Confederate soldiers and to give the deceased soldiers the respect and honor they deserved,” Lockhart and Fleming wrote in a letter they distributed this week.

After the initial 48 crosses were in place, another descendant contacted the SCV and requested that a cross be placed on his grandfather’s grave. The Copperheads happily located the grave and complied with the request.

From their perspective, the crosses drew historical tourists and Civil War buffs to Mercer County, where the state boundaries declared the region part of the Union, but local sentiment predominantly sided with the South. In one day, Fleming said what is now Mercer County rallied 1,200 men to stand against the Yankees, and there are several historic sites that helped decide the outcome of the Civil War.

“Our organization is a historical veterans’ organization,” Fleming said. “All we do is try to preserve Southern history and heritage. This is something to be proud of.”

In fact, the SCV literature focuses on “heritage — not hate.”

By September, however, the crosses became a point of contention between officials at the cemetery and the SCV. Early in the month, Lockhart said he received a call from a maintenance crew representative stating that he had seven days to remove the crosses because they were hampering the mowing and trimming process at Oakwood.

Lockhart, who couldn’t believe the crosses were a hindrance or hazard, said he opted not to remove the crosses because the United States government had recognized Confederate veterans as legitimate American war veterans and allowed the marking of their graves.

There are an estimated 800 other war veterans buried inside Oakwood and Resthaven properties, and Lockhart said the management seemed to have no problem mowing around American flags and even the occasional spike of artificial flowers that appear in violation of the business’s floral guidelines.

To Fleming and Lockhart, focusing specifically on the Southern Crosses seemed to be an act of disrespect and discrimination.

When they didn’t remove the crosses, Oakwood crews did. In recent weeks, most of the crosses were pulled from the soil surrounding the graves, and the SCV members were outraged.

“Really, we feel like they’ve desecrated the graves of all these veterans,” Fleming said this week.

The insult ran so deep that SCV members questioned the legality of removing the Southern Cross, a symbol approved by the government to represent service to the Confederacy, from graves of men declared American war veterans.

At Oakwood, however, representatives said safety was their only concern.

Curtis Shrader spoke briefly with the Times this week, though he pointed out he worked in sales and not in the grounds crew. Keith Miller, of the maintenance department, reportedly sent word through Shrader that the crosses were removed because they were complicating mowing around the soldiers’ graves.

“Keith says, after the mowing season, they can put them back up,” Shrader said.

The mowing season ends once grass stops growing for the fall, usually in October or November, depending on the weather. Of course, the crosses would fall into contention again come spring, unless the matter is resolved before then.

SCV members worried that the crosses may have been demolished or thrown away, but Shrader reported they were being held securely at Resthaven Memorial Gardens, of which Oakwood is a part.

A call to a grounds crew supervisor had not been returned as of press time.

As they contemplated their next steps, Fleming and Lockhart said removal of the crosses was insensitive at best and discriminatory at worst.

“A cemetery is a history of people — a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving, remembering and honoring — always,” Lockhart and Fleming wrote on behalf of SCV members.

For more information on the local unit of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, e-mail or call Fleming at (304) 425-4870. For more information on Resthaven and Oakwood, the local contact number is (304) 425-2643.

— Contact Tammie Toler at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tribute to Moses Ezekiel

"...These men sacrificed all, dared all....and died."
A Hispanic Month Tribute to Moses Ezekiel

By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.
Sunday, October 4, 2009

September 15th -October 15th is Hispanic History Month and the Educational Committee of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a national-historical and educational organization, has included an informative Hispanic History Month fact sheet about those who served in the Confederate and Union Armies.

Some say, Americans know more about sports then they do about their nation’s past. Sports are a wonderful past-time of family fun but there can also be fun in reading stories about great Americans like; George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Booker T. Washington, Florence Nightingale and Moses Ezekiel, with your children and grandchildren.

Please share this story of America’s forgotten past with teachers, young people, family and friends.

Moses J. Ezekiel was born in Richmond, Virginia on October 28, 1844. He was one of fourteen children born to Jacob and Catherine De Castro Ezekiel. His grandparents came to America from Holland in 1808, and were of Jewish-Spanish Heritage.

At the age of 16, and the beginning of the War Between the States, Moses begged his father and mother to allow him to enroll at Virginia Military Institute.

Three years after his enrollment at (VMI) the cadets of the school marched to the aid of Confederate General John C. Breckinridge. Moses Ezekiel joined his fellow cadets in a charge against the Union lines at the “Battle of New Market.”

When the War Between the States ended, Moses went back to Virginia Military Institute to finish his studies where he graduated in 1866. According to his letters, which are now preserved by the American Jewish Historical Society, Ezekiel met with Robert E. Lee during this time. Lee encouraged him by saying, “I hope you will be an artist… earn a reputation in whatever profession you undertake.”

The world famous Arlington National Cemetery is located in Virginia and overlooks the Potomac River. At section 16, of the cemetery, is a beautiful Confederate Monument that towers over the graves of 450 Southern soldiers, wives and civilians. These words are inscribed on the memorial:

“Not for fame or reward, not for place or for rank, Not lured by ambition, or goaded by necessity, But in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it, These men sacrificed all, dared all….and died.”

The United Daughters of the Confederacy entered into a contract with Moses J. Ezekiel to build this Confederate Monument at Arlington National Cemetery. It is written that he based his work on the words of Prophet Isaiah, “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

This Confederate Memorial towers 32 and 1/2 feet and is said to be the tallest bronze sculpture at Arlington National Cemetery. On top is a figure of a woman, with olive leaves covering her head, representing the South. She also holds a laurel wreath in her left hand, remembering the Sons of Dixie. On the side of the monument is also a depiction of a Black Confederate marching in step with white soldiers.

Ezekiel was not able to come to the dedication of the monument held on June 4, 1914, with President Woodrow Wilson presiding. Union and Confederate soldiers were present among a crowd of thousands at this historic event.

Moses Jacob Ezekiel studied to be an artist in Italy. As a tribute to his great works, he was knighted by Emperor William I of Germany and King’s Humbert I and Victor Emmanuel, II of Italy—-thus the title of “Sir.”

Among the works of Sir Moses J. Ezekiel are: “Christ Bound for the Cross”, “The Martyr”, “David singing his song of Glory”, “Moses Receiving the Law on Mount Sinai” and “Stonewall Jackson” located at VMI.

Upon his death in 1917, Moses Ezekiel left behind his request to be buried with his Confederates at Arlington. A burial ceremony was conducted on March 31, 1921, at the amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. It was presided over by the United States Secretary of War John W. Weeks. He was laid to rest at the foot of the memorial that he had sculptured. Six VMI cadets flanked his casket that was covered with an American flag. Lest We Forget!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Event Slated for Arlington House

Park Service Event Helps Usher In Civil War Commemoration
by SCOTT McCAFFREY, Staff Writer
Sunday, September 20, 2009

Arlington County’s ( VA ) commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War will unofficially begin on Oct. 10 with an event at Arlington House, the Custis-Lee Mansion.

From 7 to 10 p.m. that night, the National Park Service will present a program detailing John Brown’s Raid, an event that helped to light the fuse for what, less than two years later, would tear the nation apart.

Fergus Bordewich, author of “Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America,” will speak on the life of Brown, an abolitionist who On Oct. 16-18, 1859, led a group that tried to seize control of the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, then in Virginia and now in West Virginia.

Their goal was to spark a slave revolt in Virginia and surrounding areas.

The assault was put down by a detachment of U.S. Marines, who were led by Col. Robert E. Lee. Lee married into the Custis family, which owned the Arlington House plantation where the Oct. 10 program will take place.

After being charged with treason against Virginia, Brown was hanged in December 1859 and several other participants later went to the gallows. But their actions helped to further inflame passions over slavery. The Civil War began in April 1861.

Both the state and county governments have assembled task forces to plan and lead commemorative events related to the Civil War. The Arlington group, appointed by the County Board, has been meeting since early March. Warren Nelson is serving as chairman.

Arlington - which then was known as Alexandria County - had several key roles in Civil War history.

It was from Arlington House that Lee made his decision not to accept command of Union troops, but rather to command Virginia troops that soon would be in rebellion against the federal government.

At the outbreak of hostilities, federal troops marched across Potomac River bridges to occupy the mostly rural county for the duration of the war. Federal officials seized the Arlington House plantation, an action later ruled illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court, and began the first burials at what would become Arlington National Cemetery.

Federal officials also hurriedly constructed a ring of forts in the area, to protect the nation’s capital from attack. Remnants of a number of the forts remain, and the modern-day Fort Myer garrison traces its roots to one of the Civil War forts.

After the war, Lee never returned to Arlington House; his wife, Mary Custis Lee, who had inherited the plantation from her father in 1857, returned once but was too distraught to leave her carriage.

During and after the war, freed slaves were housed at Freedman’s Village for several decades. Several of today’s most prominent African-American Arlington families can trace their lineage back to Arlington House, and efforts are underway to create a museum dedicated to the achievements of local African-Americans both during slavery and after.

By the 20th century, a spirit of reconciliation had taken hold, at least among some. In 1920, Alexandria County was renamed “Arlington” in part to honor Lee, and Arlington House in 1955 was designated by Congress as the nation’s memorial to the general.

Nelson said local commemorative events will run through at least 2015, the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the event that effectively ended the war. But they could run longer, as far out as January 2020, the 150th anniversary of Virginia’s readmittance to the Union.

The Oct. 10 event at Arlington House also will include a series of tours and exhibits exploring radical abolitionism, and a performance by the Victorian Dance Emsemble. Special activities for children will be available.

Because Arlington House is rarely open to the public at night, the event offers a chance to tour the house and view the Washington skyline from a seldom-seen vantage point, National Park Service officials said.

Entry times are available on the half-hour from 7 to 9 p.m., with lectures by Bordewich conducted at 8 and 9 p.m. Reservations are required, and parking will only be available for those with reservations.

For reservations, call (703) 235-1530. For information, see the Web site at

Richmond Discusses Sesquicentennial Events

Richmond leaders talk about how to commemorate Civil War
Karin Kapsidelis
Sep 30, 2009
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The sesquicentennial of the Civil War will put Richmond center stage nationally with both the opportunity and the obligation to tell the story of what happened here honestly.

That was the message of "The Future of Richmond's Past," a forum that drew about 160 people to the University of Richmond yesterday for the start of a series of discussions on how to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war.

Leaders from Richmond historic and civic organizations discussed the need to develop a cohesive plan for visitors drawn to the capital of the Confederacy for four years of events beginning in 2011.

The sesquicentennial will be a twin commemoration that also will mark the end of slavery, said UR President Edward L. Ayers.

Many people, he said, "have been working for decades to prepare for a time when we can tell the story of Richmond whole, when we can tell the story of Richmond honestly, when we can tell the story of Richmond to the nation and to the world."

Visitors will be watching to see how Richmond, which was a major slave market, will interpret a past with "so many layers one on top of the other, so many meanings, so much richness," he said.

In April, Ayers was host of "America on the Eve of the Civil War," the first event of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

He said he was approached after that conference and asked to initiate conversations about how Richmond's various historic sites can collaborate on the sesquicentennial.

Virginia Union University President Claude G. Perkins and Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, who both spoke at yesterday's event, said their schools will host follow-up discussions.

Virginia is better prepared now for the influx of visitors the commemoration will bring than it was in 1990 when Ken Burns' documentary series "The Civil War" aired, said John F. "Jack" Berry Jr., president and CEO of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau.

That film brought a 25 percent increase in tourism and "we weren't ready," he said.

S. Waite Rawls III, president and CEO of The Museum of The Confederacy, noted that the first post-Civil War tourist to Richmond was Abraham Lincoln, and the place he wanted to visit first was the White House of the Confederacy.

Yet the museum does not get adequate support from the city for signage, parking and interpretive markers, he said.

Richmond tends to think in terms "of blue and gray or black and white, and we have forgotten green, the color of money," he said.

The city's history is perhaps its greatest financial asset, "but that history sits before us without us reaching out to capitalize on it," he said.

"The twin sesquicentennial offers us that chance, and it will not repeat itself in my lifetime," he said.

Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, chairwoman of the Slave Trail Commission, said part of her group's mission is to "contribute to the healing of Richmond's racial past."

She hopes to see the city become an international destination for education about slavery.

"Richmond is ready for it," she said. "It's time for us to move forward."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Historic South Carolina Flag Found

Historic find — in a storage closet
Flag discovered in Iowa museum is likely Civil War-era original
By Diane Knich
The Post and Courier
Friday, October 2, 2009

In the days leading to the Civil War, a battery of Citadel cadets on Morris Island fired at the supply ship Star of the West as it approached Fort Sumter, forcing the ship to turn around.

The war officially began on April 12, 1861, with the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter. But some Citadel alumni and others consider the shots fired at Star of the West to be the first shots of the Civil War.

The red palmetto flag became a powerful symbol for the state's military college. The school adopted a replica of the flag as its "spirit flag" in 1992 and called it "Big Red."

But nobody knew, until now, what happened to the original flag.

The school has found what almost certainly is the original Civil War-era "Big Red" in a museum in Iowa.

The flag was donated to the museum by an Civil War veteran from Iowa in 1919, and has been sitting in a storage closet for nearly a century.

The State Historical Society of Iowa, which owns the flag, and a history committee from The Citadel Alumni Association have determined through forensic and historical research that the flag in Iowa is very likely the one that flew on Morris Island on Jan. 9, 1861.

Finding the flag is great news for The Citadel, said Tex Curtis, chairman of The Citadel Historical Council and a 1964 graduate of the school. The flag is not only "a priceless, historic artifact," he said. "It literally is The Citadel. It goes right to the beginning."

After seeing a photograph of the original flag, Citadel leaders now know that the replica they have been using has historical inaccuracies, Curtis said.

More information
Big Red Report: , from the Citadel Historical Council (22 page PDF)
A committee of the school's Board of Visitors voted Thursday to begin using the historically correct version of the flag as its "spirit flag," and to assign intellectual property rights in "Big Red" to The Citadel Alumni Association. The full board will take a final vote on the matter today.

The flag in the Iowa museum has a red background with a large white palmetto tree in the center and an inward- facing white crescent in the upper-left corner.

The replica the school has been using has a smaller white palmetto tree on a red background, with a white outward-facing crescent in the upper-left corner. The direction of the crescent is important, Curtis said, because an inward-facing crescent was, at the time, a common symbol of secession in the Charleston area.

The fact that the flag in Iowa carries the secession symbol makes it more likely that it is the flag that flew on Morris Island, he said.

Ed Carter, president of The Citadel Alumni Association, said his group is now in discussions with the State Historical Society of Iowa about bringing the flag to The Citadel on long-term loan.

From S.C. to Iowa

Michael O. Smith, director of Iowa's State Historical Museum, said the museum has a collection of Civil War battle flags. The red palmetto flag was donated to the museum by Willard Baker in 1919.

Click on graphic to enlarge.
Baker, a Civil War veteran, said only that he "got the flag in Mobile, Ala., at the end of the Civil War," Smith said.

Because museum officials have such limited information about how he acquired it, they can't guarantee the flag is original, he said, but added that it likely is.

A report from The Citadel Alumni Association's Historical Council, a four-member group that has been researching the flag for nearly two years, states that Baker was a private in an infantry unit involved in the capture of Fort Blakeley, which is near Mobile, in April 1865.

The report also states that according to historical records, Capt. James F. Culpepper, an 1854 graduate of the Citadel Academy, and his battery were at Fort Blakeley when it fell.

Culpepper had been a student of Maj. Peter F. Stevens, who was superintendent of The Citadel during the time "The Star of the West" was fired upon.

According to the report, a news report in 1861 stated that the Hugh Vincent family designed a red palmetto flag and presented it to Stevens between Jan. 1 and 4, 1861, to be used by The Citadel battery at Fort Morris.

It's likely that Culpepper and his men had the flag when they arrived at Fort Blakeley, and that Baker got the flag from them, and brought it home to Iowa, Curtis said.

Likely authentic

Making the case
Why the flag is thought to be the original "Big Red":

• It has an inward-facing crescent in the upper-left corner, a common Charleston-area symbol of secession.

• Forensic tests indicate it is.

• Written historical accounts support its authenticity.

• There are strong similarities between the red palmetto flag and the other flags known to have been made by Hugh Vincent.

Source: The Citadel Historical Council
Curtis and Smith said The Citadel and the State Historical Society of Iowa shared research and came to the same conclusions about the flag's likely authenticity.

Curtis said the important factors included the inward-facing crescent, results of forensic tests, written historical accounts and similarities between the red palmetto flag and the other flags known to have been made by Vincent.

Smith said the flag has been in a storage closet since 1919. Officials knew it was from South Carolina because of the palmetto, but they didn't know the flag's significance.

Curtis said a woman who wants to remain anonymous posted information about the flag on the Internet in 2007. Some Citadel alumni saw it and began conducting research with the State Historical Society of Iowa.

It took nearly two years to determine that the 10-foot-by-7-foot flag was likely the original "Big Red," Carter said.

"Until now, nobody knew what the real 'Big Red' looked like," he said. But soon, he said, "you'll see it on license plates, T-shirts, logos and decals."

Reach Diane Knich at or 937-5491.