Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Virginia SCV Improves Oakwood Cemetery

Sons of Confederate Veterans add fence around Oakwood monument

Contributions: Oakwood Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 114, Beaverdam, VA 23015
By Katherine Calos
Published: December 29, 2009

The Sons of Confederate Veterans have made their first major improvement to Richmond's Oakwood Cemetery under an agreement with the city to maintain the Confederate portion of the property.

A $35,000 iron fence was installed yesterday around the Soldiers' Monument by Colonial Iron Works of Petersburg, with meticulous oversight by F. Lee Hart III of Suffolk, chairman of the SCV Oakwood Restoration Committee. The fence reproduces a feature that disappeared about 1916.

The reproduction fence stands on top of 5,200 pounds of granite block. Its design is based on a photo that shows what the monument looked like in the early 1900s.
A smaller section of identical fencing was replaced in 2008 around the grave of Lt. Duncan Campbell Stafford of South Carolina.

About 4,000 Virginia SCV members are paying $6 extra in dues each year to maintain the grounds "to higher standards befitting a National Military Cemetery," according to a statement of restoration goals.

The SCV also plans to place individual granite markers supplied by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the graves of about 16,000 Confederate soldiers buried at Oakwood. Currently, a succession of small blocks identify the graves of three people apiece.

Three officers of the national SCV, which has donated $50,000 to the restoration, braved a biting wind to watch yesterday's fencing project. Brag Bowling, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, said he considered Oakwood to be comparable to Arlington National Cemetery in terms of its significance as a Confederate military cemetery.

"Arlington is row after row of properly dressed markers. That is what we want here," Bowling said. "People come here all the time looking for ancestors," but the small numerical blocks make it difficult to identify who's where. "People will hear about this after it's finished. It will help the Richmond economy. . . . Richmond has neglected its Confederate history. It's important to our shared heritage."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beauvoir Restored

Davis' 'beautiful view' restored

A recent trip to Biloxi, Miss., permits one to happily report that Jefferson Davis' home, Beauvoir, has returned to its former self after suffering severe damage from Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

Although most post-Katrina media attention focused on New Orleans, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi also was hard hit. Small towns such as Pass Christian and Waveland were virtually destroyed. And Beauvoir took a direct hit, being just across the highway from the Gulf.

Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, received the home as a gift from an old friend, Sarah Dorsey, and moved into one of the wood and stucco outbuildings formerly used as a school and office after the war.

While Davis' wife, Varina, was not anxious to move to Beauvoir, eventually she acceded to Davis' wishes and joined him there to help him write his memoirs. He insisted on paying a token monthly rent of $50 to Dorsey, and upon her death the home was left to him in her will.

It is a Greek revival house whose strength of construction comes from its cypress wood along with long-leaf heart pine. The original roof was slate imported from Wales.

In the years since Katrina, workers, volunteers and $4 million in repairs have left the main house (the name means "beautiful view") and front grounds looking much like they used to. Work is beginning on the new library, which was destroyed, water reaching almost to the second story, where the books and many other artifacts were located. Only about 20 percent of the contents could be found or saved.

The large green shutters on the windows only partially protected them, and a firm specializing in accurate renovation of antique properties has reproduced many of the glass panes, bubbles and ripples included. The original wooden window frames and mullions remain; only the glass was replaced.

The front door has been replaced, with its two long glass panels bearing an acid-etched design that looks like lace curtains in the glass.

The interior of the house has been meticulously restored.

After painstakingly removing several layers of paint on the beautiful entry hall ceiling and walls - it was done in the trompe l'oeil technique favored at the time - restorers were able to match the paint exactly.

For the rest of this article see:

Jewish Contribution to the Confederacy

Jews don gray, fight for SouthRate this story

There are 30 of them, with names such as Adler, Cohen, Hessberg, Wolf and Seldner. They came from Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. All of them were soldiers, Jews, and they all died in Virginia during the Civil War.

Today they lie together in a peaceful plot known as the Soldier's Section of the old Hebrew Cemetery, the oldest Jewish military cemetery in the world, on Richmond's Shockoe Hill.

Jews had lived in Richmond since the 1760s, and by 1860, the city boasted three synagogues. In 1816, the Richmond Common Council deeded one acre of land on Shockoe Hill to Kaal Kadosh Beth Shalome "to be by them held and exclusively used as a burying-ground, subject to their rites and laws, for that purpose and for that alone."

In 1843, Congregation Beth Ahabah, founded two years earlier by German Jews, gained burial privileges shared with the older synagogue until the congregations merged in 1898. Many prominent Jewish business and cultural leaders are buried in the Hebrew Cemetery, now comprising 8.4 acres, although Jews also are buried in other Richmond cemeteries.

Donning the gray

When the Southern states began to secede from the Union and war seemed imminent, young Jewish men across the South flocked to the Confederacy's colors with the same enthusiasm as their Christian counterparts, and for many of the same reasons.

Because Jews rarely self-identified outside of their religious communities and did not form ethnic regiments like the Irish or the Germans, it is hard to know precisely how many donned Confederate gray. Estimates run between 2,000 and 3,000. New Orleans, the South's largest city, also had the would-be nation's largest concentration of Jews. Charleston, S.C., Atlanta and Richmond also had sizable Jewish populations.

Richmond's Jews quickly immersed themselves in the war effort, both on and off the battlefield. More than 100 enlisted in the Confederate army, including 15 who joined the Richmond Blues, later to become the 46th Virginia Infantry.

Myer Angle, president of Beth Ahabah, had six sons who served in the Army of Northern Virginia. Rabbi Maximilian J. Michelbacher waged a campaign throughout the war for religious observances on behalf of Jewish Confederates. He wrote repeatedly to Gen. Robert E. Lee, requesting furloughs for the soldiers to attend High Holy Days and Passover services. Lee respectfully declined each time.

The men buried in the Soldier's Section rest in hallowed ground, maintained today by the Hebrew Cemetery Co. because after the war, a devout and determined group of Jewish women followed the example of their gentile sisters and formed a memorial association to, in the words of historian Caroline E. Janney, "bury the dead but not the past."

For the rest of this article see:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jefferson Davis at Fort Monroe

Remembering Fort Monroe's most famous prisoner

The Virginian-Pilot
December 6, 2009

This Army post was a Union stronghold during the Civil War, but one day a year, the halls of its museum are filled with more gray than blue.

As they've done for years, a few dozen members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans gathered Saturday to memorialize the most famous prisoner ever held within the fort's thick stone walls: Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

Davis died 120 years ago today, on Dec. 6, 1889. He had spent almost two years at the fort after his capture in May 1865 - a month after the Civil War ended. For 4-1/2months, Davis was locked in Casemate No. 2, a room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and a large American flag on one wall, a reminder of his foe's victory.

Now part of the Casemate Museum, the room contains a reproduction of the cot Davis slept on, the shelf where he kept his pipe, a Bible, table and chair. The 35-star flag, now under glass, is the same one Davis looked at.

"Standing in this room, you really get a feel for the tyranny and oppression," said Mark Johnson, commander of the Norfolk County Grays, Camp 1549. Johnson wore modern clothing Saturday. But many in attendance, including an eight-man color guard and a Robert E. Lee look-alike, dressed in Confederate garb.

The invocation was given by a drawn, haunted-looking man in gray with a beard halfway down his chest who seemed as if he stepped from the pages of a history book.

The tone was somber - mournful, almost. Multiple speakers referred to Davis being tortured at Fort Monroe. But how the man referred to as "our one and only president" was treated while in custody depends upon whom you ask.

Participants talked of Davis in iron shackles, lights burning round the clock, kept awake by the treads of guards whose every step in steel-toed boots echoed across the wood floor.

Casemate Museum curator Paul Morando and historian David Johnson contend Davis was not mistreated.

A comprehensive new interpretation of Davis' time at Fort Monroe, the first update in almost 40 years, provides a more nuanced picture. The displays, which went up last week, debunk various myths about Davis' captivity and treatment and might not sit well with Southern sympathizers.

Davis was shackled for five days soon after arriving at Fort Monroe, the exhibit notes. The shackles were taken off after a Union doctor recommended removing them and they were never again used.

Davis' initial quarters in the Casemate were "unbearably humid," the exhibit notes, and for two months that summer, he could not leave the cell, which had a window overlooking the moat. But he soon was allowed to walk around the grounds with a guard.

By October 1865, Davis had been moved out of the fort to a four-room apartment in a building that no longer exists. His wife was allowed to join him, and for the rest of his captivity he was permitted to walk the grounds - unguarded - during daylight.

To his proud and loyal supporters, though, Davis' captivity still rankles. With Fort Monroe passing from federal to state hands in two years, they want to make sure his story is not forgotten.

"The war goes on," said Frank Earnest Sr. of Virginia Beach. "The war against us."

Earnest, chief of heritage defense for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told about 40 people at the ceremony that Pope Pius IX sent Davis a crown of thorns to symbolize his suffering.

Phil Carpenter of the Eastern Shore was the keynote speaker. He talked as if he really were the man he portrayed - Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Army.

Mentioning Lee's shared experience with Davis at West Point - both graduated in 1829 - he described his friend as "rambunctious, energetic, a hellion. He enjoyed a good time. He enjoyed a good drink."

Carpenter stepped out of character toward the end of his talk.

"I feel almost as if the walls are closing in with emotion," he said, his voice catching. "To look out that window and see the water go by, knowing he saw the same thing - it's tough."

Georgia Battlefield Project

State retreats from Resaca Battlefield project
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009

Gordon County commissioners voted Tuesday to lead the charge to complete work at the Resaca Battlefield after the state department overseeing the project made a retreat.

"They said, 'Look, if you want to see this project moved forward you're going to have to do it,'" Commission Chairman Alvin Long said of his talks with the state.

A group of local residents began pushing for a battlefield park in the early 1990s and progress had advanced as far as a groundbreaking ceremony before the Georgia Department of Natural Resources pulled out due to a lack of funding.

The park is located where entrenched Confederate forces met Atlanta-bound Union troops led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in May 1864. But state officials hope the site, located next to Interstate 75, will be friendlier to modern visitors from the North.

Kim Hatcher, a spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks, said the state had allotted $3.7 million for the project, but realized that wouldn't be enough to complete it.

The original goal was to complete the project by the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011. With that date fast approaching, the county stepped in and asked to take over the project, Ms. Hatcher explained.

The DNR board signed the intergovernmental agreement Tuesday, charging the county with building and maintaining the park in exchange for revenues from visitors.

"We're just really excited that they're able to step in help out with the project," she said.

Gordon commissioners were not as enthusiastic.

Mr. Long said he was disappointed the state wouldn't complete the park because finances were tight for the county as well. He hoped it could still be completed in 18 months.

"It's not the best economic time to do it, but it's the time which we've been given," he said.

He said the state originally allotted $5 million for the project, but diverted funds to another project. Ms. Hatcher said $3.7 had always been the amount of the bond for the project and about $400,000 of it had already been spent on surveying.

Ken Padget, who was one of the battlefield's early supporters, said the state had "dropped the ball on an excellent opportunity." He thanked the commission as well as the cities of Resaca and Calhoun for their contributions. He was also thankful that the DNR transferred the funds to the county because if the money had moved back into the general fund, it might not have come back, he explained.

"Many of us feel we would have lost the development of the park forever," he said.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

When "Gone With The Wind Came To Atlanta"

When ‘Gone with the Wind’ came to Atlanta

By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Freelance writer, Author of the book: “When America Stood for God, Family and Country” and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
1064 West Mill Drive
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152
Phone: 770 428 0978

Do you remember when and where you first saw “Gone with the Wind?”

Gone with the Wind premiered during the Christmas Season of 1939, just 74 years after the end of the “War Between the States” and December 15, 2009 marks the 70th anniversary of that wonderful-classic movie that begins with:

“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”

Gone with the Wind won 8 Oscars for 1939, including Best Picture, and;

Hattie McDaniel, the first Black American to win an Academy Award, expressed her heart-felt pride with tears of joy, upon receiving the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her memorable role as “Mammy.” See her acceptance speech at:

Victor Fleming won the Academy Award for Best Director and even though Max Steiner did not receive an award for his excellent music score, the “Gone with the Wind” theme song has become the most recognized and played tune in the world.

Vivien Leigh, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role, humbly and eloquently summed her appreciation by thanking Producer David O. Selznick which you can view at:

And, who can forget Olivia De Havilland as the pure-sweet Melanie Hamilton, Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.

Friday, December 15, 1939, was an icy-cold day in Atlanta but people warmed to the excitement of the world premiere of “Gone with the Wind”--The Selznick International Pictures “Technicolor” Production of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Release of Margaret Mitchell’s novel about the Old South at the Loews Grand Theater.

We remember Thomas Mitchell who played (Gerald O’Hara) telling daughter Scarlett:

“Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts.

And, we cried when Bonnie Blue Butler, the daughter of Rhett and Scarlett—played by Cammie King, was killed in a pony accident.

The cast of Gone with the Wind stayed at the historic Georgian-Terrace Hotel.

Anne Rutherford, who played Scarlett’s sister Carreen, took time to visit the Confederate Veterans at the soldier’s home and the stars toured the famous “Cyclorama” at Grant Park.

The festivities surrounding the premiere of Gone with the Wind included a parade down Peachtree Street with three hundred thousand folks cheering the playing of “Dixie”, waving Confederate flags and shouting Rebel Yells.

And, many witnessed the lighting of the “Eternal Flame of the Confederacy”, an 1855 gas lamp that survived the 1864 Battle of Atlanta. The lamp remained for many years on the northeast corner of Whitehall and Alabama Streets. Mrs. Thomas J. Ripley, President of Atlanta Chapter No. 18 United Daughters of the Confederacy, re-lit the great light with Mr. T. Guy Woolford, Commandant of the Old Guard by her side.

My Mother remembers the great spot lights lighting up the night sky.

The house where Margaret Mitchell wrote “Gone with the Wind” is still standing. See information at:

Time Magazine wrote:

“The film has almost everything the book has in the way of spectacle, drama, practically endless story and the means to make them bigger and better. The burning of Atlanta, the great "boom" shots of the Confederate wounded lying in the streets and the hospital after the Battle of Atlanta are spectacle enough for any picture, and unequaled.”

Read entire article at:,9171,952044,00.html#ixzz0XFQVmsTD

The 70th Anniversary of “Gone with the Wind’ was recently celebrated with a re-premiere showing at the beautifully restored Strand Theater located on the square in Marietta, Georgia. Read information at:

Merry Christmas and May God Bless!

SCV Wins Florida Case Over License Plates

For Immediate Release

For Further Information contact:
Attorney Fred O'Neal
(407) 719-6796

Sons Of Confederate Veterans
Heritage Plate Chairman John Adams
(407) 302-1297


United States District Judge John Antoon II has issued an order that will clear the way for the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) to obtain a specialty license plate from the State of Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The order, just released by the Federal Middle District Judge, upholds the First Amendment right to have the plate issued by DMV, regardless of the inaction of the Florida Legislature in failing to consider or approve the plate and rules
against DMV's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The case (Case No. 6:09-cv-134-Orl-28KRS) SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS, FLORIDA DIVISION, INC. JOHN W. ADAMS -vs- JEFFREY H. ATWATER, LARRY CRETUL, ANDY GARDINER, RICHARD GLORIOSO,and ELECTRA THEODORIDES-BUSTLE was filed nearly a year ago following two (2) years of legislative inaction to approve the plate.

"We followed all the procedures, paid the fees required by the state, and did absolutely everything that was required by law and the politicians in the Florida Legislature failed to follow their own statutes. Now it looks like parts or all of those

statutes may be stricken by the Federal Court as an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment rights," stated John Adams, Chairman of the Confederate Heritage Plate Committee of the SCV."

"All Floridians who support the heritage involved with this plate could soon have an opportunity to put this plate on their cars and show the pride they have as Floridians who support our state's history and heritage," stated Douglas Dawson,
SCV Florida Commander.

"Judge Antoon's order is a huge step forward for our case and the ruling will pave the way for the Confederate Heritage plate to become a reality," stated Attorney Fred O'Neal. "In response to the State's motion to dismiss, we had to lay all of
our cards on the table and present our evidence, which was compelling. The State did the same and the Judge ruled for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights... we're very pleased with Judge Antoon's ruling," O'Neal concluded.

Florida's specialty plate program consists of a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit Florida based organization providing a $60,000 license fee; conducting a survey that requires 30,000 or more Floridians that will purchase the plate (SCV actually
obtained over 45,000); a short-term and long term marketing plan; a financial plan for plate proceeds distribution and an audit of the survey by the Auditor General's office.

Orlando-based Advantage Consultants was retained to produce all
the components for the proposed plate. Advantage Consultants has produced twenty-five specialty plate's and maintains a 100% acceptance rate by the DMV and the Auditor-General. Advantage also produced the Martin Luther King "I Have
A Dream" plate.