Saturday, July 30, 2011

CIC Speaks to the Irish Times

The unrepentant South
LARA MARLOWE in Charleston, South Carolina

150 years after the American Civil War began and half a century after the civil-rights movement, old arguments still simmer between blacks and whites. A new series explores race, identity and history in today’s American South

THE AMERICAN Civil War started here, 150 years ago, when South Carolina’s militias opened fire on the Yankees, in Fort Sumter, on an island in the middle of Charleston Harbor. The cataclysmic war that followed killed 620,000 Americans, more than any other conflict in the nation’s history.

Over the next four years, a quarter of the South’s men would perish. Slavery would be abolished. And Abraham Lincoln would achieve his goal of forcibly reuniting the States.

But time has not healed all wounds. A century and a half later, the descendants of the protagonists still cannot agree who started the conflict and why.

For the North, South Carolina precipitated the war by withdrawing from the United States, because it wanted to preserve the institution of slavery. Many Southern whites claim the war was not about slavery but was started by Abraham Lincoln to safeguard income from the South’s cotton and tobacco exports for building northern infrastructure.

Today, horse-drawn carriages rattle through cobble-stone streets, past fine Georgian buildings nestled among magnolia and crepe myrtle trees. Charleston remains a monument to the wealth and charmed life of slave-owning planters and merchants in the antebellum South. For the tourists who flock here, it’s like turning to the opening pages of Gone with the Wind.

On that day, in 1861, from the columned verandas of their seafront mansions, the ladies and gents of Charleston cheered the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

Their heirs gathered on a recent morning, unbowed and unrepentant, to march on Carolina Day. Old codgers sported uniforms of the War of American Independence, or seersucker suits and Panama hats. Police dressed in kilts played bagpipes. The Daughters of the American Revolution wore period dress. In this jewel of the Old South, where roughly a third of the population is now black, there was not one African-American to be seen.

Charleston is steeped in its own history. The centuries blur in a loop of wealth, pride and victory, defeat and grievance.

Carolina Day commemorates a 1776 battle against the British during the American Revolution, but today it’s as if the 85 years between the Revolution and the Civil War have melted away.

“In the first War of Independence, we fought for the right to govern ourselves,” says Michael Givens, commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “In the 1860s, we fought for the right to govern ourselves again. We lost that fight.”

For Givens and his cohort, the 1861-65 conflict was “the war of northern aggression”; slavery was “a legal labour system”. When Abraham Lincoln dispatched 75,000 Union soldiers to South Carolina, in April 1861, says Givens, he was like Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait. “The Declaration of Independence was built on the rights of the governed. We said we didn’t want to be part of the club any more, and Lincoln said, ‘Then we’ll kill you.’ ”

The neo-Confederates who Givens represents do not deny slavery, they just ignore it, preferring to emphasise the racism and hypocrisy of the North. But the legacy of slavery and the century of segregation that followed its abolition haunt this beautiful port city, much as the stink of horse urine permeates its otherwise pristine streets.

The Palmetto Guard, a state militia founded in the 1850s, participated in the 1861 bombardment of Fort Sumter. Today they carry the Confederate Stars and Bars in the Carolina Day parade. “What that flag means is ‘no’,” Givens says. “No to the government telling you what to do.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, founded in 1896, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP), established in 1909, are locked in a feud over the American Civil War, and nothing inflames their conflict more than the neo-Confederates’ determination to fly their flag.

Givens dreams of seeing it unfurled over Charleston Harbor again. “People say: ‘That flag reminds me of slavery.’ Well, it doesn’t remind me of slavery. Tens of thousands of South Carolinans died protecting themselves. Why can’t I remember those people without being maligned for it?” To mark the 150th anniversary of the civil war, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have sold 15,000 car licence plates bearing the Stars and Bars in nine southern states.

The NAACP has lost repeated lawsuits against this marketing of the Confederate flag. Mississippi’s plan to sell licence plates commemorating Nathan Bedford Forrest – “A brilliant general who terrified the Yankees,” says Givens – has created further controversy. Media reports say Forrest massacred black Union soldiers and was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Givens disputes this.

Donald Livingston is a professor of philosophy at Emory University, in Georgia, and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who marched with the Palmetto Guard in the Carolina Day parade. He has just written an essay entitled Why the War Was Not about Slavery.

Livingston believes the US would have been better off as an EU-style federation of states rather than the centralised nation Lincoln forged on the battlefields of the republic. He quotes the Confederate commander Robert E Lee, predicting that a federal state would become “tyrannical at home and aggressive abroad”.

When the US marked the centennial, in 1961, it papered over differences and recognised the sacrifice of both sides. In the South, the war was referred to as “the late unpleasantness”. Fifty years later, unity in the memory of mutually inflicted suffering has all but vanished, as old arguments about states’ rights and the power of the central government resurface.

Givens is furious that the federal government has shied away from commemorating the war. More Americans – 7,200 – were killed in the first half-hour of the Battle of Cold Harbour than in a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he writes.

“Men were seen on the frontline, pinning their addresses on to the back of their jackets so they’d know where to send their bodies. People in Washington, DC, should be ashamed of sweeping it under the carpet as if it never happened.”

“NOBODY WANTS to deal with this issue, because it’s a loser, a political hot potato,” says Robert Rosen, the president of the Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter Trust in Charleston, whose Jewish ancestors emigrated from eastern Europe. An attorney and the author of three books about the civil war, Rosen takes a neutral approach to the conflict. For him, the dispute between the black NAACP and the neo-Confederates, with its undertow of racial antagonism, is so last century.

The NAACP “just want to make trouble. They have nothing constructive to offer. They just want to protest,” says Rosen. The Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Secession Ball last December, celebrating South Carolina’s departure from the Union, was “very politically incorrect” and “counter-productive”.

The trust that Rosen heads held a concert at the Battery, from whence Fort Sumter was bombarded, in April. “We had black re-enactors and a black choir. It was something that everybody felt comfortable with,” he says. “We told the story from both sides. We said: ‘This happened. We are commemorating, but we are not celebrating.’ ”

Rosen grew up riding in the front, white section of buses and attending segregated schools. “In my lifetime, the South has changed completely,” he says.

The latest census shows that black people are reversing the great migration, returning to the South a century after they fled discriminatory 19th-century laws that separated blacks from whites and prevented blacks voting.

South Carolina has had a black chief justice of the state supreme court, several black federal judges and a black mayor in the state capital, Columbia. Half of the Charleston city council are black. The only black Republican in Congress is from South Carolina. Even the president of the United States is black.

“A young black child today who wants to succeed and has two parents who want to help can achieve anything,” says Rosen. Nonetheless, he says, “Black people have a lot of fears. I don’t understand their anxiety, but it’s there.”

On a hot summer evening, I sit with two ageing black men on the pavement outside the Charleston market. A lone white policeman stared at us from his squad car. “He’ll probably ask if you bought any drugs from me,” Alfred Fraser, a 59-year-old homeless basket-seller, says bitterly.

“There’s some good white people in this world. I love them because they feel the pain of us,” Fraser says. His story was that of millions of African-Americans. He dropped out of school to help his mother raise younger siblings, had difficulty finding employment. There was a broken marriage, followed by drug addiction, the deaths of two of his five children, one a casualty of a gang fight.

When I ask about the 1960s civil-rights movement, Fraser and the basket-weaver he calls his adoptive father begin singing, “Oh when the saints go marching in . . .” They shake their heads in amazement at the mention of Barack Obama’s election: “We thought that would never happen.”

Those who celebrate the Confederacy “are people who don’t want to forget”, says Fraser. “They want to change things back, but the Lord won’t let them. I don’t want to go back and slave. I hope we don’t never get back to that point.”

Fraser is one of the anxious blacks Rosen mentions. “It could happen by keeping us from getting jobs and having enough to eat and a place to sleep and putting us in jail,” he says.

“Go down in the ghetto and see what we got to do to survive: sell drugs. The drugs bought by white people: we can’t afford a shipload of drugs. We get blamed for it. We get time for it. That’s another form of slaving us.”

Marker Dedicated in Corpus Christi

Ceremony dedicates marker noting city's Civil War battle
July 16, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.


Battle of Corpus Christi: On Aug. 16, 1862, five Union warships entered Corpus Christi Bay to destroy the piers and wharves.

Why: Corpus Christi was a prominent port for goods such as cotton and Confederate war materials.

The defense: Led by Confederate Maj. Alfred M. Hobby, 700 Corpus Christi defenders with a group of cannons.

The result: Union forces landed to destroy the cannons, but Confederate infantry pushed them back. The Union finally withdrew from Corpus Christi Bay, and the piers and wharves remained intact.

Flags of the Confederacy

July 29, 2011, 8:30 pm
The Southern Cross

Confederate Gen. G.T. Beauregard was worried. It was the afternoon of July 21, 1861, and fighting had raged since daylight after General Irwin McDowell’s Union army attacked Beauregard from across the small Virginia stream known as Bull Run. The battle seesawed throughout the day, but fresh troops rushed in from the Shenandoah Valley had finally given Beauregard the advantage. Now, just as victory seemed certain, he spied a heavy column of troops more than a mile away maneuvering on his flank.

Gen. G.T. BeauregardBeauregard later explained, “At their head waved a flag which I could not distinguish. Even by a strong glass I was unable to determine whether it was the United States flag or the Confederate flag. At this moment I received a dispatch from Capt. [Porter] Alexander, in charge of the signal station, warning me to look out for the left; that a large column was approaching in that direction, and that it was supposed to be Gen. [Robert] Patterson’s command coming to reinforce McDowell. At this moment, I must confess, my heart failed me.”

Beauregard knew his exhausted men could not withstand a determined flank attack. “I came, reluctantly, to the conclusion that after all our efforts, we should at last be compelled to yield to the enemy the hard fought and bloody field.” Beauregard turned to an officer and instructed him to go to the rear and tell Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to prepare the reserves to support the retreat he was about to order. As the officer began to leave, Beauregard had second thoughts and told him to wait a minute so they could make sure that it actually was Yankees bearing down upon them.

It proved to be a fortuitous decision. “I took the glass and again examined the flag. … A sudden gust of wind shook out its folds, and I recognized the stars and bars of the Confederate banner.”

The mysterious flag turned out to be the Confederacy’s First National Flag, which resembled the United States flag in both color and design. It was carried at the head of Col. Harry T. Hays’s Seventh Louisiana Volunteers, one of the lead regiments in Col. Jubal Early’s brigade that was launching an attack on the Union flank. Hays’s second-in-command, Lt. Col. Charles de Choiseul, wrote home after the battle that the regiment happened to carry the national colors that day instead of its blue regimental flag, but he did not explain why. Early’s bold attack helped turn the tide, and the First Battle of Bull Run ended in a complete Confederate victory. Few people knew how close Beauregard had come to throwing that victory away simply because he could not identify one of his own side’s flags.

As it turned out, Beauregard was not the first person to mistake the Seventh Louisiana for the enemy at Bull Run. In his memoirs, Early wrote that earlier in the day Confederate Gen. David R. Jones saw Hays’s regiment approaching his position and he, too, thought it might be the enemy. Early galloped over to confer with Jones and found him scrutinizing the Louisianians through his binoculars and preparing his men to fire on them. Fortunately, Early got there in time to clear up the confusion.

Early also experienced a moment of uncertainty when he prepared to make his flank attack that afternoon. An officer came up to warn him that a Virginia regiment was on the other side of the hill in his front and not to fire on it. Early was sure there were no friendly forces in that position, but he rode ahead to check and saw soldiers dressed in what appeared to be Confederate uniforms. They, too, carried a flag but it lay limp in the dead air, and Early could not tell whether the troops were friend or foe. It was not until Jeb Stuart’s horse artillery opened fire on the men and they retreated that Early saw it was a United States flag.

Determined to avoid such cases of mistaken identity on future battlefields, General Beauregard decided the Confederates needed a distinctive national flag. It just so happened that William Porcher Miles, a South Carolina congressman, was serving on Beauregard’s staff at the time, and Miles had considerable experience dealing with flag issues.

William Porcher Miles As chairman of the confederate Committee on the Flag and Seal, Miles had overseen the adoption of the First National Flag a few months earlier. During the committee’s deliberations, it became apparent that opinions were split between those who wanted a flag that was similar to the United States because of fond feelings for the old Union and those who wanted something completely different to mark a new beginning. Miles was among the latter, and he submitted a flag design containing a blue St. Andrew’s Cross on a red background, with white stars on the cross to represent the Confederate states.

Miles’s pattern was based on a South Carolina secession flag that displayed a traditional, or upright, St. George’s Cross. However, a Southern Jew objected to the cross and requested of Miles that such a specific religious symbol not be made into a national symbol. Miles agreed to change the design to a St. Andrew’s Cross: “It avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews & many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus.”

In the end, the committee rejected Miles’s entry and chose a design that was similar to the United States flag. The Confederates’ First National Flag would have red and white bars, rather than stripes, and in the upper corner seven white stars (representing the Confederate states at the time) on a blue background. The flag, which became known as the “Stars and Bars,” somewhat resembled the original United States flag used during the Revolutionary War.

When, after the Battle of Bull Run, Beauregard mentioned to Miles his desire for a distinctive national flag, Miles told him of his rejected design. Then, acting on behalf of Beauregard, Miles suggested to the Committee on the Flag and Seal that a new national flag be adopted in order to avoid confusion on the battlefield. When the committee refused by a vote of four to one, Beauregard decided there should be two flags.

Beauregard (who by then had embraced the St. Andrew’s cross) wrote Gen. Joseph E. Johnston that he had recommended to Miles “that we should have two flags — a peace or parade flag, and a war flag to be used only on the field of battle — but congress having adjourned no action will be taken on the matter — How would it do for us to address the War Dept. on the subject for a supply of Regimental or badge flags made of red with two blue bars crossing each other diagonally on which shall be introduced the stars. … We would then on the field of battle know our friends from our Enemies.”

Johnston agreed and suggested the battle flag be square instead of rectangular so as to be better proportioned. Beauregard introduced the new banner to his officers at a dinner party on Nov. 27, 1861. A reporter for the Richmond Daily Dispatch attended the event and wrote a detailed account for his readers. After telling the story of the confusion at First Bull Run, Beauregard brought the new flag out. The reporter was impressed and wrote, “The flag itself is a beautiful banner, which, I am sure, before this campaign is over, will be consecrated forever in the affections of the people of the Confederate States.”

The next day, the new flags were officially issued to the Virginia army with great ceremony. Shortly afterward, Beauregard was transferred to the Western Theater and the new battle flag took root there as well.

The Confederate battle flag. Eleven states officially seceded and joined the Confederacy, but the battle flag also included stars for the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri because they formed Confederate governments in exile.
The Southern Cross, as it is sometimes known, was never an official flag of the Confederate government, and it never flew over public buildings, despite what Hollywood might have one believe. Instead, it was simply a military banner that was carried by troops in the field. Nonetheless, it became more popular than the Stars and Bars and was incorporated into the Confederacy’s Second and Third National Flags. For 150 years, the Southern Cross has been the symbol of the Rebel cause.


Sources: John M. Coski, “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem”; Terry L. Jones, “The American Civil War”; Richmond Daily Dispatch, Nov. 27, 1861; Jubal A. Early, “Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States”; Charles de Choiseul to Louisa Watson, Nov. 6, 1861, Historic New Orleans Collection, Tulane University.

Terry L. Jones is a professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He has written a number of books on the Civil War, including “The American Civil War “and “Lee’s Tigers: The Louisiana Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia.” Dr. Jones is a member of the Sons of Confederate Vetearns

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Manassas Battlefield Donated by SCV

Sons of Confederate Veterans
Historic Elm Springs, Columbia, TN
Immediate Release

July 23, 2011

Thousands of reenactors have descended on Manassas to recreate the first
major ground battle of the War Between the States.

The authentic reproduction marks the beginning of observances of the
Sesqui-Centennial of America's most devastating war. It will be followed
by hundreds of events during the next four and a half years.

Still at issue is the name of the battle which is known by Union standards
as the Battle of Bull Run. Confederates have always labeled it as First
Manassas. This ties into the contention that still remains between the
two sides. Northerners generally call the war the Civil War. Southerners
call it the War Between the States.

The reenactment is taking place on land near the hallowed ground where the
actual battle took place on July 2l, 1861. The actual battle ground was acquired
by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and donated to the U. S. Park Service
in 1938 as a gift to the American people in honor of the soldiers of both
armies that fought in the historic battle which was won by the

The donation of 130 acres include the Henry Farm and the site of the
Visitors Center. A plaque at the visitors Center describes the donation and land
transfer for thousands of visitors annually.

Included in the transfer agreement is the following: "the strictest
observance of the accuracy and fairness of the markers and monuments and
there will be no development or markers or inscriptions
which detract in any way from the glory due Confederate heroes."

In a special message to all members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Commander-in-Chief Michael Givens stated "Let us on this 150th anniversary
of the First Battle of Manassas observe it as a day of consecration."

Now 115 years old the Sons of Confederate Veterans continue its patriotic
mission of education, philanthropy. Its 30,000 members in the United
States and several other nations are dedicated to community service in the
localities where their camps are located.


Contact Information:
J. A. Davis, Chairman, Public Relations and Media
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Gainesville, GA
770 297-4788

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hate Group (NAACP) Attack South Carolina Heritage

Haley shrugs off new flag criticism

Gov. Nikki Haley is waving off renewed criticism of the Confederate battle flag aside the State House from the NAACP.

In a Monday speech at the NAACP’s annual convention in Los Angeles, NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous challenged Haley over the Confederate battle flag that continues to fly on the S.C. State House grounds.

“Perhaps one of the most perplexing examples of the contradictions of this moment in history is that Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s first governor of color, continues to fly the Confederate flag in front of her state’s capitol,” Jealous said, according to a press release put out by the NAACP.

Today's news video

“Given the similarities between our struggles to end slavery and segregation, and her ancestors’ struggle to end British colonialism and oppression in India, my question to Governor Haley is one that Dr. King often asked himself: What would Gandhi do?”

Haley’s spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said today that Haley is not focused on the decades-old flag controversy.

“More than a decade ago, under the leadership of a Democratic governor, South Carolinians --Republican and Democrat, black and white -- came to a compromise position on the Confederate flag,” Godfrey said. “Many people were uncomfortable with that compromise, but it addressed a sensitive subject in a way that South Carolina as a whole could accept. We don't expect people from outside of the state to understand that dynamic, but revisiting that issue is not part of the governor's agenda.”

The flag has flown on the north side of the State House, beyond a monument to Confederate soldiers, since 2000. The flag was moved to that location as part of a legislative compromise to remove it from atop the State House dome.

The NAACP has engaged in a boycott of the state since 1999, successfully convincing the National Collegiate Athletic Association not to bring post-season tournaments to the state.

Read more:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shipwrecks to be Studied In Virginia

Survey of Civil War shipwrecks continues in James River
Lauren King
The Virginian-Pilot
June 28, 2011

A two-day research expedition began Monday to survey two sunken Civil War vessels in the James River.

The archaeological survey of the USS Cumberland and CSS Florida is being conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Navy, a news release from NOAA said. Researchers are using sonar technology to create three-dimensional maps of the two shipwrecks to analyze their current conditions and better understand the technological innovations of the time.

The Cumberland, a 1,726-ton wooden frigate, was lost on March 8, 1862, during the Battle of Hampton Roads, when the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack, rammed the Cumberland. It went down with more than 100 men. Nearby are the remains of the notorious Confederate commerce raider Florida. In late 1864, a Union warship seized the Florida at a harbor in Brazil and towed it to Hampton Roads, where it was rammed by a U.S. Navy troop ferry on Nov. 19, 1864, and sent to the bottom.

Both vessels are protected under the federal Sunken Military Craft Act of 2005, the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 and the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives the U.S. government exclusive rights to its own property.

The Cumberland was last surveyed in 2007. This is the first time the federal government is surveying the Florida.

Support for Veterans Help Historic Park

Alabama still collecting tax for Confederate vets

By JAY REEVES - Associated Press
Wed, Jul 20, 2011

Confederate battle flags fly outside the museum at the Confederate Memorial Park
MOUNTAIN CREEK, Ala. (AP) — The last of the more than 60,000 Confederate veterans who came home to Alabama after the Civil War died generations ago, yet residents are still paying a tax that supported the neediest among them.

Despite fire-and-brimstone opposition to taxes among many in a state that still has "Heart of Dixie" on its license plates, officials never stopped collecting a property tax that once funded the Alabama Confederate Soldiers' Home, which closed 72 years ago. The tax now pays for Confederate Memorial Park, which sits on the same 102-acre tract where elderly veterans used to stroll.

The tax once brought in millions for Confederate pensions, but lawmakers sliced up the levy and sent money elsewhere as the men and their wives died. No one has seriously challenged the continued use of the money for a memorial to the "Lost Cause," in part because few realize it exists; one long-serving black legislator who thought the tax had been done away with said he wants to eliminate state funding for the park.

These days, 150 years after the Civil War started, officials say the old tax typically brings in more than $400,000 annually for the park, where Confederate flags flapped on a recent steamy afternoon. That's not much compared to Alabama's total operating budget of $1.8 billion, but it's sufficient to give the park plenty of money to operate and even enough for investments, all at a time when other historic sites are struggling just to keep the grass cut for lack of state funding.

"It's a beautifully maintained park. It's one of the best because of the funding source," said Clara Nobles of the Alabama Historical Commission, which oversees Confederate Memorial Park.

Longtime park director Bill Rambo is more succinct.

"Everyone is jealous of us," he said.

Tax experts say they know of no other state that still collects a tax so directly connected to the Civil War, although some federal excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol first were enacted during the war to help fund the Union.

"Broadly speaking, almost all taxes have their start in a war of some sort," said Joseph J. Thorndike, director of a tax history project at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit organization that studies taxation.

Alabama's tax structure was enshrined in its 1901 Constitution, passed after Reconstruction at a time when historians say state legislators' main goal was to keep power in the hands of wealthy white landowners by disenfranchising blacks and poor whites.

The Constitution allowed a state property tax of up to 6.5 mills, which now amounts to $39 annually on a home worth $100,000. Of that tax, 3 mills went to schools; 2.5 mills went to the operating budget; and 1 mill went to pensions for Confederate veterans and widows.

The state used the pension tax to fund the veterans home once it assumed control of the operation in 1903. The last Confederate veteran living at the home died in 1934, and its hospital was converted into apartments for widows. It closed in 1939, and the five women who lived there were moved to Montgomery.

Legislators whittled away at the Confederate tax through the decades, and millions of dollars that once went to the home and pensions now go to fund veteran services, the state welfare agency and other needs. But the park still gets 1 percent of one mill, and its budget for this year came to $542,469, which includes money carried over from previous years plus certificates of deposit.

All that money has created a manicured, modern park that's the envy of other Alabama historic sites, which are funded primarily by grants, donations and friends groups. Legislators created the park in 1964 during a period that marked both the 100th anniversary of the Civil War and the height of the civil rights movement in the Deep South.

Nothing is left of the veterans home but a few foundations and two cemeteries with 313 graves, but a museum with Civil War artifacts and modern displays opened at the park in 2007. Rebel flags fly all around the historic site, which Rambo said draws more than 10,000 visitors annually despite being hidden in the country nine miles and three turns off Interstate 65 in the central part of the state.

While the park flourishes quietly, other historic attractions around the state are fighting for survival.

Workers at Helen Keller's privately run home in northwest Alabama fear losing letters written by the famed activist because of a lack of state funding for preservation of artifacts. On the Gulf Coast at Dauphin Island, preservationists say the state-owned Fort Gaines is in danger of being undermined by waves after nearly 160 years standing guard at the entry to Mobile Bay.

The old Confederate pension tax that funds the park has never been seriously threatened, Rambo said. Backers were upset this year when Gov. Robert Bentley's budget plan eliminated state funding for historic sites because of tight revenues, he said, but the park's earmarked funding survived.

"Once I informed the public what was going on the support just rose up," said Rambo, the director since 1989. Two heritage groups, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy, led the charge, but ordinary citizens complained too, he said.

"Some were people who don't belong to those organizations who really like the park and come out here for picnics and all and were really upset," he said.

State Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat who's been in the Legislature since 1974, said he thought funding for the park had been slashed.

"We should not be spending one nickel for that," said Holmes, of Montgomery. "I'm going to try to get rid of it."

Holmes may have a hard time gaining support with Republicans in control of Legislature and the governor's office.

In the meantime, a contractor recently measured the museum for a new paint job, and plans calls for using invested money to construct replicas of some of the 22 buildings that stood on the site when it was home to hundreds of Confederate veterans and their wives.

Manassas Preserved

Preservationists savor victory at Manassas
By Robert McCartney,
Published: July 20, 2011

Stand by the Stonewall Jackson statue at Manassas National Battlefield Park and it’s easy to summon a mental picture of the scene 150 years ago Thursday when North and South fought the first major battle of the Civil War.

Grassy hills and forest dominate the landscape, as they did in 1861. Apart from the low-standing Visitors Center, modernity does not intrude. No high-rise buildings or cellphone towers mar the horizon.

For this pastoral vista, we thank decades of preservation campaigns that repeatedly fought suburban sprawl around the park. This resistance — which defeated economic powerhouses like the Marriott and Disney corporations and Fairfax developer Til Hazel — attracted national attention and inspired others.

In fact, specialists view the efforts to protect Manassas (also known as Bull Run) as the cradle of the modern battlefield preservation movement in America.

“­Our origins essentially go back to that fight to protect that property, which ultimately was protected,” said Jim Campi, policy and communications director of the Civil War Trust.

In its latest victory, announced Wednesday, the trust helped arrange for the addition of 54 acres to the federal park. Most of the land was donated by Service Corporation International, a Texas funeral services company that agreed to forgo expanding a cemetery it owns by the battlefield.

The preservation struggle is not complete, and probably never will be. As long as suburbia and congestion grow in Prince William County, the activists will be called to further action.

“There’s always going to be tremendous development pressures right outside the boundaries of the park. It’s how we address those pressures that will ultimately decide how the park looks 10, 20, 30 years from now,” Campi said.

The most obvious current problem is familiar. Even the heralded preservationists at Manassas haven’t been able to stave off Northern Virginia traffic.

For a glimpse of the challenge, just stroll a couple hundred yards from the Jackson statue to Henry House, another battlefield landmark.

From there, looking north, one sees cars and trucks waiting at the stoplight at the intersection of Lee Highway (Route 29) and Sudley Road (Route 234), smack in the middle of the park. At rush hour, the backups often extend more than two miles.

The vehicles are annoying, both because they’re eyesores and because they make it hard for visitors to get around. It’s especially a headache for anybody attempting the 18-mile driving tour to see the terrain of Second Manassas, fought on the same site 13 months after the first encounter.

“Hardly anybody finishes the thing, because you have to fight the traffic,” Park Superintendent Ed Clark said.

Clark and some preservationists would like to expand existing roads and build new ones outside the park to route traffic around the battlefield. A full bypass would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, however, and the state already lacks money for roads of higher priority.

Moreover, many people who’ve supported preservation at Manassas are not typically enthusiastic about building new highways. One such skeptic is Page Snyder, daughter of legendary Manassas preservationist Annie Snyder.

Until her death in 2002, “Stonewall Annie” Snyder was for three decades the driving force behind campaigns to defend the battlefield. To honor her mother’s memory, Page is allowing the reenactment of First Manassas on Saturday and Sunday to take place on the family’s 200-acre farm next to the park. (The Park Service won’t allow use of the actual site; it said “never again” after reenactors caused so much damage there at the 100th anniversary.)

Page said she understood the need to reduce traffic inside the park, but she worries that new highways would fuel unwanted development. “I do not trust our process to protect the rural crescent as it should be protected,” Snyder said.

Despite the traffic, the overall preservation story at Manassas is one of success.

“Manassas is rightfully proud that you can stand in certain portions of that battlefield and really feel that you are there,” said Joan Zenzen, a Rockville historian who’s finishing her fourth book on battlefield preservation.

Clark said business interests and politicians are more sympathetic to preservation than they were in the past — or at least more wary of tangling over the issue.

“Companies don’t want to have their names splattered around in negative tones,” Clark said. As for politicians, “Even if they don’t have the goodness of preservation in their hearts, they understand the value of tourism.”

That’s a legacy Annie Snyder’s political heirs will need to defend just as she protected that bucolic view from the Jackson statue.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Victory in North Carolina Case

Victory in Flag case in Concord, North Carolina

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled today that a hotel may be liable
for malicious prosecution of a hotel guest, where the hotel had the guest
arrested after he refused to remove a Confederate flag from the window of
his hotel room. Read the complete opinion at

In Childress v. Concord Hospitality Associates, Inc., Basil Childress rented
a room at the Wingate Inn in Concord NC for the 2008 National Reunion of the
Sons of Confederate Veterans. The hotel demanded that Childress remove a
Confederate flag that Childress hung in the hotel window, and Childress

The hotel then called the Concord police department and had them arrest
Childress for trespassing. The Cabarrus County District Attorney later
dismissed criminal charges against Childress, prompting Childress to sue the
hotel for malicious prosecution.

In March 2010, a Superior Court judge in Cabarrus County dismissed
Childress' case, agreeing with the hotel that it could terminate Childress'
room rental contract for his failure to abide by the rules of the hotel.
However, the Court of Appeals ruled today that the Superior Court erred.

The Court of Appeals noted that the hotel had "no written policy in place
regarding the display of a flag in the window of a guest's room" and the
"room rental contract contained no language prohibiting" a flag in the
window. "If the demand to remove the flag was in violation of the terms and
conditions of the room rental contract," the Court continued, "then there
was no reasonable grounds" for the hotel to have Childress arrested.

The case now returns to the Superior Court to determine whether the hotel
did in fact breach its room rental contract by evicting Childress, and
whether having Childress arrested amounted to malicious prosecution.

Flag Petition for Lexington, VA


Go the the following address to sign the petition for flying our flags in Lexington, VA.

Confederate Heritage Youth Day

York County, S.C.
Sept 24, 2011
9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sponsors- Pvt. Thomas Caldwell Camp No. 31 (Clover, S.C.), Maj. E. A. Ross Camp No. 1423 (Charlotte, N.C.), Moses Wood Camp No. 125 (Gaffney, S.C.), Maj. Charles Q. Petty Camp No. 872(Gastonia, N.C.), Col. William A Stowe Camp No. 2142(Dallas, N.C.), Mechanized Cavalry Headquarters Camp No. 212 and the Third Brigade S.C. Division Sons of Confederate Veterans

Youth are the Future!

The annual York Confederate Heritage Youth Camp will be held Sept. 24th at 615 Woodland Park Road , Smyrna , SC 29743 in western York County , S.C. This year's event will be larger and better, with cavalry, artillery and infantry demonstrations conducted by War Between the States re-enactors.

The youth need to be taught this important part of American History. Come and take an active part in educating and learning about the Cause for Southern Independence !

Instructors are teamed up to teach programs on several topics concerning this war.

For those interested in coming early: You can camp on Friday, Sept. 23th. Arrive at the site around 4 p.m. A small breakfast will be served for the campers at 7:30 A.M. Lunch will also be served on Saturday. Scout Troops are encouraged to attend and will have their own camping spot. Contact all area Scoutmasters to inform them.

Confederate Heritage T-shirts will be given to everyone that responds by September 17th, and limited supplies are available. But same day registration will still be available.

Contacts: Kirk Carter-(704-806-2941), David Mullis-(803)448-4392, Joe Fore-(803)222-1928, William Kale-(803)628-5075, Mark Sheppard-(864)936-9598, Tony Polk-(704)691-7691 and Bill Starnes-(704)747-1450

P.S.-Children planning to take part in the Youth Day program, please ask for pre-registration forms. Adults are encouraged to attend the Youth Day as well. Everyone is welcome.

Directions: From the west. From I-85, Take the SC-5 exit- EXIT 100- toward BLACKSBURG / ROCK HILL . Take Hwy #5 ( Black Hwy ) out of Blacksburg towards York . Go approximately 12 miles from Blacksburg and turn right onto Woodland Park Road and follow the signs. There will be a marker on Hwy #5 at Woodland Park Road . Follow until see entrance @ Rick's Fun Farm.

From the east take Hwy #5 ( Black Hwy ) from Rock Hill towards York . Once crossing @ Hwy 321 intersection. Go approximately 5 miles and turn left onto Woodland Park Road-watch for signs. Follow until see entrance @ Rick's Fun Farm.

From Clover, go Hwy 55 towards Blacksburg , cross over intersection of Hwy 161. From intersection continue toward Blacksburg for about 2-3 miles, will turn left onto Ramah Church Rd. Go Ramah Ch. Rd until come to intersection of Black Hwy (Hwy 5). Turn right, then go 1 mile turn back left onto Woodland Park Rd. Go 1 mile will see sign & Flag into Ricks Fun Farm.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Battle Flag Flies Over Okinawa

‎"How the Confederate Stars and Bars Made its Way to Okinawa"

"Only the Normandy ...D-Day invasion surpassed Okinawa in its scope, preparation and forces employed. More than 548,000 Americans participated in the Okinawa invasion. American service members were surprised to find virtually no resistance as they stormed the beaches on Easter 1945. They soon discovered that the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy had literally gone underground having spent a year forcing Okinawan slaves to dig their underground defenses. It required 83 days of combat to defeat the Japanese.

The invasion of Okinawa was by the newly organized American 10th Army. The 10th, commanded by Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, was composed of the XXIV Corps, made up of veteran Army units including the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th Infantry divisions, and the III Amphibious Corps, with three battle-hardened Marine divisions, the 1st, 2nd, and

One of the most significant milestones in the Okinawan campaign was the taking of Shuri Castle, the underground headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army. After two months of fighting the Japanese, the 6th Marines and
the Army’s 7th Division were moving south, nearing Shuri Castle. The 6th Marines were commanded by Maj. Gen. Pedro del Valle. Following a hard fight at Dakeshi Town, del Valle’s Marines engaged in a bloody battle at Wana Draw.

Wana Draw stretched 800 yards and was covered by Japanese guns from its 400-yard entrance to its narrow exit. The exit provided the key to Shuri Castle. The Japanese were holed up in caves the entire length of the gully, and had to be eradicated in man-to-man combat.

While the Marines battled through the mud and blood up the draw, the Army’s 77th Division was approaching Shuri from the east. To the west, the 6th Marines were pushing into the capital city of Naha. Faced with this overwhelming force, Japanese Gen. Ushijima’s army retreated to the south. On May 29, 1945, A Company, Red Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, commanded by Capt. Julius Dusenberg, approached to within 800 yards of Shuri Castle. The castle lay within the zone of the 77th Infantry Division, known as the Statue of Liberty Boys. However, Gen. Ushijima’s rear guard had stalled the 77th’s advance.

Impatient, Maj. Gen. del Valle ordered Capt. Dusenberg to “take that damned place if you can. I’ll make the explanations.”

Dusenberg radioed back, “Will do!”

Dusenberg’s Marines stormed the stone fortress, quickly dispatching a detachment of Japanese soldiers who had remained behind. Once the castle had been taken, Dusenberg took off his helmet and removed a flag he had been carrying for just such a special occasion. He raised the flag at the highest point of the castle and let loose with a rebel yell. The flag waving overhead was not the Stars and Stripes, but the Confederate Stars and Bars. Most of the Marines joined in the yell, but a disapproving New Englander supposedly remarked, “What does he want now? Should we sing ‘Dixie’?”

Maj. Gen. Andrew Bruce, the commanding general of the 77th Division, protested to the 10th Army that the Marines had stolen his prize. But Lt. Gen. Buckner only mildly chided Gen. del Valle, saying, “How can I be sore at him? My father fought under that flag!” Gen. Buckner’s father was the Confederate Gen. Buckner who had surrendered Fort Donelson to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1862. The flag flew only two days over Shuri Castle when it was formally raised on May 31, 1945. Dusenberg’s flag was first lowered and presented to Gen. Buckner as a souvenir. Gen. Buckner remarked, “OK! Now, let’s get on with the war!” Tragically, just days before Okinawa fell, Gen. Buckner was killed by an enemy shell on June 18, 1945, on Mezido Ridge while observing a Marine attack."

Help Oakwood Cemetery!


PROBLEM: Oakwood Cemetery’s 17,000 Confederates, representing 13 Confederate states, deserve the dignity of an upright marker bearing their name. Currently, a small, nameless block, bearing only a three digit number represents the final resting place of three or more soldiers. The US Veterans Administration has been uncooperative in delivery of the upright markers.

ACTION REQUIRED: Send a letter to all three Congressmen (two Senators and House member):

• Website,, can be utilized – just plug in your address. Remember, letters are more effective than e-mail. Calls are helpful, also.

• Talking points (put these in your own words in your letter to your Congressmen) –

o In 1958, Congress pardoned Confederate soldiers and extended benefits therewith (US Code Title 38, Sec. 2306). This includes headstones for unmarked graves.

o These men deserve the dignity of a marker bearing their name – to not do so is the final human rights violation.

o The Veterans Administration should be required to live up to its responsibility, obey the law and provide these markers.

o Sen. Jim Webb (VA) is already engaged in this issue – ask your Congressmen to contact him and support his efforts.

• Contact other Confederate heritage advocates (UDC, re-enactors, etc.), as well as SAR, DAR and those in veterans organizations (VFW, American Legion, Wounded Warriors, etc.) and involve them in this process.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Confederate Consecration Day

Dear Compatriots,

One hundred and fifty years ago today the combatants form South and North met on the hilly fields outside of the town of Manassas, Virginia. The encounter that followed became the first major battle of the War for Southern Independence.

The battle was bittersweet. Bitter, as all wars that lead to death and destruction, sweet, in that it was a victory for the sovereign South. It was here that General Thomas J. Jackson earned his immortal nickname: Stonewall, making for us the finest example of Southern manhood. There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians! challenged, Brig. General Bernard Bee.

And rally they did. Their actions consecrated the soil with the blood of a liberty-loving people. From that day till this, we continue to stand like a stone wall for the truth and the honour that is the heritage of the South.

Let us dub this day Confederate Consecration Day. Let us remember the glorious deeds of our Confederate ancestors, celebrate their lives and honour their sacrifices. I ask you to use this opportunity to speak with someone in the days to come about these men that we honour. Give someone else the opportunity to know the truth about the Southern Cause. And let's all pray for the Lord's blessings on the South. I am,

Fraternally yours,

Michael Givens
Commander in Chief

Friday, July 15, 2011

Condensed Account of Pre-Convention GEC Meeting

13-16 JULY 2011

13 JULY 2011
2:30 PM

The pre-convention General Executive Council (GEC) meeting was called to order by
Commander-in-Chief Michael Givens, followed by the invocation by Chaplain-in-Chief
Mark Evans. After the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag and the Salute to the Confederate Flag, Chief of Staff Spike Speicher read General Stephen Dill Lee’s

Adjutant-in-Chief Chuck Rand conducted the officers roll call with all GEC members
being present. The following business was conducted:

o Adjutant Rand presented for approval of the minutes from the GEC meeting held
at SCV HQ at Elm Springs on 19 March 2011, the GEC teleconference call on 4
May 2011, and the GEC teleconference call on 11 May 2011. All minutes were unanimously approved.

o Executive Director Ben Sewell presented the proposed FY-2011 budget. The
GEC accepted it and will recommend approval to the confederation.

o The Special Rules of Order were recommended for presentation to the
confederation with an improvement endorsement.

o Special appointments made by Commander Givens:
Parliamentarian to be Past Commander-in-Chief Chris Sullivan
Assistants to Adjutant Rand to be Paul Bergeron and Charles Lauret

o Chief-of-Protocol Lee Millar confirmed reservations and seating for the GEC
members for the Saturday night banquet and ball.

o Adjutant Rand discussed compliance of camp articles of incorporation and the SCV
Constitution. A motion was passed appointing the JAG and other members of the GEC as appointed by the CIC to assist camps with modifying their articles of incorporation to bring them into compliance with the SCV Constitution.

o Commander Givens presented the new booklet made from the article by Dr.
Livingston, “Why The War Was Not About Slavery.” They are for sale for $2.00 each.

o Chief of Heritage Defense Thomas Hiter and AOT Department Councilman Larry
McCluney advised Commander Givens that they have accumulated the required
information for a definitive paper on the truth about Nathan Bedford Forrest.
They advised that they will attempt to locate an appropriate author for the paper.

o PCIC Sullivan provided a briefing on the proposed Confederate monument in
Jefferson, Jackson County, Georgia. The monument committee needed $4,000 to
complete the monument. With the help of PCIC Sullivan they were able to raise
the money. The dedication will be sometime around mid-September.

o Commander Givens reported that in the GEC minutes from October 2004 mandated that anyone involved with the Sam Davis Youth Camp must have law enforcement background checks. That lead to a discussion of how many other mandates from previous GEC meetings have no been followed thru on. Commander Givens appointed PCIC Denne Sweeney to chair a committee to review past minutes and establish a policy and procedure manual based on past GEC minutes going as far back as possible. PCIC Sullivan is to assist.

Respectfully Submitted,

James L. “Spike” Speicher
Chief of Staff

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

POW Camps Remembered

POW camps’ atrocities a part of their legacy
July 11, 2011

Thousands of soldiers died of diseases and exposure at U.S. and Confederate prisoner of war camps during the American Civil War. - Carlton Fletcher, metro editor
And while historians all agree that notorious prisoner of war camps at Andersonville in Sumter County, 45 miles north of Albany, at Elmira, N.Y., and at Camp Douglas just outside Chicago were scenes of atrocities that will long mar the American psyche, there remains disagreement over the root causes of these atrocities.

Southern heritage groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans contend that most of the inhumane treatment afforded Northern prisoners at Andersonville, long viewed as the scene of Southern barbarism by Northern historians, was the product of conditions brought on by the war. These same groups counter that the treatment of Rebel soldiers at camps like “Hellmira” and Douglas — dubbed “80 acres of Hell” — were acts of retaliation and intentional cruelty.

The truth, as is usually the case, most likely lies somewhere in between. But there is recorded evidence to support the Southern view.

“What we really want is for the truth to be told,” James King, commander of the Albany-based SCV camp, said. “The conditions at Andersonville were terrible. But so were the conditions at the camps in the North. That’s something that’s been overlooked by historians
“Most people realize that it’s the victors who write the history books, but the Northern slant of history surrounding POW camps during the Civil War has not been fair and honest. There is a strong belief that Northern historians have intentionally diverted historical information about (Northern prison) camps.”

No one can dispute the horrendous conditions that left thousands of soldiers dead at all Civil War prison camps. Historians have long since agreed on some alarming figures: 270,000 U.S. soldiers were captured and held in Confederate POW camps compared to 220,000 SCA prisoners in Northern camps.

Of those prisoners, 26,436 Confederate soldiers died in U.S. prisons, while 22,570 Northerners died in CSA prisons.

Those numbers become especially gruesome when the histories of the war’s most notorious POW camps are examined. At Andersonville, which was built to hold 10,000 prisoners, as many as 32,000 men were crammed into the camp at any given time. By the time the war ended, more than 45,000 Northern prisoners had been held at Andersonville, 30 percent of which (12,912) died in captivity from dysentery, scurvy, malaria and exposure.

At Camp Douglas, built to accommodate 6,000 prisoners, as many as 12,082 were in the prison at any given time, and more than 26,000 CSA soldiers were held there over the course of the war. The death toll is listed at 4,275 known dead, but many who were at the camp said that number most likely surpassed 6,000.

Likewise at Elmira, unused barracks intended for as many as 5,000 prisoners held up to 12,122 men at any given time, and the death toll at the notorious camp surpassed 25 percent (2,963). Exposure was one of the chief causes of death, but dysentery, smallpox, pneumonia and starvation were also deadly.

“What many people who don’t study the history of the war fail to understand is that it was the elements and the conditions — especially insufficient rations — that led to many of the deaths at Andersonville,” King said. “But at the Northern camps like Douglas and Elmira, much of the inhumane treatment came at the hands of people who today would be considered a criminal element.”

Col. William Hoffman, the commander of Elmira, in retaliation for reports of ill treatment of Northern prisoners at camps like Andersonville, ordered rations for Southern prisoners to be cut to just bread and water. And when Southerners’ relatives sent clothing to help the prisoners cope with the cold weather at the camp, Hoffman reportedly refused to allow them to receive any that was not gray in color.

All other clothing he burned.

On orders from Washington, Camp Douglas Commander Col. Benjamin Sweet ordered that stoves at the alternately flooded and freezing facility be removed and that prisoners receive no vegetables.

That act, again reportedly ordered as retaliation, increased disease in the camp proportionately.

The Confederate Congress, on the other hand, passed a bill in May of 1861 requiring that rations furnished prisoners of war be “the same quality and quantity” as enlisted men in the Confederate army.

“Lincoln has been let off the hook about this by history, but he doesn’t deserve it,” King said. “He micromanaged the war; he had to have known what was going on at the prison camps. He had to have known about the mandated inhumane treatment.”

Confederate leaders were known to have sought an exchange of prisoners, but correspondences show that U.S. leaders would not agree to such a move.

Dr. Isaiah H. White, the chief surgeon of military prisoners east of the Mississippi River who was for a period headquartered at Andersonville, recalled as much in an 1890 newspaper article.

“It is a well-known fact that Confederate authorities used every means in their power to secure the exchange of prisoners, but it was the policy of the U.S. government to prevent it,” White said.

White pointed to a letter written by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant as evidence.
“It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles,” Grant, who later gave the same testimony before a post-war tribunal, wrote.

“Every man released on parole or otherwise becomes an active soldier against us at once, either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is eliminated.

“At this particular time, to release all rebel prisoners would ensure (Gen. William T.) Sherman’s defeat and would compromise our safety here.”

In the aftermath of the war, Andersonville commander Capt. Hartmann Heinrich (“Henry”) Wirz was court marshalled by a military court and hanged on charges of conspiracy and murder.

Wirz, a native of Switzerland who was banned from his own country for indebtedness, lived in Russia and Italy before coming to the United States. He joined the Confederacy’s 4th Louisiana Infantry in 1861 and rose to the rank of captain. He was in charge of prisons in Richmond, Va., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., before being named commandant of Andersonville on March 27, 1864.

Wirz’s namesake, Heinrich L. Wirz of Bremgarten, Switzerland, has spent the past 20 years seeking a presidential pardon for his ancestor, thus far to no avail.

“I agree with what he’s doing,” King said. “Especially in light of the intentional criminal acts carried out at Northern prisons.”

The disagreement over the notorious histories of U.S. and Confederate POW camps will no doubt rage on, to no one’s full satisfaction. But such disagreements do little to erase the blight of inhumanity — intentional and unintentional — that is the legacy of such camps.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Patterson Defends SCV Plates in Texas

Confederate veterans and Buffalo Soldiers both have their detractors
Saturday, July. 02, 2011
Jerry Patterson

Special to the Star-Telegram

"I'll not willingly offend, Nor be easily offended; What's amiss I'll strive to mend, And endure what can't be mended." -- Isaac Watts

In his Wednesday column, Bob Ray Sanders began with a quote -- of himself -- so I took the liberty of doing the same. Since I've never said anything worth quoting, I instead used this quote, which sums up much of the debate over symbols on license plates: Being offended is often the responsibility of the person offended, not the offender.

I want to commend Sanders on a well-written commentary that framed his opinion without relying on the kind of tired, race-baiting rhetoric regurgitated by the NAACP's Gary Bledsoe. (See: "What's heroic to one person is offensive to another") This issue would be well-served with more examination and less inflammation.

To begin, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a private nonprofit established in 1896, is requesting to pay for a license plate displaying its logo and name. The plate would be primarily for SCV members but would be available to all Texans. The logo does include the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, commonly known as the Confederate battle flag. If approved, the SCV would pay the state $8,000 for the right to have a plate, then recoup costs with each plate sold.

I am proudly a member of the SCV; my great-grandfather James Monroe Cole served in the Louisiana Infantry during the War, died in the Confederate Veterans Home and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

As a statewide elected official, I sponsored the plate because of my personal heritage and my commitment to Texas history -- even the history others might find offensive.

It's the same reason I sponsored a license plate to honor the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, another private, nonprofit organization interested in marketing its heritage with a license plate that displays its logo and name.

Both plates represent private organizations proud of their history. Both are symbols for larger ideas. But political correctness has warped perception of those ideas.

I am proud to support the Buffalo Soldiers license plate because these black troops deployed to the Western frontier after the Civil War served with great distinction in Texas. They included many early black recipients of the Medal of Honor.

But an examination of the Buffalo Soldiers' actions could easily offend anyone familiar with history. They were sent to Texas on a mission to subjugate and enslave the American Indian population, which is exactly what they did. Their fierce determination forced Indians into reservations to live essentially as prisoners of war held by the U.S. government.

Is this a history of which we should be proud? Should these soldiers be commemorated on a license plate?

Of course they should. The Buffalo Soldier license plate, just like the Confederate plate, is intended to honor soldiers who served with pride and dignity in defense of Texas. That's all.

In the end, offensive behavior can be found throughout history if you're looking to be offended.

There is no statutory protection against being offended. Actually, it's the privilege of every American to be offended.

And for those who believe every Confederate soldier was fighting to perpetuate slavery, I'll end with the quote of one of the greatest Americans of all time.

"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age," wrote Robert E. Lee while stationed in Texas in 1856, "who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. ... We see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers."

Jerry Patterson is commissioner of the Texas General Land Office.

Read more:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

SCV Announces Stand Watie Scholarships

Historic Elm Springs,
Columbia, Tennessee
July 8, 2011


Students in colleges and universities in Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas have been announced as winners of the Stand Watie Scholarship sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The awards of $1,000 each was announced today by Michael Givens, Commander-in-Chief of the SCV.

Recipients are: Joseph Smith Hendricks, Easley, SC, attending Clemson University and sponsored by SCV Camp 71, Pickens County, S. C.

Dennie Spence, Grenada, MS, a senior at Mississippi State University who has been accepted by Gettysburg College as a Civil War Immersion student. He is sponsored by SCV Camp 211, Grenada, MS.

Jay Gresham, Landrum, SC. A student at The Citadel,sponsored by Camp 36, South Carolina.

Kristen Nichole Gunn, attending Temple College, is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and is sponsored by Bell County Chapter 101, Texas Division UDC. Miss. Gunn completed 34 hours of college credits while in high school.

Tyler W. Hall of North Charleston, SC, is attending Charleston Southern University and Clemson University in a dual degree program started in high school. He is sponsored by the H. L. Hunley Camp 134.

The Stand Watie scholarships are a part of the scholarship program of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Other scholarships awarded are for medical research in amounts up to $10,000.

The awards are made in honor of General Stand Watie, the first native American Indian (Cherokee) general of either side in the War Between the States. General Watie was the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a non-profit 501(c)3 hereditary organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Confederate Veteran and his service in the War Between the States. It has camps (chapters) throughout the United States and in Europe and Australia. Membership is open to any male descendant of a Confederate Veteran, either direct or collateral, regardless of ethnicity or creed.

For more information see /


Contact information:
J. A.Davis, SCV Chairman, Public Relations & Media Committee
Gainesville, GA
770 297-4788

Friday, July 8, 2011

Funding Request Deadlines


The Budget and Finance Committee will review request for grants from General Headquarters before the Fall and Spring GEC meetings. The deadline to submit a request for consideration at the Fall GEC meeting is September 1, 2011.

The deadline for requests to be received for consideration at the Spring GEC meeting is January 15, 2012.

Those requesting funds should read the Funding Proposal Guidelines found on the Forms and Documents page of at:

The form to be used to make a request for a grant is also on the Forms and Documents page at:

Submission of the form is the minimum level of information that must be provided to make a funding request. Those making requests are encouraged to provide supplemental information describing their project.

If you have any questions regarding the guidelines, form or process please contact me.

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Monday, July 4, 2011

Important Facts about the States' Declaration of Indepencence

10 Things You Might Not Know About America's Independence
By Nicole Swinford

Published July 04, 2011

On July Fourth, Americans eat hot dogs and apple pie, watch fireworks, and go swimming.

But what are we really celebrating?

Standard answers to this question are that we are celebrating our independence or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Well, yes and no.

Here are 10 things you might not know about our America's Independence Day.

1.) Independence Was Not Declared on July Fourth: The second Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2. In fact, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, predicting that future generations would celebrate July 2 as Independence Day, saying, "The second day of July, 1776, will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore." July 4, 1776 is significant because that is the day that Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence document, but contrary to what many people believe it was not signed on the July 4. The official signing ceremony occurred on August 2, which is when most of the signers affixed their names to the document, but other representatives signed the document throughout the summer of 1776. Finally, there is no historical record of John Hancock saying that his signature is that big so that King George could read it. It has been suggested that Hancock's is by far the largest signature simply because he was the president of Congress.

2.) New York Was Late: When the Continental Congress declared independence from Britain the official vote was 12 in favor, 0 against. But wait, you may ask, weren't there 13 colonies? Where is that last one? The answer: The colony of New York abstained from the original vote on July 2. New York did not decide to join until July 19.

3.) It Was a States Thing First: Independence was not something that was confined to Congress. It started out as a state and local thing. In fact, the very first Declaration of Independence came on Oct. 4, 1774 (21 months before the Continental Congress declared independence) from the town of Worcester, Mass. During the next 21 months a total of 90 state and local declarations of independence would be made. When Virginia declared its independence in May 1776, they sent Rep. Richard Henry Lee to the Continental Congress with specific instructions to put forth a resolution of independence for Congress to vote on, thus allying all the colonies -- soon to become states -- against the British Empire in the War for Independence.

4.) American Troops Did Not fight Under the American Flag During the Revolution: The Fourth of July is always accompanied by a lot of flag waving, but the soldiers of the American Revolution did not actually fight under the American flag. In fact, our Founders did not really consider the flag to be all that important and the design of the flag varied both in the number of stripes and in the formation of the stars. The reason a uniform flag was adopted was so that our navy ships could be easily identified when arriving in foreign ports, but the boys in the Continental Army did not fight under this flag. In fact, the United States flag was considered so irrelevant that in 1794 when someone introduced a bill in Congress to add two stars to the flag in representation of the entrance of Vermont and Kentucky into the Union many members of the House considered it to be too trivial to pay any attention to. One representative is on record saying that this matter was "a trifling business which ought not to engross the attention of the House, when it was it was their duty to discuss matters of infinitely greater importance." In the end, the bill was passed simply to be rid of it. The Continental Army did still fight under flags, but these flags were all different depending on the regiment.

5.) Our Founding Fathers Were Not Radicals: As Americans, we like to think that what we did in the American Revolution was original and that our ideas of freedom and rights were new and progressive. But the truth is our Founding Fathers were not radical new thinkers -- all of their ideas and philosophies were rooted deeply in history. Ideas of people's rights, liberty, and social contracts can be traced all the way back through our colonial history, most famously with the Mayflower Compact, and even further through British history and English common law. These ideas can even be seen at work in the medieval era with Magna Carta first established 1215. Our Founding Fathers sought independence in order to preserve their "natural-born rights as Englishmen." Though it is true no colony had ever succeeded from the mother country before and the British were quick to call it treason, everything our Founders did was, in fact, legal. Jefferson himself explains that the Declaration was not meant to express anything new. He said it was "not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before, but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject."

6.) We Are Not a Democracy: People often associate democracy with freedom. We hear this word used all the time by our politicians, by our neighbors, even sometimes by our educators. But the fact is we are not a democracy. We are a republic. Our Founding Fathers deemed this an important distinction to make and discussed the matter quite a bit. In the end, our Founding Fathers claimed that a democracy was both extreme and dangerous for a country as it would most assuredly result in the oppression of the minority by the majority. Take this one example from Founding Father, Elbridge Gerry: "The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy." And Thomas Jefferson said that democracy should never be practiced outside the limits of a town. Our Founders were very wary of power no matter who had it and thus limited it as much as possible -- this is why we have such a unique system of checks and balances.

7.) Jefferson-Hemings Scandal--Not So Scandalous After All? With Independence Day comes a lot of talk about the Declaration of Independence and with that talk comes references to Thomas Jefferson, which these days will inevitably end with the Sally Hemings scandal. The claim that Jefferson fathered children with Hemings started by Jefferson's political rival Alexander Hamilton as an attempt to smear and discredit him. In the past several years these claims got a lot of media attention when a DNA test was done on the descendants of Sally Hemings, which led people to claim that Thomas Jefferson was definitively the father of her children. However, the matter is far from settled and there are still historians on both sides of the aisle in this debate. The DNA test actually proves that a male from the Jefferson family fathered Sally Hemings' children --that's a number of possibilities. At this point, science cannot actually provide us with a definitive answer on the subject.

8.) Our Founding Fathers Would Not Have Recited the Pledge: Another patriotic tradition that gets a lot of attention, particularly around this time of the year, is the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge did not exist during our Founders' lifetimes -- something that is very clear when looking at its text. The Pledge was written over a century after America's founding in 1892. It was also written by a socialist -- Francis Bellamy, whose original text was: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." According to our Founders, the states are not indivisible, but very much the opposite. In fact, when ratifying the U.S. Constitution, some states, such as Virginia among others, specifically declared the right to secede from the Union should they feel it necessary just as an extra precaution to make sure that that state right was understood. Our Founders took their states rights very seriously and considered the U.S. Constitution to be a compact amongst the sovereign states so that any state could secede if it felt the federal government had become oppressive. So, if not with a pledge, how would our Founding Fathers begin meetings and celebrations? The answer: most likely with a prayer. In fact, the very first resolution brought before the First Continental Congress, and immediately passed, was the declaration that they would open every meeting with a prayer.

9.) The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere . . . and 40 others? The mythology of Paul Revere's midnight ride can be traced back to the year 1860 with the writing of that famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride." Here's what really happened: On April 18, 1775, British troops were ordered to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, both of whom were in Lexington at the time and to seize arms and provisions at Concord. Upon hearing this, Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback -- taking two different routes to Lexington in order to warn Hancock and Adams. Along the way, they warned the towns they passed through of the British invasion. By the morning of April 19 roughly 40 men were out on horseback spreading the news. Revere arrived at Lexington first, followed by Dawes. The two men then headed toward Concord, but were intercepted by British troops. Dawes, though injured, managed to escape, but Revere was captured. He was rescued by American militiamen a short while later. It was during this confrontation between British troops and American militiamen at Concord that the famous shot heard 'round the world was fired.

10.) The British Soldiers of the Boston Massacre Were Defended by John Adams in Court: The Boston Massacre, on March 5, 1770, began with a riot and ended with British troops killing five men. The incident help spark the greater rebellion, which led to the Revolutionary War, but tensions had been rising in Boston since British troops had occupied the city in 1768. But you may be surprised to know that one of the Founding Fathers actually defended the British soldiers that were charged of killing the civilians. John Adams, like many of our Founding Fathers, was a lawyer, and though he was a Patriot, he firmly believed in the right to a fair trial and agreed to represent the British troops in court. Adams succeeded in getting Capt. Thomas Preston acquitted as most others. And the two soldiers who were convicted were spared the death penalty.

So this July Fourth, research what you're celebrating and talk about it with your family. Benjamin Franklin said that we have Republic, if we can keep it. Former Congressman and author of the book "In Tune with America: our History in Song," George Nethercutt Jr. put it this way: "The foundation of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans is the U.S. Constitution, the longest surviving constitution of any nation in history. To be civically unaware is to diminish our freedom, but knowing our history makes us all better Americans. Read our nation's Founding documents and they will inspire you."

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Message From the CIC Regarding the Montgomery Reunion

2 July 2011
Beaufort, South Carolina

re: 2011 National Convention

Dear Officers and Compatriots,

I hope this finds you well. I am writing you this evening to encourage your attendance at the upcoming national convention. This year we will not concern ourselves with elections or amendments. We will spend our time developing a strategy to take our organization to new heights of success.

The officers in your national office have been busy developing a plan that will guide our path to victory in the coming years. This bold move can only be accomplished with your input and help. It is imperative that you attend and voice your opinion about the direction to take the SCV. Your contribution and involvement is vital to the success of this operation.

Come be an integral part of Southern history and together let’s build a stronger more influential SCV that will impact the American mindset and preserve our noble heritage for generations to come. Be in Montgomery, Alabama, July 13-16, 2011 and we will begin a march down a new-cut path to vindication of the Cause of the South.

I look forward to seeing you there. Until then and after, I remain,

Respectfully yours,

Michael Givens

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Will Perry of Texas Go "PC" on the License Plate?

America Today
columnist: Mark Vogl
Rick Perry, Courage or Conformity? I bet on conformity!

In Texas, License plates are a hot issue as the descendants of 120,000 Texas Confederate soldiers apply for a special plate... my bet is Governor Perry will go with the politically correct!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Late last week stories flooded Texas newspapers, and the airwaves about the efforts of one Not-for-profit veterans’ organization attempt to get a specialty license plate in Texas. Texas has issued more than 100 specialty plates, and has never turned down an application. But times they may be a changing, as Texas Department of Transportation waffles on a request made by the Texas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans ( S.C.V. )for a plate. the controversy? The seal of the S.C.V. is nothing less than the crimson cross of the Confederate battle flag!

A recent estimate indicates that between 50 and 80 million Americans, of all ethnicities are descendants of Confederate soldiers. Though little known and seldom reported, African Americans, Mexicans, and even American Indians served in the Army of the Confederate States. The last Confederate general to surrender, Stand Watie, was an Indian! General Watie surrendered Cherokee, Creek and Seminole forces on June 19 at Doaksville, Indian territory ( present day Oklahoma.) And while there were no African American officers in the US Navy, there was at least one in the Confederate Navy! In Texas, these specialty plates would be available to all.

The crimson battle flag which is a symbol for the Sons of Confederate Veterans has been seized on by racially oriented groups like the NAACP and the KKK. But the flag originally was a banner used on the battlefield. Hundreds of thousands of southerners, of all ethnicities, died while fighting under that flag. Tens of thousands of African Americans fought for the south, and it is an untold, ignored story of American history. Some would argue that many African Americans who fought for the South were slaves and thus had no choice. Is that different from the whites on both sides who were drafted and had no choice? One of the ugly truths of the great war is that the blacks were, for the most part, as loyal to the South as any other group. Though there were more than 3 million slaves in a nation of 9 million there was no slave revolt during the war. African Americans were truly loyal citizens of the Confederacy. A story not told because it is inconvenient. History is full of inconvenient truths.

But the battle flag is undeniably the most recognized symbol of the South in the South, in the United States, and across the globe. No other region in the United States has a symbol, much less a symbol so universally recognized. Until political correctness came along, and the agenda of social engineers to homogenize the United States, schools across the South played Dixie proudly. If you look at movies made in the 30's through the 60's you will hear Dixie and see the Confederate battle flag as sentimental symbols of regional pride used to stir the martial attitudes of much of the nation. When the wall fell in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, the Confederate battle flag was there! Why? Because across the world, the crimson flag is a symbol of opposition to an oppressive government!

For Rick Perry, whose aspirations for the White House seem to be blooming, this issue is a preliminary litmus test. You see the typical way to prove your moderation, or your development as an acceptable southerner is to turn your back on your own people. Perry has not been mister Courage in Texas. Last year when Arizona stood alone against the national media in its fight to gain control of the open borders of the state, Governor Rick Perry of Texas was nowhere to be found. Nope he was silent. While he has made speeches in the state, and apparently out of the state, chastising the US government for it's lack of border enforcement, he has done nothing as governor of the states with the longest international boundary. Just last week Mexican military forces crossed into Texas for a brief moment. But, Perry has not been a voice on this issue, not done anything to spur federal action.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans are a small organization nationally, only about 30,000. But they are growing as America experiences the 150th Anniversary, the Sesquicentennial, of the American Civil War, also known as the War for Southern Independence, the War of Secession, the War Between the States, Mr. Lincoln's War, or the War of Northern Aggression. Much of the centralized government we experience today, including the income tax, and the draft, come from this period of time.

Many other southern states already have the plates which the SCV seeks in Texas. In every Court battle concerning these plates, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have prevailed.

So will Governor Perry save taxpayers the expense of an expensive Court battle they will surely lose? Or will he allow his administration to block freedom of speech and go to Court so that he can appear to be some kind of compassionate conservative. Rick Perry may be compassionate, but his record indicates he is no conservative!

The battle in Texas indicates that the social phenomenon of "diversity" has its limits. There are groups which diversity does not include. 50 - 80 million Americans who are descendants of southern heroes are one of the groups not included in present day "diversity".

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lexington, Virginia goes PC

Confederate-style flags could be a thing of the past in one college town

A new proposal would only allow for city, state and American flags to fly on flagpoles in Lexington.

June 30, 2011

LEXINGTON, Va. — Flying Confederate-style flags could be a thing of the past in one college town.

A new proposal would only allow for city, state and American flags to fly on flagpoles in Lexington.

The issue came to a head during Lee-Jackson day in January.

More than 300 people later signed a petition that expressed their displeasure with Confederate-style flags on city flagpoles.

Lexington's mayor feels this new proposal is a fair compromise.

“People still have their freedom of speech. They can do whatever they want to with their flags,” Lexington mayor Mimi Elrod said. “Not everybody is going to be able to fly their flags from our flagpoles whenever they want to.”
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Traditionally, Lexington flies Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University flags.

If the proposal passes, that would no longer happen. Private businesses will also be able to display any flag of their choice.

Now, you'd still be able to carry any flag during the Lee-Jackson celebration.

But one group doesn’t feel that it’s a compromise.

“Who knows maybe one day we won't even be able to fly the flag of our country,” said Brandon Dorsey of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

You can weigh in on the issue at a public hearing on August 18.