Friday, October 28, 2011
"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
Are quests by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to honor their forefathers' service with a Texas license plate is a simple fundraising effort by a historical association with a long history of civic involvement.
Race-baiting and presidential politics, however, seem to play more of a role in the coverage of this issue than the actual facts. An upcoming vote by the governing board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has drawn political grandstanding and a petition drive. And that's too bad, because 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 members of the organization, but it would be open to all Texans. The logo contains the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, commonly known as the Confederate battle flag. If the plate is approved, the Sons of Confederate Veterans would pay the State of Texas $8,000 for the right to have a plate, then recoup costs with each plate sold.
I am proudly a member of the group; my great grandfather James Monroe Cole served in the Louisiana Infantry during the Civil War, died in the Texas 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 that 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 service to the state of Texas. 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, including 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 to implement a national policy of subjugation and enslavement of the Native American population, which is exactly what they did. Their fierce determination in the implementation of a national policy forced Indians on to 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.
Viewed through our 21st century lens of political correctness, both the Buffalo and Confederate soldiers could be considered by some as having fought for a cause that fell short of the high moral ground. If you're looking to be offended, offensive behavior can be found throughout history.
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 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," Robert E. Lee, while stationed in Texas before the Civil War in 1856, wrote.
Patterson is the Texas land commissioner.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
DUES RENEWAL TIME
The November December 2011 edition of the Confederate Veteran magazine is now in the nonprofit bulk mail system and should arrive at each member’s mailbox in the next week to ten days. This is the last copy of this fine periodical current members will receive if they do not pay their national dues for the period August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012.
The cutoff date for timely submission of dues is a postmark date of Tuesday November 1, 2011 or earlier. It is not necessary for camps to waste their time and money to use overnight delivery, registered/certified, or even priority mail. First class mail postmarked November 1, 2011 will preclude SCV camps having to pay a $5.00 late fee for reinstating a current member.
As the Confederation discussed at the Montgomery Reuntion, the SCV has a goal of reaching active membership of 50,000 men by the time of the 2016 annual General Reunion is held. Now is the time to begin to make this goal a reality. The SCV needs to renew at least 90 % of its total membership this year by renewing every man who can possibly continue.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
By Jason Embry | Wednesday, October 26, 2011,
Gov. Rick Perry told a Florida television station today that he opposes the creation of a Confederate license plate in Texas.
“We don’t need to be scraping old wounds,” Perry told Bay News 9 in Tampa.
The plate has been proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an ancestral history group involved in previous dust-ups over displays of the flag in state buildings and on state monuments.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles is considering the plate. A vote could come next month after one in April ended in a 4-4 tie, officials said.
The members of the DMV board are Perry appointees.
Opponents of the flag, led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the liberal group Progress Texas, presented the DMV with 22,000 petition signatures earlier this month.
The license-plate proposal put Perry in a tough spot. While many oppose the plate, a similar plate has already been approved in South Carolina, site of a key Republican presidential primary in January.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The controversy over Perry's views about race and Confederate history — and what it says more broadly about attitudes in the South — goes far beyond license plates. The places where the flag controversy has been the loudest — Georgia, South Carolina and Texas — are also the three states that fought hardest against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, in 2006.
Pressure is rising on Gov. Rick Perry (R) of Texas to address a state agency's looming vote over whether to allow vanity license plates that feature the Confederate flag.
The proposed plates feature the SCV logo, which depicts the controversial battle flag flown by the Confederate Army – a flag Ms. Jackson Lee calls "a symbol of fear and intimidation."
The row comes only a few weeks after national media reported on the West Texas hunting camp Mr. Perry once leased with his father that included a racial epithet in its name. And is raising questions about Perry's views on race at a time when the pace of the 2012 GOP campaign has quickened and become more heated.
Perry is now running third in most GOP primary polls behind businessman Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry led the pack briefly in September.
"People are trying to draw a line to get people to say something to embarrass themselves and cause a ruckus," says Michael Givens, the commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is based in Columbia, Tenn. "Now, Rick Perry is up there and they want to embarrass him."
The SCV has successfully introduced similar vanity plates in nine states but has had to win several lawsuits to do so. In April, a Texas Department of Motor Vehicle board voted 4-4 on the SCV plate, setting the stage for a Nov. 10 vote when a previously missing member will cast the deciding vote.
Perry has yet to weigh in on the license plate issue, and he may well try to steer clear, says Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas.
"This is part of a series of issues that have raised the race card, and it provides a peg for people to raise questions," says Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas, in Austin. "The best sense I have of Perry is that he is not a racist, that he's really quite emphatic in his belief in equality. But he also knows that a lot of people in his natural constituency are not necessarily racist, but are prone to be in favor of things like the symbolism associated with this flag. So while he'd like to keep his fingerprints off it, he's not going to lead a charge against it."
In his book, "Fed Up," Perry criticizes the motives of Southerners in the Civil War, saying that judging people on the basis of race is wrong. But he also makes another point: Using race to drive policy on any level is unacceptable.
"I think the Confederate battle flag would be an issue even if Rick Perry were not running for president, but it might not be so visible, given that other questions about his handling of matters of race are on the table," says Mr. Jillson at SMU.
"No matter what argument is made about the sort of history and respect for our ancestors behind the flag, there's also a very strong political sense in the South that these restrictions based on mistrust of southern politicians and treatment of minorities are due to expire, and are no longer necessary — and the Supreme Court may well agree with that soon," says Mr. Jillson.
Given those stakes, Mr. Givens, the SCV commander, draws a parallel to the decision by the NAACP in 1999 to have its boycott of South Carolina coincide with the South Carolina primary, where Republican presidential candidates were forced to contend with the question of whether the Confederate flag should fly on top of the Capitol building.
"What it boils down to isn't whether you like the Confederate flag or not, it's a freedom of speech issue," says Givens. "It's a matter of whether a group of people can limit other people's freedom of speech while Occupy Wall Street should be able to do whatever the heck it wants. We're all Americans, and it's simply expressing a viewpoint of a certain part of the American heritage that some people want to stifle."
Created in 1865 to help separate troops on the battle field, the battle flag became part of the SCV's logo when the group was founded in 1896. During the civil rights era, the Klu Klux Klan used the flag and wielded it alongside the US flag at rallies. In the 1960s, some southern governors used the flag as a symbol of intransigence against national civil rights legislation, which gave rise to much of the emotional antipathy against it today.
Jerry Patterson, the Texas land commissioner who sponsored the SCV license plate proposal, says that criticism of the plate is nothing more than presidential politics and grandstanding.
But more than 22,000 people have signed a NAACP petition opposing the plates. The Wall Street Journal quoted senior NAACP vice president Hilary Shelton as calling the Confederate flag "one of the most commonly recognized symbols of racism not only in the US but throughout the world."
Meanwhile, in a recent op-ed, Matt Glazer, executive director of Progress Texas, pushed back. "Our actions on this issue began long before Gov. Rick Perry announced his presidential bid," Mr. Glazer wrote. "The public opposition to the license plate … shows that the opposition to this racist relic has nothing to do with politics."
Sunday, October 23, 2011
By: Danielle Battaglia
Published: October 23, 2011
People picketed outside of Reidsville City Hall on Wednesday and Thursday to let the city know they want the Reidsville Confederate Monument to go back in the intersection of Scales and Morehead streets.
Picketers held signs declaring they had no voice in the decision regarding what was to be done with the monument after the May 23 single-car accident which knocked over the monument, shattering it to pieces.
The picketers got off to a slow start Wednesday morning, but as the hours went on, more people gathered, despite the rain and cooler temperatures. The same was true Thursday, even with the better weather.
Shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, at least 12 Reidsville police officers gathered on the sidewalk outside of The Vault due to an argument, which broke out on the corner between a man and a woman.
The woman, Sandy Simmons, was picketing City Hall and the man took great offense to it.
“The gentleman came up and said we were racist and it was all about slavery,” Simmons said.
Simmons tried to explain she was standing there for her great-grandfather. After hearing stories of her great-grandfather and how he was forced to serve by the southern army but did not own slaves, Simmons became very interested in the history of the Confederacy.
A man and a woman were dragging the man off as the officers warned the man to calm down.
As the man was being pushed down the road, he continued yelling at the officers “This isn’t 1963.” The women were able to get him away from the scene, but he left with the warning, “I’m coming back with my black friends.”
City Manager Michael Pearce said he knows picketers outside City Hall can be unsettling to some, but he applauds the picketers for using their First Amendment rights and, he added, being able to do what HPAC is doing is what so many people fought hard for.
The city’s 30-day limit to respond to a letter from HPAC expired this past week. The letter claimed the state actually owns the road and by taking down the remnants of the monument, the city broke laws. The end of the letter suggested if the monument was not replaced, a lawsuit might be filed.
On Wednesday, HPAC spokesman Ira Tilley remained mum about what would happen next if the city didn’t respond to the letter.
“I can’t tell you when it’s going to be filed or if it’s going to be filed,” Tilley said of the lawsuit.
Tilley said members of HPAC have been negotiating with the state to step in, and HPAC has proven countless times the state owns the road.
Tilley said state officials agreed it is a state-owned road, but they don’t want to step on the toes of the city.
However, after speaking with several members of the Department of Transportation, Division Engineer for Rockingham County Mike Mills said due to a maintenance agreement, the city has absolute jurisdiction over the road, including what to do with the monument, and the state wouldn’t have any say in what happens with the monument. The maintenance agreement, according to Mills, gives the city the right to make such decisions.
City Manager Michael Pearce said he did respond to HPAC’s letter with his own letter, addressed to HPAC president Chuck Hoard.
Pearce said he and City Attorney William McLeod Jr. continue to look at HPAC’s allegations but stand by their prior belief that the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) owns the monument and, therefore, the UDC ultimately gets to make the decision over what happens with the monument.
In a press release issued by Tilley, he said city officials sent a letter to HPAC and said they would continue to look into the situation and will let HPAC know what they find in the future.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian
A Civil War monument on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau was struck by vandals who spray-painted both sides of the shrine with apparent pro-Union sentiments, nearly 150 years after the last shot was fired.
A two-man crew scrubbed black paint off the monument Tuesday morning. The men, from Marble Hill, Mo.-based Liley Monuments, said they hoped it would be graffiti-free by Tuesday afternoon.
But the message could still be read early Tuesday afternoon. "Go south" was written on the front of the shrine that sits along Lorimier Street near the fountain. That apparently was a request that the marker be moved, not a pro-South message. "We are in the union," read the words on the back. "Obscene. Remove to [illegible] cemetary (sic) in the south."
The workers from Liley said Tuesday afternoon they had tried industrial solvent and paint thinner, and the words were faded but still visible. One of the workers said getting the paint completely off Tuesday didn't "look favorable," but they would continue working through the afternoon. By 3 p.m., a blue tarp had been wrapped around the monument and the workers were gone.
Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay makes a phone call to Liley Monument Works Tuesday morning after vandals spray painted graffiti on the Civil War monument in the courtyard of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. The removal of the graffiti will cost between four and six hundred dollars.
Two officers with the Cape Girardeau Police Department responded to a 7:30 a.m. call from employees of the nearby Southeast Missourian who first noticed the graffiti. Two officers looked over the property shortly before 9 a.m., checking trash receptacles for paint cans.
Cape Girardeau police spokesman Darin Hickey said no suspects were in custody Tuesday afternoon. Police are investigating the matter, he said, talking to residents of the nearby neighborhoods and checking for any exterior cameras.
When asked how likely it was that the culprits would ever be caught, Hickey said: "We're going to try. But it's going to be pretty tough."
Meanwhile, some with interest in history were miffed.
"All vandalism is bad, but as a Civil War buff, I'm pretty disturbed," said Scott House, a member of the Civil War Roundtable and a re-enactor. "The war has been over for almost 150 years. People should get over their hate issues on whatever side they have. It's hard to tell why somebody would do something like that."
The 14 1/2-foot-tall monument was first erected in the city in 1931 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to commemorate the one Confederate unit gathered from Cape Girardeau during the Civil War. The hand-carved monument, which weighs 12 1/2 tons, was moved from its original spot on Morgan Oak Street to the courthouse grounds in 1995 by the Civil War Roundtable.
One side of the monument reads "C.S.A.," standing for the Confederate States of America. Below the letters, the Confederate flag has been chiseled into the marble. The east side of the marker says, "In Memorium Confederate Soldiers of South East Missouri."
Passers-by expressed distaste at the graffiti, regardless of the message's content. A family that was celebrating the official adoption of a 2-year-old South Korean child moved around the courtyard so that the vandalism wasn't in photos that were being taken.
"It's awful," said James Slinkard of Jackson, the grandfather of the newly adopted baby. "We were shocked. You hate to see that happen. If they're not caught, you can probably expect more of it."
Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay was noticeably peeved as he surveyed the damage. He said it would cost the county between $400 and $600 to pay Liley to use an industrial-grade solvent to remove the paint.
"That's taxpayer money," McQuay said. "I don't understand why somebody would want to tear up public property. It's their property. They're destroying their own property."
When asked what he would say to those responsible if he had the chance, he said: "You don't want to know."
Opponents of a proposed Confederate flag license plate in Texas presented petitions containing 22,000 signatures Wednesday to a state board that could vote on the politically charged issue as soon as next month.
The petitions were presented by representatives of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the self-styled progressive organization Progress Texas, who urged the state Department of Motor Vehicles' governing board not to approve a vanity plate that contains the Confederate battle flag.
The plate has been proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an ancestral history group involved in previous dust-ups over displays of the flag in state buildings and on state monuments.
A vote on the plate could come next month after one in April ended in a 4-4 tie, officials said.
Such a vote could pose a new political problem for Gov. Rick Perry, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, because all the board members are his appointees.
Perry has faced criticism recently over a sign at a hunting camp that his family once leased that contained an offensive racial slur. Perry said his family had the sign, which was painted on a rock marking a camp entrance, painted over.
"This particular flag never flew over Texas; it has been adopted by hate groups to intimidate or do wrong against people" of color, Gary Bledsoe, president of the state NAACP conference, told the board. "It is every bit as offensive as the swastika. It creates psychological harm, creates fear and intimidation, and is likely to lead to breaches of the peace. It is a fighting flag."
Echoed Yannis Banks, the NAACP's legislative liaison: "It represents slavery, hate and injustice to African Americans. It looks like the state is supporting what is behind that flag."
Supporters of the plate say it would honor their ancestors on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Texas was a Confederate state.
To reject the plate, the supporters have said, would infringe on their First Amendment right to free speech.
The national Sons of Confederate Veterans' group already has offered Confederate-
inspired tags in nine other states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia . Proposals are pending in Florida and Kentucky, along with Texas.
Citing opposition from legislative leaders in both parties — including U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston, and state Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, Royce West, D-Dallas, and John Carona, R-Dallas — Bledsoe asked the board on Wednesday not to bring the proposed plate up for another vote.
Board members had no comment, and the board's newest member, El Paso car dealer Raymond Palacios Jr., didn't indicate how he might vote.
Despite the possible vote next month, both sides acknowledge that the issue could end up in court, as it has in other states. Sons of Confederate Veterans members, who use revenue from the specialty plates for historic preservation projects, have won those cases, according to officials with the organization.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a member of the veterans group who is sponsoring the proposal for the plate, said the plate is "probably too hot to be approved at this time. It's presidential politics, political correctness run amok."
Ironically, he said, the agency will likely approve a vanity plate, one he is also sponsoring, to honor Buffalo Soldiers, black U.S. soldiers who were used in some campaigns against Indian tribes after the Civil War. "In the spirit of political correctness, why is it OK to honor soldiers who were sent to war against Native Americans and not Confederate soldiers who were fighting for their country?"
Thornton, who researched his illustrious ancestor's family and military history for 15 years, was the featured speaker Thursday morning at the dedication of the Gen. Longstreet Museum in Russellville on East Andrew Johnson Highway.
The museum was a house owned by the Nenney family during Longstreet's occupation of Morristown and Russellville in the winter of 1864. The home was built in 1820.
Five years ago, the home was about to be destroyed when a group of concerned citizens formed a non-profit association to save it. It has since been restored and is getting ready to open to the public.
Thornton, who has written a genealogy of his family, said he wanted to help straighten out some "misconstrued aspects of my noted ancestor's career."
He dismissed Longstreet's critics who faulted the general for not showing enough support for Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
"Longstreet's reputation declined precipitously after the war owing to the efforts of an underhanded effort of a cadre of Southern officers, termed by historians as a 'Lee' cult," Thornton said.
Longstreet's criticism of Lee in newspaper accounts after the war also worked against Old Pete's reputation. He also joined the Republican Party and that "made him a convenient scapegoat for the South's defeat," Thornton said.
The two-story home in Russellville was saved by the Lakeway Civil War Preservation Association, which bought the property from a private owner.
Volunteers and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, a statewide program administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, have helped with the restoration.
The museum dedication drew state, federal and local political officials including Carroll Van West, director of the MTSU preservation center, and Susan Whitaker, commissioner of the state Department of Tourist Development.
About 100 people huddled inside two tents due to rain and another 30 or so stood outside in the drizzle. West and Whitaker praised the museum, which they said is one of a kind for the state.
West said the development of the Longstreet Museum is important in telling the story of the Civil War in Tennessee because Longstreet's role in East Tennessee has been overlooked. The general died in 1904 and is buried in Gainesville, Ga.
Whitaker said that the museum is the only one in the state that served as a Civil War general's headquarters.
She said the museum would now be placed on Tennessee's Civil War Trails, part of a five-state trails system to help in the exploration of the Civil War's 150th anniversary that began in April of this year.
People requesting to use the Statehouse for events now have to read and acknowledge state Budget and Control Board rules that say they can't obscure visibility or access to any part of the Statehouse grounds or its monuments.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People erected a three-panel backdrop around the Washington statue on the Statehouse steps. The civil rights group said at the time it was there only as a backdrop and not intended as an affront to Washington. Its annual Statehouse rallies are part of a decade-long protest of the Confederate flag that flies there.
The state has more compelling issues to be worried about, said Dwight James, the state NAACP's executive director. He said the barrier protected the statue and has been used for several years.
The state's response, James said, is "an example of extravagant preoccupation with a non-issue at a time when the energies of the General Assembly would be better spent concerning itself with the polarized economic and racial climate of the state and why the State continues to allow the most obvious symbol of racism, the Confederate stars and bars, to occupy the most prominent position on the statehouse grounds."
The State House Committee was briefed on the changes at a meeting earlier this week.
Sen. Harvey Peeler, the panel's chairman, said the NAACP backdrop "brought the situation to a head." The state "needed some agreement with people using the Statehouse grounds that they would not obscure, damage or deface the monuments," the Gaffney Republican said.
Republican State Sen. John Courson of Columbia said the rules needed to be clearer. "I can't imagine any organization wanting to intentionally for any reason impede a view of George Washington," said Courson.
Courson has overseen the erection of monuments to the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, the military and African-American history. He said the monuments need to be visible at all times. "I think those are important monuments to our heritage and it's important for people to see them without the view being interrupted in any way," Courson said.
Meanwhile, Budget and Control Executive Director Marcia Adams told Peeler's committee that a long mothballed Capitol complex security system will be put to work as early as January.
The system was installed in 2008 and briefly put into service before then-Gov. Mark Sanford ordered the state police to stop manning posts that supported its operation. Sanford said there was little threat of a terror attack at the Statehouse, a gate could be easily circumvented and the money needed to be spent elsewhere.
It turned into a political spat between Sanford and some Statehouse leaders. With Sanford gone, the system is being turned back on — but at a cost.
The $6 million system relied on a type of access card with batteries that interacted with sensors to raise guard arms to enter a sprawling garage beneath the Capitol complex.
Without the cards, barriers would rise from the roadway to block access. Adams said the batteries didn't last as long as expected and that the system had technical glitches. So the state will have to spend about $32,500 to issue new cards to enter the garage and buildings.
"If it's there, we need to make it operational or take it down," Peeler said.
Rep. Rita Allison, a Lyman Republican, said it's "a shame to have that much money invested in a system that is sitting there and working for the people here."
From Staff Reports
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Civil War Confederate marker for Marcellus E. Washington will be dedicated Oct. 22 at Bethel United Methodist Church near Senoia.
The program will start at 2 p.m. The marker will honor Washington's service in the Confederate Army. The marker will be unveiled at Bethel United Methodist Church.
The soldier was the son of Rufus Washington and the father of Pink and Grady Washington. Organizers are asking descendants to pass the word to other relatives about the service.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be taking part in the service. Refreshments will be served.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
The General Executive Committee and the Division Commanders or their designaged representatives will meet at Elm Springs Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16. The schedule calls for the GEC to meet on Saturday. This meeting is open to all members.
Saturday evening and Sunday Commander-in-Chief Michael Givens will discuss the “SCV Vision 2016” and receive input from the GEC and the Division Commanders. The Conference Room can accomodate approximately ten additional chairs. C-I-C Givens invites any interested members of the Confederation to attend and participate in this meeting and provide input for the “SCV Vision 2016”.
The seats will be filled on a first come-first served basis. If are interested in attending and participating in this important meeting, and helping chart the course for the SCV for the next five years, contact Chief-of-Staff Spike Speicher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The Associated Press
October 5, 2011
A stolen Civil War battle flag recovered by the FBI is heading back home to a Louisiana museum.
The FBI says agents from the Richmond division recovered the stolen 14th Louisiana Infantry Regiment Confederate Battle Flag in late September.
Officials say the flag was stolen in the 1980s by a former volunteer at the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in New Orleans. An investigation found that a collector purchased the item in 2004 without knowledge of it being stolen and voluntarily turned the item over to the FBI.
It was presented to board members from the Confederate Memorial Hall in Louisiana at a ceremony Wednesday at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
'Johnny Reb' is back
By Jerry Gunn
JEFFERSON - The Square in downtown Jefferson filled with an audience Saturday that came to witness the unveiling of Jefferson’s new Civil War icon, a bronze likeness of a Johnny Reb infantryman from Jackson County. The original was accidentally torn down 71 years ago in 1940.
Jackson County Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 94 members launched the funding campaign that raised the money for the statue according to Chapter Commander Steve Satterfield.
“We just felt like the statue was the best thing we could give to the city and to honor the men who served,” Satterfield said. “We just wanted our statue back.”
According to Satterfield the new bronze image, standing 5’ 8” tall on its concrete pedestal, resembles the original. Pieces of that original were on display in the Crawford Long Museum.
Authentic details on the statue, made in Marietta, came from Civil War re-enactors including the uniform buttons, the belt buckle and the soldier’s rifle.
Several of those re-enactors were present for the ceremony, providing the color guard and the honor guard firing musket salutes. Members from Company ‘F’, 43rd Georgia from Hall County, the 18th Georgia from Jackson County, the 63rd Georgia, and SCV Camp 96 Honor Guard participated.
Featured speaker Christopher Sullivan from Greenville, South Carolina said his Confederate ancestor was from Jackson County.
“We’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Sullivan said. “It’s important to remember our history and the men who served, and perpetuate their values.”
Satterfield said the statue had the full support of the city and county and is actually part of Jefferson’s Streetscape project.
“They redid the whole downtown,” Satterfield said. “They created green space, they redid the parking lots and the sidewalks and they’re trying to get the businesses to come back to downtown Jefferson.”
Jefferson’s new bronze Johnny Reb might even pick up a nickname, like Gainesville’s ‘Old Joe’ guarding the downtown square for just over a hundred years.
“We haven’t quite got one yet but we’re thinking of a few,” Satterfield said.
To ensure that your Confederate Veteran magazine is correctly delivered in a timely manner, please visit this link below to check if GHQ has your correct mailing address on file:
To check your data at this link, you will need your SCV ID Number. You will find it printed above your name on the mailing label of the Confederate Veteran magazine.
Changes of address can be made on this link, reported by emailing Bryan Sharp at email@example.com, or by calling GHQ at 1-800-380-1896 ext. 201.
The Confederate Veteran magazine is mailed under a nonprofit organization bulk mail rate which costs the SCV about $0.50 per magazine in postage. The post office will normally not forward mail under this class and they discard the magazines that are undeliverable. If you move and do not inform GHQ of your new address, you will not receive your magazine as it will not be forwarded by the post office.
In addition to the issue of delayed or non-delivery, when GHQ sends a replacement magazine to those that call and enquire as to why they did not receive their Confederate Veteran, it requires that an additional magazine to be printed and costs Headquarters an additional $2.28 in first class postage.
Please report all changes of address to GHQ as soon as possible.
Your cooperation is appreciated and will greatly reduce GHQ mail expense.
Bryan A. Sharp
National Membership Coordinator
SCV HQ / Elm Springs
1-800-380-1896 ext. 201
Louisiana in the Civil War
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Choiseul ("shwah-zool") was not a happy man in September 1861. A well educated French Creole, he had been ordered to take temporary command of Major Roberdeau Wheat's 1st Special Battalion while Wheat recovered from a serious wound. This battalion was one of the most unruly units in the Virginia army and few people wanted to associate with it.
Wheat's men were a potpourri of high society lawyers, merchants and planters' sons, and low life pickpockets, gamblers, and thieves. One company, the Tiger Rifles, adopted the colorful Zouave uniform and was said to have been recruited from New Orleans' jails.
Several Louisiana regiments made headlines for drunkenness and rioting, but Wheat's Battalion became the most notorious. It created so much mayhem in Virginia that it soon became known as the Tiger Battalion, probably in reference to the Tiger Rifles company.
Civilians and soldiers alike came to fear the battalion. One Alabaman wrote that the men were "adventurers, wharf-rats, cutthroats, and bad characters generally." Another soldier admitted, "I was actually afraid of them, afraid I would meet them somewhere and that they would do me like they did Tom Lane of my company; knock me down and stamp me half to death."
Within six months after arriving in Virginia, the battalion's misdeeds included a drunken street brawl in Lynchburg, a rock-throwing fight with a Kentucky regiment, and a nasty incident in which ten members of the Tiger Rifles took on an entire company of Georgians when the Georgians ran off with their whiskey bottle.
Although the vast majority of Louisiana's soldiers sent to Virginia were decent men, there were enough criminals mixed in to give all a bad reputation. The good were lumped in with the bad and, because Wheat's Tiger Battalion was so infamous, all of the state's 12,000 soldiers serving in Virginia became known as the Louisiana Tigers.
Not long after Colonel de Choiseul assumed command of Wheat's Battalion trouble began when, as he said, "the whole set got royally drunk." An inebriated soldier tried to shoot the colonel's orderly and another beat and robbed one of the battalion's washerwomen. That night several men tried to free some of the prisoners de Choiseul had placed in the guard house and a wild free-for-all led to several more men being placed under arrest.
The next day the situation exploded. When de Choiseul ordered a sergeant to his quarters for impudence, a comrade walked up and began defending the sergeant. De Choiseul ordered him to the guard house, but the man refused to go. Furious, the colonel knocked him to the ground twice but he still refused to leave.
By then, a menacing crowd had gathered around de Choiseul, who was mounted on his horse. The colonel fingered his pistol and warned he would shoot the first man who "raised a finger." De Choiseul wrote that a "big double fisted ugly looking fellow came at me & said 'God damn you, shoot me.'" De Choiseul drew his pistol and shot him point blank in the face. "He turned as I fired & [I] hit him in the cheek, knocking out one upper jaw tooth & two lower ones on the other side & cutting his tongue." The others quickly retreated from the obviously dangerous colonel, and De Choiseul never had any more problems with the men.
Although often ill-behaved in camp, the 12,000 Louisiana Tigers proved to be among the best fighters in the Virginia army. When their ammunition ran out at Second Bull Run they refused to retreat and began throwing rocks at the Yankees; they were the only Confederates to break the Union line at Gettysburg; and the Tigers possibly saved Robert E. Lee's army from destruction at Spotsylvania by holding their position after the enemy overran other Confederate units. The Louisianians fought in every major battle in the Virginia theater and suffered appalling casualties. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox after four years of war there were only 373 Tigers still on duty.
Today, the Tigers' name lives on. In the early 1900s, Louisiana State University's Dr. Charles E. Coates was trying to decide on a name for the football team. After being told that the Louisiana Tigers were the toughest set of men who ever lived, he chose them as his mascot. Contrary to popular belief, the LSU Tigers are not named for a ferocious feline but for Louisiana's most famous Civil War soldiers.
Dr. Terry L. Jones is a professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and has published six books on the American Civil War. Dr. Jones is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
By WILL WEISSERT
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eleven years ago, when the NAACP stepped up a campaign to remove the Confederate battle flag from statehouses and other government buildings across the South, it found an opponent in Rick Perry.
Texas had a pair of bronze plaques with symbols of the Confederacy displayed in its state Supreme Court building. Perry, then lieutenant governor, said they should stay put, arguing that Texans "should never forget our history."
It's a position Perry has taken consistently when the legacy of the Civil War has been raised, as have officials in many of the other former Confederate states. But while defense of Confederate symbols and Southern institutions can still be good politics below the Mason-Dixon line, the subject can appear in a different light when officials seek national office.
For Perry, now Texas governor for 11 years and in the top tier of Republican presidential candidates, a racial issue is already dogging him.
He took criticism over the weekend for a rock outside the Texas hunting camp his family once leased that had the name Niggerhead painted on it. Perry's campaign says the governor's father painted over the rock to cover the name soon after he began leasing the site in the early 1980s and says the Perry family never controlled, owned or managed the property. But rival Herman Cain, the only black Republican in the race, says the rock symbolizes Perry's insensitivity to race.
A related issue may rise this fall when Texas decides whether to allow specialty license plates featuring the Confederate flag. The plates have been requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a nonprofit organization Perry has supported over the years. A state board he appointed will decide.
The NAACP says its initiative against "glorification" of slave-state symbols remains ongoing. "The romanticism around the Old South," said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau. "It's a view of history that ignores how racism became a tool to maintain a system of supremacy and dominance."
Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner did not return messages seeking comment on the matter. But Granvel Block, the Texas Division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the organization appreciated Perry's position on such issues.
"I would give him high praise for saying it," Block said. "Honoring your ancestors, it's something that the Bible teaches."
The Confederate battle flag has been chief target for the NAACP. The organization called for a boycott of South Carolina in 2000 for flying the banner over its statehouse. The state moved the flag to a capitol memorial. In 2003, Georgia replaced its state flag, which included the Confederate battle standard, with one that combined other elements from previous state flags. Other institutions have scaled back their displays of Confederate heritage. The University of Mississippi retired Colonel Rebel as its on-field mascot.
In January 2000 the NAACP asked Texas to remove the Confederate battle flag from plaques in the entryway of a building housing the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, saying it undermined the notion of judicial equality. One of the 11-inch by 20-inch bronze plaques featured the seal of the Confederacy and the other the image of the battle flag and quotations from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Perry wrote to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in March 2000 that, "although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques and memorials from public property."
"I also believe that communities should decide whether statues or other memorials are appropriate for their community," Perry wrote in the letter, one of several obtained by The Associated Press under a public information request. "I believe that Texans should remember the past and learn from it."
He added, "We should never forget our history, but dwelling on the 19th century takes needed attention away from our future in the 21st century."
Perry elaborated publically on the issue, saying, "I think you've got a slippery slope when you start saying we're going to start taking down every plaque or monument."
He wasn't the only prominent Texan defending the plaques. Then-Gov. George W. Bush, himself running for president, initially said they should remain but then reversed himself and authorized the state's General Services Commission to replace the plaques with new ones saying equal justice is available to all Texans "regardless of race, creed or color."
The floor of the Texas Capitol's rotunda still bears the seal of the Confederacy, and statues on the grounds memorialize Lee and Confederate soldiers. But civil rights organizations consider the battle flag the most objectionable symbol.
Public officials in Texas, as well as in the other Southern states, are called upon periodically to honor Confederate causes because related organizations observe its anniversaries. Block said the Sons of Confederate Veterans was founded in 1896 and has 2,500 members statewide. Also active is the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
In a 2005 letter, Perry welcomed attendees of a benefit hosted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "By learning about the past," he wrote, "we honor our ancestors' memories and contributions, and appreciate the people and events that preceded the present." Perry's great-great-grandfather David H. Hamilton fought at Gettysburg with the First Texas Infantry.
Two years later, Perry issued a "Message from the Governor" honoring Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross on what would have been his 169th birthday. He noted Ross' service as a Confederate brigadier general, two-time Texas governor and president of what became Texas A&M University, calling him "one of the greats on whose shoulders our modern day Texas rests." The Sons of Confederate Veterans maintains a college scholarship fund in Ross' honor — despite accusations that Ross was behind the murder of black prisoners of war in Mississippi.
Today, Block's organization wants to use the Confederate flag license plate to raise money to pay for markers on Confederate soldiers' graves. "I know that to some people it's an issue," he said. "But our purpose is to honor our ancestors and to educate the public on the true cause of the war."
The state Department of Motor Vehicles board tied 4-4 in an April vote because one of its members, Ramsay Gillman of Houston, was absent. Gillman then died and Perry chose a new appointee, Raymond Palacios Jr. of El Paso.
Palacios declined to comment on the issue. Members won't vote on the plate until at least Nov. 9. A similar request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans was denied two years ago, but the criteria have been expanded, opening the door for approval this time. Texas has approved 276 specialty plates.
Perry hasn't commented. "This is a matter before the board," said Lucy Nashed, a governor's office spokeswoman.
Matt Glazer, executive director of Progress, Texas, a left-leaning advocacy group, said of Block's organization: "If they want to put a sticker on their car, or fly the Confederate flag at their home or business, that's up to them. But the state itself should not associate itself with this racist relic."