Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Loan for Part of Franklin Battlefield Paid-Off

Developer's fund pays for key piece of Franklin battlefield


A Battle of Franklin historic marker stands across the street from Domino's Pizza. Preservationists have now retired the debt on the property, which they hope to have cleared by the 150th anniversary of the 1864 battle.
A Battle of Franklin historic marker stands across the street from Domino's Pizza. Preservationists have now retired the debt on the property, which they hope to have cleared by the 150th anniversary of the 1864 battle. / Shelley Mays / file / The Tennessean
Nov. 30, 2014 will be the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin when thousands Union and Confederate troops met during a brief, bloody firefight that left more than 8,500 casualties. Battlefield advocates have been purchasing land on Columbia Avenue for years to create a battlefield park one day where the heaviest of the day’s fighting occurred.
FRANKLIN - In a twist, it's money from new development that's helped pay off a loan to buy a piece of Franklin's Civil War Battlefield.

 Supporters announced this week that a donation from Boyle Investment Co. will cover the final portion of a $1.85 million loan made last year needed to buy a Columbia Avenue Domino’s Pizza and a small adjacent shopping center that will one day be the centerpiece of a new Franklin Civil War park. The property’s historical name was Carter’s Hill.

The take-out pizza restaurant sits on land where fighting exploded 149 years ago on Nov. 30, 1864, during the Battle of Franklin. That night’s fierce fighting left more than 8,500 casualties and was a decisive victory for the Union. Despite the events of the battle, homes and retail developments cropped up through the years along Columbia Avenue on the property, to the chagrin of some who wanted to see a battlefield park created.

To help advocates complete the purchase of the pizza restaurant, Boyle officials gave money collected in a preservation trust as part of developing its 604-acre Berry Farms project in southern Franklin.Located at the intersection of Lewisburg Pike and the Goose Creek Bypass, the multi-phase Berry Farms development includes construction of 95 new single-family homes as well as         30,000-square-foot retail section. The former farmland was the site of at least three Civil War skirmishes.

“During the inception of Berry Farms, the Berry family and Boyle created a community trust that would allow us to support Franklin’s Charge based on the sale of residential properties, land, and leases signed,” said Shelby Larkin, Boyle spokeswoman in a statement. “This was important to both parties because we firmly believe in supporting the historic attributes of Berry Farms and the city of Franklin.” The company declined to reveal the amount of the donation.

Property will be cleared

The donation means local Franklin’s Charge group and the national Civil War Trust can move forward with plans for a roughly 10-acre park that will coincide with next year’s 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.

Franklin’s Charge and the Civil War Trust used grants, donations and pledges to raise the $1.85 million needed to buy the Domino’s Pizza from its owner Donny Cameron last year.
“Everything is paid off,” said Stacey Watson, secretary for Franklin’s Charge. “There’s no debt on (the property).”

As part of the park planning, the Domino’s restaurant and other shop owners are in discussions about relocating. Meantime, there are plans underway to dissemble and move three houses purchased by preservation advocates that sit on future park property to new locations.

This week, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County announced that the house at 109 Cleburne Ave. which the group has owned since 1996 has been purchased and will be moved by new, private owners to a new locale.The foundation sought $6,500 for the house, provided that its new owners would move and restore the home.

The group said John and Sharon McNeely bought the house and have plans to move the house to property in Giles County. “We are excited to be working with the Heritage Foundation not only on the move but also the restoration as a tribute to life in Williamson County in the 1800s,” said Sharon McNeely in a statement.

While the house’s construction dates back to just after the Civil War, its parcel occupies an historical location, sitting on land where the Carter family’s cotton gin stood during the Battle of Franklin.
It’s the second time the house will be moved. The house was originally built on Columbia Avenue just north of the Carter House and was moved with the construction in 1926 of former Franklin High School site.

Separately, the Domino’s restaurant and retail center will be torn down, which could come during the early part of 2014 though no date has been set. Back in 2005, supporters tore down a Pizza Hut that was next door to the Domino’s restaurant.

“We hope in the first quarter we can get the building down and get that cleared,” Watson said.
Finally, Watson said Franklin’s Charge has secured a $45,000 state grant for a future archaeological dig on the property to recover the historic items and other relics that have been buried in the soil for the past 149 years.

Watson expects more attention for the park to come in 2014. “It’s the biggest reclamation project of Civil War battlefield in America,” Watson said. “It’s important that we all appreciate the impact of the Civil War 150 years ago, and how it’s impacting us today.”


Confederate Hero Pelham Honored

Paying homage to Pelham

Historians Frank O’Reilly and Eric Mink, veterans of many a Civil War tour, did something Friday they’d never done before. Encouraged by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, they dedicated a full day to delving into the world of one lower-ranking officer: Maj. John Pelham. But Pelham was no ordinary man. He is, long after the battle he began, still “the gallant Pelham” that Robert E. Lee nicknamed in his post-Battle of Fredericksburg report—the only non-general officer Lee mentioned by name.

Friday morning, 151 years to the moment, CVBT honored the 24-year-old Confederate artillerist by dedicating a replica of his Napoleon cannon at the spot where Pelham’s daring battlefield actions earned his sobriquet. The site, at Benchmark Road and Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania County, has been drawing visitors since before the first historical marker was placed there in 1903.

There, the Alexandria native—already noted for his innovations with “flying” or horse-drawn artillery—led gunners who pinned down part of the Union army for an hour, delaying its attack on Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s defenses along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. Their fire, coming from well in front of Jackson’s line, surprised and shocked the Federals massing at Smithfield plantation to assault Prospect Hill. Men were mown down like bowling pins; one shot killed seven soldiers.

Pelham’s barrage neutralized 6,000 men, as commanders sent soldiers—needed to attack Jackson’s troops—careening off to “baby-sit” Pelham’s one bit of the battlefield, O’Reilly said. He did it by picking the perfect place, a low bowl hidden by a hedgerow and fog from the enemy’s sight, to lob shot down the Richmond stage road toward Gen. George G. Meade’s troops, 800 yards north around Smithfield.

Jackson and Lee, watching from atop Telegraph Hill, marveled at the sheer audacity of Pelham and his men. Their actions were “an allegory of Southern resolve and defiance in the winter of 1862,” O’Reilly told a crowd of about 100 who gathered to respect the man and the moment. “One gun pitted against the largest army of the republic—the largest army in the Western Hemisphere—and Pelham single-handedly dared it to attack—dared to attack it—and held his own for an hour right here, 151 years ago right now.”

 Through most of the shelling, Pelham was “like a boy playing ball,” one witness recalled.His commander, J.E.B. Stuart, had to send three messages before Pelham, whose gunners had emptied their limber chest of its solid shot, pulled back. The success came at some sacrifice: two men killed outright, one mortally wounded, eight wounded and 14 horses killed, O’Reilly noted.“Pelham won a colonelcy on the field last Saturday,” Stuart wrote Custis Lee, eldest son of the army commander. Cavalryman John Esten Cooke later said: “This was the climax of his fame, the event with which his name will be inseparably connected. On that great day, [Pelham] covered himself with glory—but no one who knew him felt any surprise at it.”

But three months later, Pelham was dead—killed in the Battle of Kelly’s Ford upriver in Culpeper County.

On Friday, Pelham’s most famous deed was saluted by two deafening blasts from “Matilda,” a bronze Napoleon wielded by staff and volunteers with Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and a three-shot rifle volley fired by members the Maury and Lacy camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The ceremony took place at Pelham’s Corner, the name of an acre on Tidewater Trail preserved by CVBT as well as a neighboring retail center, which let trust members use its parking lot. The historic site is compromised by highway noise, neighboring warehouses and stores and a large shopping center across State Route 2.

 Dr. Mike Stevens, president of the Fredericksburg-based trust, noted the incongruity.“To be honest, this land represents the best and the worst of our preservation efforts,” Stevens said. “Having preserved this ground, we can stand in the footsteps of the gallant Pelham and his brave men. But open your eyes and look around Why did we allow this special place to be almost completely destroyed by modern development and commerce? Why is there only this 1 acre of hallowed ground remaining?”

The Pelham cannon dedication was only part of the day’s devotion to the young hero. Traveling by bus, about 70 CVBT members visited sites linked to Pelham. Among them were Smithfield, now the clubhouse of Fredericksburg Country Club; Hayfield, a private mansion in Caroline County where Lee and Pelham vied for the ladies’ attention in the weeks before the Battle of Fredericksburg; and Skinker’s Neck, a peninsula on the Rappahannock where a full-blown Dec. 5 battle by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s forces was averted when Pelham’s battery fired on a Union naval flotilla headed upriver and he alerting superiors to the Federal incursion into the area.


Battlefields in Tennessee May Be Added to Park System

Alexander Introduces Bill To Include 4 Tennessee Civil War Battlefields In National Park System

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander Wednesday announced that he introduced legislation that would expand the boundary of Shiloh National Military Park to include three Civil War battlefields in Tennessee and designate Parker’s Crossroads as an affiliated area of the National Park System. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

“As Americans, we have a special obligation to preserve and protect our heritage,” Senator Alexander said. “Including these Civil War battlefields in the National Park System will honor that commitment, while providing an opportunity to attract more visitors to Tennessee and encourage the local economies.”

"I am pleased to be working with Senator Alexander in preserving this important piece of our national history,” Rep. Blackburn said. “Tennessee played a vital role in the Civil War and it’s important that we remember those who lost their lives on these hallowed grounds while fighting for what they believed in. This legislation will preserve our history for future generations and encourage all to travel to West Tennessee to see it firsthand.”

The legislation would designate battlefields at Davis Bridge and Fallen Timbers in Tennessee and Russell House (which is in Tennessee and Mississippi) as part of Shiloh National Military Park. It will also include Parker’s Crossroads of Tennessee in the National Park System. The National Park Service has already determined these battlefields are nationally significant and in need of preservation and protection, and the majority of the land included in this legislation is currently owned by the State of Tennessee or the Civil War Trust, which would speed the process of including these areas in the system.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cultural Clensing Possible at Army War College

Southern Discomfort: U.S. Army seeks removal of Lee, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson honors  

The U.S. Army War College, which molds future field generals, has begun discussing whether it should remove its portraits of Confederate generals — including those of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Nestled in rural Pennsylvania on the 500-acre Carlisle Barracks, the war college is conducting an inventory of all its paintings and photographs with an eye for rehanging them in historical themes to tell a particular Army story.

During the inventory, an unidentified official — not the commandant, Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III — asked the administration why the college honors two generals who fought against the United States, college spokeswoman Carol Kerr said.

“I do know at least one person has questioned why we would honor individuals who were enemies of the United States Army,” Ms. Kerr said. “There will be a dialogue when we develop the idea of what do we want the hallway to represent.”

She said one faculty member took down the portraits of Lee and Jackson and put them on the floor as part of the inventory process. That gave rise to rumors that the paintings had been removed.
“This person was struck by the fact we have quite a few Confederate images,” she said, adding that the portraits were rehung on a third-floor hallway. “[Lee] was certainly not good for the nation. This is the guy we faced on the battlefield whose entire purpose in life was to destroy the nation as it was then conceived. … This is all part of an informed discussion.”
It is the kind of historical cleansing that could spark an Army-wide debate: Lee’s portrait adorns the walls of other military installations and government buildings.

Two portraits of Lee are on display at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.: In the Cadet Mess Hall is a painting of Lee when he was superintendent as an Army captain. A portrait of Lee in full Confederate regalia hangs on the second floor of Jefferson Hall, the campus library.
Opened in 1901 to study the lessons of war, the Army War College is a history class and modern warfare symposium for lieutenant colonels and colonels who know that a diploma from the institution helps their chances with the promotion board. The college graduates more than 300 U.S. officers, foreign students and civilians in two classes each year.

Lee’s life story is full of personal conflict.

Born and raised in Virginia, the son of a Revolutionary War hero and governor, Lee graduated from the Army’s premier undergraduate school, West Point, and returned as its superintendent. Serving as a combat engineer, he distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War, during which he was wounded and received several battlefield promotions. Yet he broke with the Union and agreed to lead the Army of Northern Virginia for the Confederate States of America.

Jackson, who also received battlefield promotions during the Mexican-American War, is another West Point graduate.

In 1975, Congress enacted a joint resolution reinstating Lee’s U.S. citizenship in what could be considered a final act to heal Civil War wounds. The resolution praised Lee’s character and his work to reunify the nation. It noted that six months after surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Lee swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the Union.

“This entire nation has long recognized the outstanding virtues of courage, patriotism and selfless devotion to duty of General R.E. Lee,” the joint resolution stated.
President Ford traveled to Arlington House, Lee’s former home in Virginia, to sign the resolution into law on Aug. 5, 1975.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/17/robert-e-lee-and-stonewall-jackson-tributes-face-a/?page=1#ixzz2oEYsUgDe

Friday, December 20, 2013

Enfiled Rifles Found

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rare crate of Civil War rifles yields picture of daring Civil War blockade runners

Enfield rifles prepared for display (Georgia DNR)

The carefully constructed box of British-made rifles was intended for the hands of Confederate soldiers.

A century and a half later, after a failed blockade run, a fire and years resting in the sandy bottom of Charleston Harbor, the weathered container and its contents are instead a time capsule in the hands of conservators and archaeologists.

“The last time somebody looked at those, and put them on crates, was about 150 years ago,” said J. Doug Bailey, a gun collector who has studied the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-musket for more than three decades.

Twenty Enfields -- the second most widely used infantry weapon in the Civil War after the Springfield -- are being conserved by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which acquired the guns from South Carolina. 

Rifles are enclosed in metal liner (Georgia DNR)

The crate carried by the doomed CSS Stono is currently on display at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County, west of Atlanta, while the preservation lab at Panola Mountain State Park is being overhauled.

The rifles are in large aquarium of filtered freshwater that is drawing out salt and other contaminants.

“It (is) a once in a lifetime thing,” Josh Headlee, senior preservation technician with the division, told the Picket of the rare opportunity to conserve and study a case of Enfields.

Only three intact cases of the single-shot weapon are known, according to a 2007 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

Typical Pattern 1853 Enfield (NPS)

Although the iron rifle barrels, locks and bayonets are heavily deteriorated from saltwater corrosion, the walnut stocks of the rifles are in “tremendous shape.”

Brass components, including butt plates, trigger guards and the nose cap at the end of the barrels better withstood the ravages of longtime submersion.

Researchers also found a bullet mold, tools and tampions, or cork and brass plugs inserted into the muzzle to ward off moisture.

At least one of the weapons bears the mark, “T. Turner,” a reference to well-known English gunmaker Thomas Turner, who turned out quality weapons in the mid-19th century.

The rifles came from the wreckage of the CSS Stono, a blockade runner -- laden with precious arms, munitions and goods from Europe  – that in 1863 ran aground on a submerged sandbar off Fort Moultrie while trying to evade Federal ships.

The CSS Stono was previously known as the USS Isaac Smith, a steamer that saw Federal service before its capture by Confederate land forces.

Some of the CSS Stono’s contents were retrieved by the South, but others, including the crate of Enfields, could not be salvaged, apparently because they were below the water line. In 1865, the “stuck” ship was burned to prevent it from falling into the hands of Federal troops.

An archaeological diver pulled up the crate from the South Carolina shipwreck in the late 1980s. 

“The water was murky,” said Headlee. “He could not feel where the stack of rifles ended.”

USS Isaac Smith, later converted to CSS Stono

Officials did not initially know how many of the highly-prized Pattern 53 rifles were inside, their position or condition. Each weapon weighed about 9 pounds and was approximately 53 inches long. The bore is .577 caliber.

“The Confederacy imported more Enfields during the course of the war than any other small arm,” according to the National Park Service. “It has been estimated that over 900,000 P53 Enfields were imported to America and saw service in every major battle from Shiloh in April 1862 through Vicksburg in 1863, to the final battles of 1865.”

The crate was originally curated by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (at the University of South Carolina), said David Crass, head of Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division.

The South Carolina institute did conserve smaller items, but donated the rifle crate to Georgia for extensive conservation treatment and display. 

In early 2007, Headlee turned to Atlanta’s Delta Air Lines to X-ray the crate so that researchers would best know how to tackle the chore of conserving the metal lining and rifles.

A powerful industrial X-ray machine was unable to provide more than faint images through the packed sediment, which Headlee likened to concrete.

"I guess if we want to find out what we've got, we'll have to start digging down a layer at a time,” he told The Journal-Constitution.

The rifles were placed in a solid wooden case and metal lining

His words have proven true in the years since, with a “painstakingly slow” process of using hand tools to separate the rifles and other contents. “It took years to chip away,” Headlee told the Picket this week.

Most of the wooden crate is gone, but a lining made of tin and lead remains. One end of the crate was damaged, apparently when the CSS Stono sank.

After the level of sodium chloride is stabilized, officials will consider longer-term conservation techniques. The state hopes to eventually place the crate on permanent display after the long conservation process.

Bailey, who lives in Roswell, Ga., told the Picket that the North also imported thousands of Enfields from Europe before it increased production of the venerable Springfield rifle. The South, with limited manufacturing capacity, was heavily dependent on imported weapons and goods.

.557 Enfield Minie Ball (NPS)

On today’s market, a P53 Enfield in rough condition can go for as little as a few hundred dollars, while rarer specimens may fetch as much as $10,000.

The 1851 and 1853 Enfields, made for the British army, were an important technological advance from smoothbore to rifled muskets, increasing the accuracy and distance, said Bailey. “They were very well made.”

Headlee asked Bailey to take a look at the rifles, and they found the Thomas Turner mark clearly visible on one weapon.

“Some of the stocks were in amazing condition and we washed them off,” he said. “I was taken they went to so much trouble and time to pack them.”

The metal lining sealed the cargo from salt air and ensured the rifles were not tampered with. Inside, the rifles were placed in an alternating butt to muzzle pattern. Wooden blocks were used to prevent the weapons from shifting.

Lockplates on CSS Stono rifles likely resembled this (J. Doug Bailey)

In an online journal for his agency, Headlee wrote: “The rifles will obviously never look like they did when they were brand new. In fact, with much of the iron gone, they will at best look like shells of their former selves.  However, there are enough fragments and recognizable parts left that they are an instrument of education for Civil War and Enfield Rifle scholars who are being given a rare glimpse into how the rifles were crated and transported."

Bailey likened the discovery to that of Enfields found in the wreckage of the blockade runner Modern Greece near Fort Fisher, N.C.

“Once they get it stabilized and in a preserved state, anyone who is interested in the blockade runners and what (the rifles) looked like when brought over it will bring great insight,” Bailey said of the CSS Stono rifle crate.

“You are kind of stepping back in time. I found it extremely interesting.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

SCV General HQ Holiday Schedule

SCV General Headquarters will have reduced staff during the entire week of December 23rd through December 27th. 
The offices will be closed on Tuesday afternoon ( Christmas Eve ) after 12:00 PM CST as well as Christmas Day.  
General Headquarters will also be closed on New Year’s Day.
Executive Director
Ben Sewell


NEWS RELEASE HEADERMedia Contacts:                                                                     
Susan Friday Lamb, 919-807-7943
John Campbell, 919-807-7964
                On Nov. 21, 2013, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 379 in Marion, presented an $8,200 check to staff at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The funds will be used for specialized conservation treatment of a battle flag carried by the 35th Regiment North Carolina Troops during the Civil War. The generous gift was the result of two years of fund-raising by Camp 379.
            “It is an honor for Camp 379 to help preserve a part of North Carolina’s important history for future generations,” noted Jeff Cordell, Commander, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 379.            The historic banner is part of the museum’s Confederate flag collection, one of the largest in the nation. The standard wool-bunting state flag is missing its regimental numbers, possibly cut away as a souvenir during the war.
            Many flags in the Museum of History collection have been conserved through the Adopt an Artifact program launched in 2007. The colors of the 35th Regiment North Carolina Troops will be the 16th Civil War banner to undergo conservation since 2007.
            “The Adopt an Artifact program has been very successful, especially among Civil War enthusiasts,” said John Campbell, the museum’s Collections Manager. “We are grateful for the support of groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 379, that help the Museum of History meet its mission of caring for the artifact collection.” 
            The 35th Regiment organized at Camp Crabtree outside Raleigh in fall 1861. It saw its first combat at the Battle of New Bern on March 14, 1862, and was then ordered to Virginia. The regiment was then brigaded with the 24th, 25th, 49th and 56th Regiment North Carolina Troops as part of Ransom’s Brigade. The regiment saw service in the Army of Northern Virginia.  
            For details about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access www.ncmuseumofhistory.org or Facebook. For information about the N.C. Civil War Sesquicentennial, access www.ncculture.com.
FILE CheckPresentation: Left to right: Jackson Marshall, Associate Director, N.C. Museum of History; Lt. Commander David Padgett, N.C. Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV); Lt. Commander Will Crawford, N.C. Division, SCV; Commander Jeff Cordell, N.C. Division, SCV; and Ken Howard, Director, N.C. Museum of History. On Nov. 21, 2013, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 379, presented an $8,200 check to the N.C. Museum of History. The funds will be used for conservation treatment of a battle flag carried by the 35th Regiment N.C. Troops.
FILE 35thRegimentFlag: Funds donated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 379, will be used for specialized conservation treatment of this battle flag carried by the 35th Regiment North Carolina Troops.
About the N.C. Museum of History
The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission to enrich lives and communities creates opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and economic stimulus engines for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, State Historic Sites, and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state, developing and supporting access to traditional and online collections such as genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.
NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives of North Carolina. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.
# # #

Susan Friday Lamb
Public Information Officer
North Carolina Museum of History

Confederate Soldiers Are American Veterans

Confederate Soldiers are American Veterans by Act of Congress

April is Confederate Memorial Month where various commemorations held throughout the month, primarily in the South. In the other states I would venture to say that most have never even heard of it, a combination performance of historical revisionism, political correctness, and amnesia. But I am happy to report that we are seeing more events being held each year,and better attended.
The anti-Confederate smear campaign is becoming recognized for what it always was, a political campaign to denigrate Southern heritage. The ignorance of this was on the scale of your left arm not liking your right arm and then beginning a process of eventual amputation. But this would  include a period of cigarette burning and razor slashing to get the process rolling.
The country is thankfully waking up from this silliness. Veterans Today has made an editorial decision to dig into more of these suppressed historical events, especially those involving veterans. It will keep us busy for the rest of our lives.
I have begun working on my main Confederate Memorial  piece for VT focusing in on some of the archival gems and bombshells that most Americans know little or nothing about our War Between the States, or War of Southern Independence as
Despite the huge number of books written over the years the really good stuff is protected like the gold at Fort Knox, especially when it comes to school curriculums. I did not really begin learning about how much history had been suppressed and censored until my mid forties. The journey has so far turned into an seemlingly endless one.
But I wanted to get something up to get the educational ball rolling with a one issue piece.
The simplest item I always use to jerk the shorts up on a Confederate basher, especially a veteran, and even more so an officer, is to ask them it they knew that Confederate soldiers are officially American Veterans by Act of Congress.  They are usually stunned.
I then share with them the story below and then point out that when they think it is cute to bash Confederate soldiers they are making fools of themselves and embarrassing the Vet community as they are actually bashing all veterans. And if they can do it…then why not Vet haters.
I am happy to report that this sinks in very quickly with about 100% effectiveness. I follow up with a rundown on the disproportionate numbers that Southerners have contributed to all of America’s wars.
The front lines of our current military conflicts are filled with descendants of Confederate soldiers, many of whom are also descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers like myself.  See my earlier Sesquicentennial 150th Civil War anniversary article on just a few celebrity Confederate descendants.


But I must admit that finding the great piece below by Colonel Ed Kennedy made doing this easy. It is short and sweet, and covers the early history up through 1958 when the final act giving Confederates legal equality with Union veterans was passed.
Those of you who have Confederate ancestry, whether you are male of female, are eligible to be members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And of course a few folks might be eligible for both. I have been waiting for that gender lawsuit to happen, but the lawyers seem to have missed that one.
Ancestor denial had been epidemic in America but fortunately the Internet has made what was once a grueling process much easier.  SCV members are now doing DNA work to hook up with lost relatives, while others are finding fellow SCV men whose ancestors fought in the same unit as their Confederate ancestors. I am sure they are proud of the effort.
The process of discovering ourselves can be a rewarding one…most of the time. Professor Henry ‘Skip’ Gates of Harvard discovered that he was majority white, and seems to have adpated well. We met while shooting a segment for his PBS documentary ‘Looking for Lincoln’ and had a very interesting day.
The producers discovered in their research that the Sons of Confederate Veterans had never been formally included in any of the past productions on Lincoln and called us to inquire as to why. And of course the answer was that our perspective would refute the politically correct one, and so the sponsors preferred to leave us out.  Bottom line it was a question of getting funding, or not getting it.

This PBS production crew was different. The director was a gracious Belgian lady. She was real, a total professional, and looking for new material. PBS and brother Gates were our guests at the SCV annual Reunion in Concord, NC. It was, shall I say, a first time for everybody.
Prof. Gates left a different man after watching the the descendants of a black Confederate honored with a special presentation and standing ovation.  He had never heard the real story of these men  and thought they were a myth. His comment when leaving at the end of the day?… “Fellas, I was lied to?”
Enjoy this first Confederate Memorial Month cannon shot. More are on the way.

Jim Dean,  Heritage TV- Atlanta…Veterans Today


Sunday, December 15, 2013

UDC In Georgia Induct Black Member

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 11:22 PM

United Daughters of Confederacy make history with induction

912-652-0314 katie.maritn@savannahnow.com

Katie Martin/Savannah Morning News
Georgia Benton, left, is inducted Saturday into the United Daughters of the Confederacy Savannah Chapter 2 by president Elizabeth Piechocinski.
The weather may have been gloomy in Savannah Saturday, but Georgia Benton was all smiles as she was inducted into the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Not only is Benton the first African-American member in the Savannah Chapter, but she’s also the first in the state of Georgia.
“A lot of people when they hear the word ‘confederate’ they run,” said Savannah Chapter 2 president, Elizabeth Piechocinski. “But what they don’t realize is that there were a large number of African-Americans who served in the confederacy. Some were musicians or body servants, but some also fought.”

Benton’s great-grandfather, George W. Washington, a slave in Sumter County, South Carolina, went off to war as the body servant of his master, Lt. Alex McQueen. The pair served in numerous battles together, most notably the Battle of Sharpsburg and the Battle of Gettysburg. Benton said that through the years her grandmother had passed down stories of Washington and his service during the war, so she already had a lot of the documents and information she needed to get started with the process of joining the organization.

“I thought, ‘wait a minute, I deserve the same right to be a part of a group who are honoring their forefathers,’” said Benton. “Very little is known about black confederate soldiers, so if I can be a starting point in letting the world know the history and making them aware that African-Americans have fought in every war in history, then I’m proud to stand up for my great-grandfather. I’m honored because he helped form the United States of America, he was a part of that movement and not too many people are aware of that. I’m standing here with honor and pride.”

Benton said it took her about two months to compile the documents needed to trace her family lineage and because there aren’t a lot of enlistment records for African-American confederate soldiers it did take patience and a lot of digging, but Benton believes that she can help enhance the organization with her knowledge of African-American soldiers’ roles in the Civil War.

“My son tells me I’m a trailblazer, because I was also involved in the community Civil Rights movement in Port Wentworth. So, trailblazing, making a difference, I guess it’s in my blood. It’s just something that you do,” Benton said.


Ignorant PC Crowd Attacks Nathan Bedfore Forrest High School Name in Florida

As Students Discuss Name Change, Confederate Flags Wave Outside Forrest High

While a special student assembly about changing the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School was going on in the auditorium Wednesday morning, demonstrators with confederate flags were gathered on the sidewalk outside.
H.K. Edgerton with other demonstrators outside Nathan Bedford Forrest High School.

The Duval County school is named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general, a slave owner and a slave trader with ties to the early Ku Klux Klan.
Darrell Walker, 57, sits on his Harley outside Nathan Bedford Forrest High School.

57-year-old Darrell Walker flies a large confederate flag from the back of his black Harley Davidson motorcycle. He graduated from Forrest in 1974 and he wants the name left alone.

“For me it’s about the flag. I love this place. You know, there’s a lot of people’s hearts with this school. It ain’t just a rag tag bunch of folks. I mean, that’s the bottom line. It ain’t about hate, it’s about heritage," he said.

Demonstrating alongside Walker Wednesday morning was 65-year-old H.K. Edgerton.
Edgerton appeared to be wearing a confederate soldier’s uniform; a large confederate flag on his left shoulder.

He says he’s from Asheville, North Carolina where once served as the head of the local NAACP.
According to Edgerton, General Forrest wasn’t the monster people make him out to be.
“If I don’t come here and these babies don’t see me, they gonna believe nobody black want to stand up for Nathan Bedford Forrest," he said. "I can tell you there are a lot of folks across the country who are very glad that somebody who looks like me will stand up for his homeland and stand up for someone named Nathan Bedford Forrest in the southland of America.”

The Duval County school board will hold a special meeting next Monday night to vote on whether to keep the name.

The campaign to change the school’s name kicked into high gear this summer when an online petition drive got more than 160,000 signatures.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackon Stained Glass Windows Questioned

    Why are Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson honored at Washington National Cathedral?

Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post - The National Cathedral is beautifully illuminated by the setting sun.
By , Published: December 10

On Wednesday, mourners will gather at Washington National Cathedral to celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela, a man who fought for racial equality. I’m guessing most of them will have no idea they’re sitting in a place that has shrines to two people who fought against it.
I certainly know I was surprised when I learned recently that two memorial niches — complete with stained-glass windows and laudatory inscriptions — honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
  • (John Kelly/ The Washington Post ) - A detail of the stained-glass window honoring Stonewall Jackson. It depicts him reading the Bible under the Confederate battle flag.
  • (John Kelly/ The Washington Post ) - A detail of a stained-glass window in the National Cathedral honoring Robert E. Lee in Washington. It depicts Lee's early army career as an engineer and features the Confederate battle flag. It's part of commemorative niche to the Confederate officer. Nearby is one to Stonewall Jackson.
(John Kelly/ The Washington Post ) - A detail of the stained-glass window honoring Stonewall Jackson. It depicts him reading the Bible under the Confederate battle flag.
Jackson is described as walking “humbly before his Creator, whose word was his guide.” Lee is described as a “servant of God, leader of men, general-in-chief of the armies of the Confederate States whose compelling sense of duty, serene faith and unfailing courtesy mark him for all ages as a Christian soldier without fear and without reproach.”

Above each inscription are stained-glass windows depicting events from the mens’ lives. They even feature the Confederate flag.

Absent from the hagiography is any suggestion that the cause Lee and Jackson fought for was in any way controversial, or that the presence of the niches is inappropriate for a cathedral, especially a cathedral in the capital of the union the generals tried to destroy.

“The contradiction in terms is what attracted me to this topic,” said Evie Terrono, a Randolph-Macon College art history professor who has studied the history of the niches and other Civil War memorials.

A cathedral monument to Jackson and Lee was first proposed in 1931 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that had been active in putting a decidedly Southern spin on the Civil War. While it was never able to erect a “faithful slave mammies” memorial in Washington, the UDC was successful in dedicating what’s known as the “faithful slave” memorial in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
The Lee and Jackson niches were finally dedicated in 1953, long after the Civil War was over and long after an interesting thing had happened: Americans had almost stopped thinking of Lee and Jackson as Southerners. “In many ways they were absolved of sectional politics and ensconced into the landscape of the American political experience,” Terrono said.

They also became wrapped in a spiritual mantle. “Particularly after Lee’s death there emerges a kind of canonization,” Terrono said. “They become saintly figures. . . . That’s the context within which one has to consider these commemorative structures.”

The generals are honored in the cathedral not because they were soldiers, but because they were Christian soldiers. (This perhaps illustrates the limits of Christianity — or, I suppose, of any religion.)

The irony is that despite holding the remains of one of the country’s most racist presidents — Woodrow Wilson — the cathedral was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Clergy members supported integration. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon at the cathedral just four days before his death.

And yet, there are the odes to Jackson and Lee, slave owners whose cause included keeping blacks in chains. “To have them enshrined in this national place of reflection can be really disconcerting,” said Chris Mackowski, a St. Bonaventure University journalism professor and author who has written about the niches on the Emerging Civil War blog. “It’s easy for people to pass judgment on history,” Mackowski said. “I don’t think that’s particularly constructive. I don’t think it’s fair to the people back then, and I don’t think it’s useful to us now.”

Rather, Mackowski said, the niches should force us to ask questions: What was the context in which they were created? How is that different from today?

Cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg said he’s not aware of any criticism of the niches. He said: “In its iconography, the cathedral depicts not only religious history — the story of Christianity — but also tells the story of American history. The Civil War is part of American history. American history includes good and bad things.”

Weinberg pointed out that not too far away from Lee and Jackson is a bay dedicated to Abraham Lincoln.  Of course, Lincoln was on the right side, the winning side.

I don’t think the stained-glass windows should be pried from their frames, but I’m not comfortable with the unquestioning context in which they’re presented. How about adding some sort of sign that explains the windows’ history and that acknowledges the overwhelming oddness of treating these two flawed men like saints?


Jefferson Davis Park In Georgia To Remain Open

Supporters save park that celebrates Civil War history

Posted: Dec 10, 2013 11:01 PM CST Updated: Dec 10, 2013 11:01 PM CST
  • IRWINVILLE, GA (WALB) -            
Supporters of a south Georgia state park that commemorates an event in Civil War history save the park.

Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site was in danger of closing. It's built on the site in Irwin County where Union troops captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The state stopped funding the park, and the county doesn't have the money to keep it open. Supporters donated money, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans pledged up to $25,000 dollars a year to keep it open.

Supporters met with Irwin County Commissioners at the park Tuesday night. Commission Chairman Joey Whitley said, "The park had been losing money. The expenditures were more than the income, and tonight people stepped up to the plate, and they're gonna offset the losses, so we're good to go."
Supporters plan to re-activate a Friends of the Park group, and they hope to get a state grant to help pay for repairs.

State Rep. Jay Roberts also plans to ask the General Assembly to hand over the deed to the park to the county.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Olustee Descendant Opposes New Union Monument

Olustee Descendant: Let their spirits rest. No new monuments

Photo: Olustee Monument, Nansea Markham Miller
Dear Friends,
I would ask you to please consider the Olustee "Park" Battle Site a place of mourning for those of us who are family members of soldiers who sacrificed all in that field. It is hallowed ground. It should be respected as such. It is not an ordinary park. It needs to be left alone out of respect for the dead.

I am a seventh generation Floridian, a direct descendant of Florida Pioneers (Markham, Weeks, Roberts, Osteen, Underwood).  I am also the proud descendant of a brave soldier who was a casualty of the Battle at Olustee, defending Florida.  He is my ancestor, his blood runs through my veins, and his blood is literally in that ground, on that battlefield. To disturb that ground unnecessarily desecrates that ground, and disrespects my veteran ancestor's honorable service and sacrifice.
There already exists a monument recognizing the Union dead and the Confederates, equally.  It is enough.  Please.

Confederate Veterans were made American Veterans by an Act of Congress.  The monument that is there lists "Confederate" and "Union" forces.  All American veterans.

This second monument to be erected to the Union dead only is divisive, it is huge, modern, disrespectful, out of place.  It looks like something out of a alien movie.  The monument that is there is large but respectful, and it covers all men in the battle, it is reverent, unifying, beautiful, so appropriate.

Perhaps I have a unique perspective, I am a descendant and a chaplain.  Men died on that field, brave men, honorable men.  Those veterans deserve a quiet rest now.  Peace.

As strongly as I can, I object to this union monument.  It disturbs the ground where American Veterans sacrificed their lives doing their duty, and they deserve the field where they fell, to be quiet now.

Nansea Markham Miller
7th generation Floridian Florida Pioneer
Descendant of a Veteran of Olustee


Public Opposes Union Monument at Olustee

Civil War passions still run deep as Union supporters propose monument on Confederate site

The state parks system is on the hot seat and a House leader is calling for action over a proposed monument to Union soldiers at the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida.

The bid to add a Union monument to the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park near Lake City has drawn a furious response, with about 100 people attending a Monday night public hearing at the Columbia County School District Auditorium. Representatives of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the state parks, moderated the hearing.

Passions ran high, at one point erupting in a spontaneous chorus of "Dixie" led by a black man, H.K. Edgerton, who called Union soldiers rapists and wielded his large Confederate flag like a conductor's baton as the audience sang.

Speakers blasted the proposal as disturbing hallowed ground in a rural community where most families stay for generations.

"Putting a Union monument at Olustee would be like placing a memorial to Jane Fonda at the entrance to the Vietnam memorial," said Leon Duke, a wounded veteran.

"Men died there. Let their spirits rest in peace," said Nansea Marham Miller, who is descended from a Confederate soldier who died at Olustee. "Let my grandfather rest in peace."

The park is in the Osceola National Forest, 50 miles west of Jacksonville and 15 miles east of Lake City. It was the site of a four-hour battle on Feb. 20, 1864, in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops.

In 1909, the Florida Legislature acquired three acres there to build a memorial. In 1912, Olustee became the first state park in Florida, and each February, a re-enactment of the battle is staged there. There was heavy debate during Monday's meeting about whether the already-existing memorial is a Confederate memorial or is broader in scope.

Last February, DEP received a proposal from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to add a memorial specifically for Union officers and soldiers. The agency vetted the proposal and scheduled Monday's public hearing to discuss possible locations at the park for the memorial.

But the discussion never got that far.

Many of the speakers identified themselves as descendants of soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of Olustee. Many said they participated regularly in Civil War re-enactments. Many began their speeches by stating how many generations of their families had lived in Florida.

Jeff Grzelak of Orlando, a Civil War historian whose business card depicts him in a Union uniform, said a Union marker had been placed in the cemetery at Olustee 23 years before.

Mike Farrell, a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, is also descended from a soldier who died at Olustee. Farrell said he's been a historical exhibitor at the park for years and proposed the new memorial as a result.

"I always have the visiting public approach me and ask me where the Union monument is on the battlefield, and I often tell them, 'There isn't any.' I'm not talking about what Jeff was talking about, which was a cemetery marker to the dead. What I'm talking about is a battlefield monument," Farrell said.

That prompted disagreement from audience members, and moderator Lew Scruggs, DEP's chief of park planning, called for them to let Farrell finish.

Many speakers said the land on which the current memorial is placed was originally secured by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which generated donations to match the state's contribution. The United Daughters of the Confederacy also administered the site until 1949, when the state took over.

Jamie Likins, president general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and a fifth-generation Floridian, noted that the idea for the monument had come from a member of her group whose husband had fought at Olustee.

"The Olustee monument is to the Battle of Olustee and honors all, both, Confederate and Union soldiers," Likins said.

Agreed Susan McKinney, also a member of group: "Either abide by the agreement or give the land back!"

House Judiciary Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said he was concerned that no elected body had reviewed the proposal.

"There is a sacred trust that's being violated when you go in and change an historic site from the way it was commemorated by those who established (it)," Baxley said.

He suggested getting the matter "off the table" by means of a bill that he would sponsor. "I can do a very simple proposal to the Legislature that we protect all monument sites," Baxley said to cheers and applause.

But Rep. Elizabeth Porter, a Lake City Republican, said she had spoken with DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and that the public hearing --- by getting local reaction onto the record --- would help resolve the dispute.

She also disagreed with Baxley's suggestion of a legislative remedy.

"If I agreed with that, I would have asked for it to go through the Legislature," Porter said. "I wouldn't have asked Secretary Vinyard, 'Could we have a local meeting with local people and stakeholders who have a real say in what goes on here?' "

"And let's face it," she continued, "Does anyone here think the Legislature always has the right answer? I'm in it, and I don't."

DEP officials also came in for some criticism for having allowed the proposal to come as a surprise to the locals, but Porter said they were just doing their jobs.

David McAllister of Tampa, however, wasn't reassured. He said his great-grandfather had donated four acres in Wakulla County to commemorate the Battle of Natural Bridge, and he was worried that that site would also be tampered with.

"Is Natural Bridge next?" he demanded.

Other suggestions included incorporating the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War as donors and collaborators in a battlefield museum, with an exhibit of their own.

The hearing lasted nearly three hours, and after everyone had spoken, DEP's Scruggs said he would take all their comments back to his superiors.

"We have not reached any sort of decision," he told the audience. "I don't believe there's a rush to judgment here."

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/12/civil-war-passions-still-run-deep-as-union-supporters-propose-monument-on-confederate-site.html#storylink=cpy