Monday, August 31, 2009

Confederate Flag Database

Confederate Flag database available online

Published: August 29, 2009

The Museum of the Confederacy's entire collection of 685 flags is available for the first time in a searchable database.

The non-profit Richmond museum says the collection can be found on the flag page of the museum's Web site at

Each entry includes a flag's identification, history and measurements. Color photos are available for most of the flags.

The collection is housed in a 1,300-square foot facility.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Battles in the West

Western front Civil War battles often overlooked
Published: June 30
By Derek Spellman

Scholars and historians say the Civil War on the Kansas-Missouri border, and the Civil War in the Ozarks, has been overlooked by outsiders and overshadowed by larger engagements in the East.

Yet they say this region was a unique crucible of conflict both before and during the Civil War.

Before the war, abolitionists and pro-slavery elements fought in Kansas and western Missouri.

“We are very rich in Civil War history,” said Connie Langum, a historian at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield at Republic.


Including skirmishes, Missouri was host to 1,200 engagements during the Civil War — more than any other state except Virginia and Tennessee. Both sides sought the state in large part because of its central location and waterways.

At Newtonia, battles were fought in September 1862 and October 1864. American Indians fought on both sides during the first battle, according to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission.

A group of lawmakers sympathetic to the Confederacy even met in October 1861 in Neosho and voted for Missouri to secede, although the vote carried no legal weight.

The most significant battlefield in Southwest Missouri is Wilson’s Creek, where Union and Confederate forces squared off in August 1861. That battle saw about 2,330 casualties between both sides, including the death of Union Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, and was the first large battle west of the Mississippi River, according to the National Park Service.

Langum, the Wilson’s Creek historian, said Missouri saw something of its own conflict inside the larger Civil War. Guerrillas were “stirring up trouble throughout the war in this area” in actions that often were deadly, she said.

Neighbor did fight neighbor, she said, and brother did fight brother.
“It’s very personal here,” she said.


Wilson’s Creek is part of a triad of significant battles fought within the Ozarks.

The others are Pea Ridge — considered the battle that kept Missouri out of Confederate hands — and Prairie Grove. The Battle of Pea Ridge was fought in early March 1862, while Prairie Grove fighting took place in December 1862. Arkansas was a Confederate state.

Pea Ridge, in Benton County just south of the Missouri state line, saw thousands of casualties, mostly Confederate, and today the site is as close to its appearance in 1862 as any Civil War battlefield.

“I would venture to say that Pea Ridge is probably one of the best preserved battlefields left in the United States today,” said John Scott, superintendent of the Pea Ridge National Military Park.


Kansas has several Civil War battlefield sites, including a cemetery in Baxter Springs where soldiers killed by Confederate guerrilla leader William Quantrill’s forces are buried.

The biggest battle in the state was fought in October 1864 along the banks of Mine Creek and featured one of the largest cavalry engagements of the war.

Fort Scott played its own role in the Civil War.

The Fort Scott National Historic Site consists of 20 structures, a parade ground and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie, according to the National Park Service.

Kelley Collins, the chief ranger at the site, said a number of people fleeing the fighting in places in Arkansas, for example, stopped at Fort Scott while en route to Fort Leavenworth or other places. Some stayed in Fort Scott.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Florida Confederate Site Saved

Saving a Floridian Civil War site
By RON WORD The Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CAMP MILTON - History and nature have combined in a little-known park which was once the major Confederate military base in north Florida near the end of the Civil War.

Children walk on a pathway through the woods at Camp Milton. In 1864, Camp Milton was a key Confederate installation aimed at blocking Union advances toward Baldwin, a supply center and rail head. Florida was a big supplier of cattle, salt and other goods to the Confederate army.

Although no major battles were fought on the grounds, Camp Milton served as a base for skirmishes between the 8,000 Confederate troops and 12,000 Union soldiers in Jacksonville, about a dozen miles to the east.

Soldiers and slaves had built massive wooden defenses.

Less than a decade ago, this 124-acre park on the far western edge of Jacksonville was destined to become a sludge dump, until city and state agencies stepped forward to purchase the land.

Now the park is home to towering pines, magnolias, saw palmettos and blackberries, plus foxes, bobcats, snakes, deer, armadillos, opossums and red-shouldered hawks.

Youngsters skipping down a boardwalk into the woods on a recent summer day to see the remains of earthworks built in 1864 were thrilled when they saw a small snake slithering up a tree.

Period re-enactors dressed in long, flowing dresses taught the children about life in Jacksonville in 1864, describing laundry, basket-weaving, spinning and toys. Some 1,750 children have visited the preserve this summer.

Dressed as a Union soldier in military wool from his underwear to his outer blouse, Michael Meek, 24, described the life of a soldier in the waning days of the Civil War near Jacksonville. Meek described his muzzle-loading rifle, complete with bayonet, to the children while they peppered him with questions.

"It's an honor to talk to the little kids about their history," said Meek, who has learned that he is descended from a Union soldier who spent time at Camp Milton.

Although Milton was built as a Confederate camp, Union forces from Jacksonville invaded and then abandoned Camp Milton four times before it closed in July 1864.

The camp was named for Florida's Civil War Gov. John Milton, who committed suicide on April 1, 1865, when he realized the South had lost the war.

Designed by Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, a specialist in defensive fortifications, the earthworks at Camp Milton were built of wood instead of coquina rock or brick.

"These things were very tough to build. You can imagine what these guys went through, the humidity and the heat," said Fred Singletary, an amateur historian and historical re-enactor.

The park is a mostly undiscovered jewel. There are no signs directing visitors from nearby Interstate 10 and it is not advertised in city tourism brochures.

Each year in February, the park holds a re-enactment of the events leading up to the Battle of Olustee with soldiers and women dressed in period garments.

The fact that the Camp Milton Historical Preserve exists is a testament to the work of amateur historians and sympathetic city and state lawmakers.

Their dreams came to fruition in September 2006, when Camp Milton opened to the public.

But there are other Civil War locations across the South, including some in north Florida, which are being lost to development.

"We believe that the ultimate fate of nearly all Civil War battlefield land will be decided in the next decade," said Jim Campi, a spokesman for the Civil War Preservation Trust.

Camp Milton was saved using a combination of about $1.7 million in city and state matching grants to purchase land and fund amenities.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Franklin Battle Sites Merge Operations

Historic Franklin battle sites to merge operations

By Kevin Walters
August 23, 2009

FRANKLIN — Franklin's two best-known house museums share a common history in the Battle of Franklin.

Now, Carnton Plantation and the Carter House will share one group to oversee both their operations and their budgets.

Named the Battle of Franklin Trust, the new board is comprised of members from each nonprofit's separate boards who will have authority over both sites' operations and budgets. That totals about $800,000.

Marianne Schroer, president of Carnton's board, said the new arrangement should improve visits for tourists, streamline operations and add muscle to both groups' future fund-raising, including an interpretive center planned near the Carter House.

"We would like to work together so that when a tourist comes to Franklin they see both sites and they have a total experience," Schroer said. "They'll spend five days here, instead of one afternoon."

During the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, the Carter House was the scene of some of the day's most horrific fighting as Union and Confederate forces fought on Columbia Avenue.

After the fighting, Carnton Plantation was used as a field hospital for the wounded. A Confederate cemetery is adjacent to the plantation.

Transitions continue
The creation of the new board continues transitions begun at each site last year.

Last summer, Williamson County tourism officials asked Asheville, N.C.-based consulting firm Magellan Strategy Group to meet with both sites' boards. From that work, the idea to start a new, separate board sprang.

The Battle of Franklin Trust is an 11-member board comprised of five members from each group, with an 11th member selected by the board.

Meantime, both sites' longtime executive directors resigned separately; no new permanent executive directors have been chosen to lead them.

The new trust will next conduct a national search to pick one new executive director to oversee both museums' operations.

"It will take as long as it needs to take," said J.T. Thompson, a trust board member who also owns the Lotz House Museum across Columbia Avenue from Carter House. "In a perfect world, I would like to see someone in place by Jan. 1."

For the time being, historian and Carnton staffer Eric Jacobson will serve as the plantation's new interim director after former Carnton interim executive director Margie Thessin stepped down last week to pursue other interests.

"I think she's done a fabulous job," Jacobson said. "The board asked me to do it through this transition."

David Fraley has been the Carter House's interim executive director since last summer after Thomas Cartwright resigned as executive director.

Early opinions about the changes have been positive so far.

"I think it is a wonderful thing for both sites," Jacobson said. "I think it's a wonderful thing for the story. I think it offers much more consistency."

Jim Vaillancourt, senior consultant for the Center for Nonprofit Management, said consolidating the operations gives more traction for long-term projects such as the Carter House's proposed $4.5 million interpretative center.

Vaillancourt worked with the museums' boards to finalize the new arrangement.

"It's more likely that the two boards working together will raise the capital rather than on their own," Vaillancourt said.

The center has a $1.2 million state grant for the project.

Opponents of Walmart Fight to Save Wildneress Battlefield


Preservation groups vow to continue fight against Wilderness Walmart despite Orange supervisors' decision

Date published: 8/26/2009


Preservationists are dismayed by Orange County's approval of the Wilderness Walmart retail center, but aren't conceding defeat.

A national coalition of heritage groups will continue appealing to the retail giant to find an Orange site for its Supercenter that's farther from the Wilderness battlefield. The store site is a quarter-mile from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

"The ball is now in Walmart's court," James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, said yesterday. "Walmart better understands the nationwide anger generated by its proposal to build on the doorstep of a national park.

"It is in the corporation's best interests to work with the preservation community to find an alternative site. We are optimistic that company officials will see the wisdom of moving elsewhere."

But Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris ruled that out.

"It's clear that the public has spoken and there is considerable support for the store at the site," he said. "We would like to continue our open dialogue with these groups, but they appear to have other motives."

Calling the Walmart plan "misguided," Lighthizer said the trust and the other members of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition will weigh all options for continuing their campaign.

"This battle is not over yet," he said.

The coalition was joined in its opposition to the Walmart by 253 of the nation's top historians, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford, Congressmen Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Peter Welch, D-Vt., the Vermont Legislature, Pulitzer prize-winning authors David McCullough and James McPherson, and TV documentarian Ken Burns.

Asked yesterday whether legal action is now likely, coalition leaders declined to speculate.

But the coalition will be "keeping up the drumbeat of opposition" to the project, said Jim Campi, the Civil War Preservation Trust's director of public policy. He noted that in battlefield controversies elsewhere, preservationists have proven to be tenacious.

"At Brandy Station in Culpeper County, we lost every zoning vote against an industrial park and a Formula One racetrack," Campi said. "But ultimately, we prevailed, and that battlefield is preserved. We're in this for the long haul."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Walmart to Build Near the Wilderness

Officials OK Walmart near VA Battlefield

Walmart near Civil War's Wilderness Battlefield wins final approval in central Virginia

By Steve Szkotak, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday August 25

ORANGE, Va. (AP) -- Officials in central Virginia approved a Walmart Supercenter early Tuesday near one of the nation's most important Civil War battlefields, a proposal that had stirred opposition by preservationists and hundreds of historians.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to grant the special permit to the world's biggest retailer after a majority of more than 100 speakers said they favored bringing the Walmart to Locust Grove, within a cannonball's shot from the Wilderness Battlefield.

Historians and Civil War buffs are fearful the Walmart store will draw traffic and more commerce to an area within the historic boundaries of the Wilderness, where generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first met in battle 145 years ago and where 145,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought and more than 29,000 were killed or injured. One-fourth of the Wilderness is protected.

But they could not sway supervisors, who said they didn't see the threat.

"I cannot see how there will be any visual impact to the Wilderness Battlefield," Supervisor Chairman Lee Frame said, casting a vote for the special use permit the retailer needs to build. "I think the current proposal ... is the best way to protect the battlefield."

The retailer said construction could begin in a year.

Nearly 400 people crowded into Orange County High School to attend the board's hearing. Some came dressed in period costume, including a dead ringer for Lee.

Many residents cited three reasons for supporting the Walmart proposal: jobs, tax revenue and a cheap shopping option for the 32,000 residents of this farming community about 60 miles southwest of Washington.

"I know we've been referred to as ignorant shoppers," said Barbara Wigger. "I feel bad about that but I'll live with it. Let us have our Walmart and let us stop the battle."

Speakers who urged the board to reject the special permit said they were not anti-Walmart, but simply worried about the sanctity of the battlefield.

"This is a major battlefield," said Charles Seilheimer Jr. "It may not be Gettysburg but it's pretty close. The Civil War experts say this is part of the battlefield. I believe them."

In a state with more key Civil War battlefields than any other, the company's plan to build near the Wilderness had mobilized historians, preservationists and politicians.

Opponents included 253 historians such as David McCullough and James M. McPherson, filmmaker Ken Burns, actor Robert Duvall, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, and congressmen from Vermont and Texas, states that lost many men at the Wilderness.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has 8,000 stores worldwide and adds about 240 each year, countered that the site is zoned for commercial use and the store will not be within sight of the battlefield's 2,700 protected acres. The retailer has also said the store will create hundreds of jobs and generate $800,000 in tax revenue for Orange County.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sesquicentennial in South Carolina

Battle joined for tourist $$
Weak economy makes it tough for state to get ready
By Brian Hicks
The Post and Courier
Monday, August 24, 2009

Every day, Charleston honors, idealizes and trades on its key role in what many locals refer to as The War.

Not only are old times here not forgotten -- they're profitable.

But now, as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches, just about every state in the old Confederacy is trying to horn in on what is one of South Carolina's biggest tourism draws.

Georgia plans to spend $5 million refurbishing its battlefields and historic sites. Virginia has put $4 million into its sesquicentennial tourism campaign. Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and even Maryland have started heritage events.

In South Carolina, more than a dozen public agencies and private boards and groups are working on plans for five years' worth of events to mark everything from the state's secession to the firing on Fort Sumter and the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Charleston. The state has set up a War Between the States Heritage Trust Commission, but it has not yet met.

So far, South Carolina has put no money into any of these efforts.

"I hope we don't let other states surpass us," said Randy Burbage, South Carolina division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "It could be a huge economic success, if we do it right."

State officials say it's still early and money could materialize, but it's a tough sell in a world of budget cuts, layoffs and record-high unemployment.

For now, local groups are handling most of the planning. The Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust is coordinating local events for the sesquicentennial. Right now, there are plans for a December 2010 event at The Citadel which will recall the state's secession with lectures from leading war scholars.

Like most states, South Carolina's plans are meant to be inclusive and touch every demographic. There are plans for exhibits on the role of women in the war, the plight of African-Americans and the ways that the war manifested itself in art and music.

"This is a commemoration, not a celebration," said Robert Rosen, a local attorney and president of The Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust. "We need to remember it in ways that are positive for all parts of the community."

Charleston is a natural focal point for the war's anniversary. South Carolina seceded from the Union in December 1860 in a meeting that took place in the city. Shots were fired on the Star of the West steamship by Citadel cadets in January 1861, and the war began with the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861. Charleston fell and Columbia was burned in the early months of 1865, just before the war ended that April.

Already, a good number of the tourists who visit Charleston come for that history. At the Confederate Museum in the Market, director June Murray Wells says there has been a steady increase in visitors over the past few years. They flock to the museum, where they can find some of the most amazing artifacts of the war in this city: the first Confederate flag to fly over Fort Sumter, the first rifled cannon made in the south, a lock of Robert E. Lee's hair.

"I think we are having more people now than ever before," Wells said. "I don't think the sesquicentennial will have very much effect."

The museum will offer special exhibits during the five years of the anniversary, but is not coordinating with other groups. Many other agencies also are acting solo but expect the state commission to put them under one umbrella to better market the state. Most events are still in the planning stage; specific dates are not set. State officials note that South Carolina is a year away from the budget that would include money for tourism campaigns.

"People are just beginning to wake up to the fact that it's a year away," said Marion Edmonds, communications director for the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

State Sen. Glenn McConnell, president pro tem of the Senate and chairman of the state Hunley Commission, said South Carolina's budget has been too tight of late to include any money for a marketing campaign. But there may be ways to benefit the state's commemoration in the coming legislative session. Perhaps, he said, the Legislature could direct some of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism marketing budget toward anniversary events.

"The only way to make a case for that is to show that it's advantageous for the state," McConnell said. "Put aside historical arguments, we have an opportunity to out-perform other states for a great many tourism dollars. Interest is going to be very high for five years, and we've got to look for ways to leverage that for economic development."

In the meantime, Rosen said the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust will ask Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant for some accommodations tax money to help pay for some events.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans plans to contribute to the state's efforts of their own accord. Right now the group is working on a brochure that will direct folks to significant historical sites in each South Carolina county. The group will also sponsor its own seminar in January 2011 on the legalities of secession and plans to release information on where each of the 170 signers of the Ordinance of Secession are buried.

The group also will coordinate re-enactors who will camp at Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter in the days leading up to the firing on the fort, but members aren't sure they will be able to pull off a re-enactment of the actual bombardment.

But Burbage says once again, South Carolina will be home to a shot heard 'round the world.

"It's such a part of our history," he says, "We can't let it pass by."

Friday, August 21, 2009

SCV Refurbishes Cemetery in Mississippi

Published: August 09, 2009

SCV chapter builds up Confederate cemetery

By Steve Gillespie / managing editor

The Marion CSA Cemetery has been refurbished by the Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp 1649 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Of the 170 Civil War soldiers buried there, all unknown originally, 47 of them have been identified with help from the Lauderdale County Archives Department.

Although it's not known which soldier is in what grave, most of them died at the Confederate Army Field Hospital that was located at what was known as Marion Junction during the war.

Confederates identified as buried in the cemetery are from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

George M. Church, a charter member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, organized the group in 1994 and served as its first commander. He is the cemetery coordinator.

He said the soldiers laid to rest in the cemetery were in battles from Shiloh to Vicksburg, and buried from 1862-1864.

Symbolism can be found throughout the cemetery, from the number of bricks in the walls and columns to the number of posts in the rails of the fencing there.

"The wall is seven bricks high to represent the original seven states of the Confederacy," Church said. "And there are six more bricks where the arch is for the states that joined after Fort Sumter."

Other symbolism represents various elements of the U.S. Constitution and the Bible. Church said the four battle flags stand for the four gospels.

United States flags, Mississippi state flags and Confederate battle flags all wave in the cemetery.

"The distance between the columns of the memorial arch is 20 feet — Mississippi was the 20th state to join the Union," Church said. "The flag staffs used at the arch are 12 feet long — the 12 disciples of Christ." He added that all other flag staffs at the cemetery are 10 feet long, symbolizing the 10 commandments.

About $60,000 was spent on the restoration of the cemetery, which is located at the corner of Confederate Drive and Forrest Street and now is accessible with handicapped ramps.

The wall around part of the cemetery is 470 feet long and was built with old Virginian brick and lined with 34 watermelon red crape myrtle shrubs. The headstones were all reset and large marble inscriptions were included in the cemetery between the archway and the headstones.

One of the inscriptions reads: "Rest in peace brave warriors in the fullness of time you will receive a just verdict for the action you took in that great and noble "cause" your glory and honor shall never fade and our grief will never disappear, we shall preserve your memory and protect your honor. Let all remember that the South is different and so shall it always be. Long live our Southland."

The Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest 1649 Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans meets the third Tuesday of each month at Western Sizzlin' restaurant in Meridian. Church said it was the largest camp chartered in the organization with 122 members. Ben Gaddis is the group's new incoming commander.

A memorial service is held on the first Sunday in April each year, unless that happens to fall on Easter Sunday, then it is moved to the second Sunday of the month.

Church's grandfather, Jesse Shumate Smith, served in the Confederate Army. Originally he was from Leake County and is buried in Neshoba County. He served in the 33rd Mississippi Infantry, Company H, and was wounded in the battle of Atlanta.

Family Finds Its History in Resaca

Search for family history leads to Confederate cemetery in Resaca, Ga.
Special to The Times Wade Byars

Sunday, August 9, 2009

RESACA, Ga. — "Resaca, eh? Well, you're about a holler from there!" The man sitting in the lawn chair grinned. "But don't blink your eyes or you'll miss it," advised another as he whittled away at the stick in his hands. The pleasant scene was just beyond the square in Calhoun, Ga., at a cave-cool hardware store, the only place open on a warm July Saturday afternoon."Whatcha lookin' for? The cemetery or the battleground?""Both!" Wade, my husband, answered. And directions were clearly and quickly given.

We were meandering, searching for an obscure Civil War battleground that turned out to be not as obscure as we thought. The Battle of Resaca was a late-in-the-war delaying tactic by the Confederate Army to impede Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea. The march began for Wade and me in Vicksburg, Miss., and never reached the sea, because we found a common ancestor story.My grandfather, Barney Goodson, used to tell about his mother, Mary Keith's, adventure one day during the War Between the States. "She lived with her parents in Calhoun, Ga., walking distance from the little town of Resaca.

The Yankee soldiers had come down through Dalton and fought Gen. Johnston and his Rebel troops for three days at Resaca. Mary and her family heard the guns and the cannons from their house. Her mama wanted to get away from there, but Pa wouldn't let 'em leave. He wasn't going to let the Yankees run him off his property, you see. "Then, on the third day, the guns got real quiet. The trees and the ground that had shook with the battle got still, and you know how young people are, my ma just had to see what had been happening.

She slipped off from her house and began walking; when she got to Col. John Green's plantation, she stopped stock still. All over the ground were bodies of soldiers, blue and grey coats alike, white and still in the sun. She couldn't move; couldn't look away. All those bodies, and blood!" Here, Pa Pa Goodson's voice got cryptic."What was that white stuff scattered all over the ground, the bodies, in the blood? Scattered everywhere soaked in the darkening blood was ... hard tack that the soldiers carried to eat along their march; but to Mary it looked like soda crackers soaked in blood!"

She turned away from the battlefield and ran all the way home. She went back to help Miss Mary Green and her sister Pyatt Green gather the bodies of the hastily buried soldiers, identify the bodies as best they could and bury them in the cemetery Miss Mary's Daddy, Col. John Green, gave them the ground for.

My ma lived long after that day, but she never forgot that first look: blood and death and crackers. And ... " Papa always rolled his eyes toward the neat, clean kitchen, "she never ate another soda cracker as long as she lived." I grew up hearing that story, and, though I never let it keep me from eating crackers, I never forgot it, either. I told the story to Wade when he started reading the new Winston Groom book, "Vicksburg, 1863." Then he shared a Civil War story from his mother's side of the family, the Bradleys, that was part of his growing up years.

Millport farmer and great-grandpa Jeremiah Bradley hadjoined the 42nd Alabama Infantry when it formed in Columbus, Miss., and had fought in the battle of Vicksburg, been captured, sent to the Union prison in Demopolis, then "walked all the way home after he was released from prison." The 42nd went on to Alabama and Georgia, where they engaged the Union troops again at Resaca. Of the 440 graves in the cemetery, several inter-identified 42nd soldiers. Wouldn't it be ironic, we thought, if Jeremiah Bradley had somehow made it to Resaca? Then our two relatives would have been on the same ground on the same day all those years ago? The thought overwhelmed my romantic imagination. What if Jeremiah and Mary had been that close?We began to sleuth into the history of the 42nd Alabama.

According to the Internet, the prisoners from the Battle of Vicksburg were sent to Demopolis but were released after the Union troops left the area. They rejoined their regiment and went on to Alabama and Resaca, where they engaged the Union troops once again, creating delaying tactics to Sherman. The 42nd then followed Sherman on to the Carolinas, where they were when Lee surrendered, the war was over and each found his own way home. Jeremiah did walk all the way, but from Demopolis or South Carolina?

The coincidence was enough to send Wade and me to Resaca two weeks ago. Turn right at the yellow sign, go until the road runs into a pasture. Turn right again. Can't go any further either way; roads dead end. Right there's the Resaca Confederate Cemetery, first Confederate cemetery in Georgia. The cemetery is absolutely still, as it might have been that May 15 afternoon when Mary Keith came upon the bloody battlefield. Pine trees make a circle around the stone-fenced ground. The parking area is clean except for leaves and pine needles, and as we stopped before the tall, natural-stone entrance erected, according to a plaque set in the wall, by the Works Progress Administration, a soft, warm breeze caressed us.

From somewhere, the tinny sound of a recorded children's choir filled the air."Do you hear music?" Wade asked."Well, yeah, probably coming from that house over the hill." Wherever it came from, the sound was deliciously eerie and sadly appropriate. We walked through the geometrically placed stones that identified some of the soldiers and pronounced some "unknown." The 42nd Alabama section is to the left of the entrance and up a small incline. Fifty-nine 42nd's were killed or wounded at Resaca. J.M. Elliott, Co. B 42nd Alabama, is one of the identified soldiers; Elliott's daughters placed a marker on his gravesite; they were little girls and hardly knew their father when he left for the war. They were probably old women when the marker was placed.

I could almost see them as they saw the marker for the first time. William Stubbs' 42nd Alabama's father placed a marker on his son's grave, also probably many years after the battle. No need for words as we walked around the perimeter of the graves; I thought of the pretty Green sisters and their friends, maybe my great-grandmother, as they planned the cemetery and drew off the places for the markers — in perfect rows around the tall cross that marks the center of the site. A rickety wooden bridge spans a brook that begins somewhere to the right of the back wall and gurgles quickly on, eager to leave this haunting place. Naked tree roots well up from the ground like skeleton arms; hickory nuts that look like mini balls rest on the bare "swept" ground. A fine souvenir, but they lie, like the soldiers did, where they fell, waiting for someone to take them home.

No birds sing in the spiny trees; no squirrels scamper about laying by winter food; indeed, nothing alive wants to stay here for very long. These young men gave their lives for a "cause" that soon after their final battle was lost forever. The 42nd Alabama and the Keith family were not concerned with whether the United States was slave or free, states rights or government controlled. Like most Southerners, they were interested in living as independently as possible without interference from people far away — the old "taxation without representation" argument that had spurred 1776 Americans on to freedom.

As I turned away from the past and looked toward home, I was glad we came searching for yesterday, glad that we charted our relatives' journeys to the place where we are convinced two 19th-century people who never knew each other paved the way for two 21st-century people to search out a place in history that all four share, creating a sense of continuity, of history. As the sun moved shadows over the pine trees and into the crevices, I felt them. Gentle eyes watching from the shadows, urging me on. Go. They whisper. Go. Tell our story to your children. Let the cause of freedom never be lost; teach your children, so that we and thousands of others have not died in vain. Teach them love of country; love of comrades; love of history that spirals down into the years, repeating and repeating until men learn brotherhood, honor and patriotism.

Statue of Cleburne to be Dedicated in Georgia

For Immediate Release
Ringgold, GA. August 2009.

Ringgold Telephone Company and the City of Ringgold are proud to host the First Annual Ringgold Gap Civil War Festival, featuring the unveiling of a life-size bronze statue of Confederate General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne.

The events will be held in historic Ringgold, Georgia on Saturday, October 3rd. It was November 1863, Ringgold, GA. The Confederate Army was in retreat and pursued by Federal forces. Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was charged with the task of holding off the approaching Union troops, so the Confederates could safely withdraw. Cleburne sent his 4,100 men into Ringgold Gap to occupy the bluffs above the very narrow pass, unbeknownst to the approaching union troops. Hooker and his troops of 21,000 began their pass through the gap. After several assaults from Hooker’s men, Cleburne’s troops were able to hold the gap until all the Confederates had safely withdrawn.

For his service, the Confederate Congress voted a resolution of thanks. Now, with help from renowned sculptor Ron Tunison, and with financial support from Ringgold Telephone Company and the General Patrick Cleburne Society, the revered Civil War hero, General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, will again stand guard in Ringgold Gap.

The unveiling and dedication of the statue of Cleburne will be held Saturday, October 3, at 10:00 a.m. in Confederate Park, off Highway. 41, Ringgold, GA. Due to limited space, people wishing to attend the ceremony will be required to park on Robin Rd. Shuttles will be provided to the statue site.The Ringgold Gap Festival will be held in conjunction with the unveiling ceremony. Storytellers, historical lectures, sutlers, plays, an experience camp, and an appearance of the Hunley submarine replica, will all be included in the festivities.

The events, which will take place on Robin Rd., are free to the public. The festival grounds will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 3. To conclude the day’s events, a period ball will be held at 7:00 p.m. For information about activities, directions, festival maps and schedules, visit

Contact: Marcy Cirlot Ringgold Telephone Company (706) 965-1249

Unknown Soldier to be Re-Buried

Unknown Soldier Recovered from Franklin Battlefield

Mon Aug 17, 4:49 pm ET
Jay Sheridan

Aug. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A construction project in the area where the calamitous Battle of Franklin was fought on Nov. 30, 1864, has disturbed the resting place of an unknown soldier who was buried in a shallow grave 145 years ago during the tragic last days of the Civil War in Tennessee.

The City of Franklin's Battlefield Task Force, along with local historians and government officials, led the recovery of the soldier's remains and will direct a funeral ceremony to re-inter his body at the Historic Rest Haven Cemetery in downtown Franklin, where other brave veterans - both Union and Confederate - were laid to rest. It is not known for which army the unknown soldier fought.

A coffin containing his remains will lie in state at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 510 West Main Street in Franklin - the circa 1827 sanctuary which served as barracks for Federal troops during their occupation of the town in 1864 - from 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 until the funeral ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. One Union and one Confederate honor-guard sentry will be posted at the front doors of the church during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. visitation period each day, and prior to the ceremony on Saturday morning.

The soldier will receive full military honors from re-enactors representing brothers-in-arms from both the Union and the Confederacy. On Saturday morning, a Union and a Confederate Chaplain will conduct a brief funeral service in the church. Following the service, the casket will be borne from the church by uniformed pallbearers (Union and Confederate) and placed on a waiting, horse-drawn caisson in front of the church. Accompanied by a color guard, honor guard, and Civil War-era bagpiper, the caisson will move north on Main Street, crossing Fifth Avenue, circling the Square, proceeding north on Third Avenue, and then west on North Margin Street to the Rest Haven Cemetery gates.

As the procession leaves St. Paul's and continues up Main Street, townspeople and visitors are invited to fall in behind the ranks of the marching re-enactors. After arriving at Rest Haven Cemetery, a brief eulogy will be delivered by the chaplains, and will conclude with period-appropriate military honors including a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps" by a uniformed bugler.

A Monument to The Unknown Soldier who died on the Franklin Battlefield will be unveiled as part of the ceremony. Active participation in the ceremonies at Rest Haven and at St. Paul's will be restricted to uniformed re-enactors only, but the public is invited to view the ceremonies from designated areas.

Any re-enactment unit that wishes to participate is encouraged to contact Robert Huff at (615) 500-8211, or via email at
For information on Franklin and Williamson County, go to

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grave Adopted by Grade School Student

Youngster adopts Confederate Grave

About a year ago, Jackson Lee Sulcer (above), 7, came to the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg, VA, looking for a dirty grave. He happened on the grave site of Virginia soldier Samuel Davis, which appeared unkempt to the boy, so he decided to tidy it up.
"The [headstone] looked scraped and I was kind of putting spit on my finger and cleaning it off," the Stafford County youth said.

Since that day, Jackson--who was voted "history hero" in his Ferry Farm Elementary second-grade class--has become a frequent visitor to the historic cemetery.
About every other week, he checks in on Davis' grave to make sure it's tidy. He removes any weeds that may have popped up near the Virginian's tombstone, and brushes away any leaves that may cover the site.

On a recent visit, he placed a small Confederate battle flag at the base of Davis' headstone and made an arrangement out of pine cones. Then he paused and said a prayer for the fallen soldier.
Jackson has tried to find information about Davis on the Internet, but hasn't had any luck. Nonetheless, he believes Davis was a good man who deserves the respect of having a clean resting place.

"I've been wanting to do something like this for years," said Jackson's father, Jason. "I think the fact that he's remembering this soldier this way is amazing."

Remains Found on South Carolina College Campus

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009
Workers unearth bones during repair at USC
By Clif LeBlanc - McClatchy Newspapers

COLUMBIA -- USC's historic Horseshoe might hold a new and macabre piece of South Carolina's past. Workers repairing an underground steam pipe on Monday noticed human bone fragments behind the second-oldest building on campus, where a Civil War hospital once treated injured Confederate and Union soldiers.

"We don't know what it is," Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said of fragments that ranged from a skull cap to half-inch pieces. "It probably is Civil War remains, but we're still going to do this as if it were a crime scene."

Bones on USC campus might date from Civil War - Workers repairing an underground steam pipe at the University of South Carolina in Columbia found human bone fragments where a Civil War hospital once treated injured soldiers. The State reported that Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Monday that the fragments are probably from the Civil War.
Watts says the find is being investigated initially as a crime scene. The coroner's office and the State Law Enforcement Division are excavating the steam pipe trench and examining the soil.

The coroner's office and the State Law Enforcement Division are excavating the steam-pipe trench and examining mounds of soil dug from it. Watts said he expects to know by midday today whether the remains are nearly 150 years old. The coroner's office has an on-staff anthropologist who is completing his doctoral work at USC.

University archivist Elizabeth West said she was taken aback by the find. "Until today, President [James Rion] McKissick's grave was the only known grave on campus," West said. McKissick died in 1944 while serving as school president and is interred on the grounds of South Carolinian Library on the Horseshoe.

The bone fragments were discovered behind DeSaussure College, completed in 1809, West said.
The building now houses the offices of the college of social work in the serene environs of the Horseshoe. It is named for the attorney from Sumter County who fought in the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, the college closed as students left to fight the Union army, said West, the archivist.

The school rented many buildings to the Confederacy as a hospital to treat the wounded from both sides of the battle. Because of the proximity of the hospital, the remains could be amputated body parts, West and Watts said.

"That was a very common practice," the archivist said. "During that time, they could not save damaged limbs. It certainly would not surprise me if they buried them out back." The repair crew reported finding the bones about 11:30 a.m. in a parking lot behind DeSaussure, which is on the north side of the Horseshoe near McKissick Museum. The coroner said the fragments were in mounds of dirt taken from a trench, which had been dug more than a week ago.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Suit Planned over Flag Brochure

ALLEGANY COUNTY, MD - A Cumberland man is planning a federal lawsuit against the Allegany County Board of Education. Ed Taylor says the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization paid to produce brochures about the history of the Confederate Flag after being told they would be distributed in schools.

However, Taylor claims former superintendent, Dr. William Aumiller then changed his mind. District officials say an emblem of a cemetery cross wasn't on the original copies. Dr. Aumiller retired last month.Ed Taylor is planning to appeal the Allegany County Board of Education's decision at the state level.

See video of this story at this link:

Confederate Veteran Remembered in Kansas

Confederate soldier gets tombstone after nearly 100 year wait
The Hutchinson News


People can now find John A. Beasley. Cannons weren’t fired and taps wasn’t played in this part of Hutchinson’s Eastside Cemetery where, for nearly 100 years, the remains of the Confederate soldier rested under an unmarked patch of Bermuda grass.

Distant cousin Jim Converse of Olathe, along with Heath Roland, a member of a Kansas City branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, gave a simple salute after setting his grave, Converse saying that another Civil War soldier had gotten the honor he deserved. “This brings a great deal of satisfaction,” Converse said. “He’s family.” Consider Beasley an almost forgotten footnote in the War Between the States.

Even with a proper stone, there’s little information on this man. Beasley enlisted in Company I of the 7th Kentucky Cavalry of the Confederate States of America, fighting in Civil War battles until he was captured by Union troops and sent to a prisoner of war camp in the North for the remainder of the war.

Most subsequent information is lost, Converse said. An obituary from 1912 shows he had been retired for several years and lived in South Hutchinson. “How he ended up here, we don’t know,” Converse said.

Across the state, there could be several unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers like Beasley, said Roland This could especially be true for Confederate soldiers who didn’t want to disclose that they had once served the southern army after migrating to Kansas, said Gale Wall with the Reno County Genealogical Society.

Two years ago, Wall and fellow member Kathleen Dankanjin found the unmarked grave of a Union soldier while indexing the cemetery. Finding information on Confederate soldiers is a little more difficult, she said.
“There are more records available for Union veterans,” she said.
Converse serves as department commander of the Department of Kansas Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. His great-great-grandfather was a Union soldier.

But his mother, Annie Reddish Swanson, is a cousin to Beasley. Swanson grew up in Missouri, and her mother was raised in Kentucky.
Converse’s family genealogy searches connected him to Beasley.
He soon discovered the soldier never received his free government-issued tombstone — something all veterans of the Civil War were granted if they so chose.

So Roland and Converse drove from Kansas City in a van with Beasley’s headstone. “It’s great to know he has a marker,” said Roland, whose great-great-great-grandfather was a Texan who served in the Confederate Army.

And it didn’t matter to Converse what side his family fought on.
“The war is over,” he said with a laugh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stephen D. Lee Institute Announces Nashville Meeting


FEBRUARY 26-27, 2010

The Sons of Confederate Veterans are pleased to announce the 2010 Stephen Dill Lee Institute to be held February 26-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The theme for the upcoming event is The American System of Liberty: Nullification, Secession and States’ Rights. Hosting and speaking at the event is famed Lincoln scholar and economist Thomas DiLorenzo. Other speakers include Kent Masterson Brown, Brion McClanahan, Don Livingston, W. Kirk Wood and Marshall DeRosa.

There will also be a special Friday night reception hosted by the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veteran to meet the speakers and obtain autographed copies of their books. Famed historian Thomas Cartwright, former Director of the Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee, will highlight that evening. A regular on the History Channel, Mr. Cartwright will speak on the Battle of Franklin.

Please visit the Stephen Dill Lee Institute website ( to obtain institute registration and hotel information.

We are adding video content to the website including an interesting States' Rights video. Soon to be added will be "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" Producer/Director Ron Maxwell’s eloquent speech at Arlington National Cemetery refuting political correctness and the attempt to pressure President Obama to not lay a wreath in the Confederate section.

For more information contact Brag Bowling at 804-389-3620.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans look forward to seeing you and your families in Nashville next February.

Brag Bowling
Stephen Dill Lee Institute

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Boy Scout Documents Confederate Graves

Scout documents 268 Confederate graves
By Jeff Bishop

The Times-Herald

Thomas Sumner has grown up in a house with links to the Battle of Brown's Mill, so when it came time to earn his Eagle Scout badge, he immediately knew what he wanted his community service project to be.

"My family lives in one of the oldest homes in Newnan," said Sumner, the third son -- and third Eagle Scout -- born to Michael and Leah Sumner. The LaGrange Street home, Buena Vista, is one of the popular stops on tours of Newnan.

"The owner of the house in the 1860s was a captain in the Coweta Rangers and served in the Confederate army during the Civil War," said Sumner, a Life Scout in Troop 47. "Our house was used by General Joe Wheeler as his headquarters during the Battle of Brown's Mill. So I have always had an interest in local history."

Sumner decided to document each of the 268 Confederate graves at Oak Hill Cemetery -- from W.S. Alexander of the 63rd Tennessee Regiment to Joel Young of Co. E, 17th Alabama Infantry.

"A few years ago my grandmother helped create a history guide for her local cemetery," said Sumner. "When my family visited her in Moultrie, she took us on a tour and I realized that there was a lot of history and information in a cemetery.

"So when the time came to choose a project, I thought this would be a very interesting one," he said.

"It was also one I could share with other people and hopefully provide some interesting information," said Sumner.

In 1868, the Ladies Memorial Association of Newnan began marking the Confederate graves at Oak Hill. In 1950 new markers were made for the graves.

Most of the soldiers died in Newnan war hospitals, although some were killed in the Battle of Brown's Mill.

Newnan was described as a "hospital town" during the war, and wounded soldiers were shipped in on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, said Sumner.

Only two graves are labeled "unknown." Every state of the Confederacy is represented in the cemetery.

"There are also two Revolutionary War soldiers buried there, and one from the first World War," said Sumner.

The new guide is organized by last name of the soldier and also by state, and is available on CD. The city's Main Street program hopes to soon have the file available on its Web site -- -- as a PDF download.

"It's wonderful, and a great complement to the brochure we just did for Oak Hill," said Linda Bridges-Kee, city Business Development and Main Street director.

"I've seen a lot of people walking around the cemetery since we developed the tour. I think it helps that it hasn't been so miserably hot this summer," she said.

"I think it's great that we have some young folks who are showing some interest in local history, because it's not taught in schools," said Elizabeth Beers, who helped develop the tour and brochure.

Tom Redwine, Lt. Commander with the William Thomas Overby chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he was happy to see Sumner and his fellow scouts working at the cemetery on Confederate Memorial Day.

"I didn't know he was going to show up that particular day, but we looked at his project and it's just outstanding," he said.

Some interesting facts emerged during the research, Sumner said. One soldier buried at the cemetery didn't actually die during the war at all.

"But they buried him there, after living a full life, because he was a Confederate veteran," said Sumner.

Confederate History Remembered in England

Liverpool could play a central role in America's marking of Civil War
Aug 7 2009
Catherine Jones
Liverpool Echo

How Liverpool could play a central role in America’s marking of her darkest hour

Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, Fort Sumter, Atlanta... Liverpool. In the great roll call of American Civil War sites, the Mersey may seem like a bit of an odd man out.

But Liverpool, and the shipbuilders across the water in Wirral, played an integral role in the bloody conflict which has its 150th anniversary in 2011.

Now city chiefs are looking at ideas for a new American Civil War tour and trail which they believe could act as a magnet to thousands of visitors from across the Atlantic.

“It would attract a lot of American tourists which would be really good for Liverpool economically,” says Virginian Tom Sebrell, who lectures in American history at London University.

“They’d be coming over for the whole four years from 2011-15 which mark the 150th anniversary.

“And a lot of people in the north of the United States are interested in the naval part of the war.

“I think it would also attract a lot of school groups from the north of England.”

Liverpool’s American Civil War credentials are already documented on the web, and Tom has also been researching the subject for some time.

Many people will know about the building in Rumford Place, just around the corner from the former cotton exchange in Old Hall Street, where cotton traders Fraser, Trenholm & Co plotted support for the southern Confederate cause.

Not surprising when you consider that in April 1861 around 60% of the southern states’ cotton was shipped in to Britain via Liverpool.

But, says Tom, the city was also teeming with Unionist spies.

“There’s a building around the corner from Rumford Place, at 22 Water Street, that was the old US consulate office,” he explains.

“Thomas Dudley worked from there and he was in charge of the Unionist spy network in Liverpool. He was there to monitor ship-building activity.”

Under the law of the time, it was illegal for British firms to supply armed vessels to either side, but that didn’t stop Liverpool shipyards turning out some of the war’s most famous Confederate ships – and Liverpool sailors crewing them.

They got round the rules by changing ships’ names and arming them after they left the Mersey.

The CSS Alabama, build at Lairds in Birkenhead and with 30 Liverpudlians on board, wreaked havoc up and down America’s eastern seaboard burning or seizing more than 60 Union ships until it was sunk in 1864.

The Alabama and its fellow raiders were commissioned by Confederate naval officer James Dunwoody Bulloch who is buried in Toxteth Cemetery in Smithdown Road.

And Wirral waterfront is only the second place outside the US to achieve a designation of American Civil War Heritage Site Status, awarded by the US Civil War Preservation Trust.

See Link below for the rest of this article:

Richmond Battlefield Dedicated

Depot opens battlefield site to public

Interpretive markers unveiled

Bill Robinson
Register News Writer

Flags of 10 states fluttered in a cool breeze under a cloudless sky Friday morning as the Blue Grass Army Depot dedicated a portion of the Richmond Battlefield that lies on its grounds.

The steeply rolling landscape, near the depot’s southwest corner, was the scene of the first large-scale infantry clashes in the Aug. 29-30 Civil War battle.

Two Civil War re-enactors — one uniformed as a Confederate and the other as a Union soldier — unveiled an interpretive marker at the edge of a parking lot overlooking the battlefield.

Elizabeth Miller of Prestonsburg, representing the United Daughters of the Confederacy, placed a wreath honoring the Confederate dead. Then three children dressed in period costume — Anna, Sarah and Eric Burns — placed a wreath in memory of the Union dead.

“In the field before you, two armies met,” said Linda Ashley, president of the Battle of Richmond Association.

Union and Confederate flags were placed where opposing army units stood when the battle began.

According to one Union soldier’s written recollection, which Ashley read, the Confederates emerged from a ravine to the federal forces’ left, “howling like the wind.”

The Union men — some of whom had joined the army no more that three weeks earlier — stood their ground for two hours before another, even larger Confederate column rose out of a ravine to their right.

Attacked from three sides, the Union soldiers fled in panic, Ashley said.

They made two more stands before the day concluded with “the most complete Confederate victory of the war.”

The area will be open to the public, said Kevin Bennett, the depot’s attorney who presided at the ceremony.

“All you will need to do is show your identification at the depot entrance,” said Bennett, a Civil War scholar who has written about the battle for the nationally distributed “Blue and Gray” magazine.

Eventually, walking trails will be installed in the area, said Col. Joseph Tirone, the depot commander.

Some partial restoration of the area, which has buffered the depot’s operations from US 421, already has taken place, and more will be done in the future, he said. The preservation work, including funds for the interpretive markers, has been financed with proceeds from the depot’s recycling efforts.

The depot is only one of two United States military installations on which a battle took place, Tirone said. The Army was happy to make the area available to the public, he said, because such historic sites tell the Army’s story as well as the nation’s.

In 2005, the Army transferred former commander’s residence at the depot to the county, and the home, which was standing when the battle took place, is now a museum and visitors center.

“The county has had a long economic partnership with the depot,” said Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark, “and we are so pleased that the Army has us in a partnership to preserve our history.”

In addition to residing on a Civil War battlefield, the depot also is home to a pre-historic American Indian site, Tirone said.

The depot, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, keeps a full-time archeologist on staff to recover artifacts and document the area’s ancient history.

Depot archeologist Nathan White works with Eastern Kentucky University students to fulfill the facility’s legal obligation to preserve its history, Tirone said.

Some artifacts from the Civil War battle recovered on depot property are displayed at the visitors center.

SPLC Named as Hate Group

Carol M. Swain.Political Analyst
Professor of Political Science and Law
Vanderbilt University

Posted: August 10, 2009 06:34 PM

In case you missed the story, last November 4th a polling precinct in Philadelphia, PA was patrolled by an organization called the New Black Panther Party, a Marxist group that in 2000, was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a racial hate group. Video footage shot in 2008, show Black Panther precinct workers intimidating white voters. This was covered by the news organizations, and resulted in charges being filed by the Bush Department of Justice, whose job it is to defend and protect the voting rights of all Americans.

What should have been an open and shut case has become something more troubling, after the Eric Holder-led Justice Department dropped charges against the Black Panthers, who supported President Obama. Currently, this decision to drop the charges, is being challenged by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, (an organization with which I am affiliated).

Now this is the part where things really get interesting.

The SPLC has been mum on the issue, despite the fact that in 2000, it included the New Black Panther Party among its annual list of hate groups. In fact, what is most shocking is that the SPLC has spent far more resources hounding conservative organizations, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, and prominent citizens like CNN's award-winning anchor Lou Dobbs, than it has protecting the civil rights of American voters, which includes white people as well as black. The unrelenting attacks on Mr. Dobbs and others are shameless. The once venerable organization wages war against conservative individuals, principles, and organizations. How unfortunate for America. How unfortunate for the organization's founders.

There is a name for what has happened. It is called "mission creep." Mission creep occurs when an organization strays beyond its original purpose and engages in actions antithetical to its goals. Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Confederate Grave Found in England

Grave found of man who bankrolled Confederates in American civil war
Academic uncovers lost London resting place of Charles Kuhn Prioleau, and the forgotten story of Confederate support in Britain

Monday 10 August 2009 10.16 BST
Article history

Tom Sebrell, an American academic, has rediscovered the lost grave of Charles Prioleau in Kensal Green cemetery, London. Photograph: Martin Godwin

The grave of a man who bankrolled the Confederate side in the American civil war, and ended up costing the British government £3.3m in compensation to the victorious north, has been tracked down in a patch of brambles in a London cemetery.

Charles Kuhn Prioleau, a cotton merchant born in Charleston, South Carolina, was based in Liverpool during the war, from 1861 to 1865. He disappeared from history in a bonfire of company records and correspondence after his firm went bankrupt, having sent supplies, funds, and blockade-busting ships to the Confederates.

But his mortal remains have now been traced to Kensal Green cemetery by a US academic who is gradually unearthing the almost forgotten story of Confederate support in England, which takes in the highest ranks of British politics and society.

Tom Sebrell, a history lecturer at University College London, led a small gang of students into the undergrowth armed with secateurs and cemetery burial records supplied by the Friends of Kensal Green. They literally fell over Prioleau's broken headstone.

His war efforts began as an attempt to save his business when the cotton trade – crucial to the economy both of the southern states of America and the Lancashire mill owners – collapsed. Prioleau's contribution to the Confederate cause grew to sending supplies, weapons, and ammunition to those states, and finally to buying, equipping and crewing warships.

Through agents, he acquired three of the most notorious privateers of the civil war: the CSS Alabama and the CSS Florida, built on Merseyside, and the CSS Shenandoah, built on Tyneside.

The first ship in particular, with a mainly English crew, caused such havoc that the £3.3m the British eventually paid the US government was known as "the Alabama claim".

After the war, Sebrell says Prioleau simply vanished. His company, Fraser, Trenholm and Co, went bankrupt, almost certainly to pre-empt compensation claims. He has descendants in England, Africa and the US, but none knew where he was buried. One branch thought Belgium, another somewhere called Kelsall, a name that led Sebrell and his team to Kensal Green.

Prioleau was buried there in 1887 among grand neighbours, including: the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Lady Byron, the poet's wife; the novelist Anthony Trollope; and WH Smith of newsagents fame.

But while some of their monuments are mini-cathedrals in grandeur, Prioleau's, beside the Liverpool in-laws who moved to London with him, is comparatively modest. It certainly fails to match the millionaire style of his surviving home in Liverpool, now owned by the university. Also traced by Sebrell, the house features portraits of Prioleau and his wife, Mary, as well as elaborate Confederate decoration in all the main rooms.

"This is a part of the cemetery's history that even we didn't know," Barry Smith, a trustee of the Friends, said. "It's fascinating to have another name to add to the already multi-layered history of this place."

Sebrell believes there is a rich tourism dividend in uncovering this lost history: already, he has invitations to lead guided tours of groups from Virginia and Carolina, and Liverpool is planning a Confederate history trail in 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Battleflag Flies In Brooklyn

Rebel yell! Ridge man proudly displays the Confederate flag!

By Ben Muessig

The Brooklyn Paper

Will the south of Brooklyn rise again?

Judging by the looks of the Confederate flag hanging from a terrace on the southern side of the Bay Ridge Towers, it’s certainly a possibility.

The incongruous banner ­ considered a symbol of hatred and oppression by some but merely a sign of Southern pride by others ­ waves from 16th floor of the 30-story co-op tower at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 65th Street, roughly 100 miles north of the old Mason-Dixon line.

But the man behind the controversial flag told The Brooklyn Paper that his civil war isn’t against the Union Army ­ it’s against the liberals on Union Street.

“I do it is because I’m against political correctness,” the Bay Ridge Reb, who would only give the name Mike, told The Brooklyn Paper. “People who are politically correct don’t agree with that flag ­ it’s my one-man protest.

“The left likes to say they celebrate diversity,” he added. “I guess that’s what I’m doing.”

Mike insists that when he hung the Confederate flag more than a year ago, he wasn’t trying to promote racist views, but merely to show support for Southern heritage and values in a hotbed of Yankee liberalism (Bay Ridge?).

“Anything having to do with the South or white people is smeared by sophisticated snotnoses in the north,” said Mike, who repeatedly stated that he is not racist and has friends of multiple races who are not offended by the banner. “They make Southerners into bumpkins ­ and that’s not the case.

“Any other flag for any other nationality or country isn’t a big deal, but this flag creates controversy,” he stated, referring to his version of the Confederate banner, the third such flag he has hung (the past two succumbed to “dry rot”).

His version of the Confederate flag, long a logo for hate groups, includes the statement “Rebel Pride” and a small cartoon image depicting “Colonel Reb,” a former University of Mississippi mascot who was officially retired in 2003 amidst much controversy.

“I see other flags flying, so if they fly their flags, I’m going to fly my flag,” said Mike, who has also mounted two much smaller American flags on his terrace.

That’s his right ­ but that doesn’t mean that Brooklynites are happy about it.

“This is America, but personally, I think it’s really sad,” said a Bay Ridge resident who gave his name as Malik. “I thought that we got past the whole slavery thing when it was abolished. Apparently, certain people still believe in it.”

Mike insists the flag isn’t a sign of racism and claims he actually has confederates within the Bay Ridge Towers who support the banner ­ but other residents of the co-op complex said the Dixie flag doesn’t belong in Brooklyn.

“I want to stay far away from those people [who have Confederate flags],” said one resident of the Towers who requested anonymity. “We’re free to fly any flag we want, but I’m not crazy about it. We won the war. You should fly the American flag.

“It makes me feel angry and extremely uncomfortable,” she added.

This isn’t the first time the so-called “Stars and Bars” has caused uproar.

Politicians and pundits battled in 2000 over the display of a Rebel flag atop the South Carolina Capitol. The banner was removed from the roof and placed in a memorial to Confederate soldiers on Statehouse grounds.

And as recently as April, controversy erupted in an Alabama cemetery regarding the placement and subsequent removal of Confederate flags.

But controversy about the Dixie banner has hardly reached Brooklyn.

In fact, the last time a Confederate flag riled up so many Brooklynites was when a Union Navy captain unfurled a captured Dixie banner in a South Williamsburg school in 1894, a gesture that “was greeted not with a rebel yell, but with a vigorous Northern hiss from nearly 2,000 public school children,” according to the New York Times, a Manhattan newspaper.

Considering that the Bay Ridge Rebel flag is on private property, even those who don’t agree with the symbol told The Brooklyn Paper they were left in the same position as former President James Buchanan, who did little to stop the rise of the Confederacy.

“It’s their home. People are going to make their own decisions, said Danielle Ayala, of Sunset Park. “At the end of the day, what can you do?”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mass Town Turns Down Statue

Couple Seeks New Home for Statue of Soldier After Town Says 'No Thanks'

Thursday, August 06, 2009
By Jennifer Lawinski

Mark and Debra Blain are looking for a new home for their statue of a soldier.

A Massachusetts couple is looking for a new home for a granite statue they built to honor American troops fighting overseas after the town that they planned to donate it to declined their offer after residents complained.

Mark and Debra Blain, owners of Fireplace Mantels Etc., in Millbury, Mass., told that they created the prototype statue ­ depicting an American soldier in uniform standing in front of a stone U.S.A and waving American flag ­ and decided they wanted to give it away.

After watching the film "Taking Chance," in which Kevin Bacon plays a U.S. Marine bringing a fallen comrade home, the Blains decided they wanted to donate it to an area town that didn't have the funds on hand to build their own monument.

"That movie moved us so much that after the movie we said let's give it away to a deserving town or organization that would proudly display it," Debra Blain told

The Blains decided to enlist the help of the Boston VA and solicit letters from communities on why they would like the statue. They formed a committee along with one veteran from each branch of the armed services ­ Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

They decided to give it to the town of Swampscott, Mass., after receiving a moving letter from Swampscott Veterans Agent Jim Schultz about residents that had died in combat.

The town's Board of Selectmen decided two weeks ago to accept the statue, but voted on Tuesday to rescind their acceptance, according to a report in the Boston Herald.

Town Administrator Andrew Maylor told the Herald that after selectmen's initial vote, residents raised concerns about its proposed location and the lack of community input before the vote.

“As it relates to Swampscott, it was not consistent with what has been historically placed on Monument Avenue,” Maylor told Blain in an e-mail rejecting the couple's offer, the Herald reported.

Debra Blain, whose brother is a retired Coast Guard officer and whose father died in WWII, said that they plan to continue to solicit letters to find the statute a new home, but that she would prefer it not go to a cemetery.
"We had a lot of cemeteries apply for it to, but we wanted it to be about everybody that's still there," she said.

"We didn't want it to be the typical monument that looks like a gravestone. We want it to be a visual sculpture that when you drove by it, you would remember that there is a conflict going on and even in every day live to remember and give prayer that somebody's over there and not home with us," she said.

Mark Blain said he couldn't believe the controversy surrounding the statue and the town's rejection of it, but the controversy could be helping his cause.

"It caused like 45 more applications, so we're going to do it again. It does have a positive outcome. Every phone call to us was a vet absolutely disgusted with what's going on," he said.

"We're going to turn around and do it gain, but this time we're going to make sure they're all cleared before we even get involved in it.",2933,537761,00.html

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Walter Williams Writes about Black Confederates

Black Confederates (černoši v armádě jižanské Konfederace)
Autor: Walter Williams
Publikováno: 4.8.2009

DURING OUR WAR OF 1861, ex-slave Frederick Douglass observed, "There are at the present moment, many colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down ... and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government."

Dr. Lewis Steiner, a Union Sanitary Commission employee who lived through the Confederate occupation of Frederick, Maryland said, "Most of the Negroes ... were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army." Erwin L. Jordan's book "Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia" cites eyewitness accounts of the Antietam campaign of "armed blacks in rebel columns bearing rifles, sabers, and knives and carrying knapsacks and haversacks." After the Battle of Seven Pines in June 1862, Union soldiers said that "two black Confederate regiments not only fought but showed no mercy to the Yankee dead or wounded whom they mutilated, murdered and robbed."

In April 1861, a Petersburg, Virginia newspaper proposed "three cheers for the patriotic free Negroes of Lynchburg" after 70 blacks offered "to act in whatever capacity may be assigned to them" in defense of Virginia. Erwin L. Jordan cites one case where a captured group of white slave owners and blacks were offered freedom if they would take an oath of allegiance to the United States. One free black indignantly replied, "I can't take no such oaf as dat. I'm a secesh nigger." A slave in the group upon learning that his master refused to take the oath said, "I can't take no oath dat Massa won't take." A second slave said, "I ain't going out here on no dishonorable terms." One of the slave owners took the oath but his slave, who didn't take the oath, returning to Virginia under a flag of truce, expressed disgust at his master's disloyalty saying, "Massa had no principles."

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SCV Race Car Wins 3rd Place!

Dear Compatriots,

I hope this post finds you well. I am writing you today to update you on the SCV race car project. I am pleased to report that after a long and at times, difficult journey, the SCV finally had its' day on the track.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009, in Hickory, North Carolina, the SCV race car was driven by Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Brandon is one of the top drivers in the USAR Pro Series circuit.
The race unfortunately coincided with our National Reunion in Hot Springs, Arkansas. But I had the pleasure of announcing at the Confederate Ball on Saturday night that our car finished the race in third place.

The race was filmed and is scheduled to be telecast on Fox Sports Network on Sunday, August 23, 2009. The SCV membership was represented by: Craig Cooke, Ricky Reeves and Scottie Shook of the North Carolina Division. Craig's wife Jana was also along. Ricky Jenkins and Irvin Shuler of the South Carolina Division also attended.
Commander Shuler sent me a report and wishes me to relay to you the reaction of the crowd to our car.

He allowed that when Brandon Ward was introduced to the crowd and the SCV was announced as his sponsor, the crowd cheered and cheered louder than they did for anyone else. I spoke with Mr. Jack McNelly, the co-owner of the USAR Pro Series and he not only buttressed Commander Shuler's remarks but added that the crowd responded with thunderous applause. He then went on to tell me that he spoke with many people that day about the SCV car and he NEVER heard one single negative remark.

Commander Shuler added that he was approached by many men interested in joining the SCV. He handed out applications and directed them to the website. Many more people came just to congratulate them and thank them for putting Southern heritage back into racing.
Our Compatriots spent time before the race with the driver, talking and taking pictures. After the race, they tried to get back to the car to congratulate Brandon but found that they could not get close because of all the photographers and TV crews surrounding our car.

As rough as the negotiations were over the past six months, I am prepared to call this a success. Of course, I have been fielding calls from the race circuit offering us deals to sponsor the car again. I would like some input from you before we even discuss going further. Drop me an email and let me know your thoughts.

The race was not the only part of the SCV race car equation. Part of the deal was to have a show car on display at the reunion on Hot Springs. This also was a reality.

Our original driver and fellow compatriot, James Hylton sent his NASCAR truck series truck. The truck sported our logo on the hood, the back quarter panels and the bed. It also had the website address along the sides and 1-800- MY-DIXIE across the back. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the art department was under the impression that the truck was black. The truck was in fact yellow and the lettering was white. But one of the ladies of the reunion staff quickly remedied the situation with a black marker.

James Hylton has generously offered this truck to the SCV as a permanent show car. If we are able, I would like to have a professional wrap made for the truck and have it sent to many shows and events. Furthermore, I discussed an ad campaign with Mr. Hylton that would use the truck to promote the work of the SCV. He is on board with using the truck wherever we can to raise awareness of the SCV.

I would be remiss if I did not thank a few people that made this possible. First and foremost, I thank the membership for standing behind the project. I thank James Hylton and his crew especially marketing director, Doug Barron who hauled the SCV truck to Hot Springs and back again to the shop in South Carolina. I thank Brandon Ward and his team for their help. And I owe a great debt of gratitude to Larry Foyt for helping at every turn.

If you have any questions or suggestions please drop me a line at the address below. If you would like to know a bit more about Brandon Ward and the USAR Pro Series check the links below. I will be posting photos from the race soon and other designs of our cars at my website.

Thank you and God Bless the South,
Michael Givens
Lieutenant Commander in Chief
Sons of Confederate Veterans