Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Book on "Helmira" Prison Camp

Pointe Coupee soldier inspires book

In a Memorial Day 2006 ceremony, author Diane Janowski places soil from Pointe Coupee Parish on the grave of Confederate soldier Michel Fortlouis in Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, N.Y. Janowski said the story of Fortlouis, who died in the Elmira camp for prisoners of war, inspired her to write a book about some of the nearly 3,000 soldiers who died in captivity during the winter of 1864.


An Elmira, N.Y., writer and photographer credits the story of a Pointe Coupee Parish Confederate soldier for inspiring her to write a new book about an infamous Civil War prison camp in her hometown.

Michel Fortlouis, a member of the Pointe Coupee Artillery, had the misfortune of being captured near Clinton in 1864 and sent to the Elmira facility, where he became one of the 2,963 Confederates who died there in captivity. Confederate soldiers named the camp “Hellmira,” according to a history of the prison on the city of Elmira’s Web site.

Diane Janowski said she mentioned the prison camp when she and fellow photographer Allen C. Smith visited with New Roads historian Brian Costello several years ago.
“I just started asking him if he knew anybody who was captured and brought up here. He thought there was one, Mr. Fortlouis, and I just started doing research on him,” Janowski said.
Costello, who has written extensively on Pointe Coupee history, said he was aware of Fortlouis but had not done any research on him or his two brothers who served in the Civil War.
He said his grandmother had a cousin who married into the Fortlouis family, but no one by that name now lives in the parish.

Before she returned to Elmira, Janowski scooped up some Pointe Coupee cane field soil and eventually took it to Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira. “It was powerful. Right after I talked to Brian, I scooped up some dirt because I wanted some to put on his (Fortlouis) grave the next time I was there. It was Memorial Day, 2006, and I had my own little ceremony right here in Elmira. It was just a personal little ceremony, but still it was very meaningful,” she said.
Using Internet sites, Janowski was able to find more information about Fortlouis. “He was pretty well documented, so he was pretty easy to track. I didn’t do a lot of genealogy on him because I just wanted to know how he got from there to here,” she said.

Fortlouis and his brothers enlisted in June 1861 and served in the siege of Vicksburg. His unit then joined the Army of Tennessee, which was active in the Atlanta campaign, Janowski said.
Union troops captured Fortlouis on Aug. 20, 1864, in Clinton. He was sent to Ship Island, Miss., in October of that year, and transferred to Elmira Prison about a month later. He died 10 days after his arrival. “I believe he deserted. He went missing about the time of the siege of Atlanta, and he was reported AWOL,” Janowski said. “Just recently I read that they sort of knew he was over in Clinton, and somehow they must have picked him up as he was walking back to New Roads.”

Although Fortlouis inspired the book, and Janowski found out as much as she could about him, she also expanded her research to talk to descendants of other Confederate soldiers sent to the camp. The result is her book, “In Their Honor: Soldiers of the Confederacy — The Elmira Prison Camp,” published through New York History Review Press.

“The book is not a history of the Elmira prison camp, because there are many books about that. This is about how the descendants talk about that; how they remember their relatives,” Janowski said. “Their stories are pretty well what you’d think they are: Elmira was a pretty bad place, and we had a very cold winter that year and medicine, blankets and tents were scarce. It was hard,” she said.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tennessee Launches Sesquicentennial Web Site

New Civil War Web site launched for Tennessee
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NASHVILLE (WATE) - The launch of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Web site marks the upcoming 150th anniversary of the war.

The full commemoration of the anniversary lasts from 2011 through 2015. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area developed the site together.Five major features on the Web site provide a comprehensive look at Tennessee's pivotal role in the war.

The History section gives a detailed picture of how the war evolved through Tennessee and altered the lives of residents.

The Timeline explores the many national stories that unfolded because of the state's involvement in the Civil War.

The Trails section provides a map to help plan trips in the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage area. It also highlights the 150 markers on the state's new Civil War Trail.

The Attractions feature gives information about the trails, markers, battlefields, Civil War-related museums and other attractions in Tennessee.

Teaching Tools offers photos, videos, maps, flags and educational links related to the war.
These tools will help with planning visits to Tennessee, plus provide teachers with lesson plans and other tools.

The Web site also has details on a series of five conferences, one each year, sponsored by the commission. Presenters will discuss the battles, events and stories of the war.

R. E. Lee Collection on Display in PA

Robert E. Lee Memorial Collection at Friendship Hill is a must see
February 7, 2010

Part of Lee Collection at Friendship Hill / Photo NPSA previous article by this writer, "Friendship Hill, where history and nature merge”, briefly noted that Friendship Hill, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania is presently housing and displaying the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial Collection at the historic house. Although, not widely known or promoted, this historic collection has been at Friendship Hill since 2007.

This valuable historical collection has been temporarily entrusted to the National Park Service’s Friendship Hill National Historic Site while renovations are ongoing at the National Park Service’s Arlington House in Arlington, Virginia. For local Civil War buffs or that American history enthusiast passing through the area, it is a great opportunity to experience things owned and / or touched by the famous Confederate States of America’s general and his family. (As you may or may not know, General Robert E. Lee led the South to a losing conclusion of that great American conflict, the Civil War, a war that ended slavery.)

The National Park Services decision to move and display the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial Collection at Friendship Hill was a two fold decision. In part, it was a cost savings measure. It saved the National Park Service about $200,000 in storage fees. The second reason for moving the collection to Friendship Hill is to give the general public an opportunity to see pre-Civil War and Civil War related artifacts that they may otherwise never see. (Usually, a resident from Southwestern Pennsylvania has to make a trip to Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Harper’s Ferry, Washington, D.C. or other points in the Eastern or Southern parts of the country to take in Civil War related history and artifacts.)

National Park Services literature for Friendship Hill states the following about the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial Collection… “Friendship Hill National Historic Site is the temporary home of the museum collection of over 3,300 objects from Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial in Virginia. Items, books, and furniture, including some once owned by the family of Robert E. Lee will be displayed at Friendship Hill while the National Park Service is rehabilitating the Arlington House Mansion, its outbuilding, and the historic grounds to protect and maintain the cultural resources and values for which the Robert E. Lee Memorial was established. The furnishings are expected to be at Friendship Hill for about three years (2007-2010).

Friendship Hill was Albert Gallatin’s home from 1789 until 1824. Gallatin, the Secretary of the Treasury, was living in Washington when Arlington House was built in 1802 by George Washington Parke Custis. Custis was George Washington’s step-grandson and became Robert E. Lee’s father-in-law. Arlington House was the scene of R. E. Lee’s fateful resignation from the U.S. Army at the beginning of the Civil War. The house and grounds were seized by the federal government during the war and soon after, Arlington Cemetery was established.” …Robert E. Lee never presided over Arlington House again.

The collection, as it is presently exhibited at Friendship Hill, is a snapshot of another time and place and how important families, who helped shaped our nation’s history, lived. Just think of all the people of notoriety that may have used the furniture and other artifacts that dates back to George Washington’s descendants! And remember, this may well be the only time one will see a large collection of Robert E. Lee’s family treasures in South Western Pennsylvania.

By the way, 2011 kicks off a four year 150th anniversary event that will take place across the nation, in remembrance of the American Civil War. Keep you eyes and ears opened for news about upcoming events at Civil War parks, battlefields and historic sites across the United State. Make it a point to get to know more about this important conflict in American history by visiting those sites and taking in planned events.

So get out and about and begin your journey though the American Civil War by first seeing the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial Collection at Friendship Hill… but hurry, the collection is only on display at Friendship Hill for a very short time! It is scheduled to return to the Arlington House sometime in 2010.

F.Y.I.: Friendship Hill is located just outside of Point Marion, Pennsylvania, north of the West Virginia (Mason Dixon Line) border. Current winter hours at Friendship Hill are: 9am to 5pm, Friday through Sunday only. Daily hours of operation begin in April. For more information and driving directions, click on this link: Friendship Hill National Historic Site.

Thursday, February 18, 2010



This link ( ) will provide you with a one-page handout with some details and a link to ( ) with more information about the 2010 Sam Davis Youth Camp.

If you have questions that are not answered by the handout or the webpage, please contact Camp Director Col. Alan Huffines at .

To help make this year's SDYC successful, I have two requests of you:
1) Please do what you can to recruit youngsters to enjoy this very rewarding camp experience this summer. Having visited with the youngsters and camp staff during the 2009 SDYC, I can testify that it is something that the participants find to be both fun and educational. Any youthful reluctance because of a perception that this isn't a "cool" activity will be very quickly replaced with real enjoyment of the many activities, indoors and out, that are in store for the campers this year.

2) Please work with your own camps to develop and fund full or partial scholarships to send youngsters from your communities to this camp-I don't know any better way to ensure that the true history of the South is taught to the next generation.

Warmest regards,
Ray W. James

CMDR, Texas Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans
1501 Frost Dr.
College Station, Texas 77845
(979) 693-3507 (H)
(979) 845-7265 (W)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jim Limber Davis - Story of Adopted Black Child

Feb. 12, 2010

Jim Limber Davis -- Rescued by the Confederacy's First Lady
By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.Special to

February is Black History Month. In 1989, a magazine article caught my eye which I had to read from beginning to end. This was not an ordinary story but about a black child, a Confederate President's First Lady and the Southern Presidential Family. The story was written by Gulfport, Mississippi freelance writer Mrs. Peggy Robbin's and is entitled, "Jim Limber Davis."

While Black History Month mostly focuses on black adults in history, this story is about a black child. This is a summary, in my own words, of Mrs. Robbin's splendid story.

On the morning of February 15, 1864, Mrs. Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, had concluded her errands and was driving her carriage down the streets of Richmond, Virginia on her way home. She heard screams from a distance and quickly went to the scene to see what was happening. Varina saw a young black child being abused by an older man. She demanded that he stop striking the child and when this failed she shocked the man by forcibly taking the child away. She took the child to her carriage and with her to the Confederate White House. Arriving home Mrs. Davis and maid 'Ellen' gave the young boy a bath, attended to his cuts and bruises and feed him. The only thing he would tell them is that his name was Jim Limber. He was happy to be rescued and was given some clothes of the Davis' son Joe who was the same size and age.

Joe was tragically killed in an accidental fall later that year. The Davis family were visited the following evening by a friend of Varina's, noted Southern Diarist-Mary Boykin Chesnut, who saw Jim Limber and wrote later that she had seen the boy and that he was eager to show me his cuts and bruises. She also said, "the child is an orphan rescued yesterday from a brutal Negro Guardian." and "there are things in life that are too sickening, and such cruelty is one of them." There were some children who addressed Jim as Jim Limber Davis for fun. This was fine with him because he felt he was indeed a member of the family.

The Davis letters to friends are indication of his acceptance and they said he was a member of their gang of children. The Christmas of 1864, would be memorable for the Davis family and probably the best Christmas Jim Limber would ever have. A Christmas tree was set up in Saint Paul's Church, decorated and gifts placed beneath it. On Christmas evening orphans were brought to the church and were delighted with the presents they got. Jim was happy that he helped decorate the tree.

Mrs. Robbin's wrote, in her story, that Mrs. Jefferson Davis was a very good story teller who was able to make sounds of different animals in the stories about the critters. Jim was always eager to help. The end of the War Between the States was coming and Richmond was being evacuated. Varina and the children left ahead of Jefferson Davis. The president and his staff left just hours before the occupation of Union troops. Varina and the children were by the side of Jefferson Davis at his capture near Irwinville, Georgia and again the family was separated.

Jefferson Davis was taken to Virginia to spend two years in prison. Mrs. Davis and her children were taken to Macon, Georgia and later to Port Royal outside of Savannah. At Port Royal their Union escort, Captain Charles T. Hudson, made good at his earlier threats to take Jim Limber away. As the Union soldiers came to forcibly take young Jim, he put up a great struggle and tried to hold onto his family as they to him. Jim and his family cried uncontrollably as the child was taken. His family would never again see him or know what happened to him. The Davis' tried in later years to locate Jim but were unsuccessful. They prayed that he grew to manhood and did well in life.

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is home to a portrait of Jim Limber Davis in the Eleanor S. Brookenbrough Library. I thank Mrs. Peggy Robbin's who wrote the Jim Limber Davis story in 1989 and the Southern Partisan Magazine for publishing her story in the second quarter Issue-Volume IX of 1989.

For more information about Jefferson Davis go to:, the website about the last home of Jefferson Davis where the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library is also located.

Calvin Johnson, from Kennesaw, GA, is an American-Historical writer, author of book When America Stood for God, Family and Country and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nashville Plans 150th Anniversary

Metro Historical Commission plans 150th anniversary of Civil War in Nashville
By Juanita Cousins • THE TENNESSEAN • February 2, 2010

The Metro Historical Commission has formed a committee to gear up for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Nashville.

The war began in 1861 when 11 states, including Tennessee, seceded from the United States and formed the Confederacy. The Union-seized Downtown Presbyterian Church on what is now Fifth Avenue North became a temporary military hospital. The Battle of Nashville was fought over two days in December 1864 on land now known as Green Hills, destroying the Army of Tennessee, the second largest Confederate force.

Historical Commissioner Joan Armour said this is the commission’s first attempt to observe an anniversary of the War Between the States and study its affect on Nashville. During their Jan 25 meeting, commissioners discussed teaming with Metro Nashville Public Schools to teach students how Tennessee was instrumental in the war.

Academy at Opry Mills history teacher Mary Browning Huntington, said she would like to create a Civil War curriculum for private and public school K-12 students. End-of-course testing covers Tennessee history, but that subject is no longer addressed in social studies classroom or textbooks in Metro Schools, she said. “I was shocked to find out they no longer teach Tennessee history, because I taught it to seventh graders eons ago,” said Armour, who is working to create a central calendar of events for the sesquicentennial. “Students need to know about their state. It’s part of their history and part of who they are.”

Commissioners are considering forming a group of speakers to lecture to schools, civic groups and at public events; partnering with a local theater group to present living history tours; producing public service announcements to broadcast on Metro Channel 3; and updating brochures.

Huntington said she is working with school system administrators to increase the number of field trips to local historic landmarks like Fort Negley and the Hermitage.

Appomattox Station Found

Discovery of Appomattox Station battlefield provides historical missing link

Civil War Preservation Trust photo
An 1865 photo of Appomattox Station, where Gen. George Custer captured three Confederate supply trains.

The history:
The battle of Appomattox Station began about 4 p.m. on April 8, 1865.
Union cavalry, led by Gen. George Custer, arrived at the Appomattox train station ahead of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army traveling from Farmville. Lee and his men were desperate for the supplies that had been sent from Lynchburg and awaited them at the station.
Custer and his men captured three Confederate supply trains at the station and proceeded southwest about a mile toward Gen. Lindsey Walker’s camp, where the Confederate’s reserve artillery was situated. When Walker received word of the approaching cavalry, he and his artillerymen assembled their cannon in a hollow circle along a slight ridge and began to fire.
After a nearly four-hour battle and numerous attacks by Union cavalry, Custer captured between 24 to 30 cannons and about 1,000 Confederate prisoners. Total Union casualties from the battle were 5 killed, 40 wounded and 3 missing. Confederate casualties remain unknown.
A post-war account of the battle noted, “…for fierceness, and a reckless display of courage, perhaps there cannot be found among the annals of the entire war a parallel.”

By Duffie Taylor Published: January 31, 2010

Longtime Civil War historian Chris Calkins began looking for the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station in the early 1970s. Back then, he and many other Civil War buffs feared the site of the April 8, 1865, battle was buried somewhere under asphalt in the Town of Appomattox.
“We have always assumed the battle was up near the Triangle Shopping Center (in Appomattox) and they had already bulldozed that area so we couldn’t test it,” Calkins said.
Still, he continued his search — first, through a store of written archives and then, on the grounds of Appomattox, with a copy of a Union soldier’s sketched map and a metal detector.
Calkins’ work paid off when he located the battlefield years later on a 47-acre tract owned by Jamerson Trucking Company.

Luckily, Calkins said, the site was largely undeveloped and he was able to verify his discovery through the artillery remnants that he unearthed on the property.
This month, Calkins’ quest came full circle when the 47-acre tract was purchased by The Civil War Preservation Trust, a national organization devoted to preserving old battlefields.
The trust’s spokeswoman, Mary Koik, said that the battlefield’s preservation would not have been possible without Calkins.

“I give Chris Calkins credit for combing through that tremendous amount of information and finding the battlefield,” she said. “Popular wisdom was that it had been lost.” A Detroit native, Calkins said his fascination with the Civil War began early. At 20, he took a seasonal job in the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, where he played a Union soldier in the park’s living history program. The summer job turned into a lifelong stay when he was introduced to his future wife at the town’s Dairy Queen. “They say you’re either a Virginian by birth, marriage or choice,” Calkins said. “Well, I’m a Virginian by the latter two.”

Calkins has since devoted his life to the study of the Civil War, with a particular focus on the war’s last two battles in Appomattox. Now the park manager of Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park, Calkins has written several books on how the two battles shaped the war’s end.
He said that discovering the battlefield of Appomattox Station provided the missing link in the events leading up to General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865.

The battle between the Union Cavalry, led by General George Custer, and Confederate Artillery, headed by General Lindsey Walker, “was another nail in the coffin” for the Confederates and, ultimately, paved the way to the battle of Appomattox Court House and Lee’s surrender the following day, he said. Before the discovery, the story of the Civil War’s end was incomplete, said Appomattox County Tourism Director Anne Dixon.

“Your visitors were missing the middle piece,” she said. “This piece of the story completes it.”
Calkins said that Custer’s destruction of three Confederate supply trains and the battle that ensued from it were directly accountable for Lee’s surrender. “That was Lee’s last chance to get out of it,” he said. Koik said that the trust eventually plans to turn over the battlefield to a steward that will maintain its preservation and spur visitors’ interest in the site.
The National Park Service is a likely candidate, she said.

Securing the historical site in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is an important achievement for the area, said the town’s tourism director, Will Simmons.
“(It) provides a tremendous impetus for people to preserve this land while they still can,” Simmons said. “Soon, the opportunity will be gone.”
Chris Calkins inadvertently stumbled upon the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station while searching for what he believed was a Union army campsite. He was led there by a sentence in the Official Report of Brig. Gen. Alfred Gibbs: “The brigade camped for a night (April 9) at a wood near Martin’s house, one mile in the rear of Appomattox Court House.” Calkins then referred to a 1867 topographical map of the “Appomattox Court House and Vicinity” and identified two houses next to each other, each named Martin.

Armed with this information, Calkins looked at a present-day map of the area and, surprisingly, found that the two houses were still there, tucked away behind a school and trucking company in the town of Appomattox. Calkins then went to scout out the property with a metal detector and, to his surprise, began turning up iron canister rounds and other artillery remnants. It turned out that the camp Calkins had originally sought was in another area entirely and misidentified by Gibbs as “Martin’s” when, in fact, the house was named “Morton’s.” The mishap, however, led Calkins to the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station, which he later confirmed with the aid of a diary sketch by Union cavalryman Roger Hannaford.

— Chris Calkins, who wrote of his discovery in The Civil War Preservation Trust’s ‘Hallowed Ground’ magazine, in an article titled ‘In Search of the Battle of Appomattox Station.’

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Confederate Soldier Buried in Wisconsin

History Mystery: Body of Confederate soldier is buried in Green Ridge Cemetery

The last History Mystery question: What former member of the Confederate Army is buried in Kenosha’s Green Ridge Cemetery?

The answer: His name was William C. McDoniel, and he is the only Confederate soldier buried in Kenosha with full military honors.

At the time of his death at the age of 66 on May 7, 1909, he may have been the first in Wisconsin to be buried with full military honors.

McDoniel was born in 1843 in Missouri. At the age of 18 he began serving with the Confederate army and served all four years of the Civil War. He was mustered out of the service as a bugler attached to the staff of Gen. John S. Marmaduke. During his time of service, he fought in some of the most bitterly waged battles of the Civil War.

In several of those battles, Kenosha men were engaged on the Union side. McDoniel fought in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, where Kenoshan Capt. Charles Frantz lost an arm; and the Raid of Holly Springs, where Kenoshan George Hale was in the thick of the fight.

He was there at the Fort Pillow massacre and later at the raid on Memphis in April 1864, where he clashed with many Kenosha County soldiers who were members of the 39th Wisconsin.
But by 1909, there was no North or South in the minds of gray-haired men who had fought in the war, at least not in the Grand Army of the Republic chapter here.

McDoniel lived in Kenosha for six years before he died and got to be friends with some of his previous foes. When he died, a small funeral was held at his home on Bond Street (12th Avenue), which was well attended by the G.A.R. members.

It was his request that members of the G.A.R. serve as his pallbearers. They were George Hale, Theodore Boyington, Charles Truax, Oscar Rector, L.C. Graves and James G. Russell.
They carried his casket from McDoniel’s parlor to the horse-drawn hearse and then from the hearse to the cemetery grave.

This week’s mystery: On the day before the presidential election of 1908, what presidential candidate stumped here in Kenosha?History Mystery appears weekly in the Kenosha News. The answer to today’s question will run next Tuesday.

Fearless General Gordon

"A more gallant, generous, and fearless gentlemen and soldier has not been seen in this country."

The John B. Gordon Story
By Calvin E. Johnson Jr. Friday, February 5, 2010

Jeremiah 6:16 of the Bible reads;

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

But, have we forgotten God and the old paths of our Founding Fathers and Mothers? Is American history even taught anymore in public and private schools?

As the world looks to America, do we know who helped make the USA free and great?

President Theodore Roosevelt said of John B. Gordon, quote “A more gallant, generous, and fearless gentlemen and soldier has not been seen in this country.” unquote

February is Black History Month and it is also the birthday month of George Washington, America’s first president. February is also the birthday month of John Brown Gordon of Georgia.

John B. Gordon, born February 6, 1832, was an orator, lawyer, statesman, soldier, publisher and governor of the State of Georgia. His is best known as one of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s generals. At Appomattox, Gordon’s corps encounter with the soldiers under Gen. Joshua Chamberlain is a classic story. Gordon would always remember Chamberlain for the courtesy and respect shown he and his men.

Carter Godwin Woodson, father of Black History Week, has much in common with John B. Gordon. Both men believed that accurate American history should be taught in our schools. Woodson also believed the study of Black history should include those African-Americans who fought on both sides of the War Between the States.

Black History Week became Black History Month in the 1960s.

Woodson, eleven years after the first Black History Week, founded the “Negro History Bulletin” for teachers, students and the public.

Gordon also worked to see that the history of the Confederate soldier was taught in public schools. After the war only the Northern version of the War Between the States was taught to Southern children.

John B. Gordon believed in the South’s Constitutional right to secession, but after it was crushed, he worked to reunite the nation and helped white and black Southerners the war had made poor.

In Gordon’s day there were no skyscrapers, telephones, automobiles, bright lights, or bad air to obscure the view of Heaven’s stars. The American Revolution was in the past only as far back as the Great Depression is today. American history was still taught at a time when the Union and Confederate Veterans were still living and honored.

A John B. Gordon birthday celebration was first held in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, February 6, 1993, in front of Georgia’s old historic state capitol building. Weather forecasters called for rain and cold but God must have blessed that day as it was warm and sunny. Nearly one-thousand people came to remember Gordon.

A Confederate reenactment band with authentic band instruments played “Dixie” and everyone stood straight and proud. The band gave the melody, but the crowd sang the words.

Take your history and teach it to your children or others will teach their history!
Many speakers praised Gordon. One man turned to Gordon’s statue and asked “General Gordon what would you say to those who would change the history of America?” Gordon, the American, the Southerner might have answered: “Take your history and teach it to your children or others will teach their history!” Gordon set up a publishing company after the war to help teach children their Southern history.

In 1995, a third John B. Gordon memorial was held in Atlanta, but this time it was cold and snowy. Among the speakers in 1995, was a young Black-American. Eddie B. Page was a true friend and defender of the heritage of America. He was proud of the United States, 1956 Georgia and Confederate flags. Eddie knew his history, Southern style, and did not parrot “Political Correct” history.

John Brown Gordon was born in Upson County, Georgia. He was the fourth of twelve children born to Zachariah and Malinda Cox Gordon.

After attending the University of Georgia, he came to Atlanta to study law. Here he met and married Rebecca Haralson and their union was long and happy.

September 17, 1862, is known as the bloodiest day in American history. Confederate General John B. Gordon was there, defending a position called the sunken road. Wave upon wave of Union troops attacked Gordon’s men. The casualties were beyond today’s understanding. Gordon was struck by Union bullets four times, but continued to lead his men. Then, the fifth bullet tore through his right jaw and out his left cheek. He fell with his face in his hat and would have drowned in his own blood except for a hole in his hat. Though Gordon survived these wounds, the last bullet left him permanently scarred. That is why you see later photographs of him only from the right side.

For years the John B. Gordon celebration, in Atlanta, was concluded by a mile march to Oakland Cemetery where the general is buried with his Confederate compatriots. Not since past Confederate Memorial days has there been a scene on an Atlanta street of soldiers in Confederate gray and women and children of black mourning dress.

The spirits of Carter G. Woodson and John B. Gordon were there with us on those February days when Confederate gray marched through a Black-American neighborhood. The people watching the parade were told about the Gordon service and were invited to Oakland. Black children spread the word that this was a memorial to Gordon who was once governor of Georgia.

Woodson and Gordon are still with us—-in spirit and, if you listen, they are saying, “Teach your children the whole story of America’s past.”

Let’s not forget!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lee Honored for Civilian and Military Service

Lee honored as leader in civilian, military duties

Robert E. Lee has always been considered a military ge­nius who led a disciplined army, but few are aware of how he also made his civilian "troops" toe the line after the Civil War ended.

One example was the time a student at Washington College stood before him with a chaw of tobacco in his mouth and was in­formed by Lee, the college's president, that he found it ob­noxious. Told to leave the room and not to come back the same way, the student did an about-face, went into the hallway and then returned with the same chaw in his jaw. As soon as Lee saw the bulge in the student's mouth, he wrote an expulsion notice, informing his classmates that he was being bounced out of college "for disre­spect to the president."

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Judge James Main dis­covered that interesting tidbit during research for his address Tuesday at the First White House of the Confederacy, where Lee was honored on the 203rd anniversary of his birth.
"Discipline, respect for au­thority and duty were required of all students and one of the most terrifying experiences for a student was to be called to the president's office," Main said.

Lee lived five years after the end of America's bloodiest war and he packed a lot into them as he took the helm of a college that would add his name to that of the country's first president.

When Lee became president of Washington College, Main said the school had only 40 stu­dents. During Lee's first year, enrollment jumped to 300 and the college received more than $100,000 from tuition and gifts -- an enormous sum in those days.
It was a word-of-mouth edu­cational resuscitation and was based primarily on the leader­ship of a man whose military ac­complishments are studied around the world 140 years after his death.

"Lee's commitment to his post-war career continued to deepen as he successfully devel­oped the college's new curricu­lum and physical facilities," said Main, who spoke near the stairs leading to the second floor of the building. "He enjoyed his work and his civilian life."

For the remainder of this story see: