Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Markers To Be Installed in Tennessee

The battle ended in 20 minutes, the war a year and a half later.

The legacy endures today - even though the battlefield's long gone.

Two new markers will commemorate the site of Knoxville's defining Civil War battle and one of the city's few surviving forts from that era. The Civil War Trails markers, set to be unveiled today, commemorate the Battle of Fort Sanders near what's now the University of Tennessee campus and Fort Dickerson off Chapman Highway in South Knoxville.

Preservationists hope to see more such markers planted around the county and the state in time for the war's 150th anniversary next year and an expected tourism boom. About 200 markers now dot Tennessee, part of a nationwide network of Civil War historic sites.

"It's an indication that there is an interest, and it's a reminder to people who are in the area," said Steve Dean, president of the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance, which works to promote the region's heritage. "It's a great first step, and there's still a lot more to be done."

The Nov. 29, 1863, battle at Fort Sanders, named for fallen Union Gen. William Sanders, marked the end of the Confederacy's failed attempt to recapture Knoxville from Union forces. The marker will stand in the parking lot of the Church of the Redeemer on 17th Street, near the spot where historians believe Fort Sanders' northwest bastion stood before it fell to suburban development in the 1920s.

Fort Dickerson and 15 other earthworks ringed Knoxville during the Confederate siege, holding off cavalry raids and other attacks. Its marker will stand in the park that bears the fort's name.

The signs bring Knox County's total of Civil War Trails markers in Knoxville to five so far, Dean said. Other markers already stand at Old Gray Cemetery on Broadway, resting place of various local Union and Confederate leaders; Bleak House on Kingston Pike, which served as headquarters for Confederate Gen. James Longstreet during the 1863 Siege of Knoxville; and the Farragut Folklife Museum off Campbell Station Road, near the site of the 1863 Battle of Campbell's Station.

Angel Of Marye's Heights Movie Screened

The Angel of Marye's Heights World Premiere
A short film of courage and compassion at the Battle of Fredericksburg
Opens Saturday, July 24, 2010. 6-9 pm.
Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
1201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg, VA.

For library information and directions visit:
Hosted by the National Civil War Life Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit:

Admission, refreshments and exhibits are FREE. Suggested donation of $5.
All monies collected will go towards the film’s anticipated DVD production costs.

Doors open at 6. Film starts at 6:30. No one will be admitted during the 30-minute screening. Program includes remarks from the creators, museum exhibits, preservationist booths, music, slide show, re-enactors and more.

Also look for updates on additional screenings including a very special showing at Liberty University on September 18 to benefit the National Civil War Chaplians Museum.

For more on the making of this new movie please visit:

Jewish Patriots Fight for the Confederacy

Southern Jews and the Confederacy
By Lewis Regenstein
Posted Jul 28 2010

Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell's recent proclamation of Confederate History Month provoked a firestorm of criticism, with many accusing him and those who commemorate their Southern ancestors' bravery of ignoring or even defending slavery.

But the cruel and evil institution of slavery was not the sole or even primary reason for the South's secession from the Union, nor was it a significant motivating factor for individual Confederate soldiers.

Yet many of us in the South, including those descended from old Jewish families of the Confederacy, still struggle to expose the truth about why Southern soldiers fought, the courage they showed against overwhelming odds, and the sacrifices they made.

The history of the Confederacy is full of long-forgotten tales of Jewish heroes, warriors, and leaders. This is a story little known today, absent from history books and an embarrassment to liberal Jewish historians ashamed of the prominent role played by Jews in supporting, defending and fighting for the Confederacy. It is a government about which they know little except for its association with slavery.

They find the truth about the war incompatible with their idolization of Abraham Lincoln and his administration - an administration in which anti-Jewish sentiment was rampant, at one point even becoming official government policy and resulting in the worst official act of anti-Semitism in the nation's history.

I know firsthand the ignorance one encounters on this subject because a few years ago I wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution a mild mannered op-ed article discussing why so many good and decent Georgians take pride in their Confederate ancestors.

I explained that we revere our ancestors because, against overwhelming odds, they fought on, often hungry, cold, sick and wounded, to protect their homes and families - not the institution of slavery - from an often cruel invader. Put simply, the heavily outnumbered and undersupplied Confederate soldiers felt they were fighting because an invading army from the North was trying, with great success, to burn their homes, destroy their cities, and kill them.

In response, the newspaper published two letters to the editor. One said my statements "were reminiscent of neo-Nazi apologists denying the Holocaust." The other accused me of defending slavery and "a treasonous movement" called the Confederacy.

My then-84-year-old mother asked me to "please wait until I die before you write any more articles."

Slavery was an important political issue before and during the Civil War, especially to the large plantation holders in the South and the abolitionists in the North. But while the war is often portrayed as primarily a fight over slavery, much more important were the issues of preservation of the Union for the North and the over taxation of the South in the form of exorbitant tariffs.

In the case of Virginia, to cite one example, it is quite clear that the state did not secede over slavery; it stayed in the Union after seven Southern states seceded and formed the Confederacy. It was only after President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops from state militias to attack the South that Virginia, refusing to wage war on its "kinfolk," left the Union.

* * * * *

Let me briefly recount why I take pride in my Confederate ancestors and the brave men who fought with them.
One hundred and forty-five years ago, on April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Commander Ulysses S. Grant, marking the effective end of the South's struggle for independence.

It was a fateful day for the South, and in particular for my great-grandfather and his four elder brothers, all of whom were fighting for the Confederacy.

While Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, my then-16-year-old great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, rode out on horseback to defend his hometown of Sumter, South Carolina, along with some 157 other teenagers, invalids, old men, and the wounded from the local hospital. Approaching were 2,500 hardened soldiers from Sherman's army who had just burned nearby Columbia, and it was feared they were headed to Sumter to do the same. Sumter's defenders, outnumbered 15-to-1, managed to hold off Sherman's battle-seasoned veterans for over an hour before being overwhelmed by the vastly superior force.

That same afternoon, the eldest Moses brother, Joshua Lazarus Moses, was killed a few hours after Lee had surrendered (the news having not yet reached the front). Josh was commanding an artillery battalion that fired the last shots in defense of Mobile before being overrun by a Union force outnumbering his 13 to 1. In this battle of Fort Blakeley, one of his brothers, Horace, was captured, and another, Perry, was wounded.

Josh Moses was one of more than 3,000 Jews who fought for the South and the last Confederate Jew to fall in battle.

* * * * *

More than two-dozen members of the extended Moses family fought in the war, and at least nine gave their lives for what Southerners came to refer to as the Lost Cause.
The best known of the Moses family Confederates was Major Raphael Moses, a fifth-generation South Carolinian who in 1849 moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he was a lawyer and planter. Moses, whose three sons also fought for the South, ended up attending the last meeting and carrying out the last order of the Confederate government - delivering the last of the Confederate treasury, $40,000 in gold and silver bullion, to help feed and supply defeated Confederate soldiers in the Augusta hospital or straggling home after the war.

Major Moses named one of his sons Albert Luria because he wanted to preserve the family name of an ancestor who reputedly was the court physician to Spain's Queen Isabella. Luria was called to duty in Columbus, five miles from home, on Saturday, April 20, 1861. After marching from the armory to the depot, Albert writes, "we were met by an immense concourse of citizens - assembled to bid us 'God Speed.' "

Among the crowd were several members of his family whom Albert was surprised to see. Being observant Jews, they would not ride or work their horses on the Sabbath, and so they had walked several miles into town to say farewell.

Luria, Josh Moses's first cousin, was the first Confederate Jew to be killed, mortally wounded at age 19 during the Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) in Virginia on May 31, 1862. He died after courageously throwing a live Union artillery shell out of his fortification before it exploded, thereby saving the lives of many of his men.

Luria's brother Israel Moses Nunez, a veteran of many battles, was named after his ancestor Dr. Samuel Nunez (sometimes written Nunes), who arrived in Savannah, Georgia, in July 1733, in a boat from England with 42 Portuguese Jews fleeing persecution. Dr. Nunez is credited with saving the newly established mosquito-infested colony from being wiped out by what was thought to be yellow fever but which was probably malaria.

Another leading Jewish figure of the war was the Moses brothers' mother - my great-great-grandmother - Octavia, a legend within the family and in Sumter.

She was from one of the country's most prominent Jewish families, her father being the well-known Jewish author and playwright Isaac Harby, one of the leading Jewish figures in 19th century America. There was a tradition among members of the family that their name came from a courageous Jewish soldier who fought in defense of Jerusalem against the Romans and who took the name of Hereb (sword), or more likely Ish Hereb (swordsman).

Isaac Harby was proud of the role played in the American Revolution by his father-in-law, Samuel Mordecai, "a brave grenadier in the regular American Army, who fought and bled for the liberty he lived to enjoy and to hand down to his children."

Harby was a leading member of the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elo[k]im synagogue, first organized in Charleston in 1749 and thought to be the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the United States. A Jewish Tourist's Guide to the U.S. notes that "So many Charleston Jews enlisted in the service of the Confederacy that from 1862 to 1866, Beth Elo[k]im found it impossible to obtain a quorum of trustees and could hold no regular meetings."

Octavia Harby and her husband, Andrew Jackson Moses, had 17 children (three died in infancy), the five eldest males of whom fought for the South. Octavia was very active on the home front in support of the Confederacy. As she put it,

When the War broke out like every other Southern woman, I immediately began work for the soldiers: I organized a sewing society, to cut and make garments for them. I made it a point to try and meet every train that brought soldiers through our town, and, with others, frequently walked from my home, sometimes at two o'clock in the morning, to take food to our men as they passed through. We always greeted them with the wildest enthusiasm, and no thought of defeat ever entered our minds . Whenever the boys were fortunate enough to get home on short furloughs, they were the guests of the town - everybody feted them and nothing was too much to do in their honor.

When hospitals were established in Sumter, Octavia writes, "Our ladies, of course, took immediate charge, and the soldiers were fed and nursed with all the means of our command, and all the tenderness of Southern women."

She also showed compassion for the Union troops who had been taken prisoner: "When I heard that the Northern prisoners would be brought through our town and that they were nearly in a starving condition, I immediately exerted myself to obtain a large quantity of provisions to give to them."

Throughout the South, Jews assumed prominent roles in the Confederate government and armed forces; as Robert Rosen puts it in his authoritative book The Jewish Confederates, they "were used to being treated as equals" (an acceptance they had enjoyed for a century and a half).

The Confederacy's secretary of war and later state was Judah P. Benjamin - the so-called brains of the Confederacy - and the top Confederate commander, General Robert E. Lee, was known for showing great respect to his Jewish soldiers.

Charleston in the early 1800s had more Jews than any other city in North America, and many were respected citizens, office holders, and successful entrepreneurs. The city was commonly referred to as "our Jerusalem," and Myer Moses, my maternal family patriarch, in 1806 called his hometown " this land of milk and honey."

Many Jewish Confederates carried with them to the front the famous soldiers' prayer (which began with the sacred Shema) written by Richmond Rabbi Max Michelbacher, who after secession had issued a widely published benediction comparing Southerners to "the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea."

* * * * *

In contrast to the South, the North was a hotbed of anti-Jewish bigotry. Much of the political and military leadership of the Union government was composed of men - including such leading figures as generals Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman and Benjamin ("Beast") Butler - who disliked Jews, openly expressed their feelings, and persecuted Jews when they had the occasion to do so.
The prevailing anti-Jewish attitude resulted in the Union army's committing the worst official act of anti-Semitism in American history - about which I wrote in greater detail for The Jewish Press in "Shame of the Yankees - America's Worst Anti-Jewish Action" (front-page essay, Nov. 17, 2006).

On December 17, 1862, Grant issued his soon-to-be infamous "General Order #11," expelling all Jews "as a class" from his conquered territories within 24 hours.

As a result of Grant's expulsion order, Jewish families were forced out of their homes in Paducah, Kentucky and Holly Springs and Oxford, Mississippi, and several were sent to prison.

On January 4, 1863, President Lincoln had Grant's order rescinded, but by then Jewish families in the area had been expelled, humiliated, terrified, jailed, and in some cases stripped of their possessions.

Bertram W. Korn, in his classic work American Jewry and the Civil War, describes the hardships and persecution suffered by Jewish families subject to the expulsion order:

They still tell stories of the expulsion in Paducah of the hurried departure by riverboat up the Ohio to Cincinnati; of a baby almost left behind in the haste and confusion and tossed bodily into the boat; of two dying women permitted to remain behind in neighbors' care. Thirty men and their families were expelled from Paducah, and according to affidavits by some of "the most respectable Union citizens of the city," the deportees "had at no time been engaged in trade within the active lines of General Grant " Two had already served brief enlistments in the Union army.

There are numerous other documented examples of widespread anti-Semitism in the North (recounted in my aforementioned "Shame of the Yankees" article, which can be accessed on The Jewish Press website). But you will find nary a mention of this persecution in history books, only adulatory praise for the Union and Lincoln.

The Union army that killed my family members was hardly the forerunner of the Civil Rights movement. Indeed, the treatment of Jews by Union forces pales in comparison to other atrocities they regularly committed against civilians, including the destruction of agricultural areas and other non-military targets; the routine burning and looting of cities, homes, libraries and courthouses; and, worst of all, the mass murder of Native Americans in the so-called Indian Wars.

This was the Union Army that descended upon the South and that my ancestors fought heroically in defense of their lives, their families, and their nation. It was a Lost Cause but an honorable one, and it should not be forgotten.

Lewis Regenstein is a writer living in Atlanta.

Condensed Account of Post Convention GEC Meeting

Post Convention meeting of the General Executive Council
Held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Anderson, South Carolina
3 PM Saturday July 24, 2010.

1. Meeting opened with prayer, pledge and salute to the Confederate Flag.

2. Newly elected CIC Michael Givens announced that Jim Speicher would serve as Chief of Staff.

3. CIC Givens nominated the following:
A. Dr. Hiter as the Chief of Heritage Defense.
B. Mark Evans as Chaplain in Chief
C. Burl McCoy as Judge Advocate in Chief
D. Chuck Rand as Adjutant in Chief

The newly elected members of the GEC voted to confirm these nominations.

4. AIC Rand conducted a roll call of GEC members. Quorum present.

5. Past Commander in Chief McMichael presented the Commander In Chief's flag to CIC Givens.

6. Frank Powell, editor of the Veteran, spoke about the immediate need to get columns in for newly elected officers for the Veteran. He also stated the next due date for articles is September 1, 2010.

7. Philip Davis, host committee chairman of the 2011 reunion in Montgomery, Alabama, gave are report on the preparations for the convention. ( Note: a website with convention details will be up by mid-August. )

8. Each member of the GEC was asked to send Adjutant Rand the email addresses they wish to use as their address of record for GEC business. CIC Givens also asked the Army Commanders to begin the process of compiling the email addresses of each camp in their respective armies.

9.. Ensign aide de camp appointments were announced. Chandler Givens, Evan McMichael and Joseph Lesser will continue to serve in the Givens Administration as they did in the McMichael Administration. Chandler Givens will be the Chief Ensign Aide de Camp.

10. GEC voted to authorize funds to support litigation involving the hotel and hotel owner that forced Bazz Childress to remove a flag from his window at the 2008 Reunion and had Compatriot Childress arrested.

11. James Patterson, host committee chairman of the 2012 convention, gave his report regarding preparations for the 2012 Convention in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

12. Army Commanders and Councilmen were asked to submit their nominations to serve on the Disciplinary Committee by Friday, July 30.

13. GEC held an executive session in which a matter involving the possible suspension of a camp charter was discussed.

14. CIC Givens announced the next meeting of the GEC will take place at Elm Springs on October 16, 2010.

15. Meeting ended with prayer and the singing of Dixie!.

Chief of Staff
Jim Speicher

Monday, July 12, 2010


Fort Monroe shift hitting Va home stretch
Jun 28, 2010 4:58 PM

A new state panel on Thursday will take on Fort Monroe's shift from a military outpost on the Chesapeake Bay to a Virginia possession requiring up to $80 million in repairs.

The state is scheduled to take over the historic Hampton military outpost in September 2011. The 11-member Fort Monroe Authority is charged with overseeing its maintenance, preservation and rebirth "as a vibrant and thriving community."

This week, the state entity will take the reins from the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, a quasi-public agency that has been involved for several years in the planning of the military's departure from Fort Monroe and the state's takeover.

Fort Monroe planners envision a tourism destination with museums and other attractions focusing on the post's military history, in addition to private investment to attract visitors.

The new panel, which includes legislators and members of Gov. Bob McDonnell's cabinet, will be more business-focused with an eye on securing funding for the transition, said Bill Armbruster, executive director of the authority that is disbanding. He will continue on with the new state panel.

Armbruster already has been involved in that key task, having returned from a recent trip to Washington to seek out federal dollars to complement the future state investments the shift will require.

"We need funding support, obviously," Armbruster said Monday. "It's a small city."

The 565-acre property includes a six-sided, 63-acre fortress sealed by 1.3 miles of granite - the last active moated fort in the U.S. The property includes 264 government buildings and housing, and a majority of the buildings are deemed historic.

A report released at the authority's final meeting on Thursday estimated Fort Monroe will need $70 million to $80 million in infrastructure repairs. That includes streets, bridges, flood protection and other issues.

"We view it as an investment because we believe it (Fort Monroe) will be ultimately self-sustaining," Armbruster said. He termed the funding a "bridge loan" to that ultimate goal.

The National Park Service will send a team to Fort Monroe in July to size up the property. If it decides to establish a presence at the fort, the agency would bring federal dollars with it.

"The Park Service is a tremendous steward of our natural heritage and park lands," Armbruster said in an interview. "We just think this place has an incredible story to tell and that partnering with the Park Service makes sense."

The Park Service official who will lead the Fort Monroe visit described it as a follow-up to a review conducted several years ago at the fort, before a reuse plan was developed and a permanent state authority was created.

The study concluded that while Fort Monroe is a national treasure, the service would need a "strong and sustainable partner" to help manage, maintain and operate it once the military moves on.

Terrence D. Moore, chief of planning and compliance for the northeast region with the Park Service, described the July 19-23 visit as "simply a follow-up."

"I think it's part of the process of trying to define what role, if any, we might have," he said.

Moore said the Park Service responded to a request from members of Virginia's congressional delegation to provide technical assistance and a possible future role for the department in the fort's development. He said he is not authorized to discuss any future Park Service relationship with Fort Monroe.

Old Point Comfort, the peninsula upon with the fortress is built, and Fort Monroe have been players in Virginia's history since the arrival of English settlers four centuries ago. The first enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort in 1619, and slaves sought their freedom at Fort Monroe during the Civil War when it served as a Union outpost.

Edgar Allen Poe served several months in the military at Fort Monroe in 1828, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned there after the South's defeat.

Part of a reuse plan has entailed museums or historical displays reflecting the fort's history involving African-Americans and the Civil War. The property also includes 8 miles of waterfront and a 332-slip marina.

"There's so much there to work with," Armbruster said. "We have a lot to do but we're excited about it."

ANV Announces Scholarship Winner

I am pleased to announce that our Committee Chairman, Richard Williams, of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, has named Miss Peyton Leight Finchum of Liberty, NC, as this years winner of the Russell Darden Army of Northern Virginia scholarship. Congratulations go out to Miss Finchum as well as $2500 for her college tuition.

Brag Bowling
Army of Northern Virginia

Friday, July 9, 2010

Confederate and They Don't Know It

Are You Confederate But Don't Know It?

June 24, 2001
By Charley Reese

Most of the political problems in this country won't be settled until more folks realize the South was right.

I know that goes against the P.C. edicts, but the fact is that on the subject of the constitutional republic, the Confederate leaders were right and the Northern Republicans were wrong.

Many people today even argue the Confederate positions without realizing it.

For example, if you argue for strict construction of the Constitution, you are arguing the Confederate position; when you oppose pork-barrel spending, you are arguing the Confederate position; and when you oppose protective tariffs, you are arguing the Confederate position. But that's not all.

When you argue for the Bill of Rights, you are arguing the Confederate position, and when you argue that the Constitution limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, you are arguing the Confederate position.

One of the things that gets lost when you adopt the politically correct oversimplification that the War Between the States was a Civil War all about slavery is a whole treasure load of American political history.

It was not a civil war. A civil war is when two or more factions contend for control of one government. At no time did the South intend or attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. The Southern states simply withdrew from what they correctly viewed as a voluntary union. They formed their own union and adopted their own constitution.

The U.S. government remained intact. There were just fewer states, but everything else remained as exactly as it was. You can be sure that, with as much bitterness and hatred of the South that there was in the North, the Northerners would have tried Confederates for treason if there had been any grounds. There weren't, and the South's worst enemy knew that.

Abraham Lincoln's invasion of the South was entirely without any constitutional authority. And it's as plain as an elephant in a tea party that Lincoln did not seek to preserve the Union to end slavery. All you have to do is read his first inaugural address. What Lincoln didn't want to lose was tax revenue generated by the South.