Friday, December 30, 2011

Cemetery for Alabama Troops Found in Virginia

Tenth Alabama Regiment cemetery in Virginia uncovered 150 years later
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Mary Orndorff -- The Birmingham News

Brian Smith, right, and his son Dane consult as volunteers help clean up part of a Civil War camp site where soldiers from Alabama are buried. The work is part of the project Dane Smith embarked upon to earn Eagle Scout status. (The Birmingham News/Mary Orndorff)

BRISTOW, Va. -- About an hour west of Washington, D.C., on a scrubby plot of land overrun by pricker bushes and in the shadow of dense modern townhouse developments, an Alabama cemetery was born.

Civil War preservationists with no personal links to Alabama admit to muttering a "Roll Tide" or two as they walked across the newly cleared land, the final resting place of between 75 and 90 soldiers with the Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Historical documents and archeological study pinpointed the burial grounds, a desperate place in the late summer of 1861, when rampant disease claimed up to five or six Confederate soldiers a day at what was known as Camp Jones.

There are other signs. The area is devoid of stones, except for five large rocks dug deeply into the dirt, each cut on at least one side by a man-made tool. And the area is pockmarked by man-sized depressions, not in rows, but haphazardly, as if soldiers were buried right where they died.
That level of detail, however, was unknown until Dec. 3, when a crew of about 40 volunteers, led by a 16-year-old Eagle Scout candidate, descended with chain saws and strong arms and gave sunlight and a defined boundary to the cemetery.

"It's one of the better Eagle Scout projects I've seen," said Rob Orrison, site manager with the Prince William County Department of Public Works Historic Preservation Division. "I was blown away by the number of people that came out."

The Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park is a new, lesser-known addition to an area rich with Civil War historical sites; Manassas National Battlefield Park is about three miles away as the crow flies.

The Bristoe Station park opened in 2007 after a developer, Prince William County officials and the Civil War Preservation Trust reached a compromise. The massive farm property is to be developed for residential and office space, save for a 133-acre passive park marking the Battle of Kettle Run in 1862 and the Battle of Bristoe Station in 1863.

The private owner who sold the land to the developer had farmed for decades around the unmarked cemetery, indicating he knew its historic value. But it was overgrown and inaccessible. So when Dane Smith of nearby Nokesville called up looking for an Eagle Scout project, park officials recommended clearing the cemetery.

Smith's father, Brian, recalls hearing the details about the project. "When I heard it was an Alabama regiment, I was like, 'Great, I work for an Alabama bank,'" Brian Smith said on his second straight chilly December Saturday at the site. He is the lead Washington lobbyist for Regions Financial Corp.

The volunteers, under Dane Smith's direction, cleared the underbrush, cut down trees, put up a split-rail fence and built a bridge over a creek. Their work was approved by Orrison, who told them which trees to remove and how not to disturb the ground. Tree stumps were left intact. The stone grave markers -- three of which Orrison knew were there plus two others uncovered during the work -- were marked with bright pink tape. The park had earlier used radar to detect the disturbed dirt of the gravesites so they could estimate a cemetery boundary.
Soldiers marching by a nearby road in 1862 wrote of the row of cedar trees leading toward a clearing with wooden grave markers engraved with the names of the dead. Several years later, someone else wrote that the markers were in stone. "Who knows when they were changed?" Orrison said.

Old pictures indicate that some of the stones were engraved, but they are missing.
Eventually, mulch will be placed on the path to the cemetery, and Orrison wants to raise the money to pay for a memorial plaque at the entrance, listing names of the 40 or so soldiers known to be buried there. He's hoping to have that work done in time for a September dedication ceremony. The gravesites will be mapped and the site open to tourists.
Park officials hope that by registering the cemetery, genealogists and historians will help them fill in the blanks of who else might be buried there, and descendants will visit their ancestors.
"It is a little sad that we won't be able to tell them exactly where they are," Orrison said.
The Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment included companies from Jefferson, Shelby, Calhoun, Talladega, St. Clair, Calhoun, DeKalb and Talladega counties, according to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

A second overgrown plot across the pasture is believed to be where Mississippi soldiers are buried.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Texas Division Files Suit over Plates

Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans sues over license plates
December 8, 2011

A group that campaigned unsuccessfully for Texas to issue a specialty license plate featuring a Confederate flag is suing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles board in federal court.
The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a 30,000-member group based in Columbia, Tenn., released a statement Thursday after filing the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Austin arguing that the DMV infringed on its right to free speech by refusing the license plate design.

"The 1st Amendment clearly protects controversial speech," the group said in a statement sent to The Times, noting that the same day the eight-member DMV board voted unanimously to reject the Confederate plate last month it approved a plate that "is offensive to Native Americans" because it honors the Buffalo Soldiers, an all-black cavalry that helped fight Native Americans in the 1800s.

"The board seeks to bar the Texas SCV from expressing their viewpoint while allowing all other groups to express their viewpoint. This type of restriction is exactly the type which the 1st Amendment is designed to erase," the statement said.

Texas officials turned down a Sons of Confederate Veterans' request for a specialty plate three years ago, citing rules that banned political or controversial plates. The rules changed two years ago, and the board has since approved all 89 proposed specialty designs.

"We said if we don't get the plates we're going to sue them," Marshall Davis, a spokesman for the group in Austin, told The Times. "There are other organizations that have had to sue their states to get their 1st Amendment rights, and this is the same thing."

Davis said his group was optimistic it would prevail because "a precedent has been set" in other states. Nine other states have approved Sons of Confederate Veterans' specialty plates, but Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina only did so after the group sued. A similar suit is pending in Florida.

Davis said the design, which features a Confederate flag as part of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' logo, honors veterans. He said the group planned to use proceeds from plate sales, a portion of which return to the sponsoring group, to educate the public about Civil War history.
Opponents called the flag a symbol of bigotry. The NAACP gathered more than 22,000 petition signatures and a letter from at least 19 state legislators opposing the plates.

Before the DMV vote, Gov. Rick Perry had said he opposed the Confederate license plate proposal during a campaign appearance in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
DMV officials told the Associated Press they had not seen the lawsuit late Thursday.

Texas SCV Files Suit for Tag

Texas Sons Of Confederate Veterans


Today, December 8th, 2011 a complaint is being filed in pursuant of 42 U.S.C. §1983 to vindicate the rights secured to the “Texas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans” by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

The Texas SCV is a non-profit organization that works diligently to preserve the memory and reputation of the Confederate soldiers, emphasizing the virtues of their fight for the preservation of liberty and freedom. Like many other non-profit organizations in Texas, the Texas SCV sought from the State of Texas, through the Department Motor Vehicles Board, approval of a specialty license plate, both to raise awareness of their endeavors and to raise additional money to fund their activities.

This action is in regards to the recent denial by the of the specialty license application presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles Board by the Texas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Currently, the SCV has specialty automobile license plates available to vehicle drivers in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The Texas SCV initially applied for a specialty license plate in Texas with the Department of Transportation, the proper agency at the time, in August 2009. That application was denied by the Department of Transportation. In 2009, the Texas Legislature amended the Transportation Code to provide that the Department of Motor Vehicles, rather than the Department of Transportation, was charged with issuing specialty license plates. The license plate function moved to the new Department of Motor Vehicles on November 1, 2009. At the time the Texas SCV reapplied with the new governing department, to hopefully have a specialty plate in advance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, April 12, 2011.

The official public comments were heavily in favor of the Texas SCV’s application for a specialty plate. Following commentary by both proponents and opponents, the Board rejected the SCV plate at the hearing by an 8-0 vote without any discussion. At the same hearing, the Buffalo Soldiers plate, without any discussion, was approved by a 5-3 vote.

Since the Department of Motor Vehicle Board has been charged with issuing specialty license plates, the Sons of the Confederate Veterans plate is the first, and only, to be rejected.Through the members of the Department of Motor Vehicles Board, the State of Texas has discriminated against the Texas SCV based on the ideas and message that the Texas SCV supports, in clear violation of the First Amendment.

The Board seeks to bar the Texas SCV from expressing their viewpoint while allowing all other groups to express their viewpoint: this type of restriction is exactly the type which the First Amendment is designed to erase. The only guideline that the Transportation Code has to offer, which the Board referenced as its reason for rejecting the plate, is that the Board can reject a plate “if the design might be offensive to any member of the public…” This, however, cannot be the standard. It is vague and indeterminable. Essentially, it is no standard at all to say that the Board can discriminate based upon a viewpoint if such speech is offensive to anyone.

The First Amendment clearly protects controversial speech. Additionally, even if simply being “offensive to any member of the public” was sufficient to allow for rejection, the State has approved numerous plates that are “offensive to any member of the public.” In fact, the plate approved the very same day as the Texas SCV plate was rejected – the Buffalo Soldier plate – is offensive to Native Americans because the all-black cavalry helped fight Native Americans in the Indian Wars from 1867-1888. Accordingly, the Texas SCV seeks appropriate injunctive relief, requiring the State of Texas to approve the Texas SCV’s application and implement the specialty plate.

Granvel J. Block
Commander Texas Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Monday, December 5, 2011

Flag Posted in Dorm Window

Student Sparks Debate With Dorm Room Confederate Flag

December 01, 2011
Associated Press

Byron Thomas, 19, a student at USCB holds a Confederate battle flag in his dormitory room on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 in Okatie, S.C. Byron Thomas says a class research project made him realize the flag's real meaning has been hijacked.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – A black U.S. college student who drew complaints for displaying a Confederate flag in his dorm room window said he sees the banner as a symbol of pride and not racism.

Byron Thomas, 19, said university officials asked him in late November to take the down the banner associated with pro-slavery secessionist forces during the 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War after students and parents complained. They have since told him he can put it back up.

"When I look at this flag, I don't see racism. I see respect, Southern pride," he said. "This flag was seen as a communication symbol" during the Civil War, he said.

That history is debatable. The orange flag with a blue St. Andrew's Cross and white stars is a relatively modern rectangular variant on banners carried into battle by the secessionists, also resembling a rebel naval jack. The variant banner, confused by many with the markedly different Confederate national flag, was adopted as a symbol of pride generations after the South surrendered and slavery was abolished.

Controversy has surrounded the use of the symbol since -- some associating it with regional pride and others a legacy of the enslavement of Africans and their descendants and the ensuing century of often violent racial segregation. Several states incorporated its design into their official flags; South Carolina raised it over its state capitol for the war's 1961 centennial, where it continued to fly until widening opposition to the symbol brought it back down in 2000, nearly 40 years later.

Byron, a student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, took the flag down at the university's request, but he said he's considering putting it back up after the officials relented. Thomas has drawn nearly 70,000 views since he posted a video online in which he acknowledges: "I know it's kind of weird because I'm black."

In a telephone interview Thursday, Thomas said a class research project made him come to the belief that the flag's real meaning has been hijacked. He said he wants people to thoughtfully consider issues of race and not just knee-jerk reactions to such symbols.

The freshman from North Augusta said his generation can eliminate the flag's negative power by adopting the banner as a symbol of Southern pride.

"I've been getting a lot of support from people. My generation is interested in freedom of speech," Thomas said.

But Thomas says his parents don't like the flag and he's concerned about their point of view, particularly since they pay his bills.

"I don't want to make my parents mad," he said. "I may wait until Monday to put it up."

Thomas' roommate Blane Reed, who identifies as white, said in a separate telephone interview that he never heard any complaints after Thomas put the flag up shortly after Labor Day. Each student has a separate bedroom and share living space with three others, he said.

Thomas posted a video on a CNN-run website that has logged more than 69,000 viewing and an article in a local newspaper brought more attention.

University spokeswoman Candace Brasseur said Thursday in an email that about two-dozen students had raised the issue of the flag with the housing office or with a resident adviser. On Thursday, she forwarded an email the school had sent to its students and staff, informing them that officials had asked Thomas to remove the flag "out of respect for his fellow students' concerns."

However, the email added, because of "the University cannot and will not prohibit these flags or other symbols that our students choose to display." It cited the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits laws abridging the freedom of speech.

Thomas is free to return it to his window if he wishes, Brasseur said.

USC Beaufort is one of eight campuses in the University of South Carolina system and has about 1,750 students, of which about 16.5 percent identify as African American, according to the school web site.

Read more:

GEC Meeting Condensed Account

Condensed Account of the October 15, 2011 Fall GEC Meeting
Held at Columbia, Tennessee

1. Meeting called to order at 8:30 am and opened with prayer, pledge of allegiance, salute to the Confederate flag and reading of The Charge.

2. Quorum was present with 15 of 16 members present.

3. Minutes of the pre and post Montgomery Convention were approved as well as were the minutes of the GEC teleconference of October 11, 2011.

4. Executive Director Sewell gave his report covering membership, status of SCV endowment funds and the mailing of the Christmas merchandise catalogue.

5. Past CIC McMichael gave an update on the February 25, 2012 Sesquicentennial Event to be held in Richmond, VA and stated that the 2013 event will be held at Beauvoir.

6. Indiana Division Commander Gordon Flick presented Executive Director Sewell the Dr. Pits Meritorious Service Award.

7. Lt. Commander In Chief Barrow reported on the recent Leadership Conference held in Burlington, North Carolina and the upcoming conference to be held on February 11, 2012 in Monroe, Louisiana. He also noted the SCV ad to appear in American History Magazine.

8. Heritage Defense Chief Hiter addressed several recent incidents including misstatements by Glen Beck concerning the South’s reason for fighting for independence and the situation in Reidsville, North Carolina regarding the Confederate monument there.

9. The GEC approved a new bumper sticker design with a sticker to be inserted in an upcoming issue of the Confederate Veteran.

10. CIC Givens made comments regarding several of the many meetings and events he has recently attended. He highlighted the Leadership Conference held in Burlington, North Carolina and the “Sunny South Guards” flag presentation reenactment held by the SCV and UDC in Tampa, Florida.

11. GEC reviewed a draft of the proposed Sam Davis Youth Camps Operating Agreement and voted to approve a board of directors for the camps.

12. GEC approved a submission by the Disciplinary Committee of a guide to “Understanding the SCV Disciplinary Procedure”. The guide addresses the process and information that those contemplating filing charges need to understand as well as the rights of those against whom charges are filed. The GEC suggested more information be included on some specific topics. This information will be added to the guide.

13. The GEC heard a report on the upcoming reenactment of the Battle of Shiloh to be held in the spring of 2012 and presented by the Armies of Tennessee. The GEC voted a resolution of endorsement for the reenactment.

14. Past Virginia Division Commander Dorsey updated the GEC on the situation in Lexington, Virginia regarding the city’s restrictions on display of Confederate flags and plans for dealing with the situation.

15. The Budget and Finance Committee reported on three grant requests. The only grant approved by the GEC was for renovations to the S.D. Lee home in Columbus, Mississippi. The grant will qualify the home for extensive matching funds.

The other requests for grant funds were not approved due to the amount of funds already approved at previous meetings being very close to the total amount of funding currently budgeted.

Chuck Rand



Stone Mountain, Georgia
February, 23-26, 2012

TOPIC: Nationalist historians for 150 years have protected Americans from confronting the stark immorality of prosecuting what French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel called, “a war such as Europe had never yet seen” to force eleven States into a federation from which their people had voted to secede. Should eleven American States secede today and form a federation of their own, such a war would be judged criminal.

Northern opposition to the war was more extensive, complex and had more respectable adherents than the mainline account allows, e.g., Governor Seymour of New York, 1861: “Indeed, Can we so entirely forget the past history of our country, that we can stand upon the point of pride against states whose citizens battled with our fathers and poured out their blood upon the soil of our state. Upon whom are we to wage war? Our own countrymen….”

Lincoln and his party often acted as an embattled minority in the North. The Sesquicentennial offers an opportunity to explore the view point of the most neglected and misrepresented segment of American opinion on the great conflict at the center of our history.

Learn about the resistance of President Franklin Pierce and New York Governor Horatio Seymour. Midwestern “Copperheads.” Christian reaction to the bloodthirsty rhetoric of pro-war Republican preachers. Pro-Union opposition to the Republican Party. Resistance in the border States. Gradations and conflicts in Northern opinion, especially among ethnic groups. Treatment of black soldiers by the Union army during and after the war. And much more.

SPEAKERS. Douglas Bostick, Kent Masterson Brown , Richard Gamble, Marshall Derosa, Donald Livingston, Brion McClanahan, Allen Mendenhall, Joseph Stromberg, Richard Valentine, Jonathan White, Clyde Wilson,

PLACE. Beautiful Stone Mountain Park, built to commemorate the Confederacy. Visit the memorial to Lee, Jackson, and Davis which is the largest stone carving in the world. Much to see and do, so bring the family.

COST. Rooms: very special rate of $106 a day, single or double (rate ends February 1). Conference fee is $225 for Abbeville members and $275 for others. Make checks payable to Abbeville Institute, P.O.Box 10, McClellanville, S.C. 2945 (fee includes tuition, park entrance fee, reception, breakfast, continuous snacks and refreshments). Make room reservations at Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort 770-879-9900. SCHOLARSHIPS. A few scholarships are available for college and graduate students who are encouraged to apply.

INQUIRIES: or 843-323-0690. For lecture titles and schedule see


Thursday, Feb. 23
4:30-6:00 Registration and Conviviality (Rotunda Room)
6:00-7:00 Supper Buffet (Waterside Restaurant)
7:00-8:00 “The War to Prevent Southern Independence: My Myth or Yours,” Clyde Wilson

Friday, Feb. 24
8:00-9:00 Breakfast (Rotunda Room)
9:00-10:00 “’To Maintain the Constitution as it is, and to Restore the Union as it Was,’” Doug Bostick
10:15-11:15 “The Civil War: Kentucky’s Mercurial Political Course,” Kent Masterson Brown
11:30-12:30 “The Midwestern ‘Copperheads,’” Jonathan White

12:30-4:30 Free time (lunch on your own)

4:30-5:30 “Behind Enemy Lines with President Pierce: Principles Over Politics,” Marshall Derosa
5:45-6:45 “‘Get Down you Damm Fool?’: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. on Lincoln, the Union, and the War,” Allen Mendenhall
6:45-7:45 Supper Buffet (Waterside Restaurant)
8:00-9:00 Round Table Discussion with Audience

Saturday, Feb. 25
8:00-9:00 Breakfast (Rotunda Room)
9:00-10:00 “The Avenger Without Mercy: Delaware Under the Federal Heel,” Brion McClanahan
10:15-11:15 “Yankees & Yonkers: Opposition to Lincoln’s Policies in Westchester County, New York and the Greater Hudson Valley,” Robert Valentine
11:30-12:30 “’Colored Troops for Work’: The Union Army’s Use and Treatment of Black Troops,” Doug Bostick

12:30-4:30 (Free time)

4:30-5:30 “Northern Clergymen, the Kingdom of God on Earth, and the Abolition of the South,” Joseph Stromberg
5:45-6:45 “Between God and Caesar: Northern Clergy and the Problem of a Politicized Pulpit,” Richard Gamble

7:00-8:00 Supper Buffet (Waterside Restaurant)
8:00-9:00 Round Table Discussion with Audience

Sunday, Feb. 26 (Departure)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flag Stolen From Tennessee Cemetery

Confederate flag at center of debate stolen By Robert Sorrell

A Confederate flag placed at historic Green Hill Cemetery this October, which became the center of controversy, has been reported stolen.

Ptl. Justin Pearce of the Elizabethton Police Department reported on the theft Sunday. Pearce said he was dispatched to Green Hill Cemetery, which is located next to the Tractor Supply Company in Elizabethton. He spoke to William Hicks, who said he observed the Confederate flag, which he placed in October, had been stolen.

Hicks said he last saw the flag about 7 p.m. Saturday and noticed it was missing around 8 a.m. Sunday.

According to a police report, Cpl. Curtis Bullock attempted to lift latent prints from the 30-foot flag pole but did not recover any evidence. There were no suspects at the time of Pearce’s report.

On Monday, Investigator David Peters was assigned the case. Peters said he has read the initial report and began the investigation but has no leads or suspects. He added that there is not any video surveillance at the cemetery, or any video of the cemetery from the adjacent Tractor Supply.

Peters also investigated the theft of an iron Southern Cross of Honor from the grave of a Confederate soldier in Highland Cemetery. The theft was reported in early October by a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Peters said he received a tip in the iron cross case, but it led to a dead-end.

The Confederate flag at Green Hill Cemetery was raised in October by the SCV in commemoration of four Confederate soldiers buried on the property, including 1st Lt. Robert J. Tipton.

On Oct. 22, Hicks said the Third National flag, a Confederate flag, was placed on the pole during the ceremony, which featured several guest speakers, costumed re-enactors and entertainment. After Hicks discovered the flag was missing on Sunday, he replaced it with the Naval Jack, or “Battle Flag.” He explained to the STAR that this flag was used by commands to direct units in battle.

The raising of the flag was the center of some controversy in October, after the SCV announced it would be placed at the historic cemetery. The Watauga Historical Association, which has preserved the property since the 1980s, has voiced its disapproval of the Confederate flag’s placement, primarily citing that Green Hill Cemetery is not a military cemetery.

In addition to the new Naval Jack flag, there are also a few smaller Confederate flags, as well as American flags, at the cemetery.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Florida Monument Needs Repair

By ANGEL McCURDY/Florida Freedom Newspapers

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — The 140-year-old white marble monument that sits in front of the Walton County Courthouse attracts little attention.

The memorial dedicated to the confederate dead from the Civil War has been there since 1927, yet it is missing pieces and goes mostly unnoticed by passers-by.

The monument has been designated by historians as the first one erected in Florida to pay tribute to confederates killed in the war. However, many details about the memorial come from folk tales rather than documentation.

“For me, (the monument) is just there. It’s not anything that catches people’s attention,” said Diane Merkel, president of the Walton County Heritage Museum. “I’m sure there are records somewhere, but no one has dug that deep yet.”

The monument was sculpted shortly after the Civil War. A group then called Ladies’ Memorial Association raised $250 to have it erected.

“I would guess in this area, in the South in general, it was a lot of money,” Merkel said. “Those people had been through a terrible time.”

A New Orleans sculptor named A. Barret is credited with the work, according to “Walton Wanderings: A Swing and a Miss at History” written by James E. Moore in 1996.

The monument stands 12 feet high and has a base of 28 inches.

The top, which once featured a hand pointing skyward, disappeared about six years ago, presumably taken by vandals.

“There’s really little maintenance that’s done with it. It’s just a part of our community,” said Dede Hinote, the county’s administrative services coordinator.

Hinote said officials have been considering ways to replace the missing hand for the last two years.

“Funding hasn’t been available the past few years and the person who was trying to get this going retired, but we’re still looking into it,” Hinote said.

Inscribed on the monument is the date it was made — 1871 — and “To the Memory of the Confederate Dead of Walton Co. Florida.”

The sides are inscribed with the names of two captains, four lieutenants and 85 enlisted men from the 1st, 6th and 7th Florida volunteers — 91 names in all.

“It was a good amount of people (killed),” Merkel said. Based on a census from 1860, the population of Walton County was 3,037 — 2,584 white men and women and 441 slaves.

The Ladies’ Memorial Association originally decided to place the monument at Euchee Valley Presbyterian Church, but others disagreed and the group placed the statue in the front lawn of the early court-house in Eucheeanna.

At some point, John Morrison, a state delegate, his brother Murdoch Morrison and some of their employees loaded the monument onto a wagon and brought it to Euchee Valley Presbyterian Church.

According to Moore’s book, the brothers threatened violence against anyone who tried to stop them.

The president of the women’s group, Jeannett J. McCullom — McKinnon on the statue — filed a complaint with the First Judicial Court. The case was dismissed.

McCullom appealed to the Supreme Court of Florida. In January 1874 the court found for McCullom and the monument was moved back to the Eucheeanna courthouse.

In September 1927, the statue was moved a final time to its present location in DeFuniak Springs when the city became the county seat.

The monument with a confederate flag flying beside it has stirred up little debate over the years. Merkel credited it to being “heritage, not hatred.”

Hinote agreed that few problems have arisen in about statue or the flag.

“It’s important to this area because it’s a part of our history,” Hinote said. “It’s all pretty basic. There’s been no controversy to speak of.”

While nothing has stirred about removing the historic marker, little is known about the monument.

“Most of our history is verbal, which makes it really hard to get back to the primary sources information,” said Merkel, who has been trying to gather information. “I want to use primary sources if at all possible, but there are not a whole lot of things around.”

The now–defunct Florida Board of Parks and Historical Monuments declared the memorial a historic marker in 1967.

Since then, few photos have been shot.

“I wish we had enough photographs of it to pinpoint the years. (The hand has) been gone for a long time,” Merkel said. “I wish there were more available. Maybe someone will be inspired to start digging.”

New Jersey Teen Suspended for Flag Shirt

East Windsor teen suspended over Confederate flag shirt, mom says school is wrong
Monday, November 14, 2011
Lisa Coryell/For The Times The Times, Trenton

Torri Albrecht, 14, an eighth grade student at East Windsor's Kreps Middle School, was suspended on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, for wearing a Confederate flag sweatshirt to school, according to her mother, Jane West. (Photo courtesy of the West family.)
EAST WINDSOR — A Kreps Middle School parent who says her daughter was suspended for wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the image of the confederate flag says the school overstepped its boundaries and violated her daughter’s right to free speech.

Jane West says she’s thinking about withdrawing her daughter, Torri Albrecht, from the school even as district officials insist that the flag — viewed by many as a racially charged symbol — was not the reason the girl was suspended.

“They’re saying that now because they know they really went too far this time,” West said. “If there wasn’t a problem with the sweatshirt, why did the vice principal call at 10 after 8 on Monday to demand that I bring a change of clothes for my daughter?”

“He told me he had a bunch of students and a bunch of teachers come into his office to say they were disturbed by it,” she said.

West said she told the assistant principal, Jermaine Blount, he was crazy if he thought she was coming out with a change of clothes for the eighth-grader.

“The Indian kids wear their turbans. The Jewish kids wear their yarmulkes. That’s their birthright,” she said. “I told him that Torri was born in Virginia. That flag is her heritage and I’m not telling her to take it off. He said ‘I guess she’ll have to suffer the consequences.’”

West said before heading to the school she called her daughter’s cell phone to tell her not to follow any orders to turn the sweatshirt inside out.

When she got to the school she was told that her daughter had been given a one-day suspension, she said.

No stranger to run-ins with school administrators at Kreps over issues involving her daughter, West said she’d had enough. She told her daughter to clean out her locker because she wasn’t coming back to school.

District Superintendent Edward Forsthoffer III disputed West’s account.

“No student was suspended for wearing an inappropriate shirt,” he said. He declined to say why Albrecht was suspended, citing student confidentiality policies.

Speaking in generalities, he said the district has a dress code that bans any clothing that causes a substantial disturbance in school.

“We’d rather be proactive than reactive,” he said. “Ninety-nine times out of 100, when asked, students say ‘OK, I’ll change.’ Some want to make an issue of it for ulterior motives. If there’s defiance involved, if there’s profanity involved (in the refusal to change clothing), certainly we’d have to respond appropriately.”

The battle flag of Confederate forces in the Civil War is widely regarded as one of the most controversial symbols from American history. Many see it as a symbol of racism while others consider it a part of familial and cultural heritage.

West says she and her daughter are in the latter group.

“We are so far from prejudiced,” she said. “My older daughter is biracial. For Torri this was about expressing herself. It was about saying ‘I’m from the South and I’m proud of it.’ She didn’t do it to cause hurt feelings.”

Furthermore, she said, the sweatshirt could not have caused a disturbance in the 10 minutes Albrecht wore it before being escorted to the office at the start of the school day. Albrecht herself said no one commented on the shirt.

Courts have upheld the right of schools to prohibit the display of Confederate flags on school property, but both Forsthoffer and West agree that the East Windsor district is pushing that issue.

The superintendent said no ban was ever issued. West says Kreps Principal Lori Stein called her the day after the suspension to say the school had changed its stance.

“She said that after careful consideration she decided that if Torri wears the sweatshirt, it might not be liked but that (Stein) would look the other way and allow her to wear it,” West said.

She’s not sure she’ll accept that solution, she said.

West said she plans to send Albrecht to Virginia to live with her sister in December but doesn’t know what to do in the meantime, since Kreps is the only middle school in the district. She said she’s considering home-schooling the girl until she can make the move south.

Battle Flag Commentary - Why the Hate Toward It?

Why do so many of the ruling elite despise the Confederate battle flag?
by Mark Vogl
Monday, March 7, 2011

One of these days you may be driving along an interstate highway and be surprised to see a huge garrison sized Confederate battle flag flying proudly. These flags are part of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Flags Across the South program.

The crimson battle flag with a blue cross and thirteen white stars is the most recognized symbol of the South, and the Civil War in America, and across the globe. In fact, if you think for a moment, does any other region in the United States have a symbol? Does the powerful northeast? Does the West Coast? How bout the Heartland? The answer is no.

Only the South has a regioal symbol, and even a quasi-national anthem, Dixie.

Three decades ago these symbols flew at NASCAR race tracks, at many college and high school football games, and Dixie was played as a fight song for many schools.

But somewhere in the 80's the ruling elite decided that these symbols of Southern regionalism and pride had to be erased. The excuse, that they offended black Americans. They made every effort to associate the Confederate battle flag with raciest organizations. Slavery was embraced as the sole PC subject connected with the American Civil War.


Any real historian will tell you that the only American slave ships which brought slaves to America flew the American flag! The slave trade was condemned as illegal in the Confederate Constitution.

And, once the US was created as nation, the US flag flew over the harbors, north and South, where slaves were brought to the United States. There was no Confederacy in those days, and there was no crimson battle flag.

So why is there so much hatred spewed against the battle flag of the Confederate Armed Forces? Why is the most recognized symbol of the South condemned?

Before I answer, let me ask another question. Do you know what the Stars and Bars looks like? No not the crimson battle flag, the Stars and Bars? This was the first national flag of the Confederate States of America. The Stars and Bars kinda looks like the US flag. It has a red, white and red bar, with a blue field in the upper corner. Usually, it is seen with seven stars in a circle. Yep, that's the Stars and Bars. The Confederacy had two other national flags, one was a white sheet with a crimson battle flag in one corner, the third was a white sheet with a crimson battle flag in the corner, and red bar running from top to bottom on the other end.

Ok, so lets talk about why the Confederate flag is so hated?

The Confederate battle flag is a very attractive, recognizable flag. It is the most recognized symbol of the South. Across the globe, many oppressed people fly this flag as a symbol of resistance. It flew in Berlin when the Wall fell. It flew in Afghanistan when the Afghani’s drove out the Soviets.

The Confederate battle flag makes Americans think about secession. It leads to discussions and questions about the principle of the "consent of the governed," and how that principle was completely ignored when Lincoln invaded the South. Before 1861 the legitimacy of the United States government rested on the sovereignty of the people and the fact that the states, as the representatives or agents of the people joined the union voluntarily. But, that ended with secession. For whatever reason, thirteen southern states chose to leave the Union. They left through democratic process and system. The people of the state, either through referendum, or through election of delegates to attend secession conventions chose to leave the Union.

And, when seven of those states joined together, they held a constitutional convention in Montgomery Alabama and drafted a new Constitution with many important changes. In effect, the South created a new system for American governance.

The ultimate right of the people was asserted. The people of a state, if they did not wish to remain in the Union could leave. If they did not want Obama care, they could leave. If they did not support a war, they could leave. If they opposed Roe v. Wade, or Gay Marriage, they could leave the union.

It was this ability to secede peacefully which acted as the single most effective restraint to the federal government over reaching itself.

The ruling elite despise the Confederate battle flag because of what it truly stands for, the original intent of the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia.

Take an opportunity during the Sesquicentennial to learn about America. Visit a local Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp and learn about American history. We encourage people to read primary sources concerning the creation of the US Constitution, and the actual events of secession in each of the Southern states. If you armed with the facts of what really occurred you might finally understand why there is such hatred towards the Crimson battle flag

Baloon Launching Point to be Preserved

Nonprofit aims to save Civil War's 'Kitty Hawk'

Story posted 2011.11.26
The Associated Press

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — It was the Civil War's "Kitty Hawk moment," and it happened here when balloons manned by Confederate and Union aeronauts floated above a field of battle — the first time warring armies sent their air ships aloft simultaneously over U.S. soil.

The historic encounter in the skies occurred on June 27, 1862, when two Union balloons — the Intrepid and the Washington — rose aloft only miles west of Richmond while their Southern counterpart, Gazelle, floated over the capital of the Confederacy. These balloons were the unarmed drones of war, collecting intelligence on rival troop movements from a vantage of 1,000 feet above the earth.

"You had the Confederate balloon up and the Union balloons up, all trying to exploit the advantages of being above and over the battlefield and providing tactical information to their respective generals," says Mike Boehme, director of the Virginia Aviation Museum. "This was the first time that opposing air forces were facing each other."

Today a multimillion-dollar preservation effort by the nonprofit group The Civil War Trust is seeking to save the ground where the Union launched its balloons here. Little of the original battlefield has been preserved. But the 285-acre slice of the Gaines' Mill battlefield includes a ravine that shielded the North's balloons from Confederate troops while they were launched.

Gaines' Mill was the stage for the one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of the Civil War and the battleground where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee recorded his first victory. The June 27, 1862, battle repulsed Union forces and their Peninsula Campaign, a disastrous attempt starting in March 1862 to occupy Richmond by way of the peninsula between the York and James rivers. The battle involved nearly 100,000 troops and left more than 15,000 dead or wounded.

The trust's Rob Shenk was attending a presentation on Civil War ballooning in June at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum when he made the aeronautic connection.

"I realized, God, that looks like one of the tracts we're about to save," said Shenk, the trust's director of Internet strategy and development. "How amazing it would be if we were saving a piece of battlefield land that had great aeronautical history."

Until the Civil War, balloons were fairgrounds attractions, taking the curious aloft for a few dollars.

A New Englander, Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, changed all that. The father of military aerial reconnaissance, he had planned a trans-Atlantic balloon crossing until he was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as chief aeronaut of the Union's balloon corps. He dazzled the president by taking a balloon over the White House and telegraphing Lincoln a message in June 1861.That was the beginning of the Union's earliest "air force" and balloons would later be sent aloft on several occasions to spy on enemy lines — but not at the same time by rival forces until Gaines' Mill.

Intrigued by the intersection of Civil War and aeronautic history, Boehme and two experts in aviation history trekked to Gaines' Mill one crisp fall day. They carried historic photos of ballooning from Gaines' Mill, comparing the present-day contours of the spare landscape with the aging images.

All agreed, this was the home of Civil War ballooning's heyday.

"Military ballooning spreads from here, really, to around the world," said Tom D. Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

"The high ground. It is the ultimate high ground," said James L. Green, chief of planetary science at NASA and one of the three who viewed the site of the Union balloon camp.

With Richmond about 6 miles due east and the faint sound of traffic on Interstate 295 in the distance, it now seems an unlikely setting for aeronautic history. A closer look, however, connects all the dots.

Today the Union balloon camp is found beyond a field of grazing beef cattle and in a ravine studded with decaying logs and a thicket of boot-snagging grasses. In this trough, Union aeronauts hauled in wagons to inflate the balloons.

The Gazelle, which was stitched together using silk common to dressmaking, was launched from a rail track close to Richmond.

While Confederate forces had balloons, the North had the technological and financial edge to assemble a balloon corps. Still, even the Union's use of balloons was limited to a couple of years. Military leaders weren't quite sure how to effectively deploy this novelty.

The balloons were tethered as aeronauts relayed observations by telegraph, the communication wire dangling to the ground. Residents in Richmond could see the Union inflatables. It was probably a terrifying sight.

"If I was in Richmond and I saw the balloons, which they did quite frequently, I would be scared that the Union army is just over the hill," Green said.

The Union balloons were made of thick silk with a coat of varnish enveloped by a netting of Italian flax thread. The basket was made of willow and cane and had an armored floor.

The three modern-day pilgrims stood near the banks of a small, clear brook, talking excitedly about what occurred here 149 years ago and how balloons could be inflated in the ravine by Union forces without being detected by Confederate forces. The hydrogen was concocted in inflation wagons using dilute sulfuric acid and iron filings.

"This spot is incredibly historic for people who really enjoy aeronautics and the birth of flight," Boehme said. "For me, personally, this is like going down to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers."

The Civil War wasn't the first time balloons were used in a wartime environment. More than a half century before the start of the Civil War, France created the Corp d'Aerostiers in 1794. They too were used for military reconnaissance.

Lowe, whom Crouch described as a showman, designed balloons that were sturdier than the fairground versions, with some able to carry five people aloft. One of the largest, the Intrepid, had a portrait on the balloon depicting Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, who led the Union's Peninsula campaign. The portrait was suspended from an eagle's beak.

The Union's balloon corps, which included seven inflatables, were sent aloft during the Peninsula campaign at Yorktown and at the Union-held Fortress Monroe in Hampton, Va. There was even an early forerunner of an aircraft carrier: two balloons and their gas generators were loaded onto a converted coal barge for observations over water. expanded

Despite the Union's dominance of the skies, Lee's troops had a rare edge in numbers at Gaines' Mill and the Southern forces were able to drive back the Army of the Potomac and save the Confederate capital.

The Civil War Trust is using state and federal funds to preserve the 285 acres of the battlefield, but a capital campaign is needed to raise an additional $1.2 million to close the deal. The land ultimately could be transferred to the National Park Service.

At the 150th anniversary of the Gaines' Mill battle next June, Shenk is hopeful a replica of the Intrepid can be launched from the same site.

"The fact that we could fly and see what's going on over the hill has absolutely shaped the course of world history," Crouch said. "And all of it starts here."


Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at



The Civil War Trust:

Virginia Aviation Museum:

Friday, November 25, 2011

History of the Southern Cross

The history of the Southern Cross
Nov. 24, 2011

Editor's Note: Dr. Terry L. Jones is a professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a series of articles by Dr. Jones about the war will be published in The News-Star. Dr. Jones is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. This is the eighth article in the series.

Louisiana in the Civil War

On November 27, 1861, Louisiana General P.G.T. Beauregard hosted a dinner party for his officers. Beauregard was the South's first hero, having captured Fort Sumter in April and then defeated the Yankees at the First Battle of Bull Run in July. Now, he commanded the Confederate army stationed in Northern Virginia to block any enemy advance out of Washington, D.C.
During the evening, Beauregard told his guests how the fog of war had caused him to nearly throw away the victory at Bull Run by ordering a headlong retreat. The fighting had raged since daylight on July 21, 1861, after General Irwin McDowell's Union army attacked Beauregard from across the small Virginia stream known as Bull Run. The battle seesawed back and forth throughout the day, but fresh troops rushed in from the Shenandoah Valley had finally given Beauregard the advantage. Then, just as victory seemed certain, he spied a heavy column of troops more than a mile away maneuvering on his flank.

Beauregard explained, "At their head waved a flag which I could not distinguish. Even by a strong glass I was unable to determine whether it was the United States flag or the Confederate flag. At this moment I received a dispatch from Capt. (Porter) Alexander, in charge of the signal station, warning me to look out for the left; that a large column was approaching in that direction, and that it was supposed to be Gen. (Robert) Patterson's command coming to reinforce McDowell. At this moment, I must confess, my heart failed me."

Beauregard knew his exhausted men could not withstand a determined flank attack. "I came, reluctantly, to the conclusion that after all our efforts, we should at last be compelled to yield to the enemy the hard fought and bloody field." Beauregard turned to an officer and instructed him to go to the rear and tell General Joseph E. Johnston to prepare the reserves to support the retreat he was about to order. As the officer began to leave, Beauregard had second thoughts and told him to wait a minute to make sure that it actually was Yankees bearing down upon them. It proved to be a fortuitous decision. "I took the glass and again examined the flag. "A sudden gust of wind shook out its folds, and I recognized the stars and bars of the Confederate banner."

The mysterious flag turned out to be the Confederacy's First National Flag, which resembled the United States flag in both color and design. It was carried at the head of Colonel Harry T. Hays' 7th Louisiana Volunteers, the lead regiment in Colonel Jubal Early's brigade that was attacking the Union flank. Early's bold move helped win the day, and the First Battle of Bull Run ended in a complete Confederate victory. Few people knew how close Beauregard had come to throwing away that victory simply because he could not identify a flag on the battlefield.

Determined to avoid similar mistakes in the future, Beauregard decided the Confederates needed a distinctive battle flag. Collaborating with Joseph E. Johnston and others, he settled on a design that South Carolina Congressman William Porcher Miles had submitted earlier for consideration as the First National Flag. Miles' submission was a blue St. Andrew's Cross on a red background, with white stars representing the Southern states.

After telling his tale, Beauregard had the new flag brought out to show his officers. A reporter for the Richmond Daily Dispatch was impressed and wrote, "The flag itself is a beautiful banner, which, I am sure, before this campaign is over, will be consecrated forever in the affections of the people of the Confederate States." Shortly the dinner, Beauregard was transferred to the western Confederacy and the new battle flag took root there, as well.

The Louisiana-inspired battle flag became known as the Southern Cross, and it was adopted by the other armies when General Beauregard was transferred to the western theater of war. However, it was never an official flag of the Confederate government and it was never flown over public buildings despite what Hollywood might have one believe. The Southern Cross was simply a military banner that troops carried in the field. Nonetheless, it became the iconic symbol of the Rebel cause, and it was later incorporated into the Confederacy's Second and Third National Flags.

Dr. Terry L. Jones is a professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and has published six books on the American Civil War.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Thanksgiving Proclamation By President Davis

1862 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by CSA President Jefferson Davis

President Jefferson Davis, Confederate States of America, made the following Thanksgiving Day proclamation in 1862. His first such proclamation, "a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer," had been issued in 1861. It was not until two years later that the infidel Abraham Lincoln copied Davis and announced the first official Thanksgiving day in the North.

To the People of the Confederate States:

Once more upon the plains of Manassas have our armies been blessed by the Lord of Hosts with a triumph over our enemies. It is my privilege to invite you once more to His footstool, not now in the garb of fasting and sorrow, but with joy and gladness, to render thanks for the great mercies received at His hand. A few months since, and our enemies poured forth their invading legions upon our soil. They laid waste our fields, polluted our altars and violated the sanctity of our homes. Around our capital they gathered their forces, and with boastful threats, claimed it as already their prize. The brave troops which rallied to its defense have extinguished these vain hopes, and, under the guidance of the same almighty hand, have scattered our enemies and driven them back in dismay.

Uniting these defeated forces and the various armies which had been ravaging our coasts with the army of invasion in Northern Virginia, our enemies have renewed their attempt to subjugate us at the very place where their first effort was defeated, and the vengeance of retributive justice has overtaken the entire host in a second and complete overthrow.To this signal success accorded to our arms in the East has been graciously added another equally brilliant in the West.

On the very day on which our forces were led to victory on the Plains of Manassas, in Virginia, the same Almighty arm assisted us to overcome our enemies at Richmond, in Kentucky. Thus, at one and the same time, have two great hostile armies been stricken down, and the wicked designs of their armies been set at naught.

In such circumstances, it is meet and right that, as a people, we should bow down in adoring thankfulness to that gracious God who has been our bulwark and defense, and to offer unto him the tribute of thanksgiving and praise. In his hand is the issue of all events, and to him should we, in an especial manner, ascribe the honor of this great deliverance.

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Thursday, the 18th day of September inst., as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God for the great mercies vouchsafed to our people, and more especially for the triumph of our arms at Richmond and Manassas;

and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to meet on that day at their respective places of public worship, and to unite in rendering thanks and praise to God for these great mercies, and to implore Him to conduct our country safely through the perils which surround us, to the final attainment of the blessings of peace and security.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this fourth day of

September, A.D.1862.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Confederate Grave Marked in Iowa

Divided by War, Joined in Death

The newly found Des Moines grave of a Civil War soldier brings together opposing sides.
In the end, they were all veterans.

Colleen Peterson of the Order of the Confederate Rose lays a rose on the grave of Mississippi soldier E.J. Goode at Woodland Cemetery Friday.

Written by
The Register

The commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Bruce Peterson, shakes hands with Sgt. Mike Rowley, right, with the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry near the grave of a Confederate soldier named E.J. Goode at Woodland Cemetery during a short ceremony Friday. The Mike Rowley wore the uniform of the Union, while Bruce Peterson donned the wool of the Confederate.

They stood on opposite ends of a newly found grave in Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines on a sunny, brisk Veterans Day morning.

Between them, E.J. Goode was buried here in 1901. He was a Confederate soldier from Mississippi whose grave was unmarked, just dirt and 150 years of a nation’s scars covering him.
Rowley’s ancestors fought in the Civil War, fighting for the Union. Peterson’s ancestors fought for the Confederates.

They joined company this day at a gravesite ceremony, where a new stone marked a long-dead soldier.

“One of the great strengths of Americans is that we are able to have conflicts, find solutions, come together and move forward,” said Rowley, a historian from Clive who specializes in finding and marking graves of military veterans.

Rowley received an email from Wilson Farnham of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Lawrence County, Mississippi. He too researched veterans’ history and gravesites and noted that every Memorial Day he places a flag on the lone Union veteran buried in a local church cemetery.

“I know this is a strange request,” he added, “but I thought you might consider helping me.”
A volunteer from his group had traveled to Iowa and found the grave in Woodland simply marked “Eddie.” They thought it might be Goode. Rowley gladly helped. He researched the records and found it was E.J. Goode’s son, Eddie, buried there. But in an unmarked plot right next to him, according to cemetery records, was E.J. A new gravestone was ordered with the Southern Cross.

Though the Civil War was said to be the most divisive conflict any nation has endured, with 600,000 casualties, including more than 13,000 Iowans, many Confederate soldiers and their families chose Iowa as a place to start over, Rowley said. Back then, cemeteries were segregated for many things — race, religion, or social status — but which uniform they wore in the Civil War may have topped them all.

“A lot of Confederate graves were not marked,” said Peterson, of Earlham. “They came here to get away from the divisions.”

E.J. Goode is only the second Confederate grave to be marked at Woodland. Only 207 Confederate graves have been located in Iowa. E.J. Goode was a lawyer in Mississippi who first formed a company called Goode Rifles, and then became a colonel in the 7th Mississippi Infantry. His fortune shattered by a lost war, Goode moved to Des Moines to start over. He continued to practice law and also owned the Des Moines State Leader newspaper.
But until this year his grave was never marked with the honor of a veteran.

Around us, Rowley said, are veterans who were born free or born into slavery, governors and the poor, prisoners of war and battlefield poets. “In the end, they were all Iowans,” he said.
Peterson threw dirt from Mississippi on the grave. Men wearing Confederate uniforms fired their rifles.

All apparently was forgiven, regardless of battlefield allegiance or nativity, though Rowley did hear grumbles from a couple members of Sons of Union Veterans about honoring a Confederate. Peterson remarked during the ceremony that Goode was known in Des Moines for a polite manner “that only a southerner can bestow on an enemy.” In the end, they were all veterans.

So they lowered their rifles, got in their cars and drove to Glenwood Cemetery, where another grave was recently found, the headstone arriving coincidentally the same day as Goode’s. It was to mark the grave of Newton Curtley, an African-American veteran of the Spanish-American War.

Whistler's Brother in the CSA

Whistler’s Brother

Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.

Shortly after the Civil War broke out, Dr. William McNeill Whistler, scion of a storied Anglo-American military family and brother of the artist James McNeill Whistler, arrived in Richmond, Va., to lobby Confederate leaders for a medical officer’s commission. Described as a genial, refined man with a soft and pleasant voice, the 25-year-old, Massachusetts-born Whistler was firmly determined to put his medical training to use.

William A. Turner collection: William McNeill Whistler donned his Confederate uniform for this postwar portrait taken circa 1866 in France by the studio of Paris photographer √Čtienne Carjat.
Even after he gave up on the medical staff itself and applied for a clerk’s position instead, he wrote in his application, “Being a physician by profession, I felt that the only true position for me was on the medical staff, as the want of any military education disqualified me for any other office.” By war’s end, though, he would find himself following more closely in his family’s footsteps than he could have imagined.

Dr. Whistler’s grandfather, John Whistler, had served in the British Army during the Revolution. He later immigrated to America, became a United States Army officer, and fought the British in the War of 1812. Dr. Whistler’s father, George Washington Whistler, graduated from West Point and become a well-respected civil engineer during the early years of the railroad boom. He died unexpectedly in 1849 while overseeing the planning and construction of a Russian railroad, after which his widowed wife (and future world-famous portrait subject), Anna, and children, including 12-year-old William Whistler, returned to America. Even William’s older brother, the acclaimed artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, attended West Point (though he didn’t graduate).

William Whistler, however, broke from the West Point tradition, earning a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1860. Later that year he married the Georgia-born Florida Bayard King — affectionately known as Ida — later that year. Dr. Whistler’s mother, who hailed from North Carolina, embraced “precious Ida” with love and affection. She noted a few months after the Civil War began that the newlyweds “seem perfectly well and happy. Ida has made Willie a thorough secessionist thus verifying the saying ‘A man forsakes all, for his wife.’”
The couple settled in Richmond, where Whistler failed to find a medical officer’s commission and they ran into money problems. A year passed before his luck finally changed: in the fall of 1862, Confederate authorities commissioned Dr. Whistler as assistant surgeon and assigned him to duty in the Richmond area. But while his career prospects rose, Ida’s health declined. Dr. Whistler’s mother traveled to Richmond to care for her, but after an early and encouraging rally, Ida died in March 1863.

The loss devastated mother and son. Months later, a bereaved Mrs. Whistler wrote of Ida to a friend, “Each day I feel more sensibly what Willie & I have lost, she was such a rare combination of brightness & gentleness, so loving so confiding, just like one of my own little ones.”
Whistler remained on duty in the vicinity of Richmond until April 1864, when he received a field assignment as an assistant surgeon in the veteran First South Carolina Rifles. The hard-fighting regiment was also known as Orr’s Rifles after its original commander, Col. James Orr, a onetime speaker of the House of Representatives who resigned from the Army to serve in the Confederate Congress. Whistler served with Orr’s Rifles on the front lines in Virginia as the Union Army of the Potomac advanced on Richmond in April 1864. “He was a total stranger to us,” wrote Sgt. Maj. Robert Hemphill in a postwar memorial to Dr. Whistler. “The veterans of three years looked with discerning eyes upon the new assistant surgeon to see of what mettle he was made.”

Library of CongressThe Bloody Angle, labeled on this circa 1865 map as the West Angle, is part of the Mule Shoe Salient on the Spotsylvania battlefield.
Dr. Whistler proved himself the following month during the Battle of Spotsylvania and the intense fighting in an area that came to be known as the Bloody Angle, some of the worst combat of the war. Driven, perhaps, to fill the void left by the death of his wife, Dr. Whistler proved fearless on the battlefield, even in the face of unrelenting enemy fire. “When the artillery opened,” recalled Major Hemphill,

Dr. Whistler ordered his servant to take his horse to the rear and out of danger, while he remained with the line of battle until it entered the Bloody Angle, and he was detained to look after such as had fallen in the charge. He thus established himself in the hearts of his comrades, and made a reputation for cool courage and fidelity to duty.

During the rest of the campaign, according to Major Hemphill, “Dr. Whistler was constantly on the line, sharing the hardships, dangers, and scant rations of the men. The humblest private received the same professional attention from him as did the highest officer.” Major Hemphill included an anecdote that illustrated Dr. Whistler’s compassion for the men in the ranks. During a raid outside Petersburg in December 1864, “The roads were covered with snow and ice, and the suffering of the men was great, for many were without shoes, and the broken ice lacerated their feet most painfully. Dr. Whistler gave up his horse to one of these wretched men, and marched on foot with the line. He walked for miles by the side of the writer.” Whistler entertained his companions with stories of his boyhood adventures in Russia and other experiences. “In bivouac and camp he was a most agreeable comrade, his conversation being full of reminiscence, anecdote and philosophy,” Major Hemphill added.

But the rigors of campaigning eventually compromised Dr. Whistler’s health. He received a leave of absence in February 1865 and traveled to Richmond. He left soon after to join his mother, who had since departed for London to visit her artist son, James. Not letting an opportunity overseas go to waste, the Confederate government entrusted Dr. Whistler to deliver “certain dispatches of importance” to England. Dr. Whistler set out for South Carolina with the intention of crossing the Atlantic on a blockade-runner out of Charleston. He ran into elements of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s federal army, and changed course to Wilmington, N.C. There, the presence of Union forces foiled his plans again. He next traveled to the North under an assumed name and dressed in civilian clothes; he made his way through Philadelphia to New York, from where he sailed for England. He arrived in Liverpool and delivered the dispatches, then joined his family. One week later, Dr. Whistler learned that Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia.

Dr. Whistler never returned to America. He wandered through Europe for about a year, and worked for a time in Paris, where he most likely posed for his carte de visite photograph wearing his Confederate uniform, perhaps for the last time. He eventually settled in London and rose to prominence as a physician and academic. In 1876 he married a Greek citizen, Helen Euphrosyne Ionides. She survived her husband after he died of influenza at age 63 in 1900.

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Michigan School Violates Civil Rights of Students

Students in Michigan Told They Can Not Display Confederate Flag

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CIC Recommends Seeing "The Conspirator"


The Conspirator is a fantastic film - The story nearly parallels the heinous and cruel propaganda killing of Major Henry Wirz. Kudos to Robert Redford for doing the right thing in showing the truth in the Conspirator.

But on to the next concern: Spielberg is deep into production of his Lincoln film. I hope, but do not trust, that Spielberg will not be interested in telling the same old, worn-out story but will tell the truth. I am nervous. Film is a very tough weapon and in the hands of a director as popular as Spielberg and with a huge budget it can cause the Cause of Truth a great deal of lasting harm.

Ready yourselves.

Michael Givens

Monument Decicated in North Carolina

New Confederate monument dedicated
Published Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Tom Smith Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Suffolk chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy came together to dedicate a new Confederate monument in Cedar Hill Cemetery on Saturday, in honor of Veterans Day.

The granite slab, which once served as a footer for a column in a Richmond theater, will eventually hold a bronze plaque with the names of units that mustered from Suffolk and Nansemond County to fight in the Civil War.

Because the plaque was not ready in time for the ceremony, a plastic replica took its place on Saturday. But it was no less meaningful to those present.

“This monument is dedicated to the over 1,500 men and boys who left their homes in Suffolk and Nansemond County to fight for Virginia,” said Mike Pullen, commander of the Tom Smith Camp. The monument ensures their service “will never be tarnished by revisions of history,” he said.

The plaque will bear the names of 21 companies and their places of enlistment across the old county, from Chuckatuck to Cypress Chapel and from Pig Point to South Quay.

The granite stone has a unique Civil War history all its own.

The stone once served as a footer in the Marshall/Richmond Theater in Richmond. It was placed in 1818 when the building was constructed and was visible in basement dressing rooms.

The likes of 19th-century performers such as Jenny Lind, Sally Partington and Elizabeth Poe, the mother of author Edgar Allan Poe, at one time graced the stage of the theater. The infamous Booth family — father Junius Brutus Booth and sons Edwin and John — also performed there. The younger brother, future assassin of Civil War-era President Abraham Lincoln, even served as the stage manager at the theater for a time.

When the building at the corner of Seventh and Broad streets in Richmond was being demolished in 2005, Sons of Confederate Veterans members rescued the eight granite footings, which had been destined to be chipped into gravel.

“We are very fortunate to have this piece of granite,” Tom Smith Camp member Lee Hart said. “This stone was there. It saw some hardships, and it saw some joys.”

Some of the other stones now are parts of monuments in Richmond, Fauquier County, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The members of the two organizations said it was especially appropriate to dedicate the monument on Veterans Day during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War.

“We are here for the soldiers,” said Susan Carraway of the Suffolk United Daughters of the Confederacy. “It is their right and our duty to protect our Southern heritage.”

Hart said it was fitting that the new monument will stand within feet of the column marking the burial spot of Dr. William Brock Wellons, who was a chaplain in the Confederate army.

“He had the opportunity to bring many of them to Christ,” Hart said.

SCV Members Win Fight for Cemetery With Georgia Power

Brothers win -- for now --fight over cemetery at Georgia Power's Plant Wansley
Flag removal highlights long-standing dispute with Georgia Power

By Rhonda Cook

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Power Co. had its lawyers and a public relations office. The Rev. Wayne Webb and his brother, Walter, were armed only with determination when they challenged the utility -- again -- over ownership of a two-acre church cemetery in the middle of the massive Plant Wansley property.

Enlarge photo Johnny Crawford, Billy Bearden pushes a confederate flag in the ground at the Yellow Dirt Baptist Church grave yard on Wednesday, Nov 3,2011.

The Webbs won on Wednesday -- at least for now -- when Georgia Power acknowledged that the Yellow Dirt Baptist Church, and the Webbs as trustees, owned the cemetery that was established just after the Civil War. Indeed, it was a question of Confederate flags that highlighted the dispute this time.

The dispute over the property that is far off a main road in Heard County has continued off and on almost since the land for the coal power plant was bought in 1971. There would be an agreement but then management would change at the plant and the Webbs would again argue over the ownership of the two acres of graves and hardwood trees.

It became news in recent weeks when plant security officers removed flags placed on the graves of seven Civil War veterans. The Sons of Confederate Veterans protested. That attention only helped the brothers with their decades-long fight, said Wayne Webb.

“It’s not just a Confederate issue. It was ownership of the cemetery,” said Wayne Webb, whose great-grandparents and several aunts, uncles and cousins are buried in the cemetery.

The brothers and plant officials met Wednesday in the old Yellow Dirt Baptist Church building a few yards from the cemetery, and the utility again conceded that the graveyard was not part of the sale.

“It will not be 100 percent concluded until we get that documentation,” Wayne Webb said.

The Webbs were given a copy of a report on the title search. They also has asked for a survey and a statement on letterhead of the Southern Co., Georgia Power’s parent, stating that “Yellow Dirt church and the trustees own that property and they would never try to claim that two-acre cemetery again.”

Walter Webb also asked for an apology to the families of those in the cemetery, especially for removing the flags.

“If we get that survey and that statement from the Southern Co.... that would resolve the cemetery issue,” Wayne Webb said

The Webb brothers say this may or may not be the last time they have to fight the utility over ownership.

“This thing has been settled on two different occasions,” said Walter Webb, 66. “But every so often, they change management or security and something always comes up...”

According to court records, Georgia Power bought the land for $22,000 in 1971 as it gathered up 2,500 acres in Heard and Carroll Counties for Plant Wansley. The special stipulations were that the congregation could remove the piano, pews and chairs from inside the white clapboard Yellow Dirt Baptist Church, built in 1872, and the congregation would maintain ownership of two acres, including the cemetery. The deed said visitors to the graveyard were to have access.

The first problem was in 1972 when a fence to protect the graveyard from constructions crews and equipment was erected around only one of the two acres. Six days later the Webbs’ father, R.J. Webb, wrote the utility’s superintendent of land and acquisitions, and got a response that the entire two acres would be fenced.

The next year, however, Georgia Power locked the fence. Wayne Webb, now 60, has a picture of his father using a ladder to climb inside.

At the end of 1990, Walter Webb was confronted on the two acres while cutting wood. The Webbs and Georgia Power had another discussion about ownership. It was eventually determined that Georgia Power did not own those two acres.

In September, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans placed flags on six graves, one of them at the tombstone of the Webb brothers’ great-grandfather, J.P. Shelnutt.

Georgia Power had an employee remove them, the utility and the Webbs said.

“I do understand that Georgia Power has a rule of no Confederate flags are allowed on the property, however it is public knowledge that Georgia Power does not own my grandfather nor any of the other deceased in the Old Yellow Dirt Cemetery,” Walter Webb wrote in a letter to an area newspaper.

Less than a decade ago, the utility was defending itself against allegations of racial discrimination and complaints that nooses, a potent symbol of racism, were found in Georgia Power job sites.

“We have a company policy that prohibits the display of certain materials that may be offensive to people,” said Georgia Power spokesman Mark Williams. He said the flags were removed by people who thought the cemetery was utility property. After talks with Georgia Power, Confederate flags were put back on the six graves.

“We left on Oct. 8 thinking everything was back the way it used to be,” said William “Billy” Bearden, a member of the SCV. “We found out on Oct. 12 the flags had been pulled again. At that point it was war... They have been alerted to the fact you can’t just go around snatching veterans graves willy-nilly.”

After more negotiations with the Webbs, Georgia Power allowed flags to be put on the graves yet again, contingent on the company’s lawyers’ check of court records.

In the meanwhile, the Sons of Confederate Veterans staged protests. On Tuesday they were outside a plant entrance, wearing uniforms and holding flags.

On Wednesday the brothers got a call that Georgia Power’s title search was done.

They met with the plant manager -- but no lawyers -- for about an hour. It was friendly, according to Wayne Webb.

“Maybe I can get some sleep now,” Wayne Webb said.

Virginia Art Musuem Destroys History

The VMFA’s Confederate Flag Problem

When driving down Boulevard, the last thing you might expect to see in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a group of people waving Confederate flags (okay, maybe not the LAST thing… this is Richmond after all). But at the VMFA? My question–along with many of my friends and Richmond’s Twitterati–was what’s going on here? Knowing the history of the location, I first assumed it was the anniversary of some of event, like how you can usually find Confederate reenactors guarding Robert E. Lee’s statue on his birthday.

Well, it turns out that I was wrong and we were actually witnessing a Confederate Flag protest. You gotta ask yourself: what’s the fun of living in a Southern city without a good old fashioned Confederate flag scandal? So, apologies while I spend today’s column in the present day rather than the usual 1861.

First, let’s establish some historical context here. The land on which the VMFA sits was once a camp for Confederate veterans, known as Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1, also known as the “Old Soldiers’ Home.” The camp was formed in 1884 as a home for needy, wounded, and infirm Confederate veterans after the war. It was purchased and maintained by donations from their fellow veterans, both Union and Confederate. The camp covered roughly 36 acres and housed hundreds of veterans over the years. When the last resident veteran passed away in 1941, the land was deeded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over the years, the land would be used for two of Richmond’s best known landmarks on Boulevard: the VMFA and the Virginia Historical Society. The only surviving buildings from the original camp are the headquarters of the camp, known as the Robinson House, and the Confederate War Memorial Chapel (also known as the Pelham Chapel).

In 1993, an agreement was made between the Commonwealth, the VMFA, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization to allow them to lease the chapel. According to the VMFA, the Confederate battle flag began flying at the chapel after the Sons of Confederate Veterans became the lessee. When the lease was renewed in June of 2010, the board of trustees at the VMFA made the decision to ask that the flag be removed from the chapel.

The only piece of the puzzle that I can’t seem to put together is why it took so long for the protests to start? It looks like the momentum for protests really didn’t kick into gear until October of this year. The protesters, identifying themselves as “flaggers,” are part of a larger grassroots effort organized via blogs and social media to call attention to instances where the Confederate flag has been removed or is being considered for removal. Somehow the VMFA’s action drew the attention of the group and they’ve been organizing regular weekly protests ever since.

As a Civil War buff, I struggle with this issue of the Confederate flag. When I’ve heard about Confederate flags flying over city hall buildings or government buildings in the past, it always seemed like a no-brainer to me that the flag shouldn’t be there. But for an actual Confederate historical landmark, it seems a little heavy-handed to remove the flag since it’s a place that was built to commemorate those who died fighting for the Confederacy. They may have been the losing side, but the flag represents the honor of those who fought and died, and it seems appropriate to me that it should be there.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Any person living in the South knows the context of the Confederate flag has changed over the past 150 years. The flag has been perverted over the years and sadly, is recognized more today as a symbol of backwards thinking, racism, and hate. Are there people who fly the flag out of respect for their Southern heritage and eschew its other meanings? Absolutely. In our society, however, it’s a difficult thing to wave a flag and expect people to parse your specific meaning.

Because of this, I totally understand why the VMFA would want to distance themselves from the flag. Here we have the newly-renovated museum, a shining example of a city moving forward and upward, truly establishing us as a place of culture and art and bringing us out of the shadow of our bigger city neighbors. So when a tourist in Richmond for the first time sees this amazing museum and then rounds the corner to see a Confederate flag waving, the juxtaposition is harsh, and I can see why the museum wouldn’t be wild about that mixed perception.

The VMFA hasn’t come out and said any of this, but it’s fairly easy to see the predicament they’re in. That being said, the Museum has made a really strong effort to honor the past of the Old Soldiers’ Home, placing several new illustrated signs explaining the history of the camp, along with providing information on their website and during public tours about the history of their location. In addition, the VMFA claims to have done research indicating that Confederate flags weren’t actually on display at the chapel during the days of the camp, which they cite as a reason for asking for their removal.

When I first set out to write this article, I leaned toward allowing the Confederate flag to fly outside the Pelham Chapel, but after doing more research and thinking about the issue, I’m more conflicted about it than when I started. It’s a tough issue with no clear answer. Recognizing our Civil War past and reconciling that with what we want Richmond to become is something we’re going to continue to struggle with for another 150 years. It’s something that defines our city and will continue to do so.

I respect the VMFA for acknowledging and helping to preserve the chapel and its unique part in the history of the city. I also have respect for the people who are waving Confederate flags because they’re concerned that we’re going to forget an important part of our city’s past. It’s hard to say what will happen next with the protests, but I welcome any opportunity for us to reflect on our city’s history and our vision for it moving forward.

Confederate Ship's Bell Returns Home

Bell from Confederate ship is back home in N.C.

The Virginian-Pilot
November 17, 2011

One history buff from the North and another from the South maneuvered a heavy Confederate ship's bell into the Port O' Plymouth Museum on Wednesday.

Speaking instructions to each other in their distinct accents, Daniel McAuliffe of Worcester, Mass., and Jimmy Hardison of this northeastern North Carolina town pushed a dolly holding the bell, packed in a wooden box, through narrow passageways to the museum's rear display room and hefted it onto a table.

"I reckon that'll do it," Hardison said.

Placement of the bell was a friendly effort between North and South, unlike the circumstances back in October 1864. That's when Union Lt. William Cushing used a small boat to shove a torpedo into the bow of the CSS Albemarle, blowing out a hole big enough to drive a wagon through. The ship sank into the Roanoke River muck, ending its successful six-month campaign against the Union blockade in the Albemarle Sound.

The bell, which has gone back and forth between Worcester and Plymouth in recent years, is back on loan to the local museum for 10 years. McAuliffe acknowledged that interest in the war is much greater in the South, where the battles largely were fought and where many descendents of Confederate soldiers still live in the same county.

On the ironclad Albemarle, the bell sounded when to go forward or backward and marked watch changes, among other things. Life on the Albemarle was lived by the bell, said Harry Thompson, curator of the privately funded museum. This bell came from a church and was about three times larger than the typical ship's bell of the time, he said.

Schoolchildren from throughout the region and many others come to the museum, housed in an old train station, to see wall-to-wall artifacts from the 1864 Battle of Plymouth. Most of them are on loan from Hardison, who has spent his adult life searching the region for Civil War relics.

Gilbert Elliott was a 19-year-old lieutenant from Elizabeth City when he built the Albemarle in a cornfield just up the Roanoke River from Plymouth. During several battles, hundreds of cannonballs from Union ships bounced off the Albemarle's armor, and its ironclad strength allowed the Confederates to retake Plymouth and control the Roanoke River. In one battle, the USS Miami fired a round at close range, only to have the shell bounce off the Albemarle back onto the Miami, killing its commanding officer.

"She was feared by the Union," McAuliffe said.

The Union retook Plymouth a few days after the ship's sinking.

The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial of Worcester got the bell from the widow of Horace James, a Union chaplain from Worcester who supervised the Freedman's Colony of Roanoke Island.

Tom Harrison, a board member of the Washington County Historical Society, tried but failed to get the bell about 20 years ago. In 2001, he discovered it had been moved from the Grand Army museum to the Worcester Historical Museum, which was willing to make a loan.

Harrison drove 14 hours there to get it. It remained in Plymouth until this past April, when the bell went back to Worcester for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Its return Wednesday begins a new chapter.

The CSS Albemarle was raised and brought to Norfolk, where it was eventually sold as scrap for $1,600.16, Thompson said. Only three known artifacts survive: the bell, a cannon stored at a naval facility in Norfolk and the smokestack on display at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.

Marker Placed to Honor Ohio Born Confederate General

Bicentennial marker dedicated to Confederate general
Mount Vernon News
November 17, 2011

Members of Co. B of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, led by Capt. Jeff Steiner,fire off a musket salute to Gen. Daniel Harris Reynolds during a dedication ceremony Nov. 12 in Centerburg, Ohio. An Ohio Historical Society marker honoring the Centerburg native was dedicated at the village park.

Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Roswell S. Ripley Camp 1535, the group that sponsored the marker, were joined by members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Civil War re-enactors, and many members of the community. Also present were several members of the Reynolds family.

The marker honoring Reynolds is the fourth sponsored by the local SCV group and the third to honor one of the six Ohio-born generals that served the Southern cause during the Civil War, or as is known in the South, “The War for Southern Independence.” Other markers sponsored by the group include one marking the escape of Gen. John Hunt Morgan from the Ohio Penitentiary, located in Columbus’ arena district; one honoring Gen. Roswell S. Ripley, located in Worthington; and in Malta, a marker honors Gen. Otho Strahl, who was also a close friend of Gen. Reynolds.

Following an invocation by Bob Croye of the SCV, Don Reynolds, representing the Reynolds family, spoke of how as a child he played on the foundation stones of the old log cabin that Gen. Reynolds grew up in. Other speakers included Centerburg Mayor Diana Stockmaster, Jeffrey Yoest of the SCV, who expressed his sincere appreciation of the support from the Centerburg community, and John Morgan, the local project coordinator for the marker. Kristina Kuehling of the Ohio Historical Society noted that the Reynolds marker was the 10th historical marker to be erected in Knox County. Kuehling also read a proclamation from Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Following the unveiling by Morgan and Yoest, a musket salute was fired by Company B of the 5th Kentucky Infantry and “Dixie,” the “anthem” of the Confederacy, which was written by another Knox County native, Dan Emmett, was played to end the ceremony.

Gen. Reynolds was born near Centerburg in 1832. As a young man, he taught school to students barely younger than himself. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, where he met and became close friends with Otho Strahl, another Ohioan who would also serve the Confederacy as a general. Moving to Iowa, Reynolds resumed schoolteaching and studied law. He then moved to Tennessee where he was admitted to the bar in 1858. Soon thereafter he moved to Chicot County, Ark., where he set up a law practice.

Reynolds chose to serve his adopted state of Arkansas when the Civil War began in 1861, forming a cavalry company, known as the “Chicot Rangers.” His first taste of battle was at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in August 1861, the first major battle in the Western theater. Reynolds was a respected soldier and leader, receiving steady promotions within the Confederate Army. He participated in many major battles spanning the entire war including Pea Ridge, Chickamauga and the Atlanta Campaign, just to name of few.

Reynolds suffered a wound at the Battle of Bentonville, N.C., the last major battle of the war, which required the amputation of his leg. After the war he re-established his law practice and served a term in the Arkansas state legislature. He died in 1902 and is buried in Lake Village, Ark.

According to the Ohio Historical Society’s website,, the purpose of the historical marker program is to “identify, commemorate and honor the important people, places and events that have contributed to the state’s rich history. The Ohio Historical Markers Program, administered by the Ohio Historical Society, is a vital educational tool, informing residents and visitors about significant aspects of Ohio’s past.” Gen. Reynolds’ unique story and commendable record illustrates the service and sacrifices rendered by so many Americans in the Civil War.

Read more: Bicentennial marker dedicated to Confederate general / Mount Vernon News

Confederate Submarines Could be in Shreveport Bayou

Confederate submarines could be under casino site, historian says
Written by
Michele Marcotte

Four Confederate submarines built in Shreveport to protect the Red River from Union advances may be beneath the proposed site of the Margaritaville casino, a local historian says.

But developers of the 400-room resort-casino planned north of the Louisiana Boardwalk disagree, saying they're 100 percent confident the submarines are not on the land. Examinations of the property, which included digging 100-foot deep holes all over the parcel, did not yield any historic relics, they say.
"We did not find any Confederate submarines," said William Trotter, co-manager of Bossier Casino Venture, the company developing Margaritaville. Trotter said if the company had seen any evidence of an artifact, they would have pursued retrieving it.
But local Civil War historian Gary Joiner questions the company's analysis, saying the methodology may have been flawed.

"How do they know there is nothing there?" Joiner asked.

It's not the first time the submarines have piqued the curiosity of local historians and added to the area's Civil War legacy. Unsuccessful searches for the boats were commissioned in 1999 and 2006 at Cross Bayou. And a similar search for other historical artifacts before the Boardwalk was built also yielded no results.
Joiner, who has accompanied a marine archaeologist in prior searches for the boats, said war records indicate five 40-foot submarines were built in the early 1860s at a naval shipyard on Cross Bayou. One boat was dismantled and sent to Galveston Bay, while the others remained here through the end of the war.

"It's likely the submarines were scuttled in case the South chose to renew its campaign" , Joiner said.

At the time, the proposed casino site was an isolated area upstream from the Grand Duke, a surface gunboat berthed in a slough north of the naval boatyard. The proximity to the Grand Duke, which burned in 1863, is one of many factors contributing to Joiner's theory.

"That is the most logical place to hide four submarines, side-by-side, tied together," he said. "The Red River transports a lot of silt and sand and they would have been covered up and underground.

Joiner isn't the first historian to show interest in the missing submarines.

In 1999 and 2006, American author Clive Cussler sent famed marine archaeologist and diver Ralph Wilbanks, who Joiner worked with, to look for them. Wilbanks was the diver who found the lost Confederate submarine CSS Hunley in 1995. Shreveport historian Eric Brock has also written about them.

In a 1999 newspaper column, Brock wrote that shortly after the Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi surrendered in June 1865, a Federal naval force came up the Red River to demand the surrender of the ironclad CSS Missouri.

"To prevent them falling into Union hands along with the Missouri, the builders of the four submarines sank them in the muddy waters where Cross Bayou and the Red River meet," Brock wrote. "There they remain, buried in the river's mud and silt, to this very day."

Joiner said he would like Bossier City and Bossier Parish to "take the lead" in examining the land. A cultural resource survey was conducted prior to the development of the Louisiana Boardwalk, and the same should occur for the casino site, he said.

Joiner, who worked on the Boardwalk survey, said the study looked for archeological assets around the site, which could have included the submarines.

Boardwalk developers paid for the cultural resource survey, and if one was to be conducted on the casino site, its developers would have to fund it, Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale said. Bossier Parish administrator Bill Altimus referred comments on a potential survey to the city.

Joiner said while there is a lot of evidence pointing to the casino site, the submarines could also be within a set of ravines on Cross Bayou. The bayou has been searched many times, but nothing was discovered to show the submarines are there, Joiner said.

Even if the submarines are not located at the casino site, a proper survey of the land is still valuable because of the land's historical significance., he said.
"Early Bossier City extended that far up," he said. "We could find things about our history and our culture that we just don't know. If we find nothing, we find nothing. If we find something, it's for the public good."