Monday, January 31, 2011

Lincoln vs. Jefferson at S.D. Lee Institute

'Lincoln vs. Jefferson' focus of event
Monday,January 31, 2011

President Abraham Lincoln will be the focus of a conference of historians in Charleston this weekend. The Stephen Dill Lee Institute is bringing a half dozen authors and historians in for "Lincoln vs. Jefferson: Opposing Visions of America" at the Francis Marion Hotel on Friday and Saturday.

"The conference will be a great history of the different economic and political philosophies of the two presidents," said Brag Bowling, director of the Lee Institute. "Jefferson was a proponent of decentralized government, while Lincoln was for big government and high taxes. We will have some of the best scholars in the country to address the issue."

The Stephen Dill Lee Institute -- named for the Confederate general and Low country native -- is something of a Confederate think-tank formed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The conference is part of the Institute's educational outreach and the public is invited to buy tickets for the entire weekend of events. Among the speakers:

--David Aiken, professor at The Citadel and College of Charleston, will speak Friday night on the burning of Columbia and bombardment of Charleston, as seen through the eyes of Southern novelist and historian William Gilmore Simms.

--Thomas Dilorenzo, a professor at Loyola University in Maryland and academic director for the Lee Institute, will talk on the 16th president. Dilorenzo, author of "The Real Lincoln," is one of the best-known Lincoln critics in the country. He will speak on the differing economic policies of Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

--Walter D. Kennedy, a 2008 presidential candidate, will deliver the keynote address at Saturday night's banquet. He has co-authored five books on Southern heritage. Kennedy will argue his case for who was the real Republican, Lincoln or Jefferson.
For a full list of speakers, go to

Registration for the conference is $150 per person, or $125 for members of the SCV.
The cost includes admission to all lectures, as well as all meals on Saturday as well as the banquet.

For more information, call 1-800-693-4943 or (804) 389-3620.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Texas Fails to Recognize Its History

Texas officially ignores 150th anniversary of secession
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 By Steve Campbell

Texas proudly cloaks itself in history, but one of the most momentous anniversaries in state history will pass this week without a whisper of official acknowledgment.

One hundred and fifty years ago, on Feb. 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union, joined the Confederacy and marched headlong into the Civil War.

Tuesday will be just one historic milepost among hundreds of big days over the next four years as the nation continues its struggle to understand -- and quarrels over -- the Civil War, which started April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter, S.C., and dragged on until May 13, 1865, at the Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville.

"The recognition is not just about dates and battles but about a turning point and a change in our society," said Tom Leach, a Mansfield engineer and president of the Civil War Center of Texas, a nonprofit educational group. "It affects things even today. It's not much different from what President Obama said the other night about our point in a time of change."

While some states have launched ambitious Civil War commemorative programs -- with much fanfare and more than a little controversy -- Texas isn't officially joining this campaign.

Some members of heritage groups say the state should be flying its flag.

"There's a lot of Civil War history here, but they don't seem to care," said Mark Vogl, the second lieutenant commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Texas Division.

"This is big money. Gettysburg brings in millions of dollars a year," said Vogl, of Latch in East Texas. "Why aren't we doing something?"

But historians and prolific Civil War authors, such as Don Frazier of McMurry University and Steve Woodworth of Texas Christian University, say that even after 15 decades, the old wounds are too tender to touch.

"The governor of Virginia got in trouble by declaring Confederate History Month. He could have just called it Civil War Month. It's a very touchy subject," Woodworth said.

'American conundrum'

After all, Frazier asks, what does recognition of the nation's worst tragedy look like?

"When you've got so many people affected in so many profoundly different ways, all trying to look at it from the same angle, it's really difficult. It doesn't have a nice neat bow around it," he said.

"If you are black or a Northerner, you're looking at it from a pretty different point of view. I've worked with some folks who came from the North, and they said one of the things about the South that creeps them out is that you have the monuments to the Confederates in your town squares," Frazier said.

"But the Southerners believed in it, they voted for it with their musket butts and their blood," he said. "It remains the great American conundrum."

He points to a 2009 meeting of the Texas Historical Commission where "we were trying to figure out how to mark the Civil War. It essentially broke up inconclusively. We didn't know what to do," he said.

"Other states are making a big deal out of the anniversary, but it's tied to tourism. In South Carolina and Virginia, you have destinations to go to. In Texas, where do you send people to commemorate the Civil War?" Frazier said

"But make no mistake, individual Texans and individual organizations are going to mark the daylights out of it," Frazier said. "But your state government is going to avoid it assiduously. It's too touchy."

Hysteria at home

Texas may have been hundreds of miles from the bloody battles at Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg, but from the beginning, the war reverberated across the state.

"There was a lot of tension and fear. People were scared," Woodworth said. "It led to some violence. There were a number of lynchings in Tarrant County, and not all of them were black people. It wasn't good for your health to show up here and be seen as a Yankee with potentially abolitionist leanings. It was a time of hysteria."

And with the men gone to fight and federal troops no longer protecting settlers from Indians, the frontier got shoved back east, he said.

"You couldn't escape the impact of the war in Texas. If you lived in Parker County, you got your scalp lifted by the Comanches. There was hardship on the home front," Woodworth said.

In 1860, the Texas population was only about 600,000, and 181,000 of those were slaves, he said.

About 90,000 Texans fought in the war, Woodworth said, and nearly 10 percent of those were killed in action.

Frazier puts the casualty figure for Texans at more like 20,000 when disease is added to the equation.

But relatively few were killed at the five battles fought in the state.

"All the battles fought in Texas were quite minor. But Texans themselves served in all the major armies of the Confederacy. And they were some of the most sought-after troops. They did very well. There's no denying that," Woodworth said.

Which is not surprising, Frazier said, noting that in 1861, Texas was all about testosterone.

"It was overwhelmingly young and male, and the Civil War gave great opportunities for these young hotspurs to go off and do their thing. They went and did what Texans had done for the previous three decades, which was to shoulder a musket and fight the state's enemies," he said.

"You look at how the war progressed, every time Union forces tried to invade Texas, they by and large left humiliated. ... At Sabine Pass, 36 Irishmen defeated a force of 5,000. Those are the kind of victories that Texans love," Frazier said.

"Where Texans fought abroad, the Red River Campaign was almost a Texas show. Texans roll back a huge invasion force in Louisiana. Then you've got Hood's Texas Brigade fighting with Robert E. Lee, and he refers to them as his most reliable troops," he said.

"Everywhere you look, Texans are getting praised for being military badasses. Whether that's malarkey or true, sometimes perception is more important than reality," Frazier said.

A state reshaped

When the Confederacy was smashed, Texas emerged as a comparatively unscathed survivor.

It became the one Southern state that still had promise, an open land that wasn't punctuated by blackened chimneys or thousands of soldiers' graves.

"The war set up the conditions to craft modern Texas," said Frazier, who gives a classroom lecture titled "How Texas Won the Civil War."

"Texans emerged from the Civil War not dead, their cattle are fat and have multiplied, and they won all the important fights they were in. It's plus, plus, plus," Frazier said.

This wasn't lost on other former Rebels, who migrated here by the thousands.

"In many ways, Texas becomes the Confederacy in concentrate after the Civil War," Frazier said. "They didn't just stay in Alabama and beg scraps off the federal government. They said, 'Screw it, I'm going to Texas.'"

And they helped shape the state's stereotypical image.

"Look at the lawlessness that came to Texas after the war. Where do you think that comes from? It comes from a society of dysfunctional and angry people before the days of Prozac. The gun was the answer to everything," Leach said. "They came with bitter memories. When you look at it with that viewpoint, some of the attitudes are still carried on today and form the Texas attitude toward things. Not as a result of the Alamo, but as a result of the Civil War."

Old but relevant

Remembering the Civil War in Texas should go beyond honoring a brave ancestor or a lost cause, celebrating saving the Union or commemorating the abolition of slavery, Frazier said. Many of the issues from Feb. 1, 1861, have not faded away.

"In Texas, one of the biggest complaints was that the federal government was terribly inept at protecting Texas citizens from Indian raids and degradations across the border. You substitute narcoterrorists for Comanches, and you have some pretty similar stuff going on," Frazier said with a laugh.

But he said it's still hard to get his students to make the connections between Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Rick Perry and Barack Obama.

"What's amazing is that the issues are still 100 percent relevant," Frazier said. "Especially when you talk about the relationship of the federal government to the state governments and the meaning of liberty within the American union."

Read more:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

War about Much more than Slavery

The Daily Tar Heel

Viewpoint: Confederate past goes beyond slavery
By Taylor Haulsee

THE ISSUE: The upcoming sesquicentennial of the Civil War has sparked discussion around campus and the state about the proper treatment of North Carolina’s Confederate past. Is it a valid part of the state’s heritage, or is it something to be shamed or forgotten? What should happen to Silent Sam? Today, members of the editorial board weigh in on the war’s proper place in the discourse.

With the sesquicentennial of the North Carolina’s secession from the United States rapidly approaching, debate has erupted among the student body regarding the presence of Civil War memorials on campus.

Considering the deep and profound involvement that our state and our University had with the War Between the States, the presence of monuments, such as Silent Sam, are wholly justified. Yet many students say the removal of Silent Sam is more desirable than a comprehensive acknowledgement of our University’s history.

Any assertions which attempt to indict our campus’ Civil War monuments as a direct tribute to institutional slavery are utterly false. Instead, the statue of Silent Sam itself stands as a testament to the UNC students who died fighting in the war and the sons and daughters who suffered as a result.

As a corollary, disregard for the connection that our state and University shared with the Civil War would in fact be irresponsible. Our state and University are so deeply tied to this conflict that it cannot be ignored.

As the last state to formally secede from the Union, North Carolina sacrificed more men to the war than any other Southern state. The war itself claimed the lives of more UNC men than any other event in history. Indeed, many of these men died in order to protect institutional slavery, which was presumably the economic lifeblood of the agricultural South.

If current logic maintains that Silent Sam is a tribute to the defense of slavery, then it must follow that the nickname “Tar Heel” is also a tribute to the men who so steadfastly spilled their own blood in defense of it.

The term “Tar Heel” proliferated during the Colonial period in which North Carolina was an industry leader in tar, pitch and turpentine production. During the Civil War, the phrase came to represent how firmly North Carolinian soldiers held their ground in defense of the Confederacy.

By this construct, supporters of Silent Sam’s removal from our campus should likewise support an alteration of our school’s mascot, similar to Ole Miss’ recent abandonment of the Colonel Reb mascot. However, we relentlessly proclaim ourselves to be Tar Heels born and bred. We enduringly sing our alma mater at every chance and thus possess the responsibility to acknowledge the history which comes along with it.

Today, we realize that institutional slavery on behalf of landowners in the South was an egregiously dehumanizing and unconstitutional practice. As a result of this sentiment, should our administrators deduce it prudent or justifiable to remove all Civil War monuments? The answer is absolutely not. Our campus and state are too inextricably linked to the Civil War that any attempts to subvert or eschew this part of North Carolina history should be deemed negligent and irresponsible.
[columnist’s name] is a columnist from The Daily Tar Heel. He/She is a [year][major] major from [hometown]. Contact him/her at [columnist’s email].

Taylor Haulsee is a columnist for The Daily Tar Heel. He is a senior economics major from Pinehurst. Contact him at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wilderness Wins- No Wal-Mart Will be Built

Wal-Mart Abandons Store Plans Near Civil War Battle of the Wilderness
Mark Whittington
Thu Jan 27, 2011

Usually protests against building a Wal-Mart are driven by unions who are put out that Wal-Mart's workforce is not unionized. But a plan to build a Wal-Mart near the site of the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness aroused the ire of Civil War preservationists.

Plans to build a Wal-Mart store one mile from the entrance to the Wilderness Battlefield Park. Unfortunately the site chosen for the Wal-Mart, according to historians, was the site of General Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters and also a makeshift hospital where Union casualties were treated. This was the basis of groups such as the Civil War Trust who campaigned vigorously against building the Wal-Mart on the site.

Wal-Mart made its decision to walk away a day before a court trial was to take place. Those slated to testify against the Wal-Mart included Civil War historian James McPherson, filmmaker Ken Burns, and actor Robert Duvall. Burns had produced an award-winning documentary series on the Civil War that first ran on PBS in 1990. Duvall had played the part of Robert E. Lee in the Civil War epic "Gods and Generals."

Wal-Mart will now look for an alternative site elsewhere in Northern Virginia. It is a decision that has been applauded by all concerned.

History of the Battle of the Wilderness

The Battle of the Wilderness, which took place in 1864, was the first of many clashes between General Ulysses S. Grant, who had taken command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Robert E. Lee, long term commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The three day battle resulted in thirty five thousand dead, wounded, and missing. Though the Wilderness and the later Battle of Spotsylvania were bloody and inconclusive, General Grant did not retreat north, as so many commanders of the Army of the Potomac had done before. Instead, he pressed on, moving further and further south, probing for weaknesses in Lee's Army, fighting bloody battles of attrition, using his massive advantage in numbers and fire power.

When Lee found out that Grant was not retreating, it is said that he knew that he was confronted by a different kind of Yankee General. That truth must have hit home a year later when Lee finally met Grant at Appomattox to tender the surrender of himself and his Army.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wal-Mart vs. The Wilderness

Wal-Mart vs. Civil War site: battle heads to court

Associated Press
Sun Jan 23, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. – Nearly 150 years after Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant fought in northern Virginia, a conflict over the battlefield is taking shape in a courtroom.

The dispute involves whether a Walmart should be built near the Civil War site, and the case pits preservationists and some residents of a rural northern Virginia town against the world's largest retailer and local officials who approved the Walmart Supercenter.

Both sides are scheduled to make arguments before a judge Tuesday.

The proposed Walmart is located near the site of the Battle of the Wilderness, which is viewed by historians as a critical turning point in the war. An estimated 185,000 Union and Confederate troops fought over three days in 1864, and 30,000 were killed, injured or went missing. The war ended 11 months later.

The 143,000-square-foot space planned by the Bentonville, Ark., retailer would be outside the limits of the protected national park where the core battlefield is located. The company has stressed the store would be within an area already dotted with retail locations, and in an area zoned for commercial use.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors in August 2009 approved the special use permit Wal-Mart needed to build, but the National Trust for Historic Preservation and residents who live within three miles of the site challenged the board's decision.

They argued, in part, that supervisors ignored or rejected the help of historians and other preservation experts when they approved the store's construction in Locust Grove about 1 mile from the national park entrance.

Hundreds of historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson, filmmaker Ken Burns and actor Robert Duvall have appealed to Wal-Mart to walk away and find another place to build in the county of less than 35,000 people.

McPherson is expected to testify that the store's site and nearby acres were blood-soaked ground and a Union "nerve center" in the battle. Grant's headquarters and his senior leaders were encamped near the site of the proposed store and Union casualties were treated there or in an area destined to be the store's parking lot, McPherson wrote in a summary of his testimony.

"Among other things, thousands of wounded and dying soldiers occupied the then open fields that included the Walmart site, which is where many of the Union Army hospital tents were located during the battle," McPherson wrote.

An attorney representing Orange County argued the board and other officials acted properly and heard the opinions of hundreds of people before approving the store.

"There is no indication that any significant historical event occurred on this land," Sharon E. Pandak wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "No state or federal law precludes development of the site."

Plaintiffs' attorney Robert D. Rosenbaum said he plans to call descendants of Union and Confederate soldiers to testify. The dispute resonates beyond Virginia, where most of the Civil War was fought, he said.

"As we approach the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, this case is a watershed that will demonstrate whether we as a society are really interested in protecting our national heritage," he said.

In Orange County, many residents and community leaders have welcomed the Supercenter. It would create 300 jobs and tax revenue, and there would be a convenient big-box store in the county.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the retailer is hopeful the court proceedings will clear the way for construction.

"We believe the board made a careful and thoughtful decision that balances historic preservation concerns with the need for economic development," spokesman Bill Wertz said.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Beautiful Sight!

The Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia Flying at the South Carolina Capitol Building in Columbia, South Carolina.

Records of the United Confederate Veterans


For those of you what are interested in researching the United Confederate Veterans, here is a list of know locations of their records:

1. Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA (

2. Mississippi State Archives in Jackson, MS.

3. University of Southern Mississippi located in Haitesburg,MS. ( Long time Adjutant In Chief Gen. William McCain was President of the University ). There are some Georgia Division Records here as well - placed there by a former Lt. CIC who was from Georgia.

4. Mississippi State University - Starkville, MS. Gen S. D. Lee was the first president of the University and is buried in Columbus, MS. in Friendship Cemetery. Columbus is about 25 miles east of Starkville.

There may be other locations were these records are kept but these are the largest known collections. If anyone knows of other locations with substantial collections please contact me and I will add them to the list.

Happy Researching,

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Speakers for S.D. Lee Institute Announced


Dr. Thomas Dilorenzo – Academic Director of the Stephen Dill Lee Institute
Dr. Dilorenzo is an American Economics Professor at Loyola University of Maryland. He is a Senior Faculty member of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. He is the author of 10 books, most notably The Real Lincoln, a scholarly and critical contra view of Lincoln. He has devoted much effort to combating scholarly historical revisionism and has spoken in favor of the legality of Southern secession.

Kent Masterson Brown – Noted civil rights and constitutional law attorney from Lexington, Kentucky. He founded The Civil War Magazine and has been a contributing editor to North South Magazine. He has written several books. His most recent is the critically acclaimed Retreat from Gettysburg, and has won the 2005 Coddington Award for the best book on the Gettysburg campaign. He is a highly sought after speaker on all aspects of the War Between the States.

Brion McClanahan – Ph.D. scholar and was the last of Dr. Clyde Wilson’s doctoral students at the University of South Carolina. Author of the acclaimed book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers. He has written numerous scholarly articles and has been a popular speaker on the Founding Fathers and the founding principles of the United States.

Dr. Marshall DeRosa – Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. 2010 candidate for the United States Senate in Florida. Adjunct Faculty member of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. He is a Salvatore Fellow of the Heritage Foundation. His research interests focus on American founding principles. He has expertise on the Confederate Constitution.

Dr. Donald Livingston – Former American Philosophy Professor at Emory University. He is a constitutional scholar and expositor of the compact nature of the Union, federalism and states rights. He was instrumental in founding the Abbeville Institute. He is currently engaged in the writing of a book on the moral, legal and philosophical meaning of secession.

Walter D. (Donnie) Kennedy – Mr. Kennedy is a noted American author and historian. He was a 2008 Presidential Candidate and has co-authored with his brother 5 books on Southern heritage. He is a popular lecture speaker and has appeared frequently on national and local radio and television.

Confederate Heroes Day Celebrated In Texas

SCV honors last Confederate Veteran to live in county
Meagan O'Toole-Pitts
Jan 24, 2011

JACKSONVILLE — For its ninth annual Confederate Heroes Day ceremony on Saturday, the Sons of Confederate Veterans Cross of Saint Andrews Camp in Alto honored the last confederate veteran to live in Cherokee County.

At the Jacksonville City Cemetery, more than two dozen troops, Southern Belles and United Daughters of the Confederacy gathered to honor the service of Robert James Fair, who served three years as a private in Company B of the 45th Alabama infantry. Fair moved to Texas after the Civil War.

“Many Confederate veterans throughout the deep South migrated here to Texas for a new start after the war,” said Camp Commander Kenneth McClure. “Texas contributed close to 100,000 troops and a huge supply of arms and equipment for the Southern war effort, but Texas was very fortunate not to be devastated like many other states were, so Texas was an opportunity for Southern veterans to begin anew.”

The annual ceremony honors more than 2,000 men from Cherokee County who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, McClure said.

Fair, who died March 1, 1941, at age 93, was only 15 years old when he enlisted in the Confederate army in 1862.

“(Fair and his wife) moved west here to Texas in 1870 to farm. They eventually settled here in Cherokee County in 1918,” said 2nd Lt. Commander Shelley Cleaver. “Although Robert did not serve from our county in a Texas unit, he still wore the gray and fought bravely for the South during the war for Southern independence. He moved to Texas after the war and died a Texan and we are very proud of his service to the Confederate States of America.”

The camp placed a new military grave marker for Fair on Saturday.

“Each one of us have ancestors who fought in every major battle of the war and it is our duty as their descendants to not let their service and sacrifices be forgotten,” McClure said. “We have now set over 130 markers in our area of operation and have photographed and documented well over 5,000 Confederate veterans’ grave markers in our county and surrounding counties as well.”

Cleaver, a member of the Cherokee County Historical Commission, identified Fair as the last Confederate soldier to live in Cherokee County after reading “The Hills of Cherokee.”

“I have Confederate blood boiling in my veins and I have marked many a soldier,” Cleaver said. “The Sons of Confederate Veterans has helped me to find many of my ancestors.”

Before the 14-man rifle squad fired an honorary rifle volley for Fair, McClure read a roll call of 124 Confederate Veterans buried in the Jacksonville City Cemetery. Members of the rifle squad called out in the veterans stead.

“Here sir and ready to give the Yankees the devil,” called out Color Sgt. Ronnie Blackstock.

The Southern Belles and United Daughters of the Confederacy laid flowers on Fair’s grave as a final tribute. The Cross of Saint Andrews Camp has 52 troops and 16 Southern Belles. The Sons of Confederate Veterans work to create a better understanding of the will of the Confederate states, Blackstock said.

“(John H. Reagan) was in the Congress and in 1861 when the government took over all these states and were going to tell us what to do, state’s rights was being just ignored. He resigned from Congress on account of state’s rights,” Blackstock said. “They were trying to take all our rights away from us.”

Sons of Confederate Veterans contend that the Civil War was waged in response to the abridgment of state’s rights, rather than the abolitionist movement.

“My great-grandfather never owned a slave,” said Jimmy Odom, camp surgeon. “Ulysses Grant owned slaves.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Louisiana SCV Holds Secession Events

Secession Events Held in Baton Rouge

Come Wednesday it will be exactly 150 years since Louisiana seceded from the United States in the days leading up to the Civil War, but don't look for any official state events to commemorate the historic decision.

Re-enactments, staged by the Sons of Confederate Veterans a little over a week before the anniversary, were among the few to recognize the event.
In Baton Rouge this week, a group of re-enactors descended on the federal garrison to seek and receive its surrender. Later that afternoon, another group convened in the House Chamber of the Old State Capitol for the signing of the Louisiana Ordinance of Secession — the papers that made the state the sixth to leave the Union.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say remembering the war — the bloodiest in American history and one that still causes tension in many areas — is important. The group's website lauds the citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, and says the South was motivated by the desire to preserve liberty.

But secession itself was not popular with a large portion of Louisiana's citizens. Apparently, the anniversary isn't either.

The state planned no official commemoration.
"I think quite frankly people are a little embarrassed about it," said Lawrence Powell, a specialist in Civil War and Reconstruction at Tulane University. "It was not a real feel good story for anyone involved."

Friday, January 21, 2011

SCV Leadership Workshop

SCV National Leadership Workshop
As we approach the challenging years of the Sesquicentennial, leadership training has become even more important to the defense of our Southern heritage! In an effort to insure that our members better understand the challenges of leadership roles and to aid our leaders in acquiring the knowledge to better perform their duties, the SCV has scheduled a 2011 National Leadership Summit!

This year's inaugural event will be held March 5, 2011 in Chickamauga, Georgia on the grounds of the historic Gordon-Lee Mansion, and it will be hosted by the Pvt. John Ingraham Camp 1977. A tentative schedule for the day is posted below along with registration and lodging information.
Please note that this event will include relevant presentations and individual workshops for more specialized training for Commanders and Adjutants. ALL members are invited to attend!

Lt. CIC Barrow


8:00 - 8:15 Welcome & SCV Protocol Cmdr. John Culpepper, Camp 1777
8:15 - 8:30 Introductions & Overview Lt. CIC Charles Kelly Barrow
8:30 - 9:15 Commanders & Command CIC R. Michael Givens
9:15 - 9:30 BREAK
9:30 - 10:15 Adjutants & Administration Past AIC Mark Simpson
10:15 - 10:30 BREAK
10:30 - 11:15 Camp Programs & Projects Lt. CIC Charles Kelly Barrow

11:15 - 12:15 LUNCH

12:15 - 1:00 Camp Operations & Success TBA
1:00 - 1:15 BREAK
1:15 - 2:00 Commander's & Adjutant's Workshops CIC, Lt. CIC & Past AIC
2:15 - 2:30 BREAK
2:30 - 3:15 Recruiting & Retention Lt. CIC Charles Kelly Barrow
3:15 - Concluding Remarks & Discussion Lt. CIC Charles Kelly Barrow

Registration, which includes lunch, is only $10 each and will be handled through our General Headquarters at Elm Springs! You may mail a reservation with a check or call 1 (800) 380-1896 ext 209 (Cindy) or email with credit card information (MC, VISA or AMEX)

Econo Lodge 2.41 miles to Gordon-Lee Mansion
118 General Bushrod Johnson Avenue 217 Cove Road
Chickamauga GA 30707 Chickamauga GA 30707
Tel. (706) 375-7007 Tel. (706) 375-4728

Best Western Battlefield Inn 8.73 milesSuper 8 8.86 miles
2120 Lafayette Road 2044
Fort Oglethorpe GA 30742
Tel. (706) 8661-0222 2120

Registration Sheet




Email address_______________________________________

Camp number_________________ Check enclosed ( ) or

Credit Card (MC, VISA, or AMEX) Number __________________________ Expires _________

SCV Points Out Error of Politicians in Virginia

McDonnell, Allen have insulted Virginia's Civil War Confederate heritage, group Charges

By Michael Ruane and Anita Kumar

Officials of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on Tuesday decried what they called a "tide of political correctness" among Virginia politicians who they said continue to insult the state's Civil War Confederate heritage.

Referring to what they called the nation's second war for independence -- "so often mislabeled the Civil War," said Michael Rose, commander of the organization's Virginia division -- the group accused Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R) of failing to properly honor the state's Civil War past.

"For too long now, politicians like Governor Bob McDonnell and former senator George Allen have ignored, denied and even insulted our Virginia history and heritage," Rose said at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

"What we're asking people to do is just allow people to celebrate their heritage," said the organization's national commander, R. Michael Givens, of Beaufort, S.C. "After they're finished coming after the Confederate flag, they're going to come after the American flag."

Tim Nussbaum, a spokesman for Allen, who is expected to announce soon that he is running for Senate in 2012, did not return messages seeking comment this week.

The group also accused McDonnell of removing Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel behind the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. That ongoing dispute has led to a lawsuit.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said McDonnell did not order the flag to be removed. The agreement between the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, which leases the museum, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts stipulates that no exterior flags can be flown without approval by the museum, which oversees the property.

"It is an outrageous thing ... that governor McDonnell would order Confederate flags to be taken down at a Confederate chapel," said Richard T. Hines, commander of the organization's Jefferson Davis camp in Alexandria. "We think it's time to call a halt to that. History is history. To go back and rewrite is reminiscent of what was done in the Soviet Union."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans complained that McDonnell's "eleventh hour" proclamation honoring Lee-Jackson Day last week did not go far enough.

"We're pleased that ... even at the eleventh hour he finally did issue some statement honoring the great Virginians Lee and Jackson," said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the organization's Army of Northern Virginia commander. "I don't think it goes far enough."

McDonnell has apologized for declaring April 2010 "Confederate History Month," a declaration the group had requested in the spring. In September, McDonnell said he would declare April 2011 "Civil War in Virginia" month as he offered a second apology for his proclamation last year that failed to mention the role that slavery played in the state that was home to the capital of the Confederacy.

Allen had been a darling of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans for years, but in recent years he drew their ire by co-sponsoring bills condemning the lynching of blacks and promised to work on similar legislation apologizing for slavery. He also said of the Confederate flag that "the symbols you use matter because of how others may take them."


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pistol to Be Returned to the Museum of the Confederacy

Woman returning stolen Civil War revolver to museumBy Phil Gast, CNNJanuary 18, 2011 This .36-caliber Spiller & Burr revolver, which has an estimated value of $50,000


Research determines Civil War gun a woman had inherited had been stolen from a museum
She is returning it to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia
The weapon belonged to a North Carolina Confederate officer

(CNN) -- Dave Taylor, a Civil War antiques dealer in Sylvania, Ohio, was excited about the possibility of buying a "top-notch," genuine .36-caliber Spiller & Burr revolver that had belonged to a Confederate officer from North Carolina.

A Tennessee woman who inherited the revolver from her late father sent him photos and, eventually, they agreed to a price, he said.

"The purchase price we discussed was significant ... about double the annual salary I earned my first year out of college in 1979," Taylor told CNN Tuesday in an e-mail. "But the gun appeared to be in stellar condition, and I was anxious to buy it."

A day before driving down to Knoxville to finish the deal in late November, Taylor said he thumbed through an old reference book that indicated a photo of the sidearm was courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.


Taylor contacted Catherine Wright, collections manager at the museum, and by comparing photos and the piece's serial number, they determined the revolver was a match with one stolen from the museum in 1975.

Now, thanks to the intrepid research and the Tennessee woman's interest in doing the right thing, the gun should be back in the museum by February 1, the museum said Tuesday.

The revolver belonged to George Washington Rains, known with older sibling, Gabriel, as one of the "Bomb Brothers" for creating all manner of gunpowder-infused weapons for the Confederacy during the Civil War

Rains, who early in his career did a stint on the faculty of the U.S. Military Academy, survived the war and lived into his 80s, dying in 1898.

The North Carolina officer's military trappings, including the prized revolver, were housed in the Museum of the Confederacy.

In 1975, the revolver, worth an estimated $50,000 today, was stolen.

According to the FBI office in Knoxville, Krissy Evans had a Civil War revolver that was in her late father's belongings and she decided to seek an appraisal.

After "substantial research" and learning the weapon's history, Evans immediately decided to return the artifact to the museum, the FBI said in a news release.

The six-round revolver was not Confederate standard issue. Instead, individuals would purchase such a sidearm.

This particular Spiller & Burr gun was one of about 1,450 made, probably in Macon, Georgia, said Wright, who contacted the FBI.

"It was not terribly common," she told CNN.

Taylor said he considered the piece a "topnotch" version of that revolver.

Wright, who has kept a short list of items stolen from the museum, said she got a call December 1 from Taylor, who forwarded photos for the comparison.

"There was a nick on the wooden handle that was exactly in the same place" as museum photos of the revolver, according to Wright.

Taylor "was very instrumental" in the return of the gun, she said.

The museum does not know who stole the item, although it doesn't believe it was an inside job, Wright said.

Items were being transferred in 1975 from the original museum building to a new one when the revolver disappeared.

"It was more of a rickety old case" the pilferer managed to open, she said. Guards apparently were very trusting of people moving the artifacts, she said.

CNN left messages Tuesday for Evans, who Taylor believes had no idea the item was stolen.

"Ms. Evans is to be commended for her ethical integrity," Knoxville FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard L. Lambert said in the release. "By returning this artifact to the museum, Ms. Evans has ensured that it will be preserved and treasured for generations to come."

Jason Pack, a special agent with the FBI in Washington, said there was no formal investigation. "We are just a facilitator" in the revolver being returned to the museum.

For his part, Taylor is pleased he didn't spend a "small fortune" on the gun, only to lose it.

"There's no glory in having a piece of history that was stolen," he said.

Confederate Soldiers Remembered in Texas

January 17, 2011

Confederate servicemen honored Saturday
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — At the Sesquicentennial-Confederate Heroes Day Luncheon on Saturday in Jacksonville, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy sang “Dixie” to the tune of a banjo, saluted the American, Texas and Confederate flags and, through storytelling, revisited the South their great-great-grandfathers knew.

“It’s a matter of people who served in a diligent capacity. They served and they need to be honored. We honor the veterans of the World Wars. We honor the veterans of our engagements in Vietnam, and we certainly honor veterans of the American Civil War,” said Charles Nunnally, adjutant of the General Joseph L Hogg Camp in Rusk.

“It has become in recent times, at least in my lifetime, considered less appropriate to honor those that fought in the Confederacy. I disagree with that. They served. And it’s just a matter of remembering them.”

Mac Meredith, adjutant and former commander of the Walter P. Lane Camp in Longview, read passages from the fourth volume of the “R. E. Lee” series by Douglas Southall Freeman.

“I want to take you back to April 9, 1865, in Appomattox, Va., when Gen. Lee had just concluded the details of the surrender with Gen. Grant,” said Meredith, dressed in a first sergeant uniform of the Confederate Calvary adorned with six medals. “I want to take you back to that afternoon.”

Meredith recited Lee’s farewell address and talked about the Confederate Medal of Honor, an honor his great-great-grandfather Col. William Bradford Sims was awarded for his bravery in leading a charge against a Union battery on March 7, 1862.

“He was defending his home and it was an invading army,” Meredith said. “He and the other people in his command were defending their homes.”

Sims was awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor at the 2009 Sons of Confederate Veterans Convention. Since 1977, 56 Confederate Medals of Honor have been awarded.

“On Aug. 16, 1968, in Nashville, Tenn., at the 73rd General Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Col. John May proposed a resolution that a Confederate Medal of Honor be established,” Meredith said. “Many delegates felt it appropriate to adopt the stringent requirements of the Medal of Honor adopted by the United States and awarded after 1917. This policy clearly excluded a great many of those listed on the Confederate Roll of Honor.”

Members from four SCV camps — Gen. Joseph L. Hogg Camp in Rusk, Capt. James P. Douglas Camp in Tyler, Gen. Walter P. Lane Camp in Longview and the New Salem Invincibles Camp — attended the luncheon, as well as two UDC chapters — the Mollie Moore Davis Chapter in Tyler and the Hezekiah J. Wilson Chapter in Bullard.

During the centennial anniversary of the Civil War, there were many more events commemorating the ancestral soldiers, said Scott Bell, a member of the Joseph L. Hogg Camp in Rusk.

“It was a national movement. Historical monuments were erected in the ‘60s. States allocated money. It was a big deal,” Bell said. “We’re trying to keep the memory alive and remember the lessons learned.”

Georgia Remembers Her Ordinance of Secession

Georgia marks 150th secession anniversary

Georgia was the fifth state to adopt an ordinance of secession, an act that fueled the flames of the coming Civil War.
Jan 19, 2011

The action, taken by the Georgia Legislature because, as they wrote at the time, “The rulers whom the North offers us ... give sanctuary to thieves and incendiaries who assail it to the whole extent of their power ...; because their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars and our firesides,” is one of the precursors to the American Civil War, which started slightly less than four months later, on April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

In the century and a half since Georgia’s secession, historians have argued the causes and effects of the Civil War and the events that led to the bloody conflict that claimed 620,000 American lives. And while all agree that the death and destruction were staggering blows to the still-young nation, arguments persist to this day over the causes of the devastating confrontation.

“There are some who say the Civil War was all about slavery, and there are others who say it was all about states’ rights,” said Tom Hiter, a retired professor who now serves as national chief of heritage defense for the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization. “It’s just not that simple. There are huge, complicated factors that led to what was essentially the northern states’ invasion of the South.

“Robert E. Lee said, ‘Emancipation was a result of the war, not a cause,’ and from my studies I’ve found that to be as accurate an assessment as there is. The North did not fight to free the slaves, and the South did not fight to keep the institution of slavery. It’s much more complicated than that.”


South Carolina’s Legislature passed that state’s ordinance of secession Dec. 20, 1860, and Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana each followed suit during the next month. On Feb. 1 Texas became the seventh, and last, state to secede from the union before the onset of the war, but Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky joined them before 1861 had ended.

For four years, until April 9, 1865, the two sides fought fiercely before Lee’s inevitable surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Va.

And while that famous meeting ended the fighting and preserved the American Union, bitter rhetoric over that period of this country’s history persists to this day.

“Like a bad marriage in which two incompatible individuals had been at odds and arguing for years, the South wanted a divorce,” James King, commander of the local SCV camp, said. “The South was tired of the abuse.

“One can take certain statements, facts and quotes and present a perspective that the war and secession were totally over slavery, and one can take other statements, facts and quotes and present a perspective that slavery had nothing to do with the war and secession. The truth is somewhere in the middle.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans was organized in Richmond, Va., in 1896 as a means of preserving the heritage of Southern soldiers who fought during the Civil War. Its members say they constantly battle a stigma imposed by detractors who claim the organization perpetuates racial divide.

“It’s like two boys on a playground: If one calls the other names, he’s going to respond,” Dan Coleman, a spokesman for the Georgia SCV division, said. “Unfortunately, there are people out there who profit from divisiveness, and race is an easy enough topic to stir people’s passions.

“The main problem is with our education system. Until they go back and teach the true history of the Civil War rather than the revised history, there will be this perception that the ‘benevolent North’ fought to free suffering slaves and the South fought to keep them. And that’s just not true. It’s like Jefferson Davis said: ‘Everything’s negotiable but independence.’ That’s a Southern perspective that’s not discussed.”


Georgians will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the state’s secession today in Milledgeville, the former state capital, with a Georgia SCV-sponsored re-enactment of speeches made by Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, Thomas Cobb, Eugenius Nisbett and Hershel Johnson during the state’s 1861 convention. And while Coleman said he’s heard “no adverse feedback” associated with the event, that hasn’t been the case in other such celebrations.

The NAACP in South Carolina called for a protest of that state’s “Secession Ball” held Dec. 20.

“The Sons of Confederate Veterans have become, by default, the focal point of people who oppose any celebration of Southern heritage,” Hiter, who resides in western Kentucky, said. “And things have really picked up in the last five or six months as we’ve started talking about the sesquicentennial. There was a lot of noise about the (removal of the Confederate battle emblem from) state flags in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina four or five years ago, but things quieted down.

“Now, as we celebrate an important date in our heritage, people who would attack our efforts see what we’re doing as waving a red flag in front of them. That’s not what we’re about; this is no red flag. But the national media now seem to equate our group and the South in general with the Ku Klux Klan, and it puts us in an uncomfortable position.”

Jimmy Shirley, the commander of a West Palm Beach SCV camp in south Florida who writes for a biweekly publication there, said he’s come under personal attack for his affiliation with the SCV and, simply, for his Southerness.

“A young lady from New York made comments about me recently, and she talked about me being from the ‘dirty South’ and my lack of knowledge associated with my ‘Rebel-ness’,” Shirley said. “There seems to be a growing prejudice against the South associated with the Civil War, and groups like (the SCV) who try to point out errors passed off as historical fact are accused of presenting ‘revisionist history.’

“But it’s like kids working on a construction job. Plans get revised; there’s nothing wrong with revision. The more we learn about the past, the more we need revision. There’s this Yankee frame of mind where northerners won’t listen to new historical data. You tell a Yankee the Civil War was not just about slavery, and they’ll tell you you’re wrong.
We could clear up a lot of problems (between Northerners and Southerners) in three little words: ‘Yankee go home.’ ”


While such arguments rage on, stirring often heated debate, SCV officials insist their organization’s purpose remains today what it has always been. And they say it will continue to concentrate on Southern heritage despite opposition from several fronts.

“We tried to run ads (about the sesquicentennial) on the History Channel, but they refused to air them, said they had a problem with the verbiage,” Jack Bridwell, Georgia’s SCV division commander, said. “I talked with a lady who told me, ‘You can’t say Lincoln invaded the South. You can’t use the term invasion.’ I don’t know what she would call it.

“But that’s the kind of thing we tend to run into. And that’s one of the things that upsets me. You go to the trouble to find historical documentation, and people just turn you off.”

That’s why, Hiter says, there needs to be more debate on the topics of secession and the Civil War.

“I’ve seen the Confederate battle flag referred to in the media as the ‘Confederate swastika,’” he said. “In other words, Confederate soldiers are being compared to Nazis. I am very proud of my ancestors’ heritage. I don’t like having that heritage impugned.”




Below are a few comments regarding how General Lee has been described:

Theodore Roosevelt - "The world has never seen better soldiers than those who followed Lee; and their Leader will undoubtedly rank as without exception the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth."

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke at the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Statue in Dallas, Texas, on June 12, 1936 and said,

"I am happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of Lee. All over the United States we recognize him, as a great general. But also, all over the United States, I believe we recognize him as something much more than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen."

Sir Winston Churchill once remarked, "Lee was the noblest American who had ever lived and one of the greatest commanders known to the annals of war."

Monday, January 17, 2011

George Washington BANNED From MLK Day Event in South Carolina

George Washington is BANNED from the MLK Day event held today in South Carolina.

Note the wall built around the Chief Founding Father at the event held on the steps of the Capitol Building in Columbia, South Carolina.

Virginia Division SCV Issues Press Release

January 16, 2011
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Richmond, Virginia


The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold a joint press conference on January 18, 2011, at 3pm in the Zenger Room of The National Press Club (529 14th Street NW, Washington D.C.).

“It has been estimated that over 2 million Virginia citizens can trace their ancestry to a soldier who fought in the Confederate Army,” stated Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, B. Frank Earnest. “The Civil War was a defining moment in our history and, as we enter its Sesquicentennial year, it is fitting we honor the memories of the men and women on both sides whose sacrifices are part of our heritage. However, to put it candidly, under Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia’s history has become political football.

“Past Governors – Democrats and Republicans – have respected Virginia’s responsibility to protect our historic Civil War landmarks, like the Confederate Chapel in Richmond, which the old Confederate Veterans ceded to the care of the Commonwealth of Virginia many years ago."

“However, Governor Bob McDonnell, bowing to the mandates of political expediency, has turned his back on these men and on the history and heritage of a huge group of Virginia citizens."

“Past Governors – Democrats and Republicans – have routinely issued gubernatorial proclamations honoring Virginia’s Civil War heritage – for groups like the SCV – just as they would for other groups."

“For example, Governor McDonnell’s predecessors, Democratic Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, issued, without hesitation, gubernatorial proclamations for Confederate leaders. Shamefully, our history has become so ‘politicized’ leaders who honored our heritage in the past – like former Senator George Allen – are now apologizing for their records.”

“We call on Governor McDonnell to remember that he is the Governor of all Virginians, that he honor the memory of those who died in defense of our Commonwealth, and that he rethink his politically correct position and honor the forthcoming petition which will begin today."

For Information contact Brag Bowling at 804-389-3620.

Secession Remberances Held by Louisiana Division


On Saturday Januray 15, 2011 the Louisiana Division held serveral events to mark the 150th anniversary of the secession of Louisiana in 1861. At 9:30 AM a re-enactment of the surrender of the Federal garrison at the Baton Rouge Arsenal was held. In the afternoon there was a re-enactment / theatrical production of the signing of the Louisiana Orinance of Secession held in the House Chamber of the Old State Capitol building - where the Ordinance was signed on January 26, 1861.

Following the signing of the Ordinance, a memorial service was held at the grave of Confederate general and war-time Governor of Louisiana Henry Watkins Allen who is buried on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.

The first link below takes you to the web page of WAFB-TV who covered the Ordinance signing and memorial service. When you open the webpage go to page "2" by clicking the "next" closest to (below) where the video plays on the website. The video title is: "Re-enactmetn ceremony honors Louisiana war history".

Below is a link to a photo gallery of the events:

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Fort Sumter Remembered

Shots changed SC forever

A shell roared out of a 10-inch mortar at Fort Johnson at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, forever changing South Carolina and the United States of America.

Decades of bellicose debate about slavery and federal authority over states, and months of prickly negotiations about the Union troops holed up on a man-made island in the mouth of the Charleston harbor, had come to this — a shell exploding over the 33-star U.S. flag. The explosion was a signal to the 43 Confederate cannons around the harbor to begin firing on Fort Sumter.

It also ignited the Civil War.


Some of the events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War in Charleston in April 1861

Feb. 3-5: “Storm Clouds on the Horizon,” conference presented by Blue & Gray Education Society, Mills House Hotel, 115 Meeting St., Charleston

April 8-July 10: “A Soldier’s View of Charleston,” exhibition of 33 paintings by Conrad Wise Chapman depicting Charleston Harbor during the Civil War, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St., Charleston

April 8-July 10: “Stephen Marc: Passage on the Underground Railroad,” photographs and digital montages explore the history of freedom seekers, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St., Charleston

April 8: Lectures by USC professor Walter Edgar, College of Charleston professor Bernard E. Powers Jr. and Middlebury College professor Barbara Bellows, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston, 7 p.m., free

April 9: Episode 1 of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” will be shown at the Old North Charleston Picture House, 4920 Jenkins Ave., North Charleston, 7 p.m., free

April 9: Episode 1 of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” will be shown at Marion Square, Charleston, 7 p.m., free

April 9: Lecture by Columbia University professor Barbara Jeanne Fields and Stanford University professor Gavin Wright, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., Charleston, 10 a.m., free

April 9: Lecture by Queens University Belfast professor Catherine Clinton and University of Georgia professor Stephen Berry, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., Charleston, 2 p.m. free

April 10: Episode 1 of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” will be shown at Marine Resources Research Institute Auditorium, 205 Fort Johnson Road, James Island, 4 p.m., free

April 11: Concert at White Point Garden, Charleston Symphony, Mt. Zion AME Spiritual Ensemble and the Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band performing portions of the score from Ken Burns’ “The Civil War,” Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” and other music relevant to the war, 7:30 p.m., free

April 12: Candlelight Sunrise Concert, Charleston Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble, commemorating first shots fired from Fort Johnson on Fort Sumter, White Point Garden, The Battery, Charleston, 5 a.m., free

April 12: Lecture by Princeton University professor James M. McPherson, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St., Charleston, 7 p.m.

April 14: Lecture by J. Roderick Heller III, author and founding chairman of the Civil War Trust, Charleston Library Society, 164 King St., Charleston, 7 p.m.
Two days later, the U.S. flag came down and Maj. Robert Anderson surrendered the fort to the Confederacy.

Exactly four years and more than 600,000 deaths later, Anderson returned to raise the U.S. flag again over the fort. The Civil War, as far as critical military battles, was over.

But for South Carolina and, especially for the state’s image, it never has ended.

South Carolinians forever will be remembered as the people who started the war — the first to secede, the first to fire on the U.S. flag.

“The state bears that burden, whether it wants to or not, like no other state in the Union,” said Eric Emerson, director of the S.C. Department of Archives and History.

While South Carolina’s image has taken a pounding because of the war — and the subsequent Jim Crow and civil rights eras, as well as fights over the Confederate flag — the state’s role in the war also has had some benefits.

Tourists spent nearly $10 billion a year in the state. Surveys rank history at the top of their reasons for visiting, and Fort Sumter is the state’s top historical destination, drawing more than 700,000 people in 2009.

“Many people come to Charleston to visit Fort Sumter,” said longtime Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. “And many come because Charleston is a beautiful, historic city made more so by the presence of Fort Sumter.”

The Winter of 1860-61

South Carolina proudly was the first state to leave the Union, seceding on Dec. 20, 1860.

But Maj. Anderson, who was in charge of Federal troops then housed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, felt threatened even before the Ordinance of Secession was approved. He worried about clashes between his soldiers and sometimes rowdy secessionists.

Anderson knew the island isolation of Fort Sumter offered more protection, but he also knew moving his troops to that still-under-construction fortress in the harbor could lead to bigger problems. S.C. Gov. Francis Pickens had an agreement with Anderson’s superiors in Washington that the staffing of federal structures around the harbor wouldn’t change unless the two sides agreed on the moves. But those same Washington superiors also had made it clear to Anderson that he had the authority to move his troops if he felt threatened.

The celebration in the streets after the ordinance was signed convinced Anderson he had to make a move. On the night of Dec. 26, Anderson’s troops packed their belongings in small boats and rowed 1.1 miles across the harbor to Fort Sumter.

As S.C. leaders the next day realized what had happened, they fired off complaints to Washington. Secessionists also took control of Castle Pinckney, an unsecured federal arsenal on an island in the interior harbor.

But Castle Pinckney was a pawn. Fort Sumter was the king in a harbor that ranked alongside New Orleans as the most important in the South, according to Rick Hatcher, current-day historian at Fort Sumter National Monument. And access to harbors was key to trade with Europe, an essential in building a new nation.

“It is a major thorn in the side of the Confederacy if Anderson controls ships, coming in and out of the harbor,” Hatcher said. “Fort Sumter has growing importance in the eyes of the Confederacy. It is very strategic.’

Two weeks after Anderson’s big move, Citadel cadets stationed on Morris Island fired on the steamship Star of the West, which was bringing supplies to Fort Sumter. The steamship turned around, but the momentum toward war could not so easily be reversed. That same day, Mississippi became the second state to secede. Within six weeks, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas had joined what, on Feb. 8, became the Confederate States of America.

“There is great excitement in Charleston,” Hatcher said. “Troops are coming in from the interior. ... There are some people who have concerns. Are we doing the right thing? Are we going too fast? But the excitement has a snowball effect. Everyone is asking: Are you with the state or are you not with the state?”

‘Mad, mere maniacs’

James Petigru, South Carolina’s most famous Unionist, famously said after the secession vote: “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”

Many outside of South Carolina agreed with him.

South Carolinians “are mad, mere maniacs, and I want to lock them up till they become sane; not kill them,” Henry Adams of Massachusetts, the great-grandson of President John Quincy Adams, wrote in a letter to his brother on Jan. 8, 1861.

That image of South Carolinians to many outside the state has changed only slightly since then.

Jannie Harriot, former chairwoman of the S.C. African-American Heritage Commission, was among the hundreds of thousands of African-Americans who left the state during the mid-1900s. Harriot returned to South Carolina in 1990 and feels better about her home state now. But she wonders if others ever will.

Harriot lived a large part of her adult live in New Jersey, working in New York City. Since returning to South Carolina, she says she cannot count the number of times her Northern friends have asked her, “How do you live there?”

“They think we are all dumb and don’t know how to act,” Harriot said. “I tell them I have a very good life, a very fulfilling life, and I really enjoy my work in preservation. I invite my out-of-state friends to come down and visit, and they’re always so impressed.”

Archivist Emerson has had the same experience — with relatives from North Carolina.

Leaders in that state weren’t as staunchly anti-Union 150 years ago. They didn’t pick a fight with Washington, only joining the Confederacy when there appeared to be no other choice.

“There’s this disconnect,” Emerson said. “They come to Charleston and see the beauty and immerse themselves in the history, but they still feel there’s an untoward and unseemly side to the state.”

The negative attitude toward South Carolina from outsiders began to take shape with the Ordinance of Secession.

Fort Sumter gave it a focal point.

The long wait for war

From late December through early April of that fateful winter, some political leaders still hoped for a peaceful solution. But the Union soldiers in Fort Sumter and S.C. soldiers on shore prepared for war.

Anderson, with only 84 men in a fort designed for 250, increased his number of working cannons to 60 from 15 during those three months. He also had his troops fill in the second-story gun windows in the fort’s 50-foot-tall brick walls, fearing attacking soldiers might storm through openings he did not have the manpower to defend.

Meanwhile on shore, South Carolinians — alone at first and, later, with the help from Confederate troops — built new gun batteries in the dunes on Morris Island and Fort Johnson, to the south of Fort Sumter, and at Fort Moultrie, to the north. Some batteries were fortified with metal, some built on floating platforms. Others simply were sunk into the sand.

The men on Sumter were at a distinct disadvantage in the arms race. They only had the military supplies that had been left on the island. Early in the standoff, Gov. Pickens allowed Anderson to come to Charleston to buy food and drink, and to send telegraph messages to Washington. Eventually, those privileges were cut off.

By early April, basic provisions were running low at Fort Sumter. Confederate leaders searching for a peaceful solution hoped Anderson would surrender the fort when his men no longer could survive. The more belligerent in Charleston were itching for Washington to try to resupply Fort Sumter and give them an excuse to fire.

Anderson had an honorable excuse for evacuating, but he felt more strongly about his obligation to follow orders and wait until supply ships, promised by Washington, arrived.

“The war may never have happened if Anderson had decided to evacuate,” Fort Sumter historian Hatcher said. “It shows how those little decisions in history can have significant impact. ... Anderson could have made the decision to give it up. They had almost no food -- it would have been honorable to evacuate. But he felt if he didn’t stay until the bitter end, it would be a blemish on his record.”

As Confederate leaders learned supply ships were nearing Charleston, they sent emissaries out to Fort Sumter on April 11, asking Anderson to surrender. He refused. Given one last chance, Anderson turned down another offer to surrender early in the morning of April 12.

With the U.S. flag still flying at 4:30 a.m., the first shot was fired.

“Now, we’ve reached the point of no return,” Hatcher said.

Drawing attention to dark times

As the 150th anniversary of the war approached, historians and tourism officials formed the S.C. Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board to plan commemoration efforts. State Sen. Glenn McConnell, a Charleston Republican and Civil War history buff, sponsored the legislation that set up the board in 2008.

The group held public meetings throughout the state to determine how residents felt the anniversary should be observed. The ideas ranged from Civil War history trails to travelling history exhibitions to battle re-enactments. Everyone seemed to like the idea of a Web site that could use graphics and photos to hook youngsters on history.

But as the committee continued to meet over three years, it became clear there would be no money coming from the state, federal government or companies.

That’s a big change from 1961, when the state kicked in money and major corporations sponsored events. Esso, the precursor to Exxon, and Sinclair Oil Co. gave out maps, adorned with Confederate flag logos, to battlefield sites. Kids could buy bubblegum cards with bloody drawings of Civil War events.

Just why business executives likely will take a pass on the war’s 150th anniversary can be seen in the response given to a late November New York Times article detailing some of the early sesquicentennial events. The Times focused on celebratory events, including a “Secession Gala” sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Charleston on Dec. 20. The online comments — more than 400 in the first 36 hours — were scathing.

“Quotes that contain phrases like ‘We in the South” and ‘our people’ really leave me quite speechless. As if the South and its people are still fighting for their imagined right to be another country,” wrote an unidentified commenter from Upstate New York.

On MSNBC’s “The Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the host couldn’t understand why anyone would want to celebrate the Civil War. “The 150th anniversary of, you know, treason and defense of servitude and murder and suicide, billed as a joyous night of fun, dancing, food and drink,” Olbermann said. “Don’t forget the silent slave auction.”

As state archives director Emerson and other historians planned for the commemoration of the war’s sesquicentennial, they found themselves fighting the always lingering fallout of that first shot over Fort Sumter.

“Some people, rather than trying to understand that burden, say, ‘I’m proud of it,’ ” Emerson said. “You don’t want to feel all the pain and suffering and death was in vain, so you try to rationalize it.”

Others want to downplay that period in the state’s history, hoping it won’t get much attention. State officials quietly denied permission to display the Ordinance of Secession in the State House on the 150th anniversary of its origin in Columbia.

“A lot of people don’t want to touch this,” Emerson said. “The past is there. It’s just whether you chose to acknowledge it.”

‘It’s our national history’

Tourism officials haven’t shied away from Civil War history.

A 2010 report from the Office of Tourism Analysis at the College of Charleston listed “history” as the top asset listed in a survey of visitors to the Charleston area. It noted 1.54 million visitors to the area’s major attractions, 3.93 million total tourists and an economic impact of $2.8 billion for all tourism.

“Charleston has achieved a brand, the name of the city conveys so many positive things,” Charleston Mayor Riley said. “The negative things have not had sufficient traction, relative to Charleston, to diminish the great qualities of the city.”

The more than 700,000 people who visited Fort Sumter National Monument in the 2008-2009 fiscal year represented a slight drop from previous years, likely due to economic conditions. The visitors find exhibits at the new visitors center, next to the S.C. Aquarium, that detail the role of slavery in the pre-war economy of the South and in the buildup to the war.

Tourist Teresa Otto of Lincoln, Neb., decided to visit Fort Sumter in early December while in Charleston with her daughter. The family tries to stop by historic sites whenever they travel.

“It’s our national history,” Otto said. “Knowing your country’s history is vital.”

The National Park Service is aware of complaints about the lack of attention to the African-American aspects of the Civil War during the centennial 50 years ago, along with the impression the war was celebrated then. The Park Service’s vision statement for its sesquicentennial efforts says it will discuss the war’s causes and consequences.

“The NPS will address the institution of slavery as the principal cause of the Civil War,” the statement reads. “As well as the transition from slavery to freedom — after the war — for the 4 million previously enslaved African Americans.”

The Fort Moultrie-Fort Sumter Historical Trust, a nonprofit group supporting the parks, is leading the Lowcountry sesquicentennial effort. The Trust helped put together a scholarly seminar on the war in early December at The Citadel, built a Web site — — and is planning multiple events around the anniversary of the first shots.

But most media attention, thus far, went to the Secession Gala, a project of the Confederate Heritage Trust and a local group of Sons of Confederate Veterans. Jeff Antley of Mount Pleasant, who helped organize the ball, says he was stunned by the backlash against the December event.

"I’m amazed at how they have no idea of the history,” Antley said of the gala’s detractors. “Their talking points — North is good, South is bad, South equals slavery — are so simplistic.”

Antley saw the ball as a chance to celebrate brave men who stood up to a federal government trying to tell them what to do. He is glad South Carolinians still are viewed as having that attitude.

“This is one of the few states where people say they are from South Carolina and they’re proud of their state,” Antley said. “We’re thicker skinned about what people say from outside the state.”

Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP, found the celebratory nature of the gala offensive.

"History is what it is,” Scott said. “If you want to commemorate it and not sanitize it, then it’s not a problem.

“But there’s nothing we can see where there should be a celebration of the Confederacy, not from our vantage point.”

Short battle, long legacy

The first battle of the war lasted 34 hours and was remarkably one-sided.

Anderson could match the Confederates in armaments, but he lacked a basic tool — needles to sew cloth cartridges of gunpowder necessary to fire cannons. The six needles in the fort weren’t enough to keep up with the need for cartridges, according to the fort engineer’s report.

Anderson had to use his cannons judiciously, at one point limited to six guns. He also decided not to use the cannons on Sumter’s top level because their location, while ideal for hitting Confederate targets, would put his men at the most danger. After one long lull from Fort Sumter, the troops at Fort Johnson cheered when the Union forces finally fired back.

Meanwhile, Confederate forces were throwing everything they could at the fort, knocking off large chunks of its brick walls. Still, Anderson could have held out longer if not for the fires started when incendiary shells hit the wooden floors in the fort’s barracks. Finally, in the afternoon of April 13, Anderson agreed to evacuate on the condition that he and his men be allowed a ceremony the next day to salute the flag before leaving via ship.

“Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until the quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, the gorge walls seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by flames, and its door closed from the effects of heat, four barrels and three cartridges of powder only being available, and no provisions remaining but pork, I accepted terms of evacuation offered by General Beauregard,” Anderson wrote.

Incredibly, considering nearly 5,000 shells had been fired, no soldiers on either side were killed in the battle. But one Union soldier was killed and another mortally wounded in a mishap during the final salute to the flag.

In New York, Anderson’s troops were greeted as heroes. In Charleston, many people celebrated a war they felt easily would be won.

Four country-changing years later, South Carolina had been devastated.

Today, 150 years later, South Carolina in some ways still embraces the war more than most states.

"When you win a war, you put it to the side,” said Eddie Dyer, assistant vice president at Coastal Carolina University and a political science professor. “When you lose it, you try to keep fighting. It’s human nature. ... I think the Civil War is more important in South Carolina and the region than it is outside the region.”

But there is interest in the war everywhere.

Just go to any bookstore and see how many tomes have been written about it. “The books are there because the public wants to read about it,” said Allen Roberson, director of the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia.

Trying to capture that interest, coastal South Carolina will commemorate important Civil War moments in the state — the 1862 Battle of Secessionville, the most important S.C. land battle; Beaufort County slave Robert Smalls’ commandeering of a Confederate transport ship and turning it over to the Union in 1862; the Siege of Charleston from 1863-’65; and the Battle of Battery Wagner in 1863, featuring the Union’s Massachusetts 54th Regiment of African Americans, immortalized in the movie “Glory.”

April 12: 150 years later

The Fort Moultrie-Fort Sumter Historic Trust plans observances for each of those events.

But trust board members know the most attention will be focused on the anniversary of the first shot of the war.

In April, Union re-enactors will camp at Fort Sumter for five days. They will be replaced by Confederate re-enactors on April 15.

On April 11, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will play a concert on the waterfront at White Point Gardens, featuring composer Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” A smaller ensemble will play spirituals in a candlelight observance beginning at 4 a.m. on April 12, leading up to a burst of fireworks above Fort Sumter to recreate the first shot.

“It will be very moving,” Charleston Mayor Riley said. “We have to be alert to misconceptions (that the event is a celebration). If we do it well, then the message to the world is we’re not doing this the way it was done in the 1960s but as a serious, thoughtful and inclusive observance of an important period in our history.”

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stop the Spin on the Cause of the War

The cause of the Civil War: With Mr. Lincoln, the spin stops here
January 14th, 2011

For a century and a half, Americans have argued over the causes and purposes of the American Civil War. Even now, we scrap over what to call it. In three recent Examiner posts on this topic though, we’ve seen that the simple answers don’t fit, that it really wasn’t all good versus all bad, and that the causes and purposes of our deadliest war are to this day easily “agenda spun.”

Shame on us.

But then all we have to do is consult the ultimate source. Mr. Lincoln, why was this war fought? Indeed, what did “Honest Abe” say?

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.’ … My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views as fast as they shall appear to be true views."[1]

That would seem to define the matter, to end the discussion. But Lincoln wrote these well known and oft-quoted words to Horace Greeley on 22 August 1862, in response to Greeley’s widely read, scolding open letter to Lincoln entitled “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” published three days earlier in his New York Tribune. As fate would have it, Lincoln’s response to Greeley was precisely a month before he would issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Revisionist historians in recent decades, especially in the aftermath of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, have emphasized that Lincoln expanded his goal of saving the Union with a newer, far nobler goal of ending slavery. Notes James McPherson, “The Civil War started out as one kind of conflict and ended as something quite different” because now “from the time the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect at the beginning of 1863, the North fought for the revolutionary goal of a new Union without slavery.” As the Pulitzer Prize winning author asserts, “despite the grumbling and dissent of some soldiers who said they had enlisted to fight for the Union rather than for the ‘n-----‘, most soldiers understood and accepted the new policy.”[2]

But in his conclusion, McPherson differs with such noted historians as James G. Randall, T. Harry Williams, and Norman Graebner by subtly revising Lincoln’s war aims with his own nuanced phrase arrangement: Lincoln “was a pragmatic revolutionary who found it necessary to destroy slavery and create a new birth of freedom in order to preserve the Union.” That would seem to put saving the Union in second place.[3] Is that what Abe said?

When abolitionist author James Oakes reviewed the emancipationist literature over the last 75 years, he lauded McPherson’s first book, The Struggle for Equality: The Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964), as “one indication of how the civil rights movement of the sixties inspired a new generation of scholarship on abolitionism.”[4] New interpretations, if accurately documented by primary sources, certainly expand the discussion and our understanding of the past. But as the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne reminds us, we need to “avoid spin.” Even the subtle stuff.

Well, what did Mr. Lincoln say?

On 19 August 1864, almost two years to the day after he replied to Horace Greeley’s open letter, the president invited former Wisconsin governor Alexander Randall and Judge Joseph T. Mills to the White House. To both men, as he had to Greeley, he emphatically reiterated his resolute war aim.

"My enemies say I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. It is & will be carried on so long as I am President for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without using the Emancipation lever as I have done. Freedom has given us the control of 200,000 able bodied men, born & raised on southern soil. It will give us more yet… My enemies condemn my emancipation policy. Let them prove by the history of this war, that we can restore the Union without it."[5]

Three weeks later, in a letter to Buffalo, New York Postmaster Isaac Schermerhorn, Lincoln hammered it home again, graphically laying out the guts of his war aim as it applied to colored troops. “…the administration accepted the war thus commenced, for the sole avowed object of preserving our Union; and it is not true that it has since been, or will be, prosecuted by this administration, for any other object … We can not spare the hundred and forty or fifty thousand now serving us as soldiers, seamen, and laborers. This is not a question of sentiment or taste, but one of physical force which may be measured and estimated as horse-power and steam-power are measured and estimated. Keep it and you can save the Union. Throw it away, and the Union goes with it.”[6]

Saving the Union remained paramount. Proclaiming emancipation and then employing colored troops in the cause was just another war “lever” Lincoln utilized on the road to reunion. But Carl Sandburg was uncomfortable with such language and he “reshaped” the Randall/Mills interview when he published his multi-volumed biography of Abraham Lincoln 72 years later. Instead of Mr. Lincoln’s coarser “Emancipation lever” version as cited above, Sandburg polished it into “Emancipation policy.”

My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President it shall be for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy as I have done, and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion … Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union. I will abide the issue.[7]

But spin can be pervasive. In his biography Frederick Douglass, another Pulitzer Prize winner, William S. McFeely, notes that Douglass was also at the White House on 19 August 1864, waiting for a presidential interview when Randall and Mills were ushered in to meet Lincoln. McFeely selectively edited Judge Mill’s diary to omit Lincoln’s referencing the “Emancipation lever” phrase to win the war, thus subordinating Lincoln’s goal of restoring the Union in favor of his determination to reward colored military service with promised freedom.[8] Again, subtle but effective spin.

So who are we to believe? How do we know what’s spun … and what is not?

We know by going back to the source, the ultimate source. And for all who visit the nation’s capital, the truth is easily found in that Memorial at the western end of our National Mall dedicated in 1922 to our 16th President. There, in a modest museum a floor below the words of his epic Gettysburg Address, you can read for yourself Abraham Lincoln’s answer:

My enemies pretend that I am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am President it shall be for the sole purpose of restoring the Union.

Abraham Lincoln, 19 August 1864.

Visit the Lincoln Memorial and read those words. They are the WHAT and the WHY. And they will always be there for you and your descendents

…because they are carved in stone.

[1] As quoted in Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Vol. 1, (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1939), 567.

[2] James McPherson, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 25, 34-5.

[3] Ibid., 23-4, 41.

[4]James Oakes, The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics, (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007), 297.

[5]Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, (New Brunswick, NJ, 1955), 506-508.Also published inNew York Tribune, 10 September 1864.

[6] Ibid., Vol. 8, 2.

[7] Sandberg, Lincoln: The War Years, Vol. 3, 212.

[8] William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991), 232-3.


Continue reading on The cause of the Civil War: With Mr. Lincoln, the spin stops here - Washington DC Civil War Heritage

Friday, January 14, 2011

Press Conference To Be Held

Sons of Confederate Veterans
Richmond, Virginia
January 14, 2009


The International Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, beginning at 3pm in the Zenger Room of The National Press Club (529 14th Street N.W., Washington DC).

The purpose of the press conference will be to discuss the continuing failures of Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to respectfully and adequately deal with a variety of history and heritage issues in the Commonwealth. The press conference will also address similar issues with prospective Senatorial candidate George Allen.

Please mark your calendar for 3pm on January 18. A press release on this subject will be forthcoming.

Anyone desiring information may contact Brag Bowling at 804-389-3620.

Louisiana To Name State Commission for Sequicentennial

State joins Civil War sesqui march
Dardenne will name special commission to plan observances
By John Andrew Prime • January 14, 2011

The 150th anniversary of the nation's bloodiest war, whose lessons and legacies haunt even today, begins in April, but until recently Louisiana, a pivotal player in the conflict, had no central planning body to prepare for events that could prove an international tourist draw.
That soon could change.

Late last week, Gov. Bobby Jindal's office said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne would be free to name a commission along the lines of those formed by more than a dozen other states, with caveats.
"Lt. Governor Dardenne has requested to establish a commission to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War," an e-mail from Jindal's office, after a Times query, said. "We've agreed to allow the Lt. Governor to establish and appoint such a commission so long as the members serve on a voluntary basis and there is no increased cost to the state."

That's good enough for Dardenne, who long has had an interest in marking the events of the conflict that rent the state into factions for more than a decade after the conflict ended, and whose office is responsible for tourism and tourism development.

"We're behind the curve a little bit with what other states are doing," said Dardenne, whose office encompasses tourism and tourist development. "I'm anxious to see what other states have done. I think its' a tremendous tourist opportunity for the state because we have such a rich history, not only in terms of Civil War battles, but also Lincoln's plans for Reconstruction, which were focused around Louisiana. There's a lot of different angles that play into Louisiana's history and need to be remembered and examined during the course of the Sesquicentennial."

States that already have Civil War Sesquicentennial Commissions active or in formation include Virginia, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Vermont, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Dardenne already has a couple of commission candidates in mind: Shreveport historian and Civil War author Gary D. Joiner, and a fellow Shreveporter, Tom Pressly, an avid Civil War historian and researcher whose interests include Civil War battlefield medicine.

The area also has other possible commission members: Blanchard-area resident Chuck McMichael, the immediate past National Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a key planner in that group's sesquicentennial calendar; Dr. C.O. Simpkins, a Shreveport dentist and Civil Rights icon who is researching possible Civil War Confederate ancestry; and former Greenwood Mayor Ernest Lampkins, who is active in caring for military burial grounds and whose active interest in history aided research that provided details of the kidnapping of an ancestor in Africa before the Civil War and sold into slavery here. That ancestor was a tribal chieftain, whose hereditary position has passed down to Lampkins.

"There's an embarrassment of riches in Shreveport," Dardenne said of commissioner choices in Shreveport, which had a pivotal role in the war. "This shows beyond all doubt that this state cares about its past, the past of not just one side but everybody," Joiner said. "The story has to be told from all sides to make sense."

Louisiana's role in the Civil War was pivotal. In addition to the capture of New Orleans in early 1862, the state was a site of major activity associated with the siege and capture of Vicksburg, Miss., in early to mid-1863. Louisiana also ranks in the top five states in terms of Civil War battles and skirmishes fought. Major actions included the battle for Baton Rouge in mid-1862; the siege of Port Hudson in mid-1863; and the paired battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill in April 1864, where victory by the Confederates ended Union President Abraham Lincoln's dream of cutting Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas out of the Confederacy.

Nationally, not much progress has been made in establishing a commission to plan for the Sesquicentennial other than a website from the National Park Service. The centennial, observed from 1961 to 1965, was a huge tourist draw, with a national commission directing activities that drew millions of tourists and their money from across the globe.

Mary Landrieu, Louisiana's senior U.S. Senator, teamed in late 2009 with Virginia Sen. Jim Webb to introduce legislation, echoing a previous effort by her predecessor J. Bennett Johnston in 1996, to establish a national Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, but it has languished in committee. Other efforts, including one by U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, have also gotten nowhere.

"The Civl War was a defining moment in our Nation's history, and we must remember the legacies of this horrific conflict that brought about the end of slavery at the cost of 620,000 American lives," Landrieu said. "It is extremely unfortunate that time ran out on the 111th Congress before it could pass the Civil War Sesquicentennial Act of 2009 that Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and I co-sponsored in the Senate. Though time is now short, Senator Webb and I will continue to push for the establishment of a national commission to give this turning point in American history the commemoration that it deserves."