Monday, May 30, 2011

Grant Request Guidelines on SCV.ORG


Immediately below you will find a link to the Grant Funding Guidelines the GEC adopted at the March 19, 2011 meeting. Please review if you are considering submitting a grant request.

Below is the previous announcement from May 5, 2011 concerning the deadlines for submitting a grant request. Time is short to get them submitted by the June 8, 2011 deadline.

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief


At the Montgomery Convention the GEC will meet. Part of the business of the GEC will be to vote on request for grants for projects sponsored by the SCV. The deadline for submitting a funding request is June 8, 2011. The request must be at GHQ by June 8, 2011. Grant requests should be sent to Executive Director Ben Sewell ( ) and myself, at

To be considered for a grant the requestor must, at a minimum, fill out the grant request form under Forms and Documents on The form can be found at:

It is prefered that grant requests be submitted by email with the funding request form and any other supporting documents attached to the message. If a requestor wishes to submit a request in hard copy format it must be received at GHQ by June 8, 2011. Requests sent by hard copy should also be mailed, besides to Executive Director Sewell and myself, to ANV Commander Frank Earnest, AOT Commander Tom Strain and ATM Commander Danny Honnoll at their mailing addresses as given on:

The Budget and Finance Committee will meet to discuss the requests soon after they are received on June 8 and questions and needed clarifications about the requests will be addressed to those making requests. The Budget and Finance Committee will hold another meeting, at the Convention in Montgomery, AL, at a time to be announced at the Convention, to make is final recommendations on grant requests. Those requesting funds are encourage to attend this meeting to answer additional questions regarding their request. The Budget and Finance Committee will finalize its recommendations regarding grant requests at this meeting in Montgomery.

The Budget and Finance Committee will present its recommendations to the GEC at the Post Convention GEC meeting on Saturday, July 16. The GEC will vote on the grant requests at this time.

If you have any questions regarding making a grant request please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you at Montgomery.

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Real Son In Alabama

'Real son' of Confederate veteran keeps busy in Tarrant
Sunday, May 22, 2011
By Greg Garrison -- The Birmingham News

"My daddy was 80 when I come in this world," said Denney at his home in Tarrant, where he keeps 10 beehives in the backyard to harvest honey. "I was 13 years old when he died. He never did talk about the Civil War. He never said nothing about it."

But his father, Thomas Jefferson Denney, is heavily documented as having fought in the Civil War, as part of Company H in the 31st Alabama Infantry regiment. He was captured by Union forces on June 15, 1864 near Marietta, Ga., and held prisoner at Rock Island Barracks, Illinois, where he signed an oath of allegiance to the United States upon his release on June 18, 1865.

That makes Tyus Denney one of the last living "real sons" of Confederate veterans, according to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization made up mostly of descendants several generations further removed from their Confederate ancestors. Denney's sister, Vivian Smith, 88, of Cullman, is one of the last living "real daughters" of Confederate veterans.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans keeps track of the number of "real sons," and "real daughters," believed to be eight or fewer in Alabama, said Jim Shackelford, adjutant for the Forrest Camp #1435 branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

People today marvel and wonder why women of childbearing age were marrying elderly men in the Depression era, Shackelford said.

"It was hard times," he said. "A lot of these women needed support and these Confederate veterans got a pension, maybe $13 to $20 a month. That was a lot of money in the Depression."

Alabama and other former Confederate states paid out Confederate pensions as late as the 1950s, Shackelford said. Tom Strain of Athens, attending a state meeting of Sons of Confederate Veterans on Saturday in Birmingham, said a national database kept by the group lists 48 men who are "real sons" of Confederate veterans. Ten years ago, there were more than 500, he said.

Thomas Jefferson Denney was born in 1844, according to the 1900 U.S. Census, so he was about 18 when he enlisted with the Confederate Army in 1862. He was in his eighties when he married his last wife, Dora, a widow. "She was in her forties when I was born," Denney said. Thomas and Dora had three children together before the Civil War veteran died at age 91 in 1934.

Tyus Denney was born May 8, 1921. He pointed out a picture of himself, around age 10, and his sister, about 8, with his parents. His father wore dark-rimmed glasses, a dark suit jacket and had a bushy white mustache and long wispy beard. Tyus now resembles him with a bushy white mustache, but he shaves his beard.


Denney has three daughters, including Rolline Sisson, 67, of Tarrant. She never thought it was odd that her grandfather fought in the Civil War.

"I've just lived with it all my life and didn't think that much of it," Sisson said. "A lot of people are amazed. It is amazing."

Denney still drives from time to time and goes out to eat with his daughters at the Cedar House in Tarrant, or the Burger King or McDonald's.

Taking care of his honey bees keeps him active daily, and he eats honey every morning on oatmeal or on crumbled generic corn flakes he buys from a discount store. He points to a tiny red mark where a bee stung him recently. "I mashed one and he got me," he said. "It hurts, but it don't swell."

Denney wears a face net around the bees, but no protection on his arms, torso and legs.

In 1986, the Sons of Confederate Veterans made Denney a lifetime member, not required to pay dues. He sometimes goes to Civil War reenactments.

"I just watch," he said. "I don't know nothing about the war."

He said he is a veteran of World War II, trained as a machine gunner at the end of the war, but he never saw combat. Denney worked for 39 years at the Dolcito Quarry in Tarrant as a heavy equipment operator. After retiring he spent a lot of time fishing on Emerald Valley Lake.

He pointed to four mounted largemouth bass on a wall in his home, all over eight pounds. "I went out when it was cold, using creek minnows out of Five Mile Creek and Turkey Creek," he said. "I've quit fishing. I've got too old. They don't want me out in a boat."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Confederate Graves Identified in NYC

NYC project IDs more than 4,000 Civil War graves

Clarence McKenzie, a local boy fatally wounded in an accidental shooting in Maryland, was buried June 14, 1861, two months after the Union garrison at Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces. He was followed to the grave 12 days later by Adolph Vincens, a 23-year-old London-born jeweler who was the first Civil War battle casualty buried at Green-Wood.

By the time the war ended four years later, about 200 other soldiers and sailors who died in the Civil War were buried at Green-Wood, established in 1838 in what was then a rural section of Brooklyn. In the decades after the war, thousands of others would join their comrades — and even some of their one-time enemies — at the historic cemetery.

Today, the 478-acre expanse of greenery and statuary covering the cemetery's rolling hills is believed to be the final resting place of about 8,000 Civil War veterans.

A team of volunteers and Green-Wood staff has spent nearly a decade trying to identify all those graves. When the project began in September 2002, cemetery officials figured they had, at most, 500 veterans of the nation's bloodiest war buried here.

Using the cemetery's own burial records, plus government, military and privately owned documents available online, Green-Wood's project has identified the graves of about 4,600 Civil War veterans. Green-Wood historian Jeffrey Richman estimates 3,000 to 4,000 more are scattered among the cemetery's more than 560,000 total interments.

The Civil War dead buried at Green-Wood include unknown privates and famous officers, buglers and Medal of Honor recipients, Yankees from Maine to Iowa, fathers, sons and brothers, and even 75 Confederates, including two generals. None of the original gravestones for the Confederates gave any indication they had fought for the South, an intentional omission being rectified by the installation of new granite markers provided by Veterans Affairs.

Some of the gravestones and other markers at the previously known burial plots indicate that a person was a Civil War veteran, but most don't bear information or an insignia that would tip off researchers, Richman said. Some of the grave markers are so worn the inscriptions can't be read, while others are overgrown by grass or have sunken below ground level. Many of the veterans lie in unmarked graves, and it's only by checking the cemetery's detailed maps that individual burial plots can be located.

Part of the project includes placing new granite markers at the graves, marked and unmarked, of 2,000 of the Civil War veterans. So far, about 1,300 of the VA markers have been installed.

This Memorial Day weekend, the cemetery is hosting a three-day commemoration that includes re-enactors' encampments, an evening procession past the candlelit graves of the Civil War veterans and a gathering of some of their descendants, who will read their ancestor's name during a ceremony on Monday.

Jeanne Vincens, whose ancestor was mortally wounded at Big Bethel, Va., plans to take part in the ceremony. She helped acquire a VA marker for Adolph Vincens' grave several years ago. So, she knows what some of the other descendants will be experiencing when they see their ancestor's grave and remember the sacrifices made 150 years ago.

"It's very, very emotional," said Vincens, a 57-year-old information technology manager from Richmond, Va. "It's really a culmination of a lot of family history, and then being able to honor this person to make sure they're going to be remembered."

The cemetery's project includes compiling brief biographies for each Civil War veteran interred at Green-Wood. Some 4,600 are included on a compact disc the cemetery is selling for $10 each. According to the information on the CD, burials of Civil War veterans at Green-Wood continued through the 1930s and into early 1941, when 94-year-old Henry Stamm and 101-year-old Joseph H. Smith of East Orange, N.J. were laid to rest.

With several thousand graves still to be identified, Richman said it's unclear if Stamm and Smith were the last in a long blue and gray line to be buried at the cemetery, a line led 150 years ago by the drummer boy from Brooklyn.



Green-Wood Cemetery:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the Children Shall Lead Them

Eighth graders hold mock trial: Jefferson Davis found not guilty
May. 24, 2011 Belmar, NJ
Michelle Gladden | Staff Writer

BELMAR — Resounding applause came when St. Rose Elementary eighth graders found Jefferson Davis not guilty of treason in the school’s annual mock trial event Monday at the Belmar municipal courthouse on Main Street.

Three member prosecution and defense attorneys argued whether or not the Confederate States of America president’s actions violated constitutional law.
“You will have to rely on your personal expertise, good judgment and common sense in all these matters,” social studies teacher Sean McDonald, who portrayed the judge, told the 16-member jury headed by Kevin Poppert, 14, of Belmar.

In her opening statements, head prosecutor Tylar Wengiel, 13, of Neptune, said when a man leads a rebellion or takes up arms against his own country he is guilty of treason. But lead defense attorney Sarah Rogers, 14, also of Neptune, argued that the mere act of heading the seceded union proved Davis did not act against the law.
Exhibits to support their arguments included the constitutional definition of treason and letters between Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Damaging testimony came from prosecution witnesses Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy; U.S. Secretary of War Edward M. Stanton; and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee -- portrayed respectively by 14-year-olds David Kundats of Wall, Ryan Scharfenberg and Brendan Corrigan, both of Neptune.
In his testimony, Stephens described Davis as a “weak, timid aspirant that wanted military domination.” He and Lee testified that it was not their wish to secede from the United States.

The defense, however, found strength in testimony brought forth by its witness Dr. John Joseph Cravens, portrayed by Anna Weeden, 13, of Interlaken, who said imprisonment conditions violated Davis’ civil liberties.
Another strength came when defense attorney Matt Hunt, 14, of Wall, argued that the north’s willingness to trade prisoners was acknowledgment that the confederate union was a separate nation and therefore Davis’ actions could not be construed as treason.

But prosecuting attorney Sanam Parikh, 13, of Wall, contended that the trading of prisoners did not imply recognition of a separate nation but simply a want by family members to have their husbands and fathers back.

Other defense witnesses included Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, portrayed by Jack Cavanaugh, 14, of Belmar, and Davis himself, portrayed by Carlo Fiducia, 14, of Long Branch.

The Tenth Amendment, stating laws not addressed at the federal level fall under the states’ jurisdiction and photos of Davis’ prison cell were a part of the defense exhibits.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Peter Davis, 14, of Neptune City, said the north broke the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, thereby giving the South good reason to secede.

While the original case against Davis never saw trial, McDonald said he tries each year to pick a controversial case that will give both sides a fair chance of winning.
“My main objective is for all the students to develop an appreciation for the Constitution and become more learned about the workings of the judicial system,” McDonald said.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lincoln's Choices Led to War

Brag Bowling: Did secession come because of the work of a minority of hot heads or was it a near universal movement in the South?

By Brag Bowling

The word “secession” was originally coined in July, 1787, during the Constitutional Convention. From that time on, a large and influential body of opinion in every part of the country considered secession an inalienable right of any state. Nearly all politicians supported the concept.

On January 12, 1848, a young Congressman spoke the following words during a debate defending the Mexican War:

“ Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form another one that suits them better....This is a most valuable, a moral sacred right- a right which we hope and believe will liberate the world.”

The speaker that day was none other than Abraham Lincoln.

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina formally withdrew from the Union and was closely followed by Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Certainly an argument could be made that the fire eaters in those states did much to stir up secession sentiment. The “cotton states” seceded primarily for economic reasons and a fear that their economies would be disrupted by the ascension of Lincoln and the Republican Party to national governance. It should be noted that these states represented a tiny minority of the Southern population, had virtually no manufacturing, and were probably militarily incapable of defending their newly created sovereignty.

The firing on Ft. Sumter allowed Lincoln to inaugurate war when he called upon all the remaining states in the Union to furnish 75,000 troops to invade the lower South. At that time, only 7 of the 15 slave states had seceded. Those remaining slave states had opted against secession, preferring to remain in the Union and work out the problems which had divided North and South for over 50 years. States such as Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland, while not formally seceding, exhibited significant Southern sentiment and furnished numerous soldiers to the Southern cause. Lincoln’s call to arms changed everything by galvanizing martial opinion in both the North and South.

On April 17, Virginia’s secession convention reversed itself and voted for secession. Virginia, the traditional leader of Southern states, provided the example for North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee to secede. Public referendums held in several states showed widespread support for secession. Their departure was not something stirred up by a small group of zealots. These states seceded with the knowledge that war was now inevitable. They would defend the South from a Northern invasion. Gone was the whimsical Gone With the Wind style attitude often seen in the cotton states. By joining the Confederacy, they would provide the military and industrial muscle that the original seceding states lacked, thus guaranteeing a longer and harder war. The Confederacy was now a very large nation with a potent military force.

Lincoln had made his choice to fight. There had been no casualties at Ft. Sumter. Things might still have been worked out peacefully. One must wonder if Lincoln had met with the peace negotiators and tried to negotiate the contentious issues dividing the country such as slavery and tariffs rather than by using coercion and military force, that the ensuing fratricidal war might have been avoided. It must be noted that Lincoln was still willing to legally permit slavery to exist even several years into the war. The war rightfully should be laid at Lincoln’s feet. Lincoln’s premeditated bad choice set in motion a series of events which would lead to the death of 600,000 American citizens and the total devastation of the South for over 100 years. As Lincoln himself said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether”.

By Brag Bowling, 05/23/2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Deadlines for Convention Approach


The deadline for early registration for the Reunion in Montgomery, AL (July 13-16, 2011) is June 15, 2011. Until this date registration is 45 dollars and afterward registration is 60 dollars.

The link below will take you to the reunion registration form on

It is time to get those registrations in for the upcoming reunion.
See you in Montgomery!

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Clearing Wirz Name, Yankee Criminals Unpunished

From Switzerland to Rowan to clear Wirz name from Civil War
May 20, 2011

For the past 20 years, Heinrich L. Wirz of Bremgarten, Switzerland, has made it a personal quest to learn as much as he can of an ancestor who became an infamous figure in the American Civil War.

In roughly a dozen trips to the United States, including his three-week visit this month, Wirz has collected a wealth of information that increasingly persuades him that Capt. Henry Wirz, commandant of the Andersonville (Ga.) Confederate Prison at war’s end, was unjustly executed.

“I do not blame anybody for all of this,” the 75-year-old Wirz said Wednesday during a visit to Salisbury. “My mission (is) to find the truth and give justice to my great-grand uncle ... to take away the stain of the name on our own family.

“I’m especially touched with this.”

The Andersonville Confederate Prison was even more notorious than Salisbury’s in that 12,913 of 45,000 Union prisoners died there of starvation, dysentery and disease.

Estimates of the number of prisoners (and others) who died in Salisbury have varied wildly through the years. The best guess historians give today is between 4,000 and 5,000 dead, which led to the U.S. government’s establishment in 1870 of the Salisbury National Cemetery.

Part of the cemetery takes in the trenches of prisoners who were buried in mass graves.

After the Civil War, Captain Wirz was court-martialed on charges of conspiracy and murder, tried in Washington, sentenced to death by a military commission and hanged on Nov. 10, 1865.

He is often described as the only Confederate official to be tried, convicted and executed for war crimes resulting from the Civil War.

The present-day Heinrich Wirz has found “so many descriptions” about his ancestor’s trial suggesting it was a kangaroo court, he says. Captain Wirz proved to be a scapegoat of sorts, especially with the lingering Northern outrage over the assassination of President Lincoln, Heinrich Wirz adds.

He also cites evidence that the night before he was hanged, Captain Wirz was offered a pardon if he would implicate Confederate President Jefferson Davis and testify that he ordered Wirz to mistreat prisoners.

Wirz refused and was hanged in sight of the U.S. Capitol building. He is buried in Washington’s Mount Olivet Cemetery, a place Heinrich Wirz has visited many times, often for memorial services conducted by organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Wirz is a retired colonel in the Swiss Army, a writer in defense and military affairs and a self-described “independent parliamentary journalist.” He started out compiling information on Capt. Henry Wirz for a family history and a brochure on federal military history.

But now that his notebook of documents exceeds 170 pages, Wirz realizes he probably should be considering a book, with an English translation. Beyond that, he would like to see Capt. Henry Wirz someday receive a presidential pardon, or have a military commission posthumously reverse his ancestor’s conviction.

Wirz came to Salisbury Wednesday with a lawyerly young assistant, Florian A. Strahm, who will be taking his bar exam in Switzerland later this year.

They have been in the States since May 7, expecting to return home May 29.

Salisbury held interest to them because of its Confederate Prison history and the fact that its commandant, Maj. John Henry Gee, was similarly court-martialed after the war on charges of murder and not supplying sufficient rations, clothing, fuel, shelter and water at the Salisbury prison.

Gee was tried in Raleigh, not Washington, and was found guilty only of “weakness in retaining a position when unable to carry out dictates of humanity.”

The Gee trial was held in February 1866, and he was released by July of the same year.

Ed and Sue Curtis served as Salisbury tour guides for Wirz and Strahm Wednesday. It was only several months ago, Wirz said, that he became aware of the Gee trial and discovered a book written about Gee by one of his ancestors.

Wirz couldn’t help but notice how the stories of Andersonville and Salisbury parallel each other in many respects.

“That’s what is striking,” he said. “The scene behind the scene and the similarities.”

The original Hartmann Heinrich Wirz, who became known in the United States as Capt. Henry Wirz, was sentenced in his native Switzerland to four years in prison for debts. He served only one year but was banned from Zurich for 10 years.

An exile, he left the country for Russia, then Italy, then the United States, where he arrived in 1849. He eventually wound up a member of the Confederacy’s 4th Louisiana Infantry in 1861.

He rose in rank to sergeant, then captain. He served as an officer at the Richmond Confederate Prison and later as commandant for the prison in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Before becoming commandant for the Andersonville Prison, he also served as a special emissary in Paris and Berlin for Confederate President Davis.

He became commandant at Andersonville March 27, 1864.

“It’s a sad story,” Wirz says of his long-ago ancestor.

History has well documented the horrific conditions Union soldiers coped with at both the Andersonville and Salisbury prisons.

Wirz and Strahm left Salisbury Wednesday afternoon for Charleston and Hilton Head, S.C., where they hoped to speak with an attorney who wrote a 1986 article in which he described the Wirz trial as a national disgrace.

Other cities on the men’s itinerary include Savannah, Americus and Andersonville, Ga., where the prison site includes a National Cemetery and National Prisoner of War Museum.

Wirz also has made trips to Natchez, Miss., where local residents helped him to find the grave of Henry Wirz’s daughter, Cora Lee Wirz, in 2006.

He also has tracked down ancestors or information about Wirz in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

R. Fred Ruhlman of Pine Mountain, Ga., may be the biggest scholar in the United States when it comes to Wirz. He wrote the 2006 University of Tennessee Press book titled, “Captain Henry Wirz and Andersonville Prison: A Reappraisal.”

Wirz claims that Ruhlman, based on his research, applied for a presidential pardon for his ancestor in 2006.

Wirz, for one, is still waiting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Historic Marker Returned - Attacked by Ignorant Politician

Confederate Sign is Back in Downtown Montgomery
by Amanda McKenzie
Thursday, 19 May 2011

A marker that features the Confederate battle flag is back in downtown Montgomery. It was removed six years ago and some people had hoped they would never see it again.

The sign marks where the offices of the Confederate government stood in 1861. It has seen opposition and protests for years without success.

"It makes me feel like we're going backwards or maybe we've never moved forward from the fact that this would be up," Re'Rene Rae said.

The marker has many meanings. It is a symbol for a critical moment in time when the Confederate government reigned supreme in the South and had seceded from the Union.

But others see it as a symbol of oppression and slavery, and said it does not belong on city property.

"To flaunt the Confederate flag in the faces of the black people here in Montgomery is insulting," Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) said.

He said the marker should have never come back after it was removed in 2005 due to the Renaissance Hotel construction. The marker was never publicly discussed or announced before it was installed again.

"Because they knew the black leaders in the city of Montgomery would oppose it, so they want to get it installed first."

But Mayor Todd Strange said the city council always had plans to bring it back. He said his preference was to place it at the First White House of the Confederacy, but a historical group met to discuss the significance of the marker and its location, and said otherwise.

"They came back and said it was historically significant at that location because that was where the offices were, so we've put it back just with the history of the location facing the front," Strange said.

John Napier, who is a former member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and involved in the donation of the marker in 1979, said he believes history can not be altered and the marker belongs where it is.

"It's part of our history," he said. "I don't believe in censoring our history. Our history is the good, the bad and the ugly."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Florida Legislature Violates SCV's Rights

Confederate License Plate Battle Goes Back to Court
Blown off by Legislature, heritage group could blow up state's specialty-tag program
Kenric Ward
May 12, 2011

A new civil war is brewing in Florida, now that the Legislature failed to approve a Confederate license plate.

Marking the sesquicentennial start of the "War of Northern Aggression," the Sons of Confederate Veterans are determined to get their "Heritage" tag or take down the state's entire specialty-plate program.

In a March 30 decision, a federal judge ruled that Florida's program -- under which the state Legislature approves the plates -- was unconstitutional because it gives "unfettered discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination."

The Florida SCV ignited the legal battle when it sued the state after the Legislature failed to approve the Confederate plate.

Since the court ruling, SCV leaders tried to get lawmakers to reconsider, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

"They had a million and one excuses. We got nowhere," said John Adams, first lieutenant commander of the Florida SCV.

Adding to the irony, and fueling Southern angst, state lawmakers did find time to approve a "Hispanic Achievers" plate during the session.

"We still have a Legislature that was discriminatory, and continues to be," Adams fumed.

Heading back to court, the 1,500-member heritage group now asserts that the Legislature created an "unconstitutional forum" and failed to address U.S. District Judge John Antoon's order to remove itself from the plate-approval system.

In his motion, attorney Fred O'Neal, representing the SCV, asked the court to either strike down the statutes in question or re-open the case.

Though the SCV lists only about 1,400 active members, Adams notes that its companion female organization, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, has roughly 2,000 members. Another 5,000 Floridians are classified as "inactive" members.

SCV members must prove they are related to an ancestor who served during the Civil War. But the Confederate Heritage plate would be available to any Florida motorist who pays the standard $25 annual fee for a specialty tag.

Adams said a required survey of potential purchasers indicated that the plate would begin with an issue of 4,500 tags.

"We won't have the problems the Girl Scouts had," he predicted, noting that the group failed to meet the sales threshold of 1,200 plates over two years.

Sons of Confederate Veterans, based nationally in Columbia, Tenn., currently sponsors the Confederate-inspired tags in nine states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Texas and Kentucky are currently considering Confederate plates of their own. Neither Maryland nor Kentucky were in the Confederacy.

"The plates promote a positive image of the Confederate States of America. The Confederate soldier, he takes a beating nowadays. We're trying to divest ourselves of the negative associations," Jay Barringer, the commander of the SCV Maryland Division, told USA Today this week.

Citing Judge Antoon's March 30 ruling, Adams said the Florida Legislature is "running amok" and must be barred from politicizing an administrative process.

"A 2004 state report explained this would happen. The report concluded that the DMV could manage the program in a nonpartisan way, but the Legislature just ignored it. It's pathetic," Adams said.

While the SCV fulfilled all DMV requirements -- including the payment of a $60,000 application fee -- the 2011 Legislature detoured around DMV rules and procedures when it arbitrarily approved the "Hispanic Achievers" plate, O'Neal said.

"The National Hispanic Corporate Achievers Inc., simply sought out a legislator to sponsor enabling legislation authorizing the issuance of their plate by a simple amendment" to state statute, O'Neal wrote in his motion on April 28.

"The nuclear option is to get the whole statute knocked out," Adams said. "Then we'll see what happens to all those FSU plates out there."

No Florida legislator could be reached for comment, but state DMV spokesman David Westberry said the court ruling didn't order the state to issue the Confederate Heritage plates. It's up to the Legislature to decide whether it will rework the statute, he said.

The state has until Thursday to formally respond to SCV's latest court filing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

History Told At SCV Meeting

Sons of Confederate Veterans get history lesson
By Kim Bandura - Staff Writer
CNHI The Morehead News Tue May 10, 2011

May 9, 2011 — The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SVC) 5th Kentucky Regiment’s monthly meeting became a lesson in Civil War history as guest speaker Marti Kelly of Flemingsburg brought Confederate Capt. William Winder Monroe to life.

She and her husband, Lake Kelly, moved into the House that his great-grandfather. Captain Monroe, built in 1868, following the five generations of family before them who had lived in the house.

When the Kellys moved to the family home, Marti said “the attic, smokehouse and outbuildings were full of six generations of family history.” She said that no one threw anything away. “If they didn’t use it any longer, it got moved upstairs or out to the buildings.”

Over the years, Marti has pieced together the Civil War history the family is tied to. She has original documents, books, newspapers, letters and furniture.

Cpt. Monroe was a member of Morgan’s Offensive Guard (General John Hunt Morgan’s horseback statue is in downtown Lexington), a cavalry unit that fought its way through Kentucky.

He escorted CSA President Jefferson Davis on many occasions and was even captured by the Union and held prisoner.

Kelly has found letters written by Capt. Monroe as well as newspapers and pictures all over the house. “There are things I haven’t even opened yet because I can’t get to them.”

SCV members who attended the meeting Tuesday night were astounded to know this kind of history and memorabilia exists just next door in Fleming County. All members were eager to help Mrs. Kelly do whatever it took to get to the unopened trunks.

The SCV was organized in 1896 as a way to take care of their “literal fathers”. As veterans died, the organization took on the duties of maintaining their graves and monuments and preserving the history and legacy of the Confederate veterans.

According to SCV Kentucky 5th Infantry member Darrell Crawford, the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) would not pay for headstones of Confederate soldiers until 1914.

“They saw the Confederates as the enemy,” Crawford said. “One of the biggest projects we have is locating poorly or unmarked graves, trace the history and get a name to put on a headstone the VA provides.”

According to the group, Confederate headstones come to a point at the top, while Union headstones are curved. “This was done originally so that Union soldiers could not sit on the headstones of the Confederate veterans,” said Crawford.

The SCV has programs at the local, state and national levels, according to their national website. Preservation work, historical re-enactment and scholarly publications make up the bulk of their activities.

SCV membership is open to all men age 12 and over who have “family lines, either direct or collateral, to soldiers who served the Confederate States of America honorably during the Civil War.”

Truth of Fight for Freedom Told

CLEMSON — Ken Nabors’ voice echoed off the Old Stone Church walls when he wanted to make a point about the Civil War’s origins. Nabors isn’t a preacher, but he spoke with all the fire of a Southern evangelist about the war and South Carolina’s role in it.

Nabors, president of the Pickens County Historical Society, said the cause of the war is widely misunderstood. “Truth needs no defense, but a lie hides behind a mask so let’s expose some truth today,” Nabors said.

Almost 50 people listened Tuesday as Nabors spoke at the Clemson church on Confederate Memorial Day. They stood inside a white-washed sanctuary and sang a jubilant rendition of “Dixie’s Land” and saluted the Confederate flag. Some wore full beards and suspenders reminiscent of the 1800s. The Reeves family accompanied the congregation on violin.

The John C. Calhoun Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy celebrated the holiday by marking the graves of 45 Confederate soldiers at the church’s cemetery. The recognition ended with a short service, and refreshments under an old oak tree.

The Calhoun chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has been honoring soldiers for more than 50 years, said Marion Whitehurst, chapter president. On Tuesday, the group also marked the graves of 13 Revolutionary War patriots, including two women.

The Old Stone Church was built in 1797, and slaves once worshipped under its wood beams, Whitehurst said.

Nabors said one of the biggest misconceptions about the Confederacy is that hot-headed Southern men craved war.

Many of South Carolina’s soldiers came from prominent backgrounds, Nabors said. Three were future governors, 12 were ministers, two were West Point alumni and 14 were judges.

The average age of men who signed an ordinance for succession was 53, Nabors said.

“This was a solemn act by the state of South Carolina made by solemn men,” he said.

The reason the Civil War started, Nabors said, was that the South was invaded.

“Secession didn’t cause the war; firing on Fort Sumter caused the war,” he said. “We were only protecting our sovereign territory.”

Churches, schools and media teach that slavery was the root of the war, but that isn’t true, Nabors said. Slavery did lead to war, he said, but it was not the biggest reason.

Economics also weighed heavily on the war.

The North wanted high tariffs on Southern cotton exported to Europe, and that dispute, along with a host of political ones, formed an atmosphere ripe for conflict.

“I think everything he said was true,” said Jim Bay of Six Mile. He went to Walhalla’s Confederate Memorial Day observance Tuesday morning and decided to go to the Old Stone Church to support the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Al Robinson of Seneca is a retired Anderson teacher and principal. He taught his students about the Confederacy out of the textbook and also told them the facts absent from its pages, he said.

“If you don’t study it, you believe what you hear,” he said.

The losing end often has little say what goes down in history, said Wayne Kelley, vice president of the Pickens County Historical Society.

“The victors always write the history,” he said. “If you were educated in any public school in the U.S. you were taught their version.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

SCV Fights for Plates in Texas and Kentucky

Confederate group fights for state specialty plates
Greg Latshaw, USA TODAY

As the nation observes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a Confederate heritage group is fighting for the right to place the Confederate flag on license plates in three new states — Florida, Kentucky and Texas.

Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), based in Columbia, Tenn., already offers the Confederate-inspired tags in nine southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, says Ben Sewell, the group's executive director.

"The plates promote a positive image of the Confederate States of America. The Confederate soldier, he takes a beating nowadays. We're trying to divest ourselves of the negative associations," says Jay Barringer, the commander of the SCV Maryland Division.

Critics, including the NAACP, contend that the Confederate emblem is a hurtful symbol and doesn't belong on state-issued license plates.

SCV members have gone to court, winning each time a state has tried to deny, recall or censor imagery on their Confederate plates, Sewell says. Revenues from plate sales have been used to restore historic artifacts, members from state SCV divisions say.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he will not denounce a proposal for a state-issued license plate to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal courts have differed on how far the First Amendment goes in protecting an individual's vanity plates and a group's specialty plates, says David Hudson Jr., an attorney and First Amendment scholar with the First Amendment Center in Nashville.

Hudson says courts have heard cases on everything from vanity plates that abbreviate swear words or spell out "Aryan-1" to several cases in which anti-abortion and abortion rights groups have clashed over "Choose Life" specialty license plates.

A crucial question with specialty plates is whether the plate is a form of private speech or government speech. The distinction determines if traditional First Amendment principles apply, he says.

"To me, this issue is not going away. It's a perennial First Amendment issue," Hudson says, adding that he could see the Supreme Court eventually weighing in on the subject.

On March 30, a federal judge ruled that Florida's specialty license plates program — under which the state Legislature approves the plates — is unconstitutional because it gives "unfettered discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination." The state SCV sued the state after the Legislature didn't approve their Confederate Heritage plate, says John Adams, of the SCV Florida Division.

David Westberry, spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, says the ruling didn't order the state to issue the plates and that it's up to the Legislature to decide whether it will rework the statute.

Adams says the SCV will use the ruling to insist that a lawmaker sponsor a bill backing their plate and, if that fails, may take the issue back to court.


•The Texas SCV had its Confederate plate design denied by the Department of Motor Vehicles Board on April 14, says Ray James, commander of the division. James says his group, for the time being, plans to bring their design back up to the DMV board because the last vote occurred without the ninth boardmember present.

"We exist to honor veterans. But we're not seen as honoring veterans. We're seen as waving the battle flag in front of the African-American population out of orneriness, race and hate," James says.

•The Kentucky SCV is considering a suit against the state by this summer because of what it sees as a double standard in the state's specialty plate program, says spokesman Don Shelton. He says his group wants to put up money for the plate in advance and get people to agree to buy it later — as he says the sponsor behind a Lincoln Bicentennial license plate did in 2007 — but has been told that method isn't valid anymore.

•The Mississippi SCV, which wants to release a five-part series of specialty license plates through 2015 to honor the Civil War sesquicentennial, has upset the NAACP with their choice for 2014. The state division suggests a plate for Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest — controversial because Forrest was the Ku Klux Klan's first Grand Wizard and was involved in the 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn. A Facebook group against the proposal, called "Mississippians Against The Commemoration Of Grand Wizard Nathan Forrest," has more than 2,400 likes.

Decoration Day Celebrated in Victoria, Texas

Victorians gather to honor soldiers on both sides of Civil War
April 17, 2011

The crowd flinched as the sound of cannon fire smashed through the air in Evergreen Cemetery.

Men dressed in the gray flannel of Confederate uniforms moved with brisk authority to reload the cannon.

Alex Blomberg, 11, covered his ears with his fingers, waited for the next blast and clapped enthusiastically when it was over.

On April 12, the nation marked the 150th anniversary of firing on Fort Sumter, the start of the Civil War. It was the bloodiest war in the history of the United States.

Michael Hurley, commander of the George Overton Stoner Camp, a branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans based in Victoria, said he felt it was important to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and to honor the soldiers who fought and died in the conflict.

To do this, Hurley decided to bring the tradition of Confederate Decoration Day to Victoria.

Confederate Decoration Day is a precursor to Memorial Day that some date to the bleak days after the battle of Shiloh, one of the bloodiest of the war, when townspeople went out to put flowers on the fresh graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers, Hurley said.

There are 132 known Confederate veterans buried in Victoria. Most are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, so Hurley chose to have the ceremony for Confederate Decoration Day there on Saturday afternoon.

Re-enactors from the area turned out to help with the ceremony. About 30 people gathered to sit in lawn chairs and listen to speakers talk about the "war between the states" and how men from Victoria went to fight and be a part of it.

A small Confederate flag was placed on the grave of each Confederate veteran.

Ron Sandidge, of Victoria, took part in the ceremony. Sandidge had five ancestors who fought in the Civil War. He said he thought it was important to honor those who fought in the war who changed the course of American history.

"It's a part of Southern history, and we need to take pride in that and respect our roots," Ron Sandidge said.

While Hurley touched on the issue of slavery during his speech, he noted they were focused on honoring the service of the soldiers.

"We're not here to celebrate the hostilities or the bitterness caused by the war between the states ... but it has to be acknowledged that this struggle occurred," Michael Hurley told the audience.

Many of the men who served did so to protect their families and their homes, Hurley said, and it was that sacrifice they wanted to acknowledge.

In the midst of the ceremony to honor Confederate veterans, the group took a moment to honor George Otto Von Roeder, a Union soldier buried alongside Confederate veterans in the cemetery.

Von Roeder saw action at Shiloh and Vicksburg, and the audience clapped as a volley was fired over his grave.

Scott Blomberg, of Victoria, brought his 11-year-old son Alex to the event to help him understand history.

"It's just important. We have to recognize our history," Blomberg said. "I told him to listen to this, that this was important to understand."

Alex said he liked the cannons best.

Kathy Sandidge of Victoria said she thought it was important to remember what the Civil War was about and to honor those who served on both sides of the conflict.

"It's important to know our history. If we don't, we'll be doomed to repeat it," she said.

SCV Persues License Plate In Florida

Taking Liberties: Florida Man in Push to Get Confederate License Plate Approved
Douglas Kennedy
Published May 13, 2011

Florida requires the approval of the state legislature for all license plates and has repeatedly rejected the so-called “rebel plates."
To John Adams, you are what you drive…or, rather, what’s expressed on your license plate.

“What you have on your license plate is everything,” he said as he walked outside City Hall in Riviera Beach, Fla. “It’s your message to the world.”

Adams runs the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Florida. What he wants to express on his license plate is his affinity with the Confederacy. A few years ago he designed a plate that reads “Confederate Heritage,” with a rebel flag in the center.

It’s a similar design currently on license plates in nine other states, including Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

But Florida requires the approval of the state legislature for all license plates and has repeatedly rejected the so-called “rebel plate.”

“We met all the requirements,” Adams explained. “Yet they would not take the bill up in the legislature.”

This snub, even as the state, said Adams, allowed other drivers “self-expression” including supporters of sea turtles and dolphins. All of Florida’s sports teams, including the Rays and the Heat, have license plates. There are even state plates that advocate for home ownership and family values. One plate reads simply “Trust God.”

All in all, Florida issues more than 120 specialty plates, which Adams says makes license plates free speech.

On March 30, he got a federal judge to agree, declaring the license approval process unconstitutional.

The judge said the process unfairly gives the state legislature “unfettered discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination.”

To Adams that means approval of his plate should be right around the corner.

But one Florida state legislator says not so fast.

“I think it's the wrong signal to send to not only our residents but our visitors,” said Geraldine Thompson, a state Representative from the Orlando area.

Thompson and other members of the state’s black legislative caucus are vowing to fight the plate if and when Adams finds a sponsor. Thompson says license plates are issued by the state and thus should not have offensive or bigoted messages.

“It's a symbol of oppression. It's a symbol of slavery,” she said. “And it's not something that I think we should perpetuate.”

Thompson says the judge’s ruling does not force the legislature to put every proposed symbol on a license plate.

“It only says we have to make the process fair and equal,” she said.

She said the rebel flag simply does not belong in Florida, which she pointed out had more lynchings of blacks in the 19th century than any other state.

“[The rebel flag] epitomized slavery. It epitomized oppression. It epitomized lynching and all of the things that we worked so hard for people to move beyond. And certainly we should not have it on our license plate.”

“Well,” Adams replied when told that Thompson finds his plate “inappropriate.” “Tell that to the 30,000 people who wanted to buy it.”

“The state legislature,” he explained. “doesn't get to decide what is popular or unpopular.”

Adams says he is prepared to sue again if the legislature denies his plate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SCV Marches in Savanah St. Patrick's Day Parade

Making Memories: SCV marches in Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
By Capt. Phil Walters, Civil War Courier

As we passed over the traffic jam on I-16 heading east to Savannah, I thought the day would be interesting as the streets of Historic Savannah would surely be filled to capacity with revelers enjoying a fine warm day to watch a parade. I was not disappointed.

After some "back road" maneuvering to the staging area, my girlfriend Terrie and I finally found our contingency of folks we would be parading with. The members of the Savannah Militia camp #1657, Sons of Confederate Veterans had invited us to visit with them and experience this great parade in the fellowship of fellow Southerners. Camp Commander Don Newman and 2nd Lt. Commander Ron Coats welcomed us upon arrival.

The parade is part of the Savannah Militia’s camp efforts to honor past Southern American Veterans and draw interest to the topic. Since the formation of the Confederate States of America in 1861, this parade has hosted a Confederate unit for 150 years.

Our Confederate appearance in this parade is in itself historic and a continuance of a long tradition.

Parade organizers assigned the camp staging area with a very large contingency of military, veterans and educational intuitions. We visited with folks from all branches of the U.S. Armed services, VFW groups, Vietnam, Korea and WWII groups and a multitude of military schools and academies.

We were warmly received in this sea of uniforms and were proud to be here with them. After meeting many members of our group, the Captain of the Confederate soldiers called the soldiers to formation for a weapons inspection as the parade organizers had given the thumbs up for us to fire the muskets during the parade.

Our unit was somewhere around the 100th unit to start, so we enjoyed the many other units beginning the parade before us as they passed to our front. Nearly an hour passed before we stepped off onto the route and into the streets.

The sun was beginning to warm the day as we left the cool shade of Forsyth Park into the streets of historic Savannah. Most in our group were in period outfits; large hoop skirts for the ladies and wool trousers and jackets for the men. Needless to say, it quickly gets warm in these cloths and you start to understand how a sheep feels on a warm sunny day; however, all were not concerned with their personal comfort because the crowds lining the street were large, enthusiastic and happy to see "the Boys in Gray" parade before them.

As we marched, often to cheers, every few blocks the Captain would bark his commands to the soldiers: Halt! Ready Arms! Shoulder! FIRE! With a resonating BOOM, the muskets roared, smoke blew skyward and anyone within a block of us who were not aware of our position received a clear message we had arrived, often by jumping to attention to ascertain the cause of the uproar. This was quickly followed with a deluge of clapping and cheering as all seemed to enjoy the firing of the guns, the echoing of their report and the sulfury smoke that floated through the streets. To cheers again the Captain shouted orders: Shoulder arms! March! And off our group went.

Throughout the route, girls, young ladies and women came running from the sidelines out into the ranks to hug, kiss and "hang strands of beads" upon the boys in gray. One young man, of maybe 5 years of age, marching in Confederate uniform with our group became a frequent "target" of the girls. Many a future fine Southern belles would point to this boy, confer a "plan of attack" with their friends, giggle, then run out, hug, kiss and bead him, afterwards quickly retreating to the safety of the sidelines, all before the boy could hide behind his grandpa. It did not take long for this young Confederate’s neck & face to become red from lipstick and pink from blushing!

As our arms grew weary from waving to the spectators, we turned off Bay Street onto Bull street and came upon the first square where our colors were enthusiastically saluted by an older African American gentleman sporting a "high & tight" hairline, muscular built and wearing a Marine Corp shirt. Once the colors passed, he excitedly waved to our contingency with all returning the affection as his enthusiasm was welcomed after our long march. After nearly two hours on the march, we reached the end of the parade and returned to the staging area at Forsyth Park.

Terrie and I greatly enjoyed the camaraderie of the Savannah camp and the experience of the parade as we felt we too had experienced a little bit of history ourselves, marching in such an historic event over the historic streets of colonial and antebellum Savannah.

The members of the Savannah Militia camp #1657 wish to invite those interested in this event and their many community services (living history events, grave markers and dedications, monument maintenance and period education) to attend their camp meetings and prepare for the next parade in 2012. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. in Pooler, Ga. Please visit for more information.

Memory of War Lingers

150 years after Civil War, descendants deal with legacy

By Gary Walts for USA TODAY

An estimated two of every three Americans have an ancestor who lived through the Civil War. It helps explain why so many people — re-enactors, treasure hunters, genealogists, collectors, hobbyists, preservationists, tourists, battlefield rats — feel so connected to a war that began 150 years ago.

"It's our war. All the blood fell on our soil," says Lloyd Garrison, 79, great-great-grandson of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. He says the war even has a contagious, old-time glamour.

The great-great-grandson of the abolitionist's ideological opponent, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, agrees. "Americans are fascinated by the individuals who fought," says Bertram Hayes-Davis, 62. "They want to know more about what these people did, who they were and what they went through."

Today, descendants such as Garrison and Hayes-Davis underscore our link to a struggle that shaped the nation as much as the arrival of the Mayflower or the victory at Yorktown.

The Civil War ended slavery, strengthened the federal republic and allowed settlement of the West; it pioneered an industrial style of "total war," which included mass production of weapons and the systematic destruction of Southern agriculture; it killed about 620,000 combatants — nearly as many Americans as all the other wars the country has fought combined.

Like many other Americans, descendants of the war's great figures have discovered and grown into their Civil War legacies. They raise issues that still divide us: Why was the war fought? What did it achieve? Was Davis a traitor? Was Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant a drunk?

Over the next four years, the nation will observe the Civil War sesquicentennial with ceremonies, books, recordings, films, lectures, exhibitions, concerts and encampments. The war began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 12, 1861, and ended with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Va., on April 9, 1865, five days before the assassination of President Lincoln.

About 100 children of Union and Confederate veterans are still alive. Roughly 18 million Americans — one in 17 — have an ancestor who fought in Blue or Gray, says.

Among these, a few have the kind of forebears who stand on pedestals and hang over fireplaces. Although Abraham Lincoln's last direct descendant died in 1985, other famous lines and names from the war live on.

Robert E. Lee V is athletic director and football coach at Potomac School outside Washington. His father, Robert E. Lee IV, is a retired distillery executive whose accent hints at the city where he was raised —New York.

J.E.B. Stuart IV, a retired Army colonel and great-great-grandson of Lee's cavalry general, lives in Richmond, Va., where his son J.E.B. V is an orthopedic surgeon.

Ulysses S. Grant V, the general's last surviving great-grandson, died in March at age 90. He is survived by his son, Ulysses S. Grant VI. VII has yet to appear, but J.E.B. Stuart VI is a sophomore in college, and Robert E. Lee VI is in grade school.

Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's great-great-grandson, Henry Shaffner, 75, is a professional songwriter who married the daughter of a Lincoln buff and has lived for the past half-century in Philadelphia.

In some families, a famous Civil War connection isn't to be exploited, touted or sometimes even mentioned. Shaffner says that growing up in Winston-Salem, N.C., "we were told, 'Don't rely on your ancestors.' It was something you didn't talk about much."

Pauline Johnson, 83, says she didn't even learn she was the great-grandniece of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman until she was 25. Johnson says she's mystified why her parents never told her about the Tubman connection; she learned from her aunt. She treasures her one tangible link to Tubman: a black dress with white lace sleeves and collar she found hanging in a closet in her parents' house in Auburn, N.Y., after they died. It had a label with Tubman's name on it.

Alice Mecoy, 51, wasn't told she was John Brown's great-great-granddaughter until she was 16; her parents were embarrassed by the anti-slavery zealot who in 1859 attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia.

When Dred Scott Madison II was a boy, few outside his family realized the kid called "Scott" was descended from the man whose 1857 Supreme Court case strengthened slavery's legal underpinnings and set the stage for the war. That anonymity is gone, says Madison, 52, an air-traffic controller who was embarrassed the other day when a college president in San Antonio fawned over him when they were introduced: "People see the name and go, 'Wow!' But it's not as if I did something. I'm just part of the gene pool."

Madison tells his kids — including Dred Scott Madison III, 22 — "Don't blow this up. You've done nothing yet. Earn your own accolades."

A famous family name, Lloyd Garrison says, "puts a little pressure on you to live up to the standard."

His son Sam, 45, says that when he thinks about how his ancestor fought slavery as early as the 1820s, "I've asked, 'Would I have done the same thing?' "

He says he tries to emulate Garrison's spirit in small ways. When he and his wife decided to move out of New York City, they chose Maplewood, N.J., one of the region's most diverse communities. As a real estate agent, he likes to help people buy a first home there, including black and same-sex couples who might not be welcome everywhere.

How do you pass on the legacy? "I don't want to trumpet William Lloyd too much. I don't want to overburden my grandchildren," says Lloyd Garrison, who has seven. "But it's important for them to know that blood runs in their veins."

Every generation discovers anew the meaning of that blood. Here are three examples of how it works.

Fixing Grant's tomb — and his reputation

In his great-great-grandson, the top Union Civil War general and the second Republican president has an unlikely if effective champion: a gay Democrat who as a young man jumped for joy when the military draft was abolished (his call-up number was 4) and who as an adult opposed "don't ask, don't tell."

In some ways, says Ulysses Grant Dietz, 55, curator of decorative arts at the Newark Museum, he's not an ideal spokesman for Ulysses S. Grant.

When he was a boy in Syracuse, N.Y., Dietz was called "Grant," not "Ulysses," and switched to the latter in prep school only "because weird names were in." He was unengaged with his legacy until 1994, when he lent his name to a lawsuit to force the National Park Service to remedy years of neglect and vandalism of Grant's Tomb in New York City.

After Dietz threatened to have Grant's body moved to Illinois, the Park Service undertook a $1.8 million restoration project. The tomb fight forced Dietz to read up on Grant. He was so impressed he decided that, having helped restore his ancestor's tomb, he would try to restore his reputation.

People know Grant was a winner, but there are also stories that he was a drunk, a poor student, a crude military strategist who benefited from superior numbers, a political incompetent who presided over a corrupt presidential administration.

In speeches and personal appearances, Dietz counterattacks, explaining that Grant could not tolerate alcohol and drank excessively only on occasion, and only when separated from the family to whom he was devoted.

He says Grant was in the middle of his class at West Point (though not at the top, like Lee); that other Union generals who enjoyed Grant's numerical superiority failed; and that the corruption that soiled his administration stemmed from an explosion in private wealth and corporate power that would have overwhelmed any president.

On the plus side, he says, Grant saved the Union, made the United States a world power and tried harder than anyone else to reconstruct a South in which blacks could be equal to whites.

He failed, and Dietz bristles at the mention of "neo-Confederate" ideology, which holds that the South fought for states' rights, not slavery, and that it had the legal and moral right to secede.

"I think the Confederate flag should be banned. To me, it's like the Nazi flag," he says. "The South was wrong, and they got what they deserved. (President) Grant wanted to make sure after the war that blacks had a place. His smacking Southerners around to make that happen doesn't bother me at all."

Dietz is a member of his town's race relations board and this year gave the Martin Luther King Jr. Day sermon at his church. In 2008, he wrote an opinion piece in TheStar-Ledger of Newark arguing in favor of gay marriage. (Dietz and his partner, Gary Berger, were joined in a civil union ceremony several years ago. They have two adopted children, one of whose middle name is Ulysses.)

Dietz says his social and political views were formed before he knew much about Grant, but "learning more about Grant's personal integrity and sense of justice affirmed what I had become as an adult and just made me feel prouder of being his descendant."

A name to protect

At a reunion in Mississippi 35 years ago, the descendants of Jefferson Davis formed a family association and elected a president: a bearded, longhaired geology graduate student born and raised in Colorado.

Bertram Hayes-Davis had at least one qualification others lacked: his hyphenated surname, created by an act of the Mississippi Legislature on Feb 21, 1890, to preserve the name of the president of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis had six children, but only his daughter Margaret married (to a man named Hayes) and had children.

In his ancestor, Hayes-Davis found his calling: to show that Davis' life was about more than slavery. Because Davis led the Confederacy, he says, "everything else about him was obliterated" — West Point graduate, successful planter, member of the U.S. House and Senate, wounded Mexican War veteran, early advocate of the transcontinental railroad and secretary of War (1853-1857).

Hayes-Davis says it's not just Davis who is misunderstood; Confederates in general are tarred by slavery. "What about everything else they did?" he asks. "We want to tell the world we still have that integrity and those values today."

Those values include states' rights. Hayes-Davis is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which calls the South's secession in 1860-61 "the Second American Revolution," motivated not by slavery but "the preservation of liberty and freedom."

Over the past three decades, Hayes-Davis has made more than 1,000 speeches and appearances, many at the kind of functions where Dixie is sung, the Confederate flag is flown and the Confederate "Lost Cause" is mourned.

He says that if Americans knew Davis better, they'd respect him more: "Ignorance is our barrier. It's what we get up for every day. This is something I believe in."

When he sought support for observations of Davis' 200th birthday in 2008, he was rebuffed by dozens of museums and organizations. Even Mississippi, where Davis lived, declined to establish a bicentennial commission.

Hayes-Davis, who lives in Dallas, has a son and a daughter. He hopes the family name will continue, because even though Davis has hundreds of great-great-great-grandchildren, "it means more when one of the descendants has the name."

The conscience on the wall

Kenneth Morris says he realized his great-great-great-grandfather would not be the last abolitionist in the family when he discovered that slavery hadn't ended with the Civil War.

A friend showed him a magazine article about how slavery in various forms around the world, including indentured servitude, forced labor and sex slavery, affected more people than in 1861.

It hit him: What better person to fight modern slavery than a descendant of Frederick Douglass? What better way to preserve Douglass' memory?

Douglass, a slave who fled to freedom in the North in 1838, became the most influential black abolitionist of the 19th century. But to the young Ken Morris, he was the old man with "the wild white hair" and the fierce expression, glaring down from the painting on the wall. "It scared me," recalls Morris, 48. "He looked mean."

The Douglass link was played down by Morris' parents, possibly because his own grandfather, who had struggled to live in the great man's shadow, had committed suicide. "There'd been pressure on males in the family to be the next Frederick Douglass," he says. As an adult, he turned down requests to speak or appear as a Douglass descendant. He raised his family in Riverside, Calif., established himself as a travel marketer, and disengaged from a legacy that, he says, "I took for granted."

There were stirrings. After seeing the TV series Roots, he says, "I wondered if I'd lived during that time, whether I would have been an abolitionist. I thought so, but I could never prove it." Finally, when he saw the article about modern slavery, "I couldn't walk away."

He phased out his marketing career and joined his mother, Nettie, in 2007 to found the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, which goes into schools seeking to create "modern abolitionists" to fight global slavery.

Morris says he's as motivated by his two teenage daughters as his famous ancestor: "When I found out young girls were in brothels in Asia forced to be sex slaves, how could I do nothing and look my daughters in the eye? I had this platform my ancestor built through struggle and sacrifice. To not do something would have been a crime."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Confederate Veterans Remembered in Florida

CSA veteran graves honored
May 4, 2011

by Larry Clere

Theophilus West, M.D., Camp 1346, Washington Invincibles, Camp 1541 and Finley’s Brigade, Camp 1614 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Marianna, Chipley and Tallahassee, dedicated with ceremony, three Confederate veteran headstones at three different cemeteries in Jackson County on Saturday, April 30.

The headstones included: Lieutenant John Pryor Dozier, Mt. Olive in Bascom, Private John Andrew Byrd, Greenwood Baptist in Greenwood and Private Isaac B. Harrell, Dykes Cemetery in Sneads. Descendants of these veterans traveled from Illinois, Durham, North Carolina, Shalimar and Middleburg to honor their CSA ancestor.

John Pryor Dozier enlisted May 14, 1862, at China Grove, Pike County, Alabama, in Captain Head’s Company. He enlisted as 1st Sgt., Co. E, 3rd Battalion Hilliard’s Legion, muster roll at Montgomery, Alabama, on July 3, 1862. He took part in the Cumberland Gap Campaign, Fall 1862. For his bravery and skill he was brevetted 2nd Lt., Co. E at Knoxville, Tennessee, February 24, 1863. In April 1863, the 3rd Battalion was assigned to Gracie’s Brigade, Department of East Tennessee. The company was at Chickamauga, Georgia, on September 19-20, 1863. On November 25, 1863, Co. E, 3rd Alabama Battalion became Co. G, 60th Alabama Infantry Regiment and was assigned to Gracie’s Brigade, Buckner’s Division, Department of East Tennessee. The regiment took part in the Siege of Knoxville, November 29-December 4, 1863, and at Bean’s Station, December 14, 1863. John Pryor was promoted to 1st Lt., Co. G, 60th Alabama, on December 14, 1863. Company G was assigned to Gracie’s Brigade, Department of Richmond, during May-June 1864. During July-October 1864 the company was assigned to [Bushrod] Johnson’s Division, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. From October 1864-April 1865 the company was assigned to Johnson’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia, where the company took part in the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, on May 16, 1864. From July 9, 1864-March 14, 1865, John Pryor was in the trenches of Petersburg. He was admitted to Stuart Hospital, Richmond, Virginia, from March 8 to March 19, 1865, with “febris remittens”. John Pryor Dozier returned to his company and was captured at Sailor’s Creek April 6, 1865. He was imprisoned at Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865, & Johnson’s Island [Prison], Ohio, April 19-June 18, 1865. John Pryor was released on oath from Johnson’s Island June 18, 1865.

John Andrew Byrd was born 20 Dec 1822, in South Carolina. He enlisted as a private in Company A, 5th Battalion Florida Cavalry, on 1 Nov 1863. He was captured on St. Andrews Bay, Florida, 1 Dec 1864, and sent to New Orleans, Louisiana. He was admitted to the St. Louis Hospital at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 20 Mar 1865, with diarrhea. On 10 May 1865, he was paroled to return to Marianna, Florida. A little over a month later, on 28 Jun 1865, he died at home in Greenwood, Florida. [EGS DATABASE - ANCESTRY.COM - NARA PUB M251 REEL 16]

Isaac B. Harrell, son of Ransom Whitfield Harrell and Martha Aw Wa Dabbega (the daughter of Aw Wa Dabbega, Creek Indian) was born 1 May 1840, and died 22 Feb 1915. He enlisted in Company E, 8th Regiment Florida Infantry on 13 May 1862, at Marianna. Last record on file indicates he was in Receiving & Wayside Hospital (General Hospital # 9), Richmond, Virginia, during Oct & Nov 1863. [FLORIDA CONFEDERATE PENSION RECORD # A01367 – NARA PUB M251 REEL 83 Go-K – EGS DATABASE

States' Rights the Issue

State's Rights Versus the Federal Government
Confederate Memorial Day
Alan Caruba Thursday, May 5, 2011

It seems odd, even to me, that a northerner, born and bred, should join in the celebration of Confederate Memorial Day on May 7th. Odder still because I saw the worst of the South with its Jim Crow laws that so cruelly oppressed the Blacks that lived there, but I spent enough years in the South to love its people, its music, its culture, and its history.

It is said that the winner of wars gets to write the history of those conflicts and that is true, but there is ample history of the Confederacy to gain a much-needed understanding of why, on February 4, 1861, the representatives of seven States, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, would meet to formally secede from the Union to form a new republic. On February 8, the convention announced the establishment of the Confederate States of America and declared itself its provisional Congress.

State’s Rights Versus the Federal Government
The Confederacy was always a paradox. The central issue for the South was states’ rights, not slavery, though slavery was the stain that shaped elements of the U.S. Constitution, an issue that the Founders had concluded must await the judgment of a later time.

It was about the South’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In his inaugural address, Jefferson Davis said, “The constitution formed by our fathers is the constitution of the (newly formed) Confederate States.” The Civil War was a war against the federal government in 1861 and the years leading up to it that had led the South to conclude it could no longer remain in the Union.

The Confederacy lasted from 1861 to 1885 and its history constituted the first modern war in which the awful technologies of war left the South with an estimated 94,000 battle deaths, and 164,000 dead from disease. Fully 258,000 men fought under its flag. The North lost a total of 360,222 to death and disease. Along with the Reconstruction, the South paid a fearsome price for its integrity and beliefs.

It is a little known fact that there is a monument to the Confederate dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Its inscription says, “Not for fame or reward, Not for place or for rank, Not lured by ambition, Or goaded by necessity, But in Simple Obedience to Duty as they understood it, These men suffered all, Sacrificed all, Dared all—and died.”

Confederate Memorial Day will be celebrated throughout the South. On May 7th in North Carolina, the Sons of Confederate Veterans will gather at the Columbus County Courthouse and the Whiteville Memorial Cemetery.

Here’s where the past and present meet. The featured speaker will be H.K, Edgerton, a man who had spoken last year. “At times the audience was laughing, uproariously, and at others weeping. His presentation is knowledgeable, perceptive, sensitive, politically incorrect, historically correct, humor, and serious—all rolled into a professional presentation of Confederate history that will leave you wanting more.” Edgerton is a Black American of southern heritage, a former president of the NAACP’s Ashville, North Carolina branch.

He has said of his ancestors, they “went to war with their masters”, serving as cooks or farriers, even taking up arms. “There was a love that existed between black and white in the South that transcended the bonds of slavery. We were family.”

That’s something those raised in the North and other regions are not taught and do not understand. It would take, however, another hundred years for the wrongs of slavery to be fully set right in the era of the civil rights movement. It takes more than a Constitutional Amendment to change the human heart.

The sharp political divide that present-day America is experiencing is every bit related to the issue of state’s rights as any that preceded it.

The fear that the federal government has grown too large and is too intrusive in the affairs of the States and of all Americans is a legitimate one. The Union is being severely tested and it is an irony of history that the source of much of that fear and anger is the nation’s first Black President.

It is common parlance these days that “In 2008 we voted for Obama to prove we were not racists. In 2012 we must vote for someone else to prove we are not idiots.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grant Request Deadlines


At the Montgomery Convention the GEC will meet. Part of the business of the GEC will be to vote on request for grants for projects sponsored by the SCV. The deadline for submitting a funding request is June 8, 2011. The request must be at GHQ by June 8, 2011. Grant requests should be sent to Executive Director Ben Sewell ( ) and myself, at

To be considered for a grant the requestor must, at a minimum, fill out the grant request form under Forms and Documents on The form can be found at:

Is is prefered that grant requests be submitted by email with the funding request form and any other supporting documents attached to the message. If a requestor wishes to submit a request in hard copy format it must be received at GHQ by June 8, 2011. Requests sent by hard copy should also be mailed, besides to Executive Director Sewell and myself, to ANV Commander Frank Earnest, AOT Commander Tom Strain and ATM Commander Danny Honnoll at their mailing addresses as given on:

The Budget and Finance Committee will meet to discuss the requests soon after they are received on June 8 and questions and needed clarifications about the requests will be addressed to those making requests. The Budget and Finance Committee will hold another meeting, at the Convention in Montgomery, AL, at a time to be announced at the Convention, to make is final recommendations on grant requests. Those requesting funds are encourage to attend this meeting to answer additional questions regarding their request. The Budget and Finance Committee will finalize its recommendations regarding grant requests at this meeting in Montgomery.

The Budget and Finance Committee will present its recommendations to the GEC at the Post Convention GEC meeting on Saturday, July 16. The GEC will vote on the grant requests at this time.

If you have any questions regarding making a grant request please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you at Montgomery.

Chuck Rand
Adjutant In Chief

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SCV Counters NAACP and Other Hate Groups in Louisiana

KSLA News 12
Shreveport, Louisiana

May 03, 2011
Local NAACP protests Confederate flag outside Caddo CourthouseSHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -By Tracy Clemons

A revitalized effort to get the confederate flag removed from in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse is taking form. More than a dozen community leaders were on the lawn Tuesday to detail their latest effort.

"When this flag flies, there is no justice. There is no equality," says one supporter.

The group says it's hard to enforce equal justice with a Confederate flag outside the courthouse.

"This is where justice is made available to everybody. Yet we see in the 21st century, in the year 2011 there are still reminders of a vicious, ugly, degrading, racist, and incomprehensible past," says Professor Charles Ogletree.

He's the director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.

"That's not equal protection. That is offensive, derogatory, and demeaning to a whole generation of people," he says.

He refers to Carl Staples, who was in the pool of potential jurors in the 2009 murder trial of Felton Dorsey. Dorsey is a black man sentenced to death for killing a white firefighter.

"I'd known the flag was there all the while, and it really hit home when I had to partake in the justice system," Staples says.

Staples says he was dismissed when he voiced concern about the flag.

"I couldn't be a hypocrite to myself and partake in the justice system that doesn't believe in itself."

Chuck McMichael, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans says people who believe the flag represents racism are wrong.

"Some people have incorrectly used it that way. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy have denounced them over and over for doing it. If it was legal for us to do so, we would stop them from using our flag."

He says the monument and flag represent veterans.

"This is remembering men who answered the call of their state to protect their state from a hostile army."

The American Civil Liberties Union doesn't see it that way. It filed a brief with the Louisiana Supreme Court on behalf of Felton Dorsey. The case goes before the Court in Baton Rouge Monday.

"We will be arguing, along with Mr. Dorsey's attorneys on May 9 in the Louisiana Supreme Court that the flag presents an intolerable risk that African Americans may be intimidated to serve on juries, may be excluded from juries like Mr. Staples for having strong feelings about the flag," says ACLU Staff Attorney Anna Arceneaux.

From everything that was said at the news conference, our conversation with Chuck McMichael, and even the more than 100 Facebook comments we got about this story, one can surmise that a big issue at hand is tolerance.

McMichael says we need to have "maybe a little bit more tolerance of what other people wish to commemorate."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hate Group (NAACP) Supports Convicted Murderer of Firefigher

Local NAACP protests Confederate flag outside Caddo Courthouse
May 3, 2011

By Tracy Clemons

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Leaders of the Shreveport branch of the NAACP gathered outside the Caddo Parish Courthouse Tuesday morning to protest the presence of the Confederate flag that files there on the front lawn.

The organization is working with the Louisiana Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the ACLU to address alleged race discrimination in death penalty trials.

Last week, the ACLU Capital Punishment Project filed an amicus brief in connection with the May 2009 death penalty case of Felton Dorsey, supporting a complaint to the Louisiana Supreme Court that the flag "represents and perpetuates the discriminatory nature of the death penalty in Shreveport."

Dorsey, charged with the first degree murder of retired firefighter Joe Prock, was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty.

The ACLU will argue the amicus brief before the Louisiana Supreme Court, Royal St, New Orleans, at 2pm on May 9, 2011.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Marietta Georgia Remembers Confederate Veterans

Bill Kinney: Times have changed, but city still honors Confederate Memorial Day
by Bill Kinney
Columnist The Marietta Daily Journal
May 01, 2011

Back when this columnist was a boy growing up in Marietta in the late 1920s and early ’30s, Confederate Memorial Day was one of the biggest holidays of the year each April. We schoolchildren and our teachers would process from the old Waterman Street School down Waterman Street toward the Confederate Cemetery on Powder Springs Street. There would be a big ceremony, sometimes a parade, with speeches and a band. Wreaths were laid on the thousands of graves there, most of whom hold soldiers who were buried as “unknowns.”

The Civil War and Reconstruction were still fresh memories in these parts back then, of course. It had only been about 65 years since the war had ended, and there were still a handful of old men in town who had worn the gray uniform in that war. When this Old Scribbler was a boy, people looked up to the soldiers of that war much the same way that people now look up to WWII vets.

Let’s not forget that one of the war’s bigger battles took place just two miles from downtown Marietta at Kennesaw Mountain. Boys of my generation spent their after school hours prowling its slopes for battle relics, which were still easy to find. And none of us had ever heard of metal detectors.

Interest in the war was overshadowed during the WWII era and after, then surged again during the Civil War Centennial years 1961-65. After a few slow years, it began building again in the early 1990s, when the annual parade to the Confederate Cemetery began to take place again each spring.

This year’s ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. today and is sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans will cut the ribbon for the new walkway constructed through the cemetery, according to former Marietta Councilwoman Betty Hunter.

Georgians began the tradition of decorating graves each April 26 in the years immediately after the war. And in 1874 the state Legislature established April 26 as a public holiday, noting that it was already known as “Memorial Day.” Some say the tradition began in Columbus in 1866.

April 26 was also the date on which Confederate Gen. Joe Johnston, commander of the South’s last major army, the Army of Tennessee, surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham, N.C., in the spring of 1865. The same two armies under the same two commanders had fought the summer before at Kennesaw Mountain.

But with changing times, it has become less politically correct to honor the Confederacy in any way. Unfortunately, too many Southerners for too long let the bigots take control of the meaning of the Confederacy and the display of its symbols, such as its well-known battle flag. Today, it’s difficult to honor those who fought in gray without opening yourself to suspicions of harboring ugly, old-fashioned opinions.

But you can be sure that those kind of views will not be on display at Sunday’s event in Marietta.

The Georgia General Assembly updated its list of public holidays back in 1984 and did away with Confederate Memorial Day. The new list tracks the federal list, which for obvious reasons does not include Confederate Memorial Day, Robert E. Lee’s birthday or Jeff Davis’ birthday as holidays.

But the Legislature returned to the issue in 2009, establishing each April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. Here’s what that law says:

(a) The General Assembly hereby finds and determines that tourism is a great economic resource in Georgia; and historical, heritage, and cultural inheritance are among the tourism industry’s most popular attractions. Georgia’s Confederate heritage, physical artifacts and battle sites, and historic events and persons not only attract visitors, they are potentially of even greater importance and benefit to our state’s economy. Increased development of our state’s Confederate history and heritage as part of the tourism industry will be enhanced through recognizing, celebrating, and advertising that heritage and history.

(b) The month of April of each year is hereby designated as Confederate History and Heritage Month and shall be set aside to honor, observe, and celebrate the Confederate States of America, its history, those who served in its armed forces and government, and all those millions of its citizens of various races and ethnic groups and religions who contributed in sundry and myriad ways to the cause which they held so dear from its founding on February 4, 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, until the Confederate ship CSS Shenandoah sailed into Liverpool Harbor and surrendered to British authorities on November 6, 1865.

(c) Officials and departments of state, county, and municipal governments, boards of education, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, businesses, and all citizens are encouraged to participate in programs, displays, and activities that commemorate and honor our shared history and cultural inheritance throughout each April during Confederate History and Heritage Month.

Today’s ceremony at the Confederate Cemetery always attracts a big crowd. If you haven’t been before, you should go.

Bill Kinney is Associate Editor for the Marietta Daily Journal.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Bill Kinney Times have changed but city still honors Confederate Memorial Day

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jeff Davis Serves As SCV PR Committee Chairman

Civil War at 150: Jefferson Davis descendant keeps fighting spirit alive

81-year-old is chairman of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Media/Public Relations Committee

By Jeff Gill;
May 1, 2011

President Jefferson Davis biography

Personal: Born in Fairview, Ky., June 3, 1808.
Education, military career: Graduated from U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1828; served in the Black Hawk War in 1832; promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in the First Dragoons in 1833, and served until 1835, when he resigned.

Political career: Elected as Democratic representative from Mississippi, 1845-1846, resigned to lead regiment in Mexican War. Appointed to U.S. Senate to fill vacancy caused by the death of Jesse Speight. Elected to the seat and served from 1847 to 1851 when he resigned to run for governor of Mississippi, an election he lost. Appointed Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857. Re-elected to the Senate in 1857 and served until 1861 when Mississippi seceded from the Union.

After secession: Commissioned major general of the Mississippi state militia, January 1861; chosen president of the Confederacy by the Provisional Congress and inaugurated in Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 18, 1861; elected president for a term of six years and inaugurated in Richmond, Va., Feb. 22, 1862.

Postwar: Captured by Union troops in Irwinsville, May 10, 1865; imprisoned in Fortress Monroe, indicted for treason, and was paroled in the custody of the court in 1867. Returned to Mississippi and spent the remaining years of his life writing; died in New Orleans, La., Dec. 6, 1889. Now buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va.
Davis facts: Three of Davis' brothers served in the War of 1812; badly wounded while leading troops in the Mexican War; originally buried in New Orleans, but later re-interred in Richmond; married Sallie Knox Taylor, daughter of President Zachary Taylor, in 1835 but she died a few months later; he re-married in 1845; owned a cotton plantation and many slaves.

Source: U.S. Congress biographical website,,

This Week in the Civil War

At the outset of May, the Union is starting to recruit and arm volunteers in earnest. Though President Abraham Lincoln had called April 19 for 75,000 volunteers for three months' duty, it is becoming clear this would not be enough. On May 3, Lincoln appeals for 42,000 three-year volunteers.

The general-in-chief of the Army, Winfield Scott, writes May 3 that Lincoln's recently announced blockade of Southern ports - the "Anaconda" plan to strangle supply lines - is seen as key to ending the conflict "with less bloodshed than by any other plan."

Dispatches to Associated Press the first week of May speak of a growing rush and din to mobilize troops with one report from Fredericksburg, Md., noting: "The Union men here have quit their passive attitude, and are beginning to show vitality." Yet another dated May 3 to the AP speaks of Southerners running short on basic foodstuffs amid rising war fears.

"A gentleman from eastern Virginia states that great discontent exists because of the prospect of war being waged on her soil," one correspondent reports.

This series marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War draws primarily from wartime dispatches credited to The Associated Press or other accounts distributed through the AP.

Story below about Jeff Davis, SCV PR Committee Chairman:

Nearly eight years ago, Gainesville's Jeff Davis strongly advocated letting voters decide whether they wanted to keep the contentious 1956 Georgia flag, which featured the rebel emblem.

These days, as chairman of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Media/Public Relations Committee, he is battling what he deems as attacks against Southern heritage, an attitude he likens to "cultural Marxism."

It seems that, despite health problems slowing his pace, Davis hasn't lost the fighting spirit of his Confederate ancestors — including the most famous one, distant cousin Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.

In a recent interview at his apartment off Thompson Bridge Road, the 81-year-old retired broadcaster talked about his extensive forays into politics and service organizations, as well as his keen interest in Civil War history.

He also talked about the North-South conflict's sesquicentennial, a commemoration of Civil War events that began with shots fired on April 12, 1861 at Fort Sumter, S.C.

"Political correctness has really worked on the Sons of Confederate Veterans something terrible," Davis said.

"There have been a lot of terrible untruths. I have wanted to find a way, without being hostile, to correct a lot of the images that have taken place throughout the country."

Images, he believes, that began in the 1970s, years after the Civil War's centennial, when there was more of national movement to remember the "tragic event" that led to more than 625,000 war deaths.

These days, Davis believes, the accepted notion is that the South's refusal to budge from slavery triggered the war.

"The biggest thing is to say the South was the leading advocate of slavery in the entire world, that the war was fought over slavery and nothing else," he said. "That's the biggest lie that has been pushed."

The SCV doesn't deny slavery wasn't an issue, but there is so much more to the story, he said.

"Anybody who looks at the first two years of the war and what (President Abraham) Lincoln and his cabinet said — they all said ‘South, come back into the country. We don't want to disrupt slavery. That's not our purpose.
Our purpose is to preserve the Union.'"

Also, slavery began as an enterprise of Northern entrepreneurs.

"Slavery was a terrible thing, for all of us, and we all should ought share our responsibilities for whatever it was we did, but don't lay it all on the South, because we didn't start it," Davis said.

With his name well-known among Confederacy buffs, Davis also has spent much of his life researching his heritage.

The West Virginia native, born John Albert Davis, earned the nickname "Jeff" from friends and then his mother, making it stick for good. He'd go on to become "something of an expert" on his ancestor, including picking up on lesser-known facts, such as Davis adopting a black boy during his days leading the Confederacy.

Also, Jefferson Davis "was probably the best military mind in the country at the time the war was approaching," he said.

He was secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce between terms in Congress.

"He kind of did himself in, modernizing the U.S. Army in the 1850s," said Davis, whose grandfather also served in the prestigious "Stonewall Brigade," a group of raw recruits turned into a fighting machine by Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

Davis attended Gordon Military College in Barnesville before moving into a career that included journalism and politics.

In the 1950s, he befriended Vice President Richard Nixon, who later tapped him to lead his Georgia presidential campaign against the Democratic candidate and eventual victor, John Kennedy.

Active in civic affairs, Davis would go on to head the Georgia Jaycees and then serve as vice president at the Jaycees' national and world levels.

In 2003, he helped form the Georgia Heritage Council "to pursue reform" of state government. The group came out advocating "strict enforcement of existing illegal immigration laws by state agencies" and opposition to "ethnic cleansing" of America's religious heritage.

One of the most polarizing issues at the time, however, was Georgia's flag, which had been changed in 2001 to incorporate a smaller design of the former flag that featured the battle flag of the Confederacy.

In a 2004 referendum, voters were given a choice between the 2001 flag and a new design that excluded the Confederate emblem. At the time, as today, many decried the rebel flag as a symbol of hate and racism.

The Georgia Heritage Council pushed for the 1956 flag, which featured the emblem, to be included on the state referendum.

"Southern Heritage is an integral part of both our country's and Georgia's Heritage," Davis said in a Sept. 30, 2003, news release.

Davis does believe there has been some respect given the Confederacy in recent times.

Last Memorial Day, President Barack Obama sent a wreath to the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He was asked not to by a number of leading Americans," Davis said.

Also, "there is no more hospitable and cordial relationship between two organizations" than the one that exists between the Sons of the Union Veterans and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

"It is something (they have) in common: Their forebears did what they thought what was right and they were part of Americana, whether they were North or South," he said.