Monday, June 30, 2014


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Confederates Remembered in Tampa, Florida

Confederate descendants honor war dead

Published:   |   Updated: April 26, 2014 at 08:29 PM


The Anti-Christian Battle Hymn
Rev. David O. Jones
The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" occupies a prominent position not only within the program of nearly every nationalistic celebration, but also as part of many Christian services. Admittedly, the anthem sounds good, but it is far from being a “hymn” in the traditional sense of the word. Many Christians understand its stirring words to provide an image of a victorious Church, but the connotations of a spiritual patriotism which have endeared it to many, result from a mistaken and cursory reading of the song.
By definition, a hymn is a song which incorporates theological truth into its text. Wonderful examples of Christian hymns are “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “How Firm a Foundation.” But despite the author’s use of biblical phrasing, the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is not about Christ “marching” against sin and the Church being “victorious” over evil. The theological truths which it expresses are anti-Christian and anti-biblical, thus it should never be sung by a Christian congregation.
The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written in the fall of 1861. While in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe watched troops marching off to war singing “John Brown’s Body.” She determined to write a more inspiring war song to what was a good melody. First published in the Atlantic Monthly, she received five dollars for her literary effort.
Born into a prominent New York City family, Julia Ward was raised in a conservative, Christian home. As a young woman she rebelled against her parents’ strong Calvinism and ultimately married the Boston reformer, Dr. Samuel G. Howe. She adopted the tenants of Transcendentalism, then Unitarianism, and it was in that light that the “Battle Hymn” was written.
The Transcendentalists became the core of the radical abolitionist movement. Dr. Howe, as well as their Boston pastor, the Reverend Theodore Parker were two members of the “Secret Six” who financed and armed the anti-slavery terrorist John Brown. After his murderous rampage in Kansas and at Harper’s Ferry, Mrs. Howe lamented, “John Brown’s death will be holy and glorious. John Brown will glorify the gallows like Jesus glorified the cross.”
The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” can only be understood within the framework of the Transcendentalist-Unitarian creed. The first verse reads:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword.
His truth is marching on.
Mrs. Howe applied the apocalyptic judgment of the Revelation (14:17-20 & 19:15) to the Confederate nation. She pictured the Union army not only as that instrument which would cause Southern blood to flow out upon the earth, but also the Union army as the very expression of His Word (sword) itself. The Transcendentalist-Unitarians believed that the evil in man could be rooted out by governmental action. (This philosophy continues today. Governmental regulation of every area of life has the intent of preventing men from exercising any evil.) The South was evil and was thus deserving of judgment of the most extreme nature—its own Armageddon.
The second verse follows the same theme by presenting the Union army as the abode of their vengeful God.
I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His day is marching on.
The student of history should remember that the large number of prostitutes which followed Union General Hooker and his Grand Army became known as "Hooker's ladies." Today, prostitutes are still referred to as "hookers." Such an altar could not seriously be called righteous.
The third verse is so contrary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that many hymnals leave it out altogether.
I have read the fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel.
As ye deal with My contempters, so with you My grace shall deal;
Let the hero born of woman crush the serpent with his heel.
Since God is marching on.
Mrs. Howe proclaimed a gospel of judgment pictured by rows of affixed bayonets. Taking God’s promise of deliverance from Genesis 3:15, she applied it not to Christ, but to the Union soldier who would receive God’s grace by killing Southerners. This was certainly a different gospel; the kind of which the Apostle Paul said, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)
Verse four returns to the prose of the Apocalypse with trumpet and judgment seat imagery:
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never sound retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
O be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
The problem again is that civil warfare was the instrument being promoted for determining the hearts of men. A man’s positive response to the call for enlistment in the Union army was the action which would reveal their standing before God.
The fifth and final verse gives the ultimate expression of the warped and anti-biblical theology which possessed the radical abolitionists.
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
To Julia Ward Howe the work of Christ was incomplete. It was up to men through civil government to bring about a utopian society. She was quoted in her biography, “Not until the Civil War did I officially join the Unitarian church and accept the fact the Christ was merely a great teacher with no higher claim to preeminence in wisdom, goodness, and power than any other man.” (emphasis added)
The “Battle Hymn” theme has nothing to do with Christianity or God. It is a political-patriotic song about the destruction of the South, written in religious terminology. It is a clever product. Howe deliberately created the idea that the North was doing God’s work. She paints a picture of a vengeful God destroying His enemies—the South, and elevating the North’s cause to that of a “holy war.” Howe successfully portrayed the South and its people as evil and the enemy of God.
As a Unitarian, Julia Ward Howe believed the Unitarian doctrine that man is characteristically good and he can redeem himself by his own merits without any help from a saviour. She rejected basic biblical truths such as a literal hell—“I threw away, once and forever, the thought of the terrible hell which appears to me impossible.”
Mrs. Howe also refuted the exclusive claim of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) by saying, “Having rejected the exclusive doctrine that made Christianity and special forms of it the only way of spiritual redemption, I now accept the belief that not only Christians but all human beings, no matter what their religion, are capable of redemption. Christianity was but one of God’s plans for bringing all of humanity to a state of ultimate perfection.”
Our challenge is to bring a proper understanding of the nature of this battle anthem to the leadership of the Christian church. No Christian church would intentionally sing a song of praise to Satan’s doctrines, nor would any pastor or elder lead their flock into rebellion against true biblical doctrine. Yet by ignorance, is has been done on a regular basis in the American church. The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is apostasy. It promotes hatred and vengeful destruction. It has no place in a worship service.

Lincoln's Memory Built on Myth Not Fact

Lincoln: An invented hero

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
By Kevin Gutzman, Postmedia News

President Abraham Lincoln and Gen. George B. McClellan sit in the general's tent after the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg.
President Abraham Lincoln and Gen. George B. McClellan sit in the general's tent after the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg.
Photographed by:
AP/Library of Congress, AP/Library of Congress
In advance of Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated film about Abraham Lincoln, Kevin Gutzman punctures popular myths about America's most revered president.
The Abraham Lincoln of popular perception is a mythological figure. He
has little to do with the actual 16th president.

For example, a popular film depicts a fictionalized Lincoln as having
been opposed to slavery virtually from the cradle. His Confederate
enemies, on the other hand, were minions of Satan. The reality was not so.

The trailer for Steven Spielberg¹s Lincoln shows Sally Field
as Mary Lincoln lecturing her husband that no other American has ever
been so beloved as he. In reality, as that sister-in-law of a
Confederate general and sister of other Confederate soldiers had reason
to know, no American president has ever been as hated as Abraham
Lincoln. His election led seven states to secede from the Union, after
all, and four more withdrew after seeing his first few weeks¹ performance in office.

Hearing Spielberg¹s Mary Lincoln reminds one of H. L. Mencken¹s
appraisal of Lincoln¹s most famous speech, the "Gettysburg Address." In
that speech, on the occasion of a military cemetery's dedication,
Lincoln said: "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in
vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and
that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not
perish from the earth." Mencken, who possessed skill surpassing that of
any other man in the art of the sardonic skewer, noted that the only
thing wrong with Lincoln's famous speech -- held up ever since as the
model of American oratory -- is that: "It is difficult to imagine
anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought
against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the
right of their people to govern themselves."

Americans will generally have none of this. The typical American will
accept only a Manichean world in which Good battles Evil endlessly. Not
for him the refinement of tragedy, of things lost along the way.
Lincoln, idolized as the Great Emancipator after his death, must never
have done any wrong. None of his accomplishment involved any kind of cost.

But in reality, life is not that simple. Before Lincoln's election in
1860, the central precept of the majority political party's creed was
that the Federal Government had limited powers, while the states
retained the rest. This was the chief quality distinguishing a federal
system, such as in the USA, from a national one, like that of Great Britain.
Lincoln's victory in the Civil War involved the destruction of this

Even before his election as president, Lincoln had in fact always stood
for power in the central government beyond what the Constitution granted.
In this, he followed the leader of the American Whig Party, sometime
Senator and Secretary of State Henry Clay of Kentucky. Lincoln, born in
Kentucky, first came to political prominence in neighboring Illinois as
a Whig state legislator. In that office, he campaigned for the kind of
pork-barrel politics that made Clay such a formidable figure at the
federal level.

Clay's American System featured an integrated program of dirigisme
focused on a congressionally chartered bank corporation, protective
tariffs, and congressionally funded roads, canals, and bridges. Lincoln
applied the System at the state level to good political advantage.

In general, supporters of this kind of program tended to be the people
who expected to reap the benefits -- such as denizens of western states
like Kentucky and Illinois, where roads would be built, citizens of the
Northeast, which was then the center of American industry, and
residents of Philadelphia, where the Bank of the United States was headquartered.
The only region essentially left out was the South.

For a politician on the make, this was an attractive program. Clay, its
chief proponent, was a kind of political idol for many people --
certainly for Lincoln. Upon the senator¹s death in 1852, Lincoln gave a
eulogy in which he made that point clear.

He also identified himself with another plank of Clay's platform. For
many years, Clay had been president of the American Colonization Society.
That very popular civic group, of which ex-president James Madison was
the first president and onetime president John Tyler was also a
prominent member, had as its goal the deportation of black people from
the United States. It raised substantial funds and amassed significant
political support in the name of paying for their transportation and resettlement.
Among its achievements was the foundation of the Republic of Liberia on
the west coast of Africa.

In his eulogy, Lincoln trumpeted Clay's service to the colonizationist
cause. He called for the fulfillment of the American Colonization
Society's purpose, adding that if the Society succeeded, "it [would]
indeed be a glorious consummation. And if, to such a consummation, the
efforts of Mr. Clay shall have contributed, it will be what he most
ardently wished, and none of his labors will have been more valuable to
his country and his kind."

Historians until very recently discounted the significance of this
thread in Lincoln's thinking. Even though he got Congress to
appropriate money for the purpose, they downplayed its significance to
his record as president, and they insisted that even though he never
said so, he had abandoned the idea by the time he issued the
Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Recent scholarship has
proven that he continued to make significant efforts toward carrying
out this plan at least until virtually the end of 1863. He certainly
did not publicly disavow it in the few months of life that remained to him after that.

One might ask what in the Constitution empowered Congress to spend
money on colonizing a particular racial group abroad. The answer would
be "nothing." That seems never to have occurred to Abraham Lincoln, and
therein lies a tale.

Henry Clay's American System, with its national bank and public works,
ran afoul of the traditional Madisonian reading of the Constitution.
Nowadays, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney would let that slow him
down, but 19th-century Americans took these things seriously.

At its founding in 1854, the Republican Party stood for exclusion of
slavery from the Western Territories. Its 1860 platform reflected this
commitment in its rejection of the Supreme Court's decision in Dred
Scott v. Sandford (1857). To this, however, it also added a
full-throated endorsement of the American System, along with a pledge
of corporate welfare to railroad corporations. (Lincoln had won fame
and fortune as a railroad attorney.)

Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly in light of today's Lincoln
myth, the 1860 Republican platform also pledged "the maintenance
inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each
state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to
its own judgment exclusively." "Domestic institutions" meant "slavery."
The Republicans thus avowed their intention to leave slavery in the
existing states to those states themselves to regulate.

When in the next breath they said, "We denounce the lawless invasion by
armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter under what
pretext, as among the gravest of crimes," they were disavowing any
support for John Brown's Raid or any other attempt by Yankees to spur
servile insurrection in the South. Conservatives need not fear that
Republicans were abolitionists.

Yet, in response to Lincoln's election in 1860, seven Deep South states
seceded from the United States. They feared for slavery's future with a
Republican president. Lincoln's response was to tell other Republicans
not to offer too sweet a deal to entice southerners back into the Union.
Mistakenly, he held to the fantasy that secession was empty bluster.

In his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln declared secession impossible
and vowed to continue to collect the tariff in southern states, come
what might. Meanwhile, he maneuvered to goad the Confederates into
firing the first shot. Rather than allow United States troops to remain
indefinitely on South Carolina's soil, they did.

People on both sides expected a short conflict. Congressmen literally
took their families for a picnic in northern Virginia overlooking the
battlefield of Manassas so that they could see the first -- they
anticipated it would be the only -- battle. Instead, Confederate forces
won, and for the only time in history, U.S. Marines ran from the field.

Over the next four years, Lincoln resorted to every expedient that came
to mind. He called for 75,000 volunteers, even though the Constitution
gave this power to Congress. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus,
despite the same objection -- even signing a warrant for the arrest of
the chief justice when that official deigned to sign such a writ. He
enforced the first federal draft despite the absence of provision for
any such act from the Constitution. He had his treasury print paper
money, again without constitutional warrant. He jailed newspaper
editors, shut down hundreds of newspapers, and in general claimed
unlimited power for himself. Here was the origin of the idea that in
time of war, being the United States' commander-in-chief of the armed
forces amounted to a kind of dictatorship.

Lincoln refused for well over a year to make the war into one to
eradicate slavery from the United States. Famously, he wrote to a New
York newspaper on August 22, 1862, to insist that, "My paramount object
in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to
destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I
would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would
do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone
I would also do that."

Nowadays, historians commonly call anyone who says that the Civil War
was over states' rights any of several unsavoury names. Yet here was
Lincoln, whose policy of resisting secession was the sine qua non of
the war, insisting that the war was "to save the Union," by which he
meant "keep the southern states from seceding." Whether a state had a
right to secede was surely a question of states' rights, if anything was.

In the end, Lincoln said he had been driven to free the slaves (another
unconstitutional step) by military necessity. It was on this basis that
one admiring historian encapsulated Lincoln's record in the phrase "a
good dictator." In reference to his colonization schemes, another said,
"This is the way that honest people lie." Finding colonization noxious,
the scholar -- awarded the National Humanities Medal by President George
W. Bush -- chose simply to disbelieve that Lincoln had supported it.

The American capital at Washington features a gigantic Roman temple
with a statue of Lincoln in it. The divinized figure it calls to mind
is the Great Emancipator, lifelong enemy of slavery and savior of the Union.
That deity is mythological.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reunion Luncheon Sold Out, Other Tickets Going Fast

The national reunion committee has good news and bad new.

Good news: The Awards Luncheon has reached full capacity. 

 Bad news: We can no longer accept requests for tickets for the Luncheon.

There are, however, spaces available for other events. The Harbor Tour Meet and Greet is about to be at capacity also, so if you want a ticket to this event book quickly.

We look forward to seeing everyone July 16th through the 19th for the 119th SCV National Reunion at the North Charleston Convention Center, located in the city of North Charleston, SC.
We request that camps bring their colors to the opening ceremonies for a grand procession into the convention hall. Please bring a single base to post you camp colors.
David Rentz                                                                                                            Convention Chairman 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Confederate Raid on Vermont

The Story Of 21 Confederate Soldiers Who Terrorized A Small Vermont Town 150 Years Ago

St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
Five of the 21 Confederate raiders in 1864. The leader, Bennett Young, is believed to be seated on the right.
In 1864, a small band of Confederate soldiers launched a surprise attack on St. Albans, Vermont, robbing and burning the small town in an attempt to strike terror into defenseless civilians throughout the north.
The incident is one of the lesser-known chapters of the Civil War. 
"It’s kind of the backwater of Civil War history," James Fouts, a historian of the St. Albans Raid, told Business Insider. "It’s the northernmost Confederate land action during the Civil War, but it takes place way the heck up in Vermont, which is 500 or 600 miles away from where the major scene of the action was taking place down in Virginia and farther south. So it catches people a little bit by surprise that the Confederates were active as far north as northern Vermont."
Confederate Planning
Twenty-one-year-old Confederate Lieutenant Bennett Young was the leader of the St. Albans Raid. Young claimed that a band of Union troops had raided and plundered his Kentucky town, and committed an "outrageous insult" on the woman he planned to marry, according to Oscar A. Kinchen's book "Daredevils of the Confederate Army: The Story of the St. Albans Raiders."
The young woman allegedly died weeks later as a result of the attack, prompting a vengeance-minded Young to enlist in the Confederate Army.
After two years of service with a Kentucky unit, Union troops captured Young in Ohio in 1863. After he escaped from a military prison, Young presented Confederate authorities with a plan to launch surprise raids along the Union’s northern frontier. In order to strike that far north, Young proposed attacking from neutral Canada.
Young and his recruits had official approval from the Confederate government to launch raids against St. Albans and other northern towns, Fouts said.
"Bennett Young was actually encouraged or ordered — if that's the word you want to use — to enlist a group of men, no more than 20, which he did in order to pull off raids across the northern border," said Fouts. "So Bennett Young actually enlisted 23 young men in something called the 5th Company Confederate States of America Retributors. They were officially mustered in as Confederate soldiers with the intent to commit mayhem across the northern border. It was a well-organized conspiracy by the Confederate government." 
Young was commissioned as a first lieutenant and sent by ship to Canada to prepare and carry out raids with his Confederate recruits, other escaped prisoners of war mostly in their early-to mid-20s.
St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
An early photograph of Main Street, St. Albans, where the raid was centered. In the days before the attack, Young stayed in the Tremont House hotel, shown here, which is now St. Albans City Hall.

In addition to fulfilling a personal desire for revenge, Young hoped to destroy valuable northern resources, seize plunder for the Confederacy, and force the Union to divert soldiers from southern battlefields to protect their northern frontier.
The raiders chose St. Albans for their first attack. Located 15 miles south of the Canadian border, St. Albans was a busy commercial and manufacturing center with a population of 2,000, according to the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee, which has helped created a historical website about the incident.
Between 18 and 22 Confederates disguised their identities and arrived in small groups from Canada over the course of 10 days. The soldiers blended in with the local population and scoped out the town's banks and horse stables. Passing himself off as a charming ministry student Young received a guided tour of the Vermont governor's mansion from the first lady herself, according to the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee.
The Raid
At 3 p.m. on Oct. 19, 1864, the raiders confronted the townsfolk outside a hotel and announced their true identities and intentions. "I take possession of this town in the name of the Confederate States of America," Young declared, according to the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee.
The pistol-wielding Confederates wore civilian clothing during the raid rather than Confederate uniforms, Fouts said. 
The raiders divided into groups. One was assigned to take residents hostage on the village green while the others robbed three of the town's banks.
"We are Confederate soldiers detailed from General [Jubal] Earley's army to come north and rob and plunder, the same as your soldiers are doing in the Shenandoah Valley and in other parts of the South," announced one raider to townsfolk at the Bank of St. Albans, according to Kinchen's book. "We'll take your money and if you resist, we'll blow your brains out." 
The raiders forced their prisoners to swear an oath "to uphold the Confederacy and its beloved president, Jefferson Davis, and never to do anything to the injury of the Confederate cause, nor to spread alarm of the raid until their captors were well out of town," Kinchen wrote.
St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
Raiders force their hostages to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

At the Franklin County Bank, raiders locked an employee and patron in an airtight vault. A resident who happened to enter the First National Bank tackled one of the raiders to the ground but surrendered when the Confederates drew pistols on him.
"We represent the Confederate States of America," one of the raider's declared. "We have come to retaliate for the acts committed against our people by General [William] Sherman. You have got a very nice village here, and if there is the least resistance, we'll burn it to the ground," according to Kinchen.
St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
The scene inside one of the three robbed banks.

While the robberies were taking place, Young and other raiders patrolled the town's main thoroughfare, where they captured all the townspeople they could find. They gathered the hostages on the village green to prevent them from informing nearby factory workers of what was happening.  
The Confederates even shot an elderly man who refused to surrender and another man who tried to stop Young from stealing a horse, although neither wound proved fatal.
Before the raiders departed on stolen horses and saddles, Young ordered his men to set fire to various buildings, using a chemical concoction of highly flammable liquid called Greek Fire.
By the time the band of raiders departed, flames were spreading among buildings and frenzied villagers were hurriedly gathering their own firearms to chase after the Confederates.
A crowd of townsfolk, led by recently discharged Union Captain George Conger, succeeded in wounding two or three of the Confederates during their escape.
The Confederates, for their part, shot and killed one civilian. Ironically, the only fatality of the raid was a worker from out of town who had a reputation for sympathizing with the Confederacy, according to Kinchen.
The Greek Fire only destroyed a single woodshed, but a burning bridge helped the Confederates stay ahead of pursuers and escape back into Canada.
St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
The raiders, pursued closely by armed St. Albans residents, burned this bridge north of town and escaped to Canada.

The Confederates were estimated to have stolen $208,000, only $87,000 of which was recovered, according to the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee. Fouts said that $208,000 would be about $3.2 million today. "It was a considerable sum of money," he said.
St. Albans Raid, Civil War
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
Captain George Conger, a St. Albans resident and Union Civil War veteran who organized a posse that pursued the fleeing raiders.

The raid also met its goal of sowing widespread panic along the Union's northern border. "This was a terrorist raid, really," Fouts said. "It scared the pants off of people in St. Albans."
Civilians near the Canadian border feared more raids — but they never came. The raid ended up having little impact on the outcome of the war, which the South was losing anyway.
Posses captured 14 of the Confederates within 24 hours, turning them over to Canadian authorities. Although they stood trial in Canada, none were convicted or extradited, since Canadian judges believed the defendants acted as war combatants.
"During his trial ... he never showed any remorse," said Fouts of raid leader Bennett Young. "He was quite proud of what he did."
Young enjoyed taunting his victims in St. Albans in the days following the raid. He sent payment for his St. Albans hotel room, as well as a letter informing residents that they were now permitted to lower their hands.
St. Albans Raid
St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee
Bennett Young in his later life.

At the end of the war in 1865, Young was one of the few Confederate officers not immediately pardoned. While his fellow raiders were allowed to return home, Young studied law in Europe.
He was pardoned in 1868, and returned to Kentucky, where he became a successful attorney, entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist, according to Fouts and the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee. 
"[Young] did not publicly speak about the raid a great deal, unless it was among his Confederate veterans — the guys that would understandably know what he was talking about and certainly know the situation in which he found himself," Fouts said.
Young died in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1919. "Even in the later years I don't believe he had any regrets for what he did," Fouts said. 
Young's daughter visited St. Albans in 1964 to attend the unveiling of a memorial plaque, according to the St. Albans Raid Commemoration Committee.
The town will hold a St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration Sept. 18-21, featuring reenactments, walking tours, lectures, and more. 

Read more:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Virginia Flaggers have done the ‘Impossible’

Virginia Flaggers have done the ‘impossible’

A Belle's Eye View
Walt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Certainly, it is always enjoyable to do what someone said couldn’t be done.
The Virginia Flaggers should currently be bathed in the warm glow of the feeling of success in direct opposition to the naysayers who predicted doom and gloom, ultimate failure and the inevitable dissolution of the group.
It was less than a year ago when the Virginia Flaggers hit the headlines. The group was originally formed to protest the removal of Confederate flags from the Confederate War Memorial Chapel (Pelham Chapel) on the land of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
The VMFA became the owners of the chapel after the closing of the Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1, also known as the “Old Soldiers’ Home.” Funded by donations from veterans of both the Union and Confederate armies, the camp housed needy Confederate veterans from its formation in 1884 until it closed in 1941. It was then given to the Commonwealth of Virginia, who then used it for the VMFA and the Virginia Historical Society.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans leased the chapel in 1993 and flew Confederate flags at the chapel. In 2010, the lease was renewed, but the VMFA board of trustees made the SCV remove the flag from the chapel. The Virginia Flaggers began weekly protests at the VMFA, asking for the return of a Confederate flag to the memorial.
Not content to merely seek one remembrance of their ancestors, the group announced plans in 2013 to raise a large Confederate flag on I-95 outside Richmond. This was protested by many, resulting in an online petition in an ironic bid to deny the group the very constitutional rights their ancestors fought to preserve.
Not to worry, some of the detractors said. They’ll never actually do it, and if they do, there will be riots, “human sacrifices, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!” (A cookie for you if you got the “Ghostbusters” reference).
As always, Confederate heritage groups were characterized as the horrible, awful racists who luckily are a dying breed. So while devoting massive amounts of time and energy to trying to denigrate them, it was conversely maintained that they didn’t warrant any attention at all.
Undaunted, the group did indeed raise the flag, and there was surprisingly little (actually, none) in the way of demonstrations or mass hysteria. A piece of heavy machinery was stolen, but other than that, nothing else untoward. The naysayers then weighed in with nitpicking criticisms — it was the “wrong” flag, it wasn’t really visible, it was a one-off. Really?
Last week, the group raised its second large flag, this time outside Fredericksburg. The flag commemorates nearly 246,000 Confederate soldiers who fought in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and the Wilderness.
It is larger and flies higher than the original flag, due in no small part to the outpouring of support which followed the publicity of the first flag project. Virginia Flagger Barry Isenhour reported, “A lot of donations flew in throughout the country and actually from overseas.”
The group has announced it has plans for more flags,which mirrors a trend of Confederate flags being placed on private land throughout the country.
Despite the personal attacks on its members, the characterization of the group as racists in the face of the stunning lack of any racist actions or rhetoric from the group, and the constant drumbeat of those who keep forecasting the imminent dissolution of the organization, they continue soldiering on, doing what needs to be done without regard to those who delight in the negative and seemingly have an almost obsessive need to try to foil the honest efforts of a people seeking to have their ancestors’ sacrifice remembered.
Those who decry the flags of the Confederacy continue to ignore the fact that slavery continued to be legal in the slave states of the Union after it was no longer legal in the Confederacy, and that the fortunes of many a Yankee building a beautiful “cottage” in Newport or Back Bay mansion were from the slave trade.
If the flag of the Confederacy is intrinsically racist, by their own logic, the detractors of it must admit that so is Old Glory. Ah, but it is far easier to lay the flattering unction of smug self-satisfaction on their own racist past then for critics to face it; far better to use the South as a convenient scapegoat and whipping boy then to stop demonizing Americans who made the fatal error of believing that the unconstitutional rise of federalism was something which demanded to be stopped.
If a group tells you their intent, it would seem to be obvious that you can judge them by whether or not their actions support the truth of their statements.
Oh, there will always be those who wish to try and push their interpretation on a group’s actions, seeking to promote their own agendas and personal glorification.
But ultimately, there is nothing better than to simply succeed in doing the “impossible.” Congratulations, Virginia Flaggers, on another success. Deo vindice.
CHRISTINE BARR is a school teacher, mother of four and descendent of Watauga settlers who now resides in Katy, Texas. Her email address is


U.S. government still paying one Civil War pension to woman in Wilkes Co.

May 26, 2014

WILKESBORO, N.C. — Each month, Wilkesboro’s Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a pension payment for her father’s military service — in the Civil War.

Triplett, 84, is the last living person collecting a pension payment for service in the Civil War.
Pvt. Mose Triplett was born in 1846 and lived to the age of 92. After his first wife’s death, he married Elida Hall, nearly 50 years his junior, in 1924.

In 1930, Irene Triplett was born when her father was 84 and her mother was 34.
Now living in skilled-nursing facility in Wilkesboro, Medicaid pays her expenses at the home, supplemented by a pension her father earned her nearly 150 years ago in 1865.


Alabamians Divided on Jefferson Davis Holiday

Alabama Is Last to Have Legal State Holiday Devoted to Confederacy's First and Only President

June 1, 2014 8:54 p.m. ET
Honors to Jefferson Davis abound in the South. The Sons of Confederate Veterans rallied in Biloxi, Miss., last year at the dedication of his presidential library.
Alabama state offices will be closed Monday for an annual holiday that some residents celebrate, others would like to eliminate and some just don't understand: Jefferson Davis's birthday. The Confederacy's first and only president was captured in Georgia in 1865 and accused of treason and helping to plot to kill President Abraham Lincoln. He was imprisoned for two years but never tried, and shortly before his death in 1889, he advised Southerners: "The past is dead; let it bury its dead, its hopes and its aspirations."
Many never put the man behind them. Celebrations of his birthday—June 3, 1808—are held throughout the South, and he is memorialized in statues, parks and highways in places including Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
But Alabama is the last to have a legal state holiday devoted exclusively to Davis's birthday, setting aside the first Monday in June. The distinction is divisive, as it serves as a particularly powerful relic of the Confederacy and its associations with slavery and disunion.
Larisa Thomason, 50 years old, a writer and web consultant near Huntsville, Ala., in a recent blog suggested revamping the holiday. "There are so many more worthy people to honor—like Waldo Semon, the inventor of vinyl," she said, or other Alabama natives: Helen Keller, author Harper Lee and blues man W.C. Handy. "It's worshiping the cult of the Confederacy," said Ms. Thomason, a seventh-generation Alabama native whose ancestors were Confederate soldiers. "The battle is fought every year, but it's a losing battle."
Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, said more than 30,000 state employees get the day off, except for essential personnel such as state law enforcement. Ms. Ardis didn't comment on the government's reasons for keeping the holiday.
Honors abound in other states, too. His native Kentucky holds a Miss Confederacy pageant at the Jefferson Davis monument in Fairview. Mississippi, which he represented as a U.S. senator, elaborately renovated his Biloxi home, Beauvoir, and built a presidential library. Even his pre-Civil War stint as U.S. secretary of war is still honored with an eponymous peak in Nevada and markers in a park in Washington state.
Many Alabamians see merit in keeping the holiday. When Mike Cason, a reporter at Alabama Media Group, asked readers of last summer whether the holiday should exist, he said he got 2,500 responses and about two-thirds, 1,700, said the holiday should be preserved.
Among advocates is D.A. Bass-Frazier, 59, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group with Confederate lineage that helped plan the Jefferson Davis Highway in the early decades of the 20th century. "People are afraid of Southern history because it is a flash point, a symbol of racism and hate. But it's not," said Ms. Bass-Frazier, a Mobile-based lawyer. "There's just a lack of historical understanding, knee-jerk reaction and fear by people screaming political correctness. This is who I am and who my family was."
She is a walking encyclopedia of trivia about Davis. ("His dog's name was Traveler.") In December, on one of her many trips to Davis's Mississippi home, she stumped an actor dressed as Davis with an arcane fact about his time at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She says she was "tickled" in late May when she was watching Jeopardy on TV. The clue: "Pierce's war secretary, he soon ended up in a war, all right...with the United States."
David Baker, president of the Calhoun County, Ala., chapter of the NAACP, said he resents the holiday. "They lost the Civil War and we became united," he said. "We're supposed to be one nation under God. When people keep honoring the Confederacy, we are no longer one nation under God."