Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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Give the Confederate Flag a Break

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Stars-and-Bars is a diversion in the nation's fight for racial harmonyBy Jamie O'NeilSan Francisco ChronicleOne Sunday morning shortly after the Civil War ended, Robert E. Lee attended church in Richmond, Va. On that morning, a black man shocked the congregation by making his way to the communion rail where he knelt to take communion. In that time, in that place, this simply was not done. The congregation held back. The church took on the silence that descends at moments of extreme discomfort. No one else came forward to join the black man. The minister was clearly embarrassed, unable to decide how to proceed.And then Robert E. Lee, defeated defender of those Southern states newly returned to the larger union, came forward and knelt beside the black man to participate in the key sacrament of his faith. Following Lee's example, other members of the congregation slowly began to make their way toward the communion rail to kneel together with a former slave and their former military commander.Two rare acts of moral courage on a long-ago Sunday morning down in Dixie, one black, one white.I was reminded of this story by a brief skirmish over the Confederate flag that arose at Thursday night's debate among the Democratic presidential candidates in South Carolina. It wasn't the first time. Back during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary when former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said he wanted to reach out to American Southerners who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag stickers on their bumpers. He caught hell for saying so. Al Sharpton, whose wit and passion are often admirable, said: "If I were to say that I wanted to be the candidate for guys with swastikas, I would be asked to leave the race." It was a disingenuous remark by a man who sometimes slips back into the rhetoric of automatic outrage.Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt chimed in, too, taking his own lick at the front-runner. "I will be," he said, "the candidate for guys with American flags in their pickup trucks." The Democratic Party, according to some, no longer has room for poor white trash, or for those who fly a flag Sharpton would equate with the swastika.Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were once more in full moral dudgeon this month, fulminating about the impossibly overwrought Don Imus affair, a national upheaval of automatic outrage of the kind we seem programmed to experience about three times a year. I won't bother repeating the words Imus uttered that got him fired and got everyone else all fired up, but suffice it to say, those words -- as offensive as they were -- are surely no worse than stuff routinely flowing through the talk radio sewer, or being blasted from booming automobile speakers playing rap and hip-hop to thoughtless youth.Imus got busted for trying to be hip. Hipness, especially for a man of Imus' vintage, often originated in the black community. For nearly a century now, the language that determines what's hip, slick and cool comes from the 'hood (case in point), and Imus was tapping into that, as he has done for years, trying to look cool by wrapping his thin lips around language that was, most demonstrably, not his own.And yes, he also has been known to wink and nod at those in his audience he knew were racists because ignorance is part of the demographic of any drive-time blatherfest. But the hypocrisy attendant to his condemnation was the real story there, as people crowded onto the national stage to proclaim their moral superiority, flash their creds as defenders of tolerance, and throw around the B.S. we always seem to trot out when one of these episodes snatches the media's wandering attention -- all the "healing" and "dialogue" stuff that must spin through the cycle before we load up new dirty laundry for its little tumble.And so it goes, in the words of recently departed Kurt Vonnegut, a wry commentator on human folly in all its guises whose leavening humor and wisdom will be sorely missed in a nation fairly bereft of both qualities. And nowhere is that wisdom and humor needed more than in our bogged-down-in-B.S. attitudes toward race, wherein we continue to countenance unequal schools and a vast disparity in opportunity while arguing about words and old flags.Some of my forebears fought under the Confederate banner that is, once more, causing a tempest in a tea cup as Rudy Giuliani tries to figure out what he thinks about that symbol in the context of his bid to head up the Republican ticket in '08. As a nation, we have bigger fish to fry, but this one keeps flopping back into the boat, and so presidential wannabes all have to kill it and cook it up, and see if their recipe will be swallowed by the pundits and the electorate.Although I had ancestors who fought under the Stars and Bars, I've yet to find one of them who owned slaves. I suppose I could take offense at people who would make my great-great-great uncles into the equivalent of the Nazis that my more modern uncles fought against in Normandy, but I'm inclined to let it go. It's just political grandstanding, and whichever way these political winds blow will have no bearing on the daily lives of Democratic voters, black or white.The vast majority of soldiers who fought for the South owned no slaves, and most of them were fighting not for slavery, but for the principle of state's rights, an issue that is still the focus of much controversy. Between 60,000 and 90,000 black men, both free and slave, also served under the banner of the Stars and Bars.One such soldier, a free black man from Louisiana wrote: "The free colored population love their home, their property, their own slaves and recognize no other country than Louisiana, and are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana. They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought in 1814-15."And Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate hero and later founder of the Ku Klux Klan, had both slaves and black freemen serving in units under his command. Of them, he wrote: "These boys stayed with me ... and better Confederates did not live." Nazis, all, those boys.By our standards, black Confederates were misguided, or scoundrels, or the victims of coercion, but there they are, historically, southerners and Americans, too, people of color, most of them poor, who fought beneath that much-hated banner.And, it should be remembered that the Union flag, the Stars and Stripes, flew over the entire nation before 1861, and that flag, too, symbolized a slave-holding nation. That flag, plus a few stars, is the flag we still salute at ball games and at parades.Other flags throughout the world are likewise sullied with histories of slavery. The first slaves in the Americas were offloaded from ships that flew the Union Jack, but slave ships also carried Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and French banners. Slave trading was the basis of various Islamic economies before boundaries were drawn, states established and flags designed, but those countries, too, carry a heritage of slavery, and some, like Somalia and Sudan, still practice it. If flags symbolize all the acts done under them, perhaps all flags should come down because none is without stain.People's sensitivities should be respected, of course, and I'm sure that there are many black people who are affronted by the sight of the Confederate flag. Nonetheless, a recent survey disclosed that most young black people associated the flag with "The Dukes of Hazzard," a cartoonish TV show many of them had grown up with. Such is our national ignorance of history that the flag does not carry much historical significance for young people of either color, most of whom cannot name the century in which the Civil War was fought.Any country music concert you might attend will be festooned with that flag, either in the parking lot, or in the apparel of those attending, whether the group appearing is Alabama, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith or the Dixie Chicks. Does that mean that all those people are professing a belief in the rightness of slavery? Are they all racists?I once saw a young white mother wearing a Stars and Bars blouse at such a concert, escorted there by the black father of their two scampering children. Which member of that couple was missing the point? Which parent was unclear on the concept?Maybe neither. Maybe there has been a paradigm shift since the 1960s. Just check out Montel Williams, Maury Povich or "The Jerry Springer Show" if you want to see where the races are currently coming together most commonly. For those people, the flag doesn't symbolize slavery, but a heritage of defiance, a fierce regional pride, and a thumbing of the nose to those who persist in looking down at people like them with unearned superiority.As it happens, my family lived in a trailer park way back in the piney woods of Florida during part of the time I was growing up. There were some, no doubt, who thought of us as poor white trash. But my parents were lifelong Democrats, hardworking blue collar people, and their adherence to the Democratic Party had everything to do with their knowledge that the interests of working people had always been better tended by Democrats than by Republicans.There was a time when the Democratic Party didn't sneer at people like my parents. Because of that sneering, lots of people like them have left the party over the last 40 years, most voting against their own best interests rather than join forces with people who look down at them. Howard Dean was right when he sought to win them back.Robert E. Lee fought in the interest of a bad cause, but he, too, was an American, as noble as any who has ever drawn breath, or knelt down to pray. The character of a man like Robert E. Lee would put to shame millions of faux patriots who have, since his time, wrapped themselves in the banner he fought against. A man like Robert E. Lee would put to shame a whole lot of self-righteous liberals and dim-witted rappers when it comes to defending human dignity.Though the Confederate flag remains an easy target for politicians looking to take cheap shots, the heritage represented by that flag is far from simple. Though it retains negative power, there surely is not a soul left on the planet who waves that flag in support of slavery. Voters whose ancestors gave their lives under that banner should not be written off by the party that has, historically, best defended their interests.But this discussion will all come around again, in three months or six months, when someone says something that invites us all to feel superior and allows us to engage once more in the ritual of empty rhetoric that is our continuing national dialogue on race.
Jaime O'Neill, a retired community college teacher who lives near Chico, is a frequent contributor to Insight. See the original story here:
Posted by J. Stephen Conn at 6:23 AM 1 comments Links to this post
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History lesson needed in Tennessee

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When students wear Confederate flag T-shirts to a public school, and if it causes racial tension, that is a sure sign of ignorance and misinformation among both the students and the faculty. It's happened again in Tennessee. With the incident another great teaching opportunity has been lost.Isn't it the mission of schools to teach? And shouldn't they be teaching the truth? Instead of censoring free speech, why don't the schools use such opportunities to educate their pupils concerning the true symbolism of the Confederate flag - Southern heritage, self government, states rights, the original intent of the United States Constitution, and resistance to a tyrannical central government.How sad to see so called educators, who are only government puppets, spreading "politically correct" but erroneous propaganda about the South's embattled emblem. It's sadder still to see them miss another opportunity to teach the true history of the misunderstood and misrepresented Confederate battle flag.
Here's the latest sad story from the Associated Press:
Tenn. students who sued over school ban on Confederate flag clothes won't get another hearing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A full federal appeals court won't hear a lawsuit by three Tennessee students threatened with suspension if they wore Confederate flag T-shirts.A three-judge panel ruled in August that Blount County, just south of Knoxville, could ban the clothing. On Friday, the judges denied a request for a hearing by the full federal appeals court in Cincinnati.Students Derek Barr and Craig and Chris White argued their free speech rights were violated by the ban on clothes with the flag, which is considered a symbol of racism and intolerance by some and an emblem of Southern heritage by others.
School officials said their ban came after racial tension at William Blount High.There have been a string of similar claims from Texas to South Carolina
since the 1990s.Here's the story from,0,3541783.story
Posted by J. Stephen Conn at 7:11 AM
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Sidesaddle soldiers part of Civil War past

Many readers of Shades of Gray have said they didn't know women took such an active role in the Civil War. There are actually many documented cases of women dressing as men and taking part in the fighting. I had never heard, however, that there was an entire cavalry company made up exclusively of women. I have to thank a contributor to Southern Heritage News and Views for bringing this special cavalry unit to my attention. During the War Between the States, Rhea County was one of the counties in eastern Tennessee that was the most sympathetic to the cause of the Confederate States of America. Rhea raised seven companies for the Confederate military, compared to just one company for the Union. One of those companies was made up of young women (in their teens and twenties) from prominent Tennessee families, most of whom had fathers or brothers in the Confederate army. This company was the only all-female cavalry unit on either side during the Civil War. Formed in 1862, the company was named the Rhea County Spartans. Until 1863, the Spartans simply visited loved ones in the military and delivered the equivalent of modern-day care packages. When Union troops entered Rhea in 1863, the Spartans may have engaged in some scouting for Confederate forces, though there is no record of specific action. The members of the Spartans were later arrested in April 1865 under orders of a Rhea County Unionist and were forced to march to the Tennessee River. From there they were transported to Chattanooga aboard the USS Chattanooga. Once in Chattanooga, Union officers realized the women were not a threat and ordered them released and returned to Rhea County. They were first required to take the oath of allegiance to the United States government. The Spartans were not an officially recognized unit of the Confederate Army.,_Tennessee

A Confederate Officer From Pennsylvania, And His Ties To The South

The American Civil War was a very traumatic time for this country. The idea of Americans purposefully killing other Americans in battle just sends chills up most of our spines. This was true for the ordinary combat soldiers, the officers executing battle plans, or for those fortunate officers who were of administrative importance to the war. Everyone involved was fighting for a cause, the South was highly effective at converting this cause into a determination to fight and win the war. It is possible that those individuals involved in the fighting had a much stronger belief in the cause, since they risked life and limb everyday and every battle. This is found not to be true. Even though the non-combat Confederates did not engage the enemy first hand they too had a direct emotional response to the cause and for defense of the South.
Josiah Gorgas was the Chief Ordinance officer for the Confederacy. Josiah Gorgas was born into a Poor Pennsylvania family on July, 1st, 1818. Once of age Josiah Gorgas enrolled at West Point, where he graduated 6th in his class. His focus was on military ordinance and logistics. He was commissioned to the U.S. Army Ordinance department, where he remained until the Civil War broke out. Gorgas married his wife Amelia Gayle Gorgas while he was stationed in Alabama in 1853. Mrs. Gorgas was the daughter of a prominent Alabama politician and ex-governor named John Gayle. This highly influential family that Josiah Gorgas connects himself too casually persuades him to identify with Southerners and the Southern Cause. Josiah Gorgas feels more at home with his wife’s family than with his own. This may have been in part because Josiah was not home much after going to West Point. He felt disenfranchised from his family once the War broke out.
It is interesting to see how an educated man from the North can just simply change to the Southern vantage point. The transition Josiah Gorgas made from a Northerner to a Southerner is not covered in his journal. He avoids the issue and it is difficult to see why. I believe Josiah Gorgas resented the fact that his family was poor. When Josiah Gorgas was stationed in the South he was a white officer, which put him in the upper class of this highly aristocratic society. I believe Josiah Gorgas enjoyed his social standing in the South as well as the hospitality that came with it. These are characteristics he was not used too in Pennsylvania. It is, however, important to note that Josiah was not an advocate of slavery. Josiah did not view slaves from a pro-slave or abolitionist, he simply went with the status quoi. This simple fact should suggest that he is not a whole hearted Southerner. It is apparent to me that Josiah Gorgas is doing his best to fit in with his wife’s family. Josiah Gorgas was a Confederate volunteer, who left the Union army for the opportunity to be apart of a new nation. It is amazing to see a Northerner become a Southerner in such a short time span. It was only eight years from the time Josiah Gorgas met his wife to the start of the War. There must have been a very close relation for Josiah Gorgas to his wife’s family; therefore he felt a part of their family rather than his own in Pennsylvania.
When the War broke out Josiah Gorgas was torn between his true family and his new found one in the South. Mrs. Gorgas and her family had a strong connection to Josiah and their purpose must have called out to him. Amelia Gayle Gorgas’s father, the Alabama politician, was highly influential in this decision. In order to keep his daughter in the South he contacted Jefferson Davis, whom he knew well through his political channels. Jefferson Davis contacted Josiah Gorgas and offered Josiah a position on the Ordinance staff for the newly forming Confederacy. Gorgas first declined the offer. Shortly after the Confederacy offered him the Chief Ordinance officer job and he took the position. He was not excited about his decision; however Josiah Gorgas was on poor terms with his commanding officers in the Union and wanted to get away from them.
Josiah Gorgas felt a call of duty from the South, and his wife’s family. Since Josiah Gorgas is now a Southerner he feels that it is important to defend his honor by joining the Confederacy. Gorgas knows that he is destined to fight for the Confederacy and in doing so will sever all ties with his family. The severance is clear when he writes, “Days appear like weeks, and the last day above entered confounds itself with my early life” (Gorgas 1). This is stated by McPherson, “Among Confederates the emphasis on honor occurred most often in the letters of upper-class soldiers and officers” (24). It is difficult to convert many of McPherson’s arguments to accommodate Josiah Gorgas because he is an Ordinance Officer and not involved in the actual fighting. Josiah Gorgas does not present first hand battle experiences, however he does reflect an overall picture of how the Confederates are doing. According to McPherson most soldiers during the Civil War were anxious for the first fight. This anxiousness is presented when he writes, “Rebel and Yankee alike, they clamored for a chance to see the elephant” (McPherson 30). Josiah Gorgas does not show enthusiasm for his personal experiences; however he does seem to feel the War will go in favor on the Confederacy in the early stages. This enthusiasm is presented when Gorgas writes about General Magruder’s success, “His devotion had an electric effect, and was looked on as a happy omen of the spirit of the War” (1). Gorgas believes that his best service to the Confederacy is in the Ordinance Department, rather than on the battle field, this is how he relates to McPherson’s argument.
Early in his Journal Josiah Gorgas remarks seem upbeat and geared toward success. But as the War progresses the language becomes dimmer and shows the thin state of Confederate morale. One remark made by Josiah Gorgas that shows his loss of enthusiasm is when he discusses the state of Confederate combat soldiers. Gorgas states, “Our poor harrowed and overworked soldiers” in response to the plummeting troop morale in the South late in the War (145). This statement is then followed up by, “They see nothing before them but certain death, and have, I fear, fallen into a sort of hopelessness, and are dispirited” (Gorgas 145). McPherson’s argument is that those soldiers may have wanted to go home, but deep inside knew that it would be worse for them to give-up, than it would for them to keep fighting. If they gave into the fear and tried to quit fighting the ridicule that would accompany that decision would have been worse than the fighting itself. McPherson makes some good points some of which are at least in some ways evident in Josiah Gorgas’s writings. Unfortunately, though most of McPherson’s claims or arguments cannot be examined through Josiah Gorgas’s writings. There gaps become too large to interpolate between the context of McPherson’s combat soldier and Josiah Gorgas the administrative Officer.
Josiah Gorgas was a true administrative genius. He was able to perform miracles in order to keep the Confederacy running. His major feats included Building a national Powder works, and several rolling mills. This was highly important to supply guns and munitions to the front. Most of this industrialization took place in Richmond, which had most of the South’s industry already. Josiah Gorgas’s Ordinance department was the only Confederate supply department able to meet almost all of the requisitions that were sent from all over the South. He was able to meet those demands by thinking outside the box. He was successful in producing substitute goods when the real thing was not available. This quick thinking and resilient man became an unsung hero for the South, without his wit and know-how the Confederacy may have been defeated once the blockade took full effect. This is what made Josiah Gorgas such an important individual in Confederate history.
Amelia Gayle Gorgas was a very influential part of Josiah’s life. She was the reason he left the Union and became a true Southerner. Gorgas has said publicly that his life revolves around his wife, and that her comfort is what matters. Josiah Gorgas suggests this when he writes, “I am absorbed by the world of my wife” (16). Amelia Gayle Gorgas was a member of a very prominent Alabama family. She proved to be very helpful during the War. She would help the wounded at the hospital in Richmond, and nurse wounded family members back to health. This nursing was what Faust argued was common among Confederate and Union women alike. This desire to help is explained with, “The death of trained nurses in the South, the crying need for medical care, and the energy of women seeking a means to make a contribution to the Cause combined in the early months of war to encourage exceptional and privileged southern women to improvise solutions to the suffering they could not, as women, bear to ignore” (Faust 95). This is supported by Josiah Gorgas when he refers to his wife, “Mamma [Mrs. Gorgas] has been untiring in aiding, visiting and relieving these poor sufferers and has fatigued herself very much” (26). Josiah Gorgas later writes, “Mamma went to the hospital last evening and stayed some hours assisting the poor fellows” (37). These statements seem to support some of the view that Drew Faust presents to us in Mothers of Invention. Mrs. Gorgas seems to cope with the War effort as well as possible, she misses her husband when he is gone, but since he is not at the front she does get to see him periodically. The fact that Josiah Gorgas is not totally out of the picture allows her to keep much of her strength and focus.
A key issue to consider is how viable is this source, Josiah Gorgas’s journal. It is considered a primary source since he experienced the Civil War first hand; therefore he could present actual thoughts, feelings, and concepts that we will never be able to duplicate. The fact that we will never be able to replicate the Civil War makes documents like his invaluable. Since Josiah Gorgas was an educated man his account is considered to be an accurate portrayal of his beliefs and opinions of the War. Being a Confederate officer, Josiah Gorgas’s writings are considered more valuable when evaluating the chain of events that occurred throughout the War. Josiah Gorgas mentions almost every major event that took place during the Civil War, and gives the date to which that event occurred. This organized approach also validates his work and shows that he knew what many of the greater themes of the War were.
Josiah Gorgas wrote about many events in his journal, the accounts given by Gorgas all portray some basic strengths and weaknesses. The strengths that Josiah Gorgas’s works enforce are in his ability to organize anything and to place events and situations on a time line for readers to piece together quite easily. This is quite apparent with the date above each entry, and is an event occurred before that date he would mention the date of the occurrence. This would ensure that the reader would be able to place that event before what was happening currently on that date. This juggling of dates and events does not happen very often, which is amazing considering the amount of disarray and constant variation these soldiers lived their lives. They did not know what would happen later that day, let alone later that month or year. This was a time when it was literally imposable to plan or prepare for any event that did not directly concern the War or a battle.This source was not perfect; Josiah Gorgas had many weaknesses in his journal. Josiah Gorgas needed to include more personal information in his journal. There is not enough content about his wife, Amelia Gayle Gorgas, and the rest of the family. Josiah Gorgas did not put much emotion into his journal, it seems a bit too business oriented, rather than showing any feelings for the particular events he writes about. It is hard to visualize yourself in Josiah Gorgas’s shoes. The inability to connect with what he writes is the major drawback of his journal. Much of this was probably due to the War and how if adversely affected everyone who was involved.
Overall the Journal of Josiah Gorgas supports the views presented by Drew Faust and James McPherson. The actions taken by Josiah Gorgas are not exactly what were described by these historians, however if you look at the major themes and the ideology behind Gorgas’s actions it is apparent that the views are very similar. Josiah Gorgas and his wife Amelia Gayle Gorgas are interesting characters with many factors of their lives affected by the War. That is why we focused on individuals involved in the War and why it was important to compare these individuals to the major concepts that were presented throughout our class.
Works CitedAyres, Edward L. IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES, The Civil War In TheHeart Of America 1859-1863. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.
Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
Gorgas, Josiah. THE CIVIL WAR DIARY OF GENERAL JOSIAH GORGAS. Ed. Frank E. Vandiver. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1947.
McPherson, James M. For Cause & Comrades, Why Men Fought In The Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Historical information you may like to know

A bit of trivia you may like.... Lest ye be ignorant, historical information is now given to you. Be grateful. CANNON BALLS It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon on old war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was the problem.The best storage method devised was to stack them as a square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem -- how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called, for reasons unknown, a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make them of brass - hence, Brass Monkeys. Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron would roll right off the monkey. Thus, it was, quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, you thought that was just a vulgar expression, didn't you?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Charges Dropped Against SCV Member With Flag In Window

By Scott C. Boyd(January 2009 Civil War News)
CONCORD, N.C. — How could a hotel participating in a Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) convention have a guest evicted from his room and arrested for displaying a Confederate flag? It happened the evening of July 17, at the Wingate Inn in Concord, N.C., where the SCV was holding its annual national convention (reunion).
It took two court dates before misdemeanor charges of second degree trespass were recently dismissed against the Kentucky member who could have faced a fine and/or community service if found guilty.
SCV events were held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center from July 16-20 in Concord, where seven hotels, including the Wingate Inn, offered a group discount rate. The Wingate also hosted some smaller meetings.
Basil D. “Bazz” Childress, vice-president for a community bank in Kentucky and Lieutenant-Commander of the SCV Kentucky Division, was the man arrested.
He checked in to the Wingate on July 16. The next night he was to host his annual “Kentucky Soiree” for an expected 100 or more guests.
Childress said he decorated the walls of his room with flags from his camp, John C. Breckinridge Camp 100 in Lexington. He hung a Confederate flag (a rectangular, or naval jack, version) inside the window, opposite the door, where it picked up the fading rays as the sun set.
While smoking a cigarette outside the non-smoking hotel, Childress said he noticed that the flag in his window could be seen from out front. He hadn’t planned it that way, but he thought it could help guests find their way to the soiree.
Within 30 minutes of hanging the flag, he received a call from a front desk clerk asking him to “display your flags inside the room.”
“I bit my tongue, because the technical response – the literal response to that question — was, ‘Well they all are inside my room,’” Childress said in a phone interview.
Instead, he asked the clerk why she was making this request and she told him “we’ve had some complaints.”
Inquiring about what kind of complaints, the desk clerk told Childress it was a “sensitivity issue.” He said he informed the clerk he would think about her request and hung up.
After that, he guaranteed the guests entering his room that he’d get another call from hotel management. He was right.
General Manager Garrett Jenio phoned Childress about 30 minutes later. Childress said Jenio specifically asked him to take down the flag in the window.
Having paid for his room, Childress said he told Jenio he had a common law right as a renter to the “quiet enjoyment” of his room.
Before he would remove the Confederate flag, Childress said he insisted that Jenio would have to “demonstrate that I’m in violation of my rental agreement,” and he asked to see a copy of the document.
Jenio replied that he did not have to show Childress a copy of the Wingate’s rental agreement for guests. Childress said he countered by saying he would not take down the flag under those circumstances.
Before Jenio hung up, Childress asked him if this situation would exist if the flag in question were the British Union Jack instead of the Confederate flag. Childress remembered Jenio replying, “Probably not.”
A short while later, Joel Griffin, one of the Wingate’s owners, went to Childress’ room. Childress said Griffin declined to shake his hand and told him, “You have a decision to make. You’re either going to take that flag down or I’m going to call the police and have you arrested for criminal trespass.”
Childress said he tried to discuss the “contractual problems” regarding whether he was violating his rental agreement by not taking down the flag. He said Griffin’s reply was, “I’m not getting into a debate with you. You have a choice. Make it now or you’re going to go to jail.”
Characterizing the choice Griffin presented him as unreasonable, Childress said he told Griffin to call the police. Griffin stormed out of the room, as Childress remembered it, returning some 30 minutes later with a Concord Police Department sergeant and two officers.
He said the police explained it was no longer a civil matter concerning the rental agreement, but was now a matter of criminal law. If Griffin wanted to claim Childress was criminally trespassing, the police said they would “have to deal with it.”
In a brief speech in defense of his position, Childress recalled saying: “I don’t see any way out of this matter of principle. I am absolutely finished with putting up with demands that cave in to the cultural Marxist interpretation of our history that requires spitting on the graves of our ancestors who gave birth to this country and hiding them and their symbols away in the name of a false tolerance. A line had to be drawn somewhere.”
An officer took Childress aside and asked how to defuse the situation. Childress explained he thought Griffin’s position was unreasonable. “The [Confederate] flag is plastered over everything we’re wearing and over our cars in the parking lot. So, what is the fundamental problem here vis-à-vis visibility?” Childress asked.
Griffin injected himself into the conversation and Childress told the officer, “I’m done with this silliness. Take me to jail.”
Frank Earnest, past commander of the Virginia Division, who was in Childress’ room when Griffin and the police were there, said in a phone interview, “Griffin’s actions made no logical sense.”
As national SCV Chief of Heritage Defense, he said what happened to Childress was definitely a “heritage violation,” which includes situations when people are mistreated because they display Confederate symbols.
Childress said his room was packed with supporters, many of whom arrived after the Virginia and North Carolina caucuses downstairs adjourned early when word got out about Childress’ situation (see related story).
Among them were lawyer Kirk Lyons of the Southern Legal Resource Center that specializes in freedom-of-speech cases involving display of Confederate symbols and incoming national SCV Commander-in-Chief Chuck McMichael, who said he was “appalled by what happened.”
After Childress made arrangements for his personal belongings to be packed by a friend, the police escorted him to one of their cars. He held out his hands to be handcuffed, and was told he would not be handcuffed.
Childress recalled the officer complimented the SCV people in his hotel room and in the halls, saying they “behaved as perfect ladies and gentlemen this evening, and we appreciate it.” Childress and Earnest likewise later praised the police officers’ professionalism.
After going through the police paperwork, Childress was released and picked up at the station by some friends who were waiting. He stayed at a different hotel for the rest of the convention.
The incident was the first topic discussed at the convention the next day by outgoing national Commander-in-Chief Christopher M. Sullivan. Resolutions were passed to praise Childress for his courage and the Concord Police Department for their professionalism, as well as to establish a legal defense fund. SCV members were urged to boycott all Wingate Inns and other hotels in the Wyndham Hotel Group.
The Wingate Inn charged his credit card for four nights, even though Childress only spent one night there. He had to dispute the charge with his credit card issuer to get a refund for the other three nights.
The inn lost a lot of other money the night Childress was arrested as a large number of SCV convention attendees checked out to protest how Childress was treated, according to Earnest.
At the Sept. 30 court hearing, the prosecutor was granted a continuance until Oct. 28. The prosecutor then asked for another continuance.
Childress said his lawyer, Chris McCartan, objected that this was the second time Griffin failed to appear and that Childress had come all the way from Kentucky. The judge agreed and approved the motion to dismiss the case.
No one connected with Joel Griffin or the Wingate Inn in Concord sent him an apology, according to Childress, who said he is pursuing a civil lawsuit in the matter. Griffin declined to comment for this story and Jenio did not return repeated e-mails and phone calls.
Postscript: The flag in front of Childress’ window came down after the police escorted him out. Inn owner Griffin did not seem to want to be photographed taking it down, said Childress.
John Suttles, Commander of the Purchase Area Brigade in the Kentucky Division, said he took the flag down after Griffin told him he had ancestors who fought under the flag.
“We wanted him to take it down, but after he stated this, I told him I didn't want him to dirty that flag, and I took it down,” reported Suttles. “Then Les Williamson, another Kentuckian, and I folded the flag and retired it from the room.”

Tactics give Union a victory at Vaught’s Hill

By: MIKE WEST, Managing Editor
Murfreesboro Post
Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2009 8:01 am
Part 1 of a seriesWhen it came to the outcome of the Civil War, the Battle of Vaught’s Hill was not a factor, but the bloody little battle fought near Milton community is brimming with interesting facts.The battle’s outcome showed growing maturity of the Union Army of the Cumberland in the months following Stones River and demonstrated how proper military tactics could be used to defeat a superior Confederate force.It also marked a rare defeat of Confederate Raider John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry. Morgan had bloodied the nose of the Army of the Cumberland on Dec. 7, 1862 at the Battle of Hartsville during the opening of the Stones River Campaign.Greatly outnumbered, Morgan left the battlefield with minimal losses and 1,844 Union prisoners and a wagon train heavily loaded with captured equipment and supplies. Confederate Western Theater commander Joseph E. Johnston described Hartsville as a “brilliant feat” and recommended that Morgan be appointed brigadier general immediately. CSA President Jefferson Davis, visiting the Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro, promoted Morgan in person on the eve of his wedding.Victory at Hartsville has often been described as Morgan’s wedding present to his wife, Murfreesboro socialite, Mattie Ready.But slightly more than four months later, the tables were turned and a Union brigade managed to defeat Morgan’s famed cavalry division.On March 18, 1863, Col. Albert S. Hall, 105th Ohio Infantry, lead the 2nd Brigade of Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds’ division on a reconnaissance in force of the Milton area.Hall, commanding some 1,300 men with rations for four days, was under orders to “reconnoiter the enemy and strike him, if the opportunity offers.”Hall’s brigade included the 123rd Illinois Infantry, 80th Illinois Infantry, 101st Indiana Infantry, 105th Ohio, one section of the 19th Indiana Battery, and Company A of Stokes’ cavalry. On the night of the 18th, the Union brigade captured Cainsville, taking two prisoners. The following morning Hall took the Statesville Road toward Prosperity Church. At Statesville, Hall was met by a detachment of Rebel cavalry and fought a small skirmish. Light fighting continued toward Liberty as a larger Confederate force began to mass. Hall rested his command at Prosperity Church for two hours.“Becoming entirely satisfied that a large rebel force, under Morgan’s command, was massed in the vicinity, and that I should be attacked by the next day [20th] at the farthest, I determined to choose my own ground for the engagement,” Hall wrote in his official report.At dusk, the Union soldiers moved in the direction of Auburntown with the goal of a position closer to Murfreesboro near Milton. Hall wanted the “high ground,” a classic military strategy predating the Roman Empire.The position, Hall had in mind was a “hillock” known locally as Vaught’s Hill. That’s where he would make his stand.The shape of the commanding hill was perfect for what Hall had in mind – a perimeter defense, which is a position without an exposed flank, consisting of forces deployed along the perimeter of the defended area.Typically, Civil War battles were fought in long battle lines and offenses tried to “flank” the opponent like at Stones River, where the Confederates dislodged the Union’s left flank and folded it up like the blades of a jackknife.It was impossible to “flank” Hall’s perimeter, which was anchored by two cannons from the 19th Indiana Artillery commanded by Capt. S.J. Harris. The cannon fire and volleys from the Indiana and Ohio infantry raked the Confederate columns, which were attacking the left and right side of the hill.“As it was, the terrible raking given it (the Confederate right) by the artillery, and the volley from the Eightieth Illinois which it finally received, quite effectually extinguished its valor and boldness, so that a thin line of skirmishers and part of Blackburn’s little company was all that was necessary to control them thereafter,” Hall reported.With the fighting intensifying on the left, Hall reshuffled his troops, moving the 80th Illinois.Morgan then opened fire on the Union’s center with four cannons and ordered an attack on the rear of the hillock. That attack was repulsed as the fighting became more generalized, but the Union artillery continued to sweep the field, inflicting heavy losses.Morgan continued his artillery barrage.“My line encircling the hillock, inclosing us within 5 acres of space, was entirely surrounded by the enemy, and every reachable spot was showered with shot, shell, grape, and canister,” Hall said.But Union troops were able to hold the high ground.“Artillery was never better worked. Again and again the enemy tried to break our devoted circle, and continued the unequal contest upon me steadily from 11:30 a.m. till 2:15 p.m., when, seeing it was of no avail, he drew off his cavalry to my front, leaving but a small force on my flanks; and, desisting from the attack with small-arms, continued to play his artillery till 4:30 p.m., when he finally withdrew it also,” Hall reported.Hall had sought reinforcements from Murfreesboro and the 4th Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Col. Robert H.G. Minty, was dispatched about 1 p.m., but did not arrive until six hours later prompting Hall to launch an official protest.Meanwhile, John Hunt Morgan, the famous raider, was having troubles of his own.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

What killed submarine's crew?
The Civil War's H.L. Hunley has been recovered, but it's giving up its secrets only grudgingly.
By Bruce Smith
Associated Press
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - It could be one of the nation's oldest cold-case files: What happened to eight Confederate sailors aboard the H.L. Hunley after it became the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship?
Their hand-cranked sub rammed a spar with black powder into the Union blockade ship Housatonic off Charleston on a chilly winter night in 1864 but never returned.
Its fate has been the subject of almost 150 years of conjecture and almost a decade of scientific research since the Hunley was raised back in 2000. But the submarine has been agonizingly slow surrendering her secrets.
"She was a mystery when she was built. She was a mystery as to how she looked and how she was constructed for many years and she is still a mystery as to why she didn't come home," said State Sen. Glenn McConnell and chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, which raised the sub and is charged with conserving and displaying it.
Scientists hope the next phase of the conservation, removing the hardened sediment coating the outside of the hull, will provide clues to the mystery.
McConnell, who watched the sub being raised more than eight years ago, thought at the time the mystery would be easily solved.
"We thought it would be very simple . . . something must have happened at the time of the attack," he said. "We would just put those pieces together and know everything about it."
But what seemed so clear then seems as murky now as the sandy bottom where the Hunley rested for 136 years. When the Hunley was raised, the design was different from what scientists expected and there were only eight, not nine, crewmen, as originally thought.
The first phase of work on the Hunley consisted of photographing and studying the outside of the hull. Then several iron hull plates were removed, allowing scientists to enter the crew compartment to remove sediment, human remains and a cache of artifacts.
Thousands of people, many reenactors in period dress, turned out in April 2004 when the crew was buried in what has been called the last Confederate funeral.
With the inside excavated, the outside of the hull will now be cleaned before the sub is put in a chemical bath to remove salts left by years on the ocean floor. The Hunley will eventually be displayed in a new museum in North Charleston.
When the sub was found there was no window in the front conning tower, suggesting it had been shot out, perhaps by Union sharpshooters.
But no glass was found inside the sub and the remains of the captain, Lt. George Dixon, showed no injuries to his skull or body consistent with being shot while looking through the window, McConnell said.
The crew's bodies were found at their duty stations, suggesting there was no emergency resulting in a scramble to get out of the sub. And the controls on the bilge pump were not set to pump water from the crew compartment, suggesting there was no water flooding in.
After the attack both Confederates on shore and Union ships reported seeing a blue light, believed to be the Hunley signaling it had completed its mission.
A lantern with a thick lens that would have shifted the light spectrum and appeared blue from a distance was found in the wreck.
But after the attack, the USS Canandaigua rushed to the aid of the Housatonic, and there is speculation that the light could have come from that ship instead.
Could the Canandaigua have grazed the Hunley, disabling it so the sub couldn't surface? A good look at the hull in the coming months may provide the answer.
Historians also know the Hunley needed to wait for the incoming tide to return to shore.
"Were they waiting down there and miscalculated their oxygen and blacked out?" said McConnell.
Then there is the mystery of Dixon's watch, which stopped at 8:23 p.m. Although times were far from uniform in the Civil War era, the Housatonic was attacked about 20 minutes later, according to federal time, McConnell said.
One theory is the concussion of the attack stopped the watch and knocked out the sailors on the sub. Or the watch simply might have run down and was not noticed in the excitement of the attack. That could have led to a miscalculation of the time they were under water.
Union troops reported seeing the Hunley approaching and the light through the tower window "like dinosaur eyes or a giant porpoise in the water," McConnell said.
If the Hunley crew members miscalculated and surfaced too close to the Housatonic on their final approach, they would not have had enough time to replenish their oxygen before the attack, he said.
The clues now seem to indicate the crew died of anoxia, a lack of oxygen, and didn't drown. "Whatever happened, happened unexpectedly, with no warning," McConnell said

January is "Generals Month"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January is "Generals Month"

Praise For Lee And JacksonBy Chuck BaldwinJanuary 16, 2007January is often referred to as "Generals Month" as no less than four famous Confederate Generals claimed January as their birth month: James Longstreet (Jan. 8, 1821), Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19, 1807), Thomas Jonathan Jackson (Jan. 21, 1824), and George Pickett (Jan. 28, 1825). Two of these men, Lee and Jackson, are particularly noteworthy. This is especially true, as this year will mark General Lee's two hundredth birthday.Without question, Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson were two of the greatest military leaders of all time. Even more, the Lee and Jackson tandem is regarded by many military historians as having formed perhaps the greatest battlefield duo in the history of warfare. If Jackson had survived the battle of Chancellorsville, it is very possible that the South would have prevailed at Gettysburg and perhaps would even have won the War Between The States.In fact, it was Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British armies in the early Twentieth Century, who said, "In my opinion, Stonewall Jackson was one of the greatest natural military geniuses the world ever saw. I will go even further than that-as a campaigner in the field, he never had a superior. In some respects, I doubt whether he ever had an equal."While the strategies and circumstances of the War Of Northern Aggression can (and will) be debated by professionals and laymen alike, one fact is undeniable: Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson were two of the finest Christian gentlemen this country has ever produced. Both their character and their conduct were beyond reproach.Unlike his northern counterpart, Ulysses S. Grant, General Lee never sanctioned or condoned slavery. Upon inheriting slaves from his deceased father-in-law, Lee immediately freed them. And according to historians, Jackson enjoyed a familial relationship with those few slaves which were in his home. In addition, unlike Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, neither Lee nor Jackson ever spoke disparagingly of the black race.As those who are familiar with history know, General Grant and his wife held personal slaves before and during the War Between The States, and even Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not free them. They were not freed until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed after the conclusion of the war. Grant's excuse for not freeing his slaves was that "good help is so hard to come by these days."Furthermore, it is well established that Jackson regularly conducted a Sunday School class for black children. This was a ministry he took very seriously. As a result, he was dearly loved and appreciated by the children and their parents.In addition, both Jackson and Lee emphatically supported the abolition of slavery. In fact, Lee called slavery "a moral and political evil." He also said "the best men in the South" opposed it and welcomed its demise. Jackson said he wished to see "the shackles struck from every slave."To think that Lee and Jackson (and the vast majority of Confederate soldiers) would fight and die to preserve an institution they considered evil and abhorrent is the height of absurdity. It is equally repugnant to impugn and denigrate the memory of these remarkable Christian gentlemen.In fact, after refusing Abraham Lincoln's offer to command the Union Army in 1861, Robert E. Lee wrote to his sister on April 20 of that year to explain his decision. In the letter he wrote, "With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the army and save in defense of my native state, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed . . ."Lee's decision to resign his commission with the Union Army must have been the most difficult decision of his life. Remember that Lee's direct ancestors had fought in America's War For Independence. His father, "Light Horse Harry" Henry Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero, Governor of Virginia, and member of Congress. In addition, members of his family were signatories to the Declaration of Independence.Remember, too, that not only did Robert E. Lee graduate from West Point at the top of his class, he is yet today the only cadet to graduate from that prestigious academy without a single demerit.However, Lee knew that what Lincoln was about to do was both immoral and unconstitutional. As a man of honor and integrity, the only thing Lee could do was that which his father had done: fight for freedom and independence. And that is exactly what he did.Instead of allowing a politically correct culture to sully the memory of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson, all Americans should hold them in a place of highest honor and respect. Anything less is a disservice to history and a disgrace to the principles of truth and integrity.Accordingly, it was more than appropriate that the late President Gerald Ford, on August 5, 1975, signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, "restoring posthumously the long overdue, full rights of citizenship to General Robert E. Lee." According to President Ford, "This legislation corrects a 110-year oversight of American history." He further said, "General Lee's character has been an example to succeeding generations . . ."The significance of General Lee's (and Thomas Jackson's) life cannot be overvalued. While the character and influence of most of us will barely be remembered two hundred days after our departure, the sterling character of these men has endured for two hundred years. What a shame that so many of America's youth are being robbed of knowing and studying the virtue and integrity of the great General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.(c) Chuck Baldwin

Make way for Gen. John Hunt Morgan

By: MIKE WEST, Managing Editor
Posted: Sunday, January 18, 2009 6:31 am
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Gen. John Hunt Morgan It was the famous Confederate Raider John Hunt Morgan who personally directed the attack on Union troops near Milton.“Open ranks! Open ranks for the general,” commanded the staff of one of the most glamorous soldiers of the Civil War.Morgan, receiving word of the Army of Cumberland’s reconnaissance in force in the Auburntown area, moved from McMinnville on the night of March 18, 1863,It was his plan to catch Col. Albert S. Hall, 105th Ohio Infantry, who was leading the 2nd Brigade of Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds’ division, near Auburntown before he reached more defensible terrain outside of Milton.Morgan’s brigade commanders Col. Richard Gano of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry and Col. William Campbell Preston Breckinridge of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry had already moved through the area and had skirmished with the Union troops. He was former U.S. Vice President John C. Breckinridge’s first cousin.Auburntown residents left their homes to witness the troop movements. Women and children cheered the famous general, urging him to attack the Yankees.Ironically, one company of the Union detachments was from the nearby Liberty, Tenn., area. Capt. Joe Blackburn commanded the men as part of DeKalb County native William B. Stokes’ 5th Tennessee Cavalry. Stokes served in the U.S. House of Representatives both before and after the Civil War.Morgan had the Union troops outmanned, but Hall’s men had a considerable lead in the race to the high ground near Milton. Hall chose his battleground well and was able to set up a perimeter defense on a knoll called Vaught’s Hill.At daylight on March 21, both Yankees and Rebels were already on the move.“After daylight one of the scouts returned bringing intelligence that the enemy was moving. Captain Quirk was ordered to move forward with his company and attack the enemy’s rear,” Morgan wrote in his official report of the battle.It was Morgan’s plan that Capt. Thomas Quirk delay Hall’s retreat toward Murfreesboro until the main body of the Confederate forces could arrive. Quirk, an Irishman, was one of Morgan’s most aggressive fighters.Hall deployed skirmishers, but answered Quirk with an artillery barrage while the Union troops continued to move toward Vaught’s Hill.Seeing that the Union artillery was largely unsupported, Morgan sent Breckinridge and Lt. Col. Robert M. Martin in an attempt to capture the two cannons. Hall pulled back his cannons to a position fronted by a cedar brake, which made it difficult for the Confederates to pursue.By then Hall was in his final position atop Vaught’s Hill, and Morgan had no choice but to dismount his cavalry and order them up the hill to attack.“Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, who still occupied his position on the left, was ordered to threaten the right of the enemy. At the same time, I ordered the command under Colonel Gano to move up, dismount and attack the enemy vigorously, immediately in the front. Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to move to the right with his command and attack their extreme left. Captain Quirk, in the meantime, had been ordered to get on the pike immediately in the rear of the enemy, which he did in most satisfactory manner, capturing fifteen or twenty prisoners,” Morgan wrote.The Confederates were putting the squeeze on the outnumbered Union troops when a strange thing happened. Morgan’s men ran out of ammunition, but not before Hall’s troops inflicted heavy damage.Col. Grigsby was wounded in front of his command, and Col. Napier was severely injured while encouraging his Rebels forward.“At the same time the firing from the center of the line nearly ceased; a few scattering shots, now and then, gave evidence that nearly all of the ammunition was exhausted. Two more rounds would have made our victory complete and two thousand Federals would have been the result of the day’s fighting,” Morgan said.Morgan ordered a quick withdrawal back to Milton where he found an ordinance wagon train and four cannons waiting for him. Oops.The Confederates attempted to renew the attack with Quirk taking the point only to be repulsed.Morgan withdrew his men to Liberty with no Union pursuit.Col. Basil Duke, Morgan’s brother-in-law and second in command, commented on the impact of the Battle of Vaught’s Hill in his book, “Morgan’s Cavalry.”“Our loss in this fight was very heavy, especially in officers. The list of wounded officers was large. Captains Sale, Marr, Cooper and Cossett, and a number of other officers were killed. Captain Sale was the third captain killed of Company E, Second Kentucky. Captain Cossett, of the Ninth Tennessee, was under arrest at the time, for charges of which he was acquitted after death. He was killed, fighting with his musket, as a volunteer. General Morgan’s clothing was torn with balls,” Duke wrote.As for losing the battle, Duke offered a few reasons including the fatigue of horses and riders during the long and rapid ride from Auburntown to Milton. Some of horses failed, and men got scattered and separated from the main attacking body.“The scanty supply of ammunition, however, and its failure at the critical moment was the principal cause of the repulse, or rather withdrawal of our troops. All who have given any account of his battle concur in praising the conduct of the combatants. It was fought with the utmost determination and with no flinching on either side,” Duke wrote.There was good reason the Confederates lost so many officers at Milton. The exploits of Lt. Col. Robert Martin at Vaught’s Hill is one example.“Just here Martin performed one of those acts of heroic but useless courage, too common among our officers. When his regiment wavered and commenced to fall back, he halted until he was left along; then at a slow walk rode to the pike, and with his hat off rode slowing out of fire.“He was splendidly mounted, wore in his hat a long black plume, was himself a large and striking figure and I have often thought that it was the handsomest picture of cool and desperate courage I saw in the war,” Duke wrote.Late in the Civil War, that same Robert Martin led a Confederate plot to take the war North by burning select buildings in New York City. The plot was uncovered and Martin fled to Canada, eventually returning to Kentucky where he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

'The Battle Of Bulls Gap' Reenactment Planned In May

Source: The Greeneville Sun
Major Civil War Re-enactment,
Living History Planned By Group
East Tennessee Civil War Campaigns, a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Tennessee on Dec. 15, 2008, has announced a partnership with I-81 Motorsports Park for Civil War re-enactments and other living history events.
The inaugural event will is being described as a major Civil War re-enactment of "The Battle of Bulls Gap" that took place in November 1864, a press release said.
The event will take place on May 1-3, on 482 acres of farm land owned and operated by I-81 Motorsports Park. The park is located two miles from Exit 44 on Interstate 81, at Jearoldstown.
Dr. Robert Orr, a local historian, said, "The Battle of Bulls Gap involved a large number of East Tennessee Unionist volunteers who escaped Confederate control and were trained in Kentucky.
"The battle occurred late in the Civil War and reflects the bravery and determination of both armies to control the railroad that connected Virginia with the Confederate South."
Dr. Orr, who helped plan the event, said, "This represents a rare opportunity for people in this region to witness the struggle our ancestors endured right here in our own backyard!"
Bill Ringel, lead coordinator for the inaugural event, said, "The reenacting community is very excited about this opportunity, and the response from participants is overwhelming."
Ringel is a veteran re-enactor, having led and participated in events on a national scale, according to the release.
He was assistant director of the Re-enactment of the Battle of Blue Springs for the past several years, but this fall announced he would be reducing his involvement with that effort.
Ringel had roles in several major movies including "North and South," and most recently, "Freedom," which was produced locally.
He said, "Our partnership with I-81 Motorsports Park Owners will provide the highest quality events in a natural setting reminiscent of the Civil War era in East Tennessee."
Kirk Hayes, owner and operator of I-81 Motorsports Park, said, "We are very excited about expanding the use of our park for living history events.
"East Tennessee Civil War Campaigns' experienced living historians are committed to the highest quality events, and we are pleased to be a partner in historical education that embraces the heritage of East Tennessee."
For more information, contact Carlos Whaley, Chief Executive Officer, East Tennessee Civil War Campaigns. Email:, Telephone 423-620-7483, or visit our website:

Sons of Confederate Veterans files suit for specialty license plate

By Sarah Lundy Orlando Sentinel
January 21, 2009
The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants its Florida specialty license plate.The group — composed of descendants of Confederate soldiers — filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court to force the state to approve one designed with Confederate flags.Last year, the group attempted to get lawmakers to pass a bill that would add its plate to the list of dozens of other specialty tags. The organization spent years completing the requirements: a $60,000 application fee, a marketing strategy and a survey with 30,000 motor-vehicle owners who say they intend to buy the tag.
Money raised from the sale of the plate would go toward improving veteran cemeteries, academic grants and scholarships, John Adams, lieutenant commander of the group's Florida division, said last week.A roadblock arose when the House of Representatives Infrastructure Committee chairman refused to bring the bill up for a vote — killing the proposal, according to the lawsuit. No Senate bill was ever sponsored.Lawmakers sent the message that no matter what the group does, the specialty tag might never happen, said the group's attorney, Fred O'Neal.Lawmakers also agreed on a moratorium on new specialty plates until 2011.State Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who is named in the lawsuit in his role as Senate transportation-committee chairman, said he would like to comment but can't because it's an ongoing legal issue.The group has fought similar battles for "Confederate Heritage" plates in other states with some success, according to the lawsuit.Adams said the state fears how popular the tag could become. "A lot of people want this plate," he said.O'Neal said the issue is similar to getting a parade permit, which often needs approval from a city or county. If a group meets the requirements, city leaders can't deny the permit because they disagree with the message, he said.The group wants the court to compel the state to issue the plate. If not, the group then will suggest the court declare the specialty-plate law unconstitutional.The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Co. newspaper.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Confederate Heroes Day in Texas

I hope the day will never comethat my grandsons will be ashamed to ownthat I was a Confederate Soldier.Pvt. A.V. Handy32nd Texas CavalryRemembering . . .William Paschal Henry (1836-1912)Artificer, 7 Texas Field Battery (Moseley's Co. Light Art'y.)Sergeant, 35 Texas Cavalry (Brown's Regiment)Sergeant, 7 Texas Field Battery (Moseley's Co. Light Art'y.)Joseph Helidorah Nettles (1832-1890)Co. G 4th TX Regt. Hood's BrigadeNettles, Jos. H., sick, sent to rear Sept. 17, 1862 (Antietam), duty with CSA Engineer Corps, June 1863, wounded Gettysburg (July 2, 1863) wounded (leg) (Wilderness) (May 6, 1864). Nothing further is given.Samuel Houston Sharp (1839-1885)Capt. Nunn's Company of CavalryConfederate Hero's DaySaturday, January 19, 1931Memorial Day (May 30) started soon after the Civil War ended in 1865. In the South many states also observe another Memorial Day called Confederate Memorial Day in memory of the soldiers who fought in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States. In Texas, Confederate Hero's Day is observed each year on the 19th day of January.
House Bill 126, 42nd Legislature, Regular Session. Chapter 8. Approved and effective 30 Jan 1931 as Robert E. Lee's Birthday. Senate Bill 60, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session. Chapter 221. Approved 1 Jun 1973 and effective 27 Aug 1973 as Confederate Heroes Day. This bill deleted June 3rd as a holiday for Jefferson Davis' birthday and combined the two into Confederate Heroes Day.
Why do we remember?Written/edited by James Dark of Arlington, TexasWe have a duty to God, given to us in the Ten Commandments, to honor our fathers. By logical extension, this would seem to apply to all of our forebears. Those who revel in the heritage and history of their ancestors are justifiably proud of their great-great-grandfathers participation in the greatest conflict our nation has ever fought. Why should I be inclined to sit idly by when someone suggests that my ancestor, who was dirt-poor farmer from the Ozarks in Arkansas, fought to preserve slavery? What should I do about that vein that pops out in my forehead when someone suggests that he was a traitor? The answer is to learn and to educate. The fact is that no Confederate leader was tried for treason, much less convicted. When a trial was contemplated for Jefferson Davis, Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon Chase advised strongly against. He knew that Davis's defense was center around the constitutionality of secession. Chase, in a letter to President Andrew Johnson said, "The war was fought to determine that secession was illegal. Let it remain illegal." Jefferson Davis was released from his dungeon prison shortly thereafter. This passage probably best sums up our reverence for our Confederate ancestors.
"The Confederate soldiers were our kinfolk and our heroes. We testify to the country our enduring fidelity to their memory. We commemorate their valor and devotion. There were some things that were not surrendered at Appomattox. We did not surrender our rights in history, nor was it one of the conditions of surrender that unfriendly lips should be suffered to tell the story of that war or that unfriendly hands should write the epitaphs of the Confederate dead. We have a right to teach our children the true history of that war, the causes that led up to it, and the principles involved." Senator Edward W. Carmack, 1903

Tennessee observes Robert E. Lee Day

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – Monday, January 19th is a federal holiday remembering the life of Martin Luther King Jr. In several southern states, it is also a holiday commemorating the life of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
One of Governor Phil Bredesen’s annual duties as the head of the state is to proclaim January 19th, “Robert E. Lee Day.” The law is listed in the Tennessee Code as a special observation, and asks Tennesseans to, “observe the day in schools, churches and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies expressive of the public sentiment.”
Gen. Lee was born January 19th, 1807 and went on to graduate from West Point in 1829. He is probably best remembered for turning down President Abraham Lincoln's request to command the Union forces during the Civil War.
According to Douglas S. Freeman, who wrote a biography on Gen. Lee in 1934, the general justified his decision not to serve the north before having to make it when he said, “I shall never bear arms against the Union, but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty."
The Civil War ended with Gen. Lee’s surrender to the Union at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865.
He spent the last five years of his life helping the reconstruction process along and serving as president of Washington College which later became Washington and Lee University.
Lee died on October 12th, 1870.
January 19th, 2009 marked his 202nd birthday.