Thursday, September 29, 2016

Southern Rock Reemergence

From the Abbeville Institute Abbeville Blog

Deep Down in the South

The late 1970s represented the heyday of popular Southern music. Southern rock and “outlaw country” dominated the airwaves. It was chic to say “ya’ll,” even in Boston, and with the election of Jimmy Carter, it really seemed the “South was gonna’ do it again.”
It wouldn’t last. During an interview at Capricorn Studios in Macon, GA one afternoon, Charlie Daniels spit into his cup and said it wouldn’t mean anything in a few years. He was right. In less than a decade, the South had once again become the punching bag for everything that ailed the United States, the backwards other in American politics. Her people were taken for granted by the political class. They could be counted on to vote, but promises were easily broken. By the 1990s, the onslaught against her symbols began in earnest. Southerners had much to defend, but they had lost their voice.
Music had once been the outlet. Sweet Home Alabama, Tennessee, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Gator Country, Carolina Dreams, etc. Every Southern band wooed the land and its people. Somehow that was lost, and in the commercially driven world of popular music, singing songs about the Southland didn’t have the same impact, at least until now.
Perhaps Southern roots are too deep to pull. Even in the PC world gone mad, there are still Southerners, young Southerners, who proudly claim Dixie and her people as their own. Some of it has become cliché, almost a new type of commercialism, but it is easy to spot the poseurs.
Whiskey Myers aren’t poseurs. This Texas based blues/rock band has always had its ear to the ground and a feel for the South. Their “Ballad of a Southern Man” is one of the best modern odes to the South, and their newest effort, Mud, is grittier, a tour-de-force excursion into the heart of the Southern people. You can feel, smell, and taste the Southern mud along the riverbank. This isn’t a popcorn Southern album. Whiskey Myers exposes the Southern soul, her pain and her joys. “Baby there ain’t no same in being poor, here in this trailer that we call home.” “They say Jesus was a poor man. I guess I wish I had a little more of him in me.” “Ain’t no love for the poor dirt farmer, a genuine son of the South.”
The band’s romp through the South touches every nerve: poverty, the land, hard work, love, pride, the martial spirit, defiance, nostalgia, history, family. It’s all there, packaged together in ten nicely produced–but not overproduced–tunes.
If you like Southern music with an edge, a band that gives a big middle finger to Northern critics, then Whiskey Myers “Mud” should be in your playlist.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reconstruction - Carpetbaggers and Scalawags

(From the website Alabama Pioneers.  Of note is the issue raised with these yankee carpetbaggers seeking to hold public office upon transplanting themselves to Alabama, a problem we have today with our elected representatives not being Southerners nor appreciating Southern heritage.)

Do you know the definitions of Carpetbaggers and Scalawags?
Carpetbagger is a term that was applied by native citizens of the South to those persons who came from other parts of the country during the War and Reconstruction periods for the purpose of exploiting the States and the people, taking advantage of the disturbed economic, social, and political conditions to gratify their own ambition for political preferment, especially for the holding of lucrative offices.

Montgomery Advertiser credited with using the term first

The first use of the term to characterize these unencumbered visitors to the South has been variously credited; to the Montgomery Advertiser, among others. It is not certain who first used the term to apply to northern men temporarily resident in the South; but it is known that it originated before the War, and was applied to the promoters of wildcat banking schemes in the Western States.

In the South the expression frequently was somewhat loosely used, often being applied to all the northern people who came South during the 10 years following the War. When used with discrimination it signified only those persons formerly resident in the Northern States, who came to southern neighborhoods for purposes of exploitation or spoliation.

Traits of the Carpetbagger

There was quite a large number of such undesirable accessions to the State’s population during the latter part of the War and the first few years after its close, although it is not likely that Alabama suffered more in this respect than other Southern States.
One of the most conspicuous traits of the carpetbagger was an intense desire to hold public office, and he usually lost no time in busying himself to secure appointment or election.

“Adopting the readiest and the most certain means to that end, he appealed to race prejudice, using the ignorance and gullibility of the freedmen to obtain an influence over them which could be made to count in politics. Having no interests in common with the native whites, he frequently went to extreme lengths in cultivating blacks friendships in the effort to secure political power and financial gain.”

They increased friction between the races

The activities of these adventurers, most of them discredited and without standing in the communities from which they came, increased the friction between the races, whose relations were already tending to become somewhat strained.
The southern people resented the interference of these interlopers, and regarded them with growing suspicion and dislike.
There was only one other class of persons held in such contempt —the scalawag, or native renegade, who, to serve his private ends, or to obtain revenge for fancied slights or wrongs, sided with the carpetbaggers and blacks.

Political Activity

As a result of the disfranchisement of large numbers of the native citizens of Alabama, especially the more influential men, most of whom had been in some way identified with the Confederacy, the carpetbaggers found it easy to secure political power and install themselves in office.
Likewise a majority of the members of the legislature in 1868 were carpetbaggers, scalawags and blacks. It was this legislature which proved so friendly to the internal improvement schemes out of which grew the notorious railroad bond-endorsement frauds. During the next four years, the carpetbagger politicians, with their allies the blacks, by their wasteful policy and extravagant expenditures, cost the State of Alabama many millions of dollars. However, in this respect Alabama probably suffered less than some of the other Southern States, notably South Carolina.

As Officeholders

One of the ways in which the disturbing influence of these alien politicians was most keenly felt by the native whites, was in the administration of the judicial system. Carpetbaggers obtained many places on the Alabama bench as well as appointments to Federal judgeships in the State. In these positions they had peculiar opportunities to make themselves obnoxious to the whites, in the adjudication of the numerous petty suits.

Both United States Senators in 1868 were residents of the North

One of the carpetbagger members of the Federal bench who attained considerable prominence in Alabama was Judge Richard M. Busteed. Others also attained conspicuous positions.
For example, both the United States Senators elected in 1868, had formerly been residents of the North. Senator Willard Warner was a native of Ohio, from whence he came to Alabama in 1867. Just before leaving Ohio he had served as a State senator.
Senator George E. Spencer was born in New York, coming to Alabama in 1867 to serve as register in bankruptcy. Both these men were called carpetbaggers.

Eight Representatives not Alabama natives

Of the 18 terms as Representative in Congress from Alabama, 1868 to 1873, 8 were filled by men who not only were not natives of the State, but had come into its borders since the close of the War. These eight terms were served by six representatives.
  1. Charles W. Buckley having been twice reelected. He was a native of New York, coming to Alabama in 1868 as state superintendent of education for the Freedmen’s Bureau. In 1867 ho was one of the delegates selected under military supervision for the constitutional convention, and was afterward elected by the Republicans as Representative in Congress.
  2. F. W. Kellogg, who served as Representative in the Fortieth Congress, was a native of Massachusetts. He had held office in Michigan before coming to Alabama, as collector of internal revenue in 1866, and was elected to Congress by the Republicans in 1867.
  3. Benjamin W. Norris was a native of the State of Maine, where he had held several offices before enlisting as paymaster in the Union Army. After the War he became a planter in Alabama, was one of the delegates to the constitutional convention of 1867, and was elected as a Republican Congressman in the same year.
  4. Charles W. Pierce was a native of New York, later moving to Illinois, where he enlisted in the Volunteer Infantry. He remained in Alabama at the close of the War, and held various public offices, among others that of Representative to the Fortieth Congress, to which he was elected as a Democrat.
  5. John B. Callis also was a native of New York, from whence he moved to Tennessee and later to Wisconsin. There he entered the Union Army. After the War he took up his residence in Huntsville, and was elected as a Republican to the Fortieth Congress. At the expiration of his term he returned to Wisconsin, and served there as a member of the State assembly, but later returned to Huntsville where he died.
  6. Alfred E. Buck was a native of the State of Maine. He served during part of the War as a lieutenant colonel of colored troops. After being mustered out of service at Baton Rouge in 1866, he came to Alabama and was one of the delegates to the constitutional convention of 1867, subsequently being elected as a Republican Representative in the Forty-first Congress. He also held several other Federal offices, and served as minister to Japan by appointment of President McKinley.
  1. Transcribed from History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie (Bankhead) Owen. Published by the S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921, pages 727-728 – The above  is transcribed excerpts from History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie (Bankhead) Owen. Published by the S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921, pages 727-72

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mobile Confederate Sights - Ft.Charlotte (Conde') and Battle House

Always enjoy visiting Mobile and taking the opportunity to walk around the downtown historic area where there are interesting sites at every turn.  This summer while staying at the beautiful historic Battlehouse hotel, I looked around that property a little and also walked over to the waterfront where the cruise ship terminal is located across from the shipyard where the next generation US Navy destroyers are being constructed.  Awesome stealth warships.  The Battlehouse hotel has a ballroom with tapestries which include depictions of an antbellum street scene with women in hoop skirts and another depicting the Confederate submarine Hunley which was constructed in Mobile before being shipped overland to Charleston.  There at the cruise terminal is a maritime museum next door to the convention center.  The architecture is beautiful and there are parks fronting the water.  Across the bustling thoroughfare is an historical neighborhood adjacent to the restored section of Fort Charlotte where the Spanish (allies to the colonists) laid siege to and captured the British forces defending Mobile Bay during the Revolutionary War in 1780.  Close by the fort is the beautiful restored antebellum Conde Charlotte House and Museum.  This home was constructed around 1822-1824.  The neighborhood surrounding this museum which has other antebellum structures is being restored including a wonderful boutique hotel and townhomes.  My last stop on my walking tour took me to a city park just to the west of the Battlehouse along Dauphin Street.  There in the southeast corner of the park under the moss-draped oaks is an unassuming monument constructed of limestone blocks with a plaque commemorating the centennial of the Battle for Mobile Bay where Confederate and Federal ironclads clashed in a fierce naval battle in 1864.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Prattville Dragoons September 2016 Camp Meeting

The Dragoons, SCV Camp 1524 held their camp meeting on Thursday September 8th with Commander Waldo presenting a power point program on the foundations of the SCV and the activities of our camp. A very special visitor, Brigade Commander Butch Godwin from Selma’s Christopher C. Pegues Camp commended the camp on our community service projects and explained the Division’s major emphasis on passing a monument protection bill in the 2017 regular session of the legislature. The Division has a detailed plan and it involves each and every member of the Division to voice their support to their elected representatives.  Butch also presented three Division and National SCV awards to camp members Tyrone Crowley, Stuart Waldo and Larry Spears. 

Commander Waldo had an excellent power point presentation that provides the background of what the SCV is including excerpts from our constitution and further shows the initiatives Camp 1524 has undertaken to advance the Cause and get involved in our community. This is a great educational tool for prospective or new members. It shows the basics of our organization and what we stand for. The presenntation included photos of our camp participating in parades, festivals and community service projects. Stuart distributed some copies of the program to the newest members in attendance.   

Thanks to all who brought non perishable items to the meeting for later donation to a local food bank. These food items will be collected at our next meetings and other events until November when the camp will present the donation to a local charitable food bank.   

Among the announcement was that for the Dragoons' second annual Fall Muster scheduled for Saturday 15 October at the same location we had last year in Autaugaville. We will have a clay shoot, a bar b que meal and more enjoyable things to do so make your plans to attend. The Muster is in addition to our regular meeting on Thursday October 13th.  November will also bring the Tallassee reenactment and in December is the Dragoons' annual Christmas Social. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Greenville MS Confederate Sights - Downtown Library, Shelby Foote

This summer we traveled to Greenville MS again.  Greenville MS is situated on the west side of the state on the Mississippi River.  Greenville is close to Yazoo MS where Confederate ironclads were built during the War for Southern Independence.  On previous visits (see other blog posts here), the Confederate monument and veteran's graves were seen.  We stayed at the historic Greenville Inn and Suites downtown directly on the riverfront.  This renovated casino hotel was formerly a bank and the breakfast area is actually served in an old vault.  This trip we visited the Greenville city public library where they had a display recognizing famous local authors.  Among these was Shelby Foote who wrote his acclaimed three volume Pulitzer Prize nominated "The Civil War" over a twenty year period.  Foote was born in Greenville in 1918 and wrote many of his works in this city starting in high school. Foote is now living in Memphis TN.
Greenville Inn and Suites

Foote Exhibit at Greenville Public Library

Sunday, September 18, 2016

“Battle Hymn of the Republic” Refuted

The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” occupies a prominent position not only within the program of nearly every nationalistic celebration, but also has become a 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 that is just not so! The connotations of a spiritualized 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 its 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. 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 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 mine) 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. It paints a picture of a vengeful God destroying His enemies—the South, and elevating the North’s cause to that of a “holy war.” In doing so, Howe portrayed the South and its people as evil and the enemy of God. Outrageous, but it worked. 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.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Yankee's Letter to His Wife Regarding the Looting and Pillaging by the Union Troops during Sherman's March


Here is a letter by a Yankee lieutenant to his wife while camped near Camden, SC on February 26, 1865. This letter is addressed to Mrs. Thomas J. Myers, Boston, Mass.

My Dear Wife,...

I have no time for particulars. We have had a glorious time in this State. Unrestricted license to burn and plunder was the order of the day. The chivalry have been stripped of most of their valuables. Gold watches, silver pitchers, cups, spoons, forks, and so forth are as common in camp as blackberries. The terms of plunder are as follows: the valuables procured are estimated by companies. Each company is required to exhibit the result of its operations at any given place. One fifth and first choice falls to the commander in chief and staff; one fifth to corps commander and staff; one fifth to field officers; and two fifths to the company.

Officers are not allowed to join in these expeditions unless disguised as privates. One of our corps commanders borrowed a rough suit of clothes from one of my men and was successful in his place. He got a large quantity of silver among other things, an old milk pitcher, and a very fine watch from a Mr. DeSaussure of this place. DeSaussure is one of the first families of South Carolina and was made to fork out liberally.

Officers over the rank of captain are not made to put their plunder in the estimate for general distribution. This is very unfair and for that reason in order to protect themselves the subordinate officers and privates keep everything back that they can carry about their persons such as rings earrings, breastpins, and so forth; of which, if I live to get home, I have a quart - I am not joking - I have at least a quart of jewelry for you and the girls and some No. 1 diamond pins and rings among them.

General Sherman has gold and silver enough to start a bank. His share in gold watches and chains alone at Columbia was two hundred and seventy five. But, I said I could not go into particulars. All the general officers and many besides have valuables of every description down to ladies pocket handkerchiefs. I have my share of them too. We took gold and silver enough from the d_ _ _ _ d rebels to have redeemed their infernal currency twice over. I wish all the jewelry this army has could be carried to the Old Bay State. It would deck her out in glorious style, but alas, it will be scattered all over the North and Middle States.

The d_ _ _ _d _iggers, as a general thing, preferred to stay at home particularly after they found out that we wanted only the able bodied men and to tell the truth the youngest and best looking women. Sometimes we took them off by way of repaying influential Secessionists. But, a part of these we managed to lose sometimes in crossing rivers - sometimes in other ways.

I shall write you again from Wilmington, Goldsboro, or some other place in North Carolina. The order to march has arrived and I must close hurriedly. Love to grandmother and Aunt Charlotte. Take care of yourself and the children. Don’t show this letter outside of the family.

Your affectionate husband Thomas J. Myers, Lieutenant

PS: I will send this by flag of truce to be mailed, unless I have an opportunity of sending it to Hilton Head. Tell Lottie I am saving a pearl bracelet and earrings for her. But, Lambert got the necklace and breastpin from the same set. I am trying to trade him out of them. These were taken from the Misses Jamison, daughters of the President of the South Carolina Secession Convention. We found these on our trip through Georgia. TJM”

Source: “Butler and his Cavalry in the War of Secession, 1861-1865” by Ulysses Robert Brooks, published in 1909.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Forgotten History of the Confederate Flag

The Forgotten History of the Confederate Flag

The Confederate battle flag is, as John Coski of the Museum of the Confederacy titled his book on the subject, “America’s most embattled emblem.” Recent polls show that Americans are split down the middle on the flag: half view it as a symbol of heritage, half as a symbol of hatred, and an overwhelming majority are against tearing it down from public places. For all the outraged opinions, however, the true story of the Confederate flag – how it came to be and what it meant to those who made it and bore it – does not fit the narrative.

The first “Confederate” flags appeared in South Carolina in the months leading up to her secession convention. These early flags typically featured the Carolinian palmetto and crescent moon on blue or white fields. One such flag, which appeared in Columbia as the convention assembled, included an open Bible with the words, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble; therefore we will not fear; though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the sea. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” When the convention relocated to Charleston, a banner featuring John C. Calhoun holding the broken tablets of “Truth, Justice, and the Constitution,” with the caption, “Behold Its Fate,” hung just down the street from the hall. Another Charleston banner depicted all the seals of the Southern States rising above a pile of the Northern States’ seals, with the caption, “Built From The Ruins.” When South Carolina declared her independence from the Union, a new flag for the newly sovereign commonwealth was needed. TheCharleston Mercury described one of these sovereignty flags: “The flag is a red field, expressive of defiance, traversed by the blue cross of Carolina, with the lone star at the intersection. The inner and upper quarter of the field bears the word ‘ready’ surmounted by the palmetto.” The Charleston Daily Courier described another: “When the first gun, ‘Old Secession,’ announced the secession of the State, they flung to the breeze the beautiful flag which now floats over their gymnasium. It is a red field, quartered with a blue cross on which is a lone star (others will be added as States come into the Southern Constellation). On the upper quarter is the Palmetto, on the lower a savage-looking tiger head.” The flag which South Carolina officially adopted, however, was a blue field with a white palmetto in the centre and a white crescent in the upper-left corner, just like South Carolina’s flag to this day.

As more States seceded from the Union, sovereignty flags began cropping up everywhere. At the Alabama Secession Convention, the flag which hung in the hall featured lady liberty dressed in red holding a sword and shield with the caption, “Independent Now and Forever.” Most States’ sovereignty flags, however, were modeled after the U.S. flag, the “Stars and Stripes,” as Southerners believed that they were the ones truly loyal to the foundational principles of American freedom. Indeed, just as the Montgomery Convention, where the seceded States met to unite in a new Southern Confederacy, adopted a Constitution which was modeled after the U.S. Constitution – though it more strictly limited the power of the central government – it also adopted a national flag which was similar to the Stars and Stripes, “the Stars and Bars.” The Stars and Bars was a flag of two red stripes, a centre white stripe, and a blue field with a circle of stars (one for each Confederate State). Letitia Tyler, the granddaughter of U.S. President John Tyler (now a Confederate Congressman) was given the honour of raising the flag for the first time. Harry Macarthy, the author of “The Bonnie Blue Flag,” composed “The Origin of the Stars and Bars,” a song which mourned the fall of the old Union and the Stars and Stripes while cheering the rise of a new Confederacy and the Stars and Bars. The idea of a “Southern Cross,” however, stemming from South Carolina’s early sovereignty flags, which were also considered in Montgomery, remained popular with the people.

The First National Flag, or Stars and Bars

William P. Miles, Confederate Congressman from South Carolina and Chairman of the House Military Committee, was the first to envision what would eventually become the Confederate flag. Miles regarded the Stars and Stripes as a symbol of “tyranny” and believed that the Confederacy should have a new flag. He designed a red flag with a blue “saltire,” or “St. Andrew’s Cross,” lined with white stars. Red, white, and blue were  “the true republican colors,” explained Miles, respectively representing valour, purity, and truth. The saltire, according to Miles, was “significant of strength and progress.” In fact, the saltire is the oldest symbol of sovereignty in Western Civilisation, first used by the Romans in Britain to mark the limits of their territory. Miles also found the Latin Cross of the sovereignty flags to be too “ecclesiastical,” potentially offending Christians against religious imagery in war as well as alienating the Confederacy’s sizable Jewish population; the saltire, by contrast, was “heraldric.” The House Military Committee rejected Miles’ Southern Cross as a Confederate battle flag, but at the Battle of First Manassas, it became clear that the Stars and Bars, when draped, was easily mistaken for the Stars and Stripes. This confusion led to some embarrassing incidents of friendly fire and nearly cost the Confederates the victory. As a result, the military became aware of the need for a new battle flag.

William P. Miles

General P.G.T. Beauregard liked Miles’ idea of a Southern Cross for the Confederate battle flag, and convinced his superior, General Joseph E. Johnston, to avoid the bureaucracy of the War Department and create new battle flags themselves. Johnston ordered his chief quartermaster, Maj. William L. Cabell, to deliver 120 battle flags for each regiment. “My recollection is that it was an army affair,” Johnston explained after the war. “and when questioned on the subject, I have always said so.”

Beauregard and Johnston

Cabell put his aide, Lt. Colin McRae Selph, an officer familiar with the environs of Northern Virginia, in charge of the new flags. After purchasing the red, white, and blue silk, Lt. Selph approached Mary Henry Lyon Jones, probably having met her acquaintance in one of Richmond’s ladies’ hospitals, established to tend to wounded Federals and Confederates. Mary sewed a prototype of the battle flag, which General Johnston promptly approved. Selph returned to Mary and requested her to rally all the ladies she knew to sew the needed 120 flags.
In addition to Mary, Lt. Selph also approached the Cary girls, who were all something of local celebrities. Constance Fairfax Cary had taken refuge in the Confederate camp after her ancestral estate was chopped down for firewood by the invading Federals. There, Constance met her cousins, Hetty and Jennie Cary, forced to flee from Baltimore when it fell under Federal controul. In fact, their cousin, the editor of the Baltimore Sun and grandson of the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was arrested for criticising Abraham Lincoln. In turn, Jennie set the words of “Maryland, My Maryland,” the pro-Confederate ballad which is now the State anthem, to the tune of “O, Tannenbaum,” and Jennie sang the song from her balcony in the presence of Federal troops. The Cary girls were daughters of the vaunted “First Families of Virginia” – Constance descended from the ninth Lord Fairfax and Hetty and Jennie from the Jeffersons and the Randolphs. Hetty and Jennie were given the honour of drilling the troops and even formed “the Cary Invincibles,” a group of the social elite in the Confederate army.

Hetty Cary on the Lower Stair

The ladies of Richmond, organised mainly by churches, set to work sewing immediately. Once the flags were complete, Lt. Selph took them to chemists and artists to have the stars painted. Selph’s orders were to keep the project confidential, but as one lady remarked, “How could General Johnston expect four or five hundred female tongues to be silent on the subject?”
After a month of sewing, the ladies completed the battle flags. On 28 November 1861, the new flags were unveiled before the Confederate army. One by one, General Johnston and General Beauregard presented a battle flag to the colonel of each regiment, who in turn presented the flag to his color guard. Thomas Jordan, Adjutant General of the First Corps, made the following announcement:
Soldiers: Your mothers, your wives, and your sisters have made it. Consecrated by their hands, it must lead you to substantial victory, and the complete triumph of our cause. It can never be surrendered, save to your unspeakable dishonour and with consequences fraught with immeasurable evil. Under its untarnished folds beat back the invader, and find nationality, everlasting immunity from an atrocious despotism, and honour and renown for yourselves – or death.
The Confederate soldiers loved the ceremony. “It was,” recalled a South Carolinian, “the grandest time we have ever had.” He remembered that “the noise the men made was deafening” and that “I felt at the time that I could whip a whole brigade of the enemy myself.” A Virginian described the flag as “the prettiest one we have.”

The Ceremony at Centreville

In addition to the mass-produced flags for the Confederate regiments, the Cary girls made special flags for their favorite commanders. Hetty chose General Johnston, Jennie chose General Beauregard, and Constance chose General Earl Van Dorn. Along with her flag to Beauregard, Jennie included an admiring note:
I take the liberty of offering the accompanying banner to General Beauregard, soliciting for my handiwork the place of honour upon the battlefield near our renowned and gallant leader. I entrust to him with a fervent prayer that it may wave over victorious plains, and in full confidence that the brilliant success which has crowned his arms throughout our struggle for independence is earnest of future triumphs yet more glorious. In my own home – unhappy Baltimore – a people writhing ‘neath oppression’s heel await in agonised expectancy “the triumph-tread of the peerless Beauregard.” Will he not, then, bear this banner onward and liberate them from a thralldom worse than death?
In his reply, General Beauregard expressed his gratitude and swore that Baltimore would be hers again:
I accept with unfeigned pleasure the beautiful banner you have been kind enough to make for me, accompanied with the request that it should occupy near me the place of honour on the battlefield. It shall be borne by my personal escort; and protected by a just Providence, the sanctity of our cause, and the valour of our troops, it will lead us on from victory to victory until you shall have the proud satisfaction of waving it with your own fair hands as a signal of triumph, from the top of the Washington Monument in your own native city – Baltimore.
General Beauregard kept Jennie’s flag for the rest of his life and had it draped over his coffin at his funeral.
Constance gave her flag to one of General Van Dorn’s staff officers with a note of her own. “Will General Van Dorn honour me,” Constance asked, “by accepting a flag which I have taken great pleasure in making, and now send out with an earnest prayer that the work of my hand may hold its place near him as he goes out to a glorious struggle – and, God willing, may one day wave over the recaptured batteries of my home near the downtrodden Alexandria?” Van Dorn’s reply brimmed with chivalry:
The beautiful flag made by your hands and presented to me with the prayer that it should be borne by my side in the impending struggle for the existence of our country, is an appeal to me as a soldier as alluring as the promises of glory; but when you express the hope, in addition, that it may one day wave over the recaptured city of your nativity, your appeal becomes a supplication so beautiful and holy that I were craven-spirited indeed, not to respond to it with all the ability that God has given me. Be assured, dear young lady, that it shall wave over your home if Heaven smiles upon our cause, and I live, and that there shall be written upon it by the side of your name which it now bears, “Victory, Honour, and Independence.”
In the meantime, I shall hope that you may be as happy as you, who have the soul thus to cheer the soldier on to noble deeds and to victory – should be, and that the flowers want to blossom by your window, may bloom as sweetly for you next May, as they ever did, to welcome you home again.
According to Constance, General Van Dorn’s staff officer told her that when he received her flag, he and his men all drew their swords and swore that they would honour her request, like knights of old.

Earl Van Dorn

The true meaning of the Confederate battle flag is not in the various ways which it has been abused over the years. Indeed, the Confederate flag is as innocent of its abuses as are other symbols which have been used for evil, including the U.S. flag, the Cross, and perhaps even the Crescent. The true meaning of the Confederate flag is in the women who made it and the men who bore it into battle. To them, the flag was not a symbol of racial hatred, but of independence and honour. To the descendants of those men and women, that is what it still means and will always mean.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Open Letter to "The Alabama Baptist" Regarding the Display of the Confederate Flag

                           IGNORANCE OF HISTORY
    This response is in reference to the June 23, 2016 issue of "The Alabama Baptist"
with the article and resolution announcing that the messengers at the Southern Baptist
Convention voted against the display of the Confederate flag. I applaud the remarks in
that issue and the June 30 issue by Dr. John Killian, past president of the Alabama Baptist
    This decision is "divisive". There are members of Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)
camps in 29 states with national headquarters in Tennessee. There are members of United
Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in many states with headquarters in Virginia. There are
about 52 UDC chapters in Alabama.
    There were over 10 reasons stated by the Southern states for seceding from the Union
to form the Confederate States of America. In July 1861 Alabama's Governor estimated that
Alabama contributed 122,000 to Confederate service in the War Between the States. Of those,
35,000 died and another 30,000 were seriously disabled. In 1862, Alabama's Governor estimated
that 20,000 Alabama Confederate veterans were permanently disabled, and there were 20,000
widows and 600,000 orphans. The value of Alabama farms and number of livestock decreased dramatically. Homes had shortages of heads-of-households and everyday items,such as food.
The South was devastated, looted and plundered.
    Alabama Confederate soldiers fought in hundreds of battles. For example, Alabama losses at Gettysburg were 1,750 dead and more wounded or captured.
    There were 12 battles fought in Alabama. There is a trail of significant Confederate sites in
eleven counties in Alabama. Regarding Confederate history in Alabama, there are Confederate
soldier monuments, museums, cemeteries and buildings that were hospitals. The Alabama
state Capitol building and grounds contain mementos of the War. This building is where the
Confederate States of America founded its government.
    There are three senior high schools in Montgomery named for Confederate heroes. There are
fraternities in honor of General Robert E. Lee at the well-known University of Alabama and Auburn University. (During the War, the University of Alabama was burned by Union raiders, leaving about
three buildings.) The Jefferson Davis Highway runs through Alabama.
    The Governor of Alabama and the Department of Education annually declare the month of April
to be "Confederate History Month". Programs honoring Confederate ancestor soldiers are held throughout Alabama, and Confederate flags are placed at grave markers of Confederate soldiers throughout the state. For examples, there are over 7,000 graves of Confederate soldiers in
Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery. A mass grave for Confederate soldiers whose names are not
known is in Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma. There are 313 graves of Confederate soldiers in Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury. Confederate soldiers are buried throughout Alabama.     
    The Christian faith of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is historically recorded.
Four Confederate cannon were named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A great War-time revival
moved through the Southern armies and the "Bible Belt" became known in the South. Faith in God
was expressed in the Confederate Constitution.The Cross of St. Andrew forms the Confederate
Battle flag.
    The biggest problem in the Confederate flag issue is that the true Confederate history is not taught to the general public.
- Faye Gaston, United Daughters of the Confederacy

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

1.) Prattville Dragoons Septembeer Camp Meeting - Thursday September 8th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville.  Speaker will be Dragoons Commander Waldo who will show the camp the presentation made to educate the community as to the SCV and the camp's community civic initiatives.
2.) Annual Membership Renewals - Thru the end of October 2016 with dues paid to the camp Adjutant. Membership renewal is very important to our Confederate Heritage preservation and should be the highest priority of every member.
3.) General Wheeler Birthday Celebration - September 10th at Pond Spring AL
4.) Dragoon Tyrone Crowley will be making a presentation on the life of Daniel Pratt (in first person) to the Autauga Genealogical Society at 2 p.m. on Sunday 18 September, at the Chapter One Building, 131 North Washington Street, across from St Mark’s Episcopal Church. The public is welcome, and Dragoons are encouraged to attend.
5.) Dedication of Col. Estes Grave Marker - September 24th with past-Division Commander Gary Carlyle at Lebanon Cemetery, Dekalb County AL
6.) Dragoons Fall Muster - Including outdoor recreation and picnic - date TBD in October.
7.) Battle of Newton Reenactment - October 15-16th in Newton AL
8.) Battle of Tallassee Reenactment  - Living history, battle reenactments, school programs, sutlers, music and food - November 10-13th in Tallassee AL
9.) Alabama Division DEC Meeting - November 19th 10am at Confederate Memorial Park library
10.) Dragoons Christmas Social - December 9th at Buena Vista including program and dinner.
11.) Announcing the 2017 Alabama Division Education Conference 25 March 2017 in Prattville! This will be similar to the first annual Education Conference held here last year. This is a state wide event and the public, especially educators, is invited. Last year’s event was very successful and well attended. The keynote speaker for this event will be none other than the great Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln. His talk will be on "Why Lincoln was Hated and Reviled by Americans North and South During His Lifetime.” Returning will also be Brion McClanahan, an expert on the Constitution and writes for the Abbeville Institute.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Member Places Southern Cross on Confederate Grave in Commemoration

Dragoon member Daniel Killingsworth, who resides at Thornfield Plantation in Millbrook, recently placed a Southern Cross on the grave of a Confederate veteran buried on the property. The veteran is Private Joseph Archibald Harris, 1845-1923. He was a member of the Montgomery True Blues. He was a graduate of the University of Alabama and had his own school before the war. Thornfield was built by Private Harris’ grandfather in 1820.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for September 2016

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch Newsletter :

Chaplain’s Column: Standing with Truth

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-13

In a society that rejects absolute truth, the only vice that cannot be tolerated is intolerance. The greatest virtue today is tolerance—being open to every belief. I belief this is where you may find so many to the political correct crowd.

Another view that is going around us called relativism. This is a view that I believe the Christian should avoid. They believe that the greatest virtue today is tolerance--- being open to every belief. They say whatever you believe is fine but you have no right to coerce me to believe like you believe.
Christians should have a big problem with that view. You see the practice of relativism discourages evangelism. To them you do not have a right to share the message of Jesus Christ. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, says that He is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Him. He is the only way to Heaven. The relativist says you are implying that a Hindu or a homosexual is inferior and that is a hate speech; therefore, your speech must be silenced. Yet as Christians, we must not be silent when it comes to sharing God’s truth. The view that if you believe that, that’s fine but you have no right to coerce me to believe like you believe. The view of the relativist should not be shared by Christians.

I believe that view leads to the danger of relativism, which is this: Relativism promotes persecution. In a society that rejects absolute truth, the only vice that cannot be tolerated is intolerance.
I believe that we must be careful not allow these new ideas or practices into our lives. We must guard our hearts against these radical beliefs.

Please remember those on our prayer list.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for September 2016

“(Multi-millionaire) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities. ''I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,'' Kaepernick said. ''There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.'' Kaepernick, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.” ( Apparently, although Kaepernick’s parents obviously embody a spirit of inclusiveness adopting a biracial child although they are “oppressive” whites, Kaepernick chooses to promote division between races and between himself and all patriotic Americans.  Encouraging a Black Lives Matter dialogue such as was permitted at the University of Missouri in student protests though has proven to have detrimental effects on race relations and the accompanying community social health and vibrancy.  “The University of Missouri’s (MU) flagship Columbia campus has officially lost a staggering 23 percent of its freshman class this year, an even worse figure than administrators initially predicted in the wake of major racial strife. MU’s freshman class this year has some 4,799 students, a drop of over 1,400 from last year.”  ( And who would blame parents for hesitating to send their precious children to a campus and make a tuition and alumni investment in a university condoning and folding under militant black extremism and threatened violence against whites and law enforcement? “The (enrollment) decline is wreaking havoc on the school’s budget, which has a hole of about $30 million. To contain costs and reflect its shrinking population, the school has already shuttered several dormitories. It’s not hard to find the cause of the school’s woes. Last year, the black activist group Concerned Student 1950 launched a major protest effort, claiming the school was a hotbed of racism. Campus officials focused on trying to placate protesters and meet their demands, but this only spurred follow-up protests. As imitation protests sprung up all over the country, MU rapidly became identified with a new, more vigorous brand of disruptive campus activism bolstered by the Black Lives Matter movement. Evidently, that reputation is causing thousands of students to stay far away.” ( Sounds something like Detroit as thousands of families flee the effect of urban blight on that and other cities affected by thug gangs, crime and progressive social programs and enlightenment. 

But certainly not in the conservative deep South.  Unfortunately so.  “The University of Mississippi has officially dumped “Dixie” so they can be more inclusive. I fear old times there will soon be forgotten, folks.  The athletic department released a statement Friday announcing that the beloved Southern song will no longer be played at home football games ending yet another long-held tradition. “Dixie” was first played by the Ole Miss band around 1948, Mississippi Today reports. "Because the Pride of the South is such a large part of our overall experience and tradition, the Athletics Department asked them to create a new and modern (progressive) pregame show that does not include Dixie and is more inclusive for all fans, the statement went on to read.”  It’s only a matter of time before Ole Miss replaces fried catfish and sweet tea with fermented soy sandwiches and beverages made from lawn clippings — all for the sake of inclusivity.” ( Just wait til sweet tea and Coca Cola are taxed out of the tailgate tents in the Grove before the home games there in Oxford.  Just wait – its already happening across the country as administrators and government officials know what’s best for us.  “"It's an important step forward for our university as we attempt to reconcile and understand our relationship with our Old South past," student government leader Allen Coon told the Commercial Appeal. "Ending the use of 'Dixie' promotes inclusivity and makes room for traditions that all UM students can connect with."  In its quest to be politically correct, I wonder if Ole Miss will also ban various genres of music that include offensive lyrics about women (and) use a certain racial epithet? Ole Miss has been shedding its Southern heritage for quite some time now. Confederate flags have been effectively banned since 1997, reports Mississippi Today. Last year, they banned the Mississippi State flag.”  ( Think about that. Certainly staying seated for the anthem of an oppressive nation is acceptable behavior when the flag of one’s home state is reviled and forbidden. “From the pages of the Daily Journal we learned that Confederate Drive was renamed along with handheld Confederate flags. And in 2009 they told the band to stop playing “From Dixie With Love,” in part because fans were yelling “The South will rise again” during the song. A reader of the Oxford Eagle summed up the sentiment of many Mississippians. “Ole Miss is despicable for doing this,” the gentleman wrote. “The university keeps bowing before the boot of political correctness. It would be foolish to think the progressive academic elites have concluded their quest to eradicate Southern culture and traditions. It ain’t over, folks. It won’t be long before someone mounts a campaign to remove the word “Rebel” from the school’s athletic teams.”  ( The only way to curb this insanity is to stand up and shout, for alumni and donors to remove the funding for the tenured prima donna faculty and administration and for the school itself – stop supporting this Reconstructionist purging. “Meanwhile, progressive liberals continue to bulldoze across the Southern states burning, torching and tearing down every vestige and cultural tradition of the Deep South much like General Sherman did during the Civil War.  Look away Dixieland — just look away.” (

And don’t look for sensibility or an embracing of Southern heritage and tradition and the value of honoring the people who helped build their very institutions at Vanderbilt University. “Vanderbilt University announced Monday that it will pay more than a million dollars to remove an inscription containing the word "Confederate" from one of its campus dorms. The private university has referred to the Confederate Memorial Hall simply as "Memorial Hall" since 2002, but was blocked in court from changing the name chiseled on the building because it was constructed with the help of a $50,000 gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1933. Under the agreement, Vanderbilt will pay $1.2 million, the equivalent of the gift made 83 years ago, to the organization's Tennessee chapter. In exchange, the chapter will relinquish its naming rights to the building. "You can memorialize individuals without taking sides in the bloodiest war that was fought over the divisive issues of slavery and equality that we're still struggling with today for those young people coming onto campus," Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said.” ( Was that what the War was fought over, slavery and equality?  And how would Mr. Zeppos propose the Confederate heroes be honored as he chisels away any mention of them from the face of this university building?  How preposterous.  Zeppos, a name not quite steeped in American heritage and renowned in American history books.  Kinda like Nicki Haley of SC.  Reconstruction continues folks by people who have no knowledge or appreciation of the true history of our country.  Inclusiveness only at the exclusion of all things associated with Southern heritage and our own Confederate history.  It is discouraging but we should look proudly at our own organization not only for the true proud history we espouse but also for the inclusivity guaranteed by our SCV Constitution.  An examination of the Confederate Army will show that not only wealthy and poor whites but thousands of blacks, Jews, immigrants and even many native American Indians were conspicuous in the ranks.  Many Indian tribes fought for the Confederacy as they recognized U.S. imperialism endangered their way of life. Brigadier General Stand Watie, Cherokee commander of the First Indian Brigade surrendered his unit of Confederate Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Osage Indians in Oklahoma, June 23, 1865, two months after Appomattox. It is my observation that minority SCV members and compatriots are universally celebrated as it proves the truth of the Cause our ancestors held dear and for which they took up arms.  That is an inclusivity which is not divisive.