Monday, May 31, 2010

CWPT Obtains More Hallowed Ground

Tomorrow afternoon, June 1, at 1:30 p.m., a land transfer ceremony will take place at the Perryville Battlefield in Perryville, Kentucky. The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) recently obtained 54 acres to be included with the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Those slated to attend include the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow, as well as other Commonwealth officials and preservation leaders. A tour of the battlefield and a reception will follow.

This is a great achievement for the CWPT and for anyone who is interested in preserving hallowed Civil War battlefields. Please check out the following link for further information and directions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Honor Veterans on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is once again near, and most of us think of it as an extra-long weekend to kick off summer. I know I will be spending the weekend swimming, eating barbecue, and enjoying the sunny South. But please keep in mind what the holiday is really all about, and give honor to those veterans around you. WWII vets are fast disappearing, so give them an especially heartfelt thank you if you have the opportunity.

Below are a couple of articles that discuss the importance of this national holiday. The first is at:
and is especially poignant coming from a veteran himself (although he gets his facts wrong about the origin of Memorial Day, which actually started in the South following the Civil War.

The second is at:

Please have a safe holiday, and remember to thank your veterans!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Rebel Flag Controversy

On Tuesday, the Boston Globe ran a story about a local school known as the Walpole High School "Rebels." A neighbor has taken it upon himself to display the Confederate flag overlooking the football field, since the flag was done away with in 1994 because it was viewed as an "inappropriate symbol." The chairman of the school board expressed his regret, stating, "We wish this proud Rebel would take it down. It’s unfortunate it was ever used."

The flag is once again being associated with racism, at least to a few who are more concerned with political correctness than they are with team spirit. By disallowing the Confederate flag, members of the school are denying people their unalienable rights.

Also on Tuesday, USA Today published a story, written by DeWayne Wickham, about how the Civil War's root cause was slavery. Wickham concedes that slavery was the primary reason eleven Southern states seceded, and that states' rights really meant the right to keep slaves. "Sectional conflict," according to Wickham, "is a veiled way of describing Southern discontent with the North over whether slavery would be permitted in new states." He also cites several passages in the Confederate Constitution protecting slavery, but what he fails to mention is that the U.S. Senate had already established this in the infamous "Dred Scott" case of 1857.

In my opinion, these two articles merely represent the ongoing limited information that is now ever-present in what is being taught and relayed to us in regard to the War Between the States. However, I leave it up to you to decide. Please visit:


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rebel Flag and Racism (Again)

Here is yet one more example of how the Confederate flag is being associated with racism. Yesterday, a post written by "nabnyc" relayed his thoughts on how Rand Paul has embarrassed himself by making a statement on national television about how he questions the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The writer had the audacity of associating Paul's statement with the Confederate flag. "It’s kind of like the people who keep waving the Confederate Flag," the writer says. "It’s over Rebs, you lost. Go on back to the farm."

I am not overly concerned with the sentiments of Rand Paul, who I believe was referring to the immigration issue. What I am concerned about is the injustice served by associating a racial slur with the Confederate flag. This seems to be an all too common occurrence, as many people today are clueless about the origins of the Confederacy. I suppose the views became slanted after 150 years, due to Jim Crow laws and such, but the initial ideals of the Confederacy must remain intact if we are to accurately retain history.

Stating that Rand Paul is a racist who waves the Confederate flag is offensive, to say the least. Just because he is from Kentucky doesn't make him "southern." In fact, Kentucky was a divided state during the Civil War, with equal numbers fighting for both sides. Confederate soldiers were no more racist than Union soldiers were, but that seems to have been forgotten with time. The Rebel army fought for state's rights and protection of their homeland; the Yankees for Union preservation. Slavery was nothing more than a side issue, used as economic leverage by Lincoln. The writer winds up his article with a derogatory reference to Southern ignorance and stereotypes, which makes me think he is no better than the people he is referring to. Check the post out for yourself. Go to:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Rebel Flag Bites the Dust

Recently, a conflict arose when a mural painted outside the Muvico Theater in Fredericksburg, Virginia received complaints. The painting depicts the United States flag, the Confederate flag, and an eagle. It was intended to symbolize the joining of the two flags into one, but certain individuals expressed their disgruntlement to the manager, who has agreed to paint over the mural with the Virginia state flag.

This is just one more example of ignorant people convincing others to go along with their misdirected angst. Personally, I think the mural's ideal is very noble, but the manager apparently doesn't have the incentive to stand up to these misinformed individuals. Once again, the Confederate flag has been associated with racism, which just isn't the case.

It saddens me deeply to think that the misdirected aggressions of a few can influence the majority, and that those who try to defend the Confederate flag are considered racists. You can't change history, people! Those of us who know the true story behind the War Between the States need to take the initiative to defend the Southern Cause, because we know it was about far more than just slavery.

For more information, check out the following link:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hernando A-Fair

Last Saturday was the annual A-Fair (A Fair in the Square) in Hernando, Mississippi. This quaint little town is near my home. It was the third A-Fair I have attended since moving from Colorado. The fair consists of local talent performing in front of the Courthouse, and artisans displaying their handmade wares. This year I participated as a reenactor, and greeted visitors while dressed out in period attire. The local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp, as well as the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter, occupied adjacent tents. We had a great day conversing, recruiting, and selling our handmade items. A cannon was on display, and the vice president of the UDC chapter, Dorothy Herron, sang "Dixie" on the Courthouse lawn. Despite the heat, humidity, and stagnant economy, we had a very entertaining day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recovering Civil War Flags

It is common knowledge that many flags were captured during the War Between the States, with Union soldiers capturing Confederate flags during certain battles and vice versa. Most would assume that after the war ended, the flags were returned to their rightful owners. This was the intention at the turn of the twentieth century, and laws were enacted to ensure that captured flags would be returned. However, over the years, certain flags fell between the cracks and were never returned, even though the states in possession of them were required to do so.

One such example is a flag that resides in the basement of the State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa. After participating in a reenactment in Mason City last year, we were told by the Confederate camp that the state had a Rebel flag in its possession. After researching and contacting local historians, we found the rumor to be true. However, Iowa refuses to return the flag because it is a tourist attraction for the state.

The flag was captured at Gettysburg, and rightfully belongs to the Mississippi 17th. It is in dire need of repair, so it sits boxed up in the dark cellar of the Capitol Building, waiting for attention. Estimated repair costs range from $5-10,000. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are willing to save up for repairs, but they are having difficulty obtaining the flag.

There are other such cases as well. In the process of investigating the Iowa flag, we learned that there are two in Ohio that belong to the Confederacy. Southern states are reluctant to pursue the issue, as it will undoubtedly be a costly venture, and political ambition always seems to prevail. One can only hope that, perhaps someday, the flags will be returned to their rightful places.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Restoring Civil War Flags

With the sesquicentennial anniversary of the War Between the States close at hand, many historians, parks, and other related entities are preparing for the event. However, old battle flags that have lasted through the years are being pushed by the wayside. The problem is that state budgets don't allow for restoration of the flags due to current economic hard times. New York houses the country's largest state-owned flag collection, but has been forced to scale back its $100,000 annual flag funding this year. Indiana has incorporated its state flag-conservation fund with its general fund, and Ohio hasn't received funding for its 400 battle flags in almost ten years.

States don't realize that it is the wrong time to cut back, as preservation will ultimately result in increased tourism. Regardless, a few southern states have managed to set aside funds to restore their battle flags, one of which is North Carolina. During the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble charge at Gettysburg, the 11th N.C. carried several flags, but only one survived, avoiding capture by Union troops. The flag, although badly worn on the edges, has recently been restored by the state. It is now part of the Confederate flag collection at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, and will soon be on public display.

It goes without saying that many other flags are in desperate need of restoration. Perhaps as the 150th anniversary nears, states will reassess their funding and allot monies toward this worthy cause. There are several thousand state-owned battle flags in the U.S., but only a few have been preserved. Unfortunately, many have deteriorated to the point where they are beyond repair, mostly due to neglect.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May Anniversaries in Relation to the War Between the States

Although April is considered an important month in regard to the Civil War because it essentially started and ended in that month, Lincoln was assassinated, and April is now considered "Confederate History Month," I feel that May is a significant month as well. Many events took place during May that changed the course of the war. First came the Battle of Chancellorsville, which took place on May 1-3, 1863. My book, A Beckoning Hellfire, discusses this battle in depth. The Confederates won the fight, which set the stage for Lee to advance into Pennsylvania. Also during the battle, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally killed by his own men. It will always remain a mystery as to whether the Confederacy would have come out victorious had Jackson survived.

The Battle of the Wilderness began on May 5, 1864. This battle took place almost on the same exact location where the Battle of Chancellorsville was fought a year prior. In fact, men testified to seeing old bones exposed after being hastily buried. Sadly, many soldiers were buried where they fell, and the sacred ground today is riddled with makeshift grave sites. Even more appalling is that the area has been sold to investors and made into subdivisions.

May marks the anniversaries of several other battles as well: the Battle of McDowell, Virginia on May 8, 1862, the Battle of "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12, 1864, the Battle of New Market, Virginia on the 15th, 1864, the Battle of Champion's Hill on the 16th of 1863, the Battle of Fair Oaks on May 24, 1862 and the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1862. With Memorial Day only a few weeks away, let us remember all these terrible battles that took place on our own country's soil, and the honorable lives that were lost there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Confederate Memorial Day - Oxford

Last Saturday was the exact date that the Mississippi Grays marched off to war in 1861. The regiment consisted of enlistees from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi), the only college in the country to recruit soldiers. Sadly, no one returned. In honor of the fallen, a memorial service was performed on campus. All that remains in the cemetery is a large monument, since the individual wooden grave markers were removed, and rumor has it, placed in a local garage. Needless to say, the location of each grave and the soldiers buried in them is lost. Regardless of the harrowing weather, many ventured out to pay their respects and enjoy a wonderful fried catfish/BBQ dinner afterward. This is the first ceremony to take place in a few years due to the weather, which is predictably stormy in May.