Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spreading the wealth 1860s style…

The failure of the South to win the War for Southern Independence was a deathblow to liberty and the reason this country is in the shape it is today.

See if you can spot the connections…(and please don’t insult us with the fallacious slavery argument)

Lincoln believed that import tariffs were necessary, at the expense of consumers. He believed that American industries needed to be shielded from foreign competition and cheap imported goods. The "internal improvements" he advocated were simply subsidies for industry, i.e., corporate welfare. He was the first president to give us centralized banking, with paper money not backed by gold. 

The Constitution of the Confederate States of America forbid protectionist tariffs, outlawed government subsidies to private businesses, and made congressional appropriations subject to approval by a two-thirds majority vote. It enjoined Congress from initiating constitutional amendments, leaving that power to the constituent states; and limited its president to a single six-year term. 

When the South lost, instead of a Jeffersonian republic of free trade and limited constitutional government, the stage was set for the United States to become an American Empire ruled by a central authority. In starting his war against the Confederate States, Lincoln was not seeking the "preservation of the Union" in its traditional sense. He sought the preservation of the Northern economy by means of transforming the federal government into a centralized welfare-warfare-police state. 

Partially taken from a Lew Rockwell article by Donald W. Miller, Jr.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Buried treasure…

Lee issued General Orders Numbered 72 admonishing his soldiers from plundering Northern civilians and his order was respected. Lee insisted that his army behave more “virtuous” than their Northern counterparts.

In contrast Georgia's civilian population endured the brunt of Sherman's March, suffering every depredation imaginable as Sherman vowed to "make Georgia stand up and howl" as punishment for her participation in the Confederacy. And punish Georgia his troops did, carrying on a campaign of terror and destruction that involved rape, looting, murder, and the burning of countless homes, plantations, and public buildings.

Georgia residents in the path of Sherman's March learned very quickly to protect their possessions, including livestock and food, since Sherman's army was under orders to "live off the countryside." More importantly, Georgians became quite adept at hiding their valuables (gold, silver, coins, jewelry, silverware, heirlooms, etc.) since these possessions were often the first items stolen from them.

All of this depredation resulted in a proliferation of treasure caches along the route of Sherman's March. These included small caches on the order of what we know today as "posthole banks" to medium-sized troves containing hundreds of dollars in silver and gold coin, to large treasures buried by wealthy land or plantation owners. Some of the latter contained the equivalent of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Granted, many of these treasure caches were recovered by those who buried them after the passing of Sherman's columns of "bummers." But conversely, many of these hurriedly buried troves were never recovered for any number of reasons, some of which should come readily to mind considering the overall circumstances of the time.

Photo: Madison, GA is filled with antebellum mansions that were spared from destruction during Sherman's March to the Sea during the War, this is one of them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave" Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson...

“Apprised that his final moment was approaching, he sent kind messages to all his friends, the Generals and others; taking thus his leave of earth, and sending his…farewells. He who had passed through a thousand scenes of carnage, expired upon his bed, surrounded by weeping friends, who were taught by that….spectacle [of] how a Christian soldier can die.” 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


"Doctor Robert G. Stephens, of Atlanta, tells me of a Confederate soldier who, returning armless to his Georgia home, made his wife hitch him to a plow which she drove; and they made a crop." Myrta Lockett Avary “Dixie After the War” published 1906


“After the battle of Bentonville, General Johnston retired his army to Smithfield, where he remained confronting the enemy for three weeks.

There were in this army remnants of commands and also regiments of Junior Reserves, who emulated the heroism of their veteran comrades, and who on the battlefields of Kinston and Bentonville had shown they were of the same mettle as their sires and deserving of imperishable record in the history of their country.

When Major Reece was captured near Fort Fisher the night of 25 December, 1864 his brave but inexperienced boys, stoutly refused to be surrendered and saved themselves. 

The Confederate Congress on 17 February 1864 passed a law placing in the "Reserves" those between the ages of 17 and 18 and between 45 and 50. 

Junior Reserves from North Carolina served in South Carolina and Virginia and our Senior Reserves fought in South Carolina and Georgia, though the bulk of the seniors relieved other troops to go to the front by taking their places in preserving internal order, arresting deserters, forwarding conscripts, guarding bridges on the great railway lines (over which passed the supplies and recruits for our armies) and guarding the prisoners at Salisbury.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"The north has adopted a system of revenue and disbursements, in which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed on the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the north ... 

The South as the great exporting portion of the Union has, in reality, paid vastly more than her due proportion of the revenue." South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun in 1850.

11 years later, "There will be no invasion except to collect taxes." A. Lincoln 1st inaugural

The North invaded the South not to free slaves, but to free the South of its money...But then the winners write the history...

“General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause….he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle.

Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

Photo:  Ike and Patton.  Patton’s grand daddy was Confederate Colonel George Smith Patton, 22nd Virginia Infantry - KIA Battle of Opequon 1864

Thursday, January 24, 2013

”Every brave people who considered their rights attacked and their constitutional liberties invaded, would have done as we did. 

Our conduct was not caused by any insurrectional spirit, nor can it be termed a rebellion; for our construction of the Constitution under which we lived and acted was the same from its adoption, and for eighty years we had been taught and educated by the founders of the Republic, and their written declarations, which controlled our consciences and actions. 

The epithets that have been heaped upon us of “rebels” and “traitors” have no just meaning, nor are they believed in by those who understand the subject, even at the North…” ROBERT E. Lee, Explaining his actions in a postwar letter to R.S. McCulloch

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Abolitionist’s Observations in the South 1878:

"Suspicions of the South’s intentions toward the freedmen after the withdrawal of federal troops were naturally rife in the North. In 1878, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson went South to investigate for himself. The report of his findings, published in the Atlantic Monthly, is of particular interest in view of the Colonel’s background…(as) one of the most militant abolitionists.

In Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, the States he visited in 1878, he found “a condition of outward peace” and wondered immediately if there did not lurk beneath it “some covert plan for crushing and re-enslaving the colored race.” If so, he decided, it would “show itself in some personal ill usage of the blacks, in the withdrawal of privileges, in legislation endangering their rights.” But, he reported, “I can assert that carrying with me the eyes of a tolerably suspicious abolitionist, I saw none of these indications.”

He had expected to be affronted by contemptuous or abusive treatment of Negroes. “During this trip,” however, he wrote, “I had absolutely no occasion for any such attitude.” Nor was this due to “any cringing demeanor on the part of the blacks, for they show much more manhood than they once did.” He compared the tolerance and acceptance of the Negro in the South on trains and streetcars, at the polls, in the courts and legislatures, in the police force and militia, with attitudes in his native New England and decided that the South came off rather better in the comparison.

“How can we ask more of the States formerly in rebellion,” he demanded, “than that they should be abreast of New England in granting rights and privileges to the colored race?” Six years later (1884), in a review of the situation in the South, Higginson found no reason to change his estimate of 1878."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"The Framers had a deathly fear of federal government abuse. They saw state sovereignty as a protection. That's why they gave us the Ninth and 10th Amendments. They saw secession as the ultimate protection against Washington tyranny." 

"Today's blacks clearly benefited from slavery. My wealth is far greater and I have far greater liberties than if my ancestors had remained in Africa." Walter Williams 


March 2, 1861 The NORTHERN Congress (7 States have already had left the Union) overwhelmingly passes the Corwin Amendment (Permanent Slavery) stating…

“No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.” 36th Congress 2nd Session

March 4, 1861 Inauguration Day

“I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution which amendment, however, I have not seen has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.” Abraham Lincoln - 1st inaugural speech

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Two back-to-back snowstorms in February of 1863 provided the ammunition for a friendly snowball battle amongst rival divisions of Confederate troops near Fredericksburg, Virginia. On February 19, eight inches of snow fell on the region. Two days later, nine inches of snow fell. On February 25, sunny skies and mild temperatures softened the deep snow cover, providing ideal conditions for making snowballs.

Friendly rivalries between the Confederate brigades and regiments helped spark a huge snowball battle near Rappahannock Academy in which approximately 10,000 Confederate soldiers participated. One soldier who participated in the snowball battle described it as one of the most memorable combats of the war.” 

The battle started on the morning of February 25, 1863, when General Hoke’s North Carolina soldiers marched towards Colonel Stiles’ camp of Georgians, with the intent of capturing the camp using only snowballs. The attacking force, composed of infantry, cavalry and skirmishers, moved in swiftly. Battle lines formed and the fight began with “severe pelting” of snowballs. Reinforcements arrived from all sides to assist the brigade under attack. Even the employees of the commissary joined the snowball battle. Soon, the attacking soldiers were pushed back.

Colonel Stiles then held a Council of War on how best to attack the retreating force. He decided to organize his men and march directly into their camp, with snowballs in hand. When Stile’s forces finally arrived in Hoke’s camp, they were quite surprised to find that their adversaries had rallied and filled their haversacks to the top with snowballs. This allowed Hoke’s soldiers to provide an endless barrage of snowballs “without the need to reload.” 

The attacking force was quickly overwhelmed and many of their soldiers were captured and “whitewashed” with snow. The snowball battle came to an end and both brigades settled back into their respective camps. The captured prisoners were quickly paroled and returned to their camp, to much heckling from fellow soldiers. It was noted that General Stonewall Jackson had witnessed the snowball battle. One soldier remarked that he had wished Jackson and staff had joined the fight so he could have thrown a snowball at “the old faded uniforms.”

The weather turned mild and rainy in the following days. Other snowball battles were documented during the Civil War – including a snowball fight at Dalton, Georgia – but The Snowball Battle of Rappahannock Academy was unique in size, strategy and ample snow cover. The depth of the snow cover on the day of the battle was documented in a soldier’s diary to be 12 inches.

We could have had one of these here in Lexington Thursday night as folks were arriving from across the country for Lee/Jackson day...

This is an excerpt from the book Washington Weather

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15th 1863 The British Blockade Runner Britannia runs the Federal blockade into Wilmington, North Carolina carrying valuable supplies. 

More than three hundred steamers made over 1,300 attempts to run the blockade during the War, delivering, muskets, pistols, swords, ammunition accouterments and medical supplies. Many of these were normal merchant vessels, but an ever-increasing number were purpose-built, with low silhouettes, light draft, and high speed. 

Had Brittan or France interceded fully on behalf of the South during the War as France did during the Revolutionary War, there is little doubt the South would have won its independence.  

Photo:  The Britannia

Becky Muska, thank You for this fine letter and history lesson.  

We canceled our Memphis newspaper subscription after 35 years due to the untruthful & malicious column by Wendi Thomas.

January 14, 2013

Richard A. Boehne, President & CEO
Scripps Corporate Headquarters
312 Walnut Street 2800
Scripps Center
Cincinnati (Birthplace of sculptor Charles Niehaus), OH 45202

RE: Thomas column published in The Commercial Appeal, 1-13-2013

Dear Mr. Boehne:

We are canceling our subscription to The Commercial Appeal after 35 years. During this time, the CA has published many of my letters to the editor and I am most appreciative for the consideration shown to me.

While I do not always agree with comments made by columnists, I have occasionally learned something new from point-of-views that are far left or far right of mine. But when the comments are vulgar and malicious towards a particular race and culture, my race and culture, then I can take action to put a stop to it permanently by canceling our subscription.

Wendi Thomas wrote a very offensive column on Sunday, January 13, 2013, concerning the removal of a granite sign donated by the SCV, a non-profit organization, with permission from the park services director and installed in Forrest Park in Memphis. There were many nouns, adjectives, verbs and participles that Ms. Thomas used, some more than once, to express her opinion in her column: KKK (4), Confederate (2), Black (7), White (2), Slave (1), Terrorized (1), Reconstruction (1), Murderous (1), Torching (1), Lynching (1). I can take these same words and, unlike Ms. Thomas, use them to tell a true story that is not malicious or vulgar.

Everyone had at least one ancestor who was a slave of another person’s ancestor in world history unless you were of royal birth. My white Confederate ancestors and their family worked side by side with a black man, his wife, and their children in the fields and dairy barn on the family farm in DeSoto County, Mississippi before and after the War Between the States. It did not matter if you were black or white, if you needed food on the table, everyone had to do the work to put it there. When the sons left for Virginia to join General Robert E. Lee‘s army, father, mother and younger siblings remained behind to fend for themselves. There was no KKK at that time to protect them. After Union forces captured Memphis in 1862, the War on Civilians began with Union soldiers torching homes, stealing anything of value, and destroying everything they did not want. Southern women, children, and older men who were not fit for service in the CSA were terrorized by Union soldiers in keeping with Union General W.T. Sherman’s edict, "There is a class of people (in the South), men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order." This edict did not end with the War in 1865 and was the reason for the formation of the KKK. During Reconstruction, former Confederate soldiers and their families lost their homes and farms. Anything of value became the property of carpetbaggers or Union soldiers assigned to keep white Southerners “cowed into submission by violence or threats“ to quote Ms. Thomas but definitely not in the same context. Both black and white Southern women were raped at the hands of occupying Union forces in psychological warfare. This was the reason for the formation of the KKK. When the persecution of Southerners ended, General Forrest disbanded the KKK, even though he was not its founder. 

In Missouri, my great, great, great-grandfather operated a boarding house and maintained the “poor house” down the road from his property. In 1862, a Union soldier who was on leave from the Union forces occupying Waynesville stopped at the boarding house to spend the night. My ancestor provided him with a room. Later in the evening, men sympathetic to the Confederate cause rode up to the boarding house and told my ancestor to bring the Union soldier who was staying there outside, nothing more. My ancestor did what he was told and the Union soldier left with the men. The next day, Union soldiers from Waynesville arrived at the boarding house to report that their comrade who left the boarding house with the Confederate sympathizers had been murdered. My ancestor was forcefully removed and taken several miles from his home, accused of aiding the killers, and hanged from a tree over a large spring. News of the lynching by the murderous Union soldiers reached my great, great, great-grandmother. She and several women had to row out in a boat and cut down her dead husband from the tree.

Same words, same time period in history, one story written by a black woman, one story written by a white woman. It makes no difference to me who you believe; I know my history and I make no apologies. And I did not have to use vulgar language to tell my story. Ms. Thomas’ comment that the Sons of Confederate Veterans used their “middle finger to Memphis” when they purchased a granite sign engraved with the name “Forrest Park” and installed it, at their expense, in Forrest Park with permission from the park services director; and that CAO George Little took the SCV’s “middle finger” and “stuck it where the sun don’t shine” was crude and has no place in any newspaper. Labeling Mr. Miller of the SCV organization who donated the granite sign, an effeminate or feeble person by saying Mr. Miller as a fan of General Forrest “wouldn’t take a wussy way out” by enlisting the help of attorneys is no different than using the “N” word or “C” word, and again has no place in The Commercial Appeal.

Ms. Thomas claimed that the sign was “an offense to my aesthetics” because the font used was Sans Serif which dates back to the 5th Century. Ms. Thomas could have done a better job on her homework by consulting the main library’s digital archives, Dig Memphis, where she would have learned that when the pedestal for the bronze sculpture was in the design stage, sculptor Charles Henry Niehaus advised the Forrest Monument Association that the Albrecht Durer Script font should be used for the lettering on the pedestal’s marble. However, mistakes were made in Memphis and as Mr. Niehaus worked in New York and could not be in Memphis to watch over every detail, the “COMMON BLOCK TOMBSTONE LETTERS” Olivetti font was used, much to his dismay. The SCV simply used the Sans Serif font based on park services recommendations and what is already found in Overton Park. Ms. Thomas should be grateful park services did not recommend the Algerian font style. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

“It isn’t a coincidence that governments everywhere want to educate children. Government education, in turn is supposed to be evidence of the state’s goodness and its concern for our well-being. The real explanation is less flattering. If the government’s propaganda can take root as children grow up, those kids will be no threat to the state apparatus. They’ll fasten the chains to their own ankles.” Lew Rockwell

When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already.”— Adolf Hitler, November 6, 1933

The people retain ultimate sovereignty. They delegated powers to state governments, creating independent and sovereign states. Those states came together and delegated specific powers to the general government, retaining all the rest. The Tenth Amendment explicitly states the proper balance of powers.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Photo: A very young Confederate officer armed with two pistols including an ultra-rare volcanic revolver. The soldier couldn't have been more than 18 years old.

Jefferson Davis’ .44 (.54 bore) Kerr’s Patent Revolver

A Kerr’s Patent Revolver with provenance indicating that it was one of two presented by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the commander of his personal escort, Captain Given Campbell, Duke’s Cavalry Brigade, May 4, 1865, shortly before Davis’ capture by Union forces.

The Confederacy imported about 7000 Kerr revolvers from England and these were issued to the 7th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 35th Virginia Cavalry as well as the 24th Georgia and 8th Texas (Terry’s Texas Rangers).  This imported lot of Kerr revolvers represents far more hand guns than were ever produced by Southern Armories…

Thomas Custer, younger brother of George carried a captured Kerr revolver to his death at the Little Bighorn.  The inscribed gun can be seen on display at the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen, Montana…

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MANSON SHERRILL JOLLY… a local Robin Hood during the aftermath of the war in Anderson County SC.

He was born in the Lebanon area of Anderson County some years before the war, the exact date is unknown. He was 6' 4", had red hair and could read and write. Jolly served as a Confederate Cavalry scout in the 1st S.C. Calvary, Company F. He was an expert horseman and well skilled in fighting with knife, pistol, and rifle.

A native of South Carolina, he enlisted in the Confederate army with six brothers. Five of them were left dead on the field of battle while “Manse” Jolly kept his promise to kill five Yankees for each brother lost. 

Only one younger brother accompanied him back to the old home where an old mother awaited them with open arms, the father having died shortly before the war. On his arrival home, Manse was greeted by the Yankee garrison, then stationed in Anderson. This angered him and he took an oath to kill five Yankees for every brother lost on the battle fields. He more than made good.

He lost no time in beginning his hide and seek game with the garrison stationed here. The commander soon learned that one of his men had been killed by Jolly. In a day or two another was reported killed by Jolly. Then squads were sent out to search for the desperado. They often encountered the daring Jolly and as often lost one or two of their numbers for when Jolly's rifle spoke, death claimed another victim.

Finally more soldiers were sent here to help hunt down Jolly and times got so warm he left for Texas and was crossing Red River in the Lone Star State. When Jolly left Anderson, he had 23 notches on his gun, and it was said that he killed at least a dozen Yankees on his way to Texas. He more than made good five times five.

Manse Jolly died on July 8, 1869 near his home in Texas. He drowned in a river as he was trying to cross it. He had been married for one year and left a wife behind. His daughter was born a few months later, and his descendants live on today. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This is very interesting!
Via Southern Heritage News and Views…

Richmond Must Fall to a Republican General:

“McClellan’s troubles began when some Democratic papers in early 1862 began touting him as a presidential candidate in 1864. This was not his doing, but it sealed his fate. The Republicans in Congress and the White House realized that they had a problem: Were McClellan to capture Richmond, he would pose a serious threat to Lincoln’s reelection. In other words, military victory in 1862 meant political defeat in 1864.

[The Republicans] could not demote McClellan, however: He was too popular and respected, and they had no reason they could give for doing so. Their only was out  of this dilemma was for McClellan and the Army of the Potomac to fail.  And it appears that Lincoln and his new Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, deliberately sabotaged McClellan’s peninsular campaign.

….McClellan was right to advance on Richmond from the east, via the peninsula between the James and York Rivers, as opposed to the overland route favored by the [Lincoln] administration. It was shorter, had fewer natural obstacles, and could be supplied and reinforced easily by sea, but it was McClellan’s plan, and that doomed it.

At the outset of the campaign, the President, after assuring McClellan otherwise, transferred [General Louis] Blenker’s division to General [John] Fremont in the Shenandoah Valley; then he withheld [General Irvin] McDowell’s Corps (for the defense of Washington, he claimed).  That was 50,000 troops. A member of his staff told him: “General, the authorities at Washington are painfully afraid that you will succeed in taking Richmond, and therefore are stripping your army in the beginning.”

So, when the Seven Days battles commenced in late June [1862], McClellan, on the offensive, was outnumbered (101,000 to 112,000).  These engagements hardly amounted to the decisive repulse they are sometimes described as. McClellan’s command suffered fewer casualties than did the Confederates (15,849 to 20,614), little equipment or supplies were lost, and his new position on the James River was secure; with reinforcements, he could had resumed the offensive in August.

The President’s decision to terminate the campaign and withdraw McClellan’s army was not a military one. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia was ready to march south. Richmond would be taken by a Republican general, or not at all.  Pope issued orders that essentially authorized the plundering of civilians and the destruction of property. The reign of arson and theft had begun.

When McClellan heard of the new policy, he was appalled and vowed never to carry it out: “I will not permit this army to degenerate into a mob of thieves.” He later sent a letter of rebuke to Lincoln: The war “should be conducted according to the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be….a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations.”

(The Path Not Taken, H.A. Scott Trask, Chronicles Magazine, February 2006, (excerpt) page 33)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 8, 1815 Southerners doing what they always do, deifying overwhelming odds only this time to preserve the fledgling Union and with the help of a sizable contingent of Free Black Men; a trend that would repeat itself during the War for Southern Independence over and over again.

The defeat of British forces, on January 8, 1815, at the Battle of New Orleans by an American army less than half its’ size has been credited to many monumental miscalculations and incompetent strategies. One relatively unknown episode about Lt. Ephraim Brank and his heroism atop the breastworks seems to have contributed as much, or more, than any of the generally accepted, well known, reasons for this loss.

An eyewitness account by a British officer describes, in vivid detail what he and his comrades faced as they led their men toward the twenty foot thick, earth and timber defenses of the Americans.

“We marched in solid column in a direct line, upon the American defenses. I belonged to the staff; and as we watched through our glasses the position of the enemy, with that intensity an officer only feels when marching into the jaws of death. It was a strange sight, that breastwork, with a crowd of beings behind, their heads only visible above the line of defense. We could distinctly see their long rifles lying on the works, and the batteries in our front, with their great mouths gaping toward us.

 We could also see the position of General Jackson, with his staff around him. But what attracted our attention most, was the figure of a tall man standing on the breastworks, dressed in linsey-woolsey, with buckskin leggings, and a broad-brimmed felt hat that fell round the face, almost concealing the features. He was standing in one of those picturesque, graceful attitudes peculiar to those natural men dwelling in forests. The body rested on the left leg, and swayed with a curved line upward. The right arm was extended, the hand grasping the rifle near the muzzle, the butt of which rested near the toe of his right foot. With the left hand he raised the rim of the hat from his eyes, and seemed gazing intently on our advancing column. The cannon of the enemy had opened on us, and tore through our works with dreadful slaughter; but we continued to advance, unwavering and cool as if nothing threatened our progress.

“Our eyes were riveted upon him; at whom had he leveled his piece? But the distance was so great, that we looked at each other and smiled. We saw the rifle flash and very rightly conjectured that his aim was in the direction of our party. My right hand companion, as noble a fellow as ever rode at the head of a regiment, fell from his saddle.

“The hunter paused a few moments without moving his gun from his shoulder. Then he reloaded and assumed his former attitude. Throwing the hat rim over his eyes and again holding it up with the left hand, he fixed his piercing gaze upon us as if hunting out another victim. Once more the hat rim was thrown back, and the gun raised to his shoulder. This time we did not smile, but cast glances at each other to see which of us must die.

“When again the rifle flashed, another one of our party dropped to the earth. There was something most awful in this marching on to certain death. The cannon and thousands of musket balls playing upon our ranks, we cared not for, for there was a chance of escaping them. Most of us had walked as coolly upon batteries more destructive without quailing, but to know that every time that rifle was leveled toward us, and its bullet sprang from the barrel, one of us must surely fall; to see it rest motionless as if poised on a rack, and know, when the hammer came down, that the messenger of death drove unerringly to its goal, to know this, and still march on, was awful. 

I could see nothing but the tall figure standing on the breastworks; he seemed to grow, phantom-like, higher and higher, assuming, through the smoke, the supernatural appearance of some great spirit of death. Again did he reload and discharge, and reload and discharge his rifle, with the same unfailing aim and the same unfailing result; and it was with indescribable pleasure that I beheld, as we neared the American lines, the sulphurous cloud gathering around us, and shutting that spectral hunter from our gaze.

“We lost the battle; and to my mind, the Kentucky rifle man contributed more to our defeat than anything else; for while he remained in our sight our attention was drawn from our duties; and when, at last, he became enshrouded in the smoke, the work was complete; we were in utter confusion, and unable, in the extremity, to restore order sufficient to make any successful attack - the battle was lost.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


In 1776, George Washington rebelled against the established government of his day. We remember him as a patriot, but to his king and fellow colonists loyal to the king, Washington was the traitor and Benedict Arnold was the patriot.

In 1861, pro-Union supporters defended the nation that Washington helped create in 1776 (or destroyed, again depending on your perspective). 

Confederates were exercising the same right, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, to “alter or abolish” unrepresentative and oppressive government. Wherever a Southerner placed his or her loyalty to the rebel nation of 1776 or the new rebel nation of 1861 he or she was a patriot in the eyes of some and something else entirely in the minds of others.

In 1860 a man’s country was his home (sovereign and independent) state, not the US and central government in DC. Technically, there was no such thing as a citizen of the United States until passage of the 14th Amendment three years after the war. “Asking a state to give up part of her sovereignty is like asking a woman to give up part of her chastity.” John Randolph 

Photo: “Virginia is my country.” Light Horse Harry Lee (Henry) Father of Robert and George Washington’s favorite cavalry commander, also three-term governor of Virginia.

The Last Confederate General to Surrender - Standhope Oowatie, Degataga, and Isaac S. Watie

Watie had returned from the Civil War to find his home burned to the ground by Federal soldiers. In financial ruin, he spent his final years farming and trying to restore his once-beautiful Grand River bottomland.

All three of Watie’s sons preceded him in death and in his last years he watched as colossal tracts of land legally deeded to the Cherokee were taken from them as punishment for their support of the Confederacy and given to other tribes. 

Many believe that Stand Watie died of a broken heart. In one of his last letters to his daughter, he would say “You can’t imagine how lonely I am up here at our old place without any of my dear children being with me.” He died on September 9, 1871 and was buried in the Polson Cemetery in Delaware County, Oklahoma. 

Sure you can trust your government, just ask an Indian...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The great battle is very, very near, I think. I trust our prayers may be favorably considered by our God and that His hand will cover and protect me, so that when this unhappy war is over I may live to be a husband to you and a father to my children.

If it pleases God to take me away, thus early in life, bid my children, when they are old enough to understand, to be good and true men, doing their duty to you, to their country and to their God. Guard and guide them as if I were with you, and be to me a true wife, till God unites us in Heaven.

I trust and believe the coming fight will triumphantly vindicate the righteousness of our cause and though I may fall, yet I hope a blessed peace will soon give back to our country the comfort and prosperity so much to be desired. At my country’s feet I lay my young life. Into God’s keeping I leave yours. Micah Jenkins 5th South Carolina, A letter to his wife just before the Battle of Seven Pines May 1862

During the Battle of the Wilderness, Jenkins was riding with Lt. Gen. Longstreet when both were struck down by friendly fire on May 6, 1864. Jenkins died of his head wound a few hours later, and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina, Longstreet survived the war.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why we fought them and fought them hard...

General Philip Sheridan is another celebrated '' war hero '' who followed in Sherman's footsteps in attacking defenseless civilians. After the Confederate army had finally evacuated the Shenandoah Valley in the autumn of 1864 Sheridan's 35,000 infantry troops essentially burned the entire valley to the ground. As Sheridan described it in a letter to General Grant, in the first few days he '' destroyed over 2200 barns...over 70 mills... have driven in front of the army over 4000 head of stock, and have killed ... not less then 3000 sheep.... Tomorrow I will continue the destruction.''

In letters home Sheridan's troops described themselves as '' barn burners '' and '' destroyers of homes. '' One soldier wrote home that he had personally set 60 private homes on fire and opined that '' it was a hard looking sight to see the women and children turned out of doors at this season of the year.'' A Sergeant William T. Patterson wrote that '' the whole country around is wrapped in flames, the heavens are aglow with the light thereof ... such mourning, such lamentations, such crying and pleading for mercy [by defenseless women]... I never saw or want to see again.'' 

Friday, January 4, 2013

On one side of the conflict was the South, led by the descendants of the cavaliers, who with all their faults, had inherited from a long line of ancestors a manly contempt for moral littleness, a high sense of honor , a lofty regard for plighted faith, a strong tendency to conservatism, a profound suspect for law and order and an unfaltering loyalty to constitutional government.

“Against the South was arrayed the power of the North, dominated by the spirit of Puritanism, which, with all of its virtues, has ever been characterized by the pharisaism which worship itself and is unable to perceive any goodness apart from itself, which has ever arrogantly held its ideas, its interests and its will higher than fundamental law and covenanted obligations, which has always lived and moved and had its being in rebellion against constituted authority.” Robert Catlett Cave Confederate soldier and post war preacher.

Captain Fayette Hewitt

Hewitt was from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. His great contribution to War history is that he preserved the records of his Orphan Brigade, allowing the comprehensive history of the Brigade to be written. Hewitt served as a staff officer for Generals Albert Pike, Benjamin Hardin Helm (who ironically was a brother-in-law to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln) and, after Helm was killed at Chickamauga, Joseph Lewis. Hewitt was one generation out of Bedford County, Virginia. as his father had moved to Kentucky before he was born.

"His courage was one of that superior kind which enables a man to be perfectly collected and cool and not to be thrown off his guard or unsteadied by the most imminent and trying danger. 

Going into the battle of Entrenchment Creek (Atlanta), he saw a soldier throw away his blanket because it was so in the way while fighting. General Hewitt remonstrated and told the man he would need it if wounded. Then he tied the blanket behind his own horse. 

This horse was shot under him, and General Hewitt unbuckled the blanket and carried it till another horse was procured. After the battle General Hewitt restored the blanket to its owner, who was in the field hospital, badly wounded. The man said he had seen the horse shot; and if it had been him he would never have thought of that blanket, but only of getting away."

"Besides this horse, he had two others shot under him, but was never injured himself, though balls repeatedly passed through his clothing and hat and once through his hair."
Obituary in Confederate Veteran.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of the advocacy of rights to which we were born, those for which our fathers of the Revolution bled - the richest inheritance that ever fell to man, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit untarnished to our children. Upon us is devolved the high and holy responsibility of preserving the Constitutional liberty of a free government." ~ President Jefferson Davis, June 1, 1861 ~

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hampton Roads Peace Conference aboard the River Queen January 29 1865. The North's second attempt to lure the South back into the Union at the expense of Slaves once again failed...

No “Official” version of the meeting was recorded by Lincoln’s secretary, but the Confederate delegation did record theirs for posterity and it was quite revealing indeed. Mr. Seward indicated that this was to be an informal conference with no writing or record to be made, all was to be verbal, and the Confederates agreed.

The story of the peace conference is related by vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, in volume two of his work entitled A Constitutional View of the War Between the States: Its Causes, Character, Conduct and Results, at pages 589 through 625. This is obviously a view that the mainstream historians would not condone as “official” since it did not come from Lincoln’s mouth (when in fact it did).

(The subject of slavery then came up and Mr. Stephens asked President Lincoln what would be the status of the slave population in the Confederate states, and especially what affect the Emancipation Proclamation would have if the Confederates rejoined the Union. President Lincoln responded that the Proclamation was only a war measure and as soon as the war ceased, it would have no operation for the future. It was his opinion that the Courts would decide that the slaves who were emancipated under the Proclamation would remain free but those who were not emancipated during the war would remain in slavery. 

Mr. Seward pointed out that only about two hundred thousand (200,000) slaves had come under the operation of the Proclamation and this would be a small number out of the total. Mr. Seward then brought up the point that several days before the meeting, there had been a proposed 13th constitutional amendment to cause the immediate abolition of slavery throughout the United States, but if the war were to cease and the Confederates rejoined the Union, they would have enough votes to kill the amendment. He stated that there would be thirty-six (36) states and ten (10) could defeat the amendment. 

Remember President Lincoln, in his Inaugural Address before the war, gave his support to the first 13th amendment pending at that time which would have made slavery permanent and irrevocable. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Orphan Brigade Veterans- the nickname of the First Kentucky Brigade. They Fought with shot guns and hunting rifles, some had no weapons at all.

At the Battle of Stones River, General Braxton Bragg— rode among the survivors, crying out repeatedly, “My poor Orphans! My poor Orphans.” noted brigade historian Ed Porter Thompson, who used the term in his 1868 history of the unit. The term came from how the Confederacy viewed the Kentucky (a union state) soldiers. The term became popular after the war among the veterans.

When the Orphan Brigade was mustered into service, weapons were in short supply. The troops were armed with old smoothbore muskets (some flintlock and others percussion) along with shotguns and hunting rifles. Some men had no arms at all. 

Only a week before the Battle of Shiloh, every regiment except the 9th Kentucky was issued a supply of Enfield rifles imported from England (the 9th armed themselves with Enfields captured during the battle).

When the unit surrendered in 1865, some men were still carrying the same rifles they’d had since Shiloh. PHOTO:Orphan Brigade- Confederate veterans’ reunion at John Thomas Daughaday’s farm 

Confederate veterans' reunion at John Thomas Daughaday's farm; near Palmore, Graves Co., KY; typed list of names included:

FRONT ROW, L to R: James Murphy, James McNeely, James Karr Holloway (Co. G, 1st Texas Regiment, Infantry, Hood's Brigade), Jerome Willingham, John A. Blackburn, Samuel Theopolis Grace (Co. C, 7th Kentucky Regiment, Mounted Infantry), James Adams, John Thomas Daughaday, "Doc" Lawrence or Polk Willingham. SECOND ROW, L to R: Andrew "Nat" Yates, Felix Jones, Franklin Mullins, William Bostic, Will Linder, John A. Wilson, John Hampton Short (Co. E, 3rd Kentucky Regiment, Mounted Infantry), Acie Gates, George Cameron.

BACK ROW, L to R: Richard Johnson Grace (Co. G, 4th Kentucky Regiment, Infantry, Orphan Brigade), Tom Majors, William H. Lawrence (Co. G, 12th Kentucky Regiment, Cavalry), Lycurgus Willingham, Charlie Powell, Pat Wadlington (Co. E, 3rd Kentucky Regiment, Mounted Infantry), Henry George (Co. A, 7th Kentucky Regiment, Mounted Infantry), 1900
Part of Guide to the Confederate Veterans Reunion Photographic Collection, 1895-1924