Sunday, June 30, 2013
Utterly untrained in marching, they walked at will, no two keeping step, while no two were dressed alike. There were almost as many different hues and cuts in their raiment as there were men in their ranks. The nearest approach to a uniform was in their rough fur caps made of raccoon skins, and with the streaked and bushy tail of the raccoon hanging down behind.
The amusement of the people was mingled with curiosity. "Are you the captain of this company?" some of them asked Gordon, who was rather proud of his men and saw nothing of the grotesque in their appearance.
"I am, sir," he replied, in a satisfied tone. What company is it, captain?"
As yet the company had no name other than one which he had chosen as fine sounding and suitable, but had not yet mentioned to the men.
"This company is the Mountain Rifles," said the captain, proudly.
His pride was destined to a fall. From a tall mountaineer in the ranks came, in words not intended for his ears, but plainly audible, the disconcerting words,
"Mountain hell! We are no Mountain Rifles. We are the Raccoon Roughs."
And Raccoon Roughs they continued through all the war, Gordon's fine-spun name being never heard of again. The feeble remnant of the war-scarred company which was mustered out at Appomattox was still known as Raccoon Roughs.
A MAN OF PERFECT COURAGE
"Such was the foundation of the courage of Jackson. He walked with God, in conscious integrity; and he embraced with all his heart 'the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ.' His soul, I believe, dwelt habitually in the full assurance that God was his God, and his portion forever.
His manly and vigorous faith brought heaven so near, that death had slight terrors for him. While it would be unjust to charge him with rashness in exposure to danger, yet whenever his sense of duty prompted it, he seemed to risk his person with an absolute indifference to fear.
The sense of his responsibility to his country, and the heat of his mighty spirit in the crises of battle, might sometimes agitate him vehemently; but never was the most imminent personal peril seen to disturb his equanimity for one moment. It is a striking trait of the impression which he has made upon his countrymen, that while no man could possibly be farther from boasting, it always became the first article of the belief of those subject to his command, that he was, of course, man of perfect courage."
1863 Richmond, Va.
Memorial sermon for Gen. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson
Saturday, June 29, 2013
On April 9, 1865 at 5:30 p.m., 4,000 Confederate troops at Fort Blakeley surrendered to a Union force of 16,000 men. Three hours earlier Lee had surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox. Although the soldiers of Culpepper’s had surrendered, the Union army continued to fire upon them, consequently killing a few men in the Battery. Among those killed was their commander Lt. Joshua L. Moses of Sumter, SC. Lying mortally wounded, his last words were "For God’s sake, save my men they have surrendered".
Josh was the last Confederate Jew to fall in battle, the first being his first cousin, Lt. Albert Moses Luria, who was killed in May of 1862 at Seven Pines, Virginia. At the battle of Fort Blakeley, Josh's brother Perry was wounded, and another brother, Horace, captured.
I believe there is a monument at Fort Blakeley, Alabama honoring the United States Colored Troops who executed prisoners of war and other Confederates trying to surrender ( and even shot their own officers !) after that battle, one of the final large engagements of the War.
“…many of the union black troops did attack the Confederate whites after surrendering, and even shot two of their own officers trying to stop them. One white sergeant who was commissioned an officer the day after the assault wrote home …and stated his regiment took no live prisoners, “they killed all they took to a man.”
Photo: Lt. Joshua L. Moses standing
The illegal and heinous actions of these USCT's are well documented, "The Siege of Blakeley and the Campaign of Mobile," by Roger B. Hansen & Norman A. Nicolson, (published by Historic Blakley press, with an introduction by Mary Y. Grice, Executive Director, Historic Blakeley Foundation).
Friday, June 28, 2013
A letter from a Confederate soldier, dated Williamsport, Md., the 17th inst., gives the following account of the crossing into Maryland:
We tarried in Martinsburg only long enough to gather our spoils, and from thence came to this place, arriving here night before last. … Of all the sights I have ever seen, none can compare with this little town. On crossing the Potomac, and entering the place, I was at the very head of the column. Not a soul, save a few boys and scattering Confederate cavalry, graced the scene. All the stores and every house was closed; and every window, and even curtain, was down, as if the sight of a rebel could not be tolerated. On advancing further into the town, a few faces (woman’s curiosity) occasionally protruded from a window, and groups of men could be seen gathered on the street corners.
At one corner about a half dozen young girls were collected, who waved their handkerchiefs quite bravely and cheered us. This we have named Secession corner. … yesterday Gen. Rodes opened all of the stores, and made the proprietors sell to soldiers for Confederate money. Of course articles of every description were immediately advanced — coffee, for instance, at fifty cents per pound, and every other article in like proportion; but no greater extortion was allowed. In the evening, all the men and officers, save the staff officers, were ordered out of town, and the Government impressed everything it wanted, paying in Confederate money, and if that was refused paying none at all.
Via Richmond Times-Dispatch…
Photo: Only known photo of the Army of Northern Virginia (Frederick Maryland 1862)
Saturday, June 22, 2013
VOTER FRAUD 1860s STYLE...
The 1864 re-election of Lincoln “was closer than either the popular or electoral votes” indicated, and without the soldier vote in six crucial States, Lincoln would have lost to George B. McClellan. The slim margins of Republican victory in most States “were probably due largely to the presence of soldiers as guards and as voters at the polls,” and had Illinois, Indiana Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York’s votes gone to McClellan, “he would have had a majority in the electoral college despite Lincoln’s popular plurality.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission www.ncwbts150.com
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
BAYONETS SECURE THE BALLOT BOX IN 1864
“Throughout the summer [of 1864] the Union prospects were in a decline. Grant’s armies, despite repeated reinforcements, made no headway, and the casualty lists from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor mounted alarmingly. Sherman, maneuvering in the mountains of Georgia, seemed totally useless. July and August saw Republican hopes at rock bottom.
Early in July…..The [Republican] Pennsylvania Governor [Curtin] was “down on things generally,” and on the War Department in particular. Already Curtin had told Lincoln that he would not consider himself responsible for raising troops or for carrying elections. Pennsylvania was 80,000 men behind [its quota] in troops and the Governor believed the draft would meet general opposition from Republicans as well as from Democrats.
At the same time [Massachusetts Governor] John Andrew was disgusted with the situation and was hoping to find some means of getting both Lincoln and [John] Fremont to withdraw in favor of a third [Republican] candidate. The consensus seemed to be that the war languished and Lincoln would not or could not bring peace. War-weariness and a desire for peace was everywhere.
[New York Times editor Henry J.] Raymond asked [Simon] Cameron’s advice….let Lincoln propose to Jeff Davis that both sides disband their armies and stop the war “on the basis of recognizing the supremacy of the constitution” and refer all disputed questions to a convention of all the States! Raymond went to Washington to lay the proposal before the President, but Lincoln did not accept it.
Sherman’s victory before Atlanta reinvigorated the Republican campaign. The President wrote to Sherman to let Indiana’s soldiers, “or any part of them, go home to vote at the State election.” This was, Lincoln explained, in no sense an order. Sherman understood that it was a command. He sent soldiers home, and on election day in October the soldiers gathered at the Indiana polls. The Nineteenth Regiment of Vermont Volunteers voted in Indiana that day, but many a Democrat found his vote challenged. When the votes were counted, [Republican Governor Oliver P.] Morton had been elected by a majority of 22,000.
On that same day the need for Lincoln’s aid was illustrated in Pennsylvania. There it was thought not necessary to send the soldiers home. [Governor] Curtin….determined to appoint some Democratic commissioners to collect the soldiers’ votes. As the commissioners passed through Washington, however, the Democrats among them disappeared, under [Secretary of War Edwin M.] Stanton’s orders, into the Old Capitol Prison.
Lincoln conferred with Cameron and [Alexander] McClure and asked [Generals] Meade and Sherman to send 5,000 men to Pennsylvania for the November election. The generals sent 10,000, and Lincoln carried the State by nearly a 6,000 majority, while the soldiers in the field added 14,000 more.
[Illinois Governor Richard Yates] appealed to Lincoln to send troops to vote. It was essential to elect a [Republican] State Senate, three congressional districts depended on the soldiers, and even the Presidential and the State tickets were unsafe without the uniformed voters. Defeat [for the Republicans] in Illinois, added the Governor, would be worse than defeat in the field. Under such pleas the soldiers came, and Lincoln carried his home State by 189,496 to McClellan’s 158,730.
[Many] soldiers voted Democratic in their camps only to have their votes switched in the post offices. Without the soldiers New York would have remained in the Democratic column. Maryland’s vote was clearly the product of federal bayonets. Ohio was safe for Lincoln, and the election clerks at home merely guessed at the distribution of the army’s vote.”
(Lincoln and the War Governors, William B. Hesseltine, Alfred A. Knopf, 1955, pp. 376-382)
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
JUBAL CAME OH SO CLOSE...
The Georgetown Pike bridge over the Monocacy River burns around 12 noon on July 9, 1864. Confederate pressure had been relentless all morning. As they closed in, rebel soldiers in captured Yankee uniforms stormed the bridge in an unsuccessful attempt to capture it intact. The Union commander, unable to hold the bridge any longer, ordered it torched. In giving that order, he stranded hundreds of Union soldiers across the river.
The Battle of Monocacy Junction on a stifling hot July 9 in the corn and wheat fields just southeast of Frederick, MD, a few thousand rag tag Union troops slowed a battle-hardened Confederate army led by Jubal Early marching to attack a weakly defended Washington, D.C.
It wasn't a big battle and it didn't last very long. In fact, it was a Confederate victory with Union troops retreating towards Baltimore. But the Northern forces held long enough and fought hard enough to slow down the Confederate advance, buying time to reinforce Washington and stave off a disaster.
Lincoln became the only sitting president to come under enemy fire. Confederate Sharpshooters just outside Washington wounded a Yankee officer standing near him.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
CONFEDERATE ANTI-AIRCRAFT…Another Southern 1st...
Standing in the basket of his balloon "Intrepid," Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe observes the battle of Seven Pines, Va.
Confederate gunners created history’s first antiaircraft artillery battery, while Lowe was taking an early morning observation” in the balloon “Washington” near Mechanicsville, “12 guns were simultaneously discharged at short range, some of the shells passing through the rigging of the balloon and nearly all bursting not more than 200 feet beyond it, having gotten their range perfectly.
The professor no doubt needed a change of drawers after this incident...
Photo: Professor Lowe at Seven Pines in the balloon Intrepid May 31st 1862…
Saturday, June 15, 2013
WHAT WOULD THEY DO WITHOUT US...
In spite of our heritage and culture being continually slandered, Southerners have always taken the lead in the military defense of the reunited country as well as before the War for Southern Independence.
During the Korean war alone thirty two of the seventy eight medals of honor went to Southerners. We recently posted on Southern men like Audy Murphy and Alvin York the most decorated soldiers of the first and second World War respectively.
During the war with Mexico the North provided 23,054 soldiers, while the South provided 43,630.
During the War of 1812, the North provided 58,552 troops while the South gave 96,812. This was accomplished while New Englanders were providing beef to British Soldiers in Canada and threatening secession over the war (peace with England at any price, while Washington DC lay in ashes).
Black and white Southerners fought side by side during the Revolutionary War, at the Battle of New Orleans and again 46 years later for Southern Independence.
“New England, which had been too “conscientious” to defend the national honor in the war with Great Britain, poured out almost her whole population to aid the extermination of a (Southern) people…Edward A. Pollard editor of the Richmond Examiner.
It is a fact that Southern troops numbering several thousand would not cross the Potomac into Maryland during the Gettysburg Campaign. It was of such grave concern for General Lee that he issued strict orders on desertion and straggling, which included execution.
They only wished to protect their own homes, not invade the homes of Northerners…All they wanted was to be left alone.
The USS Columbia (CL-56) flew a Confederate Navy Ensign as a battle flag throughout combat in the South Pacific in World War II. This was done in honor of Columbia, the ship's namesake and the capital city of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. Some soldiers carried Confederate flags into battle. After the Battle of Okinawa a Confederate flag was raised over Shuri Castle by a Marine from the self-styled "Rebel Company" (Company A of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines).
A Japanese Kamikaze hit the ship at 1729 hrs on 6 January 1945, during the Lingayen Gulf operation. The impact, on the main deck by the after gun turret, with the resulting explosion and fire, caused extensive damage and casualties.
Southern men and women have always answered the call, form 1776 to today…who will deny them the right to their heritage and their flag?
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
“Men, the salvation of Lee’s army is in your keeping.”
– Maj. Gen. Cadmus Wilcox to the defenders of Fort Gregg, April 2, 1865
On the afternoon of April 2, 1865, after a morning of bludgeoning attacks all along the Petersburg lines, 5,000 Federals swept forward to attack Fort Gregg. The 300 Confederates here twice drove the Federals back, but finally the attackers reached the fort’s parapet. For twenty minutes a vicious hand-to-hand battle raged.
At fight’s end, the fort belonged to the Federals. Only 44 Confederates survived the battle unscathed. With the fall of Fort Gregg and nearby Fort Whitworth, the Confederates pulled back to their last, innermost line. The two hours gained by Fort Gregg’s defenders allowed Lee to evacuate Petersburg safely that night.
Friday, June 7, 2013
IS IT JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE SONG IS CHANGED?
"Maryland, My Maryland" is the official state song of Maryland. While the words were penned in 1861, it was not until April 29, 1939, that the state's general assembly adopted "Maryland, My Maryland" as the state song.
Written originally as a poem, the song refers to Maryland's history and geography and specifically mentions several historical figures of importance to the state. The song calls for Maryland to fight the Union and was used across the South during the War as a battle hymn. It has been called America's "most martial poem."
Occasional attempts have been made to replace it as Maryland's state song due to its origin in support for the Confederacy and lyrics that refer to President Lincoln as a "TYRANT," "DESPOT," and "VANDAL," and to the Union as "NORTHERN SCUM."
Maryland, My Maryland
The despot's heel is on thy shore,
His torch is at thy temple door,
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Hark to an exiled son's appeal,
My mother State! to thee I kneel,
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Remember Carroll's sacred trust,
Remember Howard's warlike thrust,-
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Come! 'tis the red dawn of the day,
Come with thy panoplied array,
With Ringgold's spirit for the fray,
With Watson's blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain,
Virginia should not call in vain,
She meets her sisters on the plain-
"Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back again,
Arise in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!
I see the blush upon thy cheek,
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creek-
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!
I hear the distant thunder-hum,
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she'll come! she'll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!
Harrison, Longstreet's spy...
Born Henry Thomas Harrison in Nashville in 1832, the Confederate soldier joined the 12th Mississippi Infantry in May 1861. He was discharged the same year though and became a spy for Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon. After meeting General James Longstreet in April 1863, he then became a spy for him.
Known only as "Harrison" for decades, the tips he provided (for which he was usually paid in gold), proved both reliable and invaluable, but the one for which he'll be forever famous was the one delivered on June 28, 1863. On that night, he shared with Longstreet the news that Federal forces were located around Frederick, Maryland and advancing north, as well as the information that Union General George Meade had replaced Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
With Confederate troops being stretched thin along a wide swath of land in south central Pennsylvania, so alarmed was Longstreet by the news that he sent Harrison to relay it to General Robert E. Lee, who then made the decision to concentrate his troops at Gettysburg.
After the war, Harrison moved his wife and daughter to Mexico, but left them in 1866 to go search for gold in Montana, disappearing for 25 years while his wife presumed him dead and remarried.
He later worked as a detective in Cincinnati from 1901 to 1911 before moving to Covington, Kentucky, where he died in poverty 12 years later. Longstreet took Harrison's true identity to the grave and an application for a military pension in 1912 lists him only as a Confederate veteran.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
GENERAL TURNER ASHBY of the MOUNTAIN RANGERS
"The Black Knight of the Confederacy" killed in action June 6th 1862
Ashby's bravery was renown. During the retreat from Winchester in March 1862, he apparently was the last Confederate to leave town. But Ashby lacked military discipline which led him to several confrontations with Jackson. A reckless cavalier with no fear of personal danger, Ashby met his doom at Chestnut Ridge in Harrisonburg, VA in June 1862, leading a charge against a small group of Union soldiers. Jackson reacted to Ashby's death, saying "as a partisan officer I never knew his superior."
The whole South mourned his passing. His body was wrapped in a Confederate flag and buried with honor at the University of Virgina. Poems and songs were written in his memory. His uncle wrote his biography. So many recruits were drawn to Ashby's cavalry that two other regiments, the 12th Va and 17th Va, were made from the overflow.
THE WAR CRIMINALS…I consider this a must read article.
During the War Between the States the Union forces were waging war on women and children on two separate fronts, raping, pillaging and murdering in the South as well as in the West. The most notorious of these thugs reported to General William Tecumseh Sherman, famous for his march to the sea. But long before that he had adopted a policy of “total war” against civilians.
In 1862 Sherman was having difficulty subduing Confederate sharpshooters who were harassing federal gunboats on the Mississippi River near Memphis. He then implemented the theory of “collective responsibility” to “justify” attacking innocent civilians in retaliation for such attacks. He had the entire town of Randolph, Tennessee burned to the ground. He also took civilian hostages and either traded them for federal prisoners of war or executed them. (see full article)
Read entire article: http://www.examiner.com/article/generals-sherman-and-sheridan-the-war-criminals
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
" I enlisted with the hope and desire of rendering aid to the great and glorious cause of Southern independence, prompted by principle, religiously believing that the time had arrived when we were justifiable in resisting Northern
aggression, and even at the expense of this once unparalleled Republic. As for my part I don't want to survive a subjugation of my country." --Col. J. Goodner
A field officer in the 7th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A., this Mexican war veteran attained the ranks of Captain, May 20, 1861; Lieutenant Colonel, May 27, 1861. On May 23, 1862, he became Colonel and commander of the famed 7th Tennessee Infantry after Robert Hatton was elevated to the rank of Brigadier General. “Ill heath” forced his resignation from service on April 8, 1863.
Photo: Statesville Tigers Co. F, 7th TN Infantry Reunion
Monday, June 3, 2013
SOME THINGS YOU WONT' HEAR FROM THE OTHER SIDE...but the South takes care of it's own.
Today is the birthday of the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was born June 3, 1808 in Kentucky.
He and his wife adopted a black child and raised him with their own children in the Confederate White House; or that he commanded the First Regiment of Mississippi Riflemen in the war with Mexico. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1828; served in the Black Hawk War in 1832; promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in the First Dragoons in 1833, and served until 1835.
When he died thousands of mourners came from out of town to join the residents of New Orleans to pay their respects to the man who once was the South's beloved leader. The men saluted their former leader and the women bowed their heads in prayer. Tears filled the eyes of young people who were born at the time Jefferson Davis was president of the Confederacy.
The church bells rang throughout the city. On December 11, 1889, twenty thousand people lined the streets of New Orleans as the body of Jefferson Davis was taken, by funeral carriage, to Metairie Cemetery in the crescent city. The funeral procession included those who wore the gray during the War Between the States. All flags flew at half mast. It is sad that the War Department of the United States did not lower the United States flag in his honor. Jefferson Davis was the only former Secretary of War who had ever been denied the honor.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
BRAZIL SAYS NO TO MR. LINCOLN!
Washington, December, 1862: in the middle of a War that was costly in terms of lives and money, and in which the Government was desperate for funds to stifle the rebellion of the confederate states, President Abraham Lincoln, in his annual State of the Union speech, was bold enough to ask Congress for US$ 600,000 for purposes other than the conflict.
“Congressmen need to release the money necessary to deport free black people to any place outside the United States”, stated Lincoln. It was neither the first, nor the only time that the president, one year before proclaiming the emancipation of the slaves, spoke officially and publicly of his interest in deporting blacks: he made five political declarations to this effect, including two State of the Union speeches and the speech that preceded emancipation.
“The place where I’m thinking of having a colony is in Central America. It’s closer to us than Liberia [a territory in Africa, dominated by the USA, where freedmen were sent]. The land is excellent for any people, especially the climatic similarity to their native land, and it is therefore suitable for their physical conditions”, he wrote in an article for the New York Tribune entitled, “The colonization of people of African descent.”
The Brazilian political elite rejected the idea because it was already focused on attracting white European immigrants to Brazil just as the US was doing at home.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
I believe this was written by Pop Aaron...
The Confederate Battle Flag With The "St Andrews Cross" was not the only Confederate Battle Flag, but She was the most known and used late in that great war. She is the most, hated, debated, misrepresented and beloved of all Confederate symbols. She has been tarnished by groups such as the, naacp "by way of slander", kkk, aryan nation, skinheads, neo nazi, white supremacy clowns...Just to name a few. She was not a national flag, nor was She a politician's flag, and most defiantly not a flag of hate!..."She was a soldier's flag" a banner of courage, honour and a call to duty. She was a rallying point for battling warriors. Many died to keep Her safe and out of enemy hands, this Flag was stained with the blood of our Southron patriots. Last, and most important, SHE WAS AN AMERICAN FLAG!!
As Southron, we owe it to ourselves and noble ancestry to protect Her and hold Her in reverence. We must stand up to those that slander Her, for that slander is slander toward us and our past. We must never let our past be removed from our future...May God give us the courage to do what must be done to stop the hate of "Those People." ~ PoP
British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket
The British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket was the most widely used firearm of the Confederates during the Vicksburg Campaign. Enfield rifles were smuggled into the South though the Union navy’s blockade, and they were very well liked by the troops lucky enough to be issued them.
The 3rd Louisiana Infantry was issued the Enfield during the Siege of Vicksburg, and William Tunnard, a sergeant in the regiment, wrote that they “Began a brisk fire in their eagerness to test their quality.” The Union soldiers receiving this fire noticed the improved accuracy of the Rebels and “Wished to know where the devil the men procured these guns, and were by no means choice in the language which they used against England and English manufacturers.” The Enfield was 55.3 inches long, weighed nine pounds, and used a .577 caliber minie ball.
My GG Uncle was in the 34th Arkansas, which was issued Enfield’s. The shorter 2 band Enfield rifle was even more highly prized, particularly by cavalry for it’s shorter size and long range accuracy.
How the Confederate Flag Made its Way to Okinawa
Thanks to GySgt Stephen Wallace, U.S.M.C., Cambridgeshire, England for this Article.
Only the Normandy D-Day invasion surpassed Okinawa in its scope, preparation and forces employed. More than 548,000 Americans participated in the Okinawa invasion. American service members were surprised to find virtually no resistance as they stormed the beaches on Easter 1945. They soon discovered that the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy had literally gone underground having spent a year forcing Okinawan slaves to dig their underground defenses. It required 83 days of combat to defeat the Japanese.
The invasion of Okinawa was by the newly organized American 10th Army. The 10th, commanded by Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, was composed of the XXIV Corps, made up of veteran Army units including the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th Infantry divisions, and the III Amphibious Corps, with three battle-hardened Marine divisions, the 1st, 2nd, and 6th.
One of the most significant milestones in the Okinawan campaign was the taking of Shuri Castle, the underground headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army. After two months of fighting the Japanese, the 6th Marines and the Army’s 7th Division were moving south, nearing Shuri Castle. The 6th Marines were commanded by Maj. Gen. Pedro del Valle. Following a hard fight at Dakeshi Town, del Valle’s Marines engaged in a bloody battle at Wana Draw.
Wana Draw stretched 800 yards and was covered by Japanese guns from its 400-yard entrance to its narrow exit. The exit provided the key to Shuri Castle. The Japanese were holed up in caves the entire length of the gully, and had to be eradicated in man-to-man combat.
While the Marines battled through the mud and blood up the draw, the Army’s 77th Division was approaching Shuri from the east. To the west, the 6th Marines were pushing into the capital city of Naha. Faced with this overwhelming force, Japanese Gen. Ushijima’s army retreated to the south. On May 29, 1945, A Company, Red Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, commanded by Capt. Julius Dusenberg, approached to within 800 yards of Shuri Castle. The castle lay within the zone of the 77th Infantry Division, known as the Statue of Liberty Boys. However, Gen. Ushijima’s rear guard had stalled the 77th’s advance.
Impatient, Maj. Gen. del Valle ordered Capt. Dusenberg to “take that damned place if you can. I’ll make the explanations.”
Dusenberg radioed back, “Will do!”
Dusenberg’s Marines stormed the stone fortress, quickly dispatching a detachment of Japanese soldiers who had remained behind. Once the castle had been taken, Dusenberg took off his helmet and removed a flag he had been carrying for just such a special occasion. He raised the flag at the highest point of the castle and let loose with a rebel yell. The flag waving overhead was not the Stars and Stripes, but the Confederate Stars and Bars. Most of the Marines joined in the yell, but a disapproving New Englander supposedly remarked, “What does he want now? Should we sing ‘Dixie’?”
Maj. Gen. Andrew Bruce, the commanding general of the 77th Division, protested to the 10th Army that the Marines had stolen his prize. But Lt. Gen. Buckner only mildly chided Gen. del Valle, saying, “How can I be sore at him? My father fought under that flag!” Gen. Buckner’s father was the Confederate Gen. Buckner who had surrendered Fort Donelson to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1862. The flag flew only two days over Shuri Castle when it was formally raised on May 31, 1945. Dusenberg’s flag was first lowered and presented to Gen. Buckner as a souvenir. Gen. Buckner remarked, “OK! Now, let’s get on with the war!” Tragically, just days before Okinawa fell, Gen. Buckner was killed by an enemy shell on June 18, 1945, on Mezido Ridge while observing a Marine attack.