J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

Glory Can Be Costly

The following letter, published in 1904, was written by a witness to Sherman’s Path of Destruction. After reading it, you won’t wonder why the South was so bitter after the war, even though those noble men who fought for the Confederacy did their best to be upholding, patriotic citizens.

“The last act of barbarism I saw Sherman’s soldiers commit was near Bentonville, N.C., on the morning of the last great battle for Southern independence. On the preceding night Gen. Joseph E. Johnston . . . quietly moved his army from Smithfield and threw it directly across Sherman’s path at Bentonville.  Gen. George G. Dibrell’s cavalry division, composed of his own brigade of Tennesseans and Col. Breckinridge’s Kentuckians, was falling back in front of one of the advancing Federal columns, the writer of this commanding the rear guard, closely followed by the enemy’s advance.

We had just crossed a narrow swamp . . . and passed by a neat, comfortable-looking farmhouse, occupied by women and children.  Halting some distance beyond and looking back, we saw Federal soldiers enter the house. Presently women were heard screaming, in a few minutes the building was in flames, and another family was homeless.

Sherman’s raid was ended, and he was a great hero. With his great army of veterans, almost unopposed, he had overrun and desolated the fairest sections of the South, burning cities, towns, and country-dwellings; had wantonly destroyed many millions of dollars’ worth of property, both public and private; had made homeless and destitute thousands of women and children and aged men by burning their house and destroying their means of subsistence. And it was to glorify him and for these deeds of barbarism that “Marching Through Georgia” was written, and it is for this it is sung.”

(What Marching Through Georgia Means, Milford Overly, Confederate Veteran, September 1904, pg. 446)

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Four Months to Find Civil War History

Archaeologists in Columbia, South Carolina are racing against time to unearth the remains of a Civil War POW camp. Their goal is to discover as much as they can about the area before it is cleared for development. Researchers have a window of four months to excavate a small portion of the 165-acre area before their time is up.

The site of the South Carolina State Hospital, known as “Camp Asylum,” is the area that the archaeologists are concentrating on. The camp held 1,500 Union officers during the winter of 1864-65.  Last summer, the site was sold to a developer for $15 million, who plans to build an urban campus of shops and apartments, and maybe even a minor league baseball field. Researchers are digging to locate the holes that the officers were living in, as well as any personal possessions they might have left behind.

“Almost everybody lived in holes, although the Confederacy did try to procure tents along the way, as they could obtain them,” said chief archaeologist Chester DePratter of the University of South Carolina’s Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

DePratter has been able to recover 40 diaries and dozens of letters. The researchers have also uncovered combs, buttons, clothing remnants, and utensils. To bring attention to the project, tours set up by the Historic Columbia Foundation are being offered for $10 each.

Civil War Event Highlighted in Mississippi

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Recently, a month-long program in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War began at the M. R. Dye Library in Horn Lake, Mississippi, where I used to work. The event was well attended, regardless of the dreary weather. To kick off the living history events, a reenactment took place behind the library. Members of Mississippi and Tennessee infantry regiments, as well as cavalry troopers, arrived to demonstrate to the crowd what it was like to fight in the War Between the States. I’ve posted a few pictures for fun. I’d like to give a special shout out to Carson Culver for arranging the program, as well as my friends at the library and in the UDC and SCV. I miss y’all! And thanks very much for featuring my books (A Beckoning Hellfire and A Beautiful Glittering Lie – next to Jeff Shaara’s).

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Sherman’s Path of Destruction

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On this date in 1865, Union forces under General William Tecumseh Sherman continued their march of devastation, reaching Columbia, South Carolina. Because it was the first state to secede from the Union, soldiers felt a deep-seated vengeance, so they burned the city to the ground. The previous winter, they had gone through Alabama and on to Georgia, burning Atlanta and capturing Savannah before Christmas. The rampaging soldiers’ path spanned 60 miles wide. They burned, pillaged, and destroyed everything in their path. Their behavior was explained away by Sherman as waging “total war” against the enemy.

Sherman was a serious racist, and although the Union supported emancipation, most soldiers didn’t. This was proven during the march, when Sherman ordered his men to destroy a bridge, leaving behind freed slaves who had followed them. The freedmen were so distraught over being left behind that many jumped into the river, and because they couldn’t swim, hundreds drowned.

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Sherman’s soldiers would continue north, tying up with General Ulysses S. Grant’s men as they laid siege on Petersburg. By early April, they would take the Confederate capital of Richmond as well, and force General Robert E. Lee to surrender his Army of Northern Virginia.

The Real Mr. Lincoln

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At the risk of offending some of my readers, I wanted to post insight into another side of Abraham Lincoln. Because he had two phenomenal secretaries, his presidency was recorded to amplify his admirable qualities.  However, their interpretation is also misconstrued and inaccurate. Therefore, I would like you to understand that Lincoln was, first and foremost, a politician. The following article provides more information about the policies and ideals that Lincoln represented and endorsed. Granted, many of these ideals were a sign of the times, as racism was commonplace in the 19th century. Feel free to post your comments. Let’s get a healthy conversation going!

From Media Bias Monthly, Where Context Matters

Subject: Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama…

Dear Subscribers, friends, and other parties:

On Tuesday, 27 Sept 2011, on the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,”
Bill O’Reilly thanked his viewers for making his book, “Killing Lincoln,” a number
one best seller at Amazon.com. In the interests of full disclosure, this editor
states he has not read and does not intend to read the book, since Mr. O’Reilly
has obviously not read the copy of the book this editor sent him. O’Reilly then
explained how to get copies of the book and that the book was also available in
audio form. Then he went into the “E-MAIL” section of his program…

Bill O’Reilly speaking: “Lorene Leiter, North Brunswick, NJ, “Bill, your talking
points about Lincoln made me cringe. He was a tyrant who imprisoned
opponents and killed the South with tariffs. You need to do your homework.”

Here is the original letter as it was sent to Bill O’Reilly, (In the opinion of this
editor, Mr. O’Reilly, or someone on his staff, reworded the letter to the point
of changing its original context. Remember that the next time Bill O’Reilly
criticizes “the left” for taking someone else’s words out of context.)

“Bill, Your talking points about needing a leader like Lincoln made me
cringe. Lincoln was a tyrant who imprisoned newspaper editors, politicians,
and others whose only crime was to disagree with him. His burdensome
federal tariffs were killing the Southern economy. You need to do your
homework.”
 — Lorene Leiter, North Brunswick, NJ

With a portrait of Lincoln behind him with a caption reading “Lincoln’s
Legacy,” Bill O’Reilly responded, “Did do the homework, Lorene. The
research in “Killing Lincoln,” meticulous. Your take, is misguided.”

How much does Bill O’Reilly love and worship Abraham Lincoln? Enough to
say, “Lincoln is the gold standard for American leadership.” [and] “I think
when we vote for our next president, we need to get a leader like Lincoln in
here.” 
— Bill O’Reilly, September 30, 2011

This editor has to ask, “Who is Bill O’Reilly to call Lorene Leiter’s “take
misguided.”
?” Or at least, “what was she misguided about?” Is Bill O’Reilly
a scholar of history, or a Lincolnite propagandist? What if O’Reilly’s admiration
for “Lincoln and his Legacy” was equally applied to a potential future “Obama
Legacy?” Here are a few examples:

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama said something like, “Christianity is
a religion for fools,
” and that “Christ Jesus was a bastard child,” should he?
After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln wrote exactly that in his book
“Infidelity,” or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama said something like, “There has to be
a position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in
favor of having the superior position assigned to the black race,” should he?
After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln said something like that on
October 13, 1858, or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama said something like, “What I would
desire the most is the separation of the white and black races
.” should he?
After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln said that on October 13, 1858,
or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama said something like, “I am not, nor
ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political
equality of the black and white races-that I am not, nor have ever been in
favor of allowing whites to vote of be on juries.” should he? After all, Bill
O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln said almost exactly that on October 13,
1858, or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama put him [O’Reilly] in jail without bond,
hearing, or trial, should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln did
that to his political opponents, or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous
research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama shuts down the Fox News Channel,
should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln shut down some
300 newspapers that criticized his war policies, or did Bill O’Reilly find that
in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama asked his US Army generals to shell
innocent civilians with artillery in Afghanistan, should he? After all,
Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln asked one of his generals if he could
get close enough to Richmond, VA to “throw shells into the city,” or did
Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind Obama’s claiming that he [Obama] has improved
the economy, should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln is
known as “The Great Emancipator,” when his Emancipation Proclamation
freed not a single slaves, or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous
research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama ordered new taxes, without
congressional approval, should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham
Lincoln started income tax withholdings without congressional approval,
or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama received a “fan letter” from some
socialist/Marxist dictator, praising Obama for his “advancing the cause
of socialism in America,” should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham
Lincoln received a “fan letter” from Karl Marx, praising Lincoln and equating
Lincoln’s war against the South with the Marxist struggle against capitalism
in Europe, or did Bill O’Reilly find that in his “meticulous research?”

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama allowed Muslin prisoners-of-war to die
of cold and starvation, should he? After all, Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham
Lincoln allowed some 26,000 Confederate prisoners-of-war to die in Union
prisoners-of-war camps from cold and starvation, or did Bill O’Reilly find that
in his “meticulous research?”.

Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t mind if Obama really is a socialist, should he? After all,
Bill O’Reilly’s hero, Abraham Lincoln had Marxists and radical socialists
in his political cabinet and on his general’s staff, or did Bill O’Reilly find that
in his “meticulous research?”

Sure, Bill O’Reilly wants to sell his book, “Killing Lincoln,” good for him, but
for a man who so prizes researching the facts, Mr. O’Reilly is either a political
hypocrite for giving Lincoln a pass that he wouldn’t give Obama, or he is blinded
to the facts about Lincoln because he does not want to upset his “historical
image apple cart.” The Fox News Channel came into existence because there
was a demand for “fair and balanced” news reporting, not simply the “paid for”
opinions and propaganda from the liberal news media, but has the Fox News
Channel sunken into the same liberal slant? Just as the liberal news media has
to compete with the Fox News Channel, the Fox News Channel has to compete
with private citizens who refuse to be denied the truth. In the information battle
for truth, why has Bill O’Reilly been so unable to mention or find any the above
mentioned facts in his “meticulous research?”

Dear reader, this editor regards Bill O’Reilly as a Lincolnite sycophant with too
much emotional investment in the pagan image of Abraham Lincoln to allow
himself to see the real Abraham Lincoln for the racist, egotistical, power-hungry
tin-plated, murdering-dictator that he was. This editor does not mind being
labeled “misguided” by Bill O’Reilly when my facts are correct, and unlike
Mr. Bill O’Reilly, this editor will never bow and worship the marble image at the
Lincoln Temple in Washington, DC. Simply put, Lorene Leiter of North Brunswick,
NJ told the truth to Bill O’Reilly, and he couldn’t accept that truth because the
truth is contrary to the godlike image of the Lincoln he has created in his own
mind. Is Bill O’Reilly a scholar of history, or a Lincolnite propagandist? You
can research the above facts for yourself make up your own mind. You may have
heard the old saying, “The history books are written by the winners.” but to that,
this editor would add, “…while they call those who have evidence to the contrary,
“misguided.”

“They invaded our lands, they murdered members of our families,
they stole our property, they burnt our homes, they kept their
heels on the back of our necks with unjust laws and military
occupation, and now, they want my grandchildren to thank them?
May God straighten their lying tongues, may He send light to their
darkened hearts, and may He have mercy upon their wicked souls.”

– Former Private Thomas Jefferson Martin, Co. A, 12th Louisiana, Inf, CSA,
50 years after the surrender of the Army of Tennessee

For Media Bias Monthly, Where Context Matters
John Long, Editor

(This article was sent courtesy of Mr. Jack Marlar)

Birth of a President

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The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. Oddly enough, his birthplace was only a few miles from that of the Confederacy’s first president, Jefferson Davis. When Lincoln was very young, his family moved to Indiana. His mother died when he was only 9, from what was known as milk sickness.

“Honest Abe” learned how to read by firelight, and advanced from a lowly country bumpkin to a lawyer to a congressman. When he was elected president in 1860, he was the first man to run on the Republican ticket. He won with only a plurality of the popular vote, but 183 in the electoral vote. Because of threats on his life, he had to be smuggled into Washington. His wit and humor must have been tested repeatedly, for not only did his country split in two, but he suffered many personal losses as well.

President Lincoln received much criticism during his presidency, especially and understandably from Southerners, but his untimely murder made many sad. It’s interesting to speculate whether Reconstruction would have gone more smoothly and wouldn’t have lasted as long if Lincoln had survived. Over the course of time, he has become a matyr for Emancipation, and has become almost a saint to most. His birthday is celebrated in conjunction every year with our first president and founding father, George Washington. Lincoln has been the subject of thousands of books, movies, articles, and other media outlets.

Age Old Debate

On this date in 1863, Secretary of State William Seward rejected France’s offer to mediate peace and end the War Between the States. Needless to say, because of his decision, millions more died, and some of the worst battles fought on American soil took place. Some of those battles still hold records today in the number of casualties they claimed.

This brings us to that familiar old adage: What would have happened if the South had won the Civil War? There have been numerous books written on the subject, as well as ongoing blogs and discussions. One thing is for certain, however. If the war had ended at the onset of 1863, millions of American men would have kept their lives.

Seward was criticized for his decision, and despised by some because of it. An accomplice of John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell, nearly killed Seward at the same time that Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. After the war, Seward was criticized by the press for purchasing Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, calling it “Seward’s Folly.” He got the last laugh though, when gold was discovered five years later, in 1872.

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