J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “October, 2015”

Confederate Graves Discovered

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Last week, archaeologist Bill Meacham discovered the graves of nearly 40 Confederate soldiers in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Mr. Meacham has been searching for these graves for almost 16 years, and has spent thousands of dollars trying to locate them.

During the Civil War, Hopkinsville had an encampment of around 2,000 soldiers primarily from Tennessee and Kentucky. Several hundred died of disease, as was the case with most encampments during the war. However, no one knew where these men were buried.

Historian William Turner said that an old ledger was discovered in a roll top desk drawer at a local bank in 1989. “That was a tremendous find, except you’ve got to know where to start,” said Turner.

After several attempts, no graves were discovered. That is, until recently.

“We found totally about 40, but in the book, even row one has 21 graves in it, and we’ve only got 3 recorded. Row 2 has 27 or 28 and we got 11,” said Meacham.

During the dig, one metal coffin with a nameplate was discovered.

“It says William H Pate, found him in the census. He was 16-years-old when he died. He was from the 3rd regiment, Tippah County Mississippi,” said Meacham.

An old gunpowder storage building was also discovered. The remains will be reburied and given a special marker. And the area within the cemetery will be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Got a Spooky Ghost Story?

I’m holding a contest to see who has the scariest ghost story. Although my story is Civil War related, yours doesn’t have to be. Just tell us about the scariest experience you’ve ever had. I will choose one random winner on Halloween. Post your spookiest spook story on my blog at https://jdrhawkins.com/blog and you could win one copy of each of my first two books in the “Renegade Series” – A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. Now, here’s my story.

I have had several scary encounters over the years, but the one that stands out is when I visited the site where the greatest cavalry battle took place on North American soil. I’m talking about the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia. It seems like a strange place to experience a haunting. Most people would assume haunted houses or popular, well-known battlefields, such as Gettysburg, would be prime places to experience a haunting. But mine happened in a small clapboard house that has come to be known as the Graffiti House.

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The Graffiti House is believed to have been built in 1858, and used for commercial purposes, since it is located next to railroad tracks. The house was used as a field hospital by both Union and Confederate troops. It was later abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was ready for demolition when, in 1993, someone discovered the unique artwork concealed beneath the wallpaper. Drawings made by both Union and Confederate soldiers have been revealed, and the house has been restored to its original condition. But, apparently, some of the soldiers are still there.

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When my husband and I first visited the Graffiti House, we were welcomed inside and given a tour. However, once we reached the top of the steps and entered one of the rooms, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly nauseous. I could definitely feel a presence in that room. Once I left the room, the feeling went away. I have been to the Graffiti House since, and have never experienced this feeling again. It was very strange, to say the least!

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For more information about the Graffiti House, visit:

http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/

Mississippi Won’t Cave to Political Correctness (But Ole Miss Might – Again)

Recent debate about controversy surrounding the Confederate battle flag prompted several government agencies to remove the flag over the last few months. Sadly, South Carolina and Virginia, among other states, had the flag removed for various reasons, the most prominent being that it is supposedly interpreted as offensive to certain ethnic groups. Pressure came from racial hate groups, such as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, to remove the flag and anything else associated with the Confederacy. However, they failed to sway the people of Mississippi.

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The state is the only one left that includes the Confederate battle flag in its banner. In 2001, the state voted, and the people decided by a wide margin, that the Mississippi state flag would remain as it was. After the political correctness influx of last summer, the state is still going to keep the same flag, regardless of threats from Congress to have it removed from government buildings. Governor Bryant has ignored the threats and is standing firm on keeping the flag the way it is. Good for him!

However, the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, isn’t as open minded. A small group of student senators has pressured the school to remove the state flag from the university. If this happens, there will certainly be repercussions. A state university denying the use of the state flag? The same state that is funding the school? Ludicrous!

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This isn’t the first time Ole Miss has given in to political correctness. A few years back, they decided to get rid of Colonel Reb as their mascot, and replace him with a black bear. Needless to say, Colonel Reb still lives on, despite what a few claim is “racist.” I’m sure their next attack will be on the beautiful monuments to Confederate soldiers that adorn the campus. Maybe they’ll even bulldoze over the cemetery, also on campus, that holds the graves of the University Grays, those brave students who went off to fight for the Southern cause. (During the Battle of Gettysburg and Pickett’s Charge, the University Grays sustained 100% casualties – all we either killed or wounded.)

It’s shameful that these cherished reminders of the Confederacy are gradually being swept away. When our history is lost, then it has the opportunity to repeat itself, and the government has the opportunity to take total control by removing our identity.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/20/us/ole-miss-state-flag-confederate-vote/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/18/ap-mississippi-refuses-strip-confederate-symbol-state-flag/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Mississippi Monument Dedication at Shiloh

A friend of mine recently sent me some photos of the Mississippi monument dedication, which took place at Shiloh Military Park on October 10, 2015. The occasion was marked by special speeches and was well attended. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for this special event. The National Park Service has said that this is the last monument they will allow to be erected in the park. The Sons of Confederate Veterans in Mississippi  have been working on making this dream a reality for several years. Special thanks to Mr. Clay Pruett for providing these photographs.

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New Cover Reveal

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I am featuring a new novel titled Seeking redemption by Dr. Madhu Vajpayee. The cover looks awesome indeed! Here is more information about the book and the author:

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Book Blurb:

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

http://www.amazon.in/dp/938431515X

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Author:

Dr.Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world.

Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.

When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.

Contact the Author:

More Stone Mountain Controversy

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This weekend, several lectures are scheduled to take place at Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, Georgia. They are in response to the recent turn of events I wrote about concerning the placement of a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on top of the mountain. The monument, proposed by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, would be a replica of the Liberty Bell, and would be called the “Freedom Bell.” Dr. King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech would be included, as well as this inscription: “Let Freedom Ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.” The Stone Mountain Park Association approved the placement of the monument, but has received criticism for its decision.

The lecture series is being called “Confederate Heritage and the Fracturing of American Identity.” It will address the issue of abolishing Confederate symbols and monuments. Many people feel that it is inappropriate to place a MLK monument on Stone Mountain, which was legally designated as a Confederate memorial years ago. I, for one, agree with this notion. If this is allowed to happen, then in all fairness, Confederate flags should be placed at every Civil Rights monument.

For more information, visit:

http://us9.campaign-archive2.com/?u=41d92968e1e10ba88ff5078a2&id=3707e03783&e=f7224046ee

http://www.wsbtv.com/ap/ap/georgia/civil-rights-groups-hope-ga-gov-will-prevent-king-/nn3T7/

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/Civil-Right-Groups-Oppose-MLK-Monument-Stone-Mountain-332539942.html

http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/stone-mountain/2015/10/14/civil-rights-leaders-governor-no-mlk-presence-stone-mountain/73955528/

Book Release Party!

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Today is the release day blitz for a novel I mentioned last week, titled Coke by author Barun Chanda. Here is some information on it:

COKE – Blurb

“Can you help me, please?”

Pradipta wheeled around.

Standing behind was an unusually attractive lady. She wore a dark blue, chiffon saree which set off her fair complexion even more. Other than a thin gold chain with a tear-drop pearl pendant on her neck, she wore no jewelery. Her lips were pale pink, with no lipstick. Only the dark make-up on her eyes made her look even more unfathomable.

“You’re talking to me?”

Thus begins Coke, with this chance encounter at Kathmandu airport. But the plot thickens when the lady requests him to include her suitcase as part of his checked in baggage and then does a vanishing act, once the aircraft lands in Calcutta. What follows is a riveting page-turner, replete with unexpected twists as you encounter gangs warring over narcotics, policemen, functionaries, and a sinister master-mind who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The furiously paced narrative takes you from the sleepy airport of Kathmandu to the packed streets of Calcutta, a mysterious mansion on the outskirts of town and an unforgettable chase-sequence through New Market.

From the author of the acclaimed Bengali novels ‘Kidnap’, ‘Shaaper Jhaanpi’ and ‘Robibar’ comes a high-octane thriller that’s seriously addictive and keeps you hooked till the end.

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At the first ring, Rustam picked up his mobile. It showed Bob’s number on the screen. He put the mobile to his ear and listened.

“I’m speaking from the loo…there’s news for you.”

“Why from the toilet?”

“Because no other place in the house is safe to talk to you,” Bob whispered back.

“When can we meet, then?”

“In the evening, after my duty’s over.”

“Didn’t you say you have day-night duties from now on?”

“They are letting me go for now in the evenings. But not at your place. It’s too risky.”

“Okay. So, where and when?”

“Hello, someone seems to be knocking at the door.”

The phone call ended with the roar of the flushing toilet.

At eight-thirty sharp, Rustam met Bob at Girish Park.

“Why didn’t you get in touch with me the last three days?”

Rustam looked sharply at Bob.

“There were problems.” Bob let out a thick cloud of cigarette smoke.

“It’s getting increasingly risky to come out and meet you like this.”

Though they stood in close proximity, their faces looked away in diametrically opposite directions. Unless you looked carefully, it was difficult to make out they were actually talking to each other.

Rustam idly looked at the snarling evening traffic, his hands on the railing of the park.

“So, what’s the news?”

On a bench inside the park, a young couple took advantage of the darkness to get cozy with each other. Bob simply couldn’t take his eyes off them.

“The red suitcase…”

Bob’s voice trailed off as his eyes were riveted on the frenetic activities of the couple on the bench, their bodies wrapped under a shawl.

“Yes, what about the red suitcase?”

Rustam cast one sharp glance at Bob, before looking away.

“I know where it is.”

Bob’s face got hidden in a cloud of smoke.

“Good.” Rustam’s voice sounded relieved. “In which room?”

“Upstairs, in boss’s bed room.”

“What makes you so sure?” Rustam’s eyes narrowed as he watched Bob’s face intently. For some inexplicable reason, he had never been able to fully trust Bob right from the beginning.

“One of the middle rooms on the first floor…was kept under lock and key all this while.”

Bob’s eyes were still very much on the couple on the bench.

“Bob…why aren’t you saying anything?”

Rustam’s voice sounded impatient.

The couple’s bodies were locked in a tight clinch under the shawl.

“Bob?”

“I saw one of the sentries take the suitcase away from the middle room to boss’s bedroom.”

Rustam kept his eyes on the Central Avenue. A traffic jam was forming near the crossing, adjacent to the park. An eccentric man, with a wooden stick in his hand, was trying to regulate the traffic, in the process, making things much worse for everyone.

“Did you get to see where he hid it inside the bed room?”

“No.”

Bob watched fascinated what the couple was doing on the bench, underneath the shawl.

“Niyogi shut the door after entering boss’s bed room.”

For a while both stood facing away from each other, in silence.

At long last, a cop appeared on the road and was seen trying to control the traffic. Inside the park, the couple was still locked in a tight embrace. Bob puffed at his cigarette and blew another cloud of smoke from his mouth. Rustam fanned with his hand irritably, trying hard to keep the smoke away from his face.

“Anything else?”

“Yes, there is.”

Bob looked directly at Rustam for the first time in the evening.

“I think Harry is going out of town very shortly.”

“Outside Calcutta, or outside India?”

“How should I know that?” Bob answered irritably.

“Somebody came from a travel agency with a sealed envelope. I signed and received it.”

The traffic at the crossing had eased by now. The couple on the bench sat still, exhausted.

Rustam noticed Bob smiling at them.

“What are you smiling at?”

“Nothing.”

Bob took one last puff from the cigarette, flicked the butt end casually towards the footpath and walked away. After a while Rustam came and sat at the bench in the park.   The couple got up from the bench and walked away, each in a different direction. Rustam watched them leave, took out the mobile from his pocket and started speaking into it in a low voice.

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BARUN CHANDA – Author Bio

In so far as the pursuit of any true vocation is a life in itself, Barun Chanda – advertising guru, actor and writer, may be said to have had three. Born in Dhaka, he did his Masters in English at Jadavpur University. Following a brief stint as a lecturer in English, he embarked upon a career in the creative department of advertising that spanned more than 30 years, won him numerous awards and culminated in his tenure as Creative Director at Clarion McCann.

Acting occupies the second of his three worlds. In 1971, he scorched the big screen as a high-flying executive, playing the protagonist in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Seemabaddha’, and winning a special President of India Award for his performance. After a hiatus that lasted over two decades, he returned to the screen during the 90’s, and has since then acted in numerous TV series and more than 35 movies. Tackling Bollywood and Tollywood roles with equal aplomb, he has distinguished himself in films such as Lootera, Roy, Chotushkone, Aborto, MIshor Rohoshyo, Nayanchampa-r Dinraatri , Bela Sheshe and Jogajog. Chorabaali, where where once again he plays the protagonist, is his latest venture.

Barun’s third passion is writing. A regular film reviewer and contributor of articles to major dailies, in the last eight years he has published four highly acclaimed and successful novels in Bengali. His work has played a major role in establishing the adult thriller genre in Bengali literature.

Coke is his first novel in English.

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Sometimes, Showing Honor is Disrespectful

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Yesterday, the Sons of Confederate Veterans sent out a statement in response to the placement of a Martin Luther King Jr. monument on Stone Mountain in Georgia. Stone Mountain is in a predominately black area of Atlanta. The MLK statue has been proposed by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. However, this is in complete conflict with the original establishment of Stone Mountain, which was to honor the Confederacy. Although some think it would be okay to place a MLK monument on the mountain, it is completely disrespectful to the thousands who died defending their homeland during the Civil War.

“This decision by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is wholly inappropriate in that it is an intentional act of disrespect toward the stated purpose of the Stone Mountain memorial from its inception as well as a possible violation of the law which established the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and charged it with promoting the mountain as a Confederate memorial.

“The Venable family, which owned Stone Mountain in the early 1900′s, leased the face of the mountain to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916 for the purpose of creating a carved memorial to the Confederacy.  The UDC contracted Gutzon Borglum, who later sculpted the Mount Rushmore carving; after the work was halted due to a disagreement with Borglum, the carving remained unfinished for several decades.  As the state began to discuss interest in reviving the memorial project as a state project, the Venable family deeded the land to the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, Inc. in 1956.  Two years later, in 1958, the state of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain; and the General Assembly created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association expressly to maintain the mountain and all adjacent property as a Confederate memorial and complete a portion of the original design for the carving.

“The act of the General Assembly which created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association specifically states the park, including both the mountain and all adjacent property, is to be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial (OCGA 12-3-191).   The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different.  The park was never intended to be a memorial to multiple causes but solely to the Confederacy.  Therefore, monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists. The opinions of the park’s current neighbors and opponents are of no bearing in the discussion.

“Furthermore, the erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate Cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters.  Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people.”

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According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “the Sons of Confederate Veterans are right about Stone Mountain.” There are plenty of places where a MLK monument can be placed, but Stone Mountain shouldn’t be one of them.

Ballot Initiative to Remove Confederate Emblem Underway

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An initiative to remove the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag is another step closer to snagging a spot on the ballot.

Mississippi’s attorney general approved civil rights advocate Sharon Brown’s request to start a petition to remove the Confederate flag on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

Brown issued the following statement in a press release from the Mississippi attorney general’s office:

“Today we received our official ballot title and summary from the state and are excited that we are one important step closer to giving the citizens of Mississippi the opportunity to have their voice heard on this important issue. I appreciate the Secretary of State and the Attorney General for working expeditiously to get our initiative ready for circulation. It is exciting to know that we are one step closer to addressing this issue once and for all. We will be holding a press conference on October 9th to announce our next steps. Additional information will be forthcoming.”

Gov. Bryant
According to state officials, this is just one step in the process to get an initiative on the ballot.

“The ballot title and summary are required to be drafted by the Attorney General,” said Pamela Weaver, director of communications for the Mississippi Secretary of State.

Weaver said this is state law and it requires the attorney general’s office to publish the proposed ballot title and summary.

According to the press release, the ballot title for the Initiative Measure #55 is, “Should the Confederate battle flag or any reference to the Confederacy be removed from the State Flag?”

The ballot summary is as follows:

Initiative Measure No. 55 proposes to add the following language to the Mississippi Constitution:

“The flag of the State of Mississippi shall not contain or include any reference to the Confederate army’s battle flag or to the Confederacy.” As an enforcement mechanism, a Mississippi citizen may petition the Mississippi Supreme Court for a write of mandamus requiring the State, its political subdivisions, their agents, officers, or employees to comply with the amendment.

http://www.wlox.com/story/30166467/ballot-initiative-to-remove-confederate-emblem-underway

Thanks to Jim Huffman for this information.

Courtesy of Sons of Confederate Veterans Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp #1452 newsletter, Hernando, MS, Oct. 2015, V. 39, Issue #10

Cover Reveal for New Book

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As part of the b00k 3vi3ws blog tour, today I am featuring a new book by author Barun Chanda. Here it is, as well as some info about his new book:

“Can you help me, please?”

Pradipta wheeled around.

Standing behind was an unusually attractive lady. She wore a dark blue, chiffon saree which set off her fair complexion even more. Other than a thin gold chain with a tear-drop pearl pendant on her neck, she wore no jewelery. Her lips were pale pink, with no lipstick. Only the dark make-up on her eyes made her look even more unfathomable.

“You’re talking to me?”

Thus begins Coke, with this chance encounter at Kathmandu airport. But the plot thickens when the lady requests him to include her suitcase as part of his checked in baggage and then does a vanishing act, once the aircraft lands in Calcutta. What follows is a riveting page-turner, replete with unexpected twists as you encounter gangs warring over narcotics, policemen, functionaries, and a sinister master-mind who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The furiously paced narrative takes you from the sleepy airport of Kathmandu to the packed streets of Calcutta, a mysterious mansion on the outskirts of town and an unforgettable chase-sequence through New Market.

From the author of the acclaimed Bengali novels ‘Kidnap’, ‘Shaaper Jhaanpi’ and ‘Robibar’ comes a high-octane thriller that’s seriously addictive and keeps you hooked till the end.

About the Author:

In so far as the pursuit of any true vocation is a life in itself, Barun Chanda – advertising guru, actor and writer, may be said to have had three. Born in Dhaka, he did his Masters in English at Jadavpur University. Following a brief stint as a lecturer in English, he embarked upon a career in the creative department of advertising that spanned more than 30 years, won him numerous awards and culminated in his tenure as Creative Director at Clarion McCann.

Acting occupies the second of his three worlds. In 1971, he scorched the big screen as a high-flying executive, playing the protagonist in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Seemabaddha’, and winning a special President of India Award for his performance. After a hiatus that lasted over two decades, he returned to the screen during the 90’s, and has since then acted in numerous TV series and more than 35 movies. Tackling Bollywood and Tollywood roles with equal aplomb, he has distinguished himself in films such as Lootera, Roy, Chotushkone, Aborto, MIshor Rohoshyo, Nayanchampa-r Dinraatri , Bela Sheshe and Jogajog. Chorabaali, where where once again he plays the protagonist, is his latest venture.</div>

Barun’s third passion is writing. A regular film reviewer and contributor of articles to major dailies, in the last eight years he has published four highly acclaimed and successful novels in Bengali. His work has played a major role in establishing the adult thriller genre in Bengali literature.

Coke is his first novel in English.

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