J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “June, 2019”

What Led Up to Gettysburg

 

It seems incredible in this day and age to imagine what led up to the Civil War. Slavery was an issue, but an underlying issue when the war started. In 1863, abolition had become more prevalent. 
Following the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863,  J.E.B. Stuart and his Confederate cavaliers moved north into enemy territory. For nearly the entire month of June, they traveled northward, sometimes through unfamiliar territory, to screen General Lee’s troops. Their movements came to fruition in the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place July 1-3, 1863.
Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, which describes the Confederate cavalry’s travels and challenges.
ABeckoningHellfire_MED
The horses plodded along with their eyes closed. A few of the drivers fell asleep, and their drowsy mules walked off the road into the ditch, pulling their wagons behind them. Some bucked, brayed and kicked in protest to their hunger and fatigue. Assigned soldiers rode up and down the line in the dark, looking for delays, barely coherent themselves. A few men slept while their horses jumped over fences, sending them sprawling, but even then they were too tired to awaken.
As dawn approached, General Stuart cantered alongside them, singing his battle song at the top of his lungs. His obedient soldiers, happy to see their commander alive and well, stirred themselves to sing along.
“Well, we’re the boys that rode around McClellian,
Rode around McClellian, rode around McClellian,
We’re the boys who rode around McClellian,
Bully boys, hey! Bully boys, ho!
“If you want to have a good time, jine the cavalry!
Jine the cavalry! Jine the cavalry!
If you want to catch the Devil, if you want to have fun,
If you want to smell Hell, jine the cavalry!”
The words inspired and rejuvenated the troopers. They began conversing amongst themselves in every effort to stay awake as the sky grew brighter, but the sun failed to appear, hidden behind thick clouds. The cavaliers wondered if, once again, they would be riding through a rainstorm.
“Wish there was somethin’ to eat besides dust,” Michael noted sarcastically as their mounts slowly walked along behind the wagon train.
“And I could go for a dunk in a lake right about now,” added John.
“I wouldn’t mind gittin’ me some new boots,” Custis commented. He pulled one of his feet from a stirrup and held it in the air, revealing a hole clean through the sole. “These here are plumb worn out, and I wasn’t lucky enough to snag me a pair back in Culpeper.”
“Well, if’n we’d ever git paid, I’d buy me two pairs of socks from the quartermaster, or a lucky feller who got some from home,” said Peter Smith, “make them into puppets, and send one to each of my daughters.”
David snickered at the thought of Peter drawing puppet faces on his socks.
“Seems the only one of us with any money is Summers,” Michael observed.
The men all looked over at David.
“Whatcha aim on doin’ with the grayback you won in that race?” Michael asked.
David hesitated for a moment. He realized that he was the only one in the group who’d been capable of earning rewards by racing and writing letters home, even though the practice of reciprocation had been outlawed by General Lee sometime before David’s enlistment.
“Well, I was thinkin’ of savin’ it up for college,” he casually replied.
The other troopers laughed.
David glared at them, astonished by their reaction.
“Son, you’ll be lucky if’n that gits you two cords of wood by the war’s end,” John remarked.
David frowned.
John continued, “what with the way things is goin’ with the price of things, that is. Sorry to be the one to inform you.” He smiled sympathetically.
David sighed. Even though his hope of going to school was just a pipe dream, he held onto it as tightly as he’d grasped hold of the $100 note. Now it seemed inevitable that he was destined to be a farmer all his life.

 

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It’s All In the Interpretation

I came across this article and have to admit that this gentleman certainly has a point. I was told several years ago that abuse is a matter of interpretation. If you feel you are being abused, then you ARE being abused. The same goes for discrimination, or in this case, a flag. If one flag is accepted and another is ridiculed for contrived impressions, there is a discrimination issue involved. In my opinion, we should accept all expressions of individually, patriotism, or personal identification. It is what our country and our Constitution are based upon. By accepting all, we invite tolerance and understanding, instead of promoting negativity and ill-conceived impressions. Here is the article:

Gay

Mark Velder, a city employee in Independence, Missouri spoke at this week’s city council meeting, to criticize the display of the rainbow pride flag by the Mayor, stating that he would be fired if he flew his Confederate Flag.

“We just did the Pledge of Allegiance, which says ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag.’ The flag. ‘The’ is a definitive article. That is my flag,” Velder said pointing to the American flag. “Not the LGBT flag,” Velder added while holding two Confederate flags. “I work at the city of Independence. If I put [the Confederate flag] up tomorrow, I’ll be fired.”

“Yet we’ve got a flag outside of the window, right up here that gives me a sense of discrimination. Something that’s not for equal rights, it’s a violation,” Velder continued. “That flag does not represent me, I keep hearing it’s for everybody. It does not. That represents people who have surgically removed part of their anatomy because they don’t know what kind of bathroom to go to … I’m normal. I’m normal.”

He added, “I’m asking can we get [the pride flag] down or just put mine [the Confederate flag] up. Just put this one up, I would love to see this one up tomorrow morning when I come to work.”

Rebel

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 21, 2019 ed.)

Somebody Flipped Their Lid

Monument

With all the hoopla about destroying and desecrating anything and everything related to the Confederacy these days, it seems that rationality has gone out the window. Here is another example.

MICHIGAN TEACHER VANDALIZES CLASSROOM

McBain Rural Agricultural School conducted an investigation after a teacher was filmed taking a hammer to a former student’s art tile with a Confederate flag on it.

School superintendent Steve Prissel said the school found out about the video when someone brought it to the attention of high school principal Ryan Biller.

In the video you can see the teacher take down a tile with a Confederate flag on it that the teacher said was “offensive.”

Biller began an investigation to address the incident as the school had not pre-approved the removal of the tile, the superintendent said.

Prissel would not identify the high school teacher involved in the incident or go into details about the investigation due to confidentiality reasons.

McBain senior Jackie Coleman said in a Facebook message that she took the video of the teacher.

Coleman said she was in the school’s art room during her study hour to work on her final piece. Some kids were making their senior tile and were viewing the ones already on the wall made by the 2007 seniors.

Students were making comments and ideas as they looked at the tiles and the one with the Confederate flag tile was particularly a conversation starter, she said.

When the teacher heard about the Confederate flag conversation, she said she didn’t agree with the tile being displayed and said she would take it down. She grabbed a hammer, pulled a table up, climbed on top of it, and started destroying the tile, Coleman said.

When Falmouth resident Kasia Vasser saw the video on Facebook, she recognized the tile. It was identical to the one she kept in her house and now has in her truck.

She was a senior at the McBain school in 2007 and made the tiles as part of an art project, she said.

She said all the seniors made the tiles, one for the wall and one to take with them. The teacher told them to put something on the tile that represented themselves.

What represented Vasser was horseshoes, her initials and the Confederate flag, she said.

Those items together represented freedom for her too. She loved horses and loved to ride them.

“When I ride I don’t think about problems, I just enjoy the ride,’ she said. “Enjoy the freedom of the ride.’

As for the flag, she said she believes it stands for history, freedom and respect.

She lived in southern states for a while and said that they were the best days for her family financially, academically and health wise.

No one said anything about the flag when she was making it and a lot of people have their own opinions and think of the flag in multiple ways, she said.

In the video’s Facebook comments, Vasser saw negative comments toward the teacher’s actions and negative comments toward her. There were also praises toward the teacher and praises toward Vasser.

“It’s whatever you believe and your opinion,’ she said.

Prissel said this was a “passionate’ subject and was handled accordingly.

It was a controversial piece and because there are differing views on it, it brings up different emotions, he said.

He consulted with the school’s attorney who supported that it was justified that the tile be taken down if it was bothering students.

The reasoning for taking it down was because students were offended by it and did not want it right on the wall. It was a disruption in the classroom and that had to be taken into account, he said.

As of now, Prissel is not aware of other tiles being taken down.

A handful of people did reach out and parents were concerned about the situation. They’re not used to seeing McBain on social media for something controversial, he said.

There is a process in place for removing something like this, but in this case it was not followed and the teacher did not ask for permission beforehand.

“The staff needs to follow protocol,’ he said. “So will they be reminded of that? Absolutely.’

At the school they support different viewpoints, that’s part of being an educational institution. They are also responsible as a school district to hear students’ concerns, he said.

“I think people need to be sensitive on both sides,’ he said.

An attempt to contact the teacher involved was unsuccessful.

(Article Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 14, 2019 ed.)

Was It Really All About Slavery?

flag

In last Sunday’s Colorado Springs Gazette, reporter David Ramsey wrote a story about Confederates who are buried in Colorado. He then went on to say that all of them undeniably fought to preserve slavery. He stressed this opinion throughout his story, and even contradicted people he interviewed with his strong opinions.

I’m not denying that slavery played a part in leading up to the Civil War, but Ramsey fails to mention all the other reasons why the war came about. He sites Confederate VP Alexander H. Stephens’ racist statements, but fails to take into account that racism was commonplace back then. President Lincoln was a huge racist, as a matter of fact, and wanted to ship all the blacks back to Africa or somewhere else out of the country. Ramsey claims that Robert E. Lee had slaves (which he set free before the war), but fails to mention how Grant kept his slaves until after the war, not to mention how seriously racist Sherman was, not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, and didn’t hesitate to kill as many as possible.

Here is a link to the story. Please let me know what your thoughts are. I’d love to see your comments!

https://gazette.com/news/david-ramsey-confederate-flags-fly-over-colorado-rebel-graves/article_7b2ca66a-8ef5-11e9-838e-1b97c92b8c31.html?fbclid=IwAR1ZMoV35Un9hAkw_gGwAXumVJ8LkCHP8kUqqzK1qd96n89GCYhTgqCG4Jw

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Review

ABGL Medium

I’m proud to present another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Feel free to share your thoughts!

AuthorsWebTVHost

When it comes to war (no matter the era), men tend to gravitate toward the bloody bodies and the weaponry, and while some women think the idea of war as romantic, others are horrified at the cruelty. I’ve never seen war as romantic, anything to be proud of, or even remotely good, and parts of JDR Hawkins book was difficult for me to read. That being said, A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a very good story, well written with extremely engaging characters. The historical aspect is excellent and once I could get my head wrapped around the war and violence, I found this Southern family very engaging. I’m very interested in learning where the next book in Hawkins’ series will take us.

ABGL B.R.A.G. Medallion

 

Another Excellent Review

ABGL B.R.A.G. Medallion

I received another great review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Here is the review:

By Francine1440

A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a historical fiction novel set during the American Civil War. Not being from the States, I have bare bones knowledge of this event in history so I found the author’s detailed telling of events and way of life during this time to be very interesting. The book provides both historical facts and a look at the conditions that both the soldiers and the citizens lived in during the Civil War. I found that some of the facts became rather dry and dragged the story down, although I do realize that they are essential to the story. For the most part, the story is told from the side of the Confederates. I’ve really only ever read information from the other side so I found it very interesting to read the alternate viewpoint. I can’t say I have changed my mind about which side I would have supported during the war but it did open my eyes as to why the Confederates felt the way they did. I found the pace of the book quite slow and I struggled to stay interested but for anyone who is a Civil War buff, this book would make for some entertaining reading. The characters are well developed and realistically written. I enjoyed the variety of personalities in the book, such as David who just wants to be like his dad and fight, and his dad, tough as nails even in horrible conditions. It can be difficult to have a lot of characters and make each one a worthwhile part of a book but the author manages to do this well throughout the whole story. For me, the pace was a bit slow but I realize the author had to do this in order to keep the realism of the story. Sometimes action sequences have to be sacrificed. Overall, I did learn a lot from this book, even with it being fiction, and I will look for more books by this author.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie&qid=1559710417&s=gateway&sr=8-1

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