J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “January, 2022”

What the Hell is Wrong With Virginia? (Pt. 2)

Virginia has definitely gone mad. The latest heinousness is erasing any reminder of Stonewall Jackson from the Virginia Military Institute. General Jackson served as a professor there prior to the Civil War. For decades, a statue of Stonewall stood at the entrance, but was recently taken down. Now they (presumably Northam and Stoney) want to sandblast his name from the front of Jackson Memorial Hall and rename the building. Apparently, Stonewall’s famous horse, Little Sorrel, is still buried in front of where his statue used to be. No one knows what will happen to the remains.

In Fredericksburg, the name of Jefferson Davis Highway has been changed. The process was completed last week. The new name of the highway is Emancipation Highway. City leaders chose the new name because it “promotes our shared values of unity, equality, and a commitment to a better future for all Americans.” But does it really? I seriously doubt that.

The Charlottesville, Virginia city council has given the Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which plans to melt it down. That will most likely be the precedent for the disposal of the Richmond statues.

From Civil War Talk, Florida Rebel posted this:

“Speaking of monuments and historical landmarks, has anyone been to Washington and Lee Univ. in Lexington recently? Yes, the school’s name has not been changed but it’s all a mirage now. I have been told the Lee Chapel name is no more and many other numerous references to Lee in the chapel have disappeared too. And remember the beautiful marble statue of the great General sleeping on the field? I have been told it is now hidden behind a wall of some kind…. Have been told the museum and main bookstore that used to sell numerous Lee books and other items has changed drastically too. And the school employees, many of the students and faculty, so many have been brain washed on Lee and what a terrible man, slave owner and leader he was. My God, how did this happen in OUR lifetime? Has the entire state of VA and the ‘cancel culture’ gone freaking mad? I sincerely hope someone can visit the school soon and confirm or deny.”

In Richmond, the city council also passed legislation to remove two other monuments: a statue of General William Carter Wickham, and the 1st Virginia Regiment monument. I wonder how the descendants of these people who are witnessing the shameful, disrespectful abolishment of their ancestors feel.

And apparently, the marker in front of Lee’s boyhood home has been removed. General Robert E. Lee lived there when he was four years old. But now, that particular piece of history in relation to the house is being swept under the rug. An article on Yahoo! even mentioned that the house had a connection to a slave owner who fought for slavery, which is a complete lie. To me, this is tragic, because it is just another example of erasing and/or changing history. When a marker is removed denoting an event or a person who was there, etc., history is being removed from public view. Out of sight, out of mind. But once this is done, that priceless piece of history is gone forever, just like it never existed.

So how is erasing one part of American history, specifically, Confederate history, and replacing it with another, specifically black history, going to make our country better? How will it unify us? Will taking the monuments down really make an impact on people’s lives? Or is it merely being done to satisfy the political left and the woke cancel culture? They are coming after our history with a vengeance, and I shiver to think about what they will attack next.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/11/05/robert-e-lee-historical-marker-alexandria-removed/

The Smithsonian Institute (which, BTW was started by Jefferson Davis) has an online database of American sculptures that may be queried and limited to Civil War related objects only : https://siris-artinventories.si.edu…l&ri=6&source=~!siartinventories&sort=3100012

What the Hell is Wrong With Virginia? (Pt. 1)

“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history or denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of their own destruction.”

Sir William Wallace, 1281 A.D.

There has been an assault going on for quite some time on Confederate monuments and markers. The most alarming is what’s taking place in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney have taken it upon themselves to aggressively go after and do away with any reminder of the Confederacy, even though Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America for nearly all of the Civil War. I find this alarming because, even though the political climate has changed over the past century and a half, history should never be erased. It stands as a reminder to what happened in the past, and whether interpreted as good or bad, it is still a valuable part of American history. Germany intentionally has left what remains of old stalags as reminders of the terrible history it experienced under Nazism. I think America should do the same.

This brings to mind the recent desecration of Monument Avenue in Richmond. What used to be a beautiful area in the heart of the city, with its magnificent monuments, has utterly been destroyed. I visited Richmond when I attended the UDC Convention back in (I believe) 2011, and I thought the avenue was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, last year, Black Lives Matter was given free rein to desecrate the monuments, as well as buildings around them, by any and all means possible. They covered the monument bases with graffiti and were even allowed to chisel away at some of them. As far as I know, no arrests were ever made. What an atrocity, and shameful for the city of Richmond. I, for one, will never visit Richmond again.

It’s my understanding that Monument Avenue was on the National Historic Sites Register, and because of that, it should have been protected. But apparently not, since all of the magnificent statues have been taken down. The last one to be removed was that of General Robert E. Lee. The statue was even cut in half. They are considering giving the Robert E. Lee monument to the Black History Museum, which has said that they will melt the statue down and make it into something else. I can only imagine what that might be.

https://news.yahoo.com/pedestal-robert-e-lee-statue-162639455.html

The Richmond City Council recently allocated $1.3 million to build a national slavery museum.

“The response can’t be to build back up Monument Avenue,” Hones said. “It must be to build back the antithesis of what was torn down. And the best thing to do is to become serious as a council and administration to tell the true story … of what’s in place in Virginia.”

The city of Richmond has received numerous offers for the monuments, which are being stored in a sewage facility. The matter will be decided on January 18, 2022.

The following is a list of groups who wish to obtain the monuments:
1. Liberty Hall Fife & Drums
2. Ratcliffe Foundation/Ellenbrook
3. Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation
4. VA Division – Sons of Confederate Veterans
5. Valentine Museum
6. United States of America Naval History & Heritage Command
7. Fontaine/Maury Society
8. JEB Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust
9. CSA II: The New Confederate States of America Inc. – Monument Establishment & Preservation Fund
10. Belmead on the James
11. Shannon Pritchard/Hickory Hill/Wickham Family
12. Sumter County SC Sons of Confederate Veterans
13. LAXArt Museum
14. Spotsylvania Historical Association
15. DARNstudio
16 Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
17. Preserve America’s Battlefields
18. Private individual 1 – David Hinton
19. Private individual 2 – Michael Boccicchio
20. Private individual 3 – Olivia Tautkus
21. Private individual 4 – James Cochrane, Jr.
22. Private individual 5 – Austin Wylam
23. Liberty Hall Plantation

There is no submission from the Black History Museum, but it seems that they will receive legal ownership of most of the monuments and their bases. It also seems that the Valentine Museum will “partner” with the Black History Museum in gaining ownership of the monuments. However, the Valentine Museum has only submitted a request for the Valentine sculptured statue of Jefferson Davis.

https://www.wvtf.org/news/2021-12-30/richmond-hands-monument-process-over-to-black-history-museum

I subscribe to Civil War Talk, and wanted to share some entries.

From Viper 21:

“City and state officials have reached an agreement to transfer ownership of the statue and pedestal of Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which has also agreed to take possession of all the other Confederate memorials removed from Richmond since last year.

“Under this arrangement, Richmond’s Black History Museum would work in partnership with the Valentine museum — which has chronicled the city’s history for more than a century — and local community members to determine the fates of the stone and bronze symbols of the Confederacy.


“The deal requires approval by Richmond’s City Council. Mayor Levar Stoney — who hammered out some of the details with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) — said in a written statement that the arrangement enables the community to take a deliberate approach in reckoning with such divisive symbols.

“‘Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,’ Stoney said in the statement, obtained by The Washington Post … ‘They will take the time that is necessary to properly engage the public and ensure the thoughtful disposition of these artifacts.’”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/12/30/richmond-confederate-statues-black-history-museum/?fbclid=IwAR08i4KSdAtBc60efKAARt7ZouUoxsmkgacx6tfep6vMvJIgpW_wsXHko9k

Sgt. Cycom from L.A. summed it up: “The people that are loudest in calling for ‘unity’ and ‘inclusion’ are almost always projecting their own intolerance and inability to compromise. I hope these monuments remain so that I can take my family to see them in a few years. I pray history is preserved and not destroyed. Giving these monuments to people who will continue to desecrate them is disgusting, infuriating and despicable.”

As a side note, the majority of Richmond residents voted for the monuments to remain intact on Monument Avenue.

New Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

US Review of Books 

A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE 

A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War by J.D.R. Hawkins Westwood Books Publishing 

book review by Kat Kennedy 

“It’s the end of all things as we know them.” 

At the beginning of the Civil War, Hiram Summers, a north Alabama farmer and father of three, enlists in the Confederate Army. When Hiram and his best friend, Bud, join the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment to fight in a war that many believe will last only a short time, he leaves his wife, Caroline, daughters (Rena and Josie), and son, David, to take care of the family farm. As the surviving son in the family, David realizes the enormity of this responsibility. “He came to the realization that he was now responsible for protecting his family, tending to the farm, and taking his father’s place as head of the household.” Both Hiram and his family soon discover the horrors of war both in battle and on the home front. 

This award-winning novel is well-researched, and the inclusion of historical battles and speeches give it authenticity. As readers follow the story of the Summers family, they are transported to both battlefield and family farm in an emotional narrative. Hawkins’ gift for storytelling is evident in each chapter. Her description of the battlefield and its horrors of war are so compelling that readers can almost smell the gunpowder. “Men dropped around him like flies, the thud of bullets sinking into them before their bodies exploded with blood.” Not only are the author’s descriptions of the devastation of battle intriguing, her attention to detail when relating the dangers faced by those on the home front is impeccable. “Two riders approached up the lane. It was still too dark for her to make out who they were. She rushed over to the gun rack, took down the shotgun, and walked out the front door to the porch.” 

The novel explores the theme of friendship and brotherhood through both the relationship between Hiram and Bud as well as the one between David and Jake. The way in which Hiram and Bud look out for each other on the battlefield is a testament to the love the two soldiers have for each other. “Hiram stopped to catch his breath, watching the smoke clear. He looked around for Bud until he finally saw him walking toward him.” David and Jake also share a close bond, which is evident not only in their banter but also in the way they engage with each other during a trip to Huntsville to check out the location of Northern troops. “David jolted awake, realizing it was daybreak. Chilled to the bone, he shivered as he stood, and went outside. Jake was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed by his absence, he looked in every direction… Jake! Answer me, damn it!” 

With its descriptive narrative, it is no surprise that this novel is the recipient of awards. The work won the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion. History buffs will appreciate the attention to detail and the inclusion of actual speeches, battles, and Civil War-era songs. The continuing story of the Summers family can be found in the next two books of the series, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us, which are also award-winning novels. This is a very good thing because the current book is a novel that engages the reader and leaves one eager to read the next one. 

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

More Reviews for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

The reviews keep coming! Here are a few more for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, which is the first book in the Renegade Series.

Jackie rated it really liked it  

The narration of this book is excellent. It is plain to see that the author has an intense fascination with the American Civil War. Her descriptions of people, animals and places make you feel as though you are there with them. As a non-American I found it a little difficult to keep up with where all the places are (my copy didn’t have a map in the cover, which would have been helpful!) and the names of all the generals were lost on me. I found it a little confusing with the many names of the different sides at first, having never studied American history. However, once I got going I found it easy enough to work out. The book shows the civil war through the eyes of an ordinary Southern family, which is an interesting perspective and does not glamourise the war at all. It is a working class family’s story, which makes it easy to relate to. Be prepared to read the rest of the series – the ending leaves you wanting more!

Samantha Wynd rated it it was amazing  

Although not the genre of book I would normally read I was given the opportunity to read and review this book by the author through Voracious Readers. Looking for something different I jumped at the chance and was glad I did. Hawkins writes in such a way that the reader feels they are part of the story. A novel written about America’s battle between the North and the South the closest I’d come to reading anything around this period was Gone With the Wind so it’s definitely not my normal style. However I saw every battle scene clearly felt every emotion and experience expressed by Bud, Hiram, David, Jake and their families, friends and comrades. I found myself praying for Bud and Hiram’s safe return, internally yelling warnings at the boys, and reaching for tissues when Sally was stolen and Hiram didn’t return as planned. A great book well written and one I’d highly recommend

A rated it really liked it 

The work follows how the lives of a family from a small town in Alabama are affected by the Civil War. I usually steer clear of historical fiction revolving around wars because they’re all battles or overly romanticized. The author of this work does an excellent job at finding a balance; this is one of the most realistic works of fiction I’ve read concerning the Civil War. The author did her research. The characters are also well-written and aren’t static, making the work engaging.
I received a complimentary copy of this work through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for my honest opinion.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Civil/dp/1643619942/ref=sr_1_1?crid=113PP93DB6Q67&keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie&qid=1641421080&sprefix=%2Caps%2C608&sr=8-1

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