America will always remember the Civil War as one of the most tragic events in their history. This story is set in that time and it is quite engrossing. The details and narrative are captivating and you can see how the author easily conveys a bevy of feelings in its characters.
But I think that, more importantly, there is a strong powerful message embedded within the words, sentences, and paragraphs. This is like a poetic salute to the delusion that war is honorable and whatnot. I have never seen a man die but I am guessing that there is nothing beautiful about it. This book exposes this through the experiences of David Summers.
Here is the cover for my new book, Double-Edged Sword. I’m so excited that I wanted to share! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. I will post the purchasing link in a couple of days. Please let me know what you think!
IN THE OLD DOMINION At the urging of NAACP Vice President Robert Ashton Jr., King George County Board of Supervisors met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss removing a Confederate memorial from the lawn of the county’s Courthouse. When they returned to public session, Chairwoman Annie Cupka directed staff “to determine the cost of relocation and to work with community groups to raise the necessary funding.”
ALSO IN VIRGINIA
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit to protect the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond on Tuesday, June 8, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Jesse Binnall, the attorney who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the MOS&B in the Taylor case, gave the following links that you will need if you wish to hear the oral arguments.
There are two cases to be reviewed. The Taylor case was filed by the heirs of the donors of the property upon which the Lee Monument now stands. The Gregory case was filed by residents of the neighborhood. The defendant in both cases is the governor of Virginia.
IN THE VOLUNTEER STATE On Tuesday, black activist-turned-“elected”-official Tami Sawyer gloated to media as City workers desecrated the grave of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, digging up his remains from a Memphis park.
(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 4, 2021 ed.)
I usually try to steer clear of political topics (except on Facebook!), but the destruction of our beloved American symbols upsets me so much that I wanted to share these examples of the recent desecration of our American symbols. “Racism” seems to be the latest excuse to do away with these magnificent works of art, as well as historical markers, street names, school names, etc. The list goes on, as does the attack. I want to make this clear to anyone who thinks it’s okay to destroy our history. It has been proven in other countries that, once history is removed, regimes move in to brainwash and do away with everything a country previously fought for and defended. This gives opportunity for Marxism/Communism to move in and take over. Confederate heritage is under serious attack for the same reasons. It is not only an attack on heritage, but on Christian values. The ones who attack it use racism as an excuse, but it is being used out of context. I would be happy to discuss this with anyone who questions my comments. Anyway, here are the most recent attacks on our heritage. As far as our American history goes, we need to embrace it, question it, debate it, but NEVER erase it. Our history is what makes us who we are.
Last week Friday, sleepy, creepy, Uncle Joe put the kibosh on President Trump’s planned “National Garden of American Heroes.” In an executive order of his own, Biden abolished the Trump-formed task force to create the new monument, which was to have featured sculptures of dozens of American historical figures, including presidents, athletes and pop culture icons, envisioned by President Trump as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live….Davy Crockett, Billy Graham, Whitney Houston, Harriet Tubman and Antonin Scalia,” among others. No site was officially selected and the garden was never funded by Congress.
ALSO REVOKED Trump’s June 2020 order that called for the federal government to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” acts of vandalism and destruction to statues on federal property.
IN THE OLD LINE STATE On Tuesday, calling it a “relic of the Confederacy, “Governor Larry Hogan finally signed the bill to remove Maryland My Maryland as the State Song. We still do not understand why the Governor, having so quickly signed over 200 bills from the legislative session, waited so long to sign this last one? A replacement state song has not yet been chosen. Please call Governor Hogan at 410-974-3901 to express your disappointment.
IN THE OLD DOMINION King George County leaders punted on a protest to the County’s Confederate monument saying that tey nwill take it up in June because they’ve been busy with other pressing matters such as the next fiscal year’s budget and filling a key vacancy.
IN THE SUNSHINE STATE Duval County voters chose to change the name of five schools while keeping the names of three others. The schools that voters chose to keep the names are:
Kirby-Smith Middle School
Jean Ribault High School
Andrew Jackson High School
Meanwhile, the schools that voters chose to change the names are:
Joseph Fineagan Middle School to Anchor Academy
Stonewall Jackson Elementary to Westside Academy
Jefferson Davis Middle School to Westside Middle School
J.E.B. Stuart Middle School to Westside Middle School
Robert E. Lee High School to Riverside High School
For the past several months, local activist groups have urged Duval County Schools to change the names of schools that are named after controversial historic figures, most notably leaders of the Confederacy. “Our goal was to give our community a voice in this process,” Superintendent Diana Greene said. “Constituents have participated in dozens of meetings, and now thousands have shared their voice through this balloting process. My job is to synthesize all of this input and bring the recommendation that I feel is best for our schools, our community, and most important, our students.” That is CODE for her intention to recommend to the Board that the names of ALL schools be changed regardless of vote outcome. Greene will be making official recommendations on May 25.Greene’s recommendation will be discussed at the June 1 school board meeting. That meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
IN THE TAR HEEL STATE Work to demolish and remove a 75-foot-tall stone obelisk built to honor a Confederate leader will begin soon in Asheville as barricades have been placed around the Vance Monument ahead of that demolition work.
IN THE BLUEGRASS STATE The debate over a Confederate statue goes from the Daviess County Fiscal Court room to a judge’s courtroom as lawyers representing the county and the state chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, made their case during a hearing this afternoon. Today’s hearing centered around the Kentucky UDC Chapter’s motion for a restraining order keeping the statue from being moved by the county until ownership can be decided. The chapter’s lawyer, Nicholas Goetz, says his client made payments when the monument was built in the early 1900s, and the group made a partnership with the fiscal court during that time. Fiscal court lawyer Mike Lee says the current state UDC chapter doesn’t own it, claiming the current group was formed in 2019, after the one who was involved in building it was dissolved nearly five decades ago. “They claim they are a successor to a recent entity that ceased operations in 1970. That’s a period of 49 years,” Lee countered.The current fiscal court decided to move the statue off of courthouse grounds last year. Two museums in owensboro were recommended as potential sites. Judge Lisa Jones told lawyers she’s reviewing evidence, but it could be several weeks before a ruling is made.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, May 21, 2011 ed.)
In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to share with you an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. In this scene, the protagonist, David Summers, finds himself in an awkward predicament, and does his best to fake his way through it. This book is the recipient of the prestigious John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. I hope you enjoy this sample of A Rebel Among Us.
The dogs barked outside.
“Oh, they’re here!” Anna hurried out of the kitchen.
The young men followed.
David heard people being greeted at the front door. He stood back from the rest behind Patrick, mentally preparing himself for his performance. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery exchanged compliments with Grace, Claudia, Sarah, and her nieces. A blonde girl with ringlets entered, followed by a Union soldier in uniform. David glared at him, repulsed by his appearance, but concealed his disgust. Anna hugged the soldier.
“It’s been so long, Stephen,” she said. “How I’ve missed you.”
David’s heart lurched.
“And you, my dear.” Stephen stepped back, removing his kepi to expose a full head of thick blonde hair. “So much has happened since I last saw you. How have you been? How is your health?”
“Fine. Everything’s fine.”
“Since your father passed, my thoughts have been with you constantly,” he said. Surprisingly, he laughed. “I remember him telling me, when you and I were both in our youth, how I should be the one to marry you once we were grown.”
“I know, Stephen. He told me many a-time as well. But now we know better. Things have changed significantly since Father passed.” She requested their coats. Turning her back to him, she threw a glare at David, who read the sarcasm in her countenance.
The soldier approached Patrick and shook his hand. Approaching David, he asked, “Anna, who do we have here?”
The girl with the pipe curls who had entered with Stephen drew closer to David, making him somewhat uncomfortable.
“This is my second cousin, David Summers, from New York,” Anna responded cheerfully.
“From New York,” the soldier repeated. Smiling, he extended his hand.
David hesitated but forced himself to take it.
“Splendid to meet you, sir. I’m Stephen Montgomery.”
“And I’m his younger sister, Mary,” said the girl with the ringlets. Pushing past her brother, she drew so close to David that he felt compelled to step back. “Hello, Mr. Summers,” she said, extending her hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Batting her lashes, her blue eyes sparkled.
“Miss.” He cordially took her hand and kissed the back of it.
She giggled. “Why, Anna, you never told us you had a cousin in New York.”
Her demeanor reminded David of Callie.
“Yes, well, we haven’t seen each other since we were very young,” Anna replied. She flashed a questioning look at David.
Patrick saw and snickered.
“And these are our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery,” Anna introduced.
“David Summers,” Mr. Montgomery said as they shook. “Are you related to the Summers of Lancaster?”
“No, Father,” said Mrs. Montgomery, allowing David to kiss the back of her hand. “He’s from New York.”
“Oh.” Mr. Montgomery scratched his gray-streaked beard. “What do you do for a living, young man?”
David glanced at Sarah, who smiled reassuringly at him. “I’m—a farmer,” he said, remembering to accentuate his R’s.
“And what do you farm, sir?” asked Stephen.
“Crops, mostly,” he stated.
The gathering chuckled. Stephen frowned.
“David, may I see you for a moment?” Anna requested.
He excused himself and heard Sarah suggest they all take a seat while he followed Anna into the kitchen. Once he had entered, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Try not to act so nervous,” she instructed in a hushed tone and handed him a plate of hors d’oeuvres.
He sighed again to summon his courage before following her back into the parlor.
Claudia and Abigail began their performance. They started by playing“There’s a Song in the Air.”
David set the plate on the marble-topped parlor table and looked up to see Patrick grinning at him.
Stephen stood and strode over to him. “So, Mr. Summers, are you here for the holiday?” he pried, smiling. He had a warm, friendly way about him. David wondered if Anna had misread his intentions.
“For the duration,” he responded.
Stephen’s brown eyes grew concerned. “The duration of what?”
“The war,” Anna told him. “He’s here to oversee the farm for Uncle Bill until he returns home.”
Stephen’s expression darkened. David realized Anna hadn’t misread him after all. “Oversee? What does that mean?”
Patrick moved closer to the little gathering.
“It means he’s in charge of operations, and he will probably inherit the farm,” Anna said with conviction.
Stephen glared at David. “Oh,” he said cheerfully, his demeanor transparent. “Why haven’t you enlisted, Mr. Summers?”
David glanced at Patrick. “I paid my three-hundred-dollar computation fee,” he lied.
“You’re not one of those bounty jumpers, are you?” Stephen leered.
David scoffed at the notion. He remembered being told about bounty jumpers by his messmates. Some men in the North joined up to receive a cash bounty, promptly deserted, and joined up again in order to obtain another bounty.
Mary, who had been standing close by, asked, “Where on earth did you get three hundred dollars?”
“It’s an inheritance,” said Anna. “Let’s sing carols.” She took Mary by the arm and directed her toward the box piano.
“Who died?” Stephen inquired. His eyes narrowed as he stared at David.
“His father,” Patrick interjected.
“Oh.” Stephen frowned. “Would that be the cousin of Anna’s father or mother?”
David couldn’t remember the drill. He looked at Patrick for support, but the Irishman only shrugged.
“Uh, her mother,” David replied.
Trying to mask his uneasiness, he walked across the room, nervously sat down, and wondered if he would be discovered after all. He stared at the floor, listening to Abigail play “We Three Kings from Orient Are.”Struggling to regain his composure, he thought another swig of whiskey might do him good. He glanced around, noticing how the ornaments on the tree sparkled. The firelight and candles resplendently flickered and reflected off them. Everyone was dressed in beautiful clothing, except for him. Instead, he wore Anna’s deceased father’s suit, which was barely long enough. Realizing his inadequacy, he grew even more self-conscious, so he crossed his arms and legs.
The little girls took turns playing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel,” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”Deciding to take a break, they headed straight for the plates of gingerbread and sugar cookies, meringues, rock candy, and chocolate creams. Patrick motioned to him, so David quickly followed him into the kitchen. To his relief, Patrick uncorked the whiskey bottle.
“How am I doin’ so far?” he asked.
Patrick handed him the bottle. “Here, take another nip.” He chuckled at his friend’s worried expression.
David took a long pull from the bottle and handed it back.
“Here’s to your nerves,” Patrick said with a laugh and swigged from the bottle.
Stephen soon appeared in the kitchen and took the opportunity to interrogate further, making David feel like a mouse being stalked by a cat.
“Where did you say you’re from, Mr. Summers?” he inquired with a smirk.
“Ala—er, Albany,” he replied, nearly choking on his mistake.
“What county is that?” Stephen asked.
Mary and Anna entered the room.
“Um, it’s in New York,” he responded, glaring at Anna in panic.
“Have you seen the armory?” asked Stephen.
David shook his head.
“The Quakenbush House? How about the Hudson River itself?”
David shook his head again. “I don’t get off the farm much.” He shrugged.
Patrick cleared his throat. “Tell us, dear Stephen, how ye managed to evade the fightin’ yourself.”
He smiled at Stephen, but David could sense deep-seated resentment between the two of them.
“I was injured at First Bull Run,” Stephen said. He ran his hand through his thick blonde hair.
“Injured, ye say?” Patrick pressed. “And where might that be?”
“Right here.” Stephen extended his left hand to show a mangled little finger.
David stifled a laugh. “Pshaw,” he said. “Is that it?”
Mary drew closer to her brother. “Stephen has friends in Washington who decided he was eligible for a promotion. He is now a sergeant-major.”
She smiled proudly at her brother, who flashed a grin at her before he turned his gaze to Anna.
David noticed the three chevrons with three rockers on his sleeve, the insignia of a sergeant-major. They were blue, which told him Stephen had served in the infantry. “You got promoted all the way up to sergeant-major for a crushed finger?” he asked in awe.
“Yes, that’s right,” Stephen fired back.
David snorted. “A promotion for an injured finger from First Mannass—uh, the Great Skedaddle,” he corrected himself and remarked, “If that don’t beat all.”
“At least I’ve seen the fighting. Unlike you.” Stephen glared at him with indignation.
David felt his anger rising. Clenching his teeth, he glowered back scornfully.
Sarah came into the kitchen. Immediately noticing the two young soldiers glaring at each other, she gasped and glanced at Anna, who appeared stunned.
“Please come into the parlor for singing and lively interview,” Sarah said, attempting to diffuse the situation. Stepping toward David, she quickly took his arm.
“Bully for Grant,” Mr. Montgomery bellowed from the parlor. “Bully for Sherman too!”
“Don’t lose your temper, dear,” Sarah whispered and escorted him into the parlor.
They entered the candlelit room. Expelling a sigh, he sat down on a green velvet chair beside Stephen’s father, who vigorously puffed on a fat cigar.
“He’s a humbug, I say,” Mr. Montgomery exclaimed, speaking to his wife and Grace.
“Who’s a humbug, Papa?” Mary inquired, sitting in a chair on the other side of her father.
“Jefferson Davis, that’s who!”
David scowled, his ire rising. Biting his lower lip to contain it, he glanced over the gathering. He felt so out of place he thought he might burst. This was becoming far more than he could bear.
“That man is a tyrant,” Mr. Montgomery continued. “When this war is over, I’ll be the first in line to see him hang.”
David stared at the Oriental rug on the floor. Unable to sit there any longer and listen to Mr. Montgomery’s rhetoric dishonoring the South’s beloved president, he abruptly stood, walked out of the parlor, and went outside onto the front porch.
Patrick followed. “Now, David, don’t be gettin’ your Irish up.” He grinned, handing him the bottle.
He took a few swigs.
Patrick jokingly remarked, “Best be slowin’ down a bit, lad.”
“Do you think they’d notice if we left?” David’s head started to spin.
Patrick snickered. “Aye. Sure’n you know our Anna needs us here. The party will be over soon enough.” He pulled out his pipe, so David obligingly handed him the pouch of tobacco he’d shoved into his pocket in preparation for his friend’s arrival. Patrick took a deep puff and said, “‘Tis nearly a full moon.”
Stephen emerged from the house. “Chilly evening, isn’t it?” His charming smile had returned. David felt like he was in the company of an alligator, calm and docile on the outside, but ready to strike and devour at a moment’s notice.
“Indeed,” Patrick replied.
“Mind if I have some of that?” Stephen pulled a pipe from his coat pocket.
David glanced over at him. He noticed the buttons, the piping, the blue fabric, and the embroidery on his sleeves that reminded him of all the Yankees he’d seen on the battlefields. He looked away. Patrick handed the pouch to Stephen, who filled the bowl of his pipe. He lit it and puffed.
“This is very good,” he stated, inhaling again.
“‘Tis David’s,” Patrick blurted.
Stephen smiled. “Hmm. Where did you get this? It tastes like Southern tobacco.”
David shuddered. He was glad the darkness concealed his reaction. “A friend of mine,” he responded, unable to say any more.
Maggie came to the front door and called them back in. They followed her into the parlor, where the discussion was still taking place. Mr. Montgomery immediately drew Patrick and Stephen into the conversation. He expressed his feelings on how he disagreed with the Copperheads, who were willing to accept the South back into the Union under a negotiation with concession, and how he agreed more with the Radical Republicans, who were in favor of total surrender and victory followed by severe punishment. He then proceeded to complain about how the confounded War Department had been purchasing shoddy uniforms for the grand army of the United States.
“They ought to be ashamed,” he said, finishing his rant.
According to Sarah, The Sanitary Commission was doing an excellent job improving conditions for the soldiers in battle. Mrs. Montgomery agreed, noting the book she’d recently read, titled Hospital Sketches. It was written by a nurse named Louisa May Alcott, who was assisting the Union army.
The topic drifted to paintings of Whistler and Monet, how men were now able to measure the speed of light, and the oil wells in Titusville and Oil Creek. Mr. Montgomery brought up Darwin’s theory of evolution, which David had discussed numerous times around the campsite with his fellow cavaliers. He sat back and listened silently while the others exchanged conjectures. Most of the discussion concerned things he knew very little about. Mr. Montgomery invited his opinion, but he declined, afraid of revealing himself.
The little girls resumed their repertoire of carols during all of this, entertaining their audience with “Joy to the World,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Anna turned to David. “My cousin here has a very lovely singing voice,” she said. “David, why don’t you sing something for us?”
Mortified, David gawked at her in disbelief. “Uh, what would you have me sing, cousin?” he asked, embarrassed he was now being put on display after all.
He rebounded by suggesting, “How about ‘Silent Night’? Do you girls know how to play that song?”
Claudia nodded, turned toward the piano, and played an introduction.
Drawing a deep sigh, David began singing. He barely glanced at his audience. As he sang, his baritone voice grew stronger and more confident, and soared to a high note before he finished the first verse. Deciding that was more than enough, he stopped. Everyone applauded.
“Bravo,” Mr. Montgomery bellowed.
David grinned, feeling his face flush as he sat back down. He glanced at Anna, who beamed at him.
Not to be outdone, Stephen announced, “I brought each of you girls a gift.”
Abigail clapped her hands with delight. He withdrew several packages from under the tree.
“Abigail, this is for you. Claudia.” He handed them each a package. “Maggie, here you are,” he said.
Maggie smiled and took the present he handed to her.
“And this, darling Anna, is for you.” He gave her a small box wrapped with a bright red bow.
She smiled at him. “Why, thank you, Stephen,” she replied.
David glowered. Stephen’s display of affection repulsed him.
Tearing into her package, Abigail exclaimed, “It’s a stereograph!” She positioned one of the thick cardboard photographs in front of the lens and held it to her face.
“I have one too,” squealed Claudia.
They exchanged pictures.
David glanced at Patrick, who rolled his eyes. “‘Tis all for show,” he whispered loudly.
Mrs. Montgomery glared at him.
Maggie opened her gift. “Oh, it’s a journal. I’ll so enjoy writing in this.” She glanced at David, who raised an eyebrow at her. He wondered if he would be her topic.
Anna opened her gift. She stared into the little box cupped in her hand. “Stephen, I don’t know what to say,” she said quietly.
“It was my grandmother’s,” he explained. Walking over to her, he pulled a dainty gold necklace from the box and placed it around her neck.
David watched silently, his blood reaching its boiling point. He forced himself to remain silent and tightly clutched onto the arms of the chair to help him contain his anger. Anna’s actions confused him. After describing Stephen’s story, why was she being so receptive to him? David hoped she was putting on a performance for the Montgomery’s, but he wished she would turn her attention to him, instead, and repel Stephen’s revolting advances.
“I have something for you as well,” Anna told Stephen. She knelt beneath the tree, pulled a package out from under it, stood, and handed it to him.
He grinned and glanced around at the spectators before opening it. Staring at the contents, he hesitated for a moment before bursting into laughter. “Oh, darling, how did you know?” He pulled the contents from the box, revealing a pair of trousers. Holding them up, everyone took notice of how large they were. “I must admit,” he said, “I have put on some weight.”
David and Patrick looked at each other and grinned, recalling how Anna had told them Stephen had gotten too big for his britches. She had obviously taken it upon herself to make him a bigger pair.
“By the way, Mrs. Andrews,” Stephen said as he placed his gift on the sofa cushion, “my condolences on the loss of your cousin.”
Sarah glanced at Grace before looking back at Stephen. “Why, whatever are you talking about? I didn’t lose a cousin,” she replied.
David’s eyes grew wide.
Stephen turned to glare at him. “I thought you said it was Anna’s mother who you were related to.” He reached down toward his sidearm, the formidable revelation impending.
Anna hurried over to stand in front of David. “Is that what he told you?” She forced a laugh. “Well, it’s as I explained, Stephen. We haven’t seen each other since we were children, and I’m sure he’s forgotten, that’s all.”
“Why, yes,” Sarah said, coming to the aid of her niece. “He’s just confused. After all, he’s been through so much lately, what with the loss of his father, the journey here, and all the responsibility that has been placed upon him.”
David glanced at Patrick, who wore an amused grin on his face.
“The poor thing,” said Mrs. Montgomery. “How terrible it must be for you.”
“Yes, um, ma’am,” David responded.
Stephen was still staring at him. To his relief, he had moved his hand away from his holster.
Anna glanced down at David. She noticed his stark white face. “My dear cousin is still reeling from grief.”
“Well, we should be leaving, my dears,” Mr. Montgomery said as he gazed up at the mantle clock. “It is nearly eleven, and we must all be tucked in before midnight!”
He pulled himself up. The Montgomery’s followed his lead and made their way toward the front door. Stephen glared at David. He turned toward Anna and took her hands in his.
“Thank you, my love, for the gift, and for this enchanting evening.”
“You’re welcome, Stephen,” she replied, gently withdrawing her hands from his.
“Gentlemen,” Stephen said to Patrick and David, donning his kepi. “I hope to see you again in the next few days before I return to Washington.”
“Stephen,” Patrick acknowledged, puffing merrily on his pipe.
The ladies escorted their guests outside.
“It has been so wonderful to see you again, my dear,” Stephen said to Anna. “This reminds me of when we were children, and our families spent the holidays together. I know I’ve been away recently, but I hope we can resume our close relationship once again.”
“Yes, Stephen,” she said. “We’ll reunite soon.”
David glanced outside to see Stephen climb aboard the Montgomery’s sleigh. Finally, the sound of chinking bells drifted off into the distance. He breathed a deep sigh of relief.
Patrick chuckled. “Well, ye did fine under the circumstances, lad.” He patted David on the back.
“I reckon I’ll retire,” David weakly stated. Two traumatic Christmas Eves in a row had left him exhausted. He bid everyone goodnight and started toward the stairs.
“You two had better get to bed as well,” Grace told Claudia and Abigail, “or you won’t be asleep by the time Santa arrives.”
The girls smiled widely at each other. They rushed past David and bounded up the stairs as fast as their little legs could carry them. Once upstairs, he heard them scurry around inside their room. Soon, they appeared at his door with a book.
“Will you read to us?” Abigail asked.
“Of course, I will,” he replied with a smile.
He finished lighting his fireplace, led them back to their room, and tucked them in. Sitting on the edge of Abigail’s bed, he read the cover.
“A Visit from Santa Claus.” He opened the book and read, “‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirrin’, not even a mouse.” Glancing at the girls, their eyes large and full of wonder, he continued reading until he reached the end of the poem. “…But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight. The end.” Closing the book, he stood and set it on the dresser. “Goodnight, girls.” He turned down the lamp.
“Goodnight, David,” Claudia responded.
“Goodnight, cousin.” Abigail giggled.
He closed the door and turned. Startled to see Anna standing in the hallway, he nearly jumped.
“That was lovely,” she said, smiling.
“You’d better go to bed now too, if you want a visit from Santa Claus.”
David chuckled. They stood there, smiling at each other, neither one knowing what to say next.
“Well, goodnight.” She started toward the staircase, but turned back to face him. “By the way, you were wonderful tonight. Stephen doesn’t suspect a thing.” She softly snickered and descended the steps.
His head began to spin from the whiskey taking hold. He went into his bedroom and closed the door. Dropping down onto the bed without bothering to remove his boots, he fell asleep within seconds.
The most recent rendition of the Mississippi flag was established in 1894. That’s a really long time, y’all. But, of course, the flag has fallen under scrutiny within the past few years due to political correctness and misdirected racial discrimination. I hope this post sheds some light on the reason why the flag was chosen by the state’s citizens. A special thank you to Mr. Michael C. Barefield for your article.
My 2 cents worth about the Mississippi Flag
In the late 1990s, I was an attorney of record involved in the “Flag Lawsuit” filed against the State of Mississippi. The following is based upon my legal and historical research and personal knowledge from that lawsuit.
The canton corner of the Mississippi Flag, though appearing identical to the Confederate Battle Flag, is actually, from its very statutory description, a symbol of reunification at a time when the people of Mississippi had suffered through more than a decade of bloody war and reconstruction. By 1890, Reconstruction had ended, yet Blacks continued to be elected to the legislature.
The current flag was first adopted in 1894, and based upon historical documentation submitted to the court in the “Flag Lawsuit” by the Attorney General, Blacks were members of the Mississippi Legislature and voted in favor of the adoption of the current flag. Following is the law that adopted the flag. Pay close attention to the symbolic meaning of the 13 stars and the colors.
“§ 3-3-16. Design of state flag. The official flag of the State of Mississippi shall have the following design: with width two-thirds (2/3) of its length; with the union (canton) to be square, in width two-thirds (2/3) of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three (3) bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one, extending the whole length of the flag, red (the national colors); this being the flag adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in the 1894 Special Session.”
Just 4 years prior, the following historical account is evidence of the positive race relations experienced by Mississippians at the time.
In the Mississippi House of Representatives on February 1, 1890, an appropriation for a monument to the Confederate dead was being considered. A delegate had just spoken against the bill, when John F. Harris, a Black Republican delegate from Washington County, rose to speak:
“Mr. Speaker! I have risen in my place to offer a few words on the bill.
I have come from a sick bed. Perhaps it was not prudent for me to come. But sir, I could not rest quietly in my room without contributing a few remarks of my own.
I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentlemen from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier would go on record as opposed to the erections of a monument in honor of the brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines, and in the Seven Day’s fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with mangled forms of those who fought for this country and their country’s honor, he would not have made the speech.
When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made not requests for monuments. But they died, and their virtues should be remembered.
Sir, I went with them. I, too, wore the gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed for four long years, and if that war had gone on till now I would have been there yet. I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions.
When my Mother died, I was a boy. Who, Sir, then acted the part of Mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my old Missus! Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And, Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD.”
When the applause died down, the measure passed overwhelmingly, and every Black member voted “AYE.”
(Source: Daily Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, Feb 23, 1890)
In my opinion, Mississippians have a very amicable relationship among all races, though by human nature, there are always exceptions to the rule. Racism has existed from the beginning of mankind and likely will always exist to a certain degree. Though we should always strive for improvement in race relations and in all matters, everyone should respect other’s cultural differences and no segment of society should be condemned from honoring their culture. It resolves nothing to ban a flag. Our energies are better served focusing on true resolutions.
But, that’s not really the issue here. The issue here is disparagement of our Great State by outsiders for political or other advantage. The fact is, Mississippi Blacks and Whites, in harmony, adopted a flag in 1894 to symbolize both a painful history (lest we forget) and a reunification of a great State with a great Nation. Due to a procedural technicality that occurred in the adoption of the 1906 Mississippi Code, the Supreme Court determined in the “Flag Lawsuit” that the flag was no longer “official” and invited the Legislature to act. The Legislature accepted the invitation and placed the issue on the ballot in 2001. A campaign of educating voters about the true history and symbolism of our flag was conducted by supporters of the Flag. 2/3 of Mississippi voters, Black and White, re- adopted the 1894 flag.
Outsiders wish to disparage our great people. I pray that our elected officials will not succumb to outside influence. Should they do so, however, I trust that they will limit their response by again letting the people decide this issue and allow racial harmony to shine once again and remind the rest of the Nation how proud and united we are as a People, in spite of a painful history and our imperfections. History should be embraced and should serve as a reminder to avoid repeating.
Again, “lest we forget.”
(Article courtesy of the Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Volume 22, Issue 6, June 2020 ed.)
I recently received another nice review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Ms. Joanne, for posting your review on Goodreads!
Here is the review:
(June 3, 2020)
I had a little trouble getting into this book, but once I did – I didn’t want to put it down.
I have read several books about the Civil War, but written from the side of the North. This novel is written from the point of view of a family from Alabama.
J D R Hawkins’ writing style is such that I grew to feel I knew the family who were the principal characters in the book.
My only complaint, if you can call it that, was that the book ended rather abruptly. There are however, two books which apparently continue the story.
All in all – I loved it! I will place J D R Hawkins on my favorite authors list!
I am so excited to reveal the new cover for my novel, A Rebel Among Us! The new cover comes with a new publisher as well, Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. The book is the recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, which is given by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. This is a very prestigious honor, since the MOSB does not give the award every year, but only to books they deem as worthy of representing the Confederacy.
A Rebel Among Us is the third book in the Renegade Series. Two other books, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, are also in the series and have been re-published with Westwood Books Publishing as well.
I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a PDF copy for review!
The new cover for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has been nominated for best book cover! All Author runs their contest monthly, and for the month of May, my book cover is in the running. Here is the link:
“The selection committee has chosen 256 covers out of the 370 entries. We are happy that you are one of the selected.
“Your book,A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War, has been picked to be one of the contenders in the Cover of the Month contest – May 2020.The contest will now have 4 rounds:
First, all the selected entries will contest for the next round. (Duration 1st – 7th)
Second, 100 top-voted covers will compete to enter the third round. (Duration 8th – 14th)
Third, top 50 book covers from the previous round. (Duration 15th – 21st)
Fourth, top 24 book covers will play the last round in the chase. (Duration 22nd – Month end)
“The 3 winners will be announced on the last day of the month.”
I am so proud of the new cover for my book, as well as my awesome new publisher, Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. Please vote for this cover (which was originally designed by my son). We would greatly appreciate your support! Thank you so very much!