J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “American”

Women of the Confederacy (Pt. 10)

Mary Surratt

The only woman convicted and hung for the role she played during the War Between the States. 

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Mary Elizabeth Surratt became a widow at age 42, during the summer of 1862. Her husband left behind 287 acres in what is now Prince George’s County, Maryland. He had constructed a two-story house on the land that became known as Surrattsville. The house was converted into a tavern that served as a way station for the clandestine Confederate network. Mr. Surratt also left his wife a boarding house on H Street in Washington D.C. In October 1864, Mary and her three children permanently moved to that location and rented out the tavern to a man named John Lloyd.  

Over the course of the next few months, 541 H Street would become the focal point in what is considered to be one of the most influential crimes in American history. John Wilkes Booth, who frequented the Surratt home, hatched his original kidnapping conspiracy there. Other players who were involved included Mary’s son John, George Atzeroldt, who was supposed to assassinate Vice President Johnson, and Lewis Powell (aka Lewis Paine), who was responsible for the vicious attack on Secretary of State William Seward the night of April 14, 1865, (the same night that President Lincoln was assassinated). David Herold, who was a friend of John Surratt and John Wilkes Booth, rode with Booth following the assassination. He was later captured at Garrett’s Farm, where Booth was shot to death by Sergeant Boston Corbett, who was part of the 16th New York Cavalry that cornered the two men inside a barn. Also participating in the conspiracy were Samuel Arnold, who was an original plotter in the kidnapping scheme, Michael O’Laughlen, who was had been sent to kill Secretary of War Edwin Stanton but failed, and Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated Booth’s injuries after he escaped from Washington.  

Booth intended to kidnap President Lincoln in order to force the Union to surrender captured Confederates. His plans were solidified by March 1865, but were postponed for various reasons, and proved futile once General Lee surrendered on April 9. Mary Surratt traveled to her tavern on April 13, where she allegedly told her renter, John Lloyd, “to have the shooting irons ready; there will be some parties call for them.”  

Following the assassination, a woman whose niece worked for Mary contacted police, saying that suspicious men had been seen at Mary’s boarding house. Subsequently, everyone in the house, including Mary, was arrested. Before leaving, Mary was caught in a lie, denying that she knew Lewis Powell, who just happened to show up with a shovel, claiming that she required his services for digging a ditch.  

At the trial, several eyewitnesses testified to her involvement in the assassination scheme, including George Atzeroldt. Some claimed that they had seen Mary conversing with Booth, who gave her a wrapped package containing field glasses that she was to leave with her tenant, John Lloyd. Although her son escaped conviction because he was in New York at the time, Mary was not so lucky. Tried before a military commission, the conspirators were found guilty. Mary was one of four sentenced to death by hanging. No one believed she would actually be put to death because of her gender, but regardless of her lawyers’ issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, the federal judge’s order to have her delivered to his courtroom on the morning of her execution (which was ignored), and pleas from her daughter, Anna, President Johnson refused to commute Mary’s sentence. Two days before her execution, the judge advocate general delivered a plea for her clemency to President Johnson, who later claimed that he received no such request until after the hanging. 

Mary Surratt died in Washington’s Arsenal prison yard on July 7, 1865 with Lewis Powell, David Harold, and George Atzeroldt. As army personnel crowded into the yard to watch, the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government fell through the gallows’ trap doors alongside her co-conspirators. Whether she was actually guilty of the crimes she was accused of committing, or whether her sentence was unjustified and unfair, remains a topic of debate.  

A film directed by Robert Redford, entitled “The Conspirator,” tells the story of Mary Surratt, and is set for release in March 2011. If you have the opportunity, visit Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. In the basement is housed a unique museum containing descriptions and artifacts surrounding this inauspicious act. 

 

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The Second Thanksgiving

I recently read this article and found it very interesting so I wanted to share. As all Americans know, the Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving, which has become a national holiday. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of November would be designated as a national holiday, and it has been celebrated ever since his proclamation in 1863. However, it seems Confederate President Jefferson Davis beat him to the punch. Maybe Lincoln decided to follow suit and declare the holiday after Davis did. Whatever the reason, this is an interesting bit of history, nevertheless.

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JEFFERSON DAVIS’ THANKSGIVING

PROCLAMATION OF 1861

WHEREAS, it hath pleased Almighty God, the Sovereign Disposer of events, to protect and defend us hitherto in our conflicts with our enemies as to be unto them a shield.

And whereas, with grateful thanks we recognize His hand and acknowledge that not unto us, but unto Him, belongeth the victory, and in humble dependence upon His almighty strength, and trusting in the justness of our purpose, we appeal to Him that He may set at naught the efforts of our enemies, and humble them to confusion and shame.

Now therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, in view of impending conflict, do hereby set apart Friday, the 15th day of November, as a day of national humiliation and prayer, and do hereby invite the reverend clergy and the people of these Confederate States to repair on that day to their homes and usual places of public worship, and to implore blessing of Almighty God upon our people, that he may give us victory over our enemies, preserve our homes and altars from pollution, and secure to us the restoration of peace and prosperity.

Given under hand and seal of the Confederate States at Richmond, this the 31st day of October, year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty one.
By the President, JEFFERSON DAVIS

discerninghistory.com/2013/11/jefferson-daviss- thanksgiving-proclamation-of-1861/

(Article courtesy of The Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, November 2018 ed.)

www.mississippiscv.org

Stranger Things

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I started watching the series, Stranger Things, on Netflix the other night, and then got to thinking. There is nothing stranger than what is going on in our country right now. I am referring to all the blatant disregard toward American history, and more specifically, toward Confederate history. Monuments are being targeted, whereas last year, it was the Confederate battle flag that was under attack. Now, the statues are supposedly “racist,” and are being accused of displaying “white supremacy.” I have yet to figure out how some people associate these terms with Confederate soldiers’ statues.  The monuments were primarily placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early 1900’s, and I seriously doubt those ladies purchased them to make racist statements. No, funds were raised to erect the monuments in honor of their lost loved ones and their beloved generals. Those soldiers were not racist. They fought to preserve their homes, and many gave their lives in doing so. In retaliation, the UDC is now being called an extension of the KKK. Absurd!

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The latest insanity is the cancellation of an annual reenactment at the Manassas battlefield this weekend. Today, the Charlottesville, Virginia, city council had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson covered with black tarps, as if that will accomplish anything. And earlier this week, a forum was held in Oxford, Mississippi to discuss the Confederate monument. The forum was not advertised. One woman in attendance complained about the statue of Robert E. Lee in front of City Hall. However, the statue is actually that of William Faulkner.

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These idiots don’t even know what they are protesting. Their ignorance is appalling. To claim that every Confederate soldier fought for white supremacy and was a racist is like saying they all fought to preserve slavery. So not true! This foolish misconception and misrepresentation is leading to more destruction and causing deeper rifts, and the amount of taxpayers’ money being used to move the monuments is enormous. In Memphis, it is estimated that it will cost the city around $7-800,000 to move the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. It’s hard to justify that tremendous expense when the city is drowning in debt, teeming with corruption, and has one of the highest crime rates in the country. When taken to a vote, the majority of citizens do not want the statues removed. Somehow, stupidity reigns supreme.

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Cover Reveal!

Horses in Gray Cover

I am so excited to reveal the cover for my new nonfiction book, Horses in Gray. This book tells many fascinating stories about famous Confederate steeds and their masters. It also describes lesser known horses as well. All of them have amazing stories to tell, and were as brave and fearless as their riders. Pre-order copies are available through Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491332576&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

A special shout out to Pelican Publishing, Dan Nance for the cover art, and everyone else who helped make this book a reality. This is my first nonfiction book, and I’m very proud and honored to be able to publish it. Thank you so much!

 

Charlottesville Votes to Disregard Its History

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Yesterday was a sad day for Charlottesville. In a 3-2 vote, the city council decided to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Lee Park. I, for one, find this to be an atrocity. What is removing a long-standing statue of an American hero supposed to accomplish? Who, exactly, is offended by a statue of Robert E. Lee? I don’t hear anyone speaking up specifically, and yet, we keep hearing about how “certain people” are offended. Who, pray tell?

During the vote yesterday, several people in attendance, both black and white, were asked if they found the statue to be offensive. All said they were not. Again, who exactly is offended by old statues of Confederate soldiers? (Not counting the politicians who came up with this idea in the first place and pushed the issue through.) The statue was erected in 1924, so it has stood in the park for nearly 93 years. And now, all of a sudden, some people think some other people are offended. Really? Give me a break!

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Lawsuits will undoubtedly follow, and I hope, for the sake of historical preservation, the statue remains in the park. It would cost the city taxpayers an incredible amount of money to move the statue, and for what? This is another shameful example of political correctness gone awry.

http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/article_e41c6141-f6ae-5309-92d2-a4457d7b5fe4.html

http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2017/01/councilman-fenwick-to-cast-tie-breaking-vote-to-remove-robert-e-lee-statue

http://www.charlottesville.org/departments-and-services/departments-h-z/parks-recreation-/parks-trails/city-parks/lee-park

Honoring a Great Man

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(Portrait by Theodore Pine, 1904)

Confederate General Robert E. Lee was born on this date in 1807. Lee is one of my favorite characters of the Civil War, and is featured in many of my books. He was so loyal to his homeland that he gave up his commission with the U.S. Army to support Virginia when the Commonwealth seceded from the Union in 1861. This could not have been an easy decision for him. He was career military, and he was President Lincoln’s first choice to lead the Union Army. But because the country was split, Lee went with his heart and declined Lincoln’s offer.

The war wasn’t kind to General Lee. He lost many relatives during the war, and told President Jefferson Davis several times that he did not want to lead the Confederate Army. Inevitably, the South lost, but Lee accepted defeat with grace and humility. He was offered the presidency at Washington College in Lexington, which he accepted. Only five years later, he died of pneumonia, presumably brought on by heart failure.

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Robert E. Lee was a true patriot and a devout family man. He held his religious beliefs above all else. His stamina and integrity are admirable, and his leadership ability carried his soldiers through many battles. His men idolized him with love and adoration, and compared him to King Arthur. Lee was one of the greatest generals in American history.

That’s why it is such a shame that the country he fought and suffered so much for has turned against his memory. New Orleans is still debating whether to destroy the statue erected in his honor in that city. This is recurring all over the South. It is disgraceful that such a great man is depicted now in such a dishonorable light. Lee never fought to defend slavery: in fact, he set his slaves free well before the war took place. He did not believe in the institution. He fought under the Stars and Bars to preserve Southern rights and freedom, and as a declaration that his soldiers would fight to save their homes. Lee’s home, Arlington, was taken away from him during the war, but he never wavered in his faith of God and country. It is disgusting how the Stars and Bars for which he fought have been removed from his Chapel and burial place. Shame on you, Virginia, for allowing it to happen.

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(General Lee on his horse, Traveller, 1866)

Would that his enemies squirmed in their shame…but alas they have none.

“The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenseless, and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.”

“It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies…and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth.”

Robert E. Lee

 

Guns, Flags and Bibles

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I saw this article a few days ago about a guy who owns a gun shop in Tennessee, and thought I should share. He is going against the current wave of political correctness sweeping the country right now. Here’s the article:

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In the Age of Obama political correctness has been placed on hyperdrive, but a growing mass of citizenry is rejecting it out of hand and going to great lengths in which to do so.

This rejection is epitomized by a gun shop in Oakland, Tenn., which is handing out Bibles and your choice of an American or Confederate flag with every purchase.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Big Bang Guns is making the offer to every customer who walks in the door. Located just outside of Memphis, the small gun shop (which offers its products online too, by the way) says its promotion is scheduled to run through July 14.

When the shop was asked why the promotion, manager Tony Tavares said, “Why not?”

“It’s pretty patriotic to offer both and a Bible as well,” he told the WFB. “It’s freedom of speech with some religion to go along with it.”

Cue the PC Left’s outrage machine.

So far, customers have really taken to the offer and have responded very positively.

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John McFarland, the shop owner, said, “The customers like it. We sell everything from $200 guns all the way up to $20,000 Barretts. It’s picked up really well.”

The shop owner said he’s sick of seeing American traditions and values attacked so he created the promotion as a way to support those who believe as he does.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m tired of everybody making me feel bad for what my moral beliefs are,” he told the Free Beacon. “I believe there’s history behind the rebel flag, I believe there’s history behind the American flag, I believe in the right to bear arms, and I believe in freedom of religion.”

“I just wanted to let everybody know we believe in that and we support everybody who believes in that,” he added.

“We’re just trying to promote American freedoms,” McFarland said. “I’m pretty outspoken politically and I believe everybody has their rights. I believe if you’re an atheist you have that right. I believe if you believe in God you have that right. And I believe if you believe in the Confederate flag, you believe in the history behind it, you have the right to have it. And that’s where we stand and I’ll stand behind that.”

“To me, that’s more important than any amount of business.”

And to tens of millions of other Americans as well.

(Article Courtesy of Southern Heritage News & Views, June 3, 2016 ed.)

 

J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry

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Tomorrow marks a significant event in American history. On June 8, 1863, a Grand Review was held by Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry at Brandy Station, Virginia. The event was reportedly a magnificent display of military tactics and cavalry maneuvers. Unfortunately, the dust the horses stirred up caught the attention of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg, whose cavalry was nearby. Early the following morning, on June 9, 1863, Stuart’s cavalry was taken by surprise when Gregg’s troopers attacked, and a fierce battle ensued, raging all day. The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to ever take place on North American soil.

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The outcome was that, even though the Yankees now displayed their ability to compete with Confederate cavalry, Stuart managed to ward them off and keep General Robert E. Lee’s infantry screened as they made their way north. You can read more about this in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.

http://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319?ie=UTF8&keywords=a%20beckoning%20hellfire&qid=1465328752&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Stuart is one of my favorite Civil War personalities. Not surprisingly, his name is under the current politically correct attack to change all things Confederate and eradicate Southern history.

A school bearing General Stuart’s name is under scrutiny and the PC are trying to force its removal. This goes against what the polls and petitions show: that the vast majority do not favor this institutional vandalism. However, it doesn’t seem to matter or make any difference what the people want.

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The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society, on the other hand, has scored a major victory with the restoration of the statue of General Stuart on Monument Avenue in Richmond. Thanks to this project, as well as a maintenance program which will be launched soon, the statue will be a gleaming tribute to General Stuart for years to come.

http://www.stuart-mosby.com/

Noble Heroes Would Turn in Their Graves

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On May 2, 1863, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Robert E. Lee divided his army and sent Stonewall Jackson’s entire corps on a flanking march that routed the Union XI Corps. The battle was a Confederate victory, although the South lost one of its best generals as a result. Jackson was fired upon by his own men, who thought he and his entourage were the enemy. The accident took place at twilight, when visibility was poor, and even though Jackson’s men identified themselves, the North Carolinians who fired upon them thought they were lying. Jackson lost his arm as a result, and died several days later after contracting pneumonia. I wonder what Jackson would say now to all the political correctness going on in the country, primarily in his beloved South?

What everyone seems to be forgetting is that the Confederates fought for something they truly believed in, which was state’s rights. It had nothing to do with slavery, but now, everything honoring these brave men is under attack by politically correct activists and BLM protesters who claim the flags, monuments, and memorials are racist. I think this is BS!

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Dishonoring American veterans, specifically Confederate veterans, seems to be the norm these days. In Anniston, Alabama, an ordinance was passed that forbids flying the Confederate battle flag at General John Pelham’s statue on Quintard Boulevard. The city stated that the flags are racist and offensive to some people. So what? Everyone finds something offensive. Why cater to a few? That is what is commonly known as discrimination.

A group called the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report that details “publicly supported spaces dedicated to the Confederacy.” The report, titled “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy,” is a play book that is being used by anti-Confederate groups to substantiate their cause to erase history. The book includes propaganda attempting to associate the Confederacy with racist ideology. It also includes a “community action guide” offering tips and suggestions on how to benefit those who want to destroy all memorials to Confederate heritage. And the Southern Baptist church has been requested to support the discontinuation of displaying Confederate flags. When will it end?

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was asked by a Georgetown student last week about the removal of the Mississippi State Flag from the U.S. Capitol. The student said it was “renewed, northern Republican reconstruction” and “the erasure of Southern symbols, as well as ostracization of Southern voters by the GOP.”

Ryan’s response was, “I never looked at it that way.” He continued by saying, “We discussed it, and I thought it was the right thing to do. This symbol does insult. This symbol, I think, does more to divide this country than to unify this country. But I got to tell you, if, in the Capitol, we’re going to have symbols, we’re going to have symbols that unify people, that don’t divide people, and that’s just the way we think.”

Wow. So sensitive! We had better seriously re-think who we elect this fall.

 

Southern Baptists asked to endorse an end to public display of Confederate battle flag
http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/04/24/southern-baptists-asked-to-endorse-an-end-to-public-display-of-confederate-battle-flag/

$PLC finds at least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces
http://freenorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2016/04/plc-finds-at-least-1500-symbols-of.html

 

 

 

I Find This Despicable

 

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Recently, I read a letter to the editor about how war veterans are being discriminated against. I’m not referring to our present veterans, but instead, veterans who fought in the Civil War, and more specifically Confederate veterans. I find this completely unacceptable that the Confederate battle flag cannot be flown over these graves because the current political climate forbids it. The Confederate battle flag is the flag these veterans fought under. These vets were designated as U.S. veterans years ago, so why aren’t they shown the same respect as veterans who fought in other wars? The letter is as follows:

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Veteran Discrimination at Crown Hill Cemetery

In 1931 the War Department had 1,616 Confederate American soldiers removed from Greenlawn Cemetery to Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. These soldiers represent nearly all of the Confederate States of America. In this relocation, the Confederate American soldiers were buried not individually but rather in a “mass grave.” These soldiers died as prisoners of war in Indianapolis at Camp Morton.

April of each year the Sons of Confederate Veterans honor these American veterans with a public ceremony and wreath placement. In past years the grave site was decorated with Confederate American flags (the American flags under which these veterans served and died). This year the Indiana Division Sons of Confederate Veterans are prohibited by the Cemetery from the display of the Confederate American Flag or any other Confederate American symbol.

In our opinion there should be equal rights for all American veterans. Confederate American veterans have been recognized by Congress as “American Veterans” and should have all rights and honors consistent to their service — including the display the American flag under which they served and died. To deny this right is discrimination. In this age, it is important that we all coexist without discrimination and bigotry.

We therefore call upon Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana to allow all American veterans to be honored with the proper placement of the American flags and symbols under which they served and died.

If you agree that there should be equal rights for all American veterans, perhaps you could write a strong but polite note to the cemetery and ask that they allow equal rights for all veterans — which includes the prominent placement of the colors under which they served and died. The cemetery address is:

Crown Hill Cemetery
700 West 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Respectfully,

Ray L. Parker
Chaplain-in-Chief
Sons of Confederate Veterans

 

(Courtesy Southern Heritage News & Views, 3-28-16 ed.)

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