J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Arkansas”

Women of the Confederacy (Pt. 6)

Loreta Janeta Valazquez

300px-Loreta_Janeta_Velazquez_

Loreta Janeta Velazquez (Harry T. Buford)  

Library of Congress 

 

Loreta Janeta Velazquez – Fact or Fiction? 

A spy … 

A civilian pretending to be a soldier … 

A widow four times 

All of these phrases describe one of the most fascinating, thrill-seeking characters of the Civil War. Because she was a woman, Loreta Janeta Valezquez was able to fool her contemporaries while supporting the Confederate cause she so adamantly believed in. 

 Born to a wealthy Cuban family on June 26, 1842, her mother was French-American, and her father, a Spanish government official, owned plantations in Mexico and Cuba, but developed a strong hatred for the U.S. government when he lost an inherited ranch in the Mexican War. In 1849, Loreta was sent to stay with an aunt in New Orleans, where she was taught English and French in addition to her native Spanish at Catholic schools. Her idol was Joan of Arc, and she wished to become just like her. When she was only fourteen, Loreta met a handsome Texas army officer named William, but because her parents opposed their union, they eloped in 1856. The newlyweds traveled around to various army posts until, four years later, when Loreta was eighteen, they were in St. Louis mourning the deaths of their three children. When the Civil War broke out, she insisted that her husband join the Confederacy, and begged to join with him, but he disallowed it, so she simply waited for him to leave. She disguised herself in one of two uniforms she had tailored in Memphis, donned a wig and fake moustache, bound her breasts, and padded the sleeves of her uniform, transforming into Harry T. Buford. Self-appointing herself as a lieutenant, she fooled fellow officers and soldiers by walking with a masculine gait, perfecting the art of spitting, and smoking cigars. She immediately went to Arkansas, and in four days raised a battalion, the Arkansas Grays, consisting of 236 men. She then sent them to her husband in Pensacola, Florida, where she turned them over to his command. William’s astonishment was short-lived, however, because a few days later, he was accidentally killed while showing his troops how to use their weapons. 

The bereaved Loreta turned his battalion over to a friend, and soon after, searched for military adventure on the front, finding it at the First Battle of Manassas, where she observed her comrades. “The supreme moment of my life had arrived, and all the glorious aspirations of my romantic girlhood were on the point of realization. I was elated beyond measure, although cool-headed enough … Fear was a word I did not know the meaning of; and as I noted the ashy faces, and the trembling limbs of some of the men about me, I almost wished that I could feel a little fear, if only for the sake of sympathizing with the poor devils.” 

Soon, Loreta grew weary of camp life, so she borrowed a dress from a local farmer’s wife and made her way to Washington, D.C., where she was recruited as a Confederate spy. She claimed to have met Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton. When she returned to the South, she was rewarded for her services by being assigned to detective duty. Apparently, espionage didn’t offer enough excitement for her either, so she put on her disguise and traveled to Tennessee, where she fought in the siege of Fort Donelson until its surrender. Wounded in the foot, she escaped detection by fleeing to New Orleans, but was arrested while in uniform for suspicion of being a Union spy and impersonating a man. Once she was released, she enlisted again to escape the city, and immediately went back up to Tennessee. There, she found the battalion she had raised in Arkansas, so she joined them in the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862. After the battle, she was wounded by a stray shell while she was on burial duty. Unfortunately, a doctor discovered her. Fleeing back down to New Orleans, she was there when Union General Benjamin F. Butler took control of the city in May 1862. Because she thought too many people were now aware of her true identity, she put away her uniform and traveled to Richmond, Virginia. 

Upon her arrival, she was recruited as a Confederate spy, and traveled all over the country, crossing enemy lines while she wore both male and female disguises to traffic information, drugs, and counterfeit bills to the South. She married Confederate Captain Thomas DeCaulp, but he soon died at a Chattanooga hospital. Traveling back up north, she was hired by Union officials to search for “the woman … traveling and figuring as a Confederate agent,” or in other words, to search for herself. During that time, she attempted to organize a rebellion of Confederate prisoners in Ohio and Indiana, and helped to win the war of Costintin in 1864. 

After the Civil War ended, she traveled around Europe and the South. Loreta married a third time. She and her husband, known only as Major Wasson, went to Venezuela as United States immigrants. He died in Caracus, so Loreta returned to America, this time going out west. She stopped in Salt Lake City long enough to give birth to a boy, and met Brigham Young. Nearly penniless, she traveled to Omaha, and charmed General W. S. Harney into giving her blankets and a revolver. Two days after she arrived to a mining town in Nevada, a sixty-year-old man proposed to her, but she refused. Supposedly, she married a fourth time, but the name of this younger man is unknown.  

It wasn’t long before she was off again. “With my baby boy in my arms, I started on a long journey through Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, hoping, perhaps, but scarcely expecting, to find opportunities which I had failed to find in Utah, Nevada, and California.” Her money was dwindling, so in 1876, she wrote a memoir to support her child. Most of what is known about Loreta was written in her 600-page book, The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and Travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Valazquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army. Upon its publication, General Jubal Early denounced it as pure fiction, but modern scholars have found some parts to be accurate. In 2007, the History Channel ran a special entitled Full Metal Corset, and verified some of the incidents described in the book, but there are still many facts in question. 

Loreta is last documented as living in Nevada. She never took any of her four husband’s names. After 1880, there is no further record of her life, including where or how she died, presumably in 1897. 

Advertisements

In These Trying Times

The Black AIDS Insitute 2018 Hosts Heroes in The Struggle Gala, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2018

Early this morning, an actor from the TV show Empire, Jussie Smollett, was attacked, supposedly by two anti-gay racists. This event upsets me very much, and deserves so much more media attention and observance from our social conscience than what other occurrences are receiving. The following article is one example. It’s a shame that so much emphasis is being placed on what kids are wearing to school. Their garb is not vulgar, but some (the minority, BTW) deem it unacceptable. I think our attentions are askew and need to be reassessed. Kids wearing the Southern Cross, or t-shirts that state “History Not Hate” are definitely not threatening. On the other hand, thugs attacking innocent people are very threatening. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Freedom of religion? And freedom of expression? God help us all.

arkansas flag

ARKANSAS STUDENTS STAND STRONG

Students at Fayetteville High School have been suspended for wearing – and refusing to remove – Confederate flag-themed shirts and face paintings in support of a pro-flag movement called #HistoryNotHate.

Several students showed up to school in Flag apparel and were told by administration to remove it. Those that did not comply received an out-of-school suspension, according to NBC affiliate KARK. Now the teens say they are upset with the way school officials are handling the situation, and they defend their right to dress in Confederate gear.

“None of us are racist. None of us are doing it for hate,” said student Jagger Starnes to KARK. “It’s Southern pride, and we’re not gonna take it off for anyone. This is our flag. It’s Arkansas. This is the South.”

bulldog

School officials claim they aren’t taking a political stance and are not trying to impede on anyone’s rights but one teen says that the confrontation between students and authorities got heated. Morrigan White told local news station KNWA he painted the Confederate Flag all over his peers’ hands and faces, “wherever they wanted it” and that during their lunch period they were approached by police, the principal, the vice principal as well as school deans who told them to change clothes and wash the body art “or else.” When the students refused, “I told him I wasn’t going to take it off,” he said to KNWA. “So then I went to the office had a discussion and then the head principal ended up calling me racist.”

The students say that despite the discipline they received, they stand by their convictions and won’t back down from wearing the Confederate Flag. “They’re both going to keep wearing their jackets,” White said of Starnes and another fellow student. “And if I have makeup I’m going to put hashtag history not hate on my hands. I’ll still keep putting the flag on my face.”

Another Assault on Southern History

This event happened on November 24. Let me know what you think about this article and how the media handled the situation. Personally, I think the media tainted the situation to make it look like the SCV was committing some kind of crime or something.
ARKANSAS SATURDAY NIGHT

Saturday night the city of Springdale, Arkansas enjoyed its annual Christmas parade. The event was made a little less enjoyable for the Southerners in the crowd.

In the parade a float sponsored by the Arkansas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). On the float were two men dressed up as Confederate soldiers, one holding a rifle with a bayonet.

AR Parade

KNWA in nearby Rogers, Arkansas carried some video of an incident involving the SCV float in which the cameraman asked, “Why are there Confederate soldiers out here?”

One of the SCV re-enactors waved to the section of the crowd where the cameraman man was. The trailer slowed to a stop, with children in the background yelling for candy. A woman’s voice could faintly be heard asking a question: “Why do you have a rifle with a bayonet on it?” As she repeated her question, the soldier answered: “I’m looking for Yankees.” Then a man’s voice was heard: “Y’all fighting for slavery?…Y’all fighting for slavery?”

“No. We are against it, sir,” another man said from the trailer.

“Isn’t that what the South fought for?” The man from the street said.

With that the segment was ended. Hopefully one of our compatriots in Arkansas gave the crowd and cameraman a much needed history lesson.

Sach Oliver, a member of the board for the Rodeo of the Ozarks, the group which sponsored the parade, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the Downtown Springdale Alliance had a “stern message” for the Confederate float: “The November 24th Christmas Parade of the Ozarks float featuring the Confederate flag and soldiers was not approved by DSA, nor is its message condoned by our staff or board of directors.”

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Nov. 30, 2018 ed.)

Tragedy on the Mississippi

Ill-fated_Sultana,_Helena,_Arkansas,_April_27,_1865

One hundred and fifty years ago today, the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history took place. This little known event happened on the Mississippi River, not long after the Civil War ended. The name of the vessel was the Sultana.

At the close of the war, Union prisoners were released from Southern POW camps. Some of the parolees were transported to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where they awaited their release. Riverboats traveling along the Mississippi River vied for the lucrative opportunity to transport newly released prisoners to their homes in the north, and were paid handsomely by the Federal government. One such vessel, the Sultana, was chosen to transport Andersonville and Alabama prisoners, who were crowded onto the boat, surpassing the 376 person limit.

The boat made its way upriver to Helena, Arkansas, where the above photo was taken. It docked in Memphis, and shortly before 2 a.m., set off for Cairo, Illinois. However, seven miles north of Memphis, the boat suddenly exploded, sending burning prisoners to their deaths or into the icy cold river, which was flooded and swollen with spring thaw. Those who weren’t burned to death or drowned managed to make their way to the riverbanks, and waited for rescue while they watched the unmanned boat spin helplessly in the water, aflame in the night sky. After being rescued, the surviving Union soldiers were taken to hospitals in Memphis. Many succumbed to their wounds, or to their weakened state as POW’s, but some survived. Approximately 1,800 of the 2,427 passengers perished.

Controversy still surrounds the tragedy, including a conspiracy theory that Confederates sabotaged the boat, but this was never proven. It is believed that a faulty boiler actually caused the explosion. Although the riverboat was overloaded, and some people were rumored to have taken bribes, no one was ever held accountable.

Today, there are monuments signifying the event. One is located in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. The disaster was overshadowed by President Lincoln’s assassination, as well as the manhunt for his killer, John Wilkes Booth, who was killed the day before in Virginia. The Sultana tragedy was barely reported in newspapers. Americans were tired of war and death, so the horrific event was essentially ignored. It was a terrible ending to a terrible war.

Author Interview with Margaret Tutor

Product Details

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, fellow author, and UDC sister, Margaret Tutor. Her new novel is entitled “Just Passing Through.” The story is loosely based on her maternal family, and takes place during the 1920’s in rural Arkansas. Margaret’s depiction of the lives of sharecroppers is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Her interview is as follows:

Give us a short synopsis of your book. Will and Parthina Ward traveled from cotton field to cotton field, living out of their covered wagon until they became sharecroppers in Dover, Arkansas, in 1926. There, they encountered Mrs. Cartwright and her children, who were left to fend for themselves while Mr. Cartwright took an extended trip to New Orleans. The Ward’s took the Cartwright’s under their wings, angering Mr. Cartwright when he returned to see them thriving without him.

How did you research your story before you began writing your book? “Just Passing Through” is fiction with some non-fiction added for some good ole Southern flavor. I researched as I wrote.

How were you inspired to write this story? I have always wanted to write, but not until I was able to go back to school did I feel I had a talent, and writing is my talent. Thank you, Northwest MS Community College.

What advice can you offer other authors? Someone once said, “Writing a book is the easy part of becoming a published author.” (author unknown) I can now say, this is so true.

Who designed your book cover? Tate Publishing

Are you working on other projects? I do have plans to continue my writing.

What is your favorite genre? So far, fiction.

Who is your publisher? Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Tate Publishing is my publisher. This is my first experience with a traditional publishing company, but I think this is so cool. Up front, I was told never to contact book stores about book signings; that was their job.  

What is your favorite quote? “If you ain’t get’n no boot don’t trade,” by Will Ward.

Tell us about the characters in your book? How did you come up with the setting? The Ward family is based on the real Ward family. The Cartwright family is truly fictional.  Traveling from cotton field to cotton field, living out of a covered wagon with ten children, and trying to scratch out a living is the non-fiction.

 

Margaret Tutor was born and raised in Morrilton, Arkansas. She now calls Olive Branch, Mississippi her home. Raised by a single mother who raised seven children, Margaret finds her inspiration from her mother’s determination to keep her family together.

Margaret writes in a style that is both light-hearted and fun but with serious undertones.

The Ward family had a big influence on Margaret when she was growing up. Will and Parthina Ward with their ten children went from cotton field to cotton field, living out of their covered wagon. They were never in one place long enough for the Ward children to attend school regularly. However, most did manage to get a 3rd grade education.

Learn more about Margaret and her books at:

http://margarettutor.wix.com/margaret-tutor

Southern Duty

When Lincoln called up 75 thousand men to invade the Independent Southern States on April 15, 1861, his unconstitutional act prompted the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas to secede, joining the newly formed country, the Confederate States of America. Thus, with the invasion of the South, this began the bloodiest war in our American history.

When the South was invaded, Southern States called upon their sons to do their duty to defend their state, homes and family from invasion. These men went to do their duty, not as aggressors or in the spirit of conquest, but to protect their homeland from an unjust invasion.

More than half of all the casualties on both sides were from the hardships and disease found in camp life. This was especially true for the Southern troops who nearly always lacked the basic necessities of food, clothing and medical supplies, unlike the Northern troops, who had plenty.

The sacrifices made by the Confederate soldier are incomprehensible today. They would march for days with little or no rest, very little food, some with no shoes and in the heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter. Fatigue, hunger and sickness were common place for these soldiers.

Despite the hardships endured by the Confederate soldiers they pressed on to perform their duty. In nearly every conflict these soldiers were typically outnumbered and out gunned 3 to 1.

The “Rebel Yell” made these brave soldiers famous. It demonstrated a fighting spirit, courage, tenacity and gallantry allowing them to prevail in most of the major conflicts of the war. Sadly they fought an invader with unlimited reserves and resources, making victory impossible.

Even during the last year of the war when they knew that victory was impossible, the Confederate soldier continued to fight courageously to protect their homes and families, to the very end.

They received no great bounty or pay for their service nor did they ask for any monuments or special attention. They wished only to be remembered with the truth behind their heroic and noble struggle, in America’s second War for Independence.

April is Confederate History Month and commemorates the men and women of the Confederate States of America who came from all races and religions that include: Irish-born General Patrick R. Cleburne, Black Confederate drummer Bill Yopp, Mexican born Colonel Santos Benavides, Cherokee born General Stand Watie and Jewish born Confederate Nurse Phoebe Pember who was the first female administrator of Chimboraza Hospital in Richmond, Virginia where she served until the end of War Between the States.

Nearly 258 thousand Confederate soldiers died protecting their homes, families and our Constitution. They fought bravely and nobly against overwhelming forces and odds. They suffered incomprehensible hardships to the very end. They were called to their duty as Americans….as fathers and as sons. They served without hesitation and we owe each of them to make sure the truth be told about them and the War. These soldiers are our ancestors and without hesitation or question, deserve respect, honor and dignity from each of us.

Deo Vindice!

(This article courtesy of the “Southern Comfort,” Samuel A. Hughey Camp #1452 SVC, Hernando, MS)

Confederacy Reflected on Six States’ Flags

Following the Civil War, it was decided that each state should have a flag to represent itself, so in the late 1880’s the process began. Not surprisingly, many southern states chose to represent themselves with replicas of their beloved, albeit lost, Confederacy. Over the course of time, criticism and controversy have surrounded these states’ decisions, claiming that they are racist. The motto “Heritage Not Hate,” has received skepticism as to its sincerity, and whether it is a cover-up for racism underneath.

Alabama’s state flag is white with a red saltire cross, similar in design to the most recognizable flag of the Confederacy, the St. Andrews Cross, otherwise known as the Southern Cross. Florida also has a red saltire cross on its state flag. Mississippi has the only state flag that still bears the true replica of the Southern Cross. This design is in the upper left-hand corner, with the rest of the flag resembling the Stars and Bars. North Carolina also has a state flag that resembles the Stars and Bars, as does Texas, and Tennessee’s flag replicates the battle flag by its color scheme and design with a vertical bar on the fly that is reminiscent of the Stainless Banner. Two other states use similar colors in their flag designs: Arkansas and Missouri. Georgia received so much flack that it underwent numerous changes until finally deciding on a design that displays previous state flags.

It is fascinating to see how some state’s flags transformed over the years. Texas and Florida both started out with the Bonnie Blue Flag. Interestingly, California also had a lone star flag, although it was considered to be a part of the Union during the War Between the States.

Pictures of Pea Ridge

Last week, I posted a blog about Pea Ridge Battlefield in Arkansas. This was a pivotal battle in the Civil War, because the Confederate loss secured the state of Missouri for the Union army later on. As promised, I am posting pictures of the battlefield, including the Elkhorn Tavern, where major fighting took place on March 8, 1862. Enjoy!

Battle of Pea Ridge

Over the weekend, my husband and I traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This happened after we had to change our plans. Our original destination was Destin, Florida, but because of the tropical storm, we wisely decided that going north would be more fun. In the process, we discovered a Civil War battlefield that we hadn’t seen before.

The Battle of Pea Ridge took place early on in the war, March 7-8, 1862, and was instigated by Union General Samuel Curtis, who thought that waging a winter battle would disable the Confederates. The battle was one of the few where Confederate forces outnumbered Union troops, and where Cherokee Indians fought (on the Rebel side). Fortunately for Curtis, his opponent was General Earl Van Dorn, who was more concerned with glorifying himself than looking after his soldiers. Van Dorn had his troops leave behind essential food, water, and ammunition, and march 60 miles, in three days, in the cold, which most were unaccustomed to. In an attempt to flank the Yankees, Van Dorn was surprised when another division of artillery attacked. He was forced to retreat. This resulted in a Union victory, and allowed the Yankees to secure Missouri. Van Dorn lost 3000 on the march, and 1400 in the battle.

Next year will be the 150th anniversary of the battle, and the National Park Service is preparing for the event. Normally, Pea Ridge reenactments attract about 200 participants, but next year promises to be much larger. The battlefield is beautifully maintained, and the highlight is the Elkhorn Tavern. Even though the present building is a reproduction of the original, it is attached to the original chimneys, and stands on the original foundation. The battlefield is located near Garfield, Arkansas.

(Photos to Follow)

Confederacy Reflected on Six States’ Flags

Following the Civil War, it was decided that each state should have a flag to represent itself, so in the late 1880’s the process began. Not surprisingly, many southern states chose to represent themselves with replicas of their beloved, albeit lost, Confederacy. Over the course of time, criticism and controversy have surrounded these states’ decisions, claiming that they are racist. The motto “Heritage Not Hate,” has received skepticism as to its sincerity, and whether it is a cover-up for racism underneath.

Alabama’s state flag is white with a red saltire cross, similar in design to the most recognizable flag of the Confederacy, the St. Andrews cross, otherwise known as the Southern Cross. Florida also has a red saltire cross on its state flag. Mississippi has the only state flag that still bears the true replica of the Southern Cross. This design is in the upper left-hand corner, with the rest of the flag resembling the Stars and Bars. North Carolina also has a state flag that resembles the Stars and Bars, as does Texas, and Tennessee’s flag replicates the battle flag by its color scheme and design with a vertical bar on the fly that is reminiscent of the Stainless Banner. Two other states use similar colors in their flag designs: Arkansas and Missouri. Georgia received so much flack that it underwent numerous changes until finally deciding on a design that displays previous state flags.

It is fascinating to see how some state’s flags transformed over the years. Texas and Florida both started out with the Bonnie Blue Flag. Interestingly, California also had a lone star flag, although it was considered to be a part of the Union during the War Between the States.

Post Navigation