J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Civil War”

Mississippi Flag Debate

After being a Mississippi resident for several years, I developed a fondness for the people, the landmarks, and yes, even the state flag. I thought it was amazing that Mississippi citizens cherished their flag so much that they voted to keep it. But recently, state lawmakers took it upon themselves to get rid of the flag, calling it racist (which I don’t agree with). The following article shows how Mississippians are not happy with this move at all.

MISSISSIPPI FLAG REVIVAL?


Organizers of a group called Let Mississippi Vote said that they are starting an initiative to put the retired flag and three other flag designs on the statewide ballot.

“What the legislators did, in my opinion, was 100% wrong,” said the group’s leader, Dan Carr. “We should give the people of Mississippi the right to vote on this flag.”


Getting any initiative on the ballot requires signatures from more than 106,000 voters, evenly distributed among the five congressional districts Mississippi used 20 years ago. Most initiatives fail because organizers fall short in gathering signatures.


Petitions for this initiative could hit the streets in a few weeks, after required paperwork by the secretary of state and attorney general. The signature-gathering process could be complicated by social distancing recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic.Even if this initiative gets to the ballot, an election could be a year or two away. And, Mississippi might have a new flag before then.


A commission is already working on a flag design that, by legislative mandate, cannot include the Confederate battle emblem and must have the phrase, “In God We Trust.”Under the law that retired the old flag, the lone design that commissioners recommend will go on the ballot this November. If voters accept the design, it will become the new state flag. If they reject it, the commission will come up with a new design that will go on a later ballot.


For now, Mississippi is a state without a flag.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Aug. 21, 2020 ed.)

New Take On An Old Song

I think it’s fascinating to find out backstories of old folk songs. Here’s one example. I used to sing this song when I first learned how to play the guitar, but never knew what it was really about. Come to find out, the story is quite sad. The song, Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley, goes back to the Civil War.

Tom Dooley was in the 42 North Carolina Infantry. He was convicted and accused of murdering his girl friend after the civil war was over. He was a good musician in his unit. His friend let him be with his x girl friend in that area because he respected him this story is kind of crazy. I am filming the project called “Laura” based on his girl friend that was murdered either by him or her cousin who was jealous of him for being with her. I wen there last year with two of my friends we walked about half a mile to his cemetery and visited his other relatives near by. The photo of him on his find a grave is not of him but a reenactor posed in 1960’s. The music video was filmed by somebody else. We are filming a teaser for the feature film. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2473/thomas-caleb-dula

Col. Thomas Charles Land (1828-1912),
who wrote the Ballad of Tom Dula (“Tom Dooley”) in 1868.
His brother Rev. Linville Land built Tom Dula’s coffin. Their second cousin, Col. James Martin Isbell, found the body of Laura Foster, Sept. 1, 1866, tracked her killer and captured Tom Dula.

Another Great Review

Here is another flattering review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Joanne, for your wonderful review!

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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!

Guest Post by Lewis Regenstein

As you know, I frequently feature other authors on my blog; Mr. Regenstein sets the record straight on how important ancestry is. With all the attacks on Confederate heritage these days, I wanted to share his perspective. I hope you enjoy this article.

Rebel

The Last Order of the Lost Cause

Speech By Lewis Regenstein

To Washington, GA Civil War Roundtable        

26 February, 2007

I am deeply honored  to be here today  in this wonderful town of Washington, and I thank you for the chance to speak before such a distinguished group of people. Claibourne has warned me that some of you all are extremely knowledgeable about the War Between the States, and to be careful not to make any mistakes because I will surely get caught and be called on it.  So please go easy on me. 

Before I begin I’d like to emphasize that while I am very proud of my ancestors, I‘m not bragging about anything.  I can  claim no personal distinction for their heroism, which reflects what was common among the hopelessly outnumbered, outsupplied but not outfought Confederate troops, something in which we all take much pride. 

Our ancestors often ran low on food, ammunition, and other supplies, but never on courage.

 I write and talk about all this because I am proud of our heritage and committed to helping keep its memory alive and honored, amidst the ongoing campaign to rewrite history and discredit the valor and honor of the Confederate soldiers and their Cause. I know that no one here today needs educating on this issue.

Here in Washington, some very historic events have taken place, one of them involving one of my ancestors, and I’d like to talk a little about that today. 

 I am very proud that my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, Jr, of Sumter, S.C., and his four brothers fought for the Confederacy, and Major Raphael Jacob Moses was their uncle, [having married Eliza Moses, the sister of the Moses brothers’ father, Andrew Jackson Moses, Sr.] 

We know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that they and their compatriots were not fighting for slavery, as is so often alleged. They were trying to defend themselves and their comrades, their families,  homes, and country from an often cruel invading army that was trying to kill them, burn their homes and cities, and destroy everything they had. 

Raphael Moses was a fifth generation South Carolinian who in 1849 moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he was a lawyer, planter, and owner of a plantation he named “Esquiline.” Moses’ English ancestors came to America during colonial days, one of them being  his great, great grandfather  Dr. Samuel Nunez, fleeing the Inquisition.  He is credited with saving the newly-established, mosquito-infested colony of Savannah, Georgia from being wiped out in 1733 by a “fever,” then  thought to be yellow fever but which was probably malaria.

Before the War, Moses pioneered the commercial growing of peaches and plums in Georgia, so it could thus be said that he is a major reason Georgia is called The Peach State. Moses is reputed to have been the first planter to ship and sell peaches outside of the South, in 1851, before there was any through connection by railroad. James C. Bonner’s “A History of Georgia Agriculture, 1732-1860,” credits Moses with being the first to succeed in preserving the flavor of shipped peaches, by packing them in a champagne baskets instead of pulverized charcoal.

Moses knew well and wrote in his memoirs about General Robert E. Lee (whom  he was with at Gettysburg) and other major Confederate figures Lee’s Lieutenants. The renowned Douglas Southall Freeman, in his authoritative work called Moses “…the best commissary officer of like rank in the Confederate service.”

As General James Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, Moses participated in many of the major battles in the East, and was responsible for supplying and feeding up to 54,000 troops, porters, and other non-combatants. General Lee had forbidden him from entering private homes in search of supplies in raids into Union territory (such as the incursions into Pennsylvania), even when food and other provisions were in  painfully short supply.  

Moses always paid for what he took from farms and businesses, albeit in Confederate tender.

Often while seizing supplies, Moses encountered considerable hostility and abuse from the local women, which he always endured in good humor, and it became a source of much teasing from his fellow officers. 

Moses always acted honorably, compassionately, and as a gentleman. Once, when a distraught woman approached Moses and pleaded for the return of her pet heifer that had been caught up in a cattle  seizure, he graciously acceded.

The contrast is striking between the humane Confederate policies and those of the North.  Union generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan regularly burned and looted homes, farms, courthouses, churches, libraries, and entire cities full of civilians, such as Atlanta and Columbia, South Carolina, and most everything of value in between, later engaging in the mass  slaughtering of Native Americans in the West, largely old men, women, and children in their villages, in what we euphemistically call “The Indian Wars.”

Moses’ memoirs contain some very interesting observations on the Battle of Gettysburg. “…We lost the battle,” laments Moses, “and then came the retreat; the rain poured down in floods that night ! I laid down in a fence corner and near by on the bare earth in an India rubber [tarp] lay General Lee biding the pelting storm.”

In his memoirs, Moses reveals that “General Longstreet did not wish to fight the Battle of Gettysburg. He wanted to go around the hill, but Lee objected on account of our long wagon and artillery trains.” Longstreet, as historian Ed Bearss notes, “knew what muskets in the hands of determined troops could do,” and  felt that the Union forces, holding the high ground, would have the same advantage over his forces that the Confederates had over the Federals at Fredericksburg. If his  advice had been taken, it could have changed the course of the War. 

But Lee rejected Longstreet’s recommendation to swing his troops around the heights, and instead ordered the attack on the center of the Union forces at Cemetery Hill, saying  of the Yankees, “I will whip them here, or they will whip me.” Honorable as always, after the battle Lee took responsibility for the disaster, saying “All this has been my fault.” Longstreet, feeling that the ground fought over had no military value, called that day “the saddest of my life.” Shelby Foote calls Lee’s decision “The mistake of all mistakes.”

Interestingly, the entire battle might have been avoided and the course of the war changed if Longstreet’s forces had not been forced to wait for their reinforcements to arrive. Moses  says that if the Confederates had not been delayed near Cash Town  for over a day waiting for General Richard Stoddert Ewell’s wagon train of supplies, “…I do know that we could have marched easily from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, in a day, and been there before the Union troops.” 

Moses’ three sons also fought for the South, and one was killed at Seven Pines in May, 1862 after performing acts of amazing valor – Lt. Albert Moses Luria, the first Jewish Confederate to fall in battle. 

He was killed at age nineteen after courageously  throwing a live Union artillery shell out of his fortification before it exploded, thereby saving the lives of many of his compatriots.

(The last Confederate Jew to be killed was Major Moses’ nephew, Joshua Lazarus Moses, of Sumter, South Carolina, the brother of my great grandfather. Josh was killed in the battle of Fort Blakeley, Alabama, a few hours after Lee surrendered, commanding the guns  firing the last shots in defense of Mobile. In this battle, Josh’s brothers Perry and Horace were respectively wounded and captured.

RUNNING OUT OF FOOD

Prior to Virginia’s  Battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864, Moses was having more and more difficulty obtaining supplies, since farmers were refusing to sell their crops because of increasing speculation over prices. Moses decided to travel to Georgia, his major source of supplies, to talk to the farmers:  [“It occurred to me, that if I could go to  Georgia and speak to the people who had sons, brothers, relatives and friends suffering for food, that I could get supplies.” Moses asked General Lee for a furlough to go there and loosen up the pipeline, and Lee replied,  “Major, I would approve it but really we can’t spare you, you know.” But when Moses explained his plans, Lee responded, “Well, Major, if you think you can do anything for my poor boys, go and may God crown you effort with success.”]

When he arrived in Georgia in mid-1864,  Moses found few willing and able to help out.[ In his memoirs, he recalled a meeting where he spoke at Temperance Hall in Columbus:

There were about thirty persons present…When I last spoke at this hall, it was to urge the people of Columbus to send their sons and brothers to confront the hazards of war to redress their country’s wrongs. The house was full from pit to gallery with patriotic citizens ready for the sacrifices asked. Now I come from those near and dear to the people here to appeal to them for bread, for the starving Army, and I am confronted by empty benches…

Travelling next to southwest Georgia, Moses was “met there with a very different spirit and had a very successful trip.”] But while there, the Confederate Commissary for the state died, and Moses was appointed  to fill the post. 

Still, the pressures on Moses to obtain and distribute supplies of food remained relentless, and towards the end of the War, the situation had become  desperate. 

THE FINAL DAYS

Moses’ account of those final, chaotic days after Lee’s surrender is filled with stories of heroism and heartbreak, humor and tragedy. (There are many conflicting accounts of this era; what follows is from Moses’ recollections.)

With the defeat of the Confederate forces, the capital of Richmond was abandoned in April, 1865, and the senior government officials and their staff  headed south, avoiding Union forces, and ending up in Georgia. 

Moses tells of  Mrs. Jefferson Davis awaiting her husband in Washington, Georgia, where he arrived accompanied by his cabinet and “a train containing gold and silver bullion.” 

Moses writes, 

shortly before [General  Joseph E.] Johnston’s surrender, I was ordered to Washington, Wilkes County. Soon after, Davis and his cabinet arrived there. Mrs. Davis met her husband in Washington.  A train containing gold and silver bullion accompanied the cabinet. It was brought from Richmond banks. I was staying with General Toombs… I remember seeing General [ Braxton] Bragg waiting under an oak tree to get his $20.00.

I received an order from General  Johnston to provide 250,000 rations at Augusta for the returning soldiers…and there arrange as best I could with general Mollyneux [Molineux] who then occupied Augusta with Federal troops, to protect me in furnishing the troops as they passed through Augusta and to provide for the sick and wounded in hospitals.

One of Moses’ stories describes the close escape from arrest by the Yankees of his close friend, and resident of this area,  General Robert A. Toombs, a leading Georgia planter who served as the South’s first Secretary of State.

Moses was in Washington with his son Israel Moses Nunez, called “Major,” when, he writes,  “…a cavalry man rode up coming from [War Secretary] Breckenbrige [sic] and threw over the fence a sack containing $5,000 in gold for his [Toombs’] personal use”:

He [Toombs] handed it to Major and told him to buy corn and provisions with it and distribute it among the returning soldiers as they passed through Washington, and my son did so use it…

Shortly afterwards, Moses continues, “the government came to arrest [Toombs], and my son Major  met the officer between the gate and the house, while [Toombs] escaped out of the back way, mounted his horse, donned  blue spectacles and after many hair-breath escapes, fled to foreign parts, where his wife followed, and he lived with her some time in Paris.”

THE LAST ORDER OF THE LOST CAUSE

About three weeks after the war’s end, as chief commissary for Georgia, Moses carried out what is reputed to have been the last order of the Confederacy. It involved safeguarding and delivering the Confederate treasury’s last $40,000 of silver and/or gold bullion (perhaps $750,000 today).

(Although the accounts are contradictory and confusing, it appears that Moses  paid $10,000 to the Quartermaster-General in Washington [according to Avery, p. 326], and carried $30,000 in bullion to Augusta.)

Carrying out the order was no easy task, amidst the anarchy of defeat, orderly government and military discipline having collapsed, and lawless mobs of unruly, sometimes drunken former soldiers searching desperately for food and money.

[“The Memoirs of Jefferson Davis,” written by his wife, contain a letter written to Davis several years after the war by Acting Secretary of Treasury, describing how he “directed him [an acting treasurer] to turn the silver bullion over to Major Moses, as it was too bulky and heavy to be managed by us in our then condition; and I saw Moses putting it in a warehouse in Washington [Georgia] before I left there. I also directed him to burn the Confederate notes in the presence of General Breckinridge and myself.]

The Acting Treasurer, Captain M.H. Clark of Clarksville, Tennessee, described the disposition of the Confederate bullion in a 13 January, 1882 interview with the “Louisville Courier Journal”:

Before reaching town [Washington, Georgia], I was halted by Major R.J. Moses, to turn over to him the specie [coins] which president Davis, before he left, ordered to be placed at the disposal of the Commissary Department, to feed the paroled soldiers and stragglers passing through, to prevent their burdening a section already stripped of supplies. I turned over to Major Moses the wagons and silver bullion, and all of the escort except about ten men.

The government’s final order was  handed down at its last  meeting, held  in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia on 4 May, 1865, which  according to Moses, was attended, among others,  by President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and Major  Moses. (It is unclear who actually attended the meeting, with some accounts saying that Breckinridge  arrived after Davis departed.)

And then, as “Confederate Veteran” observes, “…at last, in the old Heard House in Washington, on Georgia soil, the Southern Confederacy ceased to exist and passed into history.” 

That Last Order, dated 5 May, 1865,  reads as follows: 

Major R.J. Moses, will pay $10,000, the amount of bullion appropriated to Q.M. [quartermaster] Dept. by Sec. War to Maj. R.R. Wood. By order of Q.M. Gen.

[signed] W.F. Alexander, Maj. And Asst. to Q.M. Gen., 5 May, 1865, Washington

But the Confederacy did not die a quiet death. “By early may, 1865, realizing the war was lost, the major units of the Confederate Army had surrendered,”  author Mel Young writes in “Last Order of the Lost Cause,” the authoritative published account for this historic event. 

“Individual Confederate soldiers, groups of soldiers, and small units were trying to walk, ride, or move in groups back to their homes. They were in tattered uniforms, hungry and mostly penniless. Confederate General [Joseph E. ] Johnston, requested of President Davis that 250,000 rations be obtained to be distributed to these discharged soldiers. 

In accepting this responsibility, Moses, now 53 years old,  showed the usual courage and tenacity for which he was known. Facing down a turbulent mob of former Confederates who intercepted and threatened to storm his train  in Barnett, Georgia, Moses  successfully carried out the  order to deliver the remaining Confederate gold bullion to  help and provision the troops struggling to get back home, 

In his classic work, “The History of the State of Georgia, from 1850-1881,” I.W. Avery describes the  situation thusly:

Major Moses had a stirring time with his perilous treasure. It was,      of course, known immediately that he had it in his possession. The war had unhinged men’s ideas and principles. But still more demoralizing of the public conscience was the desperate stress of the people, coupled with the knowledge that the Confederate cause was dead, and that this specie was ownerless and a probable treasure trove and booty for the Federal soldiery. Maj. Moses, with punctilious honor, was resolved to part with it only with his life and to deliver it according to orders in fulfillment of its kindly mission.

Moses biggest problem was protecting the bullion in his charge  from unruly soldiers: “The town was full of stragglers, cavalry men who had just been paid $20.00 each. They had arms but no consciences, and the little taste they had of specie provoked their appetites…” 

Moses writes in his memoirs that  General Robert Toombs gave me the names of ten of the Washington Artillery, all gentlemen well known to him”:

I agreed to pay them $10.00 each in gold to guard it that night and go with me to Augusta. I then took a squad of them and destroyed all the liquor I could find in the shops. I then got part of a keg of powder and put it in a wooden building that was unoccupied and put the boxes of bullion in the same room, placed my guard outside and around the building, and gave out that I had laid a train of powder to the outside, and if the guard was forced, the train would be fired. 

The next morning, Moses had the bullion loaded onto a train filled with some 200 soldiers and “29 cavalry men”, and when the train  was just outside of its destination of Barnett, the trouble started:

…the conductor, a nice old man, came to our car and said, “Major, from the talk I reckon the boys are going to ‘charge’ your car when we reach Barnett.” Charge meant to attack it and take the specie and divide it among themselves….I held a council with my guard, and I told them that if they would stand by me, keep cool, fire (and reload) through an opening we would make in the doors, I thought we could successfully defend the car, but they were not ready to do this, we would be overcome. 

They consulted together, and I was afraid they  would conclude “To join the Cavalry,” but they finally said, “We will stand by you as long as there is a chance to save the specie.”

Avery writes that “These desperate men, a reckless mob, coolly demanded the money, as being as much theirs as anyone’s, and they were armed to enforce the demand.”

Showing amazing courage, Moses then went out “among the men, who were as thick as blackbirds,” and told them that “every dollar of the bullion would be devoted to feeding their fellow soldiers, and caring for the wounded in the hospitals at Augusta…that they might killed me and my guard, but they would be killing men in the discharge of a duty in behalf of their comrades ! That if they killed us, it would be murder, while if we killed any of them in defending the bullion, which we certainly should endeavor to do, we would be justified, because the killing would be in self defense and in a discharge of a sacred duty.”

When two soldiers in the crowd spoke up and vouched for Moses, “the crowd began to disperse,” but unfortunately, the train he was meeting was over an hour late. “…the billows of the seas rise and fall when disturbed by the winds, and this restless crowd at the depot would surge and press up against the door of my box[car] trying to get in, and I would have to threaten them and appeal.”

Avery writes, in a page titled “Attempted Rape of the Bullion,”  that “Major Moses remonstrated quietly and argumentatively with the menacing men surrounding him, and appealed to their honor and patriotism and stated his orders. At length it is seemed nothing could avert the ravishment of this specie.”

“At last, the storm seemed to be subsiding,” writes Moses, when a fellow officer warned him that some men were about to charge his boxcar, led by a young man from Tennessee with a wound on his cheek. Again showing remarkable courage, Moses approached the man and said to him,  “You appear to be a gentleman and bear an honorable wound”:

I then read my orders to him, explained my position, and how trying it was to be forced perhaps to take life and lose my own in the performance of a duty that I could not voluntarily avoid. I told him I had a guard and some friends in the crowd, but we would be outnumbered unless I could enlist men like himself in our behalf. ..

I said, “I appeal to you in the spirit of that honor that belongs to all brave men, to assist me in the discharge of this trust.”

He seemed embarrassed, but said, “I don’t think you will have any further trouble,” and I did not. 

Finally, Moses and his men were able to catch the train to Augusta and  deliver the goods, obtaining a receipt for the delivered bullion from  Major and Quartermaster R.R. Wood dated  5 May, 1865.

“The Atlanta Journal” of 6 February, 1927, in an article entitled “Last official Writing of the Southern Confederacy,” reproduced this receipt, calling it “…the last official writing ever issued by the Confederate administration”:

          It is as historic a curiosity as the world affords, this last 

flicker of a mammoth revolution. Such thoughts cluster around it as would make a grand epic…the paper thus testifying to the honesty and promptness of the disbursing officer of a great shattered government – an administration gone down hopelessly in a grand ruin. 

[The complete story is told in Mel Young’s Last Order of the Lost Cause, and  Robert Rosen’s authoritative, The Jewish Confederates, and originally in I.W. Avery’s “History of the State of Georgia from 1850-1881.]

In his memoirs, Moses wrote: “I have never turned my back on an enemy that was attacking me, or failed to forgive one as soon as he cried for quarter. I can also say that I never deserted a friend…”

 And the Atlanta Journal in 1928 summed up Moses’ career thusly: “At the beginning of the war, although overage, he hastened to the defense of his beloved Southland, offering his fortune, his service, his sons – everything save his honor – a willing sacrifice on the altar of his country.”

After the war, Raphael Moses became an outspoken critic of the Reconstruction government in Georgia, calling its members “spies, carpetbaggers, a class of politicians, men without character who came from the North in swarms seeking whom they might devour.”  He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and was named  chairman of the Judiciary Committee

On 3 April, 1867, Robert E. Lee, then President of Washington and Lee university in Lexington, Virginia, wrote to Moses asking him, and other prominent men of the South, to help heal the wounds of a divided nation.

Moses remained a loyal Confederate until the very end. When he  died in 

1893, his calling card still read, “Major Raphael J. Moses, C.S.A.”

 Moses and his fellow soldiers  typified many of the brave, beleaguered Confederates who honorably served their country, facing overwhelming, indeed hopeless odds, with loyalty and valor. That terrible war ended fourteen decades ago, but the memory of those  soldiers should never be forgotten. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss and remember some of those events here with you today. 

Lewis Regenstein <regenstein@mindspring.com>, a Native Atlantan, is descended on his Mother’s side  from the Moses family of Georgia and South Carolina, whose patriarch, Myer Moses, participated in the American Revolution..

Almost three dozen members of the extended family fought for the Confederacy, and participated in most of the major battles and campaigns of the War. At least nine of them, largely teenagers,  died in defense of their homeland, and included the first and last Confederate Jews to fall in battle. 

 

Is the Mississippi Flag Truly A Thing of the Past?

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.

MS flag

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.)

 

 

 

Another Flattering Review

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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!

We Can Never Forget

Well, kids, they’re at it again. I don’t know exactly who is behind all this desecration, but the forces that be have decided to attack our beloved American history once more. This round was supposedly brought on by the killing of George Floyd, a repeat offender/drug addict who has become a martyr, crazy as it sounds. So in retaliation for his demise, Black Lives Matter/Antifa has committed numerous murders, looting incidents, and various other crimes. The worst, to me, is their burning the UDC headquarters building in Richmond. What a heartbreaker. The second worst, in my opinion, is their destroying the Lion of Atlanta. And the governor of Virginia has decided to dismantle Monument Avenue, which consists of many amazingly beautiful sculptures. But because they depict Confederate soldiers, they just got ta go.

Lion

So many monuments are under attack right now, as is everything else related to the Confederacy. HBO has removed Gone With the Wind from their movie lineup, which is a serious shame, since the movie features Hattie McDaniel, the very first African American to ever win an Oscar. And Nascar announced that the Confederate battle flag will no longer be allowed to fly at events. Like that hurts anyone? Seriously?

Everyone seems to be losing sight of what the Confederacy actually represented…states’ rights. Slavery was definitely part of it, but then, slavery was legal in nearly every corner of the world back then. And it was also legal in many northern states.

Just for an eye-opener, I’m posting this article for us to witness what it was really like to live through such a terrifying, horrific time. This is what the monuments represent. This is what flying the Rebel flag is all about. If we forget about our ancestors’ peril and suffering, we only set ourselves up to suffer the same anguish ourselves. Because if we erase history, we are doomed to repeat it. History has shown us this time and again.

Ole Miss

The Story of One University Gray 

Come on in and wade around in the blood with me. I live with, and deal with, a lot of Ole Miss Civil War dead kids every day. The ones who died of old age, I can handle. The ones who die of dysentery in an overcrowded hospital, or who are decapitated by a cannon ball, or who bleed to death from a wound, all in their early 20’s, bother me. And then there are the sets of brothers who die, anywhere from two to five in one family. When I started all this I was 32, just a pup who was going to live forever. I had seen very little real death. Now, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know it is mortality coming to run me over. I have lost my parents, all my uncles, 4 out of 6 of my best friends, and I have known a bunch of parents who have lost children. I have a much better understanding of the Civil War death that I write about, and live with, everyday. When I work on all this hard for 3 or 4 days, it starts to get to me. Lewis Taylor Fant was in the University of Mississippi Class of 1862. He was from Holly Springs. He joined the University Greys that Spring of 1861, he was 19 years old. He fought through the battles of First Manassas, Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, and Sharpsburg. 

At Sharpsburg, on September 17, of 1862, Hood’s Division, including Law’s Brigade, containing the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, and the University Greys, was called to counter attack in the famous Cornfield, the bloodiest 40 acres in America. Twenty University Greys went into the meadow area below the Cornfield, and then on into the corn. They fought there for less than 30 minutes. Nineteen of the 20 Greys were wounded there that day. Three would later die of those wounds. 

Lewis Taylor Fant was shot in the leg there in the Cornfield. He was captured and he had his leg amputated in a Union field hospital. He was quickly exchanged to Richmond. I knew from his service record that he had died in the hospital at Richmond, but no cause was given. I always guessed an infection killed him. A few years into my research, I was in the State Archives at Jackson going through the Record Group 9 box on the 11th Mississippi. In that box was a roster one of the Greys had typed out, from memory. He had made a few notes for some of the boys, under their names. That afternoon I found out how Fant died. His note said, “fell on the pavement at Richmond, died in 15 minutes from ruptured artery”. They had gotten him up on crutches and he fell. The artery must have retracted back up into the stump and they could not clamp it off. He bled to death, and he lay there and knew he was bleeding to death. I had a long ride back to Memphis that late afternoon. 

Let me tell you about Lewis Taylor Fant’s brothers: 

James (UM Class of 1858, UM Law Class of 1860) joined the 9th Mississippi, rose to Captain, was wounded at Munfordville, Kentucky in September of 1862, and resigned due to his wound. 

Euclid was decapitated by a cannon ball at Knoxville in November of 1863, standing beside his first cousin. 

Selden joined the 9th Mississippi with his brother, at age 15. He survived the War, only to die in the Yellow Fever of 1878. He stayed in town when most men fled. He worked as Secretary and Treasurer of the Relief Committee, until he was stricken with Yellow Fever. 

Glenn was too young to fight in the War, he too died in the 1878 Yellow Fever. He too stayed in Holly Springs to help. He filled the place of the Express Agent when that man died. Glenn finally caught Yellow Fever and died too. 

There you have the story of just one University Grey. I know the death stories of 49 other Greys, plus well over 

one hundred other UM students and alumni, plus at least another hundred Lafayette County men who went to the Civil War. I know a fair amount about their families too, as you see above. 

Now, maybe you know a little more about why their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and nieces put a few monuments up to them. Those monuments have nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with the incredible amount of loss those families endured. 

The picture here is the University of Mississippi student body in the 1860 – 1861 school year. There they are, your fellow Alumni. Lewis Taylor Fant is probably there somewhere. 

That is the old, 1848 Southeastern dorm behind them on the right. The building on the left is a double Professor’s residence. The young man on the far right is seated on one of the Lyceum step piers. 

A little over 4 years after this picture was taken, 27% of those kids in that picture were dead. You think about that, and apply that percentage to 20,000 students at Ole Miss, in our last school year. What do you think we would do if 27% of those kids died? Can you envision a monument or two? 

Miller Civil War Tours – Starke Miller

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 44, Issue #6, June 2020)

 

Interview With Dixie Heritage Newsletter

Recently, I was invited to participate in a podcast interview conducted by Dr. Edward DeVries, who publishes a weekly newsletter known as The Dixie Heritage Newsletter. I was honored to have the opportunity to discuss all four of my published books, as well as upcoming projects. We also talked about music, the Confederate gold, and several other topics. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Dixie Heritage Banner

New Cover Reveal for A Rebel Among Us!

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.

ARAU Cover

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!

My Book Cover is Now in Round Three!

W1310_J.D.R. Hawkins.indd

My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has received enough votes to make it to round three! Thank you so much for your support!

With each round (there are three), everyone can vote again, so I’m asking you to please vote for my book cover once more. Here is the voting link:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/7748/

This contest is held monthly by All Author. I really appreciate your support. Thank you so much!

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