J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Civil War”

An Insight into the Confederate Cavalry

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I find it interesting how Civil War soldiers, especially those from the South, managed to sustain on what little food was provided to them, yet still had the strength to fight and survive during the harshest climates. Most soldiers lived on hardtack, pork belly, and cornmeal. There were various names for their concoctions, including slush and cush.  My novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, describes some of the situations Confederate cavalrymen went through during the War Between the States.

CAVALRY COOKING

The rations on which the Confederate army subsisted were from the first scant, and often of poor quality. They would have been bad enough even if properly prepared, but were usually rendered worse by poor cooking. The cavalryman’s most valuable cooking utensil was his ramrod, on which he broiled his meat, and even baked the flour bread that he “made up” in his haversack. As a dishrag a corn shuck was invaluable, and was also a good substitute for paper in which to wrap cooked rations. While in camp, of course we had camp-kettles and frying- pans, and could then enjoy the luxuries of “boiled and fried vittles,” but this was not often.

One of the “old gang ” tells an amusing story of how the cooking was managed in his mess: “Our rule was,” said he, “that each member of the mess should cook a week, provided nobody growled about the cooking; in which event the growler was to take the cook’s place. As may be imagined, this rule was not very conducive to good cooking, and some of the revolting messes we uncomplainingly swallowed would have destroyed the digestion of any animal on earth except that of a rebel cavalryman.

Once the cook, finding that he was about to serve out his week in spite of his efforts to the contrary (consisting of sweetening the coffee with salt, salting the soup with sugar, etc.,) grew desperate, and proceeded to boil with the beef a whole string of red pepper. Of course it made a mixture hot enough to blister the nose even to smell it. John got the first mouthful, and it fairly took his breath away. As soon as he could speak , he blurted out, ” Great Caesar, boys, this meat is as hot as hell — but (suddenly remembering the penalty of complaining) it’s good, though..”

 

http://civilwarcooking.blogspot.com

Southern Historical Society

(Source: Campaigns of Wheeler and his cavalry.1862- 1865 by W.C. Dodson, Historian, 1899)
Link to free e=book: https://archive.org/…/cu319240309…/cu31924030921682_djvu.txt

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Hernando, MS., Vol. 42, Issue 10, October 2018 ed.)

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An Amazing Discovery

Cold Harbor

Every once in a while, stories like this pop up. It wasn’t too long ago that a Confederate soldier who had died at the Battle of Chickamauga was identified and buried with honors. There must be many long-forgotten little cemeteries and family plots that contain Civil War soldiers’ remains. Here is another example of a recent discovery.

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TEXAS CEMETERY DISCOVERY
A routine survey of a small East Texas towns cemetery revealed an amazing discovery. Over a half-dozen War Between the States veterans are buried there.

The find was made at the East Mountain cemetery in Gregg county.

For a town of only 800 people, the find at old East Mountain cemetery was remarkable.

Several of the men had moved to Texas after the war, like many did to start a new life. Texas was “the land of opportunity.”

Cemetery board members plan on having a historical marker dedication to commemorate the site in October.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, September 28, 2018 ed.)

The Mississippi State Flag Controversy Continues

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Regardless of the recent pressure Mississippi has faced to change its state flag, the governor and other legislators stand firm in keeping the design of their current flag. It is the only flag to still have the original Confederate battle flag on it, although nearly every other Southern state’s flag resembles one of the five Confederate flags.

The controversy over the flag, as well as all things Confederate, began with a fervor in June 2015, when whack job Dylan Roof, a supposed “avowed Confederate sympathizer,” committed mass murder. Prior to the tragedy, he stupidly posed with a tiny Confederate flag, and the photo was posted on Facebook before he committed his heinous crime. For some reason, the Confederate flag was to blame, as was everything else associated with the Southern cause, including monuments that have stood for a century or more in their respective places.

Mississippi Judge Carlos Moore proclaims that he will not allow the Mississippi state flag in his chambers. And many state-supported educational institutions, including Ole Miss, have stopped flying the state flag for politically correct reasons. Judge Moore says the flag is a “treacherous emblem,” and “stands for murder, rapings and lynchings of his ancestors.” (How a piece of cloth can represent all that is beyond me. We’d better do away with the Union Jack, then, and every other country’s flag, for all the horrible atrocities they represent from the past.) It seems Judge Moore can’t blame the true culprits, so he is indirectly blaming the flag instead. And he is attempting to use his power to do away with the Mississippi state flag.

He is publicly supporting Ms. Lauren Stennis, granddaughter of pro-segregationist Senator John C. Stennis. Lauren has created a different state flag. I won’t post a photo of her creation, because I think it’s ugly and unrepresentative of the great state of Mississippi.

Professor Diedre Owens says, “the flag of Mississippi should not include any symbols that have been coupled by hate groups or terrorist organizations.” (Excuse me, but doesn’t that include the Stars and Stripes? Yeah, it does.) She even goes so far as to compare Mississippi’s flag to Naziism. This is wrong on so many levels. Attacking Southern heritage by destroying monuments and changing flags is much more closely related to Naziism. We need to stop twisting the truth and embrace it instead.

More on Banned Book Week

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Over the years, books have been banned primarily because of explicit sexual depictions, vulgar language and/or excessive violence. Many classics have been banned. The Holy Bible even makes the list.

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During the Civil War, one novel titled Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned in the Southern states. The book inaccurately depicted the condition of all slaves in the South as being treated cruelly and inhumanely. Although abolitionists hailed it as true documentation and Northerners who didn’t know any better believed it, the truth was that the author, Harriet Beecher Stow, intentionally wrote scenes in her book to evoke pity and outrage. However, her depictions were, for the most part, untrue, and this is why the Confederate States banned her book.

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a bestseller. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln said, upon meeting Stowe, “So you’re the little lady who started this great war.” He couldn’t have been more correct, even though, of course, there were many other contributors that caused the Civil War. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is still considered to be a classic today.

https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2016/09/26/classic-books-that-were-banned

To Build and Not Destroy

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With all the destruction of Confederate monuments going on, it’s refreshing to see one Southern city defend its heritage and erect a new monument in honor of an historic occasion. Kudos for not bowing to political correctness and unfounded threats.

NEW MONUMENT GOING UP
Robert Hayes, former director of the South Carolina League of the South, along with the State’s division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, will erect an 11-and-a-half foot monument on Secession Hill dedicated to the 170 signers of South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession, ratified in Charleston a month after the Abbeville speeches.

To unveil the monument on Nov. 10, the town of Abbeville, which has its first black mayor, is hosting a parade.

The Abbeville monument weighing about 20 tons with a full inscription of the state’s secession ordinance, is planned for Secessionist Hill fronting a well-traveled corridor on Secession Avenue.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans picked Hayes’ property in Abbeville only after it was rebuffed twice in its attempts to place it on public land near Charleston, where the secession ordinance was signed and the Civil War started.

The group first eyed a location near Charleston Harbor in 2010 but the Patriots Point Development Authority rejected the offer in a split vote.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey then offered a spot in Riverfront Park but withdrew after he said “some who stand on both sides of this issue have attempted to divide our council and our city along racial lines.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans’ secession monument, paid with private donations, landed on Hayes’ property because it’s privately owned and historical.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, September 14, 2018 ed.)

The Battle of Antietam

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On this date in 1862, the single bloodiest day in American history took place near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle claimed over 22,000 casualties. Although the battle was later declared as a draw, President Abraham Lincoln used it as an opportunity to launch his Emancipation Proclamation, which would go into effect on New Years Day, 1863. However, his freeing slaves only applied to Southern states that had seceded from the Union, and didn’t apply to slave holding states in the North.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/battle-of-antietam

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing the battle from the perspective of solders who fought for the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

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At 3:00 a.m., the men were awakened to the sound of McClellan’s army attacking the Georgians, who had come to their relief the previous night. For an hour and a half, the battle raged, until General Hood was called upon for assistance. He brought his two brigades to the front, one of which included the 4thAlabama. As they were ordered to line up,

Orange Hugh approached his messmates in a panic.

“Have y’all seen Bo?” he asked. “I woke up, and he was gone.”

“Nope. Ain’t seen him,” replied Blue Hugh with a smirk. “He might be buzzard food by now.”

“Don’t pay him no mind,” said Hiram. “Bo will show up. He’s likely jist hidin’ somewhere.”

“I surely hope so,” replied Orange Hugh. “We’re both anxious to git back to Richmond so we can visit Miss Betsy!”

Blue Hugh chuckled. “Don’t be such a skylark. We ain’t headed back there. I heard tell General Lee wants us to march up to Harrisburg.”

“Is that a fact?” inquired Bud.

“It’s what I heard.”

The men were instructed to advance toward their enemy. They audaciously marched across an open field in front of the church, in perfect alignment, while a hailstorm of Minié balls rained down on them. Because it was still too dark to see, the men could hardly determine who was shot, except for random screams that came across the field both near and far, and they were unable to distinguish between blue and gray uniforms. Solid shot cracked into skulls and bones, which sounded like breaking eggshells.

They stumbled along, making their way to a grove of trees. Hiram heard Lieutenant Stewart and his comrade, Lieutenant King, yelling at someone. He could make out that it was Dozier, who had fallen down and was refusing to get back up. The officers grew frustrated, so they kicked the young private before they continued on and left him behind.

Springing to his feet, Dozier sprinted back toward the church.

The Confederates advanced into the trees, skirmishing with their enemies as they drove them out. Captain Scruggs, who fell wounded, was quickly replaced by Captain Robbins. Realizing they were at an advantage, the Rebels shot down scores of Yankees while concealing themselves in the cover of trees, fighting savagely despite their extreme hunger and fatigue. Other regiments of their brigade, the Texans, South Carolinians, and Georgians, were out in the open on their left, and suffered because of it. As dawn began to lighten the sky, Hiram noticed a Union general riding around the field on a large white horse.

“Who do you reckon that is?” he asked, to no one in particular.

Smoke billowed across the field, but the white horse still remained visible.

“That there’s Fightin’ Joe Hooker,” Lieutenant King informed him.

“He’s makin’ himself an easy target, ain’t he?” The lieutenant laughed at the Union general’s absurdity.

Yankee artillery fired into General Hood’s right flank and rear, causing the Rebels to fall back. The ground was scattered with bodies, most of which were clad in blue. Many Confederate soldiers had exhausted their ammunition when Lieutenant Stewart informed them they had been fighting for nearly three hours straight. Fearing the enemy would chase after them, they quickly re-formed, but discovered their haste was unnecessary, as the Yankees failed to respond. The Alabamians took much-needed time to replenish their ammunition and catch their breath.

General Hood directed his men back to the church to retire.

Suddenly, a shell flew by, blowing off the top of Lieutenant King’s head. The body dropped limply into a pool of blood and brain matter. Bud and Hiram looked at each other, dazed, their faces blackened by gunpowder. They turned and walked away, putting the horrific sight behind them, both knowing there was nothing they could do for the man.

Finally, Hiram said, “I won’t ever git used to seein’ that.”

“I already am,” Bud remarked indifferently. “I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but after a while, those boys jist look like dead animal carcasses to me.”

Hiram glared at him for a moment, shocked by his callousness.

“Life is uncertain, but death…is certain,” Bud added under his breath.

While they walked across the field, which was strewn with bodies, they tried not to look into the pinched faces, whose eyes stared vacantly up at the sunny morning sky. Young men not more than eighteen, their cheeks once rosy with the blossom of vigor and manhood, lay cold and still, bathing in their own hearts’ blood. Some didn’t even look human, while others were missing heads, arms, legs, or torsos. Several members of the regiment scurried around the battlefield, placing the wounded on stretchers. The victims cried out in anguish, their blood leaking from their broken bodies like fractured wine bottles as they were carried away. Bud heard a persistent whimpering sound, so he followed it, and walked around an enormous oak tree, its trunk riddled with bullet holes.

“Hiram! Y’all had best git over here!”

Hiram and Blue Hugh walked over to see what Bud was gawking at. They went around the tree, and saw Orange Hugh with his little dog, Bo, sitting on his lap. The young man seemed to be asleep sitting up, his body leaning back against the trunk. Bo whined pathetically, and licked Orange Hugh’s face like he was trying to wake him.

“Dear Lord,” said Hiram under his breath.

“It’s a damned shame,” remarked Bud, slowly shaking his head.

Blue Hugh stared down at his comrade for a moment. “Reckon he’s seen his last fight,” he blurted. “Good-bye, Hugh.” He turned and walked away.

Hiram frowned, appalled by the man’s insensitivity.

Returning to the church, the Alabamians settled in, and sustained on what meager rations they had left: half an ounce each of beef and green corn. Noticing Bo wander into their bivouac, Bud took the little dog into his arms. One of the men said that after the 4th had started across the field that morning, he saw Bo climb out of a hole from under the church.

As artillery blasted away in the distance, Bud and Hiram reflected on the day’s events, sadly conveying their regret for losing such a fine young friend and soldier as Orange Hugh.

Intentionally changing the subject, Hiram remarked, “Strange how all the wildlife knows when there’s a battle brewin’. They all high tail it out of there. Even the bugs vanish.”

“I’ve noticed that myself,” said Bud. “I’m right glad for it, too. I hate seein’ innocent critters suffer, like those poor warhorses with their legs blown off.”

Hiram grunted. “It bothers you to see dead horses, but not dead soldiers?”

“Of course it bothers me. I’ve jist built up a tolerance for it, is all. Except when it comes to someone I know. That’s different.”

With a sigh, Hiram said, “They all remind me too much of David. I don’t reckon I’ll ever build up a tolerance for that.”

“It makes you not want to git too close to any of them,” said Bud.

Hiram grew solemnly quiet, considering his own mortality.

An hour passed. McLaws’ Division arrived from Harpers Ferry, moved to the front, and immediately became engaged, while the 4th Alabama was held in reserve. The fighting was intense, until darkness finally interrupted it, with neither side emerging triumphant. Soon the Alabamians fell asleep from utter exhaustion, but were roused in the middle of the night, and marched across the Potomac to the Virginia side.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1537244747&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie

An Amazing Perspective

 

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I am so impressed by this man! He doesn’t stand down, but instead, flies the Rebel flag proudly as he makes his way across the South in his Confederate uniform to talk to people about the truth. Let me know what you think of this article.

SPEAKING FOR SILENT SAM
     by H. K. Edgerton

H. K. Edgerton is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A former president of the NAACP, he is on the board of the Southern Legal Resource Center.
On the morning of August 21, 2018, don in the uniform of the Southern soldier, with the Southern Cross in hand, I would enter the grounds of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
The first to greet me would be a campus policeman of whom alongside several other policemen would watch over me for my entire stay on campus. I salute them!
As I made my way to the base of the Confederate Cenotaph where Silent Sam once stood, a middle age white man who identified himself as an instructor, would pull alongside me and ask of me;  HK why are you here?  Silent Sam is truly silent today.  You may as well turn around and go home.
I told him “fat chance of that, because on this day, the base of Silent Sam will be a Meeting House (a place of worship), and I shall speak for all to hear of those brave babies he represents very loudly.”
Those babies who sat in their class rooms studying when word reached them of Lincoln’s army armed with General Order 200 issued by him to take the theater of war to the front door of the defenseless old men, women and children of the South.  Sherman would, after leaving Lincoln, gather his men around and tell them that he had orders from the Commanding Chief to burn, rape, plunder, and murder at will and that there would never be an accounting for what they do.   And they did!
These babies left their place of study to defend Southern home places from this immoral carnage.  And I might add, there were others just like them in other schools across the South …the Mississippi Greys of Ole Miss., the babies of the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina…
And to have these thugs who descended upon the campus, taking the law into their hands and illegally Pull Silent Sam down; and to add insult to injury hurl false accusations that that it was somehow a “racist” Cenotaph leads me to believe that perhaps they forgot it was a Confederate soldier’s cenotaph, that of an integrated military, unlike Lincoln’s racist and segregated military.
One Yankee student would tell me and those gathered around, that he was “proud of” what Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman did in carrying out the total warfare orders, because it secured the North a win over the South.  And furthermore for me to “get off his campus.”
I told him that this campus belonged to the citizens of the Great State of North Carolina, and that he and his Yankee friends who applauded his rhetoric were there because of those citizens. And, furthermore, that if they did not like or approve of my presence, then they could leave.
I was so very proud of a black professor, Omar King, I believe, was his name.  He had a handle on the criminal act of the thugs who illegally pulled Silent Sam down, and their disgraceful actions afterwards.
It was a very intense day, and I shall always remember the respect I received from so many of my Southern family.  And most importantly the decision by the Historic Commission, and the University Board of Governors, that Silent Sam must be put back in 90 days, and those responsible for the act be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
I hope to be presence at the restoration event!
God bless you!

Your brother,
HK

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Aug. 31, 2018 ed.)

Second Manassas

ABGL Medium

Today and tomorrow mark the 156th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas. I have always found it strangely interesting how this battle took place on the same ground where the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) took place. Soldiers found old skeletons buried in shallow graves at the battlefield that were left there from a year before. Virginia is unique in that many Civil War battlefields overlap each other. Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, Yellow Tavern, Brandy Station, and Antietam are all very close in proximity. It must have been weird to have lived in Virginia and Maryland during that time and have so many tragic battles take place within just a few miles of each other. Richmond and Washington D.C., the two capitals, were also close together. And yet, an entire country was involved in the war. What a sad, strange time it must have been.

My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describes this battle. The book delves into the first half of the War Between the States from the Southern point of view, and specifically portrays the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment. This book is based on actual testimony that was recorded by a soldier who witnessed the battles. The 4th Alabama was one of only a few regiments who survived until the end of the war.

 

Horses in Gray Receives Another Five-Star Review

Horses in Gray Cover

My nonfiction book, Horses in Gray, received another five-star review! This is so exciting and such a great honor. Thank you “Jerry G!” Here is the review:

August 6, 2018

This book is a must read for equine scholars as well as those who want to learn more about the Civil War era. I was a skeptic that this book would hold my interest but am now a believer. Hawkins details the relationships of Civil War Soldiers to their beloved horses which she describes so aptly as, “…his horses are the second self of the active soldier.” I particularly found it educational and entertaining as she explains the color of the horse signified their ” rank or role” in the war such as the “grays” because they were easily identified by the officers who wanted to issue a call to battle.

Another Five-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

ABGL Medium

I was recently interviewed by Linda Thompson of the Author’s Show on her podcast. After the interview, Linda expressed interest in reading my book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I’m very flattered with her five-star review. Thank you so much, Linda!

Here is the review:

August 2, 2018
When it comes to war (no matter the era), men tend to gravitate toward the bloody bodies and the weaponry, and while some women think the idea of war as romantic, others are horrified at the cruelty. I’ve never seen war as romantic, anything to be proud of, or even remotely good, and parts of JDR Hawkins book was difficult for me to read. That being said, A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a very good story, well written with extremely engaging characters. The historical aspect is excellent and once I could get my head wrapped around the war and violence, I found this Southern family very engaging. I’m very interested in learning where the next book in Hawkins’ series will take us.

~ Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

 

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