J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Confederate”

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.)

 

 

 

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!

New Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

W1310_J.D.R. Hawkins.indd

I just received another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you, Ms. Jackie, for your kind review!

The narration of this book is excellent. It is plain to see that the author has an intense fascination with the American Civil War. Her descriptions of people, animals and places make you feel as though you are there with them. As a non-American I found it a little difficult to keep up with where all the places are (my copy didn’t have a map in the cover, which would have been helpful!) and the names of all the generals were lost on me. I found it a little confusing with the many names of the different sides at first, having never studied American history. However, once I got going I found it easy enough to work out. The book shows the civil war through the eyes of an ordinary Southern family, which is an interesting perspective and does not glamourise the war at all. It is a working class family’s story, which makes it easy to relate to. Be prepared to read the rest of the series – the ending leaves you wanting more!

Strange and Interesting Facts About the Civil War

Stonewall

Did you know that in the Civil War, General Stonewall Jackson walked around with his right hand in the air to balance the blood in his body? Because he was right-handed, he thought that his right hand was getting more blood than his left, and so by raising his hand, he’d allow the excess blood to run into his left hand. He also never ate food that tasted good, because he assumed that anything that tasted good was completely unhealthy. 

During the Civil War, glasses with colored lenses were used to treat disorders and illnesses. Yellow-trimmed glasses were used to treat syphilis, blue for insanity, and pink for depression. Thus we get the term, to see the world through rose-colored glasses. 

Centuries before and decades after the Civil War, including the war itself, doorways were wide, not because of the width of women’s skirts, but so coffins could be passed through, with a pallbearer on either side. 

funeral

Did you know that the average American in the 1860’s could not afford to paint his house, and a painted house was a sign of affluence? In order to keep up appearances, they used cedar clapboards. 

Did you know that when a woman mourned for her husband in the 1860’s, she spent a minimum of two-and-a-half years in mourning? That meant little or no social activities: no parties, no outings, no visitors, and a wardrobe that consisted of nothing but black. (Shame on Scarlet O’Hara) The husband, when mourning for his wife, however, spent three months in a black suit. 

Surgeons never washed their hands after an operation, because all of the blood was assumed to be the same. 

Did you know that during the Victorian era, the dead were either laid out in their parlors, or, as the Southerners preferred, in their bedrooms? There was no such thing as a funeral home; death was a part of life, and the dead remained in the house up until they were buried. The tradition of flowers around the coffin comes from the Victorians trying to hide the scent of the deceased. Did you know that when a child died, parents would have a photograph taken of the child? They wanted to preserve the memory for as long as possible. A lot of photographs taken of sleeping children are actually of deceased sons or daughters. 

After the Battle of Gettysburg, the discarded rifles were collected and sent to Washington to be inspected and reissued. Of the 37,574 rifles recovered, approximately 24,000 were still loaded; 6,000 had one round in the barrel; 12,000 had two rounds in the barrel; 6,000 had three to ten rounds in the barrel. One rifle, the most remarkable of all, had been stuffed to the top with twenty-three rounds in the barrel. 

Gettysburg

Did you know that President Lincoln had a mild form smallpox (varioloid) while he gave the Gettysburg Address. On the train back to Washington he quipped, “Now I have something that I can give everybody.” 

Did you know that President Lincoln’s favorite tune was “Dixie”? 

The Civil War was also known as The Brothers’ War, the War for the Union and the War of the Rebellion. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA, had twenty-nine horses shot from beneath him during the war years. 

Forrest

Lastly, this is my favorite. I laughed for a while about this. One of the most popular questions park rangers get when giving tours around Civil War battlefields is: “Did the soldiers have to fight around all of these monuments?” They could only smile and say yes: They knew exactly were to die.

Article courtesy of the “Bowling Banner,” Pvt. Wallace Bowling Camp # 1400, Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Post office Box 2355, La Plata, MD 20646

New Cover Reveal!

I’d like to officially announce that my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, has a new cover! This is in conjunction with my acquiring a new publisher.

It has been so much fun to reinvent my book and to breathe new life into it! A Beckoning Hellfire has been re-edited and improved. This book has received several awards and has earned many five-star reviews. It is the second book in the Renegade Series (the first is A Beautiful Glittering Lie). Stay tuned, because the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, will soon come out with a new cover as well.

Thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my books. I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will send you a PDF!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honor of the special holiday, I’d like to share this article. Erin go bragh!

soldier

IRISH REGIMENTS OF THE WAR

Memphis, Tennessee was home to the 2nd largest Irish population in the South, and on the outbreak of War, many rushed to the state colors. Colonel Knox Walker was in command of 2nd TN Infantry Regt, a.k.a. “Irish Regiment”. Early uniforms made by the ladies of the city consisted of a dark, 8 button frock coat, trousers and kepi. The men would carry flintlock or conversion muskets. On completion of basic training the 2nd was sent to Columbus, Kentucky, where they would assist in the construction of water batteries before seeing their first  action at Belmont, Missouri on November 7, 1861.

Irish

1862 would see the Tennessee Irish back in their adopted state and at Shiloh. The regiment took extremely heavy casualties, so much so that it would necessitate consolidation with the 21st TN (also Memphis origin with a large Irish contingent). The new unit would be designated as the 5th Confederate Infantry Regiment and it would go on to establish a reputation as one of the western army’s most reliable regiments and become a favorite of Major-General Patrick Cleburne. The autumn of 1862 would see the 5th acting as escort for General Bragg’s Pioneer Corps during the Kentucky campaign. They were released from this duty and participated at the Battle of Perryville, where they traded shots with the 10th Ohio, a Federal Irish unit. The action between these Irishmen was severe with the Federals having the upper hand. Despite running low on ammunition (the 5th was twice resupplied) the Confederate Irish continually refused to yield and were, eventually, joined by the 37th Tennessee and then by Gen. Cleburne leading his brigade onto the field securing the victory.

By the end of 1862 the regiment had, again, returned to Tennessee and Murfreesboro before going into winter quarters at Tullahoma and then Wartrace. Chickamauga in September 1863 would, once again, see the regiment’s high rate of attrition continue with Captains James Beard & George Moore among the fallen. Even though not part of his brigade, Gen. D.H. Hill was high in his praise for the Memphis Irish. Onto Missionary Ridge and again against overwhelming odds the regiment held until, finding themselves isolated, the 5th finally gave way. Gen. Cleburne used them at Ringgold Gap and his strategic placement of the regiment helped save the Southern army.

The following year would see the regiment involved in virtually all the engagements of the Army of Tennessee from Resaca in May through to Nashville in December even though it was now numbered less than 170 muskets. At Atlanta, these would be reduced further when a large number of them were taken prisoner after a ferocious struggle. Indeed, the remnants of the regiment became disjointed in heavy woodland near Peach-tree Creek. As Lt. Beard and Corporal Coleman emerged onto the road from the woods just as Gen. James B. McPherson and his staff were approaching. Corporal Coleman quickly fired off a round at the Federals, hitting and instantly killing Gen. McPherson. The Confederates were soon taken prisoner and, eventually arrived in Utica, allegedly as the General’s body got there. Corporal Coleman’s comrades later spoke of the young man’s distress and regret at his impulsiveness.

November 30, 1864 would see the 5th Confederate Regiment at Franklin where it formed part of Granbury’s brigade. Gen. Cleburne, however, sought them out and placing himself at their head, he would lead their charge to the Federal breastworks around the small Middle-Tennessee town. Like the general, many would fall. indeed Pvt. Richard “Dick” Cahill’s body was found inside the works with at least 4 bayonet wounds through his head the following morning. Later on, December 1 1864, just 21 men from the 5th would answer the roll. Within 2 weeks, overwhelming Federal numbers would force an overall Southern retreat from before Nashville; it would not be easy for many of the soldiers were barefoot, clad in rags and faced with constant harassment from pursuing Federal cavalry. They would finally reach Corinth, Mississippi before being sent to North Carolina.

 

Fredericksburg

Here just before the Battle of Bentonville, the remaining members of the 5th would again be joined with other units to form Co. I, Consolidated Tennessee Infantry. When Gen. Johnston surrendered his army on April 26, 1865, just 10 soldiers of the 5th Confederate Infantry Regiment laid down their muskets.

5th Confederate Flag Sources:”Military Annals of Tennessee”; C.W. Frazer “Irish-American Units of The Civil War”; T. Rodgers “The Confederate Army 1861 TN & NC: R. Field

Irish in Blue & Gray, # 44; Spring 2019

(Courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Davis Chapter Military Order of the Stars and Bars, vol. 44, issue #2, Feb. 2020 ed.)

The Name Change Game Goes On

I think it’s crazy that this is even a thing, but apparently, political correctness has affected (infected?) every aspect of American society. Now the military is getting in on the act, or is, at least, is under attack, and some branches are caving.

Lee

MILITARY BRANCHES SENDING “MIXED” ORDERS
The U.S. Army does not plan to change the names of several bases named after Confederate war heroes, despite a broader effort in some states to remove such tributes.
“We have no plans to rename any street or installation, including those named for Confederate generals,” an Army spokesperson told Task & Purpose. The service will instead continue with the existing names of many well known military bases and installations.
“It is important to note that the naming of installations and streets was done in a spirit of reconciliation, not to demonstrate support for any particular cause or ideology,” the U.S. Army spokesperson continued. “The Army has a tradition of naming installations and streets after historical figures of military significance, including former Union and Confederate general officers.”
Among the list of Army bases named after Confederate leaders are: Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Hood, Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, Fort Polk, Fort Rucker and Camp Beauregard.
The Army’s statement comes immediately after U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered the removal of all Confederate flags and “paraphernalia” from Marine bases, effective immediately.
flag

You’ve Just Crossed Over Into the Twilight Zone

eyeball

Stranger things have happened. Coincidences, whether we admit it or not, are common occurrence, as are daja vu, although when they happen, we sometimes disregard them. I love watching old movies and late night TV. While watching an episode of the Twilight Zone the other night, I discovered something surprising.

It seems that one of the soldiers who was killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn was named David Summers. I found this freaky, since this is the name I chose for the antagonist in my Renegade series. Upon further research, I discovered that Mr. Summers of the 7th US Cavalry was from Missouri, but my main character is from Alabama. Phew!

DS

Another weird coincidence happened to me while writing A Beckoning Hellfire (soon to be re-released). I chose a character’s name, William Williams, and learned that my character and a real person had the same name, and fought for the same cause with the same Confederate cavalry unit. Strange but true!

I love researching history, because I frequently discover strange things like these. It’s fun and fascinating. Now I have a new challenge: how to incorporate my newly-acquired knowledge about David Summers into my next novel.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6086017/david-summers

Post Navigation