J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Confederate”

Bet They Didn’t See This Coming

It looks like the city of Richmond is in a sticky situation, and Mayor Stoney’s plans have been foiled…at least for the time being. I guess Stoney never got the memo stating that if you take down your monuments, you erase your history, and then history is bound to repeat itself.

JUST TWO LITTLE THINGS


The City of Richmond apparently never has owned one of the Confederate monuments it is trying to get rid of. That’s the statue of Gen. A.P. Hill that has stood since 1892 at what is now the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road.


Seeking to match Monument Avenue with its statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, cigarette magnate Lewis Ginter arranged with the Hill family for Gen. Hill’s body to be moved from Hollywood Cemetery and reinterred at the current site, and then commissioned the statue as an oversized grave marker.


Apparently, the City never required Mr. Ginter to give the property or the statue to the city. The City Attorney’s Office conducted an extensive search of property records after receiving a query from city resident Michael Sarahan and, according to Mr. Sarahan, “found no record of a deed or other document conveying property rights to the City.” Mr. Sarahan said that James Nolan, press secretary to Mayor Levar M. Stoney, confirmed that the city has found nothing in the way of a record of a legal transfer.


Mr. Sarahan, a former assistant city attorney, said that finding indicates the statue is not an improper encroachment.
For the city, the fact it has no evident ownership means it will need to do one of the following: undertake condemnation proceedings to acquire the property, force the sale for delinquent property taxes and buy it at auction, or find the heirs of the last known owner and have them agree to relinquish their rights.


The Stoney administration had indicated that there is a deal with the family, which has agreed to relocate the statue, pedestal and grave (issue #2). Whether the family will voluntarily proceed with removal now that the City does not own the property (issue #1) is unknown.

(Article courtesy of the Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 23, 2021 ed.)

They Just Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone

ON CAPITOL HILL
For the second time in as many years, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw has joined with Democrats to support removing the statues of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol.Crenshaw, of Houston, was among 67 House Republicans, including five from Texas, who voted in favor of a bill that would “remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the United States Capitol, and for other purposes.” All Democrats in Congress voted for the bill, which passed 285 to 120.
Statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders such as Vice President John C. Calhoun, Arkansas Governor James Paul Clarke would be among those removed if the U.S. Senate follows the House’s action.

FULL LIST OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED TO KEEP MONUMENTS

  • Robert Aderholt, Alabama
  • Rick Allen, Georgia
  • Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota
  • Brian Babin, Texas
  • Jim Baird, Indiana
  • Andy Barr, Kentucky
  • Jack Bergman, Michigan
  • Stephanie Bice, Oklahoma
  • Andy Biggs, Arizona
  • Dan Bishop, North Carolina
  • Lauren Boebert, Colorado
  • Mike Bost, Illinois
  • Kevin Brady, Texas
  • Mo Brooks, Alabama
  • Vern Buchanan, Florida
  • Ken Buck, Colorado
  • Larry Bucshon, Indiana
  • Ted Budd, North Carolina
  • Tim Burchett, Tennessee
  • Kat Cammack, Florida
  • Jerry Carl, Alabama
  • John Carter, Texas
  • Madison Cawthorn, North Carolina
  • Ben Cline, Virginia
  • Andrew Clyde, Georgia
  • Tom Cole, Oklahoma
  • James Comer, Kentucky
  • Rick Crawford, Arkansas
  • John Curtis, Utah
  • Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee
  • Bryon Donalds, Florida
  • Jeff Duncan, South Carolina
  • Neal Dunn, Florida
  • Ron Estes, Kansas
  • Pat Fallon, Texas
  • Randy Feenstra, Iowa
  • Drew Ferguson, Georgia
  • Michelle Fischbach, Minnesota
  • Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin
  • Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee
  • Scott Franklin, Florida
  • Matt Gaetz, Florida
  • Lance Gooden, Texas
  • Paul Gosar, Arizona
  • Kay Granger, Texas
  • Garret Graves, Louisiana
  • Sam Graves, Missouri
  • Mark Green, Tennessee
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia
  • Morgan Griffith, Virginia
  • Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin
  • Jim Hagedorn, Minnesota
  • Andy Harris, Maryland
  • Diana Harshbarger, Tennessee
  • Vicky Hartzler, Missouri
  • Kevin Hern, Oklahoma
  • Dusty Johnson, South Dakota
  • Jim Jordan, Ohio
  • John Joyce, Pennsylvania
  • Fred Keller, Pennsylvania
  • Trent Kelly, Mississippi
  • David Kustoff, Tennessee
  • Darin LaHood, Illinois
  • Doug LaMalfa, California
  • Doug Lamborn, Colorado
  • Jake LaTurner, Kansas
  • Debbie Lesko, Arizona
  • Luke Letlow, Louisiana
  • Barry Loudermilk, Georgia
  • Frank Lucas, Oklahoma
  • Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri
  • Tracey Mann, Kansas
  • Thomas Massie, Kentucky
  • Brain Mast, Florida
  • Lisa McClain, Michigan
  • Tom McClintock, California
  • Patrick McHenry, North Carolina
  • David McKinley, West Virginia
  • Dan Meuser, Pennsylvania
  • Carol Miller, West Virginia
  • Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Iowa
  • Alex Mooney, West Virginia
  • Markwayne Mullin, Oklahoma
  • Troy Nehls, Texas
  • Dan Newhouse, Washington
  • Ralph Norman, South Carolina
  • Troy Nunes, California
  • Jay Obernolte, California
  • Burgess Owens, Utah
  • Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
  • Gary Palmer, Alabama
  • Greg Pence, Indiana
  • Scott Perry, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Posey, Florida
  • Tom Rice, South Carolina
  • Mike Rogers, Alabama
  • Hal Rogers, Kentucky
  • Matt Rosendale, Montana
  • David Rouzer, North Carolina
  • John Rutherford, Florida
  • Maria Elvira Salazar, Florida
  • Austin Scott, Georgia
  • Pete Sessions, Texas
  • Jason Smith, Missouri
  • Adrian Smith, Nebraska
  • Michelle Steel, California
  • Elise Stefanik, New York
  • Greg Steube, Florida
  • Claudia Tenney, New York
  • Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania
  • William Timmons, South Carolina
  • Mauree Turner, Ohio
  • Beth Van Duyne, Texas
  • Jackie Walorski, Indiana
  • Michael Waltz, Florida
  • Bruce Westerman, Arkansas
  • Joe Wilson, South Carolina
  • Rob Wittman, Virginia
  • Steve Womack, Arkansas
  • Lee Zeldin, New York

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/29/1011303611/the-house-votes-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-the-u-s-capitol

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 2, 2021 ed.)

In Honor of NBF

Today is the birthday of the renowned and controversial general of the Confederacy, Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was born on this date in 1821, and died on October 29, 1877. Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the general’s gravesite. He was removed from Forrest Park (renamed Health Sciences Park) along with his wife, Mary Ann. The remains of these two are in the process of being relocated. Here is an update:

NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST 

July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877

FORREST REINTERNMENT  ANNOUNCED 

Announcement from Commander-in-Chief Larry McCluney, Jr. 

June 30, 2021 

Compatriots, 

It gives me great pleasure to announce that  Saturday, September 18, 2021, will be the date for  the reinternment of the remains General Nathan  Bedford Forrest and his wife MaryAnn Montgomery  Forrest. Please make plans to attend. All reenactors  and participants will be required to register for this  event and follow the strict guidelines that will be  forthcoming.  

I want to congratulate Lee Miller and the Recovery  Crew, and the members of the Nathan Bedford  Forrest Camp #215 in Memphis, TN and the legal  team of H. Edward Phillips III, Charles G. Blackard  III, W. J. “Bo” Ladner III, and Jonathan J. Pledger,  on a job well done. We also thank the Forrest Family  for allowing us to take part in this momentous  occasion and organizing the funeral proceedings.  Bear in mind that we are grateful for all that has  happened up to this point, and we know much more  must be done. 

As to the human side, the remains of General and  Mrs. Forrest are held in an undisclosed location and  later will be transported to an undisclosed location  in Middle Tennessee. These sites will be kept in  secrecy for security reasons as it is our utmost duty  to protect the family, the professionals and work  crews involved, as well as the SCV and its members. 

Let us always keep in mind that we are honored by the Forrest Family to participate in this solemn  occasion. Please do not follow or spread rumors  about this event. We will update you as plans are  finalized. Fundraising still continues as we raise  money for the re-interment of General Forrest and  his beloved wife. Please give to make this event  happen as we bring one of our heroes’ home to be  buried on land less than 30 minutes from where he  was born. You can send donations to: 

Make checks out to: 

Sons of Confederate Veterans 

(Put in memo: Forrest Reinterment) 

P.O. Box 59 

Columbia, TN 38402 

Once the funeral is complete, restoring the plaza  and remounting the Forrest Equestrian Statue on  the grave will occur. This will not be easy nor quick.  Much more work lay ahead of us, however, be  certain that we will rededicate this plaza to honor  the General and his family.  

Please be patient with us as you and the entire  membership will be informed once all plans are  finalized. A website will be forthcoming with all  details and information. For now, let us “walk a little  prouder and hold our heads higher” in this great  victory! God has truly vindicated us in this effort. Let  us remember the charge given to us by General  Stephen Dill Lee as we continue to press forward. 

Deo Vindice, 

Larry McCluney, Jr. 

Commander-in-Chief 

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Charlottesville Destroys More History

Last Monday night, the Charlottesville City Council unanamously voted to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s public parks. Now citizens have thirty days to come up with new plans for the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. “According to city documents, Charlottesville is requesting proposals  for any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the Statues, or either of them, for relocation and placement.”

https://localnews8.com/news/2021/06/08/charlottesvilles-confederate-statues-coming-down-nearly-four-years-after-violent-rally/

PUSH TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE  STATUES IN CHARLOTTESVILLE BEFORE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF  DEADLY RALLY 

By: Jessie Cohen 

Jun 22, 2021 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Advocates in  Charlottesville, Virginia are working to remove the  city’s Confederate statues before the four-year  anniversary of the deadly rally later this summer.  This comes after the City Council unanimously voted  to remove the statues. 

Zyahna Bryant, a young activist and change  maker, has been trying to make this happen for the  last five years. She authored the original petition to  take down the Robert E. Lee Statue in 2016. 

“These statues are a part of a physical landscape  that reinforces some of these underlying notions of  slavery, bondage and what it means to be deserving  of humanity,” Bryant said. “When I see those  statues, it reminds me of an incomplete history.” 

Kristin Szakos, a former City Council member says this time, the vote is even more important. 

”We’ve been here before. When I was on council, we also voted to remove the statues. Having been  here before, I’ll celebrate when the statues are  down,” Szakos said. “In Charlottesville, at this  moment, it’s particularly important because we  have had violence around these statues. We’ve had  hundreds of white supremacists and Nazis come  into town to defend those statues.” 

This year, both a Virginia Supreme Court ruling  and a law passed in the legislature cleared the way  for the city of Charlottesville to remove the  Confederate statues. 

“Folks in Charlottesville worked really hard with  folks from all over the commonwealth to change that  law,” Szakos said. 

Bryant is one of those people. 

“The August 11th and 12th rallies happened and I  recognize that a lot of people were trying to protect  this image of Charlottesville that did not exist,”  Bryant said. “People are starting to see why they  need to come down and it’s sad, in my opinion, that  it took a rally where someone lost their life for  people to come to that realization.” 

Szakos says she first brought the statues up in  council in 2012 and says even then, it was long  overdue. 

“It’s actually been 100 years because there were  people when the Jackson statue first went up in  1921 who said it shouldn’t be there,” Szakos said. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center started tracking  how many symbols of the Confederacy were located  in public spaces following the Charleston shooting in  2015. That’s when a white man killed nine Black  people during a church bible study. After the  Charlottesville rally, they started gathering input  from the community. 

“We have over 2,000 now, so we started at 1,500  but community member have uncovered even  more,” said Lecia Brooks, the SPLC Chief of Staff. 

Brooks says in 2020, 94 of the 168 symbols that  were removed were confederate monuments; 71 were in Virginia, 24 in North Carolina, and 12 each  in Texas and Alabama. 

“So, as we make great strides in removing some  of these symbols from public space, we’re finding  that there are more and more,” Brooks said. But Lecia does recognize the change seen in states  rooted in the confederacy. 

“Virginia has done, I mean, a complete 360 post the unite the right rally,” Brooks said. 

Bryant doesn’t want this momentum to stop at the  statues. 

“I don’t think that it should stop once the statues  are down because again the statues are only the tip  of the iceberg,” Bryant said. “We also have the  opportunity to rewrite the textbooks. We have the  opportunity to create new resources for people to  learn from.” 

From housing to healthcare to education and  more, she says there is so much to tackle. “I feel very confident that this is the turn to a new  Charlottesville and to a new central Virginia and to  a new country overall, but I think that there will be  no real progress and no real healing reconciliation  until there is the redistribution of resources an until  there is true equity,” Bryant said. 

https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/push-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-charlottesville-before-fourth-anniversary-of-deadly-rally

More Horrendous Desecration of Our American Veterans

It goes beyond words how despicable this is. I really wish the destruction of our history would end, but unfortunately, I don’t see any end in sight.

Ghoulish Virginia Democrats  Planning to Dig Up Confederate  General’s Grave Without Relocation  Plan 

By Cassandra Fairbanks 

In one of the most disturbing tales to come from  Richmond, Virginia’s moves to erase history, they  are now planning to dig up the grave of Confederate  General Ambrose Powell Hill, according to a new  report. 

To make the matter even more ghoulish, the city  has not actually come up with a plan yet on what to  do with his remains that have been in the location  since 1892. 

General Hill had requested he be buried under the  memorial in his will, ABC 8 reports. 

“He had left in his will that he wanted to be buried in Richmond. I’m not sure why Richmond because he wasn’t from Richmond and didn’t have any  particularly strong Richmond roots that I’m aware  of,” Bob Balster, president of the Hermitage Road  Historic District Association told 8News. 

To ensure his wishes were carried out,  Confederate veterans who served under Hill raised  money for the monument and the land was donated  by Lewis Ginter. 

The National File reports that an effort “led by  Mayor Levar Stoney and backed by Governor Ralph  Northam, anti-history Democrats in Richmond,  Virginia are finalizing plans to dig up the remains of  Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, who lies  beneath a towering statue dedicated in his honor  and now marked for removal amidst efforts to erase  all traces of the Confederacy from its former  capital.” 

Though the city removed nearly all of their  Confederate statues during the terroristic Black  Lives Matter riots last year, the general’s statue and  grave had remained. 

To circumvent laws against desecrating graves,  the Democrats are reportedly designating the grave  a threat to traffic safety, giving them the power to  remove it. 

According to the National File, under the removal  plans, “workers will remove the bronze statue of the General before destroying its stone pedestal and  removing the sarcophagus containing his remains.  Details of what the city plans to do with Hill’s  remains are unclear, and the project is estimated to  carry a taxpayer-funded price tag of over $33,000.” 

(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Volume 45, Issue No. 6, June 2021 ed.)

  

The Destruction of All Things American

I usually try to steer clear of political topics (except on Facebook!), but the destruction of our beloved American symbols upsets me so much that I wanted to share these examples of the recent desecration of our American symbols. “Racism” seems to be the latest excuse to do away with these magnificent works of art, as well as historical markers, street names, school names, etc. The list goes on, as does the attack. I want to make this clear to anyone who thinks it’s okay to destroy our history. It has been proven in other countries that, once history is removed, regimes move in to brainwash and do away with everything a country previously fought for and defended. This gives opportunity for Marxism/Communism to move in and take over. Confederate heritage is under serious attack for the same reasons. It is not only an attack on heritage, but on Christian values. The ones who attack it use racism as an excuse, but it is being used out of context. I would be happy to discuss this with anyone who questions my comments. Anyway, here are the most recent attacks on our heritage. As far as our American history goes, we need to embrace it, question it, debate it, but NEVER erase it. Our history is what makes us who we are.

Last week Friday, sleepy, creepy, Uncle Joe put the kibosh on President Trump’s planned “National Garden of American Heroes.” In an executive order of his own, Biden abolished the Trump-formed task force to create the new monument, which was to have featured sculptures of dozens of American historical figures, including presidents, athletes and pop culture icons, envisioned by President Trump as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live….Davy Crockett, Billy Graham, Whitney Houston, Harriet Tubman and Antonin Scalia,” among others. No site was officially selected and the garden was never funded by Congress.

ALSO REVOKED
Trump’s June 2020 order that called for the federal government to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” acts of vandalism and destruction to statues on federal property.

IN THE OLD LINE STATE
On Tuesday, calling it a “relic of the Confederacy, “Governor Larry Hogan finally signed the bill to remove Maryland My Maryland as the State Song. 
We still do not understand why the Governor, having so quickly signed over 200 bills from the legislative session, waited so long to sign this last one? 
A replacement state song has not yet been chosen.
Please call Governor Hogan at 410-974-3901 to express your disappointment. 

IN THE OLD DOMINION
King George County leaders punted on a protest to the County’s Confederate monument saying that tey nwill take it up in June because they’ve been busy with other pressing matters such as the next fiscal year’s budget and filling a key vacancy.

IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
Duval County voters chose to change the name of five schools while keeping the names of three others. The schools that voters chose to keep the names are:

  • Kirby-Smith Middle School
  • Jean Ribault High School
  • Andrew Jackson High School

Meanwhile, the schools that voters chose to change the names are:

  • Joseph Fineagan Middle School to Anchor Academy
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary to Westside Academy
  • Jefferson Davis Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • Robert E. Lee High School to Riverside High School

For the past several months, local activist groups have urged Duval County Schools to change the names of schools that are named after controversial historic figures, most notably leaders of the Confederacy. 
“Our goal was to give our community a voice in this process,” Superintendent Diana Greene said. “Constituents have participated in dozens of meetings, and now thousands have shared their voice through this balloting process. My job is to synthesize all of this input and bring the recommendation that I feel is best for our schools, our community, and most important, our students.”
That is CODE for her intention to recommend to the Board that the names of ALL schools be changed regardless of vote outcome. 
Greene will be making official recommendations on May 25.Greene’s recommendation will be discussed at the June 1 school board meeting. That meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

IN THE TAR HEEL STATE
Work to demolish and remove a 75-foot-tall stone obelisk built to honor a Confederate leader will begin soon in Asheville as barricades have been placed around the Vance Monument ahead of that demolition work. 

IN THE BLUEGRASS STATE
The debate over a Confederate statue goes from the Daviess County Fiscal Court room to a judge’s courtroom as lawyers representing the county and the state chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, made their case during a hearing this afternoon.
Today’s hearing centered around the Kentucky UDC Chapter’s motion for a restraining order keeping the statue from being moved by the county until ownership can be decided. The chapter’s lawyer, Nicholas Goetz, says his client made payments when the monument was built in the early 1900s, and the group made a partnership with the fiscal court during that time.
Fiscal court lawyer Mike Lee says the current state UDC chapter doesn’t own it, claiming the current group was formed in 2019, after the one who was involved in building it was dissolved nearly five decades ago.
“They claim they are a successor to a recent entity that ceased operations in 1970. That’s a period of 49 years,” Lee countered.The current fiscal court decided to move the statue off of courthouse grounds last year. Two museums in owensboro were recommended as potential sites.
Judge Lisa Jones told lawyers she’s reviewing evidence, but it could be several weeks before a ruling is made.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, May 21, 2011 ed.)

Awesome Review for A Rebel Among Us

I received the March/April 2021 edition of the Confederate Veteran. Inside was a review for my novel, A Rebel Among Us. What an exciting surprise! I sent the book to the magazine about two years ago for a review, and I finally received one. However, since the time I sent a copy of the novel for review, I acquired a new publisher for the book, Westwood Books Publishing. The novel also has a new cover. Here it is:

Because the magazine is mailed out to Sons of Confederate Veterans members, it isn’t published on a website. So I copied the review and am posting it here. Thank you, Cathy Hanford West, for your nice review! (Spoiler alert: much of the plot is revealed in this review.)

Another Rave Review

I recently received another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Pamela Loose, for your flattering review!

Review of A Beautiful Glittering Lie

This is a well written story with vivid descriptions of the lives of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. The comparison between their lives and those of the people left behind is fascinating. 

Happy New Year!

While going through some old papers today, I came across this interesting article. I hope you enjoy it! (I had to post the original article because I jammed my finger last night and am having a hard time typing!)

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Pvt. Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, SCV, & Pres. Jefferson Davis Chapter, MOSB, volume 35, issue no. 5, May 2011 ed.)

Christmas in the Confederate White House

Here is a flashback to what it was like at Christmastime during the Civil War. Confederate First Lady, Varina Howell Davis, describes the scenes.

Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, wrote this article describing how the Davis family spent the Christmas of 1864 in the Confederate White House. It was published in The New York World, December 13, 1896 and has since been reprinted often. This excerpt was obtained via the website “The American Civil War, 1861-1865.”

Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Library of Congress

…Rice, flour, molasses and tiny pieces of meat, most of them sent to the President’s wife anonymously to be distributed to the poor, had all be weighed and issued, and the playtime of the family began, but like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky came the information that the orphans at the Episcopalian home had been promised a Christmas tree and the toys, candy and cakes must be provided, as well as one pretty prize for the most orderly girl among the orphans. The kind-hearted confectioner was interviewed by our committee of managers, and he promised a certain amount of his simpler kinds of candy, which he sold easily a dollar and a half a pound, but he drew the line at cornucopias to hold it, or sugared fruits to hang on the tree, and all the other vestiges of Christmas creations which had lain on his hands for years. The ladies dispersed in anxious squads of toy-hunters, and each one turned over the store of her children’s treasures for a contribution to the orphans’ tree, my little ones rushed over the great house looking up their treasure: eyeless dolls, three-legged horses, tops with the upper peg broken off, rubber tops, monkeys with all the squeak gone silent and all the ruck of children’s toys that gather in a nursery closet.

Makeshift Toys for the Orphans

Some small feathered chickens and parrots which nodded their heads in obedience to a weight beneath them were furnished with new tail feathers, lambs minus much of their wool were supplied with a cotton wool substitute, rag dolls were plumped out and recovered with clean cloth, and the young ladies painted their fat faces in bright colors and furnished them with beads for eyes.

But the tug of war was how to get something with which to decorate the orphans’ tree. Our man servant, Robert Brown, was much interested and offered to make the prize toy. He contemplated a “sure enough house, with four rooms.” His part in the domestic service was delegated to another and he gave himself over in silence and solitude to the labors of the architect.

My sister painted mantel shelves, door panels, pictures and frames for the walls, and finished with black grates in which there blazed a roaring fire, which was pronounced marvelously realistic. We all made furniture of twigs and pasteboard, and my mother made pillows, mattresses, sheets and pillow cases for the two little bedrooms.

Christmas Eve a number of young people were invited to come and string apples and popcorn for the trees; a neighbor very deft in domestic arts had tiny candle moulds made and furnished all the candles for the tree. However, the puzzle and triumph of all was the construction of a large number of cornucopias. At last someone suggested a conical block of wood, about which the drawing paper could be wound and pasted. In a little book shop a number of small, highly colored pictures cut out and ready to apply were unearthed, and our old confectioner friend, Mr. Piazzi, consented, with a broad smile, to give “all the love verses the young people wanted to roll with the candy.”

A Christmas Eve Party

About twenty young men and girls gathered around small tables in one of the drawing rooms of the mansion and the cornucopias were begun. The men wrapped the squares of candy, first reading the “sentiments” printed upon them, such as “Roses are red, violets blue, sugar’s sweet and so are you,” “If you love me as I love you no knife can cut our love in two.” The fresh young faces, wreathed in smiles, nodded attention to the reading, while with their small deft hands they gined [?] the cornucopias and pasted on the pictures. Where were the silk tops to come from? Trunks of old things were turned out and snippings of silk and even woolen of bright colors were found to close the tops, and some of the young people twisted sewing silk into cords with which to draw the bags up. The beauty of those home-made things astonished us all, for they looked quite “custom-made,” but when the “sure enough house” was revealed to our longing gaze the young people clapped their approbation, while Robert, whose sense of dignity did not permit him to smile, stood the impersonation of successful artist and bowed his thanks for our approval. Then the coveted eggnog was passed around in tiny glass cups and pronounced good. Crisp home-made ginger snaps and snowy lady cake completed the refreshments of Christmas Eve. The children allowed to sit up and be noisy in their way as an indulgence took a sip of eggnog out of my cup, and the eldest boy confided to his father: “Now I just know this is Christmas.” In most of the houses in Richmond these same scenes were enacted, certainly in every one of the homes of the managers of the Episcopalian Orphanage. A bowl of eggnog was sent to the servants, and a part of everything they coveted of the dainties.

At last quiet settled on the household and the older members of the family began to stuff stockings with molasses candy, red apples, an orange, small whips plaited by the family with high-colored crackers, worsted reins knitted at home, paper dolls, teetotums made of large horn bottoms and a match which could spin indefinitely, balls of worsted rags wound hard and covered with old kid gloves, a pair of pretty woolen gloves for each, either cut of cloth and embroidered on the back or knitted by some deft hand out of home-spun wool. For the President there were a pair of chamois-skin riding gauntlets exquisitely embroidered on the back with his monogram in red and white silk, made, as the giver wrote, under the guns of Fortress Monroe late at night for fear of discovery. There was a hemstitched linen handkerchief, with a little sketch in indelible ink in one corner; the children had written him little letters, their grandmother having held their hands, the burthen of which compositions was how they loved their dear father. For one of the inmates of the home, who was greatly loved but whose irritable temper was his prominent failing, there was a pretty cravat, the ends of which were embroidered, as was the fashion of the day. The pattern chosen was simple and on it was pinned a card with the word “amiable” to complete the sentence. One of the [missing] received a present of an illuminated copy of Solomon’s proverbs found in the same old store from which the pictures came. He studied it for some time and announced: “I have changed my opinion of Solomon, he uttered such unnecessary platitudes — now why should he have said ‘The foolishness of a fool is his folly’?”

On Christmas morning the children awoke early and came in to see their toys. They were followed by the negro women, who one after another “caught” us by wishing us a merry Christmas before we could say it to them, which gave them a right to a gift. Of course, there was a present for everyone, small though it might be, and one who had been born and brought up at our plantation was vocal in her admiration of a gay handkerchief. As she left the room she ejaculated: “Lord knows mistress knows our insides; she jest got the very thing I wanted.”

Mrs. Davis’ Strange Presents

For me there were six cakes of delicious soap, made from the grease of ham boiled for a family at Farmville, a skein of exquisitely fine gray linen thread spun at home, a pincushion of some plain brown cotton material made by some poor woman and stuffed with wool from her pet sheep, and a little baby hat plaited by the orphans and presented by the industrious little pair who sewed the straw together. They pushed each other silently to speak, and at last mutely offered the hat, and considered the kiss they gave the sleeping little one ample reward for the industry and far above the fruit with which they were laden. Another present was a fine, delicate little baby frock without an inch of lace or embroidery upon it, but the delicate fabric was set with fairy stitches by the dear invalid neighbor who made it, and it was very precious in my eyes. There were also a few of Swinburne’s best songs bound in wall-paper and a chamois needlebook left for me by young Mr. P., now succeeded to his title in England. In it was a Brobdingnagian thimble “for my own finger, you know,” said the handsome, cheerful young fellow. After breakfast, at which all the family, great and small, were present, came the walk to St. Paul’s Church. We did not use our carriage on Christmas or, if possible to avoid it, on Sunday. The saintly Dr. Minnegerode preached a sermon on Christian love, the introit was sung by a beautiful young society woman and the angels might have joyfully listened. Our chef did wonders with the turkey and roast beef, and drove the children quite out of their propriety by a spun sugar hen, life-size, on a nest full of blanc mange eggs. The mince pie and plum pudding made them feel, as one of the gentlemen laughingly remarked, “like their jackets were buttoned,” a strong description of repletion which I have never forgotten. They waited with great impatience and evident dyspeptic symptoms for the crowning amusement of the day, “the children’s tree.” My eldest boy, a chubby little fellow of seven, came to me several times to whisper: “Do you think I ought to give the orphans my I.D. studs?” When told no, he beamed with the delight of an approving conscience. All throughout the afternoon first one little head and then another popped in at the door to ask: “Isn’t it 8 o’clock yet?,” burning with impatience to see the “children’s tree.”

David Helped Santa Claus

When at last we reached the basement of St. Paul’s Church the tree burst upon their view like the realization of Aladdin’s subterranean orchard, and they were awed by its grandeur.

The orphans sat mute with astonishment until the opening hymn and prayer and the last amen had been said, and then they at a signal warily and slowly gathered around the tree to receive from a lovely young girl their allotted present. The different gradations from joy to ecstasy which illuminated their faces was “worth two years of peaceful life” to see. The President became so enthusiastic that he undertook to help in the distribution, but worked such wild confusion giving everything asked for into their outstretched hands, that we called a halt, so he contented himself with unwinding one or two tots from a network of strung popcorn in which they had become entangled and taking off all apples he could when unobserved, and presenting them to the smaller children. When at last the house was given to the “honor girl” she moved her lips without emitting a sound, but held it close to her breast and went off in a corner to look and be glad without witnesses.

When the lights were fled, the garlands dead, and all but we departed” we also went home to find that Gen. Lee had called in our absence, and many other people. Gen. Lee had left word that he had received a barrel of sweet potatoes for us, which had been sent to him by mistake. He did not discover the mistake until he had taken his share (a dishful) and given the rest to the soldiers! We wished it had been much more for them and him.

Officers in a Starvation Dance

The night closed with a “starvation” party, where there were no refreshments, at a neighboring house. The rooms lighted as well as practicable, some one willing to play dance music on the piano and plenty of young men and girls comprised the entertainment. Sam Weller’s soiry [sic, soiree refers to a party or reception held in the evening], consisting of boiled mutton and capers, would have been a royal feast in the Confederacy. The officers, who rode into town with their long cavalry boots pulled well up over their knees, but splashed up their waists, put up their horses and rushed to the places where their dress uniform suits had been left for safekeeping. They very soon emerged, however, in full toggery and entered into the pleasures of their dance with the bright-eyed girls, who many of them were fragile as fairies, but worked like peasants for their home and country. These young people are gray-haired now, but the lessons of self-denial, industry and frugality in which they became past mistresses then, have made of them the most dignified, self-reliant and tender women I have ever known — all honor to them.

So, in the interchange of the courtesies and charities of life, to which we could not add its comforts and pleasures, passed the last Christmas in the Confederate mansion.

(Courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Private Samuel A Hughey Camp 1452/ Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Jefferson Davis Chapter, Volume 66, Issue No. 12, Dec. 2020 ed.)

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