I’m really not sure what to make of this. Please share your views. Do you think this is okay, or is it an infringement on existing artwork? It is understandable how the artist is making a statement against a longstanding monument in Richmond, but is it really appropriate?
Here is another excerpt from my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses. This one describes the origins of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s horse, Little Sorrel. I hope you enjoy it!
No one knows the exact origins of a small chestnut horse that came to be known as “Old Sorrel,” or “Little Sorrel.” His story, both tragic and triumphant, made him one of the most famous and beloved horses in history.
On May 1, 1861, Colonel Thomas J. Jackson was deployed to Harpers Ferry, Virginia nine days after the Federals had set fire to the arsenal and armory.1 He was ordered to secure those buildings and command troops from the Valley District who were stationed there. His top priority was training and outfitting his troops with equipments, which meant procuring horses for the army. Fortunately for Jackson, a few days after his arrival, an eastbound train on the Baltimore & Ohio line was seized containing five carloads of cattle and horses. Upon inspection, Jackson chose two horses based on the advice of his quartermaster, Major John Harmon. One horse was a large, muscular stallion, which Jackson named “Big Sorrel.” The other was a small Morgan gelding thought to be eleven years old, gingerbread in color, with no white markings. Jackson named him“Fancy,” and intended to give him to his wife. He then paid the quartermaster for an estimated worth of the animals.
It didn’t take long before Jackson discovered that Big Sorrel was too much horse for him. He was not a good horseman, and the stallion was flighty and gun-shy, so Jackson decided to keep the Morgan for his own instead, and re-named him “Little Sorrel.” Although the scruffy gelding was only fifteen hands high, Jackson took to him because of his pleasant personality and easy gait. Certainly the horse was no beauty, but
1.The Washington Times, “Bones of Warhorse Will Be Interred Near Jackson” by Martha M. Boltz, July 19, 1997
perhaps Jackson sensed in him some of the qualities that he demanded of his soldiers and of himself; courage, a willingness to obey orders under any circumstances, and extreme endurance.2
According to Jackson’s wife, Mary Anna Morrison, “… he was well formed, compactly built, round and fat (never “raw-boned, gaunt, and grim,” as he has often been described), and his powers of endurance were perfectly wonderful. Indeed, he seemed absolutely indefatigable. His eyes were his chief beauty, being most intelligent and expressive, and as soft as a gazelle’s.”
Little Sorrel amused his master by lying on the ground like a dog when he slept. He would also supposedly roll over and lie on his back with his feet up in the air. Jackson treated his horse like a pet, and constantly gave him apples for treats.
Little Sorrel’s appearance seemed to match that of his master’s. One of his soldiers, volunteer William Andrews, wrote that Jackson was “a very ordinary looking man of medium size, his uniform badly soiled as though it had seen hard service. He wore a cap pulled down nearly to his nose and was riding a rawboned horse that did not look much like a charger, unless it would be on hay or clover. He certainly made a poor figure on horseback, with his stirrup leather six inches too short, putting his knees nearly level with his horse’s back, and his heels turned out with his toes sticking behind his horse’s fore-shoulder.3
Jackson also had a tendency to slouch over in the saddle when he rode. Even though he was considered eccentric because of his odd habits, such as raising his arm above his head to improve circulation and sucking on lemons, his men adored him because he didn’t put on airs. He ate what they ate, suffered along with them, and prayed openly.
2. His Kingdom for a Horseby Wyatt Blassingame, Books for Libraries Press, © 1957, p. 128
3. Stonewall Jackson’s Book of Maximsby James I. Robertson Jr., Cumberland House, ©2002, p. 49
In last Sunday’s Colorado Springs Gazette, reporter David Ramsey wrote a story about Confederates who are buried in Colorado. He then went on to say that all of them undeniably fought to preserve slavery. He stressed this opinion throughout his story, and even contradicted people he interviewed with his strong opinions.
I’m not denying that slavery played a part in leading up to the Civil War, but Ramsey fails to mention all the other reasons why the war came about. He sites Confederate VP Alexander H. Stephens’ racist statements, but fails to take into account that racism was commonplace back then. President Lincoln was a huge racist, as a matter of fact, and wanted to ship all the blacks back to Africa or somewhere else out of the country. Ramsey claims that Robert E. Lee had slaves (which he set free before the war), but fails to mention how Grant kept his slaves until after the war, not to mention how seriously racist Sherman was, not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, and didn’t hesitate to kill as many as possible.
Here is a link to the story. Please let me know what your thoughts are. I’d love to see your comments!
It is difficult to imagine what a soldier who fought in the American Civil War endured. Firearms were virtually relics at the start of the war. Soldiers fought with arms they brought from home, which were typically muskets used for hunting. These firearms were very slow to fire and were usually ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, because they were difficult to aim, load and fire. During the course of the war, increments became far more effective and deadly. Here’s an explanation of how the early muskets were used.
Civil War soldiers were taught to load and fire their muskets using the “Nine-Steps.” They were drilled for hours to ensure every soldier would know each step without thinking. Step No. 6 was “return rammer” and while all of the steps were important, this one could have serious consequences if it was skipped.
Pvt. Arminius Bill of the 66th Illinois Western Sharp Shooters, recorded an incident in his diary about a man who skipped step No. 6. It was on Dec. 2, 1861,during a “sham battle” between Union forces at Benton Barracks near St. Louis. Artillery roared, cavalry galloped, and tens of thousands of blank rounds were fired. “One infantry man was killed by the man behind him in the rear rank who became excited & forgot to withdraw his ramrod. The gun went off & drove the ramrod through the head of the man in front.”
At the battle of Tupelo, July 14, 1864, Captain Theodore Carter cheered on his men of the 14th Wisconsin as they fired while lying down. Suddenly a private rose to his feet and began to hurl curses across the open ground to the Confederates. A rammer had streaked across the field and skewered his bicep, and he paused to pull out the long bloody piece of steel. “It was ludicrous to see hear him use strong invectives against the ‘rebel’ who was so careless as to leave his ramrod in the gun after loading.”
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned, “I shot an arrow in the air, it fell to earth, I know not where.” A beautiful poem, he was certainly not thinking of Pvt. Alexander Downing of the 11th Iowa Infantry, and an incident on April 6, 1862, during the battle of Shiloh.
“My musket became so dirty with the cartridge powder, that in loading it the ramrod stuck fast and I could neither get it up nor down, so I put a [percussion] cap on, elevated the gun and fired it off. But now I had no ramrod, and throwing down my musket, I picked up a Belgian rifle lying at the side of a dead rebel, unstrapped the cartridge box from his body, and advanced to our company, taking my place with the boys.”
Longfellow’s arrow was found unbroken in an oak; whatever happened to Downing’s?
Shiloh National Military Park
(Thanks to Trent Lewis)
(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Samuel A. Hughey camp #1452, Volume 43, Issue 5, May 2019 ed.)
Uncle Robert Wilson who left this planet at 112 years old and whom the United Daughters of the Confederacy buried.
“RICHMOND BORN CIVIL WAR VETERAN DIES IN ILLINOIS
Elgin, Ill April 11- UP
Robert Wilson, oldest patient of the Elgin State Hospital, died today.
Confederate army records establish his age as 112.
Wilson, a Negro, was born in slavery January 12, 1836, at Richmond, VA, hospital files indicate. He was credited with service in the Confederate army during the Civil War (sic).
Known in the institution as Uncle Bob, he practiced evangelism before entering seven years ago.
He told attendants in the veterans’ ward that he was proudest of his knowledge of the Bible and of a half a dollar given him by Governor Dwight H Green, of Illinois, during a visit to the hospital several years ago.
Several months ago, Wilson lost the silver piece. His dismay was mentioned to Governor Green, who sent him another half dollar to replace it on his 112th birthday this year.
The oldest veteran had no living relatives. Hospital authorities said that plans are being made for his funeral by the Daughters of the Confederacy.”
ELGIN DAILY COURIER NEWS Elgin, IL.
April 11, 1948 Special thanks to Commander Randall Freeman for the information.
Lani Burnette – BLACK CONFEDERATES AND OTHER MINORITIES IN THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION
Early this morning, an actor from the TV show Empire, Jussie Smollett, was attacked, supposedly by two anti-gay racists. This event upsets me very much, and deserves so much more media attention and observance from our social conscience than what other occurrences are receiving. The following article is one example. It’s a shame that so much emphasis is being placed on what kids are wearing to school. Their garb is not vulgar, but some (the minority, BTW) deem it unacceptable. I think our attentions are askew and need to be reassessed. Kids wearing the Southern Cross, or t-shirts that state “History Not Hate” are definitely not threatening. On the other hand, thugs attacking innocent people are very threatening. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Freedom of religion? And freedom of expression? God help us all.
Students at Fayetteville High School have been suspended for wearing – and refusing to remove – Confederate flag-themed shirts and face paintings in support of a pro-flag movement called #HistoryNotHate.
Several students showed up to school in Flag apparel and were told by administration to remove it. Those that did not comply received an out-of-school suspension, according to NBC affiliate KARK. Now the teens say they are upset with the way school officials are handling the situation, and they defend their right to dress in Confederate gear.
“None of us are racist. None of us are doing it for hate,” said student Jagger Starnes to KARK. “It’s Southern pride, and we’re not gonna take it off for anyone. This is our flag. It’s Arkansas. This is the South.”
School officials claim they aren’t taking a political stance and are not trying to impede on anyone’s rights but one teen says that the confrontation between students and authorities got heated. Morrigan White told local news station KNWA he painted the Confederate Flag all over his peers’ hands and faces, “wherever they wanted it” and that during their lunch period they were approached by police, the principal, the vice principal as well as school deans who told them to change clothes and wash the body art “or else.” When the students refused, “I told him I wasn’t going to take it off,” he said to KNWA. “So then I went to the office had a discussion and then the head principal ended up calling me racist.”
The students say that despite the discipline they received, they stand by their convictions and won’t back down from wearing the Confederate Flag. “They’re both going to keep wearing their jackets,” White said of Starnes and another fellow student. “And if I have makeup I’m going to put hashtag history not hate on my hands. I’ll still keep putting the flag on my face.”
One of the people I truly admire from the Civil War is Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Although the political climate today reflects negatively on him, Lee was, in reality, an amazing patriot, husband, father and leader. His soldiers loved him, and after the war, the entire country did, too. He was given a position as president of Washington and Lee University (then Washington College), which he humbly accepted. Lee only lived five more years, and passed away in 1870. He is interred in the Chapel on campus.
Lee was a dedicated military man, having graduated from West Point at the top of his class. His father was the famous Light Horse Harry Lee, who was a hero in the Revolutionary War. His wife, Mary Custis Lee, was a descendant of George Washington. Lee came from a long line of Virginia’s elite.
When the war broke out, Lee was faced with a very difficult decision. He chose his beloved state of Virginia over the Union, and reluctantly gave up his position with the U.S. military. He released his in-law’s slaves at the start of the war. Always the gentleman, Lee told his soldiers not to take or destroy anything when they entered Northern Territory, and that they should be required to pay with Confederate currency, since that’s all the men had, even though their money wasn’t worth anything.
In honor of General Lee’s upcoming birthday, I’d like to post a few articles about him, his life, and his service. This first article is about his beloved horse, Traveller. Lee had many horses during the course of the war, but Traveller was his favorite. You can read more about Traveller and Lee’s other horses in my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray.
There are few relationships more appreciated than that of a horse soldier and his mount. During the American Civil War, over a million horses perished in service to their respective causes. Few of them are remembered and revered today as much as Robert E. Lee’s horse,Traveller. Buried at Lee Chapel, at the same site as his commander, this dappled grey American Saddle bred was known for his speed, strength and courage in combat. Lee acquired him in 1862, and rode him throughout the war and beyond.
In a letter penned during the war, Lee describedhis horse to Mrs. Lee’s cousin, Markie Williams,who wished to paint a portrait of Traveller. Hewrote: “If I was an artist like you, I would drawa true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed.”
(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, vol. 43, issue no. 1, January 2019)