H.K. Edgerton is one of my favorite advocates for the Confederate cause and the Southern side of the story in regard to the Civil War. I have learned a lot from him, and I hope to someday have the opportunity to meet him in person. Here is a recent article from Mr. Edgerton.
Tucker Carlson “Gets It”
by H. K. Edgerton
H. K. Edgerton is an activist for Southern heritage and 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.
The fact is that none of General Lee’s men fought to maintain the economic institution of slavery. And that includes Holt Collier, Polk Arnold, Dr. Alexander Darnes, Levi Carnine, Napoleon Nelson, Rev. Mack Lee and a host of other black confederate soldiers and their families back on the home places that directly supported the integrated Confederate army, and to change the name of a school because he is offended should first require a lie-detector test!
However, it got to be more pathetic as I was made privy to four white girls and two white men, and later on a black man with a six year old boy and three young black baby girls not to far removed from “Pampers” struggle to carry signs in protest of the Cenotaph of this integrated Southern army in Pensacola, Florida. Save Southern Heritage researchers tell me that 75% of the protesters were imported from out of town, and the ‘babies’ were brought in for show by their grandfather from the Tampa area!
Many racehorses were used during the Civil War. My new book, Horses in Gray, discusses this topic. At the start of the war, Southern gentry thought that thoroughbreds would outperform other breeds, and thus assure victory for the Confederacy. Southern soldiers brought their steeds with them, and most were nimble, well-bred stock from Virginia and Kentucky. However, it didn’t take long for both armies to figure out that thoroughbreds were too flighty and unpredictable under gunfire, so they switched primarily to Morgans, Percherons, and Saddlebreds, and used various other breeds as well.
Thoroughbreds were mostly ridden by commanding officers after that, to give them the appearance of dignity and nobility. General Grant’s horse, Cincinnati, was a descendant of Lexington, a record-breaking thoroughbred. Grant was supposedly offered $10,000 in gold for Cincinnati, but he declined the offer. President Lincoln rode the horse on occasion, and reportedly enjoyed riding him very much. After Grant was elected president, Cincinnati went with him to the White House.
General Lee’s horse, Traveller, also had royal racing blood in his veins. His lineage stretched back to English racehorses; from Diomed, to Sir Archy, to Grey Eagle, which was Traveller’s sire. Grey Eagle was a famous, full-blooded thoroughbred, and set many records. Traveller’s dam was a half-bred grade mare named Flora. After the war, Traveller accompanied Lee to Washington and Lee University in Alexandria, Virginia, where Lee served as president. The general gave rides to the town’s children on Traveller, and everyone could set their timepieces to the punctuality Lee displayed when riding Traveller through town.
On this date in 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby. It was the first of Secretariat’s Triple Crown victories. It should be interesting to see how American Pharoah, last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby winner, does in his two upcoming Triple Crown races. Thoroughbred racing was a very popular sport in this country since its birth, and fortunately, still is today.
We all know the important roles horses and mules played during the Civil War. They were essential to the mobility of armies. They pulled artillery caissons, carried officers, served as couriers, and of course, transported the cavalry. But besides equines, many other animals served in the War Between the States as well.
Soldiers were attached to their pets, and some brought along dogs, cats, and various domesticated livestock to the battlefront. They adopted squirrels, bears, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife as company mascots. Some unusual mascots included a badger, a camel known as “Old Douglas,” which was part of the 43rd Mississippi, and a bald eagle named “Old Abe,” which represented the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. General Lee kept a hen that dutifully laid an egg for him every morning.
Many of these special animals are immortalized in statuesque form, including General Lee’s horse, Traveller, General Grant’s Cincinnati, and General Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel. Dogs are honored, too, including Sallie, mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. Her likeness is carved in bronze on the regimental monument at Gettysburg. There are many other famous canines that accompanied their masters to the battlefield … and to their death. A few are even buried there. These include Jack with the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Old Harvey with the 104th Ohio, and Major with the 19th Maine.
One of the most infamous battles of the Civil War took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1-3, 1863. Several factors came into play, determining the location of this decisive battle. While General Lee led his Confederate army into enemy territory in an attempt to intimidate Union troops, invade the north, and impede upon Washington, the Rebel army was also in desperate need of shoes. It just so happens that there was a shoe factory in Gettysburg. So hence, the Confederates came in search of shoes, and yet found so much more – most likely what they realized they didn’t bargain for.
The Civil War introduced mass production to America. Northern cities began constructing various clothing items, Bibles, and ammunition in mass quantities to supply the Union army. Within months of the war’s start, manufacturing was changed forever. Child labor was commonplace, as were sewing factories, where women worked from 12-16 hours a day. Because there was such a high demand for these products, the advent of “shoddy” commenced.
Uniforms supplied to the Federal army were rapidly stitched together in a frantic attempt to keep up with the War Department’s demand to supply troops. In 1861, 75,000 men volunteered to fight for the Union army, but the War Department only had enough uniforms for 13,000. Even though the infantry wore out shoes faster than what could be manufactured at the beginning of the war, within months, clothing companies found ways to keep up with demand, and managed to supply the Union army until the end of the war. This was far superior to that of the Confederacy, which was unable to supply its troops with clothing. Therefore, many new recruits enlisted wearing only their own homespun garments.
This weekend marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia. It was during this battle that Burnside’s Union forces faced defeat at the hands of General Lee’s Confederates, who were entrenched on Marye’s Heights. The Yankees were literally mowed down, and during the course of the bitter cold night, suffered tremendously, their cries and moans echoing in the still December air to the distraught ears of the Rebels.
One remarkable soldier laid his life on the line to assist the poor soldiers he was fighting against. This is a profound gesture, because the Union soldiers had pillaged the town upon their arrival, driving the remaining citizens into the woods to fend for themselves. Private Richard Rowland Kirkland, only nineteen years old, ventured out onto the battlefield to offer fallen Yankees sips of water from his canteen. Because of his bravery, he is forever known as “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” He was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga.
The battlefield has been honorably preserved, as has a house that survived the midst of battle and still has bullet hole pock mark scars to prove it. In two of my novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, the battle is described in detail. Once the fighting ceased, Northern Lights became visible in the winter sky. This was extremely unusual, as they are normally not seen that far south. The Confederates took it as a sign from God that he approved of their victory.
On strict orders to respect the citizens, the men were on their best behavior, and didn’t disturb anything. Upon entering Maryland, the Rebels received an icy reception, which was not at all what they had expected. The Marylanders had heard from Union sympathizers in Europe that Lee expected to conscript all able-bodied men for his army. Even though that wasn’t the case, the Marylanders’ sentiments were equally divided. Hiram heard a few spectators, who were observing their march from open second-story windows, comment on how they couldn’t distinguish the generals from the enlisted men, because they were all in filthy tatters. General Lee had his regimental bands play “Maryland, My Maryland.” His men cheered while they marched through, but they were later disappointed, for they were unable to successfully recruit enough soldiers to increase their depleted ranks.
One man they did recruit, however, was Bernard Kelton, who substituted for his brother. He was a stocky young man with a pleasant disposition, and because of it, Bud and Hiram took to him right away. Another was Dozier Downs, a thin, scruffy-looking character with shifty eyes.
“My brother’s wife jist had a baby,” Bernie explained while the men trudged along, “so I volunteered to take his place.”
“That was right nice of you,” remarked Bud.
“I’ll make certain he returns the favor,” Bernie joked.
“I’m in it for the bonus,” Dozier apathetically stated.
“So much for pride and valor,” Bud mumbled to Hiram.
He understood what Bud meant. Soldiers forced to fight had no patriotic motivation whatsoever, and Dozier was just one example of many. “They say war can make heroes out of cowards,” he replied with a shrug, repeating what he had heard other men in the ranks proclaim.
“Yeah, but it’s the exact opposite case for some fellers,” Bud added sarcastically, glancing at Dozier, who he knew was out of earshot.
The men made their way through unfamiliar terrain, weighed down with haversacks, bedrolls, cartridges, weaponry, and whatever cooking utensils they deemed essential. Many were without shoes. They were also lacking in equipment and numbers, thus making their Maryland campaign miserable.
The Rebels heard that General Pope had been replaced by none other than McClellan, who had turned his Grand Army of the Potomac away from Washington and was headed back in the direction of Fredericktown. The Alabamians reached Hagerstown, and awaited news from Jackson. While there, they discovered that the Maryland countryside had been left virtually untainted, unlike the ravaged landscape of Virginia.
Their reprieve was short-lived, for the next morning, September 14, they were ordered to hurriedly prepare rations, and march back to Boonsborough Gap. The men learned that their sudden turnabout was due to a blunder made during the previous week. A copy of Confidential Special Order No. 191, wrapped around three cigars, was discovered by a Union soldier in Fredericktown, and given to General McClellan. The order outlined Lee’s intentions, so McClellan reacted by attempting to cut off the Confederate army, which was scattered from Harpers Ferry to Hagerstown. The Alabamians raced to the aid of General Hill, who was subjected to protecting the gap with his small army until reinforcements arrived.
After struggling through a fourteen-mile march, the Alabamians arrived between three and four o’clock that afternoon, exhausted from their strenuous excursion over the mountain. The 4th was immediately put into action, commanded to attack the enemy to the left of the road with fixed bayonets. They were then ordered to their right. The men charged through an apple orchard over-laden with fruit. Starving, yet unable to pick any because time wouldn’t allow it, they forged ahead with the Texans and the rest of Colonel Law’s 3rd Brigade. Night fell before they could reach their opponents, so they positioned themselves in a sunken road for protection. The enemy continued firing into laurel trees standing several yards away, but to no avail, for the pelting of their bullets whacked into the trunks. At one point, Colonel McLemore climbed up on a nearby wooden rail fence to reconnoiter, but he was hit in the shoulder.
The firing tapered off, and soon Hiram and his comrades fell asleep. Around midnight, they were ordered to go quietly down the road, one at a time, in an attempt to sneak past the enemy. Carrying Colonel McLemore on a stretcher, they managed to escape, and continued on until they reached the Antietam River near Sharpsburg at noon the next day, where they learned that General Jackson had successfully captured Harpers Ferry, because McClellan was too slow to prevent it. The Alabamians found the opportunity to wash their ragged, butternut clothing, and take much needed baths.
While they stood in waist-deep water, waiting for their clothes to dry, Bud said, “I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but it seems to me the Yankees jist don’t run out. They keep on comin’ like an endless tidal wave.”
Hiram dunked his head under the cool water. Letting it rivulet down his face and through the stubble on his chin, he replied, “I have noticed. We’re up against Goliath, I’ll wager that.”
“Maybe we’ll whip them before year’s end,” said Orange Hugh optimistically.
“It’s my understandin’ that if we win another battle, Europe will pay us notice, and possibly come to our defense,” said Hiram.
“That’s all well and good,” Bud remarked, “but what if we don’t win? Our troops and ammunition are runnin’ low.”
Hiram and Orange Hugh looked at each other. “We’ll win,” Orange Hugh defiantly said with a grin.
Hiram hoped he was right.
Soldiers were attached to their pets, and some brought along dogs, cats, and various domesticated livestock to the war front. They adopted squirrels, bears, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife as company mascots. Some unusual mascots included a badger, a camel, and a bald eagle known as “Old Abe,” which represented the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. General Lee kept a hen that dutifully laid an egg for him every morning.
Many of these special animals are immortalized in statuesque form, including General Lee’s horse, Traveller, General Grant’s Cincinnati, and General Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel. Dogs are honored, too, including Sallie, mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. Her likeness is carved in bronze on the regimental monument at Gettysburg. There are many other famous canines that accompanied their masters to the battlefield … and to their death. A few are even buried there. These include Jack, with the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Old Harvey with the 104th Ohio, and Major with the 19th Maine.