J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “George Washington”

A Horse Soldier and His Mount

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.

Horses in Gray Cover

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.”

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(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, vol. 43, issue no. 1, January 2019)

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Leave General Lee Alone!

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Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, “white-nationalists” protested the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park previously known as Lee Park, which has since been renamed. I’m not certain why these groups were demonstrating on behalf of the monument. They epitomize racism, and the KKK has flagrantly used the Confederate battle flag to represent themselves in the past, thus tainting the flag’s original meaning. Counter-protesters arrived and, sadly, one deranged young man, reportedly a Neo-Nazi, killed a demonstrator.

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A flurry of controversy and speculation postings on Facebook and Twitter has taken place about why the incident happened. Many wonder why the cops were told to stand down. Others think it was a way for the main stream media to avoid reporting negative publicity toward the Democrats. I believe that this entire movement is slowly chipping away at Southern heritage by claiming it to be racist, which is completely untrue. Unfortunately, extremist groups have become embroiled in the battle to preserve Southern history. What wasn’t an issue until just a few years ago has become an all out attack on Confederate history.

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The fact of the matter is, none of these monuments should be or should have been removed. In fact, none of the street names, schools, etc. should be renamed. History should never be erased, or we will forget where we came from. And those monuments are not a reminder of slavery, they are a reminder of how Southerners suffered and died for truths they believed in, and for defending their homes. In their eyes, the North was a tyranny, and they had every legal right to secede. To claim Robert E. Lee was a racist is nothing less than ridiculous. He was an honorable soldier and family man with strong Christian morals and beliefs. He didn’t own slaves during the Civil War. In fact, he inherited them and set them all free. So to claim he was a racist is ludicrous.

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I don’t think the white-nationalists had any business protesting the removal of General Lee’s statue. This should have been done by heritage groups. When word got out that this protest would take place, the Charlottesville police department should have anticipated trouble and should have been ready. Removing monuments, which honor our American war veterans and are supposed to be protected by law, is disgraceful. Destruction of these monuments of Confederate veterans and war heroes will only lead to more eradication of our history and national landmarks. Ex-presidents who are not considered to be politically correct today, such as Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and the father of our country, George Washington, are all future targets. This is the disintegration of America, taken down from within. President Lincoln predicted it himself.

And today, another Confederate monument went down:

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/08/just-protesters-destroy-confederate-monument-outside-durham-county-nc-courthouse-video/

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Birth of a President

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The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. Oddly enough, his birthplace was only a few miles from that of the Confederacy’s first president, Jefferson Davis. When Lincoln was very young, his family moved to Indiana. His mother died when he was only 9, from what was known as milk sickness.

“Honest Abe” learned how to read by firelight, and advanced from a lowly country bumpkin to a lawyer to a congressman. When he was elected president in 1860, he was the first man to run on the Republican ticket. He won with only a plurality of the popular vote, but 183 in the electoral vote. Because of threats on his life, he had to be smuggled into Washington. His wit and humor must have been tested repeatedly, for not only did his country split in two, but he suffered many personal losses as well.

President Lincoln received much criticism during his presidency, especially and understandably from Southerners, but his untimely murder made many sad. It’s interesting to speculate whether Reconstruction would have gone more smoothly and wouldn’t have lasted as long if Lincoln had survived. Over the course of time, he has become a matyr for Emancipation, and has become almost a saint to most. His birthday is celebrated in conjunction every year with our first president and founding father, George Washington. Lincoln has been the subject of thousands of books, movies, articles, and other media outlets.

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