J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “historical”

“Known But To God”

On route 80, bordering the boundaries of Breaks Interstate Park, as you begin the ascension up the beautiful mountains of Appalachia from Kentucky into Virginia, rests a soldier only known to God. The plaque reads:


“Known But To God”
“Here rests the body of a soldier of the Confederacy, struck down by an unknown assassin in May of 1865-apparently on way to home in the South. He was buried in a coffin made of boards rived from a great oak by four men of this community. After the turn of the century, a rose bush marked this final resting-place of a soldier who is “Known but to God”.”


When I initially encountered the roadside marker, my Confederate American blood became saddened with a longing that I have rarely encountered. I wondered who was this individual that now walks upon the wind? I imagined the families’ broken heart as the mother sat on the porch every evening looking for her son. I could feel her anxiety whenever a person was seen walking over the horizon, as she wondered was that her boy or the bearer of tragic news. I heard the last words of the pitiful little mother and forlorn father as they wondered where their son had fallen. But I could have sworn I heard on the whisper of the wind the joy of the reunion across the shore of that great river between this world and that one that knows no sorrow. My longing has compelled my search in finding more about this man and his family in hopes that closure will be afforded one soldier “known but to God”.


The families of Richard Potter, Henry Potter, George Potter, Zeke Counts and Lazarus Hunt have preserved and passed down the story of this unknown Confederate on his way home. The families were the descendants of the original settlers in the area and possessed a deep pride in their beloved Kentucky and Virginia. The story portrayed a lonely soldier in May of 1865 that stopped at the home of Richard Potter and asked for a drink of water. Mr. Potter obliged the man, as was (and still is) the custom of hospitality in Appalachia. As they talked for a few moments it was revealed that he was making his way home to Carolina (whether North or South Carolina has been lost over the years). After a period of time, the man thanked Mr. Potter and continued on his journey. Shortly George Potter, Henry Potter, Lazarus Hunt and Zeke Counts came to Richard Potter’s home stating that a Confederate soldier had been bushwhacked down the road apiece.


As was the custom of the day the body was brought to someone’s home and the ladies cleansed and prepared the corpse for burial. A watch, cap and a handkerchief were all of the man’s earthly possessions and a kindly old lady was entrusted with the watch in hopes that, “One day his family will come and you are to give them his watch when they do.” One of the misfortunes of the time was that upon the kindly grandmother’s death, vandals entered her cabin looking for loot and then burnt it to the ground. Ironically the path of this heroic lady crossed the same level of low life that assassinated the unfortunate soldier trying to make it home. The sainted ladies washed his shirt as the good Samaritans felled an oak tree to make the planks for the unfortunate man’s coffin. The funeral was attended by those that not only mourned the passing of an unknown man but the passing of the South. “The families that lived in the Flats were the mourners for this unfortunate son of the South. It is for this reason that he became one of our own. He was entrusted to us for the care and maintenance of his memory.”

The care of the gravesite has been passed down from generation to generation. In 1900 Harve, the son of Henry Potter planted a rose bush as a memorial to the unknown soul. On every visit that I have made to that beautiful area, I have noted that a memorial wreath, flower or flag has been placed at the location. To me this is not only a tribute to that unknown man of the South but also one to the family and descendants of those brave men and women that offered a lasting mark of respect of their character as true Confederate Americans. Lest we forget, we must honor all of the brave men and women of yesteryear. Their names and memories must be preserved.


We will never know where he served or with whom. We can only imagine that he served bravely with his partners and was returning to the sanctuary of his home with dignity and honor. Such a tragedy to have endured the horrors of war only to be struck down by the vultures of society as he tried to make it home to his loved ones.

During the perilous times of today we must also reflect upon the sacrifices of yesterday’s warriors. We are duty bound to pause for a moment and remember those that have gone before. As we pray for today’s warriors on a foreign battlefield, we honor each one of those brave hearts by honoring the graves of those of yesteryear. Let us rally around the sacred ground of this soldier in remembrance of those that did not make it home.
Defending the Heritage

(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, Vol. 45, Issue #10, October 2021 ed.)

Two More Awesome Reviews!

I recently received two more amazing reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you, Paula and Kaye!

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Extremely interesting

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2021

This was my first time reading any of this author’s work. My knowledge of American history would be fairly scanty but I did find this an excellent read and I will be recommending her books to friends and family, and look forward to more of her books in the future.

4.0 out of 5 stars 

good read

Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2021

I have always been a fan of books revolving around the Civil War. This is no exception. Recommend without hesitation.

The Goal to Eradicate Stonewall

I have to wonder why this has been allowed to happen, but apparently, the governor of Virginia is hell bent on erasing every reminder of the Civil War in that state. It is such a shame that it literally makes me want to cry. These people should be ashamed of themselves for erasing American history, but for some reason, they feel justified to do so, and are being allowed to demolish our heritage. It is my understanding that the majority of students at VMI revere General Jackson and had no desire to get rid of his statue on the school grounds or his name all over campus. 

I’d like to share some posts from people who are on Civilwartalk.com.

“I was walking around the outside of barracks at VMI yesterday and was pleased to see Little Sorrel’s grave is still intact and untouched. It was difficult seeing the empty space where Jackson’s statue used to reside, but unfortunately, the removal of all things “Jackson” from VMI is a done deal. For now, his four esteemed cannons, known on post as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John still remain in the former shadow of his statue.”

“Little Sorrel’s stuffed hide is still on display in the cadet museum beneath “Memorial Hall”, formerly known as Jackson Memorial Hall until a couple weeks ago.”

More Disturbing Events Eradicating American History

IN THE OLD DOMINION
At the urging of NAACP Vice President Robert Ashton Jr., King George County Board of Supervisors met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss removing a Confederate memorial from the lawn of the county’s Courthouse.
When they returned to public session, Chairwoman Annie Cupka directed staff “to determine the cost of relocation and to work with community groups to raise the necessary funding.”

ALSO IN VIRGINIA

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit to protect the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond on Tuesday, June 8, beginning at 9:00 a.m. 


Jesse Binnall, the attorney who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the MOS&B in the Taylor case, gave the following links that you will need if you wish to hear the oral arguments. 


Timing: http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/scv/bschedule.pdf


There are two cases to be reviewed. The Taylor case was filed by the heirs of the donors of the property upon which the Lee Monument now stands. The Gregory case was filed by residents of the neighborhood. The defendant in both cases is the governor of Virginia. 


Visit this website to learn how to tune in if you wish to listen: 
http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/scv/home.html


IN THE VOLUNTEER STATE

On Tuesday, black activist-turned-“elected”-official Tami Sawyer gloated to media as City workers desecrated the grave of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, digging up his remains from a Memphis park.

(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 4, 2021 ed.)

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.)

  

Confederate Heritage Month

April has been signified as Confederate Heritage Month by many Southern states. The month is significant to the Southern cause in that the Civil War started and, for the most part, ended in April. In recognition, memorial services are held at Confederate cemeteries throughout the month. I have attended several of these ceremonies. They are poignant and beautiful remembrances of ancestors who suffered and died to protect their homes.

There were many atrocities that took place during the war. One of the worst was the conditions of Confederate POW camps. My novel, A Rebel Among Us, specifically discusses the conditions that took place at Elmira Prison Camp toward the end of the war.

PRIVATIONS, SUFFERING AND  DELIBERATE CRUELTIES 

“Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its  deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the  blood of many of Lee’s men from insufficient and  unsound food that a slight wound which would  probably not have been reported at the beginning  of the war would often cause blood-poison,  gangrene, and death. 

Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate . . . it was a harrowing but not uncommon sight to see those hungry men gather the wasted corn from under the  feet of half-fed horses, and  wash and parch and eat it to satisfy in some measure their craving for food.”  

General John B. Gordon,  

“Reminiscences of the Civil War” 

Elmira Prison Camp, Elmira, New York

“Winter poured down its snows and its sleets  upon Lee’s shelterless men in the trenches. Some of  them burrowed into the earth. Most of them  shivered over the feeble fires kept burning along the  lines. Scanty and thin were the garments of these  heroes. Most of them were clad in mere rags.  

Gaunt famine oppressed them every hour. One  quarter of a pound of rancid bacon and a little meal  was the daily portion assigned to each man by the  rules of the War Department. But even this  allowance failed when the railroads broke down and  left the bacon and the flour and the mean piled up  beside the track in Georgia and the Carolinas. One sixth of the daily ration was the allotment for a  considerable time, and very often the supply of  bacon failed entirely. 

At the close of the year, Grant had one hundred  and ten thousand men. Lee had sixty-six thousand  on his rolls, but this included men on detached duty,  leaving him barely forty thousand soldiers to defend  the trenches that were then stretched out forty  miles in length from the Chickahominy to Hatcher’s  Run.”

Henry Alexander White, “Life of Robert E.  Lee.” 

“When their own soldiers were suffering such  hardships as these in the field, the Confederate  leaders made every effort to exchange men so that  helpless prisoners of war would not suffer in  anything like equal measure, offering even to send  back prisoners without requiring an equivalent.  Hence, the charges brought against the Confederate  government of intentional ill-treatment of prisoners  of war are not supported by the facts. 

[In the South] the same quantity and quality of rations were given to prisoners and guards; but that  variety in food could not be had or transported on  the broken-down railway system of a non manufacturing country, which system could not or  did not provide sufficient clothes and food even for the Confederate soldiers in the field. 

[The] control of the prisons in the North was turned over by Secretary  Stanton and the vindictive and partisan men (who  were later responsible also for the crimes of  Reconstruction) to the lowest element of an alien  population and to Negro guards of a criminal type,  and such men as President Lincoln, Seward,  McClellan, and the best people in the North were  intentionally kept in ignorance of conditions in  Northern prisons while officially furnished with  stories as to “the deliberate cruelties” practiced in  the South.” 

(The Women of the South in War Times, Matthew Page  Andrews, Norman, Remington Company, 1920, pp. 399-406) 

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans; President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, vol. 45, issue #4, April 2021 ed.)

Another Excellent Review

This review of my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is short and sweet, but it gets right to the point! Thank you so much, Kevin Marsh, for your flattering review.


A novel set in the American Civil War which was historically accurate, very readable and enjoyable. My first time reading of any of this author’s work and, given the book is the first in a series, will not be the last.

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. 

Another Awesome Review

A Beautiful Glittering Lie received another very flattering review. This one is short and sweet, but I appreciate it just the same. Thank you so much, Linda Vieira, for your review!

Reviewed in Canada on November 18, 2020

Received a complimentary copy via voracious readers only from the author
this book was amazing!
really enjoyed this read !!
grab a copy and enjoy 🙂

More Flattering Reviews

I recently received more reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thanks to the people who wrote these reviews! This novel is the first in the Renegade Series, which is a saga about the Summers family from north Alabama, and describes what the Civil War does to their lives.

Joanne wrote:

I had a little trouble getting into this book, but once I did – I didn’t want to put it down. 
I have read several books about the Civil War, but written from the side of the North. This novel is written from the point of view of a family from Alabama.
J D R Hawkins’ writing style is such that I grew to feel I knew the family who were the principal characters in the book.
My only complaint, if you can call it that, was that the book ended rather abruptly. There are however, two books which apparently continue the story.
All in all – I loved it! I will place J D R Hawkins on my favorite authors list!

From Pam C:

I received this book from Voracious Readers. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was heartbreaking for the father & son but war is horrible for all families. 
For anyone enjoying historical fiction, I recommend this. 

And this from Jackie:

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!

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