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”
“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.)
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.
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.
In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to share with you an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. In this scene, the protagonist, David Summers, finds himself in an awkward predicament, and does his best to fake his way through it. This book is the recipient of the prestigious John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. I hope you enjoy this sample of A Rebel Among Us.
The dogs barked outside.
“Oh, they’re here!” Anna hurried out of the kitchen.
The young men followed.
David heard people being greeted at the front door. He stood back from the rest behind Patrick, mentally preparing himself for his performance. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery exchanged compliments with Grace, Claudia, Sarah, and her nieces. A blonde girl with ringlets entered, followed by a Union soldier in uniform. David glared at him, repulsed by his appearance, but concealed his disgust. Anna hugged the soldier.
“It’s been so long, Stephen,” she said. “How I’ve missed you.”
David’s heart lurched.
“And you, my dear.” Stephen stepped back, removing his kepi to expose a full head of thick blonde hair. “So much has happened since I last saw you. How have you been? How is your health?”
“Fine. Everything’s fine.”
“Since your father passed, my thoughts have been with you constantly,” he said. Surprisingly, he laughed. “I remember him telling me, when you and I were both in our youth, how I should be the one to marry you once we were grown.”
“I know, Stephen. He told me many a-time as well. But now we know better. Things have changed significantly since Father passed.” She requested their coats. Turning her back to him, she threw a glare at David, who read the sarcasm in her countenance.
The soldier approached Patrick and shook his hand. Approaching David, he asked, “Anna, who do we have here?”
The girl with the pipe curls who had entered with Stephen drew closer to David, making him somewhat uncomfortable.
“This is my second cousin, David Summers, from New York,” Anna responded cheerfully.
“From New York,” the soldier repeated. Smiling, he extended his hand.
David hesitated but forced himself to take it.
“Splendid to meet you, sir. I’m Stephen Montgomery.”
“And I’m his younger sister, Mary,” said the girl with the ringlets. Pushing past her brother, she drew so close to David that he felt compelled to step back. “Hello, Mr. Summers,” she said, extending her hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Batting her lashes, her blue eyes sparkled.
“Miss.” He cordially took her hand and kissed the back of it.
She giggled. “Why, Anna, you never told us you had a cousin in New York.”
Her demeanor reminded David of Callie.
“Yes, well, we haven’t seen each other since we were very young,” Anna replied. She flashed a questioning look at David.
Patrick saw and snickered.
“And these are our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery,” Anna introduced.
“David Summers,” Mr. Montgomery said as they shook. “Are you related to the Summers of Lancaster?”
“No, Father,” said Mrs. Montgomery, allowing David to kiss the back of her hand. “He’s from New York.”
“Oh.” Mr. Montgomery scratched his gray-streaked beard. “What do you do for a living, young man?”
David glanced at Sarah, who smiled reassuringly at him. “I’m—a farmer,” he said, remembering to accentuate his R’s.
“And what do you farm, sir?” asked Stephen.
“Crops, mostly,” he stated.
The gathering chuckled. Stephen frowned.
“David, may I see you for a moment?” Anna requested.
He excused himself and heard Sarah suggest they all take a seat while he followed Anna into the kitchen. Once he had entered, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Try not to act so nervous,” she instructed in a hushed tone and handed him a plate of hors d’oeuvres.
He sighed again to summon his courage before following her back into the parlor.
Claudia and Abigail began their performance. They started by playing“There’s a Song in the Air.”
David set the plate on the marble-topped parlor table and looked up to see Patrick grinning at him.
Stephen stood and strode over to him. “So, Mr. Summers, are you here for the holiday?” he pried, smiling. He had a warm, friendly way about him. David wondered if Anna had misread his intentions.
“For the duration,” he responded.
Stephen’s brown eyes grew concerned. “The duration of what?”
“The war,” Anna told him. “He’s here to oversee the farm for Uncle Bill until he returns home.”
Stephen’s expression darkened. David realized Anna hadn’t misread him after all. “Oversee? What does that mean?”
Patrick moved closer to the little gathering.
“It means he’s in charge of operations, and he will probably inherit the farm,” Anna said with conviction.
Stephen glared at David. “Oh,” he said cheerfully, his demeanor transparent. “Why haven’t you enlisted, Mr. Summers?”
David glanced at Patrick. “I paid my three-hundred-dollar computation fee,” he lied.
“You’re not one of those bounty jumpers, are you?” Stephen leered.
David scoffed at the notion. He remembered being told about bounty jumpers by his messmates. Some men in the North joined up to receive a cash bounty, promptly deserted, and joined up again in order to obtain another bounty.
Mary, who had been standing close by, asked, “Where on earth did you get three hundred dollars?”
“It’s an inheritance,” said Anna. “Let’s sing carols.” She took Mary by the arm and directed her toward the box piano.
“Who died?” Stephen inquired. His eyes narrowed as he stared at David.
“His father,” Patrick interjected.
“Oh.” Stephen frowned. “Would that be the cousin of Anna’s father or mother?”
David couldn’t remember the drill. He looked at Patrick for support, but the Irishman only shrugged.
“Uh, her mother,” David replied.
Trying to mask his uneasiness, he walked across the room, nervously sat down, and wondered if he would be discovered after all. He stared at the floor, listening to Abigail play “We Three Kings from Orient Are.”Struggling to regain his composure, he thought another swig of whiskey might do him good. He glanced around, noticing how the ornaments on the tree sparkled. The firelight and candles resplendently flickered and reflected off them. Everyone was dressed in beautiful clothing, except for him. Instead, he wore Anna’s deceased father’s suit, which was barely long enough. Realizing his inadequacy, he grew even more self-conscious, so he crossed his arms and legs.
The little girls took turns playing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel,” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”Deciding to take a break, they headed straight for the plates of gingerbread and sugar cookies, meringues, rock candy, and chocolate creams. Patrick motioned to him, so David quickly followed him into the kitchen. To his relief, Patrick uncorked the whiskey bottle.
“How am I doin’ so far?” he asked.
Patrick handed him the bottle. “Here, take another nip.” He chuckled at his friend’s worried expression.
David took a long pull from the bottle and handed it back.
“Here’s to your nerves,” Patrick said with a laugh and swigged from the bottle.
Stephen soon appeared in the kitchen and took the opportunity to interrogate further, making David feel like a mouse being stalked by a cat.
“Where did you say you’re from, Mr. Summers?” he inquired with a smirk.
“Ala—er, Albany,” he replied, nearly choking on his mistake.
“What county is that?” Stephen asked.
Mary and Anna entered the room.
“Um, it’s in New York,” he responded, glaring at Anna in panic.
“Have you seen the armory?” asked Stephen.
David shook his head.
“The Quakenbush House? How about the Hudson River itself?”
David shook his head again. “I don’t get off the farm much.” He shrugged.
Patrick cleared his throat. “Tell us, dear Stephen, how ye managed to evade the fightin’ yourself.”
He smiled at Stephen, but David could sense deep-seated resentment between the two of them.
“I was injured at First Bull Run,” Stephen said. He ran his hand through his thick blonde hair.
“Injured, ye say?” Patrick pressed. “And where might that be?”
“Right here.” Stephen extended his left hand to show a mangled little finger.
David stifled a laugh. “Pshaw,” he said. “Is that it?”
Mary drew closer to her brother. “Stephen has friends in Washington who decided he was eligible for a promotion. He is now a sergeant-major.”
She smiled proudly at her brother, who flashed a grin at her before he turned his gaze to Anna.
David noticed the three chevrons with three rockers on his sleeve, the insignia of a sergeant-major. They were blue, which told him Stephen had served in the infantry. “You got promoted all the way up to sergeant-major for a crushed finger?” he asked in awe.
“Yes, that’s right,” Stephen fired back.
David snorted. “A promotion for an injured finger from First Mannass—uh, the Great Skedaddle,” he corrected himself and remarked, “If that don’t beat all.”
“At least I’ve seen the fighting. Unlike you.” Stephen glared at him with indignation.
David felt his anger rising. Clenching his teeth, he glowered back scornfully.
Sarah came into the kitchen. Immediately noticing the two young soldiers glaring at each other, she gasped and glanced at Anna, who appeared stunned.
“Please come into the parlor for singing and lively interview,” Sarah said, attempting to diffuse the situation. Stepping toward David, she quickly took his arm.
“Bully for Grant,” Mr. Montgomery bellowed from the parlor. “Bully for Sherman too!”
“Don’t lose your temper, dear,” Sarah whispered and escorted him into the parlor.
They entered the candlelit room. Expelling a sigh, he sat down on a green velvet chair beside Stephen’s father, who vigorously puffed on a fat cigar.
“He’s a humbug, I say,” Mr. Montgomery exclaimed, speaking to his wife and Grace.
“Who’s a humbug, Papa?” Mary inquired, sitting in a chair on the other side of her father.
“Jefferson Davis, that’s who!”
David scowled, his ire rising. Biting his lower lip to contain it, he glanced over the gathering. He felt so out of place he thought he might burst. This was becoming far more than he could bear.
“That man is a tyrant,” Mr. Montgomery continued. “When this war is over, I’ll be the first in line to see him hang.”
David stared at the Oriental rug on the floor. Unable to sit there any longer and listen to Mr. Montgomery’s rhetoric dishonoring the South’s beloved president, he abruptly stood, walked out of the parlor, and went outside onto the front porch.
Patrick followed. “Now, David, don’t be gettin’ your Irish up.” He grinned, handing him the bottle.
He took a few swigs.
Patrick jokingly remarked, “Best be slowin’ down a bit, lad.”
“Do you think they’d notice if we left?” David’s head started to spin.
Patrick snickered. “Aye. Sure’n you know our Anna needs us here. The party will be over soon enough.” He pulled out his pipe, so David obligingly handed him the pouch of tobacco he’d shoved into his pocket in preparation for his friend’s arrival. Patrick took a deep puff and said, “‘Tis nearly a full moon.”
Stephen emerged from the house. “Chilly evening, isn’t it?” His charming smile had returned. David felt like he was in the company of an alligator, calm and docile on the outside, but ready to strike and devour at a moment’s notice.
“Indeed,” Patrick replied.
“Mind if I have some of that?” Stephen pulled a pipe from his coat pocket.
David glanced over at him. He noticed the buttons, the piping, the blue fabric, and the embroidery on his sleeves that reminded him of all the Yankees he’d seen on the battlefields. He looked away. Patrick handed the pouch to Stephen, who filled the bowl of his pipe. He lit it and puffed.
“This is very good,” he stated, inhaling again.
“‘Tis David’s,” Patrick blurted.
Stephen smiled. “Hmm. Where did you get this? It tastes like Southern tobacco.”
David shuddered. He was glad the darkness concealed his reaction. “A friend of mine,” he responded, unable to say any more.
Maggie came to the front door and called them back in. They followed her into the parlor, where the discussion was still taking place. Mr. Montgomery immediately drew Patrick and Stephen into the conversation. He expressed his feelings on how he disagreed with the Copperheads, who were willing to accept the South back into the Union under a negotiation with concession, and how he agreed more with the Radical Republicans, who were in favor of total surrender and victory followed by severe punishment. He then proceeded to complain about how the confounded War Department had been purchasing shoddy uniforms for the grand army of the United States.
“They ought to be ashamed,” he said, finishing his rant.
According to Sarah, The Sanitary Commission was doing an excellent job improving conditions for the soldiers in battle. Mrs. Montgomery agreed, noting the book she’d recently read, titled Hospital Sketches. It was written by a nurse named Louisa May Alcott, who was assisting the Union army.
The topic drifted to paintings of Whistler and Monet, how men were now able to measure the speed of light, and the oil wells in Titusville and Oil Creek. Mr. Montgomery brought up Darwin’s theory of evolution, which David had discussed numerous times around the campsite with his fellow cavaliers. He sat back and listened silently while the others exchanged conjectures. Most of the discussion concerned things he knew very little about. Mr. Montgomery invited his opinion, but he declined, afraid of revealing himself.
The little girls resumed their repertoire of carols during all of this, entertaining their audience with “Joy to the World,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Anna turned to David. “My cousin here has a very lovely singing voice,” she said. “David, why don’t you sing something for us?”
Mortified, David gawked at her in disbelief. “Uh, what would you have me sing, cousin?” he asked, embarrassed he was now being put on display after all.
He rebounded by suggesting, “How about ‘Silent Night’? Do you girls know how to play that song?”
Claudia nodded, turned toward the piano, and played an introduction.
Drawing a deep sigh, David began singing. He barely glanced at his audience. As he sang, his baritone voice grew stronger and more confident, and soared to a high note before he finished the first verse. Deciding that was more than enough, he stopped. Everyone applauded.
“Bravo,” Mr. Montgomery bellowed.
David grinned, feeling his face flush as he sat back down. He glanced at Anna, who beamed at him.
Not to be outdone, Stephen announced, “I brought each of you girls a gift.”
Abigail clapped her hands with delight. He withdrew several packages from under the tree.
“Abigail, this is for you. Claudia.” He handed them each a package. “Maggie, here you are,” he said.
Maggie smiled and took the present he handed to her.
“And this, darling Anna, is for you.” He gave her a small box wrapped with a bright red bow.
She smiled at him. “Why, thank you, Stephen,” she replied.
David glowered. Stephen’s display of affection repulsed him.
Tearing into her package, Abigail exclaimed, “It’s a stereograph!” She positioned one of the thick cardboard photographs in front of the lens and held it to her face.
“I have one too,” squealed Claudia.
They exchanged pictures.
David glanced at Patrick, who rolled his eyes. “‘Tis all for show,” he whispered loudly.
Mrs. Montgomery glared at him.
Maggie opened her gift. “Oh, it’s a journal. I’ll so enjoy writing in this.” She glanced at David, who raised an eyebrow at her. He wondered if he would be her topic.
Anna opened her gift. She stared into the little box cupped in her hand. “Stephen, I don’t know what to say,” she said quietly.
“It was my grandmother’s,” he explained. Walking over to her, he pulled a dainty gold necklace from the box and placed it around her neck.
David watched silently, his blood reaching its boiling point. He forced himself to remain silent and tightly clutched onto the arms of the chair to help him contain his anger. Anna’s actions confused him. After describing Stephen’s story, why was she being so receptive to him? David hoped she was putting on a performance for the Montgomery’s, but he wished she would turn her attention to him, instead, and repel Stephen’s revolting advances.
“I have something for you as well,” Anna told Stephen. She knelt beneath the tree, pulled a package out from under it, stood, and handed it to him.
He grinned and glanced around at the spectators before opening it. Staring at the contents, he hesitated for a moment before bursting into laughter. “Oh, darling, how did you know?” He pulled the contents from the box, revealing a pair of trousers. Holding them up, everyone took notice of how large they were. “I must admit,” he said, “I have put on some weight.”
David and Patrick looked at each other and grinned, recalling how Anna had told them Stephen had gotten too big for his britches. She had obviously taken it upon herself to make him a bigger pair.
“By the way, Mrs. Andrews,” Stephen said as he placed his gift on the sofa cushion, “my condolences on the loss of your cousin.”
Sarah glanced at Grace before looking back at Stephen. “Why, whatever are you talking about? I didn’t lose a cousin,” she replied.
David’s eyes grew wide.
Stephen turned to glare at him. “I thought you said it was Anna’s mother who you were related to.” He reached down toward his sidearm, the formidable revelation impending.
Anna hurried over to stand in front of David. “Is that what he told you?” She forced a laugh. “Well, it’s as I explained, Stephen. We haven’t seen each other since we were children, and I’m sure he’s forgotten, that’s all.”
“Why, yes,” Sarah said, coming to the aid of her niece. “He’s just confused. After all, he’s been through so much lately, what with the loss of his father, the journey here, and all the responsibility that has been placed upon him.”
David glanced at Patrick, who wore an amused grin on his face.
“The poor thing,” said Mrs. Montgomery. “How terrible it must be for you.”
“Yes, um, ma’am,” David responded.
Stephen was still staring at him. To his relief, he had moved his hand away from his holster.
Anna glanced down at David. She noticed his stark white face. “My dear cousin is still reeling from grief.”
“Well, we should be leaving, my dears,” Mr. Montgomery said as he gazed up at the mantle clock. “It is nearly eleven, and we must all be tucked in before midnight!”
He pulled himself up. The Montgomery’s followed his lead and made their way toward the front door. Stephen glared at David. He turned toward Anna and took her hands in his.
“Thank you, my love, for the gift, and for this enchanting evening.”
“You’re welcome, Stephen,” she replied, gently withdrawing her hands from his.
“Gentlemen,” Stephen said to Patrick and David, donning his kepi. “I hope to see you again in the next few days before I return to Washington.”
“Stephen,” Patrick acknowledged, puffing merrily on his pipe.
The ladies escorted their guests outside.
“It has been so wonderful to see you again, my dear,” Stephen said to Anna. “This reminds me of when we were children, and our families spent the holidays together. I know I’ve been away recently, but I hope we can resume our close relationship once again.”
“Yes, Stephen,” she said. “We’ll reunite soon.”
David glanced outside to see Stephen climb aboard the Montgomery’s sleigh. Finally, the sound of chinking bells drifted off into the distance. He breathed a deep sigh of relief.
Patrick chuckled. “Well, ye did fine under the circumstances, lad.” He patted David on the back.
“I reckon I’ll retire,” David weakly stated. Two traumatic Christmas Eves in a row had left him exhausted. He bid everyone goodnight and started toward the stairs.
“You two had better get to bed as well,” Grace told Claudia and Abigail, “or you won’t be asleep by the time Santa arrives.”
The girls smiled widely at each other. They rushed past David and bounded up the stairs as fast as their little legs could carry them. Once upstairs, he heard them scurry around inside their room. Soon, they appeared at his door with a book.
“Will you read to us?” Abigail asked.
“Of course, I will,” he replied with a smile.
He finished lighting his fireplace, led them back to their room, and tucked them in. Sitting on the edge of Abigail’s bed, he read the cover.
“A Visit from Santa Claus.” He opened the book and read, “‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirrin’, not even a mouse.” Glancing at the girls, their eyes large and full of wonder, he continued reading until he reached the end of the poem. “…But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight. The end.” Closing the book, he stood and set it on the dresser. “Goodnight, girls.” He turned down the lamp.
“Goodnight, David,” Claudia responded.
“Goodnight, cousin.” Abigail giggled.
He closed the door and turned. Startled to see Anna standing in the hallway, he nearly jumped.
“That was lovely,” she said, smiling.
“You’d better go to bed now too, if you want a visit from Santa Claus.”
David chuckled. They stood there, smiling at each other, neither one knowing what to say next.
“Well, goodnight.” She started toward the staircase, but turned back to face him. “By the way, you were wonderful tonight. Stephen doesn’t suspect a thing.” She softly snickered and descended the steps.
His head began to spin from the whiskey taking hold. He went into his bedroom and closed the door. Dropping down onto the bed without bothering to remove his boots, he fell asleep within seconds.
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.
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!
Halloween is nearly upon us. This year will look much different because of Covid-19. Parties will be limited, Trick or Treating will include social distancing, and of course, everyone will be wearing masks, whether they are Halloween-themed or not. This Halloween will be extra special, because it will have a full moon, which is the second one this month, and is known as a blue moon. The holiday will also be followed by the end of daylight savings time and Election Day next Tuesday. We’re in for a bit of crazy during the next few days!
In the spirit of Halloween, I would like to share an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. Two of the main characters discuss their renditions of All Hallows Eve. I hope you enjoy it. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
On October 31, Patrick arrived with a bottle of whiskey and invited David to partake with him. They stood shivering at the back door, passing the bottle between them.
“‘Tis Samhain tonight, lad. All Hallow’s Eve. Were ye aware of it?”
David nodded. “Where’d you git this whiskey?” he asked.
“Aye, ‘tis a grand thing the Meyers provide me with allowance for such an indulgence,” he replied. He pulled a pipe from his coat pocket and lit it. Puffing away, he shook his head and remarked, “Sure’n ‘tis a far cry from real tobacco.”
A thought crossed David’s mind. “I’ll be right back,” he said.
He went upstairs to his room, grabbed the pouch of tobacco, and brought it back down to his friend.
Patrick peeked inside before taking a deep whiff. “Ah!” he sighed, relishing the pungent aroma. “Might this be the Southern tobacco I’ve heard tell about?”
David grinned. “Jake brought it along for tradin’, and this here’s what’s left.”
Patrick loaded his pipe, relit it, and puffed euphorically, smiling all the while. “‘Tis a wee bit o’ heaven, indeed.” He glanced at his friend. “Now, have ye any scary tales from the Southland that might have me skin crawlin’?”
David thought for a moment, “There’s a story from north Alabama about a place called the Red Bank.”
Raising his eyebrows, Patrick said, “Let’s see if ye might be tellin’ it frightfully enough to send a shiver up me spine.” He happily puffed away.
David grinned. He lowered his voice so it was a threatening grumble and delved into his story. Once he had completed the tale of an Indian maiden who had killed herself after losing her baby and had promptly turned into a ghost, he paused.
Patrick puffed silently on his pipe. “Well, now, I have a scarier one.” He puffed again, took a swig from the whiskey bottle, handed it to David, and said, “‘Tis an old tale from the motherland.”
The wind blew past them, whistling off through the barren fields. Both young men shivered, suddenly aware of the ominous darkness surrounding them.
David forced a nervous laugh before taking a swallow. “All right, Patrick. Let’s hear it.”
He took a puff and slowly exhaled. “There once lived a wealthy lady who was courted by two lords. One of the lords grew so jealous of the other that he plotted to kill his rival. So one night, he snuck into the unsuspectin’ lad’s bedchamber. But instead of choppin’ off his head—”
He said this with so much exuberance David jumped.
“He accidentally chopped off his legs instead.”
A dog howled in the distance, adding to the nuance of Patrick’s eerie Irish story.
“His torso received a proper burial, but his legs were tossed into a hole in the castle garden and covered with dirt. The murderin’ lord deceived the lady by tellin’ her the other suitor had abandoned his proposal to her. She agreed to marriage. But on their weddin’ night, in walked the two bodyless legs.”
An owl hooted from somewhere off in the empty trees.
“The legs followed the bridegroom relentlessly until the day he died. It’s said the legs can still be seen walkin’ round by themselves. ‘Tis a true phuca.” Upon this conclusion, Patrick puffed on the pipe. Smoke billowed around his head like an apparition.
“What’s a phuca?” asked David.
“A ghost,” Patrick responded.
Raising a skeptical eyebrow, David snorted. “I reckon that’s the dumbest spook story I ever did hear.”
A gate near the barn caught in the wind and slammed loudly against the fencepost. The two men jumped. They chuckled at their reaction, but immediately felt the terrible chill. Reasoning they would be more comfortable inside, they entered the kitchen, consumed the remainder of the whiskey, and bid each other goodnight. Patrick returned home, and David retired quietly upstairs, careful not to wake the others. Relieved the fireplace had been lit for him, he undressed.
Climbing into bed, he snickered at the thought of two legs unattached to a body, chasing after a rival. Once he’d fallen asleep, however, the thought invaded his dreams. The legs ran toward him. Right behind them rode the headless Union horseman. The torso raised its saber and swung it where its head should have been. Just as the blade came down, David jolted awake. He gasped to catch his breath, realizing, once again, his imagination had gotten the best of him. Slowly, he lay back. Unable to sleep, he listened to the wind rattle the shutters and shake through the skeleton-like tree limbs from outside the frosty, lace-covered windows.
I was under the illusion that Confederate monuments were essentially the only statues under attack in the country right now. However, this article gives more insight about which monuments are really being targeted.
At least 183 monuments, memorials, statues, and major historical markers have been defaced or pulled down since protests began in May. While Confederate monuments have received the lion’s share of media coverage, they actually form a minority of the statues targeted.
By far the most popular target was Christopher Columbus, with 33 statues in total having been defaced and pulled down.
The next most popular targets were Robert E. Lee (9), Serra (8), and Thomas Jefferson (4).
The vast majority of the vandals were never charged, with 177 out of 183 instances having no arrests.
Most monuments torn down were not by protesters, but by city officials after pressure or threats from protesters.
By far the most common route for monuments being destroyed was for protesters to damage it, then the city quickly removing it as a “public safety” hazard, not to be returned.
For a majority of the statues removed, the fate of the artwork is currently unknown, while a minority have been moved to cemeteries and museums. Here is the list as best as we can assemble it:
Monument to Marcus Daly, Butte, MT Cemetery Monument to Confederate Soldiers, Savannah, GA Memorial to Fallen Kansas City Police Officers, Kansas City, MO Monument to Christopher Columbus, Chicago, IL Statue of Jesus Christ, Miami, FL Statue of Robert E. Lee, Antietam, MD Union Veterans Monument, Saratoga, NY Alexander Andreyevich Baranov Statue, Sitka, AK Monument to Confederate Soldiers, Amarillo, TX Confederate Statue, Oxford, MS Numerous Religious Statues, Punta Gorda, FL Statue of Ronald Reagan, Dixon, CA Statue of Hiawatha, LaCrosse, WI Statue of Thomas Ruffin, Raleigh, NC Sampson County Confederate Monument, Clinton, NC Statue of the Virgin Mary, Boston, MA 9-11 Memorial, Washingtonville, NY Statue of Sophie B. Wright, New Orleans, LA Statue of Christopher Columbus, Buffalo, NY John McDonough Bust, New Orleans, LA Bust of Colonel Charles Didier Dreux, New Orleans, LA Joseph Bryan Statue, Richmond, VA Fitzhugh Lee Cross, Richmond, VA Historical Marker of David Dodd’s Execution, Little Rock, AR Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Statue, Richmond, VA Courthouse Confederate Statue, Wadesboro, NC Statue of Christopher Columbus, Trenton, NJ Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella, Sacramento, CA Statue of JEB Stuart, Richmond VA Statue of Andrew Jackson, Jackson, MS Henry County Confederate Monument, Statue of Christopher Columbus, Bridgeport, CT Statue of Christopher Columbus, Columbus, WI Statue of John Mason, Windsor, CT Statue of Frederick Douglass, Rochester, NY Monument to Judah Benjamin, Sarasota, FL Confederate Mass Grave Monument, Greensboro, NC Three Mississippi Confederate Monuments, MS Statue of Christopher Columbus, Waterbury, CT Statue of Christopher Columbus, Baltimore, MA San Junipero Serra Statue, Sacramento, CA Statue of the Virgin Mary, Gary, IN Statue of Private Benjamin Welch Owens, Hampden, PA Jenkins Monument, Hampden, PA United Confederate Veterans Memorial, Seattle, WA Civil War Historical Markers and Statues, McConnellsburg, PA Mt. Zion Methodist Confederate Statue, Charlotte, NC Matthew Fountain Maury Monument, Richmond, VA Christopher Columbus Statue, Philadelphia, PA Statue of George Whitefield, Philadelphia, PA Elk (wildlife statue), Portland, OR Statue of Christopher Columbus, Austin, TX Statue of Christopher Columbus, Columbus, OH Robert E. Lee Memorial, Roanoke, VA Stonewall Jackson Monument, Richmond, VA Emancipation Memorial, Boston, MA San Junipero Serra Statue, San Gabriel, CA Confederate Cemetery Memorial, Fayetteville, NC Confederate Monument, Orangeburg, SC Rockdale County Confederate Monument, Conyers, GA Nash County Confederate Monument, Rocky Mount, NC 3 Cemetery Statues, Frederick, MD Lee Square Confederate Monument, Pensacola, Florida Our Confederate Soldiers, Beaumont, TX Statue of Columbus, Hartford, CT Kanawha Riflemen Memorial, Charleston, WV To Our Confederate Dead, Louisburg, NC Statue of Christopher Columbus, Atlantic City, NJ Monument to Fallen Confederate Soldiers, Fayetteville, AR Ten Commandments (several locations) Statue of Christopher Columbus Loudoun County Confederate Monument, Leesburg, VA Soldiers Monument (Union), Santa Fe, NM Pioneer Fountain, Denver, CO Denton Confederate Soldier Monument, TX Statue of Christopher Columbus, Norwalk, CT Monument to Confederate Veterans and Statue of George Wallace, Wilmington, NC Statue of Christopher Columbus, Providence, RI Statue of Christopher Columbus, Newark, NJ Civil War Monument (Union), Denver, CO Statue of Christopher Columbus, Philadelphia, PA Statue of Christopher Columbus, New Haven, CT Confederate War Memorial, Dallas, TX Statue of Thomas Jefferson, Long Island, NY Bust of Washington, Washington DC ‘Forward’ Statue (feminism monument), Madison, WI John C. Calhoun Monument, Charleston, SC American Receiving the Gift of Nations, Camden, NJ “Obscured” at the Rutgers College Statue of Juan Junipero Serra, Carmel, CA Statue of Juan Junipero Serra, San Louis Opiso Missionary, CA ‘To Our Confederate Dead’ Monument, Louisburg NC Confederate Memorial Obelisk, St. Augustine, FL Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, Greenville, NC Statue of Henry Lawson Wyatt, Monument to North Carolina Women of the Confederacy, Raleigh NC Statue of Juan Junipero Serra, Los Angeles, CA Pine Bluff Confederate Monument, Pine Bluff, AR Gloria Victis, Salisbury, NC North Carolina State Confederate Monument, Raleigh, NC Statue of Albert Pike, Washington DC Statue of Francis Scott Key, San Francisco, CA Bust of Ulysses S. Grant, San Francisco, CA Statue of Juan Junipero Serra, San Francisco, CA Statue of Christopher Columbus, Houston, TX Statue of Christopher Columbus, Columbus OH Statue of George Preston Marshall (National Football League), Washington, DC Statue of Juan Junipero Serra, Ventura, CA Memorial to Company A, Capital Guards, Little Rock, AR Statue of George Washington, Portland, OR DeKalb County Confederate Monument, Decatur, GA Kit Carson Obelisk, Santa Fe, NM Captain William Clark Monument, Portland, OR Statue of Diego de Vargas, Santa Fe, NM Gravestone of Unknown Confederate Soldiers, Silver Spring, MD Spirit of the Confederacy, Houston, TX Jefferson Davis Memorial, Brownsville, TX Vance Monument, Asheville, NC Norfolk Confederate Monument, Norfolk, VA Statue of University of Nevada at Las Vegas mascot, Statue of Juan de Onate, Albuquerque, NM Statue of Christopher Columbus, Columbus, OH Statue of Christopher Columbus, St. Louis, MS Statue of Josephus Daniels, Raleigh, NC Statue of John Sutter, Sacramento, NC Confederate Mass Grave Marker, Clarksville, TN Equestrian Statue of Juan de Onate, Alcade, NM Bust of Christopher Columbus, Detroit, MI Statue of Thomas Jefferson, Portland, OR The Pioneer, Eugene, OR The Pioneer Mother, Eugene, OR Bust of John McDonough, New Orleans, LA Christopher Columbus Monument, West Orange, NJ Stand Waitie Monument, Tahlequah, OK Stand Waitie Fountain, Tahlequah, OK Delaware Law Enforcement Memorial, Dover, DE Equestrian Statue of Caesar Rodney, Wilmington, DE Statue of Christopher Columbus, Columbia, SC Statue of Christopher Columbus, Wilmington, Statue of Phillip Schuyler, Albany, NY Richmond Police Memorial, Richmond, VA Statue of Christopher Columbus, New London, CT Statue of Christopher Columbus, Camden, NJ Statue of Christopher Columbus, Boston, MA Gadsden Confederate Memorial Statue of Jerry Richardson (National Football League), Charlotte NC Statue of Christopher Columbus, Minneapolis, MN Statue of Jefferson Davis, Richmond, VA Confederate Monument, Jacksonville, FL Monument to the Women of the Southland, Jacksonville, FL Cemetery Grandstand for Confederate Soldiers, Eight Historical Markers, 23 Informational Signs, and 53 Tree Signs, Jacksonville, FL Statue of Christopher Columbus, Richmond, VA Confederate Monument, Portsmouth, VA Statue of Sam Davis, Nashville, TN Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indianapolis, IN Statue of John Breckinridge Castleman, Louisville, KY Frank Rizzo Mural, Philadelphia, PA University of Kentucky Mural, Lexington, KY Statue of Orville Hubbard, Dearborn, MI Robert E. Lee Memorial, Roanake, VA Statue of Raphael Semmes, Mobile, AL Sacred Heart Statue, Wasco, CA Statues of Jesus Christ (numerous Catholic Ccurches), Texas Ranger, Dallas, TX Athens Confederate Monument, Athens, GA Statue of Thomas Jefferson, Birmingham, AL Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Birmingham, AL Robert E. Lee Bust, Fort Myers, FL Statue of Robert E .Lee, Montgomery, AL Bentonville Confederate Monument, Bentonville, AR Statue of Charles Linn, Birmingham, AL Statue of Edward Carmack, Nashville, TN
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 31, 2020 ed.)
Here is another flattering review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Joanne, for your wonderful review!
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!
As you know, I frequently feature other authors on my blog; Mr. Regenstein sets the record straight on how important ancestry is. With all the attacks on Confederate heritage these days, I wanted to share his perspective. I hope you enjoy this article.
The Last Order of the Lost Cause
Speech By Lewis Regenstein
To Washington, GA Civil War Roundtable
26 February, 2007
I am deeply honored to be here today in this wonderful town of Washington, and I thank you for the chance to speak before such a distinguished group of people. Claibourne has warned me that some of you all are extremely knowledgeable about the War Between the States, and to be careful not to make any mistakes because I will surely get caught and be called on it. So please go easy on me.
Before I begin I’d like to emphasize that while I am very proud of my ancestors, I‘m not bragging about anything. I can claim no personal distinction for their heroism, which reflects what was common among the hopelessly outnumbered, outsupplied but not outfought Confederate troops, something in which we all take much pride.
Our ancestors often ran low on food, ammunition, and other supplies, but never on courage.
I write and talk about all this because I am proud of our heritage and committed to helping keep its memory alive and honored, amidst the ongoing campaign to rewrite history and discredit the valor and honor of the Confederate soldiers and their Cause. I know that no one here today needs educating on this issue.
Here in Washington, some very historic events have taken place, one of them involving one of my ancestors, and I’d like to talk a little about that today.
I am very proud that my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, Jr, of Sumter, S.C., and his four brothers fought for the Confederacy, and Major Raphael Jacob Moses was their uncle, [having married Eliza Moses, the sister of the Moses brothers’ father, Andrew Jackson Moses, Sr.]
We know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that they and their compatriots were not fighting for slavery, as is so often alleged. They were trying to defend themselves and their comrades, their families, homes, and country from an often cruel invading army that was trying to kill them, burn their homes and cities, and destroy everything they had.
Raphael Moses was a fifth generation South Carolinian who in 1849 moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he was a lawyer, planter, and owner of a plantation he named “Esquiline.” Moses’ English ancestors came to America during colonial days, one of them being his great, great grandfather Dr. Samuel Nunez, fleeing the Inquisition. He is credited with saving the newly-established, mosquito-infested colony of Savannah, Georgia from being wiped out in 1733 by a “fever,” then thought to be yellow fever but which was probably malaria.
Before the War, Moses pioneered the commercial growing of peaches and plums in Georgia, so it could thus be said that he is a major reason Georgia is called The Peach State. Moses is reputed to have been the first planter to ship and sell peaches outside of the South, in 1851, before there was any through connection by railroad. James C. Bonner’s “A History of Georgia Agriculture, 1732-1860,” credits Moses with being the first to succeed in preserving the flavor of shipped peaches, by packing them in a champagne baskets instead of pulverized charcoal.
Moses knew well and wrote in his memoirs about General Robert E. Lee (whom he was with at Gettysburg) and other major Confederate figures Lee’s Lieutenants. The renowned Douglas Southall Freeman, in his authoritative work called Moses “…the best commissary officer of like rank in the Confederate service.”
As General James Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, Moses participated in many of the major battles in the East, and was responsible for supplying and feeding up to 54,000 troops, porters, and other non-combatants. General Lee had forbidden him from entering private homes in search of supplies in raids into Union territory (such as the incursions into Pennsylvania), even when food and other provisions were in painfully short supply.
Moses always paid for what he took from farms and businesses, albeit in Confederate tender.
Often while seizing supplies, Moses encountered considerable hostility and abuse from the local women, which he always endured in good humor, and it became a source of much teasing from his fellow officers.
Moses always acted honorably, compassionately, and as a gentleman. Once, when a distraught woman approached Moses and pleaded for the return of her pet heifer that had been caught up in a cattle seizure, he graciously acceded.
The contrast is striking between the humane Confederate policies and those of the North. Union generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan regularly burned and looted homes, farms, courthouses, churches, libraries, and entire cities full of civilians, such as Atlanta and Columbia, South Carolina, and most everything of value in between, later engaging in the mass slaughtering of Native Americans in the West, largely old men, women, and children in their villages, in what we euphemistically call “The Indian Wars.”
Moses’ memoirs contain some very interesting observations on the Battle of Gettysburg. “…We lost the battle,” laments Moses, “and then came the retreat; the rain poured down in floods that night ! I laid down in a fence corner and near by on the bare earth in an India rubber [tarp] lay General Lee biding the pelting storm.”
In his memoirs, Moses reveals that “General Longstreet did not wish to fight the Battle of Gettysburg. He wanted to go around the hill, but Lee objected on account of our long wagon and artillery trains.” Longstreet, as historian Ed Bearss notes, “knew what muskets in the hands of determined troops could do,” and felt that the Union forces, holding the high ground, would have the same advantage over his forces that the Confederates had over the Federals at Fredericksburg. If his advice had been taken, it could have changed the course of the War.
But Lee rejected Longstreet’s recommendation to swing his troops around the heights, and instead ordered the attack on the center of the Union forces at Cemetery Hill, saying of the Yankees, “I will whip them here, or they will whip me.” Honorable as always, after the battle Lee took responsibility for the disaster, saying “All this has been my fault.” Longstreet, feeling that the ground fought over had no military value, called that day “the saddest of my life.” Shelby Foote calls Lee’s decision “The mistake of all mistakes.”
Interestingly, the entire battle might have been avoided and the course of the war changed if Longstreet’s forces had not been forced to wait for their reinforcements to arrive. Moses says that if the Confederates had not been delayed near Cash Town for over a day waiting for General Richard Stoddert Ewell’s wagon train of supplies, “…I do know that we could have marched easily from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, in a day, and been there before the Union troops.”
Moses’ three sons also fought for the South, and one was killed at Seven Pines in May, 1862 after performing acts of amazing valor – Lt. Albert Moses Luria, the first Jewish Confederate to fall in battle.
He was killed at age nineteen after courageously throwing a live Union artillery shell out of his fortification before it exploded, thereby saving the lives of many of his compatriots.
(The last Confederate Jew to be killed was Major Moses’ nephew, Joshua Lazarus Moses, of Sumter, South Carolina, the brother of my great grandfather. Josh was killed in the battle of Fort Blakeley, Alabama, a few hours after Lee surrendered, commanding the guns firing the last shots in defense of Mobile. In this battle, Josh’s brothers Perry and Horace were respectively wounded and captured.
RUNNING OUT OF FOOD
Prior to Virginia’s Battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864, Moses was having more and more difficulty obtaining supplies, since farmers were refusing to sell their crops because of increasing speculation over prices. Moses decided to travel to Georgia, his major source of supplies, to talk to the farmers: [“It occurred to me, that if I could go to Georgia and speak to the people who had sons, brothers, relatives and friends suffering for food, that I could get supplies.” Moses asked General Lee for a furlough to go there and loosen up the pipeline, and Lee replied, “Major, I would approve it but really we can’t spare you, you know.” But when Moses explained his plans, Lee responded, “Well, Major, if you think you can do anything for my poor boys, go and may God crown you effort with success.”]
When he arrived in Georgia in mid-1864, Moses found few willing and able to help out.[ In his memoirs, he recalled a meeting where he spoke at Temperance Hall in Columbus:
There were about thirty persons present…When I last spoke at this hall, it was to urge the people of Columbus to send their sons and brothers to confront the hazards of war to redress their country’s wrongs. The house was full from pit to gallery with patriotic citizens ready for the sacrifices asked. Now I come from those near and dear to the people here to appeal to them for bread, for the starving Army, and I am confronted by empty benches…
Travelling next to southwest Georgia, Moses was “met there with a very different spirit and had a very successful trip.”] But while there, the Confederate Commissary for the state died, and Moses was appointed to fill the post.
Still, the pressures on Moses to obtain and distribute supplies of food remained relentless, and towards the end of the War, the situation had become desperate.
THE FINAL DAYS
Moses’ account of those final, chaotic days after Lee’s surrender is filled with stories of heroism and heartbreak, humor and tragedy. (There are many conflicting accounts of this era; what follows is from Moses’ recollections.)
With the defeat of the Confederate forces, the capital of Richmond was abandoned in April, 1865, and the senior government officials and their staff headed south, avoiding Union forces, and ending up in Georgia.
Moses tells of Mrs. Jefferson Davis awaiting her husband in Washington, Georgia, where he arrived accompanied by his cabinet and “a train containing gold and silver bullion.”
shortly before [General Joseph E.] Johnston’s surrender, I was ordered to Washington, Wilkes County. Soon after, Davis and his cabinet arrived there. Mrs. Davis met her husband in Washington. A train containing gold and silver bullion accompanied the cabinet. It was brought from Richmond banks. I was staying with General Toombs… I remember seeing General [ Braxton] Bragg waiting under an oak tree to get his $20.00.
I received an order from General Johnston to provide 250,000 rations at Augusta for the returning soldiers…and there arrange as best I could with general Mollyneux [Molineux] who then occupied Augusta with Federal troops, to protect me in furnishing the troops as they passed through Augusta and to provide for the sick and wounded in hospitals.
One of Moses’ stories describes the close escape from arrest by the Yankees of his close friend, and resident of this area, General Robert A. Toombs, a leading Georgia planter who served as the South’s first Secretary of State.
Moses was in Washington with his son Israel Moses Nunez, called “Major,” when, he writes, “…a cavalry man rode up coming from [War Secretary] Breckenbrige [sic] and threw over the fence a sack containing $5,000 in gold for his [Toombs’] personal use”:
He [Toombs] handed it to Major and told him to buy corn and provisions with it and distribute it among the returning soldiers as they passed through Washington, and my son did so use it…
Shortly afterwards, Moses continues, “the government came to arrest [Toombs], and my son Major met the officer between the gate and the house, while [Toombs] escaped out of the back way, mounted his horse, donned blue spectacles and after many hair-breath escapes, fled to foreign parts, where his wife followed, and he lived with her some time in Paris.”
THE LAST ORDER OF THE LOST CAUSE
About three weeks after the war’s end, as chief commissary for Georgia, Moses carried out what is reputed to have been the last order of the Confederacy. It involved safeguarding and delivering the Confederate treasury’s last $40,000 of silver and/or gold bullion (perhaps $750,000 today).
(Although the accounts are contradictory and confusing, it appears that Moses paid $10,000 to the Quartermaster-General in Washington [according to Avery, p. 326], and carried $30,000 in bullion to Augusta.)
Carrying out the order was no easy task, amidst the anarchy of defeat, orderly government and military discipline having collapsed, and lawless mobs of unruly, sometimes drunken former soldiers searching desperately for food and money.
[“The Memoirs of Jefferson Davis,” written by his wife, contain a letter written to Davis several years after the war by Acting Secretary of Treasury, describing how he “directed him [an acting treasurer] to turn the silver bullion over to Major Moses, as it was too bulky and heavy to be managed by us in our then condition; and I saw Moses putting it in a warehouse in Washington [Georgia] before I left there. I also directed him to burn the Confederate notes in the presence of General Breckinridge and myself.]
The Acting Treasurer, Captain M.H. Clark of Clarksville, Tennessee, described the disposition of the Confederate bullion in a 13 January, 1882 interview with the “Louisville Courier Journal”:
Before reaching town [Washington, Georgia], I was halted by Major R.J. Moses, to turn over to him the specie [coins] which president Davis, before he left, ordered to be placed at the disposal of the Commissary Department, to feed the paroled soldiers and stragglers passing through, to prevent their burdening a section already stripped of supplies. I turned over to Major Moses the wagons and silver bullion, and all of the escort except about ten men.
The government’s final order was handed down at its last meeting, held in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia on 4 May, 1865, which according to Moses, was attended, among others, by President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and Major Moses. (It is unclear who actually attended the meeting, with some accounts saying that Breckinridge arrived after Davis departed.)
And then, as “Confederate Veteran” observes, “…at last, in the old Heard House in Washington, on Georgia soil, the Southern Confederacy ceased to exist and passed into history.”
That Last Order, dated 5 May, 1865, reads as follows:
Major R.J. Moses, will pay $10,000, the amount of bullion appropriated to Q.M. [quartermaster] Dept. by Sec. War to Maj. R.R. Wood. By order of Q.M. Gen.
[signed] W.F. Alexander, Maj. And Asst. to Q.M. Gen., 5 May, 1865, Washington
But the Confederacy did not die a quiet death. “By early may, 1865, realizing the war was lost, the major units of the Confederate Army had surrendered,” author Mel Young writes in “Last Order of the Lost Cause,” the authoritative published account for this historic event.
“Individual Confederate soldiers, groups of soldiers, and small units were trying to walk, ride, or move in groups back to their homes. They were in tattered uniforms, hungry and mostly penniless. Confederate General [Joseph E. ] Johnston, requested of President Davis that 250,000 rations be obtained to be distributed to these discharged soldiers.
In accepting this responsibility, Moses, now 53 years old, showed the usual courage and tenacity for which he was known. Facing down a turbulent mob of former Confederates who intercepted and threatened to storm his train in Barnett, Georgia, Moses successfully carried out the order to deliver the remaining Confederate gold bullion to help and provision the troops struggling to get back home,
In his classic work, “The History of the State of Georgia, from 1850-1881,” I.W. Avery describes the situation thusly:
Major Moses had a stirring time with his perilous treasure. It was, of course, known immediately that he had it in his possession. The war had unhinged men’s ideas and principles. But still more demoralizing of the public conscience was the desperate stress of the people, coupled with the knowledge that the Confederate cause was dead, and that this specie was ownerless and a probable treasure trove and booty for the Federal soldiery. Maj. Moses, with punctilious honor, was resolved to part with it only with his life and to deliver it according to orders in fulfillment of its kindly mission.
Moses biggest problem was protecting the bullion in his charge from unruly soldiers: “The town was full of stragglers, cavalry men who had just been paid $20.00 each. They had arms but no consciences, and the little taste they had of specie provoked their appetites…”
Moses writes in his memoirs that General Robert Toombs gave me the names of ten of the Washington Artillery, all gentlemen well known to him”:
I agreed to pay them $10.00 each in gold to guard it that night and go with me to Augusta. I then took a squad of them and destroyed all the liquor I could find in the shops. I then got part of a keg of powder and put it in a wooden building that was unoccupied and put the boxes of bullion in the same room, placed my guard outside and around the building, and gave out that I had laid a train of powder to the outside, and if the guard was forced, the train would be fired.
The next morning, Moses had the bullion loaded onto a train filled with some 200 soldiers and “29 cavalry men”, and when the train was just outside of its destination of Barnett, the trouble started:
…the conductor, a nice old man, came to our car and said, “Major, from the talk I reckon the boys are going to ‘charge’ your car when we reach Barnett.” Charge meant to attack it and take the specie and divide it among themselves….I held a council with my guard, and I told them that if they would stand by me, keep cool, fire (and reload) through an opening we would make in the doors, I thought we could successfully defend the car, but they were not ready to do this, we would be overcome.
They consulted together, and I was afraid they would conclude “To join the Cavalry,” but they finally said, “We will stand by you as long as there is a chance to save the specie.”
Avery writes that “These desperate men, a reckless mob, coolly demanded the money, as being as much theirs as anyone’s, and they were armed to enforce the demand.”
Showing amazing courage, Moses then went out “among the men, who were as thick as blackbirds,” and told them that “every dollar of the bullion would be devoted to feeding their fellow soldiers, and caring for the wounded in the hospitals at Augusta…that they might killed me and my guard, but they would be killing men in the discharge of a duty in behalf of their comrades ! That if they killed us, it would be murder, while if we killed any of them in defending the bullion, which we certainly should endeavor to do, we would be justified, because the killing would be in self defense and in a discharge of a sacred duty.”
When two soldiers in the crowd spoke up and vouched for Moses, “the crowd began to disperse,” but unfortunately, the train he was meeting was over an hour late. “…the billows of the seas rise and fall when disturbed by the winds, and this restless crowd at the depot would surge and press up against the door of my box[car] trying to get in, and I would have to threaten them and appeal.”
Avery writes, in a page titled “Attempted Rape of the Bullion,” that “Major Moses remonstrated quietly and argumentatively with the menacing men surrounding him, and appealed to their honor and patriotism and stated his orders. At length it is seemed nothing could avert the ravishment of this specie.”
“At last, the storm seemed to be subsiding,” writes Moses, when a fellow officer warned him that some men were about to charge his boxcar, led by a young man from Tennessee with a wound on his cheek. Again showing remarkable courage, Moses approached the man and said to him, “You appear to be a gentleman and bear an honorable wound”:
I then read my orders to him, explained my position, and how trying it was to be forced perhaps to take life and lose my own in the performance of a duty that I could not voluntarily avoid. I told him I had a guard and some friends in the crowd, but we would be outnumbered unless I could enlist men like himself in our behalf. ..
I said, “I appeal to you in the spirit of that honor that belongs to all brave men, to assist me in the discharge of this trust.”
He seemed embarrassed, but said, “I don’t think you will have any further trouble,” and I did not.
Finally, Moses and his men were able to catch the train to Augusta and deliver the goods, obtaining a receipt for the delivered bullion from Major and Quartermaster R.R. Wood dated 5 May, 1865.
“The Atlanta Journal” of 6 February, 1927, in an article entitled “Last official Writing of the Southern Confederacy,” reproduced this receipt, calling it “…the last official writing ever issued by the Confederate administration”:
It is as historic a curiosity as the world affords, this last
flicker of a mammoth revolution. Such thoughts cluster around it as would make a grand epic…the paper thus testifying to the honesty and promptness of the disbursing officer of a great shattered government – an administration gone down hopelessly in a grand ruin.
In his memoirs, Moses wrote: “I have never turned my back on an enemy that was attacking me, or failed to forgive one as soon as he cried for quarter. I can also say that I never deserted a friend…”
And the Atlanta Journal in 1928 summed up Moses’ career thusly: “At the beginning of the war, although overage, he hastened to the defense of his beloved Southland, offering his fortune, his service, his sons – everything save his honor – a willing sacrifice on the altar of his country.”
After the war, Raphael Moses became an outspoken critic of the Reconstruction government in Georgia, calling its members “spies, carpetbaggers, a class of politicians, men without character who came from the North in swarms seeking whom they might devour.” He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and was named chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
On 3 April, 1867, Robert E. Lee, then President of Washington and Lee university in Lexington, Virginia, wrote to Moses asking him, and other prominent men of the South, to help heal the wounds of a divided nation.
Moses remained a loyal Confederate until the very end. When he died in
1893, his calling card still read, “Major Raphael J. Moses, C.S.A.”
Moses and his fellow soldiers typified many of the brave, beleaguered Confederates who honorably served their country, facing overwhelming, indeed hopeless odds, with loyalty and valor. That terrible war ended fourteen decades ago, but the memory of those soldiers should never be forgotten.
Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss and remember some of those events here with you today.
Lewis Regenstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>, a Native Atlantan, is descended on his Mother’s side from the Moses family of Georgia and South Carolina, whose patriarch, Myer Moses, participated in the American Revolution..
Almost three dozen members of the extended family fought for the Confederacy, and participated in most of the major battles and campaigns of the War. At least nine of them, largely teenagers, died in defense of their homeland, and included the first and last Confederate Jews to fall in battle.
The most recent rendition of the Mississippi flag was established in 1894. That’s a really long time, y’all. But, of course, the flag has fallen under scrutiny within the past few years due to political correctness and misdirected racial discrimination. I hope this post sheds some light on the reason why the flag was chosen by the state’s citizens. A special thank you to Mr. Michael C. Barefield for your article.
My 2 cents worth about the Mississippi Flag
In the late 1990s, I was an attorney of record involved in the “Flag Lawsuit” filed against the State of Mississippi. The following is based upon my legal and historical research and personal knowledge from that lawsuit.
The canton corner of the Mississippi Flag, though appearing identical to the Confederate Battle Flag, is actually, from its very statutory description, a symbol of reunification at a time when the people of Mississippi had suffered through more than a decade of bloody war and reconstruction. By 1890, Reconstruction had ended, yet Blacks continued to be elected to the legislature.
The current flag was first adopted in 1894, and based upon historical documentation submitted to the court in the “Flag Lawsuit” by the Attorney General, Blacks were members of the Mississippi Legislature and voted in favor of the adoption of the current flag. Following is the law that adopted the flag. Pay close attention to the symbolic meaning of the 13 stars and the colors.
“§ 3-3-16. Design of state flag. The official flag of the State of Mississippi shall have the following design: with width two-thirds (2/3) of its length; with the union (canton) to be square, in width two-thirds (2/3) of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltire thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three (3) bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one, extending the whole length of the flag, red (the national colors); this being the flag adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in the 1894 Special Session.”
Just 4 years prior, the following historical account is evidence of the positive race relations experienced by Mississippians at the time.
In the Mississippi House of Representatives on February 1, 1890, an appropriation for a monument to the Confederate dead was being considered. A delegate had just spoken against the bill, when John F. Harris, a Black Republican delegate from Washington County, rose to speak:
“Mr. Speaker! I have risen in my place to offer a few words on the bill.
I have come from a sick bed. Perhaps it was not prudent for me to come. But sir, I could not rest quietly in my room without contributing a few remarks of my own.
I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentlemen from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier would go on record as opposed to the erections of a monument in honor of the brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines, and in the Seven Day’s fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with mangled forms of those who fought for this country and their country’s honor, he would not have made the speech.
When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made not requests for monuments. But they died, and their virtues should be remembered.
Sir, I went with them. I, too, wore the gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed for four long years, and if that war had gone on till now I would have been there yet. I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions.
When my Mother died, I was a boy. Who, Sir, then acted the part of Mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my old Missus! Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And, Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD.”
When the applause died down, the measure passed overwhelmingly, and every Black member voted “AYE.”
(Source: Daily Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, Feb 23, 1890)
In my opinion, Mississippians have a very amicable relationship among all races, though by human nature, there are always exceptions to the rule. Racism has existed from the beginning of mankind and likely will always exist to a certain degree. Though we should always strive for improvement in race relations and in all matters, everyone should respect other’s cultural differences and no segment of society should be condemned from honoring their culture. It resolves nothing to ban a flag. Our energies are better served focusing on true resolutions.
But, that’s not really the issue here. The issue here is disparagement of our Great State by outsiders for political or other advantage. The fact is, Mississippi Blacks and Whites, in harmony, adopted a flag in 1894 to symbolize both a painful history (lest we forget) and a reunification of a great State with a great Nation. Due to a procedural technicality that occurred in the adoption of the 1906 Mississippi Code, the Supreme Court determined in the “Flag Lawsuit” that the flag was no longer “official” and invited the Legislature to act. The Legislature accepted the invitation and placed the issue on the ballot in 2001. A campaign of educating voters about the true history and symbolism of our flag was conducted by supporters of the Flag. 2/3 of Mississippi voters, Black and White, re- adopted the 1894 flag.
Outsiders wish to disparage our great people. I pray that our elected officials will not succumb to outside influence. Should they do so, however, I trust that they will limit their response by again letting the people decide this issue and allow racial harmony to shine once again and remind the rest of the Nation how proud and united we are as a People, in spite of a painful history and our imperfections. History should be embraced and should serve as a reminder to avoid repeating.
Again, “lest we forget.”
(Article courtesy of the Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Volume 22, Issue 6, June 2020 ed.)