J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Robert E. Lee”

Final Richmond Monument Removal of Confederate General A.P. Hill’s Statue and His Remains Set

Zoe Strozewski – 1/6/2022
The same company that took down the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, was hired to dismantle the city’s last major Confederate statue and the pedestals where other Civil War-linked monuments used to stand.


The monument of Confederate General A.P. Hill and his remains, which are buried beneath the statue, will be removed, according to procurement documents.


The city announced on Wednesday that Newport News-based Team Henry Enterprises bid $1.5 million on the project and was awarded the contract, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The upcoming removal of the final major Confederate statue stemmed from efforts that began in the summer of 2020, when the U.S. erupted in mass protests calling for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered their removal that summer and set the process in motion.

Last week, Northam and Stoney announced a tentative plan to transfer ownership of the dismantled monuments to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Under the proposal, the Black History Museum would then be able to work with The Valentine museum and local community members to decide the fate of the monuments.


Another company, Stratified Inc., said it could complete the work for $1 million. But as Richmond was preparing to award it the contract, the city found that the Washington-based company didn’t have a necessary state contractor’s license. A city official familiar with the process told the Times-Dispatch that Team Henry protested plans to award the contract to the other company. Stratified Inc. CEO Clive Diaz said Wednesday that he intended to get the license immediately, but lawyers he consulted told him that the city had the right to reject the bid without it.


In 2020, Richmond awarded a $1.8 million contract to a shell company associated with Team Henry to remove the city’s Confederate statues. Henry later said he formed the shell company for safety reasons, as contractors taking down Confederate monuments in other places had been threatened or subject to violence.


The Virginia State Police investigated the deal after former Councilwoman Kim Gray raised concerns that company owner Devon Henry had previously donated to the mayor’s election campaign and political action committee. A prosecutor didn’t find evidence of public corruption and ended the investigation last summer.


Richmond’s chief administrative officer, Lincoln Saunders, told the Times-Dispatch on Wednesday that state officials had suggested Henry for this last job after already engaging him to remove the Lee statue.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/final- -richmondmonument-removal-of-confederate-gen-a-p-hill-s-statuehis-remains-set/ar-AASvK9A?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans and President Jefferson Davis Chapter, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 46, Issue No. 2, February 2022)

What the Hell is Wrong With Virginia? (Pt. 2)

Virginia has definitely gone mad. The latest heinousness is erasing any reminder of Stonewall Jackson from the Virginia Military Institute. General Jackson served as a professor there prior to the Civil War. For decades, a statue of Stonewall stood at the entrance, but was recently taken down. Now they (presumably Northam and Stoney) want to sandblast his name from the front of Jackson Memorial Hall and rename the building. Apparently, Stonewall’s famous horse, Little Sorrel, is still buried in front of where his statue used to be. No one knows what will happen to the remains.

In Fredericksburg, the name of Jefferson Davis Highway has been changed. The process was completed last week. The new name of the highway is Emancipation Highway. City leaders chose the new name because it “promotes our shared values of unity, equality, and a commitment to a better future for all Americans.” But does it really? I seriously doubt that.

The Charlottesville, Virginia city council has given the Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which plans to melt it down. That will most likely be the precedent for the disposal of the Richmond statues.

From Civil War Talk, Florida Rebel posted this:

“Speaking of monuments and historical landmarks, has anyone been to Washington and Lee Univ. in Lexington recently? Yes, the school’s name has not been changed but it’s all a mirage now. I have been told the Lee Chapel name is no more and many other numerous references to Lee in the chapel have disappeared too. And remember the beautiful marble statue of the great General sleeping on the field? I have been told it is now hidden behind a wall of some kind…. Have been told the museum and main bookstore that used to sell numerous Lee books and other items has changed drastically too. And the school employees, many of the students and faculty, so many have been brain washed on Lee and what a terrible man, slave owner and leader he was. My God, how did this happen in OUR lifetime? Has the entire state of VA and the ‘cancel culture’ gone freaking mad? I sincerely hope someone can visit the school soon and confirm or deny.”

In Richmond, the city council also passed legislation to remove two other monuments: a statue of General William Carter Wickham, and the 1st Virginia Regiment monument. I wonder how the descendants of these people who are witnessing the shameful, disrespectful abolishment of their ancestors feel.

And apparently, the marker in front of Lee’s boyhood home has been removed. General Robert E. Lee lived there when he was four years old. But now, that particular piece of history in relation to the house is being swept under the rug. An article on Yahoo! even mentioned that the house had a connection to a slave owner who fought for slavery, which is a complete lie. To me, this is tragic, because it is just another example of erasing and/or changing history. When a marker is removed denoting an event or a person who was there, etc., history is being removed from public view. Out of sight, out of mind. But once this is done, that priceless piece of history is gone forever, just like it never existed.

So how is erasing one part of American history, specifically, Confederate history, and replacing it with another, specifically black history, going to make our country better? How will it unify us? Will taking the monuments down really make an impact on people’s lives? Or is it merely being done to satisfy the political left and the woke cancel culture? They are coming after our history with a vengeance, and I shiver to think about what they will attack next.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/11/05/robert-e-lee-historical-marker-alexandria-removed/

The Smithsonian Institute (which, BTW was started by Jefferson Davis) has an online database of American sculptures that may be queried and limited to Civil War related objects only : https://siris-artinventories.si.edu…l&ri=6&source=~!siartinventories&sort=3100012

What the Hell is Wrong With Virginia? (Pt. 1)

“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevents their history or denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of their own destruction.”

Sir William Wallace, 1281 A.D.

There has been an assault going on for quite some time on Confederate monuments and markers. The most alarming is what’s taking place in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney have taken it upon themselves to aggressively go after and do away with any reminder of the Confederacy, even though Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America for nearly all of the Civil War. I find this alarming because, even though the political climate has changed over the past century and a half, history should never be erased. It stands as a reminder to what happened in the past, and whether interpreted as good or bad, it is still a valuable part of American history. Germany intentionally has left what remains of old stalags as reminders of the terrible history it experienced under Nazism. I think America should do the same.

This brings to mind the recent desecration of Monument Avenue in Richmond. What used to be a beautiful area in the heart of the city, with its magnificent monuments, has utterly been destroyed. I visited Richmond when I attended the UDC Convention back in (I believe) 2011, and I thought the avenue was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, last year, Black Lives Matter was given free rein to desecrate the monuments, as well as buildings around them, by any and all means possible. They covered the monument bases with graffiti and were even allowed to chisel away at some of them. As far as I know, no arrests were ever made. What an atrocity, and shameful for the city of Richmond. I, for one, will never visit Richmond again.

It’s my understanding that Monument Avenue was on the National Historic Sites Register, and because of that, it should have been protected. But apparently not, since all of the magnificent statues have been taken down. The last one to be removed was that of General Robert E. Lee. The statue was even cut in half. They are considering giving the Robert E. Lee monument to the Black History Museum, which has said that they will melt the statue down and make it into something else. I can only imagine what that might be.

https://news.yahoo.com/pedestal-robert-e-lee-statue-162639455.html

The Richmond City Council recently allocated $1.3 million to build a national slavery museum.

“The response can’t be to build back up Monument Avenue,” Hones said. “It must be to build back the antithesis of what was torn down. And the best thing to do is to become serious as a council and administration to tell the true story … of what’s in place in Virginia.”

The city of Richmond has received numerous offers for the monuments, which are being stored in a sewage facility. The matter will be decided on January 18, 2022.

The following is a list of groups who wish to obtain the monuments:
1. Liberty Hall Fife & Drums
2. Ratcliffe Foundation/Ellenbrook
3. Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation
4. VA Division – Sons of Confederate Veterans
5. Valentine Museum
6. United States of America Naval History & Heritage Command
7. Fontaine/Maury Society
8. JEB Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust
9. CSA II: The New Confederate States of America Inc. – Monument Establishment & Preservation Fund
10. Belmead on the James
11. Shannon Pritchard/Hickory Hill/Wickham Family
12. Sumter County SC Sons of Confederate Veterans
13. LAXArt Museum
14. Spotsylvania Historical Association
15. DARNstudio
16 Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
17. Preserve America’s Battlefields
18. Private individual 1 – David Hinton
19. Private individual 2 – Michael Boccicchio
20. Private individual 3 – Olivia Tautkus
21. Private individual 4 – James Cochrane, Jr.
22. Private individual 5 – Austin Wylam
23. Liberty Hall Plantation

There is no submission from the Black History Museum, but it seems that they will receive legal ownership of most of the monuments and their bases. It also seems that the Valentine Museum will “partner” with the Black History Museum in gaining ownership of the monuments. However, the Valentine Museum has only submitted a request for the Valentine sculptured statue of Jefferson Davis.

https://www.wvtf.org/news/2021-12-30/richmond-hands-monument-process-over-to-black-history-museum

I subscribe to Civil War Talk, and wanted to share some entries.

From Viper 21:

“City and state officials have reached an agreement to transfer ownership of the statue and pedestal of Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which has also agreed to take possession of all the other Confederate memorials removed from Richmond since last year.

“Under this arrangement, Richmond’s Black History Museum would work in partnership with the Valentine museum — which has chronicled the city’s history for more than a century — and local community members to determine the fates of the stone and bronze symbols of the Confederacy.


“The deal requires approval by Richmond’s City Council. Mayor Levar Stoney — who hammered out some of the details with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) — said in a written statement that the arrangement enables the community to take a deliberate approach in reckoning with such divisive symbols.

“‘Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,’ Stoney said in the statement, obtained by The Washington Post … ‘They will take the time that is necessary to properly engage the public and ensure the thoughtful disposition of these artifacts.’”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/12/30/richmond-confederate-statues-black-history-museum/?fbclid=IwAR08i4KSdAtBc60efKAARt7ZouUoxsmkgacx6tfep6vMvJIgpW_wsXHko9k

Sgt. Cycom from L.A. summed it up: “The people that are loudest in calling for ‘unity’ and ‘inclusion’ are almost always projecting their own intolerance and inability to compromise. I hope these monuments remain so that I can take my family to see them in a few years. I pray history is preserved and not destroyed. Giving these monuments to people who will continue to desecrate them is disgusting, infuriating and despicable.”

As a side note, the majority of Richmond residents voted for the monuments to remain intact on Monument Avenue.

In Your Face, Northam!

This is such exciting news that I just had to share. Last week, I wrote about the reinternment of General Forrest and his wife to the new National Confederate Museum in Elm Springs, Tennessee. Now the Sons of Confederate Veterans are raising funds to recreate what was destroyed a few weeks ago by Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam. This is the guy who, by the way, posed in black face in his college yearbook photo. Anyway, Northam, along with Richmond’s Mayor Levar Stoney, have taken it upon themselves to utterly destroy Richmond’s beautiful Monument Avenue. The last monument to go was that of General Robert E. Lee. But it seems the South, or at least the Confederacy, shall rise again.

It looks like, no matter how hard they try, Memphis and Richmond politicians just can’t get rid of reminders of their past, and they never will. Here’s a lesson to all the folks out there who are trying to erase our history: you can’t and you won’t! You never will.

This was taken from a Facebook post by the Gordonsville Grays SCV Camp #2301.

“After dropping some hints in the last few weeks, we’re excited to announce that we’re commissioning a new Lee equestrian monument. Location has yet to be determined. We have open offers in our area but if a position in a more prominent location became available we’d consider it.

***Now accepting donations via PayPal to GordonsvilleGrays@gmail.com.”

Charlottesville Destroys More History

Last Monday night, the Charlottesville City Council unanamously voted to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s public parks. Now citizens have thirty days to come up with new plans for the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. “According to city documents, Charlottesville is requesting proposals  for any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the Statues, or either of them, for relocation and placement.”

https://localnews8.com/news/2021/06/08/charlottesvilles-confederate-statues-coming-down-nearly-four-years-after-violent-rally/

PUSH TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE  STATUES IN CHARLOTTESVILLE BEFORE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF  DEADLY RALLY 

By: Jessie Cohen 

Jun 22, 2021 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Advocates in  Charlottesville, Virginia are working to remove the  city’s Confederate statues before the four-year  anniversary of the deadly rally later this summer.  This comes after the City Council unanimously voted  to remove the statues. 

Zyahna Bryant, a young activist and change  maker, has been trying to make this happen for the  last five years. She authored the original petition to  take down the Robert E. Lee Statue in 2016. 

“These statues are a part of a physical landscape  that reinforces some of these underlying notions of  slavery, bondage and what it means to be deserving  of humanity,” Bryant said. “When I see those  statues, it reminds me of an incomplete history.” 

Kristin Szakos, a former City Council member says this time, the vote is even more important. 

”We’ve been here before. When I was on council, we also voted to remove the statues. Having been  here before, I’ll celebrate when the statues are  down,” Szakos said. “In Charlottesville, at this  moment, it’s particularly important because we  have had violence around these statues. We’ve had  hundreds of white supremacists and Nazis come  into town to defend those statues.” 

This year, both a Virginia Supreme Court ruling  and a law passed in the legislature cleared the way  for the city of Charlottesville to remove the  Confederate statues. 

“Folks in Charlottesville worked really hard with  folks from all over the commonwealth to change that  law,” Szakos said. 

Bryant is one of those people. 

“The August 11th and 12th rallies happened and I  recognize that a lot of people were trying to protect  this image of Charlottesville that did not exist,”  Bryant said. “People are starting to see why they  need to come down and it’s sad, in my opinion, that  it took a rally where someone lost their life for  people to come to that realization.” 

Szakos says she first brought the statues up in  council in 2012 and says even then, it was long  overdue. 

“It’s actually been 100 years because there were  people when the Jackson statue first went up in  1921 who said it shouldn’t be there,” Szakos said. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center started tracking  how many symbols of the Confederacy were located  in public spaces following the Charleston shooting in  2015. That’s when a white man killed nine Black  people during a church bible study. After the  Charlottesville rally, they started gathering input  from the community. 

“We have over 2,000 now, so we started at 1,500  but community member have uncovered even  more,” said Lecia Brooks, the SPLC Chief of Staff. 

Brooks says in 2020, 94 of the 168 symbols that  were removed were confederate monuments; 71 were in Virginia, 24 in North Carolina, and 12 each  in Texas and Alabama. 

“So, as we make great strides in removing some  of these symbols from public space, we’re finding  that there are more and more,” Brooks said. But Lecia does recognize the change seen in states  rooted in the confederacy. 

“Virginia has done, I mean, a complete 360 post the unite the right rally,” Brooks said. 

Bryant doesn’t want this momentum to stop at the  statues. 

“I don’t think that it should stop once the statues  are down because again the statues are only the tip  of the iceberg,” Bryant said. “We also have the  opportunity to rewrite the textbooks. We have the  opportunity to create new resources for people to  learn from.” 

From housing to healthcare to education and  more, she says there is so much to tackle. “I feel very confident that this is the turn to a new  Charlottesville and to a new central Virginia and to  a new country overall, but I think that there will be  no real progress and no real healing reconciliation  until there is the redistribution of resources an until  there is true equity,” Bryant said. 

https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/push-to-remove-confederate-statues-in-charlottesville-before-fourth-anniversary-of-deadly-rally

More Disrespect

I wanted to share this article, showing how disrespectful all the anti-Confederate sentiment has become. It’s nothing less than shameful, in my opinion, and I hope you agree. These are works of art erected to honor dead war vets. Reading more into them than that is just plain ludicrous.

CONFEDERATE12

Judges for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments … in the latest effort to counter the University of Texas’ removal of several Confederate statues.

We reported back in 2017 when UT President Gregory L. Fenves authorized the removal of statues of Confederate figures – Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan – along with Gov. James Stephen Hogg from the UT South Mall. The statues of Lee, Johnston and Reagan were placed in storage; Hogg was later relocated to another spot on campus.

Days after the statues’ removal, members of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a lawsuit against Fenves. The organization’s named plaintiffs, David McMahon and Steven Littlefield, argued that the removal of the statues was an illegal restriction of political speech and a breach of agreement with the estate of Maj. George Washington Littlefield, who donated the statues in 1921. The lawsuit argued the university agreed at that time the statues would remain as promotion of a “Southern understanding of the Civil War” on UT’s campus.

“In removing the statues, Pres. Fenves has breached the University’s long-standing promotion of American history from the Southern perspective that it promised to its generous donor, Maj. George Washington Littlefield,” the lawsuit said.

Western District U.S. Court Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the case in late June 2018, stating that the Sons of Confederate Veterans lacked standing, but he did not comment on whether the plaintiffs had a valid argument under the First Amendment.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans appealed Yeakel’s decision to the 5th Circuit, where they presented oral arguments for why the removal was a violation of federal free speech laws. The case was consolidated with a similar lawsuit that originated in San Antonio where two residents and the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued city leaders for making plans to remove a Confederate monument in Travis Park.

Kirk Lyons, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases, told the American-Statesman on Tuesday he was arguing for standing, which lower courts had denied, saying the Sons of Confederate Veterans couldn’t prove any injury from the statues’ removal. He said his clients do have standing because the removal of Confederate monuments injures their rights to free speech. The effort is part of what Lyons believes is a national agenda to dishonor Confederate history and quiet conservatives.

“If you took every offensive monument out of Europe, their tourist industry would collapse,” Lyons said. “These people are mentally unstable.”

After Tuesday’s oral arguments, Texas Attorney General and closet liberal RINO scalywag Ken Paxton who fast-tracked the removal of other Confederate monuments issued a statement saying the court should dismiss the suit.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Oct. 11, 2019 ed.)

Historical Victory!

gettysburg-plank-farm-hero

Earlier today, I received an email from the American Battlefield Trust with wonderful news. Because of donations, 143 acres at the Plank Farm on the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield has been preserved.

According to the American Battlefield Trust,

“On all three days of the Battle of Gettysburg, and for many weeks after Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia made its retreat, this farm (owned by J. Edward Plank at the time of battle) served as one of the largest hospitals in all of Gettysburg. Soldiers on each side traversed these 143 acres, and more than 1,500 soldiers were treated on this land, including Confederate General John Bell Hood. There were more than 60 documented burials on the property. The soldiers buried there were later reinterred in proper cemeteries.

Unknown

“Now … this sacred land and the stories that it holds will be preserved, forever! This transaction was truly a team effort, with the Trust and other partners raising funds to enable the Land Conservancy of Adams County to protect the farm with a conservation easement. Because (investors) have secured this land now, (they) are proactively protecting this part of the battlefield from commercial or residential development while further securing the integrity of nearby hallowed ground, like the 18 acres Trust members … preserved at Seminary Ridge earlier this year and the preserved and restored Lee’s Headquarters site we saved in 2014.”

I think this is an awesome accomplishment! If you would like to support the American Battlefield Trust, here is a link to their website:

https://www.battlefields.org/?emci=56cf5d34-7dd9-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&emdi=ace04701-a1df-e911-b5e9-281878540838&ceid=315208

Great Honor Ends in Sadness

CA
Beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first, the Confederate Memorial Association in California established more than a dozen monuments and place-names to the Confederacy. They dedicated highways to Jefferson Davis, named schools for Robert E. Lee, and erected large memorials to the common Confederate soldier.

While one would not ordinarily associate California, far removed from the major military theaters of The War, with anything Confederate when The War erupted between North and South in 1861, a wave of secessionist scares swept across the West. Los Angeles County was the epicenter of California disunionism. Hundreds of Southern-sympathizing Angelenos fled east to join Confederate armies, while an even larger number remained to menace federal control over the region. They openly bullied and brawled with Union soldiers, joined secessionist secret societies, hurrahed Jefferson Davis and his generals, and voted into office the avowed enemies of the Lincoln administration. The threat became so dire that Union authorities constructed a large military garrison outside Los Angeles, and arrested a number of local secessionists, to prevent the region from joining the Confederacy.

The War was lost in 1865, but California’s leaders continued to nurture a nostalgia for the Old South. The editor of the leading Democratic newspaper in the state unapologetically lamented the South’s loss. California refused to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, California was the only “free” state to reject both amendments during the Reconstruction era. In a belated, token gesture, the state “ratified” them in 1959 and 1962, respectively.

Attracted by California’s climate and its reactionary political orientation, thousands of Southerners migrated west in the decades after The War. There, they continued to honor the memory of their ancestors. Through hereditary organizations, reunions, and eventually the landscape itself, some hoped that the Old South would rise again in California.

Some of the most active memorial associations could be found in Los Angeles County. In 1925, the UDC erected the first major monument in the West, a six-foot stone tribute in what is now Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The monument saluted the wartime service of some 30 Confederate veterans, who migrated to Southern California after The War and took their final rest in the surrounding cemetery plot.

Hollywood

Many of those veterans had passed their last days in Dixie Manor, a Confederate rest home in San Gabriel, just outside L.A. Five hundred people gathered for the dedication of the home in April 1929. Until 1936, when the last of the residents died, the caretakers of Dixie Manor housed and fed these veterans, hosted reunions, and bestowed new medals for old service. It was the only such facility beyond the former Confederacy itself.

The UDC followed its Hollywood memorial with several smaller monuments to Jefferson Davis scattered across the state. Those tributes marked portions of the Jefferson Davis Highway, a transcontinental road system named for the former chieftain, stretching from Virginia to the Pacific coast. The Daughters erected the first of the tributes in San Diego in 1926. They even placed a large obelisk to Davis directly opposite the Ulysses S. Grant Hotel. Although opposition from Union army veterans resulted in the removal of the monument that same year, a plaque to Davis was restored to the San Diego plaza in 1956.

Several place-names literally put the Confederacy on the map in California. The town of Confederate Corners (née Springtown) was christened by a group of Southerners who settled in the area after The War. In San Diego and Long Beach, the name of Robert E. Lee graced two schools, while a school in East Los Angeles was named for filmmaker D.W. Griffith. Although not a Confederate veteran himself, Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation did more than any other production to rekindle the Confederate fire among a new generation of Americans.

Several giant sequoias were named for Robert E. Lee, including the fifth-largest tree in the world, located in Kings Canyon National Park. Jefferson Davis and Confederate general George E. Pickett each had a peak named in their honor in Alpine County.

Most of these memorialization efforts took place when The War was still a living memory. But California chapters of the UDC and Sons of Confederate Veterans remain active today. A recent register of the UDC listed 18 chapters in California-more than five times as many as could be found in any other “free state,” and even more than some former Southern states, including Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans were erecting major memorials in California as recently as 2004. That’s when the newly-removed Orange County pillar went up, amid much fanfare from its patrons and supporters, proudly clad in Confederate attire for the occasion. Inscribed on the pedestal: “to honor the sacred memory of the pioneers who built Orange County after their valiant effort to defend the Cause of Southern Independence.”

Earlier this month, that monument, the last one standing in California, was taken down.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, August 30, 2019 ed.)

Traveller: The Most Famous Confederate Equine

Probably the most famous horse of the Civil War, at least on the Southern side, was General Robert E. Lee’s favorite mount, Traveller. The following excerpt is from my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses. It describes Traveller’s history up until General Lee acquired him.

Horses in Gray Cover

Behold that horse! A dappled gray!

I saw him in the month of May,

When wild flowers bloomed about his feet,

And sunshine was his mantle meet.1

Of all the horses to serve in the War Between the States, the most famous is Traveller. The magnificent steed and his owner, General Robert E. Lee, have become synonymous in history. Although Traveller was not the only horse Lee owned, he was certainly the general’s favorite. The two were constant companions.2

Born of humble beginnings, Traveller was conceived in Mason County, Kentucky in 1856. His lineage stretched back to the great foundation sires that had made English horseflesh notable: the Godolphin Barb, the Darley Arabian, and the Byerly Turk.3 Traveller’s direct line traced back from English-bred Diomed, to Sir Archy, and to the great racehorse Grey Eagle, who was Traveller’s sire. 

A full-blooded thoroughbred, Gray Eagle stood sixteen hands high, was gray in color, and had a high-stepping gait. He was a champion racehorse, setting a record for two-mile heats in 1838. In 1839, he ran in a $20,000 stakes race at Oakland Race Course in Louisville. That race, a direct predecessor to the Kentucky Derby, drew 10,000 spectators and at least as many wagers. Grey Eagle, who was defeated by Wagner, broke his coffin joint during the race, which was irreparable. 

The race was described by William T. Porter in the Turf Register:

By the most extraordinary exertions, Wagner got up neck and neck with “the gallant grey” as they swung round the turn into the quarter stretch. The feelings of the assembled thousands were wrought up by a pitch absolutely painful – silence, the most profound, reigned over that vast assembly, as these noble animals sped on as if life and death called forth their utmost energies.

Both jockeys had their whip hands at work, and at every stroke, each spur, with a desperate stab, was buried to the rowel-head. Grey Eagle, for the first hundred yards, was clearly gaining; but in another instant Wagner was even with him. Both were out and doing their best. It was anybody’s race yet! Now Wagner, now Grey Eagle, has the advantage. It will be a dead heat? “See! Grey Eagle’s got him!” “No, Wagner’s ahead!” A moment ensues – the people shout – hearts throb – ladies faint – a thrill of emotion, and the race is over! Wagner wins by a neck, in 7.44, the best race ever ran south of the Potomac 4

Grey Eagle was put to stud and sired many racehorses, as well as saddle horses. He was bred with native stock horses that were thought to have been natural-gaited mares descended from the Narragansett Pacer. 

Besides Grey Eagle, Lexington, (who was the leading sire from 1861 to 1874) and the aforementioned Wagner contributed to the Saddlebred breed. Grey Eagle’s blood was also a factor in trotting pedigrees.5

In 1856, Andrew Johnston, the former sheriff of Greenbrier County, Virginia, purchased a half-bred grade mare named Flora, who was already in foal by Grey Eagle. The stallion was standing at stud on the farm of J.B. Pyntz near Maysville, in what is now West Virginia. Grey Eagle made two breeding seasons at the Pyntz farm before being sold and sent to Morrow County, Ohio. He died on July 4, 1863, at the age of 28. 

Johnston shipped Flora to his farm near Blue Sulphur Springs via steamboat. She gave birth in the spring of 1857. Her foal was named Jeff Davis. He was named after Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, who had fought in the Mexican War and served under President Franklin Pierce as Secretary of War. Unbeknownst to Johnston, the foal’s name was a prediction of what the future held.

Andrew Johnston’s son, Jim, as well as a local slave boy, Frank Winfield Page, handled and trained the young colt. When Jeff Davis turned two, he was shown at the 1859 Greenbrier County Fair in Lewisburg and won first place. The following year, he won another blue ribbon.

Jeff Davis was a silvery-gray gelding with black points and a flowing mane and tail. He stood sixteen hands high and weighed 1,100 pounds. Robert E. Lee later described the horse as having “fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest and short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail.”6 The colt possessed such Saddlebred qualities as a good trot and extra gaits.

When the war broke out, Jim enlisted in Wise’s Legion, the 3rd Virginia, commanded by Virginia’s former governor, Henry Wise. Wise’s Legion, along with a brigade under John B. Floyd, former Secretary of War under President James Buchanan, was ordered to expel Federal troops from western Virginia. That fall, Major Thomas Broun, who was also enlisted with Wise’s Legion, authorized his brother, Captain Joseph Broun, the regiment’s quartermaster, to scour the countryside in search of horses to be used by the military. He came upon Jeff Davis. Thomas later renamed the colt Greenbrier. He wrote:

I authorized my brother to purchase a good serviceable horse of the best Greenbrier stock for our use during the war. After much inquiry and search, he came across the horse above mentioned, and I purchased him for $175 (gold value) in the fall of 1861 from Captain James W. Johnston, son of Mr. Johnston. When Wise’s Legion was encamped about Meadow Bluff and Big Sewell mountains, I rode this horse, which was then greatly admired in camp for his rapid, springy walk, his high spirit, bold carriage, and muscular strength… he needed neither whip nor spur and would walk his five or six miles an hour over the rough mountain roads of Western Virginia with his rider sitting firmly in the saddle and holding him in check by a tight rein, such vim and eagerness did he manifest to go right ahead so soon as he was mounted.

When General Lee took command of Wise’s Legion and Floyd’s brigade that were encamped at and near Big Sewell mountains in the fall of 1861, he first saw this horse and took a great fancy to it. He called it his colt, and said that he would use it before the war was over. Whenever the general saw my brother on this horse, he had something pleasant to say to him about my colt as he designated this horse.7 

In 1926, The Charlottesville Daily Progress recorded Mrs. Louisa Cary Feamster’s eyewitness account of Lee‘s first encounter with Jeff Davis. She said that General Lee and his staff stopped at the Johnston farm to rest on their way to Sewell Mountain. The weather was warm, there had been a light afternoon rain, and soon the general dozed off. After he awakened and was conversing with the Johnston’s, including Captain James “Dick” Johnston, who was home visiting, General Lee saw the gray gelding grazing in a clover field near the house. He immediately offered to buy “the Kentucky thoroughbred,”8 as Mrs. Feamster called him. Captain Johnston, who was in the infantry and not in need of a mount, told the General that he had tentatively sold the horse to Joseph Broun.9 

Generals Wise and Floyd refused to cooperate during the campaign, and the military effort to keep the western counties of Virginia in the Confederacy failed. Lee was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, and given command of the coastal defenses. The third regiment of Wise’s Legion, now the 60th Virginia, was also transferred to South Carolina. Thomas Broun had become ill, so Greenbrier went to South Carolina with his brother, Joseph. When the 60th Virginia arrived at Pocotalipo, Lee saw Greenbrier again. Captain Broun offered to give the horse to him.

Lee declined, saying, “If you will willingly sell me the horse, I will gladly use it for a week or so to learn its qualities.”10 

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=horses+in+gray&qid=1564463368&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Long Forgotten History (And Why We Can’t Repeat It)

I found this article fascinating and wanted to share it. When I read it, I learned a lot about our American history and what happened in the South after the Civil War ended. I find it especially interesting because my next novel delves into the issues of Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, and Western expansion. I only hope I can find a publisher who doesn’t shy away from it, even though, now apparently, the Confederacy has become controversial and taboo. Hopefully, I can find a publisher who can take the heat! If you know of one, please refer me to them.

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        by Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham

Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Viet Nam War who graduated from the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, and is qualified through the rank of major general. He is the author of more than 40 books, several of which were History or Military History Book Club Selections.
I am always annoyed when a conservative political leader attacks Southern heritage. I don’t know why because with the present-day crop of cowardly politicians, it is becoming routine, but I am. Unwittingly or not, these modern day Scalawags adopt the “politically correct” line, even though they know (or should know) that political correctness is nothing more than a euphemism for cultural Marxism.
Recently, the courageous governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, swam against the politically correct stream, obeyed state law, and issued a proclamation calling for a day of observance in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest as well as commemorating Confederate Decoration Day and Robert E. Lee Day. Governor Lee also stated that he would not be a party to “whitewashing history” by ripping down the bust of Forrest in the Tennessee State Capitol.
For his refusal to join this intellectual lynch mob, Governor Lee was immediately attacked by the usual anti-Southern bigots and Socialist/Democrat/Leftist house organs, such as the Washington Compost and the New York Slimes.[1] This was predictable. What was unusual and absurd about this particular assault on the memory of a brave man is a tweet by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who mounted his rhetorical Mount Siani and declared: “This is wrong!”
But was it, Senator? And what do you know about it, anyway?
First of all, I suppose I should confess that I like Ted Cruz politically, generally speaking. We have not yet met but do have some mutual acquaintances, including Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Phil is my preacher at the University Church of Christ in Monroe, Louisiana, and he spoke for Mr. Cruz in Iowa. During the 2016 primaries, I was torn between voting for Cruz, Mike Huckabee, or Donald Trump. I was sorry when he and Donald Trump tore into each other, and I think the future president was wrong to attack Cruz’s father. I am also sorry that the senator from Texas cannot see that, in attacking the memory of Bedford Forrest, Senator Cruz is unwittingly making himself a “useful idiot” (to borrow a phrase from Lenin) for the Left, which has gone completely over the edge and is working night and day to turn this country into Venezuela.
But back to my original question: what do you know about it anyway, Senator Cruz?
It is also appalling to me when a conservative such as Glenn Beck or Ted Cruz-who would never allow the politically correct to deceive them on contemporary issues-routinely allow themselves to be hoodwinked on historical topics. Nathan Bedford Forrest is a prime example.
Forrest joined the Klan in 1866. If the Klan were the same organization then as it is today, Mr. Cruz would be correct in condemning it. But was it? To determine if Cruz’s denunciation of Forrest is valid, we must ask ourselves some questions. First, was the Klan of that day the same as the Klan of today? Second, what were the circumstances that induced Forrest to join that organization? Thirdly, when it became something he did not intend, what did he do?
What Mr. Cruz and his ilk too often fail to take into account is that organizations change over time. The year 1865 was pivotal in American history. It was the year the Civil War ended, the Confederacy died, the Ku Klux Klan was born, and the Democratic Party transitioned from the party of slavery to the party of white supremacy. Later, it became the party of separate but equal (with white people being more equal) and the party of segregation after that. Today, it is transforming itself again-into God knows what. It is not the same as it was in 1865.
Neither is the Klan. It was born in the law offices of Judge Thomas Jones in Pulaski, Tennessee. Half its original members were attorneys. Its initial standards were high. One had to be in the Confederate Army at the time of the surrender or in a Union prisoner-of-war camp to be eligible for membership. Its original mission statement called for it to be “an instrument of Chivalry, Humanity, Mercy and patriotism” which was to “relieve and assist the injured, oppressed, suffering, and unfortunate, especially widows and orphans of Confederate soldiers.” (This the government in Washington would not do. They did, however, have a 47% tax on cotton, which they used to subsidize Northern railroads and other large corporations. On the other hand, they did provide pensions to Northern widows and orphans at the expense of Southern widows and orphans.) One had to apply for membership. As far as we can tell (written records are absent), its eighth member was John C. Brown, former Confederate brigadier general and, within eight years, governor of Tennessee. Also a lawyer.
The Klan started out as a social club, but that soon changed. It grew like wildfire and morphed into something else altogether.
The loss of the war and the death of the Confederacy were not isolated events. They also signaled the breakdown of the Southern economy and the collapse of law and order in many localities. Gangs of criminals and individual thugs had a field day throughout the South. Union deserters, Southern outlaws, recently freed slaves who did not know how to handle their freedom, and professional criminals ran amuck. Arson, robbery, rape, and murder were the order of the day. At the same time, Carpetbaggers and collaborators pillaged the public treasuries, increased taxes 300% to 400%, ran up huge public debts, pocketed the proceeds, stole land and farms, and enriched themselves at the expense of a helpless and impoverished people.
African Americans suffered most of all. Much of the South’s land was ruined during the conflict, and 1867 was a year of famine. The new Northern rulers had no interest in the Southern people, black or white. Tens of thousands of Negroes literally starved to death.[2] No effort was made on the part of the new rulers to even keep records of how many died. They were too busy stealing.
Public health was almost completely ignored. Smallpox epidemics periodically raged throughout the South in the 1862 through 1868 period. The weakened and malnourished black folks were especially susceptible, often dying at rates of three or four times higher than Southern whites, who were themselves not well nourished. Black children were particularly hard hit. In one six-month period in 1865, 30,000 African Americans died in North Carolina and South Carolina alone. The epidemic lasted six years.[3]
Not content with theft and neglect, a significant minority of Northern politicians openly advocated a second Civil War. They included Thaddeus Stevens, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives; General Benjamin F. “Spoons” Butler; Governor Richard Yates of Illinois; carpetbagger Governor Andrew J. Hamilton of Texas; and Senator Jim Lane of Kansas, among others. U.S. Congressman William Anderson Pile advocated “death to all supporters of the South, past or present.”[4] General William T. Sherman wanted Southerners demoted to “demizens”: people who were given certain rights (such as the right to pay taxes) but not others (such as the right to vote).
Of particular interest to Forrest was carpetbagger Governor William G. “Parson” Brownlow of Tennessee. A former Methodist preacher, slave owner, and newspaper editor, he believed slavery was “ordained by God.” He nevertheless supported the Union and a second Civil War. “I am one of those who believed that the war ended too soon,” he declared, and “the loyal masses” should not “leave one Rebel fence rail, outhouse, one dwelling, in the seceded states. As for the Rebel population, let them be exterminated.”
This kind of wild talk sounds incredible today, but people like Nathan Bedford Forrest had no choice but to take it seriously-especially in Tennessee.
The Southerners after the war were in the same position as the French Resistance was in World War II. The government were it was functioning at all was often in the hands of criminals, and they felt compelled to take the law into their own hands. There is a point between civilization and anarchy in which vigilantism is an acceptable, temporary measure, until law and order can be restored. Into that breach stepped Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was receiving a hundred letters a day from his former soldiers, relating eye-witness accounts of outrage and lawlessness. He was first told about the Klan by George Washington Gordon, a former Confederate general and war hero. Forrest applied for membership through John W. Morton, his former chief of artillery who celebrated his 21st birthday commanding a battalion of horse artillery in the Battle of Chickamauga.[5] In the spring of 1866, the leaders of the KKK met in the Maxwell House in Nashville, Tennessee, and created the position of “Grand Wizard,” a tribute to Forrest’s wartime nickname, “Wizard of the Saddle,” and gave it to the general.
The Klan had already transformed into a hybrid neighborhood protection/vigilante organization which met violence with violence and terror with terror. It was definitely a mixed bag. Under Forrest, it became, as he said, “a protective political military organization,” i.e., a paramilitary force, a counterbalance to Brownlow’s Loyal Legion. Governor Brownlow sought to pass a law making it legal for anyone to shoot a former Confederate on sight. If that law passed, Forrest declared, there would be a second war, although he did not want it, but he would look upon the activation of Brownlow’s militia as a declaration of war. He also declared that he could raise 40,000 Klansmen in Tennessee and 550,000 throughout the South in five days. No one wanted to fight a half a million man cavalry army under Nathan Bedford Forrest, especially Brownlow and his cronies. The militia was not activated. A second war was avoided.
In February 1869, Brownlow resigned as governor. His successor sought to work with the Democrats, was conciliatory to his former enemies, and restored voting rights to Southern veterans and Confederate sympathizers. Forrest, meanwhile, became concerned that white trash elements were taking over large parts of the organization and were using it for their own nefarious and hateful purposes. As a result, Nathan Bedford Forrest issued General Order Number One, disbanding the Ku Klux Klan. “There was no further need for it,” Forrest commented later, “. . . the country was safe.”
Certain branches of the KKK lived on after Forrest disbanded it, under such names as the Constitutional Union Guards, the Pale Faces, the White Brotherhood, the White League, and the Knights of the White Camelia, and a few Ku Klux dens lingered on until 1877 and even after, but the original Ku Klux Klan effectively ceased to exist and faded into history. As Captain John Calhoun Lester, one of the original founders, wrote later: “There never was, before or since, a period of our history when such an order could have lived. May there never be again!”[6] Let us pray that the captain was right.
In 1915, Hollywood produced an infamous film, “Birth of a Nation.” Its contents were so incendiary that it led to several race riots, propelled the NAACP into national prominence, and led to the birth of a second Ku Klux Klan.[7] This racist organization became the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party and was (and is) largely a terrorist organization. Had it not pirated the name of the original KKK, we might look upon the original Klan much differently than we do. But it did. To associate Nathan Bedford Forrest’s name with the depredations of this second incarnation of the Klan of the 20th and 21st centuries is wrong, but many people do, even though it was created almost four decades after his death, and he clearly had nothing to do with it.
General Forrest’s racial views continued to evolve over time. He addressed an early civil rights organization, was denounced by a Freedman’s Bureau officer as being “too liberal” to the African Americans he employed, provoked the outrage of several editors by kissing a young black lady on the cheek after she presented him with a bouquet of flowers, was denounced by the (Confederate) Cavalry Survivors Association for his positive attitude toward African Americans, hired them in responsible positions in his railroad (i.e., as foremen, conductors, architects, and engineers), and was one of two former Confederate generals I know of who advocated allowing African-Americans to vote.[8] I bet you didn’t know that, Senator Cruz. When Forrest died in 1877, twenty thousand people lined the street for two miles with their hats off, respectfully mourning him as his hearse slowly passed by. These included more than 3,000 black mourners. One source placed this number at 6,000.
I would go on with your history lesson, Mr. Cruz, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I would, however, suggest that you refrain from attacking heroes from other states until you learn more about Southern history. Texas, after all, had more than its share of slaveholding heroes. William B. Travis and Jim Bowie (my personal favorite), the commanders of the Alamo, leap to mind. Already, there are those agents of political correctness who would hand the Alamo over to the United Nations as a World Heritage Site, so they can “contextualize” it. Eventually-should they succeed-they will want to tear it down, on the grounds that it represents white supremacy, oppression of a minority group, or some other pretext. And don’t think for one moment they wouldn’t try it. The Left wants no heroes to exist except its own.
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[1] Also known as the Washington Post and the New York Times.
[2] Exact numbers do not exist. The Carpetbaggers and Union Army were so indifferent to the fate of the black people they did not bother to keep records. Estimates as to the exact number who died vary between 80,000 and 1,000,000. Most of them were African American. See Jim Downs, Sick From Freedom: African-American Death and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction. Oxford: 2012, p. 8ff.
[3] Donald W. Livingston, “Confederate Emancipation Without War,” in Frank B. Powell, ed., To Live and Die in Dixie (Columbia, Tennessee: 2004), p. 462.
[4] Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Blue (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 1964), p. 372. Piles was a former Union general.
[5] Morton was later secretary of agriculture and secretary of state of Tennessee.
[6] John Calhoun Lester and Rev. D. L. Wilson, The Ku Klux Klan: Its Origin, Growth and Disbandment (New York: 1905), p. 132.
[7] See Linda Gordon, The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition (New York: 2017) and William Rawlings, The Second Coming of the Invisible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s (Macon, Georgia: 2017).
[8] The other one was P. G. T. Beauregard.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 19, 2019 ed.)

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