J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “slave”

Meet Uncle Robert Wilson

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Uncle Robert Wilson who left this planet at 112 years old and whom the United Daughters of the Confederacy buried.

“RICHMOND BORN CIVIL WAR VETERAN DIES IN ILLINOIS
Elgin, Ill April 11- UP

Robert Wilson, oldest patient of the Elgin State Hospital, died today.
Confederate army records establish his age as 112.

Wilson, a Negro, was born in slavery January 12, 1836, at Richmond, VA, hospital files indicate. He was credited with service in the Confederate army during the Civil War (sic).

Known in the institution as Uncle Bob, he practiced evangelism before entering seven years ago.

He told attendants in the veterans’ ward that he was proudest of his knowledge of the Bible and of a half a dollar given him by Governor Dwight H Green, of Illinois, during a visit to the hospital several years ago.

Several months ago, Wilson lost the silver piece. His dismay was mentioned to Governor Green, who sent him another half dollar to replace it on his 112th birthday this year.

The oldest veteran had no living relatives. Hospital authorities said that plans are being made for his funeral by the Daughters of the Confederacy.”

ELGIN DAILY COURIER NEWS Elgin, IL.
April 11, 1948 Special thanks to Commander Randall Freeman for the information.

Lani Burnette – BLACK CONFEDERATES AND OTHER MINORITIES IN THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION

(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Volume 43, Issue #2, February 2019 ed.)
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More on Banned Book Week

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Over the years, books have been banned primarily because of explicit sexual depictions, vulgar language and/or excessive violence. Many classics have been banned. The Holy Bible even makes the list.

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During the Civil War, one novel titled Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned in the Southern states. The book inaccurately depicted the condition of all slaves in the South as being treated cruelly and inhumanely. Although abolitionists hailed it as true documentation and Northerners who didn’t know any better believed it, the truth was that the author, Harriet Beecher Stow, intentionally wrote scenes in her book to evoke pity and outrage. However, her depictions were, for the most part, untrue, and this is why the Confederate States banned her book.

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a bestseller. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln said, upon meeting Stowe, “So you’re the little lady who started this great war.” He couldn’t have been more correct, even though, of course, there were many other contributors that caused the Civil War. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is still considered to be a classic today.

https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2016/09/26/classic-books-that-were-banned

The Slaves of General Forrest

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There has been a lot of controversery surrounding General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Some say he started the Ku Klux Klan, which is untrue. In fact, General Forrest called for the KKK to disband after the group became too violent. Another false assumption is that he was a cruel slave owner. He was a product of his time, and although he owned slaves, he never abused them or split up families. In fact, his slaves adored him so much that they fought with him during the Civil War. They even stayed with him after the war and mourned his death. General Forrest strived to bring the races together after the war ended.

Here a few excerpts from my book, Horses in Gray, which describe how General Forrest treated his slaves.

Horses in Gray Cover

Chapter 4

The Thirty Horses of Forrest

 

Those hoof beats die not upon fame’s crimson sod,

But will ring through her song and her story;

He fought like a Titan and struck like a god,

And his dust is our ashes of glory.1

 

Nathan Bedford Forrest often stated that he was “a horse ahead”2 at the end, meaning that he had thirty horses shot out from under him and killed twenty-nine men during the course of the war. It is virtually impossible to trace all thirty horses, since at times Forrest appropriated a horse on the spot. On one occasion, he ordered a Union officer to dismount, got on the officer’s horse, and rode away.

On June 14, 1861, Forrest, who had remained silent on the issue of secession, walked into the headquarters of Capt. Josiah White’s Tennessee Mounted Rifles and enlisted as a private. His brother, Jeffrey, and son, Willie, enlisted with him. The Forrests were ordered to Camp Yellow Jacket, a training camp sixty-five miles north of Memphis. These troopers in training would become the famous Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, which fought until the end of the war under Forrest’s leadership.

John Milton Hubbard was a private in Hardeman’s Avengers, which would later be attached to the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. He was stationed at Camp Yellow Jacket and remembered meeting Forrest: “Two cavalry companies from Memphis were in camp near us—Logwood’s and White’s. In riding near these one day, I met a soldier speeding a magnificent black horse along a country road as if for exercise and the pleasure of being astride of so fine an animal. On closer inspection, I saw it was Bedford Forrest, only a private like myself, whom I had known ten years before down in Mississippi. I had occasion afterward to see a good deal of him.”3

            In October, Forrest was given command of a regiment and named it Forrest’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. He posted advertisements in the Memphis Appeal, calling for “five hundred able-bodied men, mounted and equipped with such arms as they can procure (shotguns and pistols preferable), suitable to the service. Those who cannot entirely equip themselves will be furnished arms by the State.”4

In its editorial columns, the Memphis Appeal supported the notice: “To Arms! We invite attention to the call of Col. N.B. Forrest in today’s paper. There are still hundreds of young men in the country anxious to engage in the military service. Those whose fancy inclines them to the cavalry service will find no better opportunity to enlist under a bold, capable and efficient commander. Now is the time.”5

            Part of Forrest’s command included an escort company of between forty and ninety men, which Forrest referred to as his Special Forces. Among these troopers, who were the finest, most elite soldiers in his cavalry, were eight of Forrest’s slaves.

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And in another excerpt:

After the war, Forrest set up housekeeping with his wife, Mary Ann, near Memphis. In August 1866, Federal cavalrymen rode past Forrest’s house. King Philip, who was grazing in the front yard, saw the blue coats and instantly recognized them as the enemy. Watching the men dismount and start toward the house, King Philip charged at them with teeth bared, head and tail raised, and front feet flailing. He did not stop until he had chased every Federal soldier from the lot. One of the cavalrymen who had been injured by the horse declared that he would kill King Philip, but Jerry (Forrest’s previous body servant) rushed to the horse’s defense. “The Gin’ral,”58 as Jerry called him, emerged from the house, took control of King Philip, and had Jerry lead the spirited steed off to the stable.

“General,” the Federal captain in charge said, “now I can account for your success. Your Negroes fight for you, and your horses fight for you.”59 

Sadly, King Philip died of colic later that year.

Forrest passed away on October 29, 1877. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, but in 1904 his remains were interred in Memphis’s Forrest Park. All of the sidewalks in the park were named after officers who served under him—except for one, which was named for his war horse King Philip.

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(The statue of General Forrest mounted on King Philip was illegally removed by the city of Memphis last month. Stay tuned for more details.)

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515730595&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

More Conflicts Concerning Confederate Battle Flag

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(Not actual vehicle involved.)

Earlier this week, an altercation took place in Hickory, North Carolina, when a young man got insulted. What set him off was a teenager who drove by displaying the Confederate Battle Flag from his pickup truck. But instead of dealing rationally, Caine Morrison got in the teen’s face and confronted him. Then he pulled out a handgun. The episode ended with both parties leaving the scene, and no one was injured. However, Morrison was arrested and charged with assault by pointing a gun, possessing a gun to the terror of the people, and for possession of a firearm on educational property. Morrison was arrested on the campus of Catawba Valley Community College, with the weapon still in his possession.

Morrison has a prior firearms charge against him for discharging a firearm with the city limits of Hickory, and he has a court date next week for that charge.  A hearing has been set for the Confederate flag altercation for September 9.

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Another repercussion against the Confederate flag came last week when several current and previous Mississippi residents, who also happen to be celebrities, signed a petition to have the Confederate battle flag image removed from the state flag. Signatures included those of quarterback Archie Manning, author John Grisham, musician Jimmy Buffet, and actor Morgan Freeman. Governor Phil Bryant noted the vote taken by the state in 2001, when a majority ruled 2 to 1 to keep the flag. Because of it, the governor has no plans to call a special session on the matter.

An ad in the Clarion-Ledger stated, “It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved. It’s time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people.”

This just goes to show how little they really know about the Civil War and why it was fought. And no, it wasn’t fought to keep anyone’s ancestors enslaved. It would be interesting to know just how many Mississippians today truly had ancestors who were slaves. I’ll bet the actual number would surprise them.

The Case for the Confederate Battle Flag

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Controversy surrounding the Confederate battle flag continues to escalate. Some feel that stashing away the flag is a solution, but I believe the flag should be reinvented as an historic symbol, rather than automatically being associated with racism. The flag has been used by certain hate groups in the past, but these groups have also used the American flag. The Stars and Stripes flew over slave ships, not the Confederate battle flag. If one element of our society is deemed offensive to particular groups, then it will inevitably lead to other banned elements. Removing the Confederate battle flag from government property and national parks is only the beginning. Certain groups are already calling for the removal of all things Confederate, including flags, school names, monuments, movies, books, and television shows. They even want to relocate Civil War soldiers’ bodies. To me, this is offensive, and it is also censorship. Although I understand how the flag might upset some people, to others, it is a sign of Southern pride and heritage. Either way, censoring items doesn’t do away with deeper issues.

Passing laws to remove the Confederate battle flag might seem like a perfect remedy, but in reality, it doesn’t accomplish anything. Racists will still find a symbol to use. People will still lay blame on inanimate objects, instead of blaming the true source of hate. Guns, flags, and photographs don’t commit atrocities. People do. That is why we need to change our attitudes toward these objects, or it will lead to far worse consequences down the road. I’m sure there are people who are offended by the Nazi flag, the Japanese flag, the rainbow flag, or whatever. If one flag is done away with, then all the others should be, too, including the American flag. It flew while thousands of Native American Indians were being slaughtered, after all. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of Stone Mountain, Mount Rushmore, every statue in Washington D.C., and any reminder of Confederate soldiers or slave owners, including our founding fathers. Let’s rename all the streets, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s namesakes, because it’s only fair.

By taking away our symbols, this country is denying our freedom of speech and expression. In a recent Newsmax poll, 88% wanted to keep Confederate flags on government property. And in the small town of Gettysburg, South Dakota, the police chief has fallen under scrutiny for deciding not to change the officers’ uniform patches, which depict the American and Confederate flags crossing over a cannon.

Of course, someone will be offended by something sometime. I’m offended by numerous things, like those mud flaps with nude females on them and sexist lyrics in songs. But to deny their use is going against our Constitutional rights. As U.S. citizens, we need to take a stand against allowing this issue to elevate further, or we will end up having complete government rule, and that is exactly what Southerners fought against during the Civil War.

My upcoming novel, A Rebel Among Us, a novel of the Civil War, discusses this topic in-depth. It delves into the lives of two people – one from the North, and one from the South. Their opinions and differences repeatedly collide, making their relationship all the more compelling and complicated.

As it was in the past, we are facing these same conflicts today. We are one country with many different attitudes and backgrounds, which makes us diverse and unique. To take away just one element of expression opens us up to complete censorship and governmental control in the future.

Annual Pilgrimages

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One of my favorite things about living in the South was attending pilgrimages. Several take place in Mississippi each year, including Natchez, Aberdeen, and Holy Springs. These events typically occur during the month of April. It is an amazing experience to participate in one of these pilgrimages and see what it was like to live in the antebellum South. Pilgrimages attract people from all over the world.

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My own personal experience included serving as a docent at one of the beautiful mansions in Holly Springs. This small town was spared when Union General Grant decided it was too pretty to burn. One of the majestic homes served as his headquarters during his invasion into Mississippi leading up to the Battles of Iuka and Corinth in 1862.

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As a tour guide, I had the privilege of learning about one of the spectacular houses in Holly Springs, including its previous owners. Holly Springs is a favorite location for those wishing to see a glimpse of the past as displayed in the grand old mansions. Most of the homes, built in the 1850’s, have been restored to their original grandeur. Besides the home tour, a special service is held in the cemetery to honor fallen Confederate soldiers who are buried there, and a tour of slave shacks is also included.

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Magnolias and moonlit nights add to the romance, as do belles dressed in ball gowns and horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets. Pilgrimages are an excellent way to experience the past while living in the present, and see what true Southern beauty represents.

The Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)

The bloodiest single day of the Civil War took place on this date in 1862, near a small town named Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek.General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army confronted General George B. McClellan’s Union troops in what was the first major battle of the Civil War to take place on northern soil.

Major fighting took place across Millers cornfield, at Dunker Church, the Sunken Road, where the Yankees broke the Rebel center but failed to follow up the assault, and at a bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Charges and counter-charges over the bridge resulted in men piling up on one another so deep that advancing soldiers couldn’t get across. The river flowed red with their blood. The bridge later became known as Burnside Bridge.

Although Lee was outnumbered two to one, he managed to hold off the Yankees and retreat back to Virginia. McClellan failed to pursue, and the battle ended up being a draw. However, President Lincoln considered it enough of a victory to use it as a springboard in launching his Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, freeing only slaves in Confederate states.

Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross after the war, was at the battle tending to the wounded, where she acquired the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.” She came close to death herself when a bullet shot through the skirt of her dress, but she escaped unscathed.

The battle claimed 23,000 casualties. It also led to McClellan’s dismissal as Major General of the Army of the Potomac. Among several remarkable landmarks that still exist at this battlefield site are the Sunken Road, Dunker Church, and Burnside Bridge,

Slave Haven




A fascinating relic from the War Between the States still exists in downtown Memphis. Known as Slave Haven, or the Burkle Estate, the small white clapboard house (built between 1849 and 1856) on 826 N. 2nd Street is believed to have been a way station of the Underground Railroad. The house was built by Jacob Burkle, a German immigrant, who also assisted slaves to their freedom by hiding them in a cellar until they could escape north through tunnels leading to the Mississippi River. Slaves then obtained passage on boats traveling up to the Ohio River.There are four underground tunnels in Memphis that were major arteries of the Underground Railroad. The house is marked by two large magnolia trees that were a signal to slaves because of their evergreen leaves. The house is furnished with Victorian furniture, and one room displays quilts that were used by slaves as maps to their freedom. In 1978, the family revealed that the Burkle Estate had been part of Underground Railroad, and the house was opened as a museum in 1997.

Sherman’s Path of Destruction

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On this date in 1865, Union forces under General William Tecumseh Sherman continued their march of devastation, reaching Columbia, South Carolina. Because it was the first state to secede from the Union, soldiers felt a deep-seated vengeance, so they burned the city to the ground. The previous winter, they had gone through Alabama and on to Georgia, burning Atlanta and capturing Savannah before Christmas. The rampaging soldiers’ path spanned 60 miles wide. They burned, pillaged, and destroyed everything in their path. Their behavior was explained away by Sherman as waging “total war” against the enemy.

Sherman was a serious racist, and although the Union supported emancipation, most soldiers didn’t. This was proven during the march, when Sherman ordered his men to destroy a bridge, leaving behind freed slaves who had followed them. The freedmen were so distraught over being left behind that many jumped into the river, and because they couldn’t swim, hundreds drowned.

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Sherman’s soldiers would continue north, tying up with General Ulysses S. Grant’s men as they laid siege on Petersburg. By early April, they would take the Confederate capital of Richmond as well, and force General Robert E. Lee to surrender his Army of Northern Virginia.

What? No WBTS?!

Next Monday, April 1, the newly created Memphis City Council “Parks Study Committee” will conduct a meeting. The event will take place at 4:30 p.m., and the public is invited to voice their opinions and concerns about renaming three Civil War themed parks in town.

For those of you who might like to attend, the meeting will be held at the Memphis City Hall at 125 N. Main Street on the first floor in the Council Auditorium. The committee is only allowing each person with a voice on the subject to speak for two minutes, and they will buzz anyone who mentions the War Between the States, slavery, or states’ rights.

According to Lee Millar, who is a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, one committee member who opposes retaining the names of the parks (i.e. Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Forrest Park, named after famous Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest) previously “stated that there aren’t but very few citizens left in Memphis who have Confederate veteran ancestors and want the park names restored.”

How preposterous a notion. Personally speaking, nearly everyone around here that I have spoken to has an ancestor, and I speak to a lot of people at book signings, presentations, etc.

Mr. Millar also went on to report that this opponent committee member considered people with Confederate heritage to be “in the minority, and (Memphis) will do what the African-American majority wants to do with the parks.”

I only wish I knew who this racist bigot is so I could write to him personally!

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