J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “U.S. history”

Somebody Flipped Their Lid

Monument

With all the hoopla about destroying and desecrating anything and everything related to the Confederacy these days, it seems that rationality has gone out the window. Here is another example.

MICHIGAN TEACHER VANDALIZES CLASSROOM

McBain Rural Agricultural School conducted an investigation after a teacher was filmed taking a hammer to a former student’s art tile with a Confederate flag on it.

School superintendent Steve Prissel said the school found out about the video when someone brought it to the attention of high school principal Ryan Biller.

In the video you can see the teacher take down a tile with a Confederate flag on it that the teacher said was “offensive.”

Biller began an investigation to address the incident as the school had not pre-approved the removal of the tile, the superintendent said.

Prissel would not identify the high school teacher involved in the incident or go into details about the investigation due to confidentiality reasons.

McBain senior Jackie Coleman said in a Facebook message that she took the video of the teacher.

Coleman said she was in the school’s art room during her study hour to work on her final piece. Some kids were making their senior tile and were viewing the ones already on the wall made by the 2007 seniors.

Students were making comments and ideas as they looked at the tiles and the one with the Confederate flag tile was particularly a conversation starter, she said.

When the teacher heard about the Confederate flag conversation, she said she didn’t agree with the tile being displayed and said she would take it down. She grabbed a hammer, pulled a table up, climbed on top of it, and started destroying the tile, Coleman said.

When Falmouth resident Kasia Vasser saw the video on Facebook, she recognized the tile. It was identical to the one she kept in her house and now has in her truck.

She was a senior at the McBain school in 2007 and made the tiles as part of an art project, she said.

She said all the seniors made the tiles, one for the wall and one to take with them. The teacher told them to put something on the tile that represented themselves.

What represented Vasser was horseshoes, her initials and the Confederate flag, she said.

Those items together represented freedom for her too. She loved horses and loved to ride them.

“When I ride I don’t think about problems, I just enjoy the ride,’ she said. “Enjoy the freedom of the ride.’

As for the flag, she said she believes it stands for history, freedom and respect.

She lived in southern states for a while and said that they were the best days for her family financially, academically and health wise.

No one said anything about the flag when she was making it and a lot of people have their own opinions and think of the flag in multiple ways, she said.

In the video’s Facebook comments, Vasser saw negative comments toward the teacher’s actions and negative comments toward her. There were also praises toward the teacher and praises toward Vasser.

“It’s whatever you believe and your opinion,’ she said.

Prissel said this was a “passionate’ subject and was handled accordingly.

It was a controversial piece and because there are differing views on it, it brings up different emotions, he said.

He consulted with the school’s attorney who supported that it was justified that the tile be taken down if it was bothering students.

The reasoning for taking it down was because students were offended by it and did not want it right on the wall. It was a disruption in the classroom and that had to be taken into account, he said.

As of now, Prissel is not aware of other tiles being taken down.

A handful of people did reach out and parents were concerned about the situation. They’re not used to seeing McBain on social media for something controversial, he said.

There is a process in place for removing something like this, but in this case it was not followed and the teacher did not ask for permission beforehand.

“The staff needs to follow protocol,’ he said. “So will they be reminded of that? Absolutely.’

At the school they support different viewpoints, that’s part of being an educational institution. They are also responsible as a school district to hear students’ concerns, he said.

“I think people need to be sensitive on both sides,’ he said.

An attempt to contact the teacher involved was unsuccessful.

(Article Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, June 14, 2019 ed.)
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A Beautiful Glittering Lie Review

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I’m proud to present another review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Feel free to share your thoughts!

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When it comes to war (no matter the era), men tend to gravitate toward the bloody bodies and the weaponry, and while some women think the idea of war as romantic, others are horrified at the cruelty. I’ve never seen war as romantic, anything to be proud of, or even remotely good, and parts of JDR Hawkins book was difficult for me to read. That being said, A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a very good story, well written with extremely engaging characters. The historical aspect is excellent and once I could get my head wrapped around the war and violence, I found this Southern family very engaging. I’m very interested in learning where the next book in Hawkins’ series will take us.

ABGL B.R.A.G. Medallion

 

Stories of Christmases Past

Here are some stories about what the South experienced during the War Between the States. By 1862, inflation in the South was rampant, as the following article describes.

CONFEDERATE PRESIDENT CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS IN MISSISSIPPI

Confederate President Jefferson Davis celebrated Christmas in his home in Mississippi.

“After an absence of nearly two years,” he said, “I again find myself among those who…have ever been the trusted object of my affection.”

But Confederate Christmas celebrations in the area were cut short by reports of Union troop movements on the Mississippi threatening Vicksburg.

In the fall of 1862, Confederate refugees from the fighting in the areas surrounding the capital began to flood into the city. They included those who fled farms and towns now in Union-held territory, wives of Confederate soldiers looking for employment, and the destitute.

This influx of refugees drove rent prices much higher than they’d been previously, and wartime inflation sent prices on everyday goods skyrocketing. In the city, ten pounds of bacon, which cost $1.25 in 1860, now cost $10. Four pounds of coffee jumped from $0.50 to $20.

Richmond diarist and author Sallie Brock Putnam wrote about the sadness of Christmas for families who had lost soldiers in the war:

The Christmas dinner passed off gloomily. The vacant chairs were multiplied in Southern homes, and even the children who had curiously questioned the cause of the absence of the young soldier brother from the festive board, had heard too much, had seen too much, and knew too well why sad-colored garments were worn by the mother, and why the fold of rusty crape placed around the worn hat of the father, and why the joyous mirth of the sister was restrained, and her beautiful figure draped in mourning. Congratulations were forced, and tears had taken the place of smiles on countenances where cheerfulness was wont to reign.

Christmas of 1862 saw an important cultural development with the emergence of the modern image of Santa Claus. Famed illustrator FOC Darley published an edition of Clement Clark Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) featuring drawings of Santa as a plump man with a pipe, furry coat and pointed hat.

Santa

Thomas Nast, who in the late 19th century produced what came to be regarded as the definitive representations of St. Nick, published his first Santa drawing in Harper’s Weekly, January 3, 1863. “Santa Claus in Camp“ showed a star-spangled Santa in his reindeer-drawn sleigh handing out presents to jubilant soldiers.

Santa in camp

General Robert E. Lee in Gordonsville reported 40,000 soldiers watched a baseball game at Hilton Head, S.C., between the 165th New York Zouave regiment and a picked team from other units. One of the players was Abraham Gilbert Mills, later president of the National League.

Across the South there were movements of troops. Confederate General John Hunt Morgan engaged in his famous Christmas Raid in Kentucky; on that single day, Morgan’s men destroyed everything they possibly could of the improvements that the Louisville & Nashville Railroad had made along 35 miles of track from Bacon Creek to Lebanon Junction.

Robert E. Lee wrote his wife, “What a cruel thing is war. To separate & destroy families & friends & mar the purest joy and happiness God has granted us in this world…. I pray that on this day when ‘peace & good will’ are preached to all mankind that better thoughts will fill the hearts of our enemies & turn them to peace.”

Meanwhile, along the Rappahannock River, the two armies faced each other, probing their opponent’s lines looking for weak spots and capturing prisoners and supplies. Soldiers in both armies did what soldiers normally do during the winter. They rested and refitted. They entertained themselves with games and tournaments. They exchanged supplies with their fellow Americans across the river.

 

(Written by Peter Doré – English Friends of the South)

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT

Time was short as final preparations were underway for General Thomas J. Jackson’s famous Stonewall Brigade. Jackson had received orders from General Robert E. Lee to move his corps east from the Shenandoah towards the Rappahannock River. The Federal army under the command of General Burnside was gathering in great numbers across the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in an attempt to sweep around Lee’s eastern flank and attack Richmond.

Jackson’s corps numbered over 38,000 soldiers, the largest command he had ever had. Among these troops were his old reliable, tried and true, Stonewall Brigade, also referred to informally as “Virginia’s First Brigade”. Organized and trained personally by Jackson at Harper’s Ferry in April 1861, the brigade would distinguish itself at the Battle of Manassas, and become one of the most famous combat units in the war.

Snow lay on the ground in Winchester at the Frederick County Courthouse as new volunteers were organized and drilled for their march to meet the enemy. A young soldier was given a Christmas gift made by his sweetheart. Like so many couples, they did not know what the future held.

A Winchester resident watching the men pass through the town remarked how poor looking the soldiers were. “They were very destitute, many without shoes, and all without overcoats or gloves, although the weather was freezing. Their poor hands looked so red and cold holding their muskets in the biting wind….They did not, however look dejected, but went their way right joyfully.”

 

THE CHRISTMAS CAROL

The years of 1861 and 1862 had been momentous for Thomas J. Jackson. He had gone from being an unknown VMI professor with a Major’s commission, to the rank of Lieutenant General commanding the II Corps in General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In battle after battle Jackson’s army had defeated those who opposed them. “Stonewall” was now one of the most famous and feared generals of the war.

Snow blanketed the countryside on November 22 as Confederate divisions gathered in Winchester. General Lee’s communiqués to Jackson made it clear that it was time to consolidate the army, preparing for the Union Army’s next move. Jackson’s Corps numbered 33,000 troops, the largest he had ever commanded. The task of organizing and preparing the new II Corps was daunting, but the General was up to the challenge and kept on the move.

On an early November morning at the Opequon Presbyterian church, members of the choir practiced a favorite Christmas carol for the passing Stonewall Jackson and his men. With the fate of his army and possibly the South to be decided in the coming days, the beautiful melody of a Christmas carol in the distance uplifted General Jackson and his men as they prepared to leave for Fredericksburg.

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“The Christmas Carol”
Opequon Presbyterian Church, Kernstown, Virginia – Winter of 1862
Artwork by John Paul Strain

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“The Christmas Gift”

Men of the Stonewall Brigade, Frederick County Courthouse – Winchester, Virginia Winter of 1862

Artwork by John Paul Strain

(Articles courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Samuel A. Hughey Sons of Confederate Veterans camp 1452, vol. 42, issue no. 12, Dec. 2018 ed.)

Why I Write About the Civil War

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Frequently, when I’m at book signings and speaking engagements, I am asked why I chose to write about the Civil War. To me, this is one of the most captivating times in U.S. history. I was never into history when I was in school, but over the years, I have developed an interest in certain aspects of world and American history, as well as genealogy. Perhaps this is part of becoming more mature, but curiosity has compelled me to search out my ancestors and find out just where, exactly, I came from.

Doc Holliday

The same goes for writing about the War Between the States. I have always been interested in the Victorian era, especially after living in Colorado for 25 years and seeing the old mountain and mining towns that still exist. Some even have residents who live like people did in the late 1800’s. Of course, there’s Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, Central City, and Glenwood Springs, where Doc Holliday is buried. These places have always fascinated me, and they still do.

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While living in Colorado, I had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg. I had never seen a Civil War battlefield before, so when I did, you can imagine how awestruck I was. It impressed me so much that I was inspired to write my first novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. From there, the book expanded to a series. After I wrote three books in the Renegade Series, I went back and wrote the prequel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Cover Art

Now I am in the process of editing the third book in the series. I have also written a nonfiction book about Confederate warhorses. Unfortunately, the publisher for that book had to close up shop and file for bankruptcy during the same month that the book was supposed to be published. So needless to say, I am looking for a new publisher. (If you know of any, please send them my way!)

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While researching my first novel, I came upon some information about my husband’s family. After a genealogy search, we learned that his great-great grandfather was a Cherokee interpreter who fought under General Nathan Bedford Forrest. It just goes to show what you can discover when you start digging!

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