Archive from October, 2019
Oct 13, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Baptized with Blood at Manassas

Baptized with Blood at Manassas

“Jackson believed in the Southern cause, as if it had been a revelation from God . . . Jackson believed that the war of invasion was a heartless crusade against mankind and womankind, and the civilization of the South, and the higher law proclamation was the aftermath of the pernicious broadcasting of seed sown by Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and Joshua R. Giddings.

Jackson believed that the “Grand Army” in holiday attire, with flaunting banners and careering squadrons, were an aggregation of iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of images, creeds, institutions, traditions homes, country. So believed he when the “Anaconda” with panting sides drew back to strike.

Man to man, bayonet to bayonet, cannon to cannon, bosom to bosom, here was challenged the asserted right of coercion, of frenzy against frenzy, patriotism, anger, vanity, hope, despair; each facing and meeting the other like dark clashing whirlwinds.

Eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, and Jackson with folded arms, occupies the plateau near the “Henry House.” Just beyond is a dark confused death wrestle. Forty thousand athletes against eighty thousand athletes; two hundred odd iron throats perpetually vomiting an emetic of death.

There is . . . the order given, and the “old Stonewall Brigade” is hurled like an immense projectile against ranks of human flesh. There is a halt, a recoil; cannon spit out their fire, their hail, their death upon bosoms bared to the shock. “There stands Jackson like a Stonewall.” Under that name he was baptized with blood at Manassas.

Everywhere that faded coat and tarnished stars were the oriflame of battle and the old brigade followed them as if they had been the white plume of Navarre.

This incomparable leader never failed in a single battle from the day when with 2800 men at Manassas, where he cut their communications and decoyed their columns into the iron jaws of Longstreet’s reserves. Such achievements were not accidental. No maneuver could mislead the clear judgment that presided serenely in that soul of fire.

Lifeless eyes and voiceless lips now, had cheered these flags with the same joy that once greeted the eagles of Napoleon. Withered skeleton hands now, had borne them at the head of charging squadrons and battalions, the guidons of victorious armies – the guerdon of a nation’s trust and faith.

If out of the cold, dead white stars could come again the old gleam of light as it lighted up the line of direction over the mountain passes of Virginia and the valley of the Shenandoah, what a halo of glory would encircle Winchester and Gordonsville and Chantilly!

How dramatic the narrative; how truthful the history; how inspiring the reminiscence; how fully and completely vindicated the Old South – the lost cause! But there is no light in the stars, and the broad bands of blue upon the blood-red field are disfiguring scars upon the face of an incident long since closed, and closed forever, full of tragedy and patriotism.”

(The Broken Sword; Or, a Pictorial Page of Reconstruction, D. Worthington, P.D. Gold & Sons, 1901, excerpts pp. 104-107)

Oct 12, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Black Hills Not For Sale

Black Hills Not For Sale

After conquering Americans with a scorched-earth strategy in 1865, Northern generals turned their sights on the Plains Indians who stood in the way of railroads, expanding industrialism and gold. Sherman, pressed by his mentor Grant, presided over the relocation and extermination of thousands of Indians, as well as the virtual annihilation of the wild Buffalo those Indians depended upon for food.

As Lincoln instigated his war to protect the tariff income of the US Government, Grant would do the same to retrieve prosperity at the expense of the Indians.

Black Hills Not For Sale

“Mysterious and remote . . . the Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux and – until Custer’s expedition – almost unknown to the whites, save for rumors of gold.

In 1873, a financial panic gripped the country. With the national debt over $2 billion, the Grant administration was in desperate need of way to replenish a cash-starved economy. As had been proven in California back in 1849 and more recently in the Rockies, there was no quicker way to invigorate the country’s financial system than to discover gold.

Despite the fact that it required them to trespass on what was legally Sioux land, General Philip Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, which extended all the way west to the Rockies, ordered Custer and the Seventh Cavalry to escort an exploring expedition from Fort Lincoln, just down the Missouri River from Bismarck, in modern North Dakota, to the Black Hills.

The supposed aim of the Black Hills Expedition of 1874 was to find a suitable site for a fort. However, the makeup of the column suggested that another, far more exciting goal was being considered. Included in Custer’s thousand-man expedition were President Grant’s eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Dent Grant; three newspaper reporters; a photographer; and two experienced gold miners.

Much to Custer’s surprise, the Indians proved few and far between once the regiment entered the Black Hills. On August 2, after several weeks . . . the expedition discovered gold “right from the grass roots.” Over the next hundred years, more gold would be extracted from a single mine in the Black Hills (an estimated $1 billion) than from any other mine in the continental United States.

In the beginning, the government made only nominal efforts to prevent miners from intruding on the Black Hills. But by the summer of 1875 there were so many US citizens in the region that the Grant administration decided it must purchase the hills from the Sioux. When the Sioux refused to sell, the administration had no choice but to instigate a war.”

(The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking Press, 2010, excerpts pp. 3-4)

Oct 8, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on “Better Patriots, Madam”

“Better Patriots, Madam”

“While President Jefferson Davis was preparing his “History of the Rise and Fall of the Confederate States,” he made a visit to the home of Hon. Henry Loevy, at Pass Christian, Mississippi. With these friends he had left [earlier in Abbeville, SC] a collection of very valuable papers, including letters from Gen. Lee and other prominent Confederate officials.

When Mrs. Loevy brought out the papers and a Confederate battle flag . . . Mr. Davis took the battle flag, and he held it in one hand and the [model of a] gun [he invented while Secretary of War] in the other, he seemed to stand the representative at once of the United States and the Confederate States governments.

As he gave the history of the flag, the memory of the war, in which Mrs. Loevy had lost three brothers, and during which her father had been banished from his Kentucky home and she from New Orleans, the True Delta, a paper owned by her husband, had been confiscated, rushed over her with such force and vividness as to cause tears to flow down her cheeks and her to exclaim:

“Mr. Davis, I have not gotten over the war yet! I believe the ladies were worse rebels than the men anyhow!”

“Better patriots, madam,” was the energetic and instantaneous reply from the man who had served faithfully in the army and Congress of the United States, and then, believing the States were sovereign, and that sovereigns could not rebel, and that his allegiance was due, first to his State, served his State and country with equal fidelity and ability, when Mississippi had become a member of the Confederate States Government.

It is well for our children to remember that their fathers never admitted that they were rebels and traitors, and to know that, though Mr. Davis was arrested on the charge of treason, no attempt was ever made to prove the charge, because lawyers knew it could not be sustained.”

(A Beautiful Reply, by Mr. Davis. Rev. W.C. Clark, Shelbyville, Tenn. Confederate Veteran, December 1894, Volume II, Number 12, excerpt pp. 354)