Browsing "Southern Heroism"

“Pray Excuse Me,” the Death of President Davis

“Pray Excuse Me,” The Death of President Davis — December 6, 1889

“His constant attendant has been Mrs. Davis, who have never left his bedside since his illness began. In a comfortable home wrapper of gray and black this gentle ministrant was always at the invalid’s side, and if she left for a moment he asked for her, and was fretted or uneasy until she returned.

The lamp of life waned low as the hour of midnight arrived; nor did it flicker into the brightness of consciousness at any time. Eagerly, yet tenderly, the watchers gazed at the face of the dying chieftain. His face, always calm and pale, gained additional pallor, and at a quarter to 1 o’clock of the morning of the 6th day of December death came to the venerable leader..

There was nothing remarkable about the death-bed scene. The departure of the spirit was gentle and utterly painless. There were no dry eyes in the little assembly about the bed, and every heart bled with the anguish which found vent in Mrs. Davis’s sobs and cries.”

The Times-Democrat gave the following account of the closing scene: At 12:45 o’clock this morning Hon. Jefferson Davis, ex-President of the Confederate States, passed away at the residence of Associate Justice Charles E. Fenner. Only once did he waver in his belief that his case showed no improvement, and that was at an early hour yesterday morning, when he playfully remarked to Mr. Payne: “I am afraid that I shall be compelled to agree with the doctors for once, and admit that I am a little better.”

At 7 o’clock Mrs. Davis administered some medicine, but the ex-President declined to receive the whole dose. She urged upon his the necessity of taking the remainder, but putting it aside, with the gentlest of gestures whispered, “Pray, excuse me.” These were his last words.”

The [New Orleans] Daily States said in its editorial:

“Throughout all the South there are lamentations and tears; in every country on the globe where there are lovers of liberty there is mourning; wherever there are men who admire heroic patriotism, dauntless resolution, fortitude, or intellectual power and supremacy, there is sincere sorrowing. The beloved of our land, the unfaltering upholder of constitutional liberty, the typical hero and sage, is no more; the fearless heart that beat with sympathy for all mankind is stilled forever, a great light has gone out – Jefferson Davis is dead!

No one of all the illustrious personages who have adorned the history of the Union, served that union in the field, in the Cabinet, and in the Senate, better than he. But all the enactments of Congress; all the fierce and bitter denunciations of the North; all the vituperations, malice, hatred, and misrepresentations that the press and the leaders of the North have heaped upon Jefferson Davis, and by which for twenty-five years they have sought to brand him “traitor,” have failed of their purpose, and he stands forth today as one of the grandest examples of patriotism and as one of the most indomitable champions of liberty that has ever appeared upon the arena of human affairs.

Jefferson Davis is dead; but the principles for which he struggled, for the vindication of which he devoted his life, for which he suffered defeat, and unto which he clung unto death, still live. The fanatical howlings of the abolitionists, the tumult and thunders of civil war, the fierce mouthings of the organizers of reconstruction, and reconstruction itself, that black and foul disgrace of humanity, are all departed, sunk into silence like a tavern brawl, but the constitutional principles upon which the Confederacy was founded and for which Jefferson Davis spoke and struggled, for which he gave life and fortune, still survive in all their living power; and when they shall have been, if ever, really destroyed, this Republic will be transformed into one of the most oppressive and offensive oligarchies that has ever arisen amongst the civilized nations of the earth.”

The Times-Democrat of the 10th had this editorial:

“If there was ever the shadow of doubt in the minds of the people of the United States of the hold of Jefferson Davis upon the hearts of the Southern people that doubt has been removed. From city and country, from every nook and hamlet, have come expressions of profoundest sorrow over his death; of grief at the passing away of the great Confederate chieftain.

They turned to him as the Mussulman to his Mecca — the shrine at which all true Southern-born should worship. There has never been any division of sentiment as to the greatness of Jefferson Davis. He has always been the hero of his people — their best beloved. From the day that Lee laid down his arms at Appomattox to the hour of Jefferson Davis’s death the Southern people look upon the ex-President of the Confederacy as the embodiment of all that was grand and glorious in the Lost Cause.

Standing alone as a citizen without the power to exercise his citizenship, the last surviving victim of sectional hate and malevolence, he was an exile while on the soil of his native land and in the midst of his own people. Jefferson Davis will go to the grave bathed in a people’s tears.”

(The Davis Memorial Volume; or Our Dead President, Jefferson Davis, and the World’s Tribute to His Memory, J. Wm. Jones, B.F. Johnson & Company, Publishers, 1890, excerpts, pp. 473-509)

Nov 17, 2016 - Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots, Southern Women    Comments Off on The Temper of Southern Women

The Temper of Southern Women

Southern women during the war were known to have destroyed their precious libraries than to allow Northern occupiers to enjoy its contents, as well as knocking in the heads of wine casks rather than permitting Northern soldiers to sample their choice contents. The author of the following was born in Indiana, migrated to Virginia in 1857 and later served in the Nelson (Virginia) Light Artillery.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Temper of Southern Women

“During the latter part of the year in which the war between the States came to an end, a Southern comic writer, in a letter addressed to Artemus Ward, summed up the political outlook in one sentence, reading somewhat as follows: “You may reconstruct the men, with your laws and things, but how are you going to reconstruct the women? Whoop-ee!”

Now this unauthorized but certainly very expressive interjection had a good deal of truth at its back, and I am very sure that I have never yet known a thoroughly “reconstructed” woman. The reason, of course, is not far to seek.

The women of the South could hardly have been more desperately in earnest than their husbands and brothers and sons were, in the prosecution of the war, but with their women-natures they gave themselves wholly to the cause . . . to doubt its righteousness, or to falter in their loyalty to it while it lived, would have been treason and infidelity; to do the like now that it is dead would be to them little less than sacrilege.

I wish I could adequately tell my reader of the part those women played in the war. If I could make these pages show half of their nobleness; if I could describe the sufferings they endured, and tell of their cheerfulness under it all; if the reader might guess the utter unselfishness with which they laid themselves and the things they held nearest their hearts upon the altar of the only country they knew as their own, the rare heroism with which they played their sorrowful part in a drama which was to them a long tragedy;

[I]f my pages could be made to show the half of these things, all womankind, I am sure, would tenderly cherish the record, and nobody would wonder again at the tenacity with which the women of the South still hold their allegiance to the lost cause.

Theirs was a particularly hard lot. The real sorrows of war, like those of drunkenness, always fall more heavily upon women. They may not bear arms. They may not even share the triumphs which compensate their brethren for toil and suffering and danger. They must sit still and endure. The poverty which war brings to them wears no cheerful face, but sits down with them to empty tables and pinches them sorely in solitude.

After the victory . . . [the] wives and daughters await in sorest agony of suspense the news which may bring hopeless desolation to their hearts. To them the victory may mean the loss of those for whom they lived and in whom they hoped, while to those who have fought the battle it brings only gladness. And all this was true of Southern women almost without exception.

[The] more heavily the war bore upon themselves, the more persistently did they demand that it should be fought out to the end. When they lost a husband, a son, or a brother, they held the loss only an additional reason for faithful adherence to the cause. Having made such a sacrifice to that which was almost a religion to them, they had, if possible, less thought than ever of proving unfaithful to it.”

(A Rebel’s Recollections, George Cary Eggleston, Indiana University Press, 1959, pp. 83-85)

Nov 1, 2016 - Myth of Saving the Union, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Soldiers Worthy of the Women of the South

Soldiers Worthy of the Women of the South

The Battle of Shiloh was fought on 6 April 1862 in Tennessee, a battle that might have ended the careers of Grant and Sherman had Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston prevailed. In the postwar, Gen. Alexander P. Stewart saw the near-victory of Southern arms there “as [the Army of Tennessee’s] one chance to truly destroy a Federal army and change the course of the war in the West.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Soldiers Worthy of the Women of the South

“Perhaps because of the storm or criticism which had assailed him after the surrender of Fort Donelson, [Johnston] unselfishly offered the command to [Gen. PGT] Beauregard. The Creole general refused the responsibility, but he drew up the faulty plan of attack which Johnston adopted; namely, the placing of one corps behind another in three long thin lines of battle instead of advancing by columns.

In a proclamation to the soldiers Johnston described the Union army as “agrarian mercenaries sent to despoil you of your liberties, property and honor.” Appealing to his men the show themselves “worthy of the women of the South, whose noble devotion in this war has never been exceeded in any time.”

The Confederate advance [at Shiloh] was so delayed by rain and muddy roads that Beauregard believed all chance for a surprise had been lost and urged returning to their base; but the other corps commanders favored attack, and Johnston was so confident of victory that he said, “Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River.”

The Confederate attack early Sunday morning April 6 [1862] on [Sherman’s] advance division proved to be a surprise, announced only by a reconnaissance force that encountered the Confederate vedettes and mange to give the alarm so that the Federals got into line of battle for the attack. Grant was at his headquarters at Savannah, Tennessee, nine miles away on the other side of the river, when the battle began.

“Like an avalanche,” wrote Beauregard, the grey army drove the Federal troops from their camp and occupied Sherman’s headquarters at “the rude log chapel” of Shiloh. Instead of following up the victory, however, many of the Confederate soldiers stopped to plunder the camp.

At 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon [Johnston] was hit by a Minie ball which cut an artery in his leg. The wound was not necessarily mortal, but he remained in the saddle till he bled to death. The Confederates drove the Federals . . . nearly to the river; but, having used their reserve earlier in the day, they did not have the fresh strength to completer their victory.

At six o’clock in the evening . . . Beauregard halted the fighting . . . [as] the Southern troops had become hopelessly entangled, until they were a confused mob. Beauregard reported, his men were jaded by the previous day’s march through mud and rain, and they had fought twelve hours without food. The arrival of [enemy reinforcements] late that afternoon and during the night enabled the Union armies the following day to turn the tide of battle.”

(The History of the Southern Confederacy, Clement Eaton, Macmillan Company, 1954, excerpts, pp. 162-163)

Southern Remembrances in Stone

The South has not produced a domestic architecture since 1865 as distinctive as that of the Old South, though the traditions of older styles of architecture prevail to this day and thwart the acceptance of mediocre and soulless modernist (read: Marxist) boxes. The cities, big and small, of the South also enjoy a plethora of important works by notable sculptors commissioned to create permanent reminders of those who fought for the liberty and independence of the South.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Southern Remembrances in Stone

“America could never be called a sculpture-loving nation like France or Italy. A trip through either of these countries impresses one with the poverty of America sculpturally. The emotions, aspirations, and triumphs of these nations seem to have crystallized through the centuries into marble and bronze monuments.

A ready excuse for the lack of sculpture in the South is the poverty that was prevalent after the Civil War, the period in which the North erected so many of its monuments. That this explanation is not truly sufficient, however, is evident when one checks the sculptural commissions given in the South since the [First] World War.

The only State in the South that can boast of a long list of sculptured possessions is Virginia. Richmond as the capital has a fine array of monuments. Notable among these are Washington by Houdon; Robert E. Lee by Mercie; Jefferson Davis and General Wickham by Valentine. Charlottesville, the seat of the University of Virginia, has almost as many monuments as Richmond and several of high quality – a Lewis and Clark group and an equestrian Stonewall Jackson by Charles Keck; a second monument to George Rogers Clark of great merit by Robert L. Aitken, and the expressive Thomas Jefferson by Karl Bitter. Arlington, of course, adds to the State’s total.

A glance through the list off monuments in other cities in the State shows work by Henry Adams and Bryan Baker, monuments by Charles Keck in several places, and many monuments by George Julian Zolney. Even the smaller cities in Virginia are thus seen to call upon sculptors of national reputation to design their memorials.

After Virginia several States group together in the quantity and quality of their sculpture. Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are about in the same class.

At Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, Georgia, the most stupendous sculptural undertaking is in progress that has ever been conceived anywhere in the world. The idea of carving the face of the gigantic Stone Mountain as a memorial to the Confederacy originated with Mrs. Helen Plane and was adopted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916.

Gutzon Borglum was appointed sculptor, and carving was begun on 1923. In 1925, following severe disagreements, his contract was cancelled and Augustus Lukeman was appointed his successor. At present the three main figures of the central group, those of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, are being carved. Immediately upon the completion of these figures, however, the next phase of the work to be undertaken will be the Memorial Hall.

In Georgia there are of further note several monuments by Daniel Chester French. The Spencer Memorial in Atlanta and the General Oglethorpe Monument in Savannah are by him, and both have harmonious bases by Henry Bacon, architect.

Mississippi possesses an important repository of sculpture in the National Park Cemetery at Vicksburg. Among the memorials in the Park are the works of such men as Lorado Taft, Herbert Adams, A.A. Weinman, and Solon Borglum.

In New Orleans, Lousiana . . . [is] the Wounded Stag by Antoine Louis Barye, which stands in front of the Delgado Museum of Art. The center of the historic Jackson Square is accented by one of Clark Hill’s famous equestrian statues of General Jackson. Effectively place on the plaza in front of the Courthouse is the bronze figure of Chief Justice White by Bryan Baker.

[In Austin, Texas are] her monuments to General Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, and the cemetery her figure of Albert Sidney Johnston.

In the 1933 edition of the American Art Annual are listed thirty-three native Southern sculptors. The most widely known name among these is that of Augustus Lukeman, a native of Virginia. Others in the list who have achieved more than a local reputation are William Couper, Nancy Cox McCormick, Angela Gregory, Ernest Bruce Haswell, Bonnie MacLeary, Waldine Amanda Tauch, and Enid Yandell.”

(The Fine Arts, Ula Milner Gregory; Culture in the South, W.T. Couch, editor, UNC Press, 1934, excerpts, pp. 275-277)

Oct 22, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

At the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads on 10 June 1864 in northeastern Mississippi, General Nathan Bedford Forrest commanded about 4,900 cavalry with twelve cannon – which he led against a well-equipped enemy force of 4,800 infantry and 3,300 cavalry, a total of 8,100 men. After the battle, the colonel of a Minnesota regiment blamed the defeat on under-supplied men and under-fed horses. The enemy commander’s career seemed over after this defeat by a less numerous adversary, though he re-emerged in 1877 to command the Seventh Cavalry of the dead Custer — leading that force against the less numerous Nez Perce.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

“[Despite being outnumbered], Forrest attacked. Because of the thick undergrowth covering most of the area, the Confederates were able to close to within a few paces of [the enemy] infantry. The Federals called for a charge. Forrest’s sixth sense had placed him at the key point. As he dismounted, he shouted for his escort to do likewise. Accompanied by these daring fighters and with revolver in hand, he rushed the Federals.

In the hand-to-hand fighting, the bayonets of the Union infantry were no match for the heavy Colt revolvers. The center of [the enemy] line crumbled, while the Confederate brigades on the right doubled back the Union left upon Ripley Road.

[The Second Tennessee Regiment, sent to attack the enemy left and rear, sought] to deceive the Federals about their strength . . . [and] made a great commotion [as] a bugler galloped up and down the line sounding the charge.

Forrest knew that the crisis had come and that now the battle must be won or lost. Riding along behind his line, he told his people that the enemy was starting to give way and that another charge would win the day.

He told his young chief of artillery . . . to advance four of his guns, double-shotted with canister, to within pistol range of the Federals at the crossroads. At point blank range, they unlimbered their pieces and fired . . . into [the enemy] infantry with frightful effect. After a brief but savage fight, the Federals were routed from the crossroads, with the loss of three cannon.

[The enemy commander wrote:] “I endeavored to get hold of the colored brigade which formed the guard of the wagon train . . . [but] the main line began to give way at various points . . . Order soon gave way to panic. The army drifted toward the rear and was beyond control. No power could check the panic-stricken mass as it swept towards the rear.”

Several regiments, reinforced by two companies of the 55th US Colored Troops . . . attempted to check the onrushing Confederates; but assailed on the flanks, with [Forrest’s] guns sweeping their front with double-shotted canister, the Northerners broke. In their frantic efforts to escape, [Northern] soldiers pushed their comrades aside.

A mile beyond the bridge, some [enemy] infantry rallied, but [Forrest’s artillery] smashed this pocket of resistance, and as dusk faded into darkness, Forrest and his hell-for-leather troopers overpowered another roadblock hastily manned by black and white Union soldiers. During their nighttime crossing of Hatchie Bottom, [the enemy commander] and many of his officers panicked, and they abandoned fourteen cannon and most of their wagon train.

[The advancing enemy] column, which had taken eight days to reach Brice’s Cross Roads, retreated to Memphis in sixty-four hours. Union casualties in the fight and retreat were 2,612. Forrest listed his losses at 493 killed and wounded . . . [and] captured 250 wagons and ambulances, 18 cannon, and thousands of stands of arms and rounds of ammunition, as well as Federal baggage and supplies.

A noted British soldier, Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley, in commenting on Forrest’s victory, called it “a most remarkable achievement, well-worth attention by the military student. He pursued the enemy from the battle for nigh sixty miles, killing numbers all the way. The battle and long pursuit were all accomplished in the space of thirty hours. When another Federal general was dispatched to try what he could do against this terrible Southerner, the defeated [enemy commander] was overheard repeating to himself . . . : “It can’t be done . . . it can’t be done.” Asked what he meant, the reply was, “They can’t whip old Forrest.”

(Leadership During the Civil War, Roman J. Heleniak and Lawrence Hewitt, editors, White Mane Publishing, 1992, pp. 82-84)

Oct 21, 2016 - Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on General Lee’s New Ideas in Education

General Lee’s New Ideas in Education

The other General Lee, and not kin to the more famous one, Stephen Dill Lee was a veteran of the early Virginia campaigns, Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, and ended the war with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina. After 1865 Lee was deeply involved in reviving his own plantation, and later dedicated his life, as Robert E. Lee did earlier, to educating young Southern men who faced the challenge of rebuilding their devastated country. In late April 1906, he delivered a speech in New Orleans to the sons of the men he led in battle. In his remarks he said:

“To you, sons of Confederate veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldiers’ good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

General Lee’s New Ideas in Education

“In 1880 General Lee became the first president of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Mississippi State University. [The] Father of industrial education in the South, no other citizen had such a far-reaching and penetrating influence upon the agricultural and industrial development of the Southern States.

Lee advanced in his day a new thought to Southern-bred collegians. He believed that education and manual labor should go together.

In making his first report to his Board of Trustees, he said: “All students are required to work from two to three hours a day . . . on the farm, among the stock, in the garden . . . shops or grounds . . . Our experience shows that students who work . . . stand highest in their classes and enjoy better health. It also inculcates and retains habits of industry at that period of life when education is being obtained . . . It makes labor honorable and demonstrates that labor and a high standard of liberal and scientific education are not incompatible, and go hand-in-hand with the struggle of life, and in developing our industries and resources . . .”

Lee warned the South that unless its farmers learned the science of modern agriculture their lands would be owned by strangers. “Knowledge is power,” he said, “in every department of life – as important to the farmer as the professional man.”

He foresaw that electricity would play in the industrialization of the South, and in his report of 1893 he wrote:

“I deem it most important that the boys of Mississippi be instructed in an electrical laboratory to fit them for industrial pursuits now just ahead.” That same year he began a crusade for an appropriation to equip such a laboratory and provide electric lights for the college grounds and dormitories.

At times combatting an unsympathetic legislature and the hosts of ignorance, “Old Steve,” as he was affectionately called, pioneered with new methods of instruction and introduced departments in the mechanical arts and engineering.

Experiments at the college revealed the surprising fact that cotton seed, which had been a waste and a liability, had a feed and food value, and a new industry emerged from the soil. The first creamery in the Gulf States was established at the college and the foundation laid for a more diversified agricultural development.

Under Lee’s leadership the advantages of diversified agriculture and drainage were fully demonstrated and the value of scientific farming definitely proved among a people whose methods were comparatively primitive.

The cultivation of better grasses and the introduction of improved herds changed the agricultural complexion of the “Magnolia State” [and] graduates went forth with a new faith in farming. The development of this new idea in education spread to other States and created a demand for students to fill positions as teachers, managers of farms and creameries, and professors and instructors in other agricultural colleges and at agricultural experiment stations.

Stephen Dill Lee died in 1908. In the devastation that followed in the wake of Appomattox, with a social order disrupted, an economic system destroyed, and the flower of Southern manhood killed or maimed, Lee the soldier became a builder.”

(Sons of the South, Clayton Rand, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961, pg. 160)

That “Superior” Army

The following quotation copied from the “Annual Reports, 1861-65, of the United States Sanitary Commission, appeared in the July issue of Confederate Veteran magazine in 1930. It is extracted from a published statement in Boston by Gen. Samuel G. Howe, in early 1862. He laments the lack of moral fortitude in the average Northern soldier.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

That “Superior” Army

“Our men in the field do not lack food, or clothing, or money, but they do lack noble watchwords and inspiring ideas, such as are worth fighting and dying for. The Southern soldier has what at least serves him as such; for he believes that he fights in defense of country, home, and rights; and he strikes vehemently, and with a will.

Our men, alas! have no such ideas. The Union is to most of them an abstraction, and not an inspiring watchword. The sad truth should be known – that our army has no conscious, noble purpose; and our soldiers generally have not much stomach for fight.

Look at the opposing armies and you will see two striking truths. First, the Northern men are superior in numbers, virtue, intelligence, bodily strength, and real pluck; and yet on the whole they have been outgeneraled and badly beaten.

Second, the Northern army is better equipped, better clad, fed and lodged; and is in a far more comfortable condition, not only than the Southern army, but any other in the world; and yet, if the pay were stopped in both, the Northern army would probably mutiny at once, or crumble rapidly; while the Southern army would probably hold together for a long time, in some shape, if their cause seemed to demand it.

The animating spirit of the Southern soldier is rather moral than pecuniary; of the Northern soldier it is rather pecuniary than moral.”

(Gen. Samuel Howe, US Army, February 20, 1862, Confederate Veteran Magazine, July, 1930, pg. 251)

Oct 16, 2016 - Myth of Saving the Union, Southern Conservatives, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Unyielding Determination at Cemetery Hill

Unyielding Determination at Cemetery Hill

The battle flags carried by Southern units were usually presented in a similar manner as the Desoto Rifles of New Orleans in 1861: “Receive from your mothers and sisters, from those whose affections greet you, these colors woven by our feeble but reliant hands; and when this bright flag shall float before you on the battlefield, let it not only inspire you with the patriotic ambition of a soldier aspiring to his and his country’s honor and glory, but also may it be a sign that cherished loved ones appeal to you to save them from a fanatical and heartless foe.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Unyielding Determination at Cemetery Hill

“Choking down their fear, and with their colorbearers leading them on, they started over the rise and then up into the face of the Yankee artillery. The guns on the hill “vomit[ed] forth a perfect storm of grape, canister, shrapnel, etc.” But their commander shouted “forward!” and on they marched, “over fences, ditches, through marshy fields”

After crossing the valley, the left flank of the Federal infantry behind a stone wall at the base of Cemetery Hill hit them with a sheet of flame and lead. Yet because of the darkness and the rolling nature of the terrain, their aim way high; most of the bullets shrieked overhead while the Louisiana Tigers kept going, up the hill and into the first line of [enemy] rifle pits.

The fighting became hand to hand as both brigades climbed the slope. One Southerner remembered “with bayonets and clubbed guns we drove them back” out of the Federals’ lines.

Seeing their forward lines break and the Rebels come screaming at them, the troops in the Federal second and third lines of rifle pits broke and ran. With [Brigadier-General Harry T.] Hays’ Tigers hot on their tails, the Federals retreated to the breastworks and emplacements around two batteries at the top of the hill . . . along the way scores of Federals surrendered, but the Confederates refused to stop and take them prisoner officially, instead simply ordered them to the rear.

It was pitch dark, but now the Louisianans and North Carolinians were in among the [enemy] guns on the crest. Here the fighting became “desperate,” recalled Capt. James F. Beall of the Twenty-first North Carolina:

“[B]ut like an unbroken wave, our maddened column rushed on, facing a continual stream of fire. After charging almost to the enemy’s [third] line, we were compelled to fall back, but only a short distance. The column reformed and charged again, but failed to dislodge the enemy. [Our] brigade held its ground with unyielding determination – ever keeping afloat our flag to battle and breeze.”

Over on the right of [Col. Isaac] Avery’s brigade the Sixth North Carolina had fought its way up . . . At least 75 Tarheels crossed the [enemy’s] wall, fighting with clubs, knives, stones, fists and anything else a man could use to defend himself or attack the enemy.

A Confederate colorbearer, probably from the Sixth North Carolina, jumped up on the wall, pistol in one hand, flag in the other. He shouted out “surrender you Yankees,” but a Federal stuck his bayonet into him and pulled the trigger of his rifle, blowing a hole clear through the Confederate. A Federal soldier grabbed for [the falling flag] at the same moment another Confederate grabbed the other end. The ensuing tug-of-war was won by the Rebel.

What was left of the Sixth cleared the ridge and captured the Federal guns, then retreated down the side of the hill to the stone wall, taking their battle flag with them.

When the first colorbearer of the Twenty-first North Carolina was killed while charging up the hill, the flag was picked up by Major Alexander Miller. When Miller went down, Pvt. J.W. Bennett picked it up, and was also shot. Four more men of the Twenty-first North Carolina were killed carrying the flag, then Capt. James Beall picked it up. “The hour was one of horror,” recalled Beall:

“Amid the incessant roar of cannon, the din of musketry, and the glare of bursting shells making the darkness intermittent – adding awfulness to the scene – the hoarse shouts of friend and foe, the piteous cries of wounded and dying, one could well imagine, (if it were proper to say it), that “war is hell . . .”

To remain was certain capture, to retreat was almost certain death. Few, except the wounded and dead, were left behind. Here, these brave North Carolinians ‘stood, few and faint, but fearless still.”

(The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion, The Confederate Battle Flag at Gettysburg, Richard Rollins, Rank and File Publications, 1997, excerpts, pp. 131-134)

For the Love of the Dear Old Homeland

Sherman’s strength at Bentonville was initially 58,000 versus Johnston’s aggregate of about 20,000 men. On the way to reinforce Sherman were the 45,000 troops of Schofield, Terry and Cox, advancing from Goldsboro, New Bern and Wilmington — for a total of 103,000 versus 20,000. The author below erroneously suggests a much larger figure for Sherman’s total forces.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

For the Love of the Dear Old Homeland

“On March 7, 1865 General William T. Sherman and his army of mercenaries from Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Prussia was well as the northern United States, many of whom could not speak English, crossed the North Carolina State line. Behind them lay the smoking ruins of sacked Georgia and South Carolina cities, homeless widows and orphans and death by starvation.

At Laurel Hill, NC, Sherman halted to refresh his troops, and from here he wired Gen. Schofield in Wilmington that he would be in Goldsboro, NC [on] March 20, 1865. On March 12th Sherman and his army of barbarians reached Fayetteville.

After plundering the residential section, it was then burned. Also destroyed were four cotton mills, the churches, banks, courthouse and warehouses. Sherman then moved on looting and burning. Any item that could not be carried, including furniture, carpets and farm equipment, was destroyed. Even the cabins of the slaves were robbed by the Yankees.

Following the fall of Wilmington, by the 7th of March General Robert Hoke and his small division of [mostly North Carolina] brigades were near Kinston, NC. On the 8th, Gen. Hoke and the division of [Daniel H.] Hill attacked the corps of Gen. Cox consisting of 13,056 Federal troops. The battle was a great victory for the Confederates with a loss to Cox of 1257 men.

General Joseph E. Johnston attacked Gen. Sherman at the hamlet of Bentonville on the 19th of March, inflicting a signal repulse. Brigade after brigade of Federals were crushed, and but for the gallant charge of the Federals under Fearing the center would have been entirely destroyed.

After this defeat Gen. Sherman was unwilling to suffer another, so he waited for Gen. Schofield to join him, and this combined force consisted of over 160,000 troops. The Confederate corps of Gen. D.H. Hill numbered 2,687 men.

When Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army of half-starved veterans at Appomattox, Virginia, General Johnston was also forced to surrender, April 26, 1865, near Durham Station, NC, and the War for Southern Independence came to a close.

In regards to the Confederate soldiers of 1861-1865, Judge [Joseph de] Roulhac Hamilton wrote:

“How splendid and great they were in their modest, patient, earnest love of country! How strong they were in their young manhood, and pure they were in their faith, and constant they were in their principles. How they bore suffering and hardship, and how their lives were ready at the call of duty! Suffering they bore, duty they performed, and death they faced and met, all for the love of the dear old homeland; all this for the glory and honor of North Carolina.

And they were faithful unto thee, guard thou their names and fame, grand old mother of us all. If thy sons in the coming times shall learn the lesson of their heroism their lives inspired and their lives declared, then not one drop of blood was shed in vain.”

[General Robert F. Hoke’s said (excerpted) in a farewell address to his men:]

“The fortunes of war have turned the scale against us. The proud banners which you have waved so gloriously over many a field are to be furled at last; but they are not disgraced, my comrades. History will bear witness to your valor and succeeding generations will point with admiration to your grand struggle for constitutional freedom.

You have yielded to overwhelming numbers, not to superior valor. You are paroled prisoners, not slaves. The love of liberty, which led you into this contest, burns as brightly in your hearts as ever. Cherish it. Associate it with the history of your past. Transmit it to your children. Teach them the rights of freedom, and teach them to maintain them.

Teach them that the proudest day in all your proud career was that on which you enlisted as Southern soldiers, entering that holy brotherhood whose ties are now sealed by the blood of your compatriots who have fallen, and whose history is coeval with the brilliant record of the past four years.”

(Land of the Golden River, Volume 2, Lewis Philip Hall, Hall’s Enterprises, 1980, pp. 101-103)

 

Sep 15, 2016 - Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen    Comments Off on Those Faded Jackets of Grey

Those Faded Jackets of Grey

 

“We had lived in South Carolina less than five years when I was dipped deep in the fiery spirit of Southern patriotism. This was the Confederate reunion of 1903, held in our home town of Columbia. It was but one in a long line of reunions.

In South Carolina they had a way of placing the first in the year 1876 — “the grandest reunion ever held in any State, one of the most sublime spectacles ever witnessed,” “thrilling the hearts” of the people of Columbia. They called it the first, but “there were no invitations, no elaborate programme, no committees of reception, no assignment of quarters, no reduced rates of transportation, no bands of music, no streamers flying.”

Of it they said: “The State was prostrate. The people had with marvelous patience restrained themselves from tearing at the throat of the Radical party. Hampton had been elected governor, and yet the tyrannical party would not yield.” (Wade Hampton and his “red shirts” had just overthrown Reconstruction.)  At that moment, the story goes — “It was the supreme moment of the crisis” — there appeared, coming into Columbia from every direction, by all the highways, “men in apparel which had become the most glorious badge of service since the history of the world — those faded jackets of grey.”

They came, it is said, ten thousand of them, converging on Columbia, making their way straight to the headquarters of the Democratic Party. They were resolved, they said, “to make this State one vast cemetery of free men rather than the home of slaves.”

Their voices shouted hoarsely, “Hampton!” “Forth came the great captain who stilled the tumult with a wave of his hand.” He said, “My countrymen, all is well. Go home and be of good cheer. I have been elected governor of South Carolina, and by the eternal God, I will be governor or there shall be none.”

I remember nothing of the Lost Cause movement before the Confederate reunion of 1903. I may have been drinking it in since the time of my babyhood . . . In 1903 I was verily baptized in its sentiments. In the air we felt a sense of urgency, as though the chance might never come again to honor the old men.

The oratory stressed it: “Ranks of the men who fought beneath the Stars and Bars — the beautiful Southern Cross — are thinner . . .” “Pathos . . . there cannot be many more reunions for these oaks of the Confederacy . . .”

“Not far from taps . . . for the many ties that bind will soon be severed . . . the high tribute is but their honor due.”

(The Making of a Southerner, Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin, UGA Press, 1991, (original 1946), pp. 112-114)