Browsing "Southern Heroism"

Why the Museum of the Confederacy Exists

The documents and presentations at the time the Museum of the Confederacy was created in Richmond clearly define why it exists and in whose memory it is dedicated. The clear intent was that “their immortal deeds and the evidences of their achievements will be preserved in the old home of the President of the Confederacy, where they will remain throughout generations and for all time.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Why the Museum of the Confederacy Exists

“The Davis Mansion Formally Thrown Open for the Reception of Relics

THE BATTLE ABBEY OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES

An Institution to Preserve the Record of the Deeds of Our Soldiers

The dawn of February 22, 1896 was auspicious — assuredly, in the historic city of Richmond. Old Sol rose in all the vaunted splendor of Italy’s skies. All nature was calm and serene. Who will say that it was not the approving smile of the Lord of hosts upon the truly reverential efforts of our most excellent women in the perpetuation of the truth–the treasuring of evidence and of memorials of the righteousness of the grandest struggle for constitutional right which has ever impressed the page of history?

A representative building of the period in Richmond, the most happy probably in the exemplification of intellectual worth, of social grace and substantial comfort, was the residence of the Chief Magistrate of the Confederate States, whilst they blazed into undying glory. This memorable edifice, the patient, devoted women of Richmond undertook to restore enduringly to its original conditions of form, with the sacred purpose of dedicating it to the preservation of the materials of history and hallowed memorials of Southern heroism and sacrifice.

The natal day of Washington was happily chosen for the opening of the building as the Confederate Museum, and to commemorate the formation of an institution for the preservation of the records of glorious deeds of the Southern sons who went forth to battle in defense of honor, truth and home; and the foundation of a permanent repository for the relics of the war between the States.

The former home of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States, is a most appropriate place for the location of the Confederate Museum. Situated in the very heart of the capital of the Confederacy, the institution is where it will inspire the pride and interest of every Southern man, woman and child, and will be accorded the loving and tender watchfulness of a fond and patriotic people.

When the City Council gave the Jefferson Davis Mansion to the Confederate Memorial Literary Society for a museum, that organization undertook a high and noble work, the consummation of which on yesterday was a brilliant climax to five years of undaunted energy expended in getting the building into proper condition for the change from a public school-house to a place for the reception of Confederate relics and records. The ladies of the Society have done their work well. The old soldiers may pass away, but their immortal deeds and the evidences of their achievements will be preserved in the old home of the President of the Confederacy, where they will remain throughout generations and for all time.

Virginia Governor O’Ferrall: 

“I think I can say boldly that the bloody strife of 1861 to 1865 developed in the men of the South traits of character as ennobling and as exalting as ever adorned men since the day-dawn of creation. I think I can proclaim confidently that for courage and daring chivalry and bravery, the world has never seen the superiors of the Southern soldiers. I think I can proclaim triumphantly that, from the South’s beloved President, and the peerless commander of her armies in the field, down to the private in her ranks, there was a display of patriotism perhaps unequalled (certainly never surpassed) since this passion was implanted in the human breast.”

General [Bradley T.] Johnson’s Address:

“To-day commemorates the thirty-fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the last rebel President and the birthday of the first. It commemorates an epoch in the grandest struggle for liberty and right that has ever been made by man. It celebrates the baptism of a new nation born thirty-five years ago to-day. I believe our first and most sacred duty is to our holy dead, to ourselves, and to our posterity.

It is our highest obligation to satisfy the world of the righteousness of our cause and the sound judgment with which we defended it. And we injure ourselves, we impair the moral of our side by incessant protestations of our loyalty to the victor and continuous assertions of respect for his motives of forgiveness, for his conduct, and of belief in the nobility of his faith.

There never can be two rights, nor two wrongs — one side must be right, and therefore, the other is, of course, wrong. This is so of every question of morals and of conduct, and it must be pre-eminently so of a question which divided millions of people, and which cost a million of lives. The world is surely coming to the conclusion that the cause of the Confederacy was right. Every lover of liberty, constitutional liberty, controlled by law, all over the world begins to understand that the past was not a war waged by the South in defense of slavery, but was a war to protect liberty, won and bequeathed by free ancestors.

Virginia never seceded from the Union. She resisted invasion of rights, as her free ancestors for 800 years had done with arms and force. Before the ordinance of secession was voted on, Virginia was at war with the Northern States, and all legal connection had been broken with them by their own act in the unlawful invasion of her soil. It is this constant and growing consciousness of the nobleness and justice and chivalry of the Confederate cause which constitutes the success and illuminates the triumph we commemorate to-day. Evil dies; good lives; and the time will come when all the world will realize that the failure of the Confederacy was a great misfortune to humanity, and will be the source of unnumbered woes to liberty.

There were more rebel brigadiers killed in battle for the Confederacy than in any war that was ever fought. When such men and women have lived such lives, and died such deaths in such a cause, their memories will outlast time. Martyrs must be glorified, and when the world knows and posterity appreciates that the war was fought for the preservation and perpetuation of free government, of government by the people, for the people, and to resist government by force against the will of the people, then the Confederacy will be revered like the memories of Leonidas at Thermopylae, and Kosciusco and Kossuth, and all the glorious armies of martyrs.

Our memorial will be here in Richmond . . . it is a memorial of no “Lost Cause.” [We] were right, immortally right, and [the] conqueror was wrong, eternally wrong. The great army of the dead are here, the sentiment of the living is here, the memories of the past are here, the monuments of the future will be here. The memorial of the Confederacy is here, not built by hands — made by memory and devotion! What else could it be?”

(Excerpted from the Southern Historical Society Papers, Dedication of the South’s Museum, Volume XXIII, R. A. Brock, Editor, 1896, pp. 354-372)

 

The Pens of Our Adversaries

Colonel William Allan spoke of the danger of not writing the history of your people and inculcating this in the hearts and minds of the young. He warned that the South should not allow their late enemies to take up the pen.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Pens of Our Adversaries

“Mr. President:

The work done by the Southern Historical Society has been most important and valuable. For years it testified to the truth amid the prejudice and vituperation which was the lot of the Confederate cause. An immense change in recent years has taken place in the estimates made in Europe, as well as the North itself, in regard to our war. But its work is not yet done. It has really only been begun.

However gratifying the change which has been brought about in Northern sentiment in regards to the events of the war, we must not, we should not, allow the history of our side in this great struggle to be written by those who fought against us.

Future generations should not learn of the motives, the sacrifices, the aims, the deeds of our Southern people, nor of the characters of their illustrious leaders only through the pens of our adversaries. What have not Carthage and Hannibal lost in the portraits — the only ones that remain to us — drawn by Roman historians?

Not one word have I to say in criticism of monuments placed to commemorate the brave deeds of the Union soldiers who died on that [Manassas] field; but if these men be worthy of such honor from their comrades, how much more do we owe to the men who twice won victory at the price of blood on this spot; or to those noble South Carolinians under Gregg, who, on the left of A.P. Hill, on August 29, 1862, held their position with a tenacity not exceeded by the British squares at Waterloo . . .?

The deeds of such men and of many others like them deserve to be kept green for all time. They constitute a priceless legacy to their countrymen — to their descendants.”

(Remarks of Colonel William Allan of Maryland at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Society, 31 October, 1883, Gen. J. A. Early, President)

 

You Called These Men to the Colors

Thomas Dixon is less known for his time spent in the North Carolina Legislature, and far better known for his books “The Leopard Spots” and “The Clansman,” and also his silent movie “Birth of a Nation.” Below, Dixon appeals to his progressive fellow legislators to not forget those crippled patriots they had earlier called to defend the State.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

You Called These Men to the Colors

“Early in the [North Carolina legislative] session I met Walter Hines Page, reporting for his Daily Chronicle. He asked me to drop into his office and see him often. I did, and we formed a friendship which lasted through life.

The big occasion on which I decided to deliver my maiden speech was my report from the Finance Committee (Way and Means) of the bill to pension the poor disabled soldiers of the State who had fought in the Confederate army. The first measure to pension Confederate soldiers any man had dared to introduce into a Southern legislature. The discussion of the bill by the press during the hearings had stirred the State. When I spoke to a crowded House and packed galleries I was in dead earnest, never more so in life. I read the speech today, fifty years later, with a sense of satisfaction.

“I am aware, gentlemen of the House, that this bill, small as the pittance given by it to our crippled veterans, means in the long run at least a million dollars in taxes to be borne by our people. I am aware that a new spirit is abroad in the Old Commonwealth. Progress is the watchword of the hour. We have started an industrial expansion after twenty years of struggle against starvation. We must and will give the full force of our energy to this development.

But while we are on the road to prosperity, I must ask you to remember that back in the rear of your marching people, amid the dirt and dust and misery of the direst poverty there comes painfully struggling along, a band of your wounded comrades, forgotten in their distress.

I am talking now to the sovereign State of North Carolina in its representative body assembled. You called these men to the colors. They answered as citizens of the State, not as delegates of the Confederate Government. They fought as citizens of North Carolina. Their bodies are mangled today because you sent them to the front. I speak in the name of humanity whose cries have been neglected until they echo at God’s bar crying for justice against you and me. And if there be a God — which none of you doubt — you will hear these cries before you enter the prosperity toward which you now so eagerly look.

Remember, gentlemen, that these crippled soldiers marched under the same blue flag of your State whose silken folds now flash above your council chambers. On a hundred fields of blood they bared their breasts until a bullet came that sent them to a surgeon’s tent. Some of you who hear me in this House limp across its floor on one leg. You remember the scene. The blockade had closed our drug stores. There was no chloroform or ether.

In trembling, piteous tones you heard them begging the young surgeon for God’s sake to spare their limbs. Heard until sick at heart you closed your ears with hands pressed tightly against them. The knife severs the flesh while the victim screams, the arteries are tied, the saw grates through the bone, it’s over, and a wretch is carried out, hope and spirit broken, the light of the world gone out. [These men] in the morning of life, in the glory of [their] youth, stood shoulder to shoulder with your heroic dead who charged over our historic fields and made records of your army immortal.

On May 10th, we cover the graves of our dead with flowers. A pious beautiful ceremony. Let it never be forgotten. Should we forget their mangled comrades who in bitterness of soul have cursed God and envied the lot of those who sleep in peace beneath your tears and flowers?

(Southern Horizons, Autobiography of Thomas Dixon, IWV Publishing, 1984, pp. 177-179)

Young Purser Hoist the Rebel Colors

Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1846, well-known Wilmingtonian businessman, author and philanthropist James Sprunt was a young seventeen year-old who took to sea aboard blockade runners. A successful cotton merchant after the war, he also held the position of British vice consul German consul, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Navigation and Pilotage, and President of: the Seamen’s Friend Society, State Literary and Historical Association of North Carolina, North Carolina Folk Lore Society – and was a Trustee of the University of North Carolina. His most famous work is entitled “Chronicles of the Cape Fear, published in 1914.

When asked on one occasion what suggestion from his experience in life he would offer the young, he replied, “Unswerving integrity, sobriety, perseverance, out-of-door exercise, and faith in the goodness of God.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Young Purser Hoists the Rebel Colors

“He came to manhood in a troubled time. The War Between the States had begun. The Federal Government proclaimed a blockade of Southern ports. The natural advantages of Wilmington made it an ideal port for blockade runners, as there were two entrances to the river and as the slope of the beach for miles is very gradual to deep water. Therefore, a light draft steamer, hard pressed by the enemy, could run along the outer edge of the breakers without great risk of grounding, whereas the pursuer, being usually of deeper draft, was obliged to keep farther off shore.

In the third year of the War at age seventeen, he took passage on a blockade runner to Bermuda with the promise of a position on the North Heath, a vessel then building on the Clyde. When she arrived at Bermuda, Captain Burroughs, her commander, who had successfully run the blockade twelve times . . . [on the] Cornubia, appointed him purser of the North Heath.

But shortly after sailing from St. George, Bermuda, bound for Wilmington, they ran into a hurricane and for two days and nights were in imminent danger of their lives. For an entire night she wallowed like a log in a trough of mountainous waves . . . the water had risen in her hold until every one of the fourteen furnaces was extinguished. Eventually the captain…got the ship under control and she was put about and headed back to Bermuda for repairs. A little later . . . he was appointed purser of the steamer Lilian [under Captain John Newland Maffitt], and on this vessel he passed through all the dangers and exciting experiences of a daring blockade runner.

[The USS Shenandoah] log of Saturday, July 30, 1864, off Cape Lookout says: “At 3:45PM sighted a steamer burning black smoke to the eastward; made all sail in chase. At 5:45PM he showed rebel colors . . . [and] began to fire at him with the 30 and 150 pounder rifle Parrott . . . at 8PM stopped firing, gave up the chase, stopped engines.”

Of this Dr. Sprunt wrote half a century afterwards: “. . . it was I who hoisted those “rebel” colors on that eventful day fifty-five years ago: and thereby hangs the tale.” Then follows the blood-stirring story of the Lilian, loaded to the hatch combings with gunpowder for Lee’s army; of her hundred-mile chase and bombardment by the Shenandoah, of the “fearful accuracy” of the cruiser’s gunnery . . . the young purser’s sensations as the hurtling shells passed only a few feet from his head . . . the bursting of one of her boilers, reducing her to a desperate condition, of her wonderful escape after nightfall . . . and on the following morning, though badly crippled, passed through the Federal fleet off Fort Fisher under furious fire from the whole squadron and steamed into Wilmington with her cargo of powder.”

On the third outward voyage the Lilian was chased and bombarded for five hours by five Federal cruisers, disabled by a shot below the water line and captured, and James Sprunt, sharing the fate of his associates, became a prisoner of war (August 24, 1864) and was confined for some time in a casemate of Fort Macon.

In company with Pilot “Jim Billy” Craig, afterwards well-known as the Reverend J.W. Craig, an honored minister of the Methodist Church, he escaped from prison and they made their way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. His last service afloat in the War was as purser of the Confederate steamer Susan Beirne, of which Eugene Maffitt [son of Captain John Newland Maffitt] was chief officer, and he continued on this blockade runner until the fall of Fort Fisher.”

(James Sprunt, A Tribute from the City of Wilmington, Edwards & Broughton, 1925, pp. 12-18)

Six Thousand Against Twenty Thousand!

Despite the tide of war turning against them and being hopelessly outnumbered in every battle, the hungry and ragged American soldiers fought on in North Carolina, bravely trying to destroy the Northern invaders. They fought to protect their families, homes and State; their enemies fought for bounties, looting and conquest.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Six Thousand Against Twenty Thousand!

“At Monroe’s Farm . . . General Wade Hampton and his Confederate cavalry caught Judson Kilpatrick with his pants down — in fact, without any pants — in a sudden surprise attack during the early dawn of March 11 [1865]. Had the famished Confederates not stopped to loot the Yankee camp of food, they might have gained a signal victory that day.

Many of the Confederates killed in that fight were boys — the seed corn of the Confederacy, as Governor Vance called them. They died then, those boys, many calling for their mothers. Their mangled bodies lie in a mass grave in old Longstreet Church Cemetery, now a part of the Fort Bragg [military] Reservation.

On through Fayetteville, across the Cape Fear River and up toward Averasboro went [General Joseph E.] Johnston’s little army of hungry, ragged men. Only a few days before an order had been issued than none would be excused from duty merely because he had no shoes! And this was March, and it was cold and it rained—Lord, it rained all the time.

So they slogged through the mud and the mire and ate parched corn, pickled pork, roots, grub worms — anything they could chew and swallow. It was at the time when Johnston’s chief surgeon stated he didn’t believe there was a sound set of guts in the entire Confederate Army.

The route of Johnston’s retreat could be followed by following the trail of dysentery-ridden soldiers left in houses along the way. These, then, were the 6,000 men of General Hardee’s Corps, composed principally of South Carolinians, who placed themselves across that 3-1/2 mile stretch of land between the Cape Fear River and Black Rivers — 4 miles south of old Averasboro. Their job? Lick the Yankees!

Over in the Black River Swamp the Confederates had charged the Yankee position . . . The charge was intended to turn the Federal right and neatly cul-de-sac the whole Yankee Army against the Cape Fear River and destroy it. Six thousand against twenty thousand!”

(They Passed This Way, Malcolm Fowler, Friends of Harnett County Library, 1955, pp. 95-96)

Hooker Amuses the American Napoleons

The Duke of Wellington reportedly said that “a man of refined Christian sensibilities is totally unfit for the profession of a soldier,” though two devoted Christians, Lee and Jackson faithfully performed their soldierly duties to near-perfection against tremendous odds.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Hooker Amuses the American Napoleons

“On the Confederate side, the force operating at Chancellorsville consisted of McLaw’s and Anderson’s divisions of Longstreet’s corps (Hood’s and Pickett’s divisions of that corps, under Longstreet, were in the vicinity of Suffolk, on the south side of the James river), and Jackson’s corps, of A.P. Hill’s, [Jubal] Early’s, D.H. Hill’s under Rodes, and Trimble’s under Colston, and two brigades of cavalry under W.H.F. Lee and Fitzhugh Lee.

Present, then, we find six infantry divisions or twenty-eight brigades, and the cavalry brigades of nine regiments. The official return of the Army of Northern Virginia nearest to the battle extant – viz: 31st March 1863 . . . you have present at Chancellorsville a Confederate total on 53,303, with some 170 pieces of artillery.

Now let us see what 133,708 fighting men in blue did with 53,303 “boys in gray.”

It will be demonstrated that “the finest army on the planet” as Hooker termed it, “was like the waves of the ocean driven upon the beach by some unseen force, and whose white crests we so soon broken into glittering jewels on the sand.”

[Three of Hooker’s] corps were to constitute the left wing of the army – were to hold and amuse General Lee and prevent him from observing the great flank movement of the right wing, and to pursue him, when maneuvered out of his entrenchments, by the approaching hosts on his left-rear.

Hooker’s original left wing was about equal in numbers to General Lee’s whole army, and his right wing, or marching column, of four infantry corps and one cavalry corps [57,414], would represent his numerical advantage in strength.

The Confederate commander knew a movement was in progress. With the serenity of almost superhuman intelligence he waited for it to be developed before his plans were laid to counteract it, for he remembered the maxim of the great Napoleon, that when your enemy is making a mistake he must not be interrupted.

General Lee was to keep 14,000 men in front of Hooker’s 73,124 while Jackson moved around his right flank with 26,000. [Upon personally viewing the exposed and undefended enemy flank, Jackson’s] eyes burned with a brilliant glow, lighting up his sad face. His expression was one of intense interest, his face was colored slightly with the paint of approaching battle, and radiant at the success of his flanking movement.

From what I have read and heard of Jackson since that day, I know now what he was doing then. Oh! “beware of rashness,” General Hooker. Stonewall Jackson is praying in full view of your right flank!”

(Chancellorsville – Address of General Fitzhugh Lee, Southern Historical Papers, Volume VII, 1879, pp. 558-560; 570-572)

Hoke Reveals Kinship with Lee

Major-General Robert F. Hoke of Lincolnton, North Carolina was said to be Lee’s personal choice for command of the Army of Northern Virginia should he be incapacitated. A brilliant division commander, Hoke was not a West Pointer and after the war declined any reminiscences of his participation.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Hoke Reveals Kinship with Lee

“I once saw General [Robert F.] Hoke eating ham and eggs and buckwheat cakes in a hotel in Greensboro. A massive man with broad smooth brow and well-trimmed gray beard, he resembled the pictures of General Lee. Later in the day when I was introduced to him at a railway station, the talk fell on the war with Spain, which had just ended and he told me President McKinley had offered him by telegraph a brigadier’s commission in the army preparing to go to Cuba.

He thanked the President but declined. “I have seen enough of war in my time,” he said. He spoke as casually as if he had said,” “I had all the buckwheat cakes for breakfast I wanted.”

We were then only four miles from the spot where he as the commander of a division in [General Joe] Johnston’s army had surrendered to Sherman. I tried to draw him out on the subject, but he was politely uninterested.

General Hoke engaged in mining and railroading after 1865. He resolutely refused to enter politics, unlike many of his brother officers who were only too ready to capitalize their war records. In this General Hoke revealed a kinship of the spirit of General Lee.”

(Son of Carolina, Augustus White Long, Duke University Press, 1939, pp. 36-37)

Eminent and Unmatched Virginians

Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts seemed unaware of his State’s deep involvement in the transatlantic slave trade as he arraigns the South for an absence of morals. Senator John Critcher below served during the war as a lieutenant-colonel of the Fifteenth Virginia cavalry.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Eminent and Unmatched Virginians

“In the debate on Education in the House of Representatives, Mr. Hoar, of Massachusetts remarked that slavery in the South was not so observable in the degradation of the slave as in the depravity of the master.

Mr. Critcher, of Virginia replied:

“Reminding the gentleman from Massachusetts that every signer of the Declaration of Independence, except those from his State, and perhaps one or two others, were slave-owners, he would venture to make a bold assertion; he would venture to say that he could name more eminent men from the parish of his residence, than the gentleman could name from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He would proceed to name them, and yield the floor to the gentleman to match them if he could.

On one side of his estate is Wakefield, the birthplace of Washington. On the other side is Stratford, the residence of Light Horse Harry Lee, of glorious Revolutionary memory.

Adjoining Stratford is Chantilly, the residence of Richard Henry Lee, the mover of the Declaration of Independence, and the Cicero of the American Revolution. There lived Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Charles Lee, at one time Washington’s Attorney General; and Arthur Lee, the accomplished negotiator of the treaty of commerce and alliance between the Colonies and France in 1777.

Returning, as said before, you come first to the birthplace of Washington; another hour’s drive will bring you to the birthplace of Monroe; another hour’s drive to the birthplace of Madison, and if the gentleman supposes that the present generation is unworthy of their illustrious ancestors, he has but to stand on the same estate to see the massive chimneys of the baronial mansion that witnessed the birth of Robert E. Lee.

These are some of the eminent men from the parish of his residence, and he yielded the floor that the gentleman might match them, if he could, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

(Degrading Influence of Slavery, Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 12, Barefoot Publishing, pg. 59)

 

History of Heroism and Honesty

The report of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans History Committee below expressed concern that “tens of thousands of boys and girls are growing up into manhood and womanhood throughout the South, with improper ideas concerning the struggle between the States; and with distorted conceptions concerning the causes” of the war. They sought remedies for this deplorable state of affairs.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

History Emphasizing Heroism and Honesty

“We have asked each member of our committee to urge upon each camp in his State the importance of gathering reliable data for the use of the future historian. This is a sacred duty that we owe to the living and to the dead and to those who are yet unborn. The establishment of truth is never wrong.

When we realize, as all of us must, that from the gloom of overwhelming defeat at the hands of superior numbers a righteous cause arises and appeals to posterity to render the verdict in accordance with the truth, loyalty to the memories of our dead, patriotism, and self-respect all urge us to go forward in our work till we are amply repaid for all of our labors by a glorious consummation of our undertaking.

Your committee has made an earnest effort to ascertain what United States histories are used in the schools of this republic. We have, so far, not found a single Southern history north of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers.

In the South thousands of schools use Northern histories. We do not condemn any work solely on the ground that it is a Northern publication . . . What we desire placed in the hands of the millions of American youth is a work that metes out exact justice to both sections of our great country; a work that tells the truth, and nothing but the truth.

Below, we give an extract from an article recently written by a man of Northern birth, Northern education, and Northern principles. The subject that he discusses is “Unfair School Histories.” In speaking of some recent Southern publications, he objects to them because they glorify the South rather than the whole Union. He says:

“It cannot be supposed that such histories will have a permanent place in any school of our land, but why are they adopted in preference to those hitherto in use? Because the books of Northern authorship exhibit an offensive and unfair sectional bias. Northerners may not see it, but it is there. Our school histories seem to need revision.

Do our [Northern] textbooks impress the fact that slavery existed in many of the northern States also in the early years of the century? That it was New England votes, combined with those of the extreme South, that prolonged the slave trade twenty years, against the protest of the middle South? Do our school children realize that secession was boldly and widely advocated in New England in 1814?

Do they think of the Southern leaders as high-minded, noble, and devout men, who fought with consummate bravery? Are we clearly taught that many of those leaders were in favor of the gradual abolition of slavery? That the questions involved were open to honest differences of opinion? That financial considerations unconsciously biased the views of both North and South on slavery?

The truest history, as well as the most patriotic, is that which gives great emphasis to the heroism and honesty, the manliness and Christian character, of the combatants on both sides. No history is worth a place in our schools that is not written in this spirit.

We therefore recommend that there be a committee of three in each State to work in conjunction with similar committees from the Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy. Let each committee find out what histories are used in the different counties; find out their inaccuracies, and point them out to the various county boards of education and to the people generally.

Patriots everywhere recognize the fact that the continued denunciation and misrepresentation of any part of a common people is a danger to all, and an infamy to all. Let the histories that our children study revere the truth, and we shall be satisfied. Let them record that . . . the South stood on lines of self-defense in battle and in doctrine . . . that the South fought honestly and fearlessly, and that when its banner was furled upon its folds not a stain was there to mar its beauty.”

(United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Report of the History Committee, Confederate Veteran, January 1900, pp. 18-20)

 

Confederate Veterans Recognized in Arlington

Republican President William McKinley was disturbed by the untended condition of Confederate graves near Fredericksburg in 1896 and responded favorably to the United Confederate Veterans interest in re-interring Southern veterans of the War Between the States. The Confederate Section of Arlington Cemetery was created with a monument approved in 1906 by Secretary of War and future President William Howard Taft. The 1929 US Public Law 810 authorized the Secretary of War to “erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army”; US Public Law 85-425 of 1958 provided pensions for Confederate veterans equal to that of Union veterans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Confederate Veterans Recognized in Arlington

“The solemn and patriotic undertaking resulting in the attentive care now being given by the [United States] government to the graves of the thousands of soldiers of the South who died while prisoners of war and the marking of these graves with the proper inscription of the Confederate States army was commenced by the establishment of the beautiful Confederate Section in Arlington Cemetery, the great national burial ground near Washington, and was brought about by Camp No. 1191, United Confederate Veterans, under the leadership of its commander, Dr. S.E. Lewis, now the United States Commissioner for this great work.

[Dr. Lewis has] devoted himself in all these years since 1898, when he investigated the graves of such Confederate soldiers as were buried at Arlington and in other places around the capital. Finding them in unsuitable locations, neglected, and without a soldier’s mark, in 1899 he, in conjunction with his Camp Committee on Confederate Dead, brought the matter by petition before President [William] McKinley and received his sympathy and support, which resulted in an appropriation by Congress in 1900 and in an order for reburial and proper marking by the secretary of War, April 25, 1901.

These Confederate dead, numbering one hundred and twenty-eight in the National Soldier’s Home Cemetery, in the District of Columbia, and one hundred and thirty-six in the older part of Arlington Cemetery, were re-buried . . . with new headstones and the inscriptions . . . consisting of the name and rank of the Confederate soldier, his company, regiment, State, and finally, the letters C.S.A., signifying the Confederate States Army.

The completion of the work in Arlington Cemetery opened the way [for Dr. Lewis] to extend the same attention to the graves of all Confederate soldiers and sailors, over thirty thousand, who died as prisoners of war . . .

This work of rescuing and marking soldiers’ graves under such circumstances has no parallel in history, and those whose knowledge of Confederate soldiers and sympathy with their families in our Southland led them to initiate and prosecute this great memorial have earned the lasting gratitude of every Confederate veteran and should be held in the highest esteem by all who value the honor of the South to the end of time.”

(Patriotic Work of Dr. S.E. Lewis, by E.W. Anderson, Jacksonville, Fla., Confederate Veteran, July 1914, pg. 331)