Browsing "Southern Patriots"

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 - American Military Genius, Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

Matthew Fontaine Maury was born in 1806 near Fredericksburg, Virginia, from a family descended from a Dutch sea captain. He spent most of the war in Europe procuring privateers for the Confederacy and perfecting his revolutionary electric mines. Maury returned to America in 1868 to accept a professorship of meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, where he advanced the importance of weather forecasting.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

“Without his father’s knowledge or consent, young Maury talked Congressman Sam Houston of Tennessee into getting him an appointment as midshipman in the United States Navy. Since there was no naval academy then, he was immediately assigned to sea duty [at age nineteen]. His first trip was to Europe on the war vessel that took Lafayette back to France after his memorable visit.

He then went around the world, followed by a voyage to South America [and returning in 1834] he used his leisure in the publication of a work on navigation which he had begun during his sea duty.

In 1842 he was appointed superintendent of the depots of charts and instruments at Washington, afterward the hydrographic office. As naval observatory astronomer he added the task of determining the direction of ocean winds and currents. In 1855 he published “The Physical Geography of the Sea,” the first textbook of modern oceanography, which went through numerous editions and translations.

In the early 1850s the idea of a trans-Atlantic cable was being discussed, and Maury presented a chart representing in profile the bottom of the Atlantic, called the “telegraphic plateau.” The citizens of New York presented him with a silver service and a purse of five thousand dollars in appreciation of his contributions to commerce.

Maury cherished as a favorite project the opening of the Amazon Valley to free trade, hoping that the project would draw slaves from the United States to Brazil. In the growing antagonism between the North and South, his sympathies were naturally with his section, but he favored conciliation. Three days after the secession of Virginia, he tendered his resignation and proceeded to Richmond where he was commissioned a commander of the Confederate States Navy.

He established the naval submarine service at Richmond and experimented with electric mines . . . [and later was] sent to England as a special agent [who was] instrumental in securing needed ships and continued his experiments with electric mines. With the purpose of using these mines, he set out for America, but when he reached the West Indies the Confederacy had collapsed.

Confederates serving abroad were excluded from pardon under the amnesty proclamations; so Maury offered his services to the Emperor of Mexico in a scheme for the colonization of [Southerners]. When the revolution there intervened, he returned to England where he busied himself with perfecting his electric mines and where he wrote a series of geographies for school use. He was presented with a purse of three thousand guineas raised by popular subscription in gratitude for his services to the maritime world, and Cambridge University honored him with the degree of doctor of laws.

While on a lecture tour in the fall of 1872 in promotion of this idea, he was taken ill at St. Louis and died on February 1, 1873.

A self-educated scientist, Maury led his biographer, John W. Wayland, to write in 1930: “The thing than made Maury a great man was his ability to see the invisible . . . He saw the trans-Atlantic cable before it was laid. He saw a railroad across the continent before it was built. He saw a ship canal from the Mississippi to the Great Lakes before it was dug . . . He saw a great training school for our Naval officers . . . and weather reports for our farmers, long before either was a reality. He saw a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama more than a century before it was constructed.

He was a seer and pathfinder not only on the sea, but under the seas, across the lands, and among the stars.”

(Sons of the South, Clayton Rand, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961, pg. 102)

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)

 

Protecting His Home and Country

 

Wilmington, N.C.

Aug. 12th, 1862

“A man and every man ought to render to his country volunteer service in times when civil war is showering down its drowning torrents of rain from the cloud of desolation. No death is more honorable than one on a battle-field, especially when waving the sword or charging the steel bayonette into the steady and advancing columns of an inveterate enemy. We who survive this war will not only feel proud but will be the remains of a jaded army at which our parents and relatives will feel proud. It makes me feel almost ecstatic when I think of being on a bloody battle-field and know that I have at home a brother and sister who can say that they have a brother among a band of others trying to protect his home and country.”

(Letter, to Dear Sister from Brother, Joseph Kinsey Papers, East Carolina University Manuscript Collection)

 

Aug 10, 2016 - Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Two Hundred-Fifty Half-Starved North Carolinians

Two Hundred-Fifty Half-Starved North Carolinians

The war nearly over in early April 1865 and Southern regiments vastly outnumbered and starving, the defense of Fort Gregg by the decimated Thirty-seventh North Carolina demonstrated the resolve to continue the struggle for independence. Like the earlier heroic defense of Fort McAllister in Georgia, Fort Gregg can be easily compared to the embattled Texians at the Alamo.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Two Hundred-Fifty Half-Starved North Carolina Heroes

“The Federal infantry soon came into sight. One Mississippian later wrote: “Ah, what a contrast, what a soul-sickening spectacle to behold. 25,000 men, flushed with recent victory, to be hurled against 250 . . . half-starved heroes, whose hearts of steel [quailed] not even at such fearful odds.”

“About ten o’clock the enemy commenced charging with four or five lines,” Lieutenant [Dallas M.] Rigler [of Mecklenburg County] would write a few years after the war. “We did not fire until they were within forty yards, and then gave them one volley; they wavered, and then the first line gave way; the second came forward, and came within thirty yards of the fort. We yelled and fired – they stood a few seconds and then broke. The third retreated also, but the fourth and fifth came to the ditch around the fort.

While this fighting was in the front, one line came in the rear and almost got inside the fort through the door. About twenty men charged them, drove them back. About eleven o’clock they scaled the walls of the fort, and for several minutes we had a hand to hand fight. We used the bayonet, and killed almost all of them that came on top.”

Private [Angelum M.] Garrison [of Mecklenburg County] chronicled: “A man of Company D, of our regiment, volunteered to shoot while three of us loaded, and we did the best that was possible. This soldier of Company D took good aim, and I think he must have killed or wounded scores of the enemy.”

Twenty-year old Lieutenant [Dallas M.] Rigler would conclude his story of the defense of the fort:

“About half-past eleven they attempted to scale the walls again. We met them with the bayonets, and for several minutes it was the most desperate struggle I ever witnessed; but it did not last long. Soon they were all killed or knocked back, and then a deafening shout [arose] from our boys. [But] by this time the ammunition was almost out, and our men threw bats and rocks at them in the ditch. No ammunition would we get, and after a short struggle, they took the fort, and some few did fire on us after they got possession, but their officers tried to stop them.”

General [Cadmus] Wilcox would add this, viewing things from outside the fort while in the Confederate lines: “As they [Federals] appeared at this point [Fort Gregg], they were either shot or thrust off with the bayonet . . . Again and again this was done. At length numbers prevailed, and the parapet of the little work was thickly covered with men, six [Northern regimental] flags seen on it at one time; and from this dense mass a close, and of necessity destructive fire, was poured down upon the devoted band within.”

(The Thirty-seventh North Carolina Troops, Tar Heels in the Army of Northern Virginia, Michael C. Hardy, McFarland & Company, 2003, pp. 228-229)