A Few Thoughts for Ed Sebesta and James Loewen

Now that things have calmed down a bit re: the petition asking Obama not to send a wreath to the Confederate monument at Arlington, I thought it might be time to offer a few words of advice.  James Loewen recently offered some thoughts in the wake of the controversy.  He finds it difficult to understand the media’s coverage, including its emphasis on Bill Ayers and the overlooking of some of the top scholars in the field:

It turned out that the only name the media cared about was Ayers.  The Chicago Sun-Times, for instance, headlined its story, “Radical Bill Ayers dogs Obama, even on Memorial Day.”  Within the story, Ayers’s name does not appear until the 14th paragraph, which is appropriate.  But no other signer’s name appears at all — not mine, not Sebesta’s, not even McPherson’s, surely America’s pre-eminent scholar on the period, whose Battle Cry of Freedom won the Pulitzer Prize.  Today, searching for “Ayers Obama “Memorial Day” wreath yields 7,570 hits, while “McPherson Obama “Memorial Day” yields just 2,570.

Given the recent political fallout over President Obama’s tenuous connection with Ayers should we really be surprised that the media immediately picked up on and emphasized the inclusion of his name?  The ignoring of the other signers goes without saying.  Most interested parties in this debate could care less about what some scholar believes.  In fact, as I’ve learned over the course of writing this blog many people have an irrational distrust of academics and have probably never read anything by James McPherson, not to mention Manisha Sinha and others.  In the end most people’s memory of the war is fueled by stories and other popular cultural expressions and has almost nothing to do with anything that can remotely be characterized as scholarly.  [That's not to be taken as a criticism, but as an observation that may or may not be accurate.]

Loewen also seems a bit puzzled by the heated debate that followed on a number of websites.  Yes, the crazies came out in full force and even my name entered the mix, but anyone who follows these issues should have expected just that.  Part of the difficulty for Loewen is that he wants us to distinguish between two types of Confederate monuments.   “One type remembers and honors the dead.  The other,” according to Loewen, “glorifies the cause and typically obfuscates what it was (which was slavery).”  I may be wrong but I don’t think most people make this distinction.  The lone Confederate soldier in front of the court house is as much about a preferred interpretation of the cause of the war as the Davis statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond.  Likewise, the Davis statue can easily be interpreted and used as a setting for an SCV parade that wishes to honor their Confederate ancestors.  These are academic distinctions that mean little in the real world.

In preparation for next year Ed Sebesta has already set up a blog, which he will update as a new petition is organized – that’s right another petition.  Given the results this year it is appropriate to ask what good it will do to try it again.  Should we simply anticipate a differently worded petition with a new list of signatures?  More importantly, how will a new petition advance the debate and force us to look beyond what are deeply-held assumptions about our Civil War memory?   As far as I am concerned petitions such as this are non-starters.  I would encourage Sebesta and Loewen to rethink their overall approach.  I can’t tell you how many times one of my lesson plans has gone awry.  In those situations it is incumbent on the instructor to evaluate and make the necessary changes.

One of the positive results is that the petition led to the sending of a wreath to the African American Civil War monument in Washington.  Think of how many people now know that this monument exists, not to mention that our memory of the black experience in the Civil War remains largely hidden.  Why not work to bring more of this narrative to the public’s attention next year?  How about a well-publicized tour of the USCT section of Arlington next Memorial Day?

We all want to be activists, but we should never lose sight that we are educators first.

75 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts for Ed Sebesta and James Loewen

    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Ghost,

      I’ve put up with your little snipes for long enough. My advice to you is to set up your own blog for this kind of silliness. For now consider this your final comment on this blog.

      I took time to write up this post and if you are not going to respond to the subject at hand than don’t waste my time. This is exactly how the discussion ends up getting off track. Again, disagree with a reasoned argument that addresses the post topic.

      Reply
  1. Mike

    Kevin I concur 100% Mr Ed and his band should learn that the Height of Stupity is to do the same thing and expect different results. Since I am not well traveled I never knew that there was a monument for Colored Soldiers that served for the Union. It was great to see things get filled out and all parties being Honored on this special day. Your also quite correct in the statement that there is still a distrust of academia in the minds of many in this country.

    Great post and have a great weekend.
    Summer time for me starts at 12pm today.

    Reply
  2. Sam Elliott

    Kevin, Ayers’ connection to the president may currently be “tenuous”, but that was certainly not so in the past.

    That political observation aside, I think it is interesting that Dr. Loewen makes the distinction between monuments that honor the dead and monmuents that “glorify the cause.” While I think that is a valid distinction, it loses sight of the purpose of Memorial Day, which is to honor the dead. In that context, laying a wreath for the purpose of honoring the dead at a monument with a “lost cause” message is STILL laying a wreath to honor the dead. I don’t think we need to get to the point where a Confederate monument has to be analyzed by historians of Civil War memory to determine whether it can validly be the location of an otherwise innocuous Memorial Day ceremony.

    While I do not agree with the President on everything, I have to say that his response was very appropriate–the monument to the USCT should be included in the Memorial Day matrix.

    Reply
  3. Kevin Levin Post author

    Sam,

    Thanks for the comment. Obviously, I don’t want to get into a debate on the relationship between Ayers and Obama. We will have to agree to disagree.

    Let me clarify that I do think that as a point of analysis Loewen’s distinction does do some work, but it is probably a point that tells us little about how the general public views these sites. Finally, I like the idea of a new tradition beginning under our first black president to commemorate the service of USCTs.

    Reply
  4. Kevin Levin Post author

    Hey Peter,

    As much as I would like to be able to say yes, in the end I don’t think it is possible. Armies are extensions of the state, which go to war with specific goals. I am not suggesting that every soldier went to war to help to meet those goals (many fight as draftees), but the soldier himself is a representative of the government that sends him off to war. The two are inextricably linked.

    On the other hand perhaps the distance between the event and those who wish to commemorate is relevant. In cases where the outcome/meaning of the war is still in doubt than it is going to be much more difficult to distinguish between the soldier and the state. I venture to say that Reagan honored German soldiers without glorifying their cause on his trip to Normandy in 1984? I will have to give this much more thought.

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  5. Provence

    I would compare honoring the American dead at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington to honoring the American dead at the Vietnam Memorial.

    Honoring the Americans who died in Vietnam does not require approval of the War in Vietnam. Honoring Confederate dead does not require approval of secession or the Lost Cause.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Provence,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wonder if you might explore your point a bit more. In what way, in your view, does this analogy work. What is it about the Vietnam War that is important here? Is there something about its unpopularity that strikes you as relevant?

      Reply
  6. Provence

    Kevin,

    I used the War in Vietnam because it was going on when I was growing up. I could have used the War of 1812 or the current war in Iraq as examples.

    We honor those who died in those wars for their service to their county. I don’t find it to be necessary to agree with the policies which led to those wars.

    I have ancestors who were Union soldiers and ancestors who were Confederate soldiers. I am thankful that the Union was preserved and slavery was abolished. This doesn’t deter me from honoring my Confederate as well as my Union ancestors.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Provence,

      Thanks for the response. One question: Do you hold to the same standards when it comes to other nations. For example, do you have any problems with Germans honoring their soldiers in WWII or even the SS? It would be interesting to come up with other examples as well. Just something to think about.

      Reply
  7. Peter

    The other wrinkle in all of this is that we can’t know, for the most part, why people served. As anyone who follows Civil War scholarship knows, there is an endless debate (and I am not implying that this is something bad) about why exactly Union and Confederate soldiers fought. I presume the same is true of all other wars. So does it do justice to them to claim that their death in wartime constitutes an endorsement of the country that they fought for (leaving aside for a moment any of the problematics of saying that our country today is the same country that they fought for)? I suppose my point is that we do need to commemorate the war dead, but perhaps using their blood to sacralize our nation does injustice to their memory. In other words, a political memorial service trivializes and instrumentalizes the suffering veterans underwent, and reduces it all to something politically utile. Or to propose a shift, something I have been mulling over since a recent visit to Appomattox, but the proper response might be to recognize the particular suffering of soldiers (simulataneously a victim and a victimizer) and respect that. In other words, reflect upon their experiences as soldiers rather than honoring the dead (which would imply a glorification/endorsement of their cause). It is interesting that Provence brings up the Vietnam memorial, because I had thought about mentioning it earlier. To my mind, the Vietnam memorial succeeds brilliantly because it foregrounds the sacrifice of the soldiers, as opposed to something like the Confederate memorial, which takes the opportunity to make a clear and coherent political statement.

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  8. Bobby Edwards

    Monuments:

    There are some who would like to tear down monumnents dedicated to Confederate Soldiers, such as the Monument at the State Capitol in Raleigh, which was dedicated to the memory of over 40,000 Confederate Soldiers. Donations and fund-raising projects in an impoverished war-torn economy resulted in the funds necessary to erect these memorials to the Veterans who served. The Memorial Services were well attended by Confederate Veterans, and often the Confederates wore their Confederate Veteran Uniforms. The “Gathering of Veterans” for Memorializing would have been from a Soldiers Point of View, where common sacrifice and memories of the deaths of fellow soldiers would have been uppermost in their minds. As the Veterans gathered, touched each other, remembered campaigns from the past, most surely wept as trigger words brought back memories of an experience at Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas, Cold Harbor, or Petersburg touching their very souls – flashing their thoughts of friends wounded or killed on the field of battle.
    .
    I have been to the Vietnam Wall five times, with brothers, etching names, remembering events, and knowing that every Veteran I saw would call me “Brother” and Welcome me home. The last time I was there at the Wall was to “Remember the Units Fallen” and to “Honor the Outstanding Unit Awards and Citations” by Presenting our Unit Guidon and Streamers at the Wall. Yes, The Vietnam War was Unpopular and Unacceptable to Many, but the efforts to provide freedom to a Country that had been overrun by more than 10,000 assassins and sabateours was for a noble purpose, in which I am glad I served. The Vietnam Veterans raised funds and became the dominate fiancial contributor to the building of the Wall, and It’s Also True of Most Southern Monuments, which funding occured in the most difficult of financial times. In the minds of the Southern Soldier, the Confederate, they were only trying to defend their homeland. The Monuments Dedicated to the Memories of their Comrades are as Important as Gravestone Memorials, and those Stone Memorials should always be given the respect of the Sacrifice of the Soldiers, who gave their lives, for the Defense of Homeland. I hardly think for all of the poor Confederates who contributed to the financial funds for the monuments erected that they were trying to “Salute The Confederacy” – It had been defeated on the field of Battle. “They Were Remembering Their Brothers, who died in Battle”.
    .
    Bobby Edwards

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Mr. Edwards,

      Many monuments throughout the South were indeed erected to remember the bravery of the soldiers, but it is always important to remember the political component involved. Most monuments were erected at the height of Jim Crow, which worked to commemorate a rather narrow view of the Civil War. Since most black Southerners had been disenfranchised by 1910 their view of the war was almost entirely ignored and has only recently been promoted in the post- Civil Rights era. My point is not to deny that the commemoration of the soldiers must be ignored or downplayed, but that there is a reason as to why certain groups (black and white) look upon these sites with suspicion and even hostility.

      I’ve said on numerous occasions that it is a mistake to call for the tearing down of monuments to the “Lost Cause.” Rather, we should educate people to better understand the historical context in which they were erected. I recently took one of my class on a trip to analyze Civil War monuments in Richmond, which you may find interesting: http://cwmemory.com/2009/01/22/hooray-for-hollywood/

      I would also check out the “Related Posts” links following the post.

      Reply
  9. Chris Meekins

    Thanks Mr. Edwards for some thoughtful commentary.

    While I can not vouch for all monuments raised in the South I can say with some certainty that the monument on Union Square in Raleigh was erected when the state coffers were overflowing not short of money. In 1893 the General Assembly appropriated $10,000 and still had monies to spare to fund pensions for the living veterans as well. Granted the monument at Union Square was more than twice that in cost. As we are finding in most aspects of the war and aftermath no single broad-based statement can cover all occasions. I take your point that in some instances, particularly early in the process, sacrifices were made to fund such projects.

    One more item to point out – only because I am transcribing a Confederate Veteran’s Camp minutes (#1590 Wm. F. Martin Camp). Again, early on these men may have been in old uniforms but by the late 1890′s there was a cottage industry which supplied uniforms and accouterments to the Camps. In fact, from what I can glean from these minutes, part of the deal in becoming a Confederate Veterans Camp was uniforming the membership. In 1907 my guys bought 35 hats and coats for $7.50 a piece. I would suggest that what we see in dedications and reunions are these uniforms. So perhaps less a connection to their fallen comrades than to the members of their Camp and the United Confederate Veterans organization.

    Its splitting hairs – and I am not trying to start a row but merely providing some information that has found its way into my bank of knowledge.

    And let me add, thank you Mr. Edwards for your service to our country.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Chris,

      That’s so interesting re: the supplying of individual camps. I would love to know where the businesses were located which supplied these uniforms and anything else in terms of communication between the two. Perhaps I’ve just missed it, but do you know if any historians have given this some attention.

      Reply
  10. Brooks Simpson

    “I would compare honoring the American dead at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington to honoring the American dead at the Vietnam Memorial.”

    Sorry, but I don’t buy that. American Vietnam veterans were not trying to kill United States military personnel.

    You may want to nod toward the Confederate dead as an act of sectional reconciliation and nation-rebuilding, but let’s not get carried away. Once you honor people for fighting what they believed in, you have to honor people whose causes should be despised because they believed in them.

    The people honored today at Normandy gave their lives for freedom. Would you want the president of the United States to visit a military cemetery containing the dead of the other side, and honor them too? Would you want him to say that the men of both sides died fighting for what they believed in?

    You’ll have to find another path.

    Reply
  11. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin, I can understand your logic of why the time period of the Jim Crow era when many Confederate Monuments were erected. Your’e absolutely right in there was a period of time before most Confederate Monuments were erected. I was partially involved in a Vietnam Monument locally, many years after the war, So – I can understand the Time Lapse from the time of Monument Erection. That poses a very interesting question after other wars – How soon were monuments erected. I am thinking of the WWII Monument in Washington D.C., which came way too late for most Veterans to Witness a Memorial to their Battles, Bloodshed, Courage, and Sacrifice. The Korean and Vietnam Memorials were Probably the Same Time Lapse as the Confederate Memorials and the Union Memorials. I would love to see a schedule, when these monuments were erected and to see if they were parallel to the erection of Union Monuments.

    Here’s a Psychological Factor that’s Critical to the Efforts to Recover, Remember, and to Recognize through Memorial Efforts a Monument – It’s the Beginnings of the Period of Your Life, When Your are Reflective of your Accomplishments and Service. On one of the Web Sites for the 6924th Unit at DaNang, there’s a Roster of Men, who are no longer with us, that I served with. There are dozens and dozens, actually hundreds from my time frame, who are no longer with us. On the 40th Anniversary of the 18 hours of Bomb Dump Explosions, the Destruction of our Operations – There was one person I was beside most of that time frame. We both were charged with the responsibility of Blowing up the Communications Center of our Intelligence Operations, as all of our normal security were evacuated, and we remained on West Side of Da Nang alone. Although, we heard frequent 50 caliber firing just a few hundred yards from our operation, fortunately we didn’t have to blow the operations site. I was ready to call Brownie to share that Anniversary with him. It was too late – He passed a week earlier of Cancer.

    Our short time on earth, pushes Veterans to take time to reflect and to Memoralize – Normally after the families have been raised, and we begin to consider our mortality. That Window of Time would ring true to the Window of the Jim Crow, a very sad time in our Nations History.

    There are Thousands of Monuments in the North and the South. And, there are Thousands of Stories of How the Monuments were Erected, How They Were Funded, and Who Were Involved in the Process.

    One of the Members of Co K of the 3rd North Carolina, Pvt Julian S. Carr through some personal and business success in his life contributed very large sums of money to many of the memorials in North Carolina. Julian, after the Civil War attended University of North Carolina, and as he was trying to make his way in life, his father contributed some life savings for a business venture. Julian invested in the Blackwell Tobacco Co. in Durham, N.C. – Which later became Bull Durham, and then was later sold to the Dukes and American Tobacco Co. Carr started ran over 40 Important Businesses in the South, and it was through his leadership that a fledgling Methodist School was transplanted from Randolph County to Carr’s property in Durham. That School began to thrive with the Personal Leadership of Carr as Director and Primary Financial Benefactor, and Years later Julian Carr and Duke began a Collateral Venture with a Methodist College called Duke University.

    Julian Carr was a primary benafactor in many of the Monuments in North Carolina, Julian Carr sponsored financially the Black Hospitals and Schools in Durham. Carr was very generous in one very cold and brutal winter made sure that the poor of Durham all had Coal to keep warm, at his expense. Carr was there for many of the Monument dedications, as he was one of the primary benefactors for many of them. He was often sought after as a Speaker for Presentations at Union Monuments, and at a Service for the Grant Monument – Carr gave a tremendous rousing speech that was most appreciated by all. Through all of the Philantrophy for the Community of Durham, The Service to the Blacks, and the Developement of Many Businesses in the South, He Never Forgot his Confederate Friends.

    One of his Confederate Friends in Raleigh was supported Financially for years in Keeping the Raleigh News and Observer Open, and When it Changed hands – He Insured the Operating Health of the Paper. Julian S. Carr would rise to become the highest ranking Confederate Veteran in 1922 – 1923. When he passed in the City of Durham, there were more than 20,000 who attended his funeral, and he was as loved by the Blacks in Town as the Whites.

    Kevin, There are many stories of the Great Men of the South, and It has been for Generations that these Men, whether Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry, Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson – Led the South with the Proper Example. And many other leaders followed their example, such as Julian S. Carr and Many of the Other Confederate Officers.

    I don’t try to white wash our history – Lord knows it’s been complicated, sorry, and hopeful, sometimes all at once. There are reasons and answers for many issues. Sometimes there are many answers to the same question, and they are all valid.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bobby,

      The best academic study of Civil War monuments is Kirk Savage’s _Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America_ (Princeton University Press). Savage is thorough and does an excellent job of placing these monuments in their proper historic context. Thanks for sharing your own experience as well as more from Julian Carr who sounds quite interesting.

      Reply
  12. Bobby Edwards

    Brooks,

    I don’t know of any other President who has laid a wreath at the Confederate Monument, and for the current President – that’s his own call. That monument at Arlington, designed by a VMI Graduate, Moses Ezekeial, represents one of the best designed Southern monuments in existence.

    It’s the monuments of the South designed especially because of Jim Crow and Anti-Black Sentiment, which I feel needs considerable more scholarship and extant proof. For the Monuments to be built in the same period is consistent with many of the unreleated reasons that Veterans Memorialize their fellow Brothers, who died in Battle or who Served in Battle with them. This is very normal, and if you look at Roman History, Greek History, or other periods of History this Model would be fairly standard.

    Many of the States, such as North Carolina and Virginia wanted to “Remain Union”, however the Call Up for 75,000 Troops in Regiments to Support Action agains their fellow Southern States, caused the Governors of North Carolina and Virginia to call “Special Sessions” to Consider Secession. Based on What Most Legislators in the South Truly Believed – The Right of Secession was Theirs Legitmately – Granted to Them by the Constitution. The South Believed they were Following their Right Under the Constitution to Leave the Union. Even after the War, in Prison – Jefferson Davis wanted a Trial. Davis was ready to prove in a Court of Law that the South had a Legitimate right to Leave the Union. That Issue was finally settled on the field of Battle at Appomattox and so many other Fields of Conflict.

    Jay Winick in his Book of April, 1865, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin’s Book – Passing In Review mention that the End of the War Brought the Country Back Together Again. The “Surrender” made possible immediately for very gracious Union Troops to provide rations to the starving Confederates. A day or two later, the 4th North Carolina Band played period music loved by both sides at a Night Camp Fire. General Meade and Other Union Officers Walked through the Ranks of Southern Officers Warmly touching them, hands on backs, and Ecouragement of “Welcome Back to The Union”. The Fight of Brother agains Brother was Over. It was Time to Heal the Nations Wounds, and for the Years to Come – Officers from the South attended Northern Reunions and Vice a Versa. There was a Bonding that was after all very natural, after so many tragic years of pain and sorrow. In a few Years Southerners would easily Volunteer and Fight Again for the Union. Southerners would attend Memorial Dedications for Union Officers and Funerals when they Passed. Gen. Johnston would attend the Funeral of Sherman, and weeks later die of Pneumonia from exposure to a cold rainy service.

    It’s the Same for the Memories of Viet Nam, as Many of My Brothers have Returned to Vietnam. Some Officers have met with their Counterparts engaged in life and death struggles, and they have hugged, corresponded, and become friends.

    “The Band of Brothers” is About “Blood Shared”, and Often the Bonds Extend to the Warriors that are Opposed. For those Who Were Not there. For Those Who Did Not “See The Elephant”, “Feel the Pain”, Or “Hear the Shells” – It’s Hard to Understand Why It’s So Important for the Memorial. These Concepts of “Brotherhood” of Battle Shared Exceed All Other Vain Glory Attempts of Battle. Of all of the Many Vietnam Veterans that I have Talked with, they Almost All Concur with the Belief that it is almost impossible for the Ordinary Citizen to “Walk in Our Shoes”.

    “Band of Brothers” – St. Crispians Day, Henry V – Shakespere Comments of More than 200 Years Ago, Hold True Today, ad It did in the 1880′s, 1890′s, and Turn of the Century as Confederates Turned out to Honor their “Band of Brothers”.

    St. Crispen’s Day Speech
    William Shakespeare, 1599
    Enter the KING
    WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
    But one ten thousand of those men in England
    That do no work to-day!

    KING. What’s he that wishes so?
    My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
    Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
    But if it be a sin to covet honour,
    I am the most offending soul alive.
    No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
    God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
    As one man more methinks would share from me
    For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.
    This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he’ll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Mr. Edwards,

      Winik’s book is a great place to start, but he exaggerates the extent to which white northerners and southerners reconciled by 1900. William Marvel has even recently questioned whether the surrender ceremony at Appomattox took place as Chamberlain and Gordon argue in their postwar accounts [see _A Place Called Appomattox_ (UNC Press)]. Keep in mind that reconciliation was not possible without the ignoring of emancipation as an outcome of the war as well as the service of 200,000 African Americans in the Union Army. The Ezekiel statue also ignores this fact. Actually, it goes even further to distort the war in it imagery of loyal slaves as well as the way it characterizes the Confederate cause as simply a constitutional question. I agree that it is a beautiful spot at Arlington, but that monument is much more a reflection of how white Americans decided to remember the war than it is an accurate reflection of the war itself. Thanks again for your comment.

      Reply
  13. Bobby Edwards

    A CONFEDERATE PRIVATE – From the 3rd NC Cavalry Eulogizes General U.S. Grant in a Memorial Dedication, April 27, 1922

    From: General Julian S. Carr, Good Hearted Citizen – A Durham N.C. Publication
    Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Carr’s Birth:

    “At another and upon a larger theater General Carr demonstrated the loyalty of the Confederate soldier to the flag of a reunited republic that won approval from the Great Lakes to the Gulf.

    The dedication (April 27, 1922) of the monument in the national capital to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was a event distinguished by the presence of the fighting men of the sixties and the great of the republic. The monument was presented by Secretary of War John W. Weeks, and accepted by President Calvin Coolidge. They made the principal addresses. But the speech of the occasion was made by Gen. Julian S. Carr, Commander of the United Confederate Veterans. He was a member of the committee, marched with Confederate veterans, after which the officers of the GAR conducted the dedicatory ceremony and it was formally dedicated by General Pershing. Although not listed as one of the principal speakers on the program for an address, immaculate in the uniform of a Confederate general, Julian S. Carr spoke on behalf of the men in gray who had fought against Grant in the war of brothers. His speech was impromptu, and no record of it is preserved, but his ringing words of patriotic fervor of devotion to the great republic, loved alike in the South and North, quoting Lee’s tribute to Grant’s “magnanimity” stirred the hearts of the great assemble. General Carr “stole the show.” The dedicatory exercises had another North Carolina angle. The United States officer who directed the exercises, Col. Clarence Sherrill, was the son of Capt. M. O. Sherrill, State librarian, who to his death carried wounds received while a soldier in the Confederate Army.”

    Reply
  14. Bobby Edwards

    Chris Meekins,
    Thanks for your comments. I value them very much. Your research into the Confederate Veterans records of the William F. Martin Camp sounds very interesting. Are we talking about the Martin / Kirkland Brigade, and the famed General Martin, sometimes called affectionaly by his men “Old One Wing” because of Mexican War Injury. Martin’s Efforts in Outfitting and Organizing the Regiments of North Carolina were to be acknowledged for great accomplishment. I have an ancestor that was with the 17th NCT at Fort Ocracoke, Co K – When Cape Hatteras fell, but I have read considerably about the 17th, and their services at Petersburg in the trenches was of Great Sacrifice.

    The Confederate Veteran’s Camp # 1 in Richmond represents a “Study Project” that I would love to get involved in, as I have recently affiliated with the Lee Jackson Camp # 1, with a Great Heritage. I have some great photos from some of my recent Battlefield Visits in the Richmond / Petersburg Visits this past year, and of the Lee Jackson Memorial Services. JEB Stuart, IV is a member of the Camp, and as a New Member – I am very honored to be there. The Pelham Chapel on the Campus of the Lee Camp # 1 Confederate Vetrans Camp is very interesting, but the history of the Confederate Veterans, who lived in a Community in Richmond around the corner from Monument Ave gave rise to the “Southern Confederate War Memorial”, which has been called “The Battle Abbey”, and is now Called the “Virginia Historical Society”. Within the “Virginia Historical Society” are some very interesting records of the Confederate Veterans who lived there. I would like to being a Web Site to Feature the Veterans who lived at the 1st Camp for Confederate Veterans and the Pelham Chapel.

    Here’s a Confederate Veteran Meeting Report on the Battle Abbey by General Julian S. Carr [Pvt 3rd NC Cavalry]

    NOTE: Includes Discussion of Memorial Funding, and the Purpose of High Ranking Individuals Within Society to Properly Honor the Memory of the Southern Soldier.

    THE BATTLE ABBEY OF THE SOUTH.
    REPORT OF GEN. JULIAN S. CARR, AT REUNION (U. C. V.),

    AT CHATTANOOGA, OCTOBER, 1921.

    As president of the Board of Trustees of the Confederate Memorial Institute, it is my pleasure and privilege to announce to you and our comrades assembled in convention at Chattanooga, Tenn., the completion in all respects of the Confederate Memorial Institute, commonly known as the ”
    Battle Abbey,” located at Richmond, Va. Whilst there have been many delays in this great work since it was first projected twenty-five years ago by our generous and patriotic comrade, the late Charles Broadway Rouss, of Winchester, Va., a gallant private of the Army of Northern Virginia, yet these causes of delay have been unavoidable, and the reasons for them have been fully set forth in a sketch entitled “The Origin and Erection of the Confederate Memorial Institute,” prepared by Hon. George L. Christian, vice president, and for nearly twenty years, the treasurer and a trustee of the Confederate Memorial Institute Corporation. This pamphlet, which I refer to and desire shall be read as a part of this report, is a complete history of the origin and erection of this noble memorial, and can be obtained from the custodian of the Institute at Richmond, Va., at the small cost of twenty-five cents per copy. I suggest that all who are interested in the history of this building and of its contents will be fully repaid by a perusal of this pamphlet.

    This memorial building was finally completed and opened to the public on October 5, 1921. The ceremonies incident to this opening were simple, but appropriate in all respects. These ceremonies took place in the hall of the annex, in which hang at least one hundred and fifty portraits of noted Confederate soldiers and civilians, and consisted of introductory remarks made by the Hon. John Lamb, superintendent, followed by addresses made by Rev. H. M. Wharton, a native of Virginia, but now a resident of Baltimore, Md., and a member of your Board of Trustees, and your president. Two rooms of the memorial building had been previously thrown open to the public; one of these rooms containing the Hoffbaur paintings and the other what are known as the Payne paintings. These rooms were opened to the public May 3, 1921, when a very fine and appropriate address was delivered by Hon. H. Snowden Marshall, formerly of Baltimore, but now a member of the New York bar, and a son of the late Col. Charles Marshall of General Lee’s staff. During the short period since the first opening of the building to the public, it may be safely asserted that between six and seven thousand people have visited these grounds and buildings, and the universal verdict of each and all of these, as far as we have heard, is that this memorial is beautiful in all respects and a lasting and fitting tribute to the Confederate cause and its gallant and glorious defenders. Miss Hildegarde Hawthorne, a daughter of the author of “The Scarlet Letter,” has within the last few years visited most if not all of the principal cities of this country and Europe. She has quite recently published a book entitled “Rambles in Old College Towns,” and she says that of all the cities she has visited only two have the real charm to make them attractive — namely: Paris, France, and Richmond, Va. This is a Northern lady, and it may be, therefore, safely asserted that her admiration was not engendered by feelings of local or patriotic sentiments. Richmond is the Mecca of the South, and whilst it has produced many noted men and women and has in it numerous historic and noted places, yet I think it can be said that our Confederate Memorial Institute, known as the “Battle Abbey,” and the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, located in the White House of the Confederacy, are universally deemed the most charming and in all respects the most noted and attractive places in Richmond. The ” Battle Abbey,” as stated in Judge Christian’s pamphlet, is located on the principal and most popular drive in the city and in the very center of its growth and progress. It consists of six and one-third acres of ground, beautifully laid out and adorned with trees, plants, and shrubbery, and has in it “a court of honor” designed to have statues of the distinguished soldiers and sailors of the several Southern States. These statues, to quote from Judge Christian’s pamphlet, will be “in sight of beautiful Monument Avenue, on which has already been erected monuments to President Davis, Generals Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and J. E. B. Stuart, and in easy reach of the monuments to the private soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy, Generals A. P. Hill, Wickham, and William Smith; those of Joseph Bryan, Dr. Hunter McGuire, and the Howitzer monument, and the splendid group with Washington at their head, surrounded by Henry, Jefferson, Marshall, Nelson, and Lewis, the heroes and statesmen of the Revolution; and another statue of Stonewall Jackson, contributed by Englishmen in testimony of their admiration for his genius, character, and achievements. All of these monuments adorn the streets and parks of the late capital of the Confederacy, and it is our earnest desire that statues of the heroes and statesmen of the States of the Confederacy shall also adorn the park in which is located our finest and best memorial, situated in the city which was the capital and citadel of our storm-cradled and beloved Confederacy.” In Judge Christian’s pamphlet he also makes this appeal, in which I most cordially unite.’ He says: “Our appeal is then to each and every one of the States comprising the Confederacy, that they will appropriate at least the sum of $10, 000 to secure statues of their most distinguished sons, and to create an endowment fund for this memorial, and in doing this render lasting, although tardy, justice to the men and women of the South who did and dared so much in defense of the cause which President Davis defines to be the ‘rights of our sires won in the War of the Revolution, the State sovereignty, freedom and independence bequeathed by them to us, their and our children forever’; and of whose deeds a distinguished son of Massachusetts has already written: ‘Such splendid character and achievements were not all in vain, for although the Confederacy fell as an actual, physical power, it still lives eternally in its just cause, the cause of constitutional liberty.’” It is not improper to add that the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has recently met in Richmond, and, of course, the members were invited to visit this memorial, and each and every one of them was perfectly charmed with the building and its contents. I also wish to add that the members of the Executive Committee residing in Richmond — namely, Hon. George L. Christian, John Lamb, and Mr. Alvin H. Smith — and the members of the Board of Lady Managers, all of whom reside in Richmond, have, without exception, been most earnest and efficient in carrying on and completing the work of this memorial, and all of these have contributed their time and labors without any compensation or hope of reward except that which comes to those engaged in real labors of love. Judge John Barton Payne has been most generous in contributing to the adornment and furnishing of the room in which the paintings given by him to the State of Virginia are located, and two members of the Board of Lady Managers, whose names are withheld at their request, have also, at their own expense, furnished the beautiful benches which adorn the room in which are the Hoffbaur paintings. Lee Camp has contributed the furnishings and the artistic arrangement on the walls of the annex of its splendid collection of portraits of some of the heroes and statesmen of the Confederacy. I think it can be asserted, without any fear of contradiction, that this contribution from Lee Camp will make the room in which these portraits are hung the most attractive of all places, not only to Confederate sympathizers and their descendants, but one that is unique in all respects, and probably the only portrait gallery of Confederates in the world. I cannot exaggerate the debt of gratitude we owe to Lee Camp for its contributions to this memorial building. The report of the treasurer will show the expenditures incurred in building and furnishing the annex and the present financial condition of the Association.

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  15. Robert Moore

    Peter,

    I could not agree more and think you have summarized my thoughts on Civil War soldiers. I believe that one can honor the soldier (perhaps more importantly, “the person”) without glorifying the “Cause.” In fact, I believe that so much emphasis on the “glorification of cause” in the process of honoring the soldiers hinders our ability to honor the persons. To me, the greatest steps made to “honor” are those that we take in our efforts to understand.. and often, “understanding” is rarely reflected in much of the fanfare that we so frequently witness in “remembrance” activities.

    Reply
  16. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin, When you mention “Post War Reconciliation” now you are nibbling on a really tough nugget. Some of the “War Differences” never heal between Warring Countries, and what first comes to mind would be after WWI the “Cram Down” the Allies applied to the Germans. The ruthless “Cram Down” resulted in Adolph Hitler coming to power, and the beginning of an unstable Europe leading to World War II. SO – At the End of the Day, the Effort to Punish a Region after a War can “Unsettle an Area”, but the way the United States and the Marshall Plan was applied to Germany after WWII in the Rebuilding Process became an “Ideal Model” of Reconstruction after a War.

    As I see it the same “Cram Down” strategies were applied to Southern States after the War. Relations before the War between factions of the North and South were not always smooth, and Relations after the War with the Freedman’s Bureau, Military Commanders running Communities, and the Flood of Bernie Madeoff Styled Greedy “Carpet Baggers” grabbing property held by generations of families, could have done nothing more than to exacerbate thr raw nerves of the Southern Citizens.

    From the Book “Old Dominion Dragoons”: On the Farm and Land of the Hudgins Family in Hampton, VA, A Few short years after the war, Robert Hudgins found a group of Black Men that had entered his property with farm implements and pitchforks demanding Hudgins to leave his Property. Hudgins soon had his Service Revolvers at the Ready, and when he questioned them as to why they were on his Family Property trying to seize it, the response was that the Col at Fort Monroe had given them Verbal Permission to Seize Hudgin’s Property. Sgt. Robert Hudgins, once of the Old Dominion Dragoons, mounted his horse and marched the men to Fort Monroe and into the Fort, to the Office of the Colonel who had caused the Problem. Upon Confronting the Col. Hudgins Warned Him that he Would Kill the Men who Entered his Property Unlawfully again, and He Would Seek the Col to deliver his Justice. That was the end of the Efforts to Seize the Hudgins Property. It would later be sold around World War I and Would become the Base for Langley Field.

    Similiar Situations throughout the South, provoked by Northern Occupers and Regulators Created Ill Will and Discord.

    The Federals Were Just as Ruthless in Administering War Victory as the Allies in WWI, and No Wonder the Reconstruction of the South was Difficult and Filled with Many Issues. The way the South Dealt with the Ruthless Reconstruction was the Same Way that Sgt Robert Hudgins of the Old Dominion Dragoons.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bobby,

      I appreciate the comment, but what you have presented here no longer resonates with recent studies of Reconstruction. Historians have moved beyond this tired “Lost Cause” version of Reconstruction that includes as its basic characters, northern carpetbaggers (corruption) and virtuous white southerners who just want to return to self-governance. Most reforms in the South are led by white and black southerners and not corrupt carpetbaggers. Reconstruction governments instituted the first public schools that benefited both whites and blacks as well as other institutions. For ex-slaves the period of Reconstruction represented great promise before the onset of Jim Crow and a return to white supremacy by the early twentieth century. There is a great deal to read if you are interested in this subject. I highly recommend Eric Foner’s well-regarded, _Reconstruction_.

      Reply
  17. chris meekins

    Wow, does anyone ever sleep anymore?

    Kevin, I am not aware of any writing or studies on the supply end of items for these Camps. And its off topic, sorry. But, if memory serves, the Confederate Veteran magazine has advertisements for such outlets/ shops. Obviously it would be nice to get my hands on the Constitution and By Laws of these Camps – and perhaps the national organization might have mention of this as well.

    The camp is named for William F. Martin, who was a native of the region (old Albemarle area of NC – neNC. The Martin family was very prominent in the region – his widow was honorary president of the Daughter’s chapter.

    Julian Carr is certainly the individual worth noting when looking at NC’s division of the Confederate Veterans.

    Reply
  18. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin, When you mention “Post War Reconciliation” now you are nibbling on a really tough nugget. Some of the “War Differences” never heal between Warring Countries, and what first comes to mind would be after WWI the “Cram Down” the Allies applied to the Germans. The ruthless “Cram Down” resulted in Adolph Hitler coming to power, and the beginning of an unstable Europe leading to World War II. SO – At the End of the Day, the Effort to Punish a Region after a War can “Unsettle an Area”, but the way the United States and the Marshall Plan was applied to Germany after WWII in the Rebuilding Process became an “Ideal Model” of Reconstruction after a War.

    As I see it the same “Cram Down” strategies were applied to Southern States after the War. Relations before the War between factions of the North and South were not always smooth, and Relations after the War with the Freedman’s Bureau, Military Commanders running Communities, and the Flood of Bernie Madeoff Styled Greedy “Carpet Baggers” grabbing property held by generations of families, could have done nothing more than to exacerbate thr raw nerves of the Southern Citizens.

    From the Book “Old Dominion Dragoons”: On the Farm and Land of the Hudgins Family in Hampton, VA, A Few short years after the war, Robert Hudgins found a group of Black Men that had entered his property with farm implements and pitchforks demanding Hudgins to leave his Property. Hudgins soon had his Service Revolvers at the Ready, and when he questioned them as to why they were on his Family Property trying to seize it, the response was that the Col at Fort Monroe had given them Verbal Permission to Seize Hudgin’s Property. Sgt. Robert Hudgins, once of the Old Dominion Dragoons, mounted his horse and marched the men to Fort Monroe and into the Fort, to the Office of the Colonel who had caused the Problem. Upon Confronting the Col. Hudgins Warned Him that he Would Kill the Men who Entered his Property Unlawfully again, and He Would Seek the Col to deliver his Justice. That was the end of the Efforts to Seize the Hudgins Property, and the Home designed by Thomas Jefferson. It would later be sold by the Hudgins Family around World War I and Would become the Base for Langley Field.

    Similiar Situations throughout the South, provoked by Northern Occupiers and Regulators Created Ill Will and Discord.

    The Federals Were Just as Ruthless in Administering War Victory as the Allies in WWI, and No Wonder the Reconstruction of the South was Difficult and Filled with Many Issues. The way the South Dealt with the Ruthless Reconstruction was the Same Way that Sgt Robert Hudgins of the Old Dominion Dragoons, By Defending their Property Rights.

    Post War Reconciliation, Absent a “Marshall Styled Plan” of Rebuilding leads to extreme difficulties. That the North Failed to adequately follow a model that would have fairly treated the South after the War accounts for much of the Disaster in the Process. Assimilating Blacks in Northern Cities wasn’t much easier than assimilating Blacks in the South. The “Issue of Blacks” Before the War and After the War was a “National Problem”. It was Never Isolated to One Region.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Mr. Edwards,

      Honestly, I don’t see how this helps me to understand much of anything having to do with the complexity of Reconstruction. Your analogies with Vietnam, WWI, and the Marshall Plan will only get us so far. I am more than willing to entertain commentary that is based on serious scholarship, but I have little patience for vague generalizations. Thanks for your understanding.

      Reply
  19. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin,

    I am interested in followin up on this topic, and I appreciate your input. Let’s cover a few more aspects of this issue of monuments, and included monuments dedicated to the Black Soldier also. You may or may not be aware of the monument in Norfolk, Virginia dedicated to the Blacks that served in the Federal Units that were raised in that area. That monument, I have been to a few times many years ago, because it was just around the corner off Princess Anne St. from one of my clients, a Black Church.

    Conerning Black Churches, for the past Thirty Some years, I have been in Sales and Marketing, with many of my clients from the Church Community. Several of the Black Churches here in the Tidewater area of Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, and Gloucester were formed during or immediately after the Civil War. I have some photos of some of them, and I have had a very satisfying business relationship with many having an interest in their history. The Churches are the foundations of the Community, the Black Preachers some of the most powerful dedicated servant’s of God that I have ever met. I have always been struck with the industry and the outreach projects of the Black Churches here in Tidewater – they are awesome. When I asked a Norfolk Black Pastor about the Monument and could he share with me the history, he came alive with information about earlier members of his Church raising funds and doing projects to build the Monument. It’s just a few blocks from the Church, and Members of the Church often tend to the grounds and take care of it.

    From the City of Norfolk Information About the Monument on the Web:
    “James E. Fuller (1846-1909) of Norfolk, a former slave and a former quartermaster in the First United States Colored Cavalry, was the motivating spirit behind the erection of Norfolk’s African-American Civil War Memorial. An employee of the Norfolk Customs House, Fuller was largely responsible for the City Council’s granting of a portion of the West Point Cemetery in 1886 as a special burial place for black Union veterans.

    Depending on chicken pot pie suppers, raffles, and concerts to raise funds, the committee headed by Fuller finally had enough money to begin the monument in 1906. The cornerstone was laid on decoration Day the same year. Completed in 1920, the monument is topped by a brown metal statue of a black Union private wearing a kepi, a tightly buttoned tunic, a sholder strap bearing the initials “U.S.A.,” ribbed stockings, and heavy shoes.

    Backed by a simulated wooden stump, the figure holds a regulation Civil War rifle and has a replica of a bayonet attached to his belt.

    White marble plaques inserted in the monument’s base record the names of the Grand Army of the Republic camps and other African-American groups which contributed to the memorial’s completion.”
    ……………………………………………………..

    From the Kirk Savage Book: “Standing Soldiers Kneeling Slaves” – I discovered that this at one time was the only Southern Black Monument. From a personal relationship with many Black Churches, I am a bit Puzzled as to how or why this happened. There are some considerations that I have have been tossing around, after reading about the stories of dozens of monuments erected in Texas. They almost all hold a common them in that many took anywhere from 10 to 20 years to raise funds from projects, Church Events, or Donations. Not all Cities who supplied the Confederacy with men erected Statues or Monuments, as there are a total of 50 monuments in a very, very large State.

    Robert Moore may also be helpful in the Monuments that some of the Union North Carolina Troops may have erected. By the way, I have some Ancestors that were also Edwards that were part of the 1st North Carolina Union Troops from the same Community as my Confederate Ancestors. I also know from my research of the 3rd North Carolina that dozens of men from the 3rd “Went Over to Federal Units”, and Even a Couple of 3rd Members became “Galvanized Yankees” fighting Indians out West. But, It’s this Issue about Monuments, and Why they were Erected that I would like to pursue, with your assistance. Robert, what Monuments are there in North Carolina for Federal Troops from Carolina, and What have Limited or Prohibited their Construction? I do know that the communities of Beaufort County North Carolina and Craven County had high levels of Service to the Federal Units.

    Behind the Confederate Veterans Units formed after the War, and the Daughters of the Confederacy, I believe these Organizations were the Primary Stakeholders in the Projects, Events, and Fundraisers to Build or Erect Monuments. One Exception that I now know about – The Monument of Raleigh North Carolina, from General Funds, However just discovered that the United Daughters Lobbied Hard and Long to Make the Raleigh Monument Possible. I also suspect that there may have been Collateral Funds raised, However haven’t seen the details or written history on that. I suspect that Julian Carr, Having been Instrumental in donating large sums of monies to several Colleges, Churches, Black Schools & Hospitals, Newspapers, and Confederate Organizations would have been a Primary Stakeholder in the Raleigh Project. Carr was a Stakeholder in the Bennet Place Monument that ended the war in N.C., and He was also a Primary Speaker and Stakeholder in the Ramseur Monumnet at Cedar Creek.

    An Observation Please – The Jim Crow and the Erection of Confederate Monuments happened about the same time, however the Monument Fund Raising Efforts for Dozens of Monument Projects were Over a Long Extended Period of Time, and Exactly Like the Black Monument in Norfolk – Were the Projects of the Soldiers who Had Participated in Military Service. Help me out with this – Find some of the Confederate Monuments that would be “Jim Crow” Styled or Designed, and in What Way Could You Tell a Southern Monument would be Identified that Way – Other in the Time Frame of Construction.

    Kevin, I know that you have dismissed my “War Experiences” and the relationships that I have had with Veterans Groups and Associations these past Forty Years, I consider the same efforts of these Groups in “Memorializing” their Comrades and Fellow Soldiers, the Same that Civil War Soldiers “Memorialized” their Fellow Service Mates – Be They GAR “Grand Army of The Republic”, Confederate Veterans, Or Black Veterans from Norfolk, Who’s Industriousness and Fortitude Gave Them the Only Black Monument in the South.

    What Say You?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bobby,

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough and thoughtful comment. Please understand that I am in no way dismissing your “War Experiences”. I simply mean to suggest that they may not tell us enough that is specific to the time in question and the circumstances which led to the raising of these monuments – especially the political conditions. The monument in Norfolk to which you are referring to was indeed the only monument to black Union soldiers in the South between 1880 and 1920.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “Jim Crow styled”. What I meant to point out is that these monuments and the interpretation that they reflect is a rather narrow one that emphasizes certain things while ignoring others. For instance, if you look at the speeches that were given at their dedication you will find that they emphasize the soldiers war and states rights while ignoring the importance of slavery that so many referenced during the war itself. Also keep in mind that many of these monuments are located on public land/squares which reinforces a specific interpretation favored by white southerners rather than the emancipationist legacy of the war which would have been identified by black southerners. Finally, remember that this preferred interpretation/memory of the war served to reinforce white supremacy by the turn of the century. Suppressing the history of black southerners provided a justification for white supremacy. Without the vote/representation blacks were unable to contribute to the collective memory of the region until after the civil rights movement.

      Keep reading Savage as he does an excellent job of laying all this out.

      Reply
  20. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin,

    Thanks for recommending the book, and I am a few chapters through it, but I am struck with the difficulty both North and South for the Blacks to get going in adjusting to assimiliating into a Society in both Regions. I will dig up some of the photos and stories of the Black Churches in this area, as I know that you will be impressed with them. I would be more than happy taking you for a spin through the region to meet some of the most important Post -Civil War Church building movements. I will collect that information and save it another time. I will be back with you on some questions about the Savage Book shortly.

    I have read a few speeches of Veterans speaking at the Dedication Services, and it’s my impression it’s all about Military Service and Sacrifice with Brothers. It’s the same tpe of scenario when I met with Vets five times at the Wall. We didn’t talk about the politics of the war, we talked about: What Unit were You in. Oh, you were in Da Nang, Do you Remeber Tet Jan 68, or Second Tet, or April 27th, 1969. We talked about War and Sacrifice and the Memories of the Ones we Left Behind. It was Never Politics.

    Oh, by the Way – The Grant Memorial that’s the Front Page of Your Blog in Washington, D.C. , Julian S. Carr was a Guest Speaker at that Memorial Dedication, and Below is one of his Speeches. Give it a Look Over and Let Me know if you think it’s a Product of “Jim Crow Extremism”. Thanks so Much for the Book Recommendation, and Now It’s My Turn to Share With You – What True Gentlemen of the South Portrayed. I give you Julian Shakespeare Carr – “A Good Hearted Man”!

    MEMORIAL DEDICATION – Bennett Place, Durham, NC, Address by Julian S. Carr – 1923
    Bobby Edwards (Co K), Mar 29, 2008
    The North Carolina General Assembly of 1923 created the Bennett Memorial Commission with Col. Benehan Cameron and Gen. Carr of Durham County, and other patriotic citizens as members of the Commission. They were authorized to accept the marker. In pursuance of that act plans were made for a fitting ceremony of dedication. As representing the two sections, then at war and now united, Senator Burton K. Wheeler, of Montana and Gen. Julian S. Carr, Commander of the Confederate Veterans, were chosen to voice the spirit of a renewed republic.

    November 28th, 1923: General Carr [He's Commander of Confederate Veterans]

    “The present occasion is but another evidence of the sincerity of the South’s purpose to keep her pledge of devotion to the Union. She pledges every endeavor, every resource, every life, to preserve it from danger. The South is primarily and essentially patriotic. She had no mean part in the founding and fashioning of this great nation. By the circumstances of fate when she relinquished to the North the government which the South had administered for 70 years, she borrowed from the North the doctrine of secession. The sword having declared that doctrine heresy in American politics, the South accepts its dictum as final and resumes her original place in the sisterhood of States.

    “A true patriot is ever a brave man, and a brave man always has the magnanimity to forgive. Franklin said that there never was a good war or a bad peace. General Sherman was somewhat more emphatic, though perhaps a trifle inelegant. Doubtless each had the same thought. Certain it is that war begets ill will and hatred, rancor and animosity; while brotherhood and love, unity and cooperation are the children of peace.

    “How can we ask the great Keeper and Preserver of the universe to be with us if we keep not His injunction to love our enemies? Can we approach Him with hatred in our hearts and supplication on our lips, asking Him to ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?” I would remind you of the fact that Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who, on this spot, April 26, 1865, surrendered to Gen. W.T. Sherman, acted as pallbearer to both General Sherman and to General Grant. (General Johnston’s death on March 21, 1891, was due to a cold brought on by exposure while acting as honorary pallbearer at General Sherman’s funeral.)

    “Pardon, please, a personal mention. At the unveiling of one of the world’s greatest memorials, the splendid testimonial to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, erected by a grateful nation at the foot of Capitol Hill in the beautiful city of Washington, your unworthy speaker, who was invited to speak as a Confederate soldier, occupied no inconspicuous place upon the program and no remarks on that occasion received more liberal applause. [The Dedication of Grant's Monument in Washington D.C. (April 27, 1922) with President Calvin Coolidge, Scty of War John Weeks, and General John Pershing as Other Speakers]

    “The memorial unveiled this day at the Bennett House in time will become as celebrated as the Bunker Hill Monument, and very justly so. If there is a spot on this green earth where a Confederate soldier can stand, his head uncovered, and hear it said: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant,’ ’tis here, for the reason that for four long bloody years of war, half fed, and half clotherd, he gave the best he had and al he had against a foe that outnumbered him more than four to one, and yet he came to this spot without dishonor.

    “I am speaking as a Confederate soldier who followed Lee to Appomattox. Please let it be clearly understood that I do not purpose to ask pardon for, or make apology to, andy one for the Confederate soldier. History can be trusted to justify him.

    The world shall yet decide
    In truth’s clear, far-off light
    That the soldiers who wore the Gray and died
    With Lee, were in the right.

    “No Confederate soldier has ever been asked to sacrifice the principles for which he fought. The basis of our surrender was, lay down our arms, as General Lee told us in his Farewell at Appomattox; to go home and make good citizens in peace as we had made brave soldiers in war. No Confederate soldier has ever surrendered nor has ever been asked to surrender the principles for which he fought. Over-whelmed in numbers, he lay down his arms and sheathed his sword, but he has never run away from, nor repudiated the principles for which he stood and for which he fought four long years of bloody war, and these principles today rule the world and they are the foundations on which all civilized governments have their being – self-determination (State’s Rights)…..
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Remember: The Issue of Slavery was Finally Settled with the Passage of the 13th Amendment, Just days before the South Surrendered. Had the War “Really Been About Slavery and the Termination of Slavery” – The North Would have Issued the 13th Amendment in May of 1861, When Every Southern Legislator had Left Congress, and Any Law the U.S. Government would want to pass, was a Juicy Rubber Stamp. That Good Men from the North Slept on This Issue Until the End of the War doesn’t Speak Volumens about the Argument – The War Started to Free Slaves. Even in 1862 along with the Emancipation Proclamation the 13th Amendment Could have been Issued – It wasn’t, and Even after Gettysburg with riots in the City of New York saying this was a Slave War – July 1863 the 13th Amendment Could have been Issued but Wasn’t. Or, If it wasn’t the 13th – ANY LAW Could Have Been Passed. The Guilt Lies With Both Who Neglected their Duty to Man.

    “The Southern Confederacy met the inevitable in the spirit of General Murphy’s farewell order to the men of the Southwest: ‘Conscious that we have played our part like men, confident of the righteousness of our cause, without regret or apology for our past, without despair of the future.’

    “There are no word that I have been able to find in the vocabulary of the English language that fittingly express my feelings when I permit myself to speculate upon the glory of the story of my fellow-comrades of the storm-cradled republic that fell.

    “It would take a thousand volumes to record the heroic deeds of the Confederate soldier. In my dreams I see him yet, amid the flame and smoke and battle shout and sabre strokes and shot and shell and cannon roar and leaden hail and bloody bayonets, as he plants the Stars and Bars on a hundred fields of victory.

    O, what if half fell in the battle infernal?

    Aye, what if they lost at the end of the fray?

    Love gives them a wreath that is fadeless eternal,

    And glory envesteth the thin line of gray.

    “I sincerely desire that when my epitaph is engraved upon the stone that will likely mark my last resting place, there shall be inscribed thereon the grandly suggestive and impressive words, than which none import more exalted honor: ‘He was a Confederate Soldier.’

    “In conclusion, allow me again, if you please, to declare with all the thrill and enthusiasm which this large assemblage of patriotic American citizens arouses, that this beautiful memorial is needful to call the world back to the thought that the wage of battle was lost, but the principle for which a proud people waged that war was triumphant.

    “We lost but we won, and this memorial marks the spot for oncoming ages where the Confederate soldier, after having discharged his duties during four years of untold suffering and hardship, outnumbered, starved and ragged, found here peace with honor.

    “In closing, I take the liberty of plagiarizing Mr. Lincoln’s beautiful thought so timely for this occasion: ‘With malice towards none, with charity for all, with faith in the right as God gives us to see the right.’

    “And now, fellow North Carolinians, this memorial is your. May it stand as a witness of eternal love between North and South. If this stone be a marker, may it mark the perpetual banishment of the prejudices of war from the hearts of a reunited people. If it be a monument, may it perpetuate this sentiment: the men of the South salute the Stars and Stripes as the emblem of Sovereign States, united forever, one country under one flag, cemented by the blood of our brothers and sanctified to each other by memories of the past.

    “For one I would salute the day when ‘Old Glory’ flys from the Isthmus of Panama to the North Pole.”

    PAGES 30-34

    From: GENERAL JULIAN S. CARR

    GREATHEARTED CITIZEN

    ADDRESSES AND ADDENDA OF

    CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE OF HIS BIRTH

    Durham, North Carolina

    October 12, 1945

    DURHAM, N.C.

    The Seeman Printery Incorporated

    1946

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bobby,

      You said: “I have read a few speeches of Veterans speaking at the Dedication Services, and it’s my impression it’s all about Military Service and Sacrifice with Brothers.”

      That was indeed the overall theme that the veterans of both sides emphasize throughout the postwar period. The tendency to focus on the bravery of the soldiers on the battlefield made it much easier to ignore causes and consequences when it came to reunions and other events that pushed the theme of reconciliation. USCTs were rarely present at these reunions and many GAR groups discriminated against black veterans. The Carr address is very much in line with the spirit of most monument dedications. When you finish Savage you should also read Gaines Foster’s _Ghosts of the Confederacy_ (Oxford University Press) which offers a thorough analysis of the postwar period, including veterans reunions.

      Reply
  21. TF Smith

    Kevin et al –

    Anyone know if there are any monuments to the Union troops recruited in the southern states between 1861-65? I believe there were “white” USV regiments recruited in every state other than South Carolina, and of course there were USCT regiments recruited throughout the south…

    Were any of those individuals honored postwar, and if so, when and in which states?

    Reply
  22. Bobby Edwards

    Sorry for the Insert Error of the 13th Amendment – Those are my comments and not Carr’s. Too many, who are not scholars, and some scholars who soon forget the timing of that Article, “Days before the End of the War” fail to place Events in the Proper Perspective. Slavery was a Sin, fought in the Halls of Congress for Years Before the War, and the Absence of the Southern Legislators was a “Slam Dunk” at “Any Time” During the War to Issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It is convenient to Hang the Slavery Issue “Singularly” around the Confederates, but just like the Troops that Fought in Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan – They are not the ones responsible for Political Issues. But There are Many who Would Deny the “Soldier” their Glory of Service, whether he was a Confederate – Vietnam Vet – or Current Iraqi Vet.

    The Issue of “Jim Crow” being Tied to Confederate Memorials is Bogus. Soldiers are Soldiers, Then or Now – It’s a Stretch of the Imagination to Conclude that the Erection of Monuments was for the Purpose of Putting down Blacks. For those who are not familiar, the beginnings of a Memorial Starts in the Hearts of the Soldiers who participated, who raised the funds, and who gave their personal wealth to accomplish their goals.

    Here’s the Story of the State of Texas and the 50 Monuments that were Erected in Their State. Speeches, Fundraising Efforts, and Photos of the Civil War Vets at the Reunion. The Same Events of the Vietnam War. Veterans are Veterans, and Unless You Really Know the St. Crispins Shakespeare comments of more than 200 years ago – it’s difficult for the ordinary Civillian to get the “True Balance” of a Veterans Determination to Build a Monument and to Celebrate the Sacrifice of the Soldier at the Monument.

    It’s No Other Conjured or Manufactured Reason – Unless You Have Ample Proof.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Mr. Edwards,

      I am not going to pretend to understand the soldiers experience. That was never my intention. I also never suggested that the memorials themselves were built specifically to put down blacks. I would also point out that this is not what Savage argues. What I am trying to point out is that monuments of any kind can be analyzed both in terms of the event remembered/commemorated as well as the choices that went into the commemoration. Scholars, including Savage, are interested in the choices and consequences of how the war was remembered through monuments in the postwar period.

      I recently taught an entire class on the analysis of Civil War monuments. We toured Richmond’s monuments and spent much of our time thinking about the people who chose to commemorate. Who were they? Were they mainly men, women, white, black, young, old, etc? Where did the money come from? What kind of monument was chosen and why? Where is the monument located and why? You get the point. The upshot is that these monuments reinforced a white only version of the Civil War in the postwar South. They emphasized (as does the Arlington Monument) the myth of obedient slaves as well as the idea that the war was simply about constitutional issues. Finally, remember that many of the monuments were organized and commemorated without the involvement of the actual veterans. It’s a complex subject.

      Reply
  23. Bobby Edwards

    Kevin, I saw your Monument Avenue Trip with your Class. The Students are very lucky to have an Instructor of Your Caliber and more importantly your dedication. Making Students Think and to Explore a Wide Variety of Information to Insure they Understand the full parameters of issues is critical to their development as good citizens of the community and the Nation. Monuments can become a Catalyst for a Genesis of Interest in History that may never wane. I am sure you will have some historians from that group.

    By the way, in the Savage Book I discovered that through the Jim Crow period that we are talking about that only 3 Monuments of Military Style, Included Blacks. Only One Monument to Black Soldiers – The One in Norfolk. Your recommended Book gave me great pause because from so many authors, I thought that this issue of recognizing blacks was only a Southern Issue. Now, It seems that it really was a National Issue, and your prior comment about the GAR “Grand Army of the Republic” Veterans Group did not “Welcome” the Black Veterans. I can surely understand why Blacks who felt the need to Serve their Country continued on with Military Service in outfits like the Buffalo Soldiers. I don’t have the source, but I have heard this comment twice or more about Black Troops who showed up at a Gettysburg Reunion, and the GAR wouldn’t find Encampment or Lodging with them. However, the Blacks did find Willing Confederates who made sure they were accomadated. Today, Military Service in One Generation will Bring Respect of those Serving, and From those Serving to Those who have Served in the Past. Army Troops at the Vietnam Veterans Parade during the 2007 November Veterans Day Event was very touching to me, as I watched of Current Army Vets go over to Vietnam Vets – Touch Them, Pat them on the Back, Shake Hands, and Yes – Sometimes even Salute Them. I have some very sensitive photos of that situation.

    I can understand the frustration of Robert Moore comments awhile back about Monuments that needed to be erected to the Federal Soldiers from North Carolina. The Federal Units in Eastern North Carolina consisted of Draftee’s, Southern Deserters [Some from the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry], and those Poor Souls on the Farm who had no choice in a Survival Situation. Their Service Records were not Heavy in Combat or Battles, and they were mostly Garrison Troops. The Black Troops garrisoned in the Norfolk area had much more activity and engagements, and in that sense of Combat and Battle develops an Elan’ or Spirit. The Members of the Troops were the ones that came together in Norfolk’s efforts to build the Monument. As a War Veteran, I can Understand the Unit’s Members coming together after a war, and for those Units who’s histories were Garrison Occupation of Towns and Pulling Duties – the Sacrifice and Desire for Monuments may not be as Great. In my Opinion – the Confederates that “Volunteered” to become Galvanized Yankees out West Fighting Indians were Heroic in their Efforts, and Many were lost in Battles with the Indians. Carolina “Galvanized Yankees” were instrumental in Putting out the “First Newsletter” in the Dakota / Montana Territory. By the Way, there were Six Regiments or about 6,000 Confederates that Served as Galvanized Yankees. Someone has my Book on Galvanized Yankees, and I can’t remember about whether there were any monuments to them.

    On your last statement, I can’t imagine how or why monuments can be erected for Soldiers, when they are not involved – especially as many monuments never came to fruition because of the funding needed. And, Most of the Monuments were of a Period of anywhere from 10 Years of Fund Raising to 20 Years. I refer just to the Texas Monuments [50 of them] Web Page, where most were with stories of how the Projects Developed.

    Could you elaborate a little more on your last statement that many monuments didn’t involve the veterans? I don’t see it.

    Reply
  24. chris meekins

    In answer to T.F. Smith about monuments to Union men in the South – I know of one monument to the USCT from Hertford (the city not the county) NC. Erected we believe circa 1910 or 1912 – the date is not a solid as we would like it to be. The Civil War Trails Marker program (shameless plug) in NC includes a wayside exhibit for this monument. It is a monument us Tarheels would like to know much more about.

    And, of course, there are smaller monuments scattered throughout eastern NC (I am familiar with neNC for sure). Individual monuments to men who served in the Union army. Most in NC read 1st NCUV or 35th, 36th, 37th USCT and 14th USCT Artillery. They don’t often get the hype of their larger brethren but they are, nonetheless, just as important.

    But that sounds like I am back on my soap box – stepping off now.

    Reply
  25. TF Smith

    Chris – Thanks for that; the date sounds like it would postdate North Carolina’s Fusion politics (white Populists/black Republicans); if so (even if not) there’s probably a pretty interesting story there…by “individual monuments” do you mean gravestones? I think that’s different than a unit monument, which implies organizational efforts, funding, and – at least – some political power at the community level.

    I know NC had a pretty significant political divide during and after 1861-65 between tidewater and Appalachia (not unlike Tennesee’s between the East Tennessee highlanders/farmers and the West Tennessee riverside/planter economy); “Like a Family” the product of the oral history project that UNC (IRRC) did on the textile company towns reflects some of that, as well.

    Unlike our correspondent who enjoys capitalization, I expect there was much more to the politics behind the monument movement of the late Nineteenth Century South than what meets the eye; the Fusion movement alone stands most of the “Lost Cause” mythos on its head…

    Reply
  26. Bob Pollock

    May I also suggest John R. Neff’s book, Honoring the Civil War Dead: Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation. As the dust jacket states: “Neff reveals that as Northerners and Southerners honored their separate dead, they did so in ways that underscore the limits of reconciliation between Union and Confederate veterans, whose mutual animosities lingered for many decades after the end of the war. Ultimately, Neff argues that the process of reunion and reconciliation that has been the focus of recent literature either neglacts or dismesses the pewrsisitent reluctance of both Northerners and Southerners to “forgive and forget,” especially where their war dead were concerned.” I think Neff does a good job of proving his thesis.

    Mr. Edwards, here is my problem with your comparisons of more recent wars to the Civil War: When you go to the wall and commemorate with your fellow veterans, how often is there a Viet Cong veteran there to share your memories? Perhaps you have risen above the past strife and could shake hands

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bob,

      Thanks for suggesting Neff’s study. It’s is essential reading in this ongoing debate surrounding the limits of reconciliation and reunion in the postwar period. I would also suggest William Blair’s _Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1915_ (UNC Press).

      Reply
  27. Robert Moore

    T.F. Smith… There is a plaque on the outer wall of the Marion County, Alabama Court House that remembers the 1st Alabama Cav. (US). It’s been a number of years since I saw it, but don’t recall when it was placed there. I also have a photo of it… but I can’t find it!

    Reply
  28. Mike

    Well IMO all these 2 Educated men are doing is making all who have strived to gain Post Graduate Education look foolish.

    Reply
  29. Bobby Edwards

    Bob,

    Thanks for your input. Fortunately, I have been in very frequent contact with a couple of Vietnam Groups, one of which is the Unit that I was stationed with. With that group, there have been a couple of Reunions, and more than 10 Years of very personal relationships with many members. The other group was Vietnam Veterans Only from all of the various groups of service veterans. Several of the Veterans from the Vietnam Vets Only, I have been to the Wall with and several have stories worthy of CMOH. One Individuals story about his Montngnard Scouts holding off a Vietnam Regiment for 3 days, while VC bodies piled up around them. Chuck fired his weapon until he was out of ammunition, but with his Radio called in air strikes from B-52′s, Spooky’s, Jets, and Helicopter Gunships. He walked out of the Ambush with only six scouts remaining but their were hundreds of dead VC Surrounding Them. When Chuck Swiderski and I went to the Wall, and he laid down a Memorial Poem to his Major that died in his Arms, I don’t think he was thinking of Reconciliation at the moment. His e-mail just popped up, and I have another e-mail from him today. Although Chuck and I are 180 degree opposites in Political Views and have argued and debated endlessly for the past eight years, we are still the closest of friends – sharing a common bond of brotherhood, akin to the Shakespear “Band of Brothers” commentary from more than 200 years ago. For your information, Chuck is against War, and the Eight years that I have know him – he’s never said one unkind war against the enemey he slaughtered and were desperately trying to kill him.

    I didn’t meet any VC at the Wall. They are still under Communist Control, requiring minders to travel anywhere in their society, and the thought that VC would be travelling to this country on Veteran’s Day to Spend Time at the Wall doesn’t make any sense as you have suggested. Now, I can share with you that I met South Vietnamese at the Wall, and I have spent much time having them thank the Americans for sacrificing the blood and treasure trying to free their country.

    Bob, just as the Library at West Point or Annapolis is filled with Text Books about the Civil War, and the Periods of Military History are Studied to Compare Similar Methods and Strategies of Warriors – The mind of the Veteran and how they react to combat and other issues is a science that continues to be developed. Civillians can write about the Political Consequences of Monuments and Memorials and Ascribe some Esoteric Nuance such as Jim Crow or Whatever – But the Veteran who Fought the Fight, who Lost his Friends, and Attended the Monument Celebrations are there “Not Because of Politics” but Because of his Brotherhood of Soldiers. Recently, I was on the Manassas Battlefield, and behind the Henry House Hill is a Monument to the Federal Troops who served on that hill, took casualties, lost friends, and at the end of the day – those Troops who Sacrificed were the ones who Pushed for that Monument. The Individual Soldier

    I just got into Michael Hardys Book on North Carolina – “Remembering North Carolina Confederates” – Stories on North Carolina Monuments and Reunions at the Monument Dedications. Western North Carolina was very fractured, and their Monuments to Confederates were not as numerous. The understanding of how the UDC got so involved in the Monument Project is that “Reconstruction Laws” made it difficult for Southern Men to assemble or gather, and the Women were the ones originally involved in the projects.

    As Michael writes Southern History through his Investment in Time, Research, and Travelling – The Stories and Photos have been accumulated through miles and miles of travelling and exhaustive reasearch into the Actual Records of these Counties and Memorials. To Balance a Monument Research – I recommend highly his book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Carolinas-Confederates-Images-America/dp/0738542970

    Bob, I will post some photos of the Viet Nam Wall Images that I have accumulated over the past 30 years. And, thanks for the information on Neff. I will investigate very shortly.

    Best Wishes

    Reply
  30. Bobby Edwards

    Bob, Thanks for the recommendation on the Neff Book. I found this comment in the review process most interesting.
    “Neff suggests a special significance for the ways in which the commemoration of the dead shaped Northern memory. In his estimation, Northerners were just as active in myth-making after the war. Crafting a “Cause Victorious” myth that was every bit as resonant and powerful as the much better-known “Lost Cause” myth cherished by Southerners, the North asserted through commemorations the existence of a loyal and reunified nation long before it was actually a fact. Neff reveals that as Northerners and Southerners honored their separate dead, they did so in ways that underscore the limits of reconciliation between Union and Confederate veterans, whose mutual animosities lingered for many decades after the end of the war.

    Ultimately, Neff argues that the process of reunion and reconciliation that has been so much the focus of recent literature either neglects or dismisses the persistent reluctance of both Northerners and Southerners to “forgive and forget,” especially where their war dead were concerned. Despite reunification, the continuing imperative of commemoration reflects a more complex resolution to the war than is even now apparent. His book provides a compelling account of this conflict that marks a major contribution to our understanding of the war and its many meanings.”

    On the flip side are incidents of Northern Officers and Southern Officers meeting after the war, from the days of Mortal Combat to the date of Joint Meetings.
    Some Examples:
    1. Johnson Haygood, Gov of South Carolina, and the Federal Officer he Shot, who tried to sieze Haygood’s Brigade Flag during the Battle of August 21st, 1864 – Weldon RR. Haygood thought the Officer was Killed, and later after the War – Haygood and the Officer show up at different Reunions.
    2. Col. Lamb of Fort Fisher, and Gen Adelbert Ames meet after the war several times and often correspond.
    3. General Wade Hampton attends several Federal Reunions
    4. Pvt Julian S. Carr of the 3rd NC Cavalry [Commander of Confederate Veterans] Presents a Rousing Patriotic Speech at the Scene at the Top of this Page, which represents Gen Grant’s Monument in Washington D.C.
    5. General Longstreet attends Several GAR Reunions
    6. General Johnston Attended the Funerals of Two Federal Generals
    7. There were Two Military Reunions at Gettysburg, where Confederates and Federals Talked Often About their War Experiences.

    Bob – Concerning the Reconciliation with the Communists – Very few Communists have traveled to this Country, and I know of several trips by members of my Unit who have returned to Vietnam and have been treated very well. There’s a International Resort at China Beach, where I almost drowned in 1969, and where some of our fellows took some Mortar Fire in earlier years. In several of the Vietnam Books and Magazines, there have been many trips back to Vietnam like General Moore and Galloway, who reviewed with the North Vietnames the Battle of IL Drang.

    Ole Miss Professor Neff mentioned the difficulty of Southerners and Northerners in the Reconcilation Process. I can only think of the real difficulty of the average Southern Farmer and Craftsman in traveling North. Six Hundred thousand some Dead Soldiers expanded to Hundreds of Thousands of Grieving Families, and the Reconciliation Process, I am sure would be difficult, especially in Communities in the South which had strong Union Sentiment. One of the consequences of that animosity may very well have been the murder of Major General Bryan Grimes by a Unionist in Eastern N.C.

    Western North Carolina Issues according to Trotter’s Book indicated that the Western Mts. were infested with Confederate Deserters, Union Deserters, Bushwackers, and Families that had Great Animosities between them. A difficult situation for Monuments to be erected. There has to be a Passion for a Monument, Normally Born of Great Sacrifice. Many Regiments That Didn’t See the Elephant – Didn’t Do Monuments.

    Reply
  31. Bob Pollock

    Somehow half of my last comment didn’t get through. I think I hit a wrong button or something. I just noticed because right after I clicked submit I hit the road. My wife and I are in motel room in Corinth, MS. Tomorrow we will visit the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, and then Shiloh battlefield. This is the first time I have been here. Should be quite a day.

    Anyway, Bobby, I would not want to discount the genuine reconciliation between some (perhaps many) Union and Confederate soldiers. Some of these men had been good friends prior to the war, and naturally resumed their friendship. (Grant and Longstreet come to mind. ) I suggested Neff’s study because I think he shows that all the bitter feelings between the antagonists did not just disappear at Appomattox. Although I served four years in the Marine Corps, I was very lucky and never had to face enemy fire. So, I may not have the same experience that combat veterans have, but I don’t believe all monuments are erected just to honor combat valor. Julian Carr’s Address, quoted above, I think actually proves this point:

    The world shall yet decide
    In truth’s clear, far-off light
    That the soldiers who wore the Gray and died
    With Lee, were in the right.

    “No Confederate soldier has ever been asked to sacrifice the principles for which he fought. The basis of our surrender was, lay down our arms, as General Lee told us in his Farewell at Appomattox; to go home and make good citizens in peace as we had made brave soldiers in war. No Confederate soldier has ever surrendered nor has ever been asked to surrender the principles for which he fought. Over-whelmed in numbers, he lay down his arms and sheathed his sword, but he has never run away from, nor repudiated the principles for which he stood and for which he fought four long years of bloody war, and these principles today rule the world and they are the foundations on which all civilized governments have their being – self-determination (State’s Rights)…..”

    Soldiers and civilians on both sides felt the need to justify the sacrifice of life. Therefore they used Monuments and dedications to prove the righteousness of their respective causes. I can not agree with you that slavery was not the root cause of the war. Former Confederates did not want to admit they had been wrong, so they ignored the issue of slavery (an institution they knew was dead), and focused on the State’s Rights argument. In my humble opinion, the state’s rights argument doesn’t hold up under historical analysis. The one state right the Confederacy was established to protect, and the one for which it was willing to go to war, was the right to own slaves.

    By the way, Bobby, I do want to thank you for your service to our country.

    Reply
  32. Bobby Edwards

    Bob,

    Thanks for your excellent and well thought response. We may agree more on some of the fundamentals than you realize, and I believe it’s the framing of the debate about an issue that had begun to tilt over to “Jim Crow” laws as a motivator of monument construction.

    I refer back to Neff’s comments about both sides presented slants in memorial services that for the North was “Cause Victorious” and as Carr’s comments justifying “Lost Cause” from the example that you presented, I feel is very accurate.

    Black Monuments that Savage focused on reflected on the 54th Mass as a “Glorious Effort” of White Men to Celebrate Shaw as the Primary Figure, and there was another Monument in the North with a Black as Part of the Monument. The Norfolk Monument was truly a reflection of the efforts of Black Individuals to recognize the Black Soldier in Uniform. I have visited that monument a couple of times, and indeed it is a very impressive monument. I am not that far away, and I would love to get a photo to share with all in a folder of some of my favorites. Chris Meekins mentioned the Hertford County, NC Monument, and Roger Moore mentioned the Alabama Plaque. I know of a small Monument in Chesapeake, Va that was erected a few years ago. Perhaps it’s the Eastern part of Virginia and Nort Carolina where USCT seved very effectively that led to the completion of these monuments, and I suggest it was because of “Service Focused” accomplishments. As I mentioned earlier, I am very familiar with the history of many of the Black Churches of Tidewater, Virginia who formed during the Civil War or Immediately after the War. As with the Church a couple of blocks from the Norfolk Monument and the Monument in Chesapeake – The Churches were central focus points of Black Community Projects. I know how powerful they are in their community, and I am surprised that we haven’t seen more monuments – even in current times.

    Reconciliation of Blacks in Communities either North or South were problems in both communities. Black Union Veterans were not allowed to march in Parades in the Northern Cities. Beginning with the Draft Riots in New York City, where many of the Irish took vengence against the Blacks, the North had their own Reconciliation Issues. In Savage’s Book he mentions that when Blacks showed up on any Stuatory or Monumental Designs – they were in kneeling or submissive positions, and only on the Shaw 54th Mass. Monument were they in Uniform, but the Shaw monument was more a Presentation to the White Commander and the Ceremony attended by Whites.

    Bob, I agree with you that as you said “Slavery was the Root Cause” of the Civil War, but as I see it that Roots grow into Trees, and It’s the Same way When a Divorce Occurs between a Husband and Wife of many years. Compatability may be a “Root Cause” of a Divorce, but Infiidelity may be the Main Issue that finally Seperates the Marriage. Now if Both Parties are Sleeping Around, it’s hard to hold just one party Guilty of Infidelity. The Question that I have and I believe in my heart is that if Slavery Really was the Cause, and the Northern Legislators and Congressmen who Wanted to Free the Slaves for Years before the Civil War – Why didn’t they being a Legislative Process Immediately to do just that. With Lawrence O’Bryan Branch being the last Southern Legislator to leave Congress about May of 1861, it would have been extremely easy to accomplish just that. Anywhere along the way, Lincoln could have issued an executive Proclamation or an “Emancipation Proclamation” – Freeing the Slaves in the North, or in the Counties where Federal Forces had Military Control. Lincoln Issued a Military Strategy of Feeing Slaves in Confederate Territory, but He failed to use the Powers Invested in him to do exactly that. The 13th Amendment wasn’t designed until the war was just weeks from completition.

    Bob, The War May Have Involved Issues of Slavery. If it truly had been “About Slavery” with Only One Guilty Party in the Marriage – Then the Divorce would not have been justified. However, If Both Parties Were Guilty of Infidelity [Slavery], and It didn’t end Until after the War, I find it Very Hard to Believe that the South Wears the Mantle of Guilt that many Writers, Educators, and Authors want to Ascribe to Them as the “Whipping Boy” in this Argument.

    One of the Best Managerial Principles that I leared in 30 years of Sales and Marketing Issues – “We were all part of the Problem, and we all have to be part of the Solution”.

    Reply
  33. Bobby Edwards

    Bob Pollard – Have a Great Day in Corinth on your venture to the Shiloh battlefield. I would love to hear about your trip.

    Reply
  34. Robert Moore

    Bobby… it’s “Robert” Moore not “Roger.” Don’t worry about it too much though, it happens often. I usually tell people he’s a distant cousin, but you can just consider me “008″ :-)

    Robert @ Cenantua’s Blog

    Reply
  35. Sherree Tannen

    Bobby,

    I think that your experiences as a soldier are very relevant to this conversation. In many ways the Vietnam War was seen, by a sizeable segment of the American public for years, as a war fought for both a lost, and a reviled, cause, so, in this respect, I can see how you might equate the two wars. Also, a bond formed by soldiers in combat is a bond understood only by soldiers. The two wars are not alike outside of these two aspects, in my opinion. But then, that is just my opinion.

    The problem with the reconciliation of Union and Confederate soldiers after the Civil War is the problem that has been extensively laid out here: the history, newly won freedom, and rights of African American men and women were sacrificed. In addition, after reading Kevin’s blog for a while now, and reading the comments of contributors to the blog, I don’t believe the two sections of the country ever did really reconcile after all. There is just too much animosity on both sides, and too much false history.

    This post started out with the consideration of the petition presented to President Obama in which the President was asked not to lay a wreath at the Confederate Monument in Arlington. We know the results: the President laid two wreathes; one at the Confederate monument, and one at the African American Civil War monument.

    I think we need a new way of seeing the war. I also think we need a new Civil War monument in Arlington. And we need a monument in which is incorporated in one monument and not in separate monuments, depictions of Union soldiers–both black and white; Confederate soldiers; African men and women who were slaves; Hispanic soldiers, Cherokee, Seminole, and all the other men–and women—who were involved in the war, then we might truly approach a reconciliation of our irreconcilable differences, along with a real honoring of our history, again, in my opinion. We will never be united as one nation as long as men and women in our nation continue to call the opposing armies of a war that occurred close to one hundred fifty years ago either “invaders” or “traitors”. We also will never be united as one nation until we learn to walk a mile in the shoes of our brothers and sisters of all races. (I know you remember that song)

    I am part Cherokee, Bobby, and I have the honor to sit in ceremony with a wonderful Cherokee Elder for the healing of many people and things. This Elder is a Vietnam veteran who served two tours in country. On one of those tours, one of his new recruits panicked and took off running, with my friend right behind the recruit as he tried to stop the man. The new recruit stepped on a land mine before my friend could reach him, however, and was killed. The new recruit’s femur bone shot through my friend’s knee and he is in severe and chronic pain from this injury to this day–his days spent going back and forth to the VA hospital.

    I am bringing this up for a reason. My friend, the Elder, does not talk about his war experiences much, except with other veterans. He did talk to those of us who sit in ceremony with him for the purpose of healing about a process that he went through so that we would understand, however, as that process might be helpful to others. He was one of those men for whom the war didn’t end when the shooting stopped, and it didn’t end for decades. Finally, he decided that he would find his own way out of hell, since the doctors didn’t know the way out, and he consciously and deliberately remembered every moment of the war that he could, instead of repressing his memories. Then he forgave the men who killed his friends, and he asked for the forgiveness of the men he killed. This set him free, he said, and the war came to an end, except for the physical pain he is in, and will be in for the rest of his life, outside of some miracle cure.

    President Obama has said that the entire world “must learn to live together as one human family.” I hope we can show the world how to do that by doing it here in America first. Thanks for your service, Bobby, and for having patience as you waited for your country to welcome you back. Looks like this is one of those long threads, Kevin. Thank you, as always, for the hard work that goes into maintaining this truly complex blog. Now let me step off my soap box, lol, Someone else might need it…….Sherree

    Reply
  36. Bobby Edwards

    Robert, Everytime I see your name – I think of my Grandmother’s side of the family in Beaufort County, N.C. That County of North Carolina has a mix of almost fifty fifty of Union Supporters and those who served in the 1st North Carolina Union. My detailed study of the 3rd North Carolina indicates many of the members went over to Federal Units and a Few to Galvanized Yankee’s Unit formed out of Missouri [Six Regiments]. I try to put things into perspective with my service knowing that after the War’s Over – it’s time to forget and try to heal old wounds. I respect those who served in Units – North and South. I can remember visiting my Grandmothers Home on the other side of the Tar River in North Carolina, right below Greenville, and I overheard a conversation between a couple of Aunts that I still remember to this day as they were talking about my Dad’s family being from on “The Other Side of The River” in Confederate Land. However, a few years ago, one of the Geanologists that I had met on the Beaufort County Chat Line was doing some Genealogy Work for me, and there in my Edwards family was a Union Soldier from the same part of Beaufort County as my other Ancestors.

    You present a Unique View of History, and I applaud you for it.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Bobby,

      I will second that vote of confidence for Robert. He is a rare bird in these circles. Unlike so many who have strong personal/family ties to certain aspects of our past Robert understands the importance of balancing an emotional identification with a commitment to serious scholarship.

      Reply
  37. Bobby Edwards

    Sheree,

    One of my best friends here in Tidewater, VA is Ray Adams, once the chief of the Pamunkey Indians. We worked on a project when I was a Coordinator for an Exchange Club project to raise money for a Shelter for Abused Women and Children. Ray and I really poured our hearts out in the project, as we were able to secure an Anchor Sponsor that provided a $20,000 donation, and I enlisted many of the Major Corporations in the area to Contribute Sports Teams for a “Corporate Challenge”. Ray ran a Printing Comany called – “1st American Printing”, referring to the 1st American aspect. When the 1607, Quadracentennial arrived here in Virginia, Ray was the Indian Ambassador to the State of Virginia and to the Jamestown Foundation. I have been so fortunate to have worked so closely with him, and without his valued assistance – the Newport News Exchange Club would never have been successful in our project. For the American Indian History here in Virginia, Ray Adams is the Spokesman that all others seeks information from.

    Sheree, you mentioned a new Confederate Monument for Arlington. I have been through there several times, and I am not sure how it would fit in with the other periods of American Military involvement. William H.F. Lee “Rooney” [Lee's Son], the Commander of Barringers Tar Heel Brigade and Chambliss Virginia Brigade was born there at Arlington House, and after the war would become a Virginia Congressman. Maybe a Plaque to the Lees at the Arlington House, which was taken by the Federal Govt. as the Lee’s were not in the City, and Friends could not be allowed to pay the taxes. When Federal Soldiers were begun to be buried in the Arlington Cemetery by General Meigs, the Complexity of the Cemetery changed.

    Concerning Memorials, Plaques, and Monuments – There are many more that should be placed, erected, and honored for those who served. In the past few years, along one of my favorite side roads in Virginia, Route 5 that goes from Williamsburg to Richmond, there have been two significant Memorial Markers for Black Troops. One of them honors a Black Garrison of Troops who defended a Fort along the James River denying the capture from one of the best Confederate Cavalry Units of Gen.Fitzhugh Lee [Lee's Nephew]. A few weeks later, when a Tar Heel Unit was roughly handled by Federal troops crossing the Pamunkey, Fitzhugh tried to chastise Col. Johnson of a Marland Unit, that fled from the fight. Johnson came back and rubbed it in Fitzhugh Lee’s face about his defeat along the James. The Other Memorial along Route 5 is the Newmarket Memorial honoring the Dozen Blacks that received Medal of Honors for Taking the Harrison Line Fortifications below Richmond. General Butler of the Army of the James presented those medals, and it’s the Greatest Number of Medal of Honor Awards by a Black Unit in our Nations History.

    Both Memorial Markers recent attributions honoring the Service of Black Soldiers.

    Reply
  38. Robert Moore

    Bobby and Kevin,

    Thanks, I appreciate the kind remarks. It encourages me to continue.

    Bobby, I spent just over four years in Greenville at ECU, so I have a rather deep appreciation for that area and people there. At the time, I was never aware of so much Unionism in the area. In a brief exchange with Vikki Bynum as to where a good place might be for a Sesquicentennial conference on Southern Unionism, she suggested Greenville. I was already partial to the site, but knowing more about the Unionism there, I’m even more in favor of the idea. That would be a fine site for such a conference.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Robert,

      So glad to hear that you and Vicki are thinking about organizing a conference on Unionism in NC.

      Reply
  39. Robert Moore

    Kevin,

    It was something we first brought up in the FaceBook Southern Unionists group, but I really would like to see something come of it and would be delighted to be a part of making it happen. It’s the type of topic that needs recognition in such a setting and think it would be especially great as an event during the Sesquicentennial. There needs to be a greater awareness of these people and their lives in the war.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Robert,

      Perhaps you have already thought of this, but the two of you should contact the NC Sesquicentennial Commission as a possible sponsor. Hey Chris Meekins, are you there? How about the NCDAH helping out with such a conference? Good luck with this.

      Reply
  40. Robert Moore

    Kevin,

    Thanks. Yes, I had thought about it, but never really sat down to begin sorting out my thoughts and really considering who all need to be contacted and when to start. It’s definately time to start looking toward an event, maybe between 2012 and 2014. Chris Meekins, yes, I’d like your feedback and help, along with Vikki’s. Maybe we should create an offline discussion to begin looking at how we might make this happen. I think Vikki is still working on ironing some things out with her upcoming release. Kevin, what about you? Any other suggestions?

    Reply
  41. Sherree Tannen

    Bobby,

    Have you ever been to a pow wow with Ray? Veterans are generally honored at pow wows.

    It sounds like you both did some wonderful work for women.

    On a new memorial in Arlington that includes everyone: I know it is not feasible, on a practical level. It is just a thought. When I started to try to imagine what such a memorial would look like, it got too elaborate and baroque fast. Something abstract, yet very human at the same time, would be better. It might happen by the 200th anniversary of the Civil War.

    Reply
  42. Bobby Edwards

    Robert,
    One of my distant cousins is the Director of the East Carolina Library, and his last name is Jones. He may be some help to you.

    One of the events concerning Union Troops occurred close by in the Town of Washington, N.C. – Dec, 1862, Which came under attack from the 17th North Carolina and a Company of 3rd North Carolina Cavalry. The Infantry and Cavalry had worked their way down by the River on Main Street, pushing the Federals back that were in Town. The Local Union Troops came to the aid of the Garrisoned Federals, and at the peak of Battle were able to Fight hand to hand Against some of their Neighbors from the 17th NC that were attacking them. That must have been some hairy fighting, especially if they recognized each other.

    Washington is a Renissance Town of an Old Colonial Seaport Town, and it is slowly but surely coming alive after so many years of decay. The Tragedy of Washington is the Burning of the Town as Federal Troops departed to catch up with Grant’s Overland Campaign going on by the North Anna at that time.

    Robert, maybe you could recognize the efforts of the Local Union Troops in Saving the Town of Washington from being captured by the Confederate Attack.

    There’s also an Engagement at Pactolus, right below Greenville, on the road to Washington, by the old sawmill. It’s on the Civil War Trails there in N.C., and there may be a historical marker.

    December of 1863, while in an encampment a few miles from Greenville on Rt.# 33 heading to Chocowinity, a Company of 3rd North Carolina were attacked, and 12 Confederates Captured, many of which went over to riding with the Union Troops. P.S. if you want the details, I have the list of men who made the switch.

    There’s also a raid on Greenville by the 3rd, and there’s a Church that was burned by the attacking Federal Troops then. You may be more familiar with the details. I have been trying to get to some of these events in North Carolina to continue to flush out the history of the 3rd. Cavalry.

    East Carolina has done other events like this, and with your connections – this should be a natural.

    Reply
  43. Bobby Edwards

    Sherre,
    Our Exchange Club in Newport News was a Charter Club, newly formed, and our project selected by the Members was a Daunting Task. Members got very ambitious, and as the Vice President – I knew that we were not going to be able to sell peanuts to meet the objectives of the Club. As a Manager in a Sales and Marketing Co., I knew that we were going to have to go for Corporations to make the Project Work, and someone mentioned a project in Richmond that was a “Corporate Challenge”. Ray said he would like to be involved [he did the printing], and we were off and rolling. Another Member and I made the presentation to Riverside Hospital in Newport News, and they boght the Sponsorship position for $20,000. I went from Corporation to Corporation to round up a Crew of Competitors from the Business Community. After a couple of months, we had a Great Contingency, and during the Event got lots of Publicity. The Event Drained me, and after getting it off and running – The Event grew Larger and Larger for the Next Five Years. Curtis Strange donated $40,000 to the Event, and the Women’s Club of the Peninsula and the Peninsula group of Exchange Clubs took on our Project as “Their Project”, and Five Years Later – Many Others had made the Project Reality. The First Year Drained Me, but Ray – Bob Royster, and I got it off the ground.

    Ray has offered the “Anytime” trip up to the Reservation on the Pamunkey River, and now that he is retired, I think I will give him a call and take him up on it. Thanks for the Idea.

    Reply
  44. chris meekins

    Robert, I would invite you and Vicki Bynum to consider participating in one of the three major symposiums the NC Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee is planning. Three themes – Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory; three years – May 2011, May 2013, May 2015. Opening in Raleigh with Memory, next Wake Forest hosts us with Freedom, and UNC Wilmington wraps up with Sacrifice. We have a keynote speaker – David Blight – for the first event and have issued a call for papers.
    I would invite everyone to join the cause ;o)
    You can find details here http://www.nccivilwar150.com/

    Reply
  45. Robert Moore

    Bobby,

    It’s been quite sometime since I was last at ECU (84-88), and I doubt any of my professors remain. Dr. John Ellen, a WW2 vet (and D-Day vet as well, if memory serves ) was my Civil War prof. there. I think he retired in the early 90s.

    The action between neighbors at Washington sounds a little like Front Royal here in the Valley (the fight between two Maryland regiments), but I wonder if the hand-to-hand matter made it even worse at Washington.

    That’s some fantastic information that you are sharing. Perhaps you would be interested in writing a few posts about certain Unionists that stand out for the Southern Unionists Chronicles?

    Speaking of Eastern N.C., when I lived in Beaufort (I’m sure you know, quite the beautiful place), I learned that the Monitor pulled in there for a short time. I tried to encourage someone (a well-known CW naval artist) to paint the scene, but when he asked for the reference, I was unable to find it again.

    Are you aware of the Kinston hangings of the “Buffaloes” conducted by Pickett? I first encountered the story when I wrote the unit history for the 38th Bttn. Va. Light Art. (the Battle of Plymouth was of great interest to me when writing the book). I’m sure you must be aware of the story.

    Anyway, I encourage you to write more about the N.C. Unionists and hope you will consider a few items for the Chronicles! What you mention so far certainly catches my attention, plus all the names of familiar towns in that area strikes a chord.

    Reply
  46. Robert Moore

    Chris,

    Darn it! Memory is going to be in Raleigh!? Now you realize I can’t come to Raleigh without feeling a bit of hostility… after all, it is Wolfpack country and I’m an old Pirate! I might get a hankerin’ to pull down a goalpost or something!

    I’ll have to take a look at the Call for Papers and see if I can expand my horizons and write about Unionists in N.C.

    Reply
  47. chris meekins

    Robert, I thought I saw a glint of gold in your ear. Come on to Wolfpack country – I offer safe passage.

    Done a bit of writing myself on Unionists and on Buffaloes (trying to pin down the origin of that term – came mighty close to doing so). NC is rich in Civil War history even if she is poor in major battles. I am very interested in the contested landscape of coastal NC. The peninsula that is Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington counties changes hands several times. And while I agree with many comments from our fellow contributor I would say something more is happening in Little Washington when federals abandon it and it burns in 1864. After the siege in 1863, the town s fortified in such a manner as to include setting in place flammable materials. In the chaos that is the aftermath of Plymouth fleeing troops equaled a disaster and those fuels were touched off. It was investigated – but evidence suggests that it was accidental. But I concede it was an accident primed to happen.

    But that is me, always on the outside of the mainstream NC storyline.

    My ancestor was captured at Beech Grove Feb 1864 with the unit that included the men hanged at Kinston. Those men were conscripts who wore gray long enough to find a nearby swamp and change gray for blue. My guy put on blue only. He ended up in Richmond’s Castle Thunder, got the diarrhea, and was dead by March.

    Always on the outside of the storyline.

    Reply
  48. Robert Moore

    Chris,

    That’s an interesting story about your ancestor. Do you know that there are now Sons of Union Veterans Camps down in N.C.? I think there are 3-4 camps there now. Expansion has been significant in the past few years from Virginia, N.C., S.C., Ga., Alabama, and an interesting percentage are actually descended from Southerners in blue.

    Nothing wrong about being on the outside of the storyline. Sometimes I find being outside the storyline is unpopular history among some Southerners, but it’s all history and the stories need to be told. My recent talk at a CWRT was interesting. I could see that some in the audience might have preferred the glory of the Lost Cause stories vice the stories about Southern Unionists and the like under the hard hand of Confederates.

    Reply
  49. Bobby Edwards

    Chris,
    I grew up in Chocowinity, a couple of miles below Washington, and I have seen the Sign leading into town about the Burning of the Town by Federal Troops hundreds of times. I have always thought why? Here’s a snipped about the event from a Beaufort County History stored under the East Carolina Digital Library.

    I am sure you use East Carolina U. Digital Library all of the time. It’s a tremendous treasure trove of material from the Counties taking in lots of history. Here’s a Beaufort County History by Lindsay Carter Warren in 1889, and I have copied a part of that article about the fire.

    http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/historyfiction/fullview.aspx?id=wab
    Pages 12-13

    “The brilliant feat of General Hoke in capturing Plymouth on April 20, 1864, caused General Harland, the Union commander at Washington, to receive an order to evacuate the town. On April 30 the last Federal troops, after firing the different portions of the town, embarked. For the three preceding days the town was given up to sack and pillage. The plundering was not confined to the public stores and supplies but was general and indiscriminate. Gen. I. N. Palmer, who will always be remembered by the citizens of eastern Carolina for his kindness and consideration, as well as for his soldierly qualities at that time commanded the district of North Carolina. He was an honorable foe. In the general orders issued after the evacuation, he thus characterizes these outrages:

    “It is also well known that the army vandals did not even respect the charitable institutions, but bursting open the doors of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges, pillaged them both, and hawked about the street the regalia and jewels. It is also well known, too, that both public and private stores were entered and plundered, and that devastation and destruction ruled the hour.

    “The commanding general had until this time believed it impossible that any troops in his command could have committed so disgraceful an act as this which now blackens the fair fame of the army of North Carolina. He finds, however, that he was sadly mistaken, and that the ranks are disgraced by men who are not soldiers but thieves and scoundrels, dead to all sense of honor and humanity, for whom no punishment can be too severe.”

    A board of investigation, presided over by Col. James W. Savage, Twelfth New York Cavalry, scathingly denounced the burning and plundering of the town, and said “there could be no palliation of the utterly lawless and wanton character of the plundering.”

    The fire burned from Pamlico River clear through to the northern limits, and covered eight solid blocks. The bridge was also fired. Nearly one-half of the town was destroyed by this conflagration. No military necessity required the burning of Washington. It was not necessary to cover the evacuation or to aid the escape of the garrison. No hostile force was then investing the town. A few days later, when the Confederates entered, an accidental fire broke out, and fanned by a high wind almost destroyed the other half. After this baptism the town was desolate and ruined. There were scarcely 500 inhabitants remaining of what had been an enterprising and prosperous community of 3,800 three years before.

    No town gave more freely of its men and means and no town suffered more for the cause of the Confederacy.”

    Reply
  50. Bobby Edwards

    Robert,

    In an above post you mentioned an Incident at Plymouth. I can only assume that you may be referring to a report written by a Lt. Davenport, Federal Officer about an event of the Confederates capturing Plymouth, and part of the Garrison, which were USCT ran from the area trying to escape and were shot down by Confederates? It’s been a few years since I read the report, and I can’t remember all of the details, but I was struck with the name Davenport, which settled in a local community adjacent to Plymouth. That’s where my Mothers’ Davenport Father was born, and I know of no Confederate links to the Davenport family. A Lt. Davenport also shows up in some reports in the Plymouth Community for the Garrison troops – After the War. Perhaps the Lt. found a sweet Southern Gal, married and settled outside Plymouth. Who Knows? Every five years or so, the Davenports have a monster Reunion in Plymouth from all over the Country.

    Reply
  51. chris meekins

    Hey Bobby,
    Immediately it strikes me that its your home territory – and by no means do I wish to step onto that or raise your ire. Its a beautiful part of our state.
    I would first point to the age of the book in question 1889. Written in a particular time with a particular point of view in mind. Having seen nothing but the quotes you posted I would hazard a guess to say a Lost Cause patriot was writing.
    I have used the digital library and I am sure you are aware of Cornell’s Making of America where the official Records Army and Navy are easily at hand (we live in a truly remarkable age).
    Palmer’s reports leading into the fall of Washington are in OR Series 1; 33, pages 979-980, 1010-1012. He does not sound so friendly as the 1889 author makes him out to be. And if you read those you see Confederate forces advancing on the city and inside the city are members of the 1st NCUV and contrabands as well as a few remaining citizens of the town.
    A quick recap of 1864 might give us a clue as to the level of anxiety in Washington in late April 1864. February 1864 Pickett captures men of the 2nd NCUV Co. F at the post at Beech Grove. Some are sent to Richmond, most to Andersonville, and 22 or 23 (depending on who you believe) are strung up with hemp neckties. Plymouth falls to Confederate forces in late April 1864. 1st NCUV are captured along with contraband who had been under arms. NCUVs assumed Yankee units ID when they could to avoid another hanging spree – contraband fled and by all accounts some were hunted down and slaughtered – how many depends on who you believe.
    So, Confederate forces are advancing on Washington – which has white NC Union soldiers in it and contraband who were probably also garrison.
    Might create a little panic. Certainly things would get out of control – as is evidenced by the fire(s). Immediately after occupation Confederate forces begin beating the woods for unionists. The Thomas Pittman collection at the NC State Archives has some interesting documents in that regard.
    I have yet to find the OR report by Palmer on the investigation but my gut tells me that our 1889 author was selective in their quotes – I have caught ever single author on Civil War NC with their hand in that cookie jar if they write before, say, 1926.
    As Kevin will no doubt tell us – its a project waiting to happen.

    Reply
  52. Bobby Edwards

    Chris, thanks for your very valued response. It opens my eyes to additional and interesting information.

    Concerning the “Cookie Jar” – We all put our hands in the “Cookie Jar”, and the Hands of Federal Officers writing OR Reports may be some of the most “Self Serving Cookie Jar” reports. These reports getting the “Eyes” of so many Superiors, who wouldn’t want to “Reframe Situations, Issues, and Events to Highlight Strengths and Minimize Faults”. I know you have seen them also of OR Reports highlighting of how “We Drove Them Handsomely, taking Many Prisoners and Inflicting Much Damage” – All the While getting their Butts Kicked or Routed. Promotion, Fame, and Reputation were all Bundled in the Report. They were often Grand Examples of “Puffery”. Both North and South.

    More Current: 1962 and Authored by a WWII Veteran, a retired Army Col is a Two Hundred Year History of Washington, N.C., and it’s also located under the Counties Tab of the East Carolina Digital Records:

    “BEAUFORT COUNTY – Two Centuries of Its History” 1962

    By C. Wingate Reed , Col. USA Retd.

    The Section about the Washington Fire from Pages 190-191

    “A year later, on 20 April, 1864, General Robert F. Hoke, with the aid of the Confederate ironclad Albemarle, recaptured the town of Plymouth; drove the Union gunboats down the Roanoke; and captured some 3,000 prisoners. Under the threat of an advance by Hoke’s Army, Brigadier General Harland, then commanding the Union forces in Washington, was ordered to evacuate the town and return to New Bern.

    For three days prior to the evacuation, Washington was subjected to systematic plundering. Pillaging started with the Quartermaster depot of the 1st North Carolina (Union) companies, and soon became general. Sutler stores, government stores, private stores, and then private homes were broken into and looted. Gangs of rowdy soldiers prowled the streets, breaking into homes and destroying what they could not carry away.

    Before the Union forces embarked on waiting gunboats and transports, they cut the hose of the volunteer fire companies and set fire to the town and the bridge over the Pamlico. Though the few men left in the town tried to combat the flames, their efforts were in vain. The fire raged from the river, north along Respess Street, to the north end of the town. There may have been some justification for burning the bridge, to prevent Hoke using it in his advance against New Bern, but the burning of Washington was an act of pure vandalism.

    …………………………………………………………………………………………
    Chris,

    As a War Veteran, I can’t get into the Heads of the Soldiers in Town that day and their thoughts of what happened in New Bern. That’s Conjecture.

    The mix of Contraband, Untested N.C. Union Soldiers, and Perhaps Orders to return to New Bern to avoid another disaster like Plymouth, may have been in the minds of Officers in command, but I would add “Fear” to that Mix, and that’s the Fall of Plymouth with 3,000 Prisoners and the Whole Garrison at Plymouth easily Taken, and the Confederate Iron-Clad Albermarle adding tons of weight to the Argument to Retreat to a more distant and more fortified location – New Bern. Orders to leave may have also been generated from the need and requirement of troops for Grant’s Overland Campaign. Gunboats were at the Piers of Washington to load the troops, and would have had to have been ordered from New Bern The Retreat would have been orderly as I see it, and less the panic as you have offered. The Cutting of Fire Hoses was Malicious, and the Burning of the Town maybe made easier by Plans which included locations throughout the town which were constructed in advance to set fire.

    From Current Day Analysis of a WWII Veteran – I agree with the Col on his analysis.

    “The Burning of Washington Was a Pure Act of Vandalism”

    Reply

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