Lee – Jackson…what?

Today in Virginia is Lee-Jackson Day, but according to the The News Leader in Staunton you are going to have to look hard to find anyone celebrating it.  State offices are closed, but it looks like most government offices are open as well as public schools.  I will be in my classroom today as well.  While the public acknowledgment and celebration of Lee, Jackson, and all things Confederate may be on the decline, citizens of this great state will have plenty of opportunity over the next few years to study and come to appreciate the lives of these two men as well as the broader history of the war.  Their stories are absolutely essential to understanding this beautiful state that we call home so I encourage everyone to embrace Lee and Jackson during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

On a related note, the state of Virginia has officially rejected the notion that thousands of slaves fought as soldiers in the Confederate army.

Oh…and a reminder to the city of Norfolk: NO PARKING TICKETS ON LEE-JACKSON DAY!

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When we first lived in Kentucky in 1976, my husband, “a Yankee” went to the bank on Lee’s Birthday, and found it it closed. Having never heard of such a thing, he just couldn’t understand. I just said, “it’s a Southern thing.” I don’t think they do it any more. You are right…these men deserve to be studied in the context of their surroundings and to be understood for the men they were, not the men many would like them to be. I do so enjoy reading your columns. I am reading a book called “My Old Confederate Home”, about the Kentucky Confederate Veterans Home, and just read an interesting part about a “black Confederate” who was allowed to stay at the home to work out his stay, but not to live there as actually a veteran.

Somewhere, IIRC, Clement Eaton remarked that Kentucky joined the Confederacy in 1866.

My understanding is that Tennessee never officially seceded from the Union, either. They were unable to get a majority, but the secessionists had enough power to achieve a de facto secession. I once figured out how many Confederate and how many Union soldiers there were in Tennessee regiments. I believe that Tennessee had the largest proportion of Union to Confederate soldiers of and of the eleven states that are recognized by most as being a part of the confederacy.

I believe Tenessee contributed both the largest number of Confederate and the largest number of Union soldiers of any Confederate state. Am I right in thinking that Tenessee was already known as the “Volunteer State” before the Civil War?

It is interesting. On the one hand we have no difficulty appreciating the difficult decision that Lee had to make once Virginia seceded and, no doubt, it was difficult. However, we forget any number of West Point graduates/military men from the South had the very same decision to make and they chose to defend the United States. It is interesting.

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