“Why Don’t You Think About Vicksburg, Jack”

Dr. Kregg Fehr, Professor of History at Lubbock Christian University, tells us that former Confederate soldiers who moved to Texas after the war were angry. The residents of Vicksburg, Mississippi were so angry that they refused to celebrate the Fourth of July for many years after the war. Really? Are you sure that no one in the Vicksburg area had reason to celebrate July 4? Hmmm…

…and what’s with that music.

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“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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10 comments… add one
  • Tony Dec 30, 2013 @ 19:25

    I ran across a Mississippi newspaper article published not long after the war that mentioned a July 4th celebration in the city. A white race riot erupted, with several casualties. 🙂

  • Christopher Coleman Dec 19, 2013 @ 6:55

    Dr. Fehr’s anecdote is true as far as it goes; but as Kevin implies there’s more to the story. For the African American residents of the area, the Union siege and July 4th victory were a cause of jubilation. Since one picture is worth a thousand words, I refer you to F. B. Schell’s illustration for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly labeled “New Year’s Contraband Ball at Vicksburg, Miss. During the Siege.” There was a text which accompanied the drawing and it was later reprinted in a bound volume of illustrations. In any case, THOSE residents of Vicksburg were anything but unhappy with the Yankee presence. From their perspective, the Fourth of July was a doubly joyous holiday. Just goes to show.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 19, 2013 @ 6:57

      My guess is that Professor Fehr’s area of specialization is not the Civil War era.

  • Corey Meyer Dec 18, 2013 @ 19:08

    A woman I once new who as passed on many years ago lived her early life in Louisiana near the Vicksburg area and claimed that not until she moved up here after her marriage did she celebrate the 4th. I have no way of telling if this were true or just urban legend she was pushing.

    • Andy Hall Dec 19, 2013 @ 8:33

      That may well have been the case, for her. And I’m sure it was true for lots of folks around Vicksburg. Unfortunately it’s become conventional knowledge that Vicksburg residents as a whole “refused to celebrate the Fourth of July for eighty-one years,” and it’s just not true.

  • Barbara Gannon Dec 18, 2013 @ 18:01

    Hmmm . . .Likely the black people were celebrating, but wait, they are not the “people” of Vicksburg. The GAR post likely celebrated. I wonder if he knows that shows the anti-American nature of the Lost Cause. Wait, thanks for that, I just commented on the US Army War College removing images of “American heroes” who tried to destroy the Union from their campus. The usual, they were “American” heroes crap was heard from some commentators, they should be emulated by US Army officers. PUHLEASE.

    • Andy Hall Dec 19, 2013 @ 7:55

      “. . . but wait, they are not the ‘people’ of Vicksburg.”

      Pretty much. OTOH, it was about that same time that both Forrest and Gideon Pillow, in Memphis, publicly called on Confederate veterans to participate with Union veterans in Decoration Day ceremonies, and “marched in the same column with the Federals who had fought him, and shared a seat on the same platform with our best representatives of the Union armies. . . .” Those old guys, they’ll surprise you every time.

      To your larger point, yes, today’s make-believe Confederates want it both ways. They have their hair on fire over a supposed “purge” of Confederate generals’ portraits at the War College (which, BTW, is an almost completely ficticious-story), because Lee and Jackson were “American heroes,” but oppose a monument to contemporary U.S. solders at Olustee because those men were like fanatical jihadis or perpetrators of “the American Holocaust.” It’s asinine, but they’re so far into the echo chamber that they have no idea how ludicrous they should to anyone on the outside.

  • Scott A. MacKenzie Dec 18, 2013 @ 17:40

    Another case of one step forward, two steps back.

  • Andy Hall Dec 18, 2013 @ 16:31

    “And they held onto their anger, refused to celebrate the Fourth of July for eighty-one years.”

    He’s wrong.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 18, 2013 @ 16:35

      Thanks for reminding me of that one.

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