Confederate Flags Return to W&L’s Lee Chapel

Well, not exactly, but John Paul Strain’s latest effort at realism is the next best thing for those people upset with the recent removal of Confederate flags from the chapel room. It’s a curious print and while it may do well within a certain community Strain’s choices distorts the history and identity of Lee Chapel.

Lee ChapelYes, Edward Valentine’s beautiful marble recumbent statue depicts Lee in his military uniform, but as far as I know there are no other symbols of the former Confederacy present when the room was first dedicated. More problematic, however, is the addition of images of Stuart and Jackson on the rear panels. Strain makes it appear that their images have been etched into the panels, but as many of you know, they are in fact clear.

Lee’s burial site was not intended to be a Lost Cause shrine to the Confederacy and the flags that adorned the space, before they were removed last year, only arrived in the 1930s. In my mind the attempt at realism with the addition of Stuart and Jackson does a disservice to the purpose of the space and perhaps even the way Lee wanted to be remembered.

The Other Side of Stone Mountain

Just finished a brief exchange with a public historian that I highly respect. He sent me a brief note regarding a recent story that appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the ongoing controversy at Stone Mountain. The reporter contacted me to comment on claims made about the existence of black Confederate soldiers that are being made by heritage organizations to counter a planned exhibit on black Union soldiers. Continue reading “The Other Side of Stone Mountain”

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 11/30

Rabe, Damn YankeesJust a quick thank you to those of you who have purchased items on Amazon through my blog. As I have pointed out before, I earn a small percentage from each purchase in the form of a credit, which I use to purchase new books. With the Holiday Shopping Season upon us please think about clicking through one of these links to make your purchases. Every little bit helps and it gives me the opportunity to keep up with new releases.

Of course, no worries if you believe that Amazon is the root of all evil.

George C. Rable, Damn Yankees!: Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South (Louisiana State University Press, 2015).

Patrick Rael, Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777-1865  (University of Georgia Press, 2015).

Eric Rauchway, The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace (Basic, 2015).

Nicholas Stargardt, The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-–1945 (Basic, 2015).

Rosemary Sullivan, Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva (Harper, 2015).

Will the Virginia Flaggers “Restore the Honor” at St. Paul’s Episcopal?

The recent decision by the community at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond has received a great deal of media coverage. It is certainly one of the most significant decisions on the part of an institution to remove Confederate iconography since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, S.C. this past summer. St. Paul’s has a deep historical connection to Richmond’s Confederate past. General Robert E. Lee and his wife attended services at St. Paul’s whenever possible throughout the war. In 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was confirmed as a member of the parish. Many members of the community gave their lives in service of the Confederacy. The site was also used to treat wounded soldiers. On the morning of  April 2, 1865, President Davis was delivered a message from General Lee stating that Petersburg, could no longer be defended thus rendering Richmond indefensible. Davis quietly left the church, and evacuated the Confederate government and army from the city that afternoon. Continue reading “Will the Virginia Flaggers “Restore the Honor” at St. Paul’s Episcopal?”

Donald Trump: Civil War Historian and Preservationist

I know some of you enjoyed a good laugh yesterday in response to a New York Times story about Donald Trump’s golf course in Virginia, which includes a historical marker to a battle that never took place. I did as well. The story can now be found on all of the major news sites, but no one has offered any reflections about what this tells us about Trump or his understanding and use of history. Perhaps it’s obvious, but I decided to give it a shot for The Daily Beast. TDB does no longer allows comments so feel free to leave your thoughts below.

You should also check out Craig Swain’s post on this issue. In it he references two Union soldiers shot and killed by civilians. Not much is known about the incident.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.