My latest column at The Daily Beast hopefully sheds a little light on those white and black Southerners, who for one reason or another chose to remain loyal to the United States during the American Civil War. With all the talk about the dangers of erasing history in connection with the public display of Confederate iconography, we have forgotten that the monument building that helped to prop up and perpetuate the Lost Cause also contributed to erasing the lives of a significant number of Americans, whose service and sacrifice helped to preserve this Union and end slavery.
Like many of you I am excited about the first episode of the mini-series Roots, which airs on the History channel tomorrow evening. I am also concerned. History does not have the best track record when it comes to programs that are actually about history. Many of their most popular programs have only a loose connection to the serious exploration of the past, such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars. Documentaries such as America: A History of Us and The Men Who Built America offer such a narrow and simplistic view of their subjects that they are almost worthless. Other programs, namely Ancient Aliens, throws the book out completely. [click to continue…]
This is a follow up to an earlier post about the dedication of a headstone for William Mack Lee by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
This afternoon a good friend contacted me after having looked into the claim made by William Mack Lee that he served in the 27th Virginia Infantry and as a cook for R.E. Lee. It should come as no surprise that there is no compiled service record for WML in that unit. More interesting, however, is a thorough debunking of WML’s claims of having served as R.E. Lee’s personal body servant in the September 1927 issue (p. 324) of Confederate Veteran by none other than the magazine’s editor, E.D. Pope. I encourage you to read it for yourself.
The interesting thing from my vantage point is the emphasis right at the beginning of the article on ‘debunking’ WML’s claim to have been a “real friend” of R.E. Lee. [click to continue…]
Recently the Norfolk County Grays Camp No. 1549, Sons of Confederate Veterans installed a military style marker to honor William Mack Lee, who they claim was Robert E. Lee’s “cook and body servant” during the war.” In addition to the headstone, a Cross of Honor reaffirms the belief among the organizers of the event that WML was indeed a soldier.