I am delighted to hear that residents of Fredericksburg, Virginia have resurrected a civic ceremony that was lost as a result of reunion between white Northern and former Confederates. For a number of years after the war the black residents of the city took part in annual marches on Decoration Day to the cemetery to commemorate the bravery of United States soldiers and the cause for which they fought. Those early commemorations constituted a living reminder that the war had profound results for millions of slaves and that its memory would be incomplete without the acknowledgment of emancipation and freedom.
And here is the final comment from yesterday’s SHPG thread:
A few months ago, I saw on the History Channel some stories of earlier armies, who killed every standing soldier left in the battle. The Black Flag became a Flag – Understood by Pirates and Armies, that there would be “No Survivors” left standing – from either side. The Black Flag was raised by the Federals at Fort Pillow and again by the Black Troops at the Crater. Confederates going into battle were informed that the blacks had cried “Fort Pillow – No Surrender & were fighting under a Black Flag”. More importantly, when the blacks were trying to surrender – other men in the vicinity were still shooting from the Federal forces. A “White Flag” and a “Cessation” in Firing are two Critical Elements which would or could have caused the Confederates to Stop Shooting, however both of these were not forthcoming, until the Confederate Officers closed the door on the Fighting.
The question for Levin is – Has he ever defended the injustices done to the Indians by Federal Troops after the War Between the States? I doubt it. In his mind – it’s all about “Evilizing the South”.
I’ve grown use to these comments and I suspect they will increase in frequency once the book comes out. As much as I probably should be offended by such accusations, I’ve come to realize that they are not really about me. It’s hard to be offended once you understand that we are engaged in two different projects. For the author of this comment the goal is to defend a certain narrative of the past by striving for some sort of moral balance. Notice the references to previous wars or the query regarding whether I have any plans to explore the history of violence between the U.S. army and Native Americans. The assumption appears to be that the history of racial violence during the Civil War is no different from any other historical event. Well, if your goal is simply to maintain a moral balance sheet than the fact that there are salient differences will remain irrelevant. Historians, on the other hand, must look deeper.
It’s one thing to get advanced praise from scholars such as David Blight and Earl Hess, but you really can’t beat the honest assessment from my friends in the Southern heritage community. Consider the following Facebook thread from my old buddy, Carl Roden (aka Amanda). It’s nice to know that my book is on their radar screen and if it makes for some comfortable toilet paper then so be it.
“I will guarantee you that Amazon will not allow the “Reviews” to this book that will come in. Levin is just like the rest of the POG’s that Michael Phipps often refers to, for those who have no concept of what a “Military Experience in War” is like. Perhaps, that why someone like Edwin Bearss, a Marine Combat Vet was so successful in his writing about the battles that took place. Levin was trying to “Construct a Narrative” that there was an Attempt by the Southern Defenders along the Jerusalem Plank Road by the St. Johns Blandford Church in putting down a “Slave Rebellion”. How utterly Ignorant, Stupid, Moronic, and Ass-Backwards from what was happening, with the Courageous and Determined Defense of a Break in the Lines. The Fool just does not get it, not matter how many “Contortions” and “Revisions” he engineers into the Narrative.”
Rest assured that no reviews will be censored on the Amazon page. The more attention, the better. Keep it coming and thanks for acknowledging my book.
This past weekend I accompanied my wife to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, where she successfully defended her PhD dissertation in Neuroscience. It’s been a long 7 years and a lot of late nights, but she finally did it and I could not be prouder. I was able to sit through the public portion of the defense and although I still have a great deal of trouble following along it is hard not to be humbled by the amount of time and effort that went into this project. I know we historians like to think that we explain things, but the good folks in the science world really do EXPLAIN the world around us. [Here is the abstract for Michaela's most recent publication in the Journal of Neurophysiology, which outlines her project.] It’s unfortunate that so much of our public discourse centers on the kind of science popularized by Oliver Sacks, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and others. I don’t mean to diminish their contributions, but their books do not reflect the daily grind that takes place in laboratories across the country.
On Monday I had a conference call with the marketing staff at the University Press of Kentucky. As it stands, the book should be in their wearhouse by mid-June and available on the shelves one or two weeks later. A few of you have asked if books will be available at this year’s Gettysburg CWI conference. It’s going to be a close call. As an incentive you can now purchase the book with a 40% discount. Just click through the image in the sidebar and use the code at the point of purchase.
…and thanks to the 18 people who have already ordered it.