Brag Bowling and Mark Potok Talk Past One Another

“Brag Bowling, SCV member and Director of the Stephen D. Lee Institute, and Southern Poverty Law Center Research Director Mark Potok represent two sides of the contentious debate over a large and looming question: what was the Civil War really fought over?”  As far as I can tell neither of them possesses any serious knowledge of Civil War history.  They are, however, quite entertaining.  The following clip is from an upcoming documentary titled, The Lost Cause: An Old War in the New South.

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A Negro Volunteer Song

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Boston

Today I found the following poem as a news clipping in a scrapbook contained in the Norwood P. Hallowell Papers, 1850-1914 at the Massachusetts Historical Society.  It’s titled, “A Negro Volunteer Song” and was written by a private in Co. A, 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Fremont told them when the war it first begun,
How to save the Union, and way it should be done;
But Kentucky swore so hard, and old Abe he had his fears,
Till every hope was lost but the colored volunteers.
Chorus—O, give us a flag, all free without a slave,

We’ll fight to defend it as our Fathers did so brave,
The gallant Comp’ny A will make the rebels dance,
And we’ll stand by the Union if we only have a chance.

McClellan went to Richmond with two hundred thousand
[brave,
He said “keep back the niggers,” and the Union he would
[save.
Little Mac he had his way, still the Union is in tears,
Now they call for the help of the colored volunteers.
Chorus—O, give us a flag, &c.

Old Jeff says he’ll hang us if we dare to meet him armed,
A very big thing, but we are not all alarmed,
For he first has got to catch us before the way is clear,
And “that’s what’s the matter” with the colored volunteers.
Chorus—O, give us a flag, &c

So rally, boys, rally, let us never mind the past,
We had a hard road to travel but our day is coming fast,
For God is for the right and we have no need to fear,
The Union must be saved by the colored volunteer.
Chorus—O, give us a flag, &c

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Southern Pride in the Deep North

Civil War Monument in Dowagiac, Michigan

Looks like trouble in the Deep South North over the display of the Confederate flag in a public high school.  Earlier this week, school officials in Dowagiac, Michigan banned students from wearing clothing that displayed the Confederate flag.  Tensions between black and white students have continued to mount since the decision.  A number of students have been suspended and police now patrol the school grounds owing to the number of threats that have been made both online and at the school.  The whole thing is utterly ridiculous and, in the end, it looks like school officials are to blame for allowing the is to get out of hand.

Click to continue

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Acquisitions, 10/20 + Another Book by Earl Hess

Earl Hess’s productivity over the past five years is nothing short of mind-boggling.  Imagine my surprise when UNC Press mailed me the latest in their Littlefield History of the Civil War series.  While most people are still getting through his trilogy on Civil War earthworks Hess has released three more.

Virginia M. Adams, On the Altar of Freedom: A Black Soldier’s Civil War Letters from the Front (University of Massachusetts Press, 1991).

Stephen Berry ed., Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War’s Ragged Edges (University of Georgia Press, 2011).

R. Blakeslee Gilpin, John Brown Still Lives!: America’s Long Reckoning with Violence, Equality, and Change (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Earl J. Hess, The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Noah A. Trudeau, Voices of the 55th: Letters from the 55th Massachusetts Volunteers, 1861-1865 (Morningside Press, 1996).

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Charlie Sheen Gives Civil War Midterm Exam

Well, not really.  But if anyone out there is looking to integrate some of the more bizarre Charlie Sheen quotes into your Civil War midterm exam you may want to check Professor Nicolas Proctor’s test.  From the NoLeftTurns: The Ashbrook Center Blog

For my American Civil War midterm, the extra credit was a set of Charlie Sheen quotations. Students could match up to ten of them to appropriate Civil War leaders in particular circumstances. They then had to provide a brief explanation for each match. So, for example, a good answer for #10 would be: “Grant after the fall of Forts Henry and Donalson.” Similarly, a good answer for #5 could be “Forrest while raiding in central Tennessee.”

  1. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.
  2. I don’t sleep; I wait.
  3. “Can’t” is the cancer of “happen.”
  4. I’m a high priest Vatican warlock.
  5. I have one speed; I have one gear: GO!
  6. They’re the best at what they do. I’m the best at what I do, and it is ON!
  7. I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love.
  8. I’m here and I’m ready. They’re not. Bring it.
  9. That we are to stand by the President right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
  10. I’m bi-winning. I win here. I win there.
  11. Life comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.
  12. Boom, crush. Night, losers. Winning, duh.
  13. Fame is empowering. My mistake was that I thought I would instinctively know how to handle it. But there’s no manual, no training course.
  14. Here’s the good news. If I realize that I’m insane, then I’m okay with it. I’m not dangerous insane.
  15. I have defeated this earthworm with my words. Imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists.
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“Marching On!”

55th Massachusetts Singing "John Brown's March" in Streets of Charleston, Feb. 21, 1865

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