Why Should We Remember the Battle of the Crater?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting together some thoughts for my talk next Friday in Petersburg to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. I’ve been re-reading sections of my book and thinking about how this particular battle fits into the major themes and direction of our ongoing sesquicentennial. [click to continue…]

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On the Eve of the 150th Anniversary of the Crater

Porto from our hotel balcony. Notice the warehouses filled with port at bottom.

Porto from our hotel balcony. Notice the warehouses filled with port wine at the bottom.

Hope everyone is doing well. My wife and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Portugal that included Lisbon and Porto. The food was amazing, the people are incredibly friendly, and best of all you can enjoy the country on a fairly limited budget. [click to continue…]

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The Committee’s Work

W&L Students Who Called For Removal of Confederate Flags from Lee Chapel

Washington & Lee Students Who Called For Removal of Confederate Flags from Lee Chapel (“The Committee”)

Recumbent Lee Memorial Without Flags (July 10, 2014)

Recumbent Statue of Robert E. Lee Without Flags (July 10, 2014)

This is the first image of inside Lee Chapel that I’ve seen since the Confederate flags were removed.

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Another Defeat For the Virginia Flaggers

Virginia FlaggersWith each perceived heritage violation the Virginia Flaggers somehow manage to place themselves further from the mainstream when it comes to the display of the Confederate flag. Their assumed stance that they alone ought to dictate what it means to commemorate and remember the Confederate past has won them very few, if any, allies in Virginia and beyond. Even after all the protests they have yet to garner one significant victory.

The controversy at W&L was a perfect opportunity for the Virginia Flaggers to demonstrate their ability to engage in some creative thinking and sincere interest in a solution that would be satisfactory to all constituents. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly all the Flaggers could muster was much of the same extreme outrage and self-righteousness in response to what most  observers believe was a reasonable response by the president. [click to continue…]

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Restored Original Confederate Flags to Return to W&L’s Lee Chapel

Battle Flag No. 62

Battle Flag No. 62

Amidst the focus on replica Confederate flags being removed from inside Lee Chapel on the W&L what has almost entirely been lost is the decision to properly exhibit original Confederate flags on a rotating basis in the museum space below the chapel. The first flag which will be displayed in the Lee Chapel museum is Battle Flag No. 62.

Captured at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, by the 12th New Jersey Infantry, this flag is believed to have belonged to the 26th North Carolina Infantry. A history of the 26th Infantry records the following report on the incident in which the flag was captured: “Our color bearer, a member of Company K, Facuett’s Company from Alamance County, succeeded in passing over this fence, but fell mortally wounded. He died that night with his face to the enemy. Our colors fell with our brave color-bearer not ten steps from the rock wall.” July 3 was the last day of fighting at Gettysburg.

Descriptions of the other battle flags scheduled to appear can be found here.

Yes, I can certainly see why so many people are outraged. :-)

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