A Time to Remember the Suffering of all Americans During the Civil War

Andersonville National Historic Site

Andersonville National Historic Site

We should not be surprised by the irrational response by a select few to the selection of William T. Sherman as 1864s’ Man of the Year by an audience at the Museum of the Confederacy this past weekend. I applaud the MOC for maintaining an open Facebook page to facilitate responses and the very limited positive give and take that can be found. The most extreme comments come from people who see themselves as victims of Sherman’s actions in Georgia in 1864. They are most definitely not victims.

It might be helpful to place the destruction wrought by Sherman alongside the suffering of United States soldiers at Andersonville Prison, which commenced with its sesquicentennial commemoration today. One of my readers reminded me that there was likely much more suffering within the walls of the prison than that caused by Sherman throughout Georgia in 1864. On the one hand it’s a perspective that I never considered while at the same time it means very little to me. Continue reading

 

William T. Sherman: Man of the Year

general-william-tecumseh-sherman

Congratulations General

No doubt, many will shudder in revulsion after hearing of such an honor. For a select group their anger will overflow with rage when they learn that the title was bestowed on Sherman earlier today at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. This has been an annual occurrence throughout the sesquicentennial. This year the speakers were Gary Gallagher, Harold Holzer, John Marszalek, Joe Mobley, and Craig Symonds. The results are as follows:

  • Sherman- 38
  • Cleburne- 29
  • Lincoln- 15
  • Lee & Grant- 11
  • Vance- 8
  • David Farragut (write in)- 1
  • Citizens (write in)- 1

Sherman is the obvious choice.

I assume Gallagher nominated, Lee; Holzer nominated Lincoln; Marszalek nominated Sherman; Symonds nominated Farragut; and Mobley nominated Cleburne. Except for Cleburne they are all obvious choices. Someone is going to have to tell me what Cleburne did to deserve such a nod and please don’t tell me it was owing to his proposal to arm slaves.

I assume that the video will be available at some point soon

 

Sentinels in Bronze and Granite

Martin Millmore Soldier Monument

Millmore’s Roxbury Soldier

One of the nice surprises in the special issue of Common-place that I edited with Megan Kate Nelson is an essay that we had nothing to do with. Sarah Beetham’s “Object Lesson” on Civil War monuments and cemeteries is a wonderful introduction to the subject that was submitted independently from those that we commissioned. It fits perfectly into the issue given our overall theme. She begins with a description of Martin Millmore’s Roxbury Solider Monument in Forrest Hills Cemetery, which is five minutes from my house. It’s a beautiful place and one that I regularly visit. Millmore himself is buried close to the entrance. I am going to use it this week in class.

In a quiet glade amid the trees and lawns of Boston’s Forest Hills Cemetery, a bronze soldier of the American Civil War stands on a low plinth clutching his rifle (fig. 1). His posture is reminiscent of parade rest, a pose often assumed by soldiers on ceremonial occasions, but he gazes downward and to his right with a wistful air (fig. 2). He wears the standard overcoat and forage cap issued to soldiers of the Union Army for winter service, and his finely modeled, unbearded face reflects the youth of the typical Civil War volunteer. The base of the statue declares that it was “Erected by the City of Roxbury in honor of Her Soldiers, who died for their Country in the Rebellion of 1861-1865.” Its grassy clearing is enclosed with a low stone fence inscribed with the names, units, and dates of death of the Civil War soldiers of the Boston suburb of Roxbury (fig. 3). Amid the rolling hills and screening vegetation of the cemetery, the stone fence demarcates a space for quiet reflection. Overall, the monument is part gravestone and part triumph, mourning the deaths of the young soldiers of Roxbury while honoring their valorous deeds in the successful Union war effort.

Read the rest of the essay.

 

Of License Plates, Nooses, Civil Rights Heroes and Confederate Flags

Georgia State Flag News FeedMy news feed has been monopolized over the past few days by two stories. The first surrounds a re-designed vanity plat sponsored by the Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans that features a more prominent Confederate flag. The second is a more disturbing story out of Ole Miss. Authorities are are looking for and hoping to question two students and possibly a third in the connection with a noose and Georgia state flag that were draped over a statue of James Meredith earlier this week.

So, is there a connection between these two stories?

All three students are 19-year-old freshmen from Georgia, the school said. They were supposed to meet with the university police Thursday morning but did not show up, according to the school. On Thursday night, they declined through their attorneys to speak with university police without an arrest warrant.

Ole Miss said it could not release the names of the students unless charges are filed. In the statement, the university’s chief of police and general counsel said they believe there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the suspects….

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity issued a statement Friday afternoon announcing that the three men were members of that organization’s Ole Miss chapter. The chapter voted to expel the three men, while the national fraternity said it had indefinitely suspended the Ole Miss chapter.

You decide.

 

What Budweiser Does to Civil War Memory

This little rant starts out over the controversy in Georgia surrounding the sale of SCV vanity license plates, but quickly blossoms into a full-blown interpretation of the Civil War era and Civil War memory. A perfect way to start your day. Let this be a lesson to you, DON’T DRINK AND CIVIL WAR MEMORY.

Warning: Strong Language.

[Uploaded to YouTube on February 19, 2014]