So It Was a Holy Cause After All

Pope Benedict and the Confederate FlagUpdate: I don’t mind having to admit a mistake every once in a while, but this time I really dropped the ball.  I thought I had confirmed this story with a sufficient number of SCV websites, but Karen Cox tells me that the entire story is apocryphal.  Ruth Ann Coski, who used to work at the Museum of the Confederacy, carried out the necessary research and discovered that the crown was made by Varina Davis.  It looks like the Myth of the Lost Cause is indeed just a myth, but I would still like to know why Pope Benedict is standing in front of a Confederate flag.

I had no idea that Pope Pius IX sent Jefferson Davis a hand-written note along with a crown of thorns during his brief imprisonment following the war.  The note included the following: “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” and supposedly the crown was handwoven by the thorn. Robert E. Lee, pointing to his own portrait of Pius IX, is supposed to have told a visitor that he was “the only sovereign…in Europe who recognized our poor Confederacy.” The crown is located in a museum in New Orleans.  Apparently, Pope Benedict is continuing the Catholic Church’s tradition of sanctifying the Confederate cause.  So, it looks like the Myth of the Lost Cause wasn’t a myth after all.  I had no idea.

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For Brooks Simpson

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How Well Do You Know Robert E. Lee?

As part of a search for information on Robert E. Lee and Arlington House I came across teaching materials that I assume are to be used for home schooling purposes.  It includes a multiple choice test.  Let’s see how well you do and remember that some of the questions have more than one answer.  Good luck. Here is the link, which includes a “history” as well as the test.

1. _____ In Lee’s January 22, 1861 letter to his cousin, Martha Custis Williams, whom does he state can save us; and from what? (Circle one)
a. The Federal Government
b. The media; bad publicity
c. The Union; anarchy
d. God alone; folly, selfishness, short-sightedness and sin

2. _____ In his General Order; whom does Lee state is our only refuge and strength? (Circle one)
a. The Confederate Army
b. The cavalry
c. Stonewall Jackson
d. Almighty God

3. _____ According to Chaplain Jones of the Confederate Army, the result of this Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer was a work of grace among the troops, which widened and deepened, causing at least: (Consult your text and fill in the blanks)
a. 500 professions of faith in Christ as a personal Saviour
b. l,000 professions of faith in Christ as a personal Saviour
c. 5,000 professions of faith in Christ as a personal Saviour
d. 15,000 professions of faith in Christ as a personal Saviour

4. _____ What results does Chaplain Jones state “eternity alone shall reveal” in terms of Robert E. Lee’s actions during this Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer? (Circle one)
a. Lack of interest and participation
b. Absence
c. Quiet influence and fervent prayer
d. Resignation and “moment of silence”

5. _____ Colonel Johnston was an intimate friend of Lee, and a distinguished faculty member of his college. In his eyewitness account of the General’s dying moments reflect Lee’s true character traits in action. They are: (Circle all correct answers)
a. Impatience
b. Anger
c. Reticence
d. Hatred
e. Self-contained composure
f. Obedience to proper authority
g. Boastfulness
h. Magnanimity
i. Bitterness
j) Christian meekness

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Is Your Book Worth $50,000?

petersburgThe Society of Civil War Historians has announced the First Annual Tom Watson Brown Book Award.  The award recognizes “an outstanding scholarly book published in 2009 on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War.”  The prize will be awarded at the November 2010 Southern Historical Association meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  What kinds of books are qualified?

All genres of scholarship within the field will be eligible, including, but not exclusive to, monographs, synthetic works presenting original interpretations, and biographies.  Works of fiction, poetry, and textbooks will not be considered.  Jurors will consider nominated works’ scholarly and literary merit as well as to the extent to which they make original contributions to our understanding of the period.

George Rable, Charles G. Summersell Professor of Southern History at the University of Alabama and the immediate past-president of the SCWH, will chair the first prize jury. The other members are Elizabeth Leonard, John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College, and Peter Carmichael, Eberly Family Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. Publishers are asked to send nominated books (only those published in 2009 will be considered) directly to the jurors and to the Foundation no later than January 31, 2010.

I am nominating Earl Hess’s In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortification & Confederate Defeat.  In doing so, I acknowledge the enormous amount of research that has gone into all three volumes and the extent to which these studies have forced us to reconsider the importance of earthworks and their effect on the evolution and outcome of the War in the East.

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The Real Reason Why I am Feared and How I Can Be Stopped

kevinlevin2Brooks Simpson explains at Civil Warriors.  Like Brooks I am also looking forward to our first meeting in person at the upcoming meeting of the Southern Historical Association.  Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of meeting a good number of readers of my blog, many of whom are well established in the field of Civil War and Southern history.  At times it’s a bit awkward as both parties make the adjustment to dealing with an actual person rather than words on a screen.  I am anticipating a good time.  No doubt, we will hunt down Mark Grimsley and grab a few beers.  Finally, I hope to announce a project that Brooks and I are planning to get off the ground in the near future.  Click here for more information about the cartoon character.  I am struck by the resemblance, especially the physique.

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