R.I.P. Mattie Clyburn Rice

For those of you who linked to this site from the AP story about Mattie Clyburn Rice and are visiting for the first time, welcome. For those of you interested in reading further about the subject of black Confederate soldiers I put together this page, which includes some of the many posts on this blog as well as external resources. One of the most popular examples of so-called black Confederates is that of Silas Chandler. In 2012 I co-authored an essay about Silas and the famous photograph of him with his owner, Andrew Chandler, for Civil War Times magazine.

Here is what we know about Weary Clyburn:

  • Weary was owned by Frank Clyburn and brought into the war.
  • Weary applied for a soldiers pension after the war.
  • Nowhere in his obituary was he recognized as a Confederate soldier.
  • Weary’s pension application was denied after his death. In other words, the state of North Carolina recognized him as a slave in the 1860s.

Again, those are the fact as I understand them. Thanks for stopping by.

Southern Style Before the Yankees Came

Update: Check out Joshua Rothman’s take on this story.

Allure of AntebellumWhat better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie, “Gone With the Wind” than with a Fall fashion spread inspired by life on an antebellum plantation. That’s exactly what some actress by the name of Blake Lively is doing. I guess this is how one gets old because before today I never heard of this person. Having just finished Baptist’s new book, I have very little patience for such nonsense.

Georgia peaches, sweet tea, and the enticement of a smooth twang…we all love a bit of southern charm. These regional mainstays, along with an innate sense of social poise, evoke an unparalleled warmth and authenticity in style and tradition.

The term “Southern Belle” came to fruition during the Antebellum period (prior to the Civil War), acknowledging women with an inherent social distinction who set the standards for style and appearance. These women epitomized Southern hospitality with a cultivation of beauty and grace, but even more with a captivating and magnetic sensibility. While at times depicted as coy, these belles of the ball, in actuality could command attention with the ease of a hummingbird relishing a pastoral bloom.

Like the debutantes of yesteryear, the authenticity and allure still ring true today. Hoop skirts are replaced by flared and pleated A-lines; oversized straw toppers are transformed into wide-brimmed floppy hats and wool fedoras.

The prowess of artful layering -the southern way- lies in inadvertent combinations. From menswear-inspired overcoats to the fluidity of soft flowing separates, wrap yourself up in tactile layers that elicit a true sense of seasonal lure.

Embrace the season and the magic below the Mason-Dixon with styles as theatric as a Dixie drawl.

Just don’t ask where their allowance for clothing came from or the raw material itself.

“We Shall Overcome”

Confederate FlagLooks like more Confederate Battle flags are flying over America’s Southern highways, but I suspect that heritage groups won’t be celebrating. A group calling itself The Lewla Movement hopes to spark discussion about race relations, history and the meaning of the Confederate flag.

I appreciate how this billboard juxtaposes the history of the flag and its connection to a war to protect slavery and white supremacy with the rallying cry of this nation’s most important grassroots movement to expand civil rights.

But that’s just my interpretation.

White Southerners To Dedicate Monument to Confederate Massacre

There are a number of narratives that have emerged over the course of the sesquicentennial. While the story of black Union soldiers has taken center stage, focus on the War in the West and guerrilla warfare isn’t far behind. Scholarship on the Western theater is on the rise, but popular interest can also be seen in the form of reenactments, museum exhibits and even in the dedication of new monuments. Continue reading “White Southerners To Dedicate Monument to Confederate Massacre”

Remembering Pvt. Louis Martin in the Land of Lincoln

On Thursday I am heading to Springfield, Illinois for the Conference on Illinois History. I was invited to give a luncheon talk on Private Louis Martin, who was severely wounded at the Crater, and who is buried in an unmarked grave in Oak Ridge Cemetery near Lincoln’s final resting place. A gravestone was recently dedicated in the cemetery. I am super excited as this will my first visit to Lincoln’s home town. I am well on my way to finishing the talk, but I thought I would share a bit from the opening. Feel free to comment. Continue reading “Remembering Pvt. Louis Martin in the Land of Lincoln”