Here is an interesting little scene from the television series North and South in which Robert E. Lee convenes with Jefferson Davis about a host of military problems early in the war. In discussing the North’s strategy to strangle the Confederacy’s trade with the rest of the world Davis calls General Winfield Scott a traitor. Lee will have none of it: “To be a Southerner and believe in the Union does not make one a traitor, sir.”
The portrayal of Lee here definitely goes beyond the popular view of the reserved and self-controlled gentleman. We get the standard line about believing slavery to be immoral, but we also see Lee urge an aggressive offensive strategy, which falls in line with recent scholarship. I may have to find the time to watch this series in its entirety.
[Uploaded to YouTube on February 2, 2014]
Brooks Simpson is having some fun with what he has dubbed the 2013 Confederate Heritage Follies Countdown. Lord knows he’s got plenty of material to work with. I suspect that the SCV and/or Virginia Flaggers will crack the top five.
I’ve been known to have a good laugh at the expense of both organizations, but it is worth acknowledging that every so often the Virginia Flaggers and Sons of Confederate Veterans manage to do something that actually advances the cause of Confederate heritage and history. This past week the planets must have been properly aligned because both organizations hit the mark in the same week. Continue reading
There are still no updates to the story of a VCU student who supposedly prevented two white males from vandalizing the Jefferson Davis monument in Richmond on Thursday evening. The Richmond-Times Dispatch has been contacted and is looking into this story as has the Richmond Police for further information. The story was made public by Susan Hathaway of the Virginia Flaggers. The student in question is Rob Walker Jr. Some of you may remember that Mr. Walker left a few comments on my blog a few weeks ago in response to the posting of one of his Flagger videos.
I want the conversation to be about the content of his [Tripp Lewis] argument…. Like I said, I am unbiased. I am not for or against the Confederate flag. I simply wish to conduct an investigation into the issue.
Mr. Walker apparently hopes to be thought of as an objective documentarian of Flagger activities. This can no longer be assumed given the fact that so many questions remain unanswered. I emailed Walker last night, but have still not received a response. Here is the email: Continue reading
Update: As of 05/12 inquiries have been made with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Richmond Police. Mr. Rob Walker, who is the VCU student has also been contacted. Again, as of today nothing has appeared in the Richmond news about this incident. With the following words hanging over these unanswered questions let’s hope we can resolve it and focus on the praise that this individual deserves: We do not believe there are ANY coincidences or happenstance in what has transpired since we began our work 20 months ago. There is no denying God’s hand in this… in bringing Rob to Monument Ave. last November, and then, miraculously again last night at the exact moment and time to prevent what could have been irreparable damage to one of our most treasured monuments AND facilitating the first arrest (that we are aware of) of these punk vandals that have no regard for the rule of law: neither God’s nor man’s. – Susan Hathaway, Virginia Flaggers
Over the years I have made my position on the defacing of monuments quite clear. I have zero toleration for it. So, you can imagine my surprise and relief when I learned that someone with very close ties to the Virginia Flaggers stopped a couple of vandals from defacing the Jefferson Davis Monument in Richmond on the evening of May 9. The individual in question is a film student at VCU, who over the past few months has been chronicling the activities of the Flaggers. You can read the following account, which has been circulated on numerous sites here, here, here, here, here and here. Continue reading
One of the things that I find particularly interesting about Winsmith’s letters home is the attention he gives to reporting on the conduct and overall well being of his men. This is not surprising given his rank of captain and command of a unit raised in and around Spartanburg, South Carolina. Winsmith clearly assumed responsibility for his men and understood that family and friends on the home front would be interested in their progress. You find references to the men under his command who were wounded or killed in battle along with instructions on how to forward back pay to next of kin in the case of the latter. Other times Winsmith asks family members to check in on families with loved ones in his unit.
While Winsmith highlighted the bravery and sacrifice of his men, more often than not, the references to his men are in connection to their desertion from the army. From the beginning of the war Winsmith struggled to maintain the integrity of his company. He had little patience with deserters or conduct that fell short of the discipline and sacrifice that was necessary to achieve independence. At times the list of names is long and in some cases the names re-appear over the course of the war.
It should have been obvious to me from the beginning as to why Winsmith went out of his way to list these individual names in letters to his father, mother, and sister. No doubt, Winsmith hoped that these names would be passed through the community and ultimately tip local authorities and/or shame the individual and family. Following Jefferson Davis’s amnesty proclamation to deserters Winsmith had this to say.
Well, everything is yet going on quietly with us. My deserters are doing very well, and I hope their conduct may have impressed a salutary lesson upon them. Bill Taylor says he will do the thing that is right now. I expect they will all be thankful to the President that he has offered them pardon. I see that deserters at home, except Harrison have repented of their conduct, and will come back with Lt. Bearden. (August 7, 1863)
And a few days later he had this to say.
You are right in supposing that the deserters will be pardoned under the President’s proclamation; i.e. all who return within 20 days. I learn from your letter that Arch Harrison has delivered himself up and would return voluntarily to camp. I have heard that Bob Bogan has taken to the woods again. Lt. Bearden has not written me one word whether he has arrested Thomas and Smith. The only one he has arrested is Taylor. (August 10, 1863)
Depending on how this project proceeds it may be helpful to map out where the men referenced in the letters lived in relationship to the Winsmith home at Camp Hill. Muster records may also shed light on whether there was any causal connection between this form of public shaming and desertion in his unit specifically. Finally, in reference to the names that appear regularly it may be interesting to know whether Winsmith judged between his parents and sister as to who was more closely connected to the individual and family in question.