No Confederate Battle Flag at Castle Pinckney

Now before some of you get up in arms, read the story.  I had no idea that the Sons of Confederate Veterans purchased Castle Pinckney last year from the State Port Authority.  What they plan to do with it is unknown, but for now they will erect a couple of poles on which will fly period flags.  The one flag that will not be flown will be the Confederate battle flag.  Why?  According to Philip Middleton, commander of the SCV’s Fort Sumter Camp:

“We’re not going to put anything up [battle flag] that’s going to be a stick in anybody’s eye. We’re going to be putting up flags that were historically correct…. We’ve pretty much ruled that out for the time being.  The only reason we’d be doing that would be to make a statement, and I don’t think we need to be doing that.”

You mean they are not going to use the opportunity to erect one of those big-ass Confederate flags?  Sounds to me like the Virginia Flaggers need to make a trip to Charleston to preserve the honor or whatever it is they do.

In the meantime, it’s nice to hear that not everyone in the SCV suffers from an unhealthy obsession with the Confederate flag.

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11 comments… add one
  • Dudley Bokoski Nov 21, 2012 @ 18:40

    Interesting link to a project which digitally mapped the structure as it now exists.

    I’m glad to see someone has the fort and land who wouldn’t have another use in mind for the property, but I don’t see the flag pole as being a good idea no matter what flag they fly. Having any sign of activity out there will just draw people’s attention to the fort and make trespassing more likely. And that raises potential liability issues which might make it prohibitively expensive to hold the property. It would be better just to stop at having done a good deed keeping the fort in its current state and let it go at that.

  • Matt McKeon Nov 21, 2012 @ 12:07

    If the structure can be stablized, even as a ruin, it would be great. The state sold it for $10?

  • Pat Young Nov 21, 2012 @ 10:05

    Had dinner with Mark Potok last week. He told me that Ronnie Gene Wilson, the former head of the SCV had been allegedly involved in a ponzi scheme that targeted some of the Sons of Confederate Vets. One wonders if they have enough money to maintain the site.

    • Andy Hall Nov 21, 2012 @ 10:48

      Yeah, Mr. Wilson won’t be meeting, eating and retreating for a good long while. Schemes like his (or Madoff’s, or Allen Stanford’s) depend heavily on building trust through personal contacts and relationships, so I’m sure that quite a few SCV folks got caught up in his nefarious doings.

      Note that, according to the linked article, Wilson started his ponzi scheme in 2001, the year before he became head of the SCV. His criminal activities were concurrent with his time in that office.

      When contacted for comment on the sentencing, current SCV C-in-C Michael Givens said, “Ron who? Never hear of the guy.” 😉

  • Craig Swain Nov 21, 2012 @ 5:54

    “I had no idea that the Sons of Confederate Veterans purchased Castle Pinckney last year from the State Port Authority. ”

    Yes, for $10:

    • Kevin Levin Nov 21, 2012 @ 6:06

      Thanks for the link, Craig.

  • Bummer Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:33

    Bummer’s first thought was, “I wondered what they paid for the castle and who put up the money?” The Battle Flag has been “ruled out for the time being.” What are these folks thinking? Instead of wasting money on a symbolic island of neo-confederate philosophy, they might re-think their efforts and channel their momentum into a worthy cause that’s constructive, rather than towards a divisive lost-cause mentality. Bummer doesn’t get it or maybe he does.


    • Kevin Levin Nov 20, 2012 @ 7:34

      It’s a reasonable question.

    • Andy Hall Nov 20, 2012 @ 8:16

      Andy sees this as an opportunity for the SCV to do some real, substantive stewardship of an important historic site. I don’t have a lot of confidence in their likely interpretation of the site, but it’s an opportunity.

      I also don’t have an issue with a Confederate flag at the site, so long as it’s used (as Middleton suggests) as one of several that flew there. The Confederacy represented, after all, a small fraction of the active timeline of that installation. The Confederate Battle Flag never flew there, of course, except as an element in the Second and Third National flags of the CS.

      As for the make-believe Confederates among the Flaggers, they won’t have any criticism of this move, as they invariably give the SCV a pass in these matters — such as the SCV camp in Richmond that signed a legally-binding lease barring display of Confederate flag on the exterior of the Pelham Chapel. They will always find a way to rationalize the actions of the SCV; it would be an entirely different story if it were the UDC that was adopting this policy at Castle Pinckney.

      • Kevin Levin Nov 20, 2012 @ 8:21

        “Andy sees this as an opportunity…”

        Please don’t go there. 🙂

        • John Buchanan Nov 21, 2012 @ 10:08

          “Well in Buck’s considered opinion….”

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