Confederate Heritage: Running Away from a Challenge

Last Sunday Kevin Levin issued a challenge to the members of the gift that keeps on giving.  Members of that august group had contested the findings that Kevin and Myra Chandler Sampson had published in Civil War Times concerning Silas Chandler.  Kevin offered them the opportunity to prove him wrong.

There were no takers.

This in spite of certain rather ironic declarations recently in that group about people who will not change their mind regardless of the evidence …

… what makes them blind is the fact that despite all evidence given to them they choose not to learn or grow beyond the limits of their thinking. I am always willing to learn and expand my knowledge, as do everyone else on this page….they on the other hand already “know” they are “right” and choose not to accept anything that might make them think their views have gaping holes in them.

… and …

No amount of evidence will convince them of anything other than what they have chosen to believe.

… and …

Not accepting anyone’s opinion but ones own is a refusal to learn. Its also a symptom of borderline personality disorder too, but that is not our worry.

I beg to differ.  It is their worry.  The folks there have just admitted that they demonstrate symptoms of borderline personality disorder (perhaps we should call it “Mason-Dixon personality order” after a certain border line), but that is not my worry.

Now, I always thought that one quality celebrated by proponents of Confederate heritage was the willingness to stand up and fight for what one believes in.   Yet these folks have just run away from Kevin’s challenge.  I won’t speculate on whether they suffer from a personality disorder, but they sure look like cowards to me.  One’s forced to conclude that these folks are a disgrace and an embarrassment to Confederate heritage, because when called upon to stand and fight, they ran.

Game, set, and match to Kevin Levin.

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54 thoughts on “Confederate Heritage: Running Away from a Challenge

  1. Rob Baker pointed me to a response by Gary Adams on the SHPG page. I did my best to read through it, but it’s almost incoherent. It’s more a ramble than a carefully thought out response. He would have been better off soliciting the rest of the talent in that group in order to get to something that might be worth a response. Oh well. Thanks for the post.

    • I asked several members about the challenge and this is what I got from John Stones…

      “Take a hike Corey! I’ve graduated from wasting my time on petty revisionists that are obsessed with themselves and the lies they’ve told for so long that they believe themselves! Levin can write all he wants in CW Times. It’s a PC rag that I give little credibility – even less now that they give the likes of Levin the kind of coverage they have, LOL – Too bad he broke copyright laws – OUCH!”

    • I have a problem with “honoring” my ancestors – that smakes too much of “The Greatest Generation, who could do no wrong. Let me give a couple of examples from *my* ancestors.
      My mother joined the DAR, based on the short service of a Connecticut militia ensign named Tuttle. “Honoring” a sunshine patriot and fair weather soldier does not seem to me to be appropriate.
      We all have four great-grandfathers; mine happened to be the Civil War generation. One emigrated from Ulster about 1870. One was an Ohio farmer aged about 40 – he did volunteer when Bragg threatened Cincinnati and I have his “Squirrel Hunter’s Discharge. Still, there were a lot of 40-somethings who served through the War—he didn’t. No idea why,
      One was a Kentuckian. I have never been able to track his Civil War service, if any. Somewhere I have read that Kentucky truly wanted to be neutral – it sent, per capita, fewer of its white sons to the two armies (and more of its black sons to the USCTs) than any other state: perhaps he was one of the numerous Kentuckians who sat it out.
      The last, John Scott, immigrated from near Glasgow to Ontario with his family in the 50s and then drifted south – the 1860 census finds him near Indianapolis. A year later he was in Champagne, Illinois where he enlisted in the 25th Illinois and he evidently had some leadership abilities: in the area less than a year and his peers selected him as a corporal. He moved up, was commissioned, veteranized and ended the war as a captain and brevet major, the provost marshal of the Fourth Army Corps. In 1866, he applied for a commission in the Regulars and became the regimental quartermaster of the Fourth Infantry.
      The only relics of Major Scott are his 1870 belt buckle – when I got it, it still had the leather belt on it, which held up my cap gun for many years, and the Allen bar hammer derringer that great grandmother allegedly carried out west, as well as a couple of pictures taken in Salt Lake in the 1870s. I pulled his service records from the Archives and shared them with my aunt, at that time the only one still alive from her generation. She remembered her feisty grandmother, John Scott’s wife, as an unreconstructed Rebel, who claimed that the only damyankee of any value had been her husband. Aunt Mary was terribly upset when the service records showed that Lt. John Scott, Fourth Regulars had become violent and was incarcerated in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C., where he died in 1886. Her grandmother never talked about *that*!
      His son, also John Scott, enlisted in the Fourth Infantry in 1900 and was commissioned from the ranks, dying as a colonel in 1939 and Aunt Mary remembered her uncle as a world traveler: he was in the Philippines, Vera Cruz, with Pershing in Mexico, with the AEF in France and commanded Hickam Barracks in Hawaii in the 30s. He never married. Interestingly, my father, a corporal in World War II, disliked officers with a passion: why? He died long before I could ask him.
      Another issue: a year or so ago, long after Aunt Mary had died, I asked the right archivist at the Archives and he knew where to pull the St. Elizabeth’s records: John Scott died of “locomotor ataxia.” Thanks to the miracle of the World Wide Web, I was quickly able to discover what it was. Not much to honor there!
      Now the question is should I “honor” John Scott? I know almost about him, or his service. No letters survive and there is no regimental of the 25th Illinois; the only contemporary mention of him is in David Stanley’s memoirs, albeit a nice one. I have found only one biography or autobiography of someone in the 25th, Bobrick’s poorly edited _Testament: A Soldier’s Story of the Civil War_ and John Scott is not mentioned. USAMHI has a wartime picture and the NARA one of him playing croquet on the parade ground at Fort Bridger in 1873. Great-grandmother is also in the picture. http://www.archives.gov/research/american-west/images/043.jpg When did he meet great-grandmother? She was from Crab Orchard, Kentucky, so perhaps he met her during the war.
      I have followed his regiment’s footsteps around Chickamauga, and, to the degree possible, around Stone’s River. But was he even with the regiment or was he, as quartermaster, with the baggage train? I would like to know more about him, not to honor but to simply humanize a “typical” soldier of the Civil War. But not to “honor” him.

      • You can choose to remember and — yes — “honor” his service without drawing any conclusion about him. I have no idea about why any of my CW kin fought, or if they were completely upright men (none ended up in prison, so at least there’s that), but I choose to honor the fact they served in a time of crisis.

      • Ah, Connie, you’re consistent if nothing else. Leaving aside your syntax, maybe “Calling something ‘ancestor worship’ that isn’t tends to warp one’s integrity” and maybe not. We certainly have a ton of evidence that ancestor worship that is ancestor worship, as in the case of the group in question, does tend to warp one’s integrity.

      • Obsession over the Lost Cause has made you an Internet stalker. Why don’t you leave discussion of history with those who have requisite knowledge and intellect? Then you’ll have more time to write another “romance novel”, for people with grade-school literacy.

  2. As y’all said, a practically incoherent response. Filled with the standard BS. At least he tried to step up to the plate, though. I wonder, what was the purpose of the photo labeled “White and Black Slaves” in the context of the reply? My real question is whether her fellow Louisianans considered that girl to be white. Adams speaks of the rape of black women by white men as though it was an unknown shock. I can assure him that they were more than used to it at the hands of their enslavers. I doubt that girl was the product of Yankee miscegenation, if indeed she was even a slave.

    • Adams has posted that photo, and similar images, several times. It’s a common theme over there that “look, white people were slaves, too, so it wasn’t about race, after all.” Or something like that.

      Adams likely does not know the background of the image. It was one of a series taken after the occupation of New Orleans by Federal forces, which were used to agitate for abolition by the National Freedman’s Relief Association, illustrating some of the horrors of slavery. In this case, the “horror” was a very light-skinned child, obviously the products of generations of miscegenation, who was nonetheless considered a slave. This was, I believe, intentionally themed to engage the sympathies of white northerners, who might not care much about the fate of dark-skinned persons, but who would be shocked at the presence of someone who, to all appearances, was white.

      One of the adults in the series, a black man named Wilson Chinn, was posed in slave irons and had been branded across the forehead with his master’s initials.

      An engraving based on the photographs, along with biographical details of the subjects, appeared in a January 1864 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

      • Andy, thank you for the links and the information! Fascinating photos and very interesting, the piece in Harper’s. As for the theme of “look, white people. . .” and it having nothing to do with race, it had everything to do with race! In the slaveholding south those folks would have been severely punished for claiming to be white, no matter their appearance. A few days ago I was showing some coworkers some very old photos of my great-great-grandparents and some other family members that I had found. “One remarked, but those people look white!” I laughed and said that that may well be, but they’d have likely been killed for saying they were white at the time, and that *they* considered themselves “Negro.”

    • This website gives the background on the photos. I found it fascinating. What connection it had to Mr. Adams’ piece, I have no idea. I would be pleasantly surprised if he knew the origin of that photo.

  3. I didn’t see a deadline for the challenge on Levin’s blog.

    Levin says the Civil War Times article is not available online. The only place to read it is in the magazine.

    I don’t see a date for the issue in online photos of the cover nor is it showing in the Civil War Times illustrated index. http://www.american-history-magazine.com/cwt.asp?year=2011 I’m not sure when it hit the news stands and magazine racks, but Levin notes that he received his (suggesting he has a subscription and it was delivered by the U.S.P.S.) on November 30.

    That was twelve days ago. Presumably that’s how long the issue has been available to subscribers and the public. Levin’s blog posts are not dated, but comments are, and the first comment made in response to his post about the challenge is dated December 4. So if that is the date the challenge was issued — December 4 — that was eight days ago.

    Perhaps declaring victory for the challenge after only eight days is a bit premature. I suspect there are people who haven’t even had time to buy the magazine yet, as the period between Thanksgiving and New Years is the busiest time of year for many people.

    Besides, I would suggest giving challengers at least as much time as it took Levin and Sampson to write the article. I don’t know if he identifies when their work actually started and was completed, but he’s mentioned it in posts on his blog for several months.

    So you take weeks or months to write an article and you issue a challenge and if nobody responds within eight days (during the busiest time of year) you up and declare victory? You declare there were no takers?

    Of course, the people who issue the challenge can make the rules, but … to me, that kinda smacks of a … rigged challenge…However, I note that I have not seen Levin claim any sort of victory in the eight days since he issued the challenge, or characterize the lack of response thus far as “running away.” Therefore, the whiff associated with this subject seems to be coming from this Crossroads blog post, not the actual CW Memory challenge….

    • How many excuses are you going to offer, Connie?

      It seems to me that if there’s going to be a taker, that taker ought to identify themselves now. Your effort to offer excuses conflicts with Gary Adams’s rather confused essay that does not discuss the content of the article and John Stones’s refusal to prepare a response.

      So you want a deadline? Since you admit to monitoring this blog, you can relay to your fellow officers and colleagues at the SHPG that they have until December 13, 2011, at 12 noon Arizona time (2 PM Florida time) to declare that they will submit a rebuttal to Kevin’s post. At that time, whoever makes that declaration should indicate when the rebuttal will be presented.

      Otherwise, it’s hard to take you seriously as doing anything but attempting a weak diversion in order to try to conceal the cowardice of the members of the SHPG.

      If we are to take you at your word, your colleagues attacked the article before reading it … not a bright move. So now for you to whine that they haven’t read it (although you offer no evidence to support that claim) suggests that you agree that their complaints are not founded on fact and that their criticism is incompetent. Thanks for that.

      • Here is what John Stones had to say:

        “Unfortunately, it has become another rag for the PC line. Sad since it is supposed to propagate truth and be unbiased but with them employing the likes of Levin, it is a simple PCsmear piece now.”

        This is what passes for serious thinking at the SHPG. I have no doubt that he didn’t read it, but why would he given his assumption about the magazine. Of course, that’s just a convenient excuse to not have to go through an actually do the intellectual labor. And make no mistake this is not a heavy duty analytical piece. It’s mainly descriptive, but there are definitely places in it that can be disagreed with.

        I await their response.

        • Connie and company cannot have it both ways. If they claim they need time to secure a copy of the article before replying, then their comments about an article they admit they have not read are a sign of stupidity and intellectual bankruptcy. As for cowardice, well, now the challenge is out there, and so is a deadline. Run away, Dixie land.

          • Since my reply to this seems to have been sent to the cornfield, I’m trying again:

            Simpson: “If they(1) claim they(1) need time to secure a copy of the article before replying, then their(2) comments about an article they admit they have not read are a sign of stupidity and intellectual bankruptcy.”

            “They”(1) and “their”(2) don’t necessarily refer to the same people. The only person who has commented on the article at the SHPG that I know of is Gary Adams — and he read it before he commented.

            A small handful of others have said they will not read or respond to the challenge for various reasons, but if you are attributing their motives and comments to everyone, even people you don’t know — especially lurkers who have made no comments — you’re demonstrating bigotry.

            Changing rules, adding deadlines, after the challenge is established is a sign of a pettiness and a deficiency of ethics.

      • This just gets smellier by the minute.

        “It seems to me that if there’s going to be a taker, that taker ought to identify themselves now.”

        Why? Why does it seem that way to you? Because you say so? Demanding, and even asking, that takers identify themselves before submitting a response wasn’t part of the original challenge, Professor. Demanding that one set one’s own deadline (bassakwards — usually the one issuing the challenge sets the deadline) wasn’t part of the original challenge. Some people would see changing the rules days after challenge was issued as unfair, dishonorable and unprincipled.

        Perhaps there are those interested in the challenge, but if they haven’t seen the article yet, maybe they’d like to read it before they decide. And after seeing what’s transpiring now, maybe they’d rather not take a chance that another belated rule change would mandate some arbitrary deadline be imposed after they accept the challenge and offer their submission date. I wouldn’t blame them.

        Gary didn’t write an essay. Neither he nor the two commenters (before mine today) “contested” anything. The commenters expressed opinions. Gary’s post (1) announced that the article was in the magazine, (2) gave an overview of the Chandler boys …”For these of you who don’t know the story,” as he clearly stated, and (3) mentioned that there had been in the past some talk of boycotting the magazine over the apparent suppression of comments following another article by the same author. Although he mentions Levin as an author of the piece, Gary’s post wasn’t a response to the challenge, as it was posted a day before the challenge appeared online.

        By no means am I attempting a diversion in order to try to conceal the cowardice of the members of the SHPG because I disagree that it’s cowardice. I’m pointing out the pettiness of your post and the prejudice and bigotry toward the SHPG it reveals.

        It’s quite obvious that some folks are declining the challenge based upon their perceptions of the periodical based on prior familiarity with it, or of Levin’s approach (as can be found on his blog). People are free to accept the challege or not accept it. Declining is not cowardice, as you are so eager to characterize it. It is more likely that they consider it a pointless waste of time since likely nobody’s going to learn anything new from it or change their minds about what they believe.

        But there’s also the probability of plain old lack of interest. The interest in the Chandler issue is confined to a very few members. If you do a search of SHPG with the search term “Silas Chandler” you’ll find 13 references going back to August 25 made by six (6) members. One of them is me. My comment about Silas Chandler doesn’t really reflect an interest in him, or his status (slave or soldier?), because I don’t care which he was. Seems I’m not the only one…

        My post says, “… Corey’s getting into the Chandler melodrama, too. You know what most of them are posting about re: the Chandler Boys? US! LOL!!! They’re not interested in the Chandler Boys, or whether Silas was a slave or a soldier. They’re interested in what WE think about it! Can you believe it? Is this what they teach academics in our colleges and universities? To be soooo consumed with anonymous internet chat rooms and social media groups? Amazing.”

        There’s probably some interest in the Chandler story among Southern heritage advocates at large, but the interest in it among the 1,290 members of the SHPG seems scant, at best. They’re not “running” from cowardice, Professor. They’re ignoring from disinterest.

        • First, learn what “disinterested” means. You folks are certainly interested parties, for otherwise your discussion group would not contain so many comments about Kevin Levin. You say you’re a writer? Learn the language.

          Second, you are repeating what needs to be highlighted: people in your group criticized an article they had not even read. Your defense of them is that they are ignorant of the topic they discuss. So you just slammed your associates.

          Third, for all your words, you’re still offering a rather weak smokescreen. The fact remains that when it comes to defending Confederate heritage on this issue, y’all ran.

          Keep prevaricating, Connie.

    • Connie, I bought my copy last week at the nearest branch of Barnes & Noble. And that is way out in Colorado! Hopefully copeis have made it to bookstores in the Confederacy.

      • Bob, so you had time to go to Barnes and Noble. That’s nice. The magazine is probably at the Barnes and Noble in my town, too, but between now and the New Year, I’m not going to have time to go there.

        • More prevarication from our good friend Connie. She doesn’t have time to go to the store … but she has time to post here all the time.

          Tell you what, Connie. I’ll let your subsequent comments sit in the spam folder until you take it upon yourself to go and buy the magazine. Now get going … you wouldn’t want to add procrastination to prevarication, right?

    • Connie,

      I raised several questions about the article of which most they could not answer. They don’t seem to be very serious about their “challenge.”

      • I don’t see where the questions you raised bore on the central concerns of the story … and you continue to say that you have evidence that you continue to withhold, leading to the conclusion that you don’t have anything whatsoever.

        Boring.

      • You’ve got to be kidding me. Every question of yours was answered in a timely manner. So now in addition to be a coward for not posting your real name you are also a liar.

          • I thanked him for purchasing the issue and for taking the time to read it. He asked specific questions which were addressed. Since posing the first round of questions he has been silent until now. I understand that people don’t like me and that they believe that I am motivated by some kind of hatred for the South. I can handle that and even laugh it off. I am actually just a bit disappointed by Border’s charge. Perhaps he can clarify which questions have been unanswered or which answers he is not satisfied with.

            Or perhaps I will take this as a hint that he was never really interested in the answers to begin with and stop all communication with him. It’s nothing more than a waste of time.

  4. I will post the response whenever it comes my way. I did not respond to Mr. Adams’s post because it was incredibly difficult to interpret and parts of it had nothing to do with the article in question.

  5. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11, 1, King James Version.

    But it makes for lousy history.

    One can believe anything one wishes. Debating faith is like trying to punch out a cloud.

    But providing evidence for one’s faith, therein lies the hardest thing for a person to do. For if one does seek out fact and evidence and finds out that one’s faith is based on fantasy vice a hard truth, what is one to do? Struggle within one’s self, with all the doubt and tourment of a long-held belief, now found out to be simply untrue? Or does one simply retreat deeper into the ‘faith’ and deny any attempt to test it, to challenge it, to prove its actual worth in the greater scheme of things, that which we here call history.

    It seems apparent to all that some are far more comfortable to retreat into their ‘faith’ than to confront it with actual fact.

    More’s the pity.
    Neil

  6. I see an awful lot of verbiage about process from Ms. Chastain and nothing about substance. It seems that the time could have been better spent responding to the challenge, given the obvious fact that holiday shopping and entertaining didn’t get in the way of composing several lengthy comments here. And, of course, BR surfaces for the [blank]teenth time without any of that “proof” which we’ve repeatedly been told will be “revealed”..

    • Connie writes a great deal, but she does not write well. I’ve given her opportunities to reply in substantial ways. She’s failed to take advantage of the opportunity, and anyone who likes to trade comments with her can find her blog and do so. Border Ruffian has a similar problem nowadays, although this was not always the case. At some time one just moves on.

    • She’s been too busy cherry picking happy slave narratives (one of that crowd’s favorite hobbies) and posting them to the virtual Confederacy over there.

      • All that shows is that she has plenty of time and opportunity to consult Kevin’s article. She simply doesn’t have either the courage or competence to do so. But I welcome her continued rants about me on her blog. People who know me don’t think I’m “political correct” or some “leftist” scholar: if people outside higher education think that those perspectives give someone protection against criticism from within, well, she’s done me quite a favor. :)

  7. “Mason-Dixon personality disorder”

    Can’t tell you how much I like this. I think DSM V is still being written. It may not be too late to get Mason-Dixon personality disorder into the final galleys. I suppose it falls under general dissociative disorders. Weirdly, this disease responds not to drugs but to removal of the subject from their native environment and heavy does of unvarnished history. I hear it’s endemic in Alabama.

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