The Flaggers on the Museum of the Confederacy

Here’s an interesting analysis of recent events offered by someone claiming to represent the Virginia Flaggers on a Confederate fantasy blog:

A relevant question might be how’s that “not flying the Confederate flag to attract more people” thing working out for Waite Rawls and the MOC. 18 months after the opening at Appomattox, sans flag, the Museum (by their own admission) was in such dire financial straits that it was forced to sell out to Tredegar to stay afloat.

Let’s ponder the implications of that astute analysis. Continue reading

Another “Heritage” Crime?

Al Mackey offers his take about the new name of the merged Museum of the Confederacy/American Civil War Center in Richmond.

I’ll simply point out that according to the logic whereby the Confederate flag(s) is (are) American flag(s), then Confederate history is American history, and thus the new name of the joint venture reflects the very reality some people want us to embrace concerning the Confederate flag(s). In short, people like the Virginia Flaggers helped inspire this rebranding. Congratulations to them for their success.

Two Richmond Museums Plan to Merge

As reported on Kevin Levin’s blog (and a host of media outlets, including Richmond’s leading newspaper), the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy have announced plans to merge by 2015.

Not everyone will welcome this news. Rumors of a merger created quite a stir in some corners of the Confederate heritage committee and led to some incomplete reporting. No doubt we’ll hear of a continuing war to eradicate Confederate heritage. It will be interesting to see whether their protests amount to anything. I’ll be interested to learn how the branch of the Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox will be treated in this reorganization, as it is a Confederate museum, not a Civil War museum.

Plans for the Robinson House at the VMFA

I came across this article describing the history of the Robinson House, which is currently being renovated in accordance with plans drawn up by a leading architectural firm in Richmond.

As the article reminds us, this building once housed administrative offices, an infirmary, and a museum where pride of place was given to Stonewall Jackson’s own Little Sorrel.

The article points to the future when it says:

When visitors glide off the interstate into the revitalized Robinson House, they’ll find an introduction to Richmond embracing war and peace, slavery and freedom, and a history of architecture and art.

hathaway oppsSince some of those visitors would have been struggling to view a certain rather well-concealed flag alongside the interstate (and the site of a far less well concealed piece of machinery that is no longer there, perhaps due to the fact that certain parties highlighted its presence), it remains a matter of curiosity whether a flag or flags will be flying in front of the Robinson House in 2015 … and what that/those flag/flags will look like.

My understanding is that a Confederate flag once did fly near the Robinson House, according to this diorama. So one must believe that one will fly there now … or the Virginia Flaggers would be all over this.

No word yet from Susan Hathaway as to what she makes of the project. Indeed, the Virginia Flaggers are very quiet about this project, which is surprising given their well-known opposition to the VMFA’s position on the flying of the Confederate flag at the nearby Confederate Memorial Chapel. Nor have we heard any explanation as to the cause of Hathaway’s silence or the silence of her loyal followers concerning the plans for the Robinson House. Then again, although this mock cover of Time magazine shows Hathaway with the question, “Is the Confederate Chapel Next?” (next for what, one might ask, after the Flaggers’ funny fiasco along I-95), we haven’t seen Hathaway personally working to “restore the honor” at the Confederate chapel lately, either.

And, of course, no word on what happened to that piece of machinery along I-95. Its absence makes it all the more difficult to spot the little flag in the woods. No word on what happened to the original flag, either.

Finally, it’s worth noting that many Union veterans and veterans’ organization contributed to the Confederate soldiers’ home on this site … the very veterans now being mocked by so-called advocates of Confederate heritage. For people with such long memories, it’s amazing how quickly they forgot this.

But are we surprised?

Tussle at Olustee

The Battle of Olustee, February 20, 1864

The Battle of Olustee, February 20, 1864

News comes that members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are opposed to the placement of a monument honoring United States soldiers’ service at the Olustee battlefield in Florida.

In the words of one SCV member:

If you have an Iraq war monument, you don’t want to put a Muslim/jihadist monument right in front of it.

These boys always seem a little too eager to put their foot right into their mouths. But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the SCV characterizes it:

A new heritage attack has been launched at Olustee (near Lake City, Florida), and your help is needed.
In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the battle that protected Florida’s capital from falling, the Sons of Union Veterans has obtained approval from the State of Florida Parks Department for a special monument to invading Federal forces.  The plan calls for a large black Darth Vadar-esque shaft that will disrupt the hallowed grown where Southern blood was spilled in defense of Florida, protecting Tallahassee from capture.   
We fear the State may have a legal right to do so.  Therefore, in order to stop this we must win the war through citizen objection.  
Confederate Forces won the Battle in 1864 - but will we win the 2nd Battle of Olustee and prevent this menacing monument from disrupting this hallowed Southern soil?
We can and will – but only if you take action today!
It will be interesting to see whether this is simply a debate over the location of the monument or a protest against the erection of one, period.
(h/t to a reader for one of the contributions to this post)
UPDATE: There’s been some squabble over exactly how many monuments are on this battlefield. Here’s a webpage suggesting that there are more Confederate than United Sates markers, and that the US monument marks the place where the dead were buried.
For Andy Hall’s take at Dead Confederates, see here.

As The Smoke Clears: The Gettysburg Casino Controversy

By now you may have heard that last week the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected a proposal to build a casino on the site of a convention center on US Route 15 (Emmitsburg Road) south of the Gettysburg battlefield.  It had been a controversial proposal.  Yes, the land was already a commercial property, but the convention center did not intrude on the battlefield, and its presence did not create traffic difficulties.  A casino’s impact would have been far more significant and visible.  That said, I believe that had property been identified east of the US 15 bypass, the casino proposal would have stood a far greater chance of success, in part because it would have weakened the arguments of battlefield preservationists.

It just might be time for the people of Adams County to take another look at issues of economic development.  Continue reading

A Burning Question in Atlanta

It appears that the efforts of the Georgia Historical Society to commemorate an event in Civil War history that happened in Atlanta has met with opposition from the city’s chapter of the NAACP.

Only in this case it involves an effort to commemorate the burning (final burning, I may add) of Atlanta by William T. Sherman before he commenced his March to the Sea.

“It seems to be honoring something that reminds us of some tragic occurrences that happened to our people at the time. The whole war itself centered around the slave issue,” said R.L. White, president of the NAACP’s Atlanta branch. “We accept that it’s history but would like to see it done somewhere else than the heart of the civil rights historic district. It’s kind of tragic that the state is choosing that location.”

This is confusing on a number of levels.  W. Todd Groce, who is president of the society, argues that the marker’s placement is historically accurate (down by the railroad yard).  So that should mean that the SCV should support him, because that organization’s all about historical accuracy.  The misgivings of Mr. White seem a bit curious.  After all, Sherman’s occupation of Atlanta liberated black people, and I’d assume that’s not a painful memory.  That it was Sherman who did that was ironic, given his lack of concern for the welfare of blacks or the destruction of slavery, but there were other Union generals, including Oliver O. Howard, who felt differently.  That said, the “hurt feelings” defense has also been used when it comes to displays of the Confederate Battle Flag, and once you admit it’s a valid complaint in that instance, how can you contest its validity in another instance?

That said, I hope Dimitri Rotov smiles when he comes across this:

“It’s all about trying to capture heritage tourism dollars,” said Will Hanley, the marker coordinator for the Historical Society. “We feel there will be a lot of tourism dollars spent on the Civil War anniversary.”

Ah, so that’s what it’s all about.  Set up markers so people will visit them and spend money.

Just another day in the life of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Two Thank Yous

I want to take the time to say thank you for the following:

I recently learned that the Scottsdale Civil War Round Table donated $100 in my name to the Civil War Trust.  I’ve spoke before the Scottsdale CWRT several times, most recently in November 2009, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way.

I also want to thank Corey Meyer at The Blood of My Kindred for the kind words he had to say about me in relation to his decision to enter blogging some four years ago.

Thank you.