Help Connie Chastain Out

Connie Chastain poses this question:

True or not? There is as much primary historical source evidence that Silas Chandler was a Confederate soldier as there is that Nathan Bedford Forrest organized, founded, operated, ran, directed, rode with, or was involved with the KKK, except to issue orders to disband it.

I’d say not.  There is plenty of evidence that Nathan Bedford Forrest was associated with the KKK: otherwise, as even Ms. Chastain concedes, he would not have been in a position to “issue orders to disband it.”

Did Forrest organize the KKK?  No.  Did he found it?  No.  Was he involved with it?  Sure was.  Was he a key player, especially in Tennessee?  Yes.  Brian S. Wills’s biography of Forrest lays this out.  As Wills says (p. 336), “there is no doubt that Forrest joined the Klan”; there is some debate as to whether he was the Grand Wizard.

No evidence exists that Silas Chandler was a Confederate soldier.

That was simple enough.

Here’s a question for Connie: if so many enslaved African Americans loved their masters and were loyal to the Confederacy, then why did a good number of white southerners after the war conduct a war of terror against African Americans, killing the very people they claimed were loyal to old Massa and the good old CSA?  And why didn’t former Confederate leaders try to stop that sort of terrorism against people who supposedly in the tens of thousands embraced the CSA and all it stood for?

Can’t wait to hear the response to that one.

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43 thoughts on “Help Connie Chastain Out

  1. BorderRuffian December 5, 2011 / 7:08 am

    “No evidence exists that Silas Chandler was a Confederate soldier.”

    Well, yes, there is some evidence. I wouldn’t count it as the best possible evidence but it’s probably better than what you have that supposedly connects Forrest to the KKK.

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 8:20 am

      You always tell us that there is evidence out there, but you never display it. I point you to a specific source on Forrest’s KKK ties with which you fail to deal. So why take you seriously?

      You’re becoming a waste of time.

      • Connie Chastain December 5, 2011 / 8:39 pm

        Your “specific source” on Forrest’s KKK ties is not a primary historical source. At least Silas was photographed in a Confederate army uniform holding weapons; I’ve never seen photo of Forrest in KKK regalia, and you can bet if one existed, it’d be plastered all over cyberspace…

        • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 9:56 pm

          Try reading Brian Wills’s book and see his footnotes.

          In fact, just try reading a book. For once.

          You have no evidence of Silas Chandler’s service as a Confederate soldier. Otherwise you would present it.

  2. Corey Meyer December 5, 2011 / 9:35 am

    Connie has been harping at me over this Forrest evidence thing for months now & I cannot understand the reasoning behind it. Maybe I am the fool for attempting to understand her.

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 10:32 am

      Connie has no evidence on Silas Chandler’s supposed military service; she even admits that she’s not really knowledgeable about the war. What she likes to do is to set up strawmen by claiming people believe something. She’s never proven that people believe what she claims they believe, while she always denies the import of what she says (note that she’s yet to tell us about all the good things about slavery). She has no sensahuma and no sense whatsoever.

    • Connie Chastain December 5, 2011 / 8:46 pm

      Once in early September, once since Levin issued his Chandler challenge? That’s how you define “harping” — twice in three months? Let’s not forget, Corey, that you’re the one who always messages me, not vice versa.

      The Harping File: http://conniechastain.com/harping.html

      • Corey Meyer December 6, 2011 / 8:32 am

        Seriously Connie,

        You have kept all those comments on a website….you keep this up and you will be known as the “cat lady” of the internet!

        • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 9:29 am

          Corey, Facebook kept them. I copied them directly from Facebook and edited out the non-Forrest material right before I posted it here.

          Meow….

      • Rob Baker December 6, 2011 / 6:13 pm

        She actually started the conversation. Not exactly harping. And then when Silas was mentioned she deflected onto another topic, mainly because she is afraid to challenge it…..so much for that Southern courage.

  3. Andy Hall December 5, 2011 / 11:30 am

    Real Confederates certainly thought Forrest was a klansman:

    Leaders or the Klan.
    Gen. George W. Gordon, of Confederate fame, was one of the Klan’s early and wise leaders. He prepared the oath and ritual for the Klan and furnished a safe hart for them to follow in their dangerous work. In the fall of 1866 the Klan had spread with amazing rapidity, covering nearly all the Southern States ; and Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the great Confederate cavalry leader, was made “Grand Wizard of the Invisible Empire.” The oath was administered to him by Capt. John W. Morton, afterwards Secretary of State of Tennessee, in Room No. 10 of the Maxwell House, Nashville, Tenn., and the Klan moved forward in its great work of rescue and protection. In 1869 General Forrest gave the order for disbandment, believing that the mission of the Klan had been accomplished, and the mighty Invisible Empire, not by force, but voluntarily, disbanded. The Klansmen folded their tents like the Arabs and silently passed from view. Their great mission of protection for the homes and women of the Southland had been accomplished, and these uncrowned heroes of the Southland desired no other reward.

    Even his modern, sympathetic biographers agree.

    • Connie Chastain December 5, 2011 / 7:07 pm

      Andy, still not what I asked for. The publication date of the issue you linked to is January 1916 — not exactly the years immediately following the war when Forrest was supposedly “active” in the KKK.

      I’m not looking for Mrs. S.E.F. Rose of West Point Mississippi describing something she’d been told and publishing it fifty years after the fact. I’m look for eye-witness testimony. That’s what I mean by “primary.” If it’s not written by someone who experienced what he or she is describing or attesting first hand, but something told to them, it’s secondary evidence.

      Even Mrs. Rose’s second-hand account gives no specifics about Forrest’s actual involvement. It says, “The oath was administered to him by Capt. John W. Morton, afterwards Secretary of State of Tennessee, in Room No. 10 of the Maxwell House, Nashville, Tenn., and the Klan moved forward in its great work of rescue and protection.” Doesn’t tell me what his role, his activities in “moving forward” comprised — if any. From this second-hand account, written or at least published, almost forty years after Forrest died, it appears that the duties and responsibilities of the KKK Grand Wizard are (1) getting sworn in and (2) disbanding the organization.

      So… STILL nobody has told me, using primary historical source evidence….What. He. Did… described by somebody who saw/heard him do/say it.

      • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 9:59 pm

        I’ve pointed you to Wills’s book. It’s richly sourced. If you refuse to read it, that’s your problem. Klansman James R. Crowe, an original member of the KKK, said that the group elected Forrest as their leader in April 1867; another Tennessee Klansman said that Forrest headed the KKK. See Wills, page 336.

        But I like that you are in full denial about Forrest and the KKK. How could he issue orders to a group if he wasn’t part of it?

        Finally, if you are committed to historical accuracy, then look where this account appears. Let’s see you contact them on behalf of your “truth.”

        • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 1:52 am

          I’m looking forward to reading Wills’s book, to see if he has anything of substance that will contradict existing accounts that Forrest was likely “drafted” as Grand Wizard — elected in absentia, not even in town when it happened… Looking forward to seeing if the book quotes Crowe or the other “Tennessee Klansman” as describing any of Forrest’s activities as Grand Wizard, or even as just a KKK member. If it does, I have to wonder why it hasn’t percolated out into the Internet…

          Remember, I am looking for first hand, eye-witness accounts of what he DID as a klansman and Grand Wizard. Did he … design KKK uniforms? Collect dues? Make sure everybody had a horse? Did he … go on raids terrorizing people? I’d like reliable accounts of that — names, dates, who rode with him, names of victims… If Wills doesn’t supply that information, he doesn’t meet the criteria I’m looking for.

          I’m not looking for, “Well, here’s an account of a KKK raid in Georgia in 1920, and since Forrest was in the KKK and it’s leader, this must have been the kind of thing he did in the late 1860s.” Nope. No “retroactive” evidence-projection if what someone *else* did onto Forrest…

          The claims against Forrest on websites and news comment threads are big and bold. I want big, bold verification to match.

          The, ah, “Confederate Truths” site, which claims to be associated with the William Winter Institute, appears to be anonymous and incomplete, as of about 2008. (For example, the “Gathering Storm” section has no documents listed, The “Reconstruction and Fusion” page has two paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum. Would you accept the “Reconstruction and Fusion” pages as documentation of “Confederate truth” from one of your students?) Besides, anything connected with Edward “Crawfish” Sebesta is immediately suspect to me. I mean, this is the guy who announced online that he was “monitoring” the Hilfiger Corporation for putting “Confederate symbology” on Tommy Hilfiger clothing…

          • Brooks D. Simpson December 6, 2011 / 7:59 am

            We await your report of an encounter with an actual text. You still have to explain how Forrest could issue orders to an organization he did not supervise. Why do you find it so difficult to answer that question?

          • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 8:08 am

            From what I can tell thus far, he was a figurehead, elected in absentia, had little or no interest in the organization, took little part in it, known to have issued two orders that (1) weakened and (2) ended it. That’s my tentative answer based on what’s been posted here, and some other things I’ve read.

          • Brooks D. Simpson January 2, 2012 / 6:54 pm

            I see no primary source evidence to support your position. I’ve asked you to deal with the sources provided in Wills’ narrative. You seem confused. No one said that Wills was a primary source, but he clearly uses them.

            Apparently one to the reasons you write fiction is that you are unable to examine the sources cited by Wills … something a historian would do.

    • Connie Chastain December 5, 2011 / 8:47 pm

      Andy, still not what I asked for. The publication date is of the issue you linked to is January 1916 — not exactly the years immediately following the war when Forrest was supposedly “active” in the KKK.

      I’m not looking for Mrs. S.E.F. Rose of West Point Mississippi describing something she’d been told and publishing it fifty years after the fact. I’m look for eye-witness testimony. That’s what I mean by “primary.” If it’s not written by someone who experienced what he or she is describing or attesting first hand, but something told to them, it’s secondary evidence.

      Even Mrs. Rose’s second-hand account gives no specifics about Forrest’s actual involvement. It says, “The oath was administered to him by Capt. John W. Morton, afterwards Secretary of State of Tennessee, in Room No. 10 of the Maxwell House, Nashville, Tenn., and the Klan moved forward in its great work of rescue and protection.” Doesn’t tell me what his role, his activities in “moving forward” comprised — if any. From this second-hand account, written or at least published, almost forty years after Forrest died, it appears that the duties and responsibilities of the KKK Grand Wizard are (1) getting sworn in and (2) disbanding the organization.

      So… STILL nobody has told me, using primary historical source evidence….What. He. Did… described by somebody who saw/heard him do/say it.

      • Robert Baker December 6, 2011 / 6:37 am

        I actually posted one on my blog but here it is again..

        Hurst pp. 284–285. Wills p. 336. Wills quotes two KKK members who identified Forrest as a Klan leader. James R. Crowe stated, “After the order grew to large numbers we found it necessary to have someone of large experience to command. We chose General Forrest.” Another member wrote, “N. B. Forest of Confederate fame was at our head, and was known as the Grand Wizard. I heard him make a speech in one of our Dens.”

        • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 8:03 am

          Robert, does Crowe say what Forrest actually DID after he was chosen? At least some anonymous “another member” gives some eye-witness testimony of something Forrest actually did. HE MADE A SPEECH! Whoopee. Anything in that book that says what the speech was about?.

          Keep up this “evidence” and Silas Chandler’ll be a corporal before you know it….

          • Rob Baker December 6, 2011 / 5:38 pm

            If I’m not mistaken, It does. Been awhile since I’ve read it though.

            You can make all the snide comments you want. My job is to present, it is your job to prove wrong. All you do is build an argumentative case. So go and read the book yourself. You are not adding anything to this conversation at all. Post Gary correspondence with the archives if you want to do something productive.

      • BorderRuffian December 6, 2011 / 6:53 am

        Connie,

        To this group anything -anything- that associates Forrest with the Klan is accepted as solid history. They can’t resist.

        • Brooks D. Simpson December 6, 2011 / 8:01 am

          This from the fellow who promises evidence he can’t produce. However, people have produced evidence, and you haven’t countered it. So it seems you concede Forrest’s participation in the KKK. Thanks.

        • John Foskett December 6, 2011 / 8:26 am

          Think of it as just more defamation of a guy who was first wrongly accused of being present at Fort Pillow. Folks have been libelling and slandering ol’ Bedford ever sibce. A terrible injustice which i’m sure you’ll rectify with evidence – to be revealed in due course, naturally. If I had to wager, it will start with a photo of Forrest surrounded by his staff of black officers.

  4. Khepera December 5, 2011 / 12:16 pm

    “. . .if so many enslaved African Americans loved their masters and were loyal to the Confederacy, then why did a good number of white southerners after the war conduct a war of terror against African Americans, killing the very people they claimed were loyal to old Massa and the good old CSA?”

    This is a perennial question of mine. None of the happy antebellum slave crowd has yet to answer it with any honesty. Occasionally one of them will tell you that it was because the blacks became threatening or violent toward their erstwhile masters or were threatening to rape white women.

    I could be wrong, but I think such collective use of terror, oppression and discrimination had its roots in vindictive bitterness at the loss, not only of the white-supremacist slaveocracy, but the loss of face concomitant with utter defeat in a conflict that would have been avoided had they left well enough alone. They were hoist with their own petard, and the evidence was in front of them every day. And they were determined that at least white supremacy would be maintained.

    Or, who knows, perhaps it was also preemptive, out of fear that their former chattel would come at them, en masse, for “payback.” Free Africans had been a scary thought to these people for a long time, slaveholder or no. They knew that what they were doing was wrong (no matter how “legal”), and they were willing to do everything in their power to prevent reprisal for it.

    • Charles Lovejoy December 5, 2011 / 12:54 pm

      Khepera, It has always been my thinking that after getting past being of African decent and enslaved, their collective connection, slaves were a diverse group of individuals. I don’t think there was a ‘slave’ thought other than I feel the vast majority wanted freedom. After that it becomes complex.

  5. Corey Meyer December 5, 2011 / 6:36 pm

    I also read on a PBS website about how Forrest issued KKK General Order No. 1 outlawing masks and hoods, etc. However I have not been able to find that document with the limited online resources I have…so if anyone can locate it…it might help Connie come to terms with whatever she has to come to terms with.

  6. Connie Chastain December 5, 2011 / 7:08 pm

    I didn’t say “evidence.” I said “primary historical source evidence.” Brian S. Wills is not a primary *historical* source. He’s my contemporary, not Forrest’s.

    “Sure was” is not evidence.

    Wills saying, “there is no doubt that Forrest joined the Klan” is not primary historical source evidence. It’s somebody from the present day saying so, and being copied and pasted onto an agenda-driven blog.

    And you’re a professor of HISTORY!!??!! I sure hope you require better documentation of your students than you have supplied here.

    As for your question, direct it to somebody who has made the claims you’re asking about.

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 10:00 pm

      Wills based his account on primary sources. You refuse to read the book and consult his sources. Are you calling Wills a liar?

      Read.A.Book.

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 5, 2011 / 10:21 pm

      “As for your question, direct it to somebody who has made the claims you’re asking about.”

      Afraid to answer the question, Connie? Apparently so. You assert that people make claims that they have not; you even declare what their motivation must be. But when confronted with a simple question, you scurry away. Why are you so afraid of answering the question? And, as you have made claims that slavery wasn’t all that bad, why don’t you answer people who ask you about what you find in slavery to be good?

      • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 2:16 am

        (1) The question is irrelevant to anything I’ve said or written. (2) The question is imprecise by design and stated in your chosen words. (3) You have provided no substantiation that I “assert that people make claims that they have not; you even declare what their motivation must be.” (4) I have made no claims that slavery “wasn’t all that bad.” You’re welcome to link to where you think I have, or copy-paste what I’ve said that you’re misconstruing in this manner. (5) I haven’t said I found slavery to be good. I have simply said the worst of it was not the whole of it, which is not the same thing.

        Basically, there’s always the possibility that I will ignore fundamentally misleading claims about me and what I’ve said, whether made as erroneous statements or implied as misleading questions.

          • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 8:14 am

            It’s a pack of lies disguised as a question. Reframe it honestly; and with relevance to me, and I’ll consider it.

          • John Foskett December 7, 2011 / 7:31 am

            “It’s a pack of lies disguised as a question’. Nothing beats irony.

  7. TF Smith December 5, 2011 / 9:04 pm

    Not that it will help Ms. Chastain, but “a safe hart”?

    Was there a dangerous deer that Gordon subdued or something?

    Best,

  8. TF Smith December 6, 2011 / 6:23 am

    Well, that’s all right then…

    The deeper one reads into the neo-Confederate/Confederate heritage/apologists/whatevers, the more the times seem ripe for an American “Blackadder”

    Best,

    • Brooks D. Simpson December 6, 2011 / 8:06 am

      Well, as we’ve seen here, some people are either too afraid or intellectually incapable of answering simple questions or to deal with evidence provided to them.

      Is this the best that defenders of Confederate heritage have to offer? No wonder it’s the source of so much amusment.

      • Connie Chastain December 6, 2011 / 8:10 am

        Amusement? Then how come it so sticks in your craw you have trouble laughing?

      • TF Smith December 6, 2011 / 6:50 pm

        Until you get a case like the one Tony Horwitz wrote about in “Confederates in the Attic” – then the whole “playing with fire” element comes into play.

        Best,

  9. Steve Witmer December 6, 2011 / 8:01 pm

    Question for those that think the CBF is a symbol of the south…

    What could southerners have used as a symbol of the south PRIOR to 1860? No CBF yet, so it couldn’t be that. What, then?

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