Liars and Fools at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group

I was amused but certainly not surprised when Kevin Levin revealed that members of the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, led by none other than famed plagiarist and fumbling Jeopardy fact-checker Gary Adams, had chosen to comment once more on something they knew nothing about … namely Kevin’s new book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

One member of the group warns his fellow members:

I don’t know if some of you are aware of this, but a few of you are doing more damage than good at times. Be aware the enemy is watching and are ready to use anything you say against us all. I’m just a member here but I see comments that only make the group look like fools and ignorant.

And no one makes the group look more foolish and ignorant than its own leadership.

As the SHPG has announced that it has taken up the task of educating others, rest assured that as they mention various groups, there will be those who take it upon themselves to highlight the foolishness and ignorance of the Southern Heritage Preservation Group.  Such folks will never run out of evidence to support that proposition, because, after all, the SHPG is the gift that keeps on giving.


33 thoughts on “Liars and Fools at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group

  1. John Foskett September 20, 2012 / 7:22 am

    One need go no further than “the enemy is watching”. A foolproof warning that you’re about to waste time you’ll never get back.

  2. Ray O September 21, 2012 / 11:36 am

    Hey! That could be their new motto: “SHPG: The gift that keeps on giving.”

  3. Valerie Protopapas September 21, 2012 / 1:20 pm

    I have not sufficient evidence of this to buy it, especially when Mr. Levin – a KNOWN prevaricator – is involved. Furthermore, there is sufficient ambivalence about the “information” now being disseminated referable to the War of Secession that two people can provide mutually exclusive viewpoints while each believes in the veracity of his (or her) own report.

    Much of “what’s out there” involves many accounts of battles and engagements most of which are contradictory. The Battle of the Crater has been called “genocidal” against USCT by the Confederates while there are valid reports of those same troops yelling as they attacked that they would give no quarter to the Southerners – soldiers AND civilians. Then there is the report from at least one Unionist author that Grant removed the colored troops who had been scheduled to make the first charge after the explosives were detonated – and replaced them with white troops who did not understand the nature of the ground on which they would be fighting. Some say that Grant did it to protect the black troops from a high casualty rate, but other more credible evidence suggests that he did it to prevent them from gaining a victory that would be better received if it was achieved by WHITE troops.

    I cannot speak for Mr. Adams, but I would prefer to believe him to Mr. Levin whom I know to be anti-Southern – unless, of course, he has become a Lincoln sycophant. Furthermore, if there is a problem with the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, it would be far better to discuss the matter PRIVATELY between that group and those who are finding fault than it is to openly criticize other Southern apologists thus giving ammunition to those who hate EVERY Southern apologist! While we engage in petty squabbles, our enemies slowly eliminate our cause city by city, monument by monument, flag by flag. There has to be a better way to handle these disputes than openly sniping at each other thus giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    It was said that Robert E. Lee spent more time keeping peace among his commanders than fighting the Yankees. Obviously the situation has not much changed.

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 21, 2012 / 1:49 pm

      Mr. Adams is a known plagiarist who is often sadly mistaken when it comes to offering his understanding of history, something you appear to want to sidestep in your eagerness to strike at Kevin Levin. Why is that? I’d assume that if you were really interested in historical accuracy, you would make sure your own house is in order.

      Have you read Mr. Levin’s book? If not, how can you pretend to be in a position to judge it for accuracy? Are we to assume that you often hold forth on books you have not read?

      As you fail to cite the source of what you believe is credible evidence, I can’t assign your statements much credibility. As someone who has written about the Crater in several places (and here I point you to Let Us Have Peace (1991) and Ulysses S. Grant (2000), as well as “Quandaries of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Black Soldiers” (1997; in Blight and Simpson, Union & Emancipation), I’d welcome any actual evidence that you care to present. However, I don’t treat vague allusions to the unnamed work of unnamed authors as worth my time. I treat your claim that Grant did not want a victory at the Crater as simply ridiculous.

      That you choose to believe what Mr. Adams says in light of evidence that he’s notorious for plagiarizing the work of others and in the face of evidence that he is incompetent when it comes to discussing historical matters is your choice. In turn, I learn much about your professed commitment to historical accuracy when you claim to believe him. As for the intramural squabbling among some Confederate heritage advocates, such as the unseemly exchanges over various issues, including Susan Frise Hathaway’s desire for fame as the face of the Flaggers (a conversation that conveniently disappeared when it became apparent how foolish it was), that’s not my problem. But when members of the SHPG pretend that they are practicing history instead of fraud, and offer to share their misinformation with educational institutions as well as inject it into public discussions, that is my business.

      That members of the Confederate heritage movement find such misinformation acceptable serves as an indictment of their intelligence and their integrity. That members continue to defend such fraud in the fact of evidence undermining such claims is likewise a tribute to their lack of intelligence and their lack of integrity. I would suggest that this tells us why they find themselves in retreat and facing defeat, to use terms they pretend to understand.

      You are always welcome to provide actual evidence in support of your claims.

      • Valerie Protopapas September 21, 2012 / 2:06 pm

        Doris Kearns Goodwin is also a “noted plagiarist” but it doesn’t seem to bother folks on the other side with regards to her credentials.

        I am speaking of Mr. Levin’s blog which is notorious among the FB heritage groups. Needless to say, he is not spoken well of. As for his book, it is of no interest to me and as I did not read it, obviously I did not comment on it. Rather I commented on some of HIS comments and comments ABOUT him by people whose judgment I trust.

        I do not know about Mr. Adam’s reported “plagiarism” and therefore, as noted, I did not make any comment upon it.

        Finally, “misinformation” regarding members of the Confederate heritage movement is a strange word considering the lies, propaganda and outright invented history coming from the other side. You don’t have to go any further than the mythology of Lincoln to realize that you cannot expect truth from people who have a vested interest in the destruction of Southern heritage. And as I do not trust their “judgment” about their OWN “information,” I surely don’t trust it regarding anything that our side presents. If mistakes are made, that is merely human. It is the effort to KNOWINGLY DECEIVE – something of which I was a victim for many years – that I find insufferable and unforgivable. As fallible human beings, we are all subject to errors. How many times have well intentioned people – myself included – reported as fact some well constructed myth on the internet! However, error is one thing, mendacity quite another.

        • Ray Ortensie September 21, 2012 / 2:12 pm

          Isn’t everything that is published on the internet a fact? Why, it would not be on the internet unless it wasn’t. Why, I’m an international fashion model.

        • Brooks D. Simpson September 21, 2012 / 2:20 pm

          I’m not sure how it gets Mr. Adams off the hook to say that Doris Kearns Goodwin was demonstrated to have plagiarized. She admitted her wrongdoing and found herself displaced from several positions. Are you saying that the fact that Goodwin committed plagiarism makes Adams’s plagiarism acceptable? Really?

          Adams’s incompetence (and the incompetence of several other members of the SHPG) when it comes to history has been documented here. Maybe I should prepare a special post just so you can click on the various demonstrations. They persist in these misstatements even after they’ve been document, so when you hold forth on people who “KNOWINGLY DECEIVE,” you might check on how well your glass houses are holding up as you hurl rocks at Kevin Levin. What you are saying is that you find the actions of the SHPG “insufferable and unforgivable” …or you would render yourself vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy.

          So let’s see you bring the word back to your friends at the SHPG …the ones who visit here but can’t admit it. Tell them that Adams has been exposed as incompetent. Otherwise, I don’t see that you can say anything about Kevin Levin without being exposed … yet again … as a hypocrite. Your choice.

          Again, waiting for actual evidence from you concerning Grant and the Crater.

        • Andy Hall September 21, 2012 / 8:46 pm

          “I do not know about Mr. Adam’s reported “plagiarism” and therefore, as noted, I did not make any comment upon it.”

          It’s all laid out here and here. There are other examples, but those are the ones that involve me personally.

          If you choose not to click through and inform yourself, that’s your call, but you can’t really claim ignorance of it if you actively choose not to know, when the evidence is offered directly. There’s ignorance, and then there’s willful ignorance. The former can be corrected easily enough; the latter is a terminal condition.

          As for Goodwin, as Brooks notes, she paid a substantial price for her actions. Hoffer’s Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, and Fraud in the Writing of American History covers her case in some detail. She also ended up paying a hefty settlement (in the low six figures, IIRC) to settle the case. Gary, by contrast, hasn’t even explicitly acknowledged his bad acts, and continues to post other peoples’ writing without giving them credit. This ain’t rocket science. That Gary does this says a great deal about him, and that his colleagues (and supposed friends) at SHPG ignore it says plenty about them, too. Defenders of Southron Honour, etc., etc.

          You wrote, “as for [Levin’s] book, it is of no interest to me and as I did not read it. . . .”

          That’s convenient, as it allows you to avoid acknowledging Gary’s flat-out falsehood about its contents.

          Finally, let me offer my congratulations on your recent award by the Copperhead Society, an organization for non-Southerners — you’re from Long Island, and so not an actual Southerner by any rational definition — who nonetheless “have made significant contributions to Liberty, and Confederate heritage.” I understand you were selected for your “her fearless and strident essays and writing in defense of liberty, historical truth and the Confederate cause.” Undoubtedly it was your insightful suggestion that NASCAR drivers “do something else in those cars” to attract African American fans, or comparing Lincoln to Hitler, or arguing that freedmen were like six-year-old children, that won you this distinguished honor.

          Deo Vindice!

          • Brooks D. Simpson September 21, 2012 / 9:01 pm

            By the way, Valerie lives northeast of where I grew up. So who’s the true Southron? 🙂

          • Andy Hall September 21, 2012 / 9:03 pm

            Would that make you the southerner Southerner?

    • kevlvn September 21, 2012 / 2:09 pm

      This is so incredibly hilarious. I don’t believe I ever used the word “genocidal” in my book. You can actually read a large chunk of it at Google Books. Like any historian I did my best to judge the sources collected. My interpretation of those sources is open to scrutiny like anything else written in the battle. I certainly do not believe that I have written the last word on this battle or anything else for that matter.

      Now, if you don’t mind I need to get back to prevaricating. LOL

  4. Chuck September 21, 2012 / 2:08 pm

    STD’s are gifts that also keep on giving. In this case, ignorance knows no bounds.

  5. SF Walker September 21, 2012 / 5:51 pm

    I haven’t read Kevin’s book yet, but it’s my understanding that Grant was worried about the consequences if the battle ended up being a Union slaughter. He was concerned that he’d be accused of deliberately sacrificing the USCT to protect the white troops; he thus canceled the plan to have them lead the assault, which the USCT had been rehearsing for some time.

    Ambrose Burnside, commander of IX Corps, did not relish the responsibility of selecting a new division to lead the attack at the Crater, so he had his division commanders draw straws. As if fate were frowning on the Army of the Potomac, James Ledlie drew the short straw, with the result that the attack was led by a man who was arguably one of the worst commanders of the war.

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 21, 2012 / 6:17 pm

      That’s correct, although the reasoning about this began with Meade. I suspect that Meade was less confident than Grant about the fighting ability of black soldiers. So seems to be the theme in the writings of his volunteer aide, Theodore Lyman.

      • SF Walker September 22, 2012 / 1:03 pm

        I didn’t realize Meade was the one who got cold feet about leading with the black troops of Ferrero’s division. Are Lyman’s writings available in book form? It does seem that both Grant and Meade were wary of Burnside’s judgement regarding the execution of the attack–no doubt based on Burnside’s record up to that point (though he didn’t do too badly in the Knoxville campaign).

        You may well be right about Meade’s lack of confidence in the black troops; after all, neither he nor Grant had directly commanded them before this campaign, as far as I know. Grant, though, is on record as having said that “they will make good soldiers” when the War Department approved the use of black units.

        I’m not sure how Valerie came to the conclusion that the “evidence”—that the Army of the Potomac’s leaders would have preferred a victory won by white troops—is more credible. The summer of ’64 was the low point of the Virginia campaign; Grant and Meade would no doubt have been satisfied with any decisive victory at Petersburg.

  6. Arleigh Birchler September 21, 2012 / 10:46 pm

    Glanced through these comments. See a lot of names of people I have communicated with many times. It is exactly this sort of attack and counter-attack that I find not productive of any learning. Trying to find out what happened where or when seems to always get buried in us-versus-them. I have my own interests, and things that interest me. I recall when my wife and I were featured on International news when we demonstrated against a Ku KIux Klan rally at Sharpsburg a few years back, wearing our Confederate uniforms. All sorts of vile things were said about us, some by folks making comments on this thread. Many more nice things were said by people from both Southern Heritage News and Views and on Kevin and Brooks blogs. I am getting old. I probably will start keeping my mouth closed soon. I am sure many will applaud that.

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 22, 2012 / 7:27 am

      Now, now, Arleigh, you know better than that, especially as you are a member of the SHPG. Do you think it is productive of learning when Mr. Adams offers inaccurate history? Shouldn’t that be challenged? Indeed, why are you, a person so interested in learning, afraid to challenge it? And why don’t you admonish your friends over at the SHPG when they engage in “attack and counter-attack”?

      See, Arleigh, you lose a great deal of credibility in my eyes when you come here (and elsewhere) and complain about such things. I don’t see you as on a mission of education when that happens. I see you as engaged on a crusade of self-promotion … an impression confirmed by your retelling of your Sharpsburg experience.

      Either you think that Gary Adams offers an accurate rendering of the historical record or you don’t. Either defend it or agree that it should come under criticism. Don’t claim that you are interested in learning unless you demonstrate that fact.

    • Andy Hall September 22, 2012 / 8:17 am

      Arleigh, this is not hard or complicated.

      Gary stated as fact that Levin’s book did not contain information that, in fact, it did. Although someone else later confirmed that they were there, Gary has never acknowledged he was wrong, or explained why he said somethng demonstrably, objectively untrue.

      Gary lifts volumes of stuff all the time from other sources and posts it without giving credit. That he does this is not a matter of ideology or interpretation; it’s a matter of objective fact. Yet he comes in for no criticism or censure from the other 1700+ members of the group.

      I showed my kid Gary’s latest plagiarism, and asked what would happen to a fellow high school student who did that on a major assignment. “They’d get a zero on the assignment and probably fail the course” was the answer. It seems obvious to me that the typical public high school has a higher standard of integrity than the SHPG. If you disagree with this assessment of course, y’all are welcome to prove me wrong by your actions. I won’t hold my breath, though.

      John Stones continues to discourage members from visiting the blogs of “the opposition,” because supposedly we derive income from hits on paid advertising on those blogs. But as I’ve made clear, I’ve never had paid advertising on my blog. Yet Stones has yet to either withdraw his false claim or clarify exactly who he means. (This same man, BTW, is the “chaplain” of the group and, one supposes, should be particularly concerned about exemplifying personal integrity.)

      The false and misleading information posted there by Ann DeWitt (a.k.a. “Royal Diadem,” a.k.a. “Little Rebel”) is legion, and yet because it supports the preferred narrative about “black Confederates,” it’s never questioned.

      You may not like the tone displayed by Brooks or Kevin or me, but it’s a damn sight better than the false accusations, threats and generalized name-calling that’s come from the SHPG, including its officers. I’m pretty sure that Brooks has never contacted one of y’all’s employers and tried to make trouble for that person at work; SHPG members have done that repeatedly.

      Those are the “Defenders of Southron Honour,” Arleigh.

      In short, Arleigh, if SHPG members don’t like being called out for their dishonesty, then they should stop giving others good reason to.

      • Brooks D. Simpson September 22, 2012 / 8:40 am

        The real question for Arleigh is whether he’s really interested in learning (in which case he’ll call Adams and the SHPG to account) or whether his posts are a form of self-promotion in which he claims he’s above it all. He’s a member of the group in question, after all.

        Elsewhere Arleigh has had no problem contacting me privately to offer commentary on a version of history he deems questionable.

        • Andy Hall September 22, 2012 / 8:46 am

          My impression of Arleigh over a period of several years is similar. But the actions of a handful of what Kevin (all too charitably) calls “knuckleheads” reflects poorly on the entire group — including Arleigh.

      • Ray Ortensie September 22, 2012 / 9:14 am


        I am glad your child recognized that as some students coming into the college scene are getting a rude awakening to what plagiarism is. Most colleges are taking a zero tolerance to this and I am happy that the institution I work for is taking a very strong step towards this. A student found plagiarizing any work is given one warning, the second can result in failure of the course and possible explusion from the university. This was the same policy with the community college I was teaching with in San Antonio. The academic “theft” of others work should be dealt with accordingly.


  7. Arleigh Birchler September 22, 2012 / 8:59 am

    Brooks, yes, I am a member of the Facebook page Southern Heritage Preservation Group. As with everything, being a member does not mean that I agree with everything. Cousin Marc and I “met” when I was researching my Confederate ancestors. It turned out he was descended from the same folks. He joined some of the online groups I formed for discussion while I was trying to find out more about the lives and times of our ancestors.

    Marc contributed a lot to the group discussions, one of which had to do with slaves or African-Americans who may have served or supported the Confederacy. Marc and I discussed at length things said on both your and Kevin’s blogs. He once told me that the only problem he had with my style was the fact that I do not challenge what some people say. I worked hard to make sure that I had people in my groups who had very different opinions about matters, and listened to what all of them said.

    I occasionally try to state my beliefs briefly and succinctly. I generally find that there are many people who do not believe what I say. I only say it once. One of the things Marc discussed with me was the evident antipathy you had for me in one of our early discussions. He was rather surprised, and could not figure out what it was about. We also discussed similar exchanges on Kevin’s page. Since I say little, some people find it easy to read a lot into what they think I believe, or support. A few take the time to find out who I am and what I really believe.

    I have learned most of what I want to know about my Confederate ancestors for the time being. Interests other that the War Between the States have taken hold. I still subscribe to a few groups and scan the material. I generally find that commenting only brings a lot of assumptions and projections into play, so I try to keep my comments brief, and non-committal. I do not think there is a lot in this rather long post I am making that directly applies to any issue regarding the WBTS. I am sure, however, that many will be certain that they know what I “really think”, and “really feel”. It is another thing that wearies me.

    Flesch-Kincaid grade level = 7.3

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 22, 2012 / 9:24 am

      All I will say about Marc at this point is that his views evolved as he observed more and more. That’s one reason I’ll miss him … for those of you who don’t know, Marc Ferguson, a frequent commentator on several blogs as well as a historian in his own right, passed away yesterday.

      I’m not alone in how I view your participation, Arleigh. However, I don’t take that as the sum total of your existence. What I’ll leave you with is the observation is that we are talking about you and not your commitment to learning or your views on what’s been posted at the SHPG. That’s what I mean about your desire for self-promotion. You might consider focusing on something else, such as the substance of what’s being learned (or misrepresented). Just a suggestion.

    • Andy Hall September 22, 2012 / 9:30 am

      As with everything, being a member does not mean that I agree with everything.

      This is not question of differing interpretations or analysis of an obscure document, Arleigh. It’s an issue of honesty and truthfulness on the part of officers of that group.

      I am sure, however, that many will be certain that they know what I “really think”, and “really feel”. It is another thing that wearies me.

      Please — I’m constantly reminded by the SHPG and their allies what I think and believe and what my nefarious, Dixie-bashing motivations supposedly are. Yes, it’s wearying, but it’s not like you’ve had a bad time of it, as far as I can see.

      That’s why, frankly, I prefer to call out people for what they say and do. As I get older, I care less and less about what people think, or why. But when someone like Gary takes a several-hundred-word passage that I wrote, and presents it as his own, I’m not going to be quiet — and frankly, neither should you.

  8. Arleigh Birchler September 22, 2012 / 9:33 am

    Brooks, one more attempt to be very clear:

    I am weary of the same old arguments and personal attacks on SHPG, this blog, and Kevin’s blog. I am the “subject” of that sentence, but I am not the “object” of it.

    Sorry for disturbing you.

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 22, 2012 / 9:55 am

      You continue to confuse “personal attacks” with criticisms of poor scholarship. That’s not all that different from the response at the SHPG, in which any criticism of Gary Adams’s posts is dismissed as a personal attack as a way to evade the fact that Adams has been exposed repeatedly as a purveyor of poor history. That’s a way to set aside the issue of learning, especially in a group that says it’s out to tell the truth and to correct misunderstandings about history. It seems to me that you’re assisting them in that effort to distort history by trying to shift the terms of the discussion. I note that you can’t bring yourself to wrestle with the content of the debate, so I don’t think you are really interested in that.

      That should be very, very clear.

  9. Arleigh Birchler September 22, 2012 / 10:08 am

    I am not interested in who started it. I am interested in knowing who is intelligent enough to stop it. I could probably learn something from that person.

  10. Brooks D. Simpson September 22, 2012 / 10:13 am

    Highlight of the day:

    Ralph McCord warned his fellow members: “I don’t know if some of you are aware of this, but a few of you are doing more damage than good at times. Be aware the enemy is watching and are ready to use anything you say against us all. I’m just a member here but I see comments that only make the group look like fools and ignorant.”

    That was before he read his own words in the above post. After reading …

    “Wow, can’t believe this F***tard used my post for this piece of crap. Sorry folks.”

    … followed by …

    “But it shows that my statement is true, they are watching us and will use anything against us.”

    That’s right. Simply quoting these folks is unfairly attacking them. Have at that, Arleigh.

  11. Gregory Hubbard October 25, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    Not certain what to make of all this. I have come late to the fight, and since I am not an historian of the Civil War, I find I am without weapons. However, as an Architectural Historian, I do have one anecdote to share on plagiarism.
    Michel Crichton, in his much lauded book, ‘The Great Train Robbery,’ used an uncredited remark from Carrol Meeks 1956 book, ‘The Railroad Station, an Architectural History.’ In his work, Mr. Crichton used the line that ‘…railroad stations were the cathedrals of their age…’ or something very like that. As both my copies of these books are packed, I cannot give you exact quotes, but there you have it. Plagiarism from an important writer. And if you are not an architectural historian, you’d never know.
    Plagiarism is a game anyone can play. What is for me inexcusable is plagiarizing historical ‘sentences,’ notes, or unusual ideas with out notes. And no history should be published without accurate footnotes. I prevents civil war.
    Gregory Hubbard

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