Via Kevin Levin comes word that Dixie Outfitters is preparing a special t-shirt to honor the Southern Heritage Preservation Group. Here’s the shirt, front and back:
First, it suggests that perhaps what Bernard Bee said at First Manassas was “There sits Jackson on a stone wall!” This lends credence to the notion that Bee’s comment was made, not to praise Jackson, but to comment on his inability to move to help at a critical point in the battle. Of course, Jackson’s uniform is of a later vintage than July 1861, but details, details …
Second, it implies something about the service of Confederate soldiers, because the volunteer soldiers of 1861 were rather involuntarily re-upped in 1862 (and beyond), at the same time that the Confederacy introduced conscription. Guess that patriot volunteer spirit had died down a bit by then. Was Stonewall implying that they were less reliable? No wonder he was felled by friendly fire. As for desertion (not exactly a sign of reliability), I doubt Stonewall would have stood (or sat) for that. Dr. Hunter McGuire’s the source of the quote, and it’s worth comparing what McGuire says Jackson said with what Jackson said in comparing volunteers and regular professionals in the Mexican American War (hint: the volunteers did not come off well).
Let’s also recall what Sam Watkins said about this legislation:
Soldiers had enlisted for twelve months only, and had faithfully complied with their volunteer obligations; the terms for which they had enlisted had expired, and they naturally looked upon it that they had a right to go home. They had done their duty faithfully and well. They wanted to see their families; in fact, wanted to go home anyhow. War had become a reality; they were tired of it. A law had been passed by the Confederate States Congress called the conscript act. A soldier had no right to volunteer and to choose the branch of service he preferred. He was conscripted. From this time on till the end of the war, a soldier was simply a machine, a conscript. It was mighty rough on rebels. We cursed the war, we cursed Bragg, we cursed the Southern Confederacy. All our pride and valor had gone, and we were sick of war and the Southern Confederacy.
Third, it’s nice that Dixie Outfitters put all the slave states on the shirt, including Missouri and Kentucky. Well, almost all. I can’t quite tell whether Delaware’s on there, and of course someone will remind us of New Jersey’s eighteen slaves in 1860. Fair enough. But where’s Texas? Really?
I think a far more moving shirt could have been made to honor the SHPG by offering images of its most visible leaders, in the spirit of the shirt honoring another dress-up Confederate, H. K. Edgerton. Goodness knows John Zakrzewski loves to post pictures of himself in uniform.
I especially like how in this photo he shows due respect for the proper display of the Confederate Battle Flag:
John C. Hall, Jr. fancies himself an officer. Here he is with General Lee:
And here’s Mr. Zakrzewski hugging Carl W. Roden, no easy task:
Now, why can’t these sweet southern boys, and not sitting Stonewall, be featured on a t-shirt, just like good old H. K.?
I can’t wait for the Virginia Flagger shirt. Neither can you.
Please buy these as gifts, because they’ll keep on giving.