The Flagger Proposal: Disrupting and Disrespecting the Confederate Dead?

Spokespeople for the Virginia Flaggers have claimed that the area where they plan to erect a fifty-foot flag pole from which to fly a Confederate flag that would be visible to motorists traveling north on I-95 to Richmond is sacred soil. After all, they argue, Confederate soldiers were stationed there and died there.

They may be right. After all, the area under consideration is near Drewry’s Bluff, site of an 1862 action, as well as a key moment in the 1864 Bermuda Hundred campaign (as this map shows):

(from Beyond the Crater)

Here’s the same area today, with I-95 clearly marked:

Chester, Virginia

In short, what the Virginia Flaggers propose to do is to disrupt what they have claimed is sacred ground and disturb what they concede may be the final resting place of Confederate soldiers to erect a flag pole. Just stick a shovel in the soil, dig, and build.

You would think that a group dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of Confederate soldiers, including those who gave their lives in the cause of southern independence, might first do a little work to ascertain what just might be in the area before they commenced construction. What evidence do we have that they have taken steps all of us would recognize as proper and responsible? Is the simple claim that this is private property, so that the Flaggers can do whatever they want, regardless of the consequences …. including the disturbance of historical resources (the very ones they claim exist) and the disturbance of Confederates laid to rest in the area … enough to desecrate the very men they claim to honor?

We have none other than the Flaggers themselves for alerting us to the possible destruction of valuable cultural and historical resources. It would be a good idea first to ascertain the character of the area where the Flaggers propose to erect their flag pole, and to evaluate it in terms of cultural and historical resources, so as to prevent the possibility of reckless destruction. I’m sure various agencies as well as Confederate heritage organizations would appreciate answers to these questions. So would anyone who is against the disruption of Confederate burial sites.

And if the Flaggers refuse or protest this reasonable request, then we know that it’s not about honoring Confederate heritage or the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier, but something quite different.

Update: For those of you who are concerned about this possible threat to Virginia’s cultural and historic resources, you may want to contact Kristin Kirchen (kristin.kirchen@dhr.virginia.gov) at Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources.

15 thoughts on “The Flagger Proposal: Disrupting and Disrespecting the Confederate Dead?

  1. Charleen Bearce Lambert August 25, 2013 / 2:29 pm

    No Quarter, Brooks!

  2. Mater Head August 25, 2013 / 3:01 pm

    Flaggers? People from Virginia who wish to acknowledge and honor their heritage who are opposed mostly by people from states other than Virginia. Wow. Kind of makes you understand why Virginia seceded in the first place, doesn’t it?

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 25, 2013 / 3:17 pm

      Hmmm. Seems more Virginians (far more) have signed the petition not to have the flag put up than are in the Flaggers … by the estimate of the Flaggers themselves. That’s the wow for you … especially as you hail from North Carolina.

      As they say … Ba-BAM!

      • Buck Buchanan August 28, 2013 / 11:51 am

        How long must one live in the Old Dominion, pay taxes in the Old Dominion and vote in teh Old Dominion to be considered “from Virginia”?

        Been here going on 2r5 years and will be buried here….hopefully not too soon.

  3. Flamethrower August 26, 2013 / 11:55 am

    I read “so as to prevent the possibility of reckless destruction” as “so as to prevent the possibility of redneck destruction”.

  4. Flamethrower August 26, 2013 / 12:13 pm

    Connie’s denying that the site is a burial ground.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 26, 2013 / 4:17 pm

      The fact is that no one knows what might or might not be there. After all, the Flaggers themselves made claims about the historical nature of the site. Is Connie claiming that they are lying?

      What exactly are Connie’s credentials for ascertaining (a) that her fellow Flaggers are full of hot air (b) the significance of the ground in question? Would you take her at her word? For her to make this claim, she’d have to identify the site and open it to inspection to verify her claim. Otherwise, her assertion is worthless.

      After all, if she asks how could I know (when I’ve said I don’t, and that it’s an open question), how does she know for sure?

      Connie confuses a cemetery (which would denote the presence of bodies) with unmarked graves. I never used the word “cemetery,” but Connie loves to twist and misrepresent what I say, because she can’t deal with the merits of the issue … or she simply doesn’t know better. With Connie, one never knows.

      • Flamethrower August 27, 2013 / 12:29 pm

        Thanks for the clarify. I tried to dig up info on Googling articles for more info if it was burial grounds at all with no luck.

  5. Michael Confoy August 26, 2013 / 6:36 pm

    Is the spot on the Google map the actual spot for the flag?

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 26, 2013 / 6:39 pm

      No. It marks the location of Chester, Virginia. The flag would appear just east of I-95.

      • Michael Confoy August 27, 2013 / 1:29 pm

        So I assume we still don’t know the exact spot yet?

        • Brooks D. Simpson August 27, 2013 / 1:35 pm

          I don’t know where it will be. At least that’s what I want the Flaggers to believe.

          • Michael Confoy August 27, 2013 / 8:53 pm

            It’s too bad it can’t be north of Richmond in Cantor’s district.

  6. Buck Buchanan August 28, 2013 / 12:00 pm

    If its east of Chester (about 7 miles morth of me) its sitting on top of the Howlett Line from the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.

    So its more liable to be on top of an old “sink”!

  7. Andy Hall August 28, 2013 / 12:16 pm

    Questions about unmarked graves are a bit of a red herring in this case. I’m sure the plot is a small one, and the likelihood of there being a Civil War period burial there are probably very low.

    That said, having a professional CRM survey of the site would be a good idea. Such a survey would be required on federal land, and (I presume) state property, as it is in Texas. That part of Virginia has a roughly 400-year history of European settlement, and millennia before that by Native Americans. All of that is part of Virginia’s history and heritage, too, not just what happened in 1861-65.

    A proper CRM work-up would also typically include a detailed history of the site and immediate vicinity (to include CW activities in the area), going back as far as records allow. (Roughly half of most CRM reports are this sort of historical context and background, which usually involves a lot of original research not published elsewhere.) While there may or may not be any artifact traces of CW activities on that site, there’s a very good chance that there is evidence of other occupations and uses of that site by Virginians before or since the war period.

    Projects like that aren’t cheap, but if the property owner agreed, I’m sure the Virginia Flaggers could raise the funds to do that. It would be good public relations for them if nothing else, showing a real and concrete commitment to Virginia’s history that goes beyond putting up more and bigger Confederate flags. It’s just a matter of priorities.

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