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):
Here’s the same area today, with I-95 clearly marked:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources.