The Incredible World of Confederate Heritage

I have been doing a little thinking about the future of Confederate heritage. After all, with the advent of 2015 we will be entering upon the last year of the Civil War sesquicentennial, and one senses that by summer we will have had enough. The last four years have offered the media and others a natural opportunity to revisit the war, its meaning, and its legacy, and several Confederate heritage groups have at various times drawn attention to themselves (one might say that this is what they do best) with the usual array of acts that are now becoming time-worn (and often copied, as in the case of “flagging” and erecting flag poles on private property).

People have grown tired of such predictability. What was once interesting is now greeted with indifference seasoned with a few giggles. The media is looking elsewhere for its next fix. Moreover, some groups seem to lack the stamina to continue the level of buffoonery for which they have becomes famous. Take the Facebook group The Southern Heritage Preservation Group, known for years as “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” before the Virginia Flaggers took away that coveted title and made it their own. Now, with the antics of the Virginia Flaggers becoming old news, and with the copycat effort known as the Gulf Coast Flaggers West Florida Flaggers (sic) struggling to enlarge its membership beyond the organization’s founder, the Pensacola Pariah, one wonders what will become of these groups (oh, I know, they’ll say that they are as strong as ever, which is in some sense true, since they were never very strong).

But never count out the SHPG, which, as we can see from what’s below, is looking to finish the year strong:

SHPG Vicksburg

Some things never change: they just become even more ridiculous as they are repeated.

Jerry Dunford Gets One Right

Sometimes someone gets something right.

You use history as your vehicle to blog and to spread the mistrusts about the flaggers and Southern heritage groups and history.

Absolutely. Several bloggers have been very active in sharing their understanding of history through their blogs (as well as through other venues). Their findings challenge the myths and misunderstandings about American history offered by Confederate heritage groups, including various “Flagger” groups and sole individuals. That in turn makes people mistrust what those heritage groups offer as “history.”

We always give the Dunford his due here.

In marked contrast, Connie Chastain offers the following observation:

Do you suppose Simpson and the navel-gazing academic “civil war blogging” circle will ever catch on that we don’t care what they think of us?

This, of course, is why Confederate heritage apologists advocates spend so much time telling us that they don’t care what their critics say. You can find Chastain’s comment buried in one of a series of posts that show just how much she doesn’t care. ūüôā

Rest assured that the West Florida Flagger Gulf Coast Flaggers WTF West Florida Flaggers (sic) will provide so much entertainment in 2015 that I am now considering how to confine my commentary about the continuing exploits of the Pensacola Pariah within reasonable bounds. After all, there is real work to be done.

So Slavery Wasn’t So Bad?

We’ve all heard it before from defenders of Confederate heritage: slavery wasn’t so bad. Of course, the people who say this are overwhelmingly white people, including descendants of slaveholders (hello, Connie Chastain!).

Some people have also decided that anything Charles Barkley says is worth listening to. We in the Phoenix area know differently. Barkley was a talented, personable basketball player who reminded us that he was not a role model, and with good reason. However, Barkley has decided that because he can comment on NBA games, he can use that forum to comment on everything else under the sun, and to do so in a way that fascinates some people and sparks more than its share of eye-rolling and head-shaking responses.

So when the Round Mound of Rebound decided to agree with Confederate heritage apologists advocates that slavery might not have been as bad as some people claim, State Senator Hank Sanders of Alabama (D-Selma) had to disagree. The letter’s a welcome reminder of what slavery was all about.

And some of the comments attached to that story remind us that ignorance honed into a belief system is an astonishing thing.

Notable Moments in Confederate Heritage 2014: Part Six

Having arrived at the final two notable moments in Confederate heritage, we bring you this year’s runner-up:

Number Two: The University of Mississippi Wakes Up

In some ways it’s no surprise that the University of Mississippi’s behind the times when it comes to Confederate heritage. After all, it took its namesake state until 1995 to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery … and eighteen more years to forward the notice of that action to Washington. This February the statue commemorating the entry of James Meredith into the university was vandalized. Confederate heritage advocates (including Carl “Hey Arnold!” Roden and Connie “All Alone on the Sidewalk” Chastain) donned their tin foil hats and declared that it was all a Yankee plot, a false flag operation. As usual, they were wrong: university authorities concluded that several sweet southern boys had been at the bottom of the incident (the heritage folks overlooked this, as is their wont: the truth hurts). In fact, in a model of poor timing, the Mid-South Flaggers quickly¬†publicized their interest in flagging the sesquicentennial of the battle of Fort Pillow, where Confederate soldiers under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest slaughtered surrendering African American soldiers on April 12, 1864, committing a war crime that heritage advocates have been in denial about ever since (just as they are in denial about Forrest’s connection to the Ku Klux Klan).

University officials saw things differently. Realizing that they had a problem on their hands, they reassessed the university’s celebration of Confederate heritage, something the university had already in years past attempted to mute. Their proposals, however modest, led to another outbreak of protests by the usual suspects … including none other than H. K. Edgerton, who did not enjoy in 2014 the visibility that was once his. Thus, it came as something of a surprise when members of the Mid-South Flaggers figured out that there were white supremacist nationalists in their midst (something that their fellow flaggers, the Virginia Flaggers, always deny, despite clear evidence to the contrary provided by their photographer and others). They did not embrace the association (again unlike the Virginia Flaggers) and they were not blind to it (unlike Ben Jones and the SCV). In highlighting this reaction on this blog I appear to have struck a nerve. That action should not obscure the Mid-South Flaggers’¬†rather distasteful behavior in other matters connected with university officials.

We’ve now reached the end of the year, and it looks as if the protests have been ineffective to date. An effort to get a series of propositions on the Mississippi ballot have done little but to make residents of other states with their own Confederate heritage problems say “thank God for Mississippi.”¬†One suspects, however, that efforts to end the use of “Ole Miss” may not fare quite as well. Change may be slow, but it’s happened before.

Flagger Fabrications: Fakes in Pensacola

On Christmas Eve the Pensacola Flagger held a second flagging outside “the old Escambia County Courthouse.” She wants you believe that her numbers doubled, which is not all that hard, seeing as she alone attended her first flagging event. Here’s her fellow Flagger:

“I was joined by a visitor, an experienced flagger, from out of town (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Captain Kirk!) and he was impressed by the friendliness of the people.” So says the Pensacola Flagger.

Of course, this is because the “Flagger” in question at best does not want to reveal his identity (come to think of it, there are no pictures of the Pensacola Flagger actually flagging, either … just pictures of her walker, calling to mind Garry Trudeau’s use of symbols to represent people in Doonesbury).

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Connie Chastain, Plagiarist? A Pensacola Flagger Fail

A few days ago the Pensacola Flagger decided to lecture Jimmy Dick on Confederate history and heritage by telling him about the Confederate Battle Flag that used to fly at the Pensacola Bay Center.

(For a better history lesson, click here.)

Without benefit of historical documentation, the Pensacola Flagger claimed that the flag might have flown to honor the service of the 2nd Florida Infantry and its colonel, George T. Ward. Readers will recall that at times the Pensacola Flagger goes by the names of C. L. Ward and Connie Chastain Ward, which might help explain why she selected this particular regiment and its commander while giving short shrift to the service of other Florida units in the Army of Northern Virginia. Apparently their service and sacrifice doesn’t count in the mind or heart of the Pensacola Flagger.

This is what she said:

Connie plagiarism

Note the [3].

I thought the wording of this explanation was a little odd. ¬†“Battleflag” is not one word in this context of “the Confederate Battle Flag,” and “lost his life to a shotgun wound” was a curious way to put it. Why was the “s” in “siege” capitalized? ¬†And then there was the [3].

Mystery solved. The Pensacola Flagger simply lifted part of the second and all of the third sentence, word-for-word, from Wikipedia:

Connie Plagiarism 2

This, folks, is from a person who brags about her literary skills and how hard she finds it to write. How hard is it to cut ‘n’ paste from Wikipedia?

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Quote of the Week: December 21-27, 2014

Important if true …

did you not know that the Army of Northern Virginia was in Florida at various times during the War For Southern Independence, and they also were in other states as well.

I wonder which spring break he’s talking about?

The ANV fought primarily in four states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. Perhaps one could cite an example of some Confederates going into North Carolina during the time Longstreet was detached in southeast Virginia … and then there’s the September 1863 detachment of two divisions under Longstreet to Georgia … or various units that at one time were part of the ANV but who fought elsewhere when they were not part of that army … but I can’t wait to learn more about Lee’s Florida campaign at the head of the ANV. Name “the various times” that the ANV was in Florida as the ANV, Jerry Dunford.

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Get That Girl a Map for Christmas!

In a fumbling effort to disguise the fact that Susan Hathaway no longer flags outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (’cause she’s skeered), the sole Pensacola Flagger offered her handful of readers what she thought was a geography lesson:


Unfortunately, she misplaced Richmond on the map (the dot is much closer to Southampton, so perhaps she wishes to honor Nat Turner). ¬†I have no idea why West Florida’s bleeding.

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December 26, 1864: Lincoln Sends a Thank You Note

Over the last week people have paid much attention to William T. Sherman’s December 22, 1864, letter to Abraham Lincoln, presenting the president with the city of Savannah. Much less attention is paid to Lincoln’s response of December 26, penned the day after he received Sherman’s note. Yet it, too, merits our attention.

Here’s the first page:


… and the second page:

Here’s a close reading of the text:

Do you agree with the analysis?