Quote of the Week: January 11-17, 2015

Now this is funny:

Chastain Whines Anew

Bless her little dark heart!

The entire Confederate Heritage enterprise as practiced by certain groups rests upon the claim that people can believe what they want to believe (which is rather obvious) but that does not stop certain people from claiming that they know how to interpret history, however badly they do it. Case in point:

Chastain Historian
The major historical inaccuracy here, of course, is that while most people did not go to war to free the slaves, a healthy number of them said that the reason they seceded was to protect slavery. To pretend otherwise is to lie.

By the way, history doesn’t send messages. Maybe someone hears voices.

Not that an inability to be a good historian stops some people:

Oh, that was brought to you by the person who just asserted that she won’t tell you what to believe.

All of this goes to suggest a few things:

  • Either Chastain’s a liar or she just can’t keep track of what she says. Or both. In any case, she’s not to be trusted.
  • Chastain’s a poor excuse for a historian. And yes, she’s claimed that she’s a historian.
  • When Robert E. Lee said that “history teaches us to hope,” he was not thinking of Connie Chastain.

Happy birthday, General Lee. Enjoy MLK Day.

Why Worry About Lincoln’s Election?

At present I’m reading James Oakes’s The Scorpion’s Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War (2014). I think it is a provocative argument expressed succinctly about the intentions of Republicans when it came to slavery. I found especially educational his treatment of John Gilmer’s letter to Abraham Lincoln, dated December 10, 1860. In it Gilmer, a North Carolinian, asked Lincoln what he planned to do when he became president when it came to slavery. Continue reading

Civil War Arithmetic

As many students of the American Civil War know, arithmetic played an interesting role in the conflict. It certainly played a major role in George B. McClellan’s estimates of enemy strength, for example, although the fact is that most Civil War generals (including, for example, Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh) habitually overestimated enemy numbers (and Grant’s favorite subject at West Point was mathematics).

Although it lasted only four years, the Confederacy endeavored to turn out its own schoolbooks and primers devoid of Yankee influence. Here’s one such example:

From the collections of the Virginia Historical Society

Historians such as James Marten and Anne Sarah Rubin have studied these expressions of Confederate identity, which were quick and easy to produce.

Courtesy Library of Congress.

Today we have evidence that some of these lessons did not stick among those who claim to honor Confederate heritage:

VF when 3 is 50When’s the last time that 3=50? Let’s be kind and count the photographer as Flagger #4. 🙂

BTW, there’s trouble in paradise. Brandon Dorsey of the SCV wants this weekend to be about education, not parades. Perhaps he realizes the Flaggers can’t count.

Dorsey, though, thinks there is an opportunity to better educate the public on the SCV’s viewpoint through lectures.

Today’s symposium, rather than Saturday’s parade, is the centerpiece of the Lee-Jackson Day celebration, he said. He said the SCV is focused on education and is not involved with any of the plans by the Virginia Flaggers.

Though there is a crossover of membership, Dorsey said the SCV doesn’t support some of the flaggers’ tactics.

As one commenter put it, “Glad to hear the SCV has distanced itself from the flaggers.”

Proper Flag Etiquette

As our favorite Confederate Heritage Apologists Advocates make their way to Lexington, Virginia, to mark Lee-Jackson Day in their own special way, we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to remind them that it is important to treat Confederate flags with proper respect.

Take this example from a fellow Flagger group:

Our Miss Connie

While we are pleased to note that Connie Chastain has finally buckled under pressure to offer a picture of her flagging, we are saddened to note that the photographer, Scott Hamilton, laid his flag down so that it touched the ground behind her.

Mr. Hamilton’s flag looks a bit like this:

SH Flag

Don’t put that flag on the ground, Mr. Hamilton. It’s disrespectful. Just like sitting on the flag is disrespectful:

Roden Sits on Confederate Flag

So is using the flag for a bandana for a dog:

CSA Dog 2

Be proud of your flag, and make sure you display the flag that Robert E. Lee often saw … like in these two photographs, taken at Lee’s headquarters in Gettysburg:

Gettysburg 2014-15


Gettysburg 2014-14Always good to see graduates of two of Virginia’s other universities paying tribute to the past president of Washington College.

Finally, please keep in mind that General Lee himself would be chagrined to see the continued display of the Confederate flag. That’s an odd way to honor him by defying his wishes.

Kevin Levin offers a different perspective. However, I don’t think military orders concerning the wearing of Confederate uniforms, etc., issed in the immediate aftermath of the war would have applied to a Virginia operating under civil rule in 1870.

A tip of the hat to Don Shaffer.

This Week in Confederate Heritage: January 14, 2015

Just think … the day after tomorrow will see the Flaggers (and their friends) gather in Lexington to restore the honor and change hearts and minds. This presumes the presence of honor, hearts, and minds among the protesters.

  • It appears that the Virginia Flaggers will be joined by a number of white nationalists/supremacists as they venture to Lexington to march and pose for pictures (sometimes with said white supremacists/nationalists).
  • Although the Virginia Flaggers are well aware of this post (the Flaggers’ Facebook page contains a call to “Expose these haters and their despicable attempts to malign anyone who has the nerve to disagree with them…”), Susan Hathaway has failed to repudiate the folks at The First Freedom.  It’s Skeered Silent Susan once more. You would think she’d follow her own group’s demand to “expose these haters.” Practice what you preach, Susan. Or will you simply pretend that you don’t read the posts to which you respond? That would make you look like Skeered Stupid Silent Susan.
  • After listening to Karen Cooper of the Virginia Flaggers speak in this interview (she finally shows up at 26:00), we are reminded of the claim that she wrote the introduction to this book.
  • Waiting to see the drone in action to defend Confederate heritage.
  • Over the years Connie Chastain has jumped from one name to another as she writes about Confederate heritage. Among those names were Connie Ward and Connie Reb (how cute!). Perhaps her decision to entitle one of her books Storm Surge was influenced by her popularity with one poster at the neo-Nazi white supremacist Stormfront discussion board. Authors are always on the lookout for readers, although they can’t choose them.
  • On the other hand, it is interesting to see from her blog (no link provided) that she’s on a first-name basis with the editor of The First Freedom, Olaf Childress. Guess they are old friends. They sure seem to go back aways. Let’s see her deny that.
  • By the way, the West Florida Flaggers (sic) made several more appearances on the sidewalks of Pensacola (otherwise we’d have more Photoshopped pictures of fellow Flaggers). Finally someone showed up long enough to be photographed. How exciting. I was anticipating Patrick Stewart.
  • Carl Roden shows in this exchange his version of southern manhood:

Roden Boo BooYup, quite a man. A Southern Man. A little confused about gender, but then we expected as much.

We are sure to be flooded by pictures from Friday and Saturday, in part because for once there will be more Flaggers than flags. For Flagging is flagging outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where flags outnumber protesters.


January 11, 1865: The End of Slavery in Missouri

We know that January 1865 was an important month in the history of the destruction of slavery in the United States. After all, it was in that month that the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the Thirteenth Amendment, which aimed to complete the eradication of chattel slavery in the nation.

In Missouri, however, representatives of the Show Me state had beaten Congress to the punch. On January 11, 1865, Missourians led by Charles Drake terminated the peculiar institution. Among those slaves now recognized as formally free, by the way, were the slaves of Colonel Frederick Dent, Ulysses S. Grant’s father in law. As the colonel apparently never transferred official title of any of his slaves to his daughter Julia, the correct date for the end of slavery in the Dent family is January 1865 (not the misguided claims that Grant had slaves after the war or that they were freed by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment).

Learn more here.

Historians of emancipation often overlook state action (and inaction) during the war when it came to slavery and its end. In so doing those historians overlook the full story of emancipation, and tend to reinforce a Lincoln-Washington centered narrative (and overlook Lincoln’s role in supporting state-initiated emancipation).  Others know better.

It’s one of the shortcomings of the Civil War sesquicentennial that in focusing on battles, leaders, and soldiers, we miss so much else that tells us about Americans at war with each other. That bears on the current debate over American Civil War military history. It is well to remember that the history of a war is more than a study of battlefield events.

Quote of the Week: January 4-10, 2015

For this week’s quote we go back in time to 1869, when the president of Washington College, Robert E. Lee, sat down to reply to a letter from the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. The association had asked him to join in an effort to memorialize the field with monuments to those who had fought there. Lee declined, adding:

I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavoured to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.

Those people who plan to travel to Lexington, Virginia, this coming week to honor Robert E. Lee should keep what Lee said in mind. Not that they would be the first to ignore the wishes of someone they claim to honor. The same holds true for the first effort to erect a monument to Lee on the battlefield. Eventually, of course, Virginia honored its general, and every year thousands of people gather there to embark upon a walk across the very same fields where Confederates charged on July 3, 1863.

Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers: In Bed With AntiSemite White Supremacists?

Next Friday Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers will travel to Lexington, Virginia, where they will protests decisions made by the city of Lexington and Washington and Lee University concerning the display of the Confederate flag. Nothing new there. However, recent information shared with Crossroads merits attention apart from the usual weekly roundup of Confederate heritage activities and once more raises serious questions about the company Hathaway and the Flaggers keep in their efforts to “promote” Confederate heritage.

At first glance First Freedom.Net strikes one as your usual white supremacist/nationalist site. It is only when one examines The First Freedom’s monthly newsletter that we discover something that should trouble people who claim that Crossroads has been unfair to Susan Hathaway and the Virginia Flaggers. Continue reading

At the Movies … Again

Next week marks the sesquicentennial of Francis P. Blair, Sr.,’s trip to Richmond in hopes of reaching an agreement with Jefferson Davis that would lead to a negotiated settlement of the American Civil War. That mission was a key part of the movie Lincoln (2012), which covered the sixteenth president’s role in the congressional passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Everyone recalls the kerfuffle that accompanied the release of that movie concerning its historical accuracy, including the movie’s tendency to privilege Lincoln’s role over that of African Americans in seeking black freedom.

Now we are once more engaged in a dispute over the same dynamic. Continue reading