Prelude to the Final Campaign in Virginia: March 1865

“I now feel like ending the matter.” –Ulysses S. Grant

Both Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant waited anxiously for spring in 1865, and for the same reason. Warmer weather meant dry roads, and dry roads meant armies could move quickly again. Lee knew that with the advent of spring he would have to evacuate his lines of fortifications defending Richmond and Petersburg, abandoning the Confederate capital to the Yankees, and seek a battle of decision elsewhere. Grant knew this as well, and he wanted to make sure that Lee did not elude his grasp.

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The Word of the Virginia Flaggers (Updated)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, is the 150th anniversary of the battle of Five Forks. One feature of this battle was that the Confederate commanders in the area, led by George Pickett, gathered at a shad bake that day, leaving the commands unattended as Phil Sheridan and G. K. Warren moved to crush the Confederate position.

This past weekend the Virginia Flaggers, people of sterling integrity and absolute honesty … people of their word … and the future of Confederate heritage, gathered to raise a flag along I-81 near Lexington, Virginia, followed by flagging Washington and Lee University in protest of the university’s decision to remove replica Confederate flags from the Lee Chapel.

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Are the Virginia Flaggers Now Irrelevant?

Today the Virginia Flaggers will dedicate yet another flagpole bearing the Confederate navy jack, this time along I-81 near Lexington, Virginia.

How many people really care? I know I don’t.

Of more interest to me is the notion that despite over forty-two months of picketing the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, complete with many, many pictures of Flaggers posing for effect (and a few embarrassing videos involving law enforcement and security), it appears unlikely that the VMFA will heed the cries of “Restore the Honor (sic)! Return the Flags (sic)!” directed at the decision to remove two small Confederate flags from the portico of the War Memorial Chapel. Forty-two months for two flags. Nor does it seem likely that the SCV chapter in question will decline to sign the agreement offered by the VMFA, which renders them complicit in the decision (note that the national organization of the SCV remains silent about the approaching lease renewal).

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A Modest Proposal for the Arizona Legislature

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has emphasized the importance of civic literacy in the education of Arizona schoolchildren. I wholeheartedly agree with this idea. People should know the basics of American history, the political process, and the law, including the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution.

I propose that the members of the Arizona State Legislature should model the behavior of good citizenship by serving as a test group for the examination they propose to administer to high school students. After all, they, too, should be well versed in civic literacy. They should know something about the Bill of Rights, the supremacy clause of the US Constitution, and so on. Indeed, should they fail to achieve a passing score on the test, they should immediately resign their seat in the state legislature, because they surely can’t claim that they should hold a seat given their manifest failure to understand American civics and history.

Who’s with me?

The River Queen Conference: March 27-28, 1865

On March 27 and 28, 1865, Abraham Lincoln welcomed Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and David Dixon Porter aboard The River Queen to discuss how to close out the Civil War.

The Peacemakers (Wikipedia Commons)

Lincoln had been visiting Grant at his headquarters at City Point, Virginia, for several days when Sherman arrived. Here’s how Sherman described what came next: Continue reading

Research Exercise: Where Are the Flags?

Our friends at the Virginia Flaggers recently offered this 1908 photograph of the Old Soldiers Home at Richmond:

VMFA 1908

They also offered this text:

Old Soldiers Home, Richmond Virginia, Circa 1908. Look closely at the photo and you will see Veterans in their wheelchairs on the porch on the right. These men answered the call of Virginia to defend her from invasion. They fought with honor and bravery, and spent the last years of their lives on these grounds, now desecrated by the Commonwealth and the VMFA.

RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!

For the flags to be returned, they must be visible in the first place. Could someone show me where there’s a Confederate flag in this photograph?

Indeed, let’s ask: where’s an image of the Confederate flag flying from the portico of the War Memorial Chapel before 1993? Anyone? Bueller?

(Substitute “Hathaway” and the effect is the same.)

No, showing me Confederate flags flying elsewhere on the grounds won’t do, folks. Show me the War Memorial Chapel with flags flying from the building itself … prior to 1993.

Poll Questions: The VMFA, the SCV, and the War Memorial Chapel

We have two poll questions for you to consider today.

The first concerns whether you think the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will permit the return of the Confederate battle flag (or any other Confederate flag) to the portico on an ongoing basis when it renews its agreement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ camp. This isn’t asking you what the VMFA should do, but what you think it will do.

The second concerns what the SCV should do if the VMFA adheres to its present position concerning the display of these flags. We’ve hear explanations that the SCV’s representatives didn’t know what hit them in 2010, but, whatever you make of those explanations, they no longer apply. Everyone knows the current situation.

Enjoy … the comments section is open.

This Week In Confederate Heritage: March 22, 2015

After a long lull in Confederate heritage episodes, things are starting to pick up again, with the 150th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox just on the horizon. There’s the usual assortment of miscellany …

Oh, well.