The Ignorance and Lies of H. K. Edgerton and Robert Mestas

One of the best sources for the Confederate heritage version of history can be found in the Facebook group run by Robert Mestas called “Defending the Heritage.” Whether the group has any relationship to historical accuracy (as opposed to heritage correctness) is another matter entirely. Take this example from the page …

Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report from HK Edgerton with boots on the ground in Hernando, MS —

On Monday March 9, 2015, alongside “General” Paul McClaren, I would make my way to the front counter of the Desoto County Public Library in downtown Hernando, MS, where we would be greeted with a great big smile from a young Black lady (Ms. Crystal). Pointing to the Dixie Outfitter jersey and the Confederate Flag jacket I was wearing, she exclaimed, “You came for that, didn’t you?” now pointing to the display announcing the presentation of John Marszalek, Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library located on the campus of Mississippi State University.

On the display was a picture of Grant, Sherman, Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation; each with a caption bragging about the greatness therein. And at the bottom of the display, a picture of the Honorable President Jefferson Davis with a mention of secession. Marszalek would began his presentation bragging about how vigorously the Administration at MS State had been seeking to house Grant’s Library even though an Illinois university and a university in Ohio were happy to be rid of it.

Marszalek went on to say that it was logical for Grant’s Library to be at Mississippi State; because after all, Grant had become famous because of Mississippi. Vicksburg after all was a living monument to Grant’s great victory. There was a resounding sound of applause from the crowd in the room filled with Yankees as the pep rally for Grant continued. Finally feeling pretty good about himself and the warm reception he was receiving, Marszalek would conclude by saying that the people of Mississippi have a love affair with Grant, they cherish him, and they cherish his Library. I would immediately raise my hand ……………

“Mr. Marszalek, if the Administration at Mississippi State did as you proposed, it reminds me of a story that I heard about a slave and his master at a Yankee Prison Camp. A guard asked the slave why he had not signed the loyalty oath and gone home with his master? His reply was Master ain’t got no shame You come here with a man who carried out Lincoln’s total war policy on defenseless old men, women and children, bringing the theater of war to them as they murdered, stole everything, burned their homes and properties, and raped their women and boys.”

There was no raping, Marszelak would interrupt me by saying. That’s a lie, was my retort. When Grant’s army moved, there were ditches filled with African women who were gang raped and beaten and left for dead. And not to forget the White women, no matter their social status. A Yankee participant would remark, “You’se still fighting the war. Why don’t you get over it? There is no Southland of America. It’s America.” Marszelak would chide in, “It’s OUR Mississippi.”

Get over it, was my reply. You people come into our homeland and attack our symbols, our ancestors, the monuments to them, our children for any display of their Colors that are protected by a Congressional mandate, desecrate General Lee’s Memorial, and come here tonight passing out propaganda proclaiming Grant a leading proponent of African American civil rights. The same man who entered the White House in 1869 still owning slaves. And when asked by the media why, Grant would reply that good help was hard to find.

If you don’ t have a question, then give somebody else a chance, would come the call from the host who had already sent for Security. The little old lady in a uniform and badge wanted no part of this. “He has every right to ask a question in an orderly and respectful manner,” the security woman responded. “General” McClaren would ask Marszelak to comment on the suffering and misery Grant cause the Southern people. No comment. Marszelak would conclude that I was only the third person who ever complained about Grant’s Library being at Mississippi State. He would later invite Paul and I to visit Grant’s Library.

From my perspective, the only Presidential Library that should be at Mississippi State would be the Honorable President Jefferson Davis who was the first President to be a proponent for the African people by his deeds and not some fabricated lie. And at that Library, the African people would learn of Jim Limber, and the African people who ran President Davis and his brother’s plantation. They would learn of a great God-fearing and loving American who loved Mississippi and the Union and State he served honorably.

A member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Pvt. Samuel Hughey Camp 1452 in Southaven, MS who to our delight was in the audience, would give us a card that was an invitation to the Camp’s meeting held every second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm in the M.R. Davis Public Library at 8554 N.W. Drive in Southaven.
God bless you!
Your brother,
HK Edgerton, Mid- South Flagger

Let’s address a few of these claims …

Marszalek would began his presentation bragging about how vigorously the Administration at MS State had been seeking to house Grant’s Library even though an Illinois university and a university in Ohio were happy to be rid of it.

Really? I’ve had folks in Illinois ask me what can be done to return the Grant Papers to Illinois. The fact is that the Ulysses S. Grant Association (note: I am NOT a member) chose to move the Grant Papers in the aftermath of founding editor John Y. Simon’s death, and the new editor, John Marszalek, taught at Mississippi Sate for many, many years. He’s now the editor of the papers (which are still published by Southern Illinois University Press). Marszalek and MSU went one step further, however, and established a presidential library at MSU, although that label is somewhat different that the more recent definition of a presidential library (many of Grant’s papers remain in Washington, DC, either at the Library of Congress or in the National Archives, as well as an assortment of repositories across the country. Trust me … I’ve visited them).

“His reply was Master ain’t got no shame You come here with a man who carried out Lincoln’s total war policy on defenseless old men, women and children, bringing the theater of war to them as they murdered, stole everything, burned their homes and properties, and raped their women and boys.”

Well, this is inventive. Raping boys, now? Can’t wait to see the proof of that, H.K. The rest is the typical claptrap, but we can forgive H. K. for not knowing better. It’s harder to explain Mestas’s ignorance, but then Connie Chastain endorses Mestas’s website and blog, and it’s clear she doesn’t know any better, either.

When Grant’s army moved, there were ditches filled with African women who were gang raped and beaten and left for dead. And not to forget the White women, no matter their social status.

My, oh my, I can’t wait to see the evidence to support this. Ditches?

What we know is that black women were, in fact, more likely to be raped than white women, but the evidence for this comes from studies of Sherman’s marches. But we await documentation of this bizarre claim about all those ditches. We may be waiting for some time.

You people come into our homeland and attack our symbols, our ancestors, the monuments to them, our children for any display of their Colors that are protected by a Congressional mandate, desecrate General Lee’s Memorial, and come here tonight passing out propaganda proclaiming Grant a leading proponent of African American civil rights. The same man who entered the White House in 1869 still owning slaves. And when asked by the media why, Grant would reply that good help was hard to find.

This is even more bizarre when it is not a flat out lie (as in the notion that Grant entered the White House in 1869 still owning slaves). The specific claims concerning Grant have long been discredited (although we know from previous experience that Mestas keeps on telling his lies in the face of evidence to the contrary). Does this ma’s fibbing ever end?

From my perspective, the only Presidential Library that should be at Mississippi State would be the Honorable President Jefferson Davis who was the first President to be a proponent for the African people by his deeds and not some fabricated lie.

Wow. Just wow.

As we’ve said before, it’s heritage (a heritage tinged with hate), not history. One wonders why Confederate heritage advocates allow Edgerton to continue with his lies and ignorance. Are we to conclude that they don’t know better? Are we to conclude that they are liars as well? Or are they too skeered to confront him?

37 thoughts on “The Ignorance and Lies of H. K. Edgerton and Robert Mestas

  1. Pat Young March 21, 2015 / 5:11 am

    HK writes “There was a resounding sound of applause from the crowd in the room filled with Yankees.” When I saw this, I wondered what type of event this was that would draw people from out of state. I looked the event up and it was just a local library talk at the DeSoto County Library in Hernando, a small town of 15,000 south of Memphis. Not the sort of thing to draw a lot of historical tourists. Since such library talks usually draw nearly all their attendees from the local county, why does he call these Mississippians “Yankees?”

    Here is the event:
    http://desototimes.com/articles/2015/03/07/news/local/doc54fa5555066ac451903948.txt

  2. Eric A. Jacobson March 21, 2015 / 6:42 am

    Thanks for starting my Saturday off with this little gem. While I’ve never had the pleasure of corresponding with H. K., I have been fortunate enough to hear from Paul. He sent me a number of e-mails in the aftermath of the 150th anniversary of Franklin and was particularly disturbed with how we portrayed the battle as a resounding Federal victory. He suggested the “yankees” ran to Nashville with their tails between their legs after feeling the cold Southern steel. I suggested he read a bit more, since the six dead Confederate generals, piles of dead Southern troops, and roughly 7,500 Confederate casualties in five hours (as compared to 2,500 Federal losses), shows pretty conclusively that Schofield pulled out of Franklin because we wanted to, not because he had to.

    For some reason Paul did not see my reasoning as accurate. He said 2015 was the year everyone would see the actual truth about the righteousness of the Confederate cause spread far and wide. He also mentioned that the battle flag was the flag of Jesus Christ. 🙂

    Oh such good times….

    • jclark82 March 21, 2015 / 1:51 pm

      The Southron Pride crowd’s expertise in the military history of the war is as dismal as the rest of their grasp of the war.

      As you said Schofield fell back of his own volition. So the rebel pride crowd can claim victory all they want but he facts don’t support it.

      The heritage movement needs the Edgertons, Mestas and the rest because they’re fighting a rearguard action against time and public sentiment. It’s both against them. This is an older person’s movement, the younger crowd as well as the bulk of the country either don’t care or realize the heritage crowd is selling a historical bill of goods.

      They’re becoming more shrill and absurd because their cause is claptrap and no one is paying attention any longer. Saying stupid things and making big promises extends their cause’s time on life support a little longer.

      They’re annoying and worse but headed the way of th dodo.

      Jerry Sudduth Jr.

  3. OhioGuy March 21, 2015 / 7:01 am

    While there were documented cases of rape on the March to the Sea, I suspect on a proportionate basis it was on par with rapes committed by the Army of Northern Virginia on its forays into Yankee territory. Then there’s Morgan’s raid into Indiana and Ohio. According to one source, the four activities most engaged in by Morgan’s men were murder, rape, robbery and arson. With I’m sure a good deal of hyperbole some locals referred to them as Morgan’s rapers rather than raiders. My own ancestor’s regiment had a documented case of rape during the March to the Sea, which you can read about on my web site at http://78ohio.org/scandal/. The soldier involved, Sergeant Arthur McCarty, as you will read, was tried by court martial and drummed out. However, for reasons still unclear, he was later given a presidential pardon late in the war by President Johnson and then joined another regiment. I have spoken to a descendant of this McCarty family and Arthur is still considered a black sheep and is not well thought of by his 21st Century family. The descendant I communicated with — a professional historian who works for the Ohio Historical Society (recently renamed the Ohio Historical Connection) — is actually a direct descendant of Arthur’s brother, Capt. W. W. McCarty, also of the 78th OVI, who wrote a most interesting account of his POW experiences, which relates directly to the question of race relations in the Old South and can be read here if interested: http://78ohio.org/pow-account/

  4. OhioGuy March 21, 2015 / 7:33 am

    I should add that as far as I know not even that devil Morgan left raped women in ditches. It is reported that he set a canal boat on fire in the Hocking Canal, and a canal is sort of like a big ditch. I don’t think there were any raped women on that boat, but it’s not too late to start a spicy rumor, is it?😉

    • jclark82 March 21, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      The sad collateral about war is that soldiers do bad things. The Union Army didn’t invent war crimes, despite what the dixie brain trust says. It’s happened since the start of warfare.

      Confederates committed depredations as well. There’s wasn’t an army of saints. Soldiers in every war have. It’s a common refrain in all of the histories of war I read.

      War brings out the worst as well as the best in people. War crimes happen in every war. The crimes of the United States in that war weren’t that widespread.
      It’s not unique to the Union cause in the Civil War, despite what the rebel heritage crowd repeatedly tells people.

      Jerry Sudduth Jr.

      • Bob Huddleston March 22, 2015 / 1:48 pm

        They seem to conveniently forget Fort Pillow and the Petersburg Mine.

  5. John Foskett March 21, 2015 / 9:49 am

    There will always be the H.K. Edgertons – misguided pawns in the service of others who labor in astonishing denial of hard facts. Davis expressed his views on the inferiority of the black “race” as fit only for servile physical work often enough that only an illiterate could miss out. Then there was his close friend and correspondent Cartwright, who articulated the view that blacks were a separate “species”. In other words, H.K., Jeff thought you and your kin had the attributes of prize livestock: “You cannot transform the negro into anything one-tenth as useful or as good as what slavery enables them to be.” Pathetic

  6. Kristoffer March 22, 2015 / 8:16 am

    Good show. Do a post on the lies and ignorance of the Abbeville Institute next. It shouldn’t be long before you have something to post about, since they post their garbage several times a week.

  7. Leo March 22, 2015 / 1:29 pm

    This HK guy is a businessman first and foremost. His antics and periodic “reports from the front” are designed to play to the base in the heritage movement, keep his paying customers happy, and guarantee repeat business. It’s all about money.

    I personally don’t have a problem with Southerners taking an interest in their Confederate ancestors or even having pride in their valor on the field. However, this can be done without buying the snake oil HK is selling.

    I personally read history books by noted historians in an effort to learn more about the war and the political climate of the day. I also research my family genealogy and document what I find for future generations of my family. If that isn’t enough for the HK’s of the world, I recently located the grave of my great-great grandfather who served in the Confederate Army. I plan to visit his grave, do any maintenance necessary, and leave flowers. None of this requires protesting in the street with battle flags, disrupting public lectures, or generally making a fool of myself.

    • Brooks D. Simpson March 22, 2015 / 1:43 pm

      Perhaps HK’s really shrewd and makes his money off of white guilt about the Confederacy.

  8. charlie March 26, 2015 / 6:14 am

    It’s confusing for me why these types always harp on Lincoln being a tyrant and his clamping down on civil liberties but they never mention Jefferson Davis or the Confederate Govt. Seems to me that Jefferson Davis and his government was by far considerably worse on civil liberties and intrusive than Lincoln. Am I wrong on this??

    • Andy Hall March 26, 2015 / 7:07 am

      They pretty much ignore it, if they are aware of it at all. If you pressed them on it, I imagine they’d rationalize Davis’ actions as unfortunate but justified under the circumstances. That’s pretty much how it goes — when the Federals do X, it’s because they’re evil and wicked; when Confederates do X, it’s because they were forced to by the evil and wicked Yankees.

    • Jimmy Dick March 26, 2015 / 7:56 am

      It is kind of like selective hearing. They use selective facts and ignore anything that does not fit in with the mythology of the lost cause. Cognitive dissonance is another term. I prefer to call it lying because that is what they do.

    • John Foskett March 26, 2015 / 8:20 am

      I’m not sure they were “worse” in the sense that you use the term, but they were certainly equally “bad” (again, in the sense that you apparently mean). Start with the favorite attack by these folks on Lincoln – suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. If they could read, they’d learn a great deal about Jeff, the Confederate Congress, and how the CSA’s equivalent of the writ fared. Then they could move on to the subjects of (1) constraints on freedom of travel by citizens and (2) property confiscation.

  9. r boyd September 13, 2015 / 6:10 am

    Wow the folks of the north sure do get nasty like all dems do when it comes to the south. We dont bother your rainbow flag so why bother our southern flag . Leave is alone and we leave you alone . There is a reason the pos in office is trying to seperate us . This is all comming from the gov as always . No one even thought of the south or the flag untill the paid group Black lies matter came along . Its one thing to habe a problem with something and another to be paid to create a problem . If everyone would just stick together we can beat the ones stirring up the trouble . Its time true americans both north and south , black and white got along . If not we are going to be taken over by the evil in the white house . A flag hurts no one its people that hurt people .
    ALL LIVES MATTER
    STOP KILLING OUR POLICE
    STOP KILLING ALL TOGETHER .

    • Jimmy Dick September 13, 2015 / 1:40 pm

      No evil in the White House, just a black man doing a damn good job as President despite the incredible obstruction of a party that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the American people.

      • BorderRuffian June 8, 2016 / 6:54 am

        Obama has been the most partisan and divisive person to hold that office in my lifetime. But stirring up the racial pot has always been part of the radical left’s MO.

        “We will punish our (political) enemies and reward our friends.” -And he has. First time I’ve ever heard a president say something like that.

        • Brooks D. Simpson June 9, 2016 / 2:51 am

          As for your last line, you must not listen too carefully. I bring you Richard Nixon.

          And, of course, the right never stirs up racila issues.

          So much for your knowledge of American politics.

          • BorderRuffian June 9, 2016 / 7:38 am

            Right. Nixon was out to get his political enemies.

            But he wasn’t so brazen to announce it in a public speech.

        • Jimmy Dick June 9, 2016 / 8:57 am

          http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-explains-his-remark-about-punishing-enemies/

          First thing that popped in my mind was Nixon. As for the GOP obstructionists, they’re punishing the people of the United States with their refusal to do their jobs on all kinds of levels.

          So yes, Obama is doing a pretty good job even while he is being attacked by enemies who do not care of the people of this country.

        • Andy Hall June 10, 2016 / 9:55 am

          Except that in the actual quote, “we” doesn’t refer to either the president or his administration; it refers to Latino voters:
          ___

          “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

          ___

          • Brooks D. Simpson June 10, 2016 / 11:38 am

            BR has never been good with the facts. Par for the course with Confederate heritage correctness.

    • Scott Ledridge June 7, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      No one paid attention to the flag? Where are you from? Have you literally been under a rock? I can personally verify that it’s been a contentious issue for the last 40 years. But, I’m able to read. So I also know it’s been an issue for a lot longer than I’ve been alive.

      Oh. “Black lies matter”. “evil in the white house”… there it is.

      Just because we disagree on your flag, doesn’t mean we can’t be united against violence. Or do you put qualifiers on whom you stand with against such issues? That sounds awfully divisive. Not unifying at all.

  10. Jimmy Dick September 13, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    While I am at it, It is not the people in the North and West of the country taking down the symbol of racism. It is the people in the South doing it. It should have been done a long time ago, say 150 years ago when the last unit of the Confederate Army that used it as an actual flag for military purposes surrendered.

    Removing that symbol of racism is uniting us as American people. Continuing to wave it is divisive. If you want to know who is dividing the people of this country, find a mirror.

    • Bob June 2, 2016 / 6:44 pm

      Seems I hit a nerve there DICK : ) try all ya want to take our flags down we just keep putting them up . Tell ya one thing its like obuma and his gun laws . sales have been at all time highs . since your people want our flags sales are at all time highs and there being flown more now than ever🙂 ya know kinda hope you have family from a war or two somewhere ,and some paid sick POS knocks. Over the head stone in protest of that war . well fair is fair right ……

      • Brooks D. Simpson June 2, 2016 / 10:16 pm

        More evidence that heritage correctness is a thin cover for certain political views.

      • Jimmy Dick June 3, 2016 / 4:58 am

        1. What gun laws?
        2. The Chinese thank you for your ignorance.
        3. The emphasis on my last name is not bothering me. I dealt with that years ago in the Army.
        4. You keep on proving your ignorance.
        5. Your post shows this is really about your modern political ideology and not the Civil War.
        6. Have a nice day in November when the Democrats win!

      • Andy Hall June 3, 2016 / 8:40 am

        Big fan of homeschooling, Bob?

  11. Bob June 4, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    Hilladillyy headed for prison in 2016 go dem . What the dems want is what started the civil war . Its going to be history repeating its self . Dig in fellas the next one is gonna be hell to pay and its coming fast . Home school yep better than brainwashing in public school .. Hell look at y’all good lord help us with brain washed folks like you ..
    May god be with you on judgement day and its almost here .

    • Brooks D. Simpson June 4, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      Once more, see the connection between heritage correctness and political beliefs. Thanks for making my point. But you don’t offer much of defense of HK, do you?

    • Jimmy Dick June 5, 2016 / 7:48 am

      The Dems want slavery? That doesn’t seem to be part of their platform.

      The end is near! Heard every day for the last 2000 years.

      • Brooks D. Simpson June 5, 2016 / 9:00 am

        For some people, it never began.

        This fellow met his end last night when I moved him to the spam folder. He served his purpose, which was to prove me correct. That’s what makes him useful.

  12. Bob June 4, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    Oh and by the way I live in a vary diverse neighborhood and no one has a problem with my flag.flying . Hell one black friend goes to the parks and rally’s with me to learn about his family in the past . Virginia is so rich in civil war history its great to live here.

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