By the way, I don’t recall “Fort Neverlose” as “the” name for the Coliseum until recently.
Month: April 2015
The Compleat Idiot: Connie Chastain
It’s been quite a day for Connie Chastain and her obsessive stalking of people she doesn’t like … a day with a double dose of buffoonery.
“The Onion” Revealed as a Fraud
Everybody likes The Onion. At least, that’s the impression I get from social media. Both my Facebook and Twitter feeds are populated by links to this incisive news source, which is to The New York Times what Comedy Central is to network news (although some might say the same for MSNBC and Fox News, but I digress). Want to look witty and informed without being either? The Onion is there for you.
Captain Morgan Places His Foot in His Mouth
This afternoon, still basking in the afterglow of John Tavares’s overtime goal that gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 series lead over the Washington Capitals in the opening round of the NHL playoffs …
… I saw this ad from Captain Morgan.
Inappropriate … and a reminder that context is everything.
Remembering and Defining Confederate and Civil War Heritage
It is to be expected that some people would take advantage of the 150th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox (sometimes seen as the end of the Civil War, although that’s wrong) to reflect on how Americans remember the Civil War. However, that topic tends to be confused with speculation on whether Confederate heritage persists or is eroding.
April 14, 1865: Meetings, Meeting, Meetings
April 14, 1865, proved to be a busy day in American history. At Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Major General Robert Anderson raised the national colors over the fort four years after he had ordered them to be lowered. Henry Ward Beecher gave the main address. It was quite a celebration, and as night came fireworks lit up the sky.
There was more good news from North Carolina. Joseph Johnston contacted William T. Sherman to seek a temporary suspension of operations so the two men could meet. Sherman assented, suggesting the Appomattox terms as a basis for discussion. He would reassure Grant the next morning that he would “be careful not to complicate any points of civil policy.”
April 13, 1865: Grant in Washington
Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Washington, DC on April 13. He intended to start cutting costs: although the war was not over, it was now clearly winding down, and it was time to look toward the future. Lincoln congratulated his general, then begged off seeing the nighttime illuminations, leaving Grant to ride in the presidential carriage with the first lady. It was not a pleasant experience. Mrs. Lincoln’s feelings were ruffled when she realized that the people cheering as the carriage passed by were celebrating the general, not saluting the presidential carriage. Uncomfortable, Grant would have no stomach for a possible repeat performance, something he thought about as he contemplated the president’s invitation to the Grants to accompany the First Couple to the theater the next evening. As the general would attend the cabinet meeting the next day, there would be plenty of time to figure out what to do.
William T. Sherman’s men entered Raleigh, North Carolina. Sherman knew the war was coming to an end in the Tar Heel State. Learning of Lee’s surrender the previous day, he told Grant that the Appomattox terms “are magnanimous and liberal. Should Johnston follow Lee’s example I shall of course grant the same.” However, when he told the people of Raleigh what had happened in Virginia, they did not believe it.
The end was near.
April 12, 1865: Stacking Arms
On April 12 the Army of Northern Virginia stacked arms, furled flags, and formally completed surrendering. Much has been made of this ceremony, largely by Joshua Chamberlain and John B. Gordon, two gifted writers with vivid imaginations and healthy egos whose stories improved with age. Yet neither Grant nor Lee was present (Lee waited until after the ceremony to head back to Richmond, where his wife remained), and in fact several Confederate units had already stacked arms and signed paroles. Gordon had attempted to have his men stack arms on April 11, avoiding the ceremony, but John Gibbon and Charles Griffin, in charge of arranging the surrender, insisted upon a more formal process that would take place the next day: otherwise Gibbon would not issue paroles. Nor did everyone have arms to stack: what remained of George Pickett’s division left a mere fifty-three rifled muskets at the surrender.
April 11, 1865: Lincoln’s Last Speech
News reached Washington of the surrender at Appomattox late in the evening on April 9. As one might imagine, the next day was one of celebration and jubilation. People wanted their president to say something about the great victory. Lincoln fended off these requests on April 10, although he asked the band present to play “Dixie,” because it was “one of the best tunes I have ever heard.” However, he promised to offer some appropriate remarks the next evening.
April 11, 1865: The War Continues Elsewhere
It did not take long for Ulysses S. Grant to leave Appomattox Court House: he did so on the afternoon of April 10, when he headed to Burkeville to catch a train to City Point. That repaired line proved rather rickety, as Grant did not make it to City Point until April 11, where Mrs. Grant awaited his arrival. The general declined an offer to visit Richmond, but several staff officers took advantage of a travel delay to visit the former capital of the Confederacy.
Robert E. Lee stayed near Appomattox Court House: he would not leave until April 12. He spent some time gathering information and preparing a report of his army’s final campaign, declaring that Grant had five times as many soldiers as Lee–a rather large exaggeration, to say the least.
At Danville, Jefferson Davis prepared to carry on the fight. So did Dabney Maury at Mobile, although he had decided to evacuate that city in the wake of Union successes on April 9 and 10. Meanwhile, William T. Sherman approached Goldsborough, North Carolina, where he learned of the events at Appomattox. Now he could focus his efforts on taking out Joseph E. Johnston’s ramshackle Rebel army.