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.
It’s always worth a few smiles to see what passes for “historical fiction” in the fantasy land of Confederate heritage. Take this recent introduction to yet another proposed book (although we’ve already seen the inevitable dust jackets):
There’s been some chatter about black Confederates lately, although in retrospect new efforts by certain scholars to revisit the issue have proved less than persuasive even those scholars’ rather flawed handling of evidence. Indeed, in some quarters their efforts were subject to ridicule.
The same can be said of what some people thought of black Confederates at the time. Take the image above, from Harper’s Weekly. It raises the question of what would happen if black Confederate infantry regiments took the field. Could they be relied upon to hold their positions or to launch attacks? After all, it’s one thing for a single black man to wield a weapon under duress; but what would happen if several hundred of them, grouped together, were armed so that they could protect themselves? Who would be more at risk: the Yankees or their fellow white Rebs?
London’s Punch reminded readers that both sides were compelled to recruiting blacks in part because of the faltering spirit of whites. With volunteering down, both sides resorted to conscription; when that proved unsatisfactory, where else were they to go?
Indeed, Punch looked at the issue in 1863, before either Patrick Cleburne or the Confederate Congress considered enlisting blacks. The cartoon flipped the concept of “brother versus brother,” so often used to refer to whites, to suggest that blacks really had no interest in fighting each other. Punch speculated that black soldiers on both sides might not prove reliable combat soldiers, although the record of blacks who donned Union blue proved that wrong.
And then, of course, there is more recent commentary.
Happy birthday, Peter Carmichael.
Want to learn about ironclads and Stonewall Jackson? Sure you do.
And now you have.
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:
Historians such as James Marten and Anne Sarah Rubin have studied these expressions of Confederate identity, which were quick and easy to produce.
Today we have evidence that some of these lessons did not stick among those who claim to honor Confederate heritage:
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.”
And for those of you who think I didn’t give enough attention to Sherman’s March to the Sea …
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).
I know that some people believe it is very important to highlight misuses of the Confederate battle flag, or, as we’re so often told, “the soldiers’ flag.”
In the words of another blogger, I couldn’t agree more, and nothing could please me more than to highlight two recent examples.
First, take a look at this representation of wartime Richmond, Virginia:
OMG. The Confederate battle flag did not fly above the state house. Rather, it would have been one of the national flags. Wow. What a mistake. But not everyone knows it. We need to teach those people about the proper history of the Confederate battle flag.
And then there is the recent matter of the display of the Confederate battle flag in a “flags that flew over Florida” display in Pensacola, Florida:
No, no, no, no. Again, one of the Confederacy’s national flags might have done the trick, but the CBF never flew over the state. Some Confederate soldiers from Florida may have waived the mighty banner, but, as anyone knows, that’s different.
Thankfully the folks in Pensacola have decided to take down that flag. No word on whether it will be replaced.
People, it’s time that y’all learned the proper way to display the Confederate battle flag. Any questions?
Sometimes it’s interesting to recall what someone says in consecutive days. Take this example:
Boy … we should really look down on people who behave that way, right? Well …
“Smacking people around”? That’s her idea of fun? A bit violent, don’t you think? “All a bunch of leftist ideologues?” Oh, no … denigration and put-downs all in the name of ideology. We should really look down on those sort of desperate, mean-spirited people.
Someone from Pensacola’s projecting again. That’s why she’s all about the hate. She’s a rather hateful person … just the right spokesperson/webmaster for a certain Confederate heritage group.
Yes, this is an exception to my rule about our friend from Pensacola.As a rule, better to follow this saying:
Another report from the front offered by someone determined to protect and promote Confederate heritage and its advocates, notably the Virginia Flaggers:
Today the great grandsons and grand-daughters of the attackers are still here, the evil ones, now attacking Southern heritage groups, siding with anyone or any organization that takes actions to harm our Southern history and heritage, to defame our Confederate flags and our Confederate ancestors. Men such as Brooks Simpson, Andy Hall, Keven Levin, Corey Meyer, Rob Baker, Al Mackey in their small man ways, write blogs and tell stories and give commentary that attacks the South and Confederate heritage supporters. Almost any good thing the Virginia Flaggers do, one of these morons will blab or write some story, many times absent of many facts, but they still write and blog. You see, providing you with accurate history is not their goal, their goal is much bigger, as they are tools of Satan. Yes, you say, what, are you nuts, No I am not nuts, I am explaining to you that for far too long you have been duped by such people.
That said, watch this moving tribute to Satan, who never did get to lace them up for the New Jersey Devils: