Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What's next?

Steve Spurrier, the NAACP, and sensitive souls everywhere claim to be horrified by that 48-inch square piece of nylon at the Confederate soldier monument on South Carolina’s State House grounds. If only it disappeared, all would be right with the world.

Granted, they’re still mad at Mississippi. But what about some of our other neighbors? The flags of Alabama (adopted in 1895) and Florida (1885) are clearly patterned on the Confederate battle banner. Arkansas’ (1924) seems inspired by the battle flag, and that of North Carolina (1885) had its origins in a design used during the War for Southern Independence. Georgia’s new flag is the very image of the Confederacy’s First National.

Why aren’t the anti-flag zealots offended? Are they truly that ignorant? More likely, these flags and other symbols and reminders of Confederate heritage will be targeted should the one in Columbia fall. The NAACP (“the Klan with a tan”) and their liberal white allies are never satisfied.

We’re reminded of what Charlie Condon, then attorney general, said back in 1999 when these bigots were demanding the Confederate flag come down from South Carolina's State House dome:

“In my judgment, moving the flag would be a victory for the extremist groups. They would immediately start planning their next crisis, their next outrage, their next demand. That’s what they do. Controversy is their business. It is not possible to appease the merchants of hate. It is a mistake even to try.”

South Carolina League of the South

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Secession filled me with hope"

Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1834-1902), British historian and philosopher of liberty, is best remembered for his epigram, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What is perhaps less well known, though it should not be surprising, was his sympathy for the Confederate cause. After the war, in November 1866, Lord Acton expressed his views in a letter to Robert E. Lee.

Without presuming to decide the purely legal question, on which it seems evident to me from Madison’s and Hamilton’s papers that the Fathers of the Constitution were not agreed, I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I believed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.”
South Carolina League of the South

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sally Louisa Tompkins

Mrs. Tompkins, a wealthy twenty-eight year old widow, was living in Richmond when the first battles of the war began filling the streets with wounded soldiers. She organized a hospital in a home donated for that purpose and poured her own financial resources into it. Robertson Hospital quickly gained a reputation for providing the best care available, prompting military authorities to send to her their most seriously injured.

By late 1861, War Department regulations requiring that all hospitals treating soldiers be operated by the military forced the closing of private facilities. The wounded would now be admitted to the sprawling, 3,000-bed Chimborazo Hospital. Mrs. Tompkins appealed to the Confederate president. Recognizing the quality and extraordinary success rate of her little hospital, Jefferson Davis determined to keep it open by outflanking his bureaucrats. Davis commissioned Sally Tompkins a captain of cavalry (unassigned) in the army of the Confederate States! Her hospital would continue saving lives for the duration of the war, under the direction of the Confederacy’s only female army officer.

After the war she continued to do all she could to help former soldiers of the Confederacy. Her final years were spent in Richmond’s Women’s Home. Having dedicated her life and exhausted her resources in the service of her country and its veterans, “Captain Sally” died in 1916. She was given a funeral with full military honors, as befitted a soldier of the South.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven …” Matthew 6-19-20a
South Carolina League of the South

Saturday, July 28, 2007

John C. Pemberton

Pemberton, born in Philadelphia of a Quaker family, graduated from West Point and became a career soldier. He served with distinction in the war with Mexico, wounded twice and lauded for bravery. Friendship with Southerners and marriage to a woman from Virginia combined with a firm belief in states' rights to confirm him as a Confederate. Rejecting pleas and promises from Winfield Scott, Pemberton resigned from the U.S. Army in April 1861, even as two brothers remained in Federal service.
Made a brigadier in the Confederate army, the Pennsylvanian soon found himself defending the southeastern coast and, in early 1862, raised to major general. Promotion to lieutenant general was followed by command at Vicksburg, where Pemberton would be forced to surrender his besieged and starving troops on July 4, 1863. Criticized across the South for the defeat, some grumbled about the general's northern birth and a few questioned his loyalty.
In disgrace, Pemberton resigned his commission as lieutenant general. A lesser man might have been tempted to retreat into bitterness or engage in finger-pointing. Pemberton chose instead to continue to give his all for the Confederate cause. Cheerfully accepting a commission as lieutenant colonel of artillery, a full four steps down in rank, Pemberton served ably in that capacity for the duration of the war.
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Philippians 2:3
South Carolina League of the South

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sam Davis

Sam was born on a farm in Rutherford County in central Tennessee. He enlisted as a private in the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment soon after Lincoln declared war, but before the Volunteer State had officially declared independence. The teenager served first in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia before his regiment was ordered back to Tennessee. After recovering from a wound received at Shiloh, Sam transferred to Cpt. H. B. Shaw's Company of Scouts.
The young scout was carrying intelligence on enemy troop strength and dispositions when captured by Kansas cavalrymen near Pulaski in November 1863. His interrogators, including Brig. Gen. Grenville Dodge (one of the nastiest bullies ever to wear a Federal uniform), could get nothing out of him. Repeatedly threatened with death, Sam refused to name his sources of information. "I would sooner die a thousand deaths than betray a friend or be false to duty," said Sam. He went to the gallows with head held high, another martyr to liberty.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13
South Carolina League of the South

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deo vindice

“In my heart, I believe that no resistance on principle, where freedom is the principle involved, is ever meaningless, or ever quite hopeless, even though history has fated it to fail. For it speaks, not to the present reality, but to the generations and the future.”

Whittaker Chambers

South Carolina League of the South

Monday, July 23, 2007

Democrats and The Citadel

In his book Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture (available from Amazon, $24.95), Clyde Wilson tells the hilarious story of the panic that ensued in 2004 just before the debate among Democratic presidential candidates at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. It seems that their chosen venue, Longstreet Theatre, had been named after former college president, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet. “And horrors!” writes Dr. Wilson, “Mr. Longstreet in the period before the War for Southern Independence defended slavery and advocated secession! Of course, the august aspirants for World Emperor could not be expected to meet on such unhallowed ground.” So they moved the debate to nearby Drayton Hall. But it turns out the hall is named for one of the largest slave owning families in South Carolina, and the building is surrounded by streets honoring yet more planters and slave holders.

Which brings to mind yesterday's Democratic debate at The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina in Charleston. Why were the alarms not sounded this time? After all, Citadel cadets fired the “first shot of the war,” and the Star of the West monument on the parade ground commemorates the event. Cadets fought as a unit during the War for Southern Independence, earning with their blood the Confederate battle streamers that fly today from the Citadel flag. Magnificent murals of battle scenes–paintings that feature Confederate flags–dominate the walls of the college library. The Citadel gave to the Southern army 4 brigadier generals, 17 colonels, 10 lieutenant colonels, 22 majors, 58 captains, and 62 lieutenants. The football stadium memorializes Johnson Hagood, Confederate brigadier. We could go on and on.

Could it be that Democrats–embarrassed four years ago by their zeal for PC–have decided to leave well enough alone? Or would that be giving them too much credit?

South Carolina League of the South

Spurrier and the flag

When University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier damned the Confederate flag in front of a liberal group a few months back, he received the accolades of the media elite even as he alienated countless longsuffering Gamecock fans. Spurrier, our highest paid state employee (with a reported annual salary of $1,300,000), refuses even to answer mail from those who questioned his outburst.

After much wrangling, the flag was lowered from the dome of the South Carolina capitol in 2000, and placed by the Confederate soldier monument on the State House grounds. Compromisers said that the banner should be displayed in a historical context, not in a position of “sovereignty.” Did doing so satisfy the bigots of the NAACP and their allies? You know the answer to that. Compromising with them is like trying to make peace with Hitler. The Sensitivity Police are never satisfied. Continued demands for boycott by the NAACP—and the cowardice of the NCAA in taking these hate-mongers seriously—should have made the coach angry. Instead, Spurrier lashed out at South Carolina’s Confederate heritage.

That heritage is intertwined with USC’s. When war came, the University (then South Carolina College) closed its doors as the entire student body went into Confederate service. Twenty former students rose to the rank of general officer in the Southern army, and buildings on the campus became a hospital. The War for Southern Independence is the defining event in our history as a people. Seventy-one thousand from the Palmetto State alone took up arms in defense of their liberty and their homes, and fourteen thousand died. In remembrance, is it too much to ask that a single flag fly on the State House grounds?

South Carolina League of the South

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Review of "The Last Confederate"

South Carolinian Weston Adams—Columbia attorney, former state legislator, and United States ambassador—has always been proud to share his family’s experiences during the War for Southern Independence. Now one of those stories has been made into a motion picture!

An Adams’ family project, the independent film was shot in the Carolinas and shown at a number of film festivals under the title “Strike the Tent,” winning nine awards. There was a limited theatrical release, and it’s now available on DVD as “The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams.”

The movie relates the romance between Captain Adams of the Charleston Light Dragoons (portrayed by his great-great-grandson Julian Adams) and Pennsylvania-born Evangeline McCord (played by a stunning Gwendolyn Edwards). There are cameo appearances by screen legends Mickey Rooney and Tippi Hedren. The cinematography and soundtrack are excellent.

Did we mention that this movie was not made in Hollywood? “Confederates are portrayed as shining heroes while Union soldiers are seen as soulless, pillaging murderers,” whines the Los Angeles Times. “In this universe, benevolent Southerners love and care for black people; it's invading Northerners who beat the slaves.” And they say Californians can’t learn!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thoughts for the Twentieth of July

"Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial men have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who with His help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil. He is like a rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air."
Fourth Leaflet of The White Rose, summer 1942

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Arnold Murray, 1846-1952

On November 25, 1952 the Orangeburg Times & Democrat announced the death of one of South Carolina’s oldest citizens. He was just a retired farmer, a simple man, living in rural seclusion. Yet his passing was front-page news, his funeral a state occasion. Arnold Murray, age 106, was the state’s last Confederate veteran.

On his birthday, June 10 of that year, he was described by a local reporter as “cheerful and spry despite a [recent] heart attack.” Ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy sent greetings and several called in person. It had become common for him to receive visitors from the UDC, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, as well as the press. He lived in a three-room cabin in the White House section, cared for by his son. Two daughters also stayed in the area. His wife Laura had died in 1930. The recipient of a modest $60 per-month Confederate pension from the state, electricity had been installed in his little home as a gift of the Edisto Electric Cooperative. He enjoyed sitting on the porch, listening to his radio (with the help of a new hearing aid). The old gentleman had been deeply grieved when grandson Arnold L. Murray was killed in the Korean War. “I would rather go back,” the elder Murray was quoted as saying, “to the old times, if I could choose.”

Murray joined the Confederate army late in the war, as a teenager. “I volunteered and joined up when I was a youngster,” he remembered, “because my pa and brother was way up yonder somewhere in Virginia fighting.” He saw none of the action they did. Young Murray was in training on Sullivan’s Island when Charleston had to be evacuated. In weeks the war was over and he was headed home.

Private Murray saw no combat, but suffered the hardships common to Southern soldiers and civilians. In old age he came to represent those tens of thousands of South Carolinians who donned Confederate uniforms to defend their rights and their homes. When it became known to then-Governor Strom Thurmond that Murray was the last of the state’s Confederate veterans, a committee was formed. Discreetly, in consultation with the family but without the old soldier’s knowledge, plans were made to honor Murray at his passing. In memorializing him their aim was to remember all of the Palmetto State’s Confederate heroes.

The funeral was held at White House Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon, November 30. A procession followed the hearse to the church, ten miles outside of Orangeburg. The Highway Patrol estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 crowded the grounds of the little house of worship, where loudspeakers had been set up for them to hear the service inside. Cars were parked ½ mile in both directions, overflowing into nearby fields. Two companies of local National Guard troops stood at attention as Citadel cadets fired a volley in salute. A Confederate flag flew at half-staff.

The casket was draped with a battle flag, the banner later presented to the family. Displayed also was the flag of the legendary Edisto Rifles, a local unit that marched to war in 1861. Governor James F. Byrnes led the mourners. Strom Thurmond was there, along with a host of other dignitaries. S. J. Latimer, editor of the State newspaper, was the main speaker. Arnold Murray, last of some 71,000 South Carolinians in Confederate service, was laid to rest just behind the church. He was, in Latimer’s words, “a good soldier, a respected citizen, an honorable man.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Women of the Confederacy


From the inscription, written by William Elliott Gonzales,
on the monument to the Women of the Confederacy,
South Carolina State House grounds.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Who burned Columbia?

"It is true our men have burned Columbia, but it was your fault."

General William T. Sherman to Mayor Thomas Jefferson Goodwyn, blaming Columbians for making his soldiers drunk.

"I know that the general judgement of the country is that no matter how it began, it was all right."

Sherman in a letter to his brother.

"[W]ithout hesitation I charge General Wade Hampton with having burned his own city of Columbia."

Sherman in his official report.

"In my official report of this conflagration, I distinctly charged it to General Wade Hampton, and confess I did so pointedly, to shake the faith of his people in him, for he was in my opinion boastful, and professed to be the special champion of South Carolina."

Sherman in his memoirs.

General Hampton - "General Howard, who burned Columbia?"

General Oliver O. Howard - "Why, General, of course we did."

"The real difference between Savannah and Columbia was that Sherman needed the Georgia port as a base. Columbia was merely a stopover in a general swath of destruction. Sherman had no more use for Columbia than he had for Atlanta, a city he had burned in 1864 to cover his rear .... Sherman may have issued no order [to burn Columbia] but his failure to control his men constituted probable tacit consent."

Allan D. Charles, Ph.D.

"There is no doubt whatsoever that Union soldiers were to blame for what happened, some with intent, others by default in their drunken stupor."

John Hammond Moore, Ph.D.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Construction workers in 1991 were digging the foundation for a new office building just west of New York’s city hall when they discovered human bones. What they found were the skeletal remains of some 400 African slaves that had been buried in the city two centuries earlier.
Again we were reminded that slavery once existed in all of America, not just in the South. Most shocking was the evidence of an astonishing brutality by Northern slave masters.
The bones were in nearly pristine condition. Scientists from Howard University who studied the remains revealed their findings in 1998. Their conclusion? That those who died were young, malnourished, and literally worked to death. “You have so many individuals who have trauma or injury to the bone, broken neck bones because they were forced to do that kind of labor,” said one researcher. Enslaved as children, half of the slaves died in New York City before they entered their teens.
Author Clint Johnson (Politically Incorrect Guide to the South, pp. 124-5) describes a slave uprising in the Big Apple, the city he identifies as “the capital of the slave trade.”

“On at least two occasions slaves in New York City rebelled. In 1712 a slave revolt on Manhattan Island resulted in the deaths of six whites. In retaliation New York City residents sentenced at least eighteen blacks to death. Records show most were hanged, some were broken into pieces, and some were slow-roasted over an open fire for eight hours.
“Twenty-nine years later, in 1741, an even larger group of slaves was accused of trying to revolt. This time thirteen slaves were burned at the stake and seventeen were hanged.”

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Soon after the War an elderly lady, an unreconstructed Confederate, was trying in vain to cross a crowded street in Union occupied Richmond. A blue-clad officer offered to help. Surprised at his gallantry, she accepted. Once safely on the other side she turned to him and said, "Thank you, young man," adding, with all the benevolence she could muster, "If there's a cool spot in hell, I hope you get it."

After the Yankees occupied New Orleans, Gen. Benjamin "Beast" Butler was informed that Father Abram Ryan refused to hold funeral services for deceased Union soldiers. Father Ryan was called before Butler to explain himself. "General, you have been mis-informed," smiled the priest. "I would be pleased to conduct funeral services for all the Yankee officers and men in New Orleans."

Zebulon Vance, North Carolina's governor, was imprisoned for a time after the War. He quizzed his guards with a riddle.
"How were Lazarus and the C.S.A. alike?"
The Yankee troops could not guess the answer.
"Both were liked by a pack of dogs."

A Confederate veteran was walking down the street of a Northern city, accompanied by his young son, when they came upon a former Union soldier begging. The old Federal had lost one arm, an eye, and both legs. The Southerner stopped, took a $5 gold piece from his pocket, and dropped it into the beggar's cup.
"Daddy," said the son, "I thought you didn't like Union soldiers."
"I don't, son," was the reply.
"Then why did you give him a $5 gold piece?"
"Because," said the ex-Confederate, "that's the first Yankee I ever saw that was shot-up to my specifications."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"The reward is in the struggle"

"You must not suppose, that in contending against corruption & interest, that I am impelled by the hope of success. Had that been the case, I would long since have retired from the conflict. Far higher motives impel me; a sense of duty; to do our best for our country, & leave the rest to Providence. I hold, the duties of life, to be greater than life itself, and that in performing them manfully, even against hope, our labour is not lost, but will be productive of good in after times. Indeed, I regard this life very much as a struggle against evil, & that to him, who acts on proper principle, the reward is in the struggle, more than in victory itself ..."

John C. Calhoun

(To Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson, 7 March 1848, in The Essential Calhoun, edited by Clyde N. Wilson, p.429.)