(December 23, 2016) As I progress through the Civil War class lectures that Professor Eric Foner has posted at YouTube I continue to find errors and a persistent, sarcastic dismissal of Confederate viewpoints. In today’s example Dr. Foner actually propagates fake news. He summarizes a January 16, 2014 article in The New York Times as follows:
The New York Times in the last few days has had four articles directly related to the Civil War. One…was a controversy over erecting a monument to Union soldiers…at “Ogletree,” Florida, which was the site of a Civil War battle. There’s a state park there that now only has monuments to Confederate soldiers…and the state wants to put up a monument to the Union soldiers and a lot of people don’t want that in “Ogletree.”
There are numerous errors in Foner’s summary including some that contradict the very newspaper article he cited.
First, the name of the battle and state park is Olustee, not “Ogletree.” Given Dr. Foner’s special interest in black Union soldiers it’s odd that he did not get the name correct since blacks composed a significant part of the Union army at Olustee. Among them was the 54th Massachusetts, which became famous after the motion picture, Glory.
Second, in 1991 a memorial to Union soldiers was erected in a nearby cemetery. The photo above shows federal re-enactors honoring the monument in 2011. It is, to be sure, not located on the grounds that contain the Confederate monument.
Third, the principal objection to the a new monument has been to the plans that it be placed on grounds donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the Confederate Monument that was erected over a century ago. Plenty of other land is available within the battlefield park for a new Union monument. In fact, the Rebel monument is in back of the visitor’s center, which leaves the front side available for a new Yankee monument.