Tag Archives: Confederate Monuments

Bill Barr Will Prosecute Statue Vandals

(June 25, 2020) In the thirty minute interview below released earlier today Attorney General Bill Barr confirms the Federal government will prosecute vandals that have destroyed or defaced monuments on Federal property.

Action you can take:  

  1. If you are angered about the anarchy that has taken over the “protest” mobs, consider supporting Mr. Barr and President Trump.
  2. Don’t use weak arguments to support Confederate memorials. Remarks that claim the South paid 80% of America’s antebellum tariffs, for example, cause our mission to be ridiculed. One way to get the facts is by reading my books below. Consider especially Ulysses Grant’s Failed Presidency and Southern Reconstruction to understand how the media and academia have corrupted the history of the postbellum South.

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To defend Confederate Heritage get informed by purchasing and reading the books at  My Amazon Author Page.

The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh
The Devil’s Town: Hot Springs During the Gangster Era by Philip Leigh

Mark Twain and Battlefield Preservation

(June 3, 2020) During a lecture tour Mark Twain remarked, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

Twain’s quote aptly applies to the American Battlefield Trust (ABT). Originally known as the Civil War Battlefield Trust the Washington-based organization has absorbed tens-of-millions of dollars in donations to preserve Civil War battlefields. But when everything connected with the Confederacy became politically incorrect a few years ago, the Trust changed its name to the American Battlefield Trust. Director James Lighthizer explained the change was because he wanted to preserve battlefields from other wars. Oh, sure, the Trust has put some effort into that, but you’d have to be as gullible as the gatekeepers of Troy to believe that was the chief reason for the name change. It’s obvious from the articles at their website that they fully endorse the Yankees/good—Confederates/bad interpretation of the Ciivl War.

The ABT’s greatest sin, however,  is their refusal to stand against the vandalism of Confederate monuments. Notwithstanding that the overwhelming majority of subscribers to the Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine showed in a recent survey that they want such monuments preserved, the ABT fails to support its readers and donors with even a mere statement condemning vandalism. The outrages in Richmond, Birmingham, Charleston, and other Southern towns over the past weekend are only the latest examples. The Trust has acquiesced to such conduct for years.

Two years ago yesterday I wrote the Executive Director, “Although you state that your objective is to preserve battlefields and not monuments, I wish you to understand that I would rather see the battlefields returned to nature than become a place where Confederate monuments are merely a collection of mutilated stone memorials.” He never replied. If you feel the same, you may want to stop donating to the ABT. Don’t give money to the guy who urinates on your boots and calls it rain.

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Another way to fight back is to buy and read books that disclose the false propaganda of the Trust’s version of history at My Amazon Author Page.

The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh
The Devil’s Town: Hot Springs During the Gangster Era by Philip Leigh

Contemporary Black Reaction To Confederate Statues

(May 22, 2019) One argument used by those wanting to remove Confederate statues is that contemporary blacks had little chance to oppose them when they were erected.  Aside from anecdotal evidence that blacks joined white crowds to observe the dedication ceremonies, one example in Mississippi provides undeniable evidence of explicit high-level black support. In 1890 the Mississippi legislature voted on a bill to appropriate $10,000 for a Confederate monument. The vote in the lower chamber was 57-to-41 in favor. All six black representatives voted “yea.” One, John F. Harris, made a supporting speech excerpted below prior to the vote:

Mr. Speaker! I have risen here in my place to offer a few words on the bill. . .I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentleman from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier should go on record as opposed to the erection of a monument in honor of the brave dead.

And, sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines and in the Seven Days’ fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with the mangled forms of those who fought for their country and for their country’s honor, he would not have made that speech. . . . When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made no requests for monuments . . . But they died, and their virtues should be remembered.

Sir, I went with them. I too wore the gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed four long years, and if that war had gone on till now I would have been there yet . . . I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions.

When my mother died I was a boy. Who, Sir, then acted the part of a mother to an orphaned slave boy, but my old missus? Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And, Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my voice is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in honor of the Confederate dead.”

Harris was about thirty years old when he went off with his master to fight on the side of the Confederacy. After the War he studied law at the offices of Percy and Yerger in Greenville, Mississippi. The firm’s co-founder was William Alexander Percy, a former Confederate Colonel. In 1867 Percy successfully defended ex-slave, Holt Collier, who had been accused of murdering a federal officer.

Holt fought as a Confederate sharpshooter during the War and later was a guide for Theodore Roosevelt when the President visited Mississippi on a bear hunt in 1902. When word got out that Roosevelt declined to shoot a bear that Holt had trapped for him, a toy manufacturer started mass producing stuffed bears for infants. He named them Teddy Bears.

Percy’s son (LeRoy) fathered a second William Alexander Percy who authored Lanterns on the Levee in 1941. When future novelist and physician Walker Percy was orphaned at age fifteen in 1931 he went to live with the second W. A. Percy. While in Greenville, Walker became best friends with high school classmate Shelby Foote who had been fatherless since age five. During the next three years the two youths were treated like nuclear family in the W. A. Percy household. The patriarch became a mentor to both. Later, Walker won the National Book Award for The Moviegoer while Shelby became best known for his three volume Civil War narrative.

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Rescuing Old Joe

Whoever weds himself to the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.    —   William Inge

Few realize that Florida was so committed to The War Between the States that she gave more soldiers to repel Northern invaders than she had registered voters. Gainesville was among the towns that responded. As a result, the local United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapter erected a statue of an ordinary infantryman in honor of the hometown boys who had fallen, including many buried anonymously far from home. When erected in 1904 most of the living veterans were in their sixties and seventies. In May 2017 the county commissioners voted to remove the monument, which had become fondly known to most residents during the previous 113 years as Old Joe.

After the vote one audience member raised her hand to ask a question. The Chair recognized Nansea Markham who is President of the local UDC chapter. She asked, “What will you do with the memorial?”

The county attorney explained that the statue would be sold at auction if it was worth over $2,000. Otherwise Joe would be scrapped.

Nansea stood and held an old document at shoulder height before saying, “I’m sorry. You cannot do that.” Motioning with the papers she added, “This is the original 1903 document pertinent to Old Joe’s legal status. It shows that he remains the property of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.”

The commissioners held an impromptu conference as the audience looked on. Afterward the Chair announced that the commission would give the UDC sixty days to accept the return of Old Joe. He added that if the offer was accepted the UDC would be responsible for all moving expenses and must complete the move within sixty days of acceptance. One commissioner that voted to remove the statue had previously announced that he would not allow the county to spend a single dime to move the memorial. He would rather it be destroyed.

Although Nansea was relieved for one last chance to save Old Joe her chapter had less than $1,000 in the bank. Given the security requirements and care required to safely relocate so old a structure, she worried that the task was too difficult. The next morning, however, she began to get supportive phone calls and emails. Many previously silent sympathizers recognized her from earlier Old Joe hearings before the commission and other local organizations during the preceding two years.

One phone call from a Vietnam vet lit a fire in her heart. He explained that the American soldier’s creed requires that a warrior “never leave a fallen comrade.” He told Nansea, “That’s how I see Old Joe’s situation. You are rescuing him. He is a veteran and I cannot leave him fallen on the ground to be scrapped.  I will send you money.” Realizing that many older Americans now cringe with shame at how they treated returning Vietnam vets in the 1960s and 70s, Nansea reasoned that the same might apply to Old Joe in the years ahead.

Thereafter she took every phone call and replied to every email. Many originated beyond Florida’s borders, including states above the Mason-Dixon Line. She took suggestions such as creating a FaceBook page and a GoFundMe Internet site. But she never directly asked for money. It started arriving anyway. She mobilized the UDC chapter members to send a hand-written “thank you” note to every donor. On July 20, 2017 she notified the county commission: “We [the UDC chapter] accept the Confederate Soldier Statue.”

Her laconic acceptance prompted repeated media inquiries that included national organizations such as The Washington Post and National Public Radio. She took the phone calls but politely declined to be interviewed or quoted. “Why?” asked one NPR reporter. “An interview would add publicity to help you raise money required to move the statue.”

“That’s true,” said Nansea, “but it might also attract unwanted attention. My job is to get Old Joe safely moved. I don’t want publicity that might trigger vandals.”

By mid-August the Gainesville UDC had raised $30,000 and secured a site for Old Joe on private property near a cemetery that contained the bodies of some Confederate veterans. The county attorney required Nansea to sign a twelve-page agreement that held the UDC chapter liable for any damages caused by Old Joe’s removal. Her group was also responsible for security in the event of interference from protestors.

Unfortunately, violent anti-Joe demonstrators were a genuine threat. They realized that the county government would not protect the memorial. As a result, they eagerly awaited the day of the move when they assumed the media would be present. But Nansea fooled them. In the days leading up to the move she organized theatrics in which volunteers pretended to be dissembling Old Joe but did little actual work. Rain arrived on the true moving day. It was enough to keep the protestors away until the moving crew was ready to drive off.

Although a dubious zeitgeist drove Old Joe from public property, his valor remains intact. The Kirby Smith Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy rescued it.

[Learn about Civil War & Reconstruction at My Amazon Author Page]

Why Confederate Monuments Were Erected

(June 19, 2018) The diagram below graphs the number of Confederate statues erected between 1870 and 1980. Since the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) compiled the data, they suggest the memorials were most frequently constructed during periods of blatant anti-black activities in the South. In short, they imply that racism was the chief motive for Confederate monument building. To the objective observer, however, the genuine explanations obviously fail to conform to the SPLC’s assumptions. 

The two most notable peaks of were 1900-1915 and 1957-1965.

As the graph indicates, the SPLC implies that the first wave was due to “lynchings, ‘Lost Cause Mythology,’ and a resurgent KKK.” But the facts don’t support their conclusion.

First, the KKK’s resurgence was in the 1920s, at least five-to-ten years after the first peak had already past. Moreover, Indiana had more Klan members during the 1920s than any other state, yet it is north of the Ohio River. Second, the number of lynchings was steadily declining during the 1900-1915 period. Third, a regionally popular Civil War interpretation that the South was fighting for a correct Constitutional principle and heroically lost only against overwhelming odds (Lost Cause Mythology) was was not concentrated in the 1900-1915 period. It remained a popular concept in the South until at least 1950.

[Learn more about Civil War and Reconstruction at My Amazon Author Page]

In reality, four factors that the SPLC failed to consider caused the first surge during the 1900-1915 interval. First, the old soldiers were dying and survivors wanted to honor their memories. A twenty-one year old who joined the Rebel army at the start of the war was sixty years old in 1900 and seventy-five in 1915. Second, 1911 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the war and 1915 was the fiftieth anniversary of its end. Third, post-war impoverished Southerners generally did not have enough money to erect memorials until the turn of the century. The region did not even recover to its level of pre-war economic activity until 1900. Fourth, until about 1895 Union veterans often opposed displays of Confederate iconography, an opinion they effectively promoted through their Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) lobbying organization.  The GAR was so powerful that it impelled the federal government to grant generous pensions to Union veterans, while excluding former Confederates. In 1893 Union veterans pensions totaled 40% of the entire federal budget and annual disbursements did not top-out unit 1921.

As for the second surge between 1957 and 1965, the SPLC dubiously attributes it to Southern resentment over public school integration and the 1960s civil rights movement. But it was more likely due to initiatives that memorialized the Civil War Centennial. The U. S. Post Office, for example, issued five commemorative postage stamps during the period. Similarly, the federally sponsored Centennial Civil War Commission issued a commemorative medal featuring reliefs of Grant and Lee on the obverse with opposing infantrymen peacefully depicted on the reverse.

Sources: Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansman: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-21; Ludwell Johnson, Division and Reunion; Jill Quadagno, The Transformation of Old Age Security; City University of New York, “Bar Graph of African American Lynchings: 1890-1929,” American Social History Project [https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1884]; William J. Cooper and Thomas Terrill, The American South: A History-Volume 2; William H. Giasson, Federal Military Pensions in the United States

Letter to CWTrust about Ruined Confederate Monuments

June 1, 2018

Mr. James Lighthizer
President
American Battlefield Trust – Civil War Trust
Suite 900
1156 Fifteenth Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20005

Dear. Mr. Lighthizer:

Provided below is a photo of a vandalized monument for Texas and Arkansas Confederates at Virginia’s Wilderness National Battlefield Park. Notwithstanding that the overwhelming majority of subscribers to your Hallowed Ground magazine showed in a recent survey that they want such monuments preserved, your failure to support your readers and donors with any action, or even a vigorous statement of agreement, has contributed to the intolerance responsible for such mutilations.

Although you state that your objective is to preserve battlefields and not monuments, I wish you to understand that I would rather see the battlefields returned to nature than become a place where Confederate monuments are merely a collection of mutilated stone memorials.

Sincerely Yours,

Philip Leigh
My Amazon Author Page 

“A man who would not defend his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”
~ Chief Joseph