THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 5, MAY, 2008
As I sit before my computer to write this month's Commander's Comments, I am reminded that today (May 5th) is Cinco De Mayo Day celebrated throughout Mexico and the United States. This day is when Mexicans celebrate their heritage. but it is not a day to celebrate independence as many have thought over the years. It is actually the anniversary of a battle that took place in 1862 between French troops and heavily out-numbered Mexican troops (sound familiar?). The French troops had been sent by Emperor Napoleon III to seize control of the government of Mexico and install a foreign head-of-state to lead the country. The Mexican militia troops hid behind fortifications and attacked the French troops as they entered the city on May 5th and the ensuing battle resulted in over 1,000 French troops being killed. The French Emperor was so surprised by this show of force from the Mexicans that he sent additional French troops to Mexico to seize control of the government (which they did), but the Mexicans celebrated May 5th because of that victory over the French forces and ultimately it helped to lead to the overthrow of the French puppet government a few years later. Another great battle occurred on the North American continent just one-year later when a heavily out-numbered force of Confederates led by General Robert E. Lee, out fought, out soldiered and resoundingly defeated the vastly superior but poorly led Union Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville. This battle has often been called Lee and Jackson's masterpiece because in the face of over-whelming forces, numerous times General Lee divided his forces and attacked the poorly led Union forces and ultimately routed them. Unfortunately, the brave and valiant General Stonewall Jackson fell victim to a volley of smoothbore musket fire from nervous North Carolina troops, and died of pneumonia several days later. Ironically, General Jackson died on May 10th - a Sunday. Being the devout Presbyterian that he was, it was rumored that General Jackson believed in never writing a letter that would be in transit on the Sabbath, and he didn't believe in giving battle on the Sabbath (note my terminology). However, if you look at General Jackson's battles - most of them were fought and won on a Sunday. The month of May, one year later, saw the beginnings of General Grant's vicious and deadly Overland Campaign with the opening battle in the Wilderness. It was during this battle, on May 6th, that General Lee's "Old War Horse" - our very own General James Longstreet, was felled in similar circumstances as was General Jackson the year earlier. General Longstreet was fired upon and wounded by troops under the command of General Kershaw. Fortunately for the Confederacy and General Lee, General Longstreet survived his wounding and was later able to return to command, although without the use of one of his arms, for the duration of the war. The month of May also played a significant part in the formation of the Confederate States of America when the state of North Carolina and Commonwealth of Virginia voted to secede from the Union within one week of each other in 1861. Without a doubt, the month of May is a very important part of our Confederate Heritage-- something of which we may very proud. As we continue with our struggle of trying to save our history and our heritage, I am reminded of what the great reporter Edward R. Murrow once said - "We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibilities for the results." Something to think about the next time you hear someone talking down to those of us who wish to honor and educate others of our heritage and our history because they both are so much a part of who we are as Americans today. As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, I have been asked by a member of the UDC to see if the Longstreet camp would be interested in assisting with the planning and coordination of the upcoming Children of the Confederacy Convention that will be held in July. I have been informed that a representative will be present at our May Camp meeting who would like to speak about the Convention so I hope everyone is able to attend this meeting. Remember - "Longstreet is the Camp boys - Longstreet is the Camp!" I look forward to seeing everyone at our next camp meeting - May 20th! Deo Vindice! Mike
Many thanks to our members who cleaned up our one mile section of Studley Road, Hanover County, near Enon Church, on Saturday April 19. Lewis Mills always leads this effort, and he was ably assisted this year by Clint Cowardin, Lee Crenshaw, Ray Crews, Gene Golden, Andy Keller, and the writer. We were blessed with good weather and filled 14 trash bags. Next cleanup will be in October. Our appreciation also goes to Rob Millikin as he completed his term as 2nd Brigade Commander. Rob's dedicated service to the SCV also included chairing the Division Heritage Parade Committee and serving as co-editor of the "Old Dominion Voice." Rob has been an advocate for camps in the Virginia Division and is a good friend of our Camp. We welcome D. Michael Thomas as the newly elected 2nd Brigade Commander. I had the privilege of talking with Mike at the March meeting of his home camp, Robert E. Lee Camp # 1589. Mike intends to visit all the camps in the brigade, and we look forward to having him with us. At long last, the Robert E. Lee license plates are being distributed. Mine came Friday April 18 and were put on my car that day, just in time for the road cleanup crew to see them on Saturday. Several friends who are not SCV members have noticed them and have made favorable comments. The special lettering on my plates indicates that my ancestor served in the 26th Virginia Infantry. Our grandson recently had the word infantry in his school work. He wasn't sure what it meant. Leave it to the Frogs to confuse things with their prettified words. The Brits were much clearer. Most of Wellington's infantry regiments had the word "Foot" as part of their name. The clarity probably contributed to Wellington's success in the lengthy Peninsular War (1808-1814) and later at Waterloo (with the help of Blucher's Prussians). In the Zulu War the regiment at Rorke's Drift January 1879 was the 24th Foot. The Lee plates are available to everyone. If you had already applied and paid, you should be receiving them soon. The University of Richmond held a Civil War symposium the afternoon before the April 12 inauguration of Dr. Edward L. Ayers as president of the school. Dr. Ayers scheduled the inauguration to coincide with alumni reunion weekend. Dr. Ayers has never forgotten his roots in western North Carolina and east Tennessee. He is highly regarded as a scholar and an administrator and has been warmly received by the various constituencies of the University. When one of the speakers at the inauguration quoted Barney Fife, we knew everything was going to be all right! We were pleased to have Everette Ellis at our April meeting speaking on behalf of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Committee, which is planning an outstanding commemoration of President Davis's 200th birthday Saturday, June 7th, at Hollywood Cemetery. Our Camp voted to make a donation to assist the committee with financing the commemoration. Please mark your calendars and attend this event. We have received several more donations to the Hurtt Scholarship Fund, which assures us of funding this year's grant to the outstanding senior history at Douglas S. Freeman High School. Additional contributions will be used next year. It's not too late to make your voice heard to insure the preservation of Fort Monroe. There will be public hearings as follows: May 17 Hampton 10:00 AM May 20 Richmond Evening May 21 Washington, DC Evening Camp members on email will be notified as more details about those hearings are received. Unfortunately, the Richmond hearing is the same night as our Camp meeting. Last November's hearing in Richmond was the same night as the Richmond Civil War Round Table's annual banquet. In the interim, please write your political representatives, particularly the Governor, to urge them to preserve this international historic treasure. Politicians can count, and they or their subordinates read their mail. We have a responsibility to speak and write. Silence will tell those in authority that we don't care what happens to the Fort. Walter
THE HAPPY CLEANUP CREW!!
ROMA'S RESTAURANT 8330 STAPLES MILL RD. LOCATED IN "THE SHOPS AT STAPLES MILL" TURN LEFT AT FIRST STOPLIGHT NORTH OF THE WISTAR SHOPPING CENTER DINNER - SOCIAL 6:00 PM MEETING STARTS AT 7:00 PM
I am pleased to announce that we will now have Mr. Brent Morgan who is an avid genealogist and Registrar for the Richmond Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. His topic will be "Researching your War of Northern Agression Ancestors." Please plan to attend this meeting! I guarantee that you will learn something!! See you on the 20th! Taylor
Emerson Williams Emerson Williams, author of two historical novels, Roaring Creek and Sinkhole Justice, spoke to us about his ancestor Clarke Lewis, of Greenbrier County, (then) Virginia. When we think of West Virginia during The War Between The States, we tend to focus on its unconstitutional secession from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Too often overlooked is the fact that there were some western Virginians who remained loyal to their state and who served in the Confederate Army. The inclination of citizens of Greenbrier County was demonstrated by Abraham Lincoln's not receiving one single vote in the county in the 1860 presidential election. The speaker's ancestor Clarke Lewis joined the 22nd Virginia Infantry, nicknamed the Virginia 1st Kanawha Infantry Regiment, and participated in battles at Scarey Creek and other western Virginia locations in the fall of 1861. General Robert E. Lee sent General Henry Wise back to Richmond. In 1862 the 22nd saw action at Giles Court House, Lewisburg, and in the Kanawha Campaign. Actions of 1863 were in Jones's and Imboden's West Virginia Raid, at White Sulphur Springs, and at Droop Mountain. General John Breckenridge convinced West Virginia Confederate troops to come east. The 22nd fought along with the VMI Cadets at New Market. After North Anna, the 22nd was at Cold Harbor. They were cheered by other Confederate troops when they moved from the left of the line to the right. They then came to Richmond. Under Jubal Early the 22nd participated in the Lynchburg Campaign and the battle at Monocacy. The regiment went with Early to the vicinity of Fort Stevens, Washington, DC. Clarke Lewis was captured by the Yankees at the third battle of Winchester September 19, 1864. He was taken to the notorious prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he was given one blanket, a tin cup, and a tin plate. He suffered through the winter with other prisoners there. Lewis was released before Appomattox. Emerson's second book, Sinkhole Justice, deals with postwar Lewis Mill, West Virginia. Clarke Lewis lived until 1908. It was interesting to hear about western Virginia soldiers who served the Confederacy loyally throughout The War. Walter
2005-2008 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Michael Kidd 270-9651 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 359-9277 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Thomas G. Vance 282-6278 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Judge Advocate: Harry Boyd 741-2060 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 474-1978
PUBLICATIONSWebmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website: longstreetscv.org War Horse: David P. George 200-1311
The following is a listing of contributors to the upkeep of "The Old War Horse" from July, 2007. through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year and we do not meet in August. Lloyd Brooks* Brian Cowardin Clint Cowardin* Gary Cowardin Taylor Cowardin Ray Crews Jerold Evans Kitty Faglie Richard Faglie Michael Hendrick Michael Kidd Peter Knowles,II Lewis Mills Conway Moncure Robert Moore Joe Moschetti John Moschetti Peyton Roden Bill Setzer Rufus Sarvay Will Shumadine Austin Thomas John Vial Jerry Wells David Ware Harold Whitmore Bobby Williams Hugh Williams Keith Zimmerman In memory of Robert Mahone - Raymond Crews In memory of Hef Ferguson and Chuck Walton - Preston Nuttall & Walter Tucker Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation + - in memory of Past Cmdr. Tom Lauterbach
HURTT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDThe fund is alive and well thanks to the donations received from the following members: Brian Cowardin Clint Cowardin Michael Hendrick Lewis Mills Bob Moore Preston Nuttall Waite Rawls Peyton Roden Rufus Sarvay Walter Tucker This is a annual monetary award for the best history scholar of the graduating class of Douglas Freeman High School. The winner is selected by the History Department of the school.
ROBERT E. LEE PLATE IS FINALLY HERE!!Lee plates are now available at the DMV!! You may order them on line at the following web site: www.dmv.virginia.gov Information on the plates may be obtained at the following site: www.dmv.virginia.gov/exe/vehicle/splates/info.asp?idnm=REL A souvenir plate is also available.
NATIONAL JEFFERSON DAVIS MEMORIAL SERVICE HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY SATURDAY, JUNE 7,2008 10:00 A.M. RICHMOND, VIRGINIA SPONSORED BY THE VIRGINIA DIVISION SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANSSaturday, June 7th will be the two-hundredth birthday of the President of the Confederacy!! The following notes were taken by our Adjutant, Walter Tucker at a Symposium sponsored by the Museum of the Confederacy and the Library of Virginia on February 23, 2008: William C. "Jack" Davis spoke about grading Davis as a president. Ranking presidents became popular beginning with Arthur Schlesinger in 1948. Jack feels that Jeff should be on the list of best presidents. Presidents are judged by challenges they face and should be judged by what is possible. He doesn't think it's fair to compare Jeff with Lincoln. Jeff didn't do particularly well in staffing his administration. He chose one cabinet member from each state. He had never met two cabinet members. He almost had duels with two. Judah Benjamin is over-rated and was not loyal to Davis. Jeff had too few resources and too little time. The Confederacy had no domestic policy and no hard currency. Financing was done by gifts, loans, and taxes. There was never a shortage of armaments. The Confederate government imposed: Wage and price controls Rationin Prohibition Impressment of personal property Draft (before the Union Welfare Martial law It was the closest thing to a socialized state until Franklin D. Roosevelt. Jefferson Davis was realistic and not an ideologue. Necessity overrode principle. He misunderstood cotton. Jack gave him a B+ on domestic policy. Jeff's goal in foreign policy was to keep channels of communication open. He picked William Lowndes Yancey, a most intemperate man, as his chief diplomat. The Confederacy published a newspaper in London and bribed French journalists. Propaganda was effective. Jack gives Jeff a B or B+ in foreign policy. With only one political party, Jeff got his program across. He vetoed 33 bills. Only one veto was overturned. He once got into a shouting match with a North Carolina congressman. As Commander-in-Chief his goal was victory (independence) or nothing. He did not interfere with his generals. His greatest mistake was in sticking with Joe Johnston too long. Jack gives Jeff an "A" as Commander in Chief. Jeff failed to use the Presidency as a bully pulpit. He made no outreach to dissidents. Overall, Jack gives Jeff a B+ and ranks him 6th (out of 21) in 19th century presidents. William J. Cooper, Jr. asserted that Jefferson Davis regarded the Confederacy as a holy cause and not as a political matter. Jeff considered the CSA to be a fifth son. In 1860 the Republicans were determined to win the election and dropped the anti-slavery plank from their platform. Lincoln was more moderate than Seward, so the party turned away from the latter. Southerners perceived that Republicans did not regard them as Americans. Jefferson Davis urged caution. Lincoln's pressures as leader of the Republican Party caused him to be consumed with patronage requests. He was a sectional winner in the presidential race and became a national leader. He did not take secession talk seriously. He had no knowledge of the South. Lincoln kept quiet after the election. The committee of 13 could not come up with a solution to the crisis. Seward voted against every compromise suggested by the Committee. To Lincoln the Republican Party and the nation were the same, but the Party dominated. State militia units captured forts. Jeff Davis was prepared to pay for Forts Pickens and Sumter. Lincoln was willing to accept New Mexico as a slave state. Lincoln minimized the crisis. Joan Cashin spoke about Varina Howell Davis, whose father was from New Jersey and whose mother was a Virginian. Her family was verbal and highly extroverted. Varina had a private tutor and went to boarding school in Philadelphia. She met Jeff at a Christmas party in 1843 and married him in 1845. She felt that she was in the shadow of Sarah Knox Taylor, Jeff's first wife. She did not think the South could win The War. Postwar she felt that it was God's will that the North won. She lived in New York from 1890 to 1906, where she got to be friends with Julia Dent Grant. Joseph Pulitzer paid her an annual stipend to write for the New York World. Donald E. Collins, author of The Death and Resurrection of Jefferson Davis, said that Jeff's biography didn't end with his death. He said that the view varied as time went by. He was considered as: Confederate president 1861-65 Martyr 1865-89 American soldier 1889 Confederate 1893 Confederate president 1907-present Davis was blamed for the Confederate defeat. The Yankees' harsh imprisonment of him at Fort Monroe turned him into a martyr. Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt contributed to his bail. Prosecutor Richard Henry Dana suggested that Davis not be brought to trial. The Yankees did not want to lose in court what they'd won on the battlefield. Davis took a Southern tour in 1886. Henry Grady, who utilized Davis to help get John B. Gordon elected, wrote in that year, "This outcast is the uncrowned king of our people. Memories that for 20 years have been buried in our hearts have given us the best Easter we have seen since Christ was risen from the dead." Jefferson Davis was buried as a soldier of the United States Army. The American flag predominated on the funeral carriage. The central government ignored him. The Secretary of War said, "We know of no such person."
TALES OF OLD FORT MONROEAs you know, there are discussions going on about the future of Fort Monroe. The Army is closing the base and planning to dispose of the property. We all should be aware of the history of this wonderful site in order to be able to help preserve it from becoming used for commercial purposes. Who is to take possession of the Fort? Will it be the City of Hampton, the National Park Service or the State of Virginia? The following Information sheets and brochures in packets are available for purchase in the Casemate Museum at Ft. Monroe: 1. Robert E. Lee at Fort Monroe 2. Black Hawk at Fort Monroe 3. Edgar Allan Poe at Fort Monroe 4. George Simon Bernard: Aide to Napoleon, Designer of Fort Monroe 5. Is It a Fort or a Fortress? 6. Fort Monroe in the Civil War 7. Short History of the Civil War 8. U. S. Grant Comes to Fort Monroe 9. Abraham Lincoln's Campaign Against the Merrimac (CSS Virginia) 10. Old Point Comfort: America's Greatest Bastion 11. The Fanny: First Aircraft Carrier (1861) 12. The Monitor & the Merrimack (CSS Virginia) 13. Jefferson Davis: Brief Biography 14. On to Richmond: General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign 15. Abraham Lincoln at the Hampton Roads Peace Conference (1865) Sunny weather is now upon us. Pack a lunch and take the family down to see the Fort! Purchase the brochures and read them. Become aware of its history and then give the politicians your input. Let's not lose this very important site by allowing commercial interests to destroy it.
A LITTLE HUMOR!"The biggest myth about Southern Women is that we are frail types-fainting on our sofas Nobody where I grew up ever acted like that. We were about as fragile as coal trucks!" Lee Smith
CALENDAR OF VIRGINIA EVENTSMAY 15-18 5th annual Pamplin Historical Spring Tour. "1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign." Six major battlefields, including New Market, Winchester, Cedar Creek & Lexington. Meals included. Lodging in New Market optional. Reservations required. For information: (804) 861-2408 or www.pamplin.org MAY 16-18 144th anniversary of the Battle of New Market, New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Friday afternoon, artillery duel in town. Saturday, living history presentations, noon concert by Stonewall Brigade, 2 p.m. tactical. Sunday, church service, living history; 1:30 p.m. battle reenactment. Admission, $10 adult, $5 children ages 6-17. All ticket sales support preservation and interpretation of the park. For info: (866) 515-1864. MAY 22 "Lee and the Historians in the Age of Anti-Hero" lecture in the Robins Family Forum, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, noon. Robert K. Krick, lecturer. For info: (804)698-7661; www.vahistorical.org
MUSEUM OF THE CONFEDERACYOpening Exhibition "Between The Battles," Friday, May 23. Exhibit explores daily life of the Confederate soldier between battles. Walking Tour: "A Pedestrian's View of Confederate Richmond," Saturday, May 24, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Call (804) 649-1861, Ext. 32 to register. Cost $7 for members/$10 for non-members. Walking Tour of Jefferson Davis' Richmond. Fridays, May 16 & 23, Saturdays, May 24 & 31, plus other days throughout June, July & August. All Tours 12:00-1:00 p.m. Reservations recommended. Call Dean Knight, (804) 649-1861, Ext. 37 for more details. Jefferson Davis's 200th Birthday Celebration, Tuesday, June 3, 11:00 a.m.-3:00p.m. Free museum admission all day !! The museum will be offering cake in his honor in the garden and pictures with the man himself: Jim Bazo, Jefferson Davis re-enactor will be on hand for a speech and a photo op. Take a walking tour at noon of Jefferson Davis' Richmond. (See above for full details. For info: Linda Lipscomb at (804) 649-1861, x 32 or llipscomb@ moc.org