Posts Tagged 'because we’re Southern'

HISTORY, CIVICS, AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY PART 2

A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A GOOD AMERICAN

H. K. Edgerton and the Pursuit of Truth

Mike Scruggs

August 19, 2005

“A few days ago I had lunch with H. K. Edgerton at Hannah Flanagan’s Pub in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  H. K., as almost everyone calls him, is a graying, 56-year-old African-American whose photo often appears in the news.  In fact, his photo was on the front page of The Asheville Tribune that very day.  What is remarkable to some is that very often he is carrying a Confederate Battle Flag, defending Confederate monuments or Confederate heritage.  H. K. is Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Southern Legal Resource Center, but it would be a serious mistake to think that was all he is about.  He is very knowledgeable on a very wide variety of political and social issues.

“H. K. had the chicken wings, a favorite dish for him.  I had the shepherd’s pie.  One of the things I like about Hannah Flanagan’s is that they have a good choice of authentic Irish meals on their menu.  One of the things I like about H. K. is that he himself is an authentic Southern style, American patriot.

“H. K. is an energetic advocate of truth and right.  It might seem strange to some that a former NAACP officer speaks so fervently for Confederate heritage.  But H. K. is not bound by the chains of political correctness.  He is a zealous advocate of truth, wherever it is found and however unpopular.

“H. K.’s internal drive seems to be based on a strong belief in the transcendent and eternal truths taught in Scripture.  The outward manifestation of that faith is his zealous drive for truth in all things, including history.  His zeal for truth in all things often brings strong opposition, but he persists with courage and grace.  Truth is not a popularity contest to him.  He possesses that remarkable, all-weather brand of courage without which no other virtue can long survive.

“H. K. was using a cane that day.  He had just returned from Memphis where there has been a political attack on Southern heritage centering on Confederate monuments in Memphis parks.  During his travel through Tennessee he hurt his leg and back mowing a lady’s lawn.  That in itself is a portrait of H. K.  He is filled with a courageous zeal for truth, but he is the soul of grace, compassion, courtesy, and helpfulness.  He is in every respect the model of the Christian gentleman whose devotion to duty, honor, courage, grace, and selfless patriotism Robert E. Lee sought to instill in his students as Superintendent at West Point before the Civil War and as President of Washington and Lee after the war.

“H. K. and I talked about a lot of things from home-schooling, property rights, the Constitution, and the moral tailspin of American society to the tidal wave of illegal immigration that is engulfing the Carolinas and other Southern states.  He is saddened that many black leaders have chosen to preach victimhood and aggravate racial grievances in the name of justice and that so many white business and political leaders kowtow to them.  At the same time he mourns that most public schools have distorted Southern history so much that young students are ashamed of their Southern heritage.  Every day brings forth some new instance of the very descendents of Confederate soldiers and patriots trampling the honor and courage of their forefathers to the ground to gain respectability with the vicious slanderers of Southern heritage.  Such is the advanced state of political correctness even in the South.  Of course, political correctness is not about the truth.  It is about shouting down the truth, and it feeds on an environment of obsequious moral cowardice.  

“H. K. Edgerton doesn’t put on any righteous or self-important airs.  He is as human and vulnerable to human frailties as the rest of us, but somehow his extraordinary courage, grace, and a zeal for truth shine through.  A lot of people, both white folks and black folks and others as well, love and admire H. K.  He would probably make a great preacher, but his life is a pretty good sermon itself.  I wish we had about 50,000 teachers like him.  I would rest more comfortably about the future of our country.

“H. K. showed me a letter he had written to President Bush, asking for a meeting with him.  I know the letter was hand delivered to the President by a friend.  The President would do well to meet with H. K. and listen keenly to what he says.  I am sure the White House can fix up some chicken wings, and America would be far better for it.

“Postscript: September 10, 2009.  President George W. Bush never met with Edgerton who is now trying to meet with the current president.”

From The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths

By Leonard M. (Mike) Scruggs

2011

“LET THE SOUTHERN CROSS BE A SYMBOL OF LIBERTY AND BROTHERHOOD”

“At Appomattox Courthouse in April of 1865, an Alabama soldier by the name of Zeb Thompson stood, rifle by his side, within a stone’s throw of General Robert E. Lee when he yielded his sword to General Grant.  Thompson had participated in many of the greatest battles of the War during his service to the Confederacy and had been wounded three times.  Thompson, like several other Confederate soldiers looking on, was a black man.  Also there was Private John P. Leach, one of two blacks, and ten whites, left in Company C of the 53rd North Carolina Regiment.  These were just a few of at least 50,000 and as many as 100,000 black slaves and freemen who served the Confederate cause in some military or naval capacity.  Thompson indicated in his 1917 interview with the Birmingham Age-Herald that he had attended every Confederate reunion and was very proud of his war record.

“On May 15, 1861, Walter Bryson, a recent graduate of South Carolina Medical School in Charleston and son of a prominent Hendersonville, North Carolina, family, returned home to enlist in the Hendersonville Rifles.  With him went 17-year-old George Mills, a slave belonging to his father, to serve as his body servant.  Within a short time Bryson was elected by his fellow soldiers to serve as Captain of Company G of the 35th North Carolina Troops.  Unfortunately, Captain Bryson, only 21-years-old, was killed by a Yankee sharpshooter at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) in Maryland on September 17, 1862.

“George Mills recovered the body of his master’s son from the battlefield and by an arduous journey obtained an iron casket and a wagon and returned Walter Bryson’s remains to his grieving family in Hendersonville, thus faithfully fulfilling a promise to the Bryson family.  Upon his return to Henderson County, George Mills served in the Home Guard until the end of the war.  He eventually received a Confederate pension and was active in Confederate veteran affairs until his death in 1926.  Both Walter Bryson and George Mills are now buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville.  The grave of George Mills is marked with a Confederate Cross of Honor and a memorial plaque placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1960.  In April of 2006, the local Sons of Confederate Veterans in Hendersonville renamed their camp the Captain Walter M. Bryson-George Mills Camp, honoring both men.

“In late June and early July of 1863, a force of 2,000 Confederate cavalry, consisting of Kentucky, Texas, and Alabama regiments under the command of the daring and flamboyant Major General John Hunt Morgan, crossed the Ohio River and swept through southern Indiana and Ohio in a completely unexpected and startling raid.  This panicked the state and local governments of Indiana and Ohio and diverted 60,000 Federal infantry and cavalry from more pressing military objectives.  Morgan’s raid was not authorized by his Confederate commanders, and he and his men were later captured, but their daring made a lasting impression.  Indiana and Ohio civilians and local militia were also astonished to see dozens of black faces among these elite Confederate cavalrymen.

“It was very late in the war, March 13, 1865, before the Confederate Congress reluctantly authorized President Davis to call on slave owners to provide the service of able-bodied servants for military service.  Although some Confederate leaders, such as General Patrick Cleburne, had long advocated the move, many had resisted the idea.  Many feared the loss of productive workers in the vital cotton and agricultural industries.  Others were uncertain of the loyalties and fighting spirit of slaves essentially drafted into the army.  By 1865 however, President Davis, General Lee, and a majority of the Confederate Congress believed the move was essential to win the war.  They were also willing to give those slaves who served in the army their freedom at the end of the war as a reward for their service.  (Most Southerners were quite willing to give up slavery to achieve their independence.)

“However, many blacks both free and slave were already serving in the army by that time.  Confederate government was by its very nature decentralized government with great flexibility left to the states.  For example, the Tennessee Legislature authorized enlistment of ‘all male persons of color between the ages of fifteen and fifty’ in June of 1861.  In other states many free blacks joined local militia and Home Guard units.  As the war continued, both free and bonded blacks began to fill in many needed occupations and positions in the Confederate Army.  Many ‘body servants’ accompanied their masters into the army.  Early in the war most of these body servants supported their masters and their units in the rear.  As the war progressed, it became more and more common for body servants to accompany their masters into battle armed to the teeth and fully participating in combat.

“Blacks were especially common as teamsters of Confederate supply wagons.  Great numbers were used for building fortifications and other engineering support or ‘sapper’ (combat engineering) jobs.  They were also enlisted as nurses, ambulance drivers and attendants, railroad firemen, cooks, buglers, drummers, fifers, and all sorts of musicians, barbers, messengers, blacksmiths, and other support positions.  One Tennessee regiment even had a much appreciated black chaplain.  These support troops were often exposed to enemy fire in accomplishing these activities.

“Many blacks became integrated through one means or another into regular infantry and cavalry regiments and artillery batteries.  Many accounts indicate they were frequently used as sharpshooters.  Considerable anecdotal evidence seems to place more blacks in cavalry and artillery units than others, perhaps because of past responsibilities and skills learned shoeing and caring for horses, repairing and maneuvering heavy wagons, and other plantation and farm experience also very necessary to keeping armies in the field.  A Union Army observer estimated that at least 3,000 of 64,000 Confederate troops that moved through Frederick, Maryland, on their way to the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) in 1862 were fully armed and equipped blacks, many on horseback. 

“Blacks were also common in the Confederate Navy from the very beginning of the war.  Photographic evidence indicates that black sailors served on the Confederate Navy’s most distinguished warship, the C.S.S. Alabama, commanded by Captain Raphael Semmes. The Alabama terrorized and frustrated Yankee merchant shipping around the world. 

“Contrary to fashionable academic opinion, Confederate blacks were generally more enthusiastic and dependable supporters of the Southern cause than were their Federal counterparts to the Union cause.  In the vast majority of cases, there remained a strong bond of affection between master and slave, and Southern blacks identified more with the South, their homes, and familiar and friendly relationships than with Yankee promises.  Late in the war, according to a letter to General Richard S. Ewell from F.W. Hancock, a group of slaves working at a Confederate hospital were asked if they would be willing to take up arms against an impending attack by Federal forces.  Sixty out of 72 responded that they ‘would go to the trenches and fight the enemy to the bitter end.’

“It is true that over 500,000 of 3,500,000 black slaves crossed over to the Union lines as Federal armies arrived in their area, but many of these had nowhere else to go.  Sherman and Sheridan’s total war tactics were devastating farms, homes, food, and all means of survival.  According to several reports, most of these preferred to return to their masters within weeks.  Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress and friend to Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House, in her autobiography, commented on the disappointment and despair of newly emancipated slaves arriving in the North during the war:

“‘In visiting them…they would crowd around me with pitiful stories of distress.  Often I heard them declare that they would rather go back to slavery in the South and be with their old masters than to enjoy the freedom of the North.  I believe they were sincere in their declarations.’

“Union records indicate that forcing Southern blacks into the Federal Army at bayonet point was commonplace.  About 135,000 of 186,000 blacks in the Union Army were from Southern states.  Many were enthusiastic for their new cause and new masters, but many were not.  Many were very conflicted by the ordeal.  The March 21, 1864, issue of the Fayetteville Observer carried a story of a black Union soldier that refused to fire into a Confederate regiment, saying:

“‘My young master is thar; and I played with him all my life and he saved me from getting a many whipping I would have got, and I can’t shoot thar, for I loves my young master still.’

“This sort of behavior perplexed Union troops, who had come to believe they were liberating blacks from terrible oppression.  It fully exasperated Northern abolitionists.  One Northern journal, shocked by Union losses inflicted by black Confederates at Manassas in 1861, editorialized:

“‘The war has dispelled one delusion of the abolitionists.  The Negroes regard them as enemies instead of friends.  No insurrection has occurred in the South—no important stampede of slaves has evinced their desire for freedom.  On the contrary, they have jeered at and insulted our troops, have readily enlisted in the rebel army and on Sunday at Manassas, shot down our men with as much alacrity as if abolitionism had never existed.’

“Post war and modern propaganda has buried an important part of American history, the matchless devotion of most Southern blacks to their masters and to the Southern cause of independence.  White Southerners have great reason to appreciate the steadfast loyalty that black slaves and freemen showed them during the terrible ordeal of the Civil War.  Blacks faithfully watched after their farms and families during the war.  They fought side by side with them and supported them with the last drop of sweat and blood on many fields of honor.  Black Southerners have as much reason to take pride in their Southern and Confederate heritage as their white compatriots.  Why not do so together?  There is nothing sinful about mutual affection and respect.  Indeed, the Bible says that Christians will be known for their love for each other.  Slavery is gone now, and no one outside of a madhouse regrets it.  But what have we gained if freedom and mutual affection are lost?  Let the Southern Cross be a symbol of liberty and brotherhood.”

From The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths

By Leonard M. Scruggs

2011

AMEN

“No people in the history of the world have been so misunderstood, so misjudged, and so cruelly maligned as the people of the South.”

John Brown Gordon

Confederate General, Georgia Governor, and United States Senator

WE HAD BETTER GET BUSY

“The South is still being subjected to an outrageous tyranny.  When the victors occupy the territory of the defeated for a long period, they are able to reshape history so well as to glorify enormous evil and shame righteous courage.  It is a form of tyranny more evil than the initial conquest.  Ignorance and cowardice enshrine as good what in truth was enormous evil.  Truth and courageous dissent from lies and distortions are not celebrated in societies where might has come to mean right.  Truth is displaced by self-justifying propaganda.  Nobility is crushed by outrageous slander.

“There are more books written about the ‘Civil War’ than any other topic except Christianity.  Yet most of the real causes of the war have been buried under twenty feet of propaganda.  Self-justifying propaganda is now the prevailing staple of ‘Civil War’ history in public and unfortunately even in most Christian schools.  It presents as a noble struggle against slavery what was really an unconstitutional military aggression to prevent Southern Independence.  This prevailing cover of propaganda serves both to bury uncomfortable history and as a tool for modern political agendas.

“Slavery was an issue that caused many serious tensions, but the full scope and nature of these tensions are largely unknown and badly misunderstood today.  The war was about the right of the Southern people to self-determination and government by the consent of the governed versus being held involuntarily to a Union which experience was proving not to be in their best political and economic interests.

“Has our society been in a moral tail-spin for too long to value truth?  Are Americans still morally capable of dealing honestly with the causes and conduct of the ‘Civil War’?  Once you have built your worldview on a lie, it is very difficult to see the truth, much less to embrace the truth.  But truth, however uncomfortable and unpopular or however deeply buried and trampled, is still truth.  It has a tendency to resurrection, though truth is hard to face after decades of believing lies.  Truth is hard to bear when you have for many years justified yourself and an idolized State with lies.  The standard school texts and teaching on the ‘Civil War’ in both public and Christian schools perpetrate enormous dishonesty as history.

“We now have a generation of Americans including most Southerners who are shamelessly ignorant of their own history.  What history they do know is laced with political deception.  How many high school teachers in the South in both public and Christian schools know anything but propaganda on the causes and conduct of the ‘Civil War’?  How many know the full truth about the Reconstruction era?  What are the penalties for them, if they step outside the chains of political correctness in their study and teaching?

“Yet there are reasons for optimism.  With the internet and many advances in computer technology in publishing, the Eastern liberal establishment is no longer as dominant in the publishing industry as it once was.  The truth about the war is seeping out into the public in newly published works and the republication of many older works.  I am optimistic that despite near fanatical opposition to the true history of that war, courage will eventually rescue truth.”

 

“Truth and courage are sorely needed in today’s morally disintegrating society.  It is especially important in recovering these virtues to know our true history.  Much of what is published and taught in public schools and colleges today is either a sanitized whitewash or perverted political propaganda.  But I have confidence that even in today’s politically correct climate, truth will not be blotted out.  We cannot, as R. L. Dabney said, ‘bury true history whose years are those of the God of Truth.’  William Cullen Bryant put it a little differently, ‘Truth crushed to the ground shall rise again; the eternal years of God are hers.’  We should also remember the words of Samuel Johnson: ‘Where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident.’  No republic can long survive whose people and leaders are not both devoted to truth and resolute in their courage to maintain it.  Ultimately all courage, including political courage and courage in battle, is moral courage.  Moral courage, more often than not, is tested principally by time, often a long period of time.  I believe we can recover both truth and courage, but we had better get busy, for we are well on the way to destruction.”

 

From The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths

By Leonard M. Scruggs

2011  

SOUTHERN AMERICAN

The posthumous extermination of the Confederate States of America is destructive to the United States of America.


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