Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Clara Barton, Confederate Heroine

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 21, 2011

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Under Dixie Outfitter’s “Southern History” section, I stumbled upon this gem. While I don’t doubt that, as a battlefield nurse, Barton tended to wounded Confederates as well as Union troops, it sure seems a bit of a stretch to claim this Unitarian daughter of Massachusetts as a “Confederate heroine.” (This is almost as good as the time recently when I saw a paean to the virtues of traditional antebellum Southern womanhood, headed by a picture of New England Quaker, abolitionist and proto-feminist Lucretia Mott.) It’s hard to imagine what the woman who organized the exhumation, identification and reburial of the remains of over 12,000 Federal prisoners at Andersonville would think of Dixie Outfitters’ honorific. The Geocities link at the bottom died with that online hosting service in 2009, but you can view it here in the Internet Way-Back machine. No “Confederate heroine” foolishness there.

I’m not sure why I should be surprised; the subject of Dixie Outfitters’ “Legends of the Confederacy: Washer Women” shirt was actually the wife of a soldier in the 31st Pennsylvania Infantry.

9 Responses

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  1. Margaret Blough said, on June 21, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Andy-I was born in Johnstown, PA where the memory of Clara Barton is held in particular reverence since Barton and the Red Cross made their reputation in dealing with the horrific aftermath of the 1889 Johnstown Flood. The neo-Confederates better keep their mitts off her. I am sure she provided medical services to wounded Confederates but that would be because, as a nurse she was not a combatant and was morally and ethically bound to treat any injured who came under her responsibility.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 21, 2011 at 7:44 am

      Thanks for commenting, but I wouldn’t worry overmuch about it. Dixie Outfitters and similar vendors are, from the perspective of a blogger looking for a quick post, low-hanging fruit. There’s much silliness going on over there when it comes to their grasp of the historical record.

      Barton did similar work here after the 1900 Storm.

  2. dmf said, on June 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

    not on point but perhaps of interest:

  3. Lisa said, on June 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I’m not surprised. Although one does have to wonder how much of this ridiculousness is purposeful propaganda (like the supposed photo of the “1st Louisiana Native Guard”) or just plain ignorance of the facts (like someone just pulled the photo of the washer woman from the internet and thought it looked appropriate without actually researching the photo). I suspect that maybe its a little bit of both.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Lisa, thanks for commenting. Both rank dishonesty and credulous ignorance are involved, though I suspect more of the latter than the former. It does seem sometimes that no claim is too ludicrous, too “out there,” to be rejected so long as it conforms with a cherished Southron orthodoxy.

  4. Michael Lynch said, on June 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Remember that guy who gave press conferences for Saddam? That website sort of reminded me of him, for some reason.


    • Andy Hall said, on June 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Comical Ali? I love that guy.

      • Andrea said, on June 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm

        Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, otherwise known as Baghdad Bob. I was part of a team that launched Tomahawks during that war and we got a kick out of watching him on TV denying that anything was going on while our missiles hit buildings nearby. And yeah, the Dixie Outfitters site does have some of the same desperate denialist feel about it. (Hi, long-time reader, first-time commenter! ;))

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