Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog


Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on November 27, 2011

Items that don’t warrant separate posts on their own, but are of interest and worth mentioning:

  • The saga of the Texas SCV license plates continues. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, the lead advocate for the effort, published editorials in newspapers around the state (like this one) making an analogy between the proposed SCV plate and one previously approved honoring the Buffalo Soldiers. It’s now become a talking point, even popping up in the comment threads here. (It’s funny how the heritage-not-hate crowd always insists it’s never about race, but invariably and immediately falls back on the but-you-did-it-for-the-black-folks argument, instead of being considered on its own merit.) Sure enough, pounding that particular analogy has made a convoluted and unpleasant argument even more convoluted and unpleasant. Mission accomplished!
  • Kevin reminds us that the bromide that slavery was on its way out, and would have died a natural, peaceful death without bloodshed within a generation or two, is an assumption that only came later. It was not something the secessionists believed in 1860. It’s certainly not something believed at the time by Confederate officials and various secession conventions, much less folks like the Knights of the Golden Circle.
  • Jimmy Price, who blogs about the USCT at The Sable Arm, has a profile up of Milton M. Holland, the mixed-race son of a white slaveholder from Texas. Freed by his father before the war and sent to Ohio, he eventually enlisted in the 5th USCT and earned the Medal of Honor at New Market. For those keeping score at home, First Sergeant Holland was first cousin to James Kemp Holland, a Confederate military aide during the war to Governor Murrah of Texas. It’s a small damn world.
  • The Texas State Library and Archives Commission recently changed its policy on ordering copies of Texas Confederate pensions, and now requires payment up-front before the order is filled. You can still request up to ten records by e-mail, but they’ll now e-mail back with the fee required, before making and mailing the copies. (Previously they had send an invoice with the requested copies, and relied on users to follow up with payment.) They also announced that their Confederate pension holdings are in the process of being digitized by Ancestry, which will make all those documents available online to subscribers. The materials are expected to be online by February 2012.


Image: Captain Paul J. Matthews, Founder of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, appeared in Austin on Thursday, Nov. 10, as the board discussed the Confederate plates. Photo: Associated Press, Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman.

7 Responses

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  1. Rob Baker said, on November 27, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Scott Manning said, on November 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I was always surprised at how trusting Texas was with its billing policy on pension applications. I was and am still happy to pay upfront or after the fact. The service is far more valuable than what they charge.

    • Andy Hall said, on November 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      I agree entirely. I got caught off guard by this change. I fired off a routine request a while back, and got what I supposed was a routine acknowledgement. I then promptly went off doing something else, and only recently realized I hadn’t heard back. Then I went back and looked at the message, and sure enough, I need to send them a check.

      They’re about the only folks I know who worked on that system, and it’s still appallingly inexpensive. Adding the files to Ancestry, though, will be very welcome for a lot of us, just for convenience’ sake.

  3. Margaret D. Blough said, on December 1, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Do the SCV license plate proponents THINK? There has to be a large number of organizations which Texas has allowed to sponsor license plates and which do not have anything to do with race that the SCV plate proponents could use. The fact that they instinctively leap to the Buffalo Soldiers’ plate speaks volumes.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 1, 2011 at 7:35 am

      Heritage groups do and say things all the time that are counterproductive to their usually-stated goal of educating the general public. That’s especially true when it comes to the CBF, which is a symbol most people would argue needs to be handled carefully, with a willingness to listen and understand the other side and a genuine sensitivity to the ways it’s been used in recent decades. Instead, we get public displays like this at Lexington a few months ago:

      Who, exactly, sees that belligerent clownery* and says, to themselves, “those guys seem to have a point — I want to learn more about what they have to say!”

      There seems to be a deeply abiding lack of perspective when it comes to “heritage” issues, and a real inability to see themselves as others do. But, it gives me a lot of material to work with here, right?

      You may have seen how the North Carolina Sesquicentennial Commission came up with a pretty decent license plate to honor North Carolinians in the war. The Texcas SCV could have done something similar — and had their plates out on the roads right now, today — but instead chose to make theirs a plate not about the war, but about the SCV, Confederate Battle Flag logo and all. Because it’s not about the war, or veterans, or sacrifice; it’s all about them.
      * Credit where it’s due: Billy Bearden, standing in the background at left center, actually brings some element of dignity to this image. Same can’t really be said for those other yahoos.

  4. Foxessa said, on December 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This makes me think of what I saw posted by someone else this morning — I quote:

    [ “On my way in from the parking lot, I saw a bumper sticker still so awful, even after that first cup of work coffee, that I must break radio silence and tell you what I saw:

    Two emblems, of roughly equal size and dimension, next to each other. On the left, the POW/MIA flag. On the right, the confederate flag. Above and below the flags, these two lines:

    This flag would have
    Never left you there

    I can hear it set to music now, dammit. ” ]

    The beat goes on. It will never stop, I fear, even if this nation endures unto our children’s children. But this beat (among other things) also makes it the likelihood of such endurance less likely.

    Love, C.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      It’s a strange dynamic. These folks are extremely patriotic, and place a high value on military service, both their own and their forebearers’. At the same time, though, there’s a tendency in some cases to rail against “the Empire” (Washington, DC), make reference to the American flag as a “yankee rag,” refer to the U.S. government as ongoing occupiers of the South, and so forth. There’s a whole lot of mental compartmentalization going on.

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