Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Just Makin’ Stuff Up

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on May 3, 2013


This is (at least) the fourth time Gary’s posted this nonsense:


A Confederate soldier for less than a day, James Hanger had the misfortune of losing a leg at the first land battle of the war, Philippi Bridge, WV, He returned home to Churchville, Virginia and made himself an artificial leg then found he had a market in both the North and South and started the Hanger Corp, still in business today. . . . Sadly, as with the rest of the politically correct world in which we live, the company no longer relates the story of their origin.


That’s not even remotely true; Hanger, Inc. dropped a not-insignificant amount of money a couple of years back on making this video (above). The company not only developed a webpage about its origins, they created a separate Internet domain for it, You go to main company website, click on “About Us,” then on “Hanger’s History.” Two clicks, that’s all. Hell, James Edward Hanger’s biography on the site begins with the sentence, “On June 1, 1861, 18-year-old engineering student James Edward Hanger left his family, forgoing his studies at Washington College. . . to join his brothers in the Confederate Army.”

Have any of the nearly 2,000 True Southrons™ over there ever nudged Gary on this foolishness? Not as far as I can tell. But then, it’s heritage: it doesn’t matter if it’s true, so long as it reaffirms your oppression under the boot heel of political correctness.


Update, May 5: Gary clears up the confusion, while complaining about “bloggers who likes to fact check posts here and straigten [sic.] the wrongs of the world.” As usual, the true villain here is not the person who repeatedly posted something demonstrably untrue, but the person who publicly called him on it. Good times.



18 Responses

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  1. Kevin Levin said, on May 4, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I had a student in Charlottesville who was a descendant of Hanger and was fascinated with the story. The year she took my Civil War class it was organized as a research seminar. This student did some incredible work on the origin of the company. I can try to contact her if Mr. Adams would like a personal tutorial. The Internet is a wonderful thing. It allows you to say pretty much anything you want.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 4, 2013 at 8:56 am

      It’s a great story and I’m glad the company highlights it.

      The telling thing about Gary’s posts is less about them, than about why no one seems to know or care whether it’s right or not.

      • kevlvn said, on May 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

        Wish I still had this kid’s paper. As you might expect, although the broad outline of the story is correct there is a great deal of relevant detail that is left out.

  2. Brooks D. Simpson said, on May 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    My impression is that the membership of the SHPG views Gary Adams’s posts as if he’s the old crazy uncle they all adore regardless of what he says. The irony is that he’s the one who warns them that repeating historical inaccuracies damages the group’s credibility.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      His title over there is “Chief Executive Officer.” The folks over there are much more resentful of people who “fact-check” them than they are interested in getting their facts straight in the first place.

  3. Rob Baker said, on May 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    To add to this dilemma, Gary apparently is suffering from some health issues.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm


      • Rob Baker said, on May 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm

        Gary’s posts.

        Just adding another possible alternative to his reasoning.

        • Andy Hall said, on May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

          If there’s a specific reason that Gary’s posts should not be taken seriously, then the SHPG can vet them, or append a disclaimer — “not intended to be a factual statement” seems to be the current verbiage for that — to each of his postings. It’s not just Gary’s credibility that’s affected by such blatant and repeated misrepresentation of something so easily verifiable. Rallying to the support of the unsupportable does not encourage others to take them seriously.

          • Rob Baker said, on May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am

            They are looking for self gratification and like minded individuals. They don’t really attempt to “educate.” They run from disagreement.

            • Andy Hall said, on May 6, 2013 at 11:32 am

              Of course. They advise their members not to read our blogs (using false claims to justify that policy), and yet insist we’re the ones trying to impose “thought control.”


              • Rob Baker said, on May 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

                I agree. Except of course for ol’ Georgy. Who is either willfully or blissfully ignorant.

              • Andy Hall said, on May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

                George is an independent contractor. AFAIK he’s not connected to SHPG or any other group, or necessarily pays any attention to them. As he told me once, “I said I never heard of DeWitt’s website and I still haven’t!”

              • Rob Baker said, on May 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

                I’ve got some real winners in my comments section as well.

  4. Robert Moore said, on May 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

    As a matter of fact, when I was writing my book about Augusta County in the Civil War, the company was very helpful in getting me a high quality image of Hanger for my book. They were very helpful.

  5. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on May 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

    The old journalism saying is “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” Though, here, a good story already exists and the facts back it up. I guess that’s not good enough to whip up support and money, however.

    • Andy Hall said, on May 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

      In the online world, at least, the Confederate “heritage” discussion is an internal conversation, directed to and with fellow believers more than with the general public. It’s an effort to keep the base engaged and united against perceived enemies, whether it’s political correctness, craven politicians, liberal academics or “Dixie-bashin’ bloggers.” In that environment, being factually accurate is far less important to the group’s self-image than being a perpetual victim of said enemies.

  6. Pat Young said, on May 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I sort of liked the film, but I do note that the Union band appear to be playing When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again in an 1861 battle when the song was not composed until 1863 by Irish-American bandleader Patrick Gilmore. Of course they could be playing its Irish antecedent Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye.

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