Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“. . . as far as Boston is from heaven.”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on May 4, 2016

Recently I had the great pleasure of attending a presentation at the Houston CWRT by Caroline Janney, based on her book, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation. It was a fantastic presentation. I came across this passage where a former officer of the First Texas Infantry chafed at the idea, becoming popular around the turn-of-the-century, of events combining delegations of both former U.S. and Confederate veterans:


More than a few, however, could do without the brotherly handshaking. “I don’t like these blue and gray reunions,” Col. R. J. Harding, the president of Hood’s Texas Brigade Association, declared on June 28, 1905; “something unpleasant always happens.” But Harding had a simple solution to the problem: “The quickest way to stop sectional feeling is to let each other alone. We are as far apart in what we fought for as we ever were, that is,” he quipped, “as far as Boston is from heaven.” No one wished for more strife and dissensions, he assured his comrades, but neither had they ever given up their view of the war.


I wonder what Cousin Katie — the only female member of the Hood’s Texas Brigade Association — thought about that.



12 Responses

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  1. Andy Hall said, on May 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    BTW, Harding is credited as being one of the officers who personally dissuaded Robert E. Lee from going into the front lines at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, an incident gone into history as “Lee to the Rear!”

  2. Will Hickox said, on May 4, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    It sounds to me like Col. Harding felt some bitterness and denial about the direction the former Confederate states had gone in by 1905, becoming the “New South” of commercialism and manufacturing that had closer economic and cultural ties to the North than ever before.

  3. OhioGuy said, on May 4, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Yes, I’d like to know what your Cousin Katie would have said. I believe my ancestors would have agreed with Col. Harding. From some of the writing by folks in their regiment it was fairly clear they weren’t much into reconciliation. They wanted the Rebs to accept the fact they were wrong for taking up arms against the government and that they had been defeated. A lot of Rebs would have loved their tradition of singing “Marching Through Georgia” at their reunions. 😉

    • Andy Hall said, on May 4, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      My sister was a teenager during the great folk music revival back in mumblemumblemumble.

      Anyway, she figured out pretty quickly that the quickest way to annoy our grandmother, who had grown up surrounded by old Confederate veterans, was to quietly hum “Marching Through Georgia” just loud enough for grandmother to hear.

  4. OhioGuy said, on May 4, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    For your reading enjoyment as you sing along with Mitch, err . . . Andy . . .

    • OhioGuy said, on May 5, 2016 at 12:16 am

      Did noticed that the P.C. Police changed one word in the Andy sing-a-long rendition. Fortunately, the 78th OVI, an abolitionist leaning bunch of Ohio farm boys with a mix of Quakerism in the ranks, weren’t so sensitive and sang the word “darkey” with no hint of bad feelings toward the race that in their view they had freed from slavery. Sometimes we can get so hung up on the current meaning and connotation of a word that we can miss what is actually being communicated in historical context. Would I ever use the term “darkey” today in polite conversation to refer to an African American? Of course not! But, I really don’t shy away from using it in the proper historical context. I like my Civil War songs in the original. Bastardizing the words of a song to give some ill-educated person his or her “safe space” is to me totally mindless. Now, that being said, I’ll get off my soap box, and say that I really do appreciate Andy’s post and the fun we are having with it. 😉

      • OhioGuy said, on May 5, 2016 at 10:24 am

        Mitch changed more than that one word. Here’s the earliest manuscript that I’m aware of:

        There’s a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to see,
        No other darky [sic] knows her, no darky only me
        She cryed [sic] so when I left her it like to broke my heart,
        And if I ever find her, we nevermore will part.


        She’s the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
        Her eyes are bright as diamonds,they sparkle like the dew;
        You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
        But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.

        When the Rio Grande is flowing, the starry skies are bright,
        She walks along the river in the quite [sic] summer night:
        She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,
        I promised to come back again, and not to leave her so. [Chorus]

        Oh now I’m going to find her, for my heart is full of woe,
        And we’ll sing the songs togeather [sic], that we sung so long ago
        We’ll play the bango gaily, and we’ll sing the songs of yore,
        And the Yellow Rose of Texas shall be mine forevermore. [Chorus]

        And, I suppose we’d should take out the word “yellow” because at the time it was a synonym for mulatto. It’s interesting that a version somewhat like the one above was used by some USCT regiments as a marching song. The roots of the song, though, I believe go back to the Texas War of Independence, or whatever you Texans call that conflict. 😉

        The first time I heard something close to the original words was a rendition done years ago by of all people Gene Autry. More recently, I’ve found a good close to original version by Tom Glazer:
        [audio src="" /]

        • OhioGuy said, on June 8, 2016 at 9:50 pm

          Here’s correct link to the audio of this version of the song:
          [audio src="" /]

  5. OhioGuy said, on May 9, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    What happened to my last post with the original lyrics?

  6. OhioGuy said, on May 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Happens to me all the time. I once didn’t get a job because the search committee said I had a “lack of focus.” I thought I just had eclectic interests . . . all a matter of definition I guess.

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