Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Now Houston.

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on August 21, 2017

And now this:

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A Houston man has been charged with trying to plant explosives at the statue of Confederate officer Richard Dowling in Hermann Park, federal officials said Monday.

Andrew Schneck, 25, who was released from probation early last year after being convicted in 2015 of storing explosives, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez said in a statement Monday.

Schneck was arrested Saturday night after a Houston park ranger spotted him kneeling in bushes in front of the Dowling monument in the park, Martinez said.

When confronted Saturday night in the park, he tried to drink some of the liquid explosives but spit it out, officials said.

The ranger then asked if he planned to harm the statue, and he said he did because he did not “like that guy,” according to a sworn statement submitted in federal court by an FBI agent investigating the case.

I and others have long argued that each community — whether it’s Houston, Charlottesville, Lexington, Danville, or any other — needs to find its own resolution to publicly-owned displays of Confederate iconography. I still believe that.

But as the saying goes, “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.” The measured, deliberate, and rational approach has been completely overtaken by events of the last few months, most particularly in Charlottesville. The real question at this point seems to be not whether or not monuments like this should stay, but what can be done with them when they, or at least a great many of them, end up being dismantled or relocated. It’s not longer a question of preserving these monuments in place; it’s a question of whether they can be preserved at all.

You can read my earlier posts about this monument here:

Dick Dowling, Kirby Smith, and the Future of Confederate Monuments

Dick Dowling and the Immigrant’s Call to Arms

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7 Responses

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  1. kbrown2225 said, on August 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    You are quite correct, Andy. Various scholars like Dr. James Loewen (and many other voices both in academia and in our communities) have been speaking for years about the issues that exist with these Lost Cause monuments, their often ugly historiography, and their historically misleading nature (at least for a great number of them). For the most part those voices were ignored.

    Now, as opposed to an intelligent discussion on how to improve these monuments in such a way as to teach an inclusive and truly accurate history that could incorporate both the true nature of such monuments and the social and political events that surrounded their placement, we are just seeing them coming down.

    It is a shame, as a historian I love pretty much any and all historical monuments, markers, or anything of the sort (I have since I was a little kid), unfortunately knowing the historiography of most of these monuments I have to agree that something needed to be done.

    Now I am concerned about any possible backlash that might threaten Confederate images in more historically appropriate places (battlefields, museums, and other locations).

  2. OhioGuy said, on August 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    The Lost Cause folks are completely responsible for this current “monument crisis” by their total rejection of historical facts. If they had been willing to listen to Civil War scholars and had then been open to reasonable compromise in the way these monuments were presented and in the placement of other monuments to folks who were loyal during the late Rebellion — like Frederick Douglass, southern Unionists, Hariett Tubman, USCT regiments made up of black southerners, the First Alabama Cavalry (USA), etc. — in nearby locations this crisis could have been averted. This has been done in some locations (e.g., Beaufort, SC, Robert Smalls; Winston County, AL, Statue of half-Union, half-Confederate soldier; and Knox County, TN, many Union memorials, including the birthplace of Admiral Farragut.) But unfortunately, these efforts were too few and far between. It’s a real shame. They sowed the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.

    • Andy Hall said, on August 21, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      The “heritage” folks have irresponsibly laid the rhetorical foundation on which the events last weekend in Charlottesville were built, by framing the fight over Confederate iconography in public spaces as an existential one for white southerners, and not just figuratively. They opened the door for the Heimbach/Spencer/Kessler folks to take advantage of. It’s only a short jump from online shouting about plans for “cultural genocide” of white southerners to actual shouting of “Jews will not replace us” by torchlight.

  3. kbrown2225 said, on August 21, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I think it is very interesting that despite all of the “heritage” talk and “Black Confederate” nonsense, there isn’t (to the best of my knowledge) a single monument in the South to any of the over 100,000 Southerners who fought for the Union as members of the United States Colored Troops.

    The majority of them were Southern men (albeit Black ones) who fought bravely for their freedom, the freedom of the families, and the freedom of the nearly four million enslaved Southerners of color.

    Aren’t they “Southerners”? Don’t they have a heritage worthy of being memorialized?

    If it is truly about “Southern Heritage” and history, why is that Southern Heritage totally absent from the landscape? If it is just about memorializing the history of the war how come that “Southern story” is missing?

    • OhioGuy said, on August 22, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Excellent point, kbrown2225!

  4. J. B. Richman said, on August 26, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    It seems to me that in a way, Southern Unionists in the South are treated like Copperheads in the North. Like a bad dream that disappeared when you awoke. Except that the numbers of pro-Union White Southerners were a much greater presence than actual pro-Confederacy Northerners (excluding the border states like Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland). I think it would be easier to put up a monument to Southern Unionists in North Carolina or Texas than a monument to Copperheads in Southern Ohio. A large number of Northerners wanted a settlement to end the War without reunification, but they wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy.

  5. OhioGuy said, on August 26, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    J.B. Richman, your comments in general here are correct. Most northern Peace Democrat voters (as distinct from their leadership) appear not to have been real “southern sympathizers,” but just wanted the war to end and were willing to let the South go its own way to accomplish that end. Now, your conception of the voting patterns in Southern Ohio might be just a little off, as was mine, until I compiled the following maps that are now on my 78th OVI website.

    1860 Presidential Election: http://78ohio.org/1860-presidential-election/

    1863 Gubernatorial Election: http://78ohio.org/1863-gubernatorial-race/

    1864 Presidential Election: http://78ohio.org/1864-presidential-election/

    I suspect that the voting patterns here will surprise you a little, as they have several history professors who I’ve showed them to.


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