Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Mrs. Grant’s Donation

Posted in Leadership, Media by Andy Hall on July 20, 2010

Rusty Williams, over at My Old Confederate Home blog, makes a great find: President Grant’s widow, Julia Dent Grant, made a $25 donation to the Confederate Soldier’s Home in Austin. Sure enough, the Galveston Daily News of March 15, 1889, confirms:

Aiding the Confederate Home

New York, March 14 — Secretary Oliver Downing of the New York Citizen’s committee, to aid the National Confederate Soldier’s home at Austin, Tex., has received a letter from General Alfred Pleasanton containing money. Another letter from Mrs. Grant incloses [sic.] a check for $25. The letter is as follows:

Oliver Downing, Secretary, Etc. — Dear Sir: General Grant’s kindly feelings toward the southern people, though they were once his enemies, is Mrs. Grant’s reasons for sending the inclosed check. She wishes you success in your efforts.

Fred D. Grant, for Mrs. Grant

“What? What? This isn’t in the program!”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 21, 2010

Rusty Williams, author of “My Old Confederate Home,” gets invited to be the speaker at a Confederate memorial service:

Traditionally, these ceremonies surrounded a lengthy Lost Cause oration, a passionate and animated stem-winder that spoke of the valor of the Confederate soldiers, the constancy of their devotion to the Lost Cause, their patriotism, and their desire for reconciliation. A first-rate orator had lungs like saddlebags, a diaphragm as solid as a manhole cover, and vocal cords more resilient than piano wire. When he chose to turn on the charm, it flowed in irresistible waves; when he intended pathos, women sobbed and men reached for handkerchiefs.

Instead, all they got was me.

I was the keynote speaker for the memorial ceremony, and there was a noticeable lack of oratorical flourish or expertise. (About the only audience response was when a lady keeled over from heatstroke and had to be carried away by paramedics. My father-in-law said he wished he’d thought of it first.)

It’s nice to think that the good folks of Pewee Valley, Kentucky got a good dose of actual historical content rather than the tearful paeans to Lost Cause mythology that are standard fare at such events.

No word if the Black Rose reenactors were there.