Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

At the Seige of Vicksburg, They Were Forced to Eat Haggis

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 27, 2010

As a Southerner of Scots descent, and a descendant of Confederate veterans, and the descendant of a Confederate veteran of Scots descent, I speak from authority in saying that this is the most ridiculous development in celebrating Confederate heritage since, maybe, forever. This is definitive proof that nothing, nothing, is so ill-conceived that it cannot be successfully marketed as a means of “honoring” the Confederacy.

Does it come in butternut?

The whole point of a kilt is to identify with one’s clan — that’s clan with a C, for my League of the South visitors — and if you can’t trace your lineage back to a specific clan, you don’t effing wear a tartan. You don’t show respect for your ethnic heritage by faking it. Or at least, have the initiative to create your own from scratch. The latter option doesn’t carry any historical authority, but at least it’s yours.

It is true that at least one Civil War regiment marched off to war in tartan, the 79th New York Highlanders, a prewar militia unit composed mainly of Scots immigrants. But even they dropped the fancy duds after a few months. My intent here isn’t to mock anyone’s heritage — to restate, this is a dual heritage I happen to share — but dropping a bunch of money on a “Confederate Memorial Tartan” does credit to neither one’s Confederate nor Scots forebears. It’s not based on any actual historical example I can see; it’s playing dress-up, and so has more in common with those green, plastic bowler hats that street vendors sell on St. Patrick’s Day than it does with anything that happened in the 1860s.

Celebrate your Scottish heritage, people. Celebrate your Confederate relatives, if you feel you need to. But for the love of all things Caledonian, don’t just make stuff up and pretend it’s historical.

Update: Corey already covered this, last summer. As Harry Truman said, “the only thing new in the world is the blogs you haven’t read.”