Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CONFEDERATE HEROES MONTH



January is a very special month for those of us of Confederate Heritage. It is the month that our two greatest military heroes were born, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Not only do we pay tribute to those two Southern greats, but all of our Confederate ancestors and the great and good principles for which they fought. In spite of what our politically correct culture tells us about the causes of the War For Southern Independence, we know the truth is that they were fighting to rescue us, their descendants, from overpowering, centralized government, that makes a mockery of the founding principles of the United States -- which were limited, constitutional government where the real political power was in the state and local governments where the people have the most control.     This "Principle of Confederacy" was what the Founding Fathers gave us in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence and in 1789 with the U.S. Constitution. In fact, if you read the writings of the Founders, you'll see that they frequently refer to the U.S. as a Confederacy. They knew the dangers of highly centralized government, which eventually descends into some form of totalitarian dictatorship. The Confederate Constitution of  1861 preserved those founding principles of 1776 and 1789. That's why Lee, Jackson, Davis and our Confederate ancestors were willing to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.      And let us not forget the noble women of the South when we are celebrating Lee and Jackson. Without the self-sacrificing support of Confederate women, the men would not have lasted very long in the field. Just as the men suffered in camp, on the march and in battle, so did the women who kept home and family together during those very trying  times.
     While overwhelming numbers and resources prevailed for the North, the principles of Confederacy for which the South fought, are still very much alive and well in the political debates of modern America. In this Confederate Heroes Month, let pay tribute to our noble ancestors and the cause for which they fought.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

THE CONFEDERATE SOUTH IS PRO-LIFE


There's no doubt about it. The Confederate South is the most pro-life part of the nation. Without the Confederate South, the federal government would be much more pro-abortion than it is already. But at least the Confederate South is saving as many unborn babies as it legally can under the horrendous Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which forces the evil practice of abortion on all 50 U.S. states.

It is a shame that Louisiana, a pro-life  Confederate state, is forced to allow this diabolical practice. It is also a shame that it is represented in the U.S. Senate by a pro-abortion senator, Mary Landrieu, Democrat. Here is the response from the Louisiana Right To Life organization to Landrieu's latest pro-abortion vote in the federal senate on the so-called health care bill:

December 10, 2009              
LA Right to Life Releases Newspaper Ads Reminding
Senator Landrieu: Abortion is NOT Health Care
Louisiana Right to Life Urges Senator Landrieu to oppose “cloture” on H.R. 3590.
Baton Rouge, LA ‐‐ In conjunction with Louisiana Family Forum Action and the Acadiana Right to Life Committee, Louisiana Right to Life has published half‐page ads in three prominent
Louisiana newspapers.  The ads call attention to Senator Mary Landrieu’s recent vote in favor of abortion funding and urge Senator Landrieu to oppose the vote on “cloture” on H.R. 3590.
 

The half‐page ad will run in The Advocate on Thursday and the Times Picayune and Lafayette’s The Advertiser on Friday.  Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of the Louisiana Right to Life
Federation, made the following comment after the releasing the ads:


“Senator Landrieu has asserted in the defense of her vote against the Nelson Amendment that pro‐lifers manufactured the issue of abortion in order to ”scuttle” health care reform.  However,
this ad reminds Senator Landrieu, and Louisiana, that we believe abortion is not health care, and without the Nelson Amendment, the Senate health care bill will authorize government
funding of abortion.”


“We hope Senator Landrieu stands for Louisiana values by opposing ”cloture” on H.R. 3590,” Clapper concluded. 


Louisiana Right to Life Federation (LARTL), established in 1970, works through education and legislation to restore the right to life in Louisiana by opposing abortion, euthanasia, and other life destroying actions.
 

Enclosed: Ad Run Thursday in Advocate in the Main News Section
Additional Resources Available Online at www.ProLifeLouisiana.org/Healthcare:
 Point by Point Rebuttal to Senator Landrieu’s December 8th Press Release
 Louisiana Right to Life December 8 Press Release on Defeat of Nelson Amendment

### 


God bless and protect the unborn, and God bless our Confederate South!
Mike Jones

Monday, November 23, 2009

WAR ON SOUTHERN CIVILIANS



The Lincoln administration's deliberate war on innocent Southern civilians would, if it happened today in any foreign nation, no doubt be considered a war crime. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell details the cruel way the O'Hara family was treated by a single forager, and then Gen. William T.Sherman's main army while burning and robbings his way from "Atlanta to the Sea." After reading Gone With The Wind, I wanted to read a straight history on the campaign for comparison, and found War Like the Thunder Bolt by Russell S. Bonds (Westholme, Yardley, Pa. 2009) to be an excellent read.

In his book, Bond gives a very good historical account of both the Atlanta campaign, as well as the burnings of Atlanta and the mistreatment of civilians. The campaign stretched from the summer of 1864 to that fall, leaving the whole region devastated, the city, as well as other towns, in ashes and many civilians destitute and in a starving condition. Battles of Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church and Jonesboro are all detailed, as well as the dramatic assumption of command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee by Gen. John Bell Hood.

We also read profiles of the many colorful personalities involved, including Confederates Hood, Joseph E. Johnston, Patrick Cleburne; Yankees Sherman, George Thomas, Benjamin Harrison, and civilians like 10-year-old Carrie Berry, who withstood the siege and occupation and recorded it in her diary. The mistreatment of civilians was every bit as portrayed by Mitchell in Gone With the Wind.

War Like the Thunderbolt, The Burning and Battle of Atlanta by Russell S. Bonds, Westholme Publishing Inc., Yardley, Pa.; 522 pages; maps, photographs; bibliogrpahy; endnotes; index; $29.95 index.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Sum of Good Government


Thomas Jefferson's "Doctrine of States Rights" was the political foundation of the government of the Confederate States of America. Here are some Jefferson quotes that summarize "Good Government."

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson to Maryland Republicans, 1809. ME 16:359

"The only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it." --Thomas Jefferson to M. van der Kemp, 1812. ME 13:135

"The first object of human association [is] the full improvement of their condition." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration and Protest of Virginia, 1825. ME 17:444

"The happiness and prosperity of our citizens... is the only legitimate object of government and the first duty of governors." --Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811. ME 13:41

"The energies of the nation... shall be reserved for improvement of the condition of man, not wasted in his destruction." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Address, 1801. ME 10:248

"Here... will be preserved a model of government, securing to man his rights and the fruits of his labor, by an organization constantly subject to his own will." --Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1815. ME 14:237

"The freedom and happiness of man... [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government." --Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1810. ME 12:369

"The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government." --Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:482

"To preserve the peace of our fellow citizens, promote their prosperity and happiness, reunite opinion, cultivate a spirit of candor, moderation, charity and forbearance toward one another, are objects calling for the efforts and sacrifices of every good man and patriot. Our religion enjoins it; our happiness demands it; and no sacrifice is requisite but of passions hostile to both." --Thomas Jefferson: to Rhode Island Assembly, 1801. ME 10:262

"All religions are equally independent here, our laws knowing no distinction of country, of classes among individuals and with nations, our [creed] is justice and reciprocity." --Thomas Jefferson to the Emperor of Morocco, 1803. ME 19:136

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Did the South Lose?

This is a question that has plagued many. Why did the South lose the war for Southern independence? I'm not speaking militarily, or referring to strategies, fighting ability, or armaments. These points have been studied and analyzed for almost a hundred and forty-five years. I speak here of something much deeper and far more important.

If the South was right, and we know that it was. If the Southern Cause was true, and we know that it was. If the Southern army was far more Christian than the Union army, and we know that it was. If the Confederate president and leadership were vastly more honorable and Godly than those of the Union, and we know that they were. And, if God is on the side of what is right, true, Christian, and Godly, and we know that He is. Then, why did the South lose?

There is one, and only one, possible answer, and to me it seems obvious. It's not over! Oh, the shooting war may have ended long ago, but the battle rages on. The struggle for what is right, true, and Godly has not ended. Our Southern heritage and the principles of our founding fathers are still under attack. And we, like those brave Confederates who faced the barbaric Union invaders, are still being forced to defend what is true and Godly against deceitful and demonic oppressors.

Consider the nation of Israel. In A.D. 70, and again in A.D. 135, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, renamed it, and denied the Jews any hope of ever seeing their homeland again. But, nearly nineteen centuries later, long after the Roman Empire had fallen, Israel rose from the ashes and is once again a strong and powerful nation. It's never over until God says it's over.

Consider also our Lord. He was executed as a criminal with criminals. His followers were in fear and despair. They had believed Him. Trusted Him. And now, He was dead. The Romans who crucified Him, thought it was over. The Jewish leaders who sought His death, thought it was over. Even His disciples and friends, thought it was over. But, it wasn't over. Three days later Jesus arose from a cold grave turning death into victory, and despair into joy.

The Bible tells us, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" The South's Cause of truth, freedom, justice, and Christian Godliness is not lost. It's just not over. And I know it's not over because we haven't won yet. We may not know God's plan, or exactly what He is going to do. But this we can know: It may take nineteen hundred years or just a few days, but God's side always wins.

Bro. Len Patterson, Th.D.

Chaplain, Army of Trans Mississippi

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Sunday, October 25, 2009

GONE WITH THE WIND: Book Review


I have been a fan of the movie Gone With The Wind since the first time I saw it in the 1960s in Houston, Texas. It tells the story of the War For Southern Independence from a distinctly Southern point of view, and is a classic that is considered the all time ticket seller in movie history. As much as I love the movie, until recently I had never read the book upon which the movie was based, Margaret Mitchell's epic adventure first published by Scribner in 1936. The author won the Pulitzer Prize the next year and it has sold over 30 million copies since then. Even today it reportedly sells about 200,000 copies a year.

As good as the movie is, in my opinion, the book is even better. You get a lot more historical background in the book, more characters, a fuller explanation of the character's motivations than in the movie, and more detailed descriptions of the time and places depicted. The book is well written. Margaret Mitchell was obviously a master story-teller with the written word. A native of Atlanta, Ga. born in 1900, Mitchell knew one of her Confederate veteran gandfathers and heard numerous stories from other veterans and female members of her family that lived through the war. She had an excellent grasp on the history of the Atlanta campaign, around which of the book revolves. She died an untimely and tragic death in 1949 when struck by a car while crossing the street in Atlanta.

Mitchell tells the story from a woman's view point, which is both the civilian side of the war and reconstruction. I've always been most interested in the battles, generals, soldiers, etc., and haven't really read much about the war from a civilian view point. I learned a lot about the civilians and how they interacted with the armies by reading Gone With The Wind. The book tells that side of the war and reconstruction much better than does the movie. The agonizing hardships suffered by women, children and the elderly is heart-wrenching. It also shows just how dedicated the majority of the population of the South were to the cause of Southern Independence, and the lengths to which they were prepared to sacrifice for it. The soldiers of the South held Southern women in high esteem because they knew how much they had sacrificed, as well as the men in uniform.

I also appreciate what the book and movie do to make sure the traditional Southern view of the war are kept alive in popular culture, generation after generation. Political correctness has become so vile, poisonous and deceptive, lies about the South and the Confederacy are now accepted by many people as the truth, because they've heard only one side of the story -- and that is the biased Northern side.

But most of all this was just a very enjoyable book about engaging characters, exciting action and a dramatic story from one of nation's most important periods of history.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell; 1936, Scribner (Simon & Shuster) New York, N.Y.; 1048 pages; $28 hardback.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Trip to the Confederate Memorial Hall


I went on a field trip yesterday, 10 October, with fellow members of Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390, SCV, and friends, to Confederate Memorial Hall and Museum and the National World War II in New Orleans. These two museums are studies in contrast. The Confederate Museum is very traditional, in fact the oldest museum in Louisiana, and the World War II museum is very modern. While different, they both are world-class museums that do an outstanding job of telling the story of the respective wars they interpret.

The Confederate Museum was built in 1891 specifically to be a museum and meeting hall for the city's Confederate veterans. Most of the exhibits on display were donated by the veterans themselves, family members or collectors. The building itself is a historical artifact. It is of magnificent romanesque style architecture with a widow's peak tower detail. It is rightfully on the National Register of Historic Places and is without a doubt one of the most historic buildings in New Orleans. Inside are showcases, paneling and other historical and architectural details that are gems of style and tradition. There is stunning stained glass window of Father Abram J. Ryan, "Poet-Priest of the Confederacy."

The exhibits on display make up one of the world's greatest collections of Confederate military memorabilia. They have the uniforms of generals P.G.T. Beauregard, Franklin Gardner, Daniel W. Adams, and Albert G. Blanchard. There are over 100 original Confederate battleflags and a number of restore flags are on display. There are many family artifacts from the President Jefferson Davis family, including a crown of thorns woven for Davis during his captitivity, by Pope Pius IX. There are numerous, rare, ambrotypes of tintypes of Confederates soldiers, rifles, pistols and swords. There are many paintings and sculptures of famous Confederate generals, some by world renown artists. Besides the uniforms of on display of Confederate generals, there are also many that were worn by ordinary Confederate soldiers. The scope, content and quality of the artifacts are simply breath-taking.

Just across the street and around the corner is the National World War II Museum, which was first open June 6, 2000, as the National D-Day Museum. It is now rapidly expanding on 4 November will open a new building that will have a 4-D theatre, four star restaurant and additional exhibits. On the ground floor, the museum has on display World War II vehicles and a reconstruction of a World War II Higgins boat, the boat that Eisenhower said won World War II for the Allies and which was manufactured in New Orelans. There are also a half-track, Sherman tank, an American Jeep and a German staff car. Hanging from the ceiling are German, American and United States aircraft from World War II.

The visitor follows a path that takes him through exhibits on the beginning and causes of the war, the D-Day landings in Normandy, France and other campaigns in Europe and the Pacific. Exhibits include uniforms of all the main armies engaged, weapons, personal artifacts such as letters, watchess, etc., and of the technogical advances that helped win the war, such as the code-breaking machines. One of the most impressive displays was an actual Medal of Honor that was posthumously awarded to a sailor in the war.

What makes the museum so modern is the vast collection of audio-visual displays, including many documentary newsreels, personal reminiscences of veterans, and electronic map displays. Also there are huge blow-ups of famous photographs from various theaters of the war. These work well for a museum about World War II, which was the first major war in history that could be filmed, complete with sounds and the spoken word by participants near the time the events happened.

Louisiana has a lot of history and these two museums puts the state in the world-class category of importance.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis Shrine, on the Rebound


(NEWS from beauvoir.org)

BILOXI, Miss. - Great news from Beauvoir! The contract has been signed to begin construction on the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum. The Beauvoir Board approved low bidder is J.C. Duke and Associates, General Contractors of Mobile, Alabama. The cost is Ten Million four hundred eighty eight thousand dollars, to be completed in 550 days. The groundbreaking event is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 2 p.m. This is the 120th anniversary of the death of Jefferson Davis. More updates will follow.

The statue of Jefferson Davis with his son Joseph and Jim Limber is scheduled to arrive at Beauvoir on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. This statue was commissioned by the National Sons of Confederate Veterans and Donated to Beauvoir. The statue will eventually be placed in front of the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum. (scroll down to see photo below!)

The 23rd Annual Beauvoir Fall Muster is coming October 17th-18th.! The War Between the States comes to the Last Home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the weekend of October 17-18, 2009. You can experience the sights, sounds and smells of the 1860’s, as you witness the epic struggle that transformed the Nation. Come and Join Us! Civil War Battles on Saturday and Sunday. See the Photo Gallery page for pictures from last year's event.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership


I found Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership by Noah Andre Trudeau (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, N.Y. 2009) to be an excellent survey of the life of that great Southern-American general. This book is a concise summary of the life and military career of Lee, and avoids getting bogged down or lost in a lot of distracting details.

I also like Noah Andre Trudeau's writing style and his completely fair historical analysis. There are all too many modern historians and biographers who come at a subject with a theory they want to prove. They then cherry-pick from details that seem to support their case and end up with a distorted and unfair work. That is not the case here. Trudeau is my ideal of how a professional historian should write about a subject. He is fair, thorough, interesting, and has no modern-day axe-to-grind. The author seems to understand how important it is to evaluate the subject within the context of his own time.

The book covers the entirety of Lee's life, from his birth at Stratford Hall, Virginia in 1807, to his death in Lexington, Virginia. I feel the strength of the book is the author's evaluation of the major campaigns Lee was in during the War For Southern Independence. It is a really good refresher on the major decisions Lee had to make, the things he was aware of at the time, and pluses and minuses of those decisions. Hindsight is always 20-20, so it is good to know how important the contemporary fog-of-war is in any battle. Lee knew the value of intelligence, and was always at his best when he had a wealth of information at hand before he made his final decision. That is why he was so disgruntled about Gen. JEB Stuart's absence to the critical buildup period prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, as Trudeau points out. Gettysburg was Lee's first major battle without Stonewall Jackson, and he was additionally hampered by Stuart not being available. Lee always had complete confidence in the information Stuart brought him.

The book is also well-written, enjoyable to read and has a fast-moving pace. It is the type of book I can really get into and find hard to put down. The maps, supplied by Trudeau himself, were another important help to the reader to better visualize what's being written about.

Robert E. Lee: Lessons In Leadership by Noah Andre Trudeau; Palgrave Macmillan, New York, N.Y. 2009; 233 pages, black and white photos and illustrations; notes, index; $25 hardback.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reeves Brothers, Tragedy Of War

Cpl. Isaace Reeves & Sgt. James Reeves
Co. K, 10th Louisiana Infantry

Calcasieu Parish escaped the widespread devastation that many areas of the state and South suffered during the Civil War. Although it escaped physical devastation however, hardly a family in the parish was left untouched by human tragedy. Few families suffered a greater loss than the pioneer Reeves family.

Three sons left for the war in 1861, James, Isaac and John, and only one came back, and he had suffered a terrible wound. The brothers were the sons of George Reeves and Mary Ann Ryan, the sister of Jacob Ryan Jr., who is known as the ''Father of Lake Charles.''

James Reeves was the oldest of the brothers. He was born in 1836 and was a farmer before he enlisted. He was married to Tabitha Harmon and had one son, David George Reeves, who was born in 1858. Isaac and John Reeves were twins born in 1840. They were both single at the time of their enlistment in 1861 and were also farmers.

The brothers joined with other local volunteers to help form the Confederate States Rangers. James was a sergeant, Isaac a corporal and John a private. They were among a 37 man contingent from Calcasieu Parish who left for the war in mid-1861. The contingent was mostly comprised of the sons of pioneer families in the parish, and most all were related in some way.

There were six sets of brothers in the company, an uncle and nephew, and most were related to one another as cousins or through marriage. When their regiment got into heavy combat, the casualty rate took a heavy toll on local families. The last names of the volunteers in Company K are still among the most common in Southwest Louisiana, including LeBleu, Marcantel, Ryan, Pithon, Moss, Kirkman, Bolin, Linscombe, Miller, Morgan, Langley, Hoffpauir, Farque, Foreman, Hargrove, Harrington, Ellender, Courville, Trahan and Buller.

The 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment was organized and formally sworn into Confederate service on July 22, 1861 at Camp Moore in Tangipahoa. The regiment was assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia and fought in most of the famous battles in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The Calcasieu Parish men served under two of the greatest military figures in American History, General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. ''Stonewall'' Jackson. The marching and fighting in the summer of 1862 were both exhausting and extremely bloody.

James, Isaac and John experienced their first taste of combat on July 1, 1862 at the Battle of Malvern Hill near Richmond, Virginia. All three came through unscathed.
The next battle was Cedar Run on August 9, followed by Second Manassas on Aug. 29, 30. At Manassas, the Louisianans ran out of ammunition and threw rocks to stop a Union assault. Again, all three brothers came through safely.

James was wounded in the next battle, the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) which is known as the bloodiest single day in American History. The 10th Louisiana fought in a cornfield and along the Hagerstown Pike early in the battle. Both sides lost 23,000 men in killed, wounded and missing.

The elder brother recovered from his wound and was given a furlough home. He delivered letters from his comrades to loved ones and brought 1st Lt. Edward A. Seton's sword to Seton's mother in Lake Charles. As if the tragedy of war wasn't enough, James lost his wife Tabitha, who died in childbirth.

After returning to his command, he would fight just one more battle. The Battle of Chancellorsville, fought May 1-3, 1863, has been called Lee's greatest victory of the war. The tactical maneuvers he and Stonewall Jackson used there are still studied at West Point. But for the soldiers who fought there, it was a horrifying nightmare.

Sgt. James Reeves was killed in action and Lt. Seton wrote the following account of his death in a letter dated June 17, 1863 from a hospital in Liberty, Va.:

''Dear Mama, I expect you have been living in great suspense for these last six weeks on account of having heard of my wound and probably of my death for such was reported for I had been taken prisoner after being wounded. Our company stood on the field (to) the last and fought with the Yankees at 30 yards distance. They (his men) did not leave until I told them to go...Poor Jim Reeves was killed at my left and I went to get his rifle to give to F.(Frederick) Sark whose gun would not fire and at that moment I was wounded and when I looked around to give Sark the gun I seen, poor fellow, he was killed also. Those are the fortunes of a poor soldier.''

Also at Chancellorsville, Pvt. John Reeves was severely wounded and lost his eyesight. He spent the rest of the war in a hospital. John's twin, Isaac, also suffered a wound but it did not keep him out of action for long.

The Gettysburg campaign quickly followed. The 10th Louisiana was part of Ewell's Corp that cleared the way for Lee's greatest invasion of the North. The regiment fought and helped win the Battle of Winchester on June 14 and 15, 1863.

The first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, found the regiment 30 miles away and it didn't arrive until sundown after a forced march in the hot sun. The regiment went into battle on the Confederate left flank at Culp's Hill. During the assault the next day, July 2, Isaac Reeves was killed in action.

In just two months time two of the brothers had been killed and the third disabled.
The Reeves family tragedy was a reflection of the loss of other Calcasieu families.

After four years of the most brutal warfare experienced on the North American continent, only two of the 37 local men were left in the ranks at the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865. Those two were Pvt. Jacob Ellender and Pvt. William Reeves, a cousin to the three brothers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

THE GREAT NAVAL RAID ON LAKE CHARLES


A storm blew into Lake Charles, Louisiana from the Gulf of Mexico in early October 1862 like no other storm it has ever experienced before or since. This storm wasn't a hurricane as one might expect. It was a Union Navy raiding party unleashing the wrath of Abraham Lincoln. The raid on Lake Charles was by no means an isolated incident. Before it was over, the war had been brought directly to Southwest Louisiana and local residents had been used as "human shields."

The raid was part of a well coordinated counterattack ordered by Lincoln to reestablish federal control over ports on the Texas and Louisiana coasts. The 16th U.S. President was worried about French incursions into Mexico and a possible alliance between France and the Confederate States of America, which could make the separation of the Northern and Southern states a permanent divorce. Louisiana and Texas had seceded from the Union on Jan. 26 and Feb. 1, 1861, respectively.

Lake Charles, being so close to the Texas border, was much more involved in the coastal war there, than the various campaigns that were fought in other parts of Louisiana.

One of the main Union war strategies was blockading Confederate ports to cut off commerce and war materials from entering the independence minded parts of the Southern states. The big problem posed by Texas was that it bordered Mexico, whose ports could not be blockaded. In addition, the border between Mexico and the Southern Republic was wide open for overland commerce. With shipbuilding facilities, sawmills and a fine inland port, Lake Charles had thrived on a bustling sea trade with Texas and Mexico before the war.

Running the blockade were daring Southern seamen in swift sloops, sleek schooners and seagoing steamships. The Union's main target in its raid on Lake Charles was Captain Daniel Goos' blockade runner the "Dan."

The "Dan" was built in Lake Charles during the summer of 1857. It was a side-wheeler, not large by steamboat standards of the time, but well suited for the Calcasieu River and coastal trade. It was 99 feet long by 23 feet wide and weighed 112 tons. The boat cost $10,000 to build and was designed to tow wind-powered schooners out to sea when there was not enough breeze to fill their sails. It was also used to carry cotton to nearby ports.

Under the command of Captain W.L. Sawyer, the steam packet was a real money-maker in prewar days, churning along in the rivers and coastal areas of the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts.With the secession of Louisiana and the outbreak of war, Goos turned the "Dan" into a very effective blockade runner.

The steamboat first served the Confederacy by transporting troops from Texas to Brashear, modern day Morgan City, from which the soldiers were taken by train to New Orleans and points beyond. The Union blockade was put into effect along the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts on 1 July 1861.

Blockade running was considered very adventurous, romantic, and very, very profitable. It was also vital to the main Confederate war aim of establishing Southern Independence. The Southern belles of Lake Charles made flags for the ships, both as tokens of their admiration and as good luck charms for the Confederate sailors.
By October 1862, the "Dan" was a successful blockade runner having completed two trips to Matamoras, Mexico where it delivered Southern cotton and lumber, and ran back through the blockade vital war materials such as guns, cannons and medicines. This thorn in the side of the Union's West Gulf Blockading Squadron was one of the main targets of when Lincoln ordered the Naval counterattack all along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Leading the counterattack was Commander William B. Renshaw, who had under his command a squadron of powerful gunboats and marines. The first target in the counterattack was Sabine Pass, Texas. Unknown to the Unionists, Sabine Pass was in the midst of a deadly yellow fever epidemic and only a skeleton garrison was manning the fort there. When the Union naval squadron attacked on 24 Sept. 1862, the Confederate garrison could do little more than spike and bury its cannons and retreat to Beaumont.

Part of the squadron then turned southwest along the coast of Texas and captured Galveston on 4 October 1862. However one of the squadron ships, the U.S.S. Kensington, turned east and steamed to the Calcasieu River where it arrived on 1 October 1862. The commander of the Kensington was a tough, fearless New Englander, Lt. Frederick Crocker. Before the war, Crocker was the captain of a fabled New England whaling ship. He was just the sort of salty, experienced seaman the Navy needed to command its blockaders when war broke out and the peace time fleet was greatly expanded.

Fortunately for the Union Navy, there was a staunch Union supporter, Duncan Smith, who had a home at Leesburg, modern day Cameron. Smith informed Crocker other blockade runners were anchored in the Calcasieu River, including a Spanish ship, the "Conchita." What neither Crocker nor Smith knew was Gen. Benjamin "Beast" Butler, the corrupt, double-dealing Union commander of occupied-New Orleans, was giving out passes to coastwise cotton traders. In effect, he was trading with the enemy. Butler was having the cotton brought back to New Orleans and was taking it into federal custody.

Smith also told Crocker that Lake Charles was undefended with all the military age men away to the war. He told the New Englander there were only a bout 25 old men or young boys in the vicinity who could offer any resistance at all. Crocker prepared for the raid by fitting out the Kensington's launch with a mast and two sloop sails and mounted a six-pounder boat howitzer on it. His picked crew of raiders included two officers and 12 bluejackets appropriately armed like swashbucklers with cutlasses and muskets.

On Friday, 3 October 1862, Crocker began his daring raid up the Calcasieu River. His goal was to capture the "Dan" while burning ferries, landings and other blockade runners he might encounter. At one landing he captured a prize prisoner, Col. Nathaniel Clifton, commander of the Calcasieu Regiment, Louisiana State Militia, and a servant named Napoleon. The Yankee raiders first bypassed Lake Charles and headed straight for Goosport, about two miles up river, where they and been told the "Dan" was being hidden in a bayou.

The defenseless town was paralyzed with fear, but one lone man mounted a horse and rode out to alert the countryside. This unknown Confederate "Paul Revere," rode a circuitous 35 mile route around Lake Charles sounding the alarm and rounding up any men or boys he could find who were capable of bearing arms. He also found Captain Warren W. Johnson, another local militia leader, who took command of this motely force of about 25 home guardsmen. These civilians, like the "Minute Men" of Revolutionary War days, were armed only with old muskets and shotguns.
Captain Johnson's militia company had the improbable nickname of "Calcasieu Invincibles." The captain led his men to the banks of the Calcasieu River where he set up an ambush along the banks. Meanwhile, Crocker found the "Dan" hidden by willow and cypress branches at the west fork of the Calcasieu River, just beyond Clendinning's Ferry. The bluejackets captured the blockade runner without firing a shot. Crocker moved his boat howitzer onto the larger steamboat, and took the launch into tow.

Now headed downstream, the New Englander burned Clendinning's Ferry and set course for Lake Charles. At Goosport, he chanced upon an arriving blockade runner, the "Mary Ann," and set it on fire. Crocker then forced Captain Goos to load several hundred bales of cotton on the "Dan." The Yankee raiders arrived in Lake Charles the night of Saturday, 5 October 1862. Crocker issued a demand upon the sleepy town. He wanted sweet potatoes and beef from the cattle delivered by 5 a.m. Sunday, or else he would level the town with his howitzer. To show he meant business he opened fire on Jacob Ryan's sawmill, which was on the lakefront at the foot of what is now Division Street.

Witnesses later recounted the mill was busy cutting lumber when without warning the raiders entered the lake. From somewhere near the center of the lake the vessel hoisted the stars and stripes and fired a round from the cannon at the mill. The surprised workers scrambled for cover behind piles of lumber as a second cannon shot boomed out. The Yankee skipper fired a total of five shots at Ryan's mill and hit all around it. The ship then sailed up to the wharf where Crocker demanded the beef and potatoes.

Sunday morning dawned and the tribute had not been delivered by the deadline. Crocker sent another message, this time by Clifton's servant, Napoleon, in which he stated if the provisions were not delivered in 30 minutes, he would start shelling the town as sure as there was a "God in Heaven."

Two Lake Charles residents, Captain Maynard and Joe Charles Sallier, went down to the wharf and asked Crocker to hold his fire. They agreed to comply with his demands. Crocker said the women and children would have to come out and show themselves as a show of good faith. With the women and children under the guns of the Yankee raiders, Sallier went for the cattle and Mrs. Jacob (Rebecca Bilbo) Ryan Jr. hurriedly dug up the sweet potatoes and sent them to the dock by a servant.
Crocker then was told by a Union collaborator that a schooner and six armed men were hidden in a wooded cove north and east of the Bilbo property along the lake. The raiders turned their boat howitzer on the wooded area and opened fire.

Apparently, if it was even there, the shelling was ineffective because there were no reports of a schooner being hit. Crocker was also told about the ambush awaiting him downstream. In his own words, in a report dated 12 October 1862, Crocker said, "By the time I had been three days, nearly up the river, and was informed by Union men, plenty of whom I found, that a large party had collected to attack up below; whereupon I seized upon ten or twelve of the inhabitants of the place and posting them around the man at the wheel, who was exposed, made the best of my way down river."

Johnson's "Calcasieu Invincibles" were still waiting on the banks of the river to blast the Yankee raiders when they passed. A lookout alerted Johnson the "Dan" was approaching. The Calcasieu men sighted "pine knot smoke" rising above the cypress forest along the river and tensely readied their muskets and shotguns for action.
But as the steamboat approached, Johnson told the men to hold their fire. To his shock and horror, the captain saw that the only visible persons on deck were his friends and neighbors who were being used as "human shields." Not being under any such restraint, Crocker caught sight of the militiamen on shore and ordered his howitzer to open fire on them. The Calcasieu men ducked for cover. All the Yankee cannon balls fell harmlessly round them and the "Dan" steamed downriver.
On his way back to the Gulf, Crocker encountered another blockade runner, the "Eliza" and promptly burned it to the water line. When he arrived back at Leesburg, he burned the Spanish blockade runner "Conchita," in spite of its cotton trading pass from "Beast" Butler. Word got back to Washingtona bout Butler's nefarious trade, and on 11 November 1862, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, by order of Lincoln, notified Butler he must refrain from issuing "cotton passes" to blockade runners.
Crocker let all of his prisoners go free, except for Colonel Clifton, whom he took back to New Orleans for possible exchange for a Union officer held captive by Confederates. Clifton was paroled by Admiral David Glasgow Farragut at Pensacola, Florida. on 30 October 1862.

The Yankee lieutenant received the highest accolades for his successful raid. Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles recommended Crocker for promotion, saying, ". . . Captain Crocker's entire conduct meets my highest approbation; his energy and management in the whole affair at Calcasieu River is worthy of commendation. . . ."
The salty New Englander was rather arrogant about his success. In his report he bragged about, ". . . teaching the people (of Lake Charles) a lesson they will not soon forget."

Although he might have taught the defenseless people of Lake Charles a "lesson," 11 months later on 8 September 1863 a red-headed Confederate artillery lieutenant taught Crocker a lesson in accurate Southern gunnery. On that day at the Battle of Sabine Pass, Lt. RichardW. "Dick" Dowling of Company F, Davis Guards, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, defeated a whole Union invasion fleet with just 42 men and six cannons.

Among the Yankee captives was a former New England whaler, Frederick Crocker.



Friday, September 18, 2009

'Gone With The Wind" Is Not Gone At All

(At left is a photo of Frank Coghlan Jr. as he appeared in "Gone With The Wind" as a collapsing Confederate soldier. Michael Jones collection)

I recently came across the obituary of an uncredited cast member of the Southern classic movie, "Gone With TheWind." His name was Frank Coghlan Jr. and he died 7 September 2009 at age 93 in Saugus, California. He just happened to be the actor who played in my favorite scene in the movie. It was in the part where, in the evacuation of Atlanta, a young Confederate soldier collapsed and is picked up and carried by an old veteran. I had no idea who the actor was until I saw that obituary.

Coghlan was very young when that scene was made, 23, and, according to his obituary, he had an interesting acting career, but spent prime working years serving his nation in the armed forces. But before he entered the Navy aviation program in World War II, he was one of the co-stars in the classic 1941 movie serial, "The Adventures of Captain Marvel." He played Billy Batson, the young man who would turn into Captain Marvel, played by Tom Tyler. He went on to become a naval aviator in the war and spent 23 years in the military.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about how important "Gone With The Wind," both the movie and the original novel by Margaret Mitchell, have been in preserving Confederate and Southern heritage, mostly from a Southern point-of-view. I saw the film for the first time when it was re-released in theaters, I believe, in 1961. It was a really big deal then in the days before it had ever been shown on TV and before videos, DVDs and Blu-ray.

But the popularity of the novel and the movie seen to transcend generation after generation. This year is the 70th anniversary of the movie's premier 15 Dec. 1939 in Atlanta, Ga. Reportedly, there is going to be a new "ultimate" DVD and Blu-ray collection of "Gone With The Wind" released amid a major advertising campaign. The book is still in print and continues to sell. I've even seen an original, first edition copy of the book on sale for $5,500. The movie is ranked as the highest ticket seller of any movie in North America or the Un ited Kingdom. The novel has sold 30 million copies since 1936.

It is very unlikely that anything having such an impact, from a mostly positive Southern point-of-view, will ever be made again. Fortunately, "Gone With The Wind" has not gone anywhere, and is more popular than ever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SKIRMISH AT SABINE PASS LIGHTHOUSE

(At right, the Sabine Pass Lighthouse stamp issued by the U.S. Postal service)

The old Sabine Pass lighthouse in Southwest Louisiana was the scene of a deadly skirmish between Confederate and Union forces on 18 April 1863. In the bloody confrontation, four Union sailors were killed outright, another received a mortal wound, two others received non fatal wounds and six were captured. One Confederate was killed.

The stage was set for the showdown by Commander Abner Read of the U.S. Navy blockading gunboat "New London." Read was planning to launch a surprise attack on a Confederate fort under construction on the Texas side of the pass. He also wanted to capture two enemy gunboats, "Uncle Ben" and "Josiah Bell" which were anchored there.

The Union naval commander sent daily scouting parties by whale boat to the lighthouse to make contact with a Union spy who was using the 80-foot-tall structure as an observation platform. The spy, whose identity never was revealed, had been keeping track of the progress of construction on the Confederate fort.

The commander of Confederate forces in the area was Lt. Col. William H. Griffin of the 21st Texas Infantry Battalion. Griffin was a West Point graduate and an aggressive and experienced military officer. He first discovered that his activities were being spied upon on April 10, 1863, when Captain Charles Fowler, commander of the Confederate gunboats, and three other men disappeared while scouting Lighthouse Bayou.

They had been taken by surprise by a Union patrol. The Confederates then started noticing light reflections coming from the supposedly abandoned lighthouse. Then on 17 April, they spotted a Union whaleboat rowing inland.

The next morning, Griffin dispatched a detachment under Captain Samuel
Evans across the pass to the Louisiana side. Upon arriving, the grayclad soldiers deployed underneath the lighthouse keepers residence and waited for their chance to attack.

According to the usual routine established by the Union blockader, two whaleboats, one from "New London" and the other from "Cayuga," also a blockading gunboat, were soon seen rowing to shore. Commander Read and Captain D.A. McDermot of the "Cayuga" were leading
the patrol.

Three unsuspecting Federal bluejackets approached the lighthouse and the
hidden Confederates demanded their surrender. These three were taken captive but the rest of the landing party began a fighting retreat back to their boats. The Confederates opened fire.

Four of the sailors were killed by the musketry. A fifth, McDermot, was mortally wounded and captured. Commander Read was among the wounded. He lost an eye during the fusilade, but escaped capture. One of the boats escaped, but the Confederates took the other, along with six prisoners.

Read and two others made their way back to the "New London," but the
plan to capture the pass was abandoned. The only Confederate death was Lt. E.T. Wright, who was killed instantly during the skirmish.

Lt. Col. Griffin filed a dry, concise report of the action. "Last night I placed 30 men, in the lighthouse under Lieutenant Jones, of Griffin's battalion. Today at 11 o'clock, 13 Federals came up to the lighthouse in two small boats. We captured six men, including Captain McDermot, of the 'Cayuga,' who was mortally wounded, and the captain's gig. The other boat escaped with three men. Four were killed in the water. Second Lieutenant Wright, of CompanyD, Griffin's battalion, was killed, gallantly leading the men. No other casualties."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Commentary on the News - 15 Sept. 2009


For days now, Confederate news has been filled with columns and articles attacking Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, who said to President Obama, "You lie!" during the president's recent address to a joint session of Congress. The dispute was over Obama's claim that illegal aliens would not receive benefits under his national health care proposal. Wilson apologized to the president for his manner of interrupting the president's speech. However, Wilson has also said he stands by the substance of his remark with regards to the health care bill.

Well, since then, Wilson has been excoriated in the news media, particularly by Northern newspapers and columnists. They have not addressed the substance of his opinion of the health care bill, rather they have been personally smearing him over his Confederate Heritage, particularly for his membership in and his defense of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an old and honorable institution that I am proud to be a member of also. He also defended the Confederate battleflag when it was under attack and eventually moved from the flag pole South Carolina state house, and moved to the Confederate memorial on the state house grounds. The flag still flies there today, although it is still under attack.

I salute and congratulate Rep. Wilson for his honorable and completely appropriate defense of the SCV and the Confederate battleflag. Both represent all the best attributes of Southern and American heritage. The SCV promotes and defends the good name of the Confederate soldier and the principles of limited, constitutional government, for which he stood, and for which we, their descendants, also cherish. As to the Confederate battleflag, it is an honorable symbol of the self-sacrificing courage of men who gave their all to defend their families, homes and country, the Confederate States of America. What could be more honorable than that?

As to the substance of Rep. Wilson's comment to the president, obviously the smear merchants who have attacked him are acknowledging that he won the argument, or else they wouldn't be trying to personally smear him.

Thank you Rep. Wilson for saying what needed to be said, and for being an honorable son of the South.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Review: "Reading the Man"


Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor; Peguin (non-classic); 688 pages; paperback.

I bought this book a couple of years ago when it first came out in its original hardback edition. Boy, was I ever disappointed. The promotions said the author was given special access by Lee's descendants. I love to read just about everything that comes out about Lee so I thought this would be a great scholarly update with loads of new information. Was I ever wrong.

What I found was a book that twisted nearly every fact into an attack on both Robert E. Lee and his entire family.The attacks began on Lee's father, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, hero of the American Revolution, and continued on to just about every member of his family.

The author obviously was judging Lee by early 21st Century, politically correct standards that are blatantly unfair and unjust. People of the past lived in times very different from ours. It is just not right to judge them by standards that were not even existent, or not well known, at that time.

Also the author seems to psycho-analyse Lee repeatedly. No one can get into the thoughts an motivations of another person they've never met or talked to, and certainly not one that lived 150-years-ago. I've noticed a lot of modern, politically correct, biographers and historians are using that approach and I don't like it one bit.

To top it off, the book is boring, tedious and just drones on and on. I slogged my way through it because I wanted to be able to speak and write intelligently about it. It was tough going, but I made it.

I would recommend to readers to get one of the many, many really good, thorough and fair biographies of Lee. Among those still in print are Douglas Southall Freeman's Pulitzer Prize winning biography, "R.E. Lee," either in the condensed version or the multi-volume original, which can still be found; Emory Thomas' fine "Robert E. Lee: A Biography" and Burke Davis' "Gray Fox: Robert E. Lee and the Civil War." There is also a new short biography out by Noah Trudeau, "Robert E. Lee," but I haven't read it yet and will do a review as soon as I do.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Corner of the Confederacy


My corner of the Confederacy is here in Southwest Louisiana. There was one major battle fought here on the Louisiana-Texas border, one small battle, a skirmish and a raid on Lake Charles. There is also one major Confederate military facility, two beautiful Confederate monuments and more than a 1,000 Confederate graves throughout the region.

The major battle was the Battle of Sabine Pass, fought on 8 September 1863 between a 5,000 man, 18 ship Federal invasion fleet and some 47 Confederate artillerymen in Fort Griffin on the Texas side of the river. Lt. Richard W. "Dick" Dowling won lasting fame as commander of Company F, Jeff Davis Guards, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery. He and his men were mostly Irish immigrants who were from the Houston-Galveston area. Dowling was a successful Houston businessman, a tavern owner, banker and entrepreneur. Most of his men had been longshoremen and railroad workers. Against impossible odds, Dowling and his men, who had trained themselves to a peak of proficiency at their isolated post, made short work of the Yankee gunboats that sailed up the Louisiana and Texas channels of the Sabine River. The battle ended after only 45 minutes with the Northern invaders turning tail back to their starting point, New Orleans. They lost 50 men killed, 350 captured, two ships sunk or disabled, and the invasion thwarted. Dowling and his men were honored by the President Jefferson Davis, the Confederate Congress and the citizens of Houston awarded each of them the special Davis Guards Medal.

The small battle was the Battle of Calcasieu Pass which was fought on 6 May 1864. Two Union blockade gunboats, the Wave and Granite City, put in at Calcasieu Pass to buy stolen cattle and horses from Jayhawkers, and recruit for the Union Navy. They also arrested Union sympathizers and confiscated guns. When the Confederate garrison at Sabine Pass heard of the intrusion, which is about 40 miles away, they were ordered to attack the enemy. Making a forced march along the coast, about 350 Confederates with four small pieces of artillery attacked the two gunboats in the early morning of 6 May. The sharp engagement lasted about an hour and a half with both ships and their entire crews and cannon captures. Casualties on both sides totaled about 50 out of the around 500 men engaged.

The U.S. Naval Raild on Lake Charles occurred in early October 1862. The U.S.S. Kensington, a blockader, entered Calcasieu Pass to capture Confederate blockade runners up the Calcasieu River. Since the ship was too big to get up the river, Lt. H.W. Crocker, the commander, fitted out a two-masted sloop with a 6-pounder boat howitzer to launch the raid with 12 well-armed seamen on 3 October. He burned the blockade runner "Mary Ann," captured the steamer "Dan," on which he transferred the howitzer and took the sloop in tow. He also captured militia Col. Nathaniel Clifton, the Calcasieu Regiment's commander. At Lake Charles, he captured 10 citizens as human shields and demanded beef and sweet potatoes. When there was a delay he fired warning shots at the town and forced the women and children to stand as hostages while the tribute was gathered. On the way back, they burned the blockade runner "Eliza." Captain W.W. Johnson, commander of the local militia, gathered 25 men to contest the Yankee's return voyage. But when they saw their neighbors tied up around the helmsmen as human shields, they held their fire. The raiders fired their howitzer at the militiamen, but no one was injured. All the hostages were released except Col. Clifton, who died in captivity.

The major Confederate facility is at Niblett's Bluff, a couple of miles north of Interstate 10 on Niblett's Bluff Road, which is off La. 109 at the Toomey exit. There is a park there now that preserves the original trenches, has on display a replica cannon, honors Confederates who died their of measles with a UDC monument and flies the Confederate battleflag daily. Niblett's Bluff was a strategically important crossing of the Sabine River during the war.

The two beautiful Confederate monuments in my corner of the Confederacy, are the South's Defenders Monument at the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, and a statue of Robert E. Lee at Johnson Bayou. The South's Defender's Monument was dedicated 3 June 1915 and consists of a marble pedestal and base, with a Confederate color-bearer statue at the top. The Robert E. Lee monument was dedicated in 1984 in front of Johnson Bayou School. I took part in the original dedication ceremony.

Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390, Sons of Confederate Veterans, has created an online brochure of War For Southern Independence sites in Southwest Louisiana. It can be accessed at http://www.carvingdude.com/scv/swla_wbts_trail.pdf.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Doctrine of State's Rights

Thomas Jefferson, Father of Doctrine of State's Rights

There is a growing interest in State's Rights today, or the lack thereof. A number of state's have recently passed "10th Amendment" resolutions. The resolutions restate what that amendment says, that is the states, or the people, retain all powers not specifically delegated by the states to the federal government. But the sad fact is that the states have become little more than administrative sub-districts of the District of Columbia and the 10th Amendment has become the most ignored part of the Constitution. The federal courts have become the final arbiter of what powers the states may actually exercise. And all the states are completely beholden to Congress and the president for huge portions of their annual budgets.

The federal bureaucracy controls just about every aspect of life for most Americans with literal mountains of federal regulations. They regulate our food and drugs, public education and an ever increasing share of our health care. If you're a businessman who wants to develop his own property, or a homeowner wanting to build a retirement home, just hope your property is NOT deemed "wetlands" by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. You'll quickly find out who really controls your property. The bureaucrats even tell us how many gallons of water our toilets can have and where we can or cannot park when we go to the store.

Many people are just now waking up to what was really lost with the downfall of the Confederacy in 1865. The precious gift of the Founding Fathers of 1776 was a republic of independent, self-governing states. That was what was truly lost with the defeat of the South in 1865. Since, then, the people, in their states assembled, North and South, East and West, have seen a steady erosion of their increasingly limited powers to govern themselves.

Thomas Jefferson, the "Father of the Doctrine of State's Rights," and many other founders and leaders of the Old Republic, constantly warned and fought against the erosion of the rights of the states, which began even in their days. Many of them, including George Washington, referred to the United States as a "confederacy," not a unitary, centralized state. The early State's Rights issues included such things as the federal government paying for roads and canals within state boundaries, the "Bank of the United States," which was the ancestor of today's Federal Reserve Bank, and then there was the right of a state to regulate its own domestic institutions (i.e. slavery). The early State's Rights advocates, such as John C. Calhoun, also argued over tariffs and whether or not a state could nullify a federal law, and whether or not a state had a right to secede.

The erosion of State's Rights accelerated after 1865 with new amendments added to the Constitution, continued into the 20th Century with great battles over desegregation, prayer in school, and finally "The Right to Life" itself (the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision making abortion the law of the land in all 50 states). The federal courts became more and more powerful. The increasingly intrusive environmental laws, education controlled by the bureaucrats in Washington, undermining of traditional marriage and family, and now the pending specter of socialized medicine, completes the picture. All of those issues could have and should have been settled on the state level. Most Americans are fair-minded and would have gotten rid of bad policies that were truly unjust within their own states.

It is hard to imagine that any of the original Founding Fathers would approve of all the bailouts of banks, takeover of car companies or a National Debt that boggles the mind. And the Founders of the Confederacy could see that without State's Rights, none of our God-given rights to life, liberty and private property were safe from an unlimited centralized government.

So, what can be done about it? Can we ever get back to a semblance of self-governing states as originally envisioned by the Founders? History teaches us that nothing ever remains the same. If enough people finally wake up to what was really lost in 1865, and really want to get back the best form of government in history, a republic or self-governing states, then it can happen. Only time will tell. As Scarlett O'Hara said at the end of "Gone With the Wind," "After all, tomorrow is another day."