Defending the Colors...

 

 

 

 

 

Advancing the Colors...


Table of Contents: (Subject Headings)


Acknowledgments

The Department of the Army of Northern Virginia has compiled Defending the Colors... Advancing the Colors...  for the use of all camps, divisions and armies in the Confederation. These quotations may be reprinted freely; no attribution or credit is necessary.
The production of this booklet could not have been accomplished without the encouragement of Cdr. Patrick J. Griffin III, Department of the Army of Northern Virginia.  He and many others submitted written testimony, newspaper articles, editorials and camp newsletters.
Our thanks and appreciation are also extended to Division Commanders Elliott Cummings, Maryland; Edwin Carpenter, Virginia; Robert Brown, South Carolina; and many camp commanders within the A.N.V., notably David Melton, Harold R. Woodward, Jr., and Red Barbour.


Additional copies available from SCV Headquarters


Introduction

This effort on behalf of the S.C.V. would not have been possible without the contributions of camp newsletters, columnists, letter writers, politicians and compatriots.

Our thanks for ideas, concepts and rebuttals are extended to Pat Buchanan, Paul Greenberg, George Will, Lewis Grizzard and Adrian O'Connor, all fine newspapermen. Their views are appreciated because they caused many letters to be written and read, and because they expressed heartfelt opinions on history, societal relations, and the Confederate battle flag.

Additional thanks is expressed to those who produce the camp newsletters and carry word of the fray to the members of the S.C.V. In June 1896, the far sighted leadership of the United Confederate Veterans chartered a new organization for the younger generation called the Sons of Confederate Veterans "to keep the memory of the Confederacy alive."

The founders could see that there would be groups or individuals to come along later who would want to tarnish the image of the Confederate soldier or try to portray him as fighting for reasons other than for which he fought, and they didn't want to let this happen.

As an organization, we are unable to accept the premise offered by some of our opponents that the existence of today's poor race relations is somehow linked to dead Confederate soldiers who fought and died for their independence over one hundred twenty-five years ago. No, the bÍte noir is not the legacy of Confederate veterans. However, the horns of this dilemma puncture both sides, and somewhere in the midst of cultural values and their application to events in history lies a mutual comprehension for parties interested in seeking its existence.

The S.C .V. is here today to attest to the existence of a once sovereign nation, The Confederate States of America, and to offer tribute to our Southern ancestors who exhibited a strong work ethic; led by example; learned from their mistakes; had the courage to follow their convictions; and espoused love of family, respect, duty, and religious understanding. Rest assured that the Confederate soldiers interred here and throughout our land, are the very embodiment of dedication to principle; courage in the face of adversity; perseverance amidst loss; and each one possessed the inner strength necessary to carry on. Now it is our turn to pursue the American Dream, and in so doing let us remember the words of a Confederate private, who remarked, "Every Confederate grave is a monument to the Old South -- a country of high ideals."


Confederate Heroes


ROBERT E. LEE. A celebrated film maker recently referred to our beloved general as a traitor, and compared him to the likes of Hideki Tojo and Adolph Hitler. Absolutely outrageous and preposterous notions from the mind of someone who knows better. On a positive note I would like you to remember words spoken on the floor of the United States House of Representatives about American's greatest general: "History is replete with those whose military genius and courage have made them great in war; of those whose outstanding intellectual accomplishments have brought them renown in the fields of literature and science; of those whose deep piety and reverence have given impetus to the progress of the spiritual values of life; but where, may I ask you, in all history do you find these qualities so combined in one as Robert E. Lee?"

Words that Gen. R.E. Lee used repeatedly were: gentlemen, honor, duty, sacrifice, valor.

STONEWALL JACKSON. He was characterized in a "historical documentary"as a "pious, blue-eyed killer." True? No. Yet this nationally televised statement was conceived by an individual who does not even hold a college history degree. Of course, we know the leader of the South's famous "foot cavalry" as a deeply religious and brilliant military strategist who was respected by almost all who knew him, Confederate and Union alike.


The Confederate Constitution

Similar to the U.S. Constitution? Yes. But it provided for a presidential line item veto and restricted the purposes for which Congress could tax and spend your money. With an eye on today's budget deficit, perhaps contemporary politicians should give this 130 year old document a close scrutiny.

The Confederate Constitution outlawed the importation of human chattel. Sec. 9, paragraph 1: "The importation of Negroes of the African race, from any foreign country other than the slave holding states or Territories of the United States is hereby forbidden and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same."


Hate Groups

These organizations have stolen the use of the Confederate flag and use it inappropriately. We deplore their use of our emblems and what they stand for.

There is a faction in this community, that is following a nationwide, well-organized movement of bias, bigotry and racial prejudice toward their fellow citizens. This group is attempting to instill their bigoted line of thinking on the majority of people by using slanted and miss-information. Presently they are attempting to discredit and take away the heritage of thousands of people, of all races, whose ancestors served, lived, and died for what they believed in.

Merely because one segment views the Confederate battle flag as being a sign of hatred and slavery it does not make it so.

It is the same old song and dance of "slavery, oppression, and racism" as their excuse for their opposition to flying the flag.

The Klan flew plenty of U.S. flags at its rallies and marches. Why is that flag not "divisive"?

It is true that certain groups, such as the KKK, have perverted the Confederate battle flag for their own vile uses. One of the reasons the KKK appropriated the battle flag is to use this beloved Southern symbol as a tool to win local support for their odious activities.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans brought suit to prevent such uses of the flag. Unfortunately, the courts have ruled that the battle flag is in the "public domain." Isn't it time to take it back from those who have perverted its meaning and re-establish it as the noble symbol of Southern heritage that it truly is?

When an individual or group raises the specter of racism over the selection of a name for a school, they certainly have an obligation to their supporters, to the community, and to the descendants of the accused, to provide documented evidence of allegations so represented. To raise the specter of racism is a very serious charge, and to do so without evidential proof is irresponsible, unconscionable, and definitely counter productive to improving ethnic relations.

The questions to ask some of our opponents, who just recently purported in the press to be the "standard-bearer of justice and social equality," is: What litmus test does your organization use to determine racism? So far these accusatory public statements purporting the existence of racial overtones have been supported by nothing more than rhetoric based upon supposition, innuendo, or assumption. Quite frankly this form of public guileful behavior is an affront to the decision making process of the Board of Education, and it exhibits contempt toward people with a more egalitarian perspective or acquired sense of fair play.


History

History, after all, is not the past but only the present account of it -- an account that may say less about the subject than about the period in which it was written.

The people who followed this flag never wanted to overthrow the American government. They wanted to establish their own government, as their fathers had done in the first revolution.

Those knowledgeable of the reasons for secession and the ensuing War Between the States realize that the slavery was not the consideration, but because of unfair tariffs levied against southern businesses by the northern-sympathetic congress. The battle flag became the symbol and rallying point of the southern forces when the north invaded to force us back into the union.

Gov. Zell Miller of Georgia says the current flag "exhibits pride in slavery." As a professor of history, he should know that 90% of the soldiers in the Confederate Army didn't own any slaves and that Lincoln, between 1861 and 1862, didn't free any slaves in Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, or Washington D.C.; places where he had the power to do so.

It is up to us, the descendants of these brave men, to take back our flag and to see that it is used only as a symbol of pride in our great Southern Heritage.

Over one million Southerners, our ancestors, fought for four years under the Confederate battle flag. These men fought, and many died, for fundamental principles of Constitutional government given to us by the Founding Fathers. Although defeated by overwhelming manpower and resources, they have left us a great legacy of bravery, sacrifice, and devotion to duty , home and family.

Prior to the Civil War, the United States government supported slavery, and long before that, the English did as well. They began trading slaves in 1562.

The slave trade was introduced into the new world in 1503 by the Spanish.

Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery in 1641.

When the Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, slavery was in all 13 colonies/states.

Slaves were imported only under British and Spanish rule prior to the Revolutionary War or under the American flag. None were imported under the Confederate government.

The focal point of the slavery issue is to rewrite history at the expense of fact. History is neither good nor bad, merely fact upon fact.

The Battle Flag was not raised over slave quarters or slave auctions.

The Confederate Constitution forbade the importation of slaves. Slaves were only imported under the Stars and Stripes in post-colonial America!

It is ludicrous to think that educators and the general public are willing to accept the validity or lend credence to opinions and statements initiated by individuals who apply contemporary social standards to historic events. Yet, this is exactly the standard used by many of our opponents who so convincingly demonstrate their insensitivity and ethnocentrism by issuing derogatory hypotheses about the name of Admiral Raphael Semmes and our Southern heritage.

Our ancestors had the right idea -- they created the Confederate States of America and fought under its banner because they were people of vision. They knew that through continual endeavor and self-discipline, under and equitable constitutional form of government, that they could achieve an egalitarian society full of opportunities to own one's farm, a home, or a business, without being impoverished by high taxes for which little or no benefit returned to the community. They did not go to war to take over or subjugate the North, but fought as their ancestors had during the American Revolution, for freedom and independence, and the opportunity to improve their lot by the sweat of their brow. All they wanted was the chance to better themselves and improve the quality of life for future generations, without interference of one-way Yankee taxes and politics.


Southern Blacks

Both Blacks and Whites served under the banner which some would now banish.

3,000 armed Blacks were with Stonewall Jackson in Frederick, Maryland, in September 1862. They served in an integrated southern army struggling for an independent nation.

The historic records of pro-southern Black military involvement under the Confederate battle flag was engraved in fact with their sacred blood. Their sacrifices along side of their white southern brothers have earned them honor of southern memories.

To the estimated 93,000 blacks who served the Southern cause during the war, the battle flag represented their hope for freedom in a free and independent nation.

Confederate blacks first engaged Union blacks at the battle of the Crater in Petersburg. The fighting was very tough, and at close quarters. Each side was motivated by love of country, devotion to duty, and the causes they represented.

Each followed his own flag.

Ed Smith, professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C., has publicly argued that the Confederacy would not have lasted four months, much less four years, without the support of Southern blacks. During years of extensive research, Smith has located numerous instances where blacks served the young Confederacy not as chattel, but as patriots.

Absurd, you say? Smith likens blacks serving the Confederacy to blacks serving in the jungles of Vietnam -- serving in a country which had not yet provided full civil rights. You may recall that the Voting Rights Act was not passed until 1965, long after many blacks had died in those faraway jungles and all of American's other wars. The deeds of these men stand today as a shining testimony to patriotism. Smith, incidentally, is a black American.

BLACK PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR. The truth is that Black Yankee regiments were segregated units and generally ostracized by the regular and volunteer forces. However, Blacks in the Confederate Army were integrated in existing regiments, treated with dignity and respect, served along side and received the same accommodations as their white counterparts.


Politically Correct

How can there be so much objection to the [Georgia] state flag and not one fiddle-dee-dee about a $30 million [Atlanta] theme park... which would assure old times are not forgotten? (Lewis Grizzard)

In our present generation, it is politically correct to devalue Confederate Heritage and "those nasty slave owners," but my mind is not so ignorant as to be persuaded by the zeitgeist of this age. I am not "some stupid, redneck sodbuster" defending this alleged symbol of slavery and oppression.

Knee-jerking sloganeering riles more emotions than does a substantive analysis of the facts.

It is distressing to find so many in the United States willing to bow to the demands of the disenchanted on the issue of cleansing the red, white and blue of the Confederate battle flag.

Now come the cleansing plaintiffs who wish to alter one quadrant of the (Winchester, VA) city seal because they do not find that portion in good taste or politically correct and they think the quadrant containing the battle flag might bring unhappiness in the hearts of a few malcontents, not unlike themselves.



N.A.A.C.P.


In 1991 the N.A.A.C.P. passed a resolution calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag "from all public properties," i.e., flags, seals, logos.

What the N.A.A.C.P. is talking about: "I don't think people should be reminded of what that war between the states was about." (John Hill, president N.A.A.C.P., Winchester, VA, 1991)

I don't feel it's the right thing to do. I don't think people realize what that rebel flag does hold for a number of black people. (John Hill, president N.A.A.C.P.)


Modern Abolitionists

There is, unhappily, a very vocal minority which has its own untoward agenda of revisionism coupled with the expedient of historical inaccuracies.

The South has been the recipient of insults, and its people have been listening to indignities since long before the War Between the States. The intensity of today's negative Southern remarks are similar to those delivered during Reconstruction, except that this contemporary rhetoric usually has an ethnocentric twist coupled with the bias of a larger and better organized media. Suffice it to say that there are also many more people available to listen, read and see the continual diatribe stacked against our Southern heritage and Confederate symbols. Let's set part of the record straight with just a few examples.


Symbols

"Symbols of the past. How can we rage against one and not include others?" (Lewis Grizzard)

The fiery cross is the sign of the Klan, not the battle flag, although they parade it and the American flag.

To say that a mere symbol can generate hate represents a primitive, superstitious cognitive process. Poor race relations are increased by the Nazi mentality of those minority groups who make vicious attacks on the heritage of their   "perceived opposition." In essence, they neglect to respect their "opposition."

Symbols can be difficult, because they mean or convey one set of values to one segment of our society and something else to another. That is the nature of symbolism.

If a flag should be a "symbolic summation of community values," then none could be more worthy than the values of the Confederate soldier.

If we start tearing down monuments to conform to some present day value system that has taken 217 years to evolve, or to cower to some obviously biased writer's version of history and political correctness, where will it end?

The Confederate soldier and his flag are an honorable part of this nation's history that deserves the respect of all Americans.

If the "symbols" of racism are to be suppressed, what is to be done about the causes? The slaves were brought here under the Union Jack, kept in bondage by the various state flags and the U.S. flag. If one is to be suppressed, all should be. Let's not be hypocrites.

Symbols mean a variety of things to various people. That is the nature of symbols. Today, to those who venerate history, the Confederate battle flag conveys a sense of honor, duty, and sacrifice. To those with dark agendas, it symbolizes hate, discord, and polarity.


The Battle Flag

The display of Confederate battle flags by your state is a fitting tribute to the memory of Southern patriots.

It is not enough to defend the colors. We must advance them.

The Confederate battle flag flies in the face of the taste and speech police.

'The Confederate flag as depicted on the [Winchester, VA,] city seal, represents a historically significant segment of the city's history. . . . To erase that or any portion of our heritage would be ill advised and dangerous revisionism. There can be no selective revision of history, not in a nation grounded in freedom." (Winchester Star editorial, 1991)

The media (press) confused Atlanta with the state of Georgia, on the flag issue.

"How can we forget our grandfathers who fought under this [Confederate Battle] flag under the most difficult circumstances, always outnumbered, underfed and under equipped? They displayed bravery and a dedication unparalleled in the annals of warfare. I cannot forget." (Georgia Chief Judge John Sammons Bell)

There may be some that see the Confederate battle flag "as the echo of a sorry past," but the vast majority of Americans from all over the country do not. Some disreputable groups have misused the Confederate flag, but we should not be held responsible for their totally misguided activities. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has repeatedly, and consistently, condemned the use of our flag to threaten or intimidate our fellow Americans. Many of these groups misuse the American flag and the Christian cross, but you certainly would not ban the use of these symbols by responsible organizations.

The battle flag does not stand for slavery or segregation, but for an indomitable will, and the uncommon valor of Chickamauga, Chancellorsville and Cold Harbor. (Columnist Pat Buchanan)

THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG. Some groups would have the world believe that it is a racist symbol, and that those who associate with it demonstrate ethnic insensitivity. Everyone can agree that it is most unfortunate to see some paramilitary hate groups misuse the battle flag along with the United States flag and the Christian cross as attention getters for their repulsive agendas. However, heritage groups, such as the S.C.V. recognize the battle flag for what it is -- a flag under which our ancestors fought and died. It was not developed as a symbol to perpetuate slavery, it was adopted for use during war time as a visual reference that would not become confused with the United States flag in combat situations. This flag is a source of pride, not prejudice.

The Confederate battle flag was designed by General P.G.T. Beauregard following the first battle of Bull Run simply to make it easier for Confederate officers watching the battle to determine their troops' positions. He kept the original colors of Old Glory-red, white and blu~and designed the broad of the flag in red for

easy vision. What appears as an X in the middle of the flag is actually a St. Andrews cross.

Andrew was one of the first disciples of Jesus Christ and a brother of Simon Peter. At his own crucifixion, Andrew did not deem himself worthy of the same death suffered by his Savior, dying on a T-shaped cross. The Romans granted his wish and simply crossed the wooden timbers in the middle, forming an X. There he hung for two days, preaching the gospel before his death.

Beauregard placed a star in the cross for each state of the newly formed Confederacy.


Dixie

THE SONG DIXIE. There are those that would have society believe that this song, written by a Yankee, is objectionable when played or sung in public. Ridiculous. Even President Abraham Lincoln enjoyed it, and in fact he commented that it was one of his favorite songs, and on at least one occasion during his presidency he requested that it be played. (at Petersburg, VA)


The Future

In 1993, in Winchester, VA, and in other parts of our nation, we are faced with this question: Can one segment of our society remember our history and honor our dead if it annoys another portion of the same society? The question is not rhetorical, nor is it self serving. It remains to be seen if the history of the majority will cave in to the demands of whining protesters who attempt to rewrite history by abolishing it.

The winds of change are upon us, and we should take note at the ease in which the elimination of a name and symbol is accomplished.


Suggestions for Testifying on the Colors


Determine if advance registration is required to speak. Call the City Clerk's office, the City Manager's office and the Board of Supervisor's office.

Type up your remarks. Make them double spaced, 250 words per page.

If you have footnotes or figures be prepared to cite them. Take the source documents or book to support your statements.

Prior to giving your remarks, give photocopies to the press. They like to be able to read along. It cuts down on their making notes and helps to stop misquotes. Do not give the press any off-the-cuff remarks; they have your text. Tell them you will have an answer for them within a specified time period.

Stick with your prepared text Don't joke around -- play it straight. Do not look at the opposition, no matter how crazy they sound. Keep your eyes on the officials.

Take notes when the opposition is speaking-it can make them nervous.

Before you speak in public, read your remarks before a critical committee of compatriots. This is the time when mistakes should be caught.

Dress as if you were on the way to church.