20 August 2009

In Defense Of Gary Casteel

Kevin Levin just can't leave it alone. He's obsessed with bashing certain views of Southern history (though legitimate) that don't fit his template. His latest commentary about nationally recognized Civil War sculptor Gary Casteel's work, is a perfect example. Kevin tells us that his own parents and grandparents embellished his family's history about the WBTS (I think he's being serious), so he transfers his experience to Mr. Casteel's without verifying the facts. Kevin calls Casteel's work "fantasies." That's what happens when your views are agenda driven. You let emotions cloud your views and then you make assumptions based on those emotions.

Casteel's depiction of two brothers who were formerly enemies, now being reunited, is one which portrays, in artistic form, things that really did happen in familes during the war and its aftermath. The work also portrays sentiments which have been well-documented in books like, My Brother's Keeper - Union and Confederate Soldiers' Acts of Mercy During the Civil War.

I think it is Mr. Levin who lives in a fantasy bubble driven by his distaste for anything which portrays the Confederacy, her history, or her soldiers in any way that can be seen as postive or worthy of honor.


Michael Bradley said...

Not only did such things happen, the Casteel statue represents, in artistic fashion, the spirit of reconciliation between North & South which marked the late Nineteenth and much of the Twentieth Century.

We have seen, in the last 35 t0 40 years, a return to a vindictive spirit toward the South, a spirit worthy of the most radical of the Radicals of the 1860's.

I am much amused by the hoary charge that Southerners can't forget the War. It is the neo-Radicals who have a burr under their saddle blankets about the past.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Michael. Yes, I thought about the reconciliation aspect as well and you are, of course, correct. This piece is similar to the Kirkland monument at Spotsylvania.

And yes, the ones riding a burr are the ones who seem to have an unhealthy obsession with some of these issues.


Brboyd said...

It is funny how the levin doesnt voice his opinions here anymore. I guess he has to have someone on his side to speak his mind.

Chaps said...


I know the memorial to SGT Richard Kirkland at Fredricksburg but was unable to find anything on a monument at Spotsylvania. There was a brigade commander named Kirkland, is that the one?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


No rah-rah.


Yes, same one. See:

Fellow blogger Michael Aubrecht is co-producing a documentary about it.

Levin would probably call it a fantasy, even though it really happened.


Chaps said...

Thanks, Richard. Combat vets should not find Casteel's concept difficult at all. I have a lot more respect for my former enemies in Vietnam than those who ran away in the U.S. After the Japanese military and civilian officials signed the surrender aboard the USS Missouri, they were rendered honors when they left the ship, no longer enemies. Great line in the song "Wearin' of the Gray" about "the slurs of those who never smelled the fray."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You're welcome. Of course not. Another great example was the surrender at Appomattox. Read Grant's comments, as well as Chamberlain's opinion and awe of Lee. As I pointed out, many of these academics often reveal their true agenda in comments like this one. Furthermore, these comments reveal the writer really does not understand the conflicting emotions involved in warfare. Their agenda and emotions often blind them to truth, all the while they are accusing others of the very thing of which they have fallen victim. I remember once discussing Christ, heaven, and eternity with my WWII Vet grandfather and he would sit there with tears in his eyes, shaking his head saying, "No, no, I can never go to heaven. I killed too many blue-eyed German boys!" It was quite gut-wrenching to observe, but revealed that he viewed his "enemies" as human beings, despite the evil of their cause and the horror of warfare.

If you'll notice, one of the follow up comments to Levin's post turns this statue into a racial issue. Absolutely amazing and disgraceful.

Chaps said...


"Chaps" is derived from my duty in the Navy and Marines. If he has passed on, your grandfather already knows this. If not, please let him know that fighters in a just cause, acting as an agent of a power described in Romans 13, have a special relationship with God in which our deeds are justified. I preached that to Marines a lot. But, the one thing we are forbidden is to hate. I think your grandfather qualifies. Blessings upon him for preserving our freedom.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Chaps. Unfortunately, he passed away in March of 1990. He was a huge influence in my life and I miss him a lot.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely appreciate, applaud and echo your sentiments about this detractor of all things Confederate. His obsession with this issue has exceeded what many might call a compulsive behavior. Unfortunately for him, the obvious bias detracts from the power of his "arguments". Good job Richard, and please keep it up.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, the bias certainly does not help what is already a baseless criticism.

Look how the comments digressed into turning the criticism to the subject of race. Unbelievable. Snide, juvenile, and small-minded.