31 March 2012

So It's Memory, Not History

Of course, most non-academics who read and study history seriously already know this. Blessedly separated from the group-think, politicized version of historiography coming from the university, non-academics are sometimes better able to approach history with common sense, rather than through the lens of "victimization and oppression" ideology. Fortunately, there are also professional historians who have written honestly about this:

. . . in these dreariest of days in Academia . . . American history has largely become a plaything for canting ideologues . . . our times call for a correct ideological line, which at its increasingly popular extreme regards the Old South as a rehearsal for Nazi Germany and calls for the eradication of all traces of the conservative voices that have loomed so large in southern history . . . [There is a] step-by-step domination of departments of history in our southern as well as northern universities by those who regard what Richard Weaver aptly called the Southern Tradition and all its works as an evil past to be exorcised by all means, fair and foul. ~ Eugene D. Genovese (The Southern Front - History and Politics in the Cultural War, page 25.)

"Memory" is the domain of the left:

Historians, like everyone else, have their own political views. But these used to be kept separate from the scholarly role, which was to interpret and explain the past . . . With each passing year, the American historians have become more and more marginalized, and more irrelevant to anyone seeking insight about our nation's past. A few decades ago, the left wing was a small group, welcomed to participate by the mainstream historians in the profession, but unable to impose their will on a majority of sane historians. Today, they control the profession, and their two major associations have become almost indistinguishable from the organizations of the far Left. (History News Network)

There is only one true history, one set of facts. Yet there are different interpretations of those facts and choices made as to how much weight to give each fact(s), as well as which fact to ignore.

Memory is life, borne by living societies founded in its name. ... History, on the other hand, is the reconstruction, always problematic and incomplete, of what is no longer. ~  Pierre Nora

Just a reminder for those academic historians who think they own history. Think again. These issues tend to ebb and flow. Your own profession will one day judge you harshly. You may escape "memory", but you won't escape history.

30 March 2012

A Visit To Augusta Military Academy

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to stop into the museum at the old Augusta Military Academy located on the Valley Turnpike (Lee-Jackson Highway, Route 11) here in Augusta County. It was an absolutely beautiful spring day here in the Shenandoah Valley. Below are some photos I took. If you're ever in the area, I'd highly recommend a visit.
"Soon after the Civil War ended in 1865, Confederate veteran Charles S. Roller began teaching at the Old Stone Church nearby at Ft. Defiance. By 1874 he had founded Augusta Male Academy and incorporated military discipline into its classical curriculum by 1880. Roller renamed it Augusta Military Academy in 1890; it was the first military preparatory school in Virginia. In 1919, the Academy was among the first schools in America to adopt a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. The Academy’s international reputation for excellence in secondary level military education attracted more than 7,000 students from the United States and abroad before it closed in 1984."

Enfield Model 1858 Musket

Old AMA Barracks

The Museum

Brass from every military school in the Old Dominion. Virginia has, as does much of the South, a long tradition of military prep schools. Our oldest son graduated from Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia.

And right up Lee-Jackson Highway from AMA . . .

"Here stood, from the early 19th century until the mid-1900s, the tavern and stagecoach stop first owned by Peter Hanger. In 1848 its second proprietor, Samuel Harnsbarger, planted a willow tree in a spring here, across the newly-constructed Valley Turnpike from the tollhouse. Spring water flowed up the trunk and out a spout driven in its side, falling unto a wooden trough. For more than a century, three successive “willow spouts” provided water for thirsty travelers, horses, and automobiles."

Though the sign says not safe for drinking, I've done so on numerous occasions. So far, so good. ;o)

28 March 2012

Man At Work

Are There Still Men Like This In The World?

"At night Oates was worse and we knew the end had come.... He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning—yesterday. It was blowing a blizzard. He said, "I am just going outside and may be some time." He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.... We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman. We all hope to meet the end with a similar spirit, and assuredly the end is not far...."

From The Last March by Robert Falcon Scott. More here.

Upcoming post: Robert Krick Is Right About Lee 

27 March 2012

SCV Bash Fest

*Update - you will notice in the comment thread that the "non-academic, non-experts" took everyone else to school AFTER getting the facts. Of course, no apologies or admissions from the "experts." A teachable moment, for sure.

Again, here over a reinterment of Confederates. Yeah, I know. (Be sure and read the comment thread.) These folks act as though this has never happened before - or that it doesn't happen often. That's what's really strange. Phony outrage. Notice how all the nannies are quick to jump on the bandwagon - one commenter (who didn't know all the facts - do they really care?) even referring to people he doesn't know as "yahoos." Yes, do lecture all us poor, dumb "yahoos" about your vast knowledge and expertise in such matters. Share your genius and insight with us, oh wise ones. Oh, that we could only touch the hem of your garments and be healed of our ignorance!

Typical busybodies. They spend so much time bashing the Confederate heritage crowd and then feign concern and sadness over the disturbing of the evil slavers' grave. Give me a break. 

26 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #69 - Thoughts On American Digger

Last Wednesday night while, coincidentally, in Culpeper County for an organized Civil War relic hunt, I had the opportunity to catch the first episode of American Digger. As one who takes metal detecting and relic hunting seriously, I must say watching that show was, well, rather painful. Frankly, I was embarrassed by what I saw. It was over-hyped and unrealistic. That being said, I don't want to be too quick to judge the show. Maybe the first episdoe was an intentionally over-hyped "hook" to get folks to watch more. Maybe it will get better. Let's hope so. We'll have to wait and see.

As noted in a previous post by a fellow metal detectorist, metal detecting is much different than what was depicted on American Digger. For every interesting "keeper" I find, I will typically dig 10-20 pieces of junk - sometimes even more. I have, on numerous occasions, detected the better part of a day and found absolutely nothing worth keeping.

The vast majority of relic hunters don't metal detect for the money. I don't do it for the money. I've never sold anything I've found, though my collection is beginning to grow in monetary value. When I'm gone, whatever I've accumulated will simply be passed on to a museum and my children. I relic hunt because I am fascinated with the past and what we can learn from it and for the sheer joy of finding something that would otherwise be lost forever.

Relic:  "Something that has survived the passage of time, especially an object or custom whose original culture has disappeared, but also an object cherished for historical or memorial value.  A trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief.  A survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration, or disappearance."

“When you hold an early implement . . . you are near to another being in another life, and you are that much richer.” ~ Eric Sloane 

25 March 2012

Back From The Relic Hunt

I returned last night in a blinding thunderstorm from my relic hunting adventure on *battlefields in Culpeper County with a three-day beard, aching muscles, muddy boots, tales to tell and a sack full of rescued relics. What an adventure! Instead of trying to share the finds and whole story in a post now, I'll be producing a video which will tell the story so much better. Lots of interesting things to share. Stay tuned.

*On private property.

21 March 2012

Gone Relic Huntin'

By the time this posts Wednesday evening, I'll be in the Culpeper, Virginia area preparing for a three day Civil War relic hunt beginning on Thursday. I will try to post a few pics while "in the field." For three days and pproximately 12 hours each day, I'll be walking, swinging a metal detector, and digging lots of holes. I will be plum worn out by Saturday night. Last year's event saw cool, damp weather. This year, temperatures are predicted to be in the high 70's to low 80's - lots of sweating. But I've been preparing. I've dropped a few pounds, have been exercising more, and getting all my gear ready. I've also stocked up on the Aleve - I'm gonna need it. ;o) I've been looking forward to this event for many months now and hope to return Saturday night with some interesting stories, photos, and videos to share.

This particular site is rumored to be a "virgin" site when it comes to organized hunts. We shall see. Wish me happy huntin'!

20 March 2012

Parents Are The Experts In Education

And the evidence is quite overwhelming. If you have trouble reading the information in the chart below, simply click on it for a larger version.

Homeschool Domination
Created by: College At Home

19 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #68 - Relic Hunting & Reality

Fellow metal detectorist, relic hunter, and preservationist Tony Stevenson, recently posted a great piece on relic hunting and the ongoing debate/conflict between amateurs and professional archaeologists. Tony granted permission to repost his thoughts. I think it is a great piece and wanted to share it with my readers here. Below is the post with a link back to Tony's blog at the end of the post. If you have any interest whatsoever in this hobby, relic hunting, preserving local history or the ongoing debate surrounding these topics, please do take the time to read this post. It really is enlightening and very well balanced. I highly recommend the piece.

Detecting "Reality" Shows and the Amateur/Professional Debate
by Tony Stevenson

It seems the detecting forums and the *archeological communities are in a tizzy about a pair of detecting-themed “reality” shows hitting the airwaves this year.  The first of these, entitled “Diggers”, premiered yesterday on National Geographic as a two-episode pilot trial.  The second is a full 13 episode season called “American Digger”, set to air on Spike TV and starring former professional wrestler and long-time relic hunter Ric Savage.

As much as I hate to give publicity to the debate and potentially fuel the fire, I believe it is my responsibility as a detectorist, relic hunter, and blogger to provide my opinions on the controversy to my readership.  Let me first begin by saying that most of the opinions I have seen (from amateur detectorists, relic hunters, professional archeologists, and my own) are not particularly fond of the idea of these shows.  I should also mention that I don’t have cable television, so I will be commenting on hearsay from the premier episodes of Diggers and press releases of American Digger, but I will try to focus less on specifics of these shows than on the basic premise and potential problems they present.

It would seem the majority of the debate revolves around relic hunting, and not other hobby detecting pursuits such as jewelry hunting and coinshooting.  I have yet to hear many arguments against either of these aspects of detecting, though they have been lumped in with the arguments against relic hunting in many cases.  I will limit this discussion to relic hunting in particular.

This US belt buckle from the Civil War shows extensive plow damage.  It was recovered from a field where troop movement is highly documented and recorded, but where archeological excavation would not  be logical.  Without relic hunters, it would have been destroyed in that field where it lay.

Part One:  The Skewed Reality of Detecting "Reality" Shows

There are two fundamental parts to the argument against shows like these and their portrayal of the relic hunting community.  The first is a depiction of relic hunting solely as a means of financial gain, a concept which neither professionals nor amateurs agree with.  Now don’t get me wrong, metal detecting is one of the few hobbies that can pay for its own equipment in the long run.  A man at my detecting club recently purchased Big Dawg search coil for his detector, and on his second trip the unique geometry of the coil allowed him to find a gold ring which paid for the coil.  If I were to sell my Civil War relics, I would certainly be able to pay for my equipment and then some (though I have been fortunate enough to make a few lucky finds which contribute the bulk of the worth of my collection).  Those who are in it for the money tend to be jewelry hunters, searching modern schools, parks, and beaches, not historical areas. 

But this hobby is far from profitable as a career path.  Only a very few will ever find enough to cover the cost of their equipment, batteries, fuel, and most of all the incredible amount of time required to be successful.  For each post I make showing Civil War relics I have gone out at least as many times on full day detecting trips and found nothing whatsoever.  Contrary to what these shows depict, the overwhelming majority of relic hunters I have ever met don’t do it for monetary reasons, and those who do would be quite disappointed at the typical results.  No, we relic hunters do it for the same love of history and preservation of artifacts that motivates professional archeologists.

The reality of relic hunting - far more trash than treasure. 
I personally dug everything that you see in this picture

Shows like Diggers and American Digger have been crafted in the same way as other successful profit-based shows like Storage Wars and American Pickers.  But in doing so, they completely misrepresent both the intentions of most relic hunters as well as the potential for profit.  Reports from the premier of Diggers show incredibly inflated values of recovered objects, and as I said, it is extremely difficult to make any money as a relic hunting hobbyist.  Sadly, this irresponsible depiction may attract new detectorists with the wrong motivations for relic hunting, delusions of quick wealth, and little training.  While I doubt that such types will stick with the hobby once they learn the reality of how difficult it actually is, I worry about the damage they may cause to our hobby in the meantime if they don’t practice ethical detecting.

Part Two:  The Impossible Idealism of the "Professionals-Only" Argument

The second argument against these shows illustrates the divide between traditional archeology and amateur enthusiasts, and is the most common argument that I have seen from those who are neither professionals nor hobby diggers.  The argument claims that relic hunting damages the integrity of historic sites, and such recoveries should only be performed by professional archeologists in every circumstance.  It isn’t simply against these shows, but the very act of relic hunting.  Those on the extreme of this viewpoint call us looters, thieves of history, and even graverobbers.  This argument is unfortunately, in large part, misinformed and counterproductive to the stated goal of preservation of our history.  Allow me to explain, but first, a caveat.

I do believe that not all sites should be available to relic hunting.  The most basic example is undisturbed pre-historic sites.  Since there is no written record of these human activities, the only information that we can gather is through painstaking archeological excavation, and this should be left to the professionals.  Furthermore, some locations in modern history are simply too engrained in our social fabric to be left to the amateurs, or are generally considered “hallowed ground” that should remain untouched by all.  Sites like Gettysburg and Monticello spring to mind.  But rather than focusing on banning metal detecting at all sites, professional archeologists need to work to preserve these sites of specific cultural importance (many of which have been purchased by the government for preservation).  I see nothing wrong with this approach whatsoever.

The argument of destruction of American cultural heritage falls apart, however, when applied to most sites which are searched by amateur relic hunters.  There aren’t enough professional archeologists, time, or money in the entire United States budget to conduct a full archeological excavation at all of this nations modern-historical sites.  Even if there were, very little new evidence would be gained by such an endeavor.  The lifestyles of 18
th and 19th century America are well documented.  Civil War troop locations were well recorded (that’s how I’m able to find these sites in the first place!), and typical camp life is well understood.

The Freeman House (now Roxy Farms Antiques) in Saxapahaw, which I detected several times in 2011, was built in the late 1800's.  There are simply far too many historical sites like this one for archeologists to survey them all, and very little new information would be gained by doing so.

I often hear how important it is to examine the “strata”, or layering of depth of artifacts at a site.  But typical Civil War camp sites are often found in farmed fields, routinely plowed to depths of up to three FEET.  Strata, in such a circumstance, are meaningless.  Furthermore, we know the years and in many cases weeks or even specific days when these relics were lost thanks to the historical record.  Again, very little additional information can be obtained by a professional versus an amateur historian, even if we had unlimited resources for such professional excavations.

The idea of leaving these relics in the ground for professional recovery would be disastrous for the preservation of these items.  Many volumes of relic identification guides have been written by relic hunters based on their recoveries.  To leave these relics in the ground would be to allow them to decay to nothing, and as another relic hunter put it so eloquently, this would be nothing short of “looting by neglect.”  There is nothing more saddening to a relic hunter than excavating a Civil War era button and watching it crumble away to nothing (quite literally) upon recovery thanks to years of plow damage and heavy fertilizer use.  Contrary to popular belief, these relics won’t be around forever until an archeologist has the time and money to recover them.  They will continue to succumb to oxidation, chemical damage, physical damage from plows and bulldozers, and burial under asphalt and concrete until nothing remains.  All in the name of “preservation” from amateur relic hunters who would recover, restore, preserve, and cherish the history of these items without the luxury of a PhD and a government grant.  Pardon me if I sound a bit frustrated by that notion.

 These bullets were recovered from a construction site ready for development.  The bullets with blue circles show damage from bulldozers.  The bullet in the red circle was found on top of the ground illustrating the disturbed strata of the site.

Part 3:  The Benefits of Compromise

I mean this with no disrespect for traditional archeologists.  In fact, I believe detectorists, with all their passion for the preservation of history, are a great untapped resource for the archeological community.  I have even worked side by side with professionals from the North Carolina Office of State Archeology conducting a detector survey of the Battle of Alamance.  Together with the Old North State Detectorists club, we donated many hundreds of man hours at no cost to the state, surveying the battlefield, recording finds locations, and recovering relics for preservation.  Many of our finds are currently on display at the battlefield museum, including a rare USA button, the first and only physical evidence of a second skirmish reported to have occurred at the site later during the Revolutionary War.  The site was not a good candidate for traditional excavation (doing so would have cost much more time and money than the state could provide), and without our help that fragile pewter button would have crumbled away to nothing underground.  I have to note, however, that archeologists will never be able to tap into the potential assistance from detectorists if the rhetoric of looters and graverobbers continues.

This is me holding a musket ball from the Battle of Alamance, recovered while working with the North Carolina Office of State Archeology.

I invite the reader to peruse my site once more, and realize that many of the relics shown here would have been lost forever without amateur relic hunters like myself.  Many of the bullets presented here were recovered from a site already cleared and graded for development, soon to be covered over in asphalt.  The US buckle I recovered is nearly destroyed by constant plow damage, and would not have survived much longer in that farmed field.  The private properties where I have recovered relics with landowner permission right here in Saxapahaw would never be considered as candidates for professional archeological excavation.

This South Carolina state seal button was recovered at the Battle of Bentonville, NC.  The back is corroded and almost destroyed, while the front is barely recognizable.  The field has been plowed and turned for many years, and it common knowledge to historians that South Carolina troops were on the road where it was recovered.  There are currently no scheduled plans for archeological digs in the Bentonville area to my knowledge.  Without relic hunters, artifacts like these will be destroyed by time and the elements.

Relic hunters are not stealing history, but are showing our enthusiasm for it by preserving artifacts which would otherwise be lost.  Unfortunately, shows like “Diggers” misrepresent our goals and inflate the idea of relic hunting for profit, and do us all a disservice.  Please, do not fall into the trap of Hollywood hype, but go talk to some relic hunters for yourself.  I do believe you will find the vast majority to be as passionate and motivated about preserving history as any professional.

Sorry for the rant.  But like I said, we’re a passionate lot.

(End post.)
Here's the link to Tony's post and his blog. As a side bar, I am fascinated by *archaeology and appreciate the work of professional archaeologists. I learn all I can from them when I can. I also subscribe to Archaeology, a professional journal and publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. Most of us (relic hunters) really do take what we do seriously and respect the potential historical significance of the items we remove from the ground.

* "Archeology" is an alternate spelling for "Archaeology." Both spellings are accepted by most scholars today.

18 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #67 - We Save History - Part 4

I just received an invitation to participate in a relic hunt with this organization. The proceeds raised from the hunt will go to a local history project. Unfortunately, the invitation would be for the same dates that I'll be on another invitational hunt in Culpeper, later this week. Maybe next time.

16 March 2012

On The Nightstand - Spring Reading

A fascinating account of the "Golden Age of Piracy." I bought this book while visiting the Pirate Museum in Nassau earlier this week. It's an interesting and enlightening read. Highly recommended.

15 March 2012

Take Down That Flag!

The left finds a new way to desecrate Old Glory. Maybe the kooks on the left are trying to combat the fact that: "A single exposure to an American flag resulted in a significant increase in participants' Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting 8 months." 

Watching the leftist admit her error and violation of the Federal code in regards to the proper display of the American flag, and then removing the offending flag, was quite gratifying.

11 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #66 - We Save History - Part 3

Part 3 in my series of posts demonstrating how metal detectorists are making a wonderful contribution toward the preservation of American history. This video is about the "Centreville Six."

More about this project can be seen here.

10 March 2012

March Adventures

Have boots. Will travel. Posting will not be as frequent in the coming weeks as I'm leaving the country on an adventure for a few days and then, not long after I return, I'll be participating in an invitational Civil War relic hunt. I'm also trying to complete my book and am working on some other exciting projects as well. I did have a few posts I wanted to complete before my departure, including another response to Professor Brooks Simpson who spends a lot of time ignoring me; as well as another post on American Exceptionalism. But both will probably have to wait until later this month. I do have Part 3 in my "We Save History" series coming up tomorrow. Comment moderating may be sporadic or even non-existent while I'm away as I'm not sure about the availability of internet service where I'll be going. If there is service available to me, I'll load a post or two from my "secret" location.

09 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #65 - We Save History - Part 2

Part 2 in my series of posts demonstrating how metal detectorists are making a wonderful contribution toward the preservation of America's history. This is a fascinating video and shows how detectorists, historical societies, and landwoners can work together in a "win, win, win" effort. The next post in this series will be about the WBTS. Part 1 in this series here.

I am now a member of the Artifact Detecting Team.

08 March 2012

Metal Detecting Post #64 - We Save History - Part 1

I'm going to be loading a series of posts demonstrating how relic hunters and metal detectorists contribute to our knowledge of history and are doing fantastic work preserving our history. This is, as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story."  The following is a press release from this past Monday.

New Program Encourages Collaboration Between Metal Detectorists and Archaeologists

CHICAGO, IL— MARCH 5, 2012 Minelab Americas, the largest manufacturer of metal detectors in the world and James Madison’s Montpelier, the home of the Father of the Constitution, today announced the launch of the Minelab Archaeological Certification Program (MACP). The new program will help metal detectorists and archaeologists work together to make quicker more systematic discoveries, while preserving historic site integrity. The pilot class will convene on the grounds of Montpelier, James Madison's Orange, Va. home, next week.

“The Minelab Archaeological Certification Program at James Madison’s Montpelier marks a partnership between Montpelier and Minelab Americas to expand the education of archaeological disciplines into artifact recovery," said Gary Schafer, vice president of Minelab Americas. "The partnership is a revolutionary effort to bring together the latest in metal detecting technologies and the best practices of archaeological artifact recovery. This effort will ensure that our two communities continue to work together to preserve history in a sustainable way for all constituents. The opportunity for Minelab’s best metal detector enthusiasts and distributors to participate in this annual learning effort on these historic grounds is a benefit we are proud to offer in partnership with the staff of James Madison’s Montpelier. The learning opportunity this program provides is significant for all studies of historic preservation.”

Minelab and Montpelier collaborated to develop the MACP curriculum. Both organizations will work to develop the pilot certification into a program that holds broader professional recognition in the future.

The pilot class consists of 14 authorized Minelab dealership owners and associated representatives. Participants will work with Montpelier's archaeology staff to explore the area where Montpelier's field slave quarters once stood, as well as survey for sites in the forests surrounding the plantation. Throughout the six-day program participants will learn how to preserve site and artifact integrity, while directing archaeologists to the most promising excavation sites.

“The partnership between Montpelier and Minelab represents an incredible opportunity for us to take advantage of some of the most advanced metal detecting technology available today, and to bring in experienced metal detector enthusiasts to help us identify artifact-rich sites on Montpelier’s historic 2,700 acre property," said Dr. Matthew Reeves, Montpelier, director of archaeology and historic landscapes. "Involving Minelab as a new partner in the process of archaeological discovery helps us uncover lost history which can help bring to life the home and lives of James and Dolley Madison. It is also an opportunity to show the metal detectorist and archaeology communities how both can work together to discover and preserve historic sites."

The public is invited to watch the metal detectorists conduct surveys in the field slave quarter area. The survey site is a short walk from the Montpelier Visitor Center.


March 12 (Monday): 10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; 1:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

March 15 (Thursday): 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

March 16 (Friday) 9:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

To inquire about Minelab metal detectors, please visit http://www.minelab.com or call 1-888-949-6522.

To learn more about James Madison’s Montpelier, please visit http://www.montpelier.org. or call 540-672-2728 x115.

ABOUT Minelab Americas

Since its origins in 1985 Minelab has been, and still is, the world leader in providing metal detecting technologies for consumer, humanitarian demining and military needs. Through devotion to research and development and innovative design, Minelab is today a major world manufacturer of hand held metal detector products. Over the past 27 years, Minelab has introduced more innovative and practical technology than any of its competitors and has taken the metal detecting industry to new levels of excellence.

ABOUT James Madison's Montpelier:

Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and president of the United States. Now that the home's $25 million architectural restoration is complete, visitors can see the progress of rediscovering James and Dolley Madison through the "Presidential Detective Story" with daily guided tours. They can also leisurely stroll the garden and forest; and take in the galleries, hands-on activities, and many other attractions on the estate's 2,650 acres. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montpelier is located in the heart of Virginia's wine country on Route 20, four miles south of Orange, Va., and 25 miles north of Charlottesville, Va.

Montpelier is administered by The Montpelier Foundation, which seeks to inspire continuing public engagement with American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison. Montpelier is a National Trust Historic Site.

07 March 2012

Chanting "USA, USA, USA!" Is Racist?

For all of you folks who claim to not know what political correctness is, here's an extreme example for you:

But it was just after the trophy presentation when the coach was not proud of the chant coming from Alamo Heights fans. "USA, USA, USA," they chanted.

This growing attitude is the result of two things promoted by some segments of academia:
  1. Political correctness (Speech codes, thought control) 
  2. Anti-American Exceptionalism

    06 March 2012

    Southern Culture Is Superior

    If you doubt me, just watch this:

    Any questions?

    05 March 2012

    Granddaughters Takin' Care Of Their Pony

    What every Southern lady should know how to do. Three and five years old.

    04 March 2012

    Slavery Still Exists In The North

    "A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges after being accused of keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years."

    Should the South invade? Story here.

    03 March 2012

    So You Want To Talk About Genocide?

    Some of the folks over at Civil War Memory got into another SCV bash fest over a recent heritage event in Richmond. The eternally puckered-up got even more puckered up over a chant allegedly made by one of the Confederate reenactment units. That little ditty went like this:

    What do we do?
    Kill Yankees
    How Many?
    All of them

    I must admit, not very original nor catchy, but you get the point. I suppose some of the puckered have never studied what some folks know as the Civil War and what others a bit more enlightened refer to as the War Between the States or, what the eminent historian Douglas Southall Freeman said the most accurate name would be: “The War for Southern Independence.” For if they had studied this event, they’d realize that killing yankees (Union soldiers) was the objective of Confederate soldiers (Hint - it's why they carried muskets). I realize that in a day when our military is often called on to perform humanitarian “meals on wheels” type assignments, that some moderns may have some difficulty grasping the concept of killing your enemy. But this actually can be verified. I ain't-a kiddin'. So when soldiers (or those portraying them) make war chants like that, it shouldn't come as a surprise. 

    But surprised the folks at CWM were for they suggested these REENACTORS were advocating genocide. Again, I ain't-a kiddin'.

    Lord help these folks if they ever have the misfortune to listen to the song below. No doubt their puckering would cause them to bite button holes in their seat cushions:

    That catchy little tune was performed with great gusto at Gettysburg's 145th. I suppose I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there was none of that thar genocide takin' place in them thar parts. BTW, the 2nd South Carolina String Band is a well-respected and talented band which often plays at SCV and other history related events. Southern Soldier is, as might be expected, always rather well-received. You can read some reviews of the band here.

    So, as difficult as it is for the educated among us, Confederate soldiers did in fact desire to "kill yankees." And if the WBTS scholars were as educated about that conflict as they claim to be, they'd realize that the chant at the Richmond event simply echoed one of Stonewall Jackson's admonishments to his fellow Confederates in regards to yankees: –
    “Kill them. Kill them all” As I often point out, agendas tend to blind us from the truth about history. 

    Now, let's discuss the term "genocide." Merriam-Webster defines the word as:

    "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group"

    That, of course, does not include warfare. You would think the educated among us would at least know what the term genocide meant before they threw such an inflammatory accusation around so recklessly. Even Southern slavery, with all its inherent evils, did not rise to the level of genocide. But if you'd like an example of genocide in American history, you might consider the actions of former Union (yankee) Generals Sherman, Grant, and Custer against the American Indian. Though even that is arguable, it comes much closer to the definition of genocide than it does a bunch of good ole' boys reenacting Confederate soldiers. 

    And, yes, I'd love to go to church with these folks. It's where all sinners should go.

    On a bit more cordial note, I'll be posting an interesting link and some information Kevin shared with me recently.

    02 March 2012

    Battle Of Waynesboro - Y'all Come

    This past year, I've had the privilege of serving on the Battle of Waynesboro Committee. This committee is responsible for organizing the commemoration of this event. As Waynesboro is my home town, and as I was born in a hospital that sits on part of the battlefield, and as my family once owned much of the land where the battle took place, serving on this committee is quite an honor. If you happen to be in the area, please stop by.

    Move Over Geronimo

    "Stone-age Europeans were the first to set foot on North America, beating American Indians by some 10,000 years, new archaeological evidence suggests. In a discovery that could rewrite the history of the Americas, archaeologists have found a number of stone tools dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, and bearing remarkable similarities to those made in Europe."

    History revisionism. I suppose this makes me a Native-American. Guess I'll be checking a new box on all those government forms we have to fill out. More here.

    01 March 2012

    Modern Slavery

    "When school officials handed out copies of The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, they said they hoped students would connect with the abolitionist’s struggle learning to read at a time when African-Americans were largely prohibited from becoming literate.That’s exactly what 13-year-old Jada Williams did, drawing a parallel between Douglass’ experience and those of many of her classmates in the City School District. And in an essay that she turned in at School 3, she compared illiteracy among city school students — about 75 percent cannot read at a level appropriate for their age — to a modern day form of slavery." Story here.

    This brave student dared to criticize the failure of government schools. For that, she was threatened with suspension. Mom pulled her out of the school. Good for Mom. You can watch an interview of the student by Glenn Beck below. Note that the Frederick Douglas Foundation of New York shared a David Barton video with young Jada. Beck also mentions Phyllis Wheatley in the video, a woman I mention in my book about Stonewall Jackson and his black Sunday school class. Wheatley was a Christian and the first African-American to publish a book in America. I include the following from one of Wheatley's poems:

    'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
    Taught my benighted soul to understand
    That there's a God, that there's a Savior too:
    Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.

    The Wisdom Of Eric Sloane

    "The spirits and habits of yesterday become more difficult to apply to modern everyday life . . . if we can only mark time with our scientific progress long enough to let the old morals and spirits catch up, we shall be all the better for it. The heritages of godliness, the love of hard work, frugality, respect for home and all the other spirits of pioneer countrymen, are worth keeping forever. What we do today will soon become once upon a time for the Americans of tomorrow and their heritage is our present day responsibility." ~ Eric Sloane, writing in Once Upon A Time: The Way America Was.