April 2016

 

Welcome to the monthly newsletter.  If you wish to be notified of each new issue, send an email to subscribe@floridareenactorsonline.com.   ALL Writers are welcomed: Confederate, Union, and Civilian.  If you wish to submit an article, or have any questions, send an email to webmaster@floridareenactorsonline.com.

 

YOS,

Ham

 

 

For additional event information, please visit the EVENTS page for a complete listing.

 

·        April 1-3:  Saint Andrews Bay Salt Words Raid, Panama City, FL

·        April 8-10: The Raid on Bishop’s Farm, Holly Hill, FL

·        April 15-17: Camp Milton, Jacksonville, FL

·        April 22-24: Battle of Bowlegs Creek Heritage Festival, Ft. Meade, FL

·        May 6-8: Federal Garrison of Fort Clinch, Fernandina Beach, FL

·        May 20-22: Battle of Resaca, GA

 

 

A Final Salute

To Absent Friends, ‘Lest we forget’

By Jason DeHart of the Tallahassee Magazine

 

http://www.tallahasseemagazine.com/the-colonel_ccsz.pngI asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

 

There’s a dramatic turning point in the annual reenactment of the Battle of Olustee when the Confederate troops, low on ammo, are in danger of being pushed back by a resurgent line of Union troops. Like a dying candle flame, the rebel musketry sputters as the men desperately refill their cartridge boxes from the boxes of their fallen comrades around them. Soon, those rounds are spent, too. The shooting slackens and then stops altogether. For a moment, there’s a lull. The troops are on the verge of wavering.

 

Then, he is there. A lone Confederate officer on horseback arrives on the scene at a gallop. But it’s not just any officer. It’s Col. Don Bowman, and he has come to rally the flagging line of butternut troopers.

 

I asked for health, that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

 

Col. Bowman is instantly recognizable through the drifting smoke and haze of battle. He’s ramrod straight in the saddle, and his corded slouch hat is pulled low and tight over salt-and-pepper hair. Flinty eyes, black like cannons, assess the situation from behind wire-rim glasses. He trots his horse around the line, proud and defiant, holding aloft the red flag of the Georgia Volunteer Battalion in his right hand. Reinforcements are coming; stand your ground. A cheer erupts as he gallops back along the rising line of men. From the woods behind them, a fresh line of Confederate troops appears, the two lines converge and over the din Col. Bowman’s commanding, ringing voice can be heard: “Push on, men! Push on!” The men do, and the home team prevails — again — and all hail the colonel.

 

The scene was scripted and re-enacted time and again, but the affectionate cheers for “the colonel” always were genuine.

 

I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

 

Donald D. Bowman grew up in Tampa, lived in Zephyrhills and was not a soldier by profession but an electrician. Still, he had the soul and ethos of a scholarly, warrior king. He was an avid Civil War historian and an iconic figure at re-enactments all over the country for 40 years. He had countless friends in the re-enactment community throughout Florida, including members of the Leon Rifles here in Tallahassee. He was a devoted family man, an authentic Southern gentleman and a mentor to many. He was always professional, gracious, kind, patient and dignified. He elevated the craft of historical re-enacting through his boundless knowledge, energy and enthusiasm.

 

As field commander of the Department of the Gulf (which encompasses the Florida Battalion of Infantry and the Georgia Volunteer Battalion), his natural military bearing set a high standard for his men to follow. He was in every way a true leader, professional, always squared away and ready for action, and when he gave the command for the battalion to move, it did so with purpose and dignity. Under his direction, the “DOG” was always Nulli Secundus — “Second to None” — whether his men wore the grey coat or blue.

 

But darkness falls for all men. Don Bowman had a serious brush with a near-fatal illness in 1998 when his liver failed and an 11th-hour reprieve in the form of a desperately needed transplant restored him. He was able to return to his family and resumed his field command for 17 more years. Ever the historian, Bowman named his new liver “J.B.” after John Brown Gordon, a tough and determined Confederate general.

 

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

 

But sickness would strike him again in recent years, and Col. Bowman found himself in a pitched battle against a vicious new foe: Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but aggressive type of skin cancer. Despite fighting another gallant delaying action, Bowman succumbed to “Major Merkel’s” overwhelming forces on Nov. 25. His funeral was held at a small Catholic church in Zephyrhills. In addition to his family and church family, more than 170 officers and men of the Department of the Gulf came from all over Florida and parts of Georgia to give him one final salute. 

 

Even though the colonel is gone, he is still leading by example. And I think one of the greatest lessons we can learn from his life is that “surrender” doesn’t mean giving up or quitting.

 

It’s about fighting but also being willing to give ourselves over to a power, or a will, greater than our own, when there’s no more ground to gain and victory is no longer possible.

 

It’s about quietly accepting the inevitable with dignity, grace and honor, being thankful for the time you were given, and being thankful for a second chance that many aren’t blessed with.

 

It’s about being at peace.

 

For those lessons, and many others, I am thankful. I am thankful I knew him.

 

Until our next post, Colonel…Farewell.

 

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed. — “A Prayer to Enjoy Life,” attributed to a Confederate soldier and carried by Col. Bowman for years.

 

 

 

Battle of Natural Bridge Comes Back to Life

By Erin Lisch of WCTV

March 6, 2016

 

 

WOODVILLE, Fla.-Going back in time with the reenactment, the Battle of Natural Bridge.

 

March 6th 1865 the union attempts to cross the bridge to capture the Florida Capitol.

 

That day the Confederate army holds the Union in Woodville.

 

Reenactor Mark Rominger says it’s important to show Florida's past, "For the public to have some glimpse some living look at oh that's how they looked that's how it was like, that's what we're striving for."

 

From the past to present.....David Lang receives a sword, engraved to remember his great grandfather Confederate Colonel David Lang, of the 8th Florida Infantry

 

David Lang said, “Each of these men here ancestors served honorably on both sides and I’m just so happy to be a part of it."

 

And out of those men who served, more than 600,000 soldiers died in the Civil War.

 

And reenactors like Jame Creel say knowledge of the past, helps our future, "If you don't learn from history you're doomed to repeat it...I think it's important to have that knowledge behind you so you can make better decisions."

 

And thanks to these volunteer reenactors this history will never fade.

 

"i just want to see that it's carried on, I think everyone should be proud of their ancestry," said Lang.

 

A battle in the bloodiest war in U.S history....a history never forgotten, preserved by reenactments for the present and future.

 

This is the 39th year the reenactment has taken place.

 

 

Home Natural Bridge After-Action Report

By Ron Boyce

 PanamaCity-ED@amikids.org

 

The battle of Natural Bridge continues to improve year after year. The cooperation between the state Park Rangers and the local historical societies has created an intimate event where everyone works closely towards a common goal; the remembrance of the last significant battle in Florida. Although difficult to re-create with accuracy, the reenactor organizations do their best to honor the brave men who fought there on March 5th, 1865. The Union consisted of USCT regiments and a naval gun battery. The 2nd Infantry Regiment headed up by Sgt. Mjr. Jarvis Rosier, Sr., gives an excellent impression of the Union soldiers who fought there and we hope that excellent organization continues to grow. The Leon Rifles and the Militia provide the bulk of the Confederate Home Guard units. The North Florida Light Artillery and the Quickmatch Battery represented the several batteries that were present at the battle and that were integral in stopping the Union attempt to cross the St Marks River at Natural Bridge in their effort to outflank the fort at St Marks.

 

The weather was excellent all weekend and the camps sprung up quickly and were well regulated. All amenities were available in close proximity and were clean. The units all performed well. The battles were very well done this year. The Pawnee Guard Marine unit engaged both the artillery and the militia and had a great time doing so. The Confederates opened with an awesome volley on Sunday that set the tone for a battle that was fast paced and action packed. There were lots of casualties and movement on the field to give the spectators a good feel for what a battle would look like. This event is my favorite one to attend because it is relaxed and small, and yet it feels like a big event. The sutler selection is perfect and field is big enough to play on and yet small enough that the action is close and intense.

 

This year we were treated with an honored guest, Lt. Col, USA David Lang, a direct descendent of Col David Lang who led the Florida Brigade at Gettysburg. Colonel Jesse presented him with an engraved sword in in honor of his great, great grandfather, which drew tears from Col Lang and cheers from the units.

 

The Pawnee Guard wishes to thank all units present, the historical society and the State Park service for the opportunity to honor a great moment in Florida history. 

 

 

 

 

Natural Bridge After-Action Report

By Chris Lydick,

17th Connecticut Vol. Inf., Co. H

clydick@fs.fed.us

 

Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Officers of the 4th Brigade,

 

It is my pleasure to report to the Brigade on events which took place March 4th through 6th instant. A detachment of the 17th Connecticut Vol. Inf. (Company H), and combined naval and marine forces of the USS Pawnee, participated in the 151st anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge – just south of Tallahassee. This event commemorates the attempt by Union forces to capture Tallahassee following an amphibious landing approximately 20 miles south of the town at the St. Marks Lighthouse in the waning months of the war. After marching to the Village of Newport, Confederate forces turned back the advancing Federals and destroyed a key bridge, forcing the Federals to continue marching northward to the Natural Bridge of the St. Marks River – where the river goes subterranean for a distance, allowing passage without the need for a constructed bridge. At the Natural Bridge, three separate Federal charges failed to dislodge Confederate forces, thus necessitating a Federal withdrawal back to their point of disembarkation. Tallahassee would remain the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi River not to fall during the war. Today, Natural Bridge is managed by the Florida Park Service as a state park, and is one of only a handful of events in Florida which takes place on the actual Battlefield.

 

Tying-in with the Walton Guard (portraying 3rd US Infantry), the 2nd USCT, and the shore detachment of the USS Pawnee; we made a small but effective Federal fighting force. On Friday, Major Jim Busby (Walton Guard/3rd US Inf.) led a group of our forces on an eight mile march through the salt marshes and islands of the picturesque St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The march, which roughly mirrored the actual 1865 route of the Federal army, featured a great deal of wildlife and was punctuated by near-perfect weather and temperature, with a pleasant Gulf breeze. Our route began from the St. Marks Lighthouse and proceeded northward to near the village of Newport, where the initial shots of the battle originally rang out. In the future Major Busby hopes to grow this campaign-style march into an overnight scenario representing the entirety of the route of march that the Federals made from the St. Marks Lighthouse to Newport, spending an evening bivouacked at the Village of Newport, and continuing onward to the natural bridge of the St. Marks River the following morning, arriving at the state park in time for Colors on Saturday morning.

 

Saturday, we were led into battle by Major Busby. Saturday and Sunday are both scripted battles, representing the three separate Federal charges made upon the entrenched Confederate defenders of the Natural Bridge. Each charge was larger and more dedicated than the previous, and featured artillery-support as well as ground-support from combined marine and naval forces of the USS Pawnee. The scenario is very fun and offers the opportunity for varied firing conditions for skirmishers and line-infantry alike. Similar to Olustee, Natural Bridge features a robust pyrotechnic display during the battle that is very authentic for spectator and reenactor. Sunday, Colonel Jay Welch led us onto the field, and both days’ scenarios were equally enjoyable. Unlike recent events where trigger time has been truncated due to leadership or safety issues, each man of the 17th (Co. H) came off the field with a near-empty cartridge box.

 

 

 

Although this is a relatively small event on the Florida reenactment schedule, the officers and men enjoyed themselves greatly. Wood (pine and oak, delivered to order), bedding hay, and potable water were plentiful and centrally located within each of the camps. Additionally, a two-seater Florida Park Service restroom building is located a mere fifty yards from the Federal camp. Overall, the tone of the event is very relaxing and laid back, which is a much-welcomed change after the frenetic pace, pomp, and circumstance of Olustee a few weeks earlier. Because of the relaxed pace of the event, there was plenty of time to enjoy camp life, visit with friends in the other camps, and to interact with the public. Although camping space is somewhat limited at present, the event venue has ample room to expand and grow. The event staff and the host unit (Leon Rifles) were both exceedingly responsive to all reenactor needs and requests. We heard no complaints publicly voiced by Federal reenactors regarding staff, camping, scenarios, or logistics associated with this event.

 

 

Moving forward, I would strongly recommend the reenactment of Natural Bridge as a great alternative event to add to the 2016-2017 schedule of the 4th Brigade as one of our “Maximum Effort” events. Additionally, I would recommend this event to Confederate units as well as to other independent companies. Situated three weeks after Olustee and two weeks before Narcoossee, the Battle of Natural Bridge makes for a good scheduling fit, and a great weekend without some of the leadership and safety problems we have recently experienced at certain other events hosted by other units. Be well, and I’ll see you on the Field!

 

1st Sgt. Christopher Michael Lydick,

17th Connecticut Vol. Inf., Co. H

 

 

 

 

23rd Annual - Battle at Narcoossee Mill

March 19th & 20th, 2016

Sponsored by Jacob Summerlin Camp #1516

 

 

 

 

Firing Demonstration Controversy

Editorial by Hamilton McElroy

Comments from various sources

Irishham97@gmail.com

 

For many of you who may have missed it, recently there have been some issues circulating with regard to a cannon and musket firing demonstration that was performed by Gen. Hardy and his staff at the Kirby Farm, Williston event.  For those of you who may have missed it.  Here are the videos:

 

 

At the event, Gen. Hardy simply stated that they were going to do a demonstration.  No explanation was given, and then what you’ve seen above was done.  Many of those in attendance were in utter shock at what they had just seen and were unable to say anything more at the moment.  Immediately after the demonstration, the Confederates were dismissed.  From there, the problem has grown. 

 

For many years now, there have been numerous complaints against Hardy’s Brigade and their field artillery piece coming into close quarters with opposing troops and firing.  At the same time, other complaints have also circulated regarding their troops leveling in too close a proximity and firing, often with larger loads than recommended.  After a particularly nasty incident at the Brooksville event, many complaints were registered with both the event coordinators and with the Hardy Brigade staff.  As such, these videos seem to be the response that many have awaited to those complaints. 

 

As the videos have circulated around the Internet, a variety of mixed emotions have emerged.  In this age of modern technology and social media, the ability for everyone to weigh in on a subject is there for everyone.   However, the number of disparaging remarks far outweigh those of support.  Below are just a few of the responses I have seen thus far (NOTE:  some of the more colorful responses were left out).

 

 

From Mark Silas Tackitt:

 

"A range of 30 feet is accepted as the reasonable and prudent distance to fire towards opposing troops unless otherwise practiced."  See, Northwest Civil War Counsel (Oregon) safety rules at http://www.nwcwc.org/2012_UPDATE_TO_SAFETY_RULES.pdf.  Thirty feet is way, way, way too close.  If you have to aim so high that it appears you're shooting seagulls, then there's a problem.

 

 

From Bob Lovell:

 

I want to comment on the recent rifle and cannon safety issues that were illustrated on the field by Hardy's brigade at a recent re-enactment in Williston. Since I was one of the staff attending this demonstration I would like to clarify the event for those who were not present and who have NO idea what was intended and demonstrated. The musket and mountain howitzer demonstration were given by the most knowledgeable men in re-enactment on safety issues. What was demonstrated was; at what distance a reenactor would be safe and no closer to these discharged weapons. For the mountain Howitzer, you may go no closer than 50 feet without being in danger. The display showed a measured 50 foot distance. The musket demonstration was to show that 30 feet is the minimum distance you should be to a discharged rifle! Ignorant new re-enactors were encouraged to see what this means by demonstration. In the ranks there has been a wide disparity as to what is a safe distance! The demonstration was to try and get all our soldiers on the same page! Some of the soldiers were elevating their rifles at an extreme and ridiculous angle over 100 yards out and looked to the paying audience to be idiots! Many of the re-enactors were refusing to advance because of unrealistic and frankly an ignorant understanding of gun safety. I am Aide To Camp of General Hardy and no one works harder in protecting his men than the General! However, we have to have re-enactments that resemble real war and we have to have paying crowds or the hobby is done. I will not stand by and allow people to make false statements, to lie and twist an event or to invent a "gotcha" moment. The safe distance limit for a mountain howitzer and musket is 50 feet and 30 feet respectively. Don't try to twist this into something to make yourself look good!

 

Bob Lovell,

Lt. Col. and Aide to Camp to Lt. Gen. RM Hardy.

 

 

From Mitch Price:

 

There has recently been some videos released challenging the safe distance for the firing of a mobile field artillery piece and a musket. I would like to address these points on a personal and somewhat professional level. I have been involved in the safety profession for some time, military aviation safety, mishap investigation and as an explosive ordnance certification board member. I have also been a corporate safety director industrial and shipyard settings.

 

We use the term mishap not accident in our line of work. Accident by definition is: any event that happens unexpectedly without a deliberate plan or cause. A mishap has a chain of events that leads up to the final outcome. In a successful outcome, the event that leads up to that outcome is executed without flaw. When any or all of the events in that chain fail, there is a mishap. Safety parameters, in this case distances, are set to allow for any unforeseen events. Expect the unexpected! Murphy's Law states anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Luckily in the two videos the chain of events was unbroken and nothing went wrong.

 

Why do we, at our events, take fire safety so seriously? We use fire all the time to light our candles, cook our food, warm our camps and as a social gathering spot. The use of fire is so benign. Out of control, it can be disastrous; therefore, we take excessive and necessary precautions. Why not with explosives? You can with early detection suppress the fire with water or extinguishing devices. You cannot however control an explosion except by channeling it through a musket barrel or canon tube and they are aimed in the direction of our people. There is no way to guarantee that every cannon shot will be safe at one set distance. After each shot, was all foil residue removed with the worm? Was the tube sponged with too much or not enough water? Was the round made exactly the same as the previous round? Did the charge get seated with the rammer at the exact same pressure as all other rounds? Each of these and more events change the characteristics of each shot. Muskets are more unpredictable. Rapid firing, inadvertent double charges, different size powder loads, etc. We must not disregard previously set directives just to prove a point. With most safety protocols they are incorporated from previous findings or events.

 

I agree with the general consensus that our firing guidelines are set or exceeded, conveyed to the event Coordinators and enforced during the battle scenarios. Let's not jeopardize the reputation of our hobby and the safety of our personnel.

 

Respectfully,

Mitch Price

4th Brigade Surgeon

 

 

From Chuck Munson (4th Brigade, US’s official response):

 

How close is safe enough?

 

After the two recent videos surfaced, a lot has been said as to what a safe distance is to " shoot at each other” using both cannons & muskets.  I think all can agree that under a controlled environment, with the proper "light" loads, and with proper "cannon/small bore” that someone could do what was demonstrated in the videos with a reasonable expectation of being safe.

 

However, I think that we can all agree that once on the field of battle, the term "controlled environment" becomes a very loose term. How many Infantry men load more than 60 grains? Quite a few on both sides of the field to say the least. You hear it all through the battles.  As to Artillery, it is difficult for anyone to judge what exactly is being used.  What is the bore diameter?  How much is the powder load?  What is the actual distance?  Minimum safe distances have been established in the hobby long before I got in 21 plus years ago in order to safely deal with these issues.

 

Over these 21 years I have personally witnessed 2 people shot with improper cartridges from muskets. Some may say that twice in 21 years is not bad.  However, what if that was your child?  How many times have the dead been peppered with powder while lying on the field?  I have seen our men return from the battle with powder burns and bits of tin foil on their uniforms.  How many times have the Infantry or Cavalry complained, “that cannon just rang my bell,” or while lying dead “that one hurt me ear”?  We as a hobby find these things unacceptable, and we must continue to attempt to control this environment in an effort to keep everyone safe, sound, & healthy.

 

As the elected leader of the 4th Brigade US, it is my duty to inform all parties involved that the member units of our Brigade have decided to use the following guidelines for events in the future.  These are OUR minimum safety distances.  At 100 ft. muskets will be elevated. At a distance of less than 50 ft. we will not shoot our muskets.  We will keep a reasonable safe distance from the crowd line.  Artillery will not fire, nor will we advance on loaded cannons, within a distance of less than 30 yards or 100 ft.  If an event requires a greater distance than these, then we will gladly abide by the further distances.  However, if an event’s safe distance requirements are less than our minimum safe distance, then the Brigade will choose to either spend the rest of the weekend doing only a living history or choose not to attend the event at all.

 

I have personally spoken to all of our organization’s units or representatives of them here in Florida, and the response to our guidelines was either a definite yes or at least agreed with these distances. As to how to control the battles for the participants and the spectators, that is the subject for another article.  We, as leaders, have a responsibility to keep our people safe. Just because someone tells you to do something unsafe does not mean that you are to follow their orders blindly. For if someone gets hurt, you WILL find out what Tort Liability in America will do to you. All leaders, from the highest general to the lowliest NCO, can be named in a suit for willingly putting our men in harm’s way.  And don’t mistakenly think some kind of corporate shield will keep you out of the fray.

 

Yours in Freedom,

Col Chuck Munson

CO 4th Brigade US

 

 

Personally, I believe the main point to whole situation is that there are set standards for safety.  From my understanding, what Gen. Hardy was trying to say was that in the event things do get too close, don’t worry, you’ll be just fine.  However, that sort of naive thinking is dangerous.  At no point, nor for any reason, should anyone feel the need to violate those safety standards.  This is a hobby, and it is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the U.S.  That being said, the importance for maintaining good safety standards, to practice those standards at every opportunity, and to teach those standards to our new members is of utmost importance.  Safety is KEY!  Safety is a MUST! 

 

One comment I read was from Daniel Sharits, 75th Ohio Volunteers, who said “it would be far easier to teach the men to aim, as a rule, 3 feet above the heads of those on the other side at all times. This would prevent the ridiculous elevations, but also keep everyone safe. Being reasonably well educated and comfortable around firearms of all sizes, the fact that one should never aim directly at what one does not mean to KILL is extreme common sense.  One thing that the videos failed to address is the extreme possibility (read, likelihood) of debris including but not limited to unburnt powder, rocks, paper, wax, staples, wadding, foil, even ramrods or any other shrapnel that may find its way into the barrel. Elevating as a rule at ALL distances will mitigate this hazard for the most part.”

 

With the attack on Southern Heritage (IE revisionist attacks upon US & CS history), we can ill afford to have preventable mishaps on the field.  In many instances, we reenactors are a great bastion of knowledge and among the last voices of historical reason.  This hobby, and thus the future of our country’s history, cannot be safely demonstrated and maintained if any one of us takes it upon him/herself to establish new rules as they see fit.  If anyone cannot participate in this hobby in a safe manner, then they have no business being on the field, jeopardizing the lives and well-being of the men on both sides of the engagement.  If someone is unable to lead in a safe manner, they should seriously consider stepping down from command to allow those who are more safety conscience to lead.  And to those who would continue to follow such a reckless leader, think about the safety of your men.  Think about the safety of your sons (and daughters in some cases).  Would you want them in those sights?

 

Be safe!

 

 

 

 

Dr. Gerald Horne's

The Deepest South

The United States, Brazil, And the African Slave Trade

A review, with comments, by Ralph Epifanio
ralphoto@att.net

 

An interest in 19th century history and politics encourages one to read and study a wide variety of books, websites, and documents that add to, and strengthen, a foundation in the subject. The Civil War, its causes and ramifications, especially, are  a well-trodden, "sunken road,"  as historians whose focus on their subject tend to go deeper into well-established subjects, rather than exploring new ones.

 

In other words, there seems to be an axiom: the more one reads about a subject, the less original material is uncovered. In terms of mid-19th century history, we have a road less traveled in "The Deepest South,"[1] a work by Dr. Gerald Horne.  It is probable that the reader of this book review will be surprised that there is still much to learn about America and its politics at the time of the Rebellion.

 

A graduate of Princeton (BA), Cal-Berkeley (J.A.), and Columbia (Ph.D.), Dr. Gerald Horne currently holds "the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies" at the University of Houston. He is "the author of more than thirty books and one hundred scholarly articles and reviews." Among his research topics he has "addressed issues of racism in a variety of relations, involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war."[2] In "The Deepest South" Horne goes into detail about the 19th century Atlantic Slave Trade, its impact on western civilization, and the political atmosphere of that century's race relations in America and beyond.  With 67 pages of notes, he respects the reliability of scholarly research in the factual representation that recording American history deserves.

 

If the subject matter that follows is found interesting, consider it an encouragement to  purchase the book (and perhaps more of Horne's works). To do so, visit Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Deepest-South-United-African/dp/0814736890.

 

Time, and the Importation of Slaves, Marches on

 

Prior to the American Revolution, with 84% of the slave trade, the British maintained what author David Eltis describes as an "overwhelming predominance...as slave suppliers to the North American mainland." [3] Many of those Africans landed on the shores of the Potomac. Thus, it was Virginian Thomas Jefferson who, in writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, inserted the following:

 

"He--King George--has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

 

In later years, as the debates over the U.S. Constitution were being argued, Jefferson, serving as ambassador to France, was absent. However, the following clause was shrewdly maneuvered into inclusion by Pennsylvanian James Wilson:

 

"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person."

 

Twenty years later, that clause did not automatically end the slave trade. But it almost worked that way, as then president Thomas Jefferson, on March 3, 1807, signed into law the "prohibition of (IMPORTED) slaves into any port or place within jurisdiction of the U.S."--effective January 1, 1808. Despite the law, however, the importation of slaves into the United States continued up to, and through, the War of the Rebellion.

 

Horne points out that "the scholar Robert Hall estimates that 'between 1808 and 1860' about '250,000 Africans' were 'imported into the United States.'"(Page 14)

 

All the while, the American Government was cognizant of this. However, while the fact of this illegal importation of slaves was not exactly a well-guarded secret--some of them went through such ports as New York, Boston, Baltimore, Charlestown, New Orleans, and perhaps even our nation's capital--the volume of contrabands was rarely discussed.

 

"In 1859 the U.S. Department of Interior dispatched an agent to the 'southern states' to investigate the extent of importation of Negroes direct from Africa....receiving credible reports of hundreds of recent imports to northern Florida," among other southern states. (page 14)

 

One would think that, as the year 1808 receded into the past, so too did the volume of slaves coming from Africa. Not so. As the 19th century progressed, the Atlantic Slave Trade actually increased. At least a partial impetus for this, suggests Horne, was the aging whaling fleet, which, as the mid-century approached, became less and less profitable.

 

http://static.wixstatic.com/media/652752_4aa6cc362aa645ceb067156f07940d67.jpg/v1/fill/w_307,h_323,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/652752_4aa6cc362aa645ceb067156f07940d67.jpgThe peak year for American whaling activity was 1846, when 736 vessels and 70,000 people were engaged in the industry. In terms of production, however, sperm oil peaked in 1843, at 19,909,100 liters (5,260,000 gal), whale oil at 43,821,540 liters (11,593,000 gal) in 1845, and whalebone at 2,560,356 kg (5,652,000 lb) in 1853.[4]

 

By 1846, the largest American whaling fleet in history was now under sail. With more and more ships taking whales, their population began a steady decline. Slaves, shackled inside well-fortified African "castles" awaiting their fate, presented a tempting substitute. Thus, investors in a formerly risky and widely fluctuating industry substituted one product--whale oil--for a stabile and more profitable one: slaves.

 

And how much profit are we talking about? It is reported by Dr. Horne that a slave purchased in Africa for $15 to $20 could be resold in Brazil for $400 to $500. Taking the higher numbers, an average slave cargo of 700 would have earned a gain of $336,000 (less the expense of ship and crew). Small wonder that Yankee merchants were so desirous of the business.

 

First, however, the industry had to shed its black sailors--an integral part, comprising perhaps 1/3 of America's Merchant Marine--who might act out on an objection to their new cargo, and substitute these men with crew members less hesitant to carry on such an unsavory business. Enter the era of the Portuguese. Key to this was a "jettisoning of African American crews," as Horne describes it, and replacing them with Lusophone (Portuguese) immigrants, beginning in the 1850s, to such whaling centers as New Bedford, Sag Harbor, Salem, and Nantucket.

 

In contacts to two well-known Whaling Museums: Sag Harbor on Long Island, and New Bedford in Massachusetts, their librarians voiced skepticism of  claims that whalers engaged  in slave trading--at least in noteworthy numbers--and that Portuguese were complicit in the operation. However, as a result of further research, numerous mentions of this connection were found. Paul Bailey, in his publication "Long Island; a History of Two Great Counties, Nassau and Suffolk, Volume 1," cites these cases:

 

"Harry D. Sleight, Sag Harbor historian: 'Many of the old whalers were peculiarly and fittingly constructed for ready conversion into slave carriers, and it is known that some of them embarked into unlawful traffic.'" Examples given are the Marion (built at Sag Harbor, it ran the Congo-Cuba route, carrying ebony immigrants); the Montauk (also Sag Harbor) was captained by Quayle; the Romulus and Augusta; the Early Bird--more on that to follow--was built by Jesse Carll of Northport for Appleton Oaksmith of Patchogue, and, according to Bailey was "only to have her and himself caught red-handed by federal agents while running slaves through Fire Island Inlet."[5] Bailey's description of the event prompted me to search further for this episode, and I found the following  recorded in "U.S. vs. Augusta"--which Oaksmith named after his second wife --"September, 1861; Case #14,480." In reading the brief one sees no report of slaves on board, but ample evidence that slavery, had he not been caught, was his intention. [6]

 

For Appleton Oaksmith, the son of a well-known political satirist Seba Smith, and poet Elizabeth Oakes-Smith, this wasn't his first brush with the law. He had already been prosecuted several times on various crimes involving the illegal shipment of various contraband. Although convicted for outfitting the slave ship, he escaped from a Suffolk County, New York jail cell on September 11, 1862. While hiding out in a self-imposed "exile," during part of which he acted as a southern blockade runner, his mother petitioned for and obtained a presidential pardon. Subsequent to Appomattox, his "get rich quick schemes" continued, uninterrupted. The last reported mention of this sea wolf involved the "accidental" drowning of his four daughters on July 4, 1874, an event that cast lingering suspicions of murder. Such was the fate of a slave trader.

 

The African Repository and Colonial Journal, Volume 36, reproduced from the July 28, 1860 "Evening Post" a "List of Slavers under the American Flag, from February, 1859 to July 16, 1860." Beginning on page 375 and ending on 379 are 85 ships. Four, "outfitted as whalers" came from New Bedford--the world center for the whaling industry with a peak fleet of 329 ships in 1857--one whaler from New London, and one whaler from New York.  Half (42) had connections to New York City, and one was from Boston. Three of these aforementioned slave ships dropped all or some of their cargo in Florida (two came into Matanzas Inlet, near St. Augustine).[7]

 

Interestingly, as mentioned earlier, the Portuguese were well represented in the trade; 21 ships were either owned, or at one point passed into their hands. (The majority had been sold to Spaniards.) This might be evidence that they were destined for East Africa, where Portuguese colonies existed, and the British and American African Squadrons did not pursue them.

 

In addition, "added to the above slavers, some half dozen have gone through the (L.I.) Sound"--perhaps pointing to the LI ports of Greenport or Sag Harbor, or perhaps those in Rhode Island or Massachusetts--"the names of which could not be ascertained."[8]

 

"Some 20 vessels have been detained under suspicion, and a great many others have cleared from European and South American ports," but could still be American owned." [9]

 

Before slavery was outlawed in New York State, Sylvester Manor, owned by a Dutch Quaker living on Shelter Island--in Peconic Bay, just opposite Sag Harbor--was one of the largest slave plantations in the North.

 

Depending upon the state and time period, the pendulum of honesty has swung back and forth. New York State, in its report on the Armistad Commission, stated

In 2005, New York’s Legislature created an Amistad Commission to review state curriculum regarding how American slavery is taught. All people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during this period of American history and consider the vestiges of slavery in this country. It is vital to educate our citizens about our nation’s involvement in slavery to nullify the pervasive myth that Northerners, especially New Yorkers were innocent of slavery. 

New Jersey, Illinois and New York have each created commissions to review how African American history and 250 years of slavery is taught in America’s classrooms. The Amistad Commissions were named after the Amistad, a Spanish slave ship that was the site of a famous slave revolt in 1839. The ship was seized by the US Navy off the coast of Long Island and taken to Connecticut where the U.S. Supreme Court eventually granted those slaves their freedom. The slave revolt was also the basis for a popular movie by Steven Spielberg, ''Amistad,'' in 1997[10].

 

A Southern Tradition, but Also a Northern Business

 

Going back to the American Revolution--a war fought for the white man's freedom, but not the Blacks'--the retreat of Britain from American shores, and from that enterprise, left a void quickly filled by many Sons of Liberty. They were more than ready. Already a well-established industry, "by the mid-18th century Rhode Island had the dubious distinction of being the leader in the North American slave trade. Newport's ships carried more than 70 percent of America's traffic in slaves. Many of the state's leading citizens were slaveholders.[11]

 

"Rhode Island served as a northern hub of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, mounting at least 1,000 voyages that carried more than 100,000 Africans into slavery over the course of a century."[12]

 

Brown University, member of the prestigious Ivy League, traces its name to one of Rhode Island's leading slave owner-trader families. Its Board of Directors, a New York Times article disclosed,  "that some 30 members of Brown’s governing board owned or captained slave ships, and donors sometimes contributed slave labor to help in construction. The Brown family owned slaves and engaged in the slave trade."[13]

 

"'Slavery, John Brown declared, was 'right, just and lawful, and consequently practiced every day. America,' he argued, 'was doing Africans a favor by removing them from what he described as their barbaric homeland'."[14]

 

In this country, the slave business was not just a southern enterprise. On the one hand, Richmond did four times the business with Rio as New York. However, when you counted in the number of ships sold to Brazilian businessmen (and then manned by U.S. captains and crew), it more or less evened out.  According to one of Horne's sources, "from 1840 to 1845 the number of U.S. ships sold in Rio increased sixteen fold, most having been previously registered in New York, Baltimore, and Nantucket."( page 57)

 

Author Horne doesn't hesitate to point fingers at the Middle Atlantic and New England States for the continuation of the Atlantic Slave Trade well into the 1860s. The reasons for this were several. It would seem that few--beyond the slaves themselves--cared to end it. Complicit in this trans-Atlantic trade was the "Yankee"--meaning northern--shipping industry. Included in this were northern investors, ship builders, outfitters, captains and crew.  Slave ships were built and outfitted in many American ports, but in 1860 the #1 slave port in the world was New York City (then only Manhattan).

 

 

"A formidable infrastructure for the slave trade had developed in this city that included ship fitters, suppliers, attorneys, recruiters of crews, and bribed marshals and custom agents. One longtime federal judge in New York, Samuel Rossiter Betts, later lauded as the father of U.S. Maritime law, set a standard of proof so high that slave trade convictions were rare and severe punishment even rarer." (page 129)

 

"Capital enough, ships enough and seamen enough can be found in New York City alone, to supply the Gulf States one hundred thousand Negroes annually.'" (page 135)

(Referring to the late 1850s) "At this moment, New York City 'was gaining the dubious honor of being "the greatest slave-trading mart in the world"'; "by 1857 this metropolis, perhaps more so than New Orleans, the logical contender for this title, was 'the commercial center of the slave trade.' During the months from January 1859 to August 1860, it was conservatively estimated, close to one hundred vessels left the city for the slave trade.' The trade in Africans had become so commonplace that the press in Gotham began to speak of various ethnic groups from this continent in the same way they might have discussed the merits of a Chablis versus a Merlot." (page 128)

 

Edmund Gabriel, Her Majesty's Consul to Luanda, Angola, is quoted as saying  (in 1859)"the traffic under the flag of the United States was prosecuted to an amazing extent and with greater impunity than ever....New Orleans, being a seaport of slaving celebrity, may be expected to take a leading hand, but I cannot help feeling surprised that New York should be, this year, one of the greatest slave-trading ports." (page 142)

 

And why not? America was becoming a nautical and political power to be reckoned with. The U.S. had its own prestige: the Stars and Stripes. Flying an American flag, a powerful nation, guaranteed a ship's sovereignty, and protected it with their navy. Unless a member of the American African Patrol anti-slave patrol caught that ship.

 Ships had papers, but once those ships took to the high seas, lots of things could change. For example, a slave ship built and outfitted in the U.S. could sail, under an American flag, to a foreign port and sell the ship to a foreign investor, and that owner could rehire the captain and ship's crew to man it. That same American ship could sail under that American flag all the way to Africa, fill it to the brim with Africans, then lower THAT flag, and replace it with a Spanish, Portuguese, or other nation's symbol for the return voyage. And last, and certainly not least, the ship could transport slaves to the Americas, drop the slaves off at another nation's port, and, in all or in part to a lesser known American port. Then, by burning the ship, destroy any evidence of their voyage.

 

"As Salem, Massachusetts lost out to Boston and New York City for regional prominence in the 1820s, it pushed out into new markets, particularly in East Africa, where 'some American vessels were engaged in the (slave) trade, buying the slaves at Mozambique"--a colony of Portugal--"principally and transporting them to Brazil (another Portuguese colony) and South America." (page 9)

 

The Portuguese were thoroughly invested in the slave business. They were ship builders, outfitters, crew members, captains, investors, and owners.

"As the Civil War approached, Washington was informed by London that "the slave trade continues to be carried on, on the African coast, and almost exclusively by vessels sailing under the American flag, and provided with genuine American papers...American citizens engage in it almost with impunity....Of 170 slave-trading expeditions fitted out in little more than three years preceding 1862"--a time when the trade was reaching new heights in its centuries' long history--"no fewer than 74 were known or believed to have sailed from New York.... (page 8)

 

"An Irish member of the British Parliament summarized the feelings of many when he said that 'it was notorious that the real traffickers in the flesh and blood of their fellow men were citizens of Northern States. It was in Yankee ships, floated by Yankee capital, commanded by Yankee skippers, sailing forth on their abominable errand with the connivance of bribed Yankee authorities that this work of the devil was carried on.'"(page 59)

 

"The trade was never so flourishing as in the five years preceding the Civil War...nearly the whole of the fleet is fitted out in Boston, Portland (Maine), New Bedford (Mass.), and other eastern ports." (page 10)

 

 

"Thus, by July 1861, the Royal navy's reports sounded as if they could have been written in 1858: '(The) slave trade is at present carried on almost entirely under the American ensign'" (page 162)

 

Ironically, the Confederate Constitution--adopted March 11, 1861--banned the importation of slaves and allowed its member states to end slavery within their borders.

Sec. 9. (I) The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

 

The implication of this is mindboggling. While the world's slave trade was being carried on by ships carrying the American flag--arguably a symbol of abolition--the CSA, sailing under the "stars and bars" had enacted a law to prevent its continuance. As Judah Benjamin instructed CSA emissary to England, L.Q.C. Lamar, "'you are well aware of how firmly fixed in our constitution is the policy of this Confederacy against the opening of that (trans-Atlantic slave[trade]).'" (page 153)

 

This might be interpreted in different ways, depending upon your political slant. Like Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, it wasn't Benjamin's country that was its target, but the "other one," namely the Yankee shipping industry. Second, it made those slaves already in the country that much more valuable. And third, the capture of a Yankee slave ship had economic benefits to the CSA. British Consul Robert Bunch informed the home office that "'Negroes, coolies, mulattoes or other persons of color' who may be found on board of any vessel captured for violating this (anti-trafficking) Act shall in certain cases be sold at public auction for the benefit of the Confederate States and of the informer,'" --as the Royal Navy had already been doing--and by doing so, easily transferring the profits. (page 154)

 

This was the era of Rafael Semmes, captain of the infamous privateer, Alabama. Sailing back and forth across the South Atlantic--and turning it into a "Confederate Lake" (as it was described by Horne)--Semmes was far more successful than the U.S. Navy in putting a dent in the American slave trade. He soon established himself as quite a celebrity in both Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town. Everyone, it seems--who is not their victim--loves a pirate.

 

A further irony in this sordid, borders-crossing business is the case of one Nathaniel Gordon. "Early on the morning of 8 August 1860 he 'sailed from the Congo.' He had a cargo of liquor on board, along with 890 Africans, of which 172 were men, 106 were women, and the rest were boys and girls...Gordon was indicted in New York City on 29 October 1860 on the charge of 'detaining Negroes with intent to make them slaves,' and arraigned on 2 November. (page 164-5)

 

"Anxieties were rising as the trial approached," writes Horne. "New York, a stronghold of the African Slave Trade, was becoming suffused with the sentiment of the Civil War and the sacrifice it entailed was being done to assist despised U.S. Negroes; thus, as Gordon's fate was being decided, 'innocent Negroes' were 'hanged to lamp-posts by a New York mob.'" (page 165)

 

Convicted on November 9, 1861, Gordon was schedule to be hung on February 7, 1862. A pardon was asked of Abraham Lincoln, one of countless appeals of mercy during his presidency. Lincoln, no doubt already contemplating his Emancipation Proclamation, penned a delay to February 21st. Gordon tried to poison himself first, and the hanging was moved up a few hours so as not to "cheat the hangman." Gordon's death on February 21, 1862 goes on the record as being the only man so punished for slaving. Ironically, Gordon's well-to-do home was in Portland, Maine.[15]

 

 

For a longer version of this historic event, go to History Net (http://www.historynet.com/hanging-captain-gordon.htm)                                                            

 

And while you are on the web, go to http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/first-south-carolina-then-new-york/?_r=0.[16] There you will discover a little known fact. On January 6, 1861, during Gordon's drawn-out trial--actually two, as the first ended in a hung jury--New York Mayor Fernando Wood convinced the City Council to secede from the United States of America, making it second--only to South Carolina--to do so. Although short-lived, Wood's vision of Tri-Insula (Manhattan, Staten, and Long Island) lasted only until the firing on Ft. Sumter, when New York was swept by newfound patriotism.

 

 

The Bottom Line

 

Considering that the construction of an ocean going slave ship was the product and livelihood of thousands of Americans, not to mention the lumbermen who cut the timber, the men who made rope and rigging, the bankers, blacksmiths, carpenters, caulkers, chandlers, coopers, sail and spar makers, stevedores, owners of taverns, pubs frequented by these men, insurance companies that covered their voyages, and even whores, it would have been very unpopular to pursue an end to the slave trade. As Horne states:

"This infrastructure also meant that it was a simpler matter to bring slaves to the U.S. itself....the prices of enslaved Africans...were a further incentive to bring them to the Slave South, where prices were higher....as one reporter noted...'slaves of ten to twelve years of age up to an adult can be bought on the Congo River at $25 to $30 a head and landed in New Orleans or Texas for $30 more, making the cost $60.'" In the final analysis, that $60 overhead resulted (in 1855) with the selling price being between $410 to $810 (according to Horne's estimate). According to my estimate, that $810 selling price works out to a 1250% profit. Multiply that by (an average of) 700 slaves per ship, and a full cargo could be worth hundreds of thousands (in 1850s) dollars. Horne goes on to say that, a few years later, it rose "to considerably more."

 

Brazil: The Deepest South

 

While some of the slaves were shipped to the United States, many more were destined for Brazil, where 42%--according to one source--were destined, and "slave prices doubled between 1820 and 1850, an increase well in excess of that recorded in the United States in the same period." (page 23)

 

 

A typical slave voyage typically earned over 1000 % profit. Horne mentions one cargo of 700 Africans that were sold for $40,000, which was eight times the cost of a typical ship. Thomas Nalle "of a leading slaveholding family of Virginia, who was quoted as saying 'there are more than two hundred thousand slaves carried annually from this (West African) coast to the West Indies and South America....I have no doubt that many are smuggled into the United States.'" As to the profit motive, Nalle added "'a noted slave dealer on this coast by the name of Pedro Blanco, a Spaniard, has lately retired from this occupation with a capital of four millions of dollars.'"(page 62)

 

Horne, and tradition, has it that while northern shipping interests crossed the South Atlantic in ever-increasing numbers with human cargo bound for Brazil, Southern nationalists had their eyes on that country for other reasons. Perhaps, initially, they didn't see the language barrier, hostile environment, or nightmarish climate as deterrents--they eventually would--but that country's liberal policy towards free blacks, pardos (a tri-racial mix of whites, negroes, and indigenous tribes), and inter-marriage among races made them increasingly uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it would take several decades more, a war, and many failed attempts by American nationalists to realize that they were simply too racist to adjust. Brazil never was, nor would it ever be, another "Dixie."

 

All the while, an endless stream of Africans were transported to Brazil, eventually becoming the kind of "problem" that slavery was in America, if not more so. In 1851 it abolished the importation of slaves, and in 1888, Brazil, following America's lead, freed its four million slaves.

 

Prior to those dates--and illegally, between them--Brazil's sugar and coffee exports (bound for its American customers) justified the import of ever-increasing numbers of Africans. "The U.S. was the principal market for Brazilian coffee during the 1820s and 1830s, suggesting that North Americans were a beneficiary in a major crop of an economy driven by slave labor." (page 8)

 

"Coffee was the driving force behind the stunning growth of the enslaved population of Brazil in the 19th century and U.S. nationals were a prime motor pushing Africans across the Atlantic from the late 18th century through the late 1840s. As the taste for this beverage grew among refined palates in Europe and North America, the demand for slaves grew accordingly....One British emissary had 'received authentic information that upwards of twenty thousand slaves had been surreptitiously landed in the Brazilian territories within the last four months of the year 1842' alone....the U.K., which by seeking to half the illicit slave trade, was also interrupting a profitable commerce in agricultural commodities--to the benefit of London, alleged its critics." (page 53). If such American commodities as cotton, sugar, and coffee--whether on the North American continent or elsewhere--could be produced for a lower price by slave labor, it cut into British profits elsewhere, such as India (cotton) or the British West Indies (sugar and coffee). Hence the perseverance of British naval patrols.

 

Soon enough, the American passion for coffee (over tea, its British counterpart) would serve as fuel for millions of soldiers, on both sides, during the American Civil War. Men in uniform were so addicted to the South American coffee bean that surplus army supplies became a standard item of barter, arguably more valuable than newly introduced "greenbacks."

 

This new "triangular trade" would bring ever more Africans to South America, which in turn would impact on the amount of coffee produced. That coffee would find its way to America. On a return voyage to Rio de Janeiro--according to Horne--U.S. ships would return with manufactured goods and lumber.

 

The African Squadrons

 

Theoretically, the two African Squadrons--American and British--were in place to stem the flow of--if unable to completely stop--the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Horne refers to the writer, Pegram Harrison's estimates that "'Slave traders took an average of 40,000 slaves from Africa each year for 420 years. (16.8 million) In researching that estimate, the database at the website www.slavevoyages.org indicates a more conservative 12.5 million.

 

 

While the above table reflects a modest, post-1808 forced emigration to America--as compared to such South American destinations as Brazil, Cuba, and Uruguay, this may be explained by the fact that slaves entering illegally into the United States certainly would have been smuggled in after the abolition year of 1808. If one were to compare these illegal activities to present-day drug smuggling, the actual number of illegally imported slaves would be impossible to determine, and therefore the totals nothing more than a guess.

 

In any case, the magnitude of these numbers place in perspective the lack of commitment of the United States Government and the Navy Department to suppress the African slave trade and ultimately bring it to an end. The author credits Frederick Douglass as having criticized the "'inefficiency of our preventative squadrons and the impunity with which this nefarious traffic is prosecuted under our flag....The U.S. Minister (to Brazil)...sent nearly thirty dispatches to the State Department without receiving an answer to one of them...There is a trade in 'horses and cattle' from the Cape of Good Hope to Rio, but after they clear the Cape for Brazil...they tumble overboard the less valuable animals, and proceed to convenient points to secure bipeds.'" (page 35)

 

While the British Navy was erstwhile in its attempts to intercept Atlantic slave ships, the American Navy seemed anything but serious in its attempts. "Between 1851 and 1857 U.S. Naval vessels and port authorities together detained a total of only five vessels for slave trading activities, an average of less than one a  year.

By the time of the Civil War, when the African Squadron was needed elsewhere, "slave traders had obviously decided that the risks of U.S. interference were so small that they could afford (to) fly the U.S. flags throughout the voyage. In these years, the U.S. took little action, and the British"--until the 1862 Anglo-American treaty--"were helpless without U.S. cooperation." [17]

 

Horne describes the American anti-slave naval squadron "a maritime version of the Keystone Cops....Indeed, 'it seems certain that the volume of slave trade to Brazil, Cuba, and the United States was far greater during the period of the Anti-Slavery Squadron than before 1807.'" (page 60)

 

Whether the African Squadrons were American or British, however, they patrolled only Africa's east coast. The slavers were one step ahead, and increased their voyages to West Africa, particularly to ports under Portuguese control. By the mid-19th century, crew members aboard ships plying this route, and businessmen residing from New England ports--especially Salem--were well represented by Portuguese.

 

Furthermore, a British observer expressed his bewilderment at the complexities of American laws against slavery: they are "'as inflexible as the Westminster Catechism, and a Captain could not detain a vessel without great risk of civil damages, unless slaves were actually on board. Suspected ships might have all the fittings and infamous equipage for the slave-traffic on board, but if their masters produced correct papers the vessels could not be touched; and our officers not infrequently had the mortification of learning that ships they had overhauled and believed to be slavers, but could not seize under their instructions, got off the coast eventually with large cargoes of ebon humanity on board. Not so with English commanders,' whose anger at U.S. nonfeasance led them from being 'at first cordial and agreeable' to 'cold and indifferent.'" (page 141)

Maritime law allowed seizure of slavers if slaves were found aboard American ships. Otherwise these ships would be released. A simple solution for slavers being chased on the high seas was to discharge their cargo overboard. The British Navy, however, didn't walk such a narrow legal plank. An 1835 global treaty allowed for an equipment clause. "On the basis of chains, excessive rations, superfluous shelves in the hold, and other indications, the clause permitted the capture and adjudication of slave ships without slaves on board." (page 54). Further, the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty required America to station a naval squadron on the west coast of Africa.

 

Horne further implies Great Britain's justification for said interference in the slave trade might be economically based. That is, while they abolished the Atlantic Slave Trade in 1807 (the same month, March, that America passed a law reversing its Constitution's protection of the practice), and did not allow slavery in the British Empire (beginning March 25, 1833), the use of slaves elsewhere undercut the profits of British plantation owners in the British West Indies.

 

"In the summer of 1849, Jamaican planters met to complain about competition from slave grown sugar and other crops in light of the 'continuation and great increase of the foreign slave trade.' Thus, this "unfair competition" prompted Britain's great navy to crack down on the Atlantic slave trade, of which America was its biggest proponent. (page 155)

 

Consequently, Britain was forced to bear the burden of stopping its chief economic competitor--and former colony--from undermining its global production of plantation-based agricultural products, and required of itself a self-sustaining blockade. Reminiscent of the tax placed upon the American colonies (which eventually led to war in the 18th century), its navy found a way to pay for its Atlantic Squadron.

 

The British Navy's capture of 1559 slave vessels after 1808--which excluded those flying American colors--not only helped undercut the economic impact of free labor by other countries, it also returned a £100 fine for each slave found aboard--prompting vessels  pursued by the squadron's ships to throw their as many of their ebony cargo overboard prior to capture.

 

"Congressman J.B. Clary of Kentucky expressed the sentiments of many when he denounced what he saw as London's hypocrisy in seeking to curtail the African Slave Trade. 'It is a fact not known to everyone that for every slave taken by a British cruiser she receives...5 [pounds] or about twenty four dollars...the slave ships are taken either to Sierra Leone or St. Helena and the slaves...are re-shipped on board of British transports and sent to Demerara, Berbice (Guyana, in South America) and her West India islands and apprenticed.' What was the humanity in that, he wondered." (page 156)

 

And what was America doing to stem this flow of slave traffic? "Between 1843 and 1861, (America's African) squadron captured only eleven slavers and these were released on nominal bail or were tried and left off with negligible fines...(few) conviction(s) (were) ever handed down by...American court(s) as a result of the African Squadron. This was in striking contrast to the British Squadron, which between 1839 and 1850 alone"--11 years, as opposed to 18--"seized over seven hundred ships, a number that surpassed the entire merchant marine of many nations....In contrast to the U.S., 'the British were energetic in their attempts to suppress the slave trade.'" (page 34)

 

"Encouraging to U.S. slavers was the reluctance of U.S. juries to convict them for violating the law....'Of the more than two hundred persons arrested by the United States authorities for involvement in the traffic between 1837 and 1862,' says the historian, Robert Conrad, 'almost half were never brought to trial, about a third were tried but acquitted, and less than two dozen were convicted and sent to prison, most for short terms that were quickly ended by presidential pardons.'" (page 139)

 

Brazil (or Liberia, or Dominica; just anywhere but here) or Bust!

 

Among issues raised in his discussion of American politics in the 1860s, Horne investigates Lincoln's emancipation as one coupled with colonization (voluntary emigration)  of the (former) American slaves. His conclusion is that Lincoln's failure to find a country willing to accept former slaves was what finally closed the door to emigration.

 

The most sought after solution to the issue of slavery was the eventual deportation of slaves to other countries, most notably:

 

·        Return to Africa

·        Removal to established "plantation countries" in South and Central America, and the West Indies

 

"Certainly the inability of Washington to secure a foreign destination for Negroes aided in compelling U.S. leaders to accept a black presence on these shores. On the other hand, London's reluctance to accept the precursor of 'ethnic cleansing' was not necessarily motivated by humane considerations but was more a reluctance to embrace a stigmatized group." (page 7)

 

"The President, Abraham Lincoln...'in five major policy declarations, including two State of the Union addresses and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the sixteenth President of the United States publically and officially called for the deportation of Blacks. On countless other occasions, in conferences with cronies, Democratic and  Republican leaders and high government officials, he called for colonization of Blacks or aggressively promoted colonization, by private and official acts.' In 1862, 'largely at President Lincoln's urging, Congress appropriated $600,000 (in order to) begin the colonization process.' According to Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, "'almost from the commencement of his administration...the subject of deporting the colored race has been discussed.'"  The President created a "Black emigration department without giving it that name,'" to deport Negroes. In 1862 on the front page of the New York Tribune, the President discussed sending Negroes south of the border." (pages 173-4)

 

 "Father Abraham," thus, was quite willing to banish his "children" any way and anywhere he could.

Number one on their list of destinations, in the opinion of these "colonizers," was Brazil, because, in their opinion, it approximated the latitude of the slaves' original residences in Africa. Gerald Horne attributes at least some of the dogma surrounding the colonization efforts to the U.S. Minister to Brazil, James Watson Webb (serving there from 1861-69).

 

"Webb's plan 'provided for the creation of a joint-stock colonization company...with a capital not exceeding five millions of dollars,'" with himself as president. "Manumitted" Negroes would be transferred to  the corporation, and 'the United States would be blessed by his absence, and the riddance of a curse which has well-nigh destroyed her....each colonist was to receive one hundred acres of land, a hut, and certain agricultural products.'" (page 177)

 

While the arguments for colonization traveled back and forth across the Atlantic (including even the British at one point), so did the slave trade, delivering more and more Africans into bondage, despite the Civil War.

 

Horne considered the possibility of nepotism in the success of the trade. Leonidas Spratt, first cousin of President James K. Polk "became an ardent champion of the slave trade, having presented to the Montgomery Commercial Convention of 1858 a series of resolutions calling for a reopening of the African Slave Trade.'" Indeed, the author went on to present the case of numerous items suggesting that this was well on its way to happening, interrupted perhaps by the outbreak of war.

 

What is interesting to note is Horne's claim--backed up, again, by ample research--that while the Southern slave states pressed on with increasing numbers of imported slaves, Virginia opposed it. "It is a Virginia idea," says Horne--and such well-known Virginians as Henry Alexander Wise (Governor of Virginia, U.S. Congressman, and Minister to Brazil) and Matthew Fontaine Maury (author, astronomer, cartographer, educator, geologist, historian, oceanographer, lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and international ambassador)" that slaves ought to be (sold) high." There was an abundance of slaves, slaves worth in the neighborhood of $1500 each. States in the Deep South "want slaves to be cheap--we want to buy them, not sell them!" (page 132)

 

A claim made by a New York writer, Henry J. Raymond, was that men like William Yancey of Alabama would "'destroy the Union'" if it meant a continuation of the slave trade, because it was not slavery, but the slave trade was "the locomotive impelling Civil War. Fueling this runaway machine was the profits, both North and South, of the mass importation of Africans. "'The Republic of the United States,'" claimed Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson, "'which began its existence by the condemnation of the African slave traffic--is the most powerful supporter of that traffic among the nations.'" Wilson was almost certainly NOT talking just about the South.

 

Cuba, long a desirous acquisition of the United States, also harbored ships bound across the South Atlantic for the African Slave coast. Havana, its chief port, was one of the prime staging areas for this commerce. In an 1858 report to London, the English emissary  to Cuba noted that, of 59 ships sailing to Africa "in recent days," there were "" 50 American, 7 Spanish, 1 Peruvian, and 1 Norwegian." (page 145). The implication was that their intended cargo was human.

 

In 1859, according to Wise, "'105 slavers capable of carrying 71,000 slaves will arrive on the African coast in the course of the twelve months ending in March, 1860. One fourth will be seized by the Royal Navy, still leaving 79 vessels...exclusive of slaves shipped from the east coast of Africa. (page 148) "The late 1850s marked a zenith for the illicit slave trade and the profits to be gained flowed into the pockets of men on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, particularly those in New York and New Orleans."

 

Not long after the Emancipation Proclamation, Judah Benjamin (U.S. Senator from Louisiana; Confederate Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Secretary of War--and slave holder) wrote the Confederacy's London representative that "(the CSA's) Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of any slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy," but that did not prohibit slaves from entering from outside the CSA (meaning, among other places, Africa). Thus placating London on the broad front of the new nation's peculiar institution, it kept open the ports to the still ongoing slave trade. Benjamin, incidentally, was a Sephardic Jew with family ties--through his mother Rebecca--to the slave trading nation of Portugal.  Thus, even while embroiled in a war with its northerly counterpart, it was "business as usual" in the flesh market.

 

A War for Emancipation?

 

Gerald Horne's research, convincingly presented in "The Deepest South," shows that, at the time of the Civil War, this nation was not geographically split by its racial views. If anything, North and South had much in common as far as the slave trade, and the profits it generated. It is only a small step from there to realize that the continuance of slavery was not a purely "southern motive" when the Civil War broke out.

 

The Rebellion raging in the United States hardly dampened the trade in human cargo. "Commodore Edmonstone of the Royal Navy reported in November, 1861 that 'the Slave Trade is now, with a few exceptions, entirely carried on under the cover of the American flag.' The 'withdrawal of the United States Squadron (off Africa) gives additional facility to the slaver...(the) Spanish slave trade to Havana will be carried on under the American flag more freely and with less risk than ever.'"(page 164)

Horne states that, "It is clear...that after the Civil War, Washington did make good faith efforts to squash slavery and the African Slave Trade.

 

"The annihilation of the CSA and the undermining of their "Copperhead" allies did not magically end the role of U.S. nationals in the African Slave Trade. In August, 1865, months after guns had been stilled in North America...;(in Luanda)'two American whaling ships...on the coast with...800 slaves.'" (page 199)

 

This traffic went two ways. According to Horne's research, in 1867--and therefore now emancipated--Negroes were part of a "cargo of slaves shipped off the coast of Florida...to continue her voyage to the coast of Brazil." (page 15)

 

"Yet," he adds, "it was striking that as the African Slave Trade was winding down, revving up was the 'coolie" trade, involving the transport of Chinese laborers globally in conditions that mimicked its predecessor. Even  before the end of the Civil War, there were reports of 'two ships' that 'were supposed to be American vessels sailing under Portuguese colors to avoid...capture by the Confederate steamer "Alabama"...filled to the brim with Chinese laborers...Indeed, even in the 21st century, there are continuing allegations indicating that not only does the slave trade continue but there are also more slaves today than there were during the height of the African Slave Trade." (page 223)

 

The “Trafficking in Persons Report”, dated June 2013, provides 415 pages of stories, analysis and photographs, showing a kind of human suffering and inhumanity that is hard, perhaps, to grasp as coexisting alongside the tweeting, iPad-tapping, well-fed comfort of much of the developed world, but is a reality for millions of poor people, the report made clear. It affects women, men, girls and boys, and includes sexual slavery as well as a wide range of other labor, from child soldiering to domestic servitude to gold mining.... as many as 27 million. [18]

 

  The New South

 

Horne comments extensively on the subject of unhappy Southerners, chafing under post-Civil War Union rule, who looked for a "New South" to call their own.

 

"There were thousands of Confederates now in an analogous position--deprived of valuable property, they had to endure the added indignity of living close to their former property....Hence, many packed their bags and moved to an ally of the now vanquished CSA where slavery continued--and would continue--until 1888: Brazil." (page 199)

 

Horne submits that it would be impossible to put a number to those southerners who chose to emigrate to Brazil, but one fact that he ascertained from the historical record was that few were happy there. A problem that had been observed before the war remained: the Brazilian practice of that peculiar institution was, to say the least, perplexing to their American cousins. If anything, their treatment of Blacks might be considered more severe than in America, and yet these people of color were able to climb economically, socially, and politically to the same levels as their white, or mixed-race counterparts. In the politest term possible, former Confederates remained intrigued by the intermingling of the races. 

 

Miscegenation notwithstanding, they were set back in their hopes of an "old order" in a new country.

 

They weren't alone. Despite emancipation--and the 14th and 15th Amendments that followed--white southerners who stayed felt the sting of insult added to their injurious loss of social status.

 

"As early as December, 1865, the Times reported on 'these "Caucasians" in Florida opposed to the new order: "we have heard these embittered men talk of the attraction of life in Brazil, of its freedom from "niggers" and "nigger worshipers," the latter term now being applied to the majority of Northern men who come South to engage in business.

 

"Thus, 'there was not a single state south of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers that did not have its society for the promotion of emigration. "Several" of these émigré planters went straight to the 'slave marts of Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere and made purchases upon arrival. Near "Petropolis...Capt. (James) Johnson of Florida purchased a large plan-tation (fazenda) with its supply of Negro laborers,' i.e. 'many Brazilian Slaves.'" (pg 203)

 

 

Many, if not most, of the Southern émigrés did not stay long.

 

The American institution of slavery had slowly evolved through centuries of "adjustments." A strict separation of the races was the norm, and strong black codes existed both in the North and the South. Our form of government was designed with slavery in mind. It was the foundation of our economy, built into our legal system, and, more than anything, our own "peculiar" institution.

 

This was not so in Brazil. Estimates of slaves in 1860 Brazil are unreliable, but was probably 1/3 of the country's population of approximately 10 million (in America at that time it was one in eight). Unlike American slaves, who were (more or less) bi-racial, those in Brazil could be tri-racial (white, African, Indian). Because of a more diverse racial fabric, there was also a different social one--which allowed racially mixed people to rise to prominence, something that was unsettling to southern-born American nationalists.

Horne relates the story of a Dr. Gaston, who, in recounting tales of encountering the complex Brazilian racial fabric with less than an open-minded viewpoint.

 

Gaston met a Priest, "a mulatto of more than ordinary intelligence; but my prejudice to be associated with those having the Negro blood could not be so entirely put aside as to make me feel at ease with this colored gentlemen,'  he sputtered; in fact, such bias was 'one of the basic reasons for the overall collapse of any extensive migration of Southerners to Brazil.'"(page 234)

 

If this wasn't enough, Brazil had a totally different climate, an unfamiliar geography, its  people spoke a different language (Portuguese), and its Amazon River Basin produced a host of unfamiliar agricultural challenges.

 

The end result is that many, if not most, of the Confederate émigrés eventually returned to America. Horne quotes an 1875 issue of the New York Times, which estimated 'the total strength of that movement was finally put at fifteen hundred. It now appears likely that not one-half that number were left in Brazil....(Washington) sent men-of-war after the southern fugitives. But they were sent in answer to a call for help, not in anger."

 

Trans-Atlantic Slavery in the 20th Century?

 

With the timing of this article, we mark the 100th anniversary of the sad death of Ota Benga. Benga was a Congolese Mbuti Pygmy who was reportedly "acquired" from African slave traders by Samuel Phillips Verner in 1904. Brought to America--not quite a slave, but not quite free--he was part of a living display at that year's Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

 

After being exhibited there, Benga and Verner briefly visited  Africa, then returned to America, where Ota moved into a spare room at New York's American Museum of Natural History (and no doubt earned his keep by becoming a sort of "living exhibit"). One day in 1906 Ota lost his head--and his room--when he threw a chair at museum benefactor Florence Guggenheim.

 

With Verner's help, Benga found a different sort of accommodations at the Bronx Zoo. As an "unpaid employee," he was gradually enticed from residing on the grounds, to setting up residence in the Monkey House. His antics, and growing fame, drew huge crowds to see him. The audience was split, however, between those who saw him as more, or less than the spectacle he was viewed as.

 

Eventually rescued from his life as a "primitive" by the Reverend James Gordon, Ota was transported to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he lived with the McCray family, supplied with contemporary clothing, given a rudimentary education, had his fang-like teeth capped, and found employment in a tobacco factory.

 

As time passed, however, the still out of place Benga grew homesick and yearned to return to his native Africa. Although plans for that were initially set in motion, World War I had broken  out, and Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare delayed this. Apparently, after becoming increasingly despondent over his many years as an out of place exile, Benga stole a gun, and on March 20, 1916 shot himself through the heart.

 

 

Sources

The African Repository and Colonial Journal, Volume 36

Brown University’s Debt to Slavery, New York Times Opinion, Published: October 23, 2006; http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/23/opinion/23mon3.html

"The Deepest South," by Gerald Horne; New York University Press, 2007; ISBN -10: 0-8147-3689-0 http://www.amazon.com/The-Deepest-South-United-African/dp/0814736890.

History Net - The Hanging Captain Gordon

Long Island: a History of Two Great Counties, Nassau and Suffolk, Volume 1 -

New York Dept. of State Armistad Commission:  http://www.dos.ny.gov/amistad/about.html

Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution - Arts & Leisure - International Herald Tribune, Published: Monday, May 29, 2006: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/29/arts/29iht-bookmar.1842266.html

The New York Times IHT Rendezvous: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/27-million-people-said-to-live-in-modern-slavery/?_r=0

[1] New York Times Opinionater: Disunion - First South Carolina. Then New York?, January 6, 2011, by John and Charles Lockwood

University of Houston/History, Faculty and Staff -

U.S. Dept. of State: “Trafficking in Persons Report”, dated 2013

U.S. vs. Augusta; Case # 14, 480

"Whaling." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2015): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 27 Mar. 2016

 

 

 

 

Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga

and the Man Behind “Juneteenth”

Courier Book Reviewed by: Stuart McClung

14vacav@gmail.com

 

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519XMb5VhLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

It is not only gratifying to know that there is still much about which to write on the Civil War but also knowing that many more somewhat obscure events and personages are now finding the light of day. In the case of biography, authors are beginning to discover individuals who may not be quite so familiar to many, a recent biography of Union general Godfrey Weitzel being a case in point.

 

In this particular instance, it is Gordon Granger, a man who made his mark during the war but has been much ignored, if not forgotten, partly because he served in places which, to some extent, tended to be backwaters. Being excitable, stern, at times considered insubordinate and on the wrong side of Grant didn’t help his case either.

 

Author Robert C. Conner, an award-winning journalist and site interpreter at Grant Cottage Historic Site, has done what many have in recent years when it comes to describing a subject’s life: Covering the early years and post war in a relatively few pages or a chapter while the lion’s share of the book concentrates on the Civil War career, not that that is intended to be criticism.

 

For Granger, that is not surprising as his entire adult life was spent in the U.S. Army. Graduating from West Point in the class of 1845, his initial assignments were to the frontier and the war with Mexico where he earned a brevet for gallantry, participating in multiple battles during Winfield Scott’s Mexico City Campaign.

 

Although still a lowly 1st Lieutenant at nearly forty years of age, Granger stood out sufficiently as the war progressed to rise to Major General of volunteers and eventual command of an army corps. His greatest moment in the sun was at Chickamauga where he essentially disregarded his orders and went to the rescue of the battle’s “Rock”, George Thomas.

 

Notwithstanding his success, he ran afoul of Grant who thought Granger was “slow” and unfit for such a high command, part of which the author attributes to Granger’s own personality, health problems and concern for the welfare of his troops. Relieved following participation at Chattanooga and Knoxville, he accepted command of a small division and played a major role in the Mobile Campaign (city and bay) in conjunction with Admiral David Farragut.

 

Assigned to pacify and resume control of Texas, Granger was instrumental in the promulgation of the orders announcing freedom for slaves which has evolved into a celebration known as “Juneteenth” and survived to the present.

 

Postwar, Granger married at a rather late age and fathered two children, one of whom died in infancy, but remained in the army as it was all he knew. Considering his lifelong health problems (mostly of the lungs and also having suffered a stroke), he died while still on active duty at the relatively young age of 54.

 

Relying extensively on the Official Records, Shelby Foote’s Narrative and contributions to the well-known Battles and Leaders series, among other sources, Conner was also able to get close to his subject through the use of letters and other family documentation provided by great-grandson, Gordon Granger IV and an unpublished 1990 master’s thesis on the general. Interestingly, the notes are at the end of each chapter as opposed to the end of the text.   The three maps included are excellent and detailed, covering the Tennessee theater of operations, Chickamauga battlefield and the greater Mobile Bay area. The photographic section, which is primarily from the Library of Congress as well as the Granger family, depicts many of the persons and places mentioned in the book.

 

Even as just the savior of Chickamauga, Granger merits a biography. Although not a member of the pantheon of great Union heroes, Granger’s contributions to the war effort were considerable and well-recognized in his time. It is only right that, 150 years later, we come to the same conclusion.

 

Title: General Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind “Juneteenth”

Author: Robert C. Conner

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

Pages: 264

Price: $32.95

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/General-Gordon-Granger-Chickamauga-Juneteenth/dp/1612001858/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459732011&sr=8-1&keywords=General+Gordon+Granger%3A+The+Savior+of+Chickamauga+and+the+Man+Behind+%E2%80%9CJuneteenth%E2%80%9D

 

 

 

 

The Battle Flag and Christianity

By Lunelle McCallister on Mar 3, 2016

http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/blog/the-battle-flag-and-christianity/

 

confederate_graves

 

First they banned prayer in schools.  Then they removed nativity scenes on courthouse grounds.

 

Then they removed the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court.  Next came the “War on Christmas”  involving the omission of the word “Christmas” from office and Government calendars to be substituted with “Holiday”.  According to Wikipedia “The expression ‘War on Christmas’ has often been used to denote Christmas-related controversy in the media.  The term gained notability due in part to its use by conservative commentators such as Peter Brimelow and Bill O’Reilly beginning in the early 2000s.

 

The claim among Brimelow, O’Reilly, and some other prominent media figures and personalities was that any specific mention of the term “Christmas” or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers, retailers, government (prominently schools), and other public and secular organizations.”

 

Rightfully, these attacks have enraged and equally neutered Christians throughout the Country.  Just when you think they’ve gone as far as they can…but wait  – there’s more.  Today I read that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (www.ffrf.org) agreed to defend a Pennsylvania teenager who is facing criminal charges after posting pictures to Facebook of himself thrusting his pelvis into the face of a praying statue of Jesus Christ, supposedly simulating fellatio.

 

The criminal charge, which will be heard in family court, consists of “Desecration of a Venerated Object.”  Pennsylvania law defines desecration as “Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise, physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.”

 

In fact, the group, with spokesman Ron Reagan, son of President Ronald Regan, is calling all non-believers to come forward and challenge the so-called ‘privileges’ granted to Christians.

 

It seems the attackers have won the argument in blurring the lines between the ‘establishment’ of religion by the Federal Government and the freedom to worship with the spin sound bite of ‘freedom from religion’.

 

This is an example of where ignorance of history is allowing the revision of it.  The founders simply believed that it would not be a good idea for government to create, or establish, a faith.  They clearly believed that was not a responsibility of the Federal Government and wanted to limit that potential power.

 

And in most recent news, a Swedish Luthern priest feels the Christian Cross itself is offensive, and shouldn’t be displayed.

 

Have you noticed that these attacks on other Christian symbols have been with the same force and velocity of the attacks on the Confederate Battle Flag (“CBF”)?  First it was t-shirts in schools, then it was flags in County Seals and State Flags.  Next came removal of Confederate Veteran monuments, and most recently the obliteration of the Southern Cross on the Veteran’s monument in Columbia, SC, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Charleston.

 

What do these attacks on Christians and the Confederate Battle Flag have in common?  One simple thing.  Christ.

 

Let me repeat that.  Christ is the common element. The Confederate Battle Flag nicknamed the “Southern Cross” is a Christian symbol.  So it doesn’t surprise me that it, too, is being attacked.

 

This concept first entered my consciousness by words used in a speech I heard HK Edgerton make in Tampa, when he referenced the CBF as the “Christian Cross of St. Andrew”.

 

Later I heard a sermon by former Sons of Confederate Veterans Chaplain-in-Chief  Rev. John Weaver entitled “The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag”.  I was so impressed by this sermon that I purchased duplicates of it and provided a copy of it to all the members of my lineage society.

 

The evidence is overwhelming.  First, the population of the South was prominently Scottish.  The patron Saint of Scotland was St. Andrew, one of Jesus disciples, who was crucified on a diagonal cross Patras, (Patrae), in Achaea.  Use of the Cross in Scotland dates to 1180 in the Kingdom of William I.

 

Secondly, the Chi or “X” the 22nd letter in the Greek alphabet is often used to abbreviate the name Christ, as in the holiday Christmas (Xmas). When fused within a single typespace with the Greek letter Rho, it is called the “labarum” and used to represent the person of Jesus Christ ().

 

Thirdly, documentation at the origin of the flag itself states the connection.   Confederate States of America Congressman Porcher Miles, of Chairman of the Standards Committee in Congress wrote in a letter to Samuel Barrett of Georgia, upon completion of the design in the summer of 1861,“The flag should be a token of humble acknowledgment of God and be a public testimony to the world that our trust is in the Lord our God.”

 

According to Encyclopedia of Arkansas:

 

“After the Battle of First Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, General P. G. T. Beauregard ordered a new design for a battle flag to avoid confusion of the Stars and Bars with the Stars and Stripes. Confederate representative William Porcher Miles of South Carolina is credited with designing this new flag, which became the standard battle flag for Confederate troops. This flag was patterned after the national flag of Scotland, which consisted of a field of blue with a white saltire; however, the color of the field was changed to red with a blue saltire bordered in white. The Southern states, being a common destination for Scottish immigrants, easily accepted this design as a Confederate battle flag”.

 

So why do Christians not wince with the CBF is disparaged?  Some say non-confrontation.  Others say ‘it’s not my problem’.  Others buy into the misguided belief that the CBF was a flag that represents the perpetuation of slavery.  Personally, I believe its ignorance, plain and simple.

 

Most contemporary Christians and are unaware that this embattled emblem is a Christian symbol.  Remember the Ru Paul CBF dress controversy at the Museum of the Confederacy?  Most people didn’t even know it was happening, or that they should be upset.

 

Surprisingly many critics of the CBF, themselves are descendants of Confederate military or civilian officials and don’t understand the link to their heritage and history.

 

But either way, I’m reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin on the momentous day that he and the other patriots penned their signature on the Declaration of Independence from King George and the British Empire.  “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

 

Pastor Theron Chewing of Fowler Avenue Baptist Church in Tampa, FL frequently lectures about the ‘nasty now ‘and how evil surrounds us constantly.    I believe Satan is working constantly using ignorance to his advantage…even the ignorance in good, God-fearing Christians allowing them to unknowingly persecute Christ.   By judging the CBF to be a hate symbol they are themselves attacking their brethren in Christ and Christ himself.

 

The Bible says Christ and his followers will be persecuted.  It also says we will be acknowledged for defending Christ.  1 Peter 4:16 states “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

 

I don’t know about you, but on Judgment Day, I want to have a CBF in my hand showing my love and respect for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

I would like to commend to you Rev. Weaver’s sermon.  Listen to it and become empowered with knowledge and information.

 

I was able to convince three ministers of music that the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” should not be considered a Christian hymn by simply directing them to information on Julia Howe and her humanist views and the history of the so called “hymn”.

 

Let us replicate this success by educating our clergy and help them understand that an attack on the Southern Cross is more serious then that pious disdain for those supposedly seeing to perpetuate slavery based on ignorance….it is an attack on Christ himself.

 

Christians must unify or be exterminated, with their prayers and their symbols being relegated to only their homes and private property, with no public expression whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

Chaplain’s Corner:

Jesus is the Judge

Captain John Butler, Chaplain Hardy’s Brigade.

Inspired by God

catman6375@msn.com

 

This you have seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. Stir up yourself, and awake to

 

my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord my God, according to your

 

righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me.” Psalm 35:22-24

 

Jesus is the only judge. He is the only one who is worthy to open the Book of Life, though many down here try to usurp that authority. Too many times us so called Christians say, ‘Well now your saved you need to quit drinking, smoking, you need to eat more healthy, you need to teach Sunday school, you need to go evangelize,’  yada, yada, yada. We say these things like ‘well if you don’t you won’t get into heaven, you won’t win God’s favor. It is not our duty, nor our place to judge, Matthew 7:3-4 says “And why behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother. Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and behold a beam is in your own eye?” When we judge someone, more times than not, we ourselves are doing the very same thing we are complaining of our brother! When Jesus came down to earth, He did NOT come as a judge! He did NOT come down to sneak and pry and gather incriminating evidence to be used against us! We talked of love, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”, so let’s go further, John 3:17 ‘For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world thru him might be saved”! Jesus came to show love, to show how we, even yet as sinners, could turn away from the lusts, and wicked desires and be good to one another. Jesus didn’t need to come down to judge the world or condemn, because we had done a very nice job of that on our own. John 3:18 “He that believes on him is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he had not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”

 

No, Jesus did not come down to judge, the power for that type of judgment cannot be held on earth. That judgment power is only held at the throne of God and the time for that judgment is close at hand! BUT we should not fear the judgment of our Father! “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he had judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and had avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” Revelation 19:1-2.

 

God will call on His Son, and the time will be we will stand before Him. Will you name be in the book of Life? To be judged of what you accomplished? Not to get into heaven, that was secured by accepting the gift of Jesus Christ into your lives, but to determine your standing, your place at the marriage supper of the Lamb. We can assure our standing, our place, by believing. But not only believing, but trusting. “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21.

 

Will you get thru judgment? Or will you continue to try to judge others, only to keep piling up the very same filth onto yourself. Don’t have you condemned already, escape the fate of the burning lake, and escape the fate of always hearing the wailing but seeing no one. Escape the fate that is hell. Trust in Jesus, follow Him and work for Him. As we said in Psalm 35, Judge me O Lord God according to your righteousness. Let them shout for joy and be glad.

 

If this letter has inspired you to want to walk closer to Jesus, or you have a burden on your heart, please feel free to contact me at catman6375@msn.com.

 

 

 

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FOR SALE:  Green skirt and blouse: 100% cotton, well made, clean.

Only worn a few times. Fits up to waist size 34.  Asking $50 plus shipping.

Contact Vicky at papacal4oma@gmail.com   (Dog not included)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR SALE:  Gray skirt, jacket and half sleeves: Wonderful satin outfit, well made and clean.

Only worn one time. Fits up to waist size 38. Asking $100 plus shipping.

Contact Vicky at papacal4oma@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] "The Deepest South," by Gerald Horne; New York University Press, 2007; ISBN -10: 0-8147-3689-0

[2] University of Houston/History, Faculty and Staff - http://www.uh.edu/class/history/faculty-and-staff/horne_g/

[3]  "The U.S. Transatlantic, 1644-1867: An Assessment"

[4] "Whaling." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2015): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.

 

[5] Long Island: a History of Two Great Counties, Nassau and Suffolk, Volume 1 -

[6] U.S. vs. Augusta; Case # 14, 480

[7] The African Repository and Colonial Journal, Volume 36

 

[8] ibid

[9] ibid

[10] New York Dept. of State Armistad Commission Report

[11] Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution - Arts & Leisure - International Herald Tribune,

[12] Brown University’s Debt to Slavery, New York Times Opinion

[13] ibid

[14] Sons of Providence

[15] History Net: The Hanging of Capt. Gordon

[16] New York Times Opinionater: Disunion - First South Carolina. Then New York?, January 6, 2011, by John and Charles Lockwood

[17] The U.S. Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1644-1867: An Assessment, by David Eltis; page 375

[18] U.S. Dept. of State:Trafficking in Persons Report”, dated 2013