Georgia: Mayor Praises Confederate Memorial Effort

MARIETTA, Ga. — Members of the United Daughters of Confederacy Kennesaw Chapter were joined by a little over 50 others Sunday to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.

The family friendly event was held at the cemetery off Powder Springs Road in Marietta. It is where more than 3,000 soldiers from every Confederate state are buried.

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon was the guest speaker and among a handful of others, including his mother Dorothy “Dot” Moseley Bacon, who were honored during the ceremony.

The Cannonade at the closing of the ceremony in Marietta was presented by members of the Haralson County ‘Invincibles Artillery,’ from left, Stefanie Sapp, David Sapp Jr. and David Sapp Sr. Staff/Lindsay Field.

The Cannonade at the closing of the ceremony in Marietta was presented by members of the Haralson County ‘Invincibles Artillery,’ from left, Stefanie Sapp, David Sapp Jr. and David Sapp Sr.
Staff/Lindsay Field.

“I want to thank you for the rich history,” he told chapter members and guests. “If not for y’all, it would be lost.”

Bacon served in the Georgia National Guard from 1966 to 1970 and was recognized by the organization Sunday because he is an ancestor of Civil War soldier Pvt. William Jackson Stover of South Carolina.

His mother was one of four people who received a cross for their military service.

Dorothy Bacon, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and William D. “Bill” Dean, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, both earned their crosses for service during World War II.

David Carey Brannan received a cross for his service as a damage controlman in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and he accepted another on behalf of his father David A. Brannan, who served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Retired Capt. Ann Marie Huggins McCurdy with the U.S. Army during the Gulf War was the recipient for the group’s Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal.

Harold Anthony Dye, a brigadier general in the Georgia National Guard during the Korean War, was recognized for the Certificate of Appreciation to Serviceman.

Confederate Memorial Day has been a legal holiday in Georgia since 1874, and the members of the Ladies Memorial Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans have kept the tradition alive.

In 2009, Georgia permanently designated April as Confederate History and Heritage Month.

–Lindsay Field, The Marietta Daily Journal


Virginia: Democrats Shun Event with Confederate Flair

WAKEFIELD, Va. — With no Democratic candidates for statewide office in sight at the annual Shad Planking in Wakefield, the event has become increasingly viewed as a partisan Republican conservative festival.

This year’s smoking of the oily, bony fish known as shad that make their annual spawning run up the James River every April was dominated by Republican candidates and featured hospitality booths manned by conservative organizations and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose booth was replete with hundreds of Confederate flags.

But that’s not what the charity event is meant to be, said Shad Planking chairman Robert Bain. The Shad Planking, hosted by the Wakefield Ruritans, has been held on the third Wednesday of April for 65 years.

“It’s always been a lighthearted atmosphere,” Bain said. “It’s a place where people of all party affiliations come and exchange ideas without having to be in your face about it. You sit there, you drink a beer and you just hash things out.”

First and foremost for the Wakefield Ruritans, the Shad Planking is a fundraiser that brings in money for Wakefield’s volunteer fire department and rescue squad, a local youth baseball and softball league, academic scholarships, the Jackson-Field Home for Girls and other charities.

Due to the increasingly one sided-nature of the event, ticket sales have been down, meaning less money for local charities. Bain said he didn’t have the final numbers for Wednesday’s event, but they were significantly lower than recent years.

Bain said its not the Ruritans’ intention for the Shad Planking to be a one-sided affair. He said candidates weren’t featured speakers at the event until 2002. The intention, he said, is to have candidates from both parties speak so neither side “has an unfair advantage.”

“If you invite one, invite both of them,” Bain said. “We said that ought to make it really interesting and increase ticket sales and increase our contribution to the community. It worked pretty well.”

For the last two years, however, major Democratic candidates have skipped the event. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine didn’t show last year and this year Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor, skipped the event.

Political consultant Mo Elleithee, who ran Kaine’s Senate campaign last year, said that’s because Democrats feel they’re walking into a hostile environment in the wooded sportsmen’s club where the event is held in rural Sussex county.

Elleithee said he is saddened that the event, which was traditionally a place where candidates and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came and give each other “a good natured ribbing,” has been overshadowed by hyper-partisanship.

“At some point the crowd became very skewed and very hostile,” he said.

Elleithee, who did not attend this year, was skewered at the event for telling the Washington Post that the Shad Planking was no longer politically relevant.

He told The Daily Press Friday that the Shad Planking is still relevant as a charitable event, and said he did not mean to be dismissive to the Ruritans, whose efforts at fundraising for local charities he finds admirable.

But its time as a must-attend, good-natured bipartisan event has passed, Elleithee said.

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who did not attend the event this year but has shown up regularly in the past, said he has seen a similar changes in the flavor of the Shad Planking.

“If it’s just perceived as an event where all the Republican candidates are going to show up and none of the Democratic candidates are going to show up, then that loses some of the appeal,” Bolling said.

Elleithee and Bolling said the Ruritans should try to rein in the in-your-face politics and make the environment more welcoming.

Bolling suggested the event could have less emphasis on political speakers and let good bands take the stage.

Elleithee said the Ruritans might want to switch the event to a weekend instead of the middle of the week so more people can attend. He also said they should try to make the event more inclusive, including not letting groups display the Confederate flag.

“Everyone in Virginia knows the divisiveness of the Confederate flag,” Elleithee said. “Sending a message that that sort of divisiveness is no longer welcome at an event that is supposed to be about uniting is a good first step.”

Bain said he realizes that many people are put off by displays of the Confederate flag, but said the Sons of Confederate Veterans have attended the event for years, and that April used to be known in Virginia as Confederate History Month. (In 2010, Bob McDonnell became the first governor since George Allen to declare a “Confederate history month,” and he took intense criticism for it, especially as his proclamation originally made no mention of slavery. There has been no similar proclamation since.)

Bain said the Ruritans try to make the event open to any group that wants to participate. He noted that the roasting of shad does have a Civil War context, as men from both sides would take a break from fighting to have shad bakes.

This year, Bain said, the Ruritans also cracked down on the placement of signs, the handing out of candidate stickers and flag waving by restricting those activities to the immediate vicinity of a given group’s hospitality booth. The only place Confederate flags were planted this year was around the Sons of Confederate Veterans tent.

This was an effort to bring back the more “genteel” feel of the event, Bain said.

“We reserve the right to monitor activities,” Bain said. “If we see something that’s offensive, we tell people to stop it or ask them to leave.”

Elleithee said the Ruritans’ efforts this year were a good start, but unless they’re “able to regain control as a political event,” Democrats may not return.

–Todd Allen Wilson, Newport News Daily Press


Texas: Sons of Confederate Veterans Clean Cemetery

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX — A few months ago we told you about Greenwood Cemetery — a historical cemetery tucked away in Grayson County that is in dire need of some TLC. Thanks to some local volunteers, the revitalization process has begun.

Tucked away in the woods, just east of Bells, is Greenwood Cemetery — a resting place for about 50 to 60 people, including 12 Confederate Soldiers and one Yankee soldier.

Once members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans found out about the condition of these gravesites, they wanted to help.

“It’s a project to us that has to be done,” Sons of Confederate Soldiers Curtis Ogle said.

“Our veterans do not need to be neglected whether they’re Yankee or Confederate,” Captain Bob Lee Sons of Confederate Soldiers Commander, Doug Garnett, said.

Volunteers spent their Saturday tending to the overgrown cemetery. Each tree chopped down and branch bulldozed away, is bringing it closer to restoration.

“And I happened to stumble across this particular grave right here, and he’s our first Confederate soldier that we have found in the cemetery,” Ogle said.

Curtis Ogle and a handful of other volunteers are spending their time and money in hopes that they’ll be able to not only clean up the cemetery, but locate each veteran’s gravesite and order new headstones — honoring them for their service.

“We don’t know who served what out here yet, but we owe it to them to come out here and get this cleaned up, but not only just to them but to all the people buried out here,” Ogle said.

The goal is to add these veterans to a national database so future generations can easily find their forgotten ancestors.

“That is our intention and our hope that the people will be interested in coming out and looking at the cemetery and getting more interested in history, and learning about what their ancestors did and why we’re free today,” Ogle said.

The cemetery clean up is funded solely by donations and volunteers Ogle says they’re in need of both.



Georgia: Tour Highlights Civil War Sites

Aiken residents Edward and Tina Hallinan haven’t spent much time in Augusta, but they were intrigued when they read a newspaper article about a historical driving tour through downtown Augusta.

The couple were among nearly 50 people who gathered outside Fanning Hall at Geor­gia Regents University’s Summer­ville campus Satur­day afternoon.

JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF People gather to listen to the history of the Four Poets Monument on Greene Street during the driving tour of Civil War sites held by Georgia Regents University.

People gather to listen to the history of the Four Poets Monument on Greene Street during the driving tour of Civil War sites held by Georgia Regents University.

The tour was organized by GRU special collections librarian Carol Waggoner-Angleton and guided by GRU professor Debra Van Tuyll and University of South Caro­lina professor Thomas J. Brown.

“We’re just trying to learn some things that we didn’t know anything about before,” Tina Hallinan said. “First of all, we didn’t know where any of these places were. Now we can come back, look them over, spend a little time, do some more research.”

The tour began with a brief sketch of the Civil War role of the Augusta Arsenal, which largely served as a place to replenish military supplies.

“Nothing much happened in the arsenal during the Civil War,” Waggoner-Angleton said.

At Magnolia Cemetery, Con­fed­erate flags adorned the graves of more than 300 Con­fed­­erate soldiers. The flags were placed there earlier in the day by the Sons of Confederate Veterans for their annual Confederate Memorial Day service.

It is rare for a Confederate cemetery to have that many marked graves, Brown said. He said many were likely patients of military hospitals and died of sickness rather than battle wounds.

“I’m guessing this hospital had someone who was very committed to keeping track of it,” he said.

Other stops on the tour included the old Richmond Aca­demy, the Emily Tubman Me­morial and the Four Poets Monu­ment on Greene Street, the Confederate Memorial on Broad Street, and the Sibley Mill and Confederate Powderworks.

Each guest received a pamphlet with information on 13 places of interest. Though there were only seven stops, guests were encouraged to explore all of them on their own.

Don Maxwell, who moved from Atlanta two years ago to be near his daughter, enjoyed the opportunity to learn something about his new hometown.

“I love bus tours and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I’m impressed.”

As Tina Hallinan strolled the median of Greene Street between the Emily Tubman Memorial and the Four Poets Monument, she said the tour has inspired her to explore more of Augusta.

“I was just telling my husband I’d like to go to the Woodrow Wilson House,” she said.

–Lisa Kaylor, The Augusta Chronicle


Georgia: Civil War History Comes Alive in Re-Enactment

KINGSTON, Ga. — A century and a half has passed since the Civil War ravaged country farms and dusty crossroads, small towns and big cities alike. Nowadays, the remaining evidence of the war can be found in signs along roadways announcing the sites of skirmishes or places of significance — or under the ground where buried artifacts wait to be found by future archaeologists.

One such place is Kingston, where the Civil War was brought back to life this weekend with a live encampment of re-enactors. They played the part of both Union and Confederate soldiers to help explain the war that tore America apart 150 years ago.

Re-enactor John McKinnell of Smyrna came up to Kingston for the first time Saturday to participate in the daylong remembrance of the city’s heritage. Mc­Kinnell said he got involved in re-enacting because of his love for history, and the hobby ties in with his intellectual pursuits.

“I think it’s kind of a logical step,” he said. “History is right here.”

Gene Findley, a commander with the 6th Georgia Cavalry, holds aloft a first national Confederate flag with visitor Kathy Evan as he discusses the flag's historical significance next to the second national Confederate flag at a Civil War history day in Kingston City Park, April 20, 2013. (Brittany Hannah/RN-T)

Gene Findley, a commander with the 6th Georgia Cavalry, holds aloft a first national Confederate flag with visitor Kathy Evan as he discusses the flag’s historical significance next to the second national Confederate flag at a Civil War history day in Kingston City Park, April 20, 2013. (Brittany Hannah/RN-T)

Like McKinnell, Carters­ville resident Kyle Russell has love of history, but he also was drawn to re-enacting because of his love of horses. Russell said his father was once in the U.S. Cavalry when it was stationed at Fort Oglethorpe. The branch was absorbed into the Armor branch in 1950.

Re-enacting however, is not a hobby for the faint of heart. Especially since much of the equipment needed for the hobby is hard to find.

“It’s an expensive hobby because you have to have the horses and all the equipment and the horse trailer,” Russell said. “It can mount up to a lot of money pretty quick.”

But it’s worth it, he added, because it helps keep history alive.

Kingston is one of those places where history is kept well alive too.

Kingston’s role in the Civil War was almost immediate because of its place on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, between Chattanooga and the south’s largest industrial center, Atlanta. The town served as a hospital and supply center starting in 1861. When the Confederates retreated in 1864, Union troops were attended in the hospital there.

The town also played a role during the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862, when a group of Union volunteers known as Andrews’ Raiders stole a steam engine at Big Shanty — intending to destroy the rail line as they rolled northward toward Chattanooga on the stolen locomotive. Both the Yankees and Confederates chasing them stopped in Kingston briefly during the chase.

Kingston fell to Union troops in May 1864 and Gen. William T. Sherman is said to have begun his famous March to the Sea from there.

It’s this history that organizers from the Kingston Women’s History Club hope to keep alive with the weekend event.

The event also included performances by the 8th Regimental Band and the Bartow Winds, an exhibit at the Kingston Museum and craft demonstrations of blacksmithing and quilling by Fred and Mary King.

–Kevin Myrick, Rome News-Tribune