FLORIDA: Pensacola Bay Center Votes to Remove Confederate Battle Flag

For years, the Pensacola Bay Center has flown the Confederate battle flag.  The most well known flag, with white stars atop diagonol blue bars and a red background, was never an official flag of the Confederacy. It was used by soldiers, in battle, but not by the government itself.

The Pensacola Bay Center no longer will fly the Confederate Battle Flag.

The Pensacola Bay Center no longer will fly the Confederate Battle Flag.

Aubey Smith, Commander of the Pensacola Sons of Confederate Veteransa, says “it’s our heritage. It’s our ancestry. The 600,000 men, women and children who died during that conflict, it’s not something that can be swept under the rug by not showing that flag.”

Others see something far more sinister in the flag.

Katrina Ramos says “what I see from the Confederate flag is oppression. What I see from the Confederate flag is slavery. So who’s heritage are they talking about.”

In 2000, the city of Pensacola voted to stop flying the battle flag. They replaced it on city buildings with a national flag of the Confederacy. At the time, the Escambia County Commission voted unanimously to keep flying the flag.

One resident said “as a citizen of this county, who’s money, along with all these other folks, goes to support our public buildings and our government, this is a very inappropriate symbol.”

Thursday evening, the Commission heard arguments from supporters of the flag, and those who want it down. Dozens of county residents attended and spoke out. After nearly an hour of discussion and debate, the commission voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Pensacola Bay Center .. and all county government buildings. Their new rule says that only the American flag may fly. The only exception is the flag of Florida, and only if it is already in place.

Says Ramos, “we have so much racial tension in our country right now. And so what I want to see from Pensacola is, let us be the first to be an example. Let’s start removing these things that are creating racial tension.”

The vote passed four to one, with only district one Commissioner Wilson Robertson objecting.



PENNSYLVANIA: Shooting, Arrest of Union Deserters Commemorated

KELLYTOWN, Pa. – The Clearfield County Historical Society will mark the 150th anniversary of the Bloody Knox shootout at the reconstructed cabin site in Kellytown at 6 p.m. Dec. 12.

The Bloody Knox Cabin.

The Bloody Knox Cabin.

The cabin, which faces Route 453, is located nearly halfway between Madera and Curwensville in Knox Township.  The public is welcome to attend and take part in the program.

On the night of Dec. 12-13, 1864, Tom Adams, a local logger and army deserter was hosting a gathering of deserters at his log home, which stood on the present cabin site. The Lincoln Administration’s war policies were held as widely unpopular in that part of Clearfield County.

The then wilderness became a hideout for deserters and those who would resist the despised army draft.  Although many local men enlisted in the Union Army, a good number of north central Pennsylvania men deserted and many because of the dire poverty, which overtook their families while the war dragged on.  Families could not thrive with the long absence of their main breadwinners.

Events culminated as Federal Veteran Reserve troops were sent to the area to establish order and enforce draft and desertion laws.  These troops were stationed at the Union (Mud) Church in Philipsburg. They were informed of the deserter’s planned gathering and, with horses and a wagon, traveled by way of present day West Decatur, Morgan Run, Sanborn and across Clearfield Creek to Kellytown. They surrounded the cabin late on the night of Dec. 12.

Adams was alerted to the soldier’s raid and ran to the upstairs of the cabin. From there, he shot and killed young recruit, Private Edgar Reed.  Reed’s fellow soldiers, in a rage from seeing their comrade killed, in turn shot and killed Adams.  The 16 deserters inside were arrested and brought to Philipsburg for arraignment.

This tragic incident showed the apex of the bitterness and hate-filled violence that overtook parts of Clearfield County during the last two years of the Civil War.  It is a sad but significant event to memorialize, according to David Wulderk of the Clearfield County Historical Society.

The evening’s program will include a toast to the memory of all involved at Bloody Knox.  County Historical Society members, Denny Shaffner, John Warsing and others will appear as re-enactors in Civil War period uniforms.  Richard Hughes and Wulderk will give a detailed presentation, explaining the events of the night a century-and-a-half ago.  Light refreshments will be served and the cabin grounds will open for viewing.  Please dress appropriately for the weather.


WEST VIRGINIA: Shepherdstown Man Spurs Battlefield Preservation

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Some historians knew it as the Civil War’s Battle of Cement Mill, a two-day fight on the heels of the bloody Battle of Antietam in September 1862.

Now, because of a fight that began over property rights 10 years ago, it is known as the Battle of Shepherdstown.

Ed Dunleavy of Shepherdstown, W.Va., stands next to a sign that describes the Civil War's Battle of Shepherdstown. Dunleavy has been instrumental in saving battlefield land from development.

Ed Dunleavy of Shepherdstown, W.Va., stands next to a sign that describes the Civil War’s Battle of Shepherdstown. Dunleavy has been instrumental in saving battlefield land from development.

Ed Dunleavy did that.

Dunleavy, 70, a retired Wall Street tycoon, built a 3,600-square-foot home on 20 acres off Trough Road south of Shepherdstown in 2003.

In April 2004, Jefferson County officials put up a sign notifying passers-by that said a conditional-use permit was being sought for Far Away Farms, a 152-unit single-family housing development on 122 acres near Dunleavy’s property.

“We all woke up and saw the sign,” said Edward Moore, Dunleavy’s neighbor. “Ed called a meeting. Ten of us showed up at his house. We initially started out to save our property.”

As Dunleavy learned more about what happened Sept. 19 and 20, 1862, between Confederates retreating from Union troops across the Potomac River after Antietam, he began to push harder to do something about it, Moore said.

Dunleavy and his supporters formed the nonprofit Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association to stop two Maryland brothers, Bruce and Michael Boltz, who were planning to use a big chunk of battlefield land for Far Away Farms.

“The battle grew in importance as we told the story. It wasn’t just a footnote in history,” Moore said. “Ed’s been indefatigable, the association’s guiding light.”

According to National Park Service historians, the battle engaged 8,000 to 10,000 troops, with 677 casualties.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sent his army back across the Potomac at Boteler’s Ford, now Packhorse Ford, southeast of Shepherdstown for a rear-guard action to stop Union troops from pursuing it.

The National Park Service rates the battle a Confederate victory.

“I’ve been described as a pit bull, but these developers have to know that we’re not going away,” Dunleavy said. “We started this, and we won’t be discouraged. People have to be reminded that there were 677 casualties right outside Shepherdstown.”

“Ed’s been a buzz saw,” said Gary Capriotti, a neighbor and an association founder. “We still have the battlefield’s original fields thanks to his leadership and guidance. Did you know he won a Bronze Star in Vietnam?”

“He’s dogged, successful in everything he’s done,” said Stephen Alemar, another neighbor. “He’s narrowly focused, a guy who believes in what he’s doing. People have denigrated him, saying he’s doing this to protect his property, but Ed believes saving the battlefield is a worthy effort.”

‘A man with ideas’

During the last 10 years, issues surrounding the battlefield and the proposed development have wound through the Jefferson County Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and 23rd Judicial Circuit Court, and twice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

“Ed Dunleavy has the kind of personality needed for this,” Gutsell said. “He’s a man with ideas, and he won’t take things lying down.”

The association, which Dunleavy claims has more than 100 members, has won the support of the National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield, American Battlefield Preservation Program, Jefferson County Landmarks Commission, Jefferson County Farmland Preservation Board and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Together, they raised $1.2 million to save or preserve 104 acres of battlefield land. Included was $375,000 to buy the 1829 brick cement mill. Holes made by cannonballs are visible in the ruins.

“This battle is known as the Battle of Cement Mill, or Butler’s (Boteler’s) Ford,” according to “Military Operations in Jefferson County Virginia (Now West Virginia) 1861-1865,” published in 1911 by the United Confederate Veterans.

The National Park Service did a study of the battlefield to see if it could be made part of Antietam National Battlefield. Its boundary would cover 510 acres. The results of the study were the subject of public hearings in Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown in September.

Susan Trail, superintendent of Antietam National Battlefield, said remarks from the hearings and online will be part of a report sent to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell this month before it is forwarded to Congress.

Dunleavy grew up in Passaic, N.J., and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers University. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966, was commissioned as a lieutenant after officer candidate school, and served in Vietnam for a year, from February 1968 to his discharge in February 1969.

He followed his military service with a 30-year career on Wall Street, eventually becoming vice president at Merrill Lynch and later Solomon Bros., before moving to similar firms in Chicago and elsewhere. He retired in 1989.

Dunleavy and his wife, Carol, who works with him in the association, spend time in two homes — one in Shepherdstown and the other on the New Jersey shore.

Richard Belisle is a reporter for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached via email at richardb@herald-mail.com