Tenessee: Sons of Confederate Veterans Diss Memphis Over Parks Choice

MEMPHIS — The Sons of Confederate Veterans International chose Richardson, Texas, over Memphis for its 2016 annual convention in part because of “negative publicity” over Memphis’ renaming of three parks with names tied to the Confederacy.

Lee Millar, Memphis spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he met March 15 with the international group’s convention planning committee chairman and the executive vice president of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Millar said he later learned the group recommended Richardson, a Dallas suburb, over Memphis.

“They cited the specific reason for this vote as ‘the misguided actions of the Memphis City Council to attempt to erase Civil War history in the renaming of the three historic parks,’” Millar said.

Meanwhile, returning to the original park names was the most often cited choice by about 40 people who spoke Monday at a park naming committee appointed by the City Council.

Eleven-year-old Shahad Almutshir practices his soccer skills on a trip downtown to Mississippi River Park with his father Hekmat Almutshir, left, Monday afternoon. Mississippi River Park, which was previously called Jefferson Davis Park, is one of three parks in Memphis which the City Council has renamed in an effort to distance the city from it's confederate ties. JIM WEBER PHOTO

Eleven-year-old Shahad Almutshir practices his soccer skills on a trip downtown to Mississippi River Park with his father Hekmat Almutshir, left, Monday afternoon. Mississippi River Park, which was previously called Jefferson Davis Park, is one of three parks in Memphis which the City Council has renamed in an effort to distance the city from it’s confederate ties. JIM WEBER PHOTO

John Oros, executive vice president of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, estimated the convention with 800 delegates and their families would have added more than $900,000 to the Memphis economy. Oros said the discussions considered the cost of the convention to delegates. “They (Richardson) gave them a really competitive package.” But he said the parks renaming issue was a definite factor. “They didn’t want to go somewhere where they felt it was controversial, or that they felt like they would be unwanted.”

Sons of Confederate Veterans convention planning committee chairman Joe Ringhoffer of Mobile, Ala., said Monday the committee considers several factors in its choices, including costs to its members. But the City Council’s decision to rename Confederate, Jefferson Davis and Forrest parks played a role. “The negative publicity surrounding the renaming of the parks and memorials had a negative effect on Memphis’ bid,” he said.

About 40 people spoke during a public hearing Monday evening at City Hall. The hearing was held by a park naming committee formed after the City Council on Feb. 5 changed the names of the Confederate-themed parks.

About seven out of 10 recommended that the historic park names be returned, preserving history and avoiding a precedent for similar changes in the future.

“Our parks not only need to be a place where our kids can play, they need to be a place where our kids can learn,” said Michael Daugherty of Memphis. “They can’t learn if you pull history from the city.”

Ernestine Gibbons of Memphis said she had been taught in the fifth grade that white people were superior and black people were inferior, but reading the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” gave her a new outlook on history.

“If we try to erase or change, then we as a people have no history,” Gibbons said.

Madeleine C. Taylor, executive director of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP, echoing a written statement, said the civil rights group opposes public monuments honoring those who acted against the United States to maintain slavery. The NAACP wouldn’t oppose a memorial Civil War park providing balanced information, a civil rights park and “a park highlighting the world-renowned attributes of our city.”

Valerie Griffith spoke of history, including the history of slavery: “If we’re going to tell the history … tell the history, but do not glorify the butchers and the torturers.”

David Wade, an attorney and fourth-generation Memphian, said that “our history is the history of all our people,” citing the historic 1862 Civil War naval battle on the Mississippi River and ties that Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Sherman had to Memphis during the war. “Put other statutes there, celebrate our entire history,” Wade said.

Other speakers recommended park names including Renaissance, W. Otis Higgs and Ida B. Wells.

–Memphis Commercial-Appeal


Texas: City Opposes Confederate Memorial But Can’t Stop It


ORANGE, Tex. — The Orange City Council voted Tuesday to oppose the construction of a Confederate Veterans Memorial. While the council unanimously voted in opposition, they say they can’t stop construction because it sits on private property.


The vote came after several residents criticized the tribute that will include rebel flags flying at the intersection.


As crews were pouring the foundation for the memorial on Tuesday, dozens poured into City Hall voicing opposition to the memorial.


Opposers were heard saying “Hate breeds hate,” “We want peace and unity and togetherness in Orange, Texas,” and “I am not at all in favor of anything honoring somebody in slavery, murdering people, raping people and disrespecting people.”


“We can’t have this. We need to be unified in this area,” says Orange resident, Addie Allen.


West Orange resident Marcus Wilkerson agreed saying, “I’m not opposed to a memorial to the Confederacy. But, I am opposed to a memorial to the Confederacy at that location.”


The location sits at the corner of Interstate 10 and Martin Luther King Drive.


While some believe the location is disgraceful, the Sons of Confederate Veterans released a statement to 12 News saying “We feel this is not a conflict at all.  One of Martin Luther King’s quotes is looking for the day that sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. We encourage our opponents to follow that advice and that wish from Dr. King and look forward to a day when that part of his dream is fulfilled.”


The controversial memorial is going up and the city promises it will be watched by city inspectors.


“We will monitor the site to make sure that the parking and everything is up to code. We do not support this. We can not shut this down. Construction will carry on. But, we do not support the construction of it or any of it’s activity,” says Mayor Jimmy Sims.


The memorial is expected to cost at least $50,000; all paid by the organization.


The Sons of Confederate Veterans says the memorial is about correcting myths about why the war was fought and for educational purposes.


Georgia: Myrtle Hill Celebrates Confederate Memorial Day

MYRTLE HILL, Ga. — Rain fell Sunday afternoon onto a sea of Confederate flags posted near the Myrtle Hill Cemetery entrance.

Jon Meador, lieutenant commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp 469, stood nearby. He was to have led the pledge and salute at the Confederate Memorial Day ceremony which had been canceled moments earlier.

A new date for the ceremony hasn’t been scheduled.

Confederate flags marked tombstones in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in remembrance of Confederate Memorial Day. (Alan Riquelmy / Rome News-Tribune) Read more: RN-T.com - Myrtle Hill decked out for Confederate Memorial Day ceremony.

Confederate flags marked tombstones in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in remembrance of Confederate Memorial Day. (Alan Riquelmy / Rome News-Tribune)

“It’s to honor my ancestors that fought in the War of Southern Independence, rather than the Civil War,” Meador said of the ceremony. “What amazes me is they opted to defend their homeland against an invading force.”

Meador became interested in history because of his family’s connection to the Civil War. Fifty-six of his ancestors fought in the war, and he became more interested in his own history as he grew older.

“It didn’t hit me until I got older, but I guess that’s the way it is,” he added.

Lamar and Wendy Fowler arrived for Sunday’s ceremony in Civil War garb. They’ve been re-enactors for almost 10 years. Lamar Fowler was dressed as a private, though he serves as an officer at re-enactments. His wife was dressed as a widow, complete with black hat, dress and lace gloves.

“It’s something I always wanted to do since I was 12,” Lamar Fowler said.

Wendy Fowler said re-enacting helped her as a home-school teacher.

“It was a great way to teach history,” she said. “The best way to learn is by doing.”

Both Fowlers said it was important to remember the sacrifices of Confederate soldiers.

“This is important,” Lamar said. “Everyone needs to know not to forget these guys here. They’re as much veterans as anybody else, in my opinion.”

Wendy Fowler agreed.

“These men died for a reason,” she said. “They died for what they believed in.”

Local members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans were joined Sunday by Bryan Brownlow, of Kennesaw. Brownlow drove to Myrtle Hill on a search for an ancestor’s grave, and wound up in a conversation with Barry Jones, who came to help with part of the ceremony.

“I’d been researching my family history,” Brownlow said. “My great-great-great-grandfather might possibly have been a constable of Rome for 40 years and is buried here in this cemetery.”

Brownlow said his family’s history made him curious enough to make the 90-minute drive on a rainy Sunday to search for the grave of James Brownlow. He was unsuccessful this trip.

“I’ve got three daughters, so the name won’t carry on,” he added.

The Kingston Woman’s History Club will conduct a 149th Confederate Memorial Day Observance ceremony at 2:30 p.m. April 28 at Kingston Baptist Church, 40 E. Main St.

–Rome News-Tribune


Georgia: Civil War Heritage, History Celebrated

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — In the midst of Confederate History and Heritage Month, a bevy of Civil War-related events are taking shape across the county. Referred to as living history offerings, the programs will help attendees discover what life was like about 150 years ago, when more than 90,000 Union troops marched into Bartow.

“The Civil War touched Bartow County in a number of ways,” said Trey Gaines, director of the Bartow History Museum, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville. “One, obviously a lot of families were affected as far as family members going off and being soldiers in the war. We were also impacted when troops began moving through Bartow County later in the war. There was a battle at Allatoona Pass in October of 1864 and then prior to that thousands and thousands of troops had moved through Bartow County.

Re-enactors Steve Boliver, from left, Joe Carver, Dale Black, Charlie Jackson, Gary Turner, Allen Black and Timothy Bryson perform a rifle salute during the Cassville Confederate Memorial Service. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News

Re-enactors Steve Boliver, from left, Joe Carver, Dale Black, Charlie Jackson, Gary Turner, Allen Black and Timothy Bryson perform a rifle salute during the Cassville Confederate Memorial Service. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News

“The Great Locomotive Chase took place in northwest Georgia but much of it occurred right here in Bartow County. Kingston and Cassville both have connections to the war. There were hospitals and troop movements through both of those areas. Cassville was the county seat during the war and prior to the war of the then Cass County. Cassville was destroyed during the war and was not able to rebuild and Cartersville was voted to be the county seat shortly after the war.”

The Civil War Comes to Kingston

On April 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Kingston Woman’s History Club Inc. will highlight the Civil War’s impact on their town with The Civil War Comes to Kingston event. Along with Confederate and Union re-enactor demonstrations, the free offering also will feature concerts, cannon demonstrations and presentations from seven local historians: Bob Crowe, Clent Coker, D.J. Gould, Louise Young-Harris, Joe Head, Robert Jones and Gaines.

Known for coining the term “Heart of the Chase,” Head’s address will focus on Bartow’s role in the Great Locomotive Chase.

During the Chase, civilian spy James Andrews and his Union accomplices tried to disrupt a key supply line of the Confederacy on April 12, 1862. After stealing the General locomotive in Cobb County, they planned to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad’s tracks and telegraph lines en route to Chattanooga, Tenn. Their plan was spoiled, however, when a southbound freight train pulled by the Texas locomotive decided to help pursue the General, traveling in reverse from south of Adairsville to catch Andrews north of Ringgold.

“I will go ahead and talk about the story from A to Z — the hijacking of the General in Kennesaw or Big Shanty and then its eventual mission failure, which ended just north of Ringgold,” said Head, who also is a member of the Etowah Valley Historical Society. “But I will do more of my discussion about the events in Bartow County because the event itself primarily unfolded mostly in Bartow County. The event had more activity, stops, if you will, encounters [and] distance [in this county, and] all of the Chase engines for instance that pursued the General were acquired in Bartow County. So I’m going to go into some depth about our role and why we should be as proud or if not prouder than even Cobb County.

“The embedded story I’m going to tell is going to be that of … Uriah Stephens [who] was working as a station agent in Kingston. … [He] knew the operation of the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad and when the Raiders arrived in Kingston, he was immediately suspicious of their story and the manner in which they arrived and what they were insisting upon. And he challenged them. So I’m going to tell his story. So I’ve got a story within a story, and the beauty of it is I’m going to be able to really showcase why Bartow is the ‘Heart of the Chase.’”

For more information about The Civil War Comes to Kingston, call Nettie Holt at 770-386-0146.

Civil War Comes Alive!

Like the Kingston event, Civil War Comes Alive! will provide insight into this time period through re-enactors, demonstrations and musical performances. Presented by the Bartow History Museum and the Booth Western Art Museum, the event will be held April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This is our third year to hold the event and really it’s just an opportunity for us to look back 150 years ago at the events of the Civil War and what led to it, what some of the causes of it [were] but also what it was like to live in the time period both on the home front and the battlefront,” Gaines said. “So you get to experience both sides of the war.

“[I hope people will gain] an appreciation for the events of the time [and] the people who lived during the war and what they experienced. [For example] if you were a soldier, what that was like to be away from family while fighting in the war but then also back here at home, what it was like to make do or live without lots of your family members around and experience soldiers or armies marching through your town, your home. … [This] is definitely a family event. It’s a great opportunity for kids to come out and really learn more about the war by witnessing [the demonstrations] and experiencing some of the things — you hear about it and read about it in school and this is an opportunity for you to experience some of it.”

Along with touring the Cartersville museums, patrons will be able to listen to Civil War music, talk with re-enactors portraying Union and Confederate soldiers, and examine art and artifacts of the time period. Cannon firing demonstrations will occur at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the Booth’s festival grounds, 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville. The event also will feature a Bull Run/Manassas presentation by actor Kathy Kaemmerlen at 10:30 a.m., a delivery of the Gettysburg Address at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m, performances by the 8th Regiment Band at noon and 2:30 p.m., and the recitation of letters penned by members of the U.S. Colored Troops at 1:30 p.m.

Admission to the event will be $10 for adults, $8 for senior individuals, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and younger, and free for Booth members, Bartow History Museum members and active military personnel with identification. Along with entrance into Civil War Comes Alive!, the admission fees will gain visitors access into both museums.

For more information about Civil War Comes Alive!, call 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org or www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.

Increased Tourism

Since April 2011, which marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, Regina Wheeler — deputy director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau — said she is continuing to see a renewed interest in Bartow’s Civil War-related sites and offerings.

According to the Bartow History Museum’s data, “By May 1864, more than 90,000 Federal troops had passed through Bartow County. While many local refugees fled, others remained to witness the occupation of Kingston by Gen. William T. Sherman and his men. It was from here in November 1864 that Sherman made preparations for his ‘March to the Sea.’ That same month, orders were given to destroy Cassville.”

From the trenches at the Allatoona Pass Battlefield to Confederate gravesites and inscriptions left in residences from a once-occupying Union force, reminders of the Civil War are throughout Bartow County. Along with artifacts and structures that date back to the 1800s, the war’s aftereffects still can be seen in the area’s landscape and the birth of Cartersville’s prominence after becoming the county’s seat.

“Heritage tourism is something that while it may be a new buzz word for many communities, it’s been something that has long brought people here to Bartow County to visit attractions not only related to the Civil War but also to our rich Native American history that we have here as well as many other facets of our history and shaping of Georgia and also the U.S.,” Wheeler said. “Bartow County has a very unique standing within the Civil War.

“[We had] early on actions, such as the Great Locomotive Chase, which celebrated its sesquicentennial or 150th anniversary last year, that took place but also other skirmishes, battles. Then more activity began as we approached 1864 and then even our county was vital to reconstruction as well. The last surrender east of the Mississippi took place in Kingston. And then in reconstruction efforts — having the rail lines through our community was very important to getting goods in and out and kind of the rebuilding effort of the South.”

To help promote Civil War-related events, the CVB’s website, www.visitcartersvillega.org, will continually post local happenings, such as Red Top Mountain State Park’s Spring at the Homestead on April 27 and 28; and three events honoring Confederate Memorial Day: Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter No. 2373’s observance at the Stiles Auditorium in Cartersville April 20 at 11 a.m.; Stiles-Akin Camp No. 670 Sons of Confederate Veterans’ service at Cassville Confederate Cemetery April 27 at 9 a.m.; and the 149th Annual Kingston Confederate Memorial Day Service at Kingston Baptist Church April 28 at 2:30 p.m.

“[Due to the Civil War’s sesquicentennial] we expect to see increased visitation over the next several years,” Wheeler said. “It just maybe brings people that haven’t thought to visit their ancestors, where their ancestors’ fought or where those battles took place. It kind of brings them out. In terms of what people see when they get [here], it could be as simple as tracking down all of the state historic sites, all of the state historic markers, if you will. …

“There are various events throughout the year [at Allatoona Pass] that people can go enjoy and actually have a guided tour, things like that. But then with other attractions, such as the Booth museum’s War is Hell Gallery, that really brings it to life for a lot of people. Of course, they’re hosting events here in the month of April. And then there will be tours and other things throughout the year that take place from Adairsville all the way to Emerson and beyond. There are plenty of attractions related specifically to the Civil War that will bring you a renewed interest and a renewed appreciation of the Civil War, which really changed the shape of America.”

— Daily Tribune-News


Maryland: Hunting Civil War Beers and Wine

FREDERICK, Md. — What did those legions of men on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line drink in the days of the Civil War?

Surely with battles going on, fresh water supplies were few and were put to use not just for drinking but also for such tasks as cooking, bathing and watering pack animals.

One of the major alternatives to water was beer, which “was often safer to drink than the local water sources,” according to the website of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, a repository of all things related to Civil War medicine.

In honor of the 150th anniversary, the museum and a noted restaurant in Frederick, Brewer’s Alley, have developed a limited edition of heritage beers.

“We know the elements that have been commonplace in beers in different civilizations,” said Jim Bauckman, the Alley’s marketing sales manager, “such as aroma, color, and texture.” Using an ingredient list provided by the museum, master brewer Tom Flores and his staff at the restaurant designed a collection of nine beers, of which three are now finished.

The first to be placed for sale was Antietam Ale, a classic English bitter, ruby red with a light hop and malty aroma. It was released on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and was so popular that some 150 cases were completely sold out in two and a half weeks.

The next beer, Proclamation Porter, was named for the Emancipation Proclamation. The day this new brew was released, George Wunderlich, the museum’s executive director, read the official Proclamation. This beer is also red in color, with burnt malt and roasted coffee notes, a fruity aroma and a bit of a bite.

The third beer was released in early March and is called First Draught (or “draft,” for the conscription of men into military service) and a fourth, Gettysburg Wheat, will be available in July. New beer in this collection will continue to be produced up to 2015.

For those who missed any on their introduction, Bauchman advised that “it is unlikely that more will be remade until all nine are completed.”

The museum has information on the use of whiskey for medicinal purposes, said David Price, museum director of strategic initiatives. The original intent was to interest a small distillery in providing custom labeling for its own whiskey. But that fell through and the museum turned to beer. One of the museum’s researchers found some Civil War recipes, which included molasses and bay leaf, for instance, and with these in hand, Brewer’s Alley was contacted.

An arrangement was made, advantageous to both parties. Brewer’s Alley is able to introduce a new product and for every case sold, the museum receives a modest donation.

This beer is also special, said Price, “as it is the only time in U.S. history that the U.S.flag has been allowed to appear on a beer bottle.”

Adams County Winery

Of course, beer was not the only beverage of choice in the war days. Wine was also favored. Adams County Winery just outside Gettysburg — recognized in 2012 as the best winery in Adams County — has come up with its own specially-labeled wines to commemorate the 150th anniversary, although these are not based on Civil War recipes.

“Some of these wines are those we already offer,” said Rob Leonard, business development manager. Tears of Gettysburg, which features a label image of Abraham Lincoln, has been around for 25 years.

The winery now carries five additional wines — Rebel Red, Traveller (named for Gen. Lee’s horse), Turning Point, Chardonnay, and The Engagement.

“The reaction to these has been very favorable, people want them for their labels and for their shelves,” said Leonard. “We are now offering commemorative box sets with any two of the wines and 15-ounce stemless glasses; the back of the box carries the Gettysburg Address. People can come to the winery and taste them at no cost, or visit several local restaurants which carry our wines,” Leonard added. The wines are also sold at the winery, its shop in Gettysburg, and online.

On June 29, the winery is hosting a major day-long event — the 150th Gettysburg Family Festival — featuring authors and book signings, visits with generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant and their wives, music and a variety of offers for adults and children.

About the beer: Visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine website at http://www.civilwarmed.org. The Museum is located at 48 E. Patrick St., Frederick, Md., or call (301) 695-1864. Brewer’s Alley is located at 124 N. Market Street, Frederick; or call (301) 631-0089; website http://www.brewersalley.com.

About the wine: The Adams County Winery has two locations: The Winery, 251 Peach Tree Road, Ortanna, Pa.; and the Wine Shop, 25 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg; or call 334-4631; website http://www.adamscountywinery.com.