Happenings in the Land of the Tarheels

by Fred Ray on August 18, 2017 · 0 comments

I mentioned earlier that a group of vandals had pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier in Durham. The good news is that the local sheriff has taken it seriously, arresting one woman a few days ago. Yesterday more people turned themselves in to face felony charges, bringing the total to eight. They of course can’t see anything wrong with what they did.

I hope the prosecutor sticks with this and does not dismiss the charges or give them a slap on the wrist. The only way this is going to stop is to stand up to the mob. The idea behind civil disobedience is to disobey and be prepared to take the consequences. Today’s social justice crusaders expect to be let off scot free, but if they have to do some actual jail time maybe the next group will think twice.

Just to add more fuel to the fire, several re-enactors were pepper sprayed while marching in a parade in Newton by a bystander who did not like what they were doing. One man was arrested and two re-enactors treated for the effects of the spray.

Governor Roy Cooper is now in full surrender mode about the statues, calling for all Confederate memorials in the state to be removed. His rationale is that it’s his job to “protect North Carolinians and keep them safe.”

Wouldn’t it be better to actually enforce the law rather than appease the mob, governor? You will have to face them eventually on some issue. To give a bit of background here, Cooper is a Democrat (a rare bird indeed at state level) who won by a razor-thin margin. He depends heavily on the African-American vote, and this presents a dilemma.

Since the state has gone heavily Republican (after a century on one-party Democratic rule) it’s unlikely that the legislature will go along with it, and NC has a state law preempting localities from removing historical monuments on their own, which Cooper wants repealed.

NC Senate leader Phil Berger (a Republican) has criticized the governor’s remarks, calling them “reactionary and divisive.” He added:

I don’t have a lot of answers about what we can do to heal the wounds of racial injustice that still exist in our state and country. But I know it won’t happen with angry mobs. It won’t happen with opportunistic politicians trying to drive a wedge further between us. It will require our leaders to show some humility and compassion as we try to chart a path forward.

Here in Asheville four people have been arrested for damaging a plaque put up in 1926 commemorating General Lee. Fortunately they were pretty inept and succeeded only in damaging it. The plaque is near the Vance Monument, an obelisk that towers over downtown and is the usual gathering point for rallies and demonstrations of all kinds. Vance was the Civil War governor of North Carolina, a Confederate officer, and a slaveholder. Out mayor, Esther Mannheimer, wants to “reconceptualize” it and your guess is as good as mine as to what that might mean.

So far polls both at the state and national level are running heavily in favor of leaving the memorials up.

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Fast and Furious

by Fred Ray on August 17, 2017 · 1 comment

Things have been happening so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all. By now everyone will have heard of the events in Charlottesville, VA, where one person died in a riot (and two more in a helicopter crash). The immediate cause was a protest march by far right groups over the removal of a statue of General Lee. The protesters were from all accounts outnumbered by counter-protesters, many from the Far Left. Both sides came armed to the teeth and ready for a rumble, which they got, and the police (who normally keep groups like this apart) were nowhere to be seen. After scattered clashes the march was declared illegal, after which the cops actually funneled to protesters toward their opponents, and that’s when the fun began. A serious riot broke out, culminating with one of the protesters driving a car into the counter-protestors, killing one woman and injuring 19 more.

You can almost hear General Lee saying “not in my name.”

I don’t intend to cover all that’s been written about it (an impossible task), but it has also set off another wave of Confederate statue removals.

Confederate statues came down in Baltimore (in the dead of night, like New Orleans), and Gainesville, FL. Vandals pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier (not a general or political leader) in Durham, NC (more about this later). The Alabama AG has sued the city of Birmingham, AL for covering up the base of a Confederate memorial.

There have been calls by black lawmakers for removal of Confederate memorials in the US Capitol, and not even the dead are safe. Protesters actually began digging up Nathan Bedford Forest and have threatened to bring in earth-moving equipment if he’s not removed. And this is someone they don’t even have to look at. It reminds you of the mobs who ripped the bodies of the French kings out of their tombs during the revolution, one of whose head has just been found, or the restored British king posthumously beheading Oliver Cromwell. In Hollywood, CA, threats forced the removal of a Confederate memorial there.

Here and there there are glimmers of sanity. the Navy has (so far) refused to rename its ship Chancellorsville, and a group of African-Americans has come out publicly in Dallas to say the statues there should stay.

However, as I predicted, the Confederates are just a warmup. In Chicago there are calls for removal of Jackson and Washington because they were slave owners, and the removal of a statue of Theodore Roosevelt in New York (and a renaming of Columbus Day).

And just to keep the pot stirred, the group Anonymous has promised to attack Confederate statues at 11 sites tomorrow. Mob rule, anyone?

I am beginning to think that Nassim Nicholas Taleb is right—the most intolerant win.

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Take ’em Down!

by Fred Ray August 11, 2017

The takedown madness continues, and seems to be spreading like an old-fashioned plague. But first let’s take a glance at New Orleans, just lately freed from the oppressive grip of Confederate statues. Even without a hurricane or a really big storm, the city is flooding. Seems that the pumping stations aren’t working, a bad situation […]

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Protecting Streets in Brooklyn, Shooting Cap & Ball Pistols

by Fred Ray August 8, 2017

The latest outrage is that are streets in Brooklyn, NY, named for Confederate generals. Actually they are on a small Army post there, Fort Hamilton. A local politico says “These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert […]

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The Economics of Industry in the South

by Fred Ray August 4, 2017

Alan Guelzo, a professor at Gettysburg College and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, has an article in USA Today speculating about what might have happened if the South had seceded. On some things I agree with him, that the secession of Dixie might have spurred further secessions (notably the Old Northwest, […]

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Loading the Enfield

by Fred Ray July 23, 2017

Excellent short video on the steps to load and fire the Enfield muzzle loading rifle with the issue British cartridge. Not only that, the video presenter is in full period kit. I was going to use a series of photos I took of a friend doing it the range recently, but this is better. Please […]

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Short Takes

by Fred Ray July 21, 2017

Col. Robert Gould Shaw’s sword has been found and donated to the Massachusetts Historical Society. As you may remember, he commanded the 54th Massachusetts in the abortive attack on Fort Wagner, where he was killed. The attack and the events leading up to it were the subject of the movie Glory. July 18, 1863: The […]

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