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May 2012

Why a Confederate soldier deserves a grave marker

From the Your Daily Record
Updated:   05/29/2012 

I am writing because I must take exception to Jim McClure's comments about the effort to re-mark the grave of the unknown Confederate soldier along the Susquehanna River near Wrightsville.

This soldier was probably like most men that served in the Confederate army --from a rural or farming background, with a modest family income, and not a slave owner, who was defending his country's right to exist as he saw that right. As a soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia, he was simply an instrument of his government's policy, and since you know nothing of his personal background you have no right to judge him or belittle his service to his government. You cannot judge him using today's politically correct ideas in the context of the social and political world that existed 150 years ago.

I don't think that anyone in today's world can morally defend the inhumanity, injustice and cruelty of slavery. Nor can anyone condone the horrors that occur during war. But I would remind you that what the Army of Northern Virginia did on Pennsylvania soil to gather supplies and provisions was absolutely no different than what Gen. Hunter and his Union army did in the Shenandoah Valley or what General W.T. Sherman's army did on their march from Atlanta to Savannah. As a matter of fact, in accordance with General Lee's Order #73, the Army of Northern Virginia was not nearly as destructive as Hunter or Sherman. Before starting his march to the sea, Sherman requisitioned copies of the 1860 census for Georgia to see where the richest path for his armies lay so that they could "live off the land" without having to depend on a long supply line.

Continue reading at the York Daily Record

Smithton, Illinois - Memorial Day 2012


The Village of Smithton, Illinois dedicated their Veterans Memorial on Monday, May 28, 2012. The ceremony was hosted by the Smithton American Legion Post with the assistance of  Scouts from the area as well as members of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry and the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp 1962, Sons of Confederate Veterans.


This week in the Civil War - May 27, 1862

The major Union offensive to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va., triggers fierce fighting May 31, 1862, at the Battle of Seven Pines just eight miles east of that city. Confederates defending Richmond under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attack two Federal units south of Virginia's Chickahominy River.

The assaults push Union troops back and mark the start of heavy casualties. Fighting rages as more troops on each side join the fray. Johnston is seriously wounded before the battle ends June 1, 1862. This fight ends inconclusively for both sides with more than 13,700 casualties. But significantly, it marks the rise of Gen. Robert E. Lee to the top of the Confederate command shortly after Johnston is wounded.

All Richmond had anxiously watched and waited, amid worries whether the defenses would hold. The Associated Press reports May 27, 1862, that a lead article in the Richmond Enquirer recently issued a "clarion call" for Johnston's army to defend the city at any cost: "The time has come when retreat will no longer be strategy but disaster.

It must therefore give place to battle" the Enquirer stated. The battle will mark a turning point as Confederate fighters dash the hopes of Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan of seizing Richmond. And it won't be Johnston but the pugnacious Robert E. Lee who will save Richmond and force

McClellan to retreat in the fighting just ahead. Elsewhere 150 years ago in the war, Confederate forces defending the northeast Mississippi railroad junction at Corinth, Miss., withdraw rather than surrender to Union soldiers closing in on that city. The Confederates leave behind miles of earthworks defending the approaches to Corinth and a key rail crossing for train lines serving nearly the entire South.

The Associated Press 

Confederate Soldiers are U. S. Veterans.

image from
Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.

U.S. Code Title 38 – Veterans’ Benefits, Part II – General Benefits, Chapter 15 – Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death or for Service, Subchapter I – General, § 1501. Definitions: (3) The term “Civil War veteran” includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term “active military or naval service” includes active service in those forces.

 Photo taken May 26, 2012 at the Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City Illinois. 

Mound City, Illinois - Memorial Day 2012


The National Cemetery in Mound City, Illinois Holds a Memorial Day Celebration every year on the Saturday before the holiday. The Lt. George E. Dixon Camp,# 1962 and the Private Spence Blankenship, Camp # 1802, Sons of Confederate Veterans represented the Confederate soldiers buried there. There are over 1000 Confederates buried in the cemetery, only 45 are in marked graves.

This week in the Civil War - May 20, 1862

The grind of war continues this week 150 years ago in the Civil War as a contingent of some 3,000 Confederate fighters overrun a 1,000-man Union force at Front Royal in northern Virginia in a battle fought May 23, 1862.

The Union fighters are pushed back by the surprise attack through the town of Front Royal, retreating under fire. They temporarily hold their ground on one hill and then another but are outnumbered and retreat. In the end, the Union forces are routed and hundreds of federal forces throw down their arms and surrender.

All told, there are only about 50 casualties on the Confederate side while estimates indicate the Union suffered hundreds of dead or wounded. Confederate Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was waging his bold hit-and-run campaign through the Shenandoah Valley this springtime and the battle again demonstrated the prowess of his and allied forces who were striking close enough to Washington to alarm the Lincoln government nearby.

Only days earlier in May 1862, Jackson's forces had attacked Union fighters in McDowell, Va., pushing them back across the Potomac River. That attack set off alarms among Lincoln and Cabinet leaders in the federal capital and prompted calls to keep more defensive forces arrayed around Washington. The victories by Jackson and his allies also spread alarm in the North and prompt renewed calls for more young men to fight for the Union.

One proclamation this week 150 years ago called on Massachusetts men to join the fight. The call went out in local papers and declared: "The wiley and barbarous horde of traitors to the people, to the Government, to our country, and to our liberty, menace again the national capitol ... The President calls on Massachusetts to rise once more for its rescue and defense."

The Associated Press

Chris Talley - Taps


Chris Tally played Taps during the annual memorial service held at the Confederate Cemetery in Alton, Illinois. The memorial service is sponsored by the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp #1962, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

1354 Confederate Soldiers are buried in unmarked graves. Many died of Smallpox while being held as Prisoners of War.


Chris Talley - Amazing Grace


Chris Tally played Amazing Grace during the annual memorial service held at the Confederate Cemetery in Alton, Illinois. The memorial service is sponsored by the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp #1962, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

1354 Confederate Soldiers are buried in unmarked graves. Many died of Smallpox while being held as Prisoners of War.