CONFEDERATE HERITAGE MONTH


From: athyriot@hotmail.com
To: cmillner@sfchronicle.com


Good Morning:


You might want to check a little further on the internet to learn a little more:


— About the black woman (yes, black woman) who sponsors the legislation to honor Confederate Memorial Day each year in Marietta, Georgia, complete with parade. As she says, "They’re my constituents, too."


— About Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue honoring "Ten Cent Bill" Yopp, a black Confederate who each year made sure his veteran compatriots at the Confederate Soldiers Home in Atlanta each got $10 (about $50 today) at Christmastime. At his funeral, the Governor of Georgia was a pallbearer. Yopp is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta. (Yes, Confederate cemeteries are integrated; we prefer to call the interred "veterans" and ignore their race, which is not listed on their tombstones. I’m sure God ignores their race.) All of Yopp’s descendants came to Georgia for the ceremonies.


— About the multi-racial units from Louisiana and North Carolina, and especially the crews of The Shenandoah and The Alabama.


— About the treatment of the Native Americans during and after the Civil War. The "buffalo soldiers" were sent out to kill all "injuns". Union General Phil Sheridan: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Live on a "reservation" with no water and no game? TSMF. Sorry, the monthly food ration will be late. TSMF. Here, here’s some blankets for you we got from a smallpox or cholera hospital. Tribe’s dying? TSMF. If you don’t stop that dancing, we’ll open fire. Oh, TSMF. Cause of death? He "died of a broken heart."

[Said of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.]


— About black Confederates in reenactment groups. These are not "slaves" or "servants", but full-fledged members of the unit.


— About all the times Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., mentioned Confederate flags and reenactments.


As a defender of the First Amendment, you should be hanging your head at your attitude towards people who want to honor their ancestors — black and white (and also Native American (my wife fits here — Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, a Cherokee, was a Confederate general) and Mexican (many units organized in Texas) and Oriental (the sons of the first "Siamese twins")). From your article, it appears you would ban our commemorations, as South Africa and Germany do with your suggestions (check out their laws on the internet — highlight the "translate" button; hope you don’t have a copy of Mein Kampf when you go to Germany — jailing offense).


As a published historian, I look upon the 1860’s as the 1860’s — I can’t change anything back then. I can criticize, but I can’t change history. You apparently look upon them from the 21st Century and say, "Oh, how terrible things were then, or so I’ve heard! Everybody was evil, except [add exceptions here]. We shouldn’t remember anything about then." And then maybe we can repeat history.


Have fun on the internet.


John Whatley
Retired USArmy Field Artillery Officer
COL Commanding 1st Regiment Georgia State Line (Reenactors)