Mr. Jim Galloway
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dear Mr. Galloway:

I enjoyed your Sunday piece on the tireless and newly-empowered "flaggers", for it was a refreshing change from the usual media line that those of us who are proud of our Southern heritage are racists, bigots, neo-Nazis, Klansmen or skin-heads .

Indeed, these hate groups are the people who have desecrated the noble battle flag and done great harm to its public image, and they have frequently been denounced by responsible Southern heritage groups.

May I respectfully suggest that in the future, perhaps you could do an article that, to the best of my knowledge & belief, has not been done in the AJC — one that explains WHY the ‘flaggers" & so many other decent people of good will are proud of our Confederate ancestry.

Basically, it is because our ancestors showed incredible courage, honor, and valor, against overwhelming and often hopeless odds, in fighting, not for slavery, but for their homeland — their families, homes, and country. Let me cite some personal examples of this.

Near the end of the War, my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, who ran away from school to become a Confederate scout, at 16 rode out to defend his hometown of Sumter, South Carolina against Sherman’s raiders, who had just burned Columbia and most everything else in their path. Along with a few other teenagers, old men, invalids, cripples, and wounded from the hospital, they amazingly were able to hold off these battle-seasoned raiders for an hour-and-a-half.

Meanwhile, Jack’s eldest brother, Lt. Joshua Lazarus Moses, was defending Mobile in the last real battle of the War, and, his forces being outnumbered 12 to one, was commanding an artillery battalion that fired the last shots in defense of Mobile. Josh was killed on the day Lee surrendered, in a battle, Fort Blakely, in which one of his brothers, Perry, was wounded, and another brother, Horace, captured. The Lee-Moses-Dixon Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Mobile is named in part after Josh.

The fifth bother, Isaac Harby Moses, having served with distinction in combat in Wade Hampton’s cavalry, walked home from North Carolina, never having surrendered to anyone, his Mother proudly observed. He was among those who fired the very first shots of the war, when his company of Citadel cadets opened up on the Union ship, Star of the West, which was attempting to resupply the besieged Fort Sumter in January, 1861, three months before the War officially began.

The experiences of the five Moses brothers’ distinguished Uncle, Major Raphael J. Moses, from Columbus, Georgia, contrasts starkly with the actions of his Union counterparts. Moses was General James Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, & was responsible for supplying and feeding some 40,000 men. Their commander, General Robert E. Lee, had forbidden Moses from entering private homes in search of supplies in raids into Union territory, even when food & other provisions were in painfully short supply, and he always paid for what he did take from farms and businesses, albeit in Confederate tender.

Interestingly, he ended up carrying out the last order of the Confederacy, which was to supply the last of the Confederate treasury, $40,000 in gold & silver bullion, to help feed & supply the Confederate soldiers straggling home after the War — weary, sick, hungry, often shoeless and in tattered uniforms. He successfully carried out the order from president Jefferson Davis, despite repeated attempts by mobs to forcibly take the bullion.

Contrast Lee’s & Moses’ gentlemanly policies with the actions of Union generals Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan, who burned & looted homes, farms, buildings, and entire cities full of only civilians (including Atlanta) as part of official Union policy to defeat and indeed utterly destroy the South, in violation of the then-prevailing rules of warfare.

Of course, after the War, many of these same Union generals, still flying the Stars & Stripes, used the same tactics, & worse, to massacre & wipe out the Native Americans, to the point of near genocide, in what we euphemistically call "The Indian Wars." So the Union army was hardly the forerunner of the civil rights movement, as many would have us believe.

Major Moses’ three sons also served the Confederacy, one of whom, Albert Moses Luria, was killed at 19 after courageously throwing a live Union artillery shell out of his fortification before it exploded, thereby saving the lives of many of his compatriots.

Some two dozen other members of my Mother’s extended family fought for the South, seven of whom also gave their lives for their country.

And so, like many others of Southern ancestry, I know first hand, through family stories, diaries, letters, memoirs, obituaries, official war records, and other documents, of the proud heritage of our forebears, who, I repeat, were fighting not for slavery but for their homeland and their families.

These days, very few people, even in the South, understand this heritage, and one often sees the Confederate banner even being compared to the swastika. This is particularly offensive to us Southerners of Jewish ancestry, since several thousand Jews fought loyally for the Confederacy, including the South’s secretary of War & later State, Judah P. Benjamin. Meanwhile, anti-semitism was rampant in the North, being exemplified by General Grant’s infamous Order # 11, of 17 December, 1862, expelling within 24 hours, all Jews "as a class" from his military district in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

These are a few of the reasons why millions of us are very proud of the honor and valor shown by our ancestors. I hope you will someday bring to the attention of your readers why so many of us still revere our family members who risked all and sacrificed much in the service of their country, a Lost Cause, yes, but an honorable one.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this letter.

Sincerely yours,
Lewis Regenstein
Native Atlantan