Confederate Memorial Day Service to be held Sunday, 29 May 2011 at Old Warrenton Cemetery
By Gar Schulin
WARRENTON, VA – The annual Memorial Day observance at the Confederate War Memorial at the Old Warrenton Cemetery in Warrenton, Virginia, will be held Sunday May 29th at 2:00 PM. The memorial observance is open to the public and is co-hosted by the Black Horse Camp #780, Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans; and the Black Horse Chapter #9, Virginia Division United Daughters of the Confederacy. The public is encouraged to participate in this very special annual observance which includes Color Guard members; rifle volleys by the 4th Virginia Cavalry, Company H, “The Black Horse Troop;” and Striblings Battery, who will fire three artillery volleys from their 12-pound Napoleon cannon. Live performance of period music will also pay tribute to Virginia’s fallen defenders.
William M. Wilson, Ph.D, distinguished scholar and author, will deliver the 2011 Memorial Observance keynote address, "The Virtues of Remembering and Mourning."
Dr. Wilson is the Dean of Honors Students at the University of Virginia, and serves as a Professor of Religious Studies. He is the winner of one the University’s highest distinctions, the Algernon Sidney Sullivan
Award for teaching and selfless service. Professor Wilson is the author of many articles pertaining to religion, literature, philosophical theology and three volumes of Lectura Dantes Virginiana, and currently
serves on the Board of Directors of the Abbeville Institute for the Study of Southern Culture.
As America observes the Sesquicentennial of the 1861-65 epic struggle on our continent, current generations seek a greater understanding of the essential truths underlying the revolutionary rupture of the federative
polity of the Founders that resulted in what, arguably, was the bloodiest war of the nineteenth century. In this context, it is worth noting the words written by Miss Ida F. Powell, United Daughters of the Confederacy in May, 1930, “We maintain, that the conflict was not a ‘Civil’ War, but was a ‘War Between the States.’ Each Southern State seceded from the Federal Government after mature consideration, seceded with all the dignity and weight of their State governments and State conventions back of them, and formed an independent constitutional
government- the Confederate States of America.”
“The South did not fight to overturn the Federal government. It did not wish to destroy that government and set up a rival administration in its place. The Southern States simply desired to withdraw peaceably from
what had hitherto been considered a voluntary union of States, to leave the Northern States intact, with their recognized government untrammeled, and to form an independent government of their own. The South fought to repel invasion, to protect its homes and its inalienable rights as free men, and it was between two constitutionally organized governments that the war was waged.”
It has been written that Virginia is sewn into the very fabric of American history. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, George Mason and countless other patriots first drew breath on Virginia soil. In many respects, American Independence began with Virginia. It was Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia, who first proposed on June 7, 1776, that the Continental Congress declare
independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was itself a secession document, listing the reasons for the separation from the British Crown. The distinguished Historian Emeritus of the
University of South Carolina, Dr. Clyde Wilson, keenly observes Robert E. Lee’s decision to resign from the U.S. Army to serve in the defense of the invaded South was one of the most important and monumental
decisions in American history, similar to George Washington’s gradual increasing resistance to the acts of the British ministry (whereupon he came to believe the English government had a deliberate intent to subvert Virginia’s traditional liberty). The progression of Lee’s thought in regard to Abraham Lincoln and an increasingly hostile Republican Party toward a large portion of the voluntary Federal Union was exactly the same. Was George Washington, who had held a royal commission, a traitor for fighting the invaders and would-be conquerors of his country? Was he obligated to fight for the King against the American states?
By 1861, faced with the harsh realities of a voluntary Union which had become unworkable, Virginians followed other Southern States in secession after careful deliberations and conventions, and in the aftermath of Lincoln’s announcement of his intention to invade the Southern States by force of arms. To better gauge the sentiments among Fauquier County, Virginia citizens of the mid-19th Century, history has recorded only one man cast a vote for Lincoln at the Old Warrenton Court House in the 1860 Presidential election while having to carry a sidearm
to do it. Several months later in 1861, the Fauquier County vote for Virginia secession was 1809 to 4 in favor. Dr. Wilson clearly notes in Virginia and throughout the South, with the carefully considered official act of secession, a solemn act of the sovereign people representing the consent of the people, represented the most fundamental principal of American government.
The Founders bequeathed to us a small, limited national government, essentially providing three functions: law and order; national security (an Army, Navy and a Marine Corps); and delivery of the mail. Prior to the election of Abraham Lincoln, the most interaction any citizen had with their national government was mailing a letter at the Post Office. Much of the balance of power resided among the sovereign States. King George III, when officially recognizing the independence of the former English colonies, cited each one separately by name. It is important to recognize from our vantage point today, the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" has a Jeffersonian answer and a Lincolnian answer. Both views are diametrically opposed to one another.
In our current time, the true causes of the War Between the States are often misrepresented by revisionist historians found throughout academia, and many news media and pop culture outlets. Contemporary
Americans know the institution of slavery was and is evil. Most thoughtful and educated Southerners and Northerners alike understood this in 1861 as well. The key point to remember is that in America, slavery was a national blight in 1861 and not just a Southern problem. Quite clearly, less than five percent of the Confederate army soldiers came from families who owned slaves, yet they sacrificed for liberty and constitutional government for four long years under the worst conditions imaginable that had nothing to do with the preservation of slavery. Dr. Donald Livingston of Emory University also notes by 1861, no national party of any significance, since the founding of our nation 70 years earlier, ever advocated or advanced a bill in Congress abolishing the institution of slavery. Lincoln himself once said he could accept slavery lasting for another 100 years provided that it could be confined to the South. Before the war, Lincoln even drafted an emancipation plan
for New Jersey that would take effect in 1914.
Contrary to the popular myth widely repeated endlessly today which seeks to characterize the war as a holy crusade to abolish slavery, the historic record reveals twice in 1861, the U.S. Congress affirmed that
the war was not waged over the national blight of slavery. Just how far the North and Lincoln were prepared to go in supporting slavery in the South can be seen in the Corwin Amendment, passed on March 2, 1861 with
President-Elect Lincoln’s personal lobbying efforts, which ordained, "No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere with any state with the
domestic institutions thereof including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of the said State." Here, in these very words, the protection of slavery was tied to the Union itself. If the southern States truly wanted to preserve slavery within their borders, all they needed to do was to remain in the Union in the Spring of 1861.
In another formal affirmation the war was not being waged on the issue of slavery, on July 22, 1861, the U.S. Congress issued a "Joint Resolution on the War," the Crittenden Resolution, passed by two-thirds
majority of both Houses, that echoed Lincoln’s reasons for the invasion of the Southern states: "Resolved: That this war is not being prosecuted upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those states,
but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and all laws made in pursuance thereof and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality and rights of the several states unimpaired; and that
as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease."
In the Crittenden Resolution, by "the established institutions of those states," the U.S. Congress was referring to slavery. For President Lincoln, destroying the secession movement took priority over addressing the national blight of slavery. Americans today would be well served to recall the written words passed by the U.S. Congress in 1861 regarding the real reasons why the seceding American States were being invaded by force of arms by President Lincoln.
Many Americans today also contend Lincoln waged the war to preserve the Union. They mistakenly believe Lincoln took the oath of office as President to preserve the Union- at all costs. Lincoln took no such
oath- he took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Livingston observes America has never fully come to terms with the evil of waging total war against a American civilian population of unimaginable horror
and brutality that ravaged the South. The War Between the States was arguably the bloodiest conflict of the 19th Century, and it left Europeans aghast at the destruction unleashed against the southern States, a mere 80 years after the greatest triumph of human liberty and the right to self-determination the world has ever known- killing one-fourth of its able-bodied male population and leaving untold hundreds of thousands more Southern soldiers maimed; and women, children, the elderly, slaves and freemen orphaned, homeless, starving
and destitute; merely to preserve a Northeastern industrial empire. Dr. Livingston concludes that if Americans today are never forced to confront these essential truths, then our American nation can never hope to achieve the moral and political maturity that would result from having fully considered them.
Today, Warrenton and Fauquier County, Virginia recall a proud and distinguished Confederate heritage, as the home of such notable leaders as General (and later U.S. Senator) Eppa Hunton; two-term Virginia Governor and Major General William "Extra Billy" Smith; and General William Henry Fitzhugh Payne. Thomas Marshall, grandson of John Marshall, commanded the 7th Virginia Cavalry after the death of Turner Ashby, is recalled among many other local heroes who answered the summons to defend their native Virginia. General Lunsford Lindsay Lomax farmed near Warrenton after the war. All were heroic men who lived in a heroic age.
Compatriot George V. Godfrey’s research indicates Warrenton’s town cemetery holds the remains of almost 900 Confederate soldiers; approximately 600 having died in that great struggle. Two Confederate Generals, William Henry Fitzhugh Payne and Lunsford Lindsay Lomax are buried there. Captain John Quincy Marr, the first Confederate soldier to die in the War Between the States, rests in his home town cemetery. And it should be noted Warrenton is the final resting place of Colonel John S. Mosby.
The Virginia Division S.C.V. Commander notes the citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the
South’s decision to peacefully, legally secede from the voluntary union of States as bequeathed by the Founders. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights
guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our Republic and represent the foundation on which our nation was built.
Today, the spirit of the Founders, and those brave individuals who sacrificed all for our Constitutional Government in the mid-19th Century, lives on in the hearts of the more than 3,100 members of the
Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Black Horse Camp #780 S.C.V. encourages all eligible males of lineal descent to join our heritage preservation ranks by contacting Commander David Goetz at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or via our web site:
The S.C.V. is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all
male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Organized at Richmond, Virginia in 1896, the S.C.V. continues to serve as a historical, patriotic, and non-political
organization dedicated to ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is the outgrowth of many local memorial, monument, and Confederate home associations and auxiliaries to camps of United Confederate Veterans that were organized after the War Between the States. The National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Nashville, Tenn., on September 10, 1894. Membership is open to women no less than 16 years of age who are blood descendants, lineal or collateral, of men and women who served honorably in the Army, Navy or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America, or gave Material Aid to the Cause. The objectives of the U.D.C.
organization are Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial and Patriotic, including to collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States and to protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.
The Black Horse Chapter #9, United Daughters of the Confederacy of Warrenton, Virginia, encourages all eligible females to join their heritage preservation ranks by contacting the Virginia Division U.D.C.
web site at: http://vaudc.org/