Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Kodak Moment 1860s style

A Kodak Moment / 1860s style
During the war for Southern Independence depending on which side of the mason Dixon line you lived, or which side you aligned yourself with you had differing views.
The status of the Battle Flag will remain exactly as it stands TODAY
Divided opinions, differing interpretations.
I have my opinion. It was formed by my great uncle W.H. Tatum
During the war he wrote home. I have transcripts of his letters that are in the Virginia Historical Society archives.
I shall present a few lines from his letters home.

July 22nd 1861 At Bull Run Creek
We have cause to thank our Heavenly Father for thus giving us the victory--
Many poor fellows have bitten the dust since yesterday morning & one of our men are worth 20 of Lincolns minions
July 29th 1861 Centerville VA.

I heard of one of our men whose company was behind the trenches, standing out when the enemy made a charge, his Captain told him to get behind the embankment. His reply was “ No sir, they come up to us far and squar and I am going to stand here far and squar” He did stand fare and square, and was not hurt !
Leesburg VA Nov 1st 1861

I understand that in case the enemy attacks again, Gen Evans has orders to retire.
This is a beautiful country and I would hate to see it in position of Lincoln’s hordes
Culpepper Court House VA Oct 9th 1862.

The country looks like a commons from the battlefield to the court house.
The people all have the same tale to tell, they took whatever they could lay their hands on & not content with that they would break up costly furniture, tear down banisters, & kick the panels out of doors

The letters continue in the same fashion until Appomattox . But this is my personal reason !
I was never the target of hate or intimidation by use of the Battle Flag, and I won’t deny this happened in the past and is happening today. To those who see the Battle flag as a hate tool I understand. I ask for your understanding of what it means to me.
Respectfully Submitted
David Tatum Jr


  1. I can understand, without a doubt, the affection for the memory of family members and the history of the men, women and children of that horrible time. But I can not for the life of me understand the devotion to a symbol of secession from the union.

    Your great uncle wrote, "One of our men is worth 20 of Lincoln's minions." That was his personal feeling at the time, in the heat of the circumstances of his time. Understndable.

    But we have the benefit of hindsight. Do you think the life of one southern soldier was worth more or less than a northern soldier? Your great uncle's present-time is now our history. We should all show great respect for the men of that time, and for holding true to their convictions... but we should not celebrate the symbolism and idelology of the cause. We know better now.

    (Interesting blog you have here. You should post more about the history. Very interesting stuff from a personal/family perspective).


  2. JUSTIN: Thanks for you comment.
    "we should not celebrate the symbolism and idelology of the cause"

    The cause was diverse, but centered around states rights. Slavery was the sin of a nation.
    The United States Government Protected Slavery !

    But all to often the South bears the burden of the blame. We overlook the facts.
    1 when the north abolished slavery, they sold them to the south.

    2 Slavery was still legal in the north, ( Dredd Scott) and the fugitive slave act. Bear this out.

    3 Hind site is 20/20. We can't judge yesterdays morals by todays standards.

    My ancestors owned large numbers of slaves, I bear no shame or pride in this fact. It was a matter of economics at the time.

    I will post more thanks for reminding me !
    Heck I'm just glad to know some one took time to read it.

  3. Did Virginia have the right to leave the union ?
    The wording seems pretty clear to me !

    "We the Delegates of the People of Virginia duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination can be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by the Congress by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any Capacity by the President or any Department or Officer of the United States except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes ..."

    If I am correct the south was being hounded by northern abolitionist, she was also having Export tariffs imposed forcing her to sell raw materials to the north. The south’s labor force was slavery! morally correct or not that’s the way it was ! Slavery was an accepted intuition for thousands of years before. So why now did the north wish to stop the expansion of slavery ?
    Simple they did not want to have competition for jobs in the western territories ! Please don’t hand me that moral crap as a reason. If morality was so important when the north abolished slavery, why didn’t they free their slaves !
    This is a two part answer !
    They did not want a large uneducated population with out industrial skills roaming about
    Also the sale of the slaves recovered the investment made to purchase the slaves. Sound business practice !
    However the abolitionist did not wish to compensate the south for freeing the slave population.
    So it is my opinion that as stated in the provisions of Virginia’s application and acceptance to the union ---
    whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will

    The south was getting the short end of a sharp stick

  4. The letters from your great uncle offer amazing insights - very interesting stuff. You're fortunate to have the manuscripts.

    Several of my ancestors, including my great, great gandfather, fought under the Confederate flag, defending their homes and families from an invading northern army. I will always honor that flag as a cherished symbol of resistance to an out of control federal empire.

  5. Thank you Mr Conn.
    Its a shame that radical members of our society, have taken our cherished
    Emblem and used it as a tool of hate !
    I’m often annoyed when the Battle Flag is compared to the Swastika !
    The Battle Flag and the Swastika are polar opposites ! is my web site please take a look !

    Dave Tatum
    Suffolk VA