Monday, January 30, 2012

Stories About Our Brave Confederate Ancestors

 After I mentioned the Battle of Seven Pines last week, a dear friend shared that her great, great grandfather was killed  there, leaving a wife, three small sons and a baby daughter, my friend's great grandmother, who was less than a year old when he died.

My friend said: "How tough it must have been for him to have been lost! How tough life must have been during and after the war!" She went on to say that his wife died too, before 1870, so it was up to family members to care for these orphaned children. 

Fortunately, her great grandmother grew up in the loving care of aunts and uncles. She lived her entire life in South Montgomery County and died in 1957 at the age of 96. About this woman my friend shares, "She was a STRONG woman - surely drawing on her strength gained during those difficult years in the post-war south." She enclosed a photo of her gg grandparents and her great grand doing Red Cross volunteer work at the end of WWII.

Do you have an ancestor story to share? Please take a moment to do so on our "comments". Others would like to read them I feel sure.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Don't Forget Our Civil War Contest

Don't forget to make comments on yesterday's blog about our "contest" to see with whom you would choose to visit.We have already heard from "anonymous" that he or she would like to sit down with Forrest, John Pelham and Marse Robert.

Excellent choices. And what would exactly you  ask them? I know probably a question about "The Wah," but what in particular, if you could ask each man just one? 

Other readers?  Please share. It will be such fun to hear from you.

What Happened After Fredericksburg?

So, what happened after Fredericksburg? For one thing,  Lincoln in a "nanosecond", replaced Burnside with "Fighting Joe" Hooker. After all, the Union had lost 12,653 men and the South, 5309. One Union soldier is reported to have said "we might as well have tried to take hell." So Burnside and his famous sideburns became "histoire" as they say.

 It is interesting to note that it was during the battle of Fredericksburg that Lee uttered those immortal words: "It is well that war is so terrible - we should grow too fond of it". And maybe  it is also apropos to quote Peanuts at this juncture. He said "winning isn't everything, but losing isn't anything".

On January 1, 1863 Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates. Thus in the mind of some, the war to "preserve the Union" now became a struggle for the "abolition of slavery". But lets remember, that there are some people in every age who try to rewrite history.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Enter Our Confederate Contest Now!!!

 Lets have a contest!. Would you readers please name three Confederate soldiers or civilians that you would most like to sit down with and chat with about that time period?  

Example: having a drink with Nathan Bedford Forrest might be great fun!!!

You don't have to sign your name, but please enter our contest. It will be so interesting to hear each other's thoughts!

Good News For The Confederates In December

If you are following the time line of 1862 with me, after the disaster at Antietam, good came for the South in December, at the Battle of Fredericksburg. In November, Lincoln had replaced McClellan with General Burnside, But Burnside didn't last long because he tried to cross  a "little stream" and the Confederates were up on "the top of the  hill", waiting for him.

To those of you who know your Confederate Battles, the "stream" was the Rappahannock River, and  "the top of the hill" was called Marye's Heights, a strongly fortified ridge just west of the city of Fredericksburg. It was one of the most one-sided battles of the Civil War, with Union casualties twice that of the Confederates.

Those sharpshooters in grey just mowed down Burnside's men as all day long, the Yankees tried to cross the river.It was like "shooting fish in a barrel". I have been there too, and seen it from the heights looking down. By the way, the word "sideburns" come from "Burnside" as he had very heavy ones.

Antietem in September of 1862

On September 15th, 1862 Jackson won at Harper's Ferry, but two days later came the battle of Antietam, when Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This was the bloodiest day of the war.

I have been there and seen what they call "Bloody Lane" where the brave Confederates fell by the thousands. I have climbed the observation tower. It is a sobering sight to think of what went on there. 2108 Union soldiers died and 9549 were wounded. And 2700 Confederates were killed and 9029 wounded. The battle had no clear winner but since Lee had to  withdraw to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor.

This caused the British and French who were contemplating official recognition of the Confederacy to reserve action, and gave Lincoln to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept 22, so this battle was more decisive in long-term meaning than it would have first appeared.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time Line for 1862 War Between The States

Interesting facts:
March 1862 - McClellan fired. He ignored Lincoln's requests too many times. Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac  - first naval engagement between ironclad ships. Fought to a "draw"
April - Battle of Shiloh. Casualties heavy - what else is new? Union dead, 13,000; South, 11,000.
Also in April, Farragut commands New Orleans (ugh). The Peninsular Campaign begins.
May - Stonewall Jackson wins in the Shenandoah. Hooray!
June - Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) - Confederates almost win (optimum word here is almost)
July - Seven Days' Battle - Confederates withdraw July2, ending Peninsular Campaign.
August - Pope defeated at Second Manassas. Hooray!
Will talk about Sept - Dec in next blog. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The State of the First White House of the Confederacy

Many of you know that it took  from 1900 to 1921 to raise the money to save the First White House and have it moved from the downtown corner of Lee & Bibb streets to the present location at 644 Washington Ave. A benevolent Governor found the money ($25,000) and that enabled us to complete  the first major restoration project.

You may not know though, that we have gone through three additional major restorations since that move was made, and guess what? It took big money every time!

 In 1973 the second floor had been condemned. It took $ 250,000 to do the structural restoration necessary. It was closed from April, 1976 until December 11th of that year when a gala reopening took place. We begged for the money and it was forthcoming.

The next major project was the 1997 exterior lead paint abatement project An ISTEA Federal Grant was obtained to complete the funding that the Finance Dept. arranged for us and we were once again "on our way".

The last major project was the 2007-8 heating and cooling interior restoration. Our thanks once again to the Finance Department and especially the Finance Director. for the funding, and to the Service Division for their tireless efforts on our behalf. We are extremely grateful!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jefferson Davis In Montgomery

I was looking through the 2011 Reunion Program for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and saw an interesting article about Jefferson Davis. It says that, as we know, when he was sworn in as provisional President of the Confederacy on February 18, 1861, it was to the cheers of thousands.

Echoing the Declaration of Independence,  he told the crowd "governments rest upon the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish governments whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established".

Long after the war he returned to Montgomery in 1886 for three days to the thunderous cheers and applause of adoring throngs up and down Dexter Avenue.

His last trip to Montgomery was to lie in state in 1893 and once again was honored by thousands, but this time in mournful silence. Over his portrait next to the coffin were the words, "He suffered for us".

The article goes on to say that in later life, Jefferson Davis made the statement that if he had it all to do over again he would have pursued the same course he had from 1861 on.
Crowd gathers to honor Lee on his birthday | The Montgomery ...
Anne Tidmore, regent of the First White House of the Confederacy, chats with ... Agreeing with Davis was Anne Tidmore, First White House regent, who used ...
Here is the coverage on the RE Lee birthday commemoration at the First White House of the Confederacy on Thursday. Click on the green link to read it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recap Of The R. E. Lee Birthday Party At First White House

We had an overflow crowd at the First White House today, to commemorate Robert E. Lee's 205th birthday and enjoy Bob Bradley's excellent speech about him,  as well as awesome birthday cake. Here are some facts you may not know about Robert Edward Lee:

Did you know? Robert E. Lee was the 5th child born to "Light-Horse Harry Lee", who fought in the Revolutionary War, & Ann Carter Hill Lee

He graduated 2nd in his class at West Point and was the only cadet that graduated with no demerits,

He married Mary Randolph Custis who was the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington

He was the father of 7 children. All of his sons served in the Confederate Army.

He was offered the command of the Union army but turned it down, because Virginia seceded.

 He later became General of the Army of Virginia and following that the Commander of the Regular Army of the Confederate States.

He returned to Virginia after the war and planned to pursue a quiet country life.

Instead, he was offered and accepted the position as President of Washington College.

The President's house had an apartment built on the back that had been previously occupied by Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his first wife, prior to her untimely death.

 Lee now occupied the house once lived in by his "greatest general", who lay buried less than a mile from the house..

Discipline at Washington College under Lee was swift and certain.

The enrollment immediately increased from 40 to 140 students and within a year, to 300 students.

Money was raised, over $100,00 during Lee's first year there.

After his death the college changed its name to Washington and Lee University, the ultimate tribute to this noble and great Christian gentleman.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do You Want To Be A Leader?

If you want to learn to be a good leader I suggest this book "Robert E. Lee On Leadership" by Crocker. Lee and Jackson both had great leadership qualities. I will always think of that wonderful picture of the two of them on their horses, Lee on the magnificent Traveler, and Jackson on his horse, Little Sorrel.

Lee, like Jefferson Davis, after the war, taught his people not to hate. The greatest thing about our Country is that, although we were divided, we came back together again in peace as "One Nation, Under God". Not many nations of the world can make that claim. That in no small part, was due to the leadership of Robert E. Lee, whom we honor tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More About Robert E. Lee

A few more remarks about Robert E. Lee, best known as commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the War Between the States, since today is his birthday, (1807-1870).

When Virginia seceded from the Union, Lee followed his home state, despite the fact that Lincoln had offered him command of the Union Army. He got along well with President Jefferson Davis, and won many battles against larger Federal forces.

Lee ultimately surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. After the war, he became President of Washington University, which after his death was renamed Washington & Lee.

Wikipedia says: "Lee became the great Southern hero of the War, a postwar icon of the 'Lost Cause of the Confederacy' to some. But his popularity grew even in the North, especially after his death in 1870. He remains an iconic figure of American military leadership".

Robert E. Lee's Birthday

 There are so many good books about Robert E. Lee. Call of Duty is one that I recommend, and I think a fun way to celebrate his 205th birthday would be to order and read a good book about R. E. Lee.

 At the First White House of the Confederacy we are commemorating with our annual "Robert E. Lee Birthday Party".  It will be at 11:00 this Thursday, Jan 19 (his actual birth date) and Bob Bradley, Chief Curator of the Alabama Archives & History Dept. will speak briefly about him. Then we cut the wonderful homemade from scratch cake made by our long-time Supervisor of Capital Receptionists, Eva H. Newman.

Of course I know that today is the State Holiday honoring him as well as a Federal Holiday honoring Martin Luther King and that is a good way to celebrate too, but we like to remember REL on his "real" birthday. If you miss our event,  we will have pictures on the website soon. We will let you know when they are posted.. Have a great day now!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Siblings of Jefferson Davis

In my last blog I told you about Jefferson Davis' parents. I also mentioned that his oldest brother Joseph was born in 1784 in GA, as were Benjamin Davis (1787), Samuel A. Davis (1788), Anna Eliza (1791) and Isaac Williams (1792).

Father Samuel and family were in Fairview, Ky by 1797. Born there were Lucinda Farrar (1797), Amanda Jan (1800), Matilda (1801), Mary Ellen (1805/06) and Jefferson  (1807/08). He was the youngest of the ten children and his father gave him the middle name Finis, which means finished in Latin, as most of you readers know!

The family moved to Mississippi in 1809. Father Samuel died in 1824 and in the 1830 Census Jane, Jefferson's mother was living with daughter Lucinda. Jane died in 1845 at the age of 85.That was a long time for that day and age! She must have been a "tough old bird"!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ancestry Of Jefferson Davis, President of Confederate States of America

Our blog about the descendants of Jefferson Davis has received more "hits" than any other subject so I thought you readers might also be interested in what I could find out about his parents and siblings..

His father was Samuel Emory Davis, born in Ga in 1756. He served in the Revolutionary War, so we know he was a patriot, as was his son, Jefferson. Samuel's father was Evan Davis, Jr. and his mother was Mary Emory. I think it is extremely interesting that Jefferson and Varina's first child was named Samuel Emory Davis, for Jefferson's father. Unfortunately this firstborn son died at about age two.

Jefferson's father Samuel married Jane Cook, who was born in 1760 in SC. Samuel and Jane were married in 1783 in GA. Their first child, Joseph was born in 1784. Joseph, much later became mentor to Jefferson, after their father died, as Jefferson was the youngest child, born in 1808. Samuel died in Miss in 1824. Jane lived until 1845.

More interesting facts about this family tomorrow. Please stay tuned!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lost Triumph

  Do order this book. It sounds very interesting. (see my previous blog)

Lee's Real Plan At Gettysburg

My good friend Richard has just finished reading "Lost Triumph, Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg-and Why It Failed" by Tom Carhart. , Richard says it is a quick read, and that it identifies three or so historical battles on which he thinks Lee relied to make his battle plan.

Richard goes on to say that Carhart emphasizes the fact that Picket's charge was not the central part of the plan, but rather that Stuart and 7000 cavalry were to flank the Union on its right flank and come in behind Cemetery Ridge. Problem with that was Custer and his men and their repeating rifles.

I will always feel in my heart of hearts that if  Stonewall Jackson  have lived, things would have turned out differently there. I will just have to ask the Lord about it when I get to Heaven!!! Will show the book on my next blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Did Jefferson Davis Adopt Jim Limber, Black Orphan Boy?

 Jim Limber, aka Jim Limber Davis, was a black child who was briefly a ward of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. He lived with the Davis family from February, 1864 - May, 1865. He had been rescued from the streets of Richmond by Varina Davis, when she saw him being beaten.

Davis arranged for Jim to be freed. It is unknown if he was actually adopted because there were no adoption laws in Virginia at that time. Sadly he became separated from the family when they left Richmond to flee from the Yankees. The Davis family never saw him again.

I  recommend the book Jim Limber Davis as shown above. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking the link above, or you may purchase it from our Gift Shop in the First White House. A very interesting tale, of which very few people are aware. Did you know about Jim Limber?????

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Varina Howell Davis, Wife of the President

I have expressed my admiration for Variana Howell Davis, second wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis many times, and I found a book about her that you may want to read:It is called First Lady of the Confederacy by Joan E. Cashin. Click on the link below to get to Amazon to order.

Varina was an amazing lady. I really want to learn more about her. She not only suffered through the war and loss thereof, the imprisonment of her husband the disgrace that accompanied all that. Even more sad was the fact that not only did he predecease her, but she buried five of their six children.

She was a survivor. Thats for sure!

GWTW Revisited

I guess my  all time book and movie is Gone With The Wind, probably because I was such a rabid Confederate growing up. It is actually the first book I remember "reading" at age 4. I could not read but I looked at the pictures and  made up my own story. Later as a sixth grader I tried to write a sequel.

I highly recommend the DVD as a way to treat yourselves in the New Year. Click on the link below and it will take you right to the "buying mode" of And have fun with Scarlett, Ashley and all the gang.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Come Visit Our Gift Shop At The First White House!

 Why not start your New Year off with a trip to our Gift Shop Our primary goal is to educate, and with that in mind, we have some really nice books that would be additions to your library, (not your Kindle)!

One is the new two volume set of the Chesnut Diary which is just marvelous. We also have books on Robert E. Lee which will be very timely with his birthday celebration on Jan 19th at the FWH. We also have two volumes on Varina Howell (Mrs. Jefferson Davis).

One that sounds interesting is "From Bull Run to Appomattox, the History of the CSA" and  of course we have "Montgomery's own" Judy Oliver's book on Winne Davis "Devotion". And in addition to books we have lots of trinkets and baubles to delight young and old alike.