I recently was in Savannah and wanted to stop by the Confederate Memorial, to make sure it was a) still there and b) hadn’t been graffiti’d up. He’s still there, standing humbled in defeat, but at least not vandalized… yet. It’s protected by an iron fence, but I fear that’s not enough to protect it from the culture-destroyers.
It took years after the deep grief of war and devastation, before the first memorials went up in the South. The Savannah Ladies Memorial Association started fundraising in 1868, three years after the end of the War Between the States in 1865.
In those first years, many women were in mourning, with the customs that went with it, like wearing black. A hood was often part of a Victorian-era woman’s mourning, and sometimes even a veil.
The South had so many widows, it was a nation of walking shadows. It was also likened to a sisterhood, like nuns in their habits.
Many were young and re-married, but often chose much younger or much older men, as so many men had been lost. A year and a day, was the respectable time to mourn. Some, like Mary Anna Morrison Jackson(widow of Stonewall Jackson) wore black their whole lives.
This monument has a grieving widow at the base, under a weeping willow.
About 260,000 men of the South died, and 360,000 from the North. What’s freaky is that the vast majority on both sides died from disease, not battle.
The monument’s soldier was modeled after Hamilton Branch (pictured right, in the middle), who went with his two brothers and fought at Manassas. John (left) died there in the arms of his brother Sanford (right), who was captured on the battlefield with his dying brother.
The monument even has torn pants, to symbolize Hamilton being wounded in combat three times, twice shot in the leg. Sanford fell ill, and never fully recovered after the war.
Like a lot of Southerners, I have family who fought for the Confederacy, and I’m glad I’m not poisoned (like my brother) against our own ancestors. This same brother, incidentally, has the desk of our many greats grandfather — on the maternal side — who lost an arm in the war, and later became a judge.
My father’s grandfather was born as Sherman’s hordes came through, stealing gold pocket watches for him, and torching homes, barns, everything. He was named for Robert E. Lee and in another eerie sync, is the spitting ancestral likeness of this same mind virus-infected brother.
The complexities of history, like the reasons for taking a stand in the first place, are out-shouted and out-spent by those now saying, “It’s time to get rid of old, racist statues.”
And this is wild. Last week the moderator of an “uncensored” dialogue about race said the reason there’s still “racism” is that Savannah wasn’t destroyed… in Sherman’s vengeful scorched-earth campaign against Georgia, and later, South Carolina.
This person, a State employed Middle School teacher, reasoned that, “Nothing was broken.” He added, “The slave/master mentality, the resources stayed intact.” Maybe he thinks Soros’ BLM should burn the bitch down?
My thoughts and feelings on this all don’t easily find words, even though I’ve read books on Southern Identity and generally been thinking about this all Summer. Right now, I’m reading The Mind of the South, a classic made all the more poignant considering the author committed suicide right after publication in 1941.
It’s hard for me as a Southerner to imagine the South without blacks — their history is parallel and weaves into ours.
The jewish agitating force is always there to exploit our open wounds in this parallel, sometimes clashing violently, history. They’re relentlessly attacking the natural segregation that happens, as if it’s the evil past rearing its ugly head.
I know that it’s unjust to slander the South’s historic figures as one-dimensional “racists.” And blacks are being re-written by Hollywood to be something they were likely not also. We are not who we were back then, and neither are they. And neither was the caricatured Hollywood version.
The South has been undergoing this de-Southernization for a long time, and yet, a regional distinction remains. Paradoxically, it’s the crucible of the War Between the States that distinguished the South as a region.
As those who still have visceral ties die out, will Southern history become as abstract to us, as it is to the ones who want to exhume the South’s historic figures?
That’s why I keep pondering Southern history, as I have for many years. Maybe to keep it real, and to keep myself from falling into the easy simpleton narratives of dumbed down history.
The walking shadows and ruins bring up deep loss still. But like memorials, it honors the spirit of the ancestors, who lived in a very different time.