Please remember to honor your Confederate Heritage during the month of April!
April, as you probably do not know, is Confederate History Month. In less politically
correct days, Southern governors had no more problem proclaiming it than they did
in proclaiming National Pickle Week. Nowadays most governors are too yellow.
How can we expect our children to know about their heritage when school bands no
longer play "Dixie?" Young folks once heard stories from their grandpa and teacher
about the American soldiers who for 200 years marched off to war. Onward Christian
Soldiers was still included in standard American song books.
Once upon a time the South's businesses and schools closed on Confederate Memorial
Day. This was a special time for parades and memorial speeches at the local soldiers'
cemetery. Tens of thousands of people made their way to the Confederate cemetery
and children delighted in catching a glimpse of a Confederate Veteran.
When the War Between the States ended, women of the North and South formed
memorial organizations. They made sure the soldiers got a Christian burial and were
remembered. Great monuments were erected to the soldiers of Blue and Gray and still
can be seen from many town squares and soldier cemeteries.
For over 100 years the good people of the Ladies' Memorial Association, United Daughters
of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans have continued the tradition of
Confederate Memorial Day in April. Other states recognize Confederate Memorial Day on
May 10th and June 3rd. June 3rd is the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Since about 1995, April has also become known as Confederate History Month.
The battle flag -- the red one with the cross of St. Andrews -- was carried by one of the
noblest armies ever to take the field. Its members were the last of the chivalrous knights.
Sir Winston Churchill said that the Confederate Army's fight against overwhelming odds
is one of the most glorious moments in Anglo-Saxon history. H.L. Mencken, the sage of
Baltimore, said that the only thing wrong with Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
was that it was the South, not the North, that was fighting for a government of the
people, by the people and for the people.
It fought for a good cause -- independence and the right of self-government and the rule
of law. Those are such good things so worth fighting for it's no wonder Yankee
propaganda keeps repeating the lie that it was fighting to preserve slavery.
In 1860, of 7 million non-slaves in the South, only 384,000 owned any slaves at all.
That means that 6.6 million Southerners were non-slave owners, and if you think that
they would leave their homes and farms to fight for the planters' right to own slaves,
you don't know much about Southern culture.
Another false image of the South is that people were either rich slave owners or slaves.
There were, in fact, several thousands of free blacks living in the South, and some of
them owned slaves. The South was quite diverse and multicultural, with French, Spanish
and German, not to mention Indian languages, often heard.
All of us true Southerners have nothing against folks who aren't Southern. We have long
since been willing to be reconciled, but there are some people who just won't leave us alone.
They insist on insulting our ancestors, distorting our history and, in short, attempting to
commit cultural genocide. They want to tear down our monuments and rename our streets
and schools until they have blotted out every sign of our past. We have no choice but to
It is written that the first Confederate Memorial day was held in Columbus, Georgia. Some
say it was the idea of Lizzie Rutherford, President of the Columbus Chapter of the Ladies
Memorial Association, and their secretary Mrs. Charles J. Williams. Mrs. William's
husband served as Colonel of the 1st Georgia Regiment, CSA during the War Between
the States. He died of disease in 1862 and was buried in his home town of Columbus.
Disease killed more soldiers during the war than did the battles.
Mrs. Williams and her daughter visited his grave often and cleared the weeds and leaves
from it, then placed flowers on it. Her daughter also pulled the weeds from other soldiers
graves near her father. It saddened the little girl that many graves were unmarked. With
tears of pride she said to her mother, "These are my soldiers graves." The little girl became
ill and passed away in her childhood. Mrs. William's grief was almost unbearable.
One day, while visiting the graves of her husband and daughter, Mrs. Williams looked at
all of the unkept soldiers' graves and remembered the words her daughter had told her.
She knew what she had to do.
With permission from Lizzie Rutherford, President of the Ladies' Memorial Association,
Williams wrote a letter that was published in many Southern newspapers asking the
women of Dixie for help. She asked that organizations be formed in taking care of the
thousands of Confederate graves from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande. She also
asked state legislatures to set aside an April day to remember the men of gray.
With her leadership many Southern states adopted April 26th, as Confederate Memorial
Day. Mrs. Williams died in 1874, but lived to see her native Georgia adopt April 26th as
Confederate Memorial Day. Today, it is still a legal holiday.
Back to Chowan Co. Military Links
Back to Chowan County Page