On the road
Dateline - Traveling the Old South, from Vicksburg to Atlanta to Charleston (destination and conference hosted by Fort Sumter Camp #1269, Sons of Confederate Veterans) and back again.
Currently composing this column from the west side of Atlanta; same general area as where great-grandpa Private Henry Melton Rollins was shot below the knee with a Minie’ Ball (bullet) fired by a Union invader, possibly under the command of General U.S. Grant (the drunk) or General William Tecumseh Sherman (the demented jerk).
After a full Friday evening at the Francis Marion Hotel conference hall, followed by an even more jam-packed Saturday there, got up on the first day of the week for breakfast in The Swamp Fox Restaurant, across the street from Marion Square with its marvelous John C. Calhoun statue fronting The Citadel Military College.
Of course, Francis Marion, American War of Independence hero gained his "Swamp Fox" title by eluding British Redcoats by escaping along swamp trails. He is considered a father of modern guerrilla warfare.
John Calhoun is most remembered (perhaps) for his famous debates with Henry Clay, a Whig of renown and fervent advocate of a stronger national government, while Calhoun was the leading spokesman for states rights.
Upon departing Charleston, we drove to Stone Mountain, Georgia. The depiction there of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson atop sturdy mounts, in company with Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, is strikingly spectacular, surpassing in size even the more well-known mountainside sculptures of various American presidents at Mt. Rushmore. Suits me.
Upon getting a first glance of Stone Mountain from a distance, it is a most impressive sight, seemingly so out of place, looming there in its singular magnificence. Upon reflection it is, however, so appropriate, recalling the singular magnificence of each American hero depicted there (to those of us familiar with true American and Southern history).
We were unable to see the laser display at Stone Mountain, missing it by twenty four hours. It is said to make the three horsemen appear to be galloping along there on the side of the giant granite dome. Next time for sure. So, you might say we had breakfast with an American War for Independence hero and with the Father of States Rights, as we prepared departure from Charleston and then a late lunch with American War for Southern Independence heroes on the northeast of Atlanta at Stone Mountain. Most enjoyed by the all of us, I’m sure.
Back to Friday evening. Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service, presented as his subject, The Assassination of Jefferson Davis - The Dahlgren Raid. Union officers Dahlgren and Kirkpatrick obtained Lincoln’s permission and blessings to drive their forces into the Confederate capital (Richmond, Virginia), free Union prisoners, burn the city and kill President Davis and his cabinet.
The result was total failure, but we see in the plan, Lincoln’s willingness (and subsequent attempted cover-up), to resort to barbarian methods in order to squash the South, and for his commanders to gain glory and personal advancement, tactics totally unsatisfactory for a civilized society. Davis did not respond in like-manner, as Lincoln’s later assassination had no connection to the Confederate President. Saturday brought Donald Livingston, Professor of Philosophy at Emory University and Royal Institute Fellow of the University of Edinburgh, speaking on Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln, contrasting their views on Liberty. Outstanding! A must lesson for Americans in understanding today’s difficult problems in America. Thomas DiLorenzo hosted and moderated the entire event sponsored by the Stephen Dill Lee Institute. You will remember DiLorenzo for The Real Lincoln, Lincoln Unmasked, and How Capitalism Saved America. DiLorenzo, born in Pennsylvania and Professor of Economics at Loyola University in Baltimore, would have been deemed a Copperhead by Lincoln and thrown into prison (along with the 13,000-plus other Northern citizens who found themselves under Federal lock and key, having disagreed with his war policies.
In coming columns, will introduce you to the other marvelous speakers at this Jefferson Davis vs. Abraham Lincoln symposium, they being (The) Professor Clyde Wilson of the University of South Carolina, Brian Cisco, author of War Crimes Against Southern Civilians – Davis, Lincoln and the Rules of War, Marshall DeRosa, Florida Atlantic University WBTS scholar, Samuel C. Smith, University of New Hampshire professor and also a WBTS scholar.
The Saturday evening banquet speaker was Kent Masterson Brown, constitutional (Kentucky) lawyer and creator of The Civil War Magazine, also a WBTS scholar (WBTS = War Between the States). May God bless.