100 years after the Civil War, Congress called them “great soldiers and great Americans.”
For 130 years, this monument stood in Richmond, Virginia.
This is Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, one of Stonewall Jackson’s ablest divisional commanders. The general was buried beneath the monument.
Last December, as part of its campaign to wipe out every trace of the Confederacy, the Richmond city government tore down the monument, dug up the general, and expelled him from the Capital of the Confederacy.
Hill’s outraged descendants had no choice but to rebury their ancestor, which they did last weekend, in Culpeper, Virginia.
The family worried that the bigots who screamed obscenities as the general came down might contaminate the reburial, so they publicized it only by word of mouth. I was worried attendance would be sparse, but there must have been at least 400 people. This is a very partial view.
You can see the coffin in the foreground, ladies dressed in period-costume mourning, and reenactors behind them. The guard fired repeated volleys.
I shook hands with John Hill, a descendant, who was dressed in a replica of the battle shirt his ancestor wore.
I also laid my hand on the coffin of a Confederate general, something I am never likely to do again.
The Confederate Mechanized Cavalry was there. They are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who ride motorcycles. There must have been at least 20 of them.
And, of course, we sang Dixie.
It was moving to watch the reenactors march away from the gravesite. The tramping of their boots sounded as authentic as their uniforms and rifles.
The reinterment was an impressive display of forbidden loyalty. I wonder how many more might have paid their respects to the general if the family had felt it could publicize the ceremony.
As a rule, the intensity of historical grievances fades over time. Japan and the United States are friends, despite Pearl Harbor and a terrible war in the Pacific.
Vietnam and the United States are friends, despite a more recent war that many Americans, even at the time, thought was a cruel, disastrous mistake.
And yet, hatred for the South only grows. If we treated Japan the way we treat the Confederacy, there would be no trade. No Japanese would get visas. America would be so hostile to Japanese-Americans that most of them would leave. Watching anime would be treason. Long ago we would have chopped down the Washington cherry trees that Japan gave us in 1912.
And even if Japan never took any countermeasures—just like the Confederacy, which never fights back—the hatred and sanctions would get worse every year.
What happened with the Confederates? The very men they were trying to kill—Union soldiers—respected and honored them. One of the Yankees who fought under General Edward Ord was at Appomattox for Lee’s surrender, which meant the Union had won.
He watched the men in grey stack arms for the last time and expected to be filled with joy.
Instead, he wrote: “I remember how we sat there and pitied and sympathized with these courageous Southern men who had fought for four long and dreary years all so stubbornly, so bravely and so well, and now, whipped, beaten, completely used up, were fully at our mercy—it was pitiful, sad, hard, and seemed to us altogether too bad.”
Stonewall Jackson was hit by friendly fire at the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 and died in this house.
Outside, there is a small display that records the words of Union General Gouverneur Warren: “I rejoice at Stonewall Jackson’s death as a gain to our cause, yet in my soldier’s heart I cannot but see him the best soldier of all this war, and grieve his untimely end.”
Foreigners admired the Confederates. On the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol, there still stands a statue of Jackson.
The pedestal says: “Presented by English gentlemen as a tribute of admiration for the Soldier and Patriot Thomas J. Jackson.”
Englishmen had no political stake in the war or why it was fought. Britain abolished slavery 30 years before the United States did. These men just wanted to honor a soldier and patriot. When the statue arrived in Richmond from England in 1872, a team of 300 men pulled it to the square where it now stands. According to the papers, “‘not a few ex-Union officers and soldiers’ joined Confederate veterans in pulling the statue.”
During the first half of the 20th century, the U.S. Army named 10 military bases for Confederate generals, including A.P. Hill.
There is Fort Beauregard, Fort Hood, Fort Lee, and Fort Pickett. This was a gesture of reconciliation and generosity to the South, to honor its great fighting men. There are still Navy ships named after Confederate victories, such as this cruiser, the Chancellorsville, and landing craft named Malvern Hill, Harpers Ferry, and Mechanicsville.
The M5A1 tank was named for Jeb Stuart.
This M-3 tank was called the Robert E. Lee.
There was a variant of the M-3, called the Grant, for the Union general, shown shoulder to shoulder on the left.
There is a 1936 postage stamp honoring Lee and Jackson.
This stamp from 1970 is of Jefferson Davis, Lee, and Jackson on the huge rock carving at Stone Mountain.
Here’s General Lee all by himself on a 1955 stamp from what was called the “Liberty series.”
Dwight Eisenhower was a Kansas boy, but when he was president, he hung a portrait of Lee in the Oval Office.
He explained why: “General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. . . . Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor the Congress can award.
Credit: Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
In 1956, it was awarded collectively to all surviving veterans of the Civil War, north and south. The obverse says “Honor to Great Soldiers and to Great Americans,” and depicts both Grant and Lee. And note Confederate insignia on the reverse.
Did those Congressmen vote to award that medal because they hated black people? Or wanted to bring back slavery? Of course not. They wanted to honor the courage and sacrifice of men who fought for their country.
It’s been a strange career for Confederates. During the war, they were courageous, honorable opponents. A hundred years later, they were “great soldiers and great Americans.” Today, they are scum.
What happened was a wrenching redirection of every American social policy to make it cater to the failures, feelings, grievances, and demands of blacks. This is a form of collective insanity. It’s the insanity of considering it immoral ever to point out that blacks have an average IQ 15 points lower than the white average, much less to argue that that difference explains an awful lot.
It’s the insanity of decriminalizing crimes only because blacks—and sometimes Hispanics—commit them so often, whether it’s turnstile jumping, public defecation, shoplifting, disturbing the peace, or even resisting arrest.
It’s insanity that leads to headlines like “San Francisco reparations committee proposes a $5 million payment to each Black resident.”
Blacks, with a straight face, are asking for 41 times the median net worth of the American family. They demand compensation for harm they never suffered to be paid by people who never hurt them. And the city takes this seriously.
Only insanity explains this: “Astrophysics professor warns astronomy ‘steeped in systemic racism.”
It is insanity when a Vanderbilt professor says, “Math is a white, cisheteropatriarchal space.”
It is insanity when colleges stop requiring the SAT or ACT only because blacks and Hispanics get low scores.
This website lists 1,800 schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Stanford that ditched the requirement.
Not even the father of his country deserves an elementary school named in his honor.
It was insanity to destroy or remove 30 monuments to Christopher Columbus during the BLM riots.
What’s Columbus got to do with black degeneracy or murder rates?
It’s insanity to remove Robert E. Lee as a representative of Virginia in the Capitol Rotunda and replace him with Barbara Johns, whose highest achievement in life was to become an elementary-school librarian.
Now the two greatest Virginians memorialized in the Capitol are George Washington and a black woman no one ever heard of.
There is the quiet, insidious, ubiquitous insanity of a long Wall Street Journal article called “Juvenile Crime Surges” that scrupulously fails to mention that this is overwhelmingly a black problem.
It’s insanity when “Elite K-8 school teaches white students they’re born racist.”
There’s been the decades-long insanity of passing the Civil Rights Act of 1965 to forbid racial discrimination—and then using the very same law to discriminate against whites and Asians.
There is video after video of black misbehavior of a kind almost never seen among whites, but insanity requires that we believe that it’s somehow the fault of white people. [1:18 – 1:30] The Confederacy is just another casualty. Does anyone believe that walking by a Confederate monument made the blacks we just saw behave that way?
Do monuments make them shoot each other or get low test scores? Does spitting on the Confederacy help blacks—or does it just feed their crazed delusion that nothing is ever their fault?
Of course, the greatest casualty of this insanity is free speech. Facts refuse to conform to egalitarian edicts, and anyone who talks about them is a villain who must be silenced and destroyed.
It was a different country that could call Confederates and Union men alike “great soldiers and great Americans.” Today, it’s hard to believe there ever was such a country, isn’t it? That was a country worth having. What our rulers are building for us today is not. And there won’t be a country worth having until Confederates can once more take their place among those whom Englishmen once called “soldiers and patriots.”