Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping Our Heads Around The Civil War

As the Sesquicentennial approaches it is hard for us to wrap our heads around the enormity of the conflict. More than 620,000 soldiers died - 10% of all fighting age males in the North and 30 percent of all the fighting age white men in the South, more than all the other Wars combined, from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam. Absolutely astonishing as well as tragic, thus we commemorate.

How many Civil War sites have you visited? I have been to some: Manassas, Gettysburg, Antietam, New Market, Atlanta, and Chattanooga.. They are very sad to visit I think, but also fascinating and a way to honor our past and our ancestors.

I have not been to Shiloh, or Chickamauga or Vicksburg, even though they are much closer than the battles on the Eastern front. I want to get around to those in Alabama's neighboring states.

The AAA magazine Jan/Feb 2011 issue has an article "Places of Honor' that talks about the War and the sites that we can visit. We were very fortunate here in Montgomery that our city was not burned to the ground by Wilson and his raiders.The Confederates did set fire to the cotton so that the Yankees could not have it. A minor skirmish took place but the "flag of truce" was waved. The war was over.

Mrs. Davis' Gingersnap Recipe

Bert Davis kindly gave us permission to print Mrs. Davis' gingersnap recipe. It is wonderful and I hope you will try it. You need the following:

2-1/4 Cup Shortening
3 Cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C molasses
6  C flour
4-1/2 tsp soda
1-1/2 tsp ginger

step 1.  cream shortening and sugar
2.  add eggs and molasses
3. add flour which has been sifted with soda and ginger
4. form in 1/4" balls and roll balls in sugar
5. place 2" apart on greased cookie sheet
6. bake 350 degrees 10-20 minutes
Store into airtight containers - it lasts a long time in refrigerator (makes 16 dz cookies)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Elegant Varina Enters Montgomery Social Life

 Perusing W.C.(Jack) Davis's book "A Government of Our Own" I was interested in the chapter that is titled Farewell Montgomery. As you know the Davis family was only in the First White House for a few short months, but Varina made the most of it.

Jack says that much of the new society in Montgomery looked to the First Family to set the tone for the rest. If left to the President they would look in vain, but Varina thrived on social life. She planned her first reception for April 30th. Despite the oppressive heat, scores of people attended. 

Many already knew the First Lady but some did not. "I haven't made up my mind whether I shall like her or not" Charlotte Wigfall wrote of Varina. But then Charlotte, born to wealth in New England and raised in Charleston, came from two cultures that never really approved of anyone outside their own circles!!!

Most folks really took to Varina. She had her home aglow with wax candles, flowers in bouquets and vases everywhere, and a tasteful display of furniture thanks to the last minute loan of some pieces from Sophia Bibb. Davis goes on to say "Varina herself met guests in a silk brocade gown with wide sleeves and if some thought her faintly haughty, none found her less than cordial"!!!

Hey, our First Lady was a winner - Go Girl!!!

Best Ever New Years Eve Punch

Are you looking for a great New Year's Eve punch? Well, you just may want to try the famous Jefferson Davis punch. I understand that it was invented by Winnie for her father's birthday in his later years.
We received permission to print by Bertram Hayes-Davis, Great-Great-Grandson of Jefferson Davis
I warn you though, it is a very potent potable. Do not drink and drive.
Here goes:
3/4 cup lemon juice
1-3/4 lbs sugar dissolved in water
6 bottles (4/5) of claret
1 bottle of light rum
1 bottle of dry sherry
1/2 bottle of brandy
3 bottles (1 qt) ginger ale
3 bottles of soda
float with sliced cucumber & oranges and ice, dilute to taste
serves approx 100 punch cups

See, I warned you. Be careful, be very careful!!! And... take a cup of kindness dear to Old Ange Syn

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jefferson Davis Favorite Chess Pie

A friend shared that her family used to love Jefferson Davis's favorite chess pie, which is in the family cookbook they called Granny Ward's Chess pie because she is the one who made it the most. But my friend Guin assured us that it was originally a Jefferson Davis fave.

Another friend, Daphne observed that the story is interesting because this is how recipes get passed down in the South. For a while it was a Davis family favorite, and now it belongs to the next generation. That's family life. That's the South. That's how good food becomes itself hospitable. .

Here's the recipe:
Jefferson Davis Chess Pie (aka as Granny Ward's Chess Pie)
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs
1 cup cream or Pet milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Mix sugar and flour. Add beaten eggs. Add cream and vanilla and mix well. Pour into uncooked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Eat it while humming "Dixie." Serve with black coffee and a splash of Kentucky bourbon.

I am going to try it for the next occasion, as soon as I am rid of all these Christmas "goodies". Aren't you? Thanks, Daphne and Guin for sharing.

CSA Days of Commemoration

With the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War at hand I thought you might like a list of the birth dates of famous CSA figures (actually it was on the back of the JD punch recipe).

Sept 7 - John Pelham (called The Gallant Pelham)
Sept 10 - (Fighting) Joe Wheeler
Sept 17 - Franklin Buchanan
Sept 27 - Raphael Semmes
Jan 14 - Mathew Fontaine Maury
Jan 19 - Robert E. Lee
Jan 21 - Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson - my personal favorite
Feb 3 - Sidney Lanier (my collateral ancestor by marriage)
March 16 - Nocola Marschall  March 31 - John Herbert Kelly
April 26 - Confederate Memorial Day
June 3 - Jefferson Davis

Now I am sure there are many others that are omitted, but these are who were on "this list". If you have your own personal favorites, please make a comment.

Jefferson Davis and Bonnie Prince Charlie

The following is from my childhood friend Richard. I am reprinting it as he wrote it for your information:
Richard says "The NY TIMES of the period reported that Davis was captured in women ‘clothes but I would give that report no more merit than the report that the Housatonic was sunk by small David boats of the CSA Navy instead of a submarine. There is a fog in war, and of course, both these reports were incorrect. And I still think the NY TIMES does not report correctly on all the facts.
Bonnie Prince Charlie led the clans on their fight against the Brits, the last real scoots rebellion, they got as far down into England as Darby, but then were chased back to Scotland and at Culloden in the north of Scotland were defeated by a bigger and heavy armed force of Brits and Mercenaries.

The rebel yell is a direct descendant of the battle cry of the Celts, even the Romans, as well as Yankees, reported on how scary it was.

But Charlie escaped, was rowed to Skye by Flora McDonald, she then immigrated to the US and became a heroine of our revolution. Charlie was the last of the Stewarts to challenge the throne. They called him Bonnie Prince Charlie. His pictures show kind of an effeminate looking person but the clans loved him. In truth, he did escape in women’s clothes.

Of course, when the Brits won, they cleared the Highlands of the clans “clan removal” and that’s why so many of our ancestors landed in NC which I think reminded them of their highlands, though in fact they look totally different. But my great great grandfather Joshua Ramsay ended up there because of the clan clearance, became a great moonshine maker and his great grandchild fought in the 11th NC for the south."

Thank you Richard for this excellent article. My ancestors on my father's side came from Scotland as well. I have gone with the Henry family (the name then was Hendry) to the Isle of Aaran off the coast of Scotland to see "from whence the rock was hewn". My great grandfather Robert F. Henry left the University of Alabama to fight for the Confederacy. He is the one, I have mentioned before, that received his diploma nunc pro tunc, Latin meaning "now for then". I actually have a copy of it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Civil War Secret Missions Game

 Civil war buffs and historians who prefer to call that time in American history as the Northern Aggression may be familiar with the Civil War Secret Missions game for Xbox that is growing in popularity.

A friend viewed it today on YouTube and was fascinated by the game that lets the player be virtually THERE! She shared it with me.

It seems that people are always interested in what life was like during a time when family members in our sprawling country fought in ways that were primitive and passionate and now seem oddly disjunctive when viewed in a sophisticated virtual world like an Xbox game.

While reenacting aspects of the War Between the States continues to flourish in a variety of venues, there is still at time for reflection on what that division in our country felt like and the imprint it made on history. At The First White House of the Confederacy, we believe in contemplating the influence of history in a city that is also famous for music, government and civil rights, literature and, of course, the War.

The next time you are in Montgomery, AL come to The First White House of the Confederacy, where the artifacts of history are physical, not virtual. Our house is your house, too, and we welcome you to come and touch artifacts that will enhance your understanding of this pivotal time in American history

Check Out The Comment -- Did Davis or Didn't He Wear A Dress?

On December 16,  I wrote about an age old controversy, as to whether Jefferson Davis was wearing Varina's dress when he was captured or not, quoting an article by James Swanson in the American Heritage Magazine.

A most interesting comment came from a reader which I hope you will go back (to Dec 16 blog) and read. Reader says: Davis's wife admitted that he was wearing her dress, his assistant said he was, and the soldiers who actually caught Davis said that he not only was wearing a dress when he was captured but that he went into a nearby tent and took it off and (amazingly) his wife put it on!

Way to go, reader, and thank you for your comments! Reader goes on to say that Variana tried to pass the President off as her Mother; that she wrote in a letter to the Blairs that she called out to the solders to leave Davis alone by saying "Its my mother". Fascinating stuff.

Anyone else have comments about this or any of our blogs? We love to read them. If you don't want to comment you can rate the articles if you care to.

Jefferson Davis on YouTube

Have you ever thought about how it would have been if Jefferson Davis had appared on YouTube? The other day on YouTube they videoed a choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus in a mall food court somewhere. That was amazing.

How much more amazing if they had had the internet in 1861-1865. Think how different everything would have been. The politicos would have probably been able to work out their differences over a beer or something in the President's rose garden at the White House, so there might not have been a war at all. And in the mall (caught on YouTube of course) a rowdy group of Southerners might have been photographed as they sang Dixie and maybe The Bonnie Blue Flag.

Jefferson Davis might even have sold some memoribilia for "The Cause" on ebay. Ah well, unfortunately they did not have these methods of communication that we have today, not even the telephone, just the telegram and the "tell-a-woman". That method never has failed us yet!!!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year. Be sure and tell others to read our blog so we can keep you informed about the work at the First White House of the Confederacy here in Montgomery, Alabama! Ah, maybe the First White House will appear on YouTube some time. We can always hope that the singers may want to come here instead of the food court!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Death of Abraham Lincoln

Five days after the surrender, the rejoicing in the north turned to grief. On April 14, as the President and Mrs. Lincoln were viewing a play at Ford's theater in Washington, John Wilkes Booth, a 26 year old actor slipped into their box and shot the President in the head.

Lincoln died the next morning, and with him, some think, his plans for conciliation "to bind the nations wounds" died with him. We will never know for sure, but what we do know is that reconstruction came at a very costly price for the South.

Booth, who escaped, was trapped near Port Royal, Virginia, on April 26th. It is not clear whether he killed himself or was shot by a Union soldier.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of "The War"

This information is taken from a talk by our Regent for Life, Mrs. John Napier. I found it very interesting and I hope you do too. And when I say "The War" I trust everyone knows which war I mean!!!

In the first years of the War the Union fared badly but its advantages in manpower and industry gradually prevailed. Robert E. Lee, a Virginian, was the outstanding Confederate general. The North had a series of commanding generals until Ulysses S. Grant was appointed. Following his appointment Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July 1863 gradually turned the tide in favor of the North.

The climax came with Grant's campaign, begun in May 1864 aimed at Richmond. Several fierce battles and a long stalemate left the Confederate Army starving and hopelessly cornered. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865. The appalling four-year struggle was finally over.

Next time I will write about Lincoln's death.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Birth of the Confederacy and the Emancipation Proclamatioin

The election of a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 dismayed the South. South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860 (150 years ago today).

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana all seceded in January, 1861; Texas on February 1, Virginia in April; and Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee in May and June. Kentucky and Missouri, sharply divided, were claimed by both sides. Maryland and Delaware remained in the union.

The convention in Montgomery adopted a provisional Constitution on Feb 8, and chose Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as President and Alexander Stephens as Vice President. The Confederate States of America was thus born before Lincoln took office as President of the United States in March. 

The Confederacy moved its capital to Richmond in June. I read in our files the following: Lincoln resisted pressure by abolitionists; national union was his chief objective and the freeing of slaves was secondary. Moreover, emancipation awaited a Union military success, so as not to seem an act of desperation. Following a Union victory at Antietam, Maryland, Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862, and the final proclamation was made official on January 1, 1863. Although it applied only to the 4 million slaves of areas "in rebellion" the act widened the war into a crusade against slavery.

Tomorrow - The end of the Civil War and the Assassination of President Lincoln.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hey Yall, "This Ain't Fittin' "

I don't know how to spell ain't (my husband told me) because it is not a word I use, but I wanted to get your attention for this important information. It came on the Internet from The South's Defender, a blog site. Now this is not on "Truth or Fiction" so you can draw your own conclusions, but I am betting it is true.

The article is titled: "History Channel Caves to Political Correctness in Georgia". It says that the History Channel has made the controversial decision to force cable television companies to pull ads paid for by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Georgia commemorating the Sesquicentennial (25th anniversary) of the War Between the States.

Do read this article. Find it at  Is the History Chanel guilty of "political correctness"? If so, it "ain't fittin'"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mack Walker, dead at age 24

Mack Walker was born in 1840, and grew up in Marengo County, at Cedar Grove, near Uniontown. Like so many families of the South, when the War came he enlisted as a 1st Lt. with the 36th Infantry Regiment Company D which organized in 1862 near Mobile.

Mack Walker's regiment fought first in Tennessee and then was ordered to the defense of Atlanta. The Battle of Resaca was fought in northeast Georgia against troops under the command of Sherman between May 13 and 15, 1864 and there Walker suffered an injury that required amputation of his leg.

By May 24th he had died and his brother David traveled to Georgia to bring his body home to Alabama. Like many others, the Walker family had lost a very young son, only 24, who was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery at Uniontown.

What is his connection with the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama? Two words, Nicola Marschall, artist and friend of the Confederacy. Marschall came to the West Alabama area and became friends with the Walker family. He spent time at their home in Cedar Grove and painted a life size portrait of the young Lt. Mac Walker. It was probably done posthumously from a photographic carte de viste.

We have two of Nicola Marschall's paintings at the First White House in our Second Parlor. One is a self-portrait and the other is of his wife, Mary Eliza "Mattie" Marschall of Marion, Alabama who had been one of his students at the Marion Female Seminary.

And the painting of  Lt. Mack Walker? It is at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. An exhibit titled Nicola Marschall and the Walker Family at Cedar Grove Plantation was on display at the Montgomery Museum April-June of 2010. We were so happy to have our self-portrait in the exhibit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Factoids" about Jefferson Davis

I ran across an interesting paragraph about Jefferson Davis in our files this week that I want to share with you. Davis was born in Fairview Ky in 1808, interestingly not far from where Abraham Lincoln was born (Hardin County, Ky in 1809). Jefferson's parents were Jane Cook Davis and Samuel Davis.

He graduated from West Point in 1828 (23rd in the class). He was a 1st Lieut. at Fort Crawford Wisconsin, where he fell in love with Sara Knox Taylor. Sara Knox died in 1835, 3 months after they were married. She is buried at St. Francisville, La where Davis' sister Ann lived.

In 1845 Davis married Varina Banks Howell at The Briars in Natchez, Ms. They had a home, Briarfield, between Natchez and Vicksburg. This home burned in 1931. The Davis' had six children. Samuel, born 1852 - died 1854; Margaret born 1855; Jefferson, died from yellow fever; Billy, died from diphtheria; Joe, from a fall off the balcony at 2nd White House in Richmond; Winnie, died in 1899 in New York City from pneumonia.

Winnie wrote 2 novels "Romance of Summer Seas" and "The Veiled Doctor". Varina was an author as well but I will have to find out the name of her books. I know we have one or two at the First Whites House in our library.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why is the First White House Important to Visit?

The First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery is important for visitors and students to visit because it is a visual reminder and teaching tool of the American Civil War which split our country into two nations for four bloody years and cost 620,000 lives.

The crisis was long in the making. The slave-holding South saw political and economic power increasingly slipping away to the ever-growing industrial North and "free-soil" farmers of the West. The immediate cause was whether slavery could expand westward, although disputes about unfair tariffs and trade practices played a role.

The election in November 1860 of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States sparked the quick secession of seven Deep South States, where he was viewed as a threat to what they called "the peculiar institution". (Later four Upper South States would leave the Union).

Their representatives met in Montgomery Alabama to form the Confederate States of America and on February 4, 1861 elected Mississippi's distinguished U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as Provisional President.

On February 18 he was inaugurated on The Alabama State Capitol portico. An inset brass star marks the event as does a nearby stature of Davis. He had a long distinguished career as a Soldier, Planter, Congressman, Senator and Secretary of War under Franklin Pearce.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If Those Walls Could Talk

I am speaking of the Old Exchange Hotel at the corner of Commerce and Montgomery streets in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Built in approximately 1847 it was the scene of many famous events, but the most famous one was when Jefferson Davis arrived on the evening of February 16, 1861.

From the Commerce Street balcony of the hotel, President Davis was introduced to the people of Montgomery and welcomed by William Yancey, who had been appointed by the mayor and council to deliver the address of formal welcome. This was when Yancey delivered these famous words,  "the man and the hour have met"!

On Feb 18 Mr. Davis was inaugurated as President before a gathering of more than ten thousand people. The procession to the capitol formed at the Exchange Hotel.

The members of the Confederate cabinet were quartered temporarily in the Exchange where they held informal conferences. It was from the President's office  in the hotel on April 11 that the telegraphic orders were given to fire on Fort Sumter. This message was carried to the telegraph office in the Winter building across the street from the hotel.

In 1904 the old hotel building was removed to make room for a new building. In 1906 the New Exchange Hotel was completed but regrettably this hotel was replaced in 1974 by an office building. Don't you wish the original building was still standing and that we could "hear those walls talk"?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Guess What is in our "Relic Room"?

Guess what is in case # 3 in our Relic Room at the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama? For one thing: an historic grey uniform made for and presented to President Jefferson Davis by General Jubal Early. It is composed of a coat, vest and trousers and is in very fine condition.

Recently a sale of a Confederate Colonel's frock coat was sold for a record price of $ 101,000. Can you imagine how much more valuable the uniform of the President of the Confederate States is.

We also have a Broad-brimmed grey sun hat known to have been worn by the President during his retirement days at Beauvoir and one of the last pair of shoes worn by the President. In the case with these is a very fine sword which is believed to have been his.

Also in this case is one of President Davis's Smoking Jackets of grey tween, lined in tartan fabric with frog enclosures. This is a handsome and unusual garment and is in excellent condition, along with a paisley dressing gown that was his.

The piece De resistance is an historic United States Army muzzle-loading Mississippi Rifle, Model # 1841, made at the Harper's Ferry Arsenal and carried by Col. Jefferson Davis in the Mexican War.

These are just several of hundreds of items we have in our wonderful House Museum. Please come to visit us. We will not disappoint you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Confederate Symbols

 Among our earliest American symbols were the liberty cap, the maypole, the cockade and George Washington on horseback. These same symbols were used by the Confederates. Strange as it may seem, the liberty cap which was imprinted on our first American coin is between the brackets under the eaves of the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery as air vents. (You can see the liberty cap symbol on our website at ) Confederate gentlemen wore cockades on their hats and ladies wore them on their shoulders.

And who is on the Great Confederate Seal? George Washington on horseback! Why horseback? Because it symbolized our Cavalier heritage. Now and then we need to pause and remember that our Confederate ancestors sincerely believed that they were perpetuating the beliefs of their founding fathers and that according to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they had the right to secede. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Did he or didn't he wear a dress?

The story of Jefferson Davis's capture in a dress took on a life of its own as one Northern cartoonist after another used his imagination to depict the event. James Swanson, who has written a new book "Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse", has thoroughly researched the matter. He  has also written an article in the Fall American Heritage Magazine on the subject. Here are his conclusions.

 First the background: Eight days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Confederate President Davis fled Richmond with his entourage, meeting up six weeks later in Georgia with his wife, Varina. They made camp on May 9 near Irwinville.

Davis told his aides he would leave camp during the night. He was dressed for the road: a dark, wide-brimmed felt hat; a signature wool frock coat of Confederate gray; gray trousers, high black leather riding boots. His horse was saddled and ready to ride.

The Yankees were closing in. Seconds, not minutes counted. Before he left, Varina asked him to wear an unadorned raglan overcoat, also known as a "waterproof" to provide some sort of disguise. As he strode off she threw over his head a little black shawl which had been around her own shoulders, because he could not find his hat.

After a brief skirmish the Yankees realized they had captured the President. The news of his capture spread quickly, along with the story of his apprehension in women's clothes. The image of him masquerading as a woman titillated northerners but outraged Southerners.

Of course we know the "rest of the story". He served two years before his release on bail and would never be prosecuted. He survived Lincoln by 24 years, wrote his memoirs, and became the South's most beloved living symbol of the War. However, the myth of his capture dressed as a Southern belle continues to this day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

General Lee and Santa Claus

I read a delightful little children's book: General Lee and Santa Claus about 3 little Southern girls after the War who were upset with Santa Claus because he had not brought them any presents for 4 years. Their mother was bedridden and their father, who had bravely marched off to war had not been seen since. He was a spotter for the Confederate army and his balloon had been shot down. No one could find him and he had been missing for two years.

Since the girls were angry with Santa Claus they decided to write General Lee to see if he could help them. Of course he wrote back immediately and told them that Santa Claus was one of the best friends that little Southern children have. The reason he had not brought toys for four years was because General Lee had asked him to sell the toys and use the money for things the soldiers needed and that is what Santa did.

Suffice it to say, the 3 little girls did receive a wonderful Christmas present that year, but I hope you will want to read the story for yourself, so I can't tell you what it was.

The original version was printed in 1867 because the author Louise Clark wanted to create a story that would attest to the admiration and affection Southerners felt for General Lee, as well as project his new role as the mitigator of Southern defeat. By pairing Lee with Santa Claus, the most unlikely of partners, Mrs. Clark created a delightful holiday story for children.

It will make a lovely Christmas story for your children or grandchildren, as well as for you. I love children's books, don't you?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

U.S.News and World Reports Magazine Suggests....

In the U.S. News and World Report December issue there is an article about the 50 top things to do before you die (or something). Number 33 on their list was "Visit a Civil War Battlefield"!

This goes right along with my last blog about the new Alabama Civil War Trail brochure published by the Ala Dept of Tourism and Travel. The U.S. News article goes on to say "Mark the Sesquicentennial with a walk into the past". It mentions that many events marking the anniversary will take place at the battlefields and that the Civil War Preservation Trust can map out an itinerary across some 600 battlefield sites.

Speaking of battlefield sites, check out the prints by Don Troiani  on the Internet or buy the book Don Troiani's Civil War. He has painted some wonderful battle scenes. There is a second book as well: Don Troiani's American Battles: The Art of the Nation at War, 1754-1865 . I really like his work and I am sure the books are fascinating.

As you know, The War Between the States was the first in history to be photographed on a large scale. Matthew Brady and others followed the Union troops and took pictures of everything from generals to army mules. Thus we have a magnificent record of the war in photographs and in art. (If only it had ended differently!).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First White House on the Cover...

The Alabama Department of Tourism and Travel has just published a beautiful new brochure just in time for the 150th Anniversary Celebration entitled "Alabama Civil War Trail." On October 11 the blog was about the Alabama Civil War Trail using the "old brochure."

This new brochure is beautifully laid out, in color with lots of intriguing pictures, and on one side it list 47 sites to visit. On the reverse side it has a map of the sites as well as information about Alabama battles, a piece on the historic flags of the Confederacy and a list of Alabama's Reenactment events. It is bound to make folks want to take a tour of these numerous sites. I know I want to visit them all!!!

It also gives the history of the formation of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama. Did you know that the telegram giving permission to fire on Fort Sumter was sent from the Winter Building on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery? This order was carried out early the next morning on April 12, 1861.

If you come by the First White House you can pick up one of these brochures, or if you are not going to be in Montgomery and want one, just call me at 334-315-7266 and I will mail one to you. You can also look at, go to "attractions" and see much of it there.

Oh, did I almost fail to mention that the First White House is on the front cover? (or the back cover depending on which way you hold the brochure)  And guess who is on the opposite side in full uniform, brandishing his sword on on his horse???? Commander Bill Rambo, Director of the Confederate Memorial Park and Museum in Marbury Alabama. he looks very "dashing" - almost like Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind (still my all time favorite movie)


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Upcoming Events to Celebrate 150 years

Here is an updated list of  some of the events planned in Montgomery to celebrate the beginning of the 150 year anniversary of the War Between the States if you want to mark your calendars!

January 19, 2011 - 11:00 am First White House of the Confederacy annual Robert E. Lee Birthday celebration (public invited) and FWH “kick-off” of The War Between the States Anniversary. Free.

January 20, 2011 - Noon (Architreats ) - “The Road to War” by Robert Bradley, at the Alabama Dept of Archives and History. Call 334- 242-4364 for more information. Free.

February 4 - March 19, 2011 - “The Flag Maker of Market Street,” one of two plays to celebrate The War at Alabama Shakespeare. Order tickets at 1-800-841-4273.

February 18 - March 20, 2011 - “Blood Divided” the second play to celebrate the War at Alabama Shakespeare Festival . Order tickets at 1-800-841-4273.

February 16, 2011, 5:30 p.m - “The Man and the Hour Have Met” William L. Yancey greets Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, by Dr. Ralph Draughon, Jr.  Lecture and reception co-sponsored by Alabama Department of Archives and the First White House of the Confederacy on the occasion of Yancey’s famous welcome to Jefferson Davis. Call 242-4364 for more Information. Free.

February 19, 2011 - the Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold a parade and re-enactment of the Inauguration of Jefferson Davis on the Capitol Steps. Contact Robert Reames at or Tom Strain at for more information.

March 17, Noon (Architreats) - “The Civil War Pharmacy” by Michael Flannery, at the Alabama Dept of Archives. Call 242-4364 for more information.

May 5, 2011 5:30 -7:30 at the Church of the Ascension, 315 Clanton Avenue, Sesquicentennial Gala Fundraiser, featuring special guest speaker, author & professor William C. Davis (public invited but asked to contribute toward upkeep of Relic Room at the First White House of the Confederacy), sponsored by the White House Association of Alabama. Call 334-315-7266 for more information.

It should be a really fun year. Plan to join us in Montgomery for many of these events!!!

December 15, 2011, Noon (Architreats) - “Southern Music of the Civil War Era” with a performance by the 33rd Alabama Campfire Players, at the Alabama Dept of Archives. Call 242-4364 for more information.