Thursday, January 31, 2013

Confedederate Heroes At Stone Mountain GA

The largest bas relief sculpture in the world is that of the three Confederate leaders, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at Stone Mountain, Georgia. The area is five acres (the size of 2 and 1/4 football fields for all you Southerners).
Each is on his favorite horse, Blackjack for Davis, Traveller for Lee and Little Sorrel for Jackson. The sculpture was the brain child of Mrs. Helen Plane, a charter member of the UDC. The Venable family owned the mountain, and the UDC was given 12 years to complete this mammoth undertaking.
 When I was in college at Emory in Atlanta, we climbed Stone Mountain several times and had picnics. Needless to say however, we did not climb the "face of the stature". That would have  been quite a feat.
I am glad that our Confederate heroes are honored in this way, aren't you? If you haven't been to Stone Mountain and seen this wonderful work of art, put it on your bucket list of things to do!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is There "A Presence" In The First White House?

We always appreciate the comments readers make. A few days ago a visitor to the First White House of the Confederacy wrote about sensing a "presence" in the House when they went upstairs.
We are asked about this  occasionally,  but  we say that we have angels in the House, not ghosts, and we really mean that! It is such a special place, and we feel blessed to have a small part in taking care of it. All the ladies of the White House Association feel that way too, as well as our Staff. We know the House is looked after by a guardian angel or two.
 As you may know, but just to quickly review, the  House was built by William Sayre, ancestor of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda Sayre, between 1832 and 1835. The successive owners were all prominent Montgomerians. 
It was Colonel Edmund S. Harrison of nearby Prattville who bought the House from Col. Joseph Winter, and rented it to the Confederate Government to be used as a "White House". 
The House survived the War. Ownership of  the "Jeff Davis House" as it was called, passed through two more hands to those of Archibald Tyson of Lowndesboro. At his death in 1873 his daughter, Sallie Tyson Render, of La Grange, Georgia, inherited it and rented it out.
It became a boarding house for trainmen and was in sad condition. It took twenty years for the White House Association, formed in 1900 to raise the money to save the House and have it moved to its present location.
And by the way, it is called the First White House, because when the Confederate Government moved to Richmond, the Davises left Montgomery and moved to Richmond to what we  refer to as the "Second White House".  The folks in Richmond simply call theirs "The White House", but we will always know we, here in Montgomery,  have the "First White House"!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Confederate Quores

Ran across these in our files, compiled by my predecessor, Mrs. Napier, and I thought you might enjoy them as I did:

" It is the highest of earthly honors to be descended from the great and good. They alone cry out against a noble ancestry who have none of their own." - by Ben Jonson

"The Civil War is for the American imagination, the greatest single event of our history. Without too much wrenching, it may, in fact, be said to be America's history". - Robert Penn Warren

"No nation can long survive without pride in its tradition" - Winston Churchill

"Do you duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less" - R. E. Lee

(Lee certainly lived by this credo. I believe he was the only cadet to ever graduate from West Point who never received a single demerit).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Robert E. Lee Was A Man Of Faith

A fine time was had at the First White House of the Confederacy on Monday, Jan 21 as we celebrated the 206th anniversary of the birth of Robert Edward Lee.

Rev. Michael Howell of Trinity Presbyterian church in Montgomery spoke about Robert E. Lee's faith in God and how it sustained him, not only during the War Between the States, but all his life.

Growing up his daily life included reading scripture and family prayers, and this did not wane in his adult life. Often, he would stop what he was doing and kneel to pray for his men in battle.
Howell spoke of the religious revival that swept through North and South during the period just before and during the War. These were not just battlefield conversions, but statistics showed that those who survived, went on to be devout church members, even to the end of their days.
For pictures click on this link. It should take you there:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Living Links to Civil War

How long ago was The War really? My father was born in 1904, only 39 years after 1865 and the end of the War. His grandfather fought.
 My husband's uncle was a "real son". His father actually  fought.
There are still a few "real sons and daughters" left. One was written up in the Kansas City Star recently, and someone sent me an article about her.
It was only a few short years ago that the "last Confederate widow" lay in repose in the First Parlor at the First White House of the Confederacy. 
How many children of Confederate soldiers are left? I wonder. The article said maybe 60. Wow!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebration Famous Confederates

Lots of happenings this weekend and Monday in Montgomery.Tonight, Jan 18, 2013, the annual Lee-Jackson banquet will take place at the Dalraida Methodist Church, sponsored by the SCV Camp 2002. Bob Bradley, Chief Curator at the Archives will be the speaker. It will be good to pay tribute to these two mighty men of valour.

Tomorrow, Jan 19, 10am The Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans will celebrate Robert E. Lee’s and Stonewall Jackson’s birthdays at the capitol building in downtown Montgomery. A program will be held at the Confederate Monument on the north side of the capitol building. Check website for further information and up to the minute news concerning this event. 

Monday will be the annual birthday celebration at the First White House of the Confederacy at 11:00 with speaker Michael Howell, and birthday cake and tours of the House afterwards, with White House ladies serving as tour guides!!! 

Hope lots of Alabamians and others who value their Confederate history and heritage will attend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Marse" Robert (E. Lee) Would Be 206 on Jan 19

Can you believe, one of the greatest military leaders in history, Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-70) was born 206 years ago on Jan 19th, 2013?

Lee opposed secession, granted freedom to slaves he inherited and, even after Virginia left the Union, was offered command of the entire Union Army by Lincoln. After agonizing, Lee declined the offer and resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, saying he could not take up arms against his state.

It took years after the War  before Lee begrudgingly earned respect from Northerners, but his ability to defeat much larger armies with fewer men and equipment endeared him to those in the South. Actually, he has always been more popular, in both North and South,  than Jefferson Davis! Isn't that amazing?

In the Great State of Alabama,  at least two high schools are named after him and his birthday is a State Holiday!!! Since his birthday falls on a Saturday this year, the First White House will officially celebrate on Monday, Jan 21, with a speech by Michael Howell, Minister of Pastoral Care at Trinity Presbyterian church in Montgomery, who will speak briefly about RE Lee.(We will of course be open on Saturday, the 19th, as well, as we are always open on Saturdays.)

As a special treat, Mary Ann Neely, Montgomery's best known historian, will be signing and selling copies of her latest book on Montgomery. Also, birthday cake will be served and there will be tours of the House. . Free of charge, and as always, the public is invited. I can hardly wait!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Secession Rejected Once Again By Washington!

Read today that if Texas is going to secede, it will be without the blessing of the Obama administration. Well duh, how big a surprise is that? News? Hardly. The article went on to say that secession requests had come from all 50 states.
Other petitions came from (gasp) Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, NC, SC, and Tenn - all former states of the Confederacy. Maybe the Government would actually like to get rid of some of us troublemakers! After all, most of us Southerners favor keeping our guns, don't we? After all, it is a Second Amendment Right, at least it was the last time I read the Constitution!
We also drive pick-up trucks with Confederate flags, at least some do. Are you old enough to remember the TV show, The Dukes of Hazard? I rest my case.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Foul Odor At The First White House of the Confederacy

Here is a funny story from our files, that happened somewhere in the last 50 years: A foul and persistent odor (not magnolias) forced the First White House to close for five days recently.
No it was not a "flag flap" about the Confederate Battle flag. Instead a large and exceedingly ripe possum had expired without being thoughtful or affluent enough to arrange a decent burial for himself, thus demonstrating the pitfalls of failing to make "pre-need" arrangements.
By then it was post need-time and his mortal needs were removed, unceremoniously, I presume...after a decent time of mourning the First White House is back in business!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Herein Lies A Tale of "Vengeance Is Mine"

A dear cousin shared a story using the Bible verse "Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord" from Romans 12:9. Why do I share this? Because it involves the vengeance of the North and the way  my cousin was able, inadvertently to "repay" on behalf of our beleaguered and beloved South land.
During reconstruction days, which we might call "deconstruction", the North laid a heavy penalty upon the South by huge railroad taxes. For 100+ years they kept us in poverty because of it. Then Eisenhower came into office, and having seen the autobahn highway system in Germany, he began the U.S. Interstate highway system. This in turn, brought in the era of delivering freight by trucks instead of rail.
The only thing left to ship by rail was pulp wood, but my cousin figured out that the mighty southern pine was just the right size to ship in a truck. Since "Buddy" was the publisher of "Pulp Wood magazine"  he put a picture on the cover  showing how neatly and economically, the section of pine fit  into the truck for shipping.
 Ultimately this meant the total collapse of the railroad freight business; thus his and my great-grandfather, Confederate veteran John Luther Branch, was vindicated after almost 150 years of unfair taxes. and regulations. And to think, the Lord used cousin Buddy to make it happen!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Random Thoughts On 150 Years Later

150 years later, what do we have? A centralized government that intrudes on almost every facet of American life. That is one thing our forefathers fought so hard against.

We are also a nation of lawlessness, proved by the fact that even little children can be gunned down at school. Who would ever have thought our nation could come to this?

 Gun control is not the answer. Only a change in the human heart can make this happen. That is why Jesus Christ came into this fallen world, to save sinners and to be our propitiation. There was no other way.

In the aftermath of all that has transpired the last few weeks, including the storms and destruction of property as well as devastation of human lives, let us remember the real reason for Christmas, the Prince of Peace came to give us peace.

Let us resolve in the New Year to make our lives count for Him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking Back, Don't We Do That in January?

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declairing all slaves in the "areas of rebellion" were, in the eyes of the federal government, free.

This followed an 1862 year of long and momentous struggle. I will highlight a few of them here:
March - Battle of Monitor and the Merrimac
April - Shiloh, fall of  New Orleans and beginning of the Peninsular Campaign
May - Stonewall Jackson defeats Union Forces in the Shenandoah Valley
June - Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks)
July - The Seven Days' Battless
August - Pope's CampaignSeptember - Haper's Ferry
September -  Antietam
December - Fredericksburg

I think we have blogged about most of these battles during the year. Tomorrow, lets look ahead at wht 1863 holds for our beloved Confederacy.