With our reading of Governor McDonnell’s Confederate History Month proclamation, I figured I would Google search “Confederate History Month” and see what I stumbled upon. Aside from posts on many blog sites about Confederate History month being “an asshole’s idea,” I did find a small report done by MSNBC on the commemoration. The report is pretty short, but the comments are crazy! Take a look.
One of the blogs I looked up, Cosmic America, is now inactive, but when reading it I discovered that it still has an active Facebook page. Keith Harris seems to update it pretty regularly and I found out from it that he is starting a new blog soon! I think it ties in to our discussion on how prominent Civil War history can be on the internet.
Cold Mountain follows the love story of Ada Monroe and Inman while providing a look as to how life was for two types of people typically left out of the general Civil War story: women on the home-front and Confederate deserters. Ada Monroe, an upper-class, daughter of a minister, moves from Charleston, South Carolina to Cold Mountain, North Carolina with her father because of his job and his decreasing health. (He father was told the higher elevations would be good for his illness). Ada meets a quiet, lower-class man, Inman, and chemistry is immediately seen between the two. Like a typical movie romance, the two fall in love right as the Civil War begins, and Inman and Ada spend the beginning of his enlistment separated and writing to one another. Because the two are separated, the movie switches back and forth between Ada’s life and Inman’s life. Right before the Battle of the Crater, Inman reads a letter from Ada that asks him to go back to her. Because of love, he deserts and begins his journey back to Cold Mountain. The movie shows a number of struggles that deserters had to go through, such as being captured and brought back to the army (although, miraculously, Inman escapes) and trekking through the snow and rain to get home. In the meantime Ada’s father dies, and through the help Ruby, a young girl on her own (and personally, my favorite character), Ada learns the ins and outs of running a farm alone (she let her slaves free shortly after her father died). It’s also important to note the “bad guys” of the movie were in a group known as the Home Guard. These men went around the area, searching for deserters, killing deserters, and torturing anyone who housed deserters. In the end of the film, Inman and Ada are reunited for one night, only Inman to be killed the next day after the group gets into a confrontation with the Home Guard. The movie ends with Ada coming to peace with her life in Cold Mountain and you see her daughter (Inman’s child) and her living happily ever after.
The movie fits in with our discussion of the Civil War because, basically, it caters to the modern audience. Although there are aspects of war in it, it focuses more on the women’s lives on the home front at the time and the lives of deserters. It’s a romance and it shapes its plot in a very predictable manner. Many aspects of the movie are inaccurate—to my knowledge there were no “Home Guards,” but I could be wrong—and as Gallagher pointed out in his article, slavery is rarely mentioned. From what I remember, it the only mention of slavery was when the escaped slaves were killed by the Home Guard shortly after Inman asked them “to spare an egg” and when Ada was bringing her own slaves root beer in the pouring rain. When slavery was mentioned, the owner was being nice to them or the “bad guys” (who happened to be Confederates) were chasing after them and killing them. For the most part, the film is an example of a modern day romance film fitting into the time period of the Civil War and, thus, taking on many of the modern perceptions of the war itself.
While conducting research on LMA’s, I discovered this blog post covering the 2012 Memorial Day celebration done by the LMA of Fredericksburg. Some parts of the country do have elaborate Memorial Day celebrations, but after seeing the pictures and reading the post, you can get a sense of how Memorial Day (or Decoration Day) was carried out by LMA’s in the post-war era. I guess I should add that Fredericksburg and Petersburg are the only active LMA’s remaining in Virginia.
On a side note, I recently discovered that on February 21, 2013, The Ladies Memorial Association of Fredericksburg joined Facebook! Unfortunately, they haven’t posted much of anything yet, but I look forward to seeing if they do.
Just a funny YouTube video I found while looking some things up today. Reminded me of our discussion about Confederate flag controversies on campus and such…enjoy!
p.s. I’m apologizing ahead of time for the corniness and extremely stereotyped roommates!
As we all know, Lincoln’s popularity in pop culture has skyrocketed over the years, especially with Steven Speilberg’s Lincoln. A lot of the movie was filmed in Richmond and my hometown area, Petersburg. One of the ways my area has capitalized on Lincoln’s popularity as a president and a “hot-topic” in pop culture is by creating the “Walk in Lincoln’s Final Footsteps” tour. I encourage you to take a look at the website, the videos, and even take the actual self-guided tour if you get bored in Fredericksburg on a pretty weekend!
I follow “Civil War Kids” on Facebook because I met the boy behind the Facebook page last summer while working at Petersburg Battlefield, so when he posted this video link on his page this week, I felt like I had to share. It’s a CBS Sunday morning news story on the Grant’s Cottage Historic Site–where Grant spent his last days. Because we’ve read so much about Grant’s memoir and his motives behind it, I thought it’d be interesting for us to see the way Grant and his last days are viewed today, especially through the news. Enjoy!
Ladies Memorial Associations of Virginia
Although their roles in commemorating and preserving the Confederacy and the Lost Cause were some of the most prominent contributions to Confederate cemeteries and memorials, the legacy of Ladies Memorial Associations (LMA) is rarely recognized today. As Caroline E. Janney discusses in her book, Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, national organizations such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) phased out and took over the duties of the locally based LMA’s. Over time, the memory of LMA’s, on the grand-scale of Civil War memory, has minimized and, unfortunately in some cases, forgotten. This project will focus on Virginia LMA’s and how their legacies have been preserved or dissolved over time. It will specifically focus on the Confederate cemeteries, monuments, and memorial days established by Virginia LMA’s and the credit to which they are provided for them today.
Based on a combination of the sources researched thus far, nine Virginia LMA localities have been selected to be assessed: Danville, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas, Petersburg, Richmond, and Winchester. Scholarly sources, such as writings by Janney, John R. Neff, and William A. Blair, provide the most information in regards to what Virginia LMA’s contributed and how the creation of the UDC altered the legacies of LMA’s in various manners. This is because if there is not a firm understanding of what specific LMA’s executed, there will be nothing to compare modern views to. More recent media, such as the Hebron Cemetery and Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Confederate Cemeteries webpages, will provide the modern perception of Virginia’s LMA’s. There is also a potential for interviews with current members of the Petersburg and Fredericksburg LMA’s, which are the only two active organizations remaining out of the nine listed above.
The ideal outcome of the project is to recognize exactly what Virginia LMA’s contributed to the memory of the Civil War on a broad-scale and how their role within this memory is interpreted today.
Blair, William A. Cities of the Dead. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Blair’s book incorporates memorial efforts from all over the South; however, what is most sufficient to this project is his argument for the importance of women’s efforts after the war. His argument that women played a prominent role in the memorial efforts of Confederate soldiers supports the overall thought that LMA’s did establish a legacy for themselves and he provides a basis on which to compare those early efforts to the memory of them today.
Confederated Southern Memorial Association. History of the Confederated Memorial Associations of the South. New Orleans: The Graham Press, 1904.
The Confederated Memorial Association was one of the national organizations that eventually phased out the smaller organizations, such as Virginia LMA’s. Because its membership base comprised mostly of former LMA members, this source provides background information on specific Virginia LMA organizations, such as Winchester. It enables one to understand how the newer organizations portrayed their predecessors.
“Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Confederate Cemeteries.” Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania, National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/frsp/rebcem.htm (accessed February 16, 2013).
A site maintained by the National Park Service, the “Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Confederate Cemeteries” page provides a professional, and governmental, perception on the history of the cemeteries. The site does, in fact, cite the local LMA as a major contributor in the establishment and preservation of this site, thus bringing the LMA into the modern memory of the Civil War.
“Green Hill Cemetery.” Youtube video, 4:22. Posted by “visitdanvilleva,” January 7, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYKiREgcKwY
This You Tube video was created by the woman who made the walking tour for the Green Hill Cemetery in Danville, Virginia. Her commentary on the video briefly mentions the Danville LMA’s contribution to the cemetery and then goes on to discuss people, monuments, and folklore about the property. The video contributes to what the modern memory the LMA is today.
Gross, Edie. “How it Must’ve Been to Take that Job: Fredericksburg’s Ladies Memorial Association is One of Only a Few Left.” The Free Lance-Star, May 25, 2012, 3.
Gross’s article provides a brief summary of the Fredericksburg LMA and interviews several members. It provides factual evidence that there is some interest still in LMA’s (the fact that time was taken to write an article about these women) and it also shows that the decline in the LMA over time.
Janney, Caroline E. Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
Janney’s book is one of the most significant sources to the overall project because it provides a full history on Virginia LMA’s and how they evolved over time. This work will be crucial to the process of defining the progression of the overall legacy of Virginia LMA’s.
_____. “Mothers of the Lost Cause. (Cover story).” America’s Civil War 21, no. 5 (November 2008): 56-61. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed January 29, 2013).
Similar to her book, this article further supports the idea that LMA’s played a vital role in the creation of a Lost Cause legacy.
_____.“The Right to Love and to Mourn: The Origins of Virginia’s Ladies’ Memorial Associations, 1865-1867.” In Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration, edited by Edward L. Ayers, Gary W. Gallagher, and Andrew J. Target, 165-177. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
Janney’s main focus is the origins of Virginia LMA’s in this work, which provides a better understanding as to exactly who these women were and what exactly they aimed to do. By understanding this
Kinney, Martha E.. “‘If Vanquished I Am Still Victorious’: Religious and Cultural Symbolism in Virginia’s Confederate Memorial Day Celebrations, 1866-1930.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 106, no. 3 (Summer 1998): 237-266. http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.umw.edu/stable/pdfplus/4249719.pdf (accessed January 27, 2013).
Memorial days were one of the most public and early displays of Confederate nationalism still left in the post-war period. Though Kinney’s article, an understanding of how prominent women truly were in these celebrations is provided.
Kurant, Wendy. “The Making of Buck Preston: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Women, and the Confederate Memorial Movement.” Southern Quarterly 46, no. 4 (Summer 2009): 35-56. America: History & Life, EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2012).
Although it focuses on women’s roles in the Lost Cause movement on a broad scale, the article itself supports the argument that women did, in fact, play a prominent role.
“Ladies’ Memorial Association of Fredericksburg’s 143rd Observance of Memorial Day.” Fredericksburg.com. http://fredericksburg.com/News/Web/2009/052009/052509_Memorial_Day (accessed February 16, 2013).
Commemorating the 143rd observance of memorial day in Fredericksburg, Virginia, this video from May 25, 2009 show how LMA memorial days are still carried out in modern times. Through events such as this, the modern views and legacy on the Fredericksburg LMA can be seen.
Mills, Cynthia and Pamela H. Simpson, eds., Monuments to the Lost Cause: Women, Art, and the Landscapes of Southern Memory. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003.
A collection of women’s efforts in the Lost Cause movement, this book provides a scholarly approach to the legacy that Southern women left behind. Through articles by a number of historians, one can see the range of efforts completed by LMA’s and how they varied based on locality.
Mount Hebron Cemetery. http://www.mthebroncemetery.org/index.html (accessed February 16, 2013).
The Mount Hebron Cemetery page supports the argument that the legacy of LMA’s have been left out over time. The Winchester LMA was the first LMA to be established in Virginia and it played a vital role in interring soldiers in the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (now part of the Mount Hebron Cemetery). However, when looking up the history of the site via this page, it provides no information about the LMA’s contributions.
Neff, John R. Honoring the Civil War Dead. Lawrence, Kansas:University Press of Kansas, 2005.
Neff’s work should provide adequate information supporting the contributions that Virginia LMA’s made to the Confederate cause. Because I am still waiting for the book to arrive via Interlibrary Loan, I am unable to make a more accurate analysis on it at this time.
Peters, John O. Blandford Cemetery: Death and Life at Petersburg, Virginia. Petersburg, Virginia: Dietz Press, 2005.
Peters traces the origins of Blandford Cemetery from its establishment up to the early 2000’s. By doing this, Peters provides a historical context on the property that proves and credits the LMA of Petersburg’s active involvement with this project. This provides a modern source that does give full credit to the LMA.
The past few weeks have focused a lot on the monuments constructed after the war. After reading about the Heyward Shepherd monument, I did a Google search on other slave monuments. Something that struck me was this article in The New York Times from July 21, 1895. It talks about the creation of the Samuel E. White monument at Fort Mill. White “should be an inspiration to the people of the South, who should esteem it a sacred duty to build at the old Confederate capital a memorial column to the Southern negro in the war.” I think it’s also important to note that the article came from the Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier. Take a look!
I actually did my HIST 299 project on Blandford Church. When doing my research, I found out that, to Blandford’s staff’s knowledge, there were not many, if any, digital photos of the Tiffany stained glass windows inside of the church (photography is not allowed). What they did have were projector slides, so, with the help of Professor Blakemore, I got the slides and scanned them with a slide scanner so all of the digital world could see the beauty of Blandford’s windows! I have a copy of all of them, but I’m attaching the window for Virginia to this post because this week’s discussion was one Virginia’s LMA’s.