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Letter to the Editor
Writer gives history of Confederate Battle Flag
web posted January 24, 2007
I read with horror the way people chose to defend the Confederate Battle Flag.
It is not a time for name calling or profane words, that accomplishes nothing more than to promote the Hollywood stereotypes of the 'dumb southerner." It is an insult to the persons that fought in The War of Northern Aggression. I will try to present the facts concerning the Battle flag and why I don't see it as a racist symbol but one of heritage not hate.
The Battle Flag was used on the field of honor to aid with the communication of the troops. Their movement during battle was often directed by where the flag bearer carried the flag. Communication during battle is key. So its a soldier's flag but where did it come from, what does the design represent? During the battle of First Manassas (Bulls Run) Gen Beauregard had trouble distinguishing the US flag from the First National or the Stars and Bars. Later Beauregard wrote "At the Battle of Manassas I found it difficult to distinguish our then Confederate flag from the United States flag, the two being so much alike especially when General Jewel A. Early made the flight movement that decided the fate of the day. So Beauregard said, "I couldn't tell if it was ours or theirs." Then he wrote "I resolve to have our flag changed or to adopt for command a battle flag, which would be entirely different from any state or federal flag. There were two designs, one by Colonel Walton and one by Colonel Miles. Colonel Walton's flag had a Latin cross on it and Colonel Miles' flag had the "X" or the St. Andrews cross on it. General Beauregard chose the one with the Saint Andrews cross.
The X represents the St. Andrews Cross. Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus Christ. He preached the Gospel in many of the Asiatic nations as well as in
Russia. Andrew was crucified around 69 AD in Patria, Greece. He did not
deem himself worthy to be crucified like Christ and requested the cross to be a x shaped cross (Andrew's Cross) So he talked his prosecutor and persecutor into crucifying him on the X shaped cross. His hands were tied to the cross instead of nailed, even though it meant more pain and agony. For three days he hung on that cross, preaching to everyone who came by while he had breath. Finally, so many of the people were impressed by his preaching they went and asked that Andrew be cut down from the cross and allowed to live. The powers at be consented and they went and cut Andrew down he was dead when he hit the ground. He died as a martyr for Jesus Christ. Andrew became the patron Saint not only of Russia, but also of Scotland.
Many Southerners can trace their roots to the Scot or Scot-Irish. In the 1800's about 75% of the South were either Scot or Scot-Irish. The Confederate Battle Flag is based upon the national flag of Scotland. The national flag of Scotland is the cross of Saint Andrew and the cross of Saint Andrew is a symbol of the Christian faith and the heritage of the Celtic race.
The flag at the soldier's monument at the State House flies in honor of the men of the Confederacy who fought so gallantly against an army much stronger in numbers and equipment. They were fighting to preserve their homeland against a tyrannical government. The battle flag does not represent slavery, as some groups believe. The war was not fought over slavery; it was fought to force the seceding states back into the Union.
Only blacks have been slaves and white people couldn't possibly understand. Right? Wrong! "The word "slave" is a transliteration of the Greek word slavos, which rightly applies only to White European Slavs from the countries of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Slavonia, Russia, Poland, Hungary, and others. The Slavonic tribes are the root of all European White people. For a thousand years, so many millions of these White European Slavs were captured and sold as servants, that the word "slaves" became universally used for the word "servant" and was only later applied to Black servants. Every White person in America has ancestors who were slaves, including the Scots, British, French, and Germans." Almost all Blacks in the United States were under slavery for less than 100 years. Furthermore, only 5% of all Black slaves shipped by Black masters out of Africa ever came to the United States because most Black slaves were shipped to South America or the West Indies.
Nearly every nation in the world owned slaves, especially the Black masters in Nigeria, where most American Blacks have their roots. Accordingly, if flags of nations that owned slaves are to be labeled as "racist," then nearly all the flags in the world are "racist," especially the African flag of Nigeria which dealt so overwhelmingly in the slave trade. But the South was the worst because they did nothing but mistreat, beat, abuse their slaves. The overseer whipped them daily. Right? Wrong again. The CSA was a Christian nation, based on a belief in God. The preamble to the Confederate Constitution said: "When the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God do ordain and establish this constitution for the Confederate States of America." The Confederate States Motto was, "Deovendickia," (The Lord is our Vindicator)
In Colossians 4:1, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." That means that a Christian, God fearing, group of people, mistreated their servants and violated the commandments of Jesus Christ. Actually, the opposite is true. There were numerous laws that protected servants from abuse, much like the child and spousal abuse laws of today. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Read the news, watch TV, it occurs but how much, how often and how many people? Just because a few men abuse their wives and children does not make everyone with a spouse or children an abuser. The same can be said about slavery. Of course, there are always exceptions that violated the law and mistreated their servants. Namely, Union General William T. Sherman, who owned a number of slaves before the War and who, was constantly in court facing charges for abusing them. The laws were meant to stop Yankees like Sherman from mistreating their slaves. The incidence of abuse, rape, broken homes, and murder are one hundred times greater today in the housing projects than they every were on the slave plantations in the South.
Everyone owned slaves that lived in the South that's why we fought, right? Wrong again! Those darn Northern History books, actually, while 7% of Southern Whites owned slaves, 2% of free Blacks in the South also owned slaves. For example, in 1860, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that around 10,000 free Blacks owned some 60,000 Black slaves. But the white southerner made it; it was a lifetime of servitude. Once more, Wrong, It was a Black slave master, named Anthony Johnson, who sued and won his case in a Virginia court in 1653 that changed temporary servitude into lifetime servitude. Thus, this Black slave owner established permanent slavery in Virginia. I guess he was left out during Black history month. The blacks became Christians from the teachings of the white family; it was the Southern family that brought the black to Christianity not the Yankee. Well, if the slaves came from Africa, and the South wanted them to do their work then the ships must have been owned by wealthy southern plantation owners and white people did all the kidnapping. Right? Well, not quite. White people did not run through the jungles of Africa kidnapping Blacks and making them slaves. Black Africans captured and sold other Blacks as slaves; they were already slaves before they ever set foot on a slave ship. All the slave ships from the United States sailed from the Northern states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware under the United States flag. Not one Southern ship sailed to Africa to bring back slaves. This slave trading was the big business of the rich New England Yankees. They traded rum made in Northern factories to Black African slave owners for their slaves and then traded most of the slaves to South America or the West Indies for molasses, and then manufactured the molasses into rum and made another trip. That's correct, not ONE ship was owned, operated by the South. Blacks sold blacks into slavery paid for by wealthy NORTHERNERS under the US flag. No slave ship ever sailed under ANY flag of the CSA. Same can't be said for the US flag.
Slavery was permitted by the US Constitution, so there is no reason to believe that slavery would cause a war. The only way to abolish slavery was by a Constitutional amendment. There were thirty-three states in the Union in 1860 when South Carolina seceded. Sixteen of these states were slave states. Since it takes three-fourths majority of states to ratify a Constitutional amendment, slavery could have been kept if desired. It would have taken twenty-four states to ratify the amendment, leaving it nine votes short of passing if the slave states voted as a block. Actually, President Lincoln the "great emancipator"" offered permanent slavery in the form of a constitutional amendment if the South would come back into the union. Gen. Grant and Abraham Lincoln did not even free their own slaves. Union forces that captured Southern slaves on the Mississippi River forced them to work on the plantations as slaves for the United States Army, growing cotton for Northern factories, rather than being set free.
So you say that there weren't any slaves in the North, only Southern families owned slaves. Right? except that during the War, just as many Union soldiers owned slaves as did Confederate soldiers. Does that mean that the U.S. flag is a symbol of slavery because the North owned slaves during the War?
The Confederate battle flag is the symbol of the right of the people and the states to govern themselves and is flown in memory and honor of our Confederate ancestors and veterans who gave their lives for less government, less taxes, and Southern independence. In his inaugural address of March 4, 1861, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Furthermore, Union General U.S. Grant said, "If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission, and offer my sword to the other side."
South Carolina fired the first shots of the war; it couldn't be in defense. Actually,
President Lincoln started the war by provoking the firing on Fort Sumter. The US government had promised to remove the federal troops from the fort, but this never happened. Fort Sumter was on South Carolina soil and South Carolina had seceded four months prior to the firing on Fort Sumter. The Union Navy had assembled the largest naval armada ever to enter Charleston Harbour. This was under the ploy of resupplying Fort Sumter with food and supplies. Why would it take such a large armada instead of the usual supply ship? It wouldn't, actually they were going to bombard the City of Charleston. When confederate spies learned of their plan, they decided they needed to take control of Fort Sumter in order to save Charleston. President Lincoln used the Confederates’ firing on Fort Sumter to declare war on the confederate states.
The issue of the war having been fought over slavery was put forward after the war had been raging for two years. The South was winning the war at the time and President Lincoln was losing favor with his supporters. France and England were considering coming to the aid of the Confederacy. This was when he declared war on slavery knowing that these countries would not come to the aid of the south to maintain slavery. President Lincoln brought forth his Emancipation Proclamation supposedly freeing the slaves; however, slavery could only be abolished by a US Constitutional amendment. This means Lincoln did not have the authority to free the slaves. Secondly, he could not make laws for a different Country. The Confederate States of America was a separate nation with its own government. Third and most importantly, he did not include the freeing of slaves in the states that did not secede: Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and also part of the Confederacy. Therefore the freeing of slaves was only to try and gain public support for the northern states. He had hoped to start a slave rebellion in the South, which did not happen.
The larger and better-equipped Union Army burned homes, destroyed livestock, and pillaged, and plundered whenever they could. These atrocities of war endured by our Confederate troops and their families left behind are what endears them to the hearts of Southerners.
As for a symbol of racism and slavery for all blacks, did you know that there were thousands of blacks in the Confederate Army both slave and free blacks The Confederate Army was an integrated army with whites and blacks fighting side by side. The US Army was not integrated until 1946 after World War II. The blacks that fought for the Confederacy were paid the same as white soldiers. This was not true in the Union Army until much later. The Buffalo Soldiers that everyone celebrates were used to fight and kill Native Americans. If anyone has a symbol of hatred and racism then it is the Native Americans and it is the US flag, not the Confederate flag,
With all of this in mind, how can one interpret the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of slavery? The people and groups that want to remove it should read and learn the true history of the South. If the reason it should be removed is that it flew over slave states, then why not take down the US flag? Remember that the US flag flew over the five previously mentioned slave states (DE, MD, WV, KY, and MO) during the entire war and was flown over all the states at one time.
As for the people that see the flag as a symbol of hate groups, such as the KKK, stop and think. These people are a disgrace to the memory of the Confederate soldier. In addition to the battle flag, they also prominently display the Christian and US flags and carry a Holy Bible. Do they represent all Christians? No, just as they do not symbolize the spirit of the South.
Some of the facts covered were never taught to you in school. Why? Because the victor gets to write the history books. In January of 1864 General Patrick Cleburne said, he was warning the South in regards to subjugation. "If the South lost it means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy. That our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers, will learn from Northern school books their version of the war, will be impressed by all of the influences of History and Education to regard our gallant debt as traders and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision." How prophetic.
The Confederate soldier believed in a form of government as laid out by the US Constitution and his forefathers. It is his conviction of honor and sacrifice that the battle flag must fly to memorialize his convictions. The flag is a symbol of heritage not hate.
Shannon Tuten - "a PROUD descendent of Confederate Veterans"
Editor's note: Writer is a former member Charleston Chapter, The United Daugthers of the Confederacy. Member HL Hunley Dive Team.
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