April is also Confederate History Month – Essay by Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
"Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't
know it was part of a tree." --Michael Crichton, Timeline
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the Georgia State Senate passed
Senate Bill 27, by a vote of
48-2, designating April as Confederate Heritage and History Month. The bill has now been sent to the House
special rules committee. Supporters of this bill say quote,
“The measure would be a boom to the state’s tourism industry, encouraging
visitors to come to Georgia ’s Civil War Battlefield sites.”
Read information on the bill at
Editor's Note: As of March 20th, the House Special Rules committee
passed SB-27 unanimously; so the bill is on the way to a House floor vote the week of March 23rd. The original
legislation which became Senate Bill 27 was written two years ago by members of the Georgia Heritage Council in
conjunction with the Georgia Civil War Commission, and others. It was re-introduced in 2009 and amended to the
present wording in the Senate where it passed 48 to 2. Georgia has long celebrated Confederate Heritage and History
Month, however, each year it has been proclaimed as such by the governor. The passage of SB 27 would make Confederate
Heritage and History Month permanent law. Gov. Perdue has already proclaimed
April 2009 as CH&H Month.
The diversity of the Old South still holds the imagination of many people
who come from around the world to see; Southern Belle’s with hoop skirts, Confederate flags and soldier memorials
like the Confederate Memorial carving of: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis at Stone Mountain
Memorial Park near Atlanta .
This story is written in the spirit of the Sesquicentennial, 150th
Anniversary of the War Between the States, which will be commemorated throughout the USA from 2011 to 2015.
Americans observe Black, Jewish, Hispanic, Native American and Women’s
History Month…..And in April we also remember ‘Confederate History Month’ in tribute to those Americans who took
their stand for what some historians call the ‘Second American Revolution.’
April is an important month in America 's history. The Great Locomotive
Chase, where Union spies attempted to steal the Confederate Locomotive "The General" and destroy rail lines and
bridges, took place on April 12, 1862. The month of April has become to be known as Confederate History and Heritage
Month when proclamations will be signed by Governors, Commissioners and Mayors.
The Congress of the United States has officially in past years recognized
America 's war, of 1861 to 1865, as the War Between the States. This tragic war claimed the lives of hundreds of
thousands of brothers, uncles and husbands. Though they were enemies on the battlefield, after the war, the men of
blue and gray sponsored reunions at such places as Gettysburg. The soldiers told war stories while the
United States and Confederate flags flew briskly in the warm summer breeze.
Why do some schools ignore the teaching of American history? Boys and
girls once learned about American soldiers who for over 200 years marched off to war. The church hymn book once
included "Onward Christian Soldiers." The young people read about: George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Booker T.
Washington. Northern and Southern children stood up proudly to sing patriotic songs from a standard song book that
After the end of the War Between the States, Northern and Southern women
formed memorial organizations. They made sure all soldiers were given a Christian burial and a marked grave.
Memorial Days were begun in many states North and South of the famous Mason-Dixon Line. Confederate graves were
also cared for in the North and Union graves in the South. Great monuments were also erected that still cast a
giant shadow over many town squares and soldiers' cemeteries across the U.S.A.
April 26, has become to be recognized as Confederate Memorial Day in many
states. For over one hundred years the Ladies' Memorial Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons
of Confederate Veterans have held memorial services on or near this day. Other Southern States recognize this day,
which began as Decoration Day, on May 10th and June 3rd, which is the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Efforts to mark Confederate graves, erect monuments and hold memorial
services were the idea of Mrs. Charles J. Williams. It is written that she was an educated and kind lady. Her
husband served as Colonel of the 1st Georgia Regiment during the war. He died of disease in 1862, and was buried
in his home town of Columbus, Georgia.
Mrs. Williams and her daughter visited his grave often and cleared the
weeds, leaves and twigs from it, then placed flowers on it. Her daughter also pulled the weeds from other
Confederate graves near her Father.
It saddened the little girl that their graves were unmarked. With tears
of pride she said to her Mother, "These are my soldiers' graves." The daughter soon became ill and passed away in
her childhood. Mrs. Williams' grief was almost unbearable.
On a visit to the graves of her husband and daughter, Mrs. Williams looked
at the unkept soldiers' graves and remembered her daughter as she cleaned the graves and what the little girl had
said. She knew what had to do.
Mrs. Williams wrote a letter that was published in Southern newspapers
asking the women of the South for their help. She asked that memorial organizations be established to take care
of the thousands of Confederate graves from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande. She also asked the state
legislatures to set aside a day in April to remember the men who wore the gray. With her leadership April 26
was officially adopted in many states. She died in 1874, but not before her native state of Georgia adopted it
as a legal holiday.
Among the gallant women of the Confederacy was Captain Sally Tomkins,
CSA who was the only woman to be commissioned on either side of the War Between the States. Commissioned by
Jefferson Davis, she took care of thousands of soldiers in Richmond , Virginia until the end of the war.
Those who served the Confederacy came from many races and religions.
There was Irish born General Patrick R. Cleburne, black Southerner Amos Rucker, Jewish born Judah P. Benjamin,
Mexican born Colonel Santos Benavides, Cherokee American Indian General Stand Watie- the highest ranking officer
on either side, and Major Gen. Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac born in France .
Please go to:
to read more about Confederate History Month.
Sir Winston Churchill said that the Confederate Army's fight against
overwhelming odds is one of the most glorious moments in Anglo-Saxon history.
Lest We Forget!!
A freelance writer, Calvin Johnson lives near the historic town of Kennesaw and he's a
member of the Chattahoochee Guards Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He's the author of the book,
When America Stood for God, Family and Country.
Beauvoir || Papers of Jefferson Davis
The 1889 Funeral of Jefferson Davis - Calvin Johnson
Jefferson Davis and the Big 'S' - J.A. Davis
Happy Birthday, Mr. President - Jeff Davis
Jefferson Davis - Charley Reese
Jefferson Davis's Farewell to the U.S. Senate January 21, 1861
Was Jefferson Davis Right? - amazon.com
Inaugurual Address as Provisional President of the Confederacy - February 18, 1861