Category Archives: history

Gettysburg- A Fourth of July Long Ago

(reposted by request)

Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass.Let me work.
– Carl Sandburg

One hundred and fifty five years ago today, brave men fought in and around a small town in Pennsylvania to determine whether the Union would endure or whether it would not.

The Battle of Gettysburg broke the tide of the advance of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and while the war itself didn’t end for another 22 months, Gettysburg decided the outcome.

Lee’s objective was psychological as much as strategic. By 1863 there was substantial sentiment in the North to allow the Confederacy to go its own way and end what had become an increasingly bloody, unpopular and costly war. By subjecting the North to the same sort of invasion the South had been subjected to – in essence, bringing the war home – Lee hoped to increase this sentiment and force the North to negotiate a settlement.

Gettysburg was very much an accidental battle. Neither side was really looking to fight here, but the armies accidentally collided, largely because Lee was deprived of Jeb Stuart’s cavalry in the early stages of the battle and thus lacked his usual awareness of where the Union forces were. Once the initial impact was made,on July 1st 1863 in a battle between Brigadier General John Buford’s Union cavalry division and two corps of Union infantry and two large Confederate corps that attacked from the north and northwest under General Richard Ewell, the armies came together and the battle was on.

An astounding fact about Gettysburg is that the victorious commander of the Union forces, General George Gordon Meade, had only been in command of the Army of the Potomac for a scant three days, after General Joseph Hooker was relieved of command. Meade was caught by surprise with the sudden collision of the two armies, but he reacted with coolness and unexpected courage at several points when the battle could very well have been lost with a different sort of general in charge.

The missing man at Gettysburg, one who might very well have altered the course of the battle and of history was Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who was accidentally killed by his own troops after his amazing victory at Chancellorsville.

The key to Gettysburg was the control of the high ground, the hills and ridges outside the town. After Gen. Buford’s troops were scattered into the hills that first day of battle, they could easily have been driven out of the high ground with an assault by the victorious Confederates, and had Stonewall been in command there’s no doubt he would have driven his troops to do exactly that, digging them in on the high ground and reinforcing them with Longstreet’s divisions to wait for General Meade’s Union Army to come at them. Gettysburg would then have been a very different battle. But the troops Jackson would normally have commanded were under the command of General Richard Ewell.

General Ewell, even after he was ordered by Lee to take the Union position on Cemetery Hill “if practicable” chose not to make the attack even though Buford’s men had mostly left. There’s no question that Stonewall Jackson would have ordered his troops to take the high ground and dig in to wait for the main Confederate forces which were coming to the ridges from the west. In that case, it would have been the Union forces attacking uphill at an entrenched Southern army backed up by dug in artillery. The battle could very well have ended quite differently.

When Ewell finally did attack, on the second and third day of the battle, it was the Union forces who were reinforced and dug in and the Confederates who were forced to assault them. Ewell’s hesitancy likely cost the South the battle.

On the second day of the fighting, July 2nd, General Lee sent General Longstreet’s divisions against the Union Left flank in an attempt to roll it up and knock the Union forces off of the high ground. Meade sent reinforcements to the Left flank to shore up positions that later became legendary – the Peach Orchard, the Wheat field, Plum Run Valley and the Devil’s Den. The Union forces held on in spite of horrendous casualties.

One of the most amazing exploits of that day happened in the defense of Little Round Top, where Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a former college professor in command of the 20th Maine maintained a precarious hold on the Union’s extreme left flank under assault from General John Hood’s troops.When the 20th were almost out of ammunition, Colonel Chamberlain led them in a surprise bayonet charge downhill that swept the Confederates off the hill, saved the position and likely the Union, a deed for which he later won the Medal of Honor.

On the third day, July 3rd, Lee decided to risk everything on a frontal assault on the right center on the Union lines, and 12,500 Confederate troops advanced from the ridge line three-quarters of a mile (1,200 meters) towards Cemetery Ridge in that gallant attempt to reverse fortune known to history as Pickett’s Charge.

It was a slaughter. The Union artillery had deliberately held its fire during the Confederate bombardment prior to the Charge, but as the Confederate troops approached they were hit with fierce artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of Little Round Top, and from the Union center. Nearly one half of the Confederate troops who participated in the Charge failed to return from the attack. Somehow, some way, Confederate General Lewis Armistad’s brigade managed to make it through the withering fire and briefly breach the Union lines at a place called the “Angle”, a place with a low stone fence near a small wooded area. But they were quickly hurled back, and with that, the battle was essentially over.

After the battle it rained, something that occurred frequently enough to give rise to a belief among soldiers on both sides that the smoke and gunpowder somehow brought on the weather.

The two armies, both licking their wounds and having been through almost more than men should be able to bear gazed at each other across the field of battle on that long ago July Fourth. On both sides combined, there were over 50,000 casualties from three days of battle.

Late in the evening, Lee began the torturous retreat southwards. Did he understand at that point that the war was lost? Perhaps, since he was recorded as telling his troops “This is all my fault.” We have no way of knowing. But on that July Fourth, one nation’s hopes for independence were doomed and another nation’s hopes reaffirmed.

After the battle, there were huge amounts or corpses that needed to be disposed of, and the Union decided to make the site a national cemetery, for convenience as much as anything else. Four months after the battle, on November 19, the cemetery was dedicated, and a ceremony was held.

The main speaker was a nationally known orator, Edward Everett. In those days of oratory as a national sport, he was expected to deliver a real rip snorter of a speech, and he reportedly did just that.

Oddly enough, Everett’s isn’t the speech that’s remembered.Almost as an afterthought, the organizing committee invited President Abraham Lincoln to participate a scant two weeks before the ceremony, where they requested that he appear and “make a few brief remarks to honor the occasion”.

So after Edward Everett finished his speech, which clocked in at close to an hour, the President rose and delivered those few brief remarks, ones that started with “Four score and seven years ago” and have come down to us through the mists of history.

Gettysburg today is a living version of Sandburg’s poem, in a way. The grass has done its work,but much of the original landscape has been altered and it takes some effort to visualize what happened there. To do that, you have to go there when its quiet and listen to the ghosts. Trust me, they’re there in abundance and they’ll tell you the whole story if you feel like listening.

Best wishes for a wonderful July Fourth…and take a moment to remember and honor the ghosts of July Fourths past. They deserve that much, at least.

Rob Miller

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com, Yediot and other publications.

A Tribute To Adolf Hitler, Progressive Pioneer

President Barack Hussein Obama’s term in office has been one of the greatest eras of progressive values in American History. But progressivism is once again on the ballot this year, and even with Obama’s term ending the American people have an opportunity to continue the legacy of progressive values.

No movement should fail to pay tribute to its trailblazers.

In the interest of fairness and as a debt to history, I think it’s important that we take a minute to give due credit to one of the greatest progressives in history, someone who undoubtedly should be an inspiration and influence to all progressives today – former German leader Adolf Hitler, who against strong odds rose to power and fundamentally changed Germany and for a while, the world.

Like our president, Adolf Hitler came from middle class beginnings, the son of an Austrian civil servant in Linz whom died when he was fourteen. Some biographers have said that Alois Heidler provided the young Adolf with his first example of government in action and how it could affect people’s lives. Young Hitler’s early years also undoubtedly gave him a sense of the importance of education and how government could strengthen it. As a young student, Adolf Hitler was frequently at odds with his non-unionized teachers, who seemed content to teach by rote and lacked strong support from government.

When Adolf Hitler gravitated to Vienna as a young man to pursue a career as a painter, not only was he influenced by other progressive thinkers like Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Heinrich Gotthard von Treitschke, but also by an extraordinary activist progressive politician, Karl Lueger, the Burgomaster (Mayor)of Vienna, whom Hitler later called ‘a genius’ and claimed as a model. Lueger, whose Christian Socialist Party was organized along many of the same lines that Hitler would later adopt for his National Socialist Party could best be described as a early practitioner of Saul Alinky’s political ethics, balancing one special interest group against another for his own political advancement. At one point, when some of his anti-Semitic supporters questioned his taking campaign contributions from wealthy Jewish donors, Luegar famously shut them down by telling them that he was the one whom would decide who was a Jew! Lueger is also credited with municipalizing utilities and instituting public transportation in Vienna,along with a number of other shovel ready public works projects.

(read more)

Vote Cynthia Dunbar for Republican National Committeewoman from the Commonwealth of Virginia

Cynthia Dunbar is running for Republican National Committeewoman from the Commonwealth of Virginia this weekend at the Virginia Convention.

Virginia Right! has proudly endorsed Dunbar and we believe she is the only viable choice. Her opponent is the establishment candidate that has represented division and insider politics in Virginia for far too long.

Cynthia Dunbar has the trust and endorsement of some very respectable names in Conservative politics like Ron Paul and Bob Marshall. And her list of endorsements is long.

Anyone going to the convention is well aware that in addition to the friction between the establishment Republicans and Conservatives, we have another divide between the Trump supporters and the Cruz supporters. And Cynthia Dunbar has managed to secure the endorsement of both Bill Stanley, State Chair of the Cruz Campaign as well as Corey Stewart, State Chair of the Trump Campaign. That is quite an accomplishment and proof of the Conservative appeal of Dunbar.

In looking back at Virginia Right! stories on Cynthia Dunbar, she first came on our radar back in March 2010.

ANOTHER “CONSERVATIVE LAWYER” FROM REGENT U WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Cynthia Dunbar is the elected representative to the Texas Board of Education from the Tenth district.  She was cited in the New York Times as one of several seeking to change the history and other texts to make them more balanced.  Here is her website.

And:

HURRAH FOR THE TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION!

I was listening to the Texas Board of Education Friday at work via the technological wonder of live streaming.  Like many meetings it was somewhat boring.  But it was music to my ears.  On Friday, May 21, 2010, the children of Texas were liberated from left-wing politically correct history and social studies texts and curriculum.

Here’s the video from Fox News with my heroine, Regent Law grad Cynthia Dunbar:

This wonderful event will also bring liberty to kids around the country as Texas texts are sold in other states.  I have briefly blogged on this before.

The Texas Board of Education has reformed the history and social studies texts and curriculum in awesomely favorable ways.  Virginia should follow suit.  What did they do?  Here are several areas where they enhanced the curriculum:

1.  A balanced approach to the McCarthy era with references to actual Communists found in the US Government like Alger Hiss;

2. A balanced approach to the Judeo-Christian, Biblical origins of American law and the struggle for liberty;

3. A more respectful treatment of the South and the Civil War;

4.  A study of how the UN adversely affects our sovereignty;

5.  More of a pro-free enterprise and free markets curriculum;

6.  Referring to the US as a “constitutional republic” and discussing the decline in the value of the dollar against gold;

7.  Retaining BC and AD rather than the politically correct BCE and CE;

8.  The doctrine of “American Exceptionalism”, that we are a special place and nation in history;

9.  A mention of people like Phyllis Schlafly and the fiscal health of Social Security and Medicare.

The left is of course outraged!  A California state senator has already introduced a bill to ban Texas texts from the Golden State:

And a recent interview:

My Interview with GOP National Committeewoman Candidate Cynthia Dunbar

Cynthia Dunbar has a long history of being on the right side of history.

Let’s vote for Cynthia Dunbar for Republican National Committeewoman from the Commonwealth of Virginia at the Convention this weekend!


Article written by: Tom White

Piedmont Environmental Council Questionable Motives Exposed

PECThis is a great article by Cameron Jones that appears in the Fauquier Free Citizen written by Cameron Jones:

“The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) was founded in 1972 to promote and protect the Virginia Piedmont’s rural economy, natural resources, history and beauty.”

This quote is straight from the website of one of the oldest and most successful land preservation organizations in the United States, the Piedmont Environmental Council.

Their home turf is northern Fauquier County and southwestern Loudon County, nestled in the heart of horse country in northern Virginia, and they defend this territory without mercy against all who would destroy a view shed that exists nowhere else in the eastern U.S.

They proudly proclaim that the “PEC’s commitment to stewardship of conserved lands will ensure that much of this region’s valuable farmland, forests, wetlands, scenic countryside and historic heritage are forever protected.”

Mickey_Mouse Their major achievement and the one they proudly point to most often, is their conquest of “the mouse”, when they took on Disney and ended their plans to build a theme park in northern Virginia. Clearly they fear no developer, no national entity, and certainly no mere citizen of Fauquier County.

So why is it they did nothing to stop one of the biggest travesties that has occurred on their turf in recent history? Why did they refrain from uttering one syllable to stop the besmirching of the view shed in one of the most protected landscapes in all of America, the Crooked Run Valley Rural Historic District?

Crooked Run Valley Rural Historic District is a national historic district located near Paris Virginia in Fauquier County. This district encompasses 386 contributing buildings, 27 contributing sites, and 21 contributing structures, and soon it will include yet another contributing structure that will surely not enhance its historic or scenic value.

This new structure is being built on a property in the middle of one of the most visible landscapes in Virginia, one that tens of thousands of people pass through each year.  It is also visible from one of the most visited sections of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, is visible from the PEC’s own prized Piedmont Memorial Overlook property, and will forever be part of the open space that surrounds the village of Paris, one of the anchors of the Crooked Run Rural Historic District.

Contruction_EntranceThis new addition to the Crooked Run Historic District is also located in an area prized and protected for its agricultural soils, and it sits in in the midst of numerous Civil War Battlefields which are still being studied for their historical significance.

So what is this structure that the PEC obviously values above all these things they have sworn to protect in perpetuity?

It is a cellular tower.

But it’s not just any cell tower. This tower is being built on the property of one of the PEC’s leading citizens (who may stand to benefit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars); a citizen that has been the recipient of the PEC’s coveted “Land Conservation Award”.
Mind you, the PEC is not in favor of cell towers. They have vehemently opposed virtually every cell tower built in Fauquier County for years. Recently they pulled out all the stops to block a new and much needed tower in the southern part of Fauquier near Casanova, even though over 200 citizens of Casanova signed a petition in favor of the tower; even though these citizens and Fauquier EMS need the tower for safety reasons.

They have stated in the past that “new cell towers are being proposed throughout the County, which may bring better service into more remote rural areas, but could also bring an intrusive industrial type use into areas valued for their picturesque landscapes.”

Read the rest here.


Article written by: Tom White

CD Review – Americana Electronica by Richmond Band ‘Flashlight Tag’

Flashlight Tag

What do you get when you mix 1 part nostalgia, 1 part history, 1 part Mom and Apple Pie with a generous sprinkling of imagination?

You get the latest album by Richmond, Va based band Flashlight Tag appropriately named “American Electronica”.

Flashlight Tag is a two man band from Richmond comprised of Brian Phelps (Classic Monkey Shine, That Monster) and Justin Laughter (Silly Bus, junction).

Phelps and Laughter have a head bobbing, bouncy style in most everything they do and Americana Electronica delights from beginning to end. The brand new CD is a mixture of favorite treasures like Bill Bailey, Little Brown Jug, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and Oh Susanna re-imagined as only Flashlight Tag can, along with new songs written by the duo such as Betsy Ross, Benedict Arnold and Paul Revere. And woven between the history and nostalgia are a few short “spoken word” performances (in character) of letters and speeches by such noted Americans as Patrick Henry, Franklin D Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The CD starts with the very short intro song Americana Electronica from which the CD gets it’s name. Using some cool vocal effects the song sets the mood for the entire CD with “church organ” chords supporting the vocals with lyrics borrowed from America the Beautiful and My Country ’tis of Thee and goes into Bill Bailey, the traditional song with a bit of distorted guitar, light percussion and keyboards transformed into a toe tapping jaunt down memory lane.

Next comes an original, Betsy Ross that poses lyrical questions of Mrs. Ross such as “Mrs. Ross did you knit Old Glory? Did Washington visit your home?” The song has an almost tropical feel and inserts memories of our National Anthem like “bright stripes and bright start” and “rocket’s red glare”.

Ha! Ha! Ha! You and me! Little Brown Jug I love thee bounces out with the banjo plunking lightly in the background. And a spoken bit from Benedict Arnold goes into the original song Benedict Arnold, a laid back respectful musical tome to the infamous man. “Your name is known throughout History (pronounced his story – a good play on words)  for Treason and Betrayal”. But is there more to the story of a hero turned traitor? Listen to the words. This song could have been named Benedict Arnold’s Lament but it may give away too much of the story.

And what could follow a heavy song like Benedict Arnold? An interpretation of Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty of Give me Death?” speech with a low, rumbling undertone of synths. And the last “or give me death” melts into a death metal growl. (Can you say GWAR?)

The next song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” isn’t so much about the song as it is about the questions facing Franklin D. Roosevelt as World War II ramped up. One of the big questions was “should we still play baseball during the war?”. So this song uses the old traditional baseball song as the vehicle for FDR’s thoughts on why we needed to keep baseball going during the war.

One of my favorites on the entire CD is “Good Old Summertime”. It brought back a memory of my Great Grandmother sitting on the porch at her pre-Civil War river house bringing out glasses of cold lemonade. She often sang this song when the whole family gathered on weekends to relax, fish and play. And you just don’t hear the nickname Tootsie Wootsie enough these days.

And Wabash Cannonball is just plain fun and the tremolo over-driven guitar was a nice touch.

Remember Home on the Range? Probably not like this. Sarah White (no relation) has a distinctive vocal style and the way the lyrics are phrased in this re-imagined version will bring a smile to your face.

Paul Revere is another original song and in a similar style to Betsy Ross, the song asks questions of Paul Revere. “Were you scared?” The sad voice of a lone violin with the lyrics “One if by Land, Two if by sea” and the song wonders what Paul Revere would think of America today. “If you could see what our land has come to be.” A beautiful and thoughtful song.

And the CD ends with Oh Susanna to bring up the mood and a reprise of the Electronica Americana where the chorus chants “We are America, land of the free. We are America, home of the brave”.

So be you a patriot, a history buff, a lover of old songs that never die or just someone who loves good music, this CD is an absolute trip down memory lane. It is not a chronological journey through time and history, rather, it pops you in and out of different eras like Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine.

If you want to feel good about America, revisit childhood memories, and perhaps learn something, this CD will accomplish all of that and leave you humming “We are America, land of the free”.

Preview the songs and buy the CD at CDBaby

You can also buy the CD at Amazon and  iTunes and most online outlets.

And if you would like to attend the CD release party at Ashland Coffee and Tea on Thursday July 23, 2015 at 8:00 PM here are the details:

Ashland Coffee and Tea
100 N Railroad Ave
Ashland, Virginia

 

And Flashlight Tag will be joined by Sarah White and members of “The Taters” along with several other artists. It starts and 8:00 PM and promises to be a great night of fun and music.

 

 


Article written by: Tom White