Confederate Culture Wars: Jimmy Price

This week, ECW historians are offering their thoughts and reactions to recent events related to Confederate memory. Next up: Jimmy Price.

I think the recent reaction to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public grounds in South Carolina and elsewhere shows that the majority of Americans have moved on from any deep-rooted belief that “the South was right.” I highly doubt that millennials have started to gobble up copies of works by the Kennedy brothers in order to push back against these recent events in the name of Southern heritage.

Indeed, some people are very quick to move against any perceived affection for the Confederate flag, as has been seen recently in an effort by several well-known Civil War bloggers to publicly shame a high school student who innocently waved a Confederate Battle Flag at the instruction of her teacher on a class field trip to Gettysburg. So, in some cases, the pendulum might have swung too far in the opposite direction.

In my opinion, the last bastion of Lost Cause belief that has any real influence is the re-enacting and Civil War “buff” community. I have been a part of these communities for more than 20 years now and the propensity to focus only on military matters feeds into the Lost Cause myth of Confederate nobility and heroism against long odds. By endlessly dissecting the minutiae of epic battles (at least the ones that involved white troops), the “tough stuff” of slavery and the real cause that Confederates were fighting for is conveniently left out of the discussion. Thus, if the South is still “winning” the war at all, we need only look in the mirror for the main culprits who are allowing it to do so.


Jimmy Price is the author of The Battle of First Deep Bottom and The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theres by the Sword. He is a frequent contributor to Emerging Civil War.

7 Responses to Confederate Culture Wars: Jimmy Price

  1. “So, in some cases, the pendulum might have swung too far in the opposite direction.”

    Might have?

    Apple removed CW tactical war games that had any ANV battle flags anywhere on them.

    Amazon pulled any item — collectible or otherwise — with the flags.

    The Dukes of Hazzard — the Dukes of freaking Hazzard!!! — is no longer shown on TV land, despite the fact that they were just a couple good ole’ boys, never meaning no harm.

    Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bones (along with those of his wife) will be dug up and shipped off if the Memphis City Council has anything to say about it.

    Stained glass windows dedicated to Stonewall Jackson are set to be removed from the National Cathedral.

    I could go on.

    I am glad the CSA lost, but this whole thing is taking on the effect of a Stalinist purge, with book-burners and monument smashers doing what they do, while big corporations whimper in the corner.

    1. There seems to be some confusion, as I’ve seen the term ‘Stalinist purge’ pop up a few times in articles related to this topic. Books are not being burned; the Confederacy is not being erased from history. The NPS has even officially stated that the ANV flag will always have a place at battlefields as a historical lesson. The above examples, however, are instances of people deciding that enough is enough, and the ANV flag and other related Confederate memorabilia no longer has any place outside that of historical lesson.

      1. “People deciding that enough is enough.”

        We’ve had enough toleration of fictional hillbillies fleeing Sheriff Coltrane in a car nicknamed the General Lee?

        We’ve had enough with the bones of Confederate generals being allowed to just lie there under the dirt?

        We’ve had enough of allowing gamers to play tactical war games with realistic details?

        I realize a tiny segment of the population cares about these things. But I also realize that the book burners and monument smashers never stop — they just escalate.

        Can’t wait until Comcast takes the “courageous” stand and banishes Gone With the Wind forever!

  2. As a military historian, I can assure you that the landscape is changing. We are trained to dissect battles, piece by piece, but we are also trained to put those battles into context. There has been as much discussion about politics, economics, the home front and the common soldier in my classes as there has been about strategy and tactics. More women are entering the ranks of military history, and that will expand the context as well. After all, when you go into a class already marginalized by your gender, you may as well make it work for you.

    Knee jerk reactions are just that, and there have been plenty lately. But–this is the Civil War we are talking about–the piece de resistance of knee jerk reactions! Secession, anyone?

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