It’s a whole lot of fun speaking to audiences of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (yes, we have them down here). Monday night, in New Hope, Georgia, I addressed the Gen. William J. Hardee Camp on the subject of opus meum novum, congratulating Commander Wayne Willingham and the Camp (5th largest in Georgia!) for their work in preserving historic ground in the area.
Dan Davis took great photographs of the marker and monument they’ve raised, and the section of Confederate trench they’re preserving (see pp. 48, 50, 52-53 in A Long and Bloody Task). When I said that the Hardee Camp was the only SCV outfit I mentioned in my book, they applauded enthusiastically.
In truth, the whole community is historically-minded. Local groups, including the Hardee Camp, joined the Civil War Trust to acquire a 64-acre tract of the Dallas battlefield (May 27-28). When Paulding County officials wanted to change some Dallas streets named for Generals Polk and Hardee, no less than the mayor blocked the measure. The city has even recently named a road for the Orphan Brigade!
Before my talk I had a few minutes to revisit New Hope Cemetery. About three dozen Confederate soldiers are buried there, including three Picketts. One of them is 2d Lt. Benjamin W. Pickett, 1st Georgia Cavalry, who lost his life at Chickamauga and whose widow owned the land involved in the battle of Pickett’s Mill, May 27. Most of the stones are of the familiar Veterans Administration white marble kind, inscribed “UNKNOWN CONFEDERATE SOLDIER MAY 1864” (see Dan’s photo, p. 105).
I noticed one in particular, that of a William Brown, “Died 1863 in the service of his country at Bridgeport Tenn.”—it was placed by his son.
In our book’s ”Driving Tour” section, I take visitors to New Hope and Pickett’s Mill. I wish I had included Dallas, too. The elegant Confederate monument “downtown” was dedicated by the Hardee Camp just four years ago.
So the culture better stop telling us that memory of the Civil War is fading. Down here, it’s roaring strong!