This past week I spent several hours at the Confederate Relic Museum located in Columbia, SC. On display are thousands of artifacts from the Civil War, including such things as Minnie balls removed from the bodies of Confederate Soldiers, Battle Flags and a great display of small arms weaponry actually carried by soldiers of the Confederacy from South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. You do not have to be a student of history to appreciate the intensity and horror of this Great War. I am fortunate to see these things before some woke politician deems them offensive and orders them destroyed.
South Carolina traces it’s contributions to our country back to the days of the Revolutionary War fought in her swamps and lowlands by legendary leaders such as Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. The British soon learned that standard Neapolitan tactics were useless against a determined and crafty foe. America was born from this conflict and hardened by the Civil War that followed some years later. The museum in Columbia pays homage to both conflicts with a decided emphasis on the Civil War. I could not help but draw comparisons between the early Patriots in South Carolina, who ran the powerful British Army off the continent and our more recent experience where a determined enemy sent America home from Southeast Asia having accomplished very little beyond a horrible loss of life. History does teach, but it’s lessons are lost on those who seek to cover it up or destroy it.
The flag in this writing is the real thing, not a reproduction or restored banner.This battle flag belonged to the 2d South Carolina Volunteer Regiment, organized in 1861 and assimilated into the command of the capable Confederate General Joseph Brevard Kershaw. This unit was attached to the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee. This flag is blooded. It accompanied the 2d Volunteers into battle in such storied places as Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. Literally thousands of confederate sons were killed under these colors as well as an equal number of Union soldiers. Each side fervently believed in their cause before the matter was finally decided and ended at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
Most folks have a rudimentary knowledge of the Civil War, but few understand the Herculean effort of every man, woman and child in prosecuting this conflict. This museum reminds us that southern wives sewed the uniforms for the men they sent to their deaths and the tremendous hardships that both armies suffered through, beyond the quick exit brought about by gunfire. We have graphic reminders of the gallant efforts of the war surgeons with very basic tools and chemicals who worked until exhausted during every battle or until their arms could no longer wield the saws used to remove limbs shot through. This museum also helps the patrons to understand the political nature of this fight and the inner mental working of the great Generals on each side. As a reminder, Gen. Kershaw was not a trained military man, rather a prominent attorney who soon grasped the nuances of warfare and was quite successful, in leading his men.
I am ending today’s writing with a plea. Please, to the extent that each reader can, speak out against the destruction of history in the name of erasing this period of strife in America. It is a damned shame that folks who had nothing to do with any of this history want it covered and erased to appease some sense of righteousness that dwells within them. Their slant on the Civil War period is fashionable today but in reality is as ridiculous as reparations for the sins of those who acted over a century ago.
Have a great weekend!