The ghosts of Dixieland

A place to talk about anything. Stocks, politics, or your neighbors who won't turn down that music.
Forum rules
NOTICE: Please be sure to check the CFP Message Board Rules and Regulations and the Read Me page before posting.
billybud
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 9655
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:25 pm

The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby billybud » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:05 am

My GGG Grandfather, Lt. Thomas P. Preston of Wilcox County (Camden area, Al), led his company of the Alabama 42nd in a heroic but failed charge against Sherman's breastworks at the Battle of Resaca. Mortally wounded, he was abandoned on the field and captured by the union...sent to the field hospital of the Cumberland, his leg was amputated and he died a couple of weeks later. He was buried hastily in an unmarked grave as the hospital packed up to move to Big Shanty.

He left a 21 one year old wife (she married at 14) and my 6 year old future GG grandmother, Alice Alabama Preston. He was lost for over 100 years. In 1960, archaeological surveyors, working ahead of the new I 75, were excavating an old battle trench near the site of the field hospital when they came across the skeleton of a hastily buried combatant. He still had an iron tourniquet around his upper leg. They surmise that this was Lt. Preston of the 42nd Alabama....Recently, I overlooked his battle field and paid my respects to the Lt....and to his widow, Ellen Alabama Farish Preston...who journeyed to Resaca to find his grave and return him home..only to be disappointed.

He was reinterred in the area for the "unknowns" in 1960.

The south lost the flower of a generation in that bloody war (losses per population were more than all of the rest of our wars combined). But the boys of the 42nd Alabama were not fighting for slavery anymore than my cohort was fighting because of their belief of the domino theory of southeast Asia. They fought and died because their country called.

For the last two years, on the way up to our cabin, we have been passing, on the valley road on the way up mountain, one of the oldest churches in western North Carolina. A Baptist church founded in 1837 near the old Cherokee town of Guasili. The old graveyard is one of the oldest around and we have wandered among the rows of stones, reading the inscriptions. There are two confederate casualties buried there that have had a small stars and bars flag refreshed annually at their monument. The flags were removed yesterday and I gave a salute as I went by. They, like so many in that war, were faithful.

RIP Johnny Reb.....I think that you would like what the south that you died for became.
Some light is so intense that it can only be experienced as darkness

User avatar
donovan
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 7826
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:41 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby donovan » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:15 pm

Thank you for sharing so eloquently your history; you write what I believe. Much of Southern history, along with other regions, during the period I have been alive and can remember how I saw it, has been revised so much by those that did not live during the 50's and 60's. I think the Dixiecrats had it right.

In a small town in Washington where one of our son's is buried is a Civil War section, surrounded by an iron fence, it is an area that is immaculately kept. There are four soldiers at rest there, two fought for the North and two for the South. I think they are all right with that.
"Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become."
Mary Mcgrory

User avatar
Spence
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 18841
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio (Ohio's First Capital)
Contact:

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby Spence » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:13 am

I liked it as well. Sometimes people think they can run from history or try and frame it in today's terms and you can't do it. You have to look at their world and it's circumstances.
"History doesn't always repeat itself but it often rhymes." - Mark Twain

billybud
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 9655
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:25 pm

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby billybud » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:32 pm

In the spring, as I was recovering, my wife and I embarked on the "Ghosts of Alabama" tour. Following the steps of my southern ancestors (mom's side, dad was a Wisconsin boy). I visited their graves and home places. The stories are those of the south

I have posted of Lt. Preston in his unmarked grave at the Battle of Resaca. The hero of his story was his young widow, who crossed Alabama and up to north Georgia with a wagon in an attempt to find her husband's body and bring him home. She returned to the family place and raised her children and scrabbled out a life on the farm as one of the many war widows. She worked hard all of her life and never remarried (it was so difficult with the whole generation of men aged 18-40 now decimated). Her dreams died at age 21.

Another GGG grandfather was Lt. Will Stillings who fought in the 3rd regiment of Alabama cavalry. Wounded, he survived the war and returned to Marion, Alabama where he became employed with the Marion Ledger. In 1871 he and a black man, Denzi Baker, jostled each other on the sidewalk and fought. Denzi Baker tore a picket off a fence and hit Will Stillings in the head. It was a fatal injury. Will Stillings' name is listed on the confederate memorial in Selma. My GGG grandmother moved her five children to neighboring Wilcox county where her kin lived. She raised her children on the farm adjacent to my widowed GGG grandmother Preston....her son married the Preston daughter.

The stories of these individuals are vignettes of my southern ancestry.....I have crossed the central plain of Alabama following 180 years of history, pain, love, loss, and survival. The stories are heartbreaking and triumphant. I am writing and organizing them for my son (including the sagas of my northern father's side). My boy asked from whence we came...and have embarked on a journey to provide him with that understanding.
Some light is so intense that it can only be experienced as darkness

User avatar
donovan
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 7826
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:41 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby donovan » Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:06 pm

As you tell us what you are doing, I am reminded of the words spoken at the end of the Old Testament; "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6.

I have also written a journal with the history I know. It is not always as colorful, but it somehow makes me be just a little more grateful for where I am. I hope it does my children, also.

What I want my children to know, this is a great country founded on principles of "liberty and justice for all." People sacrificed all they had for those principles and someday, they or their children may be called on to make that same sacrifice.
"Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become."
Mary Mcgrory

billybud
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 9655
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:25 pm

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby billybud » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:35 pm

Donovan...The fleshed out stories are the meat of remembrance.

I have had the base genealogies for some time. I started finding distant relations by internet and contacted them by phone and in person....I started a sort of avalanche on the southern side. Luckily, the Scots-Irish were writers and poets and kept letters and journals. Several of the older generation, then in their 70's, made very detailed remembrance journals in the late 1960's. I volunteered to compile copies sent to me and send back out sets to my contact relatives....I hit a treasure trove of sorts.

My dad's side were stolid German farmers who seemed to have no interest in recording their lives...I have all sorts of mysteries to solve on that side.
Some light is so intense that it can only be experienced as darkness

User avatar
armchairqb
Assistant Coach
Assistant Coach
Posts: 338
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:50 pm
Location: Isabella County, Michigan

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby armchairqb » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:11 pm

I have a friend here in Michigan who is a member of the Sons of the Confederacy. I can appreciate his viewpoint that the war was an issue of big government above any matter of slavery. Since the war occured, our states' rights have been useless. I'm not a fan of how the racist organizations have co-opted the meaning of the flag, but I don't believe in completely whitewashing history.

I believe racism is an atrocious thing which unfortunately still occurs today, even passively.

New Orleans, however, is steeping to a new low to whitewash its history. They want to remove statues of confederate historical figures from their city landscape. I wish that this doesn't succeed:

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/07/mitch_landrieu_confederate_mon.html

There have been welcome by-products of this foolishness by New Orleans city government including a boycott of the city via an online petition on the change.org site.
"A complimentary breakfast isn't supposed to make you feel better about yourself." -Captain Obvious

billybud
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 9655
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:25 pm

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby billybud » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:31 am

I think what we are seeing is a culture war as America's population and culture shifts. We have been a predominantly European American dominated culture since the nation's beginnings.

Now, although blacks make up only 12% of the national population, their cultural impact is more then the percentage might indicate. Spanish speakers are now the majority in California and moving towards that in Texas and make up 18% of the US population.

Because of their own powerful story of their "Exodus", everything related to black history has become near sacred....while, at the same time, there has been a not so subtle effort to replace former european american icons.

When I was a lad, Columbus was a hero and his day celebrated, Old Hickory was the defender of New Orleans and not a racist murderer. We celebrated the winning of the west without the recognizing that the US Army was wiping out indian villages, killing men, women and children. We barely recognized the Trail of Tears and the forced transportation of tribes from their eastern homelands.

There is an anti european american cast to the rewriting of our culture.

Add to that, the end of regionalism. The great American TV and strip mall culture has bulldozed regional culture. In the 50's, when I was a boy, you could not get grits in Wisconsin, cajun food in New York, New England clam chowder in Alabama....I didn't have a pizza until I was 19 in the USMC. The south is no longer the south. The vast in migrations of northerners has changed the Scots-Irish based culture. And we are no longer agricultural and small town based. The south was still affected by Reconstrucrion right into the 1950's. When I was six, Florida was the smallest state in the southeast in population....we are now #3 in the country.

The surviving southern families of the Civil War and reconstruction have been out numbered by northern transplants. There is no longer a "common cultural memory" of the south...

Where is this all going?

Eventually, I think, we european americans will go the way of the original europeans, the Neanderthals. Now that geneticists have determined that, those of us with european ancestry, carry some Neanderthal genes (versus Africans who are 100% Homo Sapien genetically), they now can theorize what happened to the Neanderthals. They became us. Rather than some apocalyptic genocide, the Homo Sapiens out bred and absorbed the smaller Neanderthal populaion.

With the american europeans reproducing at a lower rate than the Hispanic and Black Americans, the population's genetics, with attending haplotypes, will shift to reflect that change. And, it has been that way in the world for many, many millenium. Ever since groups started moving out of Africa.

Our culture is changing, history is being reframed....we, as a nation, will be seeing ourselves with a different set of reference points.

Time is slippin', slippin', slippin', Into the future.




.
Some light is so intense that it can only be experienced as darkness

User avatar
Eric
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10177
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:51 am

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby Eric » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:54 am

Billybud's 100% correct about everything in this post.

Never thought I'd say that, did you? 8) :lol:
Running bowl/MSU/OSU record '05-present: 7-24

User avatar
Eric
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10177
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:51 am

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby Eric » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:58 am

Spence wrote:I liked it as well. Sometimes people think they can run from history or try and frame it in today's terms and you can't do it. You have to look at their world and it's circumstances.


This is what annoys me about the grandstanding on these historical issues, when it comes to the flag and the gay marriage issue. They don't make any attempts at understanding, they are just trying to look at the past with today's moral landscape and of course things aren't going to add up. The kicker here is that they think they are high and mighty, but just because they were taught to behave a certain way, it doesn't make them more morally progressive than their ancestors, who were not taught to behave a certain way. In fact, I'd argue that the people liking things on social media because everyone else is doing it would have made great witch-hunters in 17th century Puritan New England. Humans are social animals, not rational thinkers (primarily). The zeitgeist just so happens to be turning a certain way and they're following along, like they were trained to do, like most humans in history were trained to do.

On a side note, I find that the cultural gulf is illuminating as well and shows you just how much "science" is culturally-defined. The Chinese scientific community, I believe, thinks of transgenderism as a mental disorder and has no problem with viewing race as having biological significance. The Western scientific community changed these two things when things started shifting in a different direction. The Western community may be right or it may be wrong, but you're joking yourself if you think it has legitimacy because it's "science"; it was obviously politically-motivated.

User avatar
Spence
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 18841
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio (Ohio's First Capital)
Contact:

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby Spence » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:49 pm

Time is slippin', slippin', slippin', Into the future.


Cool Steve Miller reference ...Check.
"History doesn't always repeat itself but it often rhymes." - Mark Twain

User avatar
Derek
Athletic Director
Athletic Director
Posts: 5384
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:04 am
Location: Brooks, GA
Contact:

Re: The ghosts of Dixieland

Postby Derek » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:06 pm

There is more to this than just a culture war IMO.

It is an unseen war and the spoils have nothing to do with America or political control of people. I realize that there are not many religious folks on here, but that's how I feel.

This fight to remove statues/monuments, doesn't really have anything to do with their historical significance or whether they were racist slave owners or not.

The future of our country is at stake and it's not because statues exist or don't exist.
They’re either going to run the ball here or their going to pass it.

The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break.

- John Madden


Return to “Off-Topic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Cane from the Bend, Google Adsense [Bot] and 1 guest