Monday, March 23, 2009


Bedford Forrest still makes it into a lot of newspapers. Here is a story from last week about the Wizard.

Memphis' Forrest Park on National Register of Historic Places

Designation puts efforts to change name on hold
By Linda Moore, Memphis Commercial Appeal Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forrest Park has quietly been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and efforts to rename the park or disinter the bodies buried there have, for now, been laid to rest.
The park at Union and Manassas where Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife are buried received the honorary designation this month from the National Park Service.
The park has long been a point of racial controversy in Memphis, with local officials and other groups periodically rallying to rename the park and remove the statue of Forrest, a revered cavalry leader in the Civil War who also was a slave trader and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The nomination was submitted by the Forrest Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"It's just a great honor to have the park and the statue recognized as a historic place," said Lee Millar, the camp's public affairs officer. "We're very happy for fellow historians and the city and county to have another site listed on the national register."

Although not involved in seeking the designation, the Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy also was excited by the news. "I'm very happy, basically because it's just a part of Memphis' history that needs to be preserved for future generations," said president Audrey Rainey.

Attorney and former Shelby County commissioner Walter Bailey tried to quash the nomination but says continued protests will be put on hold.

"I think we're at a point where until such time as we see some concern by our city leaders, we have to continue to pause," Bailey said.

And he doesn't blame the Forrest supporters for their success.

"It seems to me the responsibility and the blame rest with our city leaders for being so passive about it," Bailey said.

Last fall, the nomination went before the Tennessee Historical Commission. Initially approved, the vote was rescinded after about a dozen Memphians, including Bailey and state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, protested, arguing that the park had been created to pay homage to a slave trader. The Sons of Confederate Veterans withdrew the nomination, regrouped and successfully appealed the state commission's decision to the park service, which administers the register.
Despite the successful bid, the designation is an honor, not a shield.

Because Forrest Park is owned by the city of Memphis, the city has the authority to rename it or have the graves moved unless the project involves federal dollars, said Bill Reynolds, spokesman with the National Park Service in Atlanta.

"If the city makes changes to the site in some way, shape or form that would or could cause a potential review of the status of the site, it could cause it to lose its designation if the historical integrity of the site is compromised in any way," he said.

The 8-acre park was established in the early 1900s and was designed by famed park and landscape designer George Kessler. The sculpture of Forrest was done by Charles H. Niehaus, whose work can be seen at the Library of Congress.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

John Crawford Vaughn Talk

For the readers in the Atlanta area there is going to be an opportunity to learn about a interesting Confederate Officer, General John C. Vaughn and help out the Atlanta History Center at the same time.

The following is from the Military Curator, Dr. Gordon Jones;

Dear friends --

Recently, some of you have kindly asked what you can do for the Atlanta History Center to help us out in these hard times. Well, Here's one thing -- attend a free benefit event Sunday, April 5, at starting 2:30pm in McElreath Hall. See the attached flyer. All you have to do is show up and our sponsor will make a donation to the AHC for every person in attendance!

Better still, you get to hear a talk by Larry Gordon, author of the new book The Last Confederate General: John C. Vaughn and His East Tennessee Cavalry. If you have never heard of Vaughn, you are not alone. But he is a fascinating fellow -- literally the last Confederate general in the eastern theater to give up -- and yet he hailed from heavily Unionist East Tennessee. This is a great story and the book is full of new information.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author -- and all proceeds go to help the AHC. We will begin gathering and book signing at 1:30, lecture starts at 2:30, book signing resumes about 3:30.

Please try to be here -- and bring your friends and family -- I guarantee it will be worth your time!

Many thanks, Gordon

The Atlanta History Center is in the Buckhead area off West Paces Ferry Road, if you have not been there before please make an effort to see it, the museum is fantastic, having a great Civil War exhibit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick Cleburne Day

Sorry for the little play on words there. Today is Patrick R. Cleburne's 181st birthday and since it is so often listed as being tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would reflect a little about Memory and Patrick Cleburne. It is curious to see how his popularity has increased over the last couple of decades, without a movie or major novel to propel him into popularity. This October there will be a statue of him errected in Ringgold, GA, site of his defense of Ringgold Gap. Cleburne now rivals N.B. Forrest for popularity among Western Theater Civil War buffs and may eclipse Forrest eventually. So why? I think it has a lot to do with him being clean of the taint of slavery and white supremacy that Forrest is linked to, Cleburne never owned slaves and is even on the record saying that he "cared nothing for them", and now Cleburne's proposal to arm slaves is being blown to bigger proportions, even though it directly contradicts the notion of Black Confederates. Now, I admit I am a great admirer of Cleburne, I bought Cleburne and his Command and Pat Cleburne" Confederate General when I was a teenager and literally wore both copies out, but that actually predates the modern surge of popularity, so back to the original premise of this post, is it now that Cleburne is more appealing due to being clean? or is it a great general finally getting his due? I think a study of Cleburne and Memory may be a new project for me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference

To our readers:

I have been asked to provide you the information concerning the 2009 West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference taking place in October. Please visit the website for further information:

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference. To celebrate that milestone this year’s symposium will be a bit different from years past. We are offering more speakers and more lectures, as well as one open debate and a moderated panel discussion.

This year’s gathering will explore the 1863 campaign for Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our focus will be not only on key battles and leaders, but also on the campaign’s origins and consequences.