Picture if you will...on December 11, 1867 the Louisiana Democrat reprinted a then modern ghost story. The tale (reproduced here) involves several strange days in the life of Delos Wilnans of Southern Ohio. The story incorporates the themes of gambling addiction, family abuse, death by embolism, catatonia, bereavement, pranks, hauntings, good guys with guns messing up, first aid, and escape technique. I don't want to spoil the tale, but take a few moments to read through this remarkable series of unfortunate (and fortunate) events and enjoy your Halloween treat a little early.
On May 29, 1890 Richmond, Virginia dedicated a large statue to the memory of civil war general Robert E. Lee. The occasion became a large gathering of the surviving soldiers who served the Confederacy. Old soldiers' organizations from across the South attended as well as many soldiers who had served in the Grand Army of the Republic. Robert E. Lee's son, Fitzhugh Lee, was serving his final year as the governor of Virginia. The Confederate National Flags and even some Battle Flags were on display during the even along side a roughly equal number of Old Glories. In public the talk was about national unity under the flag of the United States. One old veteran opined to the press that he thought this would be the last time the Confederate flag would be on display in public, as the nation needed to move forward from the wounds of the war. Observers from Northern States cast a jaundiced eye on the ceremonies, looking to see if the South was serious about its return to the fold. There were many private celebrations where the old soldiers came together. Dixie played on local stages was met with thunderous applause and rebel yells. Even so, Old Glory, was a prominent guest at these festivities. The speeches in the smaller reunions tended to be a bit more salty than those during the ceremony. General Thomas Lafayette Rosser, an able cavalryman, railed upon the Reconstruction Period (1866-1877). [As an aside Rosser gets a special note for directing battery fire that resulted in the first wartime downing of an enemy aircraft during the War of the Rebellion.] The tone of the events in late May was to continue with healing. It is unclear what Rosser was up to as by 1890 the sold South was run by former Confederates and all occupation forces had been removed as part of the Compromise of 1877. It was a period we now refer to as the Jim Crow Period and part of the compromise was that the Southern States would be left to deal with Negroes within their boundaries without interference from the North.
Along with Rosser's intemperate speech he press was given a chance when several "young men" climbed atop a statue of George Washington and placed a Confederate Flag (unknown which one) in the founding father's hands. They were roundly chastised by several of the old greybacks in the crowd, but no one took down the flag. The adornment of Washington's statue with a banner of rebellion created quite a stir with the old veterans of the Union armies and the Northern public in general. The image of the father of the United States holding the symbol of a rebellion aimed at undoing the United States did not play well in most of the nation. The Union veterans too wished to put the divisions of the war behind, but many considered that the romanticization of the "Lost Cause" would be an albatross around the nation for years to come if the old fellows couldn't nip it in the bud. Perhaps they were right. Watch for more blogs on this issue in the future.
The above newspaper clipping is from The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, May 30, 1890.
This purports to be an image of the ceremony in question. Note that the flags all appear to be one of the later Confederate National Flags with the St. Andrews Cross in the upper corner by the flagstaff.
Terry A. Del Bene
Writer- "Have Words, Will Travel"