In seeking ways I could help promote Confederate Heritage Month and bring attention to the month of the year when the War Between the States both ended and began, I did what I always do as a historical fiction author – I turned to the voices of the past. After all, who can tell their story better than the actual participants in those events?
So on this, the first day of April, 2009, I would like to reprint part of an address by General R.E. Colston to the Virginia Ladies’ Memorial Association, which I found in the Confederate Veteran (March, 1897).
His Words Live After Him
Those who fall in the arms of victory and success need no monuments to preserve their memories. The continued existence and prosperity of their country are sufficient epitaphs, and their names can never be forgotten.
But how shall those be remembered who failed? It is their enemies who write their history, painting it with their own colors, distorting it with their calumnies, their prejudices, and their passions; and it is this one-sided version of the conquerors that the world at large accepts as truth, for in history as in the present, vae victis (woe to the conquered).
It is true that when we, the actors in the last contest, shall be sleeping in our graves, little will it matter to us what the world may think of us or our motives. But methinks that we could hardly rest in peace, even in the tomb, should our descendants misjudge or condemn us. And yet, is there impossibility of this? They will be told that their fathers were oligarchs, aristocrats, slave-drivers, rebels, traitors, who, to perpetuate the monstrous sin of human slavery, tried to throttle out the life of the nation and to rend asunder the government founded by Washington; that they raised parricidal hands against the sacred ark of the Constitution; that they were the unprovoked aggressors, and struck the first sacrilegious blow against the Union and the flag of their country.
What if this be but false cant and calumny? Constant repetition will give it something of the authority of truth. We cannot doubt it. Our descendants will see these slanders repeated in Northern and probably in European publications; perhaps even in the very text-books of their schools …
Fellow Southerners, whose teachings and influence can accomplish more than all other agencies combined to hurl back this foul slander in the teeth of that reverend liar? Who can best guard our posterity from the corrupting odium of falsehood? Who can so implant the right and justice of our lost cause into their souls as to prevail over all the calumnies of our detractors?
Your hearts reply like mine: “It is the noble, patriotic, unwavering women of the South.”
To be continued …
I have wanted to read Shades of Gray for so long now and I’m thrilled to be able to enter your contest. I absolutely love History and anything on the Cival War. Thank you so much for this opportuniy.
Great post! When I took my manuscript to a conference down in Charlotte, N.C., one of the faculty members said that she had a problem with it because it was written from a Confederate point of view. I was like, “Well…yea, I’m from Virginia!” lol
Her response was, “the losers don’t get to write about the war.”
I replied, “Well, this Confederate gal does!” That’s an experience I’ll never forget – that’s for sure. In my research I found a great quote by Z B Vance, the governor of NC in 1863. He said,
“If God Almighty had yet in store another plague worse than all the others which he intended to have let loose on the Egyptians in case Pharaoh still hardened his heart, I am sure it must have been a regiment or so of half-armed, half-disciplined Confederate Cavalry”
i love history books and this sounds fascinating thanks for the giveaway
Thank you for this contest. I love historical books – fiction and nonfiction. Count me in. Thanks again!
bluemoves @ hotmail . com
Thank you for the great giveaway. I love reading about history.
would love to win this for my boys! a pc of their history!
I love books of historical value! Thanks for the giveaway!
bsyb100 at gmail dot com
I like the post. I sent it to my camp. I wish we could get people to stand up and be accounted for on this time of “PC”. Very good blog too.
Brian Blevins, Cmdr
A.J. Ringo 1509
New Castle In.
Even though I was born’n’raised a Yankee, I know enough to understand that the men and women of the Confederacy had valid points, needs, concerns and lives…and ultimately, a story to be told. I’d love the opportunity to learn and understand more. asthenight at gmail dot com
I would like to read Shades of Gray.
Thanks for the giveaway!
wow…so many comments what are my chances of winning a copy? 🙂 Keep it up!
I would love to read Shades of Gray — I love historical books and I enjoy sharing history with my kids as well.
Sounds like a great read.
I would love to win this to give to my brother. He is very interested in the Civil War. His son lives in Front Royal Virginia where some of the famous battles were fought.
Seems like a great read
Thank you for a great giveaway. I would love to win. tHank you