Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation

The Last Word

Just Another Day on Facebook

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By Mark R. Terry

True confession. I spend way too much time each day on Facebook, one of the many “social media” sites on the internet. Facebook is a great way to communicate with friends and keep up with what is going on in their lives. We can also tune into the things that interest us, like the Civil War.

One of the groups I joined is called “The American Civil War”. Every day, items appear on my “wall” and I have the opportunity to engage or ignore, “like”, or comment on it.

On January 17, 2017, the above painting was posted by Thomas Meagher. I commented “Armistead!” that day and moved on. About two weeks later, I happened to go back and read some more of the comments about the painting. The following ones got my attention:

Steve Reilly: Nice to look at, but we all know this is not what happened. Few made it past the wall and it ended fast.

Kevin Dally: I still don't believe THAT MANY CBF's would have been in that close proximity together in that section of the battle field. I'm betting artist's do that to thrill the pro-Confederate folk to make sales.

Steve Reilly: Kevin Dally is 100% right, the artist goal was to made [sic] money and if he could do that, by making the painting look like a grand confederate mile stone, so be it. When in fact, it was nothing more then [sic] entering the killing field.

Normally, I take comments like these with a grain of salt and move on, but I felt something needed to be said. I replied,

Mark Terry: Kevin Dally, the accounts that I have read go along with the painting. Yes, when the charge began, the flags were at the center of their regiments. But as the assault progressed, casualties within each regiment and the loss of cohesion within the division resulted in the original orderly battle lines becoming a mass of men and battle flags converging in the center. So please do some research before spouting your anti-Confederate rhetoric. Thanks.

Okay, I probably should not have included that last sentence, but I was feeling a bit frustrated. Kevin Dally responded with this comment:

Kevin Dally: Mark Terry Post sources of your "accounts" to back up your pro Confederate rhetoric. It's more like anti glorification of Confederates, not "anti Confederate"!

The challenge was on! After work the next day I looked through my books on Gettysburg and Pickett’s Charge and found the following information:

Dear Kevin Dally and Steve Reilly, since you asked me to give you sources for my assertions that the artist of the painting in question was correct in showing numerous Confederate battle flags at the Angle during the climax of the Pickett-Pettigrew Charge, I decided to consult “The Damned Red Flags of the Rebellion - The Confederate Battle Flag at Gettysburg” by Richard Rollins. This is a detailed study of the battle flags that were captured during the Gettysburg Campaign.

On Page 229, Rollins writes:
“How many Confederate battle flags were carried over the stone wall during Pickett’s Charge? One Federal eyewitness, a man in the 106th Pennsylvania who testified in court, said he saw six Confederate battle flags inside the angle. Lt. Haskell described “those red flags…accumulating at the wall” as numbering “a dozen” but did not specify their exact location on the wall or east or west of it. Yet at another point he mentioned 12 Federal flags at the wall and “nearly double this number of the battle flags of the enemy.”

At least nine Confederate battle flags crossed the wall and/or were in the Angle at one time or another, though perhaps not all at exactly the same time. Those were the flags of the 1st, 3rd, 9th, 14th, 28th, 53rd, 56th and 57th Virginia Regiments, and the unidentified flag captured by Pvt. George Moore of the 71st Pennsylvania. All were seized in the Angle. Two more, the unknown flag captured by Col. Devereux and the unknown flag captured by Pvt. Robinson and then given to a Colonel Rice, crossed the wall south of the Copse of Trees. That brings the total number of flags crossing the wall to eleven.”

Rollins goes on to write that it appears at least 38 Confederate battle flags were captured during Pickett’s Charge.

To Steve Reilly and Kevin Dally, their prejudices led them to the wrong conclusion that the painting was a pro-Confederate fantasy, when in fact it was portraying the truth.

I share this with you for this reason. Before we make assertions about facts, we should probably examine the paradigm we see history through and adjust it with the truth.

DUES & DONATIONS

The PSCWRT season goes from September to the following May. Dues should be paid in September. They are payable either at the meeting or by mail: $20 per individual, $25 for a couple. Also, donations are gratefully accepted. These will help secure speakers for our meetings.

Please note that all donations are tax deductible as the PSCWRT is a 501(c)3 organization. Mail to: Jeff Rombauer, Treasurer, 22306 255th Ave. SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038-7626. Call 425-432-1346, or email: jeffrombauer@foxinternet.com.
We welcome your article or research submissions for the newsletter, but they may be edited. The deadline for the APRIL 2017 Washington Volunteer is March 27, 2017. Please have it in Mark Terry’s hands via email or snail-mail by then. Thank you!