This book is a work of fiction, historical fiction, about a family from the low country of South Carolina at the time of the beginning of the War of Northern Aggression and for over half a century after that. Having said that, let me hasten to add that it is good historical fiction, good because it has a fascinating story to tell, and good because Mr. Moore knows the history he uses for the backdrop of this story. Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down and it seemed to get better as it went along, in spite of the sadness of some of the incidents written about.
The main character is Drayton FitzHenry, the middle son of a family that raises rice on their plantation in the low country of extreme eastern South Carolina. The story covers the period from January, 1860, all the way through to July, 1913, when Drayton, his older brother, Cabell, and Tommy, his grandson, go to the 50th reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Although he was initially reluctant to go to the reunion, Drayton was eventually talked into it by his older brother, and it was good for him that he did go, for it allowed him to unburden himself of a secret about the battle that had haunted him ever since 1867. It was a burden he needed to get rid of.
Let me say this here. I have been to Gettysburg three times over the years, going all the way back to 1961, and then twice after that. I have been across most of the battlefield from the Confederate side to the Yankee side. I’ve stood where Chamberlain’s men stood as they fired on the attacking Confederates, trying to get a feel for what happened to our boys as they crossed that wide open stretch marching into the Yankee guns. I guess, in my mind’s eye I wanted to see if I could see them coming. I couldn’t bring up the vision at that time. But, then, I still had a lot to learn at that time.
One thing I will say about Mr. Moore’s description of the battlefield and the battle, it made me feel Gettysburg all over again as I had on our visits there. It was a mark of the caliber of this book that it made me feel what I had experienced previously only on the battlefield.
Our protagonist, Drayton FitzHenry, marries the one love of his life, his first wife, Cecelia before he goes off to war. She is a Northern girl, in South Carolina with her father, a professor from the North, yet she marries Drayton, initially against the wishes of both her father and his. Yet once married, she becomes part of his family and remains with them the rest of her life, short though that unfortunately is.
Neither Drayton or his family really wants to see this war come. Yet, when it does come, Drayton, his older brother, Cabell, and his younger brother, Ranse, all go off to fight in defense of their native State.
Cecelia extracts from Drayton the promise that he will not let the war make a heartless brute out of him, but that he will exercise mercy as much as is possible in whatever situation he finds himself. To his credit, Drayton does this, but the doing of it, which happens at Gettysburg, is something that causes him heartache for all the years until he goes back to Gettysburg in 1913.
Drayton’s problem begins on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, when General Longstreet, for whom Drayton is a courier and scout, is asked by the general to scout the Yankee army’s left flank to see if there is a way to get around the Northern army that the Confederates can use to turn the Yankee left flank and change the course the battle seems to be taking.
In the course of his scouting, Drayton comes to Little Round Top, and as he scouts out this area, he discovers that there are no Yankee soldiers on Little Round Top. As he is about to depart to inform General Longstreet he hears a noise and discovers that two Yankee officers have also gotten up to the top of Little Round Top. He gets into the trees out of sight and observes them. With him he has a Spencer repeating rifle that has been appropriated from the Yankees in battle, and his first thought is to shoot the two Yankee officers who are up there with him. But then, the admonition of his wife to show mercy wherever possible comes to him and he hesitates to shoot two men in cold blood from ambush, and so he eases his finger off the trigger and the Yankees leave. At that point, Drayton leaves also and gets back to Longstreet as quickly as he can. But he has further to go than the two Yankees do. He gets back to Longstreet and tells him what he found, but before Longstreet can really do much in the way of moving troops there, the Yankees have already started moving men up to the top of Little Round Top, and we all know the rest of that story. And so, for the time being, although Drayton is sad that the Yankees beat us to Little Round Top, he doesn’t think all that much more about it. His future reflections on that situation come two years down the road.
In February of 1867, Drayton gets to visit with former Confederate General Edward Porter Alexander when both are teaching at the University of South Carolina. Alexander shows him an article written for the New York Times, a tribute to Union General Gouverneur Warren, written in July of 1865.
The article explains that General Warren was the Union officer, part of Meade’s staff, who was responsible for securing Little Round Top for the Yankees, which made the difference in the outcome of the battle. This was the officer that Drayton had seen up there and declined to shoot from ambush, and that act of mercy, a fatal mercy, made the difference in the Battle of Gettysburg, and eventually in the war as a whole. At this point, Drayton feels the eventual loss of the war is his fault for his act of mercy. He lives with the horrific burden on his shoulders until 1913, when he goes back to Gettysburg and is able to unburden his soul at that point in a speech to his comrades in arms of fifty years ago. And while a handful of them react with anger, the majority do not.
Drayton’s second wife, Annalee, (his first wife, Cecelia, the real love of his life) died in 1864 of typhoid fever while he was away fighting and later on Drayton ends up marrying Annalee. She is no carbon copy of his first devoted wife. She is a control freak who wants to dominate every aspect of his being and she does not want him going to Gettysburg for this 50th reunion because he is out from under her control while he is gone. His whole relationship with Annalee and their “marriage” is an interesting sub-plot in this story, but it would drag this review on too long to go into it in detail here. It’s one of those fascinating parts of this book that you will have to get the book to discover. In the end, Drayton is able to resolve it to his (and our) satisfaction.
You may be able to tell from this review that I really enjoyed this book. I have always enjoyed good historical fiction and this book filled that bill. I hope Mr. Moore will go on and do more work in this area. Good historical fiction always imparts a certain amount of historical knowledge and this book does that. I recommend it strongly.
It was published by Green Altar Books, which is a division of Shotwell Publishing in Columbia, South Carolina.
Lots of folks who don’t have access to the alternative media, or even particularly want it, are questioning what is going on at our Southern border. They are at least mildly curious as to why these caravans from Central America all of a sudden seem to be wanting to get into the United States in droves. There has always been some problem with illegal immigration across our Southern border, but nothing like what is going on now. If this continues it will swamp US resources trying to deal with it. I hate to sound pessimistic folks, but that is the whole idea. That’s the name of the game.
There is a strategy being employed in this scenario and it is not just a spontaneous situation, an isolated occurrence, it has been planned this way. Some have laid the blame at the door of the United Nations, and though I don’t know that for sure, it does sound like something they would be guilty of.
This strategy being employed along our Southern border is called The Cloward-Piven Strategy. Never heard of it, you say. I have written about it before, awhile back. You must have missed those articles. According to https://oathkeepers.org for November 18, 2018: “First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven (both longtime members of the Democratic Socialists of America, where Piven today is an honorary chair), the ‘Cloward-Piven Strategy seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.” Early promoters of this plan to take down this country cited Saul Alinsky as one of their inspirations.
Does it surprise you that people charting the demise of this country have had prestigious positions at Columbia University? Given the anti-American bent of most colleges and universities in our day and for decades before that, it shouldn’t.
I doubt that if this country falls it will be from outside invasion. Rather it will be because our public (and some private) “institutions of learning” have been programming their students to participate willingly in our downfall, thinking that they are somehow promoting the greater good by tearing the country down and replacing it with some sort of vile socialist institution. In other words, for them, evil has become good and slavery has become freedom. And how many people continue to fork over big bucks so their kids can become propagandized in the glories of socialism–Venezuela style! Too many! So when will they ever get it? When they have lost everything–including their children!
An article at American Thinker for October 29, 2018 dealt with much of this, and it even had a picture of Cloward and Piven standing behind Bill Clinton as he signed the Motor Voter Law into existence back in 1993.
This article, written by Brian Joondeph, also observed: “in addition to expanding the welfare rolls internally, another way to overwhelm the system is to import more welfare recipients with the goal of overwhelming the system. This occurs via immigration, both legal and illegal. Think of what the current migrant caravan means in terms of Cloward-Piven. Thousands of poor, unskilled migrants entering the U.S. They need healthcare, education, housing, food, clothing and other basic needs which all cost money. Who pays for this? The migrants arrive with the clothes on their backs, not with job offers from Fortune 500 companies and guaranteed self-sufficiency.” As for who pays for it all–why the lucky taxpayer gets to foot the bill for it all, and if he dares to complain why then he’s a “racist” or even worse, a “white nationalist” no matter what color he is.
I’ve noticed just recently that Trump has threatened to take many of the illegals entering the country and bus them to some of these sanctuary cities that liberals and socialists are so enamored of and drop them off in neighborhoods peopled by mostly white liberals and socialists. The white socialists and liberals don’t like that idea at all. It repulses them. It’s what they’ve been howling for and they love it “Just as long as it’s not in my backyard!” I won’t even label them hypocrites. They are cultural Marxists, which means they have a different standard for themselves than they do for us “great unwashed.” We are all supposed to accept and love the hordes of illegals coming in–just as long as they don’t have to get their hands dirty with them! I won’t tell you what I think of such liberals and socialists–it wouldn’t be printable.
But anyway, that’s what is going on at our Southern border–an agenda put forth by members of the Democratic Socialists of America to help take your country down. Maybe you should read some of what I have been reading about this on the internet and drop a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about it, or even one to your elected representatives in Sodom on the Potomac. At least it will let them know that you realize what game is afoot.
This piece was previously published at RevisedHistory.com on April 15, 2019.
April is Confederate history and heritage month. How many Southerners are even aware of that. How many even care? Admittedly, the news media will give this no coverage, but if they did, how many would care or even take note?
Just last evening (April 1st) I read an article on The Abbeville Blog written by Lee Congleton. It was not a long article, but the author said what he needed to say very succinctly in a few words. He noted the stealthy attack and removal of our war memorials and asked the question “…but that’s the intent of the left isn’t it? Do it quietly but totally.” He labeled those who do this The American Taliban and he observed how effortlessly they pull down and remove our sacred monuments, the remembrances of our culture, heritage and history, just about unopposed by the descendants of those that these monuments are dedicated to.
To be fair, he did note that much of this activity is caused by the “order of leftist City Councils made up of modern day carpetbagger Socialists,…” And naturally you know the “news” media is going to support the efforts of those carpetbagger Socialists against the decent and ordinary folks in any given locality. You might be tempted to wonder why decent folks end up electing socialists to their city and town councils. Could it possibly be because they have not bothered to do any homework about where on the political spectrum these would be office holders are coming from?
And Mr. Congleton also noted: “But that doesn’t change the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any will of the citizenry to stand up against these Commissars of ‘PC Thought’ in support of our heritage and history. They have been brainwashed by our educational institutions to hate themselves if they are white, whipped up by the media, and pop culture that what the South fought for was wrong. We as parents and grandparents failed to teach them any different. We’ve failed generations.” Boy did he hit the nail on the head there. Most of our folks just haven’t wanted to be bothered. Some have, and some have opposed this politically correct leftist garbage–but not nearly enough! If you have fought against this leftist drivel then you know I am not talking about you here. I’m talking about all those folks that had the same chance you had to opposed this crap–and just couldn’t be bothered–too much effort and trouble!
And these will be the ones that bitch the loudest when their culture is gone–the ones that wouldn’t lift a finger to defend it. You will howl “why didn’t someone tell us?” You won’t remember that some of us have been trying to tell you for the last five decades and you didn’t want to hear it. So you wouldn’t listen and somehow now that’s our fault!
Your cop-out will be “our history teachers never told us any of this.” Well, those of us who did learn had the same “history” teachers that you did and by God’s grace we learned what goes on, so why can’t you–or more properly why won’t you? Sadly, many have let the pop culture around them turn them into political wimps.
Once your Confederate and Southern heritage has disappeared it will take generations for it to re-emerge–if ever it does. If you continue to let the far left remove your history and heritage you are ceding to them the right to control your future and the future of your children. Are you willing to hand that to them? I’m not! If you are, or don’t care, then shame on you–your birthright is for sale for a mess of bean soup–or the next reality show!
Let the minions of the far left and those that finance their agenda know that you have not forgotten and won’t forget your heritage and history. Every time those people see a new Confederate flag somewhere it makes their job that much harder so let’s work to make it as hard for them as humanly possible.
This piece was originally published at RevisedHistory.com on April 2, 2019.
Dr. Boyd D. Cathey, retired registrar of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, has written a book that can, and should, be embraced by every Southern patriot no matter where he lives. Its title is the title of this article.
The importance and tenor of Dr. Cathey’s book is described in a brief forward for the book, written by Dr. Clyde Wilson, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History, University of South Carolina. Dr. Wilson has said: “We Southerners are blessed to have a rich story that is still powerful among us and also far beyond our borders. That history is envied and hated by postmodern Americans who have no story of their own and work to destroy the memory of ours. Defending our story is not backward or provincial but is a part of the defense of civilization as we have known it.” In reference to Dr. Cathey’s work he noted: “Herein he has erected a sturdy wall where we can gather to resist the barbarism of our time.” I have to say Amen to that. The anti-Christian and anti-Southern barbarism of our time needs to be resisted–and not only resisted but pushed back against. Dr. Cathey’s book gives us a sense of our history and heritage that will enable us to do that.
Dr. Cathey has divided his book into six parts: a defense of the South and its history; defending the symbols and monuments of our history; what the Nativity says to Southerners; eight Southern heroes and two demons; reviews of films and books; and a final brief part, with a Christian outlook, on the virtue of hope.
At the beginning of part one, Dr. Cathey notes what he called “a new reconstruction.” This is the current assault on Confederate heritage, well, not actually just current. It has been going on for some time now but has recently gotten even more rabid. He notes here, comments by Professor James McPherson, no friend of the South by any stretch of the imagination, and notes McPherson’s commentary in one of his books For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. McPherson, possibly reluctantly, was forced to admit that the vast majority of Confederate soldiers felt they were fighting for liberty. After studying all kinds of manuscripts and thousands of letters, diaries, etc., McPherson wrote: “Southern recruits waxed most eloquently about their intention to fight against slavery than for it…that is, against their own enslavement to the North…Confederates professed to fight for liberty and independence from a tyrannical government.”
Dr. Cathey noted, on page 25, something I have written about several times–the cultural and theological difference between North and South in the 19th century. He says “In the South, orthodox, Trinitarian and Incarnational Christianity, in its various forms, has been and is still central to and pervasive in our society. This fact cannot be emphasized enough. While third and fourth generation Puritans of New England and various groups in New York and Ohio, began to veer into Unitarianism, transcendentalism, and heretical millenarian cults, the South’s popular orthodoxy inhibited deviations and hetrodoxy.”
He noted the tentative truce between North and South that lasted up until the 1950s. He observed “…the triumph of the ‘civil rights’ movement which in some ways was a frontal attack on constitutional republicanism and the rights of property, and the triumph of political correctness and cultural Marxism, all signaled the beginning of a ‘Second War of Northern Aggression’ aimed at totally reshaping and restructuring our culture and at rejecting the principles and beliefs of our ancestors.” He commented about the anti-South indoctrination in public schools and the entertainment media and through “virtual control of both political parties…” He took note of Jefferson Davis’ warning that “conflict between the South’s beliefs and victorious modernism had not ended with Appomattox.”
Dr. Cathey observed, quite astutely, that what passes today in this country for conservatism is actually what many of us refer to as “neo-conservatism” He referred to neo-conservatives as those who “made the pilgrimage from the Left into the conservative movement…” Unfortunately, with a little tweaking to make them sound more “conservative” they retained their Leftist worldview as they infiltrated the real conservative movement in this country. Today, neo-conservatives are closet globalists.
Starting on page 63 and continuing through page 74, Dr. Cathey deals with what he accurately labels “Merchants of hate” the Southern Poverty Law Center. Any Southern historian or patriot should be familiar with this group and its founder, Morris Dees. Dees and his group are infamous across the country and their checkered reputation is more than deserved.
Dr. Cathey demonstrates that he understands our problem when he titles chapter 15 in this book Taking Down Our Monuments is Part of the Marxist Campaign to Transform America. You can’t say it any plainer than that. Unfortunately today, it seems that many Southern patriots can’t seem to wrap their minds around this truth. If they are ever to be effective in standing up for their heritage they need to begin to grasp who their enemies really are!
In the middle of his book, after displaying examples of all the cultural Marxist agendas arrayed against us, lest we become weary in well doing, Dr. Cathey gives us commentary about the true hope of Southern Christian patriots when he notes the Nativity of our Lord. He says: “And although our Lord and Saviour indeed came first to the Jews, and offered them His reparative Grace and Salvation, it was by no means to be limited to them. Indeed, His message was universal (as it had been to Abraham). And those Hebrews who accepted the Messiah–and those gentiles who also joined them–became the Church, the ‘New’ Israel, receptor of God’s Grace and holder of His promises and carrier of His Light unto all the world.” In these often dark days of egregious cultural Marxist offenses against our heritage and culture we need to remember that our Lord is ultimately in control of all history and therefore, our efforts to preserve our culture and present the truth to our people and others are not in vain, even if we do not live to see the results of those efforts.
In part four of his book Dr. Cathey deals with eight Southern heroes and two demons. He presents to us commentary about each of these men, from Nathaniel Macon, who was instrumental in giving us our concept of states’ rights, to James Johnston Pettigrew, who fought at Gettysburg, and who said: “Local attachments are pronounced, by the modern school of social philosophers, to be relics of barbarism, ignorance and prejudice, forgetting that prejudices are given us by the all-wise Deity, as well as reasoning faculties, and equally for some beneficent purpose…Patriotism, an attachment to, a preference for one’s own home, is still a virtue prolific of measureless good, and for its foundation rests upon enlightened prejudice.”
Also included in this section are President Jefferson Davis and Robert Lewis Dabney. Dabney was probably one of the most prescient men of his time. He understood national issues and had the foresight to see where this country would logically go as a result of the Northern victory in the war. After the war he devoted much effort to writing about the problems with public education, the womens’ rights movement and many other controversial issue of that day. Reading Dabney’s comments in many of these critical areas and then checking out where some of those issues are at in our own day, I have to conclude that Dabney had a foresight in his day that few had. He wrote to warn people of where we were headed, but few listened to him. More’s the pity, for he was right on target.
Dr. Cathey continued on with commentary about Mel Bradford and Eugene Genovese, and Senator Sam Ervin. He even had comments about movie actor Randolph Scott, born in Virginia but raised in North Carolina. I recall him from my younger days, having seen many of his Western movies (Westerns have always been my favorites). Scott quit doing movies around 1960 because he saw the new trend in movies with all the nudity and rotten language and didn’t feel he wanted to be part of all that. Who can blame him?
Then, Dr. Cathey dealt with the two demons–Abraham Lincoln and Victor Davis Hanson. I won’t go into the sainted Mr. Lincoln here. Most who will read this already know where he was coming from and over the years I have written lots of stuff about him that was far from complimentary–but then he didn’t deserve any compliments. Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t deserve any either. I remember, years ago now, reading an article someone sent me that Hanson had written explaining how beneficial Sherman’s March had been for the South. I recall reading that and thinking “He’s has to be kidding, right?” I’ve read more than enough about Sherman’s March to know what it did to the South and anyone perverse enough to regard that atrocity as beneficial has to have a very unusual sense of “beneficial” in my estimation.
Included in Dr. Cathey’s book is a section on reviews of books and films contemporary to our day. Some of these were positive, but that was a few years ago. Nowadays anything positive about the South ends up on the “cutting room floor.” I recall reading reviews for Gods and Generals back in 2003. I felt it was a good movie. The reviewers trashed it. I don’t bother doing movies anymore–there is so little I like–but when I used to go I had one criteria I usually followed–if the reviewers all hate it then it’s probably worth going to see.
Dr. Cathey did take note of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest film Death of a Nation. D’Souza is another of those new film makers who seems to believe Lincoln was somewhat of a deity who gave his life to destroy slavery in the “racist” South. I’ve read enough of D’Souza’s tortured renditions of our history to know he doesn’t grasp it, has no feel for what really happened or how folks really felt about slavery or most other questions pertaining to the South and its heritage. So, unless you are one of those folks goes can knowledgeably critique D’Souza’s film work, don’t waste your money!
Dr. Cathey critiques several books in this section, one of them one I reviewed awhile back, Rekilling Lincoln, written by my good friend, and co-author of Lincoln’s Marxists with me, Donnie Kennedy. He points out many of the important points Donnie dealt with in Rekilling Lincoln.
There is so much more important material in Dr. Cathey’s book I cannot begin to cover it all. I had to skip many things I would have loved to have commented on that would have made this review ponderous enough that no one would have read it.
Dr. Cathey’s book is a must read for anyone who sees what goes on today in regard to our heritage and history. He realizes what is happening and yet, as a Christian, he encourages us to persevere and to have hope that what we do is not in vain. This is a message I needed to hear. After almost five decades of doing what I do, with political activism and Southern heritage, often with little positive result that I can see, I tend to get discouraged at times. I need to be reminded that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).
This very readable book by Dr. Cathey has been published by The Scuppernong Press, P O Box 1724, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588, and sells for $28.00. I heartily recommend it.