The War of Northern Aggression

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There is a brewing controversy here at the homestead with the place going up for sale. I’m getting push-back from Californians over this picture, hanging in my den.

It is “Lee’s Old Warhorse” by Mort Kuntsler. AND it’s been framed and hanging in my den for at least twenty years. Sensitive people apparently feel that it is an advocation of slavery and it-is-not. If I had a picture of a negro picking cotton, then they might have a point, but I don’t.
From Kuntsler: On the morning of July 3rd, Longstreet and Lee rode the line out to the Confederate right. Some sporadic fire from the Hill’s artillery broke out in front of Heth’s division but died away shortly after noon. The artillery piece nearest to us is a bronze Napoleon. Next is another Napoleon firing. I have used the flame of the explosion to silhouette the artillery officer observing through his binoculars. 
With Lee and Longstreet, of course, are their respective staffs; officers, couriers, flag bearers, etc. Within this entourage, are some recognizable members of both staffs. Above Traveller’s head, between the flag bearer and another soldier, is Lt. Col. Walter Taylor, one of Lee’s closest aides throughout the war. Immediately to the left of Lee is Lt. Col. James Corely. Lt. Col. W.H. Stevens is to the left of Longstreet, looking at the two generals, watching and waiting. The staffs mingle with each other, conversing and waiting for the last decisions to be made for the final assault. 
The main artillery barrage would begin at 1:00 p.m. and last for two hours. The scene was set for Pickett’s Charge!
Gen. Forrest
Furthermore my last house had photos of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee hanging proudly in the parlor and an Indian family (red dot, not feather) bought the place. The house took one week to sell, which means that I’d priced it too low, but I didn’t want to quibble since the new house that I live in now was ready to move into (I had it built too). 
Speed of sale notwithstanding, does a picture of Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg offend you – the blogging public?
If I had “Bury me in Southern Ground” playing in the background as you toured the house would it make you more or less likely to buy the place?
The house, staged for sale, doesn’t include my I-love-me-wall of fame and the rest of the stuff that makes the place look like the Imperial War Museum. It’s generic enough to appeal to the average person. I don’t have gaudy tastes.

I’m dividing my time between the California residence and the WWM with a lot of my work taking the form of telephone calls while I’m on the road.  There’s a 3D view of the plans that I’ve been walking through and it’s one of those time wasters because I keep playing with it.

17 thoughts on “The War of Northern Aggression

  1. Nothing ever stays the same, LL. There was a time, not that long ago, that you could fly the Stars and Bars proudly in your front yard, and nobody would say boo. Like, perhaps 3 years ago. That same flag was on the top of a 1969 Dodge Charger (the 'General Lee') every week in American living rooms across America, and 'The Dukes of Hazard' was one of the top rated shows in the country.

    Nowadays, you can't even say the name Nathan Bedford Forest without being called a filthy, degenerate racist.

    What happened to us?

  2. You could explain to the sensitive types that the picture helps document one of 'ol Bobby's biggest blunders of the war. Lee should've paid a little closer attention to Hunt's artillery up on Cemetery Ridge.

  3. What happened to us?

    A question for the ages. But as LindaG pointed out, most Americans don't know how many people sit on the Supreme Court and couldn't find Mexico on an unlabeled map. Thus their judgment when it comes to – almost everything – comes into question.

  4. Sand-table generals such as myself have been arguing the tactics and cause and effect of that war since it ended. There are a million what-if's. But I could never bad mouth Robert E. Lee to some scum sucking look-e-loo who took exception to my picture. There are places that I just can't go in that regard.

    And if they decided to actually criticize Lee in my house? I've thrown people in Asia off tall buildings for less (back in the old days).

  5. I have Lee mounted on Traveler, complete with leather scabbard for his sword. Long story short, wife saw it (limited edition of 1,000 – yeah I know) went back several times to get it. Bought it for my birthday. The number on the back (she didn't look at the number, just a feeling she had), 754. The hull number of my ship. But your painting is great. I love Kuntsler. His detail is amazing. But the response to your painting is reason no. 1,675 why you are leaving CA.

  6. It's important that we recall history – including our own particular history – to remind ourselves who we are, and the debt to the nation that has been passed down to us. The 754 (USS Frank E. Evans) is karma. No other way to account for it.

  7. If you are interested, this is a good read on Traveller

  8. >would it make you more or less likely to buy the place?
    I think the mosque down the street outweighs nearly any decor or music issues :-( Speaking of that demographic versus your deplorable lack of gaudy tastes: wouldn't it help to stage the house with excessive gold decor, and garish red and orange to boot?

    Gotta admit I once did have words with the agent about a house showing. The home office had a huge bulletin board/calendar. It had Post-its and airline boarding passes specifying exactly when the occupants would be gone, and for how long. "Kathy DTW to SFO Delta 1234" and "Kathy ARR DTW 9:20pm" and so forth. A very organized couple lived there. I suggested they might want to consider NOT leaving up/out all this info pertinent to thieves and wrongdoers during an open house. The agent looked at me as if I had three heads and a gold crown on each. "Whut?"

  9. Yes, I'd be a big hit there. California? Better to have built a minaret in the front yard.

  10. Sales Tactic.
    Agent to prospect, "We took this listing just to try and get this dangerous person out of San Diego. Can you help us?"
    Leave it up, after properly prepping the agent.

  11. My maternal grandparents were first-generation American, born and bred in Massachussetts. Italian was their native language, but they had strong New England accents. Despite the family connections to the North, except for slavery, I actually have a lot of sympathy for the South, and a lot of respect for its fighting spirit. There can be no doubt that Lee and Forrest were brilliant generals, though the latter's memory suffers as a result of Fort Pillow.

  12. So that other readers understand your comment more fully: General Forrest raided along the Mississippi River with orders to reduce Union fortifications and lines of supply and communication. At the time of the Battle of Ft. Pillow, he divided his forces, sending Col. Buford to Paducha.

    Forrest's command came under sniper fire and his horse was killed under him. He responded in turn by deploying sharpshooters.

    The Union was about to be reinforced and General Forrest needed to resolve the situation quickly, so he offered terms to the officer commanding Ft. Pillow. Major Boothe, commanding, refused terms and General Forrest assaulted his position. The Union force consisting of a mixed group of white and colored units were pressed hard and most turned to run, but were unable to get far. Though terms had been refused, Forrest's officers demanded surrender, which the Union officers refused.

    A disproportionately large number of negro troops were killed that day in the melee of battle and in the ensuing situation where Union command refused surrender even though many of the negros were trying to. There was a situation where some troops continued to fight while others surrendered. In combat that often means that everyone is shot.

    Not all of the Union troops and not all of the soldiers from colored units were killed by Forrest's men. The newspapers called it a "massacre". If Forrest wanted all of the witnesses eliminated, he would have seen to it, but he didn't.

    By the spring of 1864, the war had taken a decidedly nasty turn. There was very little of the chivalry that was present earlier in the conflict. Lee would surrender one year almost to the day from the capture of Ft. Pillow.

    Whether or not it was a massacre and whether or not Forrest attempted to restrain his soldiers is still in dispute. My sense is that after the Union refused terms, and after they refused surrender after the fortifications were breached by Forrest's Cavalry, the general did not feel compelled to give them quarter.

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