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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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1/24/2013 9:55:00 PM
Confederate veterans' descendants aim to preserve heritage, dispel misconceptions
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Members of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans group and a representative of the Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies celebrate the birth of Robert E Lee at the Palace Saloon in downtown Prescott Saturday.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Members of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans group and a representative of the Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies celebrate the birth of Robert E Lee at the Palace Saloon in downtown Prescott Saturday.

PRESCOTT - As a child, Bob Anderson paid close attention when his elders talked about family history.

Through early stories from his maternal grandmother Radiant Bliss Word, for instance, he learned that his great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin Word had once served as a private in the Alabama Cavalry for the Confederacy.

"Grannie was a genealogist in her own right, and she told me in passing about her dad," Anderson said of his grandmother, who was born in 1880.

Although the South was defeated in the War Between the States, Anderson, 70, holds onto an obvious sense of pride about his great-grandfather's service.

Today, he wears that pride on his sleeve - literally, as a member of the gray-uniformed Sons of Confederate Veterans camp of Prescott and Prescott Valley.

Likewise for group Chaplain Mike Pulley, whose great-great-grandfather J.W. Pulley served as a private with the Confederate's Arkansas Infantry, and ended up as a prisoner of war.

Several dozen members of the Confederate Veterans group gathered Saturday at The Palace Restaurant & Saloon in downtown Prescott for their regular monthly meeting, which also coincided with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's 206th birthday.

While they acknowledge that their gray uniforms and display of the Confederate flag can elicit angry responses from some people, the group members say their mission is more about history than about any political statement.

"It's about heritage," said Stephen Waller, whose cousin Archibald Waller served in the Jeff Davis Legion.

Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall, who was on hand for Saturday's meeting, agrees. "I think it portrays a lot of the history of our area," he said, noting that the group takes part in local parades and re-enactments.

And when it comes to history, the group members maintain that many Americans do not have the accurate facts about the war, including its name.

"One big mistake is that everybody was taught that it was a Civil War," Waller said. Rather, he sees the war as a revolution similar to the American Revolution.

"The federal government won the war, so they're going to write the history," Waller said. "Our ancestors have pretty much been vilified by the public school system."

Central to that, the group members say, is the issue of slavery. Most Confederate soldiers came from families that did not have slaves, Pulley said. His family, for instance, were sharecroppers who farmed their own land.

"People forget that slavery existed in the whole country at the time, and less than 10 percent (of Confederates) actually owned slaves," Waller said.

He and others say that President Abraham Lincoln made the war about slavery, but that it was more about money and tariffs.

While emphasizing that "slavery was an abomination no matter what culture it's in," group member Gene Bonfoey questioned the moral ground of the U.S. government, which was simultaneously engaged in "annihilating the Indians."

Contributing to their group's image problem, say its members, is the misplaced use of the Confederate flag. "A lot of those horrible white supremacist groups unfortunately use the flag," Waller said. "That's not who we are."

The local members say the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization dates back to the late 1800s, when war veterans and their descendants began meeting. Today, Waller said, similar groups exist "in every state in the Union."












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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2013
Article comment by: Hank Clark

it'strue that history is a good thing to kow.

it's too bad that most of this article's history is incorrect.

One would think that the writer and editor would want to print the truth and not merely someone's unchecked myths...


Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: How Many?

Well, we’re all in agreement that history is very important to study. The nest step is to learn FROM history, not just of history. Here’s one lesson: psychological barriers to true learning are formidable.

I read the criticisms of modern-day education: how many of these people are professional educators? How many hold at least one advanced degree and have been published in at least one peer-reviewed publication, helping to set us straight on what actually transpired in and around the American Civil War?

They call themselves veterans. How many have served in combat? Many actual combat veterans are not so eager to glorify any war, let alone a war against one’s own country in defense of the plantation-slavery way of life.

Take a close look: that’s not a bar, that’s both a patronizing and hyper-defensive hand on the shoulder. Stop defending with your lives something that isn’t worth a damn.


Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Southern revisionism is baloney

There is too much falsehood and pure baloney in Hoffman's post to respond to it all. But here are a few facts: Although the North had engaged in the slave trade prior to the Revolutionary War, afterward the South continued to depend heavily on the practice while the North progressively rided themselves of slavery. By the time of the 1790 census, 94 percent of the 698,000 U.S. slaves lived below the Mason-Dixon Line. Those are census records, not phony lies like Hoffman's.

There is no Constitutional right to secession and there never was. There is even a Supreme Court decision the confirms that the Constitution contains no right of secession. South Carolina threatened secession during the Jackson administration and again when California was to be admitted to the Union in 1850 as a free state (note that it was the slave question that was already driving them to threaten secession). The firing of Southern guns on Fort Sumter was an act of war on the USA. This was Benedict Arnold-like treason against their own country, only on a much larger scale. Only the benevolence of the government at the end of the Civil War prevented Jeff Davis and Robert E. Lee from being hanged as the traitors they were.


Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013
Article comment by: Dave Hoffman

Many commenters on this article were obvious graduates of public school after 1980+. If you really think that hundreds of thousands of White men were going to lay down their lives to protect slavery and willing to die for Black people you are seriously misguided. Almost all of the slave trade was in Boston and Rhode Island not the South. One of the heroes of the north Abraham Lincoln was a supporter of the Re-Colonization of Blacks. Here you can read in his words: http://www.feastofhateandfear.com/articles/negro_equality.html
You that state the WBS was caused by slavery are considerably ignorant of the facts and have been brainwashed by the public schools. How about the "Freemen" that went up north after the war? They could not get any jobs because the benevolent north wanted nothing to do with them.
Some of you site the KKK to put shame on the South. The KKK was started to protect the Southern women and children from the Yankee troops which now had freed slaves in them. They were burning down farms, killing all livestock, raping the women and killing the children. Black and White Union soldiers both are guilty. As we all know the KKK morphed into a group that no longer held Southern ideals. No Southern soldier (there is always an exception) ever would've done the rape and pillage that the North did to the South. Lincoln was putting northern newspaper editors in jail that spoke against him for his power grab. One of you wrote that the South were traitors because of seceding. It's was their Constitutional right to do so. I suggest that history is always written by the victor and always has been.


Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: Southern treason not Southern independence

The real reason the power brokers in the South wanted independence was to preserve, and even expand, their slave-based economy. But some Southern groups to this day insist on telling lies to paper over the truth. The South attempted to secede from the good old USA and that was treason---no amount of bs can change that fact.

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: Erik LeBlanc

You know the war for southern Independence was just that...slavery had very little to do with it except in the fact that the North used it to cover their atrocities against the South which continues today...as with the battle flag....ours is the only country that doesn't know that as a flag of freedom.....as for slavery....the North was not getting rid of them...in fact General Grants wife had to be forced by court order in 1868 to release her slaves and the emancipation proclamation only released slaves in the South not in the North or states friendly to the North....90 % of the history you have read was written by Northern authors so the lies are continually repeated...but believe what you want....this is still a "free" country...for the short time left anyway

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: Aristocratic South fought to preserve slavery

@ Just Saying: It wasn't the common soldier in the South that determined whether they would secede from the Union but the aristocratic plantation owners who held power. They saw that the future of slavery was in danger if they remained in the Union--and slavery was the ultimate source of their wealth and power. All of this is well-documented in books such as Battle Cry of Freedom. True, the common Reb soldier didn't have slaves, but they were drawn into war by the "top" of Southern society. The North, on the other hand, was progressively ridding itself of slavery rather than fighting to preserve it.

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: Just Saying

The USA was the country of slavery in 1861. ALL states had slaves. Even "Union" officers owned slaves. It is sad the schools do such a poor job transmitting factual history. Rather myth or no history is passed on. Look how stupid most American adults are.
The facts are that only 7% of "Confederate" soldiers owned slaves.
93% of "confederates" were poor uneducated uninformed young men, similar to taday's military


Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: I was

born in the south. Attended a high school named after a confederate general and founder of the kkk. Our mascot was a Kentucky type colonel and our football tem was known as the rebels. Other schools in the area included Rober E. Lee High, Jeb Stewart and Jeff Davis. Never even talked to a black person until I was joined the Navy in 1964.

Funny thing is that I always rooted for the rebels and the Native Americans in the movies and felt bad when I watched Roots.

Now that I'm fairly old I respect everyone and try to get along with all.


Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: TO: Alan Whitney

Your comments could be said of the 2nd Amendment also...

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: bob grant

The article reminded me of conversations with older Germans "we Nazis werent so bad" Confederate=slavery.
Next we will have KKK reenactments.
The sick minded who support this offensive display should be elected out of Office ASAP


Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Read History

The Southern War for Independence, or Civil War, depending upon one's perspective is well documented as to cause, course, and conclusion. It would best serve some of those herein commenting to do a bit of reading about the conflict before setting finger to keyboard. As is, their ignorance stands paramount.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Look. The War Between The States ended 150 years ago.

It was what it was, and the descendents of those who fought have nothing to be ashamed about. And neither did the men who fought for the South, slavery aside.

Those who are "Offended" by American history need to... Wake up? Get a life? Go away?

They only want to be mad.


Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Lee White

To take on a few things, first most Confederate soldiers were between 18 and 25, so of course most didnt own slaves, but much more than 10% came from families who did. Second of all, Sharecroppers could not farm their own land, they worked some one else's land, whom they paid their "rent" by giving them a share of what they produced. Finally, if you read most of what has been written about the Civil War, particularly in the 100 years after it, then the idea that the victors wrote the history is bunk. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were two of the most iconic Americans, so in a senes the Confederacy won the history war.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Heritage Horror

Just because something is "heritage" doesn't make it good. What is depicted here is so low, so shockingly misguided. The American Civil War was bad enough, these people have to throw their lives away almost 150 years after the fact?

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: open book

This qualifies as a group that should accept that they were wrong and they lost. All of this "everybody is a winner" and "you don't understand" is the same stuff that many are complaining about why we have a society that feels entitled. These adults foment that idea. These people lost and they should move on. If you aren't going to call this group on their entitled ideas, then please do not complain about anyone who feels entitled to something.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: wackos believe wacky fables

The only group that is buying this bull about the Civil War not being about slavery are wackos that dress up in Confederate uniforms. And I suppose the South didn't start the war. Those were just kisses they were launching at Fort Sumter. Let's call them what they really were: Traitors to the United States of America.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: The largest mass murder by firearms in the United States

was perpetuated by the Confederacy, and semi-automatic rifles were not even invented yet.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

It sounds very much to me like these men worked to perpetuate misconceptions, not to dispel them.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: WHAT REALLY MATTERED

The represented fact, true or otherwise, that only ten percent of Confederates owned slaves, is irrelevant. What matters is that obviously a MAJORITY of Confederates SUPPORTED slavery, which benefited their economy, or there wouldn't have been a Civil War/Revolution, now would there?

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: George Gremillion

The Confederacy had it's eye on taking San Francisco, hence gaining a port on the Pacific and also all the gold.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Jane Frazier

"One big mistake is that everybody was taught that it was a Civil War," Waller said. Rather, he sees the war as a revolution similar to the American Revolution.

"The federal government won the war, so they're going to write the history," Waller said. "Our ancestors have pretty much been vilified by the public school system."

This group sees the Civil War as a revolution against the tyranny of the federal government, redefining �revolution� to justify waging war, because they �questioned the moral ground of the U.S. government�. Is this starting to sound familiar, i.e., Conservatives enraged over the tyranny and moral ground of our current administration????

Why not let everyone re-write history to minimize the role their ancestors played? Germans could go around in German uniforms and celebrate their grandfathers who were in the German army during World War II � after all, not everyone was a Nazi. There were, after all �good Germans�. Schools have surely vilified the whole of Germany during that period and all they were doing was annihilating and subjugating anyone other an Aryans. And, of course, any war is about money and tariffs.

Mr. Waller, you are proud of the heritage of your ancestors that they fought on the confederate side to keep slavery? You should be ashamed of yourself. Your ancestors could have made a decision to fight for the Union and against slavery � but then they would have had to agree with its �moral ground� regarding slavery. How do you reconcile that in your conscience?

But maybe you�re on to something � the Civil War was indeed a �revolution� - a War of Independence for Black Americans.


Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ Tricia Cable

Yikes, that was embarassing for you. Lesson learned, eh?

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Lets Play Dress Up

When the photo includes a member of the Prescott Regulators, a pretend group that never existed, this leads to the impression it is all about dressing up and playing pretend. Prescott was formed to establish a hold on the territory, there were no battles here in Prescott, no confederates or confederacy sympathizers.
Even though some of my ancestors fought for the south, they were wrong. I would not honor them playing dress up. Slavery is despicable, and yes, the war was all about slavery.


Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Adolph's Grandkid

My grandpa was a Nazi! He was such a great guy! Sheesh!

How telling that the MAYOR of this city attended this event. Just appalling!



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