RESPONSE TO EILEEN IRWIN
Monday, 23 July,
Eileen..............I thank you for your email and the reason for my
delay in replying is because I have been at our largest re-enactment of the
year. As you have shown an interest in my views and opinion, I shall give you
the most detailed response I can.......
I am somewhat surprised that you
ask me to describe SOUTHERN HERITAGE to you, especially as when you stated I
needed to do much, much, more research on the war. I assumed from this statement
that you were quite knowledgeable on the subject? ...I am pretty sure that you
know very well what Southern Heritage is, however, I am sure that it can mean
different things to different people, and I shall be happy to define it for you
both as I see it and as its defined in the title SOUTHERN HERITAGE IN
I care for the graves of my family here in Britain going back to
the 1840's, I also had relatives that went to America, the three branches
arriving in 1770,1800,and 1852. One of my ancestors lies in Higginsville
Confederate Cemetery, Missouri. He lies there with a bullet in his back from a
Yankee irregular, a man little better than a criminal. I tend the graves of my
family here ,and the SCV and UDC tend the grave of my ancestor in MO, this is of
importance to me ...if I could have one wish it would be to have my grandparents
back, and if I had a second wish it would be to have THEIR parents
In the War of 1861 there were 200,000 participants that were
British born, and in 1861 140,000+ of the population of the Southern States were
British born. I have been aware for sometime that some of those participants
were buried here, and it is largely by my efforts and research backed up by Tony
Jones's incredible knack of tracing difficult examples with little to go on,
that most of these sites have been found here.
250,000 Southern dead in
an effort for Independence, and even more Northern dead, I believe it is only
right that these gravesites should be preserved as a tribute to their bravery,
if these gravesites are left to become ruins what sort of people have we become
Britain also has other historical connections with the South, the
commerce raider CSS Alabama is the most successful warship in history, and the
CSS Shenandoah had the most epic voyage of the 19th century. This is a part of
our history ...our heritage.
When the CSS Shenandoah arrived in Liverpool
many of her crew were Afro?Carr. And as of Feb 1865, there were 1,150 black
sailors in the CS Navy, but I am sure you will have heard the large number of
instances of black people fighting for the South especially as you are
knowledgeable on the subject.
You mention slavery...of course slavery was
wrong, it was wrong then and it is wrong today, but in the 19th century, world
bonded labour was an accepted form of economy in many parts of the world, and we
have now progressed from that situation.
I believe that the Southern
soldier was a brave man and so was the Southern sailor none more than those who
served on the HUNLEY, what bravery it took to enter that craft I cannot
comprehend, these men were among Americas bravest men, yet the NAACP have only
recently been against a museum to their memory using the same old "crock of
horseshit "as reasons to deny these men a fitting tribute.
Men from my
town here in the UK ,as well as my ancestors deserve to be remembered for their
service in that war. If a group of foreigners or people of a different ethnic
background want to celebrate or commemorate their past or their ancestors past,
I have no objection, in Fact, none whatsoever, in fact I would actively support
their right to do so, but ....certain people whose rights I would support object
to me commemorating my ancestors past.
Lets have no ( NO) discrimination
here....there is talk of black people being paid reparations because of slavery
....am I to be denied some of this ( if it ever materializes) because my slave
ancestor was white?
I like yourself was not about in the 1860's ,but my
ancestors were ,and I will not have anyone telling me I cannot honour their
memory. I honour Southern servicemen buried here ,and I tend Yankee gravesites
Last month a CSS Alabama sailor with six surviving grandchildren was
honoured here in a town 15 miles from my house. I organized the tribute, and
considered it an honour. These men took part in some of the most historic
battles on record, I would consider it immoral if I had done nothing and allowed
their gravesites to remain lost and become decayed ruins.
And now comes
the most interesting part.................who do you think is RIGHT, the person
who locates & tends these gravesites or the person who describes the whole
process with the opening statement "What a crock of horseshit"?
...............John Collier in Scarborough, England
23 July 2001
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