- Captain Confederacy, Book One
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- Glossary of Civil War Terms | American Battlefield Trust
Possibly the most successful of all such pilots, and despite a bounty on his head, Ellis always often narrowly escaped capture, and became known as "The Old Red Fox. In all, Ellis made some 20 expeditions, covering some miles, leading approximately fugitives through the mountains. Over half of these joined the Union army. Ellis was a constant aggravation to Confederate authorities, and contributed incalculably to the morale of the beleaguered Unionist East Tennesseans.
As the war waned and his piloting duties were less in demand, he formally joined the Union army as captain of Company A, 13th Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. His official duties included leading raids against Confederates in the upper East Tennessee counties, guiding Federal troops through the northwestern North Carolina mountains, and tracking and arresting AWOL Federal soldiers.
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He mustered out in September After the war, trying to eke out a living in the war-savaged mountains and often the victim of his own altruistic nature, Ellis petitioned congress for compensation for his efforts on behalf of the Union. Ellis was probably assisted in writing the book by William R. The book remains in print and, despite its narrative excesses, is largely regarded as an invaluable, if highly partisan, accounting of conditions in wartime Appalachia.
Some modern critics feel Ellis exaggerates his role; Ellis' contemporaries maintain that he was too modest to adequately convey his war record. Despite the popularity of his book, and partly because of his tendency to give copies away, Ellis remained in poor financial straits.
In Ellis was chosen, by virtue of his reputation for integrity and courage, to act as bodyguard in the congressional campaign of Robert Love Taylor. The congressman rewarded him with a position within the U. House of Representatives. Years later, popular writer James R. Gilmore "Edmund Kirke" was shocked to find Ellis, whom he considered " the hero of the late war" living in obscurity and poverty in the East Tennessee mountains. Gilmore worked to provide more government compensation for the old scout, and used him as a supporting character in one of his novels, A Mountain-White Heroine Due to continued Confederate loyalties in the East Tennessee region, the nature of Ellis' wartime activities, and reactions to his vitriolic book, Ellis' life was threatened for years.
As long as he was able, he was compelled to travel well-armed, always on the alert. His father, Lionel, who worked in a metal fabrication plant, "was involved in very conservative politics," Frank said, without elaborating. The civil rights movement greatly vexed Lionel Earnest, who would arrive home from the factory, settle himself in front of the TV news and utter dire predictions for the country.
In , after Virginia's governor closed a half-dozen Norfolk schools rather than see them integrated, Lionel and his wife gladly enrolled Frank's older sister in a private school. When I asked Frank whether his worldview had been shaped by his father's "very conservative politics," he paused, then stressed again that he is not a racist. As for civil rights in the current era - including giving deference to multicultural sensitivities - he said he tries to be understanding, despite his aversion to "political correctness.
Still, in the end, he acknowledged, we are all our parents' children. This is a horrible example, but it's like slavery. I understand if you were a slave, you wanted freedom now. But there were people questioning, 'How do you just turn them loose? And I think that really goes to desegregation. My father thought it needed to be incremental, done in a reasonable manner. Confederate Frank was a Navy enlisted man for 20 years and an electrical contractor for 20 years after that, until poor health forced him to retire. Billie, who grew up on a farm south of Richmond, Virginia, became an X-ray technician after graduating from high school.
They were married in after he caught her eye at a heritage get-together. For the wedding his second, her third , Frank donned the dress uniform of a Confederate Navy master, and Billie wore a gown fashioned from an bridal pattern. Billie has three sons from her first marriage. She said the siblings, all in their 40s, are "aware of their heritage" but "too busy with life" to devote themselves to preserving it. Frank's son and namesake, from his previous marriage, is a year-old auto mechanic in Norfolk who goes by B. Then, about a decade ago, he said, he experienced an epiphany akin to a religious awakening during a pilgrimage with Frank to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Captain Confederacy, Book One
There, in a three-day battle in July , close to 5, rebels died in a disastrous defeat that put Lee's army terminally on its heels. Frank was wearing a Confederate cavalry uniform that day; B. Now B. He also shares his father's pessimism for the future of the cause, given the apparent tipping point of the Charleston mass murder. At home one evening, Frank got up from his kitchen table and came back with a framed photo, circa In it, a tow-haired boy of about 6 is outfitted for a make-believe battle - maybe like the Siege of Petersburg, at which an ancestral cousin of his fell.
His rifle is a toy Sharps carbine. Strapped to his waist are a holstered cap pistol and a plastic saber in a sheath.
His belt buckle is stamped "CSA," for Confederate States of America, and atop his head sits a reproduction of a rebel soldier's kepi. He said we were going to secede again, and he and I could have a footrace down to the recruiting office. We'd see who'd have the honor of being first to sign up for the new Confederate army.
According to the gospel of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Abraham Lincoln ordered an invasion of the breakaway states not as a crusade for natural rights but to keep the union intact and perpetuate the federal government's economic bullying of the South. As for human bondage, the practice had been dying organically worldwide, and, in due course, it would have ended in Dixie without bloodshed - incrementally, in a reasonable manner, the way Lionel Earnest thought desegregation should have occurred.
And it's true that a few weeks before hostilities began in , the Confederacy's vice president, Alexander Stephens, declared in a speech, "This old thorn of the tariff, which was the cause of so much irritation in the old body politic, is removed forever from the new.
One Saturday while we were traveling in rural Virginia, with Billie at the wheel of her minivan, Frank, sitting beside her, turned to me in the back and said, "Am I right in assuming you've heard of the Tariff of Abominations? South Carolina says remove the tariff or we'll secede.
The president says you can't and sends additional troops to Fort Sumter. South Carolina responds by raising their own troops. Now, what's the year?
When Confederate Frank pops a history quiz, the answers are usually counterintuitive. It's a favorite rhetorical ploy of his. We were motoring along, bound for a distant hamlet called Skeetertown, near the North Carolina border. In the back of the Dodge Caravan were new rebel flags for the Confederate graves in a burial ground there, deep in woods off a tire-track road. It used to be that you could buy these little Stars and Bars pennants at any hardware store in the South, Frank said. Now Billie has to order them online. In the driver's seat, Billie was navigating on her own, past barren cotton patches, past dilapidated mobile homes.
Frank is befuddled by Google Maps and might have gotten us lost. He wasn't out there protecting them. Burn my house! Just as long as you don't take my slaves away' - which, of course, he didn't own any! The boy was fighting for his family and his state.
I get so sick of hearing it. Billie, glancing at me in her rearview mirror, added, "I have at least nine Confederate soldiers' blood running in my veins, and not one of them ever had a slave. Frank sat silently for a while, gazing out a window at the passing countryside, then said: "The Virginia history we were taught, they didn't teach us we were evil and we should be ashamed. We were taught that just as in the first War of Independence, when we stood up to King George III, our ancestors saw the federal government as a tyranny.
The Virginia history we were taught," Frank said, "they didn't teach us we were evil and we should be ashamed. Later, in his den, he pulled it down from a shelf - his eighth-grade civics book, titled "Virginia: History, Government, Geography," copyright , featuring cover illustrations of three U. About of its pages are devoted to "the War Between the States," or "the great war between the North and the South," or "the struggle for Southern independence. Nowhere does the term "Civil War" appear. The dog-eared volume, feathered with sticky notes, is a resource for Frank in preparing the lectures he occasionally delivers at heritage assemblies.
Frank and his classmates were taught that, as a rule, the basic personal needs of slaves were humanely seen to by their overseers.
Glossary of Civil War Terms | American Battlefield Trust
Thus, "a strong feeling of affection existed between masters and slaves," and the slaves "went about in a cheerful manner. Chapter In , a bloody slave revolt in Virginia, led by Nat Turner, who was given to "strange visions," coincided with the growth of abolitionism in the North and its "abusive" propaganda. Out of necessity, "It became unlawful to teach Negroes to read or write because of the fear that they would get dangerous ideas from the books and newspapers of the Abolitionists.
I looked for the chapter about summary hangings of recalcitrant runaways, about floggings and other brutal punishments inflicted after underproductive days in the fields. As Frank might say, "Why am I not surprised they left that out? And he guarded his profit margin with a whip when necessary.
I searched the textbook in vain for this bit of gruesome history. Chapter When the Republican Party, ideological home of tariff zealots, gained the White House in , in the person of Lincoln, Southerners knew that "the time for action" had come. Having "joined the Union of their own free will," they "believed that the Constitution gave them the right to leave the Union of their own free will.
On another afternoon, while we were touring Confederate sites in Virginia Beach, Billie parked her minivan near a monument in front of an old municipal building, and the three of us got out.