My Hometown Put To The Torch by the Yankees
Charles L McCain
After the Yankees burned down my hometown of Orangeburg, South Carolina in February of 1865, local people were mad. One hundred years later when I grew up in Orangeburg, the local people were still mad. Not the same ones, of course. Just local people in general.
Seems that the telegraph line and rail line between Columbia and Charleston ran through Orangeburg so the town was seized by Union troops under the command of General Sherman. These soldiers burned all the public buildings including he courthouse and the jail.
Early in the war, the able bodied men of the area had formed the Edisto Rifles and had gone off to join what later became the famed Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Robert E. Lee. So when the Yankees showed up, only a handful of troops drawn from the local militia were available to defend the town.
They dug in along the bank of the Edisto River,which runs through Oangeburg, and held off the entire Union Army for a few days. Then they fell back toward Columbia. There was a lot of falling back in those days.
Besides burning down the public building, General Sherman quartered his horses in the Presbyterian Church. This was one damn thing too many and everyone talked about this when I grew up. Even my later mother, not one to get to worked up over the Confederacy, used to become annoyed when she thought about this.
My mother was a devout Presbyterian and Presbyterians do not quarter their horses in churches. Ever. Occasionally she would look at me and say, “can you imagine? He put his horses in the church!” Not that we worshiped in that particular building. It had been torn down decades prior and a was replaced by a new Presbyterian Church in the 1920s so it wasn’t even the same building. That didn’t matter.
Ironically, one of the reasons for Sherman’s infamous campaign of destruction on his “March to the Sea”, was to make it so bad that Southerners would remember this for generations and never foment rebellion again. And we did remember it. And we never fomented rebellion again. Instead, we have concentrated on driving the Yankees nuts. And we have.
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The Bonnie Blue flag is often associated with the Confederacy.
While never officially adopted, this was the first flag used by the Confederacy and Confederate troops. This is the “Bonnie Blue Flag,” which also inspired the Confederate marching song of the same name.
We are a band of brothers and native to the soil,
Fighting for the property we gained by honest toil;
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
Hurrah! for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
“Hurrah, hurrah, for Southern rights hurrah,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue flag that bears the single star”
Some people fly this flag in memory of their Confederate ancestors since it has few political associations given that most people have no idea what it is. It never ceases to amaze me how long the various Confederate flags have stayed in the public mind and continue to cause such bitter controversy. As an 8th generation Southerner I can say with assurance that the South lost the war and it is time to put the flag away.
[Images courtesy of Wikipedia.]
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First CSA national flag with 13 stars (November 28, 1861 – May 1, 1863)
The number of stars varied with the number of states coming out of the Union. So there was a seven star flag, an eleven star flag, which is the one in the previous post, with one star for each of the Confederate States, and finally the standard thirteen star flag with one of the stars for Missouri and one for Kentucky since they had both succeeded in rump legislative sessions but in the end were nominally kept in the Union. The flag above is the thirteen star version.
And finally, there is the Confederate battle flag which as you see below is square.
This is the Confederate Battle flag also known as the Army of Northern Virginia pattern battle flag. This flag was carried by Confederate military units fighting on land and was only used by military units.
[Images courtesy of Wikipedia and Wikipedia.]
Part 1 – Part 2
First CSA national flag with 11 stars (July 2, 1861 – November 28, 1861)
The Confederacy had different flags for different things – the navy had a flag, the army had a flag, and the government had a flag. And to confuse things, they kept changing the flags around. The “Stars and Bars” is also known as the “First National Flag.”
The flag above is actually the “Stars and Bars.” The number of stars varied with the number of states coming out of the Union. So there was a seven star flag, an eleven star flag, which is the one above, with one star for each of the Confederate States, and later the standard thirteen star flag. All of the Southern states including Maryland (which never actually seceded), Missouri and Kentucky, had regiments on both sides of the conflict — with the exception of South Carolina. General William Tecumseh Sherman’s personal bodyguard was a troop of Alabama horse.
[Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]