Delivered at the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Park for the Confederate Memorial Day remembrance held April 30, 2022.
Thank you for taking time today to consider the deeds and lessons of our long-dead ancestors.
When Confederate commemoration began, it was a memorial to people who were known to those living. Today, it is unlikely that there is a person here who knew an actual Confederate veteran. The last verified Confederate veteran died in 1951.
In a way, that is a greater compliment to you than those who were acquainted with those soldiers, sailors and marines who served the Confederacy in its brief, brilliant career. You love the ancestors you never knew and study their struggles and sacrifices.
But, not outside the memory of many of those present today, was a time when the national culture embraced and venerated the Confederate experience.
Today that American culture is shifting – and not in favor of remembrance. Celebrations and memorial services such as this one are met more and more with not mere indifference, but with outright hostility. One simply cannot deny the malicious influence here of the education (should I say indoctrination?) system and the reigning culture of the media and entertainment industry.
On almost any television show or movie today, if you see a Confederate emblem, you know immediately that you are looking at the murderer or a nut case.
It is not merely the Confederacy which is besieged today. The traditional American nation is under intellectual assault as Columbus, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al., are repudiated across the academy and the pop “culture.” Monuments to almost every period and person – except the momentary heroes of the present – have been vandalized or removed to be hidden from public view. Monuments that remain are often desecrated by having “interpretive” plaques thrown up to assure that the orthodoxy demanded by our ruling cabal is always chanted by the obedient.
In the 2021 Georgia General Assembly, for example, we were faced with a bill that states in part that it would:
“[P]rohibit the display of monuments, memorials, plaques, markers, or memorabilia related to the Confederate States of America, slave owners, or persons advocating for slavery on public property except for museums and Civil War battlefields.”
That would cover 12 of the first eighteen presidents of the United States. “Honest Abe,” as you may have heard, is under attack for hanging Indians and championing the Pacific railroad, now seen as cultural aggression against the “native Americans.”
General Patrick Cleburne wrote about the consequences of losing the war on January 2, 1864:
“It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision. It means the crushing of Southern manhood, the hatred of our former slaves, who will, on a spy system, be our secret police. The conqueror’s policy is to divide the conquered into factions and stir up animosity among them.…”
Thank you for coming out to affirm the positive ideals of our ancestors and rejecting the tidal wave of abuse heaped up their memory.
Let us consider some of the weapons used against our ancestors. I will only briefly take up three today: losing, treason and Nazism.
Americans do love winners and sometimes people will state as if it were a fact that nobody honors losers.
Let us seek to educate the ignorant. Our educational system has clearly failed.
In Judea, at the Battle of Masada, every man, woman and child was either killed by the Romans or committed suicide. The nation went on to be completely dominated by Rome. Jerusalem had been sacked and pillaged. Yet today the Israeli Defense Force swears its officers in at the site of this disaster. Israel remembers.
Ireland and Scotland are filled with monuments to failed independence efforts. Songs and stories abound. Recently “Braveheart” told the story of the defeat and execution of William Wallace for American audiences. The Irish and the Scots remember.
Winston Churchill used to place an obituary every year on the anniversary of the battle of Hastings to mark the death of Harold, the last Saxon king and subsequent conquest of the Normans.
Let me skip to perhaps the greatest loser of all times. He had his nation completely conquered not once, but twice. I speak of the Emperor Napoleon. Yet Paris is more his city than that of any other man or woman. French officers are sworn in at his tomb. France remembers.
Finally, let us make an American reference. Yes, we still remember the Alamo.
To state that we cannot honor losers simply validates the saying that might makes right. Do you agree?
Our cultural arbiters now routinely refer to Confederates as “traitors.”
What about the charges of treason?
The Elizabethan English writer and courtier John Harington pithily observed:
“Treason doth never prosper?
What’s the Reason?
For if it prosper none dare call it treason.”
Treason is the only crime defined in the United States Constitution.
The crime of treason was very narrowly defined to reduce the tendency of British monarchs to use a broad brush charge of treason to crush their foes.
In 1790, the Congress decreed that the mandatory punishment for treason would be death. No other punishment was named. This was the law in effect in 1861. If the Confederates were traitors, then several hundred thousand – if not millions – of Southern men and women would be subject to execution at the conclusion of the War.
But the Federal Congress in 1861 apparently did not view “insurrection” and “rebellion” as treason. On July 31, 1861, Congress set the penalty for conspiracy to overthrow the United States government or interfere with the operation of its laws as a “high crime” subject to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 or (note: not and) imprisonment of not more than six years.
Apparently, the Federal Congress and the Lincoln administration saw a difference between treason and “insurrection” or “rebellion.”
In 1862, Congress reduced the jail term to five years and raised the fine to not more than $10,000.
Since the time of the Middle Ages, the subject of a realm has been permitted to “abjure the realm.” Today we call this renouncing one’s citizenship. In fact, if you buy a firearm, on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473, the Government wants to know if you have ever renounced your citizenship.
I think we can safely say that by resigning from the United States Army and then swearing an oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America and joining the Confederate Army that Lee, Jackson and all other Confederates clearly “abjured the realm” and renounced their citizenship.
Treason is best defined as betraying one’s own country. Treason implies an underhanded, if not secretive, plotting against one’s own nation. Benedict Arnold and Alger Hiss come to mind. A non-citizen cannot betray another country. For example, I cannot “betray” Mexico or Poland.
Following the War for Southern Independence no Confederate was ever tried for treason. Jefferson Davis eagerly looked forward to being tried for treason in order to vindicate the Confederate cause lost on the battlefields in the Courthouse.
Here is an argument attributed to Robert Toombs concerning secession that is never heard today.
As you probably know, the rebelling colonies drafted the “Articles of Confederation” to represent their governing structure.
Recall that the Articles of Confederation were supposed to be a “perpetual union.” When the 12 states met for the Constitutional Convention – and I say 12 because Rhode Island refused to attend – the new Constitution to replace the Articles did not say it was to be perpetual. It is a rule of legal construction that when such a change is made, we presume the drafters – many of whom had served in creating the Articles of Confederation – knew what they were doing when they left out the reference to a “perpetual union.”
The new Constitution became effective upon the ratification of only nine states. (See Article VII.) A new nation could be formed and leave four states out in the cold.
Thus, the Constitution was really a secession from the Articles of Confederation since 12 of the 13 states departed the “perpetual union.” Rhode Island did not join the new Union until it was threatened with trade sanctions. That was able to focus the attention of the Yankee merchant class.
Since it was not present at the constitutional convention, Rhode Island could not ratify the actions of its delegates, but had to accept the entire document before being admitted into the new, modified union.
Thus, as Toombs argued, the present Constitutional Republic was formed by secession of the states from the pre-existing “perpetual union.”
Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s choice for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has been quoted as having said that no prosecution for treason would be successful against Jefferson Davis.
There is no doubt that Chase, a very cagey lawyer, did tell Davis’ lawyers that the 3rd section of the 14th Amendment disqualified Davis from any Federal office and thus any other charges would be double jeopardy.
Chase did write in the case of Texas v. White 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 700 (1869):
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. … There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States. [Emphasis added.]
Thus, we see that Chase did recognize two means of leaving the Union. The South tried one – revolution – and failed.
But was secession treason?
Apparently, the last conviction for treason was the case of Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717 (1952), heard by the Supreme Court in 1952.
Kawakita, who was born in America of Japanese ancestry, moved to Japan in 1939. After Pearl Harbor, he worked in a war industry and helped abuse American prisoners of war there. In 1943 he filed papers stating that he was a Japanese national. During the War, Kawakita mocked the unhappy American prisoners telling them that they would never to return to the United States, but he would since he was an American citizen.
In December 1945, Kawakita went to the American consulate and swore he was an American citizen and wanted to return to the United States. Once in America, a former POW saw him and reported him to the FBI. He was tried for treason. His defense was that he was forced to register as a Japanese citizen and forced to abuse American prisoners.
The judge instructed the jury that Kawakita could not be found guilty of treason if he honestly believed he was no longer a citizen.
The jury concluded that he had never renounced his citizenship since he told POWs he was an American and swore he was a citizen at the American Consulate in December 1945.
On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that, among other issues, that Kawakita should have renounced his American citizenship to avoid being charged with treason.
“…That conclusion is hostile to the concept of citizenship as we know it, and it must be rejected. One who wants that freedom can get it by renouncing his American citizenship. He cannot turn it into a fair weather citizenship, retaining it for possible contingent benefits but meanwhile playing the part of the traitor….”
The current United States Code states that a person has the right to renounce his citizenship.
Let us briefly review the events following secession.
In South Carolina, the cadets of the Citadel, on January 9, 1861, months before Fort Sumter was bombarded, fired on the steamship Star of the West and prevented it from resupplying the Fort.
The Southern states passed, through very public and publicized events (such as conventions, legislative sessions and referenda) ordinances of secession. The Confederate States held a convention in Montgomery establishing a new government and a constitution. The new President took an oath on the Alabama capitol steps. A new flag was created. Military forces were raised, new uniforms created, and arms procured by both purchase and confiscation. Military posts of the United States were occupied, and United States troops returned to the Northern states. The rudiments of a new Navy were begun. The Confederate military men and civilian office holders publicly took oaths of allegiance to the new republic.
This chain of events, most especially the very open withdrawal from allegiance to the United States and swearing allegiance to a new nation, removes all covert purposes and treasonous intent from the acts of the Confederates. The Confederates had clearly and publicly renounced their citizenship and any loyalty owed to the United States of America.
This view is further supported by the post-war requirement of the Federals that former Confederates swear an oath of allegiance to the United States. This Robert Toombs and others refused to do. They were never thereafter considered United States citizens.
The Southern states were forced to apply for readmission to the Union and not allowed representation in the Congress until their government and Constitutions were approved by the Radical Republicans. Georgia was the last state re-admitted to the Union (July 15, 1870).
Howell Cobb, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Secretary of the Treasury under President James Buchanan and a Confederate general, commented that the Federals had fought a war to say that the South could not leave the union. Now they said that the South could not get back in.
Thus, we can see that neither Northerners nor Southerners considered Confederates such as Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson or, indeed, any Confederates to be citizens of the United States. As non-citizens they owed no duty of loyalty to the United States. Owing no duty, they were not traitors any more than their ancestors such as George Washington and other patriots in the first Revolution were. Their revolution simply failed.
As a final piece of information for your consideration I offer the research of Stephen M. Hood. As you might suspect from his name, he is a collateral descendant of the gallant General John Bell Hood. The title is a more modest one than the facts he assembles require: “Patriots Twice, Former Confederates and the Building of America after the Civil War.” Actually, I think you could safely say they were patriots thrice since most served the United States before the War as well.
In summary, ten United States presidents appointed former Confederates as Supreme Court justices, secretaries of the United States Navy, attorneys general and a one secretary of the Interior. Dozens of ex-Confederates were called to represent the reunited nation aboard as ambassadors and counsels. Possibly most tellingly, eight men who donned the gray in the War for Southern Independence wore the federal blue as generals in the Spanish-American war.
Former rebels were elected mayors of such cities as Los Angeles, California, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ogden, Utah and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ex-Confederates were also governors of the states and territories of Colorado, West Virginia, Missouri, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alaska and the Panama Canal zone.
Our ancestors who fought and suffered for the Independence of the Southland were given an honored place in the nation’s history once the immediate post-war hysteria had passed. The victorious Federals were happy to absorb Confederate heroism and honor as part of the mutual patrimony of the reunited nation. But people who never heard a rebel yell are unwilling to accept the verdict of those who did.
The America Robert E. Lee urged all Southerners support after the War is vanishing. It has been revised, reinterpreted, contextualized and re-written.
It will not be long before we will be told that Washington and his men froze at Valley Forge to ensure gay marriage or free abortion on demand.
Maybe we should rethink secession.
But against predator drones, surveillance, electronic warfare and the Leviathan state and now the recently announced Biden Ministry of Truth, actual political secession seems impossible. Well, almost certainly impossible.
A different secession is called for.
We need to consider a secession of the mind.
Solzhenitsyn, the famed Russian author and survivor of the Gulags, discussed the dilemma decent Russians faced under our kindly ally, Uncle Joe Stalin. “Internal Exile” was a term used to describe persons who became “unpersons” or “non-Soviet persons” under the Communist system and were deported to Siberia. Solzhenitsyn suggested that an individual, even under the pressures of the State, could go into an internal exile of a different sort: an exile of the mind. Simply remove yourself from the contaminated present and remain true to eternal values internally. Conform as far as your conscience can permit. But retain your own honesty, decency and dignity, and only associate with like-minded persons. Unlike many, Solzhenitsyn was able to outlast the Soviet state and experience freedom.
British author Evelyn Waugh discussed the same concept in the West. He revived the term “Abjuring the Realm” which I commented on earlier. His definition was: “To make an interior act of renunciation and to become a stranger in the world; to watch one’s fellow countrymen as one used to watch foreigners, curious of their habits, patient of their absurdities, indifferent to their animosities – that is the secret of happiness in this century¼.”
I would suggest that we discard those corrupt practices in modern America and within our own communities while eschewing the madness that surrounds us. Do not become a part of their modern “culture.” And do not leave your children’s minds in the hands of strangers and strange people.
Both Solzhenitsyn and Waugh stress the INTERIOR nature of this renunciation. It takes place within each and every one of us. You need not be obnoxious. Just do not go along.
The answer Nancy Reagan preferred is applicable here: Just say “No.”
Even in the Gilded Age of Reconstruction America you could see the “produce-and-consume” America of today emerging. Money is everything. “Getting it” any way you can is the answer.
So, if you deny money to the creatures that set the standards of America today, you really do hurt them where they feel it most. Do not purchase anything from them. Avoid socializing with them. Cut them, as far as you humanly can, out of your lives. Do not listen to their music; do not buy their books and movies; do not associate with them.
These people live only for money and notoriety. Without those objects, they wither and die on the outside just as they are already dead on the inside.
There are probably 100 million Americans living today with some degree of Confederate ancestry. We have potentially one of the greatest economic blocs at our fingertips – if we would use it.
Our individual lives are rather short. You younger people will have the chance to stand over the coffins of most of us here today. When each of us arrives at that terminal destination, what will Greed have given you?
Our Confederate ancestors would point us to those eternal values: God, Family, Friends, Neighbors, State, Nation – pretty much in that order. They would not barter these values for mere material gain. Not that there is anything wrong with materialism if you do not compromise the eternal in its acquisition. Remember, it is the love of money, not money itself, which is the root of all evil.
Anna Jackson, the General’s widow turned down numerous offers of remarriage following the war. She finally explained that she would prefer to be the widow of Stonewall Jackson than the wife of any man living.
Similarly, General Lee was offered many positions with banks, railroads, Yankee patent medicine companies and other enterprises which would have relieved him from any post-war financial worries.
Lee refused all offers of the easy life saying that he would not trade on his men’s blood. Instead he went to Washington College to help mold the next generation of leaders.
By comparison, the some of the children of the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and slain Civil Rights Leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have worked desperately to monetize family Bibles, Nobel Prize medals, images and words in a desperate effort to avoid working for an honest living.
No, most of our ancestors could see beyond the glitter of a fancy casket.
They could see and sense the heroic and make the heroic a part of their lives. By doing so, they became heroes themselves – whether aristocrats like Lee or simple small farmers and teachers like Jackson or a plain private soldier such as Lawson Henderson Hope who served under both Lee and Jackson.
Their virtues are within us all. They are human virtues. But today these values are being buried under the slag and filth of modern life.
Davis, Lee and Jackson would challenge you to mine those golden precepts and venerate them. Live a real life – not a phony existence limited to its fancy bangles and toys.
Modern America has become the land of the Living Dead. Maybe that is why zombie shows are so popular today. People shuffle through life as if they were brain dead. They are unwilling to confront genuine issues – partly because they do understand that our ruling junta will punish those who dissent from their religious totems. “Diversity” is the chief idol before which they prostrate themselves. This Moloch demands the literal sacrifice of children, for example, by condemning them to be parked in virtual holding cells called public schools. Education is far, far less important than indoctrination. These public schools are not visited by our rulers except in bullet-proof, armored limousines with their sacred persons surrounded by armed guards.
The Spaniards held out against the Moors for over 700 years. Eastern Europeans and Russians refused to accept the soul-destroying Bolshevism imposed upon them for over 70 years. Can Dixie survive prosperity? The auguries are not encouraging.
But the answer is in each and every one of you.
We do not think that Christ lost because he died on the cross.
These are bad times we live in. The Chinese have an ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.”
Prior to comparatively recent days, our ancestors who fought and suffered for the Independence of the Southland were given an honored place in the entire nation’s history once the immediate post-war hysteria had passed.
Today they are routinely referred to as losers, traitors and Nazis and the most evil men and women to ever inhabit the North American continent.
I know something about Nazis having been involved with a typesetting concern that set type for a Nazi group. I can assure you that I saw no Nazi propaganda that in any way resembles the structure desired by our Confederate ancestors. In fact, some historians state that the South “died of State’s Rights.” National Socialist Germany was a dictatorship run from the top down. Most of those individualistic Confederates would have wound up in concentration camps under the Third Reich.
You may want to consult Adolf Hitler himself. At the Virginia Holocaust Museum website you can find the 25 points of the Nazi Party. See where they agree with the principles of the Confederacy.
Speaking of which, where are the Confederate extermination camps? While the Confederacy may have had slavery – as did every society and every racial group – unlike the Communists and the Nazis murder was never a part of Confederate national policy.
I am always ready be educated. Show me where these facts are wrong.
It is interesting to note that the man who was Supreme Allied Commander and fought real Nazis, General, later President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept a portrait of General Robert E. Lee in the White House oval office. Challenged by a New York dentist, he defended Lee in very glowing terms that would resonate with most Americans of his time.
… I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War between the States the issue of secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.
General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America…
…Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.
From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.
Dwight D. Eisenhower 
To call our ancestors “Nazis” when General Eisenhower and Winston Churchill held General Lee and other Confederate leaders to be noble, courageous and worthy of emulation shows historical ignorance of a breathtaking degree.
Additionally, many of the leading officers of the United States Army in the Second World War to say nothing of a disproportionate number of enlisted men were of Confederate ancestry. The end of the Hitler government was made possible disproportionately by the efforts of Confederate descendants.
By contrast, “anti-fascists,” for example, are so ignorant of history that they vandalized a statute of General Lee in Dunn, North Carolina.
Unfortunately, it was the statute of General William Lee, father of the American Airborne and commander of the 101st Airborne in World War II. They apparently could not recognize that he did not look like Robert E. Lee. He did not wear the same uniform as Robert E. Lee. They did not or could not read the plaque describing his service. Since he had the same last name, that was good enough.
As Tennessee Ernie Ford might say, “Bless their little pea-picking hearts.” And their pea-sized brains. So, they attacked a monument to a solider who fought against the Third Reich all in the name of anti-Nazism.
Let me offer a brief little contrast between our corporate media’s treatment of their own heroes.
Just look at “Hanoi” Jane Fonda. She famously sat at a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun that was tasked to shot down American pilots. If you have not viewed the photos lately, I invite you to do so. The simpering adulation she shows to the enemy gunners is almost beyond belief. In one photo she is applauding the gun crew.
She did not renounce her citizenship when she applauded the anti-aircraft gunners. No, she was then defended by our establishment as an American citizen simply expressing her opposition to the “war.”
Fonda was then and remains today supported by our managerial class. No aid and comfort to an enemy can be found in her actions. Nothing to see here. Keep moving on.
When is the last time you saw any of those photos in the corporate media? Many of you young people have probably never seen them. At least for the moment “cancel culture” has not scrubbed them from the internet. Maybe they are proud of her.
But the Confederates are regarded by these same guardians of our morality as the traitors.
We have a duty. It is a duty which General Stephen D. Lee incorporated in the “Charge” to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles for which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.”
That charge is truer today than any time since 1906.
Henry Adams made the sly observation that it was hard to believe in evolution when one observed that the American presidents had degraded from Washington and Jefferson to Grant. The office has certainly descended even further when you compare Washington, Jefferson, Madison and even the Adamses with the presidents of the last forty years such as the Bushes, Clinton, Obama, even Trump and certainly Biden. Can you imagine Mary Custis Lee and Robert E. Lee inviting any of them to be house guests at Arlington?
We are not required to take the field like our ancestors did. We do not have to face shot and shell or privations. We must stand up for truth without fear or favor. We need not be ashamed of our ancestors or try to sugar coat and falsify their opinions.
Our Confederate ancestors were among the noblest Americans in recorded history and deserve (and desired) nothing less and nothing more than “that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.”
So, what is the state of the Confederacy today? It is merely a state of mind. We must work to assure that our minds remain unoccupied territory. Our souls must remain true to the positive values of our ancestors and learn from their mistakes and errors. Our children must learn true principles. Dixie has paid a heavy price for failure.
The mind is the ultimate in local control. Solzhenitsyn showed that even under the physical tyranny of Bolshevism an individual can still stand for truths.
Our ancestors had values. If we are to live up to the charge of Stephen D. Lee, we must drop the negative life values governing this nation and this popular culture, adopt the best attributes of our ancestors and conquer – Ourselves. Victory is in ourselves and ourselves alone.
Prove that you are a descendant of your honorable and courageous patriotic Confederate ancestors and not merely descended.
 Buck, Irving A., Captain, Cleburne and His Command. (Wilmington, North Carolina, Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1991), p. 192
 Brewton, William W., The Son of Thunder, An Epic of the South, (Richmond: Garrett and Massie, 1936), p. 370.
 Foote, Shelby, The Civil War A Narrative: Red River to Appomattox, (New York: Random House, 1974), page 1035.
 Connally, C. Ellen, The Use of the Fourteenth Amendment by Salmon P. Chase in the Trial of Jefferson Davis, 42 Akron Law Review 1165 – 1200 (2009)
 Hood, Stephen M., Patriots Twice, Former Confederates and the Building of America after the Civil War. (El Dorado Hills, California: Savas Beatie, 2020)
 1 Timothy 6:10
 Adams, Henry Brooks, The Education of Henry Adams. (New York: Library of America, 1983 edition) p. 963.