I’ve been decompressing since the Silent Sam Prayer Service on Sunday (16 December 2018) and trying to think about how to write about what went on that day. What was supposed to be a prayer service for not only the two hundred and eighty-seven boy soldiers from the university that is now the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that are represented by Sam, but for all the boy soldiers that served in the War (that’s right, Southern and Northern alike), was turned into something different because of the profanities and vulgarities that were screamed at us through loudspeakers and megaphones. We did manage our Invocation, and we tried to keep our cool and ignore them, laugh at them, even, but we did have a few slip-ups. Hey, we’re all human, right?
Sometimes those ANTIFA folks, and/or whoever else was there acting like fools, pushed the right button. We will try to do better in the future, but, although we prefer to be peaceful, we will not allow ourselves to be assaulted; in such a case, we WILL defend ourselves. Their threats have been made. The consequences of their actions lay upon their heads. They also apparently know who I am now. They made a point of pointing me out and calling me by name. Does that mean they consider me a threat? If so, good; that would mean I’m doing my job. To them I say: If I am supposed to feel threatened, I don’t. I fear God, and nothing else. That being said, I live in a “Stand Your Ground” State, and I ain’t going anywhere. Here I am, but take heed: Due to the nature of your group’s behavior in the past, any attempt to physically injure me or mine will be considered a lethal threat, and I shall respond with due force. Now, back to the subject at hand…
Seven of us showed up, and seven of us stood our ground. There were a few dozen protesters and ANTIFA members. I was there, in no way representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but fulfilling my duty as a grandson of the South and serving in my capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the group “Heirs to the Confederacy,” as it was we who sponsored the service. With me were Board Members Tammy Venckus (my wife) and Nancy Ann Rushton (Head Administrator of “Rebel Souls”), and members Howard Snow and Charles Shepherd (Head Administrator of “Southern Heritage Protectors”). Also with us were Nancy’s son, George Lovell, and James Stackowiak of Georgia. We had originally planned to stay until five o’clock, but instead wrapped it up at four after being asked most politely by the Police; I believe they may have been pulled in on their day off, so I don’t really blame them. I do want to say “Thank you” to them; they were very accommodating.
The protesters present Sunday were like most; loud, undisciplined, and indoctrinated. These people have made it clear that they have absolutely no desire to even hear the truth. They ask a question, and when somebody tries to answer, they crank up their “music” (I’m not really sure it can actually be classified as such) and start back up with their chants (which were INCREDIBLY unimaginative) to drown out the answer. When I did manage to answer a question and they had no rebuttal, they would “pffft” me and walk off. At one point, after informing one fella that my good friend from Texas, Rodney Seiler, had several free black ancestors that volunteered for Confederate service and that Rodney had the documents to prove it, I was called “a (expletive adjective) liar” as the guy walked off. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t even have the decency to let us pray amongst ourselves without trying to make so much noise that we couldn’t hear each other even when huddled close together. Many had their faces covered to hide their identity. To these, in particular, I say: You are cowards; the courageous do not hide behind masks. To all of them, and those like them throughout this nation, I say: You have no honor, you have no dignity. You are, in my opinion, useless in respect to the betterment of American society. I believe that all people have the right to live free and express their opinions, as long as they are respectful of other’s rights, but you people are pushing it because you have no respect for anything. Your “opinions” are not your own; they are the opinions of others, pounded into your thick skulls by the indoctrination of a government that wants nothing less than total control over every aspect of all of our lives. You simply do not have the capacity to think for yourselves. You are like the mob of ancient Rome; feed you and entertain you, and you will offer up your freedom on a platter, surrendering it as if it means nothing to you. You are sheep; pawns being used by those far more intelligent than you for personal gain. You kept asking us why we were behind a barricade. The answer is, for your protection, not ours; WE are the wolves, and we do not fear you. We will not be silenced, and we will never give up.
We went there to pay homage to the boy soldiers that served in the War of Northern Aggression, and nothing else. We did not go for the Cause. We did not go for the monuments. We did not go for our beloved flag. We did not go for the Confederacy. We went for those boys.
We started with an invocation that I had been asked to write and deliver. I had lost my voice the day before, and as I have said, the noise was deafening, but I stood in front of Sam’s pedestal with my six brothers- and sisters-in-arms crowded about me, and I delivered the invocation I had prepared as follows:
We give thanks to thee this day for bringing us safely together here so that we may honor the memory of those who were memorialized at this place one hundred and five years ago. We thank thee for the opportunity to voice our support for The Boy Soldier, known affectionately as Silent Sam. We offer thanks to thee for the chance to stand up and support the preservation of our Southern heritage. Those of us who proudly carry the blood of Confederate fighting men in our veins thank thee from deeply within our souls for the honor of bearing that lineage, and ask that thou dost continue to give us the strength to bear the responsibilities that those lineages entail with honor and dignity. And, Lord, we especially thank thee for those who, although they bear no responsibility of familial honor, stand to be counted among those that will forget neither the Cause, nor those who so gallantly defended it. They stand as courageously as did the Southern civilians of old; it is they who are truly a force to be reckoned with. Lastly, Father, but not least, we thank thee for the boy soldiers whose memory we are here to honor; we thank thee for their courage, their sacrifices, and their willingness to knowingly leave behind the innocence of childhood and, in defense of their homeland, march as bravely as men into the hell that we call war.
We, as grand-children of the Southland, have come together here today to pay homage to the tens of thousands of Southern boys who toed the line and stood as men when came the time to defend their homeland against the ravages of invading armies from the North. God, this place where we have gathered is a place dedicated to the memory of some of those boy soldiers, students from North Carolina University in Chapel Hill, whose honor and patriotic duty demanded that they leave their studies and childhoods behind, and go to war. Father, we would honor not only those from this university, and not only those from the Old North State, but those from every Southern State; every single boy soldier who, by serving the Confederacy, found himself in the midst of battle during that awful war. We would remember as well, Lord, the tens of thousands of Northern boy soldiers who by way of serving the Union, found their way onto the battlefield; Billy Yank or Johnny Reb, Lord, they were all too young to have had to bear the weight of war.
War, as set forth by thee and recorded in thy Holy Book, Lord, is the providence of men, and should be waged by men, upon men; not by or upon women and children. Yet those boys, too young to have really lived and far too young to die, fought, bled, and died with no less courage and fortitude than the men alongside whom they served. They suffered through the same starvation, cold, and deprivation as the men, Lord, and many served with distinction. We are here to remember those boy soldiers, Father, and to thank thee for gifting Dixie’s Land with such magnificent hearts as those which beat within their breasts; hearts as magnificent as these mighty oaks beneath which we stand.
Lord, these aged, majestic trees; these trees remember. Within their rings are undoubtedly many a story of boy soldiers marching off to war, and sadly, fewer stories of them coming home… Such things, Lord, such sacrifices by men for so righteous an ideal as freedom should not be forgotten by other men, for there are lessons to be learned from them; hence, our monuments to the Confederate soldier, sailor, and marine. They remind us not only of the valor of the Southern warrior, but also that a terrible thing happened here, a thing that should never have happened, and wouldn’t have, but for the greed of men of far lesser moral convictions than those whom they sought to subjugate. They teach us, Almighty Father, that such a thing must never happen again.
As we stand here on this beautiful day, Father, I am reminded of the opposition that we face. It is a misguided opposition that would see history erased, or at the least, changed. Much like the enemy of our ancestors, Lord, it is not only an opposition that promotes hate and violence to achieve its goals, it is also an opposition that knows not the meaning of honor.
We beseech thee, Lord God, to guide us honorably in our struggle to protect and preserve not only the memory of, and monuments to, the fighting men of the South, but our Southern heritage as a whole. We beg of thee to shine the light of thy truth upon this nation and finally vindicate the Cause for which the Southland gave up to the hand of Death so many of her beloved sons. We ask, Heavenly Father, that thou dost watch over us, and fortify us with courage akin to that with which thou gifted General Jackson. We pray that by thy hand, the eyes of America shall be opened to the truth of all things and that she shall be reborn as the beacon of hope and freedom that she once was and should always be. We follow the example of General Lee, Lord, and pray for mercy upon the souls of those who seek to degrade and destroy all traces of our Confederate ancestors and the righteous cause which they served. And lastly, Father, we ask thee to bestow the gift of better judgment to those who would do us harm, for they know naught of that for which they ask.
May we, thine own children and faithful servants, forever walk in the light of thy countenance.
As in all things, Lord, if so be thy will… In the Holy Names of God, our Father, and his son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
After that, the noise only increased, so we kind of flew by the seat of our pants from then on out. Because of the incessant noise of loudspeakers blasting what I suppose they think passes for music and pitifully shrill, attention-craving voices screaming into megaphones I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say about the boy soldiers, and I’m sure it was the same with my comrades. I’m going to say a little of it here.
When we talk about the boy soldiers, it is important to remember that while some were at least eighteen years-old, many were not. The youngest Confederate soldier (according to current know records) became a Lieutenant in the 6th Georgia Cavalry; when he enlisted in 1861 he was eleven years old. I just want to mention a few of the boy soldiers…
I want to tell you about Private Johnnie Wickersham, although I don’t know much about him. Johnny was fourteen years-old when he ran away from home and joined the Confederate Army. He survived the war, and an article published in the Sunday, 16 January 1887 edition of The Sun in New York, New York, characterized him as “A Fifteen Year Old Rebel that Didn’t Know What it was to be Afraid.”
I also want to tell you about Private David Emmons Johnston of Giles County, Virginia. David was fifteen years-old when he enlisted on 25 April 1861. He was eventually assigned to Company D, 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment. David was captured on 6 April 1865, at the Battle of Sayler’s Creek, Virginia, and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland. He remained a Prisoner of War in the prison there until 28 June 1865. Forty-nine years later, in his book The Story of a Confederate Boy in the Civil War, David said, “… arguing the nobility of the Confederate Soldier is like arguing the brightness of the sun at noonday. The Confederate soldier was truly an American, for his people in the South were the truest type of Americans in the land… this Confederate soldier was born and reared a gentleman, was so by instinct. He… stood purely for self-defense. Be believed in his inmost soul that no people had a juster cause…”
I really want to tell you about David Bailey Freeman, who was born 1 May 1851, in Gilmer County, Georgia. David enlisted as Private in the 6th Georgia Cavalry in 1861. He was eleven years old. David achieved the rank of Lieutenant during the War of Northern Aggression, and was later promoted to the honorary rank of General by the United Confederate Veterans. David’s life was one of achievement. After the war, he published and edited the Calhoun Times in Calhoun, Georgia, which he owned and for which he often wrote. David also served as Mayor in the cities of Calhoun, Cedartown, and Cartersville, Georgia. He co-authored the pamphlet General Nathan Bedford Forrest – The Wizard of the Saddle. General David Bailey Freeman, the youngest Confederate soldier, died of a heart attack at the age of seventy-seven on the evening of 18 June 1929, in his apartment in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last, but not least, I want to tell you about a soldier that Silent Sam represented… Born and raised in Caldwell County, North Carolina, John Thomas Jones was a student at North Carolina University when he enlisted in the Orange Light Infantry in April of 1861. The Orange Light Infantry was integrated into the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers, and fought in the first significant land battle of the War of Northern Aggression at Big Bethel, Virginia, on 10 June 1861. After the dismissal of the 1st North Carolina in November of 1861, John returned to Caldwell County and helped raise the “Caldwell Guards,” which was to become Company I, 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. John quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Captain of Company I. He had been promoted to Major by the time the Army of Northern Virginia engaged the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In fact, John was in command of the 26th North Carolina during General Pickett’s courageous, albeit disastrous, charge. Although the 26th suffered 714 casualties out of 800 men at Gettysburg , John survived the battle and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in May of 1864. When the surgeon informed him that his wound was indeed mortal, John said, “It can’t be, as I was meant to accomplish more.” Lieutenant Colonel John Thomas Jones was one of the two hundred and eighty-seven former students of the University of North Carolina that the memorial, The Boy Soldier, a.k.a. Silent Sam, was dedicated to on 2 June 1913. He was a hero.
It was these boys, and tens of thousands of others like them, that we were there to remember Sunday, and remember them we did. Perhaps not in the manner we would have preferred, but we did.
I learned a couple of things, also. Remaining calm and ignoring the protester’s taunts infuriates them to the point of crying. Continue to remain calm and ignore their taunts, and many of them just leave. They crave attention, and I won’t give it to them, not until they can behave like mature human beings instead of rabid Chihuahuas and two year-olds that can’t have their way.
Since that prayer service Sunday, things have been happening. Connections are being made, “Facebook popularity contests” and rivalries are being set aside, and the tribes are coming together, so to speak. I’ve had the honor of being asked by my friend, Luna Widener, the Three Percenters’ P.O.C. in North Carolina, to participate in both the organization of one of their upcoming events, and in the event itself. And yes, I did accept. I’ve called on people to stand and defend their heritage many times before now. This time I’m calling on you to stand up and defend your Constitution and your rights in a perfectly peaceful, legal, and effective manner. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you CAN do, it’s how much of what you can do that you actually do. Remember this: They cannot win as long as we do not quit.
K. Lance Spivey, 20 December 2018
Biographical research of boy soldiers by my sister in the American Cause, Marci René Fox
Deo Vindice… [><]