The Ghosts of Greater Men Than I…

This past weekend was a four-day extended weekend, lasting from the morning of Friday, 17 January 2020, through Monday, 20 January 2020, and it was eventful, even history-making.  I find myself without the vocabulary to effectively articulate the emotions I experienced over those four days; I can tell you that I was honored to have not only born witness to the events I’m going to talk about, but also to have been able to participate in said events.  Some of my experiences were exciting, some were saddening, and some were uplifting.  There were times when I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pride, and there were occasions when I was profoundly humbled…

There were occasions when I experienced a pressing sense of loneliness and there were moments when I was acutely aware of the presence of the ghosts of greater men than I could ever aspire to be. There were moments when I felt a keen sense of admiration for the grit and fortitude of my ancestors and their ilk, and there were times when a tear or two ran down my cheeks; some, tears of respect, some, of admiration, and some, of loss. I’m going to try and tell y’all the story of this weekend, the history remembered, the history made, and perhaps some of how it felt; I sincerely hope you will read it in its entirety because there’s an important message here I’m trying to deliver, although as of yet I don’t know how to verbalize it.

Before I go any further, let me address the stomach-turning so-called Political Correctness movement now taking place in the United States; let me give you my thoughts. I believe that every person is of equal value as a human being and should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, until such a time as they should prove themselves unworthy of such. This is not Political Correctness, this is common decency, this is what is civilized; this is what is just. Political Correctness is naught but yet another step towards the death of freedom and the birth of communism and/or Sharia in the United States, and I refuse to aid the destruction of the Constitution of the United States of America in any way; in fact, I will defend it, and more importantly, what it represents, to the death. If you want Political Correctness and what it really promotes, you are reading the wrong author, but by all means, please keep reading; you just might be made to think for yourself. Now, back to the subject at hand…

Marching in Jackson-Lee Days Parade in Lexington

Heirs to the Confederacy was invited to Lexington, Virginia, to participate what will probably be the last official Lee-Jackson Days celebration in that fair city due to Political Correctness. This is the kind of invitation you just don’t turn down, so my wife, Tammy, and I rode with Howard Snow, close friend and Vice-Chairman of Heirs’ Board of Directors, arriving early Friday morning in Lexington, where we met another close friend and compatriot, Jenna Stoney, who is, in and of herself, her knowledge, and her work, a whole other article; I consider it an honor just to know her, let alone be family. Over the course of the day, we went sight-seeing, attended a symposium on General Robert Edward Lee and Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson which was hosted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Stonewall Brigade. I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium; the late generals were discussed from many interesting angles. The sight-seeing, however, I have to say, had a much larger, more profound impact.

Lee’s tomb and memorial, as with all such places, invoked a kaleidoscope of emotions. It was the same with Stonewall’s Grave and memorial; kind of like my heart was a vigorously shaken snow-globe full of a wide variety of emotional reactions. They are both places where one can definitely sense a feeling of reverence; as if the power of their faith was so strong that it emanates from their physical remains to this day – one can feel the wisdom, the quiet, reserved, gentlemanly dignity, and the impeccable, unimpeachable honor of General Lee and the faith, the dedication, the resolve, and the indomitable courage of General Jackson. While in Lee Chapel (on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington), we sat on the pew upon which Lee sat for daily services, and took a moment to pray. From Lee’s pew, we could look up and to the right and see the General’s white-marble memorial. It felt as if he was there with us, having stepped in from Heaven for just a few moments to help bolster our resolve in our mission to secure the safety of our heritage, our memorials to our Southern Dead, and our Constitution. They were deeply emotional experiences, each and every one.

On Saturday, the four of us first attended a wreath-laying ceremony at General Jackson’s grave and memorial in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.  There were speakers, a twenty-one gun salute (and with it, that lump-in-the-throat feeling that comes from the smell of burning powder at such an event), and we got to place our wreath, which Jenna had made herself, on Stonewall’s headstone; an honor which the others gave to me, and of which I am appreciative beyond my capacity with words.  As Tammy, Jenna, and Howard stood reverently by and saluted the General, I knelt beside Jackson’s grave and placed the wreath on the stone, removed my hat, said a quick, quiet word of thanks, and we moved back to allow for the next wreath to be laid.  It was, for each of us I believe, a deeply moving experience, compounded by the presence of re-enactors in period garb.  I would describe the feeling like standing in a place where two worlds existed at the same time; one world occupied simultaneously by the Now and the Then, quiet and reverent under a cold, gray January sky, with ghosts clad in the gray and butternut of the Southern soldier, the crisp, well-tailored suit of the Southern gentlemen, and the black gowns of grieving Southern women and children moving quietly among the living, the sounds of a modern-day town resounding with the echoes of a ghostly military salute to long-dead heroes while the pungent, sharp-sweet smell of burning powder mingled with honeysuckle (which I found extremely odd as it is the wrong time of year for honeysuckle and there was none within sight) hangs heavy in the air.  When the wreath-laying was over, we left the cemetery to the sound of the pipes to participate in the parade, marching together in a single rank of four.  It was cold and windy and it was hard on my busted-up old bones, but it was worth it; I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

Lance, Tammy, Jenna, and Howard on Robert E Lee’s Pew in Lee Chapel

We also visited Virginia Military Institute, an institution of higher learning well-known for the quality of its graduates and cadets alike, having produced seven Medal of Honor recipients as well as recipients of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes; men like Nobel Peace Prize recipient and United States Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, General George S. Patton, Junior, who commanded both the 7th and 3rd United States Armies in World War II, and United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell“Chesty” Puller of the 1st Marine Division.  We visited the Four Gospels where they stand in front of Jackson’s memorial, their blood-red paint standing in stark contrast to the winter-dulled browns and greens of the grass and trees, the soft earthy tones of the stone buildings, the harder gray of Jackson’s memorial, and the cold grays and silvers of the overcast sky.  Standing there beside the headstone of Little Sorrel with cadets marching by, a body could almost hear the thunder of the Gospels over the screams of the wounded, taste the powder smoke and the blood, and smell the stench of death and destruction; it instilled that strange, mixed-up feeling of sadness/pride/respect/awe that standing in such places always brings.

While at VMI, we also visited the George C. Marshall Museum, and the VMI Museum and Chapel in Jackson Memorial Hall. The Marshall Museum was both interesting and educational, and had quite a few very cool war relics. The VMI Museum was just as interesting and educational with its own very cool collection, but with a bonus; a large room lined and crossed with glass cases full of antique firearms, of which my favorite was a Model 1861 .44 Colt Dragoon with absolutely stunning inlays of gold and silver; it was a weapon of indescribable beauty. The chapel was a breathtakingly beautiful room, with a long, wide balcony under a high, flat ceiling supported by huge, rough-hewn wooden columns that have become cracked and split by the passage of time, and the flags of the twenty-six states that belonged to the union when VMI was founded in 1839 lining the room. The wall behind the altar is adorned with a mural, magnificently done by VMI alumnus and artist Benjamin West Clinedinst, depicting the VMI cadets’ valiant charge across the muddy stretch of ground that would later become known as the Field of Lost Shoes at the Battle of New Market, Virginia, on 15 May 1864, a charge which was to turn the tide of battle, giving the Confederates the victory, but would also ultimately result in the deaths of ten of the cadets, and the non-lethal wounding of forty-five more. Before leaving, we stopped at the New Market Statue, Virginia Mourning Her Dead, to pay our respects to the cadets who “Died on the Field of Honor” at New Market…

Six of the ten are interred there, beneath the memorial that enshrines the memory of their courage and sacrifice. They are: Private Henry Jenner Jones, Company D, VMI Corps of Cadets, of King William County, Virginia, aged seventeen years, Killed in Action; Private William Hugh McDowell, Company B, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Mount Monroe, North Carolina, aged seventeen years, Killed in Action; Private Thomas Garland Jefferson (great-great nephew of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence), Company B, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Amelia County, Virginia, aged seventeen years, Died (18 May 1864) of Wounds Sustained; Private Joseph Christopher Wheelwright, Company C, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Westmoreland County, Virginia, aged seventeen years, Died (2 June 1864) of Wounds Sustained; Corporal Samuel Francis Atwill, Company A, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Westmoreland County, Virginia, aged eighteen years, Died (20 July 1864) of Wounds Sustained; and Private Charles Gay Crockett, Company D, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Wythe County, Virginia, aged seventeen years, Killed in Action. Three of the other four cadets who perished as a result of the Battle of New Market were interred in the counties/cities they hailed from. They are First Sergeant William Henry Cabell, Company D, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Richmond, Virginia, aged eighteen years, Killed in Action, interred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond; Private Jaqueline Beverly Stanard, Company B, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Orange, Virginia, aged nineteen years, Killed in Action, interred at Graham Cemetery in Orange; and Private Luther Cary Haynes, Company B, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Essex County, Virginia, aged nineteen years, Died (15 June 1864) of Wounds Sustained, interred at “Sunny Side” (family home) in Essex County in unmarked grave. The last of the ten is interred where he died, about one hundred and fifty miles from his home; Private Alva Curtis Hartsfield, Company D, VMI Corps of Cadets, of Wake County, North Carolina, aged nineteen years, who died (26 June 1864) of wounds sustained, is interred at Blandford Church Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia. Standing there, hat in hand, I could almost hear Confederate States Army Major General John C. Breckinridge utter those fateful words, “Put the boys in… And may God forgive me for the order.” May they forever rest in peace; they did their families proud, they did Virginia proud…

Monday morning found Howard and me on the road again, having left my house around midnight, bound for Lynchburg, Virginia, where we picked up Jenna before heading to Farmville to pick up another member of Heirs, Danny Aye.  From there, we went to Richmond to participate in the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s Lobby Day in support of the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment.  Having said that, I want to talk for a moment about Virginia before I go any further.

Virginia… Beautiful, fertile, patriotic Virginia, where the cry of “Liberty or death!” first rang out in the thirteen colonies of British-America. Virginia, whose lands have sired men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington; men with the will, the burning desire, to be free. Men with the courage and passion to, against all odds, attempt to win their freedom from the British Empire, and who possessed the strength and fortitude to succeed in that attempt. Men who changed the course of human history forever; citizen-soldiers who took up their guns and wrested their freedom from the white-knuckled grasp of the greatest military power on the globe. Men who envisioned the promise of what America could be – a society where all people are free and equal, each with the God-given rights to that freedom and equality, and therefore each with the God-given right to protect himself, his life, his loved ones, his property, his freedom, and his rights against those who would in any way do harm to any of those things. Men who refused to live on their knees at the foot of England’s Throne; men who would rather die free than live under the rule of any man. Virginia; the land that bore forth men like Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Virginia, whose sons have always, without fail, been ready, willing, and able when called upon to defend freedom and the Constitution. Virginia, whose children proudly fly the colors of a civilization – the last bastion of honor in the world – lost to time, war, and the falsehoods of Yankee “history.” Virginia, whose children are, shall we say, “firmly resistant” to any infringement upon their constitutional rights, as they have historically been. Virginia, whose motto – Sic Semper Tyrannis – adopted in 1776, clearly states her history, not only ideologically and politically, but actively as well; Thus Always to Tyrants (and we all know it does not by any means even imply kissing their rings). Virginia, whose Constitutional Rights are under attack by her own predominately liberal State Government. Virginia, where the serpent known as Communism blatantly rears its ugly head in an unveiled attempt to rob We the People of our lives, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness. Virginia, who has always stood to protect our God-given rights, regardless of the cost in the blood of her children. Virginia, who now needs our help in the protecting of those rights, and whose call we must not ignore. Virginia…

Model 1861 .44 Colt Dragoon at VMI Museum

The reason we went to Richmond on Monday was to protest the new, flagrantly unconstitutional gun laws being passed by Virginia’s new communist-laden State Legislature with the complete support of the state’s new communist governor, Ralph Northam; laws to limit the number of firearms one may purchase each month, laws to allow for the confiscation of privately-owned firearms, the so-called Red Flag laws that other states have already passed, and the list goes on. Governor Northam has threatened to use the National Guard to enforce these laws. Numerous counties (at last count, 91 out of 95) and cities/townships (at last count, 39) have adopted “2A Sanctuary” resolutions, stating their local Law Enforcement Agencies’ refusal to enforce any unconstitutional gun laws, and counties, cities, and townships in other states are following suit in the eye of impending attempts to take away their guns so that the People will not be able to effectively defend their other rights against the rising tides of communism and Sharia. And make no mistake, each and every one of these new laws takes us one step closer to one or both of forms of unconstitutional government. Each is a slap in the face to our freedom, an assault against our basic human rights, a rape of our Constitution; no matter who you are or what side you’re on, if you’re honest with yourself, you can’t deny that. The Second Amendment, like the rest of the Constitution, is clear and concise with neither the room nor the need for interpretation: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For the life of me, I can’t see how anyone who as the mental capacity to understand the definitions of the individual words themselves could possibly misunderstand that statement, let alone think it is open to “interpretation,” an idea that I personally find astoundingly absurd; I mean, how obtuse ca… I’m sorry; I seem to have digressed a bit; let me get back to the subject at hand…

In the face of the new laws, the VCDL sent out a call for Virginians to come to Richmond on Monday, 20 January, the VCDL’s Lobby Day, to lobby against the new gun laws, and patriots from all across our great republic responded; they would be in Richmond on the Twentieth, they would be armed, and they would not back down. When attendance expectations reached 10,000, Governor Northam and his treasonous Legislature started to sweat, and began taking measures to try and keep those carrying firearms away from the Capitol that day. The more they did to dissuade folks from coming, the more folks decided to come; Americans and tyranny, what can I say? In the end, there was a much larger turnout than a mere 10,000.

The four of us reached Richmond around five o’clock in the morning and found a place to park in a public parking garage three or four blocks from the Capitol. We went ahead and took a walk around the area before going back to the truck until it was close to time for the event to start; it was bitterly cold out there, and the truck was warm. At that point, there were fifty or sixty people meandering around the area. After watching the garage fill up with the vehicles of gun-toting people, we ventured back out at seven-thirty to find the streets beginning to fill. We got as close to the Capitol as we could, as the crowd continued to grow exponentially. It soon turned into one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever had the pleasure to behold; more than twenty thousand unarmed patriots on the Capitol grounds waiting to speak to their Representatives and/or Senators, and in the streets, 60,000-80,000 gun-packing patriots of all races and from all walks of life wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers and buttons and chanting “We will not comply!” There we were, black, white, rich, poor, gay, and straight, all standing together for our Constitution. Flags from nearly every state, Gadsden flags, and American flags, both historical and current, were waving in the breeze; there was even a gay-pride flag sporting a Gadsden overlay.

Part of the Crowd in Richmond (10th and Bank Streets)

I must admit that I expected ANTIFA or the government of Virginia to provoke violence, but thankfully, that did not happen. Apparently the Virginian Democrats managed to control their fear of the People, and if ANTIFA was there, they were either standing with us to support the Second, or they had enough sense to remain silent and unseen. I am ecstatic to say that, contrary to all the fears and expectations of violence, not a single shot was fired, and the only arrest was that of a young woman wearing a bandana on her face who repeatedly refused the orders of law enforcement to remove it. That particular arrest did indeed draw ANTIFA’s attention, causing Facebook and Twitter to explode with complaints about the arrest by leftists claiming she was singled out because of the color of her skin or political affiliation and not because she was hiding her face. They have been using all the people wearing scarves and neck gaiters to protect them from the cold and wind and who were not arrested for hiding their faces as examples of proof. Now, I did not actually lay eyes upon the young lady, as she was on Broad Street, which is on the back side of the Capitol (we were in front of the Capitol on Bank and Tenth Streets), so I don’t know the exact conditions or crowd size (if any) at her location, or exactly how she was wearing the bandana. I do know that she was warned twice by law enforcement to remove it, and kept ignoring them, which was undoubtedly a major contributing factor to her arrest. I will say that if the bandana was tightly folded into a band and tied around her face, I could believe it was for protection, but if it was simply folded in a triangle and tied around her face (like a cowboy) then it was absolutely not worn for protection; the wind would have blown it away from her face, leaving her exposed to the weather. Scarves and neck gaiters do not have that issue, so if that was indeed the case, then law enforcement, especially considering the current political situation and the tactics of hate groups like ANTIFA, had every right and reason to question why the bandana was being worn in such a fashion, regardless of who was wearing it. I myself was wearing both a scarf and a neck gaiter over my face, and had no issues with law enforcement. Mayhap that was because when I approached, or was approached by, law enforcement officers, I pulled them down to reveal my face for the body-cams and so that the officers themselves could get a good look at me before pulling my scarf and gaiter back up to keep out the cold; I don’t know, but that’s what I did and I had no problems.

Since Monday, it is my understanding that the communists in Virginia’s government have passed their Red Flag laws; it remains to be seen how the people of Virginia will react to that. In that same period of time, the treasonous worms have introduced a bill that would make it a Class One Misdemeanor to criticize the state government or any official of that government, which is nothing less than an unconcealed attack on the First Amendment. This is why they want our guns, folks; so that they can take away our other God-given rights with minimal, ineffective resistance. They are trying to erase history, disarm us, and silence us; next it will be “FEMA” camps for “dissidents.” Americans have crossed oceans and frozen rivers, braved the harshest of Nature’s elements, starved, sacrificed, and suffered unimaginable horrors to rid the world of such people throughout our history; are we going to let them win now?! Are we just going to lie down and take it, or are we going to end this assault on our Constitution once and for all? What I witnessed in Richmond this past Monday speaks to the latter; I pray that it was indeed the birth of the return to true American values, and not just another death spasm of our Republic and our Constitution. Either way, the hands have been dealt, and the cards have been drawn, the bets have been placed, and the call has been made. Will you fold, or will you fight? The ghosts of greater men than I are watching…

26 January 2020

K. Lance Spivey, Chairman
Board of Directors
Heirs to the Confederacy
Natura Sanguinis Gloriosum… [*≡] [x]

Additional research by Marci René Fox and Rodney Seiler

~ The Author ~
K. Lance Spivey, amateur historian and pro-Constitutional political activist, is a twelfth-generation North Carolinian. Born at the height of the Vietnam War, he is a direct descendant of Revolutionary and Confederate soldiers. He grew up in the little community of Belvidere in Perquimans County, North Carolina, where he graduated from Perquimans County High School in 1985. He is the only son of an artist and a United States Navy veteran turned Quaker minister, and has one younger sister. Married thrice and divorced twice (he is, by his own admission, nearly impossible to live with), Lance, now married to the woman God made just for him, has nine children and step-children and a growing number of grand-children. He now lives in Randolph County, North Carolina, where his family first settled so long ago. Being a preacher’s kid, he has, by his own admission, engaged in much more than his own fair share of stupidity in his life, and, by way of the results of said engagements, has developed a very strong distaste for stupidity.