Skip to main content.


This is the archive for December 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I love the music of Brandi Carlile. Unfortunately whenever I tell someone about her, they think I am talking about Belinda Carlisle. This is somewhat acceptable since my music taste tends to lean towards 80’s but in this case they couldn’t be further apart. You have probably heard her song "The Story" as it was featured on Grey's Anatomy and got a good bit of airplay. Take a moment or two, watch and listen to "Fall Apart Again", "The Eye" or "Hallelujah"

I’m a member of a private fan page on Facebook and one of the members has taken it upon himself to make the world know about the story of Ruth Blay, a nineteenth-century woman from New Hampshire who was executed due to hiding the body of her stillborn son. He has personally bought 9 books and ships them to other fans, which in turn then ships them to others. I was so impressed, I bought one (you can find it here) to read and then do the same. He asked that I write about why we are doing this in the book and below is what I wrote on the 248th Anniversary of her execution.

It can be hard grasping how much humanity has changed in such a short time over history. Ten years ago, equality in marriage seemed an impossible dream, 60 years ago segregation ruled the land, 120 years ago Irish need not apply, 160 years ago owning a slave was a Constitutional protected right and 248 years ago a young woman hid the body of her stillborn child because she was afraid of the consequences of having an illegitimate child that had died during childbirth, a fear that was justified – as the body would be found and she would be executed.

Simple put, Ruth Blay was failed by her community and the laws that governed the citizens of her time. And while what happened to Ruth would not be repeated in America today, around the world similar “crimes and punishments” are dealt with daily. Unfortunately, we do live in a world that is still heavily misogynist, that can and does still punish women for being women.

Mark Cancelada started sharing Ruth’s story with a twofold purpose. To remind us of the continuing struggles of women, now and though out history and to inspire Brandi Carlile to write and/or sing about Ruth’s story.

After reading the book, please continue to share Ruth’s story by forwarding it to the next person in line. Don’t forget to write your name and date on the cover, post a picture of it and the book on Facebook and Bramily – and #RememberRuthBlay

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Karma can get you and sometimes, as outsiders we have to laugh one someone truly deserves it. In this case, South Carolina House Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville is feeling its wrath. The “man” who sent Christmas cards out with the Confederate Battle flag after the Mother Emanuel shooting, chastising lawmakers for bringing the flag down, is now in jail on charges of domestic abuse.

You can read about the charges here

But what would cause karma to strike so hard? Well, this:

In the season of peace, love and light, South Carolina House Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville, has sunk to a new low with a divisive Christmas card to his GOP colleagues in the General Assembly.

Instead of reconciliation and good cheer, Corley chose to craft a holiday message dripping with venom directed at those who supported removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in July.

Corley, a member of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation, said those who may be offended by the card don’t understand his sense of humor.

“Those who know me and know my sense of humor, probably walked away after reading the card, having a good laugh and saying, ‘That’s just Corley being Corley,’” he said.

Corley’s card reads “Merry Christmas” on the front, showing a photo of the South Carolina Statehouse with the Confederate battle flag flying on the grounds.

The inside of the card is inscribed, “May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right. May you have a blessed Christmas, and may you take this joyous time as an opportunity to ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.”

In a report from The Post & Courier, the card also references Dante’s “Inferno,” consigning those guilty of treachery to hell.

“This is Cocytus, the ninth circle, the fourth and last great water of Hell, and here fixed in the ice, each according to his guilt, are punished sinners guilty of treachery against those who they are bound to by special ties,” the card reads.

Corley didn’t send the same card to his Democratic colleagues, instead giving them a card with a photo of his kids on the front.

“The message I was sending, I was sending to my Republican colleagues only,” he said. “I had a problem with the politicalization of the flag removal movement. I believe my colleagues caved to political correctness, and I have an issue with that.”

Demands to take the flag down permanently gained momentum after nine churchgoers, including pastor and late State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down on June 17 at Charleston’s historic black Emanuel AME Church by Dylann Roof, a white gunman who authorities said posted online photos of himself holding a handgun and a Confederate flag. Corley took exception to the portrayal of the shooter.

“The Confederate flag did not kill those nine people,” Corley said. “Dylann Roof did not choke anybody with a Confederate flag, he used a gun. To use a tragedy like this for political gain was wrong. The Democrats used the tragedy to cram the flag issue down our throats. I think the entire process was wrong.”

Corley said if the movement to take down the Confederate flag had followed the normal process, he would have voted against it, but he would have accepted the process.

“There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it, and at every turn we chose the wrong way,” he said. “We would have discussed it, and we would have debated it, but it would have followed the process. If they had done it the right way and it came down, I’d have said, ‘If you have a problem with it, see how your representative or senator voted and take it up with them.’”

Corley said the Confederate flag means different things to different people, and not every interpretation of the flag is rooted in evil, racism or bigotry.

“To me the flag represents a time when the states decided their individual rights mattered more than a centralized federal government exerting their control,” he said. “It represents a time when people felt the federal government was too big.”

How far back in history would you have us go, Mr. Corley?

Should we return all the way to the days when states exercised the authority to make people property and allowed them to be enslaved to others? Perhaps we should fast-forward from the period 50 years when women had not yet secured the right to vote and the leaders of the Palmetto State were fighting their right to do so every step of the way. Where is this sweet spot of yours exactly?

Would returning to the 1960s and the days of Jim Crow segregation and the valiant battles to keep the races separated, fought by the “leaders” you cite, be more to your liking, Mr. Corley?

Despite your protests to the contrary, sir, the majority of South Carolina residents will gather for the holidays and give thanks that the flag issue is settled at long last.

You may continue to pout as you wish, but the rest of us are moving on – with or without you.

Friday, December 23, 2016

During the last three months I had a book to read each week for class and ended up not being able to read for fun. One book may not seem like much but I then had to write a 5-page paper on it and be ready to discuss it in class – a bit stressful to say the least. I ended up with a list of books that I wanted to read but didn’t have time to – and now getting around to them.

While I’ve read a few books already, this one has been the most interesting. “The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won” by Edward H. Bonekemper III looks at the Lost Cause at a granularly level, separating it into chunks and sub chunks and dissects it to show just how false it is. Using a combination of source material, Lost Cause history and contemporary studies he does a remarkable job presenting the truth for those brave enough to accept it.

Reading the reviews can be sad and funny at the same time – and the author has responded to a few of them – such as this one

Even though we haven’t posted in very long time, we still get contacted – which means folks are still reading. We, though, have not been writing.

Which is a shame since we have still been active.

During our break, research has continued. We have found more letters; more items related to the 18th, expanded out database and did a few other things. Heck, Donald and I even met for a visit to Gettysburg. I’ve gotten pretty deep into Citadel History and have spent a lot of time on that. We have kept up with the current events of Civil War history – and as a resident of the Charleston area – the impact it had on the Mother Emanuel shooting. So, we didn’t entirely disappear.

Recently, a friend of mine decided to start a web design business and I took him up on a offer to redesign and update our site. I didn’t realize how dated it had become until I looked at it in comparison with some other sites. At the same time, I started a Masters of History program. While the course I took last semester had nothing to do with the Civil War, the next one will have a peripheral view as I look at the History of the American military.

With both of these events, I thought I would start up again and perhaps broaden the blog by also posting about the courses I take, Citadel notes, along with the normal Civil War history. A bit more free flowing on the thoughts – but still centered around the Civil War.

At one point we had a pretty good following, doubt we will get it again – but we shall be posting more frequently.