Tuesday, July 3, 2012


          The next meeting of Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390 will be from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at the Pitt Grill Restaurant, 102 Benoit Lane, Sulphur, (near the intersection of I-10 and Ruth Street).
            Cmdr. Archie Toombs will give part two of his program on Confederate general and Secretary of State, Robert Toombs.. Please come and enjoy the meeting if you can make it. 

Pvt. John M. Sellers, Company  G, 16th Louisiana
Infantry. (Courtesy of Robert Albanese and Dan

Confederate image identified       

          A descendant, Dan McCollum, saw a copy of this photo of Private John M. Sellers of Company G, 16th Louisiana Infantry in the June issue of Calcasieu Greys, which was then unidentified,  and contacted Archie M. Toombs, commander of Capt. J. W. Bryan Camp, and identified it as being his relative. Another descendant, Robert Albanese, a great-great-grandson, provided the excellent quality copy seen at left.
            According to Mr. McCollum, Sellers is listed in the Soldiers and Sailors of the Confederacy of the National Park Service system, as a member of the 16th. Mr. McCollum said Sellers was living in north Alabama, where his family comes from, when the war started. He left Alabama and went back to Louisiana where he had been living and enlisted. After the war he returned to Alabama and died there June 8, 1895 in Blount, Alabama.
          According to Sellers military  service record, he was present for  the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, and was wounded in action at the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee on December 31, 1862.
           Sellers was absent in the  hospital recovering from his wound and he returned to duty in July, 1863. He was then present for the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863 where nearly one-third of the regiment was captured. Sellers then fought at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863. He was then absent in the hospital from January 6, 1864 until May 1, 1864 when he  returned to duty.
          Sellers was then present  for the Atlanta Campaign and fought at Mill Creek Gap, May 7; Resaca, May 14-15; and New Hope Church, May 25-28.  He was also present when his regiment participated in the  battles of Atlanta, July 22, Ezra Church, July 28; and  Jonesboro, August 31. The 16th helped capture Florence, Alabama on October 30, 1864 and  Sellers was in the Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864.
          The regiment was then stationed as part of the garrison of Mobile, Alabama in February, 1865. Sellers was present for duty on the last roll of the war from April 20-30, 1865. John M. Sellers  was truly a faithful soldier and a Southern hero.

Confederate Memorial Day

            Members of  Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390 observed Confederate Memorial Day, June 3, in Calcasieu Parish by decorating graves of Confederate Veterans and holding a memorial ceremony at the South's Defenders Monument at the Calcasieu Parish Court House in Lake Charles. Cemeteries all over the parish were covered in the grave decoration effort, including Niblett's Bluff Cemetery to the west to the historic cemeteries in Lake Charles. Many others around the parish were covered as well. Thanks go out to all who took part in this effort and did our duty as a camp for our  Southern heroes.

Sick from Freedom
African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction
University of Oxford Press, USA
Jim Downs
          Bonds people who fled from slavery during and after the  Civil War did not expect that their flight toward freedom would lead to sickness, disease, suffering, and death. But the war produced the largest biological crisis of the nineteenth century, and as historian Jim Downs reveals in this groundbreaking volume, it had deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of freed people.
          In Sick from Freedom (University of Oxford Press, USA, 2012), Downs recovers the untold story of one of the bitterest ironies in American history--that the emancipation of the slaves, seen as one of the great turning points in U.S. history, had devastating consequences for innumerable freed people. Drawing on massive new research into the records of the Medical Division of the Freedmen's Bureau-a nascent national health system that cared for more than one million freed slaves-he shows how the collapse of the plantation economy released a plague of lethal diseases. With emancipation, African Americans seized the chance to move, migrating as never before. But in their journey to freedom, they also encountered yellow fever, smallpox, cholera, dysentery, malnutrition, and exposure. To address this crisis, the Medical Division hired more than 120 physicians, establishing some forty underfinanced and understaffed hospitals scattered throughout the South, largely in response to medical emergencies. Downs shows that the goal of the Medical Division was to promote a healthy workforce, an aim which often excluded a wide range of freedpeople, including women, the elderly, the physically disabled, and children. Downs concludes by tracing how the Reconstruction policy was then implemented in the American West, where it was disastrously applied to Native Americans.
           The widespread medical calamity sparked by emancipation is an overlooked episode of the Civil War and its aftermath, poignantly revealed in Sick from Freedom.


          Reveals that the moment of emancipation triggered widespread illness and death among African Americans. 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the unofficial liberation of the slaves during the Civil War and 2013 the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The first in-depth study of the Medical Division of the Freedmen's Bureau, the first system of national medical care created by the federal government.
Connects the federal government's response to emancipation to the displacement of Native Americans on reservations.

Product Details

           280 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-975872-2ISBN10: 0-19-975872-7

About the Author(s)

Jim Downs is Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Connecticut College. He is the editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism and Why We Write: The Politics and Practice of Writing for Social Change. 

‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’

What It Really Means


Michael Dan Jones

One of the most enduring traditional American hymns and patriotic songs is Julia Ward Howe’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It is a staple with many Christian church choirs and hardly a patriotic holiday passes without this song being sung and played at ceremonies nationwide. But is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” truly appropriate for religious hymnals and patriotic ceremonies? Who was the author? What motivated and inspired her? What message was she trying to convey? What do the words mean? What meaning do they have for us today?
The author, Julia Ward Howe, was born in 1819 in New York City. She married a prominent physician, Dr. Samuel Howe Gridley (1801-1876) in 1843 and they lived in Boston, Mass., where they raised five children. She was a much celebrated author, a tireless supporter of the anti-slavery movement, preached in Unitarian Churches, and was a zealous worker for the advancement of women, prison reform, world peace and other humanitarian movements. She died October 17, 1910 at her summer home in Oak Glen, Rhode Island.
News reporters of her day delighted in describing this unusual woman. She was diminutive in stature, barely over five feet; invariably wearing a white trimmed, black dress and lace cap and had the habit of peering over her silver-rimmed glasses as she read her lecture in a crisp Boston-Yankee accent.
But her literary works had dark themes, such as murder, suicide and betrayal, perhaps reflecting her own unhappy marriage with her domineering and unfaithful husband. Her church, the Unitarian Church, although it claimed to be Christian, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
And although she was devoted to the anti-slavery movement, like many other Northern radicals of her time, such as Abraham Lincoln, her own words reveal her to be a hypocrite on the subject of race. Julia Ward Howe believed and wrote the “ideal negro” would be one “refined by white culture, elevated by white blood.” She also wrote “the negro among  negroes, is coarse, grinning, flat- footed, thick-skulled creature, ugly as Caliban, lazy as the laziest brutes, chiefly ambitious to be of no use to any in the world….He must go to school to the white race and his discipline must be long and laborious.” Her own disgusting words expose the kind of hypocrisy that was rampant in the abolitionist movement.
Mrs. Howe and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, were supporters of the most radical and violent wing of the anti-slavery movement. These “disunion abolitionists” wanted to tear apart the American republic of sovereign, independent states, and reconstruct it along their own radical political, cultural and religious ideals. History records only how too well they succeeded with their treason.
Her husband and her pastor, Unitarian Rev. Theodore Parker, were conspirators in the treasonous group known as “The Secret Six.” These wealthy Northeasterners financially supported terrorist and murderer John Brown in his insane Harpers Ferry raid, and advocated slave rebellion that would destroy the original American republic.
Brown’s Anti-Southern terror campaign started in Kansas in the mid-1850’s. There, on May 23, 1856 Brown and his murderous band descended on a settlement of Southerners at Pottawatomie Creek. They carried with them newly sharpened swords, an image that played a prominent part in Mrs. Howe’s song (her hero and his fellow terrorists literally hacked to death five innocent men). Northern historians try to excuse this crime by saying Brown was exacting revenge for atrocities committed by pro-slavery “Border Ruffians.” This is a lie!
The first three victims, James P. Doyle and his sons, Drury and William, were Catholics from Tennessee who moved to Kansas to get away from slavery. They never had a thing to do with the institution. But because they spoke with a Southern drawl, and possibly because they were Catholic, Brown marched them to a clearing where their heads were split open with the sharpened swords. Drury’s arms were chopped off. Mrs. Doyle was later asked why her husband and sons had been so brutally murdered. She replied, “Just because we were Southern people, I reckon.”
The other victims of Brown’s murderous rampage were Southern settlers Allen Wilkinson, executed while his wife and children stood by in horror, and William Sherman, whose mutilated body was found floating in the creek with his left hand hanging by a strand of skin and his skull split open with “some of his brains” washed away.
When she got word of the massacre, Julia Ward Howe’s own words reveal her to have been perversely thrilled and inspired by this grisly crime. The “terrible swift sword” in her song was terrible indeed, but hardly reflecting Christian values. Mrs. Howe and Brown mutually admired one another, as their own words demonstrate. Mrs. Howe wrote Brown was “a Puritan of Puritans, forceful, concentrated, and self-contained.” Brown wrote of Mrs. Howe, in a letter to a friend, that she was “a defiant little woman” and that her personality was “all flash and fire.” After the failure of Brown’s bloody raid on Harper Ferry, her husband, who was deeply involved in the treasonous conspiracy,  like a coward in the night, fled to Canada until he was assured he was safe from prosecution in Massachusetts.
Mrs. Howe, in a letter to her sister at the time, made it clear she was in complete sympathy with the attempt to start a slave rebellion in the South, and tear the nation apart. She wrote, “I have just been to church and hear [James Freeman] Clarke (another Unitarian minister) preach about John Brown, whom God bless, and will bless! I am much too dull to write anything good about him, but shall say something at the end of my book on Cuba; whereof I am at present correcting the proof-sheets. I went to see his poor wife, who passed through here some days since. We shed tears together and embraced at parting, poor soul… [Brown’s] attempt I must judge insane but the spirit heroic. I should be glad to be as sure of heaven as that old man may be, following right in the spirit and footsteps of the old martyrs, girding on his sword for the weak and oppressed. His death will be holy and glorious--the new saint awaiting his martyrdom, and who, if he shall suffer [execution], will make the gallows glorious like the cross.
What “martyrs” could Mrs. Howe have been speaking of in her letter? Surely she could not mean the early Christian martyrs who were slain in many perverse, cruel and cold-blooded ways by the ancient Romans, just as her hero, John Brown, slew the Southern martyrs in Kansas. Her fascination with his sword is also revealed in the letter. This grotesque and warped view of Christian values is reflected in her violent and bloody war song.
Here we have the author of the much revered “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” condoning murder and treason by a ruthless and brutal killer. Her dark fascination with Brown’s bloody sword and the killer’s unbridled violence seemed to thrill the diminutive author. Clearly, the seeds of inspiration for her “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” had been planted in the poisonous soil of murder, rebellion and treason.
But what was the final inspiration for the famous lyrics? In November 1861, after the start of the tragic war that the Howe’s had for so long worked to instigate, a party which included the Unitarian Rev. James F. Clarke and Mrs. Howe, visited an outpost of the invading Union troops in Northern Virginia. However an unexpected Confederate attacked cancelled the review. Mrs. Howe and her party were waiting in a buggy while Northern troops came marching by, returning from the skirmish. The camp visitors heard the Yankees merrily singing an obscene version of “John Brown’s Body.”
When the party returned to Washington, D.C., the Rev. Clarke asked Mrs. Howe if she could supply more dignified words for the popular tune. So, inspired by the memory of her late, “martyred hero” John Brown, and the skirmish that so rudely interrupted her review of her beloved invading Northern vandals, she wrote the words for the famous Anti-Southern abolitionist anthem, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by candlelight in the middle of the night at the Willard Hotel.
James T. Fields, the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, accepted the song and published it as a poem in the February 1862 issue. This bloody, hate-filled song has been marching on ever since. The “hymn” sung by so many church and school choirs, was inspired not by the Bible or a stirring religious sermon, but by a dastardly killer, John Brown, and by the march of Northern invaders trampling over Southern soil, Southern lives and Southern rights, in quest of subjugating or killing the Southern people. And what horrible crime was the South guilty of to warrant its extermination?
The people of the South were guilty only of wanting independence for a government of their own choosing, a pro-Christian, God-based government that safeguarded states’ rights, individual liberty and put strict limits on the national government. This was the type of government the founders established in 1776, and the South was trying to preserve it as handed to them.
It was Abraham Lincoln, who is said to have cried the first time he heard the abolitionist war song, and radicals like Mrs. Howe who were the real revolutionaries. It was their forces who, by brute force of arms, destroyed the original voluntary union of sovereign, independent states at the cost of 620,000 dead Americans, and changed the nations into an involuntary union of defeated, militarily occupied, captive states.
In 1863, Mrs. Howe recited, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at a gathering of fanatical abolitionists. One of those who saw and heard her commented that she had a “weird penetrating voice.” Considering the bloody, ungodly history of her war song, what a chilling experience that must have been.
In summary, here is a “hymn” celebrating the killing of Southerners on Southern soil, written by someone involved in the most radical causes or her day, who supported the most extreme and violent response to the South, who wrote the song after being inspired by the murderous career of John Brown and her northern vandal invaders of the South. Whenever “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is played, five innocent men hacked to death by the “terrible swift sword” of John Brown should be remembered. It is also a dirge for the 620,000 Americans who died in the War for Southern Independence and which war transformed America into a despotic centralized state with practically unlimited powers.
What meaning does the song have for the South today?
It is, in effect, a "stealth" heritage attack. It is conditioning Southerners to accept the Yankee myth of history: that their Confederate ancestors were wrong, and their Northern “betters” were right and they should be glad 260,000 Southrons were slaughtered in the War for Southern Independence. The message of the song is, “Believe in Mrs. Howe’s almighty centralized government to tell you what is right and what is wrong.” Don’t listen to the founders of 1776 or 1861, is the message of this hymn. Yes, Mrs. Howe’s abolitionist hymn is still doing her work, quietly and covertly, of destroying Southern heritage by conditioning Southerners to accept her fanatically leftist cultural and religious philosophy.
How ironic that such a joyous traditional Southern song as “Dixie” is now all but banned throughout the South, while a vicious Anti-Southern war song such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is sung by churches and patriotic ceremonies all over the Confederate states.
What meaning does it have for the Church?
Did Jesus Christ teach that God is a vengeance seeking, sword-wielding maniac that slaughters innocents and tramples people under His wrathful feet, as Mrs. Howe’s violent and bloody lyrics would have you believe? No, such lyrics don’t fit in with any Christian liturgy I’m familiar with. They do fit in the theology of radical egalitarianism which says everyone must be equal in all aspects of life, or the full force and power of the federal government will destroy you. It also fits in the philosophy of giving to the government god-like powers to declare a whole segment of humanity as non-persons, such as the unborn, who can then be legally slaughtered by the millions at the whim of the mother and abortionist.
If Americans truly care about individual liberty, limited, constitutional government, and the sacred right of self-government of the people in their assembled states, then all such false icons as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” must be exposed and rejected.

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