One Hundred and Fifty years ago this week my great-great-grandfather Lecil DeVine was shot in the face and captured by Union forces at Big Shanty, Georgia, a key rail station just north of Kennesaw Mountain and Marietta, while a confederate soldier defending against General William Tecumseh Sherman’s inevitable capture of Atlanta in the Fall of 1864 that ensured President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election and the re-unification of all states in a new America free of slavery.
Lecil DeVine and his ancestors had loved America while eschewing slavery since they first arrived on its shores before the war for independence they fought in. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina less then 80 miles from President Andrew Jackson’s Palmetto State birthplace at Lancaster, Lecil joined fellow Jacksonian Democrats in his new Alabama home to elect a unionist delegate to oppose secession at the early 1861 Montgomery state convention. Unlike President Jackson who threatened to invade and hang Nullification secessionists in his home state in the 1830s, DeVine and other like-minded Southern Americans failed to persuade a majority in eleven states to continue the formation of a more perfect union under the United States Constitution.
Thus defeated, Lecil watched the state-rights Confederacy effect the first draft of free individuals into involuntary military service in American history and the ridicule and shame heaped upon those that didn’t volunteer beforehand. Thus chastened before his inevitable conscription in April pursuant to the second such Act passed at President Jefferson Davis’s request by the CSA congress, he joined the 31st Alabama Infantry Regiment in March of 1862. After fighting in Tennessee, Lecil helped defend Port Gibson, Mississippi before enduring Grant’s siege of Vicksburg after which he was taken prisoner; paroled to Demopolis, Alabama and later exchanged with fellow Confederates for Union prisoners; before rejoining his regiment and his inevitable re-capture 20 miles north of Atlanta.
While Atlanta burned, DeVine was imprisoned at the federal Rock Island, Illinois POW camp which, while not as notoriously wicked as the Andersonville one run by Confederates in Georgia, was known as one rife with hunger and disease. Even before the fall of Atlanta, war deprivations of food and shelter in much of Dixie were stark, and afterwards much more so, including in Lecil’s northern Alabama home. Thus, with the war he wanted no part of obviously lost by the Confederacy and his patriotic duty fulfilled, he “swallowed the dog” by pledging his Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America and enlisted for a year of frontier service in the U.S. Army. Ironically, his Oath and enlistment papers were signed by Major H.B. Rathbone who, with his wife, accompanied President and Mrs. Lincoln on that fateful night to come at Ford’s Theater.
Lincoln died to preserve the last best hope of man on Earth. Lecil DeVine, rather than wallow in decades of “Lost Cause” bemoanings, embraced that new hope that had been his first cause and pursued the American Dream through family and enterprise in a South though ravaged by war and an imperfect reconstruction, was at least purged of the evil institution of slavery and with an amended Constitution better dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Lecil DeVine’s successors in this Spartanburg native’s immediate family would help build a New South of industry in railroads and nuclear power; integrated schools, Little Leagues and Cub Scouts; law, faith, education and good humor. None of which would have been possible absent the sacrifices of great-great-grandfather Lecil.
So as this Carolina Gamecock now roosted atop Stone Mountain of Georgia and my fellow Atlantans approach the Sesquicentennial of the burning of our great city by who Decatur’s Mary A.H. Gay called America’s Nero; let us remember than unlike Nero’s Rome, Sherman’s Atlanta and America rose from its ashes united to free half the world from Nazis and an evil communist empire and our own empire from Jim Crow.
God’s not finished with America yet and I thank God for a reluctant Confederate ancestor who never lost sight of the City on the Hill that he wanted for himself and his family.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Luke, from his Gospel:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding Continue reading
We’re not sure if the ghost(s) of Anniston and Gadsden, Alabama, respectively, caught on security-camera video below, were thrown out of now sheet-less hospital beds, because they failed to successfully navigate a state or federal government health insurance exchange.
Not sure if they simply failed to survive hours of fruitless attempts to purchase insurance on the federal Obamacare exchange.
But we do know that they desperately crave one of the oldest and cheapest medicines known to mankind… Continue reading
Has America ever had a smaller Chief Executive?
Yes, I know that James Madison stood only 5 feet, 4 inches tall; but both he and Dolley were giants compared to a 6′ 1″ President that uses his executive discretion (and a Democratic Party led by Senate majority Leader Harry Reid that denies funding) to purposely cause pain and inconvenience to the best Americans and most vulnerable among us from war veterans and the survivors of the fallen wishing to visit monuments and memorials to denying funding for NIH cancer patients. Continue reading
The only “faction” that controls whether to default, remains president of the United States.
Conservatives should be happy that Speaker John Boehner will agree to a short-term raising of the debt limit while insisting that President Barack Obama and the Democrats compromise over a continuing budget resolution to end the government shutdown.
Not because the former removes the specter of an actual “default”, but rather because it removes any plausible Democratic Party or media (but I repeat myself) allegation that a Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling could be the cause of any downward market activity before or after the Obama Treasury Department-declared deadline of October 17.
What’s next, government exchanges for health care-related goods and services like personal trainers, walking shoes, housing, automobiles, gasoline, food and ferry boat rides?
Think that’s far-fetched, when President Obama’s Democratic Party policies already attack the poor and middle class by increasing the price of shelter, transportation and sustenance via EPA, HUD and other regulations?
How surreal is it, that in order to buy a private health insurance policy one must employ an Obamacare-government “navigator”? Almost as surreal it has been to be limited to Blue Cross Blue Shield under so many state health insurance monopolies in pre-Obamacare-America. Continue reading
The GOP needs a government shutdown to re-establish GUT-bone fides with the American people.
Republicans should allow President Obama to shut down the government on behalf of his Big Business and government employee friends to whom he has granted exemptions, subsidies and delays.
Soon after his first inaugural in 2009, President Barack Obama demanded that health care reform be passed quickly to ensure a robust recovery and balanced budget, and that it must be done in comprehensive way. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insisted the Affordable Care Act should only be read to discover its specifics, after it became law. Having received zero Republican votes, Obamacare became the Law of the Land. Continue reading
Any Republican strategy to force Obama and the Democrats to compromise on Obamacare, taxes, spending or even the Keystone XL pipeline in a continuing budget resolution or bill to raise the debt ceiling inevitably leads to a Cruz-like government shutdown cul-de-sac.
Charles Krauthammer has known this since he worked for Vice President Walter Mondale in the late 1970s and when he watched President Reagan escape from government shutdown-showdowns with a Democratic congress unscathed in the 1980s.
For the past two weeks, as tea partier conservatives in congress led by Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio have sought to de-fund Obamacare, we heard nary a word from any Fox News Special Report panel that the only “intelligent” course would obviously be to tie changes in the Affordable Care Act to a debt limit bill rather than a continuing budget resolution. No, we were told that Republicans “just can’t” win any battle that could lead to government shutdown because “Republicans don’t have the votes” in Congress and so can only hope to de-fund, repeal or amend the ACA by winning back the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. Continue reading