Lanterns: My Beloved Old Flag


My Beloved Old Flag

As a writer its always my hope that my work will somehow reach out and influence someone whose opinion might be different from my own. I hope that it might cause them to reflect and in the very best and brightest world, cause someone who might have been an enemy,  become a friend. 

Unfortunately, today will probably not be that day. especially in regards to my beloved old flag.

Most have probably decided within themselves that they know everything they need to know about that racist rag, the Confederate Battle Flag. 

But for those who haven’t completely made up their minds, perhaps I might shed some light in my own peculiar fashion on why that flag is precious to me, what it stands for, and why it should never find it’s way into a museum, but rather, always be allowed to fly proudly, and freely below its sister, Ole Glory. 

First of all, most folks don’t fight for slaves, period. Oh, the politicians always have their own reasons for starting the wars, but that’s not always the same reasons why people fight ‘em. 

They fight for the things they love, not for the things they hate. 

There’s more hate for that flag now, than ever there was when it was with an army.

It’s a fact that most of the southern states seceded not over slavery, but over Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South and forcibly reclaim the Union. So forget about the politics for a moment, and think about how you would feel right now, this very second, if it came over the news that the Federal government was dispatching 75,000 US Army soldiers to militarily occupy your state, your county, your city, your neighborhood. 

Soldiers, hostile to you, your family, your neighbors, your homeland...and they’re coming to kick in your door, burn your crops, steal or kill your livestock, even shoot your dog if they want. They’re coming to cast eyes and leer at your wife, your sister, your daughter. And if you happen to look at ‘em wrong, they’re likely to just drag you out into your yard and shoot you in front of your family. And justice won’t be found anywhere. 

I suspect winning or losing wouldn’t enter your mind. 

But resistance would.

And an intent to make those sons of bitches bleed for every inch of ground they took from you. 

Because you are an American, a free man, free born, and in a free country, and as far as you’re concerned, this ain’t got nothing to do with black slaves in cotton fields you don’t own. 

But it’s got everything to do with you...Billy Yank, coming down here to invade my home. 

And me, a Johnny Reb, ready to fight for it.

Ultimately the overwhelming resources of the Federals won the day, but it was a butcher’s bill to pay. There were more casualties in FOUR YEARS than in all other American wars combined. 

650,000 Americans dead wounded and missing. 

And my family was a part of that. Four brothers served in the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, part of the Texas Brigade. One killed at the Bloody Lane in Antietam, two captured at Gettysburg, and one surrendered at Appomattox Court House. 

In the end, I look with that curious mix of pride, and sadness at my two flags. My heart and soul hurts when I think of so many lives lost. But my spirit stirs with pride at the brave and courageous stand that southern men made against overwhelming odds. And should Southern men ever be called again, I will join them.  

Texans Always move em!

Deo Vindice!

Written by Ben Coleman

Freelance author, historian and Navy veteran. Find him at

3 Responses

I enjoyed this. For those who dont know ...why did these folks wish to invade and dominate the South?

The decision by the Lincoln Administration to deploy military forces in the south was to forcibly prevent secession, retain the Union of States. Unfortunately, as Robert E. Lee said in his resignation from the US Army and declination of command (he was the first choice to command the United States Army to put down the rebellion. Lee said, "Any Union which must be maintained by the use of force has no charm for me." - It smacked a little too loudly of tyranny for a Union to be maintained at the point of a bayonet, so went the logic. Now, it does bear an important distinction that it was in truth friction OVER the issue of slavery which caused the secession in the first place. So it's an overlapping and intertwined issue and for one to say it had everything to do with slavery and nothing of States Rights, is as utterly wrong as to say it was everything over States Rights and nothing to do with slavery. Ultimately what we're fighting over, is the legacy of George Washington...the great question. Did Washington fight to form a perpetual Union maintained even by force? OR...did he fight to create an independent Republic FREE of such use of force? That's precisely why we're still debating the causes almost two hundred years later. Because it's a very messy subject.

Great read as usual, thank you Ben!

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