To All Confederates
"To All Confederates"

Over in the Valley and down I 81 lies the hamlet of Mt. Jackson. All of us have seen the exit. My dear friends Jane and Bob live there. They returned home after many years out of the area to settle into retirement with family and friends. Bob served in the Coast Guard and Jane served in the school systems in Tidewater and Prince William County. It is difficult to catch up with either of them because they are so busy. But I digress….

I recently spoke with Bob about his membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I wanted to know more. Many people think of the Sons of Confederate Veterans as a bunch of moonshine drinking, beer bellied, hell raising, flag waving bearded old grizzlies who continually shout “Forgit? Hell no!” every other word while they pet their 10 coon hounds yapping at their heels. Not Bob and not many others.

Bob is one of the most genteel, educated, Virginia gentlemen I know. He does not fit the image painted above. In speaking to Bob, I almost got a mystical sense of a desire to stay connected to his past and his roots–not just stay connected but to honor that past and those roots. He and Jane both have a strong sense of history. There was an unmistakable message that we do not allow our collective regional heritage to be distorted and conveniently swept under the rug in favor of a more politically correct image of what we were not.

I share much of Bob and Jane’s heritage and I think it is important for all sons and daughters of the South to admit, like all Americans, those chapters of our history that are ugly and we certainly have some. But all of our heritage is not ugly. Much of it is good, gracious, and a great source of pride. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. Honoring this past honors your family; those people who, in most cases, were just ordinary people trying to go about their everyday lives doing what they had to do to get along in the world they knew.

One of the first Decoration Days was held in Mt. Jackson at their local Confederate Cemetery. Soldiers from 11 different Confederate states are buried there. Very few families could travel to honor their dead. Many wars later, as we commemorate Memorial Day 2010, let’s go back some 144 years ago to a little place in the Valley:


Our Soldiers Cemetery was established in 1861 on land obtained from Col. Levi Rinker. The cemetery, containing about 400 graves, was first dedicated on 10 May 1866 by a memorial association. The entire community, including the nearby town of New Market and Edinburg, participated in the dedication of the cemetery. A wreath of flowers was placed on each of the graves. The ceremonies included addresses in the church by Maj. H.K. Douglas (an aide of gen. Stonewall Jackson) and others.

Because of the efforts of Raymond Watkins of Falls Church, VA, and others, the list of Confederate soldiers buried here is complete and there are no longer any unknowns. There are soldiers from eleven southern states buried here: AL, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, and VA.

Decoration Day in Virginia
Decoration Day in Virginia


“The Mount Jackson Confederate Hospital’s Cemetery, now called Our Soldiers Cemetery, was dedicated on May 10, 1866 the third anniversary of Stonewall Jackson’s death. The “Memorial and Decoration Day” organized by the local ladies was one of the first such observances in the South. The service began with an address in the church by Major Henry Kyd Douglas, the youngest of Jackson’s staff officers. Afterward, a participant wrote that “ladies, gentlemen and children as well as many ex-Confederates, all carrying wreaths prepared the day before, marched to the cemetery ¾ of a mile north of town to place those wreaths on each of the 400 graves.”

The Third and final Confederate National Flag waves over the dead
The Third and final Confederate National Flag waves over the dead

Much honor and thanks to my mother, Betty, who taught her kids to have pride in their heritage during times when frankly, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

Resource: The Historical Marker Database

16 Thoughts to “A Salute to Mt. Jackson and to Southern Heritage”

  1. What a lovely, unique posting for Memorial Day, MH, particularly your last line which is honest and somewhat painful, making it more meaningful. I am going to link this post to my website.

  2. Poor Richard

    Linking two postings — the City Cemetary in Manassas also has a
    monument, not unlike the one above, surrounded by Confederate graves
    AND it is next door to a Harley-Davidson dealership that is popular with
    with Rolling Thunder folks.

    ( In 1910 a raging fuss in the Manassas area was over what direction
    the statue should face – North to face the foe or South to gaze upon his

  3. […] this posting at Moonhowlings turns that negative thought on its head, giving us something more to think […]

  4. Thanks Pinko.

    PR, are any union soldiers buried in there? I can’t remember.

  5. Very nice Moon.

    But is this what you meant to say?

    Bob is one of the most gentile, Virginia gentlemen I know.

    Gentile? very non-jewish, is he?

    1. Thanks Cargo, I knew something looked funny with that. I should never try to do these with a 4 year old running around with a 4 foot long plastic hooded cobra.

  6. Fixed. Sorry about that and thanks for letting me know. arggghhhhh

    You gotta watch me like a hawk. Sometimes I do my own words. 😉

  7. Poor Richard

    M-H, not sure there were Union graves here from the battle, but many
    individuals who fought for the Union stayed in the area after the war and
    they were eventually buried in Manassas. George C. Round, one of the
    great man in the town’s history, and another man who had won
    the Medal of Honor are two.

  8. 4 year old with a 4 ft long plastic hooded cobra…………….I don’t want to know.

    Hope you had a good Sunday. I taught my 10 yr old daughter how to play with fire today during the BBQ.

    Nite all

  9. Didn’t you say that George Round was the brains and money behind the Jubilee celebration?

    Cargo, she had been to toysRus and her parents allowed her to buy this horrible plastic reptile.

  10. Cargo, my second worst restriction was because I left this rubber snake on the stove…little bitty pliable rubber thing…that looked real. Some boy had given it to me, I set it down and went off somewhere. My mother got up from her nap, saw the snake, and called my father home from work to kill it.

    I still think they over reacted.

  11. @cargosquid
    Hmmm. That’s not very comforting, but hey, whatever does it for ya 🙂

  12. Poor Richard

    M-H, Indeed, Round was a key figure in planning the 1911 Peace Jubilee
    and, among other civic works, helped found what was to become the
    public school systems in PWC and the two cities. George C. Round elem.
    school in Manassas is named for him. (He also played a role in bringing
    the the PWC Courthouse to Manassas and having it built at the intersection
    of Lee and Grant).

  13. He was a good transplant it sounds like. I hope we made him an honorary Virginian.

  14. PWC Taxpayer

    ARRGGHHH. I am not in favor of flying the third confederate national over a cemetary, especially a mixed generation/mixed veteran cemetary. In a reenactment ok.. In a memorial servcie maybe – not sure and I am not sure I would react the same to the 1st National or not, but this is a little like flying the Nazi flag over a cemetary of German WWII dead. That would not be done.

  15. Poor Richard

    Flag that flew longest over a nation on this continent that tolerated
    slavery? The United States Flag.

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