Recognizing the Battle
Recognizing the Battle Flag
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The Society for Creative Anachronism is a recreational history
group. The object is to relive the middle ages, not as they were, but
as they should have been. If there are more lords, ladies and knights
than surfs and plague victims in the Society, this is fine. The idea
is to focus on the good parts.
The society has small groups all over the world, having fun, and
keeping history alive. One small SCA group was, in real life, the
crew of a US Battle Tank in the Desert Shield / Desert Storm effort.
Thus it came to pass that the flag of the Christian Kingdom of
Jerusalem came to be flown in battle once again.
Then a US officer visited the tank. "Our hosts have recognized
your flag. Take it down."
The bane of recreational history is those who take history
seriously, those who have long memories, those who have just grudges,
those who remember flags unseen in centuries, those who feel in their
hearts the words "never again".
Having recreated for fun ancient battles of sword and shield, it
is easy to be sympathetic with those fighting once again the North
American Civil War. It is understandable that players of such
historic games want only to recreate and celebrate the good parts.
However, this does not mean the distinction between play history and
real history should be forgotten. This does not mean the real issues
of the war, and the real hurts which occurred, should be buried
behind a fantasy dream which idealizes what was truly a bitter and
ugly time. For many, the wounds have not yet healed.
There is a goodly collection 19th Century documents
posted on the web, which state clearly enough in their own words the
opinions of many of those involved in the pre Civil War succession
crisis. This page quotes a few of the stronger paragraphs from the
stronger statements, and provides pointers to the full documents.
of Tennessee, and the Causes
of the Civil War site are strongly recommended to those who wish
to avoid my prejudices, who have the time to browse the original
material and form their own opinions.
This page is balanced in part to rebut the "states rights"
position. The emphasis of many in the neo-confederate south is on the
legal and government philosophy issues in the war, rather than the
slavery and racial issues. The neo-confederates have enough resources
dedicated to their perspective that I do not fear for an overall
My greater concern is that Abraham Lincoln was too elegant a
spokesman for the north. He presents the northern position so well
that there are few posting the more emotional and less rational
northern abolitionists. I find myself with more sympathy towards the
spokesmen for the south after reviewing northern speakers such as
Charles Sumner and John Brown. The history some southerners would
rather forget then becomes more understandable when you read the
northern extremists the north would rather forget. The old
accusations of fanatic extremism among insane northern abolitionists
are not entirely off the mark.
This is intended only as a sampler. The key paragraphs I have
copied into my pages are not sufficient. They are intended as
teasers. Follow the links. The Civil War was not about one
perspective only, but a knot of many perspectives. The truth is not
here. The truth requires real history, and some deeper digging into
the words spoken by people of the time.
Other of my