Thursday, May 30, 2013

Camping Out


  When I was a teenager I used to camp out with my best friend Gus Fowler who lived on Greenwood Avenue in a big white house the next street over from our house on McKennie. We would camp out in both cold and warm weather because his father worked for the ATF and let us use his government issue sleeping bags that kept us warm as toast in the winter. Many of our friends camped out with us. I had a paper route and my papers were dropped off early, at Company 18 Fire Hall on Gallatin Road. They would help me deliver my route which we delivered on foot or by bicycle. We would usually have them delivered by daylight. My most memorable night was the night that my Aunt Didi grounded me for something I had done. So she told me I couldn't camp out. I was bound and determined to get my way so I went to bed fully dressed. After it seemed that everyone was good and asleep I eased out of bed. After what seemed like forever I quietly unlocked the door. Then I slowly locked it back and ran through the back yard down to the alley. There I ran behind the barn and nearly ran over a cop that was standing at the corner of the barn.

  There was a church across the street and many times cops would park there and talk with other officers while on patrol. Unknown to me a police officer watched my every move as I snuck out of the house. He said "what are you doing boy"? My mouth was moving but nothing was coming out I was so scared. When I finally found my voice I sounded like a little girl it was so high pitched. I told him the truth about being grounded and that is why I was sneaking out. He must have believed me because he told me to go back home. However he told me he would take me to jail if he caught me out again. I don't know if I was more afraid of getting arrested or getting caught by Didi. Somehow I made it back in the house without waking anyone up. Didi never knew anything about this until years later when I confessed at a family gathering. She got a good laugh out of it.

Life In Nashville During World War II


  As a child I heard stories about life in Nashville during World War II. I loved these stories because it sounded like a time that I would have liked to have experienced. It made me proud to be an American because everyone pulled together and supported each other. I was especially proud of my family because my grandmother told me how she opened her home to soldiers, sailors, and airmen. How the family gave them a place to live at times and how she fed them. I believe this because of all the times I saw her feed hungry people that came to her back door.

As a student of history I know that Middle Tennessee was important militarily to the war effort. Nashville's Berry Field and Smyrna's Sewart AFB trained bomber crews for the Army Air Force. Vultee aircraft plant built military aircraft which later became known as AVCO. My grandmother talked about all the convoys that passed through town on a regular basis. Just before the war and throughout the Army prepared troops going to the European theater by training them in Tennessee because our woods and terrain was very similar to Western Europe. When I trained in the woods of Germany, Belgium and England I could easily imagine that I was back home in Tennessee.

  Hunting for Civil War relics I found many World War II relics like M-1 cartridges, but the best find was an Army Signal Corps ring. My brother-in-law found a mess kit dated October 1941 and the name Private Dabbs etched on the bottom. George S. Patton trained his men in tank warfare through places like Bell Buckle and Murfreesboro on his way to later fame on the battlefields of North Africa and Europe. There were many prisoner of war camps throughout the South like Camp Forrest in Tullahoma which is now Arnold AFB. Then there was Camp Campbell as they called it then. The 101st Airborne was not there then. They wouldn't be there until the 1950's.

  Young girls dated these men and would later marry many of them. My mother, and her sisters "Tincy" and "Didi" dated them, especially Didi. I laughed when I saw all of the pictures she had of her boyfriends in uniform after she died and she always talked about them when she was alive. The funniest one was of an Airman named Nick Caravello who was obviously a Northerner. She wrote on the back of the picture " the sweetest little yankee in all the world. And what a yankee!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lexington Virginia / Robert E. Lee's Last Years

  In 2003 and 2005 on our way to Antietam and Gettysburg we visited Natural Bridge in Lexington Virginia. While there I was able to visit Washington & Lee University. This is the place where Lee spent the last five years of his life as President of what was then Washington University. Lee was a great General but his tenure at this University proved the true character of the man. He took a university on the edge of bankruptcy and nursed it back to financial health. His primary message to his students, of which many were ex-Confederate soldiers, was the importance of education to a defeated South. That it was their duty to become good and loyal American citizens again. Lee had been in bad health ever since about the time of the battle of Fredricksburg when he suffered a heart attack. On September 28, 1870 he suffered a massive stroke at his home on campus and died two weeks later on October 12. He is buried in a crypt in the Lee Chapel on campus and the rest of the Lee family is buried in a mausoleum in the basement, along with his famous father "Light Horse" Harry Lee.
House Where Lee Died

From The Book / " The Jefferson Lies" / Five Ways That Liberals Distort History / Poststructuralism

  The following is taken word for word from the book The Jefferson Lies. Poststructuralism: The second historical device for attacking and pulling down what is traditionally honored is called Poststructuralism. Poststructuralism is marked "by a rejection of totalizing, essentialist, foundationalist concepts" such as the reality of truth or "the will of God. Poststructuralism discards absolutes and is "a-historical (that is, non- or anti-historical, believing that nothing transcendent can be learned from history. Instead, meaning must be constructed by each individual for him- or herself, and historical meanings may shift and change based on an individual's personal view. Poststructuralism is especially evident in the judiciary, where judges often interpret and ascertain the meaning of the Constitution for themselves, redefining even the simplest words with new and previously unknown meanings that the judge has supposedly discovered for him- or herself.
Poststructuralism also encourages citizens to "view themselves as members of their interest group first, with the concerns of their nation and the wider community coming second, thus encouraging individual anarchy against traditional national unifying values". In the past , America was characterized by the Latin phrase on the Great Seal of the United States: E Pluribus Unum meaning "out of many, one." This acknowledges that although there was much diversity in America, there was a common unity that overcame all differences. But Poststructuralism reverses that emphasis to become E Unum Pluribus---that is, "out of one, many," dividing the nation into separate groups and components with no unifying commonality between them. In short, Poststructuralism ignores traditional national unifying structures, values, heroes, and institutions and instead substitutes personally constructed ones. End of The Jefferson Lies.
  I was raised to believe in America as the great "melting pot". The thing that has always made me proud is that no matter what your heritage was or ethnicity Americans had a certain unique character about them. No matter where you went in the world you could recognize an American easily. In the military I served with people of all backgrounds. Hispanics, Blacks, Whites of many backgrounds, especially with Eastern European heritage, American Indians, and Asian heritage. Yes I could see that the color of their skin was different in many cases or their last names sounded strange to me. Their accents spanned various regions of the country and world but there was no doubt in my mind that they were all good loyal Americans. I will never forget the night I landed in Istanbul Turkey about midnight and was scared to death. As far as I was concerned I might as well been on Mars because Turkey was so different and everyone was speaking a language I didn't understand. I was being mobbed by men and boys begging for money or trying to carry my bags for money. Then I looked over and saw two black American Airmen. It didn't matter to me that they were black because all I saw were two Americans. Because of Poststructuralism during the twentieth century we have had certain court cases that have redefined the 1st Amendment to mean something that it doesn't in regard to religious freedom, and free speech. Moral relativism rules the day in our courts and educational system. Multiculturalism and political correctness are leading us to national suicide.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From The Book / "The Jefferson Lies" / Five Ways That Liberals Distort History / Deconstructionism

  My brother Mark gave me an excellent book called the Jefferson lies by David Barton. It exposes the five ways that liberals, or leftist's as I call them, distort American History. They are Deconstructionism, Poststructuralism, Modernism, Minimalism, and Academic Collectivism. I have recognized these methods by the left of distorting history for many years but I didn't know they had been named by academia. This is much  of the reason why our young people, along with older Americans have been dumbed down because the left writes most of our history and they control most of our educational system. When I was growing up historians were guilty of the sin of omission because I was not taught about blacks who had fought in our wars, or the proper role of women in history or a fair portrayal of the American Indian to name a few shortfalls of teaching history. We have gone way too far in the actual distortion of history that has a left-wing agenda today. I am going to write pretty much word for word from the book's introduction. 

  Deconstruction: Deconstructionism "tends to deemphasize or even efface (malign and smear) the subject" by posing " a continuous critique" to "lay low what was once high". It "tears down the old certainties upon which Western Culture is founded" and the foundations on which those beliefs are based. In short, Deconstructionism is a steady flow of belittling and negative portrayals of Western heroes, beliefs, values, and institutions. Deconstructionists make their living by telling only part of the story and spinning it negatively, manipulating others into supporting their views and objectives. Deconstruction of American heroes, values, and institutions--which especially occurs in today's classrooms--is the reason most Americans can recite more of what's wrong with our nation than what's right. They can identify every wart that has ever appeared on the face of America over the past four centuries, but not what has made America the envy of every people in the world--every people, that is, except Americans. Under Deconstructionism students are taught about the "intolerant" Christian Puritans who conducted the infamous witch trials. And while twenty-seven individuals died in the Massachusetts witch trials, almost universally ignored is the fact that witch trials were occurring across the world at that time; in Europe, 500,000 were put to death, including 30,000 in England, 75,000 in France, and 100,000 in Germany. Additionally, the American witch trials lasted eighteen months, but the European trials lasted years. Furthermore, the Massachusetts witch trials were brought to a close when Christian leaders such as the Reverend John Wise, the Reverend Increase Mather, and Thomas Brattle challenged the trials because the Biblical rules of evidence and due process had not been followed in the courts, thus convincing civil leaders and the governor to end those trials. Twenty-seven deaths in America but 500,000 in Europe? Why emphasize the twenty-seven but ignore the 500,000? The answer is " Deconstructionism"--presenting a negative portrayal of American faith and values.
  Rarely do students hear that it was these "despised" Puritans who instituted America's first elective forms of government, originated the practice of written constitutions, constructed the first bills of rights to protect individual liberties, instituted the free market economic system, or began America's system of common, or public, schools. In short, Deconstructionists happily point out everything that can possibly be portrayed as a flaw---even if they have to distort information to do so--but they remain conspicuously silent about the multitude of reasons to be proud of America and its many successes and heroes. They have led Americans toward knowing everything that "lays low" American traditions, values, and heroes but virtually nothing that honors or affirms them.

Liggett's Drugstore

  I lost two of my favorite people in 2012. My Aunt Goldie Brown Evans who was not only my Aunt but my second mother who raised me after my parents died. She was my mother's last remaining sibling. Also my father's last remaining sibling who was my Aunt Freddie Segroves Davidson. Freddie told me sometime before she died that she met Goldie, who we called by her nickname "Didi", before my father ever met my mother. During World War II they both worked at Liggett's Drugstore which she said was on Church Street in Nashville. After Didi passed away last May I found these two pictures of Liggett's. Didi is in both pictures. 

A Battle With An Audience - Nashville

  The battle of Nashville had one distinguishing characteristic that made it unique among Civil War battles. It had a huge civilian audience. The battle was fought on what then was the western and southern suburbs of Nashville which was mostly farmland. Nashville citizens were primarily southern sympathizers and silently cheered on the Southern Army as they lined Capital Hill and the hills surrounding Nashville watching the battle. The first picture is civilians watching the battle from capital hill. The second is the same view looking toward 7th Avenue, the Tennessee Supreme Court building and the Tennessee State Library and Archives building.

View Of North Nashville From The capital In The Civil War

North Nashville from the Capital in the Civil War. Modern view with Lydea McDaniel.

The Tennessee State Capital In The Civil War

  When Nashville fell to Union Forces in February 1862 Andrew Johnson was appointed Military Governor of Tennessee in March. He moved into a house across the street on Charlotte Avenue which had been the home of Lizinka Campbell Brown, a die hard rebel who would become the wife of Confederate General Richard S. Ewell. Johnson would eventually arrest and imprison many of Nashville's most prominent citizens such as pastors, newspaper editors, politicians, and businessmen. Just before the Union Army marched into Nashville there was a huge panic reminiscent of the famous panic scene in the movie "Gone With The Wind" when the Confederate Army was evacuating Atlanta. As the Confederate Army passed through Nashville headed South they evacuated as much ordinance, food and supplies as they could and destroyed the rest. One of the last things they did was destroy the suspension and railroad bridge. The flames lit up the city as if it were daylight. General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry was the rear guard. He had to use fire hoses to control the mobs of people trying to loot the city. This may have been the first time in history that fire hoses were used for riot control. As early as February 23, Union Cavalry began showing up across the river in Edgefield and the City was formally surrendered on February 25 by Mayor Cheatham to General Don Carlos Buell. When Johnson became Governor he not only fortified the city but fortified the Capital. It became known as Fort Johnson. He would panic himself on those  occasions when few Union troops were on hand to fight Confederate partisans and cavalry units. Such as Forrest and Wheeler when they threatened the city. The greatest threat to the city was in December 1864 when General John Bell Hood's Army attempted to capture the city but was destroyed in the decisive battle of Nashville.

Civil War View Of Nashville's Railroad Bridge

Right after the fall of Ft. Donelson in February 1862 the Confederate Army burned the suspension bridge and L&N railroad bridge. The Union Army rebuilt the railroad bridge making it into a fortified swing bridge in order to allow river traffic.

Greg And Mark Segroves Singing At The Tennessee Air Guard Chapel Service

Guardmount At Mildenhall England / 118th Tennessee Air National Guard / June 1990

Nashville's Courthouse In The Civil War

The Davidson County Courthouse during the Civil War. The modern Davidson County Courthouse.

Nashville Railroads In The Civil War

  The reason Nashville became the most important city outside of Washington DC during the Civil War was it's strategic location. It was virtually in the middle of the state. Major highways, like today, entered Nashville from every direction. The Cumberland River was a tributary of the mighty Ohio River and was a major waterway for delivering supplies, armaments, and men. Middle Tennessee, outside of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia was the most fertile region of the South and a major breadbasket. Last but not least there was a railroad system that connected every area of the South. The Louisville and Nashville shipped men, supplies, and armaments from the North and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad shipped men and supplies along the Nashville and Chattanooga corridor as the Union Army moved South hoping to capture the gateway to the deep South at Chattanooga. The many wounded were shipped North to Nashville hospitals. Both pictures are looking northeast from the area of Church Street near the present day Tennessean newspaper building.

First Union Dress Parade In Nashville

The Union Army held it's first review in March 1862 after the fall of Nashville on the public square. This view is on the 4th and Deaderick side of the square looking northwest in both pictures.

The Ernest Tubb Record Shop In The Civil War

The first picture is the building that today houses the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broad Street during the Civil War. The second and third are more modern day pictures.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Hadley Plantation

  This is a Confederate Camp, early in the Civil War, of Nashville soldiers in camp at what is now present day Hadley Park in North Nashville. John Hadley was a slave owner and his plantation became the first park for black people in the United States on July 4th 1912. His land also became what is now Tennessee State University. He was interested in helping his freed slaves adjust to freedom. He also invited Frederick Douglas to speak to his former slaves in 1873.

Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian

  The present Downtown Presbyterian Church on Church Street in Nashville was built in 1848 after a fire destroyed the second church that had been built on this site. The first church was built in 1816 but it burned down in 1832. General Andrew Jackson was presented with a ceremonial sword after his victory at New Orleans on the front steps of the first church and was also a member. James K. Polk was inaugurated Governor of Tennessee in the second sanctuary. The present church was built by William Strickland in Egyptian Revival Architecture. Strickland also designed the Tennessee State Capital and is buried in the wall there. After the Union Army captured Nashville in 1862 along with becoming a supply center it became the leading medical center in the western theater. The Downtown Presbyterian, which was called First Presbyterian then, became Hospital #8 and it had 206 beds. Nashville hospitals were filled to capacity after such battles as Stones River, Franklin, and Nashville.
William Strickland

Western Military Institute / Then And Now

Western Military Institute on the Campus of the University of Nashville during the Civil War. Sam Davis attended this school before the war. The second picture was taken in 2012 and was the former Children's Museum. It is now owned by the city.