Sorry for the late reply. For the past week I’ve been extricating myself from under a monstrous avalanche of beans.
Really your reply was quite voluminous. One crucial element of your argument is the claiming of the flag by Buckner as his own invention. You of course know he was 86 years old at the time. As I said, I appreciate the remembrances, or tales, of old veterans, but it must be tempered by other references, wouldn’t you think? For forty two years, although there were numerous venues for Confederate reminiscences, most notably the “Confederate Veteran” in which a great many veterans left us their personal accounts, he was silent regarding the subject. Not until all related parties were passed on did he come up with the idea that he invented a blue flag with a white oval on it because it was different. It would have to be the only flag in the entire war so conceived. I am very reluctant to believe his account. You can do with it as you please.
You touched my heart when you said, “I wasn’t born in the South but I was raised there.” It is truly sad that you would have to say such a thing. There are little Mexican children who are indeed being born here every day who will never be Southern. If I had raised my children in Japan, or France, they would never become Japanese or French, and I hope they would never have the gall to attempt to write a spiritual history of the Japanese or French people. I almost felt sorry for you. Symbolically, of course.
I see your point of disputation as one rejecting Southern symbology. You have stated previously on this board that this is indeed your adopted mission. I have read numerous times your diatribe regarding the St. Andrew’s cross. How the “diagonal cross” was chosen in deference to Charleston’s Jews who were offended by the “upright cross” which seemed to remind them of the offensive Christians. The “upright cross” was of course rooted in South Carolina’s English heritage, being the cross of St. George, the patron saint of England. There must have once been a bunch of dragons in the world, because many countries keep alive the stories of how their earliest heroes killed them off, thus the tale of St. George killing the dragon. Today this is understood to be an allegory of Christ and His ultimate victory over Satan. Symbology.
Now, if the designers of such a flag did not refer to it as the St. George’s cross, that does not mean they did not understand it to be the St. George’s cross. It would be ridiculous to think that the leaders of South Carolina, whose fathers and grandfathers fought in the Revolution, and who were schooled in English heraldry, did not understand it to be such. Now, if the Jews took offense, and the cross was changed to the St. Andrew’s cross, the fact that it was not referred to in the literature of the day as the St. Andrew’s cross does not mean that they did not understand it to be the St. Andrew’s cross. It is a very Christian emblem in memorial of Christ’s disciple Andrew who was crucified on a diagonal cross. Symbology.
Southerners are kind of big on symbology. They call us the Bible Belt still, although it has been watered down considerably by humanists, atheists, red republicans, communists, and such transplanting themselves, usually claiming the nicer weather, from abroad and dwelling among us. Southerners still like the Holy Bible, King James mostly, and the Bible can hardly be understood without an intelligent grasp of symbology., such as the images of Daniel which predict future world empires, and the story of the world’s history as written in Revelation. Because Christ shed His blood for us (literally) we are “washed in the blood” (not literally). Because Christ was buried and rose again (literally) we are “buried unto death” (not literally) in baptism and raised again to new life. A very many of the Bible’s symbols in parables and prophecy sometimes have two and three layers of understanding and meanings. It does require intelligence and a grasp of spiritual symbology.
So if something is not called something, it does not mean that we don’t understand what that something is.
The Christian cross (why is it that most books refer to it at the “Latin” cross) was used to great effect in a number of flags. Is the 1st National of the 31st Alabama not indeed beautiful? One of the most famous and most recognized flags of the western theatre is the Christian cross flag of the Missouri Brigade. Its designer, Miss Belle Edmondson, was an ardent, praying, Bible-reading, soul-searching Christian. Every thing about this flag must be understood by understanding her. It’s symbology.
You repeated that Hardee was not Irish, meaning he was not born in Ireland. I know that. But Southerners are a little odd about things like that. Even today, Southerners are sometimes heard to say, “I’m Irish,” or “I’m part Irish,” or “I wish I was Irish.” We don’t generally say, “I have Irish heritage.” Myself, I’m Irish, with a touch of Huguenot. Now, we all know we’re Southern-American, but there’s a link that is really hard to define. We get homesick watching “Braveheart” or “Rob Roy” or “Waking Ned Devine” and we’ve never even been there. I had a friend, old like me, who finally fulfilled his life-long dream of traveling to Scotland, He visited Sterling battlefield, Edinburgh castle, met with the Clan whom he claims and was treated like visiting kin. He said he wept bitterly on leaving and was in a depressed and darkened state for months upon returning. Southerners are a little strange like that, particularly those of us Celts who still feel a little displaced.
I see you agree that Gen. McCown’s flag was indeed a St. Andrew’s cross (not the “only one,” however, as noted in the 3rd paragraph). This design was introduced to the west by the 39th N.C. Regiment. I do not know that McCown was inspired by their flag, but the regiment did fall under his command, and I would think that, with him being of Scottish heritage, the design would have caught his eye, and at some point he chose the St. Andrew’s cross for his regiments. They referred to it as their “bonnie blue flag.” Odd that Cleburne’s men also referred to theirs as their “bonnie blue flag.” And how about Gen. Polk., a bishop in the Church of England, who chooses for his regiments the St. George’s cross. Or do you think it might be just coincidence that a minister of the Church of England would choose for his colours the symbol of the patron saint of England?
So there, in that great charge at Murfreesboro, were from left to right, the Irish bonnie blue, the Scottish bonnie blue, and the English bonnie blue. What a glorious array of symbols!
You and I are certainly never going to agree. I see Southern flags as symbols of the cause for which our heroes were fighting, altars and fireside, symbols of the soul. You evidently see them as a marker for the line of battle. You have a tremendous gift of accumulation and organization of information. I admire that. I expect your book on Georgia’s flags to be a phenomenal work. If you can just tap into the Southern soul, it will be a true work of art. I do look forward to it.