Update on Confederate Flag Display in Madison Park

May 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

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U.S. flag in the Confederate Rest Section in front of the flagpole on which the first Confederate national flag is allowed to be flown on Memorial Day.

Flag placed by Leonard H. Cizewski and Marshall Begel (his nephew-in-law) on April 30, 2016.

– Photo © Leonard H. Cizewski


Guest column in The Capital Times, May 27, 2016

Leonard H. Cizewski: Madison should ban Confederate flag at Forest Hill Cemetery (click for column on madison.com site)

On Memorial Day, the Confederate national flag (not the more commonly used and recognized Confederate battle flag) may again be flown over the Confederate Rest area in the Madison Parks’ Forest Hill Cemetery.

Last year, I asked the Madison Parks Department to discontinue that policy and only allow the flying of the U.S. flag.

I informed them that since they last reviewed the issue in 2001, the Supreme Court has ruled that prohibiting the flying of the Confederate flag in public cemeteries does not violate the First Amendment. I cited the policies of the National Park Service and the Veterans Administration.

That the Republican-majority House of Representatives just voted to end the display of the Confederate flag on flagpoles at cemeteries operated by the Veterans Administration should make even easier to end the display in Madison parks.

The Madison Parks Department responded by deciding to continue to allow the current policy, citing the First Amendment. That decision is an unnecessary and extreme overcompliance with the First Amendment.

The right to display the Confederate flag is not threatened, nor has it been. Our country is awash in displays of symbols of the Confederacy. Those who wish to display the Confederate flag have no shortage of times and places to display them: on their vehicles, at their homes, in their religious facilities, in their private schools, at demonstrations, and at private events on private property.

Those who wish to display the Confederate flag do not need the additional forum of a Madison park on Memorial Day.

In 2014 while in Normandy, France, for the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Campaign and a ceremony honoring my late father’s Signal Corp unit’s service in the liberation of Normandy, I visited the Mont de Huisnes WWII German Military Cemetery.

The only German flag allowed to be flown at that cemetery is the current German national flag. Neither the WWII German national flag nor the battle flags of the units under which the deceased fought are permitted. That is the international standard and practice — and that is what should be the policy of Madison parks.

Earlier this year my wife, Cheryl Robinson, and I followed the route that Anson Croman, her great-great-grandfather, traveled 150 years ago in the Vicksburg Campaign. He was in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment. After the fall of Vicksburg, the 20th was sent to recapture Jackson, Mississippi.

Our family’s ancestor was fighting not only to restore our nation but to liberate enslaved African-Americans. His actions resulted in the passage of amendments to our Constitution that are the basis for many of our current civil rights laws.

About 150 years ago General and Republican President Ulysses S. Grant said the cause Confederate flags represent “was … one of the worst for which a people ever fought.”

While in Jackson, Mississippi, we read an op-ed in the Jackson Free Press by Maisie Brown calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Mississippi state flag. Titled “The ‘Cloth on the Stick’ Represents Hatred Toward Me,” Brown echoed Grant’s words when she wrote that the Confederate battle flag on the Mississippi state flag illustrates “white supremacy and represents a group of people who wanted my people to stay enslaved.”

The Confederate national flags, the Confederate battle flag, or any Confederate symbols both 150 years ago and now represent an ideology of racial supremacy that was the basis of the enslavement of Africans in America.

Those buried in the Confederate section of Forest Hill Cemetery were committing violent treason as they waged war against our country in furtherance of that ideology of racial supremacy.

Germans today do not need to display Germany’s WWII national flag nor the unit or battle flags under which their war dead served in order to remember and honor their dead.

Descendents of the Confederate dead and others do not need to use the Confederate flag to honor their dead.

Among the reasons progress on racial issues has been so difficult is that for 150 years our nation has been in denial that an ideology of racial supremacy was central to the Confederacy. That denial is enabled when people are allowed to display a symbol of white supremacy under the canard of honoring the service of the war dead.

In recognition of general and President Grant’s insight, to honor the Union dead buried nearby, and in support of Maisie Brown, who faces a far more difficult struggle to remove the Confederate battle from her state’s flag, the time has come for the Madison Parks Department to join the rest the world and only permit the flying of our national flag in the Confederate Rest area of the Forest Hill Cemetery, or to remove the flagpole from the Confederate Rest area.

Madisonian Leonard H. Cizewski, a retired nurse, researches his family’s history. As a result of his research, in 2014 the Signal Corps unit in which his late father, Felix A. Cizewski, served was honored in Tamerville, France, as part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Normandy. (Click for blog post with more details.)


Historical background and connections to current events are occasional features of my family history blogs.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Acknowledgements:

Thanks to Jeff Spitzer-Resnick who encouraged me to continue my advocacy on this issue and who patiently edited my writing.

Thanks to Cheryl Robinson and Marshall Begel for their support and encouragement.

Thanks to Anson Croman. Advocating for this issue continues the struggle for which he fought in the Civil War

And thanks especially to Maise Brown of Jackson, Mississippi whose much more difficult effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from her state’s flag inspired me to continue my advocacy.


Revised: May 28, 2016

Shortlink: https://goo.gl/U4kFBK

Seneca Leader and Civil War General Ely Parker Named after Robinson Ancestor

February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

ParkerMedaljpg.jpg
General Ely Samuel Parker (Hasanoanda) wearing his ancestor Red Jacket’s (Sagoyewatha) peace medal given to Red Jacket by President Washington in 1792.

Undated photo in the public domain.


Cheryl A. Robinson’s family oral history is that Seneca leader and Civil War General Ely Samuel Parker (Seneca name Hasanoanda) was named after Cheryl’s fifth paternal grandfather Eli Stone.


Extreme caution must be taken with family oral history especially when it involves European-Americans and American Indians. Much of such oral history turns out to be family mythology.


Research suggests that is not the case with this family oral history.

In his 1919 biography, The Life of Ely S. Parker: Last Grand Sachem of the Iroquois and General Grant’s Military Secretary, Arthur C. Parker states that:

(Hasanoanda) was named Ely after a prominent white citizen of the day.

Two sources identify that “prominent white citizen” as e Eli Stone, Cheryl’s fifth paternal great-grandfather.

Eli Stone was a Baptist missionary and one of the local founders of the mission on Seneca’s Tonawanda Reservation in New York.


Ely Samuel Parker (Hasanoanda) studied engineering and worked as a civil engineer.

Before the Civil War, the future General Grant and Ely Parker met in Galena, Illinois where Ely Parker was working on civil engineering projects. They became friends.

When the Civil War began, Ely Parker volunteered to serve. His offer was rejected because he was an American Indian. Ely Parker then contacted his friend Ulysses Grant who then a general.

General Grant who often (but now always) transcended the bigotry of his times obtained a captain’s commission for Ely Parker.

Captain Parker served as engineer including at the Siege of Petersburg

During the Siege of Petersburg, Ely Parker became Grant’s military secretary and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

On April 9, 1865 at the surrender of the Confederates at Appomattox, Virginia, in his role as General Grant’s military secretarty, Lt. Col. Parker drafted the surrender documents for Generals Grant and Lee to sign.


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Then Lieutenant Colonel Ely Samuel Grant (seated on the right behind General Grant) at the  Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865.

From a engraving from a drawing by Alfred R. Waud in the public domain.


After the signing of the surrender, General Lee shook hands with General Grant’s staff.

When he came to Lt. Col. Parker General Lee hesitated, looked at Parker, then  said “I am glad to see one real American here.” As General Lee was white supremacist, that remark could have been meant condescendingly rather than positively. In the racist racial hierarchy of the South in which General Lee believed and for which he fought, American Indians were viewed as inferiors barely one step above Africans.

In a moment of greatness, Lt. Col  Parker shook General Lee’s hand and replied,

“We are all Americans.”


While Lt. Col. Parker was facilitating the surrender of the Confederates, Cheryl A. Robinson’s third maternal great-grandfather Anson Croman was serving in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment securing the railroad station and repairing the rail lines at Sutherland Station, Virginia to the southeast of Appomattox just west of Petersburg.

Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan also served near General Parker at the Sieges of Vicksburg and Petersburg.


Links, sources, and more information:

The Life of Ely S. Parker: Last Grand Sachem of the Iroquois and General Grant’s Military Secretary by Arthur C. Parker. Full text in several digital formats.


Sources that identify Eli Stone as the person after whom General Ely Parker was named:

Ely Parker: Iroquois Chief and Union Officer

“He (General Parker) acquired his unusual first name (pronounced not ‘Ee-lye’ but ‘Ee-lee’) from a Baptist missionary, Elder Ely Stone.”

Ely Samuel Parker Facts

“Chief William Parker (General Parker’s father) owned a large farm on the reservation and became a converted member of the newly formed missionary Baptist church. Ely reputedly received his first name from Ely Stone, one of the local founders of the mission.”


Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment

Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan in the Appomattox Campaign 150 Years Ago

Includes documentation of General Lee’s white supremacist ideology.

150 Years Ago the 20th Michigan Enters Petersburg

150th anniversary of Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan at the 1863 siege of Vicksburg


Shortlink: http://bit.ly/1RkSnye

URL: https://cromanmichigan.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/seneca-leader-and-civil-war-general-ely-parker-named-after-hobart-ancestor

Honor Our Veterans By Taking Down the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State Capitol Now

June 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

The most urgent reasons to immediately take and keep down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol are to show respect for the nine African-American victims of what according to the Charleston police chief was a racially motivated hate crime and to support our grieving.

The next reason is to honor our veterans who fought an enemy displaying that flag.

In the words of one of our greatest generals and former Republican President Ulysses S. Grant, the cause the Confederate flag represents, “…was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought”.


Our family’s Union veteran:

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Anson Croman (1844 – 1938), Company F, 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, 1862 –1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.

Photo from the collection of © Barbara Robinson


Links, sources, and more information:

Anson Croman and the Civil War


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-26

Anson Croman and the 150th Anniversary of the Grand Review

May 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

On May 23, 1865, the Army of the Potomac, which including the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, paraded in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington D.C. The Army of the Potomac had defeated the Army of Northern Virginia forcing General Lee to surrender.


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”Washington, D.C. Infantry unit with fixed bayonets followed by ambulances passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury” – Library of Congress caption.

Click for larger image.

None of the units are identified in the Library of Congress’s photos of the Grand Review. While this may not be the 20th Michigan, this illustrates how the 20th Michigan appeared at the Grand Review.

Library of Congress states: No known restrictions on publication (Library of Congress)


The next day on May 24th, the Army of the Tennessee paraded. Under the command of General Sherman, they had defeated the Confederate armies south and west of Virginia, forcing their surrender in North Carolina shortly after General Lee’s surrender.

This was a bittersweet celebration. The Confederacy was defeated and the major rebel armies had surrendered. But Abraham Lincoln, the architect of the victory with the abolition of slavery and reunification, was not present as he had been murdered five weeks earlier.


After the Grand Review, Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan were demobilized and returned to Michigan. Anson married Mariah.


amcromancrop

Anson and Mariah Croman, undated.


Among the many things he did was with the rest of his life was to care for his great-grandchildren including my mother-in-law Marge (Mitchell) Robinson.

One of Anson’s great-grandsons Robert remembers Anson calling to his great-grandchildren to “come shake the hand that shook Abe Lincoln’s!”.

Anson died two months before his 94th birthday in 1938 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Waterloo, Michigan.


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2004 photo of Anson Croman gravestone by Ralph E. Robinson, Anson’s great-grandson-in-law.


Links, sources, and more information:

1865: Anson Croman and the Civil War

1865 – 1938: The Rest of His Life

The Library of Congress has over 134 photos of the Grand Review.


If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived.

Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment.

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-1S

Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan in the Appomattox Campaign 150 Years Ago

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Orange ellipse, lower right: Location of the 20th Michigan at Sutherland Station, Virginia in a support position for the troops that pursued and trapped Lee’s army at Appomattox. Click on map for larger image.

Public domain image from the United States Military Academy (West Point) History Department’s American Civil War Atlas


150 years ago over the night of April 2-3, 1865 Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia retreated from Richmond to link up with General Johnson’s Army of Tennessee just to south in North Carolina.

Pursuing Union troops blocked every road south so Lee’s army was forced to retreat to the west.

The IXth Corps which included the 20th Michigan supported the pursuit by protecting the Union’s southern flank. The IXth Corps was also quickly repairing the South Side Railroad to supply the pursuing troops by rail.

Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment were in a support position at the Sutherland Station southwest of Richmond and west of Petersburg.

On April 9, the Union trapped General Lee at Appomattox finally forcing him to surrender to General Grant.

That is considered the symbolic end of the Civil War.

The last of the Confederate forces west of the Mississippi River surrendered in June marking the actual end of the Civil War.


Why Lee May Not Have Surrendered Earlier

After President Lincoln’s reelection in November, 1864, any hope of winning Confederate independence through war or negotiations ended.

Several times earlier in the war, Confederate generals surrendered without their troops being completely trapped and on the verge of total destruction as were General Lee’s forces at Appomattox.

As did those other Confederate generals, General Lee had the authority and opportunity to surrender.

University of Virginia historian Elizabeth R. Varnon suggests that General Lee knew independence was no longer possible and slavery was over.

Professor Varnon’s analysis is that General Lee held out as long as he did in order to place the Southern aristocracy in the strongest position possible to preserve as many of their privileges as possible including in race relations.


Links, sources, and more information:

book Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon

1865: Anson Croman and the Civil War


If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Shortlinkhttp://wp.me/p5YuOj-1w

150 Years Ago the 20th Michigan Enters Petersburg

April 3, 2015 § 1 Comment

By the end of March, 1865, Union and Confederate forces faced each others along 37 miles of trenches from north of Richmond to southwest of Petersburg.

The Confederates had suffered major losses in an unsuccessful attempt to break out and escape followed by an unsuccessful effort to prevent the Union forces from outflanking those trenches about eight miles southwest of Petersburg.

The few Confederates remaining in the trenches hungry and at their breaking point.

On April 2, 1865, the Union attacked seeking a breakthrough at a weak point. the IXth Corps attacked from their positions just south of the Appomattox River and east of Petersburg. Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment were in the IXth Corps. They were position north of the attack ready to provide support.

The IXth Corps captured the Confederate Fort Mahone but was blocked by the Confederates from advancing further.

However, other Union units broke through at several places to the south and west forcing the Confederates to evacuate and retreat from both Petersburg and Richmond. The next day April 3, 1865, the Union army entered Petersburg.

The 20th Michigan was the third unit to raise its flag over the Petersburg courthouse.

petersburgc2Petersburg courthouse at the time of the siege.Public domain photo Flag56kbFlag of the 20th Michigan. Unknown if this was the one raised over the Petersburg courthouse.Public domain photo petersburgct3Petersburg courthouse today.Fair use

Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln, who was nearby at Grant’s headquarters at City Point, Virginia, toured the battlefield.


Links, sources, and more information:

1865: Anson Croman and the Civil War


If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-1c

Anson Croman and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stedman

March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cizewski, Lovetere, Musbach, & Robinson Families

20thMarch231865

Orange arrow pointing to circle, upper center: March 23, 1865 position of the 20th Michigan at Battery Number 9 just north of Fort Stedman two days before the battle.

Click on image for larger version.

Original base map in the public domain with additions by The Siege of Petersburg Online

Since June, 1864, General Grant had been extending the Union siege lines southwest of Petersburg and north of Richmond. That had stretched the Confederate forces to the breaking point.

In January, 1865 the Union had captured Wilmington, North Carolina and closed the last major Confederate port. That cut off more of the few supplies that were still making it around the Union siege lines.

Robert E. Lee realized the Union siege of Petersburg and Richmond was about to result in the capture of both cities and his army.

He decided to launch an attack on the eastern end of the…

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