Ending the Display of Confederate Flags at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin

August 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

The City of Madison is concerned about the display of Confederate flags in the Confederate Rest Section of the Forest Hill Cemetery in a City of Madison park.

The current policy created in 2001 permits the display of the Confederate national flag (but not battle flag) on the park’s flagpole in the Confederate Rest Section and small Confederate flags on individual graves on U.S. Memorial Day only .

The City of Madison may be seeking way to reduce that display further.


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Confederate Rest Section, Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin

USA flag in front of the flagpole placed by Leonard H. Cizewski. In his opinion is the only flag which should be displayed there.

Photo by Leonard H. Cizewski


The National Park Service and the National Cemeteries Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not allow Confederate flags on flagpoles in Confederate rest sections in the cemeteries they administer.

In 2002 the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court case that supported the policy of the Federal agencies.

Military cemeteries around the world where former enemies are buried only permit the flying of current national flags. Former national flags or battle flags of former enemy nations are not permitted.

For example in France at the WWI and WWII military cemeteries of France’s former enemy Germany the current German national flag is flown but not the WWI or WWII era German national flags or battle flags.


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Mont de Husines WWII German Military Cemetery, Normandy, France.

Flags from left to right: European Union (behind the tree), France, German Federal Republic (adopted post-WWII in 1949), and the German War Graves Commission.

Photo © 2014 Cheryl A. Robinson


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

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


The Confederate Rest Section of Forest Hill Cemetery also includes a marker installed in 1981 with a crossed Confederate battle flags.


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Crossed Confederate battle flags on plaque on 1981 stone marker in front of the Confederate Rest Section, Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin

Photo by Leonard H. Cizewski


The official name of their unit was the 1st Alabama, Tennessee, & Mississippi Infantry Regiment (not the 1st Alabama).

They were captured at Fort Bankhead at New Madrid, Missouri as part of the Union campaign to capture Island Number 10, Missouri in the Mississippi River. They were not captured on Island Number 10.

A more appropriate image would be outline maps of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, the home states of the deceased; Missouri with a marker indicating where they served and were captured; and Wisconsin with a marker indicating where they were imprisoned, died, and are buried.


Confederate flags will continue to be displayed in Madison

People who wish to view Confederate flags may do so at the nearby Wisconsin Veterans Museum on the Capitol Square. Confederate flags are exhibited in their historical context, the most appropriate way for them to be continued to be displayed.


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Captured Confederate Flags at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Public domain image.


On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, I spoke to the Madison Board of Park Commissioners. Prior to the I sent email to Commissioner my alderwoman Marsha Rummel, commissioner David Wallner, and park superintendent Eric Knepp.


One of our greatest generals and former Republican president Ulysses S. Grant said the cause Confederate flags represent, “…was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought”.


Links, sources, and more information:

Will Confederate flag still fly at Madison cemetery?  by Nico Savidge | Wisconsin State Journal, June 29, 2015

Patrick J. GRIFFIN, III v. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, et al. United States District Court, D. Maryland. January 29, 2001. Appeals court ruling that supported the policy of the Federal agencies to prohibit Confederate flags in national cemeteries. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

Captured Confederate Flags at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum


Acknowledgements:

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, Cheryl A. Robinson, and Marshall Begel who assisted in the research and drafting of my email and remarks.

Carol Barry and her daughter Annie (Barry) Frederick and Marshall Begel who listened to the rehearsals of my Board of Parks remarks.


In depth historical background and context are occasional features of my family history blogs.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-2l

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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:

croman

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

Why Cinco de Mayo is also a U.S. holiday

May 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cinco de Mayo is more than Mexican cultural and historical event.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the post Mexican War (1846-1848) friendship between our countries and American support for the Mexican struggle to regain independence from France.

In 1861 during the U.S. Civil War, France sent troops to Mexico and made Mexico into a French colony.

The U.S. was still committed to its foreign policy of opposing by force attempts to recolonize any American nation that had won their independence (the Monroe Doctrine). The Civil War prevented the U.S. from enforcing that policy. As Lincoln said regarding another dispute, only one war at a time.

However, Mexico resisted.

On May 5, 1862, at Pueblo outside of Mexico City, Mexican irregulars, guerrillas, and militia defeated the invading French forces.

While the French lost that battle, they still were able to capture Mexico City and impose colonial rule.

Despite losing their capitol and government, Mexico continued to resist.

Abraham Lincoln and the Union supported the Mexicans while the Confederacy hoped to trade support for the French colonization of Mexico for recognition of Confederate independence.

At Lincoln’s order in late 1863 Union forces landed from the Gulf of Mexico and seized Brownsville, Texas as a show of force and a warning to France.

After the surrender of the Confederacy, 50,000 Federal troops under General Philip Sheridan were deployed to the Mexican border with Texas.


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General Philip Sheridan commander of the U.S. forces deployed to the Texas border with Mexico.

1865 photo by Matthew Brady from the Library of Congress.


France withdrew and the Mexicans overthrew the colonial government, completing their struggle which began with their victory on the first Cinco de Mayo.

The success of the Mexican resistance restored Mexican independence and saved the U.S. from engaging in another war immediately after the Civil War.

That’s something both nations can celebrate together.


I wrote this in reaction to white supremacists advocating making Cinco de Mayo “Turn in an Illegal Day”.


In depth historical background and context are occasional features of my family history blogs.


Originally posted on May 5, 2010 on Leonard’s Critical Thinking with a Cynical Edge.

Revised: May 5, 2015.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p5YuOj-1E

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

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

ACW5820th
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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