Subject: Black Confederate Soldiers
Date: Friday, February 13, 2009
Cathy again. What I was going to tell you this morning. I started this project about a year ago, knowing that 2009 was Giles County/Pulaski's Bicentennial. I wanted to honor the Black Confederate soldiers that served from Giles County and also buried in Giles County. This was going to be our Confederate History Month (April) event along with the Giles County/Pulaski Bicentennial. Looks like it will be later in the year.
I found where there were 11 Black Confederate soldiers from Giles County that applied for a pension. I also found 5 that died before the pension was in place or just didn't apply. Since then I have found 2 more that didn't apply, making a total so far 18. I went to the archives and got the application for pension for the 11. Then I filled out the form for the markers and faxed them in. I faxed these late one afternoon and by 8:30 the next morning a lady from Nashville VA called and said that these men were NOT soldiers they were slaves. Well tell me how could they receive a pension? Now are you going to stand there and let someone shoot at you and not defend yourself or someome near you? I don't think so. These men were defending their country and other soldiers.
I thought over the situation and decided that I would send all the imformation I had on each man (11) to the Memorial Programs Services (VA) and the Dept. of Minority Services (VA). These were sent return receipt. I also sent the same information to Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Bob Corker, Congressman Lincoln Davis, Joe Fowlkes, Attorney (here in Pulaski), Kevin Horan, Veterans Service Officer for Pulaski and Max Trotter, President of the local NAACP Branch. Alexander, Corker, and Davis sent me letters telling me that they were forwarding the information on to the representative that should receive it. Let me state that the letter writing and other things were done by me as a private individual and not as President of the Giles County #257, United Daughters of the Confederacy or a member of the TN Division, UDC, just a concerned citizen.
Tues. Feb. 10th Walter, my husband and myself went to Nashville to lobby the legislators and let them know what was happening. We talked with our 65th district representative Eddie Bass (from Giles County) and his secretary, Rochelle. According to them Alexander, Corker, and Bass are writing legislation to try to change the law.
Today I received a letter from Senator Alexander and a copy of the letter that VA in Washington, DC sent to him. Basically they are saying that these men were slaves and they WILL NOT furnish them headstones/markers.
Somehow these men WILL receive markers even if we, the Giles County #257, United Daughters of the Confederacy and the General John C. Brown #112, Sons of Confederate Veterans of Pulaski have to buy then someway. These Black Confederate soldiers in Giles County WILL NOT be forgotten, just as the White Confederates WILL NOT be forgotten. The Black Confederates deserve the same benefits as the White Confederate, White Union, Black Union, Native American, Irish, and Jewish Confederates.
In my opinion VA is discriminating against the Black Confederate soldier. I know that there are Black Union markers in Maplewood Cemetery here in Pulaski.
Just wanted to let you know that we agree with what you are trying to do.
Cathy Gordon Wood
P.S. Dan please feel free to put this on The Echo or anywhere else that you would like.
We need to get the word out.