Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Photos: Confederate Charlotte

There is some uncomfortable history awaiting Democrats when they hold their national convention in Charlotte in August--North Carolina was a Confederate state.

But downtown Charlotte has few reminders of the Civil War. Yet they exist-and I found them.

As I noted last week in my Jefferson Davis post, the Piedmont area of the Tar Heel State was less enthusiastic about the Rebel cause than the lowlands, which were dominated by large plantations, as you will see in this map. And North Carolina was the last state to secede from the Union.

Jefferson Davis fled south after the fall of Richmond and spent about ten days in Charlotte during his flight--and he received a chilly reception.

A short walk from the Time Warner Cable Arena--which will host most of the events for the Democratic National Convention--is this historical marker on Trade Street. The Confederate Navy Yard, which produced ordnance for the tiny CSA Navy, was 200 miles from the ocean. Portsmouth, the first home of the Navy Yard, was captured by the Union in 1862.

Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. This relatively new marker, from 1977, is located in the Government Center district. It honors those Southern soldiers who "struggled nobly for the cause of independence and constitutional self government." But they were also defending the vile institution of slavery.

Samuel Wittkowsky, a Jewish Charlotte merchant, is buried in Elmwod and Pinewood Cemetery. This Sons of Confederate Veterans memorial recalls "at the end of the War for Southern Independence," Wittkowsky "shielded a C.S. war governor, Zebulon Vance, from Yankee humiliation by escorting him out of Charlotte."

Wittkowsky's grave. He lived from 1835 until 1911.

Elmwood and Pinewood, which is city-owned, were once separate cemeteries. Blacks were buried in Elmwood, whites in Pinewood--and a fence, thankfully long gone, once demarcated the two areas. The Confederate section is in the old Pinewood portion and until 2005 the rebel flag flew from a pole there.

Many of the Confederate soldiers buried here were originally interred in hospitals in the Charlotte area.

Smaller flags are okay it seems.

"Heroes and martyrs in the cause of Southern independence, 1861-1865."

It rained earlier that day, hence the darkness on top of the stone.

Also buried at Elmwood and Pinewood is Hollywood actor Randolph Scott, a Charlotte native.

This imposing gravestone marks the final resting place of Capt. James A. Summers, 1828-1923. As you can see he was also a mason. Summers served in the 33rd North Carolina Infantry.

The final words  for this post I'm leaving for Ulysses S. Grant, who recalled his feelings as Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox Court House in his eloquently written Memoirs:
I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.
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