President Harding Sends the Marines to Attack Gettysburg – 1922


  Welcome to Confederate Heritage Month – 2013 – and the Sesquicentennial All Rolled into One

[Note: Dear Folks, this is a rerun of a 2010 classic piece done when I was developing the magazine layout template that you see in all of my articles and those where I do layout editing. This story harkins back to days when Confederate heritage had not been tainted by the political correctness lynch mob that came onto the scene in our generation.]

       …by  Jim W. Dean, VT Editor

VT – Sesquicentennial Series
Once upon a time where was no political correctness about the Civil War. There were differences of opinion yes, but they were not exploited for political reasons like they are today.
Throughout the ’90’s and into the new century many Democrats and Republicans alike competed over who could wipe their feet the hardest on Southern heritage to make themselves more attractive to the black vote. The Republicans have always lost big, and never learned.
A classic was John McCain playing Mr. Veteran, who understood about the sanctity of battle flags in the South Carolina primary. But Carl Rove just gutted McCain there. (Editor’s note: Ted Sampley told me Rove gave him $37,000 to attack McCain. Later, when Rove tried to get Sampley to stop, he refused. We miss Ted, cut out of better cloth than both.)
When he got out West. McCain stated he had just said that to get their vote. I would say, ‘Shame on you John’, but he would just say back, ‘What’s that?’
Georgia’s old 1956 Centennial State Flag
Our Georgia Governor Roy Barnes did the ultimate feet wiping routine here, a steroids version. He pulled a sneak attack on taking the 1956 Georgia State Memorial Flag down through a back door legislative coup.
It had been put up as part of the Civil War Centennial celebrations at the request of Eisenhower asking the states to plan special commemorations. Georgia decided to commemorate its war dead with their battle flag.
I have a one hour Jim Dean Journal show with Judge John Sammons Bell, and ex-Governor Ernest Vandiver describing that the Centennial celebration was the sole reason to changing over to the Battle Flag design, and that it had little controversy at the time. Judge Bell, was a WWII Marine veteran who got chopped up by a Japanese machine gunner. Not all of him came back.
Governor Barnes was being discussed as a Vice Presidential candidate, and even Democrats are required to denounce their heritage through some very visible public act. We learened that some out of town civil rights leaders flew into Atlanta for the final strategy meeting before the trigger was pulled.

They did the dirty deed and the Dems were swept out of office in the next election, bringing in a Republican governor. Roy Barnes lost, despite a campaign chest of like 22 million to the Repubs $6 million. He and the state black legislators got rid of the flag. They also got rid of all their committee chairmanships which they have had for a long long time. Politically, it was a brain dead stunt.

Marines Pass in Review – Whitehouse – June 20th, 1922
The scourge of political correctness had not descended across the land when Warren Harding was president. But the shadow of death was upon Harding as he only had a year to live.
When the July Gettysburg anniversary was coming up for 1922, he sent the Marines on a march to Gettysburg. Why? Well, to do Pickett’s Charge, that’s why…and wait till you see the pictures below as to who all showed up.
I have never seen brass and bigwigs like this at any reenactment I ever filmed. President Harding even invited the old Confederate Veterans and their wives to the White House before his departing to the battlefield.
The United Confederate Veterans, who were holding their reunion in Richmond, were happy to run up to Washington to commemorate the event.

I assume the old Vets offered their assistance in the upcoming charge, but were regretfully turned down by the president due to their advanced age.

Confederate Veterans at the Whitehouse with Harding
I can’t recollect the last time the Sons of Confederate Veterans got a White House invitation. I will have to check on that and add the news in later.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans had been a low key historical/social group with about five thousand members for some years. The War itself was long forgotten by many in the South, including my people.
My mother’s folks, all Rev War and Confederate descendents from Mississippi never mentioned the War that I can call. And neither did my mother while raising us three kids in western Massachusetts land, the heart of Yankeedom.
But when the political correctness epidemic began to spread, here in the South the NAACP saw an opportunity to revive their failing fortunes back in the early 1990’s. There had been tremendous civil rights progress by then, and they found themselves with declining membership and funds.

They also had a number of scandals with board members, the usual thing, padding the payroll with girlfriends, and stealing money for senior citizen escrow accounts at their law practice, etc.

They found waining interest from young people jumping aboard an NAACP train at the end of it’s line. A new, inexpensive gimmick was need to put some wind back in their sails and cash in the register.
Marines Testing New Mode of Transportation – The Cart
Southern Heritage groups were able to infiltrate the NAACP and they learned that their rabbit out of the hat trick was going to be to call for the removal of all Confederate symbols from public property.
Mind you, there is a Confederate soldier statute in the downtowns of most southern cities and towns, even small ones.
Their strategy was that the folks woud resist this tooth and nail and then the NAACP crowd could jump up and say, “See, we were right, racism still exists and always will until these offensive symbols are removed.”
Some of them upped the ante by wanting no public exposure at all. We are talking museum here, or deep down in the woods. Over the next several years Confederate symbols were converted into ‘objects of hate’…’symbols of slavery’, that no decent person could possibly object to having removed. Liberal media was only too happy to spread the smears for them, and they did.

The end result for the SCV was a huge increase in member up into the 30,000’s. Folks get mad when they see their families being smeared. The organization is stronger than it has ever been. Everybody is a heritage war veteran now. But there is plenty still to do.

The NAACP folks rolled out this scam despite Martin Luther King nor any of his lieutenants having shown any real concern over heritage symbols earlier. They had bigger fish to fry. They also knew that white support of the Civil Rights movement was critical to it’s success, and that a frontal attack on Southern heritage symbols would have been counter productive. The later leadership was not that smart.
As for the Klan, everybody knew they used the federal and the battle flags as smokescreens to hide behind. Their famous march on Washington photo showed them under a sea of American flags, an image that got the airbrush treatment later.
Marine General Smedley Butler rides to Gettysburg
The heritage/cultural wars have slacked off now. Illegal immigration eclipsed the Confederate symbols Jihad.
The black civil rights leadership found themselves in job competition with illegal immigrants who just pushed their people out of the landscaping, hospitality, construction and many factory jobs.
The work ethic problem was no longer being discussed in private. Hispanic workers were openly praised for generally being much better workers for those trades.
I remember reading about a Hispanic lawsuit in a California town to have city and county jobs reapportioned to reflect the new racial makeup, which had turned majority Hispanic.

The black folks down at City Hall told them to go to hell…that they had not not done what they had to do just to give their jobs away, ‘to a bunch of Mexicans’. The blush was off the bloom. The black folks found themselves being ‘displaced’.

Then came the Bush terror years. Their folks could not have cared less for heritage symbols if it cost them a vote or a few dollars. They looted the country from one end to the other, with a lot of help from the Democrats.
Bill Ayers and Bernadotte Dorn
Don’t forget it was Bill Clinton that gave new Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin the go ahead when he suggested the best way to buy the Wall Street vote for the mid terms elections was to kill the Taft Hartley Act.
The investment banks could then use depositor money to speculate with…a dream they had had for years…and speculate they did. Thank you James. Thank you Bill. Not even the Soviets were able to do this to us. But you and the Bush crowd did.
The 9-11 attack, the unfunded wars, the phony Intel used to get them started, Valerie Plame, the Patriot Act that no one read, the expanding budget deficits, and finally the big crash, have pushed beating up on Confederates to the back page. There are bigger fish to fry.
Radical left wing professors will be our main Sesquicentennial opponents and we will play soccer with their butts, historically speaking that is. Former Weatherman bomber/terrorist Bill Ayers and his Ho, Bernadette Dorn, are heading up the opposition so we are not shaking in our boots, but actually looking forward to it. ***
Congressional Medal of Honor
General Smedley Butler was the most decorated Marine in U. S. history, including two Medals of Honor. I now have to give up the ghost on a slight bit of good natured intrigue on my part.
Butler was the one really sending the Marines to Gettysburg, not Harding. The 5500 Marines were WWI veterans, the 6th and 7th regiments who had fought in France in 1919 and were deactivated in 1919.
A talented showman and PR man, Butler used these long marches to reenactments to put the Marines on display and exhibit their use of technology.
I am not kidding in the cart photo note above. They were really testing out these carts as a technology improvement. And this is AFTER WWI. You just can’ t make this stuff up. Can you imagine what this would do to the combat readiness of troops moving through hilly country?
General Stonewall Jackson – CSA
But here is wonderful older Smedley Butler story. While he was Commanding General of the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia, he was told by a local farmer that Stonewall Jackson’s arm was buried nearby.
Butler dug up the arm, replaced the wooden box with a metal box, and reburied the arm. He left a plaque on the granite monument marking the burial place of the arm. The plaque is now at the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor’s Center.
The photo below is an historical gem. The person on the left with the hat on his head is Charles Dawes, future Vice-President of the United States.
While living in Lincoln, Nebraska as a young lawyer, Dawes became good friends with the military instructor at the University of Nebraska, John Pershing.
The first person in uniform on the left was Major General and Commandant of the Marine Corps John Archer Lejeune (1867-1942) known as the “greatest of all Leathernecks”and the “Marine’s Marine.”
Lejeune served in the Corps for over 40 years and when he retired in 1929 he became Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is named for him.

The next person on the right (Lejeune’s left) was Governor Sproul. Behind Governor Sproul and between him and General Pershing was Brigadier General Smedley Butler wearing his campaign hat. The rest of the individuals up front from left to right were: General Pershing, President Harding, and Governor Trinkle. This view was taken between July 1-2, 1922.
All of these last photos will be full size as they are good quality and the detail makes them a treat. This is a view from the Ziegler’s Grove/Cemetery Ridge Observation Tower of the Pickett’s Charge Fields.
The Codori Farm is in the right background along the Emmitsburg Road. Webb Avenue (no longer existing) circles towards the “Angle” of the stone wall. Hancock Avenue is in the foreground. This view was taken facing southwest in 1903.

Here is how the New York Times described the charge: “The marines re-enacted Pickett’s sanguinary dash across the wheatfields with such faithful accuracy as to arouse the approval of Civil War veterans now visiting their old battleground.
The marines have had previous experience with wheatfields, and whenever they see the waving grain they see red, for these picked troops of the Eastern Expeditionary Force include the Fifth and Sixth Regiments that swarmed across the wheatfields in the marine sector at Soissons on July of 1918.

So patiently have Brig. Gen. Smedley Butler, commandant of the force that is encamped here, and his officers studied the operations around Gettysburg that the exhibition today seemed a dream of the past to the Civil War veterans.

Shoulder to shoulder, as did Pickett’s men, the Marines advanced across the mile stretch of open country. Their slouch hats were dented in the manner of Confederate troops, and over their shoulders were slung blanket haversacks, while officers mounted and on foot waved their swords to rally the troops in the conventional manner of Civil War paintings.
This view taken near the angle was after the Marines marched shoulder to shoulder and have broken into a run for the stone wall. In case you didn’t know where Garnett’s men charged, look at the banner on the far left.

“In order that the watchers along the Union positions might recognize the various units in the charge, large blue banners were carried, on which in white letters, were the names of the division and brigade commanders who crossed that bloody field, fifty nine years ago today”(Gettysburg Times, July 3, 1922).

Above the flag with the white square in the middle is the Codori Farm. This view was taken facing southwest on the afternoon of Saturday, July 1, 1922. The New York Times continued,

And the last one:

My thanks to the Gettysburg Museum for these wonderful photos and descriptions. The first time I saw these I knew they would make a great VT and SCV Sesquicentennial piece…showing that this anti-Confederate silliness is just that…damn silliness.


SCV Headquarters – Elm Springs, Tennessee

It’s April 14th, 2013. Do you know who your Confederate ancestors are? You have sixteen genealogical lines as fishing poles. If a grandparent was from the South your success odds are like 99.5%

The SCV will help you run them down. The CSA roster is been digitized for a while now. Gone are the days when genealogical work was a lot of grunt work, always involved travel, and was expensive.

The SCV Elm Springs headquarters is in Columbia, Tenn., and the good folks there will be happy to help you. Director Ben Sewell is a retired Army Colonel and Bryan in membership will hook you up with some ancestor catchers. You will find lots of veterans in the SCV.

If you have the blood, have the honor to give your ancestors their due. They earned it, and your family experienced Mr. Lincoln’s and Mr. Grant’s Total War, and their Reconstruction. (more on this little story later…yep, a lot they did not tell you.)

Electronic databasing is so far along now that members can be matched up with others whose ancestors fought in the same unit. If you are one those ‘in the closet’ folks, we can set you free. You can also contact me in the comments. Your email address will not show, but I can get back to you.

It’s the 150th anniversary. What are you waiting for…the 200th? We also have the Order of the Confederate Rose for the ladies and the work of the United Daughters of the Confederacy is carved in stone, literally.

[email protected] (800) MYSOUTH begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (800) MYSOUTH end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The mission of the SCV is best stated with the Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans given by Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee Commander General, United Confederate Veterans, in 1906:

“To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we submit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought; to your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles he loved and which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations”

I will close with a peek behing the curtain, a video clip of a headquarters meeting at Elm Springs…Dr. Tom Hiter and Michael Givens brainstorming Sunday morning after a GEC meeting. Best watched in 720p.

[youtube pGI0ZBO9dPc]



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Jim W. Dean was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022.  He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.