Defending our Christian Heritage ....

To The Last Ditch

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Location: Somewhere in the Heart of Dixie

Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Circa History Guild Sponsors History Contest

It's a small world. Almost everyone has a story about a famous ancestor or had an ancestor participate in an historical event.

The sponsor of this contest wants a story that relates your heritage with America's past. There are monthly winners and annual winners (selected from the monthly winners).
If you enter your story, you can possibly win $1,000. Click on the banner for more details.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Confederate Memorial Day in Ashville

Today is the day set aside as a day to remember our Confederate ancestors.My family and I attended a local memorial service. Here are some pictures/video from the event.
Bill Macrae played the "Bonnie Blue Flag" on the bagpipes to commemorate Scotland's contribution to the Confederacy

The commander of our local SCV camp, Benjamin Hestley, stated that in 1923, the statue, on our courthouse square, was dedicated to the confederates who had died from St. Clair county. On the day of its dedication, two thousand people were in attendance. Today, there were barely seventy. Mr. Hestley asked, how is it that only 85 years later, there are so few people who care about their heritage? Mr. Hestley could not understand how the vision had been lost in so short an amount of time. Was it because fathers passed their responsibilities to government schools? Could it be that government schools, the education choice for most Americans, are teaching revised history?

Pastor Mark Liddle, of Dominion Baptist Church in Birmingham, gave an excellent lecture during the memorial. As a homeschooling father, he knows that there is no neutral ground. Here are some excerpts from his speech:

Today there are more than just a few who think that we need to abandon all the convictions and principles of the past because the great majority believe that man is evolving upward, and that we must therefore abandon all principles and conducts of the past in order to be loyal to the present. But our duty to the present is to be faithful to all the principles and convictions which are grounded in the truth of God. Our duty is to know the truth, to tell the truth, and to preserve the truth. If it’s wrong to remember our forebears, if it’s wrong to recall their faith in God, if it’s wrong to recall their love for the truth, if it’s wrong to recall the persecution they endured by holding fast to truth, if it’s wrong to do all this, then it’s wrong to read the scriptures, which recall the faith and love of believers in the past, who persevered in the face of opposition and oppression. We are disloyal to the present when we are disloyal to the past.

That our Confederate fathers were on the right side of the struggle is obvious, and every year it becomes more and more obvious to us. They feared a powerful, centralized government; we live under a powerful, centralized government. They feared the loss of local control; we live under that loss of local control. They feared the loss of liberty; we are living under greater and greater loss of liberty every year. The freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to assemble, right to a trial by jury, is embezzled from us more frequently and boldly as the years go by. Our daily experience proves they were right. We live under a police state, citizens held without being charged, foreigners and felons with greater privileges than citizens, Christianity banned everywhere, and an education monopoly indoctrinating socialism throughout the land. Not only is state sovereignty despised, but now national sovereignty is despised, which is just the next logical step. In our ‘modern, progressive, forward thinking day,’ a one world government is promoted. Our Confederate fathers were right in their cause. Their cause was founded upon the truth. They defended their hearth and homes from tyrannical rule, from the suspension of constitutional law, and they had a distrust of man, and his lust for power, which is what we ought to have as well. They had faith in God’s word as absolute truth, and their world view was unashamedly Christian. Their society was not utopian; it was made up of saints and sinners, and the saints in that society looked for a city whose foundation and building was of God. They understood; they well knew that there was no utopian society upon this earth, and that heaven would be their perfect and abiding home, the place in which there is no sin or sorrow. We remember men like Jackson and Lee just as the scripture remembers the dead saints of old. Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth.” This, men like Lee and Jackson did as well. The fullness of the promises of God had not come to fruition in their time. They died in faith, not having seen the final end of the cause, and yet they died believing their cause was on the side of truth and right. They were aliens; they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth then, just as we are aliens and pilgrims on the earth now. They were alien to the principle that ‘might makes right’. They were alien to acting by feeling rather than principle. They were alien to acting according to political expediency rather than principle, or selfish interests rather than duty. Duty to God and duty to man was all important to them.

We must rightly understand the cause of our Confederate forebears. We must study history. That’s why I stand before you today. I was born in Buffalo, New York, and trained in the public school system, but when I began a serious study of history, I began to understand the truth concerning the 2nd War for Independence. This is what you must do if you are going to understand the cause. Study history and study the Scriptures, which is the plumb line of all books; by which all books and all men shall be judged.

The cause of the South was the cause of liberty. What we have now is tyranny, which is the result of the eventual success of Lincoln’s war.

If you understand the truth you will not be ashamed of the cause, and you will be willing to sacrifice the smiles of your fellowmen for the cause of truth. Be sure in the midst of all this, that you seek the glory of God. If you do not seek the glory of God in all of these things, all of your work and all of your labor will be in vain.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Portrait of a Man: Oliver Cromwell

On this day in 1599, Oliver Cromwell was born in the English town of Huntingdon. Cromwell has been greatly abused, by modern historians, as a usurper of the English throne, and as one who supported anarchy, for "killing" the king of England, Charles I. I was of this opinion also, until I heard Pastor Morecraft's lectures on Oliver Cromwell, from the History of the Reformation series.

Cromwell has made a huge impact on the world for Christ as a Godly precedent for civil magistrates. He believed in a covenantal system of government, where the king covenants before God and the people, to uphold the law of God. The people then covenant before God to obey the king as long as he upholds Gods law. This form of government became Oliver's code, as he became the English ruler, a position which was forced upon him after the just execution of Charles I, who had been a great tyrant.

I highly recommend J. H. Merle D'aubigne's biography of Cromwell entitled, The Protector.

photo courtesy of

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Portrait of a Man: Bill Potter

In Praise of Potters

by Matthew Chancey, dedicated to William Potter, August 18, 2004

Through the battlefield he roams,

Recounting the days long since gone.

Hands waiving, gesturing always,

Ghosts of memory reborn.

From whence comes this storyteller?

What hall of academia begot him?

What guild claims membership of his mind,

And inspires such passion for ancient paths?

He comes from field and from fire.

In youth, he drank the living stream.

Stories of valor and courage unmatched,

Replaced the boyish games of peers.

While friends swung wooden bats at balls,

He read of swinging sword and axe.

While others climbed trees and mountain tops,

He read of breastworks charged and vanquished.

His friends rode to games and parades,

But he rode with Ashby and Stuart.

His peers camped by rivers in peaceful glades,

But he camped with Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

They hunted for deer; he hunted for Grant.

They ran in their races; he ran the blockade.

They fought over toys; he defended the Cause,

He is the South’s great story teller!

But where did he come from? What institution?

Does he sell books or teach verse?

Neither, I’m sure, you be puzzled to learn,

He sells rugs in the Chesapeake markets.

I know you will marvel at such revelation,

“Strange fate for a master of time.”

But God sits enthroned and strongly proclaims,

That He makes fishermen leaders of men.

God laughs at the teachers who lie and distort,

And weave fiction as they poison young minds.

But in their arrogant, pensioned halls,

They’re vanquished by merchants of rugs.

Praise be to God, the Great Storyteller,

Who puts down Goliath with pebbles!

The wisdom of God makes fools of the scholars,

And heroes of merchants and Potters.

Mr. Potter is now the Historian and Curator of the Circa History Guild, as was stated in the last post. It was a great honor to have the opportunity to meet him and talk with him about books pertaining to military history, a subject on which he is very knowledgeable. Besides the book he has authored, he is the lecturer in a series on Providential battles and on the History of Warfare Technology produced by Vision Forum. He also made an appearance on a documentary entitled Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story. He is an ardent Presbyterian, as well as passionately Southern. I highly recommend all of his material.

(In Praise of Potters, courtesy of Mr. Matt Chancey)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Grand Opening: Circa History Guild

Over the weekend we traveled to Alpharetta, Georgia for the grand opening of the Circa History Guild.

April 19th has been known historically as the date on which the American rebels engaged the British at Lexington and Concord. In commemoration of that event, it is also the date on which the Circa History Guild opened for business.

The party started at 6:00 p.m., with beautiful, southern parlor type, music from a very talented string quartet. Guests strolled through the rooms, visiting, snacking on shrimp, and sipping on wine. Many of the Guild's objects consisted of props from the recent John Adams miniseries by HBO, and of course, many old very expensive, books on topics from John Adams, to Pilgrim's Progress.

After about thirty minutes Mr. Bill Potter, the curator, thanked everyone for coming and gave a list of upcoming events. He then introduced the director, Mr. John T. Adams.

Mr. Adams spoke mainly about his vision for the Guild as a place to learn about and preserve history. The main event of the evening was an address by Mr. Tim Smith, who was a performer on the John Adams miniseries. He was introduced by Mr. Potter.

He spoke about the special effects on the film then he took questions. He then talked about several other films in which he had worked as a stunt man. After he finished, a short film on George Washington was shown.

The party lasted long into the night.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Portrait of a Man: Martin Luther

On April 17, 1521, Martin Luther stood before an assembly of men, known as the Diet of Worms. He had been summoned before this council in order to answer charges of heresy that had been brought against him. A stack of books were placed on a table in front of him. Luther was asked two questions: did he write the books and would he recant the "heresies" contained therein. His answer to the first question was yes, but he requested time to consider his answer to the second question.

The "heresy" that he was being asked to recant, was the idea that God, through His election, granted some sinners eternal life. There is nothing that we can do to gain that gift. The corrupt Roman Catholic church had always taught that one could gain eternal life primarily through good works. We can only imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Luther's mind, the earnest prayer and supplication. The gravity of this situation was extreme. If Luther recanted, he would probably save his own life. But if he did not recant his position, he would probably be outlawed; subject to death by anyone who found him. But death was not the worst thing that could happen. His name had been widely known, along with other protestants, as a person who challenged the old ideas and superstitions of the Catholic church. If he recanted, would they lose heart and also submit?

April 18 arrived. He was summoned before the Diet, and once again asked if he would renounce his heretical doctrine. He replied:
"Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason- I do not accept the power of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other- my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen."

With eighty-one words, Martin Luther had changed the course of history, established a firm foundation for protestants, and provided posterity with another example of true Christian loyalty.

Martin Luther, courtesy of

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

47th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs Massacre

It is not known by many people that the Americans invaded Cuba. I had an opportunity to speak with one of the men who was part of the invasion force. The story he told was one of frustration, but ultimately, heroic sacrifice. This is their story:

On April 17, 1961, a joint American and renegade Cuban coalition landed in the small cove, known to locals as Bahia de Cochinos. They expected little or no resistance at this point. However, they were instantly engaged by the Soviets and Castro's army. As they scrambled for cover, they noticed gunboats blocking their escape back out to sea, and effectively trapping them. If they had any time to think, they must have wondered, "what went wrong?"
Why would an operation that had been thought through and executed with such secrecy, go up in smoke the instant they hit the beach? It may have been President Kennedy's indecisiveness. He had constantly changed the strategy and worried over the details. Another reason for the sudden collapse was the fact that intelligence about the raid had leaked to Nikita Khushchev, the Russian head of state. Just as the expedition was getting under way, he called President Kennedy and informed him that the invasion was no longer a secret, and if Kennedy didn't call it off, there would be war with Russia. So, Kennedy washed his hands of the affair, and looked the other way.
But the Americans and their cohorts could not have known this. They were fighting for their lives, and the Soviets had superior fire power, both on land and in the air. The situation was worsening by the minute. President Kennedy had not allowed the Americans to take air support, so it was only a matter of time.
Even as the men were being killed by the dozens, President Kennedy and his wife attended a ball. As the party was in progress, an aide, with a action report from Cuba, hurried up and begged Kennedy to allow, at the least, four airplanes to assist the coalition forces so they could retreat. Kennedy replied, "I don't want to get America involved". The chagrined aide replied, "Sir, we are already involved".
Meanwhile, George Wallace, the governor of Alabama, was also receiving action reports. He was getting very aggravated at the president's inaction. The third day, since the raid begun, had arrived. The governor knew Alabama boys were dying down there in Cuba. Out of frustration, he contacted the commander of the Alabama Air guard unit in Nicaragua. Wallace commanded him to send four planes up to the Bay Of Pigs and help the Americans and their allies escape. He knew he was probably sending those men on a suicide mission. But he realized that if the Americans received no help, all of them would die.

F-4 Phantoms
Back on the beach, the soldiers had just run out of ammunition, when they looked back and saw the Cuban boats scattering, opening a route of escape. They soon learned why, as four F-4 Phantoms, streamed overhead, destroyed several tanks, and distracted the Soviet MIGs. Most importantly, this caused a lull in the fight during which the Americans and Cuban rebels were able to swim out to their troop transports. Several soldiers, who had removed their shoes, cut their feet on the coral, and were eaten by sharks, which were attracted by the blood. Some were even picked up by people who had driven their fishing boats down from Florida. Out of the five thousand men who landed on the beach, forty-four returned. Two of the F-4s were shot down, but the other two made it back to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Because those Alabama pilots flew to almost certain death, they saved the lives of forty-four men. If they had not gone to Cuba, the whole force would have been wiped out. Their's is the story of ultimate sacrifice.

Photo courtesy of

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Great Audio Series

For all you history lovers, here is a great audio series on the Reformation. It is taught by Pastor Joseph C. Morecraft III. We have been going through it as a family. Pastor Morecraft is very articulate, adamantly Calvinistic/Presbyterian, and speaks with one of the best examples of the Southern Accent!! You can download it for free at History of the Reformation.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coming Soon...

The Circa History Guild, a museum dedicated to the preservation of history, is opening in Alpharetta, Georgia on April 19th. Stay tuned for updates!

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For they were Mighty Men of Valor: The Confederate legacy on board the Titanic

The anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has been remembered for many years as a tribute to Godly masculinity. Many people do not know, however, that there were many Confederate veterans and sons of Confederate veterans, who put their chivalrous legacy and training to the ultimate test.
Here are a few of their stories:

Sgt. Henry Wylie
Henry Wylie was born in Tennessee in the early 1800's, into a typical backwoods family. The war began soon after he married and he joined one of the regiments commanded by a little known colonel named Nathan Bedford Forrest. He fought through the whole war, was wounded at Chickamauga, and surrendered with Forrest at Gainsville. After the war, he became a writer for the Saturday Evening Post. His assignment was to cover the maiden voyage of the Titanic. History records that he gallantly loaded lifeboats with women and children as the Titanic sank. He did not survive.

Isidor Straus

Isidor and Ida Straus

Isidor Straus was born in Germany in 1845. His family immigrated to the United States and settled in Georgia. When the war began, he became the Confederate commissioner to Europe, purchasing supplies for the Confederacy. After the war he became very wealthy as a merchant. In 1871, he married Rosalie Ida Blun. On a business trip back from Germany, he and his wife booked passage on board the Titanic. After the iceberg was struck, the elderly gentleman refused a seat in the life boat because there were still women aboard. His wife of 40 years refused to leave him because of their devotion to each other. They both died.

Maj. Archibald Butt

Archibald Butt was born in Georgia the year the war ended. His father, Joshua, had been killed during the war and he was raised by his mother, who made sure he had an excellent education. During the Spanish-American War, he enlisted and eventually was promoted to major. During this time he met Theodore Roosevelt. He would later serve as an ambassador to foreign countries under Roosevelt. He also served in this capacity under William Taft's administration. On his journey back from a six week vacation in Europe he boarded the Titanic. As the Titanic took on more and more water, he continued to assist women and children onto the lifeboats, until the boat sank. When Taft and Roosevelt were told that the Titanic had sank, they instantly knew that Butt had not survived. Because he was always a gentleman, they knew that he would not go to safety unless all the women and children were safe.

Col. Archibald Gracie

Archibald Gracie was six years old when the war ended. His father, Brig. Gen. Archibald Gracie, had been killed during the siege of Petersburg. Archibald's mother always reminded him of his father's legacy, which he never forgot. Because of his father's relatives in New York, he was able to get a good start in life. He eventually became wealthy enough to spend his time researching the battle of Chickamauga, a battle in which his father had distinguished himself. In 1912, he traveled in Europe for some time, researching family history, and gaining a rest from writing his first book, about Chickamauga. As he journeyed home, he decided to travel in style aboard the Titanic. As the ship began to sink, he assisted Officer Lightoller as the boats were loaded. When the Titanic went down, he was sucked under. Miraculously, he made it back up to the top and spent the rest of the night on top of a overturned lifeboat. After being rescued by the Carpathia and giving his testimony in the congressional hearing, he wrote a book about his experiences aboard the Titanic. He died later that year from the effects of being in the freezing water for so long.

Photos courtesy of

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Why History is Important

When most people hear the word "history", they cringe and say "Oh, that's not relevant", or "that's not cool". It's a shame that such an important subject is so often disregarded. Patrick Henry, my favorite of our founding fathers, once said, "I know of no way of judging the future, but by the past". As Christians, we were created to "glorify God and to enjoy him forever. We have been commanded by God to preserve the ancient landmarks, remember, and to pass the history on to our children. By obeying this commandment, we are glorifying God. This is especially important for fathers, and heads of households. I believe that the main reason why our founding fathers were so intellectually ahead of today's civil leaders was because they had been taught, in most cases by their fathers, the importance of history. They understood history, and most importantly, the relevance of history. This is what made America great, remembering the mighty acts of God, as the children of Israel had many years before.

Why is history relevant? First, and most importantly, because God said so!! But this is not the only reason. How was Thomas Jefferson able to predict the War for Southern Independence, even though it occurred after his death? Because history repeats itself. He knew that the Northern industrial powerhouse would soon come to conflict with the agrarian South. It has often been said that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. In today's education system, history is distorted and represented as having little relevance. If America does not repent, she will incur the wrath of God and be scattered as were the ancient Israelites.

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