Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Southern Symbolism during 1861 to 1865–Victorian Style

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” ~Albert Einstein

I am an autodidactic  researcher.  Over the last few years, I have specialized in the study of African-Americans who traveled with the Confederate States Army from 1861 to 1865.  The goal is to assist in the preservation of this vital information.  With every year that passes, many southern slaves and freedmen who labored and toiled in service remain unrecognized at-large for their contributions to United States Military History. They have earned the right to be acknowledged.

Thus, the research, to include this project, continues.  As an example, the featured photograph is of Scott, a body servant, with members of the 57th Georgia Regiment. [Reference: Georgia’s Virtual Vault. ]  As with Wilkes and Lavinia Flagg, Scott was likewise from Milledgeville, Georgia.

Collins Dictionary
Military Service: service in an army or military force, either voluntarily or by conscription.

Presenting a living history, to include period correct symbolism, will provide a more realistic view into the people who lived during the 19th Century.  In order to understand the context of the Southern Symbolism used on this BLOG, check this page often because definitions will be added to provide clarity of usage.


Southern Symbols and Terms Definitions for this Living Historian BLOG
Confederate Battle FlagConfederate Battle Flag

A 19th Century soldier’s flag to differentiate sides on the battlefield. The “x” is representative of a Saint Andrew’s Cross. Andrew was a disciple of Jesus, the Son of God. At Andrew’s death, Andrew believed the cross of Jesus was sacred and asked to be crucified in the configuration of an “x” which demonstrated humility. The stars represent the states which succeeded from the Union.

This BLOG does not tolerate racial usage of the soldier’s Confederate Battle Flag in any form. In the 21st Century, the Confederate Battle Flag is placed at the graves of all persons who provided military service to the Confederate States Army/Navy. The Confederate memorials attended do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national/origin, ancestry, genetics, age, sex, religion, creed, and/or veteran status.

War Between the States (WBTS)

Many southerners state that there is nothing civil about war. Therefore, the name “War Between The States” was adopted. The first use of the term “War Between the States” was by Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens who also wrote a book by that same title in 1866. [Reference: North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial website: ] Also note, the term Civil War is used on this BLOG for search engine optimization.


Once a Slave and Twice Free–Victorian Style

Photograph of Wilkes Flagg, resident of Milledgeville, Georgia (ca 1870)

Wilkes Flagg,
Lavinia’s Husband
Who Purchased Her Freedom
Courtesy: Digital Library of Georgia

When portraying an African American woman during the Civil War era, one must research and then determine if the selected 19th Century Southern Heroine would logically be on the scene for the type of events you will frequent.

As an example, if you are going to a memorial of a soldier, would your Southern Heroine have plausible reason to be at the event? Did her spouse at some level provide military aid or military service that can be validated? Could she easily identify with people from all backgrounds–whether slave or free? Living Histories should draw everyone into the story.

Therefore, I have decided that my Southern Heroine will be Lavinia Flagg, wife of Wilkes Flagg. She and her husband were both slaves. However, Wilkes, an industrious man, is said to have purchased both of their freedom. Though Wilkes and Lavinia were counted in the small percentage of Free People of Color as noted in the 1850 US Federal Census, they would live to see a new era of freedom for all former slaves at the end of the 19th Century.

As you follow this BLOG, you will witness my transformation into a woman who was once a slave and twice free.

Highlighting the good in humanity,
Ann DeWitt

Preserving History Through Memorials–Victorian Style

To be frank, I did not understand the ballyhoo about keeping loved ones’grave headstones properly marked or clean until my genealogical search for my GGG-Grandmother dead-ended. Then a recommendation was made for me to continue my genealogical search by tracing her lineage through cemetery surveys. Lo and behold, I found her burial location along with seven other relatives within a six month time period.

As a result, I better understand why organizations such as, and not limited to, the “Order of the Confederate Rose,” an auxiliary of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and “The Auxiliary of the Sons of Union Veterans” portrait living histories, proactively participate in memorial services, and promote historical educational events.

For those who do not believe the importance of memorials, the next time you are conducting genealogical research, try tracing your ancestors solely via their gravesites.  I did and the journey brought three generations of my family closer together. Plus, I met many wonderful people along the way.

Auxiliary to the Sons of Union VeteransYarmouth, Maine

Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans
Yarmouth, Maine

Order of the Confederate Rose, an Auxilary of the Sons of Confederate Veterans

Order of the Confederate Rose
An Auxiliary of the SCV
Granite Falls, North Carolina
Deo Vindice

Highlighting the good in humanity,
Ann DeWitt