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Photo: Confederate flag on Philemon Tracy's grave

By Howard B. Owens

Philemon Tracy is believed to be the only Confederate officer buried north of the Mason-Dixon Line. His grave is in the Batavia Cemetery. I didn't notice this flag on his grave on Memorial Day or over the weekend (I was at the cemetery on both occasions, but could have missed it). When I drove down Harvester Avenue today, there it was, which struck me as interesting.

David Culver

This is a Battlefield Flag. The CSA flag is 3 stripes red,white,red with a blue ensign and 7 white stars in a circle for the 7 original States that suceeded from the Union.

Jun 7, 2011, 6:08pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

It's a shame that we still honor a group of anti-American terrorists, especially in a state where a high number of men died fighting them. Confederate soldiers, generals and politicians were traitors. They died fighting for a cause that was inherently evil, their intent was preserving a society based on direct opposition to progress and the total oppression of black people. While it's true that some union states were slave states, slavery was on its way out in those states and they all took a united stand against slavery expansion into US territories.

I refuse to honor those who wished to tear our nation apart.

Jun 7, 2011, 7:10pm Permalink
Rachael Scott

There were no acts committed by the Confederate army whose only purpose was to cause fear, hence no terrorism. The former Confederacy tried peacefully to leave the Union several times for the purpose of governing themselves (not unlike the fathers of America did by signing the declaration). The Union would not let this happen. You are correct in saying that slavery was on its way out and was not the major issue in their desire to leave. Check the rest of your facts before posting something that could be offensive to this person or another person's family. You only make yourself look ignorant. Although any war is horrible, especially a civil war, they were fighting for their cause and nothing more. If you'd like to talk about borderline terrorism - how about Sherman's March to the Sea?

Also, no one was asking you to honor anyone. Howard simply stated that he found it interesting.

Jun 7, 2011, 7:57pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

Rachel - You are correct, the union would not allow itself to ripped apart at the expense of black people living in confederate states. There was nothing romantic about their cause, it was purely economics and some warped version of 'states rights', where they thought they could circumvent the bill of rights. When they were unable to leave to create their society, which was going to be based on a backwards view of race (the majority of the unions view of race wasn't totally good either, however, most of the union at least opposed slavery and all opposed the expansion of slave states) they used violence against their own country to achieve their aims. That makes them terrorists.

Their cause was as tragic as the war itself and I feel sorry for those soldiers who were snookered into confederate service and who were forced. They, like Timothy McVeigh, were not satisfied with the electoral process to resolve their differences with the union and violently attempted to tear the country I love apart. I do not think that flag should fly in the cemetery where American veterans who fought bravely for our country are buried.

My stance against honoring the Confederacy lies in the deeply rooted love I have for my country. Although America has done wrong, especially to American Indians, I have no tolerance for secessionists.

Jun 7, 2011, 8:06pm Permalink
Rachael Scott

I too have great love and pride for my country, but by your logic we are all traitors to Great Britain. Do not forget that we too used violence to gain our independence in the Revolutionary War, and those who attempted to do so with Confederacy saw it as following in their forefather's footsteps. I do not agree with slavery in any form, but you are making it seem as though it was the major factor in the war. Incorrect. That front was established by the Union themselves to keep England out of it. Keep in mind that most of the South was far too poor to afford slaves, many could barely afford to feed themselves. There was much more to this war than slavery, the average Confederate soldier would not die fighting for something they knew nothing about and certainly did not enjoy. Fighting for a cause and terrorism, though often linked, are not always the case.

the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

The violence used wasn't to intimidate or coerce, it was simply in response to Union aggression and the desire to leave peacefully. The forefathers of the United States of America did the same thing, did they not? Boston Tea Party ring a bell?

Jun 7, 2011, 8:25pm Permalink
Corey Brown

I would have to agree. It is or should be a well known fact that the war was not over slavery at all. It was a differing of ideals. Since none of us were there, nor did we participate on either campaign, it is senseless to act as if our history books provide us true insight, especially since they teach us that it was about slavery, which is the only thing we know for sure that it was not.

I too have seen confederate flags around and thought, " How wrong is that?" but in reality it's just how we were raised to think and our lack of true perspective.

"The wise speak only of what they know". Since none of us know and never will, there is no sense in breeding hatred for a man buried well before your own life. Respect the passed. He was and is a member of the nation that you love and are so willing to defend.

Jun 7, 2011, 9:31pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Dave, he was born in Georgia, but I think he had family here and had visited here.

When he died, his family had his body smuggled to Batavia. If I remember correctly from what I read (which is not online), he was dressed as a Union officer or soldier to help get his body here.

Jun 7, 2011, 10:39pm Permalink
Brandon Burger

The American Civil War most certainly was fought over Slavery; the "Peculiar Institution" ran through every contentious issue between North and South like blood.

In his "Cornerstone Speech", Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens maintained that:

"<i>The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.</i>"

To believe that Slavery was not the main cause of the War is to be hoodwinked by the revisionist claims of Southern historians and politicians who were obviously embarrassed by the fact that the cause of the Civil War was the Southern States' demand to maintain the right to continue the enslavement of millions of people.

Jun 8, 2011, 12:55am Permalink
John Roach

Dan, the South did not violate the Bill of Rights back then. Remember, slavery was legal and slaves, by law, had no rights under the Constitution.

The other problem is that the Constitution does not address leaving the union in a clear manner. Some said that because it did not allow for leaving, you could not. Others, the South, said you could leave because it was not forbidden.

And at the start, almost nobody, including the President, went to war with the South over slavery. It was to prevent succession. And if the South did not fire on Fort Sumter, who knows if war would have actually broken out since there was little support to invade the South to bring them back. But by firing first, they fired up the North for war.

Jun 8, 2011, 6:26am Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

I would like to add this information about slavery:

Does not sound as good as some people would like to believe about the Noble North vs. Sadistic South and the fight to free the slaves. Once they (southern slaves) were free they still had no rights. The last thing the North wanted was all the newly freed slaves moving up from the South !

Jun 8, 2011, 7:26am Permalink
Dave Olsen

Jeremiah, that was quite an interesting read about Major Tracy and his family. All the years I've lived around here and I never knew about him being here.

Jun 8, 2011, 8:39am Permalink

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