The VMFA’s Confederate Flag Problem

Seeing the Confederate flag waving in and around Richmond isn’t exactly an attention-grabber for those of us who’ve lived here a while. But when protesters waving the flag started appearing outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a lot of us were curious – just what exactly is going on? And more importantly, how should Richmond deal with its Confederate past?

When driving down Boulevard, the last thing you might expect to see in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a group of people waving Confederate flags (okay, maybe not the LAST thing… this is Richmond after all). But at the VMFA? My question–along with many of my friends and Richmond’s Twitterati–was what’s going on here? Knowing the history of the location, I first assumed it was the anniversary of some of event, like how you can usually find Confederate reenactors guarding Robert E. Lee’s statue on his birthday.

Well, it turns out that I was wrong and we were actually witnessing a Confederate Flag protest. You gotta ask yourself: what’s the fun of living in a Southern city without a good old fashioned Confederate flag scandal? So, apologies while I spend today’s column in the present day rather than the usual 1861.

First, let’s establish some historical context here. The land on which the VMFA sits was once a camp for Confederate veterans, known as Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1, also known as the “Old Soldiers’ Home.” The camp was formed in 1884 as a home for needy, wounded, and infirm Confederate veterans after the war. It was purchased and maintained by donations from their fellow veterans, both Union and Confederate. The camp covered roughly 36 acres and housed hundreds of veterans over the years. When the last resident veteran passed away in 1941, the land was deeded to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over the years, the land would be used for two of Richmond’s best known landmarks on Boulevard: the VMFA and the Virginia Historical Society. The only surviving buildings from the original camp are the headquarters of the camp, known as the Robinson House, and the Confederate War Memorial Chapel (also known as the Pelham Chapel).

In 1993, an agreement was made between the Commonwealth, the VMFA, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization to allow them to lease the chapel. According to the VMFA, the Confederate battle flag began flying at the chapel after the Sons of Confederate Veterans became the lessee. When the lease was renewed in June of 2010, the board of trustees at the VMFA made the decision to ask that the flag be removed from the chapel.

The only piece of the puzzle that I can’t seem to put together is why it took so long for the protests to start? It looks like the momentum for protests really didn’t kick into gear until October of this year. The protesters, identifying themselves as “flaggers,” are part of a larger grassroots effort organized via blogs and social media to call attention to instances where the Confederate flag has been removed or is being considered for removal. Somehow the VMFA’s action drew the attention of the group and they’ve been organizing regular weekly protests ever since.

As a Civil War buff, I struggle with this issue of the Confederate flag. When I’ve heard about Confederate flags flying over city hall buildings or government buildings in the past, it always seemed like a no-brainer to me that the flag shouldn’t be there. But for an actual Confederate historical landmark, it seems a little heavy-handed to remove the flag since it’s a place that was built to commemorate those who died fighting for the Confederacy. They may have been the losing side, but the flag represents the honor of those who fought and died, and it seems appropriate to me that it should be there.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Any person living in the South knows the context of the Confederate flag has changed over the past 150 years. The flag has been perverted over the years and sadly, is recognized more today as a symbol of backwards thinking, racism, and hate. Are there people who fly the flag out of respect for their Southern heritage and eschew its other meanings? Absolutely. In our society, however, it’s a difficult thing to wave a flag and expect people to parse your specific meaning.

Because of this, I totally understand why the VMFA would want to distance themselves from the flag. Here we have the newly-renovated museum, a shining example of a city moving forward and upward, truly establishing us as a place of culture and art and bringing us out of the shadow of our bigger city neighbors. So when a tourist in Richmond for the first time sees this amazing museum and then rounds the corner to see a Confederate flag waving, the juxtaposition is harsh, and I can see why the museum wouldn’t be wild about that mixed perception.

The VMFA hasn’t come out and said any of this, but it’s fairly easy to see the predicament they’re in. That being said, the Museum has made a really strong effort to honor the past of the Old Soldiers’ Home, placing several new illustrated signs explaining the history of the camp, along with providing information on their website and during public tours about the history of their location. In addition, the VMFA claims to have done research indicating that Confederate flags weren’t actually on display at the chapel during the days of the camp, which they cite as a reason for asking for their removal.

When I first set out to write this article, I leaned toward allowing the Confederate flag to fly outside the Pelham Chapel, but after doing more research and thinking about the issue, I’m more conflicted about it than when I started. It’s a tough issue with no clear answer. Recognizing our Civil War past and reconciling that with what we want Richmond to become is something we’re going to continue to struggle with for another 150 years. It’s something that defines our city and will continue to do so.

I respect the VMFA for acknowledging and helping to preserve the chapel and its unique part in the history of the city. I also have respect for the people who are waving Confederate flags because they’re concerned that we’re going to forget an important part of our city’s past. It’s hard to say what will happen next with the protests, but I welcome any opportunity for us to reflect on our city’s history and our vision for it moving forward.

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Phil Williams

In addition to being an amateur Civil War enthusiast, Phil is a musician, beard owner, dance party enthusiast, technology geek, and spends whatever time is left over working in the advertising industry.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Tim Jones on said:

    A well written article on a sensitive subject.

  2. Thank you for an excellent article addressing a problem many of us struggle with: What is the proper role and place to fly the Confederate flag?
    Certainly there is a fringe element that would ban it entirely, or limit it only to museums. These folks will never be appeased and will happily roll on to another target if they got what they want on this issue. Unfortunately, it is this crowd that has largely changed America’s perception of the flag over the past 150 years, as you state — and accurately so. They were not sated by Carol Mosely-Brown humiliating the kindly ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on the Senate floor or by the renaming of school and road names all across the South. No — they won’t even be pleased when the whole history of War is forgotten or changed into something it was not — and that is the path we are on.
    I would argue that if the Headquarters of a Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in the Capital of the Confederacy can be prohibited from flying the Confederate flag because someone, somewhere doesn’t like the flag, the flag can be banned anywhere — and perhaps everywhere — on earth. Banning the flag in this situation is an insult to men who, volunteer or conscript, did theri duty to Virginia — a state which was pro-Union until, threatened with invasion and blockade, they were reluctantly forced to secede in order to defend themselves (review the records of April 1861 to learn the truth!).
    Of course the flag should be flown at the VFMA. The issue should never have been in doubt.

  3. Let’s ban the united states flag. We had slaves in these country under that flag long before the war for southern independence.

  4. T. R. Cook III, M.D., D.M.D. on said:

    There should really be no controversy; Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. Southerners should be proud that our ancestors, at least mine–who were true Southerners–stood against the marauding north and the tyrant Lincoln who invaded a neighboring sovereign nation. There will always be agitators with various agendas like the so-called occupiers throughout our country who evidently have no real agenda other than agitating. Those who do not respect all of the Confederate Flags should not be particularly admired in the South, especially the once Capital of out Southern Nation.

  5. 800pound_elephant on said:

    I’d go back and re do your research, the chapel is in dis-repair sir… The VMFA has done nothing to take care of this building. Robot E Lee?? ahh I should not even respond to this… I find you disrespectful of one of my family members who fought and bravely served in the war between the states. Maybe I will hunt down one of your dead relatives and make fun of their name too… Doesnt matter all the flags look so much better out front then tucked be hind the museum. We arent going anywhere and we are not going to stop.. We are legions.. onward we march!

  6. Danny ray stanaland on said:

    i like theold civil war historis thar wos a lots of stanaland in it

  7. C.C. LESTERS on said:



  8. Susan Hathaway on said:

    Thank you so much for publishing your thoughts on this matter.

    I would like to share a little more about the group known as the Virginia Flaggers. We are descendants of Confederate veterans and have been carrying Confederate flags out on the sidewalk at the entrances to VMFA, each Saturday, for the past 6 weeks We do so in honor and memory of our ancestors, who fought in the War Between the States, in answer to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s call to arms.

    It has been over a year since the Pelham Chapel/Confederate War Memorial was forced to remove the Confederate flags from its portico by the Museum, as part of its lease renewal. We find this a direct insult to our ancestors, and the 260,000 Confederate soldiers who died during the war, who are memorialized by the Chapel and its designation as a War Memorial.

    As such, the forced removal of flags from the memorial is in direct violation of Virginia law, which clearly states: “it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, “disturb or interfere with” includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.” (§ 15.2-1812)

    The public flagging that has taken place over the last few weeks is increasing awareness of what has, up until now, only been known to a few people. Each Saturday, and several weekdays each week, we talk to more and more people who had no idea that this offense occurred, and most are shocked. We distribute fliers that detail the Museum’s discrimination against American veterans in removing the flags. Our support and numbers are growing, with as many as 15 gathering a few weeks ago, just to stand in support of the flag of our fathers, whom the VMFA is dishonoring. We are having great conversations on the street and can honestly report that the majority of those we talk with support the view that a CONFEDERATE Memorial should be allowed to fly CONFEDERATE flags.

    Our request is simple…as citizens of Virginia and descendants of Confederate soldiers who gallantly answered Virginia’s call to defend her, we ask that the VMFA remove these blatantly prejudicial restrictions and allow the Confederate Battle Flags to once again fly on the Confederate War Memorial.

    Susan F. Hathaway
    Great-Great Granddaughter of:
    Solomon Benjamin Jenkins, 16th Virginia Heavy Artillery, Co. A
    William Lewis Stone, 21st Va Infantry, Co. C
    Jacob William Hawkins, 18th VA Heavy Artillery, Co. C
    Wellington Goddin, Richmond Ambulance Corps

  9. Very well said Phil! I’m no fan of the battle flag whatsoever, but you expressed so very clearly the feelings of so many of us who feel torn about history. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for this article. VMFA has a response to this situtation.
    VMFA and Confederate History and the Confederate Memorial Chapel
    In recent weeks a group calling itself Virginia Flaggers has undertaken a campaign asking that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts mount Confederate battle flags on the Confederate Memorial Chapel. The endeavor has included demonstrations on site, blog postings, and contact with patrons, legislators, and media. The museum administration recently met with a representative of this group to hear issues and opinions, to share its ongoing commitment to interpretation and stewardship of the Chapel, and to decline respectfully this request.

    In preparation for the commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the museum undertook extensive research into the history of the grounds. A review of documents and images dating back to the time of the Soldiers’ Home (1885–1941)—and through subsequent decades after the Commonwealth assumed full ownership of the property in 1941—reveals that no flags hung from the Chapel. Battle flags were mounted on the facade when Lee Jackson Camp, No. 1, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), began leasing the chapel in 1993. When renewing that lease in June 2010 and following a unanimous vote of its board of trustees, VMFA asked that the flags be removed—an effort that returned the historic structure to its original appearance.
    Historic Interpretation
    The museum takes seriously its responsibility, granted by the Commonwealth, to preserve the chapel and its place in postbellum history and has devoted extensive funding toward its care and maintenance. Moreover, VMFA is not only aware of the history of its grounds and period buildings (which include Robinson House and the former Home for Needy Confederate Women), but actively interprets the compelling story of the Robert E. Lee Camp, No. 1, through public tours, a link on its website, and outdoor signage.
    In addition to the state historical marker and a bronze sign designating the site as the Confederate Memorial Park that VMFA placed on the grounds in the 1950s, three new illustrated signs were recently installed that mention this designation and tell the story of the Soldiers’ Home. A fourth sign near the Chapel, facing Grove Avenue, interprets the Confederate national flag. Before installation, the text and images for these panels were reviewed by leading Civil War scholars as well as representatives of Lee Jackson Camp, No. 1, SCV.

    Confederate history and emblems are currently well represented at the Virginia Historical Society and the United Daughters of the Confederacy headquarters, institutions also situated on the grounds of the former Soldiers’ Home. The Confederate national flag is flown daily at the front of the United Daughters of the Confederacy building, and Confederate battle and national flags are currently displayed within the Chapel, where their historical significance is interpreted by local representatives of Lee Jackson Camp, No. 1. In direct response to requests by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, VMFA also installed a flag pole in front of the Chapel, where the Virginia state flag is flown. As is protocol for State agencies, it flies tandem with the flag of the United States of America.

    In summary
    As VMFA fulfills its primary mission to serve the Commonwealth as a world-class fine arts museum, it will continue to interpret the history of its grounds respectfully and accurately. With many members, patrons, trustees, and staff who share the heritage of the Old Dominion—including those with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy—we share the same interest in honoring those Virginians who gave their lives during that brutal conflict and will do our best to preserve an important part of Virginia’s history.

  11. Very well-written article. I would point out, however, that I can’t think of any other culture (and the people of the American South do indisputably have their own unique culture) that has been encouraged to break ties with its past and desist from publicly acknowledging their collective identity, solely because of popular misconceptions and ignorance about its breadth and meaning.

    The South was not a pro-slavery political faction; it was and is a region of the United States which houses a people more culturally distinct from its neighbors than many European countries are from each other. Hopefully people will understand this in time, though, and I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge the complexity of the issue instead of posting a short-sighted polemic for either side.

  12. Some background history in this scenario is appropriate. In 1933, Governor Pollard attempted to present land to the Virginia Arts Association, to have a Museum built to house the donation to Virginia of the Barton-Payne Art Collection. The 1892 Commonwealth of Virginia legislation, transferring the Deed of the Soldiers’ Home grounds from the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. to the Commonwealth, in exchange for Medical care of the Confederate Veterans, applied to the Soldiers’ Home grounds. Virginia had sent these same Veterans to fight an Invading Northern Army more than 20 years earlier, however the Legislation Provided Rights to the R. E. Lee Camp, while members of the Camp still lived. The Atty. General of Virginia told Governor Pollard that he would need the approval of the Lee Camp Veterans, with their Commander – Gen. Evans. It has been said that Governor Pollard went to Gen. Evans on bended knee, to provide a “Grant Deed” for the Virginia Arts Association.

    It has been mentioned that Commander Evans included in “Hand Writing” comments on the “Land Grant Deed” or provisions for the specific and exact use by the Virginia Arts Commission of the Land that they would receive. In the 1934 Virginia legislation creating the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park, with specific Boards for each, were Created to manage each Entity Seperately. The Veterans had bargained for, Confederate Memory Items to be included in Museum Exhibits, and the Grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park to include statuory, and a Park Like Status as a Confedederate Memorial Park. To assist the Virginia Arts. Assoc. and in 1934 the VMFA, the members of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans (U.C.V.) made available their gallery at the Confederate Memorial Institute [Battle Abbey, aka VHS Virginia Historical Society] to Show the Barton-Payne Collection. After all, Barton-Payne were Confederate Sympathizers, and the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 member, Honorable Judge George L. Christian, the Co-Chairman of the Confederate Memorial Institute, arranged legislation for funding of the first exhibit of the VMFA in their R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. Gallery at the Battle Abbey. Lee Camp made possible for the VMFA to get their Museum built, while the R. E. Lee Camp Gallery exhibited the Barton-Payne collection.

    In 1954, the Commonwealth of Virginia wanted to demolish the Chapel, however the citizens of Richmond protested too much. In short order, it was understood that the Chapel was worth saving, and an effort by the ladies of the U.D.C., members of the S.C.V., along with the Commonwealth of Virginia restored the Chapel in 1960 to make it available to the many visitors the Commonwealth expected in 1960. I am sure there were some Confederate Flags flying then someplace, on the grounds or around the Chapel. In 1954 the Board of Directors of the Museum stated they would support Legislation for the Expansion on the grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp, and they would provide a Monument to be placed beside the UDC headquarters on the Boulevard. They also mentioned in that 1954 Board of Directors Resolution, that the VMFA would not be expanding any more on the grounds of the R.E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park. In 2010, the VMFA, without a Legislative Act, and an “Unknown Source of Authority” made a Major Expansion on the Grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home.

    In the early 1990’s Governor Wilder, through an Executive Order, provided the transfer of the Deed to the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park to the VMFA. The Questions to Ask – Was this a legal Deed of Trust Transfer? Did this Executive Action defeat the 1934 Legislation which Created the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park?

    Should a R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park fly a Confederate Battle Flag? Yes – in 1934, the date of that Legislation by the Commonwealth, the Old Vets were Daily Flying the Confederate Battle Flag in Front of the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home Hospital. You would think that if the Virginia Commonwealth “On to Richmond” Sesquicentennial Web Site were using the “Confederate Memorial Chapel” Confederate Flags as a Sesquicentenntial Web “Masthead”, the Flags would still be “Allowed” on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home or at least the Chapel. Attracting the Tens of Thousands of Southern Citizens, who had Confederate Ancestors fighting in and Around the Capitol of the Confederacy, to Travel to Richmond for Sesquicentennial Events – Could be Enhanced, if Richmond had a Confederate Flag Flying someplace. Perhaps, on the grounds of the Old Soldiers’ Home, where more than 3,000 received hospital care and attention, and where more than 1,700 Veterans had their “Last Roll Call” at the Chapel, that this Would be the Place for Richmond to Fly the Flag, that these Boys fought for their State that Sent them to War.

    At the Top of this Thread – “The Old Soldiers’ Home or more accurately – R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home, or R. E. Lee Camp “Museum” [one of the first war museums in Richmond]. Question – Why should the VMFA Insist that this Soldiers’ Home be called the “Robinson House”. Question – Why has the VMFA allowed the wood trim around the windows and doors of this historic Richmond building to deteriorate with water damage and rot? They have recently spent Hundreds of Millions in grounds and facility. Why does a historic building like the Chapel still have an Old Baseboard heater, that doesn’t work? Why hasn’t the VMFA placed historical emphasis on the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home building or also known as the R. E. Lee Camp “Museum” building. Who are the Robinsons, and why should their name be used for this historic building – Ask the VMFA. On the VMFA web site, please check out their plans and comments for what they call the “Robinson” house, to see if they are “Congruent” with the Historiography of the Proud History of Richmond.

  13. All nastygrams aside, I’m really pleased to see so many people providing their thoughts. I think I stated it pretty clearly in my article – I don’t know the answer here, but I love that we’re having a discussion, because it is important.

  14. A CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL CHAPEL Sign hung outside the Chapel for years, and in the remodling process, the Sign was Removed by the VMFA. However, more than a year later, the VMFA has failed to replace the Historic or New Sign to Identify the “Confederate Memorial Chapel”. There is a Historigraphy Interpretative Sign in front of the Chapel, however even the VMFA has a sign for their business beside the Blvd. What’s holding up the VMFA From returning the sign to the Chapel or one like the one that was in place.

  15. The answer here is really rather simple:

    *ANYTHING* which might lead the average dumbed-down, mouth-breathing alumnus of our deliberately sabotaged national “education (sic) system” to question the OFFICIAL story of (hack spit) “The Civil (sic) War” is verboten.

    According to the “Official History” (sic) The War was fought over slavery – the Good North to end it, the Evil South to preserve and defend it. According to this narrative, anyone who would defend (much less FLY) the battle-flag is an inbred, racist bigot.

    As time continues to pass, and each generation hears less and less of the true history (and more and more of the false) this struggle to preserve heritage will grow ever more dire.

    My thanks to those fighting to preserve our Heritage!

  16. David McCallister on said:

    Not flying the Confederate flag(s), including the Battle Flag, is a form of cultural genocide being perpetrated by those who need a bogeyman to advance their own self-interest such as the NAACP, whose 1991 resolution of the “odius blight on the universe” nature of Confederate symbols started the phenomenon of teaching knee-jerk “offended” victimology that has descended into rampant Confederophobia.

    It is a campaign of fellow-travellers based upon hatred and feeding on ignorance. It’s just as much a campaign on all American symbols because all Confederate Veterans are US Veterans by Act of Congress, and the short lived country of “The South” or “Dixieland” was the Confederate States of America – which was and is still a distinct region of North America, deserving of an opportunity to display its history and remind its citizens of their honorable heritage and particular inheritance of the struggle for liberty.

    The statement that the [meaning] of the flag has been “perverted over the years” is not a valid reason not to rehabilitate it into the frequent, familiar, and respected feature of the civil landscape it should be. What you should be doing is teaching and advocating the “true meaning” of the flag, and not letting others with a vicious-cycle agenda of misinformation and appeasement drive the struggle. Otherwise you, yourself, are enabling the perversion.

    Insist that CSA veterans be respected as all USA veterans should be. Vietnam era veterans will tell you what it’s like to be associated with an “unpopular” war. How they are treated in 150 years is directly related to how we re-learn to treat our WBTS ancestor-veterans right now.

    Basically, grow some backbone and stand tall for the Confederate Flag- use every bully pulpit and teachable moment available to explain and honor its true meaning. Help mainstream Confederate symbols, and do not cowtow to ephemeral PC demands based on hatred. Hate doesn’t heal; honor and education does.

    Shared Confederate heritage by all Southrons needs to be taught and appreciated. Letting the haters blithely remove public display of identifiable symbols is the first step on the road to cultural self-loathing and eventual disappearance of all that is valuable in our heritage.

    The “winners” famously write the books. Now they want to clear the skies, graveyards, public places, museums, and schools, of all the heritage, represented by such symbols as the flags used, that we need to pass on to future generations the pride and legacy of being Southerners.

    Fight against removal – advocate for even more public exposure of our honorable, patriotic Confederate flags – it’s a stand for liberty and justice for all, including our forebears, and ourselves as Southern Americans.

  17. Who knew you had all these unreconstructed Southerners reading RVANews. I always thought it was a bunch of 20 something hipsters. :)

  18. Susan Hathaway on said:

    Phil, I would just like to add that you are exactly right with your point regarding discussing history. When we are out on the street talking with folks, one thing we always discuss is how important it is to keep dialogue flowing about these issues. Our flags are the starting point for these discussions. When they are out, we talk about them.

    Hiding them may (temporarily) end the discussion, but it does not allow for the exchange of feelings, ideas, and experiences which, in our experience, can lead to civil discourse which allows a better understanding of ALL aspects of our history.

    Those who want to hide our flags incorrectly assume that by taking them out of the public eye, any misrepresentations or bad feelings associated with them will just “go away”. On the contrary. Civil discourse and education are the key to success here, and that is what we are doing, every day.

  19. Bobby Edwards on said:


    I am sure the thoughts of the members of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans of Richmond, when they granted “Grant Deeds” of Soldiers’ Home Property to: (1) the Confederate Memorial Institute [Battle Abbey], (2) the Confederate Home for “Needy” Women, and (3)the Virginia Arts Assoc [VMFA] would be that “Confederate Memory” would be the Objective in all of their Philantrophy .

    The first camp of Confederate Veterans formed for the purpose of taking care of destitute and disabled Veterans, and formed at a time when destitute Confederate Veterans of Stonewall Jacksons “Foot Cavalry” were foraging for food and seeking shelter in the streets of Richmond. A Snow Storm found some of these veterans in the elements ready to take their very lives, however rescued by the Police of Richmond. Soon after the news of these Veterans fending for their lives on the streets of Richmond, some of the finest Citizens of Richmond, with Confederate Heritage Formed the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans in 1883.

    They would find themselves meeting at the 1st Virginia Armory in Richmond, where members of the Phil Kearney G.A.R. Union Post were also meeting. Strange things happened at the 1st Virginia Armory Hall, as one side of the Hall became Decorated with Confederate Flags, Guidons, Emblems, and Accouterments. On the other side of the 1st Virginia Armory, were Union Flags, Unit Emblems, Guidons, and Symbols. That meeting place in 1883 would begin a bond between North and South as forged by both forces. But Historiography and Historical Accuracy is Very Critical in this Narrative and Story of the Lee Camp, because it is the Symbol of the Veterans that lived at the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home that’s Important in this Conversation. The Lee Camp and the G.A.R. Union Veterans put Aside their Differences of War and Forged a New Peace for this Country, and from 1883 through the late 1890’s or so – The Communications from the Lee Camp and G.A.R. Posts included Posts from all over the Country, and the Meetings of G.A.R. Union Veterans and the Lee Camp Veterans amounted to close to a Dozen of Very Well-Planned Events, which Involved Union Veterans Marching in Parades in Richmond – Under the Confederate Flag. Once, a First National had to be Used, but Union Veterans did Honor and Respect the Flags of their Southern Brothers in the Military Reunions and Parades. In the Dining Hall of the Soldiers’ Home, there’s a photo of Small American Flags Distributed throughout the Mess Hall. In the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, the Henderson Window and the Boisseaux Window have an American Standard on a Military Shield – A show of Respect for the American Flag. But, these Old Veterans into their 70’s and 80’s went to the Flag Pole in front of the Hospital and Raised the Confederate Battle Flag – Every Day. By the Way – That Flag Pole Position, would be Immediately in Front of the Doors to the VMFA Museum.

    The 1910 Land Grant Deed, authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Member Vote of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. members made possible the “Confederate Memorial Institute”. The R. E. Lee Camp already had a Substantial Museum Collection of Books, Paintings, and Artifacts or Confederate Memory Items. Charles “Broadway” Rouss, went to the Officers of the Lee Camp to seek their help for a Museum. Every Major City in the South Competed for the Battle Abbey, and the Lee Camp brought the Battle Abbey to Richmond. They Contributed their Art Collection, Books, and Artifacts, and Established a Gallery – named the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. gallery. By 1913, the Lee Camp had Collected the Largest Collection of Confedrate Art in the World, and it’s in the reserve Collection of the VHS, obviously waiting for the right “Moment” to show the World’s Greatest Collection of Confederate Art.

    MEMBERS of The R. E. Lee Camp Were: Gen. Joseph Anderson and his son Archer, Lewis Ginter, Hon. Judge George L. Christian, Mayor of Richmond, Senators, Generals, Colonels, Writers, etc…

    LOOK through the names of Lee Camp Members, and You Will see the Great Citizens of Richmond that moved the City Forward in a period of Disaster for the South. The men of the Camp built Confederate Memory Projects with the Monuments on Monument Avenue, the Collection of Art & History, the establishment of other Confederate Veteran Camps with the Grand Camps, the perpetuation of Confederate History with their Leaders directly involved with the Southern Historical Society and the VHS. The Efforts of these Men helped the VMFA get off the ground with their Barton-Payne Exhibit, they made it possible for the VMFA to get started. Unfortunately that QUID-PRO-QUO is Lost on Many, Who Simply Wish to Sweep Richmond’s History Under the Carpet. But, I don’t think it’s that easy.

  20. Billy Bearden on said:

    In any other time of history, in any other location of America, the obvious answer to this situation would be to have left the flags alone. Short of that, to replace the flags as quickly as possible with a public apology.

    No, this is November 2011. And in this time VMFA 2nd in Command Steven Bonadies has the unenviable task of publically defending multiple illegal actions with illogical reasoning, all while trying to convince up what we are feeling is actually rain.

    The canned historically inaccurate information shared with us above by Ms Hall sounds iffy at best to those not in the know, but as VMFA is finding out more and more with each passing day, when passersby and potential visitors discover the crimes committed by Mr Bonadies employers, the more anger is being generated against them.

    Mr Bonadies, Ms Hall, VMFA:
    In November 2011, the answer is simple enough in resolving this issue. Come clean on all legal violations, apologize, and replace the flags ASAP. Case solved.

    Thanks and God Bless

  21. Kaitlin on said:

    I am a “native” Richmonder, living in Philadelphia, whose parents were not southerners, rather born and raised in Minnesota. So, I feel like I’ve got a mixed view on this subject. I spent my freshman year of college in DC, at a school with many New Englanders, and I quickly learned that I was quite an outsider when it came to how I viewed my home, my beloved city of Richmond (and the rest of the “south”). When I lived in Richmond I defended the right of our state to acknowledge its history and condemned the misconstrued perceptions many people have about what the confederate flag represents. However, very frequently after moving to Philadelphia (after another 4 years of living in Richmond again) I found myself questioning my loyalty to those beliefs. I think regardless of what the confederate flag means to one person or another, it clearly represents-to a large chunk of the world- a culture that fought to defend a way of life; a way of life that depended on the enslavement of other human beings. To many, the confederate flag may as well be the Nazi flag. While I think it’s too hard to compare the two, I do see that by defending the flying of the Confederate flag we cannot choose to ignore the fact that while the flag may not solely represent support for the enslavement of African Americans, it absolutely is embedded into its meaning. When people honor their ancestors, they have to be aware of how what their ancestors believed affected others, and honoring your ancestors does not always mean waving the flag that they did. It can mean learning from their mistakes, and what it meant for the history of our country, and choosing to honor them in other ways than flying a flag that is extremely offensive to many. We cannot ignore what the flag means now, just because it may have meant something at some other point in time. If your ancestors supported a dictator who brutally murdered his citizens, but were not necessarily committing those acts themselves, would you fly the flag of that regime to honor your ancestors?? If your ancestors were racist and it didn’t bother them that in order to keep their way of life and their culture, they had to forcefully enslave another race, why do you want to honor that? By flying that flag in public, it is not saying to the world “I honor my ancestors, except the part where they enslaved people” it says “I am honoring this culture that, as an integral part of its existence, relied on slave labor”. I went to a high school where, on the last day of school every year, people lined up their trucks, Dixie tunes programmed into the horns, and paraded around the school parking lot flying their confederate flags. How do you think that made the African American students feel? I have many times gotten into heated discussions with my boyfriend (who’s from Philly and thinks flying the Confederate flag is certainly comparable to flying a Nazi flag). I’ve previously exhausted myself trying to explain that to many people in the South it means something more than that. But the truth is, it’s ignorant to deny the fact that the Confederate flag DOES have real connotations that cut deep for many people. I am not against honoring your family history, but maybe it’s time to honor your family’s culture in another way?

  22. Bill Hicks on said:

    Southern historical flags should be respected as memorials, for it was under these flags that history was made. Displaying them is the honorable thing to do.


    The site no blog or media outlet will cover:

    Historic Fan Parks was the only public opposition to the grand opening of the VMFA in response to it’s destruction of the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park. That effort in May of 2010 entailed a door hanger campaign prior to the opening and a protest during the grand opening ceremony.

    No media would cover the story when hand delivered the documents, original hand written deed, etc.

    Historic Fan Parks outlined the history of the creation of the VMFA and the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park with the words of the veterans and state officers at that time, including original photos showing the park and veterans and Act(s) Of Assembly.

    The VMFA evidently is blocking this information from their blog and this activist site is separate from VA Flaggers.

    While Historic Fan Parks supports VA Flaggers fully, the full story is not being conveyed to the general public due to the cover up by the VMFA and the apathy of other groups that should have been at the forefront of protests for over 6 years when this issue was again raised.

    The VMFA is located at the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park, a historic Virginia State Park, which was established at the same time as the VMFA. It was established for “perpetual occupancy,” on the land set apart for it and that deal was in exchange for allotting part of the old soldier’s home land for the state art museum.

    The VMFA has no legal right to have title to or build upon that park, as confirmed in 1950 by the acting Attorney General in official opinion to the governor at that time:

    “…not the Governor nor the Director Of Division Of Budget can legally convey or grant to the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts any title, easement or irrevocable privilege to use in any way property now part of the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park.” J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. to Governor Battle

    To understand the issue you will have to read the entire story at:

    The park was created by virtue of a contract, deed and Act Of Assembly of 1934. The VMFA is only telling part of the story and not conveying to the public how the state originally acquired the property in the first place or acknowledging the fact that the former Confederate veterans housed their initial core collection in the Battle Abbey of the South, today’s Virginia Historical Society. They only say, “The state assumed the property in 1941.” That is irresponsible.

    This is not an issue over “Confederate Flag” flying. This is a historic Virginia State Park that is at stake and a completely organic and separate economy that has been treated like some trivial dog park or passing thought of days gone by. The VMFA needs to return the following:

    Return the original flag pole and fly the Army Of Northern Virginia Battle Flag
    Return the R. E. Lee Camp Museum along with the artifacts and horse of Gen. Stonewall Jackson
    (The Robinson House is not the correct name of a former historic museum)
    Return the cannons to the park
    Remove the “Mary Morton Parsons Plaza” sign off the park
    Remove the new VMFA sign off the park also protest by fan district association and other fan groups.
    Remove “Best Products” off the cafe’.
    Remove your parking deck off the park.
    Return the original entrance columns with the soldier’s home bronze signs and cannon balls on the top.

    And finally, RETURN THE TITLE TO THE STATE OF VIRGINIA GENERAL SERVICES, for proper assignment to an agency of the state that will protect and promote historic assets of the state of Virginia and increase the local economy without paving over them. Yes, get your asphalt off our park!

    The VMFA has forfeited this economy and does not provide tours as they claim. The tours are provided by the group leasing the chapel at their own expense. Therefore, the VMFA must adjust it’s claimed profit by discounting the removal of the park as a separate economy.

    The VMFA is intentionally destroying the park to profit as a state agency at the expense of Richmond’s international standing in history. It is the “Art Of Special Interest.”

  24. Bobby Edwards on said:

    By The Way – The File Info on the Soldiers’ Home Image reads: “CW – VMFA Front”

    Question: How do we get “CW VMFA Front”, out of the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home? Above this sign : “R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home” was another sign on the 3rd floor with said – “Fleming Hall”, named after Federal Officer, Robert Fleming from Washington, D.C., who contributed $2,500 to have the 3rd floor placed on the Soldiers’ Home. Soldiers lived on the 2nd Floor and the 3rd Floor, when the Soldiers’ Home Opened in 1885. As time went on, the Soldiers’ Home became the R. E. Lee Camp Museum, as the leaders of the Camp donated and collected large quantities of Confederate History and showed those Items as a “Museum”. That “R. E. Lee Camp Museum had artifacts from J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson’s Horse – “Little Sorrell” were displayed at the Lee Camp Museum. The R. E. Lee Camp Museum existed until 1949, when the Commonwealth of Virginia decided to use the building for another purpose, and in 1949 – “Little Sorrell” was shipped to VMI to be exhibited there. So, from 1885 to 1941 this Soldiers’ Home, which serviced more than 3,500 Confederate Soldiers in that period of time, and Hundreds of Thousands of visitors to Richmond visited the Soldiers’ Home and the R. E. Lee Camp Museum to find out about the life of the old Confederate Veterans. Log Books and Visitors Journals are kept at the UDC Headquarters, showing the visits of Governors, Generals, and Presidents. One journal somehow lost, misplaced, or removed unauthorized has recently been sold or offered for $8,500. Early in the 1990’s when the VMFA assumed the Control of this building, per the Douglas Wilder “Executive Order” there were plans to use the building as an “Art” Center. Bill Mountjoy tells me that he got a phone call from one of his friends a Richmond Police Office to come down to the Dump Immediately that there were items from the R. E. Lee Camp taken to the Dump. There were some items rescued, however Bill says that he’s not sure of what was never rescued – perhaps that Journal Visitors Roster to the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home that recently offered for $8,500.

    There are many ways to get rid of your history, but one of the most odious is to remove the symbols of a Nation at War, defending themselves against an Invasion and an Aggressor. In the Capitol of the Confederacy, Where does the Confederate Flag Fly in a Public Venue? There’s a Very Large Hue and Cry to Remove the Monuments Next. In a Way, the “Robinson House Name” attached to this R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home is one of those “ERASURERS”, and While It’s Happening – Few know that it’s happening.

  25. Snoopy on said:

    You know what? I do not begrude these people the right to protest or demonstrate for something they want to achieve. I don’t even really care one way or the other if they flag is out there. What I DO care about is the rudeness and meanness and lack of respect they constantly display in their FB posts. They say things like “we demand…” and “VMFA YOU LIE…”, make ignorant comments about the art on the grounds, etc.. and make personal attacks against ANYONE that dares to disagree with them. They can’t even accept the fact that different people have different opinions; everyone not on their side is the enemy and to be viciously attacked. On the other hand, I have seen nothing but respect when the VMFA makes posts about this issue, yet the flag people are are constantly disrepctful to everyone who disagrees with them. Flag people, if you want respect, take a clue from your honorable conferate ancestors and show some respect to the people who run one of the best Museums on the East Coast, if not the whole US. Have some manners for god’s sake and you will be more well received. If not, people like me, who don’t even care, will dislike you AND your cause, because of the way you go about promoting it.

  26. Brett Moffatt on said:

    Thanks for your fairly balanced report, and for keeping an open mind. First, let me take one issue with a statement. You take the common road and allow that some groups have misused the Confederate Battleflag as an emblem of hate. This is not totally true. The flag used by the KKK had most often been, and is officially in their literature, the flag of the United States and Christian symbols. It has been the welfare pimps and some civil rights groups who have taken that tact. The NAACP, in contradiction to MLK’s advice to leave Confederate emblems alone, has attacked everything Confederate (even blacks who served the Confederacy) as a way to get their flagging membership, and all important $$$ back up. This is unfortunate, because they try to divide people by race, and keep hatred alive to increase their numbers. They will have their reward.
    As far as what I’ve seen on this issue, it seems the museum doesn’t want a flag, because 100 years ago there was no flag flying above the chapel. OK. 100 years ago, there was no museum. Obviously, they would like to have the museum bulldozed. I agree, and as an art historian, would be glad to help move the art before razing the building.
    One more item that is pertinent. People come to the South, Dixie, and EXPECT to see Confederate flags and emblems. This IS the South. Celebrate it. It is the false history, that the yankee invasion was to end slavery instead of to collect tariffs, that even gives people the wrong impression. Truth is what is needed. So fly the flag proudly….step up and do your duty…join the flagging. Keep up the good work.

  27. Billy Bearden on said:

    Snoopy – my brother from another mother,

    Simply demand Steven Bonadies replace the Confederate Battleflag and the Virginia State Flags on the Chapel Portico as they were prior to 2010 and the Flaggings will stop.

    Not rocket science. Real simple.

    Otherwise Flaggings continue. Which includes a heavy dose of exposing all the illegal land grabs and property desecrations and violations of laws – which in reality is a great thing for all Richmonders to discover.

    VMFA brought the fight. VMFA can end this tomorrow. It is their call. What say you, Mr Bonadies?

    Hey – looky here y’all
    Some REAL good reading here….


  28. Bobby Edwards on said:

    I just took a look at the Smoking Gun Website, and I am impressed by the photo at the top of the Masthead of the Site. It is of the Soldiers’ Home Grounds in the 1930’s – After the VMFA built on the Soldiers’ Home grounds area, where the Soldiers had a Very Large Garden. Many of the Soldiers’ Home Cottages are gone [or you can’t see because of the trees], and the Barracks for the Soldiers’ Home – the General John Rodgers Cooke building is gone, but the Hospital, Pegram Hall, Baughm Cottage, R. E. Lee Camp Museum, Confederate Home for Women, The Confederate Memorial Institute [Battle Abbey] and the Chapel would still be there. Very Interesting Aerial Photograph – Mid to late 1930’s and the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 U.C.V. Soldiers’ Home raised their Confederate Battle flags on the grounds of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s – “R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park” (designated a Confederate “Memorial” Park in 1934) On a Daily Basis by two Confederate Veterans. And, for the Museum Crowd, the Soldiers’ Home Office on those grounds – the First Civil War Museum in Richmond, Until 1949.

    Of Note: BATTLE ABBEY of the South, to house Confederate History and Memorabilia from around the South. A period of more than 20 Years of Fund Raisers in a beleagured and impoverished South, which was destroyed by Marauding Armies from the North and Shackled by an Occupying Army in a Period called Reconstruction. That period of Occupation Robbed the Wealth from the Citizens of the South, with land confiscations from Carpetbaggers and Scawalags. Charles “Broadway” Rouss had Offered One Hundred Thousand Dollars to build the “BATTLE ABBEY” in one of the Top Cities of the South, decided on by the Confederate Memorial Institute Committee – If the Citizens of the South would raise the Same Amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars.

    Through the 1880’s and 1890’s the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. of Richmond became the most agressive Confederate Veteran group in the South in “Confederate Memory Projects”. Members of the R. E. Lee Camp would Commission a Painting of a Confederate Hero, and a Commissioning Presentation would be made – With Speeches, Pamphlets Written of the Speech, and the Art hung either in the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. “Assembly Hall” a 3 story building on the 500 to 600 Block of Broad Street or at Randolph Hall on the Soldiers’ Home Grounds built in 1907. Some of the Art was also hung in the Soldiers’ Home office. But, by 1913 the Inventory of Art accumulated by the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. was the Largest in the World. Surely, the connections of the R. E. Lee Camp and Charles “Broadway” Rouss made the selection of Richmond for the Battle Abbey a desirable choice, but the R. E. Lee Camp’s decision to “Deed through a Grant” in 1910 a large Parcel of Land for the “Confederate Memorial Institute” Battle Abbey – Sealed the Deal. And, In 1913, when the first phase of the Battle Abbey was Completed, and Sometime in that Period – The Confederate Battle Flag was Placed on a Very Large Flag Pole on the Boulevard, so that All could see. The Battle Abbey Post Cards abound with the Confederate Flag that Flew Out Front. It wasn’t until after World War II, when the economy forced the Confederate Memorial Institute to “Merge” with the Virginia Historical Society. The VHS Took Over the Battle Abbey, and over a Period of Time, Most of the Battle Flags were transferred to the Museum of the Confederacy.

    The World’s Greatest Collection of Confederate Art in 1913 of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. / U.C.V. – has been distributed to various and sundry places, some damaged in a fire, and the rest in the basement archives of the V.H.S. It’s the Sesquicentennial, and that Great Collection of Confederate Art would be Perfect to Show the Hundreds of Thousands of Descendents of those Southerner’s who gave their nickles, dimes, and pennies in a twenty year period to help build the “Battle Abbey”.!/photo.php?fbid=118695031517645&set=a.110365679017247.15831.100001314457477&type=3&theater

  29. @ Snoopy:

    What have I said that was disrepectful? Please be specific.

    Thank you.

  30. David on said:

    the Confederate flag may mean a variety of different things to different people, but it’s a significant and unenlightened hyperbole to compare it to the Nazi flag.

  31. Bobby Edwards on said:

    As a Vietnam Veteran, who’s concerned with the health and medical support issues of the Government, for the troops that were drafted and sent to an upopular war that my fellow brothers fought for politics they were not happy with. The Soldiers of the Lee Camp were due the respect and support of the Government that sent them to war, and in the Winter of 1882-1883, homeless and destitute, the finest foot cavalry ever in the history of war – these men of Stonewall Jackson fended for their very life in the Snow. Their Government had let them down. They were rescued by men with Good Hearts, from the North and the South, they were all Brothers of War – who contributed freely to make the Soldiers’ Home Happen.

    This issue isn’t really about the Flag, other than the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, and the grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park – BOTH of Which, the Commonwealth of Virginia Legislated a Form of Payment in Perpetuity, and that was “Memory”. The Commonwealth Failed in their “Responsibility” to Care of their Veterans, to Heal the Wounded, to Bind up their Souls, and to Thank them for their Sacrifices. Just When the Veterans asked for “Help” from the Commonwealth to Simply “Own up to their Responsibility” of Medical Care and Attention, Some Enterprising Shark from the Government – Asked for the “Deed to the Soldiers’ Home Grounds” to Care for the Veterans that was their Duty as a Government to Provide, without a “Quid Pro Quo” of Property for Services – “Earned on the Field of Battle”. In the Records and Journals of these Old Veterans, they were never Happy with the Commonwealth’s “Deal with Medical Care for Property”.

    To get the Deed for the Property – The Commonwealth Promised to the Veterans some Promises that have never been realized. This Issue is all about “Blackboard History” – Whoever has the Chalk, Eraser, and Blackboard can Write what they want, and surely they can Erase what they want. The Robinson House Mythology is Just one of those Erasures, and take a second to look at the top of this page. What do you see? These Old Boys are not the Swift Family Robinsons. They are the men of Pickett’s Brigade, of A.P. Hill’s Division, the boys who fought at the Crater, they were there at the Stone Wall of Fredericksburg, and they were there on a hot July day at Gettysburg. No Nation ever had Soldiers as Fine as These, and I can Guarantee that this is Not a Robinson Family Reunion. The Question We Need to Ask Ourselves – Is that if the VMFA can Erase the History of the R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home / Museum, What else can they do to Reframe History as They would like to write it on the Blackboard. That Flag that was raised Every Day in Front of the Hospital, is What these Boys would rise from their Graves and Fight Again. Their respect for the American Flag, was included in the Henderson Window and the Boisseaux Window at the Chapel, or the American Flags they positioned inside their Dining Hall.

    An Assortment of Flags in front of the Chapel or the Soldiers’ Home / Museum would be appropriate, and if the VMFA can install a Historical Sign, they could do the Same for a Flag Display. The NPS Office at Chimbarazo had just such a Medly of Flags for quite some time. After All, the Commonwealth of Virginia had Legislated and Mandated these grounds to be Memorials to the Confederates. Historiography Must Not be Erased by a Civilization, but must be explained for what really happened, and that simply was nothing more than Virginians answering the Call of the State to put their lives on the line, to defend their Home, Families, and Property. This isn’t complicated.

  32. Like Snoopy, I didn’t really care one way or the other, but after reading the Flagger comments in this thread I support the VMFA’s decision more than ever. Way to go, Flaggers! Your ignorant comments are alienating Richmonders one by one.

    How soon everyone seems to have forgotten the Picasso exhibit, and the millions of dollars it — and the VMFA — brought to Richmond. It’s tough to look like a world-class art museum, which the VMFA is, with a damned Confederate flag up on a pole in your back yard. No wonder they wanted it removed. Good on ’em.

    I’m tired of people in Richmond who are more interested in looking backwards than forwards. Get. Over. It. You’re pissed that the VMFA land was supposed to be a park honoring our Glorious Confederate Dead instead of an art museum? Guess what? The Native Americans are pissed because it was supposed to be THEIR HOME. Where’s your outrage for them?

    Time moves on. All of us will turn to dust eventually, and all of our buildings and monuments, all of our museums and chapels, will crumble back into the earth from whence they came. The so-called Flaggers are fighting a losing fight against the inevitable forces of time. It’s a shame they can’t dedicate their time and energy towards building something better for our future.

  33. anonymous on said:

    Right. Wait until Henrico announces their new flag tax to make up the county’s budget shortfall.

  34. David Smith on said:

    The problem is that all sides insist on using the battle flag instead of the official flag of the Confederate governement “the stars and bars”, which most observers in present day would not even recognize. They should hang the official flag on all historical buildings, museums, monuments, and just use the battle flag at battlefield reenactments and cemeteries where the slain soldiers are buried. The stars and bars would draw attention to the historical relevance of the building instead of having all of the attention and PR drawn to a symbol on a piece of cloth.

  35. Bobby Edwards on said:

    At David Smith, I remember the NPS building at Chimbarazo with a series of Confederate Flags out front, and that was in the 1990’s. I like the idea that the flag should be used in appropriate “War Memorial” scenarios, and I concur with your logic. Remember however, that the grounds of the “R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park” was created at the same time, and under the same legislative provision, of the VMFA. The Old Boys who made it possible for the VMFA to exist were only looking for some guarantees to perpetuate the historiography of their contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia, their blood – sweat – and sacrifice. A Contract is a Contract, and to hold the Commonwealth Responsible for their promises to honor the Confederates with Statues, Confederate Memory, and Dignity was only part of the Contract to Provide the Land to the Museum.

    The time frame that the Chapel lost the opportunity to fly flags on their porch, the “On to Richmond” 150 Year Website, in an attempt to attract visitors to the City of Richmond for the Sesquicentennial activities, were using those very Chapel Confedrate Flags as a “Masthead”. The “On to Richmond” saw the Chapel Flags as innoucous and innocent, flown in a motive of nothing more than a historical memory of the 3,000+ Confederates who found rehibilatation from their wounds on those grounds, and where more than 1,700 Confederates had their last “Roll Call”. Our VFW just performed a “Last Roll Call” ceremony for one of our Post Members, a Lt. Col who had dedicated her life to this Country. I can tell you that the service is an awesome memorial, and of course the Chapel is a “War Memorial” dedicated to the 260,000 Confederate Dead. So, your analysis of a flag in a Confederate Cemetery or Battlefield is very appropriate, and for your information the Commonwealth of Virginia has designated the Chapel as a “War Memorial”, made Sacred by those who built the Chapel as a “Memorial” to the Memory of 260,000 War Dead. That Chapel “War Memorial” is the very same as the type of Memorial as the Vietnam War Memorial – Both, are declared “War Memorials” by the Government.

    I contributed to the Vietnam War Memorial, and was there on opening and on the 25th anniversary. I was there to organize a gathering of Vietnam Veterans from my unit, who all went to the Wall together, and we appropriately recognized our comrades. Sir, when you have been in a War, where you lose friends, and you erect a “War Memorial” where it recognizes the loss of your friends, it’s a sacred place. The Chapel was a Sacred Place as a War Memorial to the thousands of Union Veterans that have visited the Chapel, and the Soldiers’ Home grounds over the 1885 to 1941 and 1949 era of the R.E. Lee Camp Museum. Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, and Citizens from around the Country have made their way to the Soldiers’ Home, the Chapel, and the Museum to become a part or to respect Confederate Heritage of brave warriors.

    The “On to Richmond” was Correct in their Selection of the Front of the Chapel, with Confederate Flags, as a Masthead to represent the Emotional Draw and Historical Attraction of Richmond’s History. That factor has been a historical draw for decades, and I can assure you that if the leaders desire to lock up all the flags and prohibit the public display, the Attraction of “On to Richmond” will be a mear trickle of what it could be.

  36. Sentinel- Grand Scribe of the Arcane on said:

    Read the history. Learn the history. Absorb the history. The Soldier’s Battle Flag of the Southern Armies is the greatest memorial tribute to the greatest generation of lost citizenry at the discretion of a Federal emperor exercising the powers of a madman. We have never fully recovered from the Hamiltonian influences of a U.S.President that oversaw the cumulative eradication of 620,000 American men. The Battle Flag will always serve as a shrine to the valor and resolve of the Southern soldier.

  37. David Smith on said:

    I’m curious if the veterans, who actually fought in the Civil War, flew the Confederate battle flag while they convalesced in 1884? Or is this just a romantic tribute to the rebellion of the Lost Cause that later generations have bestowed on all sites. I understand displaying the battle flag at battlefields, cemeteries, etc. but to display it at a site just because it later became a veteran’s hospital of sorts is ridiculous. At the time that the camp was used, there was no Confederacy!
    Robert E. Lee would frown on the use of the battle flag after the treaty was signed. Grant allowed the Confederate units to keep their battle flags out of respect to their honor and courage, not to adorn every museum, flag pole, and license plate of future generations.
    I am a veteran, I am a southerner, and Lee is my hero. I love going to the museums and battlefields, and flags help identify buildings of historical significance. But to insist on the use of the battle flag specifically I feel is narrow minded.

  38. V Smith on said:

    That’s the style big Dave! That’s the style!

    Here, here.

  39. Susan Hathaway on said:

    Mr. Smith, The battle flag was raised and lowered every day on the ground of the Old Soldier’s home, until the last veteran passed away in 1941. There are a number of photographs that record this…here is a link to one…!/photo.php?fbid=10150452082434274&set=a.10150396465759274.407068.698334273&type=3&theater

    The ANV battle flag I carry WAS the flag of my ancestors. It was the soldier’s flag. It flew on those grounds as long as the veterans had breath, and the placement of the flags on the Pelham Chapel/Confederate War Memorial WAS in their memory and honor. I ask you, where else on the grounds, but the Chapel, a sacred place of worship and where so many “last roll calls” were held, is the appropriate place to fly it today?

  40. David Smith on said:

    I don’t have a problem with any of the flags being flown at the chapel. Fly them all, to include the American flag, which is what all the veterans that were honored in that chapel were when they were born and died. Fly the American flag, the Stars and Bars, the Flag of the “ANV” (which was not the battle flag), and sure throw the battle flag in because they were veterans that served under that flag during the battles.
    I haven’t seen this site lately in person, someone who saw the display before it was removed, or perhaps subsequently seen the protests by flaggers, please enlighten me of the makeup of their display.
    “Flaggers” predominately wave the battle flag because of the very reasons it is controversial, it was only used by the militant wing of the confederacy. For this reason I feel it gained popularity among all Southerners, unfortunately for us this included it’s widespread use by groups that are clearly racist and bigoted in nature. This has morphed into the battle flag specifically representing to many non-Southerners our supposed desire to go back to the antibellum period complete with plantations and slavery. Perception is reality here, folks.
    I’m not saying that the battle flag should not be used at a chapel where veterans had their “last roll call”, or at a battlefield to display the colors of the opposing sides, or at a cemetery such as Hollywood, I am saying that it should not be used at protests, museums, the Confederate White House, the homes of the Confederate heros, the tops of current government buildings, etc. I’m saying that outside of the Pelham Chapel debate, which is just a small piece of the flag debate iceburg, there are several places where I understand why people would take issue with it. I think the increased use of the other flags could downplay the link many modern day observers attach between the Confederacy and racism, and that would be a great thing. I think we should all want that, because if the tradition of history and paying respects to our lineage becomes a shouting match between polar opposites then the whole point of maintaining these monuments, sites and statues will be lost.
    I don’t need a battle flag in my attic to make me feel like a Southerner, and I hope the day never comes when I go to any site and focus on the flag rather than the sacrifice and courage of the veterans on both sides of the conflict.

  41. Elizabeth Del Greco on said:

    Why so many people continue to pander to such a small minority of ignorant people has always been a mystery to me, until I read posts like those of David Smith above. I guess that reconstructed Southerners (also known as scalawags) are even more numerous than their ignorant cohorts.

  42. Cliff Braddford on said:

    I understand everyone’s wanting to honor their family heritage but I just don’t get how ya’ll don’t see how the Confederate Flag is a horribly offensive symbol to many people. I feel their feelings far outweigh those of the descendants of the non-oppressed and it boggles my mind how there is virtually no regret or sensitivity expressed in the views of those who want the Confederate flag flown. There are two sides to every war, and undoubtedly some were fought in offense or the wrong reasons. The Japanese do not fly their wartime flag, the Germans have banned the Swaztika.. why can’t we just honor Southern pride another way, a la go SEC!

  43. David Smith on said:

    Please try to bury your head in the sand a little further. I think there’s a reason the flag has been a hot topic in the last 20 years, and I doubt it’s going to get any less so. I’d love to live in an era where everyone appreciated the “heritage not hate” angle but unfortunately we do not.

  44. Georgia Flagger on said:

    To the haters,

    The Virginia Flagger issue in Richmond is to “Replace the Flags – Restore the Honor” A Confederate Battleflag flew over the grounds since 1885.

    The VMFA has NEVER willingly cooperated in any proper moral and decent Confederate preservation or interpretation. EVER.

    The “Bonadies Bunch” keep expanding and encroaching – all illegally – and keep making those yankee dollars, meanwhile the men inside the Chapel wrap up in thick coats and huddle around a single anemic plug in heater. VMFA puts out new signs and has an advertising budget of millions, but in the summer the men in the Chapel sweat buckets in front or a single oscillating fan.

    A promise was made, a promise was broken. Mr Bonadies mentions 1892 as the magical period of interpretation. Flaggers have a copy of a newspaper stating clearly a Confederate Battleflag was donated to the camp to fly from their pole IN 1892 !

    The green tin roof, handicap ramp, historically inacurate flag interpretive signs, white pole with US and Va flags, circular flower bed – NONE of that were there in 1892, but the Battleflag was. Mr Bonadies – QUIT LYING and DO THR RIGHT THING!


  45. M Smith on said:

    Well written article, Phil. I wish everyone who drove by and formed a 5 minute conclusion (see below on our girl Beth), had the opportunity read this article and subsequent posts from Susan Hathaway, Bobby Edwards, and David Smith.

    Not sure how Elizabeth Del Greco formed her conclusion, but if you are calling David Smith, who stated earlier to be a war veteran, a “scalawag” or “ingorant”, I would have to assume you are an uneducated, second generation immigrant who is trolling this candid discussion to pump up your chest on an issue that you researched on wikipedia. Perhaps you can enlighten us on some of your ancestry with a tale from Greek mythology. Go watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and laugh with your friends about spraying windex on acne. We’re discussing OUR ancestors and OUR history.

    If we decide to put a fountain outside the VMFA with golden horses on their back heels shooting water out of their mouths, we’ll call you.

  46. Sentinel- Grand Scribe of the Arcane on said:

    Generations of Americans will interpret The Confederate Battle Flag,The Soldiers Flag, as it will become twisted, perverted, & embellished in uneducated public opinion to broader manifestations of re-written untruth. The Battle Flag never represented a government & was never a national flag. It IS ,will always be, a Soldiers Flag and was paid for eternally with the effusion of Southern blood. We were vanquished of our states sovreignity and nullification of oppressive laws by a mercantile Federal juggernaut…Does any of this reflect current in a world where a Supreme Court never found a single Federal law unconstitutional from 1937 to 1995!…Well, I am going to fly my 51”x 51” Confederate Battle Flag @ will, all 150 of them and not one of you in opposition will attempt to take any one of them down. Thank you Saul D.Alitzsky for my fortitude in this matter!

  47. RichmondDoc on said:

    Always worth mentioning:

    The culture that the flag purports to honor was a society built upon the enslavement of other humans. Despite attempts to downplay that aspect in favor of the call to respect ancestors and honor, the two are inseparable. The states’ rights that led to Virginia’s secession included the right to keep slaves. The honorable and genteel antebellum culture so many mythologize was built on the backs of other human beings.

    I know that I’m going to get replies along the lines of “That’s not the real cause of the war”, or “Most Confederate soldiers didn’t own slaves” or “We don’t honor slavery, we honor the men who defended their homeland”…because I’ve received similar responses when I have made the same points in other online discussions. However, I do not put any weight on these arguments, because slavery continues to be the topic that flaggers and other Lost Cause enthusiasts choose to ignore.

    Once supporters of the Lost Cause and those who promote the “heritage, not hate” angle choose to honestly, fairly, and accurately address the Confederacy’s choice to secede to defend states’ rights to enslave other humans, then I think we can fairly assess how best to display the Confederate flag. Until then, displaying the flag w/o the appropriate and honest historic context strikes me as propaganda intended to wash away the harm and horror of slavery.

  48. Bobby Edwards on said:

    A recent comment on the New York Times Blog, Civil War Disunion, by University of Richmond President, Edward L. Ayers mentioned that 80% of the U.S. Economy in 1860 was directly tied to Slavery. Wall Street supported the Slave economy, and from the late 1850’s until the early 1860’s there were more than 100 New York Ships that sailed from Africa to Cuba in a very profitable Slave Trade [1]. The New York Times in the early days of Southern Secession gave a “Green Light” to the new Confederate States, as well as dozens of other Northern Newspapers and periodicals.

    However, in March of 1861, without a group of Southern legislators to block the Morrill Tariff Law – it passed. Soon, Wall Street Investors and the Financial Houses of the City of New York could easily read the writing on the Wall – “The Southern Tariffs in force were roughly 1/2 that of the Morrill Tariff to be in place April 1st, 1861”. Immediately, through the protests of Wall Street, the New York Times in a March 26th, 1861 Editorial Article called for an “Immediate Recall of Congress” to repeal the Morrill Tariff, as the cables and reports from European Newspapers indicated that the 78% of the Treasury Revenues that derived from Tariffs, would now be going South – That’s what the European’s wanted to do.

    By March 29th, the New York Times calleld for Lincoln to Declare War on the C.S.A. because the Country could Ill Afford to have their U.S. Treasury receipts – Go South. Three Unionist groups that met with Lincoln to dissuade him from sending a War Fleet to Sumpter, got this answer back from Lincoln – “How will I run the Country, without Receipts from the Tariffs”. Three Groups all recorded the Conservation, including a Committee of 3 of Virginia’s top legislators, who filed the Comments from Lincoln in the Virginia Convention Reports. Lincoln had sent a War Fleet to Charleston S.C. to push a Military Force into the Harbor of Charleston – “To Collect Tariffs”. The Problem, is that for Four Months, the Nation of the Confederate States of America had been operating as a Nation, and the Soverign State of South Carolina has Asked the Federal Government to leave their Property. Lincoln Also sent a War Solution to Fort Pickens, where a Federal Force entered Fort Pickens under force – Violating a treaty of President Buchanan with Southern Authorities. Lincoln did exactly as the New York Times, and the Financial Houses of New York Wanted – Protected their Investments. It was all about Money, After All.

    Within Hours after the Citizens of Virginia voted on the Decision to Leave the Union, Lincoln had 3,000 Federal Troops invade the Cities of Alexandria and Arlington to secure the Virginia Territory closest to the Capitol, however this Officialy Was an Invasion of Virginia Territory, Instigated by Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln would force a War on the South that she did not Want, and forced a War on Virginia who had in the beginning declared a Loyalty, but the Commonwealth decided to put the Issue to a Vote – After Lincoln’s War Fleet to South Carolina. A legally declared process of Citizens going to the Polls and Rendering their Decision brought an “INVASION” from Lincoln’s Army.

    For those who defend the “Battle Flag” defend their Ancestors, who answered Governor Letcher’s call to Arms to: defend the Homeland, to defend their Families, and to defend their Property. Virginia was Under an Invasion by a President, who declared War against a Four Month Old Government, and when Virginia left the Union – Was “Immediately” Invaded. Virginia’s Soldiers fought for Four Years, and at Appomattox put down their arms, but in the 1st Virginia Armory of the R. E. Lee Camp that was formed in April of 1883 displayed their Confederate flags and memoribilia. At the same 1st Virginia Armory, the Phil Kearney G.A.R. Post of Union Veterans displayed their Union flags and battle flags. It was through a “Common Bond” of the War that the groups came together for a common purpose – the Soldiers’ Home Grounds and Veterans Care Facility, supported by none other than General Grant, through financial support. But, through a letter from Grant to the Lee Camp, he supported their efforts to take care of the Veterans, and in his dying days – too weak to write, had his son corresponded with the Lee Camp.

    By 1934, the Lee Camp had done more than just the Soldiers’ Home. The members were responsible as leaders in the Monument Building on Monument Avenue. The Lee Camp was approached by Charles “Broadway” Rouss for a “Grant Deed” and Contributions from their Collected Galleries of Confederate Art and History – SO, if you like going to the VHS today, think back to the efforts of the Lee Camp for the Galleries, connection to bring the Battle Abbey to Richmond, and their Donations. Even the Barton Payne Art Collection was housed in the Lee Gallery of the Battle Abbey, now the Barton Payne Collection enabled the VMFA To get started, but not without the support of the Lee Camp. And, in 1934 – the Commonwealth of Virginia, identified all of the Land and Property around the Battle Abbey, Soldiers Home, Confederate Home for Women, and VMFA to become the “R.E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park”. The Chapel is a Confederate War Memorial – dedicated and recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. I would think that the Commonwealth, who Created the Parks and recognized the War Memorial would just Simply – Promote the Sesquicentennial and Identify the Flags that Her Soldiers Fought Under on the Grounds of the Park that was to Honor Her Soldiers. Actually the Concept is Very Simple – Replace the Flags, and Restore the Honor.

  49. Frank Watson on said:

    Imagine you are a tourist visiting Richmond’s Boulevard area on a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon.

    As you stroll with your family along the sidewalk in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts you are confronted with a ragtag knot of white people waving Confederate battle flags.

    And you… and your family… are black.

    How do you feel?

  50. Frank Watson on said:

    There is no “honor” in betraying your nation, in “valiantly” striving to overthrow your nation by violence.

    It is, by any definition, treason.

    And as far as “sacred” honor is concerned — well, God settled that question himself with his defeat of the Confederacy and his preservation of the United States of America. Indivisible.

    So, may we Americans suggest that you “proud” descendants of the “glorious” Southern dead go wave your flags where they might be better understood.

    In Berlin.

    If they will have you.

  51. Walter Ring on said:

    Mr. Frank Watson-I guess you do not celebrate July 4th, do you? Of course you must know the United States of America was once a part of the British Empire. The United States “valiantly” and violently strove to overthrow the legal British government with “honor.” How does it feel living in a country that worships “traitors” like Washington and Jefferson? Better yet, how does it feel being a “glorious,” ignorant ass? I would ask YOU to go to Berlin to wave your flag, but those communists today would kill you. Oh…yes, please go!!!

  52. Walter Ring on said:

    Imagine you and your family go into the VMFA. You see countless images and displays that demean, insult, vilify and disrespect White people. In other words, things that “inspire” White guilt.

    And you…and your family…are White.


    (Or do you care what White people think? No, I think not.)

  53. Tommy Peters on said:

    Walter Ring. you have obviously not been to the VMFA museum, which is a shame, because although it does not bring up feelings of white guilt it may educate you in fine arts.

    Also Walter, you’re first post made it seem like you were comparing the United States of America, a democracy built by our founding fathers on a system of checks and balances to a colonial system where a Britain taxes and tariffs without representation.

    That comparison is not only blatantly untrue, but points out what I think is the real problem in this, the way you talk about this issue is “us against them.” “confederate vs union.” The Real point of the matter is this is America, we are all American. No one is hiding from our history, but things change.

  54. Billy Bearden on said:

    My dearest Frank Watson,

    Hardy har har! You are so clever!

    So after holding Jefferson Davis prisoner for 2 years, the Federal US Government convicted him on how many charges? ZERO. They let him go because there was no “treason” In fact it was Supreme Court Chief Judge that said to try Davis would surely prove him right and the US wrong in their war against the Confederacy.

    Oh BTW – Lets see, “go fly the Confederate Flag in Berlin”….

    OK Let’s do! In 1988 it was flown at the Berlin wall as it was being torn down as a show against tyranny.

    Of course the Battleflag has been used by freedom fighters in Africa too

    And it flew over the remains of Shuri Castle, after having been taken by the 5th Marines at the Battle of Okinawa.

    You sure are a funny man though!

  55. Billy Bearden on said:

    VMFA Director Nergyes and helper Bonadies are in full violation of several Virginia statutes. FOLLOW THE LAW OR RESIGN!

    “It shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, “disturb or interfere with” includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.” (§ 15.2-1812)

  56. Walter Ring on said:

    Tommy Peters-I have indeed been to the VMFA several times hoping to see something different each time, but was sadly disappointed. That is how I know what is inside. Display after display are there simply to bring White guilt to the surface. As far as the arts…we have a very different opinion as to what constitutes “fine.” There certainly is none of that in the VMFA.

    Also, The Confederate States of America had far more right to secede from our “glorious” union than the 13 colonies did from the British Empire. There is nothing in the Magna Carta that allows colonies of an empire to withdraw if they don’t like their situation. However, these checks and balances you mention in our system INCLUDES THE RIGHT OF THE STATES TO SECEDE IF THEIR RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED. How ironic that your point shows that I am correct. Perhaps it is you that need a lesson as to what is blatantly untrue. Do me a favor-before you do any more posting, be aware of your facts.

  57. I’m a resident of RVA and was curious about why the flag was being flown by these individuals in front of the VMFA. I just wanted to take the time to commend you on a fantastic article. It’s refreshing to read something that has been researched, fairly represents both sides of an issue, and in the end respectfully puts forth an educated, yet non-definitive opinion on the matter. Thank you!

  58. Christie on said:

    … So… because you LOST this war, you want to display that fact proudly?? Fine go ahead and be my guest, that will only fuel our position even more. I am confused as to why you find honor in displaying a flag that means loss and embarassment to your family. Why would you want to remember a period where your ancestors fought, died, and LOST? Let alone for a cause that was NOT worth fighting for. The argument of us “celebrating” July 4 is weak and a HUGE stretch… Yes, in the begining AMERICA technically was under the British Monarchy, yet the difference is, we actually WON our Revolution. AND ALSO had more of a reason than the South to establish Independence. Get over it. Because of YOU ALL and your remarks, the Confederate Flag has become symbol of rednecks. Congratulations on becoming white trash. I hope while you’re prostesting you think about the embarassment you’re causing yourself and everyone around you. You look like an idiot and no one cares. Have respect for the people around you and THIS DECADE. The South lost, the Confederate flag is no longer a symbol of your heritage, you’ve turned it into a joke. There is no one else to blame but yourself.

  59. Richmond Resident on said:

    I went to the Southern Film Festival today and saw this for the first time. I was sick to my stomach when I saw all these white men waving confederate flags. This town is drenched in the aftermath of systemic and institutionalized racism. If it isn’t about race why aren’t these folks fighting for the history and legacy of the folks that BUILT this town at the African burial grounds that were PAVED OVER? Why do they protest the construction of the Arthur Ashe monument? Why do they appear and protest when small plaques commemorating Civil Rights heroes appear on a monument gate in the shadows of slave owners and war mongers? It’s racism. I’ve never seen so many self-righteous and rude people waving around symbols of violence, hatred, war, oppression and bigotry. Virginia is a scary place to be right now. Legislators are making it legal to racially profile (which the police already do all over Richmond), they’re taking away women’s rights, making it more difficult for folks of color to vote and increasing the legality to discriminate against LGBTQ folks. Virginia should be so ashamed right now. I am ashamed to be a Virginian right now. This has been my home for my entire life and I’m ashamed of how many people are defending white supremacists. I want people of color of all ethnicities and diverse heritages to feel safe coming to VMFA. Seeing what I saw today… I don’t think everyone DOES feel safe, I surely didn’t. The fact that this is Black History month? Well it is not beyond our minds to conceptualize the implications of white supremacist groups demonstrating during this time specifically. Shame on everyone who defends these folks and rationalizes their presence. When this city stops being segregated, schools are equally funded, equal access to sources of good food, equal protection of historic landmarks, neighborhoods, graveyards and equal access to all areas of Richmond via public transportation… I might believe this has nothing to do with racism. Don’t forget that we’re living on the land that native and indigenous folks were massacred to the point of near extinction, where’s their flag? They fought hard, lost their land, were absorbed into the United States of America, resisted assimilation, rebelled to maintain heritage and culture and are not waving their flags in front of art museums. Confederate history is racist history… celebrate all histories equally.

  60. Virginian Native & Richmonder on said:

    @Walter Ring
    Which displays @ the VFMA gave you the white guilt? Was it the predominately white works in the American Art Collection?
    The predominately white works in the European Art section?
    The Art Deco & Nouveau art, also mainly made by whites?
    The English Silver?
    The Medieval Tapestries: made by & featuring whites–as well as most of the European Art? (Or are you too busy reading “European” as “socialist”)
    Or did that caucasian Faberge really send you over the edge?

    It’s ok, Walter. Comments like yours, as well as your fellow Confederates only shine a light on who you really are and the ignorance that’s at the base of hanging on to an ugly, sad, tragic past.

  61. Can love Va history AND art! on said:

    Walter Ring must not have gone into the VMFA American wing with its great art. And wherethe actual “Burial of Latane” oil painting is on view. That powerful Civil War era painting really spoke to Confederate cause was painted by a Virginian. And there is a statue by Moses Ezekeil who fought as a VMI cadet at New Market. How sad Walter and the other flaggers badmouth a fantastic museum, owned and supported by the commonwealth and free to any visitor (no matter politics, beliefs, or race), every day of the year. Because of his and other ugly flagger behaviors I support VMFA more now and than ever and go as often as I can. keeping a wide berth of these people first, of course.

  62. Walter Ring on said:

    Yes, The South lost. But the United States lost the Vietnam War, so all those who celebrate July 4th are celebrating losers by that logic. And no, the colonies had NO right to attain independence under the Magna Carta. The South had a right under the Constitution to secede. Or have YOU, WHITE TRASH, read the Constitution or study history? As far as White guilt, I have none. However, most Whites it seems are much more gullible and “go along with the program” than I do. I am also a native Richmond Virginian, so that derisive, sarcastic and condescending comment from you was duly noted. Oh, BTW, I understand that those of you that are offended by the flaggers can put a stop to that. All you have to do is tell the VMFA to allow the CONFEDERATE CHAPEL to allow the CONFEDERATE FLAG to fly outside. Otherwise, the flaggings will continue. As far as ignorance goes, you anti-Confederates seem to have a monopoly on that based on these ugly name-calling comments I keep seeing. And as far as the ugly past you refer to, the present state of affairs is infinitely more ugly than that past. BTW Christie, YOU are the joke here, no one cares so shut up and go home to your nonwhite spouse and be abused.

  63. Greg Folnari on said:

    Someone above mentioned “the Citizens of Virginia voted to secede…” Sounds like a real American thing, the will of the people, and all that stuff. Remember, though, the only so-called “Citizens” who were allowed to vote were white, male, over 21 years old — and met certain property qualifications — either in real property, or “slave property.” So, the vote for secession wasn’t really the “voice of the people,” but only an expression of the moneyed few: namely white slaveholders, who often whipped up the “mob” with fears of “race mixing.” Truly, the mass of Southerners were deluded by their 1%ers.

  64. Sentinel- Grand Scribe of the Arcane on said:

    Sentinel of the Confederate Dead, Ossuary of the Unknown, Grand Scribe of the Arcane, Richmond,Va., Mechanicsville,Va., Lewisburg, WVa.,Catlett,Va. It is with civility and humbleness that the St Stephen’s Cross Battleflag is the only suitable memorial to represent our fallen dead 1861-1865.

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  66. John Drake on said:

    Richmond newbees, displaced locals, foreign dignitaries, and clueless hystericals alike: to recognize a truely unreconstructed and unapologetic Southerner, and perhaps closet bigot/silver back/entitled (usually male) statist uber-conservative, look for the solid blue square bumper sticker with a single white star in the center. Usually found on a Mercedes Benz, driven with total impunity and disregard for others on the road, and an aggressive attitude when it comes to your invasion of their personal ‘auto’ space. That blue flag with white star is the not-so-secret badge of honor, place and status. Had they a white sheet hanging from their door clothes hanger or a KIGY ITSUB* license plate, one wouldn’t be suprized. BTW, KIGY ITSUB is Klan shorthand for “Klansman, I Greet You” with the response being “In the Sacred Unfailing Bond.”
    Sacred bond, indeed.

  67. If you seriously think the Confederacy was about states rights — you are clearly uniformed. In fact, while Confederates used that phrase to perpetrate violence and spread slavery when it suited them, when states rejected slavery, as they did in Kansas, it just about drove Jeff Davis, Toombs, and the other slave owners stark raving mad.

    When Kansas beat the thugs and murders sent out by the likes of Davis — that exposed the lie of “popular sovereignty” that slave owners had used. Suddenly Southern papers called “popular sovereignty” an “evil plot” and those “abolition scum” who “were against GOD” in Kansas had to be forced to accept and RESPECT slavery.

    Did you know the South issued Five Ultimatums? No? Really? Well they were in your newspaper headline, under the Banner “THE TRUE ISSUE”. All five Demands — under promise of war — were about one thing.

    And one thing only. The SPREAD of slavery. Not the preservation of it. Not the perpetuation of it. But the SPREAD of it. S-P-R-E-A-D.

    Toombs, for example, shouted to cheering crowds “EXPAND OR PERISH”. He meant expand SLAVERY or perish. And he was not kidding. Southern demougouge had so inflammed the people that nearly everyone believed, true or not, that their lives were in danger if slavery was banned in the territories, as Kansas just voted 98%-2% to keep slavery out forever.

    The governor of Florida wrote in official documents that “just stopping the spread of slavery is like burning us to death slowly”.

    Stop the SPREAD of slavery? While, we will be forced to live side by side with ******, we have too many now! They are becoming worthless, said the governor. Worse, our daughters will be “forced” to walk down the same streets as blacks!

    Don’t believe me? The SOuth bragged about it at the time. Why the South runs from their OWN headlines, their OWN documents, their OWN speeches, their own document I don’t know. (Just kidding, I know exactly why they run from them)

    But at the time, in 1861, and for 40 years previously, the drum beat was clear — spread slavery per the word of GOD. Davis said it. VP Stephens said it, and the very COnfederate Constitution had it implicit in it’s text. SSlavery must SPREAD.

    Who gets to decide if slavery spreads or not? Well, not the states — no no no. Not the Congresss — no no no. Not popular soverignty — no no no. Though the documents don’t specifically say who gets to decide — it was the slave owners who got to decide. All pretext of “states rights” went down the toilet like a bag of cocaine when the police come to the door of coke heads.

    Once the South lost though, the whole excuse, the whole cowardly explanation, changed. What? Slavery? US? Oh, no no no. We were against slavery really — hey, slavery had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t about slavery! Never mind what we said in 1861.

    Never mind what we shouted from the roof tops.

    Never mind what we promised war for, if we did not get it.

    Never mind all that. Never mind what Davis himself said at the time. Never mind what the Vice President said at the time. Never mind what our official documents said. Never mind our own headlines. Never mind all that.

    We erase all that by magic. We didn’t mean that. That musta been aliens trying to make us look like crazy violent thugs. We are just peace luvin Chritians, trying our best to obey the Lord.

    Here is a clue — either be man enough to admit what your ancestors bragged about, boasted about, wrote long speeches about, wrote headlines about, wrote Constitutions about, or don’t pretend you care about the truth. You can’t have it both ways.

  68. Bill Mountjoy on said:

    The Lee-Jackson Camp (SCV) lost the right to fly the flags at the Chapel, with their feeble response to having the flags taken down. The Rutherford Institute would have represented the Camp in court over the issue (just like they defeated the state of Virginia in court over the SCV license playes), but the Camp didn’t have the guts to go that route!

    Bill Mountjoy
    Past Commander – Lee-Jackson Camp #1 (SCV)

  69. Jake on said:

    Jesus christ people. This war is 150 years old. There hasnt been slaves in the usa for over a century. I am from Michigan which is a northern state for yall dumb fucks who dont know geography. Everyone just leave this shit alone. If southerners wanna fly there fucking battle flag whatever fucking let them. But honestly i understand that sufferings of blacks is the usa was fucking absoultly wrong and frankly evil. But really pick up a good historicaly account of the war. Yes the underlying tone is to abolish slavery but licoln made the emancipation declaration(its late forgive the spelling) way after the war was well under way and its main purpose at the time was to dissrupt johnny reb at home trying to keep runaways from goin north. But what alot of people forget, lincoln did this as a primarly military move with his main goal of keeping the union from ripping it self apart. Slaves where an after thought. I know theres gonna be people calling me racist and shit but i get that for just being fucking white. My own personal opinon is the if the NACCP want to stop racism stop being the fucking shit up, all it does is re open 150 year old wounds. Yes your suffering of your an estors was great but where you yourself a slave? Fuck no you have all the same rights and liberties as i do. So shut the fuck up and mind your bussiness. Let the fucking hilljacks fly there little flag and just know you already won, theres no more slavery so why do you give a shit if they fly there flag? And really with me hearing more and more of this kinda shit, im tempted to fly my grandaddys flag just to piss yall off. Sincerly, fuck everybody who still brings pointless shit like this up in the 21st century

  70. Bill Mountjoy on said:

    In my opinion – filure to follow thru on this Camp Resolution (by our Judge-Advocate) sealed our fate in terms of having ANY control over what happened at the Chapel.

    Bill Mountjoy
    Past Commander
    Lee-Jackson Camp #1

  71. Bill Mountjoy on said:

    In my opinion – failure to follow thru on this Camp Resolution (by our Judge-Advocate) sealed our fate in terms of having ANY control over what happened at the Chapel. A lot was PROMISED – nothing was delivered!

    Bill Mountjoy
    Past Commander
    Lee-Jackson Camp #


    April 20, 2006

    RESOLUTION of the Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1, Sons of Confederate Veterans:

    WHEREAS: The Commonwealth of Virginia by its governmental actions of constructing new buildings on the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park has unreasonably impaired the contractual restrictions of the State’s contract with the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, and

    WHEREAS: The Commonwealth of Virginia entered into a contract by virtue of and under deed restriction with the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, found in Chapter 625 approved March 3, 1892, as amended by contractual restrictions contained in Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 184 approved March 27, 1934 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly, and

    WHEREAS: The Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1, Sons of Confederate Veterans is the permanent auxiliary and an integral part of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans and is the successor in interest to the 1892 contract as amended by Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 289 approved March 26, 1936 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly, and

    THEREFORE: The Camp as the auxiliary of R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, hereby directs Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1’s Judge Advocate, Robert H. Lamb, and/or Assistant Judge Advocate, Tucker L. Henley, to file a bill of complaint against the Commonwealth of Virginia for injurious actions that the Commonwealth’s government has inflicted upon the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans and the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park.

    Respectfully submitted, as approved by the Camp on April 20, 2006:

    Melvin Spain, Camp Commander

    James Mountjoy, Camp Adjutant

    Edward Willis, Camp Historian

  72. Charlie Hugo on said:

    A fortunate fact:

    Postbellum Inhabitants of the Southern States, you are afforded the right by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to fly the flag you so choose on Saturday afternoons and parade it around the VMFA or elsewhere as you will.

    In spite of your ancestors’ loss, when the South and your bloodlines admitted military defeat, the South rejoined the militarily superior Union that outmatched, outwitted and outfought your families and because of this fact, you and I are subject to the fortunate abolition of slavery via the 13th Amendment enacted in December of 1865 several months after the close of the Civil War.

    We who oppose this flag and its multi faceted symbolism are also afforded the right to assemble and educate the public of what we perceive the flag to stand for. We are afforded the right to peacefully protest its perceived message. We are afforded the right to fly American flags in its face, display images of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stow, Fredrick Douglass among so many other compatriots siding with the Union’s campaign. And we can do so at Jefferson Davis’ gravesite in Hollywood Cemetery or underneath Robert E. Lee’s statue on Monument Avenue or in your face on Boulevard.

    We also have the right to burn your flag. Burn it to the ground. Something you might ought consider too.

    This is our right.

    Both sides have these freedoms because there are no sides any longer. There is no North. There is no South. When the Union won, the rebels were enveloped, disenfranchised, and the Union truly Unionized again.

    I will enjoy watching you, gargoyles, lost ancestors try and fortify and enshrine your losing relic, your lost cause for whatever condition you so claim to uphold. Those soldiers, your family members, have long since been worms meat but if you feel an archaic battle flag celebrates their purported gallant efforts, wave away.

    And I’ll burn away in spite of you.

    Good luck getting that flag back up on the Robinson House or Chapel.

  73. From a UDC lady. The Chapel is not the Pelham Chapel. The proper name is Confederate Memorial Chapel. Old habits die hard, and the name of the Gallant Pelham, so beloved, has persisted, but it is incorrect.

  74. scott on said:

    I find this whole ordeal to be very sad.
    The VMFA should restore the flags to the chapel.

  75. RSP on said:

    Hard to say the confederate flag doesn’t represent slavery when the original “declaration of causes of secession” drafted by the seceding states says so: “The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.”

    That ain’t revisionist history, folks!!!!!!!!!!

  76. Bill Mountjoy on said:

    This issue will never be resolved UNTIL the SCV has the “backbone” to take this to COURT. The Lee-Jackson Camp(SCV)was TOLD by it’s Judge-Advocate(in December 2004) that we had the GROUNDS to seek relief in court, but he “backed down”.

    The Commonwealth of Virginia entered into a contract by virtue of and under deed restriction with the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, found in Chapter 625 approved March 3, 1892, as amended by contractual restrictions contained in Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 184 approved March 27, 1934 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly, and

    WHEREAS: The Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1, Sons of Confederate Veterans is the permanent auxiliary and an integral part of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans and is the successor in interest to the 1892 contract as amended by Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 289 approved March 26, 1936 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly

    NOTE:A cornerstone of being a member of the SCV is to follow the “charge” given to us by Stephen D. Lee. The Lee-Jacvkson Camp FAILED to follow the “charge”.

    “Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans”:

    To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit 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 which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals 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.

    Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee
    United Confederate Veterans
    New Orleans, 25 April 1906

  77. Bill Mountjoy on said:


    This issue will NEVER be resolved UNTIL the SCV has the “backbone” to take this to COURT. The Lee-Jackson Camp(SCV)was TOLD by it’s Judge-Advocate(in December 2004) that we had the GROUNDS to seek relief in court (to protect the grounds, and the Chapel, of the RE LEE CAMP #1 Confederate Soldiers’ Home), but he“backed down” when it was time for ACTION.

    TO WIT: The Commonwealth of Virginia entered into a contract by virtue of and under deed restriction with the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, found in Chapter 625 approved March 3, 1892, as amended by contractual restrictions contained in Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 184 approved March 27, 1934 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly, and

    WHEREAS: The Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1, Sons of Confederate Veterans is the permanent auxiliary and an integral part of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans and is the successor in interest to the 1892 contract as amended by Chapter 371 approved March 29, 1934 and Chapter 289 approved March 26, 1936 of the Acts of the Virginia General Assembly

    THEREFORE: The Camp as the auxiliary of R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans, hereby directs Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1’s Judge Advocate, Robert H. Lamb, and/or Assistant Judge Advocate, Tucker L. Henley, to file a bill of complaint against the Commonwealth of Virginia for injurious actions that the Commonwealth’s government has inflicted upon the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans and the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park.

    NOTE:A cornerstone of being a member of the SCV is to follow the “charge” given to us by Stephen D. Lee. The Lee-Jackson Camp FAILED to follow the “charge”.

    “Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans”:

    To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit 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 which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals 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.

    by: Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee
    United Confederate Veterans
    New Orleans, 25 April 1906

  78. Old Redneck on said:

    What an absolute waste of time.

    I am a Southerner through and through. Born and reared in Wilkinson County, MS. My ancestors left their plantations in the Lower Santee region of SC in the early 1800’s and trekked to Wilkinson County, MS, with wives, children, and 150 slaves. My g-g-grandfather and his brothers raised cotton, rice, and sugar at plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana. In the 1860 slave censuses of their counties and parishes, they owned almost 300 slaves; their plantations encompassed over 25,000 acres.

    I count among my possessions:
    — My g-g-grandfather’s plantation desk and bell
    — His journals and plantation account books
    — My g-grandfathers Klan robe

    Among my ancestors I count:
    — Two CSA general officers
    — Several CSA soldiers
    — Five CSA soldiers who died at Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Cold Harbor.

    My Southern credentials make most of you look like a gaggle of damnyankees.

    I have never owned a Confederate flag, don’t want to own a Confederate flag, will never own a Confederate flag.

    In 1959 a young black man who worked for my grandfather was lynched by the Klan in Amite County, MS, because he “sassed” a white woman. THAT is the “Southern heritage” the flag represents.

    “Then together they spent the afternoon going quietly and unhurriedly about the grazing meadows and the planting or harvesting fields and the peaceful woodlands in their dreaming seasonal mutations — the man on his horse and the ticked setter gravely beside him, while the descending evening of their lives drew toward its peaceful close upon the kind land that had bred them both.”
    William Faulkner, Flags In The Dust

  79. Dear Sir:
    Glad you got that out of your system. Hope you are feeling better. Don’t stay there on the mourners Bench – come on down, Brother, and be saved!
    Best Regards,
    Bo Traywick
    (John 8: 32)

  80. Jerry Dunford on said:

    FLY THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG, Fly is at home, and Fly it on the flagpole of all buildings and parks or other historic locations that exist to provide information on true Virginia History, and American history. This flag is not a symbol of slavery, and it is not a symbol of Nazis, anymore than a Ford car is a symbol for bank robbers and villains just because Bonnie and Clyde drove one.
    Hitler rode in a Mercedes, so what. The Confederate Battle Flag, honors a people who fought for what they believed in, for the independence of 11 southern states to be left alone from Federal interferences, taxes, rules, and subjugation.

    As far as Slavery, the American flag flew over the United States for an far longer period while the slavery was in effect, yes slavery was wrong, a mistake, like so many mistakes mankind has made and will make others, you and I make them too. But these things were not made by the Confederate Battle Flag, and the War Between The States, or more correct, The War of Northern Invasion of the Southern States, as this is what happened. So Blacks, Whites, or whatever your color, your dislike of the Confederate is a misinformed decision, you have been lied to about this by so many who make their living from contyroversy, The Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons have no standing other than to lie and misrepresent issues, Like the Duke LaCrosse Rape lies, which they supported and defended, and many other earlier events all which have been disproved, and are nothing more than incidents Jessie and Al and others make money from.

    So, I say that the American flag is a flag over a good people and country, and the Confederate Battle flag is a good flag that honors the ancestors that were also good people over a good land, leave this flag alone, it is true American history.

  81. Rob Moore on said:

    As a carpetbagger I thought I would chime in on the subject. Much of my historical education was from the perspective of northern teachers with typical rhetoric. When I moved to Atlanta, some years ago, I took it upon myself to learn more about the history of the south and the reasons for the separation. These southern states were fighting as much for states rights as we are today. This flag is stands as a symbol of what could happen again, if we are not mindful. Now, I am not black so, my perspective may be skewed but, I think this works for ancestors of slaves as well. This flag should remind us all of what could happen, of where we were as a country and where we do not want to be again. The Confederate flag is an important symbol and should be flown, in appropriate educational settings.

  82. BTC on said:

    Great article and great comments on a sensitive subject. Generally, my opinion is that memorials of this kind should display the appropriate flag in an educational context. As a visitor to Richmond from out of town, I was surprised to see the flag protestors while driving down Boulevard today. With the banner signs on the VMFA publicizing the “Beauty in African American Culture” exhibit, and because of my lack of knowledge of a local issue, I jumped to the conclusion that the men with Confederate battle flags were somehow offended by the exhibit–I’m relieved to find that I was mistaken. That, I suppose, is an example of how the flag has become a general symbol of racism for many members of the general public.

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