Letter to the Editor

Dear editor,

I have read, with some amusement, that the Sons of Confederate Veterans is suing the city of Ringgold because they are not flying the “Confederate battle flag” over your local monument.

My amusement, tinged with some disgust, is due to the fact there is a “Confederate battle flag” flying over your monument. In fact, given the location, there could be no flag more appropriate to be displayed at this site, near Ringgold Gap.

The current flag that flies, known as the Hardee pattern, was carried by the troops of General Patrick Cleburne. Cleburne’s Division, which defended Ringgold Gap, was one of the most famed fighting divisions in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Whenever Union troops spotted the flag with blue background and a white circle in the center, they realized they were up against the best troops in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Knowing this, Cleburne and his men received special permission from the Confederate Congress to continue to carry this flag when the pattern known as the “Saint Andrews Cross” battle flag was standardized throughout the army. The Union army’s fear of this flag was well founded as Cleburne seldom met defeat.

Cleburne’s Divisions, carrying the Hardee pattern flag, made such a stout defense of Ringgold Gap in November 1863, that they received the formal thanks of the Confederate Congress for their performance at Ringgold. General Cleburne’s statue stands tall in nearby Ringgold Gap today.

Given these indisputable historical facts, it is extremely troubling to see a group, the SCV, that claims to uphold the reputation of the Confederate soldier exhibit historical ignorance and disrespect the memory of General Cleburne and his fighting division. Rather than educating the public, they have chosen to be confrontational and demand the removal of a historically appropriate flag.

I suspect General Patrick Cleburne is spinning in his grave over the position of the SCV.

Anthony Hodges, DDS, Elder Mountain, Tenn.