Monday, December 17, 2012

What Is a Soldier?

Speaking of the black men recently commemorated in Charlotte, NC for their service to the Confederate Army, Kevin Levin throws a tantrum on his Civil War Memory blog. The WBTV news report, he says, begins with this: “Ten black military soldiers finally got the honor they deserve 150 years later.”  He responds:  Not one of these men served as a soldier.

He italicized it.  For emphasis, in case somebody might miss it...

I would say that depends on what you mean by soldier. They weren't officially mustered into the Confederate Army, but that isn't the only definition of "soldier."

[sohl-jer] Show IPA

1. a person who serves in an army; a person engaged in military service.
2. an enlisted man or woman, as distinguished from a commissioned officer:
3. a person of military skill or experience:
4. a person who contends or serves in any cause:
Sounds like these men could have been soldiers by more than one of these definitions.



  2. Connie this is why you need to "bone" up on historiography.

    You cannot attach modern schema and to the past.

  3. Rob, this is why you need to pay attention to correct grammar. Your second sentence makes no sense.

  4. Nit pick Connie and avoid the facts.

  5. Sorry Connie. Typing on a cell phone has its limitations. However, the context is evident and not addressed as Corey pointed out.

  6. I'm not avoiding the facts, Corey. Rob's use of "schema" is ridiculous to begin with (I'm not "attaching modern schema to the past") not to mention the "and" following "schema" makes the sentence make no sense.

  7. You are attaching a modern schema to the past when you attempt to define words in a primary document using modern definitions. You are voiding historical context by doing so. My sentence maintains its context despite the typo.

  8. I cannot attach modern schema to the past?

    I believe I just did...

  9. Schema, shmema...

    What will it take to convey to you just how little I care about what you say, think, write?

    Schlemiel. Schlimazel. Hasenpfeffer Incorporated.

  10. "I cannot attach modern schema to the past?

    I believe I just did..."

    That comment pretty much relieves you of all authority on this subject. Frankly I figured you would be more clever rather than invalidate yourself.

    This is why certain people that have a degree in history are "gatekeepers" of the past as you so boldly write time and time again. We can claim that right because we have training in the field.

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  12. A dictionary of the English language: abridged from the American dictionary

    by Noah Webster and John Walker


    Soldier- A man in military service; a brave warrior; a man of military experience and skill.

  13. Your claim of authority, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. Your opinion, published publicly, is subject to scrutiny. Especially when the tone of the writing is condescending and implies that you know better.

    Your recognition is neither warranted or sought after. You're also reaching. Like I told you, there was a typo that left the context of the sentence unharmed. Claiming intellectual superiority on an informal writing format is your prerogative. This is the first instance you have written on this specific subject, but you have a paper trail of similar arguments.

    I am a white southerner Connie. "Evilizing" [sic] (merriam-webster does not have that word in their database) white southerners compares to "evilizing"[sic] myself. That is rather counterproductive. I can understand that you are ultimately disheartened that I choose not to sweep bad history under the rug.

    It's hilarious that you say the history presented by us (Me, Meyer, Levin, Hall, Simpson)is not accurate when earlier you claimed no authority on the subject. However, since you refer to it, it is accurate and continuing to improve. It stands time and peer review to multiple generations of historians.

    You should care how those "soldiers" are remembered Connie. But you should also care that they are remembered for their actual roles, their actual duties, and their actual heroism. Not this revisionist swill you push.

  14. But,but,but Border Ruffian, Webster and Walker didn't specify that soldiers are soldiers only if they have a piece of paper saying they are, which is how "soldier" is defined by our Confederacy-bashing bloggers... A soldier is a man of military experience and skill? What hogwash, huh? What were they THINKING?

  15. Rob, lemme see if I can get this across to you. (1) I don't CLAIM any authority on this subject, I claim an OPINION, to which I am certainly entitled; and (2) I don't recognize YOUR authority -- about anything whatsofreakingever.

    Any college-edumacated edumacater who can't write a coherent sentence and who claims I've boldly written "time and time again" about something I've written about exactly ONCE doesn't deserve any respect, capisce? Because you're either dishonest or doltish. You can claim whatever "right" you wish, but you won't get recognition for it from me.

  16. "Sorry Connie. Typing on a cell phone has its limitations."

    Baloney and utter hooey. Typing on a cell phone doesn't render you suddenly incapable of putting together a coherent sentence -- IF you have that ability. You obviously do not.

    You've been posting college-educated grammatical and compositional mish-mash since I first encountered you online. That is why all your puffed up braggadocio about "history" amounts to so much shuck to me. Your college education has given you an enlarged ego, but hasn't done much for your knowledge of either grammar, composition or history.

  17. "You cannot attach modern schema and to the past."

    Oh, really? That is precisely what South-haters and Confederacy-bashers do when they try to impose today's post-civil rights standards retroactively onto antebellum Americans, especially Southern whites.

    Your holier-than-thou double standards make me sick, ya know?

  18. My opinion is subject to scrutiny, huh? But there's nothing that says YOU have to scrutinize it, is there, hon? If my recognition is not warranted, then why are you recognizing me?

    A typo is something like this: "We went to the stoer today," (i.e., transposed letters). Inserting an entire word that isn't necessary and creates grammatical and/or compositional error isn't a "typo."

    So the writing format being informal makes grammatical and compositional errors okay? Is THAT what they taught you in college?

    Oh, yes, some white Southerners are the greatest evilizers of white Southerners -- exempting themselves, of course.

    I don't have to be an authority on history to know you, Meyer, Levin, Hall, and Simpson present bad history, because you are doing it to push an agenda of control. "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

    I have also made it clear that I don't care whether blacks -- slave or free -- who served the Confederacy (militarily or otherwise) are considered "soldiers" or not. -- and -- I simply think their service should be acknowledged (and if it was "soldierly" -- whether they were official soldiers or not -- it should be acknowledged as soldierly. Capisce?

  19. It would be nice if you would put your replies in one coherent statement rather than numerous cutups. It leads to less online confusion. That's a recommendation by the way, not an outlet for you to shout "victim" to. Capisce?

    Cell phone typos go beyond a simple "msipelled" (example) word. There is a thing called auto-correct. The phone will literally switch words, etc. It gets difficult on occasion and when dealing with a small screen, you just text and move along. However, once again, nothing was wrong with the context. Capisce?

    There is nothing that says I have to scrutinize your opinion, only the belief that I have to. This is reinforced by other historians before me. Capisce?

    Does an informal setting make errors ok? Well honestly yes. I don't have to proof read etc. etc. on an informal setting. If someone has difficulty comprehending a garbled text online, I can just explain it to them. That is the beauty of online accessibility. I'm not turning in papers for a peer review. There really isn't a point. I'd imagine most people, including me, type things on a phone or computer on the fly and then go back to whatever it is they were doing before. I can't exactly prove this thought but spending time on CNN's website(comments section), Facebook and Twitter makes this a pretty solid assessment. The online English lessons you provide is your bit to chew on. I'd rather stick to the context of an issue when commenting on a blog or Facebook, rather than get into an argument over grammar. Capisce?

    Actually, you do have to have some authority on history in order to explain how we (Brooks, Hall, Meyer, Levin, etc.) who are all historians, represent "bad" history. This is especially true when you demonstrate in this very post that you know nothing about historiography. Then you proceed to tell me that college hasn't given me a grasp of history. Humorous since currently I am a Masters candidate.

    Historians do not attempt to project a modern post-civil rights standards onto the past. Anyone that does would be discredited for such practices. Where do you come up with this stuff?

    Your perception of blacks in the Confederate Army is curious. You wish to "honor" them by whitewashing their service....interesting.

  20. *Sigh.* I don't shout "Victim!" Rob.

    I will do whatever I wish with modern schema (what a pedantic word) or ancient schema, or space alien schema... or any other kinda of schema. 'kay? If you don't like it, sue me.

    BTW, I'm actually far less interested in the purported "history" you and Simpson, Hall, Meyer, Levin, etc., present -- and far more interested in your motive for presenting it as you do. And don't think for a moment that your motive does not show.

    Yes, some historians do project modern post-civil rights standards onto the past. They attempt to hold Confederates and/or Southerners to a modern standard re: race relations, demonize them for not meeting those standards -- but oddly, usually do not hold antebellum Yankees, even aboes, to the same standards. Go figure.

    Acknowledging blacks, whites, Indians, Mexicans, whoever, for their service to the Confederate cause, particularly to the army , is not whitewashing.

  21. Rob Baker-
    Actually, you do have to have some authority on history in order to explain how we (Brooks, Hall, Meyer, Levin, etc.) who are all historians, represent "bad" history.

    Easy. Your version of history has a political slant to it. That makes it bad.

  22. Rob, Border Ruffian's 1850 definition blew your ridiculous "modern schema" approach out of the water....

  23. Omg, smh.

    Yes schema is a pedantic word because it matters Connie. History is not a mild subject where every opinion matters. There are only facts reasoned out by the use of the Scientific method. So yes, precision matters.

    While we are on schema, let's talk about Border Ruffian's comment. First, you took the modern schema approach, not I. Second, what exactly does that definition tell us? What is military service? Third, Border Ruffian quotes the abridged version. The definition of soldier in the full version from 1850 is:

    1. a man engaged in military service; 2. one whose occupation is military; 3. a man enlisted for service in the army, a private or on in the ranks.

    The definition of "military" in that same dictionary:

    1. Pertaining to soldiers or to arms; as, a military parade or appearance; military discipline.
    2. Engaged in the service of soldiers or arms; as a military man.
    3.Warlike; becoming a soldier; as, military virtue; military bravery

    Did you notice the emphasis on "arms?" has an article on womens' roles in the armies. They listed women as being cooks in the armies. Not soldiers of the time. Are they soldiers today? Yes. Then? No. According to the Oxford Companion to Military History these men/slaves are categorized, militarily, as camp followers. They performed tasks of which the regular army did not supply. For crying out loud, on muster sheets of the time the word "soldier" is literally crossed out next to a slave's name.

    Sorry Connie. Keep plugging away though. It's fun.

  24. @Border Ruffian,

    Same watered down approach I see. "You have a different version of history than me, it must be politically involved."

    Please tell me how my(for where you inserted "your") has a political slant.

  25. So much fear over the idea of a black man willingly wearing the gray. Their true hatred and racist fear shows Connie.


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