Dennis Frye – Rebels Set to Leave Harper’s Ferry late May-early June 1861

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VIDEO: Dennis Frye – Rebels Set to Leave Harper’s Ferry late May-early June 1861 TRT: 6:06.

Dennis Frye

Well, by the end of May, Harper’s Ferry had become one of the largest garrison, confederate positions in all the south. There were almost 10,000 men there under Colonel Jackson. Now, keep in mind that a transition is occurring in Virginia. Virginia is transitioning from the state of Virginia to the state of Virginia in the Confederate States of America. So, when Jefferson Davis and the confederate government arrive in Richmond and they look at the map and they see the Virginia forces and other confederate southern forces scattered along the Virginia frontier and they look at Harper’s Ferry. Jefferson Davis says: “we can’t have a colonel in charge there. We need a general there. We need someone there who has general’s credentials; even better, someone who was previously a general. So, he looks around in his cadre of men who had seceded from the United States Army and come south and he selects Joseph E. Johnston. Joseph E. Johnston, a former general in the United States Army outranked Robert E. Lee. Johnston is given his very first field assignment of the civil war and it is Harper’s Ferry. So, on May the 23rd 1861, Johnston arrives in the town. Jackson himself hasn’t received the orders that placed Johnston in charge. So, a day or so goes by before the formal orders are communicated that Joe Johnston is here, now, to take command at Harper’s Ferry and represent the confederate leadership at Harper’s Ferry. Now, you’ll remember that Jackson determined to defend Harper’s Ferry with everything he had. He had sent troops to Maryland. He had occupied and fortified the heights. He was defending the railroad approaches. He was ready to make a stand there. Johnston arrives, spends a few days doing reconnaissance, reconnoitering around the Harper’s Ferry area. Of course, talking with Jackson, learning what Jackson had done and Johnston sends a message to Robert E. Lee in Virginia at Richmond and basically says: “I can’t hold this place. This place is indefensible. I can’t stay here,” – completely the opposite point of view of Thomas Jackson.

Now Lee became alarmed because, remember, we had set up this defensive parameter around Richmond and Lee knew about the strategic importance of Harper’s Ferry. Remember, Lee had been in Harper’s Ferry during the John Brown raid. Lee had captured Brown with United States marines. Lee had helped escort Brown to Charlestown. He was familiar with the Shenandoah Valley. He knew about the importance of the valley. He knew about the proximity of the valley to Maryland and Pennsylvania and he knew that the Shenandoah Valley was a natural corridor of invasion for the United States forces. He also knew that Patterson was collecting an army in Hagerstown and was only about 10-12 miles from coming into the valley and invading Virginia. So, Lee felt that the defense of Harper’s Ferry was tantamount to the defense of Virginia. He must stand and hold and that’s what he said to Johnston. Well, Johnston just was relentless in his communications back to Richmond saying: “I’ve got to get out of here and then even went to the point where Lee said: “Look: if you leave Harper’s Ferry, it will be depressing to the cause of the South.” That’s exactly how Lee phrased it – “depressing to the cause of the South.” Basically, it would be the very first retreat of the confederate army and there’s no battle that’s even occurred. You see Johnston’s thinking strategically, about moving somewhere else. Johnston wants to move from Harper’s Ferry to Winchester, deeper in the interior. He wants to lull the federal army into the valley and he believes that, because Winchester is a crossroads that also is a place where he can easily maneuver from one place to another. So, Johnston sees that army at Harper’s Ferry as an army that’s both defensive and offensive: one that can hold, but one that can move whereas; Jackson definitely saw his army only in a position of defense, holding the Harper’s Ferry area. Well, Lee still was very demanding that Harper’s Ferry be held. Johnston just refused to give up and he would say: “is it not better to leave Harper’s Ferry and preserve the army, protect the army, than to make a stand here and possibly lose the army?” Well, eventually Lee was so exacerbated he couldn’t answer the question. So, he sent it all the way up to the highest authority of the confederate government: Jefferson Davis and Jefferson Davis wanted to hold Harper’s Ferry for the same reasons Lee did: to protect the Shenandoah Valley and to not have a psychological blow. But, even Jefferson Davis gave Johnston discretionary authority to retire, if he felt it necessary and it wasn’t (because of Patterson – but (the reason)it was way out in the Ohio river area, as federal troops began to move into far northwestern Virginia where Johnston would use that as the excuse to abandon Harper’s Ferry and move his troops from Harper’s Ferry to Winchester. That would occur June 14-15, 1861. The rebel army would abandon Harper’s Ferry. So, the very first fight that was expected in the Harper’s Ferry region would not occur because Joe Johnston unilaterally moved his army to Winchester; and that then beckoned a new strategy by the federals.889 words

1. Dr. Dawne Burke – May 27, 1861 Fortress Monroe – the “Contraband” Loophole

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VIDEO: Dr. Dawne Burke – May 27, 1861 Fortress Monroe – the “Contraband” Loophole
TRT: 15:38

Dr. Dawn Burke

On May 23 1861, General Charles K. Mallory, confederate general, loaned three of his slaves for a construction project for a confederate battery near Hampton, Virginia. Those three slaves, their names were Shepherd Mallory; they were Frank Baker and James Townsend. When the three slaves boarded the john boat on the river, they left with the intention of going to the construction site. Interestingly enough, the three slaves bypassed the construction site and crossed the Chesapeake Bay near Sewell’s Point in order to reach a peninsula stronghold which was known as Fortress Monroe. When the three slaves arrived at the stronghold at Fortress Monroe, they struck up a conversation with the picket guards who were guarding the fort. The guards reported the incident immediately to their newly assigned commander of the Department of Virginia, who was General Benjamin Franklin Butler.

General Butler, newly assigned to Fortress Monroe, was originally from Deerfield, New Hampshire. When he was five months old, his father died of yellow fever. Due to the economic circumstances at that time, he and his siblings were dispersed to other family members until such time as they could rejoin their mother in Lowell, Massachusetts where the mother at that time was operating a boarding house.

Butler had attended Colby College which was, at that time, referred to as Waterville College and he also wanted to attend West Point, but never did. Later on, in the civil war, the fact that he did not receive formal militaristic training may come back to haunt General Butler. However, Butler goes on to study law and become an attorney in Massachusetts and was accepted at the bar in Massachusetts in 1840.

Butler goes on to become a very successful criminal attorney. Butler was 5’4, he was

barrel-chested, had red hair and was also cross-eyed. So, I can only imagine how even by today’s standards General Butler, as a child, may have been what we refer to today as bullyated (sic). But it is his art of argument and critical thought process that would later come in handy at Fortress Monroe.

While back at Fortress Monroe, the three slaves – Butler consented to give them provisional and temporary aid for that night of may 23rd, told them that they could stay in the fort, and the following morning on May 24th, the three, at this point in time, they’re now fugitive slaves. They’re in direct violation of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, but Butler does give them audience. So, they are arraigned in front of Butler the following morning. The three slaves go on and proceed to tell General Butler that the reason why they bypassed the work site that they were to attend to was because they were going to be sold down south.

Now during that time period, the civil war scholar in California, Kenneth Stamp stamp wrote “That Peculiar Institution” and, in his book, he states that the state of Virginia and the state of South Carolina had a a nice little domestic slave trade operation ongoing, so the slaves were being bred in the state of Virginia and then they were being shipped down south to work in the fields in South Carolina. That is of particular note for us here in this region of the Shenandoah valley, given the fact that those slaves were brought to this county. Jefferson county, Virginia, at that time, and they were held here in this county until such time as they were loaded into boxcars and shipped south for those labor fields. So Butler hears their story. He is probably a little bit sympathetic. Just as he’s having this conversation with the three slaves, Butler is interrupted by one of his staff officers who claims that there is someone standing outside the fort who claims to be Major John B. Cary, who is a confederate major and he is coming to Fortress Monroe in order to talk to General Butler about these three slaves because General Mallory would like to have his property back. Acting as Mallory’s proxy this major begins to have this probably a heated discussion with General Butler about these three slaves and Butler rightly tells him – now here’s the point at which Butler’s legalistic mind and argumentative acumen comes into play: Butler turns to Cary and he says: “I am under no obligation to honor this request promptly because,” and Butler goes on to name four reasons why it is he refuses to turn the slaves back over to the confederate.

He says:  “Just last week on May 17th (ratified May 23, 1861-ED), the state of Virginia decided to secede from the union. That, then, clearly makes the statement that Virginia sees itself as an autonomous state sovereignty. As such, the third point: is you’re in direct violation of the United States Constitution and then Virginia” (proceeds to the fourth point he makes is) “you have formed an illegal coalition with other confederate states.”

The argument that Butler creates says very clearly to the major that Butler views both Mallory and Cary and this whole incident, there is enemy collusion in General Butler’s mind. So, Butler then goes on to proclaim that the Old Dominion, then, is a foreign body on federal soil. So he intends to then treat this incident, as such, that they are now – Virginia is a foreign body in due process of federal occupation. So, then Butler very sagaciously – his word choice here is so very very, very important – he refers to the slaves, not as property to be returned – and Butler assuredly was not going to remand those slaves to the welfare or aid of any foreign entity, but he refers to those slaves as “contraband of war.” Now, this is very important – his word choice is extremely important here. Because of his word choice at that moment in time, the positive social fallout from that, the positive social trends that would follow – that the essence of the use of that term here, particularly in the lower Shenandoah valley, is very important, the culmination of those events up to that point.

The three fugitive slaves, in combination with general Butler’s response to Major Cary, really is a pivotal point and I argue that uh in my book entitled in “American Phoenix” that Butler’s critical legalistic abilities at that time came together so that he could create an effective argument with the confederates.

So, the combination of those events: the following morning when Butler awakes, he wakes up to such numbers – exponential numbers of slaves, runaways, freedmen, vagabonds who were seeking sustenance and protection at Fortress Monroe.

I can’t imagine what it might be like for us to go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow morning and when we look out the window of our homes, we would see people just standing all around in mass numbers – 10, 12 as much as probably 75 feet deep – you know? – hey were coming and gathering around the fort (and) had been coming all night long through the night.

Because of this situation and these circumstances and Butler is also still confronted with this issue of property. He dispatches several messengers to Washington D.C to get the opinion and directives from his supervisors. Butler had been deferred. He was not getting a response.

So, because of this, he did receive some immediate aid from an organization that was organized in Albany, New York in 1846 (that) called itself the American Missionary Association. Now, there were several organizations that were helping during this war effort. The American Missionary Association was one. There was the United States Christian Commission the United States Sanitation Commission, but it’s the AMA that responds to General Butler’s request.

The AMA having been organized in ’46 was automatically for the elimination of slavery. This organization was also for education educating the dispossessed and the disenfranchised the organization also worked for the promotion of civility and most assuredly for the dissemination of Christian values.

The AMA is responsible for either directly founding or assisting with the founding of over 500 colleges and universities throughout the United States, some of which are Hampton Institute, Atlanta, Dillard, Talladega, just to mention a few. They also, with the help of the Freedmen’s Bureau and they often worked in concert also with the Freedmen’s Bureau. They also founded Howard University in our nation’s capital. Howard University was named for General Oliver Otis Howard because it was General Howard that directly manage the operations for all of the activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau.

So, consequently, when the AMA arrives back at Fortress Monroe, they hear Butler’s call and they answer that call. Counted among their numbers was a New England denomination commonly and collectively referred to as New Lights and or, Separatist and or, Free Wills.

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2. Dr. Dawne Burke Discusses the 2 Awakenings and George Whitefield

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VIDEO: Dr. Burke on the 2 Great Awakening and George Whitfield TRT: 9:35

Dr. Dawne Burke author “American Phoenix”

In this four-part series, we learned that General Benjamin Franklin Butler refused to remand the fugitive slaves to General Mallory in Virginia in 1861. Virginia was at that time in General Butler’s mind considered to be a foreign entity, having chosen to secede from the union. To understand the contributions of the New light separatist free wills that came to the help and aid of General Butler through and with the American Missionary Association during the time when Butler would have had this property dispute with the fugitive slaves and General Mallory, the American Missionary Association came to the valley to help General Butler. the mass exodus of slaves what the slaves were coming overnight and so General Butler really needed some help with clean water with helping house slaves and provide food and sustenance for them. But in order to understand how it was the Free Will Baptist viewed the circumstances at that time, we need to understand the larger theological discourse that was associated with that period in time.

The great awakening, as it was called or the first great awakening, with the implication that there would be a second awakening as there was, but the first great awakening was really a movement to arouse people from their states of complacency. You see, on the Baptist continent, the age of enlightenment and age of . .reason were the back wave of that was flowing across the Atlantic ocean to colonial America. Among Baptist and American colonial protestants then there was a awakening movement ongoing. this awakening was really steeped in revivalism. Revivalism was a understood in the context of what had happened in prior centuries, meaning that early monks who would have had duties and church responsibilities, they were on a mission to encourage and build physical structures, such as churches in whereby congregations could be organized. some of the characteristics of the great awakening would have been a detachment from church polity, a detachment from church – I guess more or less what I want to say is a detachment from the formalities up until that time had been associated with church. also there was a interest in self-introspection was incorporated at this time. So, we have the old revivalist and the new revivalist, much like the old lights and new lights and just as newton’s third law predicts one is an equal and opposite reaction or response to the other. So this is ongoing this theological evolutionary process is ongoing as a result of the age of enlightenment on the Baptist continent where it started; but then was brought across the atlantic ocean.

an Anglican minister had arrived on the scene in colonial America. this Anglican minister was a most recognized for his speaking abilities. he was very persuasive. this preacher’s name was George Whitefield.

George Whitefield was quite persuasive. even his own biographer Arnold Dallimore. says that in his hometown Whitefield is a british citizen and he comes to colonial America to bring this these notions of enlightenment through this great awakening. to arouse people from their complacency.

But Arnold Dallimore says that when London’s population was nearing 700,000 that Whitefield himself had the capacity to keep spellbound 20,000 people in a single audience. Well, George Whitefield was one of the first itinerant ministers. Now, what I mean by itinerant is Whitefield believed that all the world was his parish house. Now during this in Whitefield’s kind of a bridge character between the first awakening and the second awakening and during the first awakening the concentration was with forming a church membership inside the church. They were building within. But when the second awakening comes along, they’re moving outside of the church, to work toward non-members to convert people who may not have had the ability to make it to a formal church structure, to belong to a certain religious sect. So, Whitefield as an itinerant minister preacher he is able to move from town to town, from village to village and he does not have to acquire the approval of the church officials. He doesn’t have to ask their permission. So, Whitefield is quite popular he was perhaps the most recognized by name and understood to be the most elite of these itinerant ministers. He was in today’s terms he has truly a celebrity.

Whitefield was known for his theological elocution and discourse. He over-enunciated and was quite charismatic. It’s interesting – a sidebar here if I may – Whitefield too as we heard in the first segment: General Butler was cross-eyed. So is George Whitefield and Whitefield has such a capacity to imbue an audience with such spirituality that what he would do prior to speaking in any town or village Whitefield would send men in advance to disseminate broadsides.

Even his own sermons were published in local newspapers. He was quite popular, even our own Benjamin Franklin for whom I might say that Benjamin Franklin Butler was named.

Franklin quite the – again – Franklin being on the Baptist continent, having been ambassador to France, was aware of this enlightenment and this idea of critical reasoning and logic applications and critical questioning.

Benjamin Franklin was quite the skeptic when he heard that George Whitefield was arriving in Philadelphia. Nonetheless, Franklin gathered himself together and went to downtown to the where Whitefield was speaking in order to make his own observations, to scrutinize this media event.

as Franklin was standing there, it is interesting historians report that Franklin, came up with a mathematical theory, whereby he could calculate the number of people standing in a square foot and then project the audience population where Whitefield was speaking.

Franklin was most impressed by George Whitefield. I would imagine it would have been quite hard to impress Dr. Franklin.

So, Whitefield is moving around through the American colonies. He crossed the Atlantic 13 times with seven of those trips, specifically designated for colonial America. During one of those Atlantic crossings, he headed toward New Hampshire. While Whitefield is speaking in New Hampshire, there is a young gentleman standing in the audience who, too, was a skeptic of Whitefield, but was quite captivated by Whitefield’s even state of presence, as Whitefield stood atop a tree stump to speak to this audience. That young gentleman’s name was Benjamin Randall. Benjamin Randall is a part of this New Light Separatist development that is ongoing. However, Randall has issue with the idea of infant baptism and then additionally with predestination. So Randall confronts and challenges the idea of predestination. 1139 words

Dallimore, Arnold A. (1980). George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival. Vol. II. Edinburgh or Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust.

Dallimore, Arnold A. (2010) [1990]. George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Enlightened Century. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books.

3. Dr. Dawne Burke: Benjamin Randal(l) and The Free Will Baptists’ Impact on Civil War in Virginia

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VIDEO: Dr. Dawne Burke – Benjamin Randall and The Free Will Baptists’ Impact on Civil War in Virginia TRT: TRT: 4:44

Dr. Dawne Burke author of “American Phoenix”

After Benjamin Randall hears Whitefield – Randall has been a part of this New Light Separatist development, he has a difference with the concepts of infant baptism and predestination. Benjamin Randall, because of this new enlightenment, this idea of asking empirical intellectual and rational questions – Benjamin Randall goes on to make the following statement. I’d like to read it in its entirety.

Randall says: “Yet good men of different persuasions, have different views of the meaning of the scriptures, and are naturally apt to put such construction on them as will best serve their favorite systems, and promote their favorite objects. The partisans of all denominations proclaim that the scriptures are in unison with their doctrines and go so far as to convince the general public by any mode of allegation without any regard to their connections, put them in such order as to make them appear to prove some daring doctrine which they may affect to hold under any pretext whatever, they will even dare to affirm that all the bible goes to prove their system.”

So, we see where Benjamin Randall, the founder of what now I’m going to refer to in this segment – the remainder of this segment and the next segment – the Free Will Baptists, he has issues with infant baptism and predestination.  Randall’s critical questioning prompts him to think of salvation as an artificial cycle. At that time, there was penitence; there was confession, atonement, redemption, and salvation. In Randall’s mind, “if we are predestined to heaven or hell, why affect the effort to move through the five stations of salvation?”

So, Randall – it’s at this point in time that Randall and the Free Will Baptists understand that choice and free will are concepts to be understood from a deeper dimension, meaning that a God consciousness would have provided the idea of choice and free will. So, that we as Christians can actually affect our potentiality while also realizing its utility.

So, the Free Will Baptists arrived with the American Missionary Association at Fortress Monroe, and they helped General Butler. It’s this humanitarian denomination that is predisposed in toward these universal values of choice and free will. In the next segment, I discuss how it is that the Free Will Baptists’ influence these concepts of choice and free will. They influence the social trends here in the lower Shenandoah valley. As one Free Will Baptist wrote, particularly after General Butler’s quote happy “application” of the word “contraband” unquote. 417 words

Benjamin Randall portrait- Internet Archive- from Life and Influence of the Rev. Benjamin Randall by Frederick L. Wiley

Buzzell, John, (1827).”The Life of Elder Benjamin Randal: principally taken from documents written by himself
Limerick [Me.] : Hobbs, Woodman & Cco.
pp. 90-91