Man dresses as Silent Sam (copy)

Casey Becknell from Lexington stands barefoot, dressed in a brown buckskin-like Confederate uniform, by the pedestal that held the "Silent Sam" statue at UNC Chapel Hill.

It is worthy to note the article “93% of Confederate monuments are still standing. Here’s why” (Dec. 29), was compiled by political science professors and no history professors. Do we bring perspective and learn from history by tearing down monuments?

My great-great-grandfather served with Chatham County’s Pettigrew’s Brigade and was captured after Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. He spent the rest of the war in prison and walked for three months to Bonlee to a looted family farm. A third of his Chatham comrades died during the war. Their reason for going to war was to protect homes and families.

Independent, non-slaveholding farmers, tradesmen and mechanics were the vast majority before the war. Guion Johnson, in “Anti-Bellum North Carolina,” wrote: “There were few overgrown estates and the majority of inhabitants lived upon the produce of their own labor.” Family stories are passed down, such as the one about a 14-year-old girl who was raped by one of Stoneman’s raiders looting through Wilkes County at the end of the war. That girl was my wife’s great-great-grandmother.

Read “North Carolina — History of a Southern State” by Hugh Lefler and Albert Newsom. When in Raleigh enjoy the N.C. History Museum.

Jonathan Sparrow


The writer graduated with a degree in history from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1971.

Make sure you never miss our editorials, letters to the editor and columnists. We’ll deliver the News & Record's Opinion page straight to your inbox.

Load comments