Beauvoir: After the Storm . . .

Today, I took a tour of Beauvoir, and I can see why the Davis family loved this place. The well-trained staff at Beauvoir were helpful, and you can tell by talking to them that they all have a deep passion, intense knowledge of, and a reverence for this place. I signed the books of mine (Jim Limber) that are there, and had a grand time.  Though the site has been formerly rededicated, there is still some restoration going on. The storm that came through Biloxi must have had the meanness and destructive power of Sherman’s bummers. Signs of the storm are everywhere in that area, and Biloxi still has a long way to go before we could say the area has fully recovered.  The most interesting fact I learned: Oscar Wilde (and other significant literary characters) had visited the Davis family. That is a story I must pursue. I also managed to do some more research on Jim Limber. I’ll talk about my findings in a future post.

Here are two more photos of Saturday’s celebration of General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s birthday. The first is of a man who takes on the General Forrest persona (and does so effectively, both in spirit and in looks). The resemblance to the past General Forrest is so startling, that one begins to think he is indeed an incarnation. The second is of Kim Shannon, a beautiful singer of Confederate songs. She and I alternated spots for the Forrest progarm, played some songs together, and I was most impressed with her voice and with her love of the South. I’ll have more to say of this talented lady later.


kimm shannon

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be interviewed on KLPC TV here in Lake Charles.  The next two days will be spent presenting programs, songs, and stories to the libraries in Cameron Parish. I’ll report on my blog as I can.

Notes from Montgomery and Selma

Just wanted to post some photos and quick notes about my trip. Saturday morning, I visited the Hank Williams Museum on Commerce Street in Montgomery. Now, youve got to understand, I was raised hearing this man’s records, and hearing my daddy sing his songs. The first songs I learned on my guitar were Hank’s songs. It was fascinating to see mementos and artifacts of this Country Music Legend. There museum’s website is here: Here is a photo of the museum, followed by a wooden statue of the famous Kawliga.

hank willism museum

Here is the famous wooden Indian, Kawliga! He stands just inside the museum.  Numerous performers have done versions of this song.


From the museum, I found the Holy Ground Battlefield. Here is a photo of Nell, the park’s gatekeeper. She is also a Civil War writer. She allowed me to play her a couple of tunes.


Here is the famous bluff where Red Eagle and his horse jumped into the river to avoid capture.


Finally, arrived at Fort Dixie, just outside of Selma, for the General Forrest celebration.


A cannon was fired in salute of General Forrest memory and again after I performed my song, “Cry, Little Artillery Man.”


I’ll have more photos and information on the General Forrest Celebration in future posts.

Saturday, in Montgomery

The First White House of the Confederacy

Yesterday afternoon, I visited the White House of the Confederacy. It was my first visit there, and just like my visit to Rosemont, it took my breath away. This afternoon I’m performing at the General Forrest Shin-dig in Selma, and visiting the Holy Ground Battleground off of highway 80, a battle that took place between the Creeks and American forces. According to this site the grounds were the site of the 1813 battle between Creeks led by Red Eagle and American forces under General Claiborne with Pushmataha’s Choctaws as allies. The Americans killed 21 Creeks and forced the rest into the Alabama River and surrounding swamps. Red Eagle was the last Creek to retreat. He escaped by leaping his gray horse, Arrow, from a 12-foot bluff into the Alabama River and swimming to the opposite shore with his rifle over his head, while bullets spattered around him. You can find an excellent short article about the Red Stick War here:

Here are three photos of the House of the Confederacy. Feel free to use them for your own presentations.

Here I am with Eve, the lady who ran the facility. She also presents school programs related to our Founding Fathers. She was sharp and witty, calling herself a “bad Czek,” (She is an immigrant, reborn again in the South coming through the port of New Orleans. She now considers herself a Southern Belle).


Here is the White House itself, followed by the sign with a brief history of the house. I was so happy that the Confederate White House is directly across from the Alabama State Capitol.

white house

white house sign

A Song about Nathan Bedford Forrest

Tomorrow, I’ll be performing in Selma, Alabama at the 187th Birthday Anniversary & the 9th Annual Birthday Party for Lt. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest. I wrote a song for the occasion. This song was written based on information gleaned from a book, That Devil Forrest: The Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest by John Allan Wyeth, a surgeon who rode with Forrest. There’s much we don’t know about this great man due to the myth-makers and historical revisionists who are determined to make everything about the South look bad.

That Devil Forrest

Standing over six feet high,
Wounded half a dozen times,
Fiery blue eyes
Looking up at the sky
Calling down the good Lord’s Wrath,
That devil, Forrest.

A fierce rebel ghost,
The first there with the most,
Never lost a fight,
Believed his cause was right,
Bold raider of the night
That devil, Forrest.

Killed 30 Yankees with his own hand,
And two of his own soldiers who ran,
He gave Sherman tell,
He fought them well,
A demon the Yankees feared,
That devil, Forrest.

Black rebels at his side,
Carrying pistols and Bowie knives,
Holt Collier and many others,
Who fought for masters and for brothers,
In the thick of any fight,
With that devil, Forrest.

At Fort Donelson, they hemmed him in,
But he boldly rode out with his men,
He wouldn’t surrender,
He  wouldn’t give in,
He gave the South some hope,
That devil, Forrest.

Ed Miller Song Lyrics

Ed Miller is one of the finest Scottish musicians I’ve heard. His website is here: There are several versions of this song, “The Spanish lady,” but as usual, Ed Miller’s is unique. Here is my transcription of his song. Please send me corrections for any lines or words I missed. Mistakes are easy to make in transcription, especially if the musician has an accent that is sometimes thick to my ear.

The Spanish Lady

As I went up through Edinburgh City,
Being twelve o’clock at night,
There I spied a Spanish lady
Dressing herself by candlelight.
Madam, I am come to court you
In hopes your favor for to gain
If you’ll kindly entertain me
Maybe I’ll come back again

Sit you down you, hearty, welcome
Sit you down you hearty soul,
Sit you down, you hearty. welcome
Whether ye come back or no

Madam, I’ve got gold and silver,
Madam, I’ve got house and land
Madam, I’ve got men and maidens
All shall be at your command

What care I for gold and silver
What care I for house and land
What care I for men or maidens,
All I want is a handsome man

Madam you deal much in beauty
That sweet flower will soon decay
The fairest flower in all your garden
When winter comes will fade away

Ripest apple soon is rotten
Hottest love as soon is cold
Young men vows are soon forgotten
Pray young man don’t be so bold
First comes lilies, then comes roses
First comes April, then comes May
And the fairest flower of all is summer,
When winter comes will fade away

I’ve wondered North
And I‘ve wondered South
[By Gray Fires kept and White Horse Close?]
Down and around by the old clean village
And back by Deacon Brode’s house

Auld age has laid her hands on me
As cold as a fire of ashy coals
But, where or where is the Spanish Lady,
A maid so sweet about the soul

First comes lilies, then come roses
First comes April, then comes May,
And the Fairest flower of all is summer
When winter comes will fade away.

My Favorite Confederate Flag . . .

This is the battle flag of Co. F, 5th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, King’s Mountain, South Carolina. I’m going to be making replica’s of this rare flag for sale, so if you want one you need to let me know, I’ll really try to keep the price down, as I want the message of this flag to go across the nation, even though the flag is so complex I won’t be able to mass produce it. The photo of the flag came with permission from Walter D. Kennedy’s book, Myths of American Slavery. As Kennedy says, the motto on this Confederate battle flag points to the real issue between the Federal government and the Southern states: “Like Our Ancestors–We Will Be Free.”

co. f 5th carolina flag

The Civil War Sailors and Soldiers System (site) says this of the 5th SC:

5th Regiment, South Carolina Infantry
5th Infantry Regiment, assembled during March and April, 1861, contained men recruited in Laruens, Lancaster, Spartanburg, and Union counties. It was ordered to Virginia and, serving in D.R. Jones’ Brigade, saw action at First Manassas. Later it was placed in General R.H. Anderson’s, M. Jenkins’, and Bratton’s Brigade. It participated in the campaigns of the army from Williamsburg to Fredericksburg, then served in Longstreet’s Suffolk operations and with D.H. Hill in North Carolina. Moving again with Longstreet, the unit did not arrive in time to take part in the Battle of Chickamauga, but was engaged at Knoxville. Returning to Virginia, it was conspicuous at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, in the trenches of Petersburg, and around Appomattox. This regiment reported 3 killed and 23 wounded at First Manassas and totalled 650 men in April, 1862. It sustained 21 casualties at Williamsburg, 81 at Gaines’ Mill, 73 at Frayser’s Farm, 39 during the Maryland Campaign, and 102 at Wauhatchie. In 1864 it lost 18 killed, 95 wounded, and 16 missing during The Wilderness Campaign, and from June 13 to December 31, there were 11 killed and 65 wounded. On April 9, 1865, the unit surrendered 19 officers and 263 men. The field officers were Colonels A. Coward, John R.R. Giles, and Micah Jenkins; Lieutenant Colonels Andrew Jackson, G.W.H. Legg, and John D. Wylie; and Majors Thomas C. Beckham, William M. Foster, and William T. Thomson.

You can also find a record  of the unit’s casualties at Lookout Mountain here:

A Song Popular During the Civil War & a Song about Vicksburg

Here is a song, well-known to most adults, but not known at all to the modern generation. It was a very popular song during the Civil War. Here are the lyrics and a brief history of the song.

Listen to the Mockingbird

Last night I dreamed of my Halley
Of my Halley, my sweet Halley
Last night I dreamed of my Halley
For the thought of her is one that never dies

She’s sleeping now in the valley
In the valley, my sweet Halley
She’s sleeping now in the valley
And the Mockingbird is singing where she lies

Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mockingbird is singing oe’er her grave
Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Still singing where the yellow roses grow

How well do I yet remember
I remember, I remember
How well do I yet remember
For the thought of her is one that never dies

It was in that sweet September
In September, I remember
It was in that sweet September
That the Mockingbird was singing far and wide

Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mocking bird still singing oe’er her grave
Listen to the Mockingbird, listen to the Mockingbird
Oh the Mockingbird still singing in the spring

“Listen to the Mocking Bird’ was written by Septimus Winner, the man who also gave us “Whispering Hope,” “Ten Little Indians,” the words to “Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone,” and a score of other songs. He was twenty-seven years old at the time, a music teacher and the owner of a music store in Philadelphia. Winner was acquainted with a young Negro boy, Dick Milburn (called Whistling Dick), a beggar who collected coins for his whistling and guitar playing on the streets. His whistling often turned to a beautiful imitation of a mocking bird, and this attracted Winner’s attention and thought. It gave him an idea for a song and he promptly went to work on it. He finished “Listen to the Mocking Bird,” gave Whistling Dick a job in his store, and published the composition in April, 1855, using the pseudonym Alice Hawthorne. Pseudonyms were common practice in those days, for example Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Artemus Ward (Charles Browne). Winner chose Hawthorne after his mother’s maiden name. He never explained the “Alice” part of it.

Within months this song hit all parts of our nation and people everywhere went wild over it, especially in the South where the mocking bird is a common sight. For years afterwards Southern mothers named their baby girls Hally (or Hallie) after this song. President Abraham Lincoln said of this song “It is as sincere as the laughter of a little girl at play,” and King Edward VII of England remarked, “I whistled ‘Listen To the Mocking Bird’ when I was a little boy.”

The song became popular all over Europe and it is estimated that by 1905 total sheet copies sold ran approximately twenty million. This song’s immense popularity has struck solidly for over a century. It is truly one of our old-time, all-time song hits.

Retrieved from p. 141 The American Song Treasury

A Civil War Song about the Siege of Vicksburg

It is fitting that this close to the fourth of July that we make a few comments on the siege of Vicksburg. Vicksburg National Park is about an 8 hour drive from the Texhoma region, but a very profitable experience.  The loss of Vicksburg was a tremendous blow to the Confederacy.  It is also a heartbreaking example of how the Northern Army waged a relentless war against the civilian population of the South, something I’m proud to say the South did not officially do.

There are many websites devoted to this siege. The finest book on the subject I could recommend is The Defense of Vicksburg: A Louisiana Chronicle  by Allan C. Richard, Jr. and Mary Margaret Higginbotham Richard (Texas A&M Publisher). I was fortunate in that I recently met Ms. Richard and obtained a signed copy.

The following song was very popular after the siege of Vicksburg. It is sung to the tune of “Listen to the Mockingbird.”

‘Twas at the Seige of Vicksburg,

Of Vicksburg, of Vicksburg,

‘Twas at the Seige of Vicksburg,

When the Parrott shells were whistlin’ through the air!


Listen to the Parrott shells!

Listen to the Parrott shells!

The Parrott shells are whistlin’ through the air!

Listen to the Parrott shells!

Listen to the Parrott shells!

The Parrott shells are whistlin’ through the air!

Oh, well will we remember

Remember, remember,

Tough mule meat, June sans November,

And the minie-balls that whistled through the air!


Listen to the minie-balls!

Listen to the minie-balls!

The minie-balls are singing in the air!

Listen to the minie-balls!

Listen to the minie-balls!

The minie-balls are singing in the air!

For Librarians Only: How Librarians & Authors Can Have Successful Author Events

In spite of the fact I wrote, “For Librarians Only,” I knew you’d read it anyway. That’s okay. These are things writers, school teachers, and librarians should know in order to have a successful signing. In all fairness, I must say that much, if not most, of what’s in this list I learned from the very talented librarians I have worked with.  These are only suggestions, but I feel they may be helpful to author and librarian alike. Recently, I was broadcast by Region VII, and this was one of the handouts I shared with the librarians who were in attendance and who were watching the broadcast.

Checklist for Successful Author Event in School Libraries

•    Ask author to acknowledge all (every one) correspondence from you.  File or print each email and make notes on phone calls.  Obtain phone as well as email contact information. (If the Internet server goes down, you must have phone contact!)
•    Author should sign and fax W-9 form if required by your district.  Find out district/school policy on payment as authors generally expect payment on the day of program.
•    A written contract for the event should be created.
•    Find out what the author will need for the event (tables, etc.)
•    A schedule of event day should be sent to author. This way he/she will know what to expect.
•    Ask author for bio and other press information, including photo. File this information as you receive it.
•    Obtain handouts, giveaways (like bookmarks) photos, etc. from author if they have them.
•    Notify local media of the event. Ask author what he/she can do to help with publicity for the event (his blog, website, newspapers, etc.)  Community publicity is good for the image of your school and library.  Obtain an extra copy of any articles and send to the author. Authors do appreciate that.
•    Obtain author’s book(s) before the event if possible and read (or have teachers read) the book(s) to the children and discuss them.  Students are much more excited about the program.
•    Send a brochure or letter home to the parents of students attending the program, informing them of the author’s visit and his/her books, including price if they are able to purchase them.
•    Communicate to the author any specific expectations or requests.
•    Talk up the event with school newspaper, school announcements, and with school staff. Encourage teachers to drop by and meet the author. A pre-program display can also be effective to build interest.
•    Decide if you want to sell the author’s books as a fund-raiser, or if you don’t want or need to fool with that, have author bring his/her own books to sell. Or you can just focus on the program.
•    Offer lunch to the author and provide water during program(s).
•    Contact author a few days before the event.
•    Take photos or record program on video for records, school website, and posterity.  Get as much mileage out of the event as you can.
•    Share your impression of the program with other librarians. (Texas Library List Serve, etc.)

Arlington Book Signing & Children’s Parade

Children’s Parade

Here are some photos of the Monroe July 4th Children’s Parade at Triangle Park. The paper said that over 1500 people were there. I so enjoyed this. The children and spectators were excited, the weather perfect (but warm), and thankfully the event was well reported. It’s good when positive things are featured in the news, instead of the usual digging for dirt to feed the toxic gossip craving many people have.

Here is the parade sign in Triangle Park:

parade sign

Here is my grandson, Mason, who proudly rode in the parade:


Here is the John Adams of the Parade:

john adams

Here is Mason with his father Stewart, waiting for the parade to begin.

mason and stewart


My signing at the new Barnes & Noble in Arlington on Cooper Street on Saturday afternoon was a success. The store is very busy and I was able to tell at least two hundred people the story of Jim Limber. One thing I enjoy about signings is the people I meet. Here is a photo of me and one of the workers, Amanda. Amanda is a writer herself and we had a good talk about writing.

amanda b& N arlington

Here is one of the managers, Erica. She was very helpful and encouraging.

erica b&n

Study Guide Lesson #11 “Prayer from Little Round Top”

Today’ entry concludes the lessons for the study guide for my collection of historical short fiction.  Tomorrow, I’ll have an entry featuring Mason (my grandson) for the Monroe Garden District’s Annual Fourth of July Children’s Parade at Triangle Park!

Lesson 11: Stories of the Confederate South –
“Prayer from Little Round Top”

Questions and Topics for Discussion, Papers, and Projects:

1. Research the 15th Alabama and their assault on Little Round Top. How would the battle (and perhaps the War) had been different if this unit had taken and held this mountain?
2. Create a map or model of the Battle of Gettysburg. Illustrate the role of the 15th Alabama.
3. Research the units on both sides involved in the battle for Little Round Top.
4. Research the close relationship of twins and how this story illustrates this closeness.
5. Research the Irish allusions in the story, including the song “The Rose of Tralee,” Connemarra, the Potato Famine, and the Coffin Ships.
6. Write a comparison/contrast paper of the two famous commanders in this battle, Joshua Chamberlain and William C. Oates.



The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.   This is a historical novel and made into the movie, Gettysburg.
Storming Little Round Top: The 15th Alabama and Their Fight for the High Ground, July 2, 1863 by Phillip Tucker.

This is a story inspired by Jed Marum’s song, “Prayer from Little Round Top.” Here are the lyrics and notes by Jed Marum. Discuss them and discuss how they guided the writing of the short story.

This song was inspired by reading shiplists and genealogy web sites, and by researching the history of the 15th Alabama. Author Rickey Pittman has written a short story based upon this song and the history. His book of short stories is called “Stories of the Confederate South” and you can find more information at his website

Prayer from Little Round Top
© Jed Marum 2000

As a child standing by her graveside, I recall
many years ago, we said our last goodbye.
My loving twin sister Sarah left me that day,
torn away by hunger and the blight of ’45.
My father said the Lord would send a mighty wind
to fill our sails and take us ‘cross the sea to Americay
We left behind the pain and famine, we left behind
the land I love, and through the years I remember every day, and

In dreams I see the mountain tops of my lovely Connemarra
I hear the waves roll gently on the shores along the bay
I dream I travel home again
And I want to stay forever
And I only need a gentle breeze
And I’ll be on my way

From Ireland to Talladaga Alabama,
Carried on the wind, welcomed at my uncle’s farm.
Through the years now, I’ve learned new ways but little Sarah’s lovely face
I’ve carried in my heart since we were young.

When the bells rang I joined the 15th Regiment
fighting for my home and adopted country.
Many battles now I find myself on this Pennsylvania hilltop
I draw deep from gentle the summer breeze CHO

With a sharp crack from a Yankee rifle a bullet burns
deep within my chest and I’m sinking to the ground
and my eyes find the new horizon while musket fire is
passing overhead in waves of muffled sound.

FINAL CHO: Here I see the mountaintops of lovely Connemarra
I hear the waves roll gently on the shores along the bay
and I can see my home again
where I’m running free with Sarah
Now I only need a gentle breeze
And I’ll be on my way