Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith

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Belle Montgomery

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Joined
Oct 25, 2017
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44022
For a guy who’s been dead 125 years, Edmund Kirby Smith has sure stirred up a lot of trouble in Lake County, a place he never stepped foot in but where his likeness might stand in perpetuity.

Over vehement objections, the curator for the Lake County Historical Museum is forging ahead with plans to bring a 9-foot-tall statue of the obscure Confederate general to Tavares in 2020 when Smith’s bronze figure is booted from its prestigious perch in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to make room for a sculpture of African-American educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

To some whites here, the St. Augustine-born Smith is a heroic figure worthy of honor — a West Point-educated military commander who stayed true to his home state’s values, fighting fiercely in the Civil War, though on the losing side. But to others, especially blacks, Smith was a slave-owning traitor who reneged on his U.S. military oath and fought to preserve Southern life and slavery.

Seeking compromise, Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione proposed an alternative approach this week to resolving the conflict that would let the statue come to Lake County but require each side to “give a little in the name of respect, education, empathy and forgiveness.”

Interesting video top of article:
REST OF ARTICLE: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-lake-county-confederate-statue-20180913-story.html
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Location
Colorado
Went to high school in Lake County, Florida. Born in Orlando. Back then Kirby Smith would have been more than welcome. Still is in many parts. Not with the politicians I am sure. And not with all the Yankees flooding the state....
I found it ironic that Miss Bethune would be the new statue, as education is not such a priority for some.
 

jgoodguy

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is a terrible thing...
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Birmingham, Alabama
Just make sure the plaque reads
General Kirby Smith Collection - Florida Museum of Natural History
He is credited with the discovery of several species of plants in Tennessee and Florida.

I just found out that the Kirby Smith statue is soon to be removed from the Capitol and replaced by someone else who actually lived in Florida for most of their life and also was not a Confederate officer. In reading his biography and about his life it turns out that his relationship with the Confederacy and slavery was complex. His sister remained loyal to the Union and then married a Confederate, so Thanksgiving dinners were probably awkward for years.​
 
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Yankeedave

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Joined
Dec 3, 2012
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Colorado
Just make sure the plaque reads
General Kirby Smith Collection - Florida Museum of Natural History
He is credited with the discovery of several species of plants in Tennessee and Florida.

I just found out that the Kirby Smith statue is soon to be removed from the Capitol and replaced by someone else who actually lived in Florida for most of their life and also was not a Confederate officer. In reading his biography and about his life it turns out that his relationship with the Confederacy and slavery was complex. His sister remained loyal to the Union and then married a Confederate, so Thanksgiving dinners were probably awkward for years.​
:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

John Hartwell

Major
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Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
For a guy who’s been dead 125 years, Edmund Kirby Smith has sure stirred up a lot of trouble in Lake County, a place he never stepped foot in but where his likeness might stand in perpetuity.

Over vehement objections, the curator for the Lake County Historical Museum is forging ahead with plans to bring a 9-foot-tall statue of the obscure Confederate general to Tavares in 2020 when Smith’s bronze figure is booted from its prestigious perch in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to make room for a sculpture of African-American educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

To some whites here, the St. Augustine-born Smith is a heroic figure worthy of honor — a West Point-educated military commander who stayed true to his home state’s values, fighting fiercely in the Civil War, though on the losing side. But to others, especially blacks, Smith was a slave-owning traitor who reneged on his U.S. military oath and fought to preserve Southern life and slavery.

Seeking compromise, Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione proposed an alternative approach this week to resolving the conflict that would let the statue come to Lake County but require each side to “give a little in the name of respect, education, empathy and forgiveness.”

Interesting video top of article:
REST OF ARTICLE: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-lake-county-confederate-statue-20180913-story.html
Regardless of the virtues of each side's arguments, the last line of the article says it best:

“But we were in the midst of our own Confederate monument controversy...Realizing the atmosphere at the time, introducing another Confederate monument into the mix was simply not prudent.”
How, indeed, could anyone not have forseen the move would be controversial.
 

Yankeedave

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Location
Colorado
People are ignorant sheep sometimes. They still buy a Ford car even though Ford built trucks etc for a certain political party. They drive a Prius powered by the nuke and coal plant...grrr
 
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Rusk County Avengers

Sergeant Major
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Coffeeville, TX
Personally, in my opinion, Edmund Kirby Smith isn't a Confederate General worthy of applause. In the 1862 Kentucky Campaign his performance was average, and as the commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department he was incompetent in most areas, a dictator in others, and probably prevented a near-tide turning Confederate victory in the Red River Campaign by taking most of Taylor's troops away to pursue an already fleeing smaller Union army in Arkansas ending in Confederate defeat at the Battle of Jenkin's Ferry so he could pursue glory and snub Taylor. Ironic part is that if he left his nemesis Taylor alone at the very least Taylor stood a good chance of retaking Baton Rouge, if not New Orleans like he felt he could, (I'm not convinced Taylor could've retaken New Orleans, but he certainly thought he could, and Taylor was a good judge in that department). Such a success for Taylor could have turned the tide in the war, but Kirby Smith was out to get the glory instead of Taylor, he let his personal vendettas get in the way of conducting the war. Not a great Confederate in any regard, and it could be said he in some ways, (Taylor certainly thought so), was one of the people who did more to lose the war than most other Confederates, through his own incompetence.

On another note, the unreliable biographer of General Jo Shelby, wrote that during their time in San Antonio while journeying to Mexico, an old man covered in dust got off a wagon and signed his name as "William Thompson" an that they recognized him as Kirby Smith. It was written that he joined their exodus, and when they crossed the Rio Grande, he rode a mule wearing baggy flannel trousers, and a calico shirt with the sleeves rolled up, with one reference I can't recall where of him also wearing a sombrero, (I won't swear to the hat). Smith wrote that he carried a revolver in his belt, a shotgun on his saddle and that he left everything else behind, "except a clear conscience and a sense of having done my duty". In case it isn't evident I'm no fan of Kirby Smith, to me it's also a bit cowardly to have surrendered his command against the wishs of a great many in it, and then flee with some of them to Mexico, instead of staying behind in a situation he had a big hand in making, in so many ways.

For further reading I suggest "Destruction and Reconstruction" Taylor really, really didn't like Kirby Smith, and going by his accounts, I can't blame him.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Ah yes, just what Lake County, Florida needs: a statue of a Confederate general who has no connection to the place.

I wonder if they ever got around to putting up a memorial to the Groveland Boys or any of the other Civil Rights era violence in that county?

A statue of EKS taken out of the FL state capital belongs in St. Augustine where he actually hailed from. Preferably in front of his mother's house, which survives to present day. IIRC, the story goes her anxiety for his safe return may have contributed to her death before the war ended.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
A statue of EKS taken out of the FL state capital belongs in St. Augustine where he actually hailed from. Preferably in front of his mother's house, which survives to present day. IIRC, the story goes her anxiety for his safe return may have contributed to her death before the war ended.
Excellent suggestion.
 
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Joshism

Sergeant Major
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Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
For further reading I suggest "Destruction and Reconstruction" Taylor really, really didn't like Kirby Smith, and going by his accounts, I can't blame him.
Given that Smith and Taylor didn't get along I wouldn't expect Taylor's memoirs to paint him in a positive light. Is there any good unbiased modern historian who addresses the subject?
 

Belle Montgomery

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Location
44022
People are ignorant sheep sometimes. They still buy a Ford car even though Ford built trucks etc for a certain political party. They drive a Prius powered by the nuke and coal plant...grrr
Ford also stopped making cars to build airplanes (B-24) Liberator for WWII. People buy Japanese cars now and they bombed us and tortured US POW's (Bataan Death march etc.) They also used those planes to bomb Germany too.
 
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Old Prof

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Jun 20, 2018
For a guy who’s been dead 125 years, Edmund Kirby Smith has sure stirred up a lot of trouble in Lake County, a place he never stepped foot in but where his likeness might stand in perpetuity.

Over vehement objections, the curator for the Lake County Historical Museum is forging ahead with plans to bring a 9-foot-tall statue of the obscure Confederate general to Tavares in 2020 when Smith’s bronze figure is booted from its prestigious perch in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol to make room for a sculpture of African-American educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

To some whites here, the St. Augustine-born Smith is a heroic figure worthy of honor — a West Point-educated military commander who stayed true to his home state’s values, fighting fiercely in the Civil War, though on the losing side. But to others, especially blacks, Smith was a slave-owning traitor who reneged on his U.S. military oath and fought to preserve Southern life and slavery.

Seeking compromise, Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione proposed an alternative approach this week to resolving the conflict that would let the statue come to Lake County but require each side to “give a little in the name of respect, education, empathy and forgiveness.”

Interesting video top of article:
REST OF ARTICLE: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-lake-county-confederate-statue-20180913-story.html
Smith was a career army officer on active duty on the frontier until the outbreak of the war. How many slaves did he own? I know of none.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Smith was a career army officer on active duty on the frontier until the outbreak of the war. How many slaves did he own? I know of none.
He resigned his commission in the US Army to join the CS Army. Whether he personally owned slaves should be secondary.

But apparently he did own a slave, or at least his family did and the slave served him: Alexander Darnes.
 
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