‘Pappa’ was a Reb and danged proud
By MIKE AVERILL World Scene Writer
Capt. James T. Roseborough must have been spinning in his grave last weekend.
That’s because his great-great-great grandson donned the blue wool uniform of a Union private with the 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and took aim at the boys in gray during a reenactment of the Battle of Round Mountain.
I’m sure I didn’t hit anyone. Even if my rifle had been loaded, I could barely pack the powder during the heat of battle.
‘Pappa’ kind of preached
Roseborough, who lived in Texarkana, volunteered with Company D of the 6th North Carolina Infantry at the onset of the war and reached the rank of lieutenant at 18. He fought with the Confederacy until its final surrender and finished the war as a captain in Company G, 6th North Carolina regiment Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.
Many stories have been shared with the family about "Pappa" Roseborough, such as his insistence on mailing his note of surrender to the president personally and that he would sit on his front porch, Confederate flag flying, and cause a ruckus if it wasn’t saluted by passersby.
While those may just be stories, there’s no denying that he loved the Confederacy. To show his appreciation, he had the "Confederate Memorial" statue built near his home in Texarkana.
The memorial features a statue of a Confederate soldier, facing north, above the statue of a Confederate mother. The inscription on the soldier reads: "To our loyal Confederates." The inscription on
the mother reads: "O Great Confederate Mothers, we would print your names on monuments, that men may read them as the years go by and tribute pay to you, who bore and nurtured hero sons and gave them solace on that darkest hour, when they came home with broken swords and guns."
Erected in 1918, the monument’s figures were carved in Italy, with special permission from President Woodrow Wilson to import them during World War I.
Because of this ancestry on my mother’s side and a love of history, I’ve gained somewhat of a reverence for the South — not the abhorrent practice of slavery, but for men like Gen. Lee and Roseborough, who fought for states rights against an invading Federal army.
I’m by no means a Rebel flag waiver, but seeing the Battle Flag of the Confederacy across the field while awaiting my orders made me think of Roseborough and what that symbol meant to him.
All mental meandering ceased once the canons fired and the rifle shots rang out.
One gets a new appreciation for all soldiers of the Civil War when you’re standing 25 yards from the enemy as they’re firing and you’re trying to dump black powder down the barrel of your gun, your comrades in line are dropping dead and tripping you up as you pull back.
Yes, I was "seeing the elephant" and green as any soldier to grace a battlefield. But for a fan of history it was a wonderful experience.
One of the gentlemen in my unit was correct when he said, "You’ll get confused as to what time it is out there." With everyone in authentic garb, orders being barked by command and plenty of gunsmoke, it’s true. Some moments during the 45-minute battle seemed real.
Too real, like when we were retreating with a band of Confederates in chase screeching that horrific Rebel yell.
And to my great-great-great-grandfather: While I might not have agreed with everything you were fighting for, at least you had the gumption to stand up for what you believed in, not an easy trait to find anymore.
By MIKE AVERILL World Scene Writer
Copyright © 2009, World Publishing Co.