The Conquered Banner, 1865
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The poem was first published on June 24, 1865, in the pro-Confederate Roman Catholic newspaper the New York Freeman under the pen-name "Moina". It made Father Ryan famous and became one of the best known poems of the post-war South, memorized and recited by generations of Southern schoolchildren.
David O'Connell has described Conquered Banner as echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson's extremely popular "Concord Hymn". According to O'Connell, readers would have unconsciously have thought of Emerson's poem about "Concord" when Ryan used the word "conquered", and by echoing Emerson's reference to a furled flag, Ryan would have enhanced the patriotic resonance his poem had among Southern readers brought up reciting Emerson's "Concord Hymn". The final verse reads:
St. Michael's began as a mission church in 1842. Father Abram Ryan, now known as the poet-priest of the Confederacy, served here in 1864-1865. In his poem, "The Conquered Banner" (1865), Ryan wrote of the Confederate surrender: "Furl that Banner, softly, softly!/Treat it gently it is holy-/For it droops above the dead/Touch it non-unfold it never/Let it droop there, furled forever/For its people's hopes are dead!"
In 1865, Miss Sarah Ann Tillinghast, of Fayetteville, N.C., wrote this poem in response to Father Ryan's "The Conquered Banner."Answer to The Conquered Banner"No, fold it not away forever,Keep it in hearts' depth ever,Love it, keep it for its past;Take it out some time and wave it,Think of those who died to save it,Glory in the blood we gave it,Bind it with our heart-strings fast.Take it out sometime and show it,Let your children early know it,Know its glory - not its shame.Teach them early to adore it,Scorn forever those who tore it,Tell them how it won a name."
As rancorous debates over Confederate symbols continue, Robert Bonner explores how the rebel flag gained its enormous power to inspire and repel. In the process, he shows how the Confederacy sustained itself for as long as it did by cultivating the allegiances of countless ordinary citizens. Bonner also comments more broadly on flag passions--those intense emotional reactions to waving pieces of cloth that inflame patriots to kill and die. Colors and Blood depicts a pervasive flag culture that set the emotional tone of the Civil War in the Union as well as the Confederacy. Northerners and southerners alike devoted incredible energy to flags, but the Confederate project was unique in creating a set of national symbols from scratch. In describing the activities of white southerners who designed, sewed, celebrated, sang about, and bled for their new country's most visible symbols, the book charts the emergence of Confederate nationalism. Theatrical flag performances that cast secession in a melodramatic mode both amplified and contained patriotic emotions, contributing to a flag-centered popular patriotism that motivated true believers to defy and sacrifice. This wartime flag culture nourished Confederate nationalism for four years, but flags' martial associations ultimately eclipsed their expression of political independence. After 1865, conquered banners evoked valor and heroism while obscuring the ideology of a slaveholders' rebellion, and white southerners recast the totems of Confederate nationalism as relics of the Lost Cause. At the heart of this story is the tremendous capacity of bloodshed to infuse symbols with emotional power. Confederate flag culture, black southerners' charged relationship to the Stars and Stripes, contemporary efforts to banish the Southern Cross, and arguments over burning the Star Spangled Banner have this in common: all demonstrate Americans' passionate relationship with symbols that have been imaginatively soaked in blood.
"As a regiment we cannot be excelled, as men, we have only our equals, but as citizens, our motto is, veni, vidi, vici. We came as soldiers, as men we saw and acted upon, and as the noble handiwork of God, we have conquered one-half of the prejudice that has been for the last half-century crushing our race into the dust. And now . . . it affords us, I say us, for I share in common with my poor benighted race, a happy time in thinking that through the instrumentality of an all-wise Providence we are considered, by all that are lovers of the Union and Freedom, freemen."
Like most black regiments, the 25th did not take part in any battles during its service. White officers doubted black soldiers would fight, so USCT regiments guarded forts. The regiment had hoped to march on Mobile in March 1865 but was left on Pensacola Bay instead. "We were compelled to witness our brethren marching forth against the foe, while we remained to protect Government property," Chaplain Miller wrote.
Like white LMA members, African American women formed clubs to bury their dead, to celebrate African American masculinity, and to provide aid to their communities. On May 1, 1865, African Americans in Charleston created the precursor to the modern Memorial Day by mourning the Union dead buried hastily on a race track turned prison.29 Like their white counterparts, the three hundred African American women who participated had been members of the local Patriotic Association, which aided freedpeople during the war. African American women continued participating in federal Decoration Day ceremonies and, later, formed their own club organizations. Racial violence, whether city riots or rural vigilantes, continued to threaten these vulnerable households. Nevertheless, the formation and preservation of African American households became a paramount goal for African American women.
War brought destruction across the South. Governmental and private buildings, communication systems, the economy, and transportation infrastructure were all debilitated. [Richmond, Va. Crippled locomotive, Richmond & Petersburg Railroad depot], c. 1865. Library of Congress.
By 1864, however, he moved to Tennessee and had begun acting as a kind of freelance pastor to the Confederate Army. It was here that most of his well-known poetry was composed including In Memory of My Brother. He was present at a number of major battles during the war and, in 1865, wrote The Conquered Banner.
Starting in 1865, near the war's end, Ryan moved from parish to parish throughout the South, moving from a brief posting in Clarksville, Tennessee (November 1864-March 1865), with subsequent stays in Knoxville (April 1865-December 1867), Augusta Georgia (January 1868-April 1870), and a lengthier tenure in Mobile Alabama (June 1870-October 1880). He then spent a year in semi-retirement at Biloxi, Mississippi (November 1881-October 1882) while completing his second book, A Crown for Our Queen.
We, the American citizens of African descent of the State of Virginia, in Convention assembled, in the city of Alexandria, this 4th day of August A.D. 1865, do adopt the following preamble and resolutions:
In spite of repeated discouragements we continued to flock to your lines, giving invaluable information, guiding your scouting parties and your minor expeditions, digging in your trenches, driving your teams, and in every way lightening the labors of your soldiers; concealing and aiding your soldiers who were escaping from the prison pens of a barbarous foe, and when reluctantly permitted, we rallied by myriads under your banner, and by the heroism illustrated at Fort Wagner,8 Port Hudson,9 Milliken's Bend10 and before Petersburg and Richmond, we demonstrated our capacity to understand the ideas of the contest, and our worthiness to stand side by side with the bravest in fighting it out.
6. The reference is to Alfred Howe Terry (1827-1890), Civil War soldier. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War he was commissioned colonel of the 2nd Connecticut Militia, a three months' regiment, and participated in the first battle of Bull Run. After the bombardment, seige, and capture of Fort Pulaski, Georgia, in April 1862, Terry was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. In 1863 Terry was·transferred to the Army of the James under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler and the following year was engaged mainly in operations against Richmond and Petersburg. On January 15, 1865, he was advanced to brigadier general in the regular army and received the thanks of Congress with particular reference to the capture of Fort Fisher.
7. The reference is to John Wesley Turner (1833-1899), Civil War soilder. After the outbreak of hostilities Turner was commissioned captain in the commissary department and served as chief commissary under Gen. David Hunter in Kansas from December 1861 to March 1862, and in the same capacity under General Hunter when the latter was in command of the Department of the South in April 1862. In May of the same year he served as chief commissary on the staff of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler at New Orleans and remained with him to the end of the year. After General Hunter was relieved of his command, Turner was made chief of staff and chief of artillery in June 1863 and took part in the siege of Fort Wagner and the attack on Fort Sumter. From November 20, 1864, to January 12, 1865, he was chief of staff of the Army of James.
With a continuous presence in China since 1865, HSBC was well-positioned when, in the late 1970s, China started to open up to foreign investment again. In 1984, HSBC became the first foreign bank to be granted a banking licence in mainland China since 1949, for its branch in Shenzhen. Pictured above is a 1980s brochure illustrating business opportunities in China.
Ardently in sympathy with the Confederate cause, Ryan sought unsuccessfully to be commissioned a military chaplain. He was accepted by the Diocese of Nashville, in which he labored from 1864 to 1867. From time to time he interrupted his pastoral duties to serve as a free-lance chaplain with the armed forces of the South. Following Appomattox, he wrote in Knoxville, Tenn., "The Conquered Banner," which was sent by a friend to the New York Freeman's Journal, where it was published June 24, 1865, over the pen name of Moina. This poem, with "The Sword of Robert Lee" and others, soon earned him the epithet Poet of the Confederacy. 2b1af7f3a8