The Very Lost Cause: Sons of Confederate Veterans Memorial marker removed from gravesite of former slave honored as a Confederate soldier

(Image copyright Heather Rosseau/The Roanoke Times)

Historian and author Kevin Levin has some timely commentary on a Richmond Times-Dispatch news report about the descendants of Creed Holland who have removed a Sons of Confederate Veterans memorial marker which erroneously honored Holland as a former Confederate soldier.

"ROCKY MOUNT — Though he died more than 80 years ago, Creed Holland’s history is still being written — and revised.
In 2002, he was honored for his service as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Holland, a black slave from Glade Hill before emancipation, is believed to have served as a teamster, hauling supplies, in the 58th Virginia Infantry Regiment.
His involvement in the war was news to his family. Holland had never discussed his service with them.
Now his great-grandson, William Holland, of Atlanta, questions whether Creed Holland actually served in the war.
He and his family members decided to remove the memorial marker, and replace it with one that better reflects their family’s African ancestry.
He has doubts for several reasons. None of his family members have any information about Creed Holland’s service — no one ever talked about it. When he filed paperwork for his pension, the pension clerk wrote back seeking additional information about his service. Creed Holland couldn’t read or write, so he wouldn’t have been able to fill out the application on his own.
If he had received pension money, it would have been life-changing, yet he struggled financially. Even if he did serve, William Holland doubts his great-grandfather ever received a pension.“There’s too much uncertainty,” Holland said.
Robert Barbour, commander of the Fincastle Rifles chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, counters several of these points. Many Vietnam War veterans today don’t talk about their service with their families, and soldiers who served in the Civil War didn’t either, he said. Many people couldn’t read or write back then, so they had someone help them fill out the paperwork and signed with an “x,” as Creed Holland’s pension application shows.
And though a pension clerk sent a letter dated Sept. 25, 1925, back to Creed Holland with questions about his application — specifically on numbers six and seven, which addressed branch and services rendered — those questions appear to have been answered. Another document seems to indicate Creed was granted a pension of $6.25.
When Creed filed Holland for his pension in 1925, there weren’t many records to consult to verify a man’s service. At the time, a person who filed for a pension had to have two men who served with him stand up for him and verify his service, Barbour said.
As far as the Sons of Confederate Veterans are concerned, the pension records verify that Creed Holland was in fact a Confederate soldier.
Whether Creed Holland served or not, his descendants — most of them at least — have decided they no longer want to be affiliated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans."

Restoring the honor!


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