soldier with rifle american civil war THE
SESQUICENTENNIAL
EDITION

 

 

The Whipping Post

Part I

The Virginia Historical Society Promotes Propaganda

The Virginia Historical Society aka The Southern Historical Society has become a mouthpiece for the Black Virginia Democrat agenda, which is to say it paints Virginia's four hundred year history as something it is not—the history of a society of English people who savagely, viciously, and barbarically enslaved a resident population of five hundred thousand Africans for two hundred and fifty of those years. An example of this, is demonstrated by the Society's—that is, its managers—production of a display that visitors walk through, which includes a prop they call a "whipping post" that was used in Portsmouth, Virginia, before the war, "as a form of terror" to "keep slaves in their place." The reality is far more interesting if the truth be told.

Virginia story
Story of Virginia

The story the VHS video narrator tells is that "A Union soldier removed a whipping post from a slave jail, to show to the people of his home town the last visages of barbarism. In Virginia whipping was the most common form of punishment for both slaves and free blacks. Public whipping was used as a form of terror and tended to keep slaves in their place. Their backs would be exposed and they would receive a set number of lashes. Anywhere from twenty-five to several hundred. The whip had three pieces of leather, or tails, attached to a handle.At times the whipping could be so severe that the victim could end up bed-ridden for weeks, if not months. Death could also result from a particularly harsh beating."

The objective facts, however, are distinctly different. As for the origin of the object the VHS tells us is a whipping post, a Union soldier named Charles C. Miller seems to have removed the object from the Portsmouth VA public jail in the spring of 1863. At that time Portsmouth was occupied by several Union regiments. One of these was the 148th N,Y. Volunteer Infantry Regiment that had been organized in the southwestern counties of rural New York. Miller was a fireman living in Penn Yan, N.Y., when he enlisted in the 148th, in August 1862. By April 1863, he had been promoted to the rank of 1st Sergeant of Company G, and was engaged with the other companies of the regiment in enforcing maritial law in Norfolk and Portsmouth, the regiment's colonel acting as commander of the garrison. According to a story told in the Penn Yan newspaper, in 1907, a story that may have been lifted from a diary purported to be Miller's, which sold at auction in 2014, Miller shipped home the planks of a shell he claimed had encased a whipping post located inside the Portsmouth jail yard.

Miller Letter June 1863
Miller Letter continued

Portsmouth map 1850
Portsmouth Courthouse, built 1846

The history of Portsmouth before the Civil War is obscure, but notwithstanding this, it appears that three courthouses were built between the 18th and 19th centuries. During the time the first two courthouses were in use, there appears to have been a prison located on the site where the 1846 courthouse was built, the block on which it was placed, known to the community as Prison Square. In 1846, this prison was removed to make way for the new courthouse, to the corner opposite the Catholic Church at Washington and High Streets.

Portsmouth map 1850 jail
1846-1880 Location of Norfolk County Jail

New Era Newspaper 1846
New Era 1846 jail
Portsmouth New Era Newspaper, 1846

diagram of jail


Miller story part 1
Miller story con
Miller story
Miller story
Yates County Chronicle 1907

Whether or not the newspaper story was taken from Miller's supposed diary is not clear, as another version of his story was published in the Penn Yan papers, in 1985 which adds details not given in the 1907 version. (Page 2A not found.)

Chronicle 1985
Chronicle 1985 connt
chroncile

Recognizing the standard of proof offered here, is that of the trial court, the probable truth of the matter is that Miller, being a 1st Sergeant of a company of Union soldiers, engaged in maintaining martial law, was using the Norfolk County Jail for military purposes, and in that way had access to the post and no one to stop him, much less a "jailor," from taking possession of the post. However, an examination of the object displayed by VHS as the "post" confirms the editor of the 1985 piece's statement that what VHS actually has on display is a "shell." That is, either the actual wood post was boxed in quarter-inch planks of wood, or Miller simply constructed the shell out of raw materials and shipped it back home with the idea that some day he and his fellow firemen would use it in a prop in Penn Yan's annual parades; for the idea Miller and his supposed helpers carried a seven foot ten inch by ten inch piece of wood through the streets of Portsmouth to the ferry, and then across the river to Norfolk, and then to a steamer in Hampton Roads seems far-fetched.

1907: "Then I lifted the post out of the jail, took it apart, and hired a colored ma to help take it out to camp. . . I boxed the post and shipped it home at once to my family, to be preserved as a relic of barbarism."

1985: "I broke the chain which held the lock, and opened the gate and carried it through. I took it apart.. . I boxed the whipping post up and shipped it to my brother to be preserved as an historic relic."

How one "takes apart" a 10" X 10" wood post, Miller's story does not say. In both versions, Miller tells us that he "boxed" the wood post and shipped the post home as "boxed." Setting aside the silliness of the idea of doing this—paying the freight cost to ship an object that, given its deminsions, must have weighed seventy-five pounds—the "box" which VHS displays seems much too elaborate to function as a shipping container. The "box" is made of wood planks, planed, nailed together, and stained, and, as it is displayed, it has what appear to be ordinary gate handles nailed to the wood plank; hardly sturdy enough to function as a "whipping post" in itself. And this is confirmed by a third report provided by the Yates County newspapers.

Yates 1948
Yates Co. Chronicle 1948

VHS post

VHS post

VHS post

gate handle on post

What VHS has, is an empty "box" which Miller constructed to use as a prop in a parade. In April 1865, and again in September 1868, Miller and his pals, all members of Penn Yan's Exclesior Engine Company #2, fixed the box to the bed of a wagon and, with their fire engine pieces, paraded down Main Street celebrating, first, the end of the war, and, second, U.S. Grant's presidential campaign. On both ocassions, they had a man "banacled" to the box, masquerading as a whipping post, as a stand-in for a whipped slave. Thereafter, the box sat, first, at the G.A.R. Post; then, at the Penn Yan Academy; then at the Yates County Historical Society until it was transferred to the possession of VHS, sometime after 1985.

Recollection 1913
recollection part 2
Yates County Chroncile 1913


Yates Co. Chroncile April 22, 1865

1903
Eyewitness recollecting in 1903

image Main Street Penn Yan
Main Street, Penn Yan 1868

image Penn Yan
Penn Yan, circa Civil War

Penn Yan monument
Penn Yan Soldiers Monument

Penn Yan street map
Charles C. Miller's lot on Main St, 1868

Miller diary
Supposed Miller Diary in unknown hands

Miller hat
C.C.Miller Forage Cap

So, then, the objective record shows that the whipping post was not found by Miller in a "slave jail," but in the yard of the Norfolk County (City) public jail where ordinary persons, of whatever color, were held as prisoners, to either await trial and sentencing, or serve terms for crimes they were convicted of; and that Miller made a "box" to represent a whipping post and shipped it to Penn Yan in April 1863, and used it twice thereafter in parades as a prop.

Dailey Dispatch 1859
Daliey dispatch 1859
Richmond Daily Dispatch, April 29, 1859

Miller 1864
Yates County Chronicle April 1863

image Portsmouth Courthouse
Portsmouth Courthouse

Courtroom
Courtroom

Part II

Whipping As Punishment In Virginia: 1620-1865

Virginnia law 1619

Virginia face sheet for law book

The VHS narrator tells us that whipping was the most common form of punishment for both slaves and free blacks, that public whipping was used as a form of terror to keep slaves in their place, that their backs would be exposed to as much as several hundred lashes with a whip made of three pieces of leather, leaving the poor devils bed-ridden for weeks if not months, with death sometimes resulting.This is pure crap, fantasty made up to support the black Democrat agenda in Virginia, which is to force the white majority of the state to give up the right to publicly remember the tens of thousands of young Americans who answered their elders' call to duty and walked into the fire of war.

Charles I law

The propaganda the black Virginia Democrats are pounding into the heads of school children these days, ignores entirely the fact that, from 1620 to 1783, Virginia was, first, a Crown colony run by proprietors under grant from the monarchs—Elizabeth and the Stuarts—and, second, by the Parliament and local legislatures controlled by Lord Governors. That up to the reign of James II, whipping as a form of punishment was the least of a person's concern. During that time, a king was beheaded, several prominent members of Britain's first families were hung at the gallows, their corpses taken down, the entrails removed, and their bodies quartered—the heads and pieces placed on pikes about the city of London and left to rot in public view. Across the world, from one continent to another, masses of human beings, under the power of a ruling class, worked as slaves, serfs, peons, and villeins. Physical punishment, in one ghastly form or another, was the order of the day for all of them.

Queen Ann title page

Queen Ann law

Queen Anne law vagabond
Virginia Law in the Reign of Queen Anne 1702-1714

The color of one's skin was irrelevant in these times. "Servants" might be a white person as easily as a black person. Whichever color it was, the person in it was exposed to the same law.

From the beginning of the Old Dominion, black persons, held as slaves, were recognized by the courts as having human rights; not the right to be, ipso facto free, but the right to due process of law. If, for example, a slave killed a white person, his owner did not have the right, under Virginia law, to summarily execute the slave for the crime, but was required to place the slave in the custody of the sheriff who was be responsible for holding the slave safe until his trial for the crime, and, then, after conviction, and only then would the slave receive public punishment.

George I law

George I law part 2

For today's young American generation to whine and weep and moan over what they see through modern eyes as brutally cruel punishments reveals the shallowness of the education they have received in Virginia's state sponsered schools. They should count themselves lucky that they were born into an enlightened world, a world that has evolved through the passage of time, that has matured with the experience of a thousand years of progressing from the primeval soup to civilization, and recognize they are standing on the shoulders of fifty generations who have pushed them up through the storms.

By the time the two and a half million white subjects of the British kings made their revolution, in 1776, the legal forms of punishment were reduced to imprisonment and whipping. There was good reason, given the times, that whipping remained lawful punishment. Prisons cost the tax payer money, and the persons imprisoned are useless drags on society. So, at the time The United States of America were formed into a federal union, it was thought the better thing was to whip a person, for petty crimes, than go to the expense of imprisoning him. Moreover, when the culprit was a slaves, there was no other effective punishment to be had—it is silly to imprison a slave, leaving him to lay on a cot all day, that is hardly "punishment" to a slave. And a slave cannot be fined. What was left to the white men of the times, then, but the whip?

182 statute
1832 Virginia Law re Railroads

1845 law
1845 part 2
1846 Virginia Law re Petty Larceny

1850 law
1850 Virginia Law, Keeping Dogs.

no pass
Newspaper Report, 1852

whipping
Newspaper Report, 1853

urglaer
Newspaper Report, 1854

wool stealing
Newspaper Report, 1854

1855 law

1855 law
1855 Virginia Law re Interference with Slaves

stealiing
Newspaper Report, 1858

erats wife
Newspaper Report, 1859

post abolished
Newspaper Report, 1860

The VHS narrator uses two inflamatory images, to provoke the emotions of those who view the display—an illustration of a black man's back showing flowing blood as the white man swings a black snake whip; and a photograph of a black man's back that has plainly been scarred by what appears to be repeated flogging. Neither of these images constitutes evidence of a custom and practice of inflicting such physical injury in whipping. As the Virginia statute show, from the beginning to the end of the practice of whipping, the law limited the number of stripes to no more than thirty-nine. There is no evidence shown by the objective record that supports the VHS narrator's statement that "several hundred lashes" were routinely administrated to black persons in Antebellum Virginia, and no evidence to support the reality of the bloody back the VHS video illustrates.

Louisiana slave

The image is that of a man who probably was a slave in Louisiana. The photograph is dated 1863. Search the internet for similar images and you will find nothing. This image is the go-to image for the Black Democrat agenda. It is one of a kind. There are no others, yet there were plently of abolutionists hanging on to Beast Butler's army, when it occupied New Orleans and invaded the rural countryside of Louisiana. How is it, no other black men can be produced with such marks on his back? Because no reasonably intelligent plantation operator, depending on the cooperation of an African slave force to produce its crops, would so disrupt the harmony of the relationship of slave to owner as to beat, or cause to beaten, a slave like this. Yes, cruel white men, lording it over slaves, certainly might have beaten others as this man was beaten. But, such conduct plainly was not the norm; and, to the extent, such beatings occurred, Virginia law recognized the "right" of the slave to petition the court to be sold to someone else, and this law, the case law shows, was, in fact, enforced.

The VHS video display also shows the audience a quick glimpse of an image of black man being whipped at a whipping post in front of a crowd. The photograph was taken at an unknown date—probably after the war by the look of the clothes—somewhere in Delaware. Delaware law authorized whipping for petty offenses up to 1913.

whipping scene

The image is dramatic. It is direct evidence of the objective reality of whipping as it was in American History. First, recognize that the law did not allow the British Navy's practice of flogging a man's back with a cat-o-nine tails. The law allowed stripes; i.e., a cane was used to administer the blows, and, as you can see, each stripe is laid down, with timing, at a different level of the back, so that each level experiences a maximum of four blows. Painful? Of course. Administered in a manner calculated to draw blood from torn skin? No. "Barbaric," from our point of view, in our time? Of course. In theirs? Not.

whipping scene

whipping scene

Compare the configuration of the whipping post in this image with the VHS prop Charles Miller made. The mechanism holding the victim's wrists is much more substantial than Miller's gate handles, and the post is massive, solid, being used by the victim to support himself as he takes the blows. The square post appears to have a thin veneer on its surface that has been worn away by the pressure of bodies standing in the position this victim is.

young manBut what strikes the eye most, must be the audience. Look at the faces closely. There are four or five black men in the crowd, with one or two pre-teenagers. The majority of the lookers-on are white men, working men, perhaps a few businessmen. No one is laughing. No one is smiling, clapping, enjoying the spectacle. Every one is somber, reflective. There is a sympathy between them and the victim. Even the sheriff, who is administering the whipping for a fee, is not taking pleasure in the experience of whipping a black man. He is methodical, at work, doing his job as sheriff. We want to know who this black man is. What he has done to bring upon himself this punishment. He is most certainly a free man and this is after the war.

scene

scene white men


whipped
Penn Yan Newspaper, 1913

Part III

Whipping in Virginia: 1865 - 1882

The record is reasonably clear that whipping as lawful punishment went unused during the war years in Virginia, at least this was so in those parts of the State occupied by Union forces which was about almost everywhere north, west, and east of Richmond. In the immediate after years, the Federal Government operated the State Government through maritial law until January 1869, when Virginia was readmitted into the Union. At some point in time, when is not exactly clear, the Virginia Legislature, dominated by a majority of Democrats, appears to have reinstated whipping as punishment for petty larceny. The law applied to white and black alike, but the newspaper record shows the majority of offenders who were whipped under the law were black. There is an objective reason why this was so: black persons committed petty larceny far more frequently than did whites.

laid on table
Richmond Daily Dispatch, February 1871

Alexandra Gazette
Alexandria Gazette, 1876

Alexadra part2
Alexandria Gazette, 1876

bill to abolish
Richmond Daily Dispatch, Jan. 1877

Alexandraia 1977
Alexandria Gazette, 1877

Alexandria 1882
Alexandria Gazette, January 1882

daily dispatch 1878
Richmond Daily Dispatch, 1878

daily dispatch 1879
Richmond Daily Dispatch, 1879

Daily Dispatch 1882
Richmond Daily Dispatch, March 1882

Alex 1882
Alexandria Gazette, March 1882

repeal
Staunton Spectator, February 1882

repeal
Alexandria Gazette, 1881


Alexandria Gazette, April 1882

Part IV

Yes, Virginia, Had The Tables Been Turned

The Result Would Have Been The Same

Worldview

Where would the Human race be, today, if it were still as it was, in 1491? Ivan the Great would be czar of Russia, gathering the steppes into the emerging Russian State, throwing the Mongols back on the peasants of China. Charles VIII would be king of France beginning a long struggle for supremacy over the Hapsburg Empire. Isabella and Ferdinand would be consolidating the Iberian Peninsula into a super power among states. Henry VII would be the King of England and builder of the British Navy. There would be the Portuguese, the Danes, and the Dutch, sailing the seas, exploring the coast of Africa. And where would the Africans be?

Ghania map

First contact between the Europeans and the Africans came about 1480, with the Portuguese meeting the King of the Sky, who ruled, from the great desert to the sea, an expanding empire called Benin. Though the Portuguese, with their ships, could establish a beach head, an enclave, on the coast, without the consent of the Edo people and their king, the Europeans could not sustain themselves in the interior. The choice to have intercourse with the Europeans was plainly the decision of the Africans to make. While they could not drive the Europeans off the beach, any more than the 10th century Gaelic people of Ireland could drive the Danes from Dublin, the Africans could hold them at bay from the interior as the Irish did the Danes. Instead the Africans chose to trade with the Europeans: trading slaves, ivory, and oil for guns and bronze.

So, understand that the color of skin had nothing to do with the enforced diaspora of the Africans to "America," and everything to do with economics—with the classic principles of supply and demand motivating the strong to exploit the weak. This is the history of the Human Race. It is the fundamenal explanation for its rise and survival in the evolution of the world. The effect of this was one thing in the Carribean, where millions of Africans were consumed by the pressures of laboring on the island plantations developed by the Spanish, the French, and the English; and another thing entirely in the British colonies on the Atlantic Coast of the North American continent. For, when the colonial system broke up, at the turn of the 19th century, the few thousand Europeans living on the Carribean islands packed up and went home, leaving hundreds of thousands of Africans behind to shift for themselves; while, in the new United States of Amerca, there were three hundred thousand Africans living among two million white people with nowhere to go.

The fact the Africans' skin was black was irrelvant to the reality of the situation. The situation would have been the same if their skin were white, and the Europeans' black. What mattered was that they were an organized, cohensive labor force that was crucial to the economies of half the "States" that made up the Union of 1787 and which could not be replaced. And this fact explains their continued subjugation in a land founded on the hypocriscy of Jefferson's plagarism that all men are created equal. If, in fact, all men are created equal, then it must necessarily follow that all men have an equal say in the Government that regulates their society, that each man is a citizen of the political community in which he lives, with equal political and legal rights with all other men living with him in the same community. But, to the minds of the white people living in the States where the Africans were concentrated, recognizing this principle meant accepting the fact that it would be the Africans, not them, who would constitute the political majority, who would control the operation of the Government, control its policies. It can hardly surpise the reader of this, that the great divergence between the two races, in origin, in history, in life experience, in language, in science, in religion, in social structure, and on and on the list can grow, made it impossble for the one race to suddenly hand over control of their political society to the other.

And so, the long slog toward amalgamation began in 1787, when The United States of America was created out of the minds of the founders, stumbling on through hardly a life time to a great war between the whole white people of the Union, who, unable to accept the Africans into their political communities as citizens, went to war with themselves in frustration. And, then, when the nature of war resolved their dilemma, by destroying the economic reason lying at the base of it, another long life time passed before the two races finally began merging as Americans. The glorious consequence is that here we are now. That the pain of our past is the cement that binds our future as a nation in the world. Whether we lose our place in it, depends solely upon ourselves as Americans.

Still, our hold is tenuous.

SAT score graph

Ryan emaiil
Ryan email

Dr email

Ryan email

Oh well, Let's go loot.

Bakke v. UC

Bakke text

Bakke text

Balkke text

Bakke text

With respect to Dr. Newby-Alexander, her suggestion is classic Democrat policy—throw money at the problem, to "equalize" the "disadvantage" between rich kids and poor kids. This is a worn out, failed, useless response to a problem that cannot be fixed with money.The problem is not with the wealth of the school, but with the character of the kids. Not all of them, you notice, were looting in the streets.But it does appear, though fifty years have passed since the Federal Government adopted the policy of "affirmative action," most of the black kids still don't get the fact that poor boys get rich, and rich boys get poor, because the latter get lazy while the former get tough, and get going. The Irish know something about diasporas; after having lived as slaves for eight hundred years, with no education, illiterate, and nothing but the clothes on their back, they landed in America and congregated, like the Africans, in the cities, in enclaves called Corktown and Clairetown and the Kerry Patch, squatted in make shift shacks on some one's land, got work as common laborers, maids, and factory workers and their children's children got educated and got up. If they could lift themselves up from their past, any one can. It's not how expensive the book; it's opening it and reading it.

Joe Ryan