The Duke Family Papers
The Lost Cause: R. T. W. Duke, Jr. and the Romance of Confederate Defeat
|R.T.W. Duke, Jr., with a crowd of dignitaries at the Stonewall Jackson monument in downtown Charlottesville. The statue was dedicated in 1921.|
|In 1946, Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin wrote in The Making of a Southerner of her father's childhood on a Georgia plantation. The expectation of slave ownership, she explained, "left a special stamp on men who lived this life. But more particularly," she observed, "in a special way it stamped their sons, who were reared to expect it and then saw it snatched away." R. T. W. Duke, Jr., like Lumpkin's father, found his hopes of a plantation idyll dashed by sectional conflict. Along with Lumpkin, Will Percy, and scores of other whites of his generation, Duke embraced the "Lost Cause," a way of remembering the conflict that celebrated Southern valor and defended the justice of the Confederate cause. Believers in "the cause" accepted political reunion with Northern states but rejected the participation of African Americans in politics.|
|R. T. W. Duke, Sr. did fight in the Civil War, and he placed a high value on communicating specific details of his service to his children. Writing forty years after the conflict, his son recorded everything from the elder Duke's organization of the Albemarle Rifles in 1859, to his service at First Manassas, to the conflict with General Wise that let him to resign, through his reenlistment and final surrender at Silas Creek.|
|At Left: A ribbon from a meeting of the R.T.W. Duke chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
At Right: A bulletin from the 1915 dedication of the equestrian statue of General T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson on Monument Avenue, in Richmond.