Granted, South Carolina has had some real dogs run for lieutenant governor over the years.
Earle Morris, who served as second in command in the early 1970s, is currently behind bars for his role in the Carolina Investors scandal.
Cole Blease, one of the state’s most virulent racists, lost his bid for the Democratic nod for lieutenant governor to James Tillman in the 1900 primary.
And Tillman, of course, went on to infamy when, as lieutenant governor, he gunned down NG Gonzales, the editor of The State newspaper, at the corner of Main and Gervais streets, in downtown Columbia in 1903.
So it’s probably accurate to say that Bill Connor isn’t the least-qualified individual in state history to ever throw his hat in the ring for the position.
But that certainly doesn’t mean he’s the right person for the job.
Connor apparently believes the secret to securing SC’s second-highest elected position is touting his military service (along with that of his father and grandfather), tossing out a few red-meat sound bites to inflame rabid conservatives (“government is not the answer; freedom is the answer”) and repeat ad nauseam his belief in God, country and family.
All that’s nice, but it’s unclear what direction he has in mind for South Carolina because if one goes to his website, www.voteconnor.com, all one finds is information on how to donate to Connor’s campaign and how to contact the campaign.
There’s nothing on Connor’s platform; nothing on what, if anything, he thinks about education, job creation, improving government efficiency, tax reform or issues facing senior citizens.
In other words, it’s all about what South Carolina can do for Bill Connor, not what Bill Connor can do for South Carolina.
One might have thought that an individual who spends so much time and energy boasting about his time in the military would have understood the importance of advance planning before declaring his candidacy.
A total of 16 Medals of Honor were awarded to black troops during the War Between the States. Fourteen of those came during a single action, the Battle of New Market Heights.
Fought Sept. 29, 1864, in Henrico County, Va., the Battle of New Market Heights is among the lesser-known engagements of the war, but was crucial to people’s perception of the US Colored Troops, according to Mary Koik, deputy director of communications for the Civil War Preservation Trust.
Today, the battle site is in danger, Koik told The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.
That’s why the Civil War Preservation Trust recently ranked New Market Heights among America’s 10 most-endangered battlefields.
New Market Heights was part of a larger operation planned and directed by Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler, who’d gained infamy for his brutal rule in New Orleans earlier in the war.
With an eye on capturing Richmond, Ulysses S. Grant approved a plan sending Butler’s Army of the James against the Confederate defenses protecting the Southern capital. If Butler’s men succeeded, the war could be over in a matter of weeks, or even days.
The campaign involved more than 20,000 Union troops, including 3,000 blacks serving in units designated US Colored Troops.
After initial Union successes at New Market Heights and Fort Harrison, the Confederates rallied and contained the breakthrough. Confederate leader Robert E. Lee reinforced his lines north of the James and, on Sept. 30, he counterattacked unsuccessfully.
The Federals entrenched, and the Confederates erected a new line of works cutting off the captured forts.
The Battle of New Market Heights became one of the most heroic engagements involving black soldiers.
The Colored Troops division of the Eighteenth Corps, after being pinned down by Confederate artillery fire for about 30 minutes, charged the earthworks and rushed up the slopes of the heights.
During the hour-long engagement the division suffered tremendous casualties, losing more than 800 men in one hour. Total casualties for both sides were estimated at more than 4,000.
“This is a story that needs to be told, about a hugely important place,” Koik said. “What we’re trying to do is to start to get the battle some of the recognition that it deserves and to get some of its land protected.”
For sheer heroism, New Market Heights eclipses the far-better-known story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry depicted in the movie “Glory,” said Hari Jones, assistant director of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum in Washington.
The 1989 film ends with the 54th’s valiant but unsuccessful attack on Fort Wagner at Morris Island, SC, which guarded the southern entrance to Charleston’s harbor.
Though its historic significance is indisputable, no part of the New Market Heights battlefield has been protected by any preservation organization, including the trust and the National Park Service, Koik told The Free Lance-Star.
Few outside Canada recall that Newfoundland was essentially an independent entity for a good part of the first half of the 20th Century.
In 1907, Newfoundland acquired Dominion status from Britain, putting it on par with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and, later, South Africa and the Irish Free State. It remained a Dominion until 1933, when its economy collapsed amid the Great Depression and it was forced to give up its self-governing status.
In 1948, Newfoundlanders were asked to choose between Confederation (with the rest of Canada) or a return to “responsible government,” with Confederation narrowly winning, 51 percent to 49 percent. Newfoundland officially became Canada’s 10th province on March 31, 1949.
Last week, one of the last surviving principals in the battle for Confederation died.
Jim Halley, who was 86, was passionate throughout his life about having fought to keep Newfoundland independent in the 1940s, according to a report on CBCNews.ca.
“As a young lawyer, he campaigned vigorously for the responsible government side in the two referenda held in 1948,” according to the story. “Long after Newfoundland joined Confederation, Halley remained skeptical of the terms of union, and was critical of how the Confederate campaign had been run.”
The photo above shows the Newfoundland and Canadian government delegation signing the agreement admitting Newfoundland to Confederation, in December 1948.