The Lost Cause

I am curious about the Lost Cause Mythology. I hear a lot about it in Academic circles. It seems there are claims that reenactments are suffering and even articles from Salon suggesting people stop going. People should have lost interest in the war. or at least that what colleges are recommending.

So what do the numbers say?

The Antietam National Battlefield’s peak visitation year was 1986, when more than 700,000 visitors came to the battlefield. In the 1990s, however, attendance took a sharp decline, plummeting to around 181,000 in 1993. In 2008 (the year of the Great Recession) attendance was 352,548. In 2012 (the 150th anniversary of the battle), attendance rose to 510,921, a 45% increase from 2008. Attendance declined to 370,832 in 2013, but that is still a 5.2% increase in attendance from 2008.
Chickamauga/Chatanooga National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1970, when more than 1.7 million visitors came to the battlefield. Interestingly enough, a sharp decline to 674,400 followed in 1971, which is the lowest annual attendance to the site since 1960. Following years of steady growth after 1971 and several years surpassing the one million mark, attendance took another decline in 2001 to 749,913. In 2011 (the first year of the Sesquicentennial), attendance surpassed the one million mark (1,036,699) for the first time since 1998. From 2001 to 2011 annual attendance increased 38.2%.
Cameron McWhirter’s Wall Street Journal articles points out that visitation to Gettysburg National Military Park in 2013 (1,213,349) has declined sharply from its peak visitation year in 1970, when nearly 7 million came to the park. These numbers are accurate, but McWhirter conveniently leaves out the fact that in 1979 attendance declined to 994,035, the only year since 1960 in which Gettysburg failed to attract at least one million visitors. So it seems to me that we should be asking what happened from 1970 to 1979 for visitor attendance to take such a sharp decline in the 1970s rather than comparing attendance between 1970 and 2013. Compared to 1979, visitor attendance today is actually up 22%. The Great Recession of 2008 hurt visitor attendance to Gettysburg and the site has not returned to its pre-recession attendance levels (which hit 1.8 million in 2002), but visitor attendance is still up 16.5% from 2009.
Shiloh National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1961, when 927,400 visitors came to the site. Visitor attendance fell to 317,046 in 2010, but in 2012 (the 150th anniversary of the battle of Shiloh), attendance rose to 587,620, a stunning 85% increase in attendance over two years. Attendance remained high in 2013 with 536,206 visitors.
Vicksburg National Military Park’s peak visitation year was 1984, when 1,112,881 visitors came to the battlefield. From 1991 to 2004 annual visitation hovered around the 800,000 to one million mark, but since 2004 the park has seen a steady decline in attendance. During the 2008 recession attendance declined to 555,109, and attendance numbers during the Sesquicentennial continue to hover around that number with the exception of a 41.6% jump in attendance to 796,035 in 2011, the first year of the Sesquicentennial.
Fort Sumter National Monument’s peak visitation year was 2002, when 922,776 visitors came to the site. In fact, the twenty-first century has been a boon for Fort Sumter. Attendance from 2000 to 2001 rose 188% from around 319,000 visitors to 919,000 visitors, and annual attendance to Fort Sumter continues to hover around 850,000 during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

The White House had 611,207 visits in 2016 compared to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s 2,360,256 visits.

Now lets compare that to todays colleges that are concerned with the Lost Cause Mythology.

According to Forbes
Among soft skills, managers were even more united in their opinions of where they see a dearth. According to PayScale’s survey, 60% of managers claim the new graduates they see taking jobs within their organizations do not have the critical thinking and problem solving skills they feel are necessary for the job. Additionally, 56% of managers said recent grads do not pay attention to detail and 46% said the young workers would do well to hone their communication skills. Some 44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities and 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills.

And CNN Money

“The enrollment decline at for-profit institutions is different. Some for-profit schools have been criticized heavily for offering “worthless degrees” and leaving students with big debt.”

Of course with all this being said. What is the real lost cause?


Analyzing Visitor Attendance to Civil War Sites During the Sesquicentennial By Nick Sacco on…-civil-war-sites-during-the-sesquicentennial/

College enrollment is dropping. Bad sign?…y-new-college-grads-do-not-have/#6a4544a65491

Orrsville, Georgia


I passed through Orrsville or what I thought was Orrsville going from Hall County to Forsyth County. Orrsville is in Gwinnett and I became interested when the Sugar Hill historical Society was sharing some info about the town.

“Early maps of the newly formed Gwinnett County show the fair sized settlement of Orrsville on eastern side of the Chattahoochee River, right where Highway 20 crosses the river these days. Known also as Orr’s Ferry, the mercantile and ferry owned by William Orr was important to the economic well being of the area, and was an established “postal settlement” (one with a U.S. Post Office) until 1851. Other postal settlements such as Cains and Pinckneyville also existed at the time, but perhaps  none were as key to the future of  North Gwinnett County as Orrsville. (It was equally important to Cumming and that area of Forsyth County as well. Don Shadburn’s book “Blood Kin” is a great source of information about the history of North Forsyth  and parts of North Gwinnett Counties, and includes a facsimile of an 1836 Orr’s Mercantile ledger with some of the early settlement family names listed. ”

So we find that Orrsville was named for William Orr. The map above is from 1839 shows the early district. Ifyou notice Cains was near what to be later called Buford. Cains also include parts of Hog Mountain Road which is also in Hall County.

Southern Banner, Feb. 27, 1851 -- page 1This article is from 1851 and describes the stage routs from Lawrenceville passing through Suwanee, Orrsville and Cumming. Suwanee is sort of the North West Point in Gwinnett and Orrsville would have been the dividing line then on to Cumming. I live in the Buford area and have passed down Hwy 20. Construction has transformed the area and a new bridge of over the Chattahoochee.


Looking at the State gazetteer we see they removed the S but being named for William Orr it could be understood. We see there was a station along the railroad.


One year later we see they would pick up mail from Buford. most towns are centered around a primary business.






This article abouve supplies a lot more detail about Orrsville, the store, the ferry and the fact there was some postal activities going on. it lists William Orr as buying the land when he was from Jackson County. We find in Find a Grave, a William Means Orr who was a Confederate veterans in the 16th, Georgia and his father was James Orr form North Carolina. Possibly not the same Orr.

williamcorrIn this 1842 postal guide we see William C. Orr showing there was a post office before 1879 and a closer idea as to his name.

In the article above you see mention of Strickland bridge. This is not totally far from my house and Sugar Hill located at the new Chattahoochee River Bridge on Hwy 20.

1894 map

1894 USGS Map of Suwanee Area.


“Buford’s First Citizens”–bufords-first-citizens By Rebecca Bradshaw, Patch Poster | | Updated

“Orrsville store carried a lot of items”. The Forum May 1st, 1987 Don L Shadburn.
Orrsville Store Ledger, Sugar Hill Historical Society