First of a series of video portraits of Will Dockery by Robert Wright.
This one also features George Sulzbach and the music of Jack Snipe.
Published on Feb 24, 2017
Angel of Esquiline Hill
Poem by Will Dockery
Music by Rob Wright and Jack Snipe
Photography (George Sulzbach & Will Dockery) by Rob Wright. For photoshoot
©2017 All Rights Reserved
And so it goes.
History of Esquiline Hill:
Raphael J. Moses was born in 1812 in Charleston, South Carolina.
His family fought in the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1783, and he was
a fifth-generation South Carolinian. His father was Israel Moses and his
mother, Deborah Cohen. He grew up in Charleston.
He practiced as a lawyer in St. Joseph, Florida and Apalachicola, Florida,
settling down in Columbus, Georgia in 1848.
He purchased The Esquiline, a plantation named after Esquiline Hill in Rome,
Italy and located in what is now known as the neighborhood of Benning Hills
in Columbus, Georgia. He owned fifty slaves in 1850 and sixty slaves by
1860. He pioneered the commercial growing of peaches on his plantation,
becoming of the first merchants to ship them to the North (New York City) in
1851. To preserve the peaches during shipping, he used champagne
baskets instead of pulverized charcoals.
In the late 1850s, he became an outspoken proponent of secession. During
the American Civil War of 1861-1865, he served as the chief commissary
officer for Generals Robert Toombs (1810-1885) and James Longstreet
(1821-1904) in the Confederate States Army (CSA). As such, he was
responsible for providing food and supplies to 54,000 Confederate troops and
personnel. He was also a confidant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
(1807–1870), especially during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863.
On May 5, 1865, he attended the last meeting of the Confederate States of
America government at the Bank of the State of Georgia (later the Heard
House) and carried out its last order. It was then that Confederate
Jefferson Davis (1808–1889) instructed him to take US$40,000 in gold and
silver bullions from the Confederate Treasury to feed and clothe the
defeated Confederate soldiers. His three sons served in the CSA as well.
After the war, he returned to law practice in Columbus, Georgia. He was,
however, greatly impoverished by the Confederate defeat, as his wealth
plummeted from $55,000 in 1860 to $35,000 in 1870. Moreover, fifty-nine
of his sixty slaves left his plantation. He had a dispute with William
Hugh Young (1838–1901) and lobbied against Eagle & Phenix, Young's business
vehicle. Additionally, he became an outspoken critic of the
Republican-led Reconstruction efforts in Georgia and the South.
He was later elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served as
Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Shortly after he was elected, he declared,
"I wanted to go to congress as a Jew and because I…would have liked in a
public position to confront and do my part towards breaking down the
prejudice." He added, "I feel it an honor to be of a race whom persecution
can not crush, whom prejudice has in vain endeavored to subdue."
In 1892, he wrote his autobiography...
Something happened sometime after the Reconstruction era, that isn't made
really visible in the history books of the local area, which I'm still
gathering information on.
More on that in the near future, hopefully.