Sunday, May 29, 2016

Prattville Dragoons May Camp Meeting - Part 2, The Battle of Chickamauga

Tyler Suttle provided a presentation on the historical novel on the Battle of Chickamauga he recently completed, "This Terrible Sound", part of a trilogy by Peter Cozzens. After the Battle of Stone River in the Tullahoma Campaign which was highlighted by the disastrous suicidal charge under Confederate General Bragg, his forces withdrew from Chattanooga on August 21st in the face of Union forces recently outfitted with repeating Spencer rifles.  Mj. Gen. William Rosecrans led the Union forces chasing Bragg and while he was a brilliant graduate of West Point, he was overconfident and didn't recognize the concentration of Confederate forces and how spread out his own forces were.  Bragg was also a West Point graduate class of 1827 and his faults included trust and personality issues.

Bragg's Army of Tennessee required reinforcements after the previous battle losses and received them from Longstreet and from Vicksburg. The Battle of Chickamauga was the second bloodiest battle of the War Between the States and started on September 19, 1863.  Chickamauga was Indian for River of Blood.

The Battle of Chickamauga commenced with a morning skirmish in Winfrey Field.  Confederates pushed the Federals back to Brock Field where the battle raged for 3-4 hours.  7th Indiana Private Jacob Miller was the first recipient of the U.S. Medal of Honor when he sustained facial/skull injuries and doctored himself to walk off the battlefield.

The East Viniard Field was where the fighting moved in the early afternoon with Confederates seeking to take the Lafayette Road for the infantry to hold the ground. Confederate General Benning's forces provided reinforcements.  Bodies were slain and laid so deep that it was said you could walk across the 300 yard wide field without stepping on grass, just on bodies.  Fighting lasted here into late afternoon around 5:30pm. Federals used grapeshot at close range in a crossfire pattern to hold the Confederates at bay but eventually the Union artillery and forces withdrew and some fled to Chattanooga.  The Wilder Tower Monument provides visitors to the battlefield park today a panoramic view of these fields.

Major General Patrick Cleburne's forces arrived for reinforcements in the Winfrey Field and starting at 6pm the fighting evolved into some of the first night time fighting of the war which resulted in many friendly fire casualties.  Col. Baldwin's Brigade set up breastworks which held until 7pm when after hand to hand combat, Baldwin was killed and the Federals retreated.

Night time falls and as the firing ceased you started to hear that terrible sound as wounded men lay dying in the battlefields, some burned alive as fires started by the artillery blasts burned brush and grass and consumed the men who couldn't move for their injuries.  Enemies provided humanitarian aid to enemy soldiers.

The next fighting the following day involved Major General Henry Thomas, commander of the Federal 14th Corps of the Cumberland, the "Rock of Chickamauga".  Bragg ordered an attack at 6am on August 22nd but orders were late and the charge was postponed until 9am. Some Confederate forces were led by Maj Gen. John Breckinridge who was formerly the youngest ever Vice President of the United States.  At 9:45am fighting was in Kelly Field and McDonald Field but a poorly executed charge led Breckinridge to be reminded of the disastrous charge at Stone River.

Fighting loved to Horseshoe Hill and Snodgrass Hill where the Federals held spots until 5-7pm.  South Carolina troops organized by Alabama troops led by future Alabama governor too Hill No. 1.  Fighting finally ceased at 10pm that night and the final Union troops retreated without any further Confederate attack.  General Nathan Bedford Forrest recon'd the area and saw the Federals in disarray and believed the Confederates could retake Chattanooga but Bragg ignored this suggestion/advice.

This battle was 18000 Confederate casualties and 16000 Union casualties. It was tactically a Confederate victory but the Confederates forfeited the opportunity to pursue and finally defeat the Federals. Many called for Bragg's dismissal but were rebutted by President Jefferson Davis.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Confederate Flag Sewn by Hawaiian Princess

Newcomer’s Southern flag sewn by Hawaiian princess

      Honolulu Star-Advertiser 30 Oct 2015, by Bob Sigall
The Confederate flag has been in the news this year. The flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state Capitol in July. For many it is seen as a symbol of racism and segregation.
Because of that, I was surprised to find a Confederate flag was fabricated here in Hawaii. It was made by a Hawaiian princess for a resident from Kentucky.
Because the Confederate flag has been embroiled in controversy, I hesitated before deciding to write about it. But, it is history, Bishop Museum collections manager DeSoto Brown reminded me.
Let me tell you how this discovery unfolded. Dave Kemble, a longtime exhibit designer at the Bishop Museum, suggested I write a column about James Robinson and his descendants.
The Robinsons have been in business in Hawaii since the early 1800s, before the missionaries arrived. They own the island of Niihau and were in the sugar business on Kauai. Victoria Ward was a Robinson.
I looked them up in the newspaper index, available at most libraries, and online, and found that former Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Clarice Taylor had written about them.
Taylor wrote a historical column like mine from 1949 to 1962, called “Little Tales All About Hawaii.” In 1952 she had written more than 30 consecutive columns about the Robinsons.
Taylor often wrote multipiece stories, sometimes over several months, about one topic.
I don’t believe she ever published them in books, but the Hawaii Pacific Room at the main library has assembled the articles into binders that are over a foot thick.
In one of the articles about the Robinsons, Taylor wrote that a Confederate flag was made for Curtis Perry Ward, who had come to Hawaii from Kentucky before the Civil War in 1853.
Ward was a 24 year-old Southern gentleman, but Hawaii was more sympathetic to the North. Many locals taunted him, and he was seen as the “lonely Southern bachelor.”
Being a bachelor, he rented a room at a private home. The home he happened to choose was Washington Place. Before she was queen and given the name Liliuokalani, Lydia Liliu Paki lived at Washington Place with her husband, John Owen Dominis.
CLARICE TAYLOR said that “Liliuokalani liked young Ward and felt sympathy for him as a passionate upholder of Confederate rights.”
“So the chiefess made Mr. Ward a Confederate flag,” Taylor wrote. She wanted it to be a secret, so she sewed it by candlelight in her room.
“Mr. Ward was so pleased with the flag that a legend grew up about it. It Queen Liliuokalani, shown here seated on the veranda at Washington Place in 1917, rented a room to “lonely Southern bachelor” Curtis Perry Ward. Lydia Liliu Paki, as the then-chiefess was known, sympathized with the Kentucky native in Yankee-leaning Hawaii and sewed him a Confederate flag. Ward is said to have treasured the flag, and draped it over the canopy of his bed. Ward went on to marry Victoria Robinson, and they eventually settled at their “Old Plantation” estate south of King Street, now the site of the Neal Blaisdell Center on Ward Avenue. was said that he wouldn’t live under any other flag and that he spread it over his four-poster bed.”
Ward went into the delivery business and later married the 19-year-old daughter of his chief competitor, Victoria Robinson.
Curtis and Victoria Ward built their first home on Queen Street, where the Davies Pacific Center is today, then built a larger estate in about 1870 on more than 100 acres in Kakaako, makai of King Street. They called it “Old Plantation.”
It was said that all of their seven daughters were born in the bed, under the Confederate flag.
One source was not enough for me to feel confident the story was true, so I turned to local historians to see whether they knew about it.
NANETTE NAPOLEON, who has written a book about the Oahu Cemetery, found an article by Maili Yardley for The Honolulu Advertiser titled “Old Plantation Revisited.” It was published Aug. 27, 1966.
In it she says, “Even out in the little kingdom of Hawaii, the Civil War was widely discussed. Most American residents of Honolulu were Yankees and sympathized with the North. The royalists were very much pro-South, and this sympathy nurtured a great bond of friendship between them and young Curtis.
“When the South was defeated, Liliuokalani felt compassion for her young friend from Kentucky and sewed him a Confederate flag which he placed over the canopy of his bed.”
Barbara Dunn from the Hawaiian Historical Society found a mention of the flag in the book “Victoria Ward and Her Family Memories of Old Plantation,” by Frank Ward Hustace III.
It says, “according to a family story, some members of the court privately expressed sympathy for Ward’s Southern allegiance during the War Between the States.
“Lydia Lili‘u Paki is said to have worked quietly at night, in the privacy of her chambers, sewing a Confederate flag for Ward. He accepted her gift with pleasure and promptly attached it to the canopy of his four-poster bed, declaring it was his wish to die under the flag.”
I found a similar 1935 article in the Star-Bulletin by Emma Taylor, who knew Victoria Ward. She called the flag a “treasured relic of the Ward family to this very day.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dragoons Make Historical Presentation at Prattville's Autauga Academy

Compatriot Tyrone Crowley and Kerri Waldo, Commander Stuart Waldo’s wife, presented an educational program to the second grade class at Autauga Academy on Monday, May 16. Commander and Mrs. Waldo have children who attend Autauga Academy.  Tyrone portrayed Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Kerri portrayed President Davis’ daughter, Maggie Hayes-Davis. Tyrone brought many of the period historical flags including the Alabama secession flag and these are always popular with their vivid colors and the children enjoy helping to hold and fold the flags.  Tyrone has polished his presentation over the past few years and provides the children information about Jefferson Davis including his childhood as well as the tumultuous period of his Presidency and the War for Southern Independence.  The substitue teacher in the class was overjoyed by the quality of the presentation including Tyrone and Kerri in period dress.  The girls in the class loved the beautiful ball gown and touched it's fabric and frills while the boys in the class were more interested in testing whether Tyrone's beard was real by tugging on it.  SCV Tennessee Division comic books were distributed to all the children which provided historically accurate stories of Confederate heroes Sam Davis and the brilliant exploits of General N.B. Forrest.  A special thanks should be extended to these two compatriots for bringing some true Confederate history to some school children again this week as the SCV Charge admonishes us all, that it is our "duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations". 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prattville Dragoons May Camp Meeting - Part 1

The SCV Camp 1524 monthly meeting for May continued to be interesting, informative, pleasurable and well attended with about 32 compatriots enjoying the program and fellowship.  Attendees included members and their significant others, potential members and guests at the May meeting but the outstanding improved accommodations at Shoneys, the camp meeting location should encourage even more folks to attend.  The pleasant atmosphere at Shoney’s was evident again and the service and food were splendid.

The camp meeting was held as usual on the second Thursday of the month, on May 12th at 7pm.  Chaplain Tom Snowden initiated the meeting with an Invocation.  2nd Lt George Jenks led everyone in the pledges to the US, Alabama and Confederate flags. Commander Waldo then recited the SCV Charge and provided a welcome including announcements highlighting upcoming events.  Of special note was recognition of Adjutant Sutherland's birthday although he was absent celebrating with his family. The ladies in attendance and two special visiting guests were also recognized. Upcoming events of note included the annual Division Reunion which will be June 11th in Cullman AL and with the growth in the camp membership, a full complement of eleven delegates is needed from camp rolls. 

Dragoon Tyler Suttle presented a fascinating program on the Battle of Chickamauga with visual aides. There were several questions after the program and Tyler brought up many clarifying and more specific points of which many unaware regarding the battle, consequences and, the figures and leaders of the conflict. Chaplain Snowden continues his slide presentation of photos before the meeting which adds so much to the gathering.  The recitation of the SCV Closing by the Commander brought the camp meeting to a conclusion as everyone departed.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dragoons at Prattville Cityfest

Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 had a very favorable, highly visible presence in Prattville’s City Fest on Saturday May 14th. The Dragoons booth received a lot of attention and praise for promoting our Confederate Heritage from visitors and those passing by and as usual, we gave away a large quantity of free merchandise which included miniature Battle Flags, SCV recruiting coins, reproduction Confederate money, Alabama Division educational posters etc. Several hundred Battle Flags were distributed in a few hours as there was a great demand for them.  One person said they had a number at their home which they got at past Prattville parades while one lady indicated she made a point to arrive early and come to the Dragoons booth straight away to ensure she was able to get a flag and other goods before the stores were depleted. 

Dozens of 3x5' flags including Confederate national flags and Battle flags were also sold from the camp Quartermaster supplies and additionally a number of car tags, and pins were also sold which added to the camp treasury.  New SCV bags and backpacks proved to be very popular and sold out quickly also. Commander Waldo made an excellent visual aid, a poster which was displayed on an easel which showed many of the camps community service projects such as Indian Hill and other cemeteries, presentation of Hunley awards to Junior ROTC cadets, educational events including reenactments, community outreach and celebrations, and other activities. One lady who stopped and studied the poster as well as the literature in the booth exclaimed that this information served to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes she held about the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Dozens of the Division Heritage posters were given away and some went to area teachers and home schoolers. 

Several visitors signed a register providing their contact information so the camp can reach out to them to attend our meetings and research their ancestry to find Confederate veterans so they can join the SCV. 

Pictured below is the Camp 1524 booth showing the camp banner hanging behind our booth and seven of the early arrivals who helped set up the booth and begin to meet and greet visitors. Pictured, left to right, are Commander Stuart Waldo, 2nd Lt. Commander George Jenks, Ryan King, Tyler Suttle, Allen Herrod (in costume as Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry), Quartermaster “General" Bill Myrick and Larry Spears. All photos were made by Camp Photographer Jack Moore. Larry Miller came a bit later and stayed for hours and Adjutant Wayne Sutherland even came by after a very early morning commute.  Treasurer Billy Leverette also arrived at the end of the day to assist in breaking down the booth as he had also assisted the previous evening in the setup including providing canopy weights and a table. Other Dragoons came to devote their time to greeting our visitors and working the booth area and others dropped by to visit  as they enjoyed the festive occasion of the day. 

This was another very successful public exposure for the camp and our shared Southern heritage. All Dragoons can take well warranted pride in their camp and our community efforts.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Robinson Springs Cemetery Cleanup Workday

Robinson Springs Cemetery on Hwy. 14 in Millbrook AL received a special facelift today just in time for Mother’s Day. Five Dragoons from SCV Camp 1524 including James and Larry Spears, Tyrone and Tom Crowley and Bill Myrick and one member of the Cradle of the Confederacy Camp in Montgomery joined together to weed eat, cut and manicure the cemetery and graves. There are seven Confederate veterans buried there and they all have a Battle Flag waving proudly at their headstones. 

Carl French of the SCV Cradle Camp 692 has been maintaining the cemetery for several years. In the last few years some members of the Dragoons have joined him to make his workload lighter. Now Carl cuts the grass and the Dragoons trim, weed eat, blow off the graves and perform other tasks to keep the cemetery looking good. Carl deserves a Confederate salute for his quiet determination in keeping the cemetery clean for such a long time. 

Since this was a weekday morning event, many Dragoons were not available to assist who otherwise would have participated.  We had five “Over The Hill” members who came to help and the cemetery was in tip top shape in less than 2 hours. Dragoon Jack Moore was on duty as the Camp Photographer and did a super job of recording our progress.

These Confederate veterans and others interred here once again have a clean, manicured burial place. All Dragoon and Cradle camp members can take pride in knowing that their camps care enough to respect this sacred spot.
Carl French on His Zero Turn Mower

Cleaning Crew

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Prattville Dragoons' Chaplain's Column for May 2016

Changing People by Prayer
Many times when we pray, our prayer are filled with a greater degree of doubt than with confidence. We tend to forget that in order for God to answer our requests, our prayers must be in line with His will. However, sometimes when we are faced with the uncertainty of our prayer being in God’s will, we begin worry or become confused and then, we will occasionally fall silent.
God’s will for us is to have a healthy relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. That means we must know the Father with increasing intimacy and our goal should be that we become more and more like Jesus. By focusing our prayers on having this type of relationship with the Lord, simply makes it easier to know what to pray. We need to  find a scripture that tells us something about God’s character, and pray that for others and for yourself. The results are:
  • You can pray with confidence because God wants His children to be like Jesus Christ.
  • You can pray expectantly because you know He will work out His will in our lives.
  • You can cooperate with the Holy Spirit while He works to develop the same quality in you.
Prayer is not a game where we have to guess when to talk to the Lord or about what. When we study scripture we will discover that it is full of God’s attributes and His desires for our lives. Pick one and start praying. Then watch what God does in response. Prayer gains access to the proud spirit, to the hardened heart, to the unbelieving mind; there are no walls too high or thick for Him to breach. So pray God’s will and watch lives change—especially your own.

Yours in Christ's service,
Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16