Thursday, October 16, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp News

From the October issue of the Camp 1524 Dispatch:

Indian Hills Cemetery Cleanup - The Dragoons condicted their fourth cleanup day at the Indian Hills Cemetery in Prattville on Saturday September 27th.  The effort is being coordinated and spearheaded by Dragoon Benny Harris who led the Raspberry Family Cemetery restoration in Chilton County.  Indian Hills serves as the final resting place of many Confederate veterans including a large number of the original Prattville Dragoons who marched off to war in 1861 after being organized and equipped by Daniel Pratt for whom our city is named. Benny Harris, Allen Herrod, Wayne Sutherland, Louis Turner (gets Harold Grooms Award for hardest worker), Paul Whaley, Tom Snowden, Bill Branch, Tyrone Crowley and his brother Tom participated in this workday.  Good progress was made clearing undergrowth in the northeast corner of the cemetery and in the Smith-McKeithen-Graham family plot (A. Y. Smith was the Dragoon who accepted the Dragoon Flag from the local ladies in April 1861 is buried here). Benny estimates the project which includes clearing the underbrush, restoring the grave stones and rebuilding the brick wall should be complete by this spring and a rededication is being planned for Confederate Memorial Day in April 2015. 

Communications Officer Crowley Speaks To UDC State Convention - At the State Convention of the Alabama Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on Saturday 20 September 2014 and at the invitation of State President Donna Clark, Dragoon Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley presented a talk on Jefferson Davis, ending with a speech Jefferson Davis made before a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature in March 1884, near the end of his life.  The Mississippi legislature had called a joint session specifically to honor him, and this speech represents Jefferson Davis's final words on his status as the living embodiment of the Confederacy.  The presentation was well-received by the ladies of the UDC.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

The following upcoming events were highlighted in the October Prattville Dragoons Camp Dispatch newsletter:

Upcoming Events
Work Day at Indian Hills Cemetery - Saturday 11 October 2014, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All Dragoons are encouraged to come and help. From the junction of Highways 82 and 14 in west Prattville, go north (toward Tuscaloosa) on Highway 82 for two miles.  Turn left onto County Road 86.  Go 1.6 miles and you'll see Indian Hills Cemetery on your left.  Subsequent work days will be 13 December 2014.
17th Annual Battles for the Tallassee Armory Friday-Sunday, 7-9 Nov 2014 – Reenactment will begin 7 November with unique hands-on (for children) School Day activities.   There will be battles Saturday and Sunday, as well as sutlers, food concessions, etc.  For information call 334-283-6888 or see
Prattville Christmas Parade, Monday 1 December 2014, 7 p.m.  Dragoons will have an entry.
Prattville Christmas Social and Dinner, Friday 12 December 2014, 7-9 p.m.  
Lee-Jackson Dinner 16 January 2015 - Dalraida Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Montgomery.  Sponsored by Semple Camp SCV Camp 2002. A rib-eye steak will be the entree.  This is always an enjoyable social event. Any questions contact Communications Officer Alan Parker, or
S D Lee Institute Lectures, 6-7 Feb 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  For information and to register, see

Confederate Circle Dedication, 23 May 2015, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma - This will be the culmination of a couple of years of dedicated effort at this very historic site.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for November 2014

Chaplain’s Column:  Live Intentionally - 2 Timothy 4:6-8
            In reading the Bible, Paul was a man who lived life to the fullest. His goals were set to know Christ, abide in His power, fellowship in His suffering, and preach the gospel (Phil. 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:17). In doing so, he aligned his aspirations with the Lord's, worked hard to fulfill his calling, and persevered despite all opposition, persecution, and suffering. At the end of his life he could face it with confidence since he'd "fought the good fight," "finished the course," and "kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).
            I believe we all would like to be able to say the same at the end of our lives, but that would mean that we would have to follow Paul's example. Realizing that the following questions would need to be asked of us, how are we doing at setting goals for our lives? Has any  thought been given beyond the immediate and have any long-term objectives been set? Our culture is so fast-paced that few of us take the time to actually consider where we're going. But you don't want to finish your life and find out you were on a course other than God's, fighting the wrong fight, and struggling to keep the faith.
            Perhaps we should set aside some time this week to get alone with the Lord. Then ask His help in setting goals that will take you where He wants you to go. Consider every area of your life--personal, relational, financial, and vocational--but make spiritual goals your primary emphasis. Then write them down.
            If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. Maybe we need to find a new path and get out of the rut that some may be in. With God’s help we can change our direction and accomplish new goals that align with His will. Don't settle for the mediocrity of an unplanned life. Start living intentionally.

Yours In Christ

Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Friday, October 10, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for October 2014

Commander's Column:  Jefferson Davis's Principle Is Reasserted
            Kerri and I just returned from a trip to New Orleans to celebrate her birthday.  New Orleans is her favorite city because of its cuisine, music and the unique culture and people.  The architecture, music, language and cuisine are the result of a melting pot of French and Spanish and of course Southern--both black and white--influences.  I was surprised to learn that New Orleans is home to the second largest collection of Confederate memorabilia--the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum--which is also the oldest museum in the state of Louisiana (see dating from 1891.  At the entrance to the museum, a plaque is mounted indicating that it was here that Jefferson Davis’s body lay in state on May 28, 1893.  This was actually four years following his death.  He was temporarily buried in Metairie at a cemetery with veterans from the Army of Northern Virginia and his body was disinterred, placed in a new casket and transported to Richmond, Virginia, on a funeral train with full military honors, greeted by throngs all along the route, venerated by as many citizens as any leader in the history of the country.
            Current events caused me to recall Davis’s quote, “The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.”  Comm Officer Tyrone Crowley recently emailed a link to an article discussing the Scottish vote for secession, the  reasons, the precedent and the future of similar movements.   The Scots sought independence for political self-determination as a minority to the ruling English Tories and for economic reasons to control and develop resources within their borders and stabilize wages shrinking from the inflation driving those in England.  The Scots also claim a distinct heritage with political and social views largely contrasting with the rest of the United Kingdom.  Russia is claiming that within Ukraine there are Russian minorities in the Crimea and western regions who seek independence and reunification or realignment with Moscow, whereas Russia’s economic interests in these regions is unquestionable and certainly worrisome to the European Union.  The past few decades have seen a steady movement including multiple referendums in Canada for the secession of the province of Quebec.  Quebec has a strong economic incentive including geographic control of trade routes as well as a very distinct French heritage and culture including the language contrasting this province with the rest of Canada.
            Interestingly, in Canada and Scotland, the citizens of those regions were permitted by the mother country to hold referendums, popular votes for secession. There were no invasions and no bloodshed, although there certainly was some coercion, including dangling economic carrots and propaganda warnings of dire consequences, employed to sway public opinion and voting results.  It is difficult to imagine that should a serious secession movement gain traction in the United States today or in the future that carnage would ensue as resulted from Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression 150 years ago to reunify the country and secure the South’s economic resources and political subservience for the Northern industrialists.  The article mentioned above indicated that up to today, the War for Southern Independence and its ultimate demise seemingly settled the question of legitimacy of secession for Americans for all time.  And yet the reasons for these recent worldwide secession movements is much the same as the reasons our Confederate ancestors sought independence, a distinct social order and culture, a growing imminence as a political minority, and economic subservience while contributing an inordinate portion of the national wealth from inherent natural and institutional resources.  It is the growing realization today that these same issues were the actual drivers 150 years ago which led to the secession of the Southern states and which makes it imperative for the politically-correct to reinforce their single-issue revision of the historical account of the period to that of a magnanimous liberation of the tortured plantation slaves.  But, as Jefferson Davis foretold, the day may come when the principles which led our Confederate ancestors to form their own union will be recognized and indeed may come to fruition.  Just ask certain residents of Colorado and California whether secession is a settled issue.
Stuart Waldo

Camp Commander

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Announcement for the Camp Meeting for October 2014

Dr. William Dean Will Speak at October Meeting

The Prattville Dragoons will hold their monthly camp meeting on Thursday October 9th at 7pm, Dr. William Dean of the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, will speak on "The Gallant John Pelham".
William T. Dean III holds a B.A. in History from the University of the South.  His M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are in modern European military and diplomatic history from the University of Chicago.  Dr. Dean is a specialist in French Colonial Warfare.   He has taught at Roosevelt and DePaul Universities in Chicago, and was the Director of Peace, War and Diplomacy Studies at Norwich University in Vermont. Currently, Dr. Dean is an Associate Professor of Comparative Military Studies and teaches irregular warfare, military history, and international affairs.
Many come early to enjoy the delicious Shoney's buffet starting around 6pm.  All are invited to come hear the latest camp news and this informative presentation by Dr. Dean and to enjoy fellowship with fellow compatriots. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oxford Mississippi Selective Acknowledgement of History and Disrespect of Southern Heritage

Contribution by Cherokee Brasher, Alabama Division SCV Chief of Heritage Defense.

                    Ole Miss and the New Bigots

By Ben Jones, Chairman, Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Operations Committee

The brilliant editor H.L. Mencken had a way of being succinct that sparkled with wit. "There is no idea so stupid that you can't find a professor who will believe it," he remarked.  Mencken would have a field day with the recent actions of the University of Mississippi. If you have ever wondered why academia is often the butt of ridicule and humor, you need only to read the report from Ole Miss President Dan Jones entitled, "Action Plan on Consultant Reports and Update on the Work of the Sensitivity and Respect Committee."

We are told that the Extended Sensitivity and Respect Committee has decided that the new Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion will work with the Institute for Racial Diversity and the new Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.
Fellow compatriots, I am not making this up. This is not a satire, this is what the taxpayers of Mississippi are dishing out their hard-earned money to pay for.

President Jones further stated, "It is my hope that the steps outlined here reflecting the hard work of University committees and our consultants will prove valuable in making us a stronger and healthier university, bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place for every person, every day, regardless of race, religion, preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression."

In my opinion, this is an as astounding a demonstration of politically correct, "feel-good", unadulterated hogwash as has ever been uttered by a man on the public payroll. And having spent four years in the United States Congress, I have heard some world-class hogwash in my day.

President Jones, sounding a lot like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, has listed every possible group that might be sensitive to not being "included" in this unlimited "diversity", even one I've never heard of: "gender expression." Well, whatever that means, I figure it is o.k. if one expresses their gender at Ole Miss.

There is one very large group that is not included, however. It is those of us whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy during the War Between the States. There are over 70 million of us, but it is as if we do not exist, or have deep feelings toward our forefathers.

In fact, without a straightforward explanation, the famous Oxford street named Confederate Drive is being renamed by these academics in the name of "inclusion". That intentional insult puts the lie to any pretense of "inclusion" or of respect or of diversity on the part of the University of Mississippi.

The Confederacy existed. Thousands of young Mississippians died for it. That conflict has been the crucible event of American history. Everything before led up to it. Everything after has been influenced by it.

The entire student body of the University of Mississippi enlisted in the Confederate Army and those young men suffered 100% casualties. That war is an historical reality and we do not flinch from that reality and its consequences. Those men and their descendants built the University and kept it going through good times and bad, and through the social changes of the past 150 years.

That street was named for those brave young students. The University, in its narrow-minded rush to be politically correct, has banished that little bit of respect by renaming Confederate Drive. In their sanctimonious zeal, they have demeaned the honor and reputation of our ancestors.

In the last fifty years or so we have witnessed a truly remarkable revolution in race relations in the South. Where once there was Jim Crow and strict segregation, there is now a multi-cultural society that has the fastest growing economy in the United States. Men and women of good hearts have come together in brotherhood and cooperation to enjoy racial relations that are an exemplar for other regions. This "bridge-building" has been built on an acceptance of the past and the promise of a shared future, not the divisive finger-pointing of the academics and the politicians.

These politically correct crusaders are practicing a new kind of bigotry. It is a movement that demonizes the Confederacy and lays the sins of America entirely upon the South. If they continue to have their way, they would eradicate every vestige of our cultural history. They ask for respect but give none.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 4

Dr. Brandon Beck continued his presentation to the Dragoons for their September 11, 2014 camp meeting on Robert E. Lee and his struggles with the decision to follow his home state of Virginia in joining the Confederacy.  Lee believed secession was revolution in the same way as George Washington did seventy years prior. It should be remembered that the United States was just 74 years old at the time of the War Between the States while the Commonwealth of Virginia was 152 years old. Lee idolized George Washington and carried his sword throughout the War.  After the firing on Ft. Sumter, Lee wrote his son Custis, paraphrasing, "I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution but the country cannot be preserved by the sword and if Virginia secedes he will follow with his sword and if need be with his life".  And indeed, Lee had a couple of close calls during the War including by a sniper in 1862. 

Lee hoped Lincoln would compromise and extend the Missouri line westward. Lincoln gave conflicting messages regarding meddling in the state institutions saying, "The greatest of crimes would be the armed invasion of another state no matter the pretext."  While in Texas, Lee received orders relieving him of his command there and ordering him to Washington DC to meet with General Scott. Lee knew he would not be returning to Texas so he packed all of his belongings in an Army ambulance including his field tent and cot and basic appointments. Lincoln's inauguration was the first of any U.S. President not attended by any Custis or Lee.  Virginia had multiple votes regarding secession but each was defeated as Virginia believed much as Lee that unless provoked or forced, Virginia should not secede. Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward assured all the Southern states that Ft. Sumter would be evacuated but that proved to be a lie.  

Lee was a Southern moderate.  He didn't like slavery but defended it's legality. He believed in the legality of secession and was taught so at West Point.  When he saw Texas secede, he feared Virginia would soon follow.  Virginia was afraid that the federal government would coerce the state to remain in the Union and potentially use Virginia as a platform from which to invade the South. April 1861 saw an incredible pace of events.  On the 4th of April, Virginia voted 88-45 not to secede. Also on the 4th of April, Lincoln directed a relief convoy to resupply Ft. Sumter. On the 6th of April, Lincoln warned the Governor of SC of his intention. On the 7th of April General Beauregard restricted resupplies to Ft.Sumter and on the 12th of April opened fire on the fort and the convoy precipitating the conflict to War. On the 17th and 18th of April, Francis Blair and Winfred Scott invited Lee to their respective residences in Washington and speaking for Lincoln, offered Lee a Major General position in command of the Union Army but Lee indicated that although opposed to secession, he could not oppose his home state of Virginia.  Lee went home and prayed and subsequently penned his resignation of his U.S. Army commission saying it was the most difficult decision of his life.  Coincidentally, on April 17th, unbeknownst to Lee at the time, Virginia voted to secede from the Union.  On the 19th of April, Lee wrote a letter to his family.  He wrote his wife saying it was better to make up our minds to a great loss and hoping to see Stratford and Arlington again but, that would never happen.  On April 20th, Lee went to his church, Christ Episcopal and that evening a letter was given to him from the Governor of Virginia asking him to come to Richmond to discuss the defense of Virginia and the capitol.

Lee never regretted his actions, never viewed that he had a choice and that he only did his duty and could have taken no other course without dishonor.