Saturday, May 26, 2018

Prattville Dragoons Attend Alabama Division Reunion


The Alabama Division Reunion, hosted by the Emma Sansom Camp in Gadsden, was a huge success. Attendance was very good and included four Dragoons from SCV Camp 1524, compatriots Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Dave Thompson and Josh Stover. 

There was a Commander’s Reception on Friday night at the Elliot Community Center and everyone enjoyed some delicious food and Southern Hospitality. Many old friends who had not seen each other in some time caught up on what has been going on since they last met. Great fellowship and many conversations went on well into the evening. 

On Saturday morning, those attending the Reunion gathered in the Elliott Center auditorium for the first business session. After presentation of the colors and remarks from dignitaries, the business session for the  Division convention commenced with officer reports and other important items. Commander In Chief Tom Strain was present and acted as Parliamentarian for the elections. Carl Jones, Mike McMurry and Tim Steadman ran unopposed and were elected Division Commander, 1st Lt. Commander and 2nd Lt. Commander by acclimation. A constitutional amendment and resolutions which had been submitted for consideration were presented. A full report of the convention business will be given at the next Camp 1524 meeting.

After a fine lunch, the convention re-convened and the Brigades broke out to meet and decide on the Brigade Commanders for the next 2 years. The Southwest Central Brigade will be led by new Brigade Commander Josh Stover as Past Brigade Commander, Butch Godwin, did not wish to seek another term. Butch deserves a Confederate salute for his tremendous service, his advice, assistance and encouragement that he has offered for the past 2 years of his term. He will continue to serve as a lieutenant to Josh in his new role. 

Saturday evening, was the traditional Awards Banquet. The meal was outstanding. The speaker was past Alabama Division Commander and Past Commander In Chief Norman Dasinger. His presentation was meant to inspire the SCV to keep our heads up and keep following the Charge. He emphasized there are many Confederate monuments and other displays in the country and the world and we should not despair in the face of attacks on our heritage. 

Many Division awards were bestowed on individuals and groups.  Camp 1524 won Brigade Camp of the Year and came in a very close second in the statewide Camp of the Year contest. Many Dragoons also received awards this year. 

Past- Commander Jimmy Hill has provided great leadership for the Division over his past term, leading us through some difficult times and was very instrumental in our Division putting up new mega flags and monuments in Alabama. At a time when our heritage was under a bold attack on all fronts, Jimmy has been steadfast in fighting back by displaying more of our heritage symbols. 

Photos below include new Division Commander Carl Jones; the four attendees from the Dragoons with Brigade Commander Butch Godwin; new Division 1st Lt. Commander Mike McMurry; and new 2nd Lt. Commander Tim Steadman.






Thursday, May 24, 2018

SCV Camp 1524 at the Prattville Cityfest

The Dragoons again had a booth at the Prattville City Fest held on Saturday 12 May along downtown Main Street. We had an enormous amount of activity from the public and huge demand for our free small Battle Flags, SCV coins, Alabama Division educational posters, and informational pamphlets as well as free water to help beat the 90 degree heat.  Commander Waldo helped set up the booth early before leaving for a family outing.  Wayne, "Adjutant for Life" Sutherland gave up much of his birthday to also help set up and stay thru the morning.  Compatriot Josh Stover stayed til 3pm and brought a nice vertical banner advertising his monuments business which has been instrumental in erecting new Confederate monuments across the Division - see monumentsacrossdixie.wordpress.com and on Facebook.  1st Lt Harold Grooms helped set up and then had to depart for a while for a conflicting event but returned to help at the Dragoons and the Lions Club booths.  Compatriot Larry Spears helped in the camp's booth as well as in the Sons of the American Revolution booth set up immediately adjacent along the booths lining Main Street.  Larry Miller and Dale Boyles helped most of the afternoon and Don Owens stood at the front of the booth in the hot sun most of the day greeting visitors.  All the members who helped with manning the booth and all the friends and neighbors who stopped by made it a very special time of fellowship. Thanks to all who helped or dropped by to visit.  It was notable that other vendors in the area, who were displaying a variety of arts and crafts, had Confederate themed items for sale. Our heritage is not dying; it is gaining fresh momentum. Monuments and flags are going up on private property all over this state and the South. The Dragoons continue to be a positive face to the public to carry forth the Charge.  



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Montgomery's Oakwood Cemetery

Prattville Dragoon Rob Heyward made a terrific presentation on Montgomery's Oakwood Cemetery in the Camp 1524 May meeting reminding everyone that night was the 155th anniversary of General Thomas Stonewall Jackson's death.   Rob related that he took a cemetery tour hosted by 85 year old Mary Ann Neeley who was a wonderful wealth of knowledge regarding the cemetery and Montgomery history.  The first burial in Oakwood was in 1812 and there are perhaps 200,000 graves there including victims of river drownings, a famous burglar and of course many Confederate veterans.  Henry Washington Hilliard was a minister to Brazil and one of those Confederates buried there.  William Burr Howell, the father of Varina Howell, Jefferson Daviis' wife is also interred at Oakwood. Governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick was the last governor of Alabama when the state capital was still Tuscaloosa and the last before Reconstruction.  There were many Confederate hospitals in Montgomery so there were a lot of deceased soldiers and at one point there was about one death every day from these hospitals. Montgomery has river and rail transport which made it a central location for these hospitals even though it was small in population with only about 8000 residents during the time of the War.   After the War the Ladies Memorial Association cared for the graves of the veterans including the 724 Confederate soldiers buried under marble headstones line after line as well as a number of Union soldiers. In this Confederate section of the cemetery is the oldest Confederate monument in existence, erected in 1868 by thee LMA.  There is also a monument to the Confederate 6th Regiment AL infantry which dates to 1886. A number of Confederate Generals are buried in Oakwood including Brig. General James Holtzclaw who was wounded at Franklin TN.  Brig. General Tennant Lomax is also identified as a Colonel as he was awarded his promotion but died at Seven Pines with the letter of promotion still in his pocket.  Brig. General James Holt Clanton was known as a man of great devotion, shot by a Union officer during an altercation after the War, the town of Clanton in Alabama is named for him.  Brig. General Birkett Davenport Fry was wounded and lost a limb during the War and was wounded at Gettysburg during Pickett's Charge.  Many statesmen are buried in Montgomery as it has been the seat of state government for over 150 years. William Lowndes Yancey was renowned as one of the great orators in our country's history and led the push for secession.  He was historically known for introducing Jefferson Davis in Montgomery saying, "The hour and the man have met."  Yancey's law office served as the 1st Confederate Post Office.  He dies in 1863.  Governor William Calvin Holt was a Confederate officer who led the Alabama 15th at Gettysburg in the battle for Little Round Top after his troops had marched 20 miles to the battlefield.  Governor Thomas Goode Jones for which the Law School at Faulkner University is named carried the flag of truce at Appomattox for Lee.  Major Hnery Semple, a famous Confederate officer is the namesake for SCV Camp 2002.  Rob fittingly also included in his discussion mention of Mrs. Benajah Smith Bibb who was founder of the LMA and passes away in 1919 and was laid at rest there in Oakwood.  Rob included many photographs in a Powerpoint presentation as well as a map of the noted grave locations.  An outstanding entertaining and educational speech. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Meeting for May 2018


The Dragoons had an exceptional gathering the night of Thursday May 10th for their monthly meeting with a large crowd, of 36 including many guests and an excellent presentation by Dragoon Rob Heyward. The guests included Anne Kilgrow, President of the Montgomery Ladies Memorial Association; Bob Wieland, Curator at the First White House of the Confederacy; State Representative Paul Beckman; Sexton of Oakwood Cemetery Phillip Taunton and prospective member John Dennis. Also present was Compatriot Frank Pelt who has transferred to the Dragoons from another SCV camp. Representative Beckman gave a short but spirited presentation on his valued role in getting the Monument Protection bill into state law and stayed for the rest of the meeting.  Chaplain Tom Snowden presented his excellent slide show of Dragoon photos during the social hour and led us in a short devotion and prayer.  Commander Waldo then recited the Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and went thru the many announcements and upcoming events.  Rob had an excellent Powerpoint presentation prepared on Montgomery’s Oakwood cemetery and explained the history of many of the famous Confederate or Confederate era persons interred there. Rob's family was in attendance.  Rob has been a valued member of Camp 1524 and will be sorely missed as his family relocates to Maryland.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Compatriot Will Dismukes, who is also a Youth Minister, led us in a prayer for the Heyward family.  





Friday, May 18, 2018

Monument Dedication At Confederate Park in Luverne

Compatriot David Coggins and his faithful group of men held a spectacular Confederate monument dedication in Luverne on Saturday 5 May. The new impressive Confederate soldier monument was placed atop a concrete base overlooking Hwy 331 among the numerous other monuments, flags and cannon.  A rifle and cannon salute was performed to help dedicate the monuments. The local Clanton’s Battery provided the cannon salute.  Most of the men who work on these projects and in the Battery are members of the Ben Bricken SCV Camp in Luverne.  There was live music from a Southern Rock band playing Sweet Home Alabama, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Dixie and other favorites. David led the ceremony by explaining the purpose and history of the Park; he and his men have done an outstanding job of displaying our Confederate symbols in a most conspicuous place adjacent to US  Hwy 331 just south of Luverne.  Division Commander Jimmy Hill and Army of Tennessee Commander Larry McCluney were present and participated in the festivities. Commander Hill spoke of the flags and monuments that have recently been put up in Alabama and explained that more are planned.   The  Prattville Dragoons had a booth where we sold flags and other Quartermaster stores, snow cones, popcorn and cold bottled water. The proceeds go into our camp treasury. Bill Myrick, Commander Waldo, Josh Stover and the Stover and Waldo children manned the booth and did an exceptional job of hawking wares and serving the public.  Dragoons present included Commander Waldo, Josh Stover, Bill Myrick, Daviid Brantley, Tyrone Crowley, Bill Gill, Don Owens, Rob Heyward and Larry Spears.   With our Confederate symbols under vicious attack, this is a great way to show the public that our Southern Heritage will not die; in fact we are seeing a renewed effort to promote our heritage.








Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Spring Picnic


Beautiful Spring day on Saturday April 28th at Confederate Memorial Park in the Heart of Dixie for the Dragoons annual picnic. There was plenty of good Southern fellowship and Southern food to go around.  The camp provided smoked Dixie butts and 1st Lt Grooms and 2nd Lt Wade provided camp stew.  Others provided more BBQ and stew and fried chicken along with a variety of baked beans, potato salad, other sides and desserts including a delicious hummingbird cake by Sue Spears.  Prior to the picnic the camp placed flags at the cemeteries at the Park then performed a flag retirement ceremony.  The camp officers were also sworn in for the coming year by Brigade Commander Butch Godwin.   The Children of the Confederacy  held their annual Confederate Memorial Day meeting in the chapel at the park and it was standing room only with probably 140 people in the historic tiny wood chapel.  They conducted their normal flag salutes and songs including "How Firm a Foundation" and "Dixie" and introductions of the UDC sponsors and the CoC officers.  Former SCV Alabama Division Commander Gary Carlyle then gave a speech emphasizing the importance of honoring our Confederate ancestors and why we should be proud of them and our Southern heritage including doing a quiz on historical trivia.  There was also a Living History encampment and skirmish reenactment at the park after the picnic.  An enjoyable spring Saturday with hundreds of Confederate compatriots.   
Commander Waldo and Children Setting Flags on Confederate Veterans' Graves

Everyone Enjoying the Delicious Picnic Spread

Adjutant Sutherland Adds Flags to the Fire in the Retirement Ceremony

In the Chapel Prior to the Children of the Confederacy CMD Program

Commander Carlyle Sings "May the Circle be Unbroken" in the Chapel


Monday, May 14, 2018

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for May 2018


“’History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.’  Those words, by the late poet Maya Angelou, greet visitors entering The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama. They serve as a thesis statement for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which commemorates 4,000 lynching victims.  The museum and the memorial were conceived by lawyer and activist MacArthur “Genius” Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson says the project was designed to offer a direct counterpoint to the country’s penchant for softening representations of slavery—minimizing its brutality and its racist legacy.  ‘Our nation has tried very hard to create a picture of slavery that is benign and inoffensive,’ Stevenson tells artnet News. ‘We don’t generally show the chains, the suffering, and the brutality. As a result, we’ve done a poor job confronting the legacy of slavery or acknowledging the shame of white supremacy and racial bigotry.  This museum will be a new experience for many people in the US because we don’t typically acknowledge our failures or confront our history of racial bigotry,’ Stevenson says. ‘But changing the narrative about the legacy of slavery requires some measure of courage. We’re asking people to be brave. We believe that understanding our history won’t harm us, it will actually empower us to create a better future.’  The memorial has been in the works since 2010, when EJI began researching and documenting thousands of lynchings that occurred in twelve states. The organization’s work culminated in their 2015 report, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”  In the heart of Montgomery—the former capital of the domestic slave trade in Alabama—the Legacy Museum stands on the site of a former slave warehouse and is just steps away from what was once one of the most prominent slave auction sites in the country. The exhibits combine a variety of media and archival materials to recount the history of slavery, racial terror, segregation, police violence, and mass incarceration in America.  The 11,000-square-foot museum also features a selection of contemporary art.  ‘Artists help us understand aspects of the human struggle that are difficult to articulate with mere description,’ Stevenson says. ‘Great art can illuminate history and interpret our hopes and fears in ways that can be powerful, beautiful and unforgettable.’” (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/legacy-                           museum-memorial-peace-justice-1272686)

Robert E. Lee said, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today.  A land without memories is a people without liberty.”  I believe we can agree with Maya Angelou that it is important to remember history.  Kay Ivey in her recent campaign ad said as much in defense of the Memorial Preservation Act.  The Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans implores us to act as guardians for Confederate history and ensure that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.  Our SCV National Confederate Museum in Elm Springs will no doubt serve as a counterpoint though to this “Legacy Museum” in Montgomery. Interesting to note that the "Legacy" lynching story is based on research done at Tuskegee University, an historically black college which may impart a bias in the data set, conclusions and “understanding (of) our history”.  According to the report, the museum apparently restricts its portrayal to the twelve southern states as the entirety of the story of “Lunching in America” and that as purely a “Legacy of Racial Terror” while disregarding the a more widely recognized view of  historical lynchings such as those of frontier justice.  “Texas, Montana, California, and the Deep South, especially the city of New Orleans, were hotbeds of vigilante activity in American history. The state of Montana holds the record for the bloodiest vigilante movement from 1863 to 1865 when hundreds of suspected horse thieves were rounded up and killed in massive mob actions.”  (https://www.legendsofamerica.com/ah-lynching/) Montana and California fail to fit their desired narrative unfortunately.  The museum details the deaths of 4000 blacks over an eighty year period.  But, more recent and relevant, “Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed (nationally) in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide victim total to 7,881. Those 7,881 “black bodies” are 1,305 more than the number of white victims (which in this case includes most Hispanics) for the same period, though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous, according to the Washington Post. The paper categorized only 16 black male victims of police shootings as “unarmed.” That classification masks assaults against officers and violent resistance to arrest.  Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer.  Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. Among all homicide suspects whose race was known, white killers of blacks numbered only 243.” (https://nypost.com/2017/09/26/all-that-kneeling-ignores-the-real-cause-of-soaring-black-homicides/)  In “39,000 homicides: Retracing 60 years of murder in Chicago” (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-history-of-chicago-homicides-htmlstory.html), the statistics show that just in the last twelve years there were over 4000 murders in the Windy City the vast majority (72%) black-on-black.  But, this story doesn’t paint as convenient a picture of victimhood as the narrative the Legacy Museum wishes to portray.

Robert E. Lee stated, “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that Slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained.  There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.”  Jefferson Davis said, “The war...must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks...unless you acknowledge our right to self-government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination, we will have.”  But, the story of the Legacy Museum emphasizes that it stands on the site of a former slave warehouse and close by a slave auction “in the heart of Montgomery—the former capital of the domestic slave trade in Alabama”.  The slave owners singularly identified by the Legacy Museum of course are white racist Southerners which ignores the history of black slave owners and indentured servants of other races such as the Irish immigrants.  Ignoring the history of Northern slavery and slave trading for the two hundred years of American colonization and statehood and later antebellum restrictions on black movement and settlement in Northern states to further 20th century examples, the Legacy Museum turns a convenient blind eye northward in favor of perpetuating the convenient racist Southern stereotype.  Who are the bigots? In part of the very period this museum is supposedly investigating, “The 1920’s was an era of growing hostility, as blacks moved north. Restrictive covenants blocked black entry into many neighborhoods. Schools were openly segregated. Shopkeepers and theaters displayed “whites only” signs. Sugrue writes in “Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North”, “Even (black) celebrities had a hard time finding rooms and faced Jim Crow in restaurants when they toured the North.  In the ’30s, racism prevailed in many government programs. Federal housing agencies deemed black neighborhoods unworthy of credit, and federal officials segregated public housing. The ’30s and ’40s also saw white riots – in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles – aimed at restricting blacks to neighborhoods they already occupied.” (http://inthesetimes.com/article/4124/jim_crow_in_the_north)

It is astounding the millions of dollars invested in the creation of this “Legacy Museum” and the backing and publicity it has received.  It paints a dire picture of the battle we face in perpetuating the truth of Southern history.  But it is our Charge to carry forth, to build the National Confederate Museum, to utilize every means including the power of social media to reassert the principles for which our Confederate ancestors contended.  As Jefferson Davis said, “Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again.”  The article for the new Montgomery museum espouses the worth of art to “help us understand aspects of the human struggle that are difficult to articulate with mere description, illuminating history and interpreting our hopes and fears in ways that can be powerful, beautiful and unforgettable.”  This is the very argument Southern heritage proponents have made in defending the Confederate monuments as historical works of art. While antagonists maintain that the Confederate monuments are painful representations of an oppressive time and should be removed from public sight, apparently the statue of the chained slaves at the Legacy Museum is just "illuminating". Who are the bigots?  But it was never about the flags and the monuments but the drumbeat of attacks on “white privilege”, "white guilt", an agenda of division, and our very country’s history of liberty and Constitutional democracy, a representative government by the people with their consent.