Friday, March 17, 2017

"The Gallant” Major John Pelham of Alabama, CSA Artillery Commander for General Jeb Stuart

Today, 17 March 1863, "The Gallant” Major John Pelham of Alabama, CSA Artillery Commander for General Jeb Stuart, died heroically on the battlefield of Kelly’s Ford, Virginia. Mrs. Ellen Williams, a stalwart Confederate, furnished a well written piece on Pelham’s military life.

One of Alabama’s most outstanding young men whose personal bravery and military expertise caught the attention of both Gen. Lee, Ge. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, and J.E. B. Stuart was John Pelham, commander of an artillery battery, from Jacksonville, Alabama. He was enrolled in West Point when the WBTS began; he resigned a few weeks short of graduation in order to accept a commission in the Alabama State Militia. State Militias or State Troops were either released by the governor into the regular Confederate Armies or kept locally to defend the state.

John Pelham soon went to Virginia where his well-drilled and disciplined battery caught the eye of J.E.B. Stuart. Thereafter, he was involved in every major military engagement of Stuart’s cavalry from First Manassas to Kelly’s Ford, more than 60 encounters.

Pelham particularly distinguished himself as Chief of Stuart’s Artillery at the Battles of Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. At Sharpsburg (the deadliest day in the WBTS), Pelham’s battery harassed the flanks of oncoming Union lines causing numerous casualties and breaking up battle formations. Without the Pelham Battery’s constant barrage, Gen. Lee’s army would have been surrounded in Maryland and the war would have ended there. Gen. Stonewall Jackson said of him, “It is really extraordinary to find such nerve and genius in a mere boy. With a Pelham on each flank, I believe I could whip the world.”

General Lee’s army would have been destroyed at Fredericksburg, except for Pelham’s guns positioned well in advance of the main Confederate line which held up the entire flank of the union Army of the Potomac for several hours enabling the Confederates to repel a series of strong attacks. Gen. Robert E. Lee, in his official report commended Pelham for “unflinching courage” while under direct fire from multiple Union batteries. At the time Pelham had only two guns remaining in service with which he enfiladed the entire advancing Federal lines of battle. Gen. Lee himself, used the term “the gallant Pelham” for our Alabama artillerist and that epitaph remains today.


John Pelham was on horseback waving his cap and urging the infantry on: “Forward boys! Forward to victory and glory”; when he was shot and killed at the battle of Kelly’s Ford. He was 24 years old. There is a life-size monument of him in downtown Jacksonville, (Alabama).

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Major General Patrick Cleburne Birthday 17 March

Major General Patrick Ronayne Celburne, The Stonewall of the West, born 17 March 1828.

"I am with the South in life or death, in victory or defeat. I believe the North is about to wage a brutal and unholy war on a people who have done them no wrong, in violation of the Constitution and the fundamental principles of government. They no longer acknowledge that all government derives its validity from the consent of the governed. They are about to invade our peaceful homes, destroy our property, and murder our men and dishonor our women. We propose no invasion of the North, no attack on them, and only ask to be left alone." 



Monday, March 6, 2017

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for March 2017

Chaplain’s Column: Avoiding Hurtful Words
Scripture: Ephesians 4:29
Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Another resolve that will help you live without marriage regrets is this: “I will avoid hurtful words.” Words are like nails–you can remove the nails, but the hole remains. And it is the same way with hurtful statements you make to your mate. Over life I can remember situations in which a husband or wife will recall a statement the mate made ten or twenty years ago. The offending party has completely forgotten about those statements, but the hurt person remembers the conversation verbatim.

Our words are very powerful. The Bible says, “The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). Just as one spark can destroy an entire forest, so one hurtful word can destroy the spirit of a marriage. That is why it is so important that if we are going to have a regret-free marriage, we need to learn to avoid hurtful words.

Paul gave us a great filter through which to pour all of our speech in Ephesians4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Using that verse, let me suggest an acrostic that will help you remember to filter your speech to your mate, built on the word T-H-I-N-K. The “T” stands for “true.” Is what you are saying true? Paul says we ought to lay aside all falsehood in our speech. By the way, when you say to your mate, “You always,” or, “You never,” usually you are not speaking truth. Make sure your speech is true. The “H” stands for “helpful.” Is what you are saying helpful? Our goal should be to help, not hinder our mate. The “I” stands for “inspiring.” Paul said our words ought to edify. That word “edify” means to build up. Do your words build up, rather than tear down, your mate? The “N” stands for “necessary.” Is what you are saying necessary? You don’t need to express every thought you have. Paul says to speak only a word according to the need of the moment. And then “K” stands for “kind.” Is what you are saying kind? Our words to our mate ought to be laced with grace. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Please remember those on our prayer list.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

1.) Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting - WBTS Weapons Presentation and Annual Business Meeting at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville AL – Thursday, March 9
2.) Confederate Flag Day – March 4 – Luverne, AL – 9:00 A – 4:00 P – Confederate Veterans Memorial Park – This is a family event hosted by the Ben Bricken Camp 396. The location is 6403 Brantley Highway in Luverne. There will be presentations and live firing of connons and muskets. Bring lawn chairs, family and friends, and prepare for a great day of enterntatinment. Be sure to bring your flags.
3.) Announcing the 2017 Alabama Division Education Conference 25 March 2017 in Prattville! This will be similar to the first annual Education Conference held here last year. This is a state wide event and the public, especially educators, is invited. Last year’s event was very successful and well attended. The keynote speaker for this event will be none other than the great Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln. His talk will be on "Why Lincoln was Hated and Reviled by Americans North and South During His Lifetime.” Returning will also be Brion McClanahan, an expert on the Constitution and writes for the Abbeville Institute.
4.) Flag setting at Prattville's Oak Hill Cemetery for the Confederate Veterans buried there in honor of Confederate History and Heritage month.
5.) Annual Prattville Dragoons Camp Picnic – Saturday, April 1st – Confederate Memorial Park  The picnic will be our monthly meeting, no meeting at Shoneys on Thursday April 13th. The picnic hours are 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Flag setting for the veterans and widows buried at the CMP cemeteries at 9am.  As an added bonus this year, the Camp 1921 String Band from Tallassee will entertain after the meal. A very special thank you to compatriots Bill Hamner and Skip Ward for their donation of Dixie Butts to the camp.
6.) Confederate Memorial Day Monday April 24th - Alabama Division UDC event at the Alabama State Capital at 10am followed by the Prattville Dragoons event at the Prattville Primary School on Wetumpka St in Prattville at 6pm - come enjoy Pastor Weaver's address, bapgipes and more
7.) 2017 Sons of Confederate Veterans Alabama Division Reuninon – June 9th and 10th in Cullman.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for March 2017 - Lincoln's Protectionist Tariff Philosophy

While listening to President Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress I noted his reference to Lincoln, “The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the “abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government (will) produce want and ruin among our people.””  As Lincoln’s collection of tariff revenue was foremost in his prosecution of the War Between the States, it should be noted that he wrote his thoughts here quoted by Trump in 1846-1847.   Lincoln stated in his lay study ((https://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln1/1:423.1?rgn=div2;view=fulltext  Collected Works of Lincoln Volume 1, Fragments of a Tariff Discussion), “If a certain duty be levied upon an article which cannot be produced in this country, as three cents a pound upon coffee, the effect will be, that the consumer will pay one cent more per pound than before, the producer will take one cent less, and the merchant one cent less in profits---in other words, the burthen of the duty will be distributed over consumption, production, and commerce, and not confined to either. But if a duty amounting to full protection be levied upon an article which can be produced here with as little labour, as elsewhere, as iron, that article will ultimately in consequence of such duty, be sold to our people cheaper, at least by the amount of the cost of carrying it from abroad.”  He maintained this belief in the benefits of a protectionist tariff assuming that goods produced elsewhere and shipped/imported here must necessarily be more expensive due to the additive costs of everyone who touched the goods either as transporter or intermediate/distributing merchant.  Surely Lincoln is not the economist of Thomas Sewell’s ilk as one must seriously wonder upon what grounds he believes a producer would absorb a duty/tariff without passing that cost along to the consumer and the merchant would just take less also to allow the end consumer to not be burdened with these costs??  What business model is that? Lincoln certainly didn’t envision massive container ships and sweat shops abroad either.   

Lincoln continued, “It seems to be an opinion that the condition of a nation, is best, whenever it can buy cheapest (think NAFTA and “Made in China”); but this is not necessarily true, because if, at the same time, and by the same cause, it is compelled to sell correspondingly cheap, nothing is gained. Then, it is said, the best condition is, when we can buy cheapest, and sell dearest; but this again, is not necessarily true; because, with both these, we might have scarcely any thing to sell (abroad). These reflections show, we must look not merely to buying cheap, nor yet to buying cheap and selling dear; but also to having constant employment, so that we may have the largest possible amount of something to sell. This matter of employment can only be secured by an ample, steady, and certain market, to sell the products of labour in.”  Constant employment or a generous welfare state??
He goes on to provide an example of a small economic system with a manufacturer with employees and a farmer with employees who enjoy commerce exclusively together in a closed/protected system benefitting each in some happily matched orchestrated nirvana.  But he warns, “After awhile the farmer discovers that, were it not for the protective policy, he could buy all these supplies cheaper from a European manufacturer, owing to the fact that the price of labour is only one quarter as high there as here. He and his hands are a majority of the whole; and therefore have the legal and moral right. They throw off the protective policy, and farmer ceases buying of home manufacturer. Very soon, however, he discovers, that to buy, even at the cheaper rate, requires something to buy with (and he has no money as Lincoln believes these foreign cheap labor markets would be too destitute to purchase the farmer’s goods).”  Macro-economist Lincoln or country lawyer or abolitionist hero or Renaissance man?

“But it has so happened in all ages of the world that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong. To secure to each labourer the whole product of his labour is a most worthy object of any good government. (Wouldn’t that be swell, no income tax?) Will the protective (tariff) principle advance or retard this object?  The habits of our whole species fall into three great classes---useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious. The only remedy for this is to drive useless labour and idleness out of existence. Before making war upon (useless labour), we must learn to distinguish it from the useful.  All labour done in carrying articles to their place of consumption, which could have been produced at the place of consumption, as at the place they were carried from, is useless labour.  Iron and everything made of iron, can be produced, in sufficient abundance and with as little labour, in the United States, as anywhere else in the world; therefore, all labour done in bringing iron and it's fabrics from a foreign country to the United States, is useless labour. The same precisely may be said of cotten, wool, and of their fabrics respectively. While the uselessness of the carrying labour is equally true of all the articles mentioned, it is, perhaps, more glaringly obvious in relation to the cotten goods we purchase from abroad. The raw cotten, from which they are made, itself grows in our own country; is carried by land and by water to England, is there spun, wove, dyed, stamped and then carried back and worn in the very country where it grew.  Why should it not be spun, wove in the very neighbourhood where it both grows and is consumed, and the carrying about thereby dispensed with?”  Drive from existence?  War?  Useless labor?  Perhaps Lincoln needed to read the Department of Transportation’s, Bureau of Transportation Statistics (yes there is such a thing) analysis, “Freight is an important part of the transportation sector, and the transportation sector is in itself a major component of our economy. The transportation sector moves goods and people, employs millions of workers, generates revenue, and consumes materials and services produced by other sectors of the economy. The wide range of transportation services used in the economy includes for-hire freight carriers, private transportation providers, freight forwarders, logistics providers, and firms that service and maintain vehicles.  In 2002, transportation-related goods and services accounted for more than 10 percent—over $1 trillion—of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.  Only three sectors—housing, health care, and food—contributed a larger share of GDP than transportation.”  (www.rita.dot.gov/bts/programs/freight_transportation/html/transportation.html)  Useless?

“This useless labour I would have discontinued, and those engaged in it, added to the class of useful labourers.  If I be asked whether I would destroy all commerce, certainly not - I would continue it where it is necessary, and discontinue it, where it is not. An instance: I would continue commerce so far as it is employed in bringing us coffee, and I would discontinue it so far as it is employed in bringing us cotten goods.”   Has the ring of a socialist utopia doesn’t it with the omnipotent government determining what is good commerce and worthwhile labor for each comrade citizen.   Lincoln goes on to expound on his theories with another lengthy example of the farmer who could buy his iron farm implements and finished fabrics more cheaply from Europe than from his neighbors.  The farmer throws off the protective tariffs to purchase cheaper imports but finds he has no domestic market for his agricultural goods as he has caused the home manufacturing sector to suffer and fall to ruin. 


He concludes, “Universal idleness would speedily result in universal ruin and useless labour is, in this respect, the same as idleness.  I submit, then, that partial idleness, and partial useless labour, would in like manner result, in partial ruin.  The abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government, must result in the increase of both useless labour, and idleness; and so must produce want and ruin among our people.”  These thoughts and hypotheses of Lincoln’s show that at an early age and at the very beginning of his political career he espoused strong protectionist tariffs and believed that abandoning these would lead to economic ruin for the country.  Where many have correctly surmised that Lincoln prosecuted his War to preserve the tariff income from the Southern ports, his notes here demonstrate he seriously believed the South was effectively instigating or provoking economic warfare on the North and its manufacturing industry in abandoning the closed protective economic system shaped by his federal government.  Certainly an argument can be posited as to the benefits of Trump’s current plans to implement a border adjustment which could lower corporate tax rates and result in companies reinvesting in American manufacturing and facilities and workers, providing jobs and increased wages. One can also suppose this economic philosophy may lead to inflation.  But this again highlights the disparity in the contributions made by the Southern states to the antebellum economy and the federal coffers and the inequitable federal disbursement to and investment in Northern infrastructure.  You need only follow the money to discern the true cause for the War for Southern Independence.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Old Pickens Court House SC Confederate Sights

Spent a few days recently in the upstate of South Carolina and stopped by the Old Pickens Presbyterian Church which overlooks the Oconee Nuclear Plant and Lake Keowee in Pickens County SC.  The church is all that remains of the town of Pickens Court House which was established in 1828 on these grounds.  The town served as the county seat of the Pickens District and was situated on a knoll overlooking what was then the Keowee River.  A recent addition to the site is a covered educational kiosk which provides a brief history of the town and the church including a map of how the town was laid out in a a play eight blocks long by 4 blocks wide and included a jail and courthouse, stores and homesites.  The town thrived as it was situated along historical Cherokee Indian trading routes.  With the onset of the War Between the States, thousands of men joined the Confederate Army from this SC upstate, many mustering from Pickens Court House. Following the War, the Pickens District was divided into Oconee and Pickens County and the county seats were located in the geographic centers of Oconee county in Walhalla and in Pickens for that county and so residents dispersed to settle in these new population centers.  A hundred years later, the Keowee River valley was flooded for the construction of Lake Keowee which serves as a cooling reservoir for the Duke Power Oconee Nuclear Power Plant.  The Presbyterian Church was built of brick from clay found in the nearby Keowee River and was completed in 1847.  The cemetery on the church grounds serves as the final resting place for 217 souls but many more were moved to land adjacent to the church when the Keowee River valley was flooded - historic footage of the grave relocation can actually be viewed in the movie "Deliverance" which was an infamously fictional story surrounding the creation of the lake.  The oldest grave is that of a Revolutionary War veteran Lt. Joseph Reid but a number of Confederate veterans are also buried in the cemetery including Jesse Richard Ross of Orr's Regiment of the South Carolina Rifles.  The church remained a focal point for the small number of residents in the Old Pickens community and intermittent services were held there albeit without a permanent pastor til 1968 when Duke Power purchased the land including the church in proximity for the construction of the power plant.  In 1999 the Historic Old Pickens Foundation a 501.c.3 was formed to provide perpetual care for the church and grounds.  Oldpickens.org provides great additional information on this historical treasure.  The grounds are open daily and the church on Sundays. 






Friday, February 24, 2017

Walhalla SC Confederate Sights

Visited Walhalla South Carolina recently and stopped for a bit to take in the Confederate historical sites in the downtown area.  The author attended a Confederate Memorial Day event many years ago in the cemetery of Saint Johns Lutheran Church there.  Walhalla was founded by German immigrants in 1849 and is a picturesque town in the foothills of South Carolina, close to the Blue Ridge Mountains with scenic overlooks and waterfalls.  Walhalla hosts a popular Oktoberfest annually.  Saint John's Lutheran Church was founded and the current church structure built in 1859 just before the War Between the States.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and the grounds provide the final resting place for many of the town's founding families including many Confederate veterans.  Of interest was the place in the cemetery where Johann or John Wagener was buried.  Wagener was one of the founders of Walhalla, died and was buried there in 1876 before his remains were moved to Charleston SC.  Wagener served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army in charge of the First Artillery regiment which built Fort Walker on Hilton head island and defended Port Royal harbor in 1861.  After the War Between the States, Wagener was commissioned Brigadier-General by Governor James Orr and served as mayor of Charleston from 1871-1873.  Fort Wagener on Morris Island is named for him.  A number of iron crosses are prominent across the cemetery and most names are of German origin including Pieper, Wendelken, Busch, Kaufmann, Stucke, and Bauknight. The church fronts Main Street and just a few blocks north in the center median is an historic Confederate monument as well as a smaller one depicting the great seal of the Confederacy, a cannon and a flag pole displaying the Confederate Battle flag which is actually maintained by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans.