Monday, December 22, 2014

December Indian Hills Cleanup

Members of Camp 1524 tackled more cleanup work at Prattville's historic Indian Hills cemetery on Saturday December 13th, the morning after the camp's Christmas Social at Buena Vista.  The weather started cool but the work and the debris bonfires warmed everyone up by mid morning. Dragoon Benny Harris coordinated the project again and great effort was put forth and progress was shown.  Bill Branch brought his tractor with boom and was able to move all of the large cut trees to the fires.  1st Lt Grooms again demonstrated tireless energy in clearing brush and using his chainsaw all morning.  Commander Waldo on light duty raked leaves from the bordered burial plots and around the fires.  Adjutant Sutherland sacrificed his back and worked with Bill and Harold in moving all the large logs.  Skip Ward brought a friend and they too helped with this commendable work.  Even an interested passerby stopped and was promptly put to work with a wheelbarrow. A crisp winter breeze blew a couple embers from the fires unintentionally helping to burn off leaves on occasion but the Dragoons policed the area albeit with some smoke inhalation.  Indian Hills is the final resting place for 39 souls including original Dragoon Lt. A.Y. Smith.  A number of graves date to the 1840s.  The Dragoons hope to complete the Indian Hills cleanup and renovation to rededicate the cemetery in April on next year.
Grooms Pushing Wheelbarrow with Harris and Sutherland

Bill Branch and Tractor

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Editorial by Dragoon Charlie Graham Regarding Racial Issues in the South

Published in the December 19th edition of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Racial issues hardly confined to South
             In 1641 Massachusetts was the first American colony to legally endorse slavery through its Body of Liberties. 150 years later in the census of 1790 it was the first state to register no slaves.

Jim Crow and Black Codes are routinely attributed to Southern culture. Some of the earliest Southern Black Codes were established by federal Gen. Ben Butler while he occupied New Orleans during the War Between The States. These codes were patterned after some of America’s earliest, established by Massachusetts in the early 1700s. Massachusetts wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t done by all of the other colonial states of the time.

Contrary to popular advocating, the elements of racial disparities do not begin and end in the South. If one is to believe that the national sentiment is exhibited through decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, we must examine the Plessy vs. Ferguson 7- decision in 1896. The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that states could maintain separate black and white cars on intrastate trains and facilities.

This was 30 years after the war. The 13th and 14th Amendments were in existence. The “separate but equal” mantra of segregation was thereby established and remained in effect until the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision .
            To explore the intrinsic collective roots of prejudice, one must exit the Southern enclave of alleged iniquity and wander around in the North for 400 years. One may also discover some unaddressed prejudice against Southerners embellished with hypocrisy.
 Charlie Graham

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dragoons Celebrate Christmas

Dragoons Celebrate Christmas!

Autauga County Heritage Association’s antebellum mansion Buena Vista was the perfect setting for the Prattville Dragoon Christmas party December 12th.  Upon arrival Dragoons, their ladies and guests were treated to piano music courtesy of ACHA’s own Mrs. Debra Davis.  Next was a delicious Christmas meal including ham, scalloped potatoes, squash casserole and butter beans catered by Red’s Little School House of Ramer, Alabama.  After dinner Mrs. Beverly Byard who manages Buena Vista provided a history of the grand old home followed by Mrs. Kerri Waldo reading a letter from a 1906 edition of the “Confederate Veteran” magazine describing Christmas during the War Between the States through the eyes of two little girls whose property was occupied by the Yankees.  Reverend Tom Snowden, Camp Chaplain, then led the group in singing traditional Christmas Carols and went solo on "Mary Did You Know" and "Star of Bethlehem".

Spirits were raised even higher when the “Jolly Old Man from the North Pole” arrived giving out candy canes for good little Dragoons who had distinguished themselves in various ways, including helping with the ongoing community service project of restoring Indian Hills Cemetery.  Then the unthinkable happened!  The Grinch arrived vowing to steal Christmas!  Disgusted, Santa proclaimed he had tried bringing the Grinch a lump of coal and ashes and switches.  Nothing had worked.  He then called on law enforcement personnel present at the event.  Fortunately retired State Trooper Karl Wade was in attendance.  He promptly informed the Grinch that stealing was against the law, put the varmint in hand cuffs, and had him sent straight to jail.  Children in Autauga County can rest easy knowing the Grinch is in no position to ruin Christmas, thanks to Trooper Wade and the Prattville Dragoons (and the SCV Semple camp’s Henry Howard as Santa and 1st Lt Harold Grooms, the dastardly Grinch)!

The Prattville Dragoons Camp 1524 Sons of Confederate Veterans wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Buena Vista
A Confederate Christmas Story

Santa Claus

Dragoons in Period Dress

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas in the South - Children of the Confederacy at Confederate Memorial Park

The Alabama Division Children of the Confederacy presented their annual program at Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek on Saturday December 6th.   The theme of their program was "Christmas in the South".  The program included posting of the colors with a Color Guard provided by SCV Camp 692, Cradle of the Confederacy out of Montgomery followed by pledges to the flags.  The CofC creed was presented followed by a welcome by Mr. John Appleton, President of the AL Division CofC. Additional welcomes and greetings were extended by other CofC and UDC and SCV officers including SCV AL Division Commander Gary Carlyle. The Children of the Confederacy then presented the Christmas Program which included songs like "Angels Among Us" and Commander Carlyle led the children in carols and "Christmas in Dixie".   Ornaments were placed on a Christmas tree in the Memorial Park chapel there where the program was held and Santa Claus paid a visit giving each child a gift bag with delicious holiday treats inside.  The program closed with a Benediction and Retiring of the Colors.  A wreath was laid at the Confederate Veterans cemetery across the road.  A wonderful Confederate Christmas event.
Confederate Memorial Chapel with Christmas Wreaths and Tree

Commander Waldo's Daughter in the Confederate Veterans Cemetery

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp News - December 2014

Forrest Commemorative Coin Available
            The group Citizens To Save Our Parks in Memphis is offering a commemorative coin as a fundraiser to help in its efforts to prevent the re-naming of Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park by the Memphis City Council.  See and click on "Background" for more information.  If you are interested, see the above website and click on "Merchandise".  Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley has some hard-copy printouts.  The coin is $11, shipping included.
"Audio Movie" About the CSS Alabama Available on Internet
            A very creative fellow named Robert Lloyd has created some interesting and educational "audio movies" about "Heroes in History", one of whom is famed Confederate Admiral Rapahel Semmes.  If you are interested, the link to the "audio movie" about Semmes and the CSS Alabama ("scourge of the Union Navy") is  The story starts in World War II with a short piece about a descendant of Admiral Raphael Semmes, then moves on to the story of the CSS Alabama.

South-Loving Abbeville Institute Available on Internet

            At its Scholars' Conference in Charleston back in November, Dr. Clyde Wilson of the Abbeville Institute received the R E Lee Award from SCV National Commander Michael Givens.  There is lots of thought-provoking material for Confederate-heritage lovers on the Abbeville Institute website at  Institute president Dr. Donald Livingston, familiar to us from S D Lee Institute lecture series, states that there are two American traditions, the Lincolnian and the Jeffersonian, and that the "Southern tradition" is simply "a regional version of the older Jeffersonian Americanism".  Look at this website, browse its varied material, and consider joining.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Upcoming Events - December 2014

Upcoming Events
Work Day at Indian Hills Cemetery - Saturday 13 December 2014, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All Dragoons are encouraged to come and help, for any amount of time they choose. 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. The Dragoons continue the Indian Hills Cemetery cleanuo on December 13th following a series of workdays in the fall in anticipation of a cemetery rededication in the spring. This effort has caused a local couple, Lawrence and Angela Chandler, to donate $75 to the Dragoon Treasury, in appreciation for our work at Indian Hills.  Thanks to 1Lt Cmdr Harold Grooms, the project has also received good coverage in the Prattville Progress and the Autauga Free Press (new online news source at
Prattville Christmas Social and Dinner, Friday 12 December 2014, 6-9 p.m.  Reservations required. 
Lee-Jackson Dinner 16 January 2015, 6:30 p.m. - Dalraida Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Montgomery.  Sponsored by Semple Camp SCV Camp 2002. Attendees will enjoy a rib-eye steak dinner and a fine program. The Semple Camp supports the Dragoons Christmas Social and Camp 1524 reciprocates by attending the Lee-Jackson Dinner the following month. This is always an enjoyable social event. Any questions contact Semple Camp Communications Officer Alan Parker.
S D Lee Institute Lectures, 6-7 Feb 2015 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 to renovate and enhance this very historic site.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dragoons Announce December 2014 Christmas Social

THE DRAGOON'S MEETING THIS MONTH WILL BE THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SOCIAL, Friday, 12 December 2014, 6:00-9 p.m. at Buena Vista (Montgomery House, for Confederates).  Registration is required. There will be plenty to eat, provided by Red’s Little School House, live music by Prattvillian Mrs. Deborah Davis, a program led by Commander Stuart Waldo, a sing-along with Chaplain Tom Snowden, all the socializing you want, and the antebellum holiday atmosphere of the seasonally-decorated house.  There may be a surprise event or two and you never know if Santa may appear.

Door prizes will be drawn as part of the program. Beverly Byard of the Autauga Historical Society will provide a history of Buena Vista and there will be Christmas season readings.
As usual, guests will be offered a sample of General Lee Egg Nog (compliments of your Dragoon officers), and early arrivals can enjoy the social hour before food is served.  At 7, we will enjoy a delicious catered meal provided by Red’s Little School House in Ramer followed by the program.  The mansion will be open during the social hour and for a short time after the program for event attendees to tour the period home and furnishings.