Saturday, September 20, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 1

Camp 1524 held their monthly meeting on September 11th at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  Chaplain Tom Snowden opened the meeting with an Invocation and closed another outstanding gathering with a Benediction remembering the infamous date in 2001 when thousands lost their lives in the attacks in new York City and Washington DC as well as those who have given their lives since that time defending our country against these terrorists. Color Sgt. Brent Jenks led everyone in the Pledge to the U.S. Flag, and the Alabama State flag and the Confederate Flag. Commander Stuart Waldo read the SCV Charge and the Closing as well as providing the announcements to the sixteen compatriots in attendance. The next work dates for the Indian Hills Cemetery cleanup September 27th and October 11th were highlighted and Lt. Harold Grooms made special mention of the progress made at the site thus far in this very worthwhile project.  The Camp 1524 Christmas Social was also announced as scheduled for the evening of December 12th. Membership renewals are also underway and are due by October 25th to Adjutant Wayne Sutherland and all are encouraged to renew their commitment to the Cause and the honor of their Confederate ancestors. Lt. Grooms introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Brandon Beck who returned to address the Dragoons speaking of General Robert E. Lee and his actions at Harper's Ferry capturing the abolitionist terrorist John  Brown and then discussing Lee's agonizing decision to resign his U.S. Army commission to serve his home state of Virginia after she was forced to secede.  Another informative and enjoyable meeting of the Prattville Dragoons.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Commanders Column for September 2014

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch:

Commander's Column: Oppressive Heat And Other Observations
As September arrives, it seems the last few weeks and the new month has brought the real
Alabama summer heat to bear with mid-to-upper nineties every afternoon. I hope everyone is
taking care to stay cool and hydrated in these oppressive temperatures. I am reminded of our
great-grandfathers who labored on their farms across the Southland and developed the land into
bountiful fields with crude tools and implements and our Confederate heroes marching miles in
woolen clothing to struggle with arms in combat enduring these harsh temperatures and
conditions with no air conditioning respite we enjoy. Carrying forth their Cause in our latest effort,
we had a great turnout for the last Indian Hills Cemetery clean-up. With the fire raging to burn up
the brush adding to the sweltering heat, my hour out there just before noon at the cemetery was
all I could handle. Lt. Harold Grooms was again an amazing dynamo plugging away for hours
though. But it was the combined effort of over ten folks including one non-member who made
great gains on the overgrown brush at the cemetery. Harold mentioned that he believed the
project is one of the best undertaken by the camp and certainly it strikes at the core of the Charge
to honor our Confederate ancestors.

This is an exciting time for the SCV with the change in national leadership as well as at the
state level including our own new Brigade Commander David Brantley. New Commander-in-
Chief Kelly Barrow and new Lt. Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain will certainly bring new ideas
and perspectives to those roles. We owe departing CiC Michael Givens much honor and
appreciation for his tremendous efforts and energy and vision in directing the SCV over the past
few years. The series of articles defending the Cause and recounting the true history of the
struggle for the Southern States' independence carried in each issue of the Confederate Veteran
magazine were spearheaded by him to educate the membership during this historic
Sesquicentennial. Vision 2016 was initiated during his tenure to empower membership to
develop and drive strategies for growth and heritage defense from the individual members and
camp level up to the Division and National leadership. These were great initiatives. I trust the
Confederate Veteran publication will continue to offer the wealth of historical research and
information we have come to expect as this aspect of SCV service is of particular importance in
this age of political correctness and historical revisionism. Givens’s final column in the
July/August 2014 edition of the Confederate Veteran again offered a fresh perspective on the
cause of the War Between the States, that of an imperialist Republican Lincoln administration
which sought to preserve a nation in terms of populace, resources and geography to rival any in
the world, a new global power. In retrospect, perhaps the evolution of the United States in the
20th century demonstrates this as the ultimate cause for the War of Northern Aggression.

The coming year for the SCV marks the end of the Sesquicentennial of the War and that
armed conflict with the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Johnston’s Army of
Tennessee in early 1865 but certainly not the end of hostilities as Reconstruction soon began,
which generated animosity for many years to come. It has been said that the United States has
become a nation of special interests, divided by ethnicities, issues and causes attempting to
fracture and debilitate the country, that we are a nation in decline because we are no longer a
melting pot, a nation bound by common bonds and beliefs. This may reflect on the problems
inherent in the enormous size of our nation-state, as was envisioned and argued by philosophers
and leaders from the time of Aristotle to the time of our Revolutionary framers. But perhaps this
all reflects back to the subjugation of the Southern people by a tyrannical Northern aggressor
bent on suppressing the liberty and independence of our forefathers who recognized the
omnipotent federal government as the threat and problem that it would ultimately become. We
have been reminded in recent camp meeting presentations how different the Southern and
Northern sectional cultures and heritage were--which contributed to the rise of tensions and
conflict. The Confederate States of America embodied the decentralized governance and society
and the strong self-sufficient God-fearing people our country was founded upon. Perhaps the
enduring oppressive summer weather climate should remind us of the similar enduring
oppressive political climate which has continued and evolved over the past 150 years too.

Stuart Waldo
Camp Commander

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for September 2014

Chaplain’s Column: Our Special Calling

While attending a work day at the Indian Hills Cemetery in Prattville I noticed that so few
members attended the work day. At one point during the work day I became so tired I fell to the
ground near exhaustion. Dead in front of me was a small ant busy working his way along. This
reminded me of a class in my college days. This particular class was called entomology. I learned
many things about ants as well as other insects during that course. How industrious, hardworking,
patient and co-operative they are to the colony. As well as being extremely hard working they
possess an extraordinary ability to work as a team. They work hard, are patient and co-operative.
An ant is able to carry a leaf, a crumb or a dead ant for miles - just to get back home to the anthill,
requiring a load of stamina and patience. Perhaps more humans need to practice the special
qualities an ant possesses - co-operating, working with others or patiently working towards your
goals.

Well I know many of you may wonder where I am going with this. As SCV members we are
called to keep the memory of our ancestors alive. I like to study and learn more about American
history during the times surrounding the War Between the States. For me the most important
reason for our membership in this organization is because of these fine men and women of that
time. They are our ancestors, for crying out loud! When someone talks about them in a bad way I
can almost hear them from Heaven.

Now back to the ant… I believe we as SCV members, with our special calling, should be a little
more like the ant in our work for the Cause. Words like co-operation, hardworking, patience,
being industrious and working as a team--to name a few.

As Christians we have a higher calling. With God's calling comes a time of preparation, and
preparation requires patience. Trust God today with His schedule for our life. Every experience
God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He
can see. Every believer has a story. Oftentimes, the more we surrender to God, the greater our
ability to see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the stronger our desire to
share with others all that He has done.

Are you passionately telling others about Christ? Loving God involves not just having a
personal relationship with Jesus, but also sharing Him with others. The world around you needs
the power of Christ. Let the Holy Spirit guide and enable you to share effectively with those
around you. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be
healed. --James 5:16

Yours In Christ
Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Announcement for the Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for September 2014

The Prattville Dragoons, Camp 1524 will hold their monthly camp meeting on Thursday, September 11th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  Many come early to enjoy the delicious Shoney's buffet or a piece of their strawberry pie. All are invited and welcome.  Dr. Brandon Beck, author and commander of SCV Camp 2140, Columbus, Mississippi, will speak on General Robert E. Lee. Dr. Beck will describe how General Lee apprehended John Brown at Harpers Ferry in 1859, and then discuss the agonizing decisions Lee had to make in 1860 and 1861 before resigning from the US Army and taking a commission from the Confederate States of America. As we are nearing the end of the Sesquicentennial, at the point where it's all winding down to Appomattox, it's a good time to go
back to the very beginning, to see how and why this great man made the choices he did. He
never regretted the decisions he made. This will surely be another interesting and thought-provoking presentation.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dragoons Community Service Camp Project Indian Hills Cemetery Clean-up and Renovation

Saturday morning August 16th the Dragoons conducted their third foray into the Indian Hills Cemetery. Nine Dragoons and one non-member gave one, two, up to four hours in the Alabama summer heat to help with this important and historically-valuable effort between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. This project has been described by some Dragoons as the best project ever undertaken by Camp 1524. The effort is being led by Dragoon Benny Harris, and already several local residents have expressed their appreciation for this community service being provided by the Dragoons with some assistance from the folks who live on each side of the cemetery.  Indian Hills Cemetery pre-dates the city of Prattville so is of great historical importance; several Dragoons including Lt. A.Y. Smith are buried there. The cemetery is located on Autauga County Road 86 about 1 1/2 miles off Hwy 82. 
1st Lt Harold Grooms, Lead Benny Harris and James Spears

Tom Crowley, brother of Dragoon Tyrone Crowley

Adjutant Wayne Sutherland assists Bill Branch with sawing a felled tree

The Tombstone of Dragoon Lt. A Y Smith

Friday, August 29, 2014

Prattville Dragoons August 2014 Camp Meeting

The Prattville Dragoons enjoyed another outstanding monthly meeting camp on Thursday August 14th, with good food, good fellowship, and an excellent speaker. 1st Lt Cmdr Harold Grooms led the meeting, with Chaplain Tom Snowden offering opening and closing prayers along with words of encouragement to all. Outgoing SWC Brigade Commander presented the new Brigade Commander David Brantley with the Commander's Medal. Commander Brantley presented Color Sgt Brent Jenks with a Division Certificate of Appreciation for assuming his role and responsibilities with Camp 1524.   The guest speaker was Alan Wallace of the Montgomery T G Jones SCV Camp who offered and "what if" scenario had the War Between the States began in 1850 instead of 1860.  
1st Lt Commander Harold Grooms

SWC Brigade Commander Medal

Brigade Commander Brantley Awards Color Sgt Brent Jenks

Guest Speaker Alan Wallace

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Prattville Dragoon's 2014 Dixie Butt Fundraiser

"Dixie Butt" Fundraiser Another Success
Our annual "Dixie Butt" fundraiser was another success this year, netting the Dragoons almost $2000 to continue to answer the SCV Charge, and falling just behind last year's record. Main workers at bagging and distribution were Wayne Sutherland, Tom Snowden, and Larry Spears, with a strong assist later from Stuart Waldo, Bill Myrick, David Brantley, and George Jenks. Stopping by to pick up BBQ and wish us well were Chris Booth, Skip Ward, Danny Smyth, Wyatt Willis, James Hammonds, and several others.  Together with donations by several Dragoons who declined to take a BBQ butt, proceeds from this year's fundraiser will ensure our operations for another year.
Perhaps the main reason for another success this year is that we have done this type of fundraiser for eleven years now, and have become a "well-oiled machine" when it comes to executing this annual effort. Also, some people buy tickets because they know Fatman's is cooking the butts, and enjoy their delicious smoked pork butts. Thirdly, the usual stalwarts got to work and tried to outdo one another in selling the most tickets.  Commander Stuart Waldo and Treasurer Billy Leverette were the top sellers. Skip Ward, who always buys several butts and donates two back to the Camp (which along with Bill Hamner's donation provides BBQ for our April picnic), says he can't make meetings but is inspired by the sight of his ancestor's grave to do what he can to further the Cause.
Finally, it is quite an accomplishment that we handled the tickets for, and distributed, 110 butts without losing track of a single one!  Thanks to all those Dragoons who donated or answered the call to "Buy One And Sell One"—y’all “got ‘er done”!
Larry Spears, Wayne Sutherland, Ken Allen (owner of Fatman's), Tom Snowden bag up the butts

 Tom Snowden, George Jenks, David Brantley, Stuart Waldo, Bill Myrick, Wayne Sutherland

Tyrone Crowley managing the ticket receipts and butt distribution