Thursday, July 11, 2019

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for July 2019 - Independence Day

The Dragoons once again participated in the city of Prattville’s Independence Day parade.  It was a very enjoyable way to kick off the holiday festivities throwing candy to the thousands of specators lining Main Street in downtown Prattville.  Over five hundred mini-Battle flags were handed out too with both young and old running after the camp compatriots in the parade to grab a flag.  One lady who approached me and took a Confederate flag asked if I had a “real American flag” also.  I told her that was a real American flag.  She chuckled and said, “No, a real Amercian flag.” So I reitereated that it was most certainly a real American flag, that used by the armies of the Confederate States of America.  When I first joined the SCV I was corrected on this very thing. It is important to remember that many of the leaders of the Confederacy were leaders before in the United States Army and government.  A related bit of trivia is the question as to what American Presidents attedned West Point.  Some who are students of American history may correctly guess Eisenhower and Grant but unless you are a student of the period leading up to and including the War Between the States, you may fail to include Jefferson Davis in that group; certainly another American President.  Some of the greatest Americans were also Confederates, men like Lee, Jackson, Cleburne, Semems, Benjamin and, Davis.    
The Dragoons have participated in the Prattville parade on the 4th of July for many years now and it has sometimes struck me as a conflict for us as representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans to participate in the celebration of that day which was a disastrous turning point in our ancestors fight for sovereignty and liberty with the battle at Gettysburg and the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4th, 1863.  I had camp members in the past make the point that instead of referring to the parade as the 4th of July parade, we should refer to it as the Independence Day parade as we should celebrate our founding fathers successful fight for independence from the oppression of British rule as colonists but also honor our Confederate ancestors fight for independence as they struggled to preserve the founding ideals of state soverignty and individual liberty. The Confederate Constitution was very similar to and replicated that of the United States while strengthening the position of state sovereignty and curtailing the reach of the federal government especially in regards to commerce and tariffs. 
We have many members who have served their country in the Armed Forces, patriots who sacrificed of themselves for the defense of their homes and family, for America but, who are also learned of the true history of the South and the service of their Confederate ancestors.  There should be no quandry as to whether we as SCV members bleed red, white and blue but, we can equally respect the constitutional secession of our state in 1861 and honor the heroic struggle our forebears endured to protect their homes, families, state, culture and way of life.  Their’s was truly a valiant War for Southern Independence which we can commemorate simultaneously.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

National Reunion – Mobile Convention Ctr, July 10-13th

Godwin’s Forrest Birthday Party – at Ft. Dixie, 10800 Co.Rd. 30, Selma, Saturday July 27th from 3pm til

Division Education Conference – Saturday, August 3rd at Grace Point Church, Montgomery AL

Dragoons Fundraiser Dixie Butt Fundraiser – August 10th 8-10am, Herrod’s Chevron, Memorial Dr. Prattville AL

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for July 2019 - Great Sacrifices

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance."   John Adams (1735–1826)
Some 243 years ago our founders were willing to give their lives to see the United States Of America become more than a dream.
A little over 150 years ago, our ancestors were tired of an over reaching federal government and decided to stand and fight for our freedoms once again. Today, we see a faction of our country that is not only going after our heritage but our country’s origins and the flag that was first sown for our country.
Our ancestors sacrificed their lives for the birth of our nation and then for the Confederate States.
Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice 2,000 years ago so that we might have eternal life in Heaven. Great things in life come with sacrifice. Christ sacrificed His life for the World. May we stand for Christ and country and not be ashamed of our Lord nor ashamed of our country.
Please keep all camp members in your prayers!
God Bless

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 Participate in Prattville Independence Day Parade

The Dragoons participated in the annual Prattville Independence Day parade this morning to kick off the 4th of July holiday with friends and family and neighbors.  The camp's entry included an SCV banner which was carried in front by Commander Waldo and Adjutant Sutherland, Commander Waldo's Dodge Charger adorned with the U.S. and Confederate Battle flags, compatriot Beir Butler's golf cart decorated with red, white and blue bunting along with the U.S., Alabama state and Confederate First National flags, three members of the Alabama Division Mechanized Cavalry on their Harley Davidson motorcycles (Michael Adkins, Brian Anderson and former Dragoon Don Owens), along with a number of men walking alongside.  Commander Waldo's wife Kerri and children enjoyed the respite from the early morning heat and humidity by blasting the air conditioner in the Charger as they drove it down the parade route, throwing all their candy to the parade spectators.  Candy and mini-Battle flags were handed out by all the walkers who included Quartermaster Bill Myrick, compatriot Larry Spears, Color Sgt John Dennis and his grandson Shawn.  Compatriot Tyrone Crowley rode in the cart with Beir.  The Dragoons were warmly received all along the parade route with spectators standing and clapping and thanking the camp for their participation and community service.  Over five hundred mini-Battle flags were handed out to folks along the parade route as it wound down Court Street, Main Street and Northington as people clamored for the beloved symbol of the Confederate fight for independence and the preservation of state sovereignty, liberty and founding ideals.  It was an enjoyable day with compatriots, friends, family and our Prattville neighbors.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Visiting Mark Twain in Hannibal Missouri

“Mark Twain, whose given name was Samuel Clemens, grew up in Missouri in a slave-holding family. He enlisted 158 years ago this month -- June -- in a Confederate militia, serving as a second lieutenant for two weeks. His desertion led many to describe his loyalty to the Confederate cause as halfhearted. However, Fulton noted the desertion may have been prompted by fear of hanging or confiscation of family property — a threat made to militia members by the Union, which controlled part of Missouri.  While Twain “mustered in and blustered out of the war early,” he used that experience to champion southern culture and values in writings in the 1850s and 1860s. Even in a 1901 speech he said, “We believed in those days we were fighting for the right — and it was a noble fight, for we were fighting for our sweethearts, our homes, and our lives.”  (  

During our summer travels recently we had the occasion to stay in Hannibal Missouri, the boyhood home of Mark Twain.  There along the banks of the Mississippi we did a short walking tour of the downtown area which has preserved many of the historical structures from Clemens’ 19th century childhood as well as 20th century memorials for this iconic American author.  We ate at the Mark Twain Dinette where we enjoyed Maid Rites and house made mugs of root beer.  There in the diner was a model of the steamboat General Lee.  Next door was the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.   There stands the white fence which inspired Twain to write of Tom Sawyer tricking his friends into painting it for him.  Twain’s home is on the National Register of Historic Places and across the street from the clapboard house was the law offices of his father.   After his death in the 20th century, a memorial bridge across the Mississippi was dedicated by President Roosevelt with senators and future President Truman in attendance.  The original bridge was closed in 2000 and demolished in 2001, replaced by a new Mark Twain Memorial Bridge.  Close by on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi, the Mark Twain Memorial lighthouse was originally built in 1935 and rebuilt in 1963.  President Roosevelt again dedicated the lighthouse, lighting it thru telegraph from Washington DC in 1935 and, President Kennedy rededicated it in 1963.  Gardens overlooking Hannibal line the walkway and stairs leading up from Main Street to the lighthouse. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dragoons Robinson Springs Cemetery Grounds Maintenance for June 2019

A number of compatriots from SCV Camp 1524 helped mow and trim and cleanup the Robinson Springs Cemetery in Millbrook AL on Saturday morning June 15th.  Bob DuBose brought his riding lawn mower and was instrumental in quickly mowing down the grass.  Quartermaster Bill Myrick mowed closer around the graves with his push mower.  Adjutant Wayne Sutherland and compatriots Larry Spears and Tyrone Crowley used weed eaters and leaf blowers to do finish grounds maintenance.  Camp Commander Stuart Waldo was prepared to mow some before his mower drawcord broke and so he resorted to using a swingblade along the tree line and removing branches from the lawn.  Beir Butler also attended but similarly had mechanical problems with his weed eater and was unable to get it cranked up.  Nonetheless, the Dragoons of Camp 1524 completed the grounds maintenance at this historic cemetery in just over an hour before the heat of the day to restore the grounds for the final resting place of many of Elmore County's founding families and historic figures. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Meeting for June 2019 - Dr. Beck Speaks on Lee and Jackson's First Meeting

The Dragoons held their monthly meeting on Thursday June 13th at the Prattville Masonic Lodge downtown.  Chaplain Dismukes opened the meeting with an Invocation and Color Sergeant John Dennis led everyone in the salutes to the flags.  Following the recitation of the SCV Charge, Commander Waldo welcomed three new members and transfers before compatriot Jason Altieri was sworn in.  Jason had already made a presentation at last month's meeting on Washington DC during the War for Southern Independence.  He was certainly dressed for the occasion and explained his attire that he was attending functions celebrating the birthday of the US Army on June 14th.  The Commander then provided information on upcoming events and other pertinent announcements for the 26 compatriots in attendance. 

Dr. Brandon Beck was the guest speaker and provided a presentation on General Robert E. Lee and his first meetings with Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.  Dr. Beck taught at Shenandoah University in Winchester VA where General Jackson's Headquarters Museum can be found.  Dr. Beck found that while there was a lot of research and information about Lee and Jackson's final meeting on May 1st of 1863 during the Battle of Chancellorsville (after which Jackson was mortally wounded), very little was written about the circumstances of their first meeting.  Both men went to West Point at different times but were very different men, Lee being twenty years Jackson's elder. Lee was born of the "first family of Virginia" and Lee was at the top of his class at West Point whereas Jackson was from the West Virginia area and struggled to graduate from the military academy.  Lee was against secession but Jackson saw it as God's providence.

It was the summer of 1862 before the two men actually met but, previously when Lee was sent to put down the uprising at Harper's Ferry, Jackson was subsequently there when he attended the hanging of John Brown with other cadets. Four days after Virginia seceded, Lee and Jackson both arrived in Richmond on separate trains when Lee was offered command of the Army of Virginia and Jackson arrived from Lexington with a corps of cadets to volunteer.  On September 24, 2861, Lee may have sent Jackson his first orders to go to the Shenandoah Valley. The valley was a geographical advantage for the South troop movements could be concealed by mountain ranges on each side and it provided a path directly north toward Washington DC.  A Confederate force positioned between Harper's Ferry and Winchester could invade Maryland, Pennsylvania or move against Washington DC. 

Lee ordered Jackson to fortify Harper's Ferry and troops were moved to the Maryland Heights.  But, in the war's first blunder, Confederate General Johnston who was placed in command of the Army ordered the evacuation of Harper's Ferry and to pull back to Winchester.  A number of Confederate generals also petitioned Johnson to evacuate troops from West Virginia because of the cold winter temperatures and he conceded countermanding Jackson's orders.  Stonewall actually resigned his commission because of this and was preparing to return to Lexington before his wife begged him to withdraw his resignation. 

In May of 1862, Union General McClellan had 125000 troops poised to attack Richmond with another 10000 positioned to attack Winchester and additional troops at Fredericksburg.  Jackson was ordered to not allow any of the Federal troops to leave the valley to help join the Union forces at Richmond so on March 19, 1862 Jackson attached the 10000 Union troops with a force of 3000 Confederates and although technically defeated, it caused the Union troops to pull back.

Lee was not in charge of any troops directly at this time but he was able to find Jackson a brigade as reinforcements to mount a counter attack on the Federals at Winchester to make it look like the Confederates had designs to cross the Potomac which would occupy Union troops at Richmond to counter.  General Johnston at first countermanded Lee's orders but then rescinded these and on May 25th, Jackson crushed Union General Banks forces causing the redeployment of 62000 Federal troops from Richmond.  Jackson was hailed Stonewall and Hero of the Valley. Lee was promoted to commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.