Thursday, February 26, 2015

Historic Marietta - Hilton Hotel and Conference Center on the Grounds of the Georgia Military Institute, a Photo Journal Part 2

On the grounds of the Hilton Marietta Hotel and Conference Center is one of the few remaining antebellum homes remaining in the Atlanta area, the Brumby Hall, circa 1851. The home was constructed to house the Superintendent of the Georgia Military Institute, Colonel Arnoldus V. Brumby.  The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The front entrance includes stately columns and a porch across the width of the house. The foyer has stairs with wood treads matching the hardwood floors on the right side and a hall leading to the back porch on the left side. To the right of the foyer is a formal dining room which has wonderful period furnishings including a dining table,china cabinet, and serving tables as well as oil paintings adorning the walls with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling.  To the left of the foyer is a sitting room with fireplace again decorated with period furnishings including two sofas and two sitting chairs with tables and additional paintings.  The back of the home has an enclosed porch which had tables set with linen tablecloths for the next event.  The home is used for special events including weddings and formal dinners.  Around Brumby Hall are numerous gardens including a rose and boxwood gardens and others which provide areas with paving stones and decorative garden structures and fountains which provide additional settings for special events including weddings and concerts. A beautifully restored and preserved home, a piece of history on the grounds of the Hilton Hotel overlooking old lush magnolia trees and historic Marietta Georgia.
Brumby Hall

Boxwood Gardens on the Ground of Brumby Hall

Brumby Hall Rose Garden, Dormant in Early February in Marietta

Foyer of Brumby Hall

Formal Dining Room of Brumby Hall

Sitting Room of Brumby Hall

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Historic Marietta - Hilton Hotel and Conference Center on the Grounds of the Georgia Military Institute, a Photo Journal Part 1

Spent Valentines weekend with my lovely wife in the Atlanta area and enjoyed the beautiful Hilton Marietta Hotel and Conference Center.  I was genuinely surprised at the historical significance of this property and this enhanced the enjoyment of our stay. This hotel was built on the grounds of the former Georgia Military Institute which trained and educated young men in Georgia up to the War Between the States, from 1851 until 1865. This hotel has embraced their historical ties to this Southern and Confederate landmark.  The hotel exterior design is meant to reproduce the grand Southern architecture and the large beautiful lobby has wonderful furnishings and displays paintings, prints, and even an historic cannon and a copy of the Georgia Military Institutes Regulations for the cadets.  The cannon is an actual historic piece, one of four given to the Georgia Military Institute by the U.S. government in 1851 and captured in 1864 by the Federals as they approached Atlanta.  It was returned to the City of Marietta in 1921 from Gettysburg PA and two of the other cannons are on the Georgia State Capitol grounds in Atlanta.  The front of the hotel has a grand entrance with stately trees and Georgian architecture influence.  The back of the hotel overlooks the City Club Marietta Golf Course and the Kennasaw Mountain on the horizon with a veranda on the back of the hotel just a few strides to some of the course greens.  The hotel offers numerous conference rooms and a full service restaurant and bar. Very accommodating staff who ensured all our special requests were fulfilled. A very enjoyable weekend at the Marietta Hilton.
Hilton Marietta Hotel and Conference Center Front Approach

Rear  View of the Marietta Hilton 

View from Marietta Hilton Showing Golf Course and Kennesaw Mountain

Inspiring History - Unforgettable Hospitality

Georgia Military Institute Regulations Circa 1862

Mural of Cadet Drills at the Georgia Military Institute

Historic Cannon in Lobby 

Prattville Dragoons Commander Posing Across from Registration Desk

Paining of Antebellum Mansion in Hilton Lobby 

Paining of Confederate Locomotive in Hilton Lobby

Painting of Lee and Grant at Appomattox in Hilton Lobby

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Prattville Dragoons February 2015 Camp Meeting - Part 2

Mr. James Hammonds was the guest speaker for the February Camp 1524 monthly meeting.  Mr. Hammonds was an original founder of the Battle of Selma reenactment and is President of The April 1865 Society which is the official sponsor of the 150th Battle of Selma Reenactment and which is erecting a series of a dozen Battle of Selma Historic Markers throughout the city of Selma.  Mr. Hammonds estimated the financial benefit and impact of the Battle of Selma reenactments at over $6 million dollars and anticipates that the upcoming Sesquicentennial event will be the largest ever with double the number of reenactor participants.  The 150th Battle of Selma Reenactment will be held on April 25-26, 2015.

The April 1865 Society has three main activities, 1) sponsor of the Reenactment of the Battle of Selma, 2) donations to the Alabama State Archives flag preservation efforts with funds raised thru T-shirt, food and souvenir sales at the reenactment event and thru membership dues in the Society, and 3) the erecting of historic markers in Selma to commemorate Wilson's Raid and the Battle of Selma.  The Society hopes to erect ten additional markers this year before the Battle of Selma Reenactment to form a historic trail for visitors and tourists to Selma.

The markers include a period map of the City of Selma which was drawn by Major General J.H. Wilson himself showing the fortifications around the city, the city street grid and railroads as well as the locations of the structures that were burned the day of April 2nd during the Battle as well as showing the position of the forces at given periods of time during the Battle.

Wilson approached Selma with 13500 men and two four gun artillery batteries.  The UNion forces captured 32 Confederate guns and over 4000 rounds which were arrayed in defence of the city and in the armory works. Union Generals Long and Upton were part of Wilson's forces and moved south toward Selma where they met the Confederate defenders positioned in an arc protecting the roads coming into Selma from the North including Range Line Road the primary thoroughfare. The infantry including mostly local militia and cavalry including Forrest formed this first line of defence and the artillery were positioned in a second line of defence back toward the city center.

Union troops approached about 2pm and around 3pm, Confederates with Chalmers' brigade attacked Long from the rear.  This prompted the Union forces to hasten their forward attack and at 5pm the Union Army struck the Confederate line with approximately 5000 men.  The balance of the Union forces were protecting the rear and were still advancing into the area. The Confederate line was protected by four hundred yards of abatis, felled trees with sharpened limbs facing the oncoming Union troops.

Almost 300 casualties were reported by the Union forces, a very high rate for the short length of the engagement and skirmishes with many officers killed including General Long. But the Union forces flanked the Confederate line and took many Confederate cavalry and forced General Forrest and the remnants of his men to retreat from the city.  The Union and Confederate forces were approximately equal in number but the old men and young boys comprising much of the militia were out-gunned with their old muzzle loading muskets facing the Union infantry with their Spencer repeating rifles which could fire at six or seven times the rate of the muskets. The Confederates retreated back to the inner line of defence and the railroad line when the Union forces charged with sabers twice finally forcing the defenders into disarray, eventually either escaping or surrendering.
James Hammonds Addresses the Dragoons Camp Meeting

Friday, February 20, 2015

Prattville Dragoon February 2015 Camp meeting - Part 1

SCV Camp 1524 held their monthly meeting at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville on February 12th.  Twenty one members and guests were in attendance.  Chaplain Tom Snowden led all those gathered in an Invocation to begin the meeting and in the absence of the Color Sergeant, 1st Lt Harold Grooms led everyone in the recitation of the pledges to the U.S., Alabama and Confederate Battle flags.  Commander Waldo read S.D. Lee's Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and then presented the Announcements.  Special guests included four ladies accompanying their men to our weekly meeting - always nice to have the ladies join the Dragoons.  Upcoming events were highlighted including the next two Indian Hill Cemetery workdays and the April 27th rededication program plans which were presented by Benny Harris who is leading the project.  The Autauga Genealogical Society continues their informational display in the Prattaugan Museum thru the end of the month.  The Alabama Division EC meeting will be held on Saturday January 28th in Montgomery and 1st Lt Grooms and Adjutant Sutherland will represent Camp 1524.  As part of Confederate History and Heritage month, flags will be set at the graves of the Confederate Veterans in Prattville's Oak Hill Cemetery on Saturday March 28th.  The following Saturday will be the Dragoons annual picnic at Confederate Memorial Park where again, flags will be set at all the Confederate veterans graves in the two cemeteries at the Park.  In May, there will be a Sesquicentennial reenactment of the Battle of Columbus (GA) and also a highlight for the Alabama Division, the rededication of the Confederate Circle at Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, the culmination of years of work to enhance and beautify this historic final resting place for many brave Confederate veterans.  The plans for the April Confederate History and Heritage Month billboard advertisements were announced to the camp.  These beautiful ads will be displayed on the billboards in downtown Prattville as well as near the intersection of Hwy 14 and I-65.  The business meeting for March was announced including the officer elections to be conducted.  The registration and schedule of events for the Alabama Division and National SCV Reunions were passed around for everyone to review with the reminder that the deadline for early registration is fast approaching.  The guest speaker for the camp meeting was introduced by 1st Lt. Grooms.  James Hammonds is the President of The April 1865 Society, official sponsor of the Battle of Selma Reenactment and Mr. Hammonds provided a recounting of the main events of that battle including common historical misconceptions regarding the position of the opposing forces and other facts.  The Society is erecting Battle of Selma Historic Markers all around the town as part of this Sesquicentennial event in April. Commander Waldo then recited the SCV Closing and Chaplain Snowden led everyone in a closing Benediction.  Another enjoyable camp meeting with Dragoons and Confederate compatriots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


This stirring poem about General Nathan Bedford Forrest was written by a relative of Dragoon Bill Branch, Virginia Fraser Boyle.  Virginia Fraser Boyle was the daughter of Mary Virginia Austin and Charles Wesley Fraser, a Confederate Cavalry officer and later prominent lawyer in Memphis. Mary Virginia Austin and her sister Letitia Sarah Austin were daughters of Hugh Rice Austin, Mississippi Planter and newspaper editor of Madison County, Mississippi.

by Virginia Fraser Boyle (1863-1938)

It was out of the South that the lion heart came,
From the ranks of the Gray like the flashing of flame,
A juggler with fortune, a master with fame---
The rugged heart born to command.

And he rode by the star of an unconquered will,
And he struck with the might of an undaunted skill;
Unschooled, but as firm as the granite-flanked hill---
As true and as tried as steel.

Though the Gray were outnumbered, he counted no odd,
But fought like a demon and struck like a god,
Disclaiming defeat on the blood-curdled sod,
As he pledged to the South that he loved.

'Twas saddle and spur, or on foot in the field,
Unguided by tactics that knew how to yield;
Stripped of all, save his honor, but rich in that shield,
Full armored by natures own hand.

As the rush of the storm he swept on the foe;
It was "Come!" to his legions---he never said "Go!"
With sinews unbending, how could the world know
That he rallied a starving host?

For the wondering ranks of the foe were like clay
To these men of flint in the molten day
And the hell-hounds of war howled afar for their prey,
When the arm of a Forrest led.

Was he devil or angel? Life stirred when he spoke,
And the current of courage, if slumbering, woke
At the yell of the leader, for never was broke
The record men wondering read.

With a hundred lie charged like a thousand men,
And the hoofbeats of one seemed the tattoo of ten.
What bar were burned bridges or flooded fords when
The wizard of battles was there?

But his pity could bend to a fallen foe,
The mailed hand soothe a brother's woe;
He had time to be human, for tears to flow---
For the heart of the man to thrill.

Then "On!" as though never a halt befell,
With a swinging blade and the rebel yell.
Through the song of the bullets and the plowshares of hell---
The hero, half iron, half soul

Swing, rustless blade in the strong left hand---
Ride, soul of a god, through the dauntless band---
Through the low, green mounds of the breadth of the land---
Wherever your legions dwell!

Swing, rebel blade, through the halls of fame,
Where courage and justice have left your name;
By the torches of glory your deeds shall flame
With the reckoning of Time!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Indian Hills Cemetery Workday

Saturday February 7th was a busy day for Camp 1524 with ten Dragoons participating in the Millbrook Revelers' Mardi Gras parade while another group worked the morning at Indian Hills Cemetery. Great progress was made in clearing the scrub and undergrowth along the north and west lines.  1st Lt Harold Grooms reported a successful day when he called the camp Commander at 1:45 in the afternoon after having labored almost seven hours on the project.  Benny Harris again led the work effort and was there even before 8am and was still there with Tom Crowley tending the fires even later into the afternoon.  Adjutant Wayne Sutherland and Commander Stuart Waldo worked an hour early in the morning before heading to the parade, pulling double duty.  But that was for fun whereas Treasurer Billy Leverette put in a couple hours at the cemetery before heading into his work. Bill Branch and Harold brought their chain saws and knocked out the larger stuff but piles of vines and leaves and limbs made for a couple huge bonfires. Chaplain Tom Snowden and Paul Whaley came to contribute to the work at Indian Hills also.  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 anticipate the Indian Hills cleanup and renovation completion in April and Benny has started planning for a wonderful event to rededicate the cemetery on April 27th with reenactments, cannon salutes, bonfires, and speeches.
Paul, Wayne, Billy and Harold (L-R)

Bill, Benny and Tom (L-R)

Billy and Harold Building the Brush Pile

Tom Crowley Tending a Fire

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Millbrook Mardi Gras Parade

The Prattville Dragoons, SCV Camp 1524 participated in the Millbrook Revelers annual Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, February 7th.  The Dragoons had a wonderful entry including a golf cart decorated with Mardi Gras purple, green and gold tinsel and beads and of course Confederate Battle flags.  The cart was driven by Commander Waldo's son and Mrs. Waldo in her period gown and the two little Confederate Waldos also rode.  Danny Smyth pulled a trailer with his truck and the trailer was turned into a grand float with more Mardi Gras tinsel and decorative cut-outs along with the camp's U.S., Alabama state, Confederate 3rd National and Battle flags on each corner of the trailer and more smaller flags including the Bonnie Blue flanking each side.  But the centerpiece was Danny's period replica cannon which was adorned with huge festive Mardi Gras beads.  Sue Spears elicited an exclamation of "a princess" from one little girl along the parade route as she waved to the crowd from the float adorned in her lovely period gown.  Comm Officer Larry Spears walked along with Quartermaster Bill Myrick and hs wife Peggy.  Larry's father and World War II veteran James Spears carried the camp banner along with Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, walking the entire parade, over a mile.  Special thanks to the Adjutant for making a run from Mill Creek Park to get the banner which was left behind before the parade. Color Sgt Brent Jenks and his father George also walked and wore their sharp matching SCV Camp 1524 grey oxford shirts.  Dave Thompson made it just in the nick of time as we were pulling out of Mill Creek and his significant other waved a pair of mini-Battle flags all the way down Main Street sitting on the float.  Bags of candy, hundreds of Battle flags and SCV coins and a hundred moon pies proved to be scant provisions to toss to the thousands of spectators lining Main Street of Millbrook.  The parade started at Mill Creek Park and ran north on Main Street to Coosada Road past the Village Green Park where the festival was set up.  A reviewing stand was set up at Village Green and the crowd was five and six deep along the road there.  The Millbrook Mardi Gras parade is billed as the largest such parade north of Mobile AL where Mardi Gras actually originated.  A wonderful enjoyable event allowing the Dragoons to show off their Southern pride, Southern belles, and beautiful Confederate flags on a beautiful crisp February winter afternoon.
Larry and Sue Spears in Period Dress

Cannon Festooned with Mardi Gras Beads

WWII Vet James Spears and Danny Smyth

Kerri in her Period Gown Riding in the Cart

George and Brent Jenks Looking Sharp

Quartermaster Myrick Before the Parade

All the Dragoons and Family