Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Water during the War Between the States

An interesting short report on water during the War by Bob O'Conner, Civil War Examiner posted on November 8, 2015 on http://www.examiner.com/article/fresh-drinking-water-was-scarce-during-the-civil-war?CID=examiner_alerts_article.

Marching along in places they had never been before created a huge challenge to the troops on both sides in the Civil War – finding fresh, drinkable water.
“The Confederate Receipt Book” published in 1863 and which was supposed to say “Recipe Book” actually printed a way for soldiers to make do with the water they found. The book suggested “Dissolve half an ounce of alum in a pint of warm water. Stirring it about in a puncheon of water from the river, all impurities will soon settle to the bottom, and in a day or two it will become quite clear.” Only problem with that advice was that alum was equally scarce, and a thirsty Confederate soldier could hardly wait “a day or two” for the water to “become quite clear”.
There are tales of horrible experiences in seeking fresh water including on that came from the book “Snow’s Pond – The Forgotten Civil War Skirmish in Boone County, Kentucky’s Past” by Daniel D. Dixon, which was published in 1999. Dixon contends that the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment was camped for three weeks at Snow’s Pond, located in Northern Kentucky in September 1862. The Ohio soldiers camped adjacent to a sinkhole they used as their drinking water source.
Snow’s Pond was covered with several inches of scum which they called “frog spittle”. Much to their surprise, when they had drained the water level several inches from the constant drinking of the soldiers and their animals, they discovered the dead bodies of thirteen mules the Confederates had dumped into the pond when they retreated.
Bad water supplies slowed many an army during the war. Polluted water was also a harbinger of disease. At Andersonville Prison in Georgia, a Confederate prison, a stream flowed through the mass of humanity confined there. But with no latrine facilities, the water was terribly polluted by fecal material. Many a prisoner was saved when a lightning bolt hit the ground outside the prison walls in August 1864, and fresh water gushed forth. The men dubbed the new water source as “Providence Spring” and called it a miracle.
Other soldiers, such as the Union Army led by General Robert Patterson who invaded Virginia in early July 1861, were fortunate to find a water fall at Falling Waters, Virginia where they filled their canteens with cold, fresh water.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for November 2015 - Part 2

The guest speaker for the Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 November camp meeting was Alabama SCV Division Surgeon Henry Howard from Montgomery.  Henry spoke to the camp about medical annd surgical procedures and practices during the War Between the States.  This historical period was the end of the dark ages of medicine when cauterizing wounds was replaced by stitches.  Intravenous medicine was administered by applying a paste over an intentional bled area on the patients arm.  Advances in medicine were outpaced by advances in weaponry. The newest ammunition in the War was the 58 caliber soft lead mini-ball which would shatter bone upon impact.  The mini-balls were rifled and would spin as they travelled down the rifle barrel which improved the accuracy and velocity of the ammunition over the previous round musket balls.   Toe tags were first used in the War, carried by each soldieer in their haversack and provided information pertaining to the soldiers next of kin.

Doctors knew little of reconstructive surgery so cranial and brain surgery was not very successful.  In reenactments, period field surgical units were like a MASH unit and both Union and Confederate flags were usually flown and wounded soldiers from both sides were cared for until they were well enough to send to a POW camp.  Amputations were gnarly.  Anesthesia was introduced but was crude consisting of liquor and chloroform or ether which would last approximately 15 minutes so any surgical procedure had to be completed in this short timeframe. Tourniquets were used to stem the blood flow to the extremity which was to be amputated.   For an amputation they would cut the flesh back on a diagonal and peal that back so a serrated saw could be used to cut the bone to complete the removal of the limb which was usually discarded onto a pile of bones.

But infection and diseases were still very common. Typhoid and diarrhea were the primary diseases resulting in a terrible death rate among injured and combat soldiers as communicable diseases were exacerbated by the proximity in which the soldiers lived.  400,000 of the 600,000+ deaths incurred in the War were due to disease and infection.Contamination is only today becoming more fully understood especially in food handling and preparation.  Cleanliness was unheard of and instruments were often reused between patients with no sterilization.   Cotton thread was initially used for stitches but was of inferior strength.  This was replaced by horse hair which was boiled to soften and make pliable (and fortunately also served to sterilize) for use to stitch the wounds closed.  Bandages were often used on multiple patients spreading germs until nurses were introduced in the field hospitals.  Nurses helped clean and did laundry including washing the soiled bandages.  Survival rates improved with the introduction of nurses and basic cleaning practices.
Henry Howard with His Patient Buford

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for November 2015 - Part 1

The Prattville Dragoons held their monthly meeting at the Plantation House and Gardens in Millbook on Thursday November 12th.  Following an Invocation by Chaplain Snowden, 2nd Lt George Jenks led everyone in the pledges to the United States, Alabama and Confederate Battle flags.  Commander Waldo then recited the Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  Perhaps the highlight of the meeting was the swearing in of three new members to Camp 1524, Colby Carlock, Jeff Wise and Ryan King.  Following the swearing in administered by the Commander and Chaplain, Alabama Division SCV 1st Lt Jimmy Hill addressed the gathering providing information on upcoming Division events and made his first public announcement that he is running for Division Commander at next year's Division Reunion following Commander Gary Carlyle who is completing his term in office. Jimmy has been a state/Division officer for several years and solicited the Dragoons to support his candidacy to uphold the Charge.

Following 1st Lt, Hill, Camp Commander Waldo highlighted the upcoming events and camp news/announcements (posted on this blog site).  Following the guest speaker, the SCV closing was also recited and Chaplain Snowden closed the meeting with a Benediction.  The guest speaker for the camp meeting was Alabama Division SCV Surgeon Henry Howard who spoke on medical and surgical practices during the War Between the States and provided a demonstration on his mannequin Buford.  Henry had a magnificent display of medical instruments, medicine bottles, etc. that many Dragoons scrutinized before and after the meeting.  There will be no December meeting for the Dragoons as we will be celebrating the holiday season with our Christmas Social at Buena Vista on Friday December 11th.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Fall Muster

Saturday, November 14, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 held their Fall Muster in an expansive field on an estate in rural Autaugaville.  The weather was absolutely beautiful starting seasonably cool but turning warm, bright and sunny. Fourteen Dragoons and some of their ladies enjoyed a clay shoot, delicious picnic dinner and enjoyable fellowship with like minded compatriots.  The food was highlighted by some left over pulled Dixie butts with BBQ sauce, Quartermaster Myrick's world famous baked beans seasoned with bacon and Conecuh sausage and, potato salad along with sodas, sweet tea and chocolate chip cookies.  

Everyone parked along the pasture fenceline and the tables for the food and all the chairs were set up before an informal skeet range was marked off.  Five Dragoons shot clay pigeon targets launched by a spring thrower and a handheld thrower was also used to vary the trajectories.  Firearms included a Remington 870, Benelli semi-automatic, a Glock 9mm and even a muzzle loading black powder double barrelled shotgun.  Some Dragoons proved to be very good marksmen but all who shot and who spectated enjoyed the event.   

There was a good mixture of newer Dragoons and veteran members and the ladies of course added a special touch to the festivities.  The Auburn and Florida football games were even streamed and played on the radio so all could catch the early SEC football games.  This latest edition of the Dragoons fall muster was the first in many years but was such an enjoyable outing that this will certainly prove to be an annual event.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp News

From the November Dispatch neewsletter:

Camp News

Seibels Lanier Marshall Installed as Seventh Regent of the (First Confederate) White House Association of Alabama – Anne Tidmore stepped down after completing six years as Regent of the First White House in Montgomery and Mrs. Marshall was named as her successor in this role.  

New Venue for Dragoons’ Camp Meeting – The November camp meetings will be held at Plantation House and Gardens on Grandview Road in Millbrook.  This will be the second month of a trial to see if the accommodations are acceptable and provide more room for larger crowds like we have been blessed to enjoy recently.

New Members and Membership Renewals – Certificates have been received for new members Carlock, King, Popham, and Wise and these compatriots will be sworn in during the November camp meeting. Those who failed to renew their memberships are encouraged to do so, SCV National late fees have been waived. 

Volunteer Opportunities – With the addition of new members in our camp, the officers of Camp 1524 would like to encourage all who are interested to actively contribute to the success of the Dragoons by filling a leadership role to advance the Cause in our community.  Positions include: Color Sergeant, Communications Officer, Newsletter Editor, Education Coordinator, Fundraising/Donations Coordinator.  Please contact any officer if interested.  We need your support.

Dragoons Camp Shirts - Contact Dragoon Tyrone Crowley.   Golf shirts are available for $16 and dress shirts for $19.

Dragoons Donate to Production of “Capturing Montgomery History” – The EC authorized the donation of $200 to Bill Schaum Video Productions for their historical video project which includes interviews with Bob Bradley (Alabama Archives) and others pertaining to the War Between the States.

Confederate Memorial Park Flags– By agreement with the Alabama Archives & History Department, Confederate Park will begin a rotational flag loan for selected framed Confederate flags in the Archives' significant collection; three flags will be displayed for a year on a rotational basis.

Prattville Electronic Billboard Ad – The Dragoons are placing a Christmas holiday season ad on two electronic billboards in Prattville during the month of December 

Understanding the War Between the States - an 88-page reader edited by Howard Ray White and Clyde N. Wilson; Sixteen writers cover American history from Jamestown to Grover Cleveland, presenting a dense array of truths about the conflict of North and South through that period of history. The booklet may be read and/or downloaded for free on computers and tablets at www.southernhistorians.org, accessed on Kindle, or purchased in paperback at low cost (amazon.com). Hard copies are also available at the library at Confederate Memorial Park for $6. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Regent of the First White House of the Confederacy.

From Mrs. Anne Tidmore, past Regent of the First White House of the Confederacy, Montgomery AL:

Dear Friends of the First White House of the Confederacy,
The White House Association of Alabama is very pleased and proud to announce that last Wednesday, October 28, 2015,  Seibels Lanier Marshall (Mrs. Jim Marshall) was installed as the seventh Regent of the White House Association of Alabama. 

In the spring of 2009, I agreed to serve as Regent for six years, and those years have indeed flown by. I have enjoyed working with all of you so much and I am very excited about Seibels being our new Regent.  She has an excellent Board, as did I, and I know they are going to move the First White House forward in great ways.

I appreciate all the support and encouragement that each of you has given me. I know you will continue to support Seibels and the work that she has to do. I hope it will be as much fun for her as it was for me, and I am confident that it will be. 
Thank you all so much!

Most Sincerely,
Anne Tidmore

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pratttville Dragoons Commander's Column for November 2015

From the SCV Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter:

Early in October I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio and he provided a news alert that our tax payer funded National Public Radio (NPR), specifically Studio 360, an NPR program, “commissioned a Texas-based design firm to design a new flag to represent the modern South. With a diverse team of designers with ties to both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, 70kft embraced the challenge. In an online presentation, 70kft suggests “the Confederate battle flag is a divisive symbol. Some see family and honor. Some see bigotry and hatred.  If we can’t agree on the meaning, we can never be unified by it.”” (http://www.weaselzippers.us/235575-npr-commissions-new-southern-flag-to-replace-the-confederate-flag/)  If this wasn’t so insulting, it would be laughable.  Imagine a group of progressive NPR idiots gathered about brainstorming a way to bring the people of the South together, bring them into the 21st century.  Insulted yet?  No understanding, no regard for history.  Certainly no appreciation of the true meaning of the Battle Flag, its origins, its place in history and the feelings of pride and heritage it elicits from Confederate compatriots as well as most Southerners of all races.  I enjoyed reading the respondents to the article on the same post.  “Those NPR people are easily offended idiots. I'm Canadian and the Confederate Flag and Stars and Bars aren't offensive in the slightest. It's always important to preserve history, and their stupid new design crap doesn't represent anything.” – Canadian.   “As a Northerner, NPR can keep its "invention" --- I'd much rather stand with my Southern brothers as they proudly wave their Stars & Bars.” – Northerner.  We can take solace in recognizing that there is some sanity remaining if not prevailing, friends of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, scholars and enlightened men who perhaps have never even heard the Charge but would no doubt embrace its message to defend “the Confederate soldier's good name, (guard) his history, (emulate) his virtues, (and perpetuate) those principles which he loved and which made him glorious, and which you also cherish.”
Also, the first of October saw torrential rainfall in South Carolina and catastrophic flooding. More than one Confederate compatriot wondered aloud if this was retribution for the governor of that state in her ill conceived, ill informed, ill educated, decision to force the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the state capitol grounds.  While this may be quite presumptuous speculating the will of God, I would certainly question if her time and resources wouldn’t have been better served just three months prior to ensuring her state government better performed its duties and responsibilities to inspect and maintain the roads, bridges and dams which subsequently failed in this weather event.  While it would have been impossible to foresee and prevent all this damage and loss, I would maintain the state government should serve the people and not alienate constituents and attempt to rewrite history and ignorantly condemn great historical statesmen and heroes thru a modern Indian-immigrant prism.  This SC governor was roundly embraced by many for her conservative political views when subsequently they no doubt regretted her bully pulpit and executive power they bestowed as citizens and voters which she used in an unwarranted reactionary benighted response to the unrelated tragic church killings in Charleston.  There are voices in the wilderness and we need to encourage and support these compatriots.  I received a heartwarming response to an email I sent to SC State Senator Tom Alexander, a hand written note, “Your email says so much that we agree upon.  I also have ancestors who served and I and very proud of our heritage.  As you point out, our flag has been hijacked.  We have a responsibility to educate on the true meaning of what you and I believe and know about our flag.  Having the flag in a place of honor with the respect it deserves was to me the most important issue and we will make sure that it has that honor and respect. You will be hearing more of the process to make sure this happens. Please know how much I appreciate your email.”

Beware of the influx and influence of foreigners and Northerners who immigrate to the South and then attempt to change our government, our schools and our culture.  These are modern-day abolitionists who condemn Southerners who cling to their Bibles and guns.  These carpetbaggers relocate to the South often in retirement or for economic opportunity and then seek to implement the very oppressive governmental regulations, taxes and overreaching programs they fled and which has turned the once mighty industrial North into an expanse of desolate urban blight. The South still maintains a tradition of an entrepreneurial and hard work ethic which has benefitted industrial growth in the last century across the Bible Belt.  But, the Mason-Dixon line has become a relic.  Our Southern culture is being diluted with each passing day and our defenses against heritage attacks are withering.  We see the companies for which we work, our elected officials in government, our courts, our military and even some of our churches embracing and promoting LGBT deviancy forcing Christians to cower and accept their abominable practices and lifestyles.  Our children are being educated with a twisted contorted politically correct history and subjected to a substandard curriculum in the spirit of inclusiveness and diversity.  Is our Southern heritage to be relegated to a cookbook, showcased only by our fried chicken, biscuits and gravy?  It is imperative as we reflect on the Sesquicentennial of the period of Reconstruction which followed the war for Southern Independence that we fight against this modern Reconstruction which seeks to systematically destroy our remaining Constitutional rights and impose a damning relative moralism on our families and communities.