Friday, February 25, 2011

Open Letter to Gov. Haley Barbour, RE: Nathan Bedford Forrest

Gov. Barbour,
I was at first encouraged by your deflection of the controversy surrounding the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their wish to commemorate one of the great cavalry officers from the War Between the States and indeed from American history, Nathan Bedford Forrest with a special Mississippi license plate.  Now it appears you are waffling in your convictions, one can only assume for political expediency and are indicating you would veto any bill suggesting a plate honoring Forrest -  How can one so rapidly change course on one's stance regarding an historic figure who has been a part of Mississippi lore for 150 years?   Did you per chance miss History class in your formative youth?

This is an incredibly important year as the Sesquicentennial remembrance, commemoration and celebration of the founding of the Confederate States or America and the start of the War Between the States and to turn your back on this home town legend shows nothing but spineless pandering and political posturing.   Forrest's tactics and military successes continue to be studied by military academians today.  Forrest was an industrialist after the War and helped rebuild his homeland as a railroad businessman. And while he owned slaves prior to the war, he did so as part of a legal institution just as Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses Grant and many others had. I suppose you would have us dispose of all nickels and fifty dollar bills as insensitive currency? 

Perhaps you may find this video enlightening and educational in your understanding of his handling of the slavery issue -  You will find that the very slaves he brought into battle stayed with him throughout the War and many even returned home with him afterwards even after he had freed everyone of them for their dedicated service and duty.  Forrest has been misrepresented as a racist Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard as the summation of his career and life's work but while Forrest had some involvement in the establishment of the KKK as an organized response and resistance to the carpetbaggers and crimes against Southerners in the post-war South, he opposed violent extremism in certain groups of the KKK and called for the disbandment of the organization when it had achieved it's political purpose in the reconstruction of the South.  

You have a microphone and a soapbox from which you can demonstrate leadership and educate the ignorant masses who have been led to believe what the NAACP has spoon fed them as they similarly have an objection to anything and everything regarding Southern Confederate heritage.  As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans I resent your cowardice and your lack of leadership in the face of these hollow objections and question your ability to objectively serve your constituency many of whom similarly had forefathers who fought and died for their homeland in the War Between the States, a tragic war fought for the very States Rights which are so prevalent today in issues regarding the overreaching Federal government.  If your support for the SCV and the commemoration of the honor of our Confederate ancestors during this historical Sesquicentennial period is so tentative, guarded and seemingly non-existent, I am certain my support for any future candidacy of yours will be equally so. 

Stuart Forrest

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First National Flag

One of the highlights of the Confederate Heritage Rally was the raising of the First National Flag of the Confederacy.  Below is a photo from the event link (right side of this blog).  The following is an announcement from the Alabama Division 1st Lt Commander of the SCV.


I have some good news for you. The First National Flag that was flown this
past Saturday in Montgomery on the state Capitol grounds will be auctioned
off during the National Reunion this July in Montgomery, Alabama. The flag
will come with a certificate of authenticity signed by past CiC Chuck
McMichael and myself as AoT Commander. This will be your one and only
chance to actually own a piece of this historical February day in

All of the proceeds of this auction will go to flag preservation here in
Alabama. We will have more details soon about how to bid and when (exact
time) that we are planning on auctioning it off during the reunion.


Deo Vindice,

Tom V. Strain Jr

AoT Commander

1st Lt. Commander

Alabama Division, SCV

Monday, February 21, 2011

Confederate Heritage Rally 2011

The Confederate Heritage Rally was held on Saturday Feb 19, 2011 in Montgomery AL.  It was an amazing event and a tremendous success.  The festivities began with a march down Dexter Avenue, from the fountain at the intersection with Commerce Street up Dexter to the State Capital.  Children, families, senior citizens, members of the SCV Mechanized Cavalry and other Confederate compatriots lined Dexter waving flags and taking photographs.  The parade participants represented Sons of Confederate camps from over a half dozen states and included drums and a Confederate bagpipe and many and varied period flags of the Confederacy.  The men in their glorious Confederate uniforms and women looking beautiful in their antebellum dresses roused the enthusiasm of the parade spectators.  The parade stretched the entire six blocks down Dexter when all the participants were finally marching and at the State capital building there was a period band and artillery battery awaiting them.  The link on the right side of this blog for the Confederate Heritage Rally ( has a great write up of the event from the Montgomery Advertiser and some great photos.  Despite the Montgomery Advertiser's Josh Moon penning a memorably ignorant op ed prior to the event and highlighting himself as a local embarassment, the paper did a commendable job covering the event although it was noted that their estimate of the crowd was half that of the SCV organizers who placed the participants and spectators numbering 2000 strong.  A front page photo of the color guard preceded two pages of articles and photographs.  Worldwide press coverage included UPI ( and the BBC ( although as is typical, these "news sources" tend to mix editorials with news coverage. The Associated Press coverage was simply nauseating and not recommended reading.  The Montgomery Advertiser on the other hand provided a comprehensive factual accounting - kudos.

Friday, February 18, 2011

States Rights - Timeless

The cause of States Rights which drove the Southern states to secede from the Union and establish the Confederate States of America and draft a Constitution reinforcing those rights is front and center in the news today.  From the question of the Constitutionality of the Federal health care reform which was enacted last year to the states managing drastic budget deficits and to the potential for a catastrophic national economic and monetary system crash, states are challenging  and guarding against the over reaching Federal government on many fronts today.  This question of states rights is obviously a timeless one for this country.

The Federal government has pinned the entire premise of their Health Care Reform on the commerce clause of the Constitution.  A tax for a massive universal health care entitlement program is related to or a guarantee of interstate commerce?  But the 10th Amendment to the Constitution provides final authority for all matters not specifically allocated to the Federal government by the Constitution to reside with the states and the people and certainly, universal health care mandated for all citizens from birth through their death bed by the commerce clause is a flimsy argument.  Twenty four states brought suit against the federal government challenging the Constitutionality of the law and the highest court yet to rule on the issue, an appellate court in Florida, has declared the entire law un-Constitutional and null and void.  This will likely be settled finally by the Supreme Court and has the potential to be a watershed decision for the matter of States Rights and reigning in the over reaching Federal government.

Huge demonstrations have sprung up in the state capitals of Wisconsin and Ohio as new conservative governors have acted on the very campaign pledges which carried them into office.  These and many more states are facing huge budget deficits and potential bankruptcy due to lower tax receipts because of the poor economy and prolonged recession and they are proposing drastic cuts in entitlement spending and state sponsored programs.  While the federal government faces similar budget deficits, it simply prints more currency but these states have no presses to create more money to hand out to balance their budgets.  Tough reductions in spending will be required but many who have been coddled on the public dole are reluctant to sacrifice even as the tit of the government dries and shrivels away. And what responsible statement does the President of the United States make concerning the crisis? Does he endorse responsible balancing of the budget and ask all to sacrifice in these lean times.  No he endorses shipping in demonstrators from other states and comes to the defense of the unions and their fat cat bosses to irresponsibly demand no budgetary cuts from their swollen benefits packages which are costing the state billions of dollars.  Is this not a state and a state budget issue but the Federal government feels a compulsion to over reach it's influence and authority yet again.

While the Federal government can simply print more money to cover their budget bills and trillion dollar deficits, it is becoming crystal clear that the end result will be run away inflation which could result in an economic collapse and a real Depression as well as a collapse in the monetary system as the dollar becomes worthless.  The world's economy and monetary systems are now largely based on the dollar but as the recent trillion dollar budget deficits have grown, many countries have ceased buying US  bonds and loaning the US government cash and extending this debt.  Some local municipalities across the US and now even states like South Carolina have begun or are considering creating their own currency not pinned to the US dollar which they fear is doomed to a massive devaluation.  Most are returning to monies based on precious metals instead of the good faith of the US government.  Truly faith and not sound economic and budgetary principles are required to believe that these massive Federal debts and deficits will not result in catastrophic consequences.  Again, over reaching government spending on entitlements and following a socialist redistribution of wealth philosophy has brought our country to the brink of disaster and the states are wise to develop contingency plans for their citizens. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mississippi Commemorative License Plate of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour won't denounce the proposed new Confederate state license plate.  The plate would honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.  Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson said it's "absurd" to honor a "racially divisive figure" such as Forrest.  Forrest, a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a military genius and many believe him to be the preeminent cavalry officer of the War Between the States.  His legendary tactics and the history of his exploits are still studied by military academics.  Sons of the Confederate Veterans member Greg Stewart told the Associated Press last week he believes Forrest distanced himself from the Klan later in life.

In fact, Forrest helped organize the Klan to resist and counter the martial law and the predatory criminal carpetbaggers but that he denounced the violent extremists and actually called for the Klan to be disbanded when he believed it had served it's purpose as a protective political military organization.   That NAACP guy cracks me up.  Let me see, he is head of the Mississippi NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE.  Doesn't that define divisive separatism?  Need anyone say anything further?  What a joke.  Perhaps some suggested reading for him - he needs to refer to Forrest's biography and accounts of how blacks valiantly fought under his command.   Here's a  good read -

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Confederate Heritage Rally - Montgomery Feb 19th

From the event website -

Confederate Heritage Rally 2011

Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery AL
Saturday February 19th, 12 noon

Activities to include-
   -Heritage March up Dexter Ave to the Capitol
   -Speeches from leaders of descendant organizations
  - Remarks from prominent officials
  - Re-enactment of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis
  - Re-enactment of the raising of the first Confederate Flag
  - Firing of Rifle and Cannon salutes
  - and more

Order of Events.
The Parade will line up at 10am.
Marching begins at 11am
Program at Capitol begins at Noon.
Opening Prayer
Welcome by MC
Guest greetings
Alabama Division Commander
Army Commanders
Lt CiC
Inauguration of President Davis
Firing of Salutes
Raising of First Confederate Flag
Firing of Salutes

Parking: Right be hind the Embassy Hotel is a city parking garage that is available and is free on
weekends. This is only two blocks from the line up. Buses can drop off participants there. Parking for buses is being arranged to be in the lots directly behind the Capitol.

Hotel Information: Host hotel-Embassy Suites
                                  300 Tallapoosa Street
                                  Montgomery, AL 36104
                                   (334) 269-5055

Related Events

On Friday night the Alabama Division will host a pre-inauguration gala for the attendees
that have come into Montgomery prior to the Saturday festivities. Kracker Dan will provide
the entertainment for the evening as the Division welcomes everyone to Montgomery!
The Friday night event will be held at our host hotel, the Embassy Suites on
Tallapoosa Street.

Saturday night there will be a banquet held at the Embassy Suites as the final event of the weekend.
The speaker for the banquet will be named after January 1st. Tickets for the banquet are limited to 200 total seats and are priced $50 single and $75 for a couple and need to be paid for in advance. Remaining tickets, if any, will be available at the door. Again
seating is limited. To order tickets, send a check made out to the Alabama Division SCV. Mail it to:
Alabama Division.
PO Box 341
Tanner, Ala. 35671.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Seige of Vicksburg

Wanted to revisit our visit to Vicksburg to relate some of the amazing and shocking stories which was the Siege of Vicksburg of 1863.  The residents of Vicksburg withheld the assault of Grant and his artillery for over forty days, living in caves dug from the hills overlooking the Mississippi River.  In these caves, they slept, ate, and carried on their lives as best they could, even holding regular church services.  Even after the tens of thousands of artillery shells fell on their city and laid it largely to ruins, only twenty civilians were counted as casualties by the time Gen.Pemberton was forced to surrender the city.  The natural defenses of Vicksburg were formidable and allowed Pemberton and his troops to repulse Grants repeated attacks and attempts to storm the city and effectively create a stalemate and force Grant to lay siege.  Pemberton, his troops and the civilians tragically were cut off from reinforcements and supplies and were literally starving and relegated to eating dogs, mules and even shoe leather to survive.  Disease spread in some part due to Grant refusing to retrieve and bury his own dead soldiers.  Despite far fewer casualties, Pemberton was forced to negotiate terms, refusing unconditional surrender and instead achieving parole for his troops, many of whom returned to fight again in other theaters and battles.  The arrogant drunkard Grant moved into the city on July 4th and occupied it with Federal troops and one of his first orders resupplied his stores of alcohol to quench his habit.  His troops terrorized the haggard civilians with many reported and unprosecuted rapes and even murders.  Homes in and around Vicksburg were ransacked and pillaged.  This twisted compassion for their alleged fellow citizens and truly their brothers and sisters, a sad foretelling of the martial law and carpetbagging which would follow two long years after.  Many works have been written about the Siege of Vicksburg and this was in no way meant to capture the entire story but the impression made on me after viewing the displays and artifacts of the Old Court House Museum was one of a stark tragedy, of the brave residents and defenders of Vicksburg and, the repulsive manner in which the victors waged their war and occupation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Montgomery Celebration of Jefferson Davis' Inauguration

Invitations to the parade, reenactment and celebration of Jefferson Davis' inauguration as President of the Confederate States of America.

It is my sincere hope that you will be joining the Ala. Division and the
National SCV in Montgomery NEXT Sat.

The Charge of SD Lee calls us to defend the Confederate Soldiers good
name. That name is being attacked by the media and the education system at
every opportunity. This will not be a commemoration, but a Celebration of our ancestor's HONOR.

Sat. night, after a day of visiting the sights in Montgomery, there will be
a Banquet at the Embassy Suites next to the Train Station. Please see
information below. The Banquet is being put on by the Alabama Division, and
I fully encourage you to support this banquet. It is a fine opportunity to
meet SCV members from across the Confederation.

I hope to see you there.

Deo Vindice,

Robert Reames
Alabama Division Commander

Tickets are still available and if you are interested please email me at
_tomstrain@bellsouth.net_ ( so I can put
your name on the will call list. The prices are $75.00 per couple (man/woman) or $50.00 per individual. You may also mail me a check at this address P.O. Box 341, Tanner, AL 35671.
Deo Vindice,
Tom V. Strain Jr
AoT Commander
1st Lt. Commander
Alabama Division, SCV

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vicksburg Reenactment of Jefferson Davis' Departure for Inauguration

The event in Vicksburg commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the departure of Jefferson Davis for Montgomery and his inauguration as President of the Confederate States of America was a great one.  The event was held at the Old Courthouse Museum overlooking the river and the museum exhibits and artifacts were excellent.  The Museum was adorned with period flags including the Stars and Bars - see attached photograph. We spent well over an hour perusing the rooms including the Jefferson Davis room adjacent to the courtroom upstairs.  The numerous flags, journals, clothing, weapons and artillery and rifle shells were fascinating.   Just after 1pm, hundreds of reenactors and spectators gathered on the front lawn of the Museum and then at 2pm Jefferson Davis arrived to applause and cheers.  The Mayor said a few words followed by Davis who showed graciousness but determination in his message to those assembled.  Following the speech the detachment of Mississippi militia provided a salute with arms (see attached photograph) and then paraded in review.  Following the speech and review, a reception to meet and greet Davis was held in the court room complete with a delicious assortment of sandwiches, sweets and Jeff Davis Punch.  A rousing start to the historical week culminating with a Confederate rally and parade and reenactment of Jefferson Davis' inauguration in Montgomery.  The camaraderie shared with my learned traveling companions made the 10hr roundtrip from Prattville/Montgomery thoroughly enjoyable.  We thought about how easy we had it reflecting back on the week long journey Jefferson Davis made 150 years ago to travel to the same destination we made in a long day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mississippi SCV Sesquicentennial Event - Jefferson Davis Leaving Vicksburg

Tomorrow, Saturday February 12, 2011, is an important event in this year's celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the Confederate States of America.  Tomorrow in Vicksburg Mississippi, the departure of Jefferson Davis from his home to travel to Montgomery AL for his inauguration as the first and only President of the Confederate States of America will be commemorated with a reenactment at the Vicksburg Old Court House Museum.  The crowds will start to assemble by 1pm and at 2pm Jefferson Davis will arrive by horse drawn carriage.  Following his speech, there will be a reception in the Museum to meet and greet "the President" and admission will be $2 per person.  This is a commemoration of an enormously historic event as Davis was to leave to lead the Confederacy from it's inception thru the War Between the States, not return to Vicksburg for seven years.  Try to make this as it is sure to be a great time and don't forget a week hence the reenactment of Jefferson Davis' inauguration in Montgomery.  Here is the Mississippi Division SCV website for further information -

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 February Meeting

Great meeting tonight where two new members to the Sons of Confederate Veterans were sworn into the Prattville Dragoons.  There have been some solid additions to the camp over the past few months. Then Bob Bradley from the Alabama Department of Archives gave a wonderful speech and presentation of historical flags of the Confederacy.  He graciously discussed the tremendous work he has done for flag conservation specifically for historic flags of Alabama and the Confederate States of America - the Archives has the third largest collection of flags of the CSA and the single greatest number of the varied period flags which represented the different states, armies, militia as well as those of the Confederate States of America during the brief history of the CSA.  Representative sample flags were shown including the First National Flag which was the true stars and bars, the Second National Flag (also known as the Stainless Banner) and the Third National Flag of which there are few remaining examples as it came into existence shortly before the end of the War Between the States and the existence of the CSA itself. Various renditions of the Battle Flag with the St. Andrews Cross were shown including fascinating details about the flag material construction. The beautiful Alabama Secession Banner was the first flag presented.  Bob was recognized as a treasure by members of the Prattville Dragoons for his tremendous preservation work and knowledge of this important piece of history of our forefathers and the Confederate States of America.  A $500 check was presented to help continue with the continued work for the flag conservation.