Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gen. Forrest Monument to be Part of Enhanced Confederate Circle at Selma's Live Oak Cemetary

After the bust of Gen. Forrest was stolen from atop his monument in Selma's Live Oak Cemetary, rewards were offered for information regarding the crime but efforts were immediately undertaken to return the statue to it's rightful place and the monument to it's rightful state.  A new bust is already cast and will be set back atop the monument as part of an enhanced Confederate Circle at the cemetary.  The new memorial grounds will include beautification and security improvements and will be unveiled soon at dedication ceremonies.  See the related Montgomery Advertiser article:

Improvement plan to give Confederate Circle 'new look'

Alvin Benn/Special to the Advertiser
SELMA — A lot of money is being raised to improve security for a monument honoring one of the most admired, most despised officers of the Civil War.
Earlier this year, a bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from a concrete pedestal at Selma’s Live Oak Cemetery.
The person or persons who did it haven’t been caught despite an ongoing investigation and a $20,000 reward, but Forrest’s fans don’t plan to wait for results.
“We’re not going to stand here whining and moaning,” said Virginia engineer Todd Kiscaden. “We’re taking control of the situation and planning to maintain the circle ourselves.”
He referred to the Confederate Circle — located near where Yankee cavalry routed outmanned Rebel defenders under Forrest’s command in the waning days of the Civil War.
Kiscaden’s engineering input is appreciated by Confederate descendants whose anger has not subsided much since last March when the bust was removed from a heavy pedestal listing Forrest’s military accomplishments.
“We’re doing it in a legal way according to the Alabama code and the state historic commission,” said Patricia Godwin, one of Forrest’s most loyal supporters. “We’re taking steps to make sure all is being done properly.”
Kiscaden said improvements to the site honoring Forrest, who is buried in Tennessee, are slowly under way with subterranean radar equipment being used to find out if “hits” mean evidence of final resting places of Confederate troops beneath the circle.
Lee Harrison, president of Geoscience Consulting in Montgomery, is spending part of this week focusing electromagnetic beams on the ground encompassing the one-acre area.
Harrison said his equipment won’t uncover skeletal remains but could help provide a better understanding of the terrain.
“We could find water pipes or maybe indication of burial sites,” he said Harrison. “Right now we don’t know, but should have something to report by the end of the week.”
Kiscaden said it’s costing $6,000 for the study, but he feels it’s necessary to determine what’s there and how it might affect the improvement project.
Kiscaden said a circular fence will be placed around the Forrest monument along with “low intensity flood lighting accompanied by surveillance cameras” attached to it.
Godwin said the Selma City Council deeded one acre at the cemetery to the Ladies Memorial Society in 1877 as a prelude to building the Confederate Circle.
She said it is owned today by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
She and Kiscaden indicated that the initial beautification goals will include landscaping, benches and other improvements at the site surrounded by sprawling, moss-covered oak and magnolia trees.
The biggest change, she said, will be moving the Forrest statue several feet from its current site and positioning it near the much larger Confederate monument. It will be on a 3-foot-tall pedestal to increase the height and to make it “more difficult for anybody to lift the bust off.”
The Confederate monument built more than 130 years ago cost $2,500, with funds raised by relatives of soldiers killed during the Civil War or troops who died years later but wanted to be buried near their friends.
The names of those buried at marked grave sites were carved into Alabama-mined marble blocks at the base of the huge monument.
The Forrest monument originally had been placed outside a former Confederate hospital and dedicated in 2000. It wasn’t long before it was vandalized by upset black residents in the neighborhood who tossed garbage at it several times.
A leader of the Ku Klux Klan after the end of the Civil War, Forrest soon left the racist organization, but his name continues to anger black activists led by Faya Rose Toure, the wife of state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma.
Members of the Selma City Council stepped in as the controversy increased and had the monument sent to the Confederate Circle about a mile away.
The thief or thieves who took the bust in March carefully removed eight bolts affixing it to the pedestal and departed without leaving many scratches.
The Maine sculptor who created the first bust has finished a similar one, and a ceremony will be held when the improvements are completed at Live Oak Cemetery.
Godwin said the costly project, estimated at about $50,000, will amount to perpetual care for the site, but acknowledged that no amount of security short of 24-hour guards is likely to stop anyone from doing what was done earlier this year.
“What happened was a felony offense, a blatant crime,” said Godwin. “(The Forrest bust) was stolen from private property at a historic cemetery on the National Register.”
Kiscaden said that by the time the new Forrest monument is put into place and other improvements are completed, the Confederate Circle will have a “new look.”
“We want to enhance the entire site,” he said. “This will be something that people will enjoy visiting.”
During the annual Battle of Selma recreation in April, Confederate re-enactors stop at the circle for a brief program.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dragoons to Participate in the Prattville July 4th Parade

The Dragoons have again submitted an entry for the Prattville July 4th parade.  This year's parade honors Korean War veterans but we will again have a couple of World War II vets participating in our entry. The Dragoon entry will consist of a couple of marchers carrying the camp banner and a golf cart decked with Confederate and United States flags.  The parade starts at the Autauga County Courthouse and continues down Main Street to Pratt Park.  The Dragoons will be tossing candy and SCV coins to all the children and young at heart along the parade route.  The parade starts at 9am.  We encourage you to attend the parade and support your Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Prattville Dragoons Tour Alabama Archives in Montgomery

This past Saturday, June 23rd, members of the Prattville Dragoons were treated to a tour of the Confederate flags preserved at the Alabama Archives museum in downtown Montgomery AL, across from the State House.  Curator Bob Bradley hosted the tour which included some of the period guns and weapons kept at the Archives.  Bob was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans for his outstanding work in preserving these important symbols of the Confederate States of America and the Confederate fighting forces.  Bob has addressed the Prattville Dragoons at camp meetings in the past with wonderful lectures on the flags of the Confederacy and he is a great local resource for information and history on our heritage.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Prattville Dragoons June Camp Meeting

The Prattville Dragoons held their monthly camp meeting on Thursday June 14 at the Shoneys on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville AL.  The meeting was very well attended as everyone anticipated another great presentation by our guest speaker, Mrs. Tidmore, who presented "The First White House, Past, Present and Future" or as she suggested, "A House is Never Finished, an Anatomy of a Restoration".  After the Invocation and pledges to the flags, followed by the announcement of upcoming events by Commander Booth, 2nd Lt. Waldo gave a briefing on the Alabama Division Reunion at Lake Guntersville.  Brigade Commander Myrick enumerated all the Dragoons who were recipients of awards at the Reunion and presented Color Sgt. Roten with his Certificate of Appreciation for assuming his new role from Larry Spears.  Then Mrs. Tidmore was introduced by 1st Lt. Grooms. The First White House was originally built in 1832 by William Sayer, an ancestor of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife.  The townhome was originally situated at Bibb and Lee Streets facing east. It came into the ownership of Col. Winter who renovated it. In February of 1861, Jefferson Davis arrived from Mississippi and resided at the Exchange Hotel for his inauguration.  On Feb 21st, the Confederate Congress authorized a house for the new President and Col. Edwin Harrison  offered Col. Winter's townhouse for $5000/year, a tidy sum for that period. March 4th, Mrs. Davis arrived, the same day as the First Flag of the Confederacy was flown over Montgomery. She toured the house and proclaimed it suitable and promptly returned to Briarfield in Mississippi to return with her children by steamboat. The Davis's lived in the home the spring of 1861 until Virginia seceded and the capital was moved to Richmond.  The home was maintained as a townhouse and boarding house after the War but became so dilapidated that tours around the turn of the century avoided the home.  In 1894 the UDC formed and was organized in Camden in 1896 with the first meeting in Montgomery in 1897.  Mrs. Jessie Beale of the UDC suggested the first priority for the organization should be the restoration of the First White House but the project was dropped in 1903 due to infighting.  Meanwhile though, the White House Association was formed on July 1st 1900 specifically to renovate and preserve the home.  The first Regent was Mrs. Beale and today, a century later, Mrs. Tidmore carries on in this important position.  $25000 was allocated to move the White House from it's original location to Washington and Union facing north, across from the Alabama State Capital building, it's current location.  The White House underwent it's first restoration in 1921 including receiving furniture and relics from Mrs. Davis.  The building actually housed the offices of the State welfare offices in the 1920s where adoptions were processed. The second floor of the structure became unstable over time and in September 1973, the second major renovation was undertaken when $50000 from the Legislature was parlayed into $250000 and steel beams were installed in the flooring and a heat pump HVAC was installed. On December 11, 1976 President Davis's great great grandson untied the ribbon for the reopening.  In 1988, 21 items were enumerated for additional work including replacing rotten gutters, handicap accessibility provisions, and landscaping but the funds were allocated elsewhere by the state government. A $2MM federal Ice Tea grant was obtained and under the administration of Gov. James, $150000 was finally released in May 1995 under the guise of lead paint abatement and the entire interior and exterior paint was replaced, the 3rd restoration.  Finally, in 2007 and 2008, the 4th restoration was completed which included HVAC replacement and interior painting which necessitated the removal of all furnishings. The surrounding yard was sodded and the irrigation system was repaired.  Currently, a security system is included in the Association's Master Plan which includes short and long term projects.  The Dragoons presented Mrs. Tidmore with a $100 check to help the Association fund this important latest effort to safeguard the invaluable historical relics in the First White House.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prattville Dragoons June 2012 Camp Meeting Agenda

The Prattville Dragoons will hold their monthly camp meeting on Thursday June 14th at the Shoneys on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville at 7pm.  Please join us! The camp EC conducted it's meeting last night to plan for this and to discuss any other upcoming items of interest. 

Mrs. Anne Tidmore, Regent of The First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, will be our speaker for the June meeting.  Mrs. Tidmore’s topic will be "The First White House, Past, Present and Future".  Jefferson Davis and family lived in the First White House from March to May 1861, and that is the importance of this structure. Mrs. Tidmore is a native of Montgomery. She attended Emory University in Atlanta and Huntingdon College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  She is married to Wallace Tidmore and they have two grown children and five grandchildren.  She started Tidmore Flags, a retail and mail-order flag business (current set of Dragoon flags were purchased from her) and operated it for over 30 years. Her daughter and son-in-law bought it in 1991 and Mrs. Tidmore continued to work in the business until 2001 when she retired.  She is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church where she teaches a lady’s Sunday-school class. She is a past Regent for her DAR chapter and  a member of the Cradle of the Confederacy UDC chapter.  In 2009 Mrs. Tidmore became the sixth Regent of the White House Association of Alabama, which was formed in 1900 to save the First White House of the Confederacy, and in that capacity is responsible for the relics in the First White House.  Mrs. Tidmore will be introduced by 1st Lt. Harold Grooms.

Upcoming events will be announced by Commander Chris Booth which include:
Gun Show at the Montgomery Shriners Temple this upcoming Saturday and Sunday which should include a table manned by Jeff Potts and any additional Dragoons who can volunteer some hours chatting with show attendees who may be potential new SCV members.  Our annual fund raising Dixie Butt sale will be announced with tickets available at the July meeting for butt distribution the first of August.  The Gen. N. B. Forrest Birthday party will be held at Ft.Dixie in Selma on Saturday July 28th from 3pm til with free catfish and watermelon and guest speaker retired Lt.Col Tom C. McKenney, author of Jack Hinson's One-Man War.  Live music will also be provided by the Tallassee Armory Guards Camp 1921 Band.  The Prattville Dragoons will again participate in the Prattville July 4th parade which will be held at 9am on July 4th - SCV coins and candy will be tossed to all the parade spectators; the parade will honor Korean War vets and all such vets are encouraged to attend as honorees. A report out from this past weekend's Division Reunion will be provided by 2nd Lt Stuart Waldo.  It was highlighted at the EC meeting that Allen Herrod is rejoining the Prattville Dragoons and that Josh Thomas who attended last month's camp meeting is working on his elegibility geneology and is working at the Prattaugan Museum.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prattville Dragoons EC and Camp Meetings for June 2012

The Prattville Dragoons will hold their monthly camp meeting for June 2012 on Thursday June 14th at the Shoneys on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville AL at 7pm.  Many of the Dragoons partake of the delicious Shoneys buffet for dinner prior to the camp meeting beginning around 6pm.  All are invited to attend this regularly scheduled event to fellowship with other Confederate compatriots.  Prior to the camp meeting, the EC will convene the evening of Monday the 11th to discuss upcoming events including the camp meeting agenda and the National Convention in Mufreesboro TN and Forrest's Birthday party in Selma AL in July.  These events are an important opportunity to celebrate our mutual Confederate heritage and commemorate this Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans 2012 Reunion

The 2012 Reunion of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was held at the Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge on Saturday June 9th, 2012.  Prattville Dragoons Commander Chris Booth, 2nd Lt Stuart Waldo, Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley, SWC Brigade Commander Bill Myrick, and Alabama Division Chief of Staff Larry Spears attended the reunion and enjoyed a well run convention and the beautiful panoramic views off the back patio of the lodge overlooking Lake Guntersville. A welcome to all the attendees was extended by Capt. John Rayburn SCV Camp 452, the host camp for the reunion, Commander David Currey.  Dixie was sung by all and the colors were posted with a salute to the Confederate flag and a reading of Gen. Stephen D. Lee's SCV Charge.  Local and state politicians and Confederate dignitaries were well represented with a statement read by Commander Strain from Commander in Chief Michael Givens and State Senator Clay Scofield, State Representative Kerry Rich, and Marshall County Commision Chairman James Hutcherson welcoming everyone and citing their Confederate ancestry and local War history.  Ms. Tonia Maddox from the Order of Confederate Rose challenged everyone to get fired up about the Confederate cause as they left the reunion.  After the convention was called to order by Commander Thomas Strain, Chaplain Dr. Charles Baker conducted the Invocation. Larry Muse provided the Financial Report which showed the budget and a solid balance for the Division treasury - it was highlighted that no scholarships were warded in the past fiscal year and it was encouraged to get applicants. The Adjutants Report presented by Adjutant David Myers stated that 27 of 62 camps in the Division were in attendance so a quorum was declared; there were more than 150 SCV members attending the business portion of the convention.  The Membership Retention System MRS was highlighted as a method for providing membership renewal notices. The Chaplain Report by Dr. Baker stressed that notices of deaths of members need to be provided in order to include in the Final Rolls and so that condolences can be properly sent to widows. Dr. Baker also recommended a number of books as must reads including The UnCivil War, The Coming of Glory (about the horrors of Reconstruction), Robert E. Lee on Leadership, and That Devil Forrest.  An Audit Report was submitted by 2nd Lt. Gary Carlyle for the 2010 and 2011 periods and then he provided a Recruiting and Retention Report encouraging everyone to recognize those who invite and bring visitors to camp meetings and to read the Confederate Veteran magazine and Division newsletter to become better informed. There are currently about 1750 compatriots in the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Reports were then provided on the 10th Alabama cemetery monument preservation in Virginia - a dedication will be held September 22nd there to commemorate these fallen Confederate soldiers.  The 4th of May there will be a memorial service at the Forrest Monument which was originally rected in 1939 by the UDC but additional information tablets will be installed on the monument grounds.  Brigade reports from the eight Brigades which comprise the Alabama Division were provided and elections were conducted later in the afternoon - David Curry was elected NE Brigade Commander, Johnny MacDonald NW, Joe Clark SE, Terry Batey SW, Larry Warren SEC, Bill Myrick SWC, Leroy Cobb NEC and Mike McMurray NWC Brigade Commander.  Congratulations to our Dragoons Bill Myrick who ran unopposed for another 2 year term.  After a delicious lunch of BBQ and potato and fruit salads, those receiving Meritorious Service and Certificates of Appreciation were recognized. Both proposed Ammendments to the Division Constitution were passed as was a Resolution commending the John Rayburn camp for hosting an outstanding reunion. The Trussville Camp Commader announced his camp's project to restore Confederate graves including placing headstones in the cemetery in Trussville across from the city hall and offered T-shirts for purchase to help raise needed funds - $250 was authorized from the Division to help with the project. The Commander of the Enterprise Camp suggested that an effort needs to be made to provide remedial computer literacy instruction for members to help in the electronic communications which the SCV is adopting and encouraging more of each day.  It was also announced that the Blakely Camp will host an SCV National Leadership Workshop in Foley on March 2, 2013. The importance of attracting younger members to the SCV including the youngest compatriots in the Cadet program was mentioned repeatedly as well as the retention and reenlistment of existing and former members. NWC Brigade Commander Carl Jones was nominated for 2nd Lt Commander and was elected unopposed.  Commanders Dan Williams and Jimmy Hill ran for 1st Lt Commander with Hill winning the balloting.  2nd Lt Commander Gary Carlyle was nominated and elected unopposed as the new Commander of the Alabama Division SCV.  Commander Carlyle gave a rousing speech likening the SCV cause and fight to that of David against the Goliath of political correctness.  He reminded us that the Confederate soldiers fought for us, their grandchildren and concluded his speech wth a Hooray for the Bonnie Blue Flag. Commander Tom Strain announced he is again running for the position of Commander of the Army of Tennessee and then Lt Commander in Chief Kelly Barrow and Commander Paul Grambling delivered campaign speeches as they are running for compatriot Barrow's position which is of utmost importance as the SCV pursues growing the membership to 50,000 strong.  An enjoyable reunion in a beautiful conference facility.