Sunday, March 31, 2013

Upcoming Alabama Statewide Events of Interest for Confederate Heritage for April 2013

A perusal of the Alabama Tourism Department Sweet Home Alabama statewide Calendar of Events for January include some events of interest for Confederate heritage supporters.  
Dauphin Island
Apr 6, Dauphin Island. Civil War Trust Park Day 2013. 251-861-6992. Fee for attractions only. Historic Fort Gaines--Volunteers at least 18 years old needed to help with projects at the Fort. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lecture/presentation: Confederate Widows in the Postwar South
Gulf Shores
Apr 13, Gulf Shores. Confederate Living History Day. 251-540-5257. Admission charged. Fort Morgan State Historic Site-- During the day infantry and artillery will commemorate the forts 1863 garrison by presenting demonstrations including drill on the forts parade ground, small arms firing, and artillery firing from the water battery. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dauphin Island
Apr 13, Dauphin Island. Life at the Fort. 251-861-6992. Admission charged. Historic Fort Gaines--Living history program featuring cannon fire, rifle demonstrations, blacksmithing, candle making and open hearth cooking. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Apr 25-28, Selma. Battle of Selma. 334-872-0901. Admission charged. Battlefield Park, 5 Marina Dr.See the flags waving, the bands playing, the horses prancing, and the cannons dueling along the Alabama River. Tour the reconstructed breastworks defending Selma, shop with authentic camp sutlers, talk with an officer's wife about the latest fashions. Visit Old Live Oak Cemetery for the memorial service for the many Civil War soldiers buried there..
Apr 26, Marbury. Civil War Living History . 205-755-1990. Free. Confederate Memorial ParkA day of "up close and personal" living history of the War Between the States for schools and the public. Infantry, cavalry, artillery, commissary wagon, soldiers equipment, uniforms, music, flags, civilian life, medical, bivouac and infantry drill (student participation). The new state of the art museum (Fee charged) interprets Alabama's role in the war as well as Alabama's only home for Confederate veterans. FREE self-guided tours of the Soldiers' Home site. Call the park for school group reservations. 9 a.m.-noon and 12:30-3 p.m..
Apr 27, Selma. Battle of Selma Grand Military Ball. 334-872-5626. Admission charged. Sturdivant Museum--Experience a step back in time as the Battle of Selma reenactors and their ladies dress in their finest and enjoy a ball in the courtyard. Civilians (in period dress) are welcome. Dancing (waltz, Virginia Reel) and light refreshments. 7-11 p.m.
Apr 27, Ashville. Confederate Memorial Day. 205-338-2412. Free. John W. Inzer Museum & Ashville Cemetery--Public invited. Service with guest speaker, honor guard, 21 musket salute and laying of wreath. Service begins at 11 a.m.; picnic lunch at noon and grave markings at 1 p.m. Sponsored by St. Clair Camp 308, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Ashville Chapter 1488, United Daughters of the Confederacy and The John W. Inzer Museum, Inc..

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dragoons Setting Flags on Confederate Veterans Graves at Oak Hill Cemetery in Prattville March 30th

As April is Confederate History Month there are many events planned for observance of this important Sesquicentennial period.  As the lead event, on March 30th at 8:30am, the Dragoons will again set flags on the Confederate veteran graves at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Prattville.  This is a great opportunity to get involved with an important part of our camp's annual efforts to further the Cause.  Undoubtedly someone or two will bring some doughnuts or other morning breakfast refreshments and the fellowship and camaraderie is wonderful as we honor these courageous Confederate veterans by placing Battle flags at their final resting place.  We have maps which provide the location of all the Confederate graves in Oak Hill and with typical participation, all the flags are set within an hour or so.  Flags are also available to distribute to anyone wishing to take some to place on other graves at other cemeteries, perhaps of your Confederate ancestors.  The officers of the Prattville Dragoons encourage everyone who is interested to join us for this flag setting event and the sodality with fellow compatriots.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prattville Dragoons Camp News from the February Camp Dispatch Newsletter

Camp News
Ladies at February Meeting Get A Rose.  Since our February meeting fell on Valentine's Day, our most generous 2Lt Commander Stuart Waldo brought a handful of roses and gave one to each lady present and to the waitresses at Shoney's, all of whom were most pleased to receive this unexpected gift.  Shoney's offered extra items on the buffet that night, so all of us ate well too.  On behalf of the ladies, we thank Lt Commander Waldo for his generosity and forethought.
Skip Ward Receives Pictures Of Unknown Confederate Grave in Illinois.  Dragoon William "Skip" Ward has received pictures from a friend in Mattoon, Illinois, of the grave of a Confederate soldier who died there in 1863.  The details of the soldier's death are unknown, but the grave is very well kept, and marked with a sign showing a Confederate Battle Flag and the notation "Captain of the Confederate Army, died 1863 at 14th and Broadway, Mattoon, IL.  Rest In Peace, Very Far From Home".
Division's Last Son Is Gone.  Two months after the death of Dragoon and Real Son Henry Gober, Alabama's last surviving Real Son, Tyus Kirby Denney of Cullman, passed away on 7 March 2013 and was buried at Etha Baptist Church in Cullman.
Dragoon Publishes Book.  Dragoon E. Wayne Nelson has published a book, In Search of Glory, available at The book is a true story based on the South Alabama experiences of the author’s great-grandparents, William and Ellen Rice Spivey during the years 1861 through 1865. Follow William as he sets out in search of glory only to discover that war brings pain, suffering, hunger, pestilence, and death. Along the way he is wounded and meets a beautiful woman who nurses him back to health and wakes the passion that stirs within him even to the depth of his soul. Finally, as he nears the end of his trials, he realizes first-hand the value of truth and justice. He also acquires a new and strong reverence for life that helps him to survive all the hardships of war he must endure in order to return home to the things he values most:  family and his one true love, Ellen. Amazon offers the book for sale in paperback and it should be available on Kindle by the time you read this.  If you prefer hard cover, an autographed copy can be purchased from the author at 22478 Hwy 189, Elba, AL 36323 for $25.00, postage paid.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nathan Bedford Forrest : Memphis' First White "Civil Rights" Advocate

Prattville Dragoon past Chaplain Bill Branch contributed a wonderful column to the Dragoons February Camp Dispatch which is timely and appropriate with the disparaging recent developments in Selma and Memphis regarding one of the great cavalry officers of the War for Southern Independence and of American history, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. This column reveals some wonderful little known facts about the other side of this great man:

Nathan Bedford Forrest : Memphis's First White "Civil Rights" Advocate
            Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) was a renowned Southern military leader and strategist during the War Between the States. During the War, Forrest's Confederate cavalry wreaked havoc among Union forces throughout the mid-South. He gained worldwide fame for his many battlefield successes, but the wartime heroics have overshadowed his post-war work as a community leader and civil rights advocate. He fought fiercely on the battlefield, yet was a compassionate man off the field. Forrest was known near and far as a great general, and was a well-respected citizen by both blacks and whites alike.
            The Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association (predecessor to the NAACP) was organized by Southern blacks after the war to promote black interests. One of their early conventions was held in Memphis and Mr. Forrest was invited to be the guest speaker, the first white man ever to be invited to speak to the Association.
            In a speech to Federal authorities, Forrest said that many of the ex-slaves were skilled artisans and needed to be employed and that those skills needed to be taught to the younger workers. If not, then the next generation of blacks would have no skills and could not succeed and would become dependent on the welfare of society.
            Forrest's words went unheeded. The Memphis & Selma Railroad was organized by Forrest after the war to help rebuild the South's transportation and to build the 'new South'. Forrest took it upon himself to hire blacks as architects, construction engineers and foremen, train engineers and conductors. In the North, blacks were prohibited from holding such jobs.
            When the War Between the States began, Forrest offered freedom to 44 of his slaves if they would serve with him in the Confederate army. All 44 agreed. One later deserted; the other 43 served faithfully until the end of the war. Though they had many chances to leave, they chose to remain loyal to the South and to Forrest. Part of General Forrest's command included his own Escort Company, his Green Berets, made up of the very best soldiers available. Eight of these picked men were black soldiers and all served gallantly and bravely throughout the war. At war's end, when Forrest's cavalry surrendered in May 1865, there were 65 black troopers on the muster roll. Of the soldiers who served under him, Forrest said of the black troops, "Finer Confederates never fought".
            When Forrest died in 1877 it is noteworthy that his funeral in Memphis was attended not only by a throng of thousands of whites but by hundreds of blacks as well. The funeral procession was over two miles long and was attended by over 10,000 area residents, including 3000 black citizens paying their respects.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prattville Dragoons Commander Chris Booth's Farewell Message

Commander Booth penned a farewell address for the Dragoons February Camp Dispatch as he concludes his second term as camp Commander although he will be continuing to serve faithfully as 2nd Lt Commander for the upcoming year.   The following was his column:

Commander's Column:  Farewell Message
            Well gentlemen, barring something really bad happening this will be my last Commander’s column.  I want to thank you for the opportunity to lead the Prattville Dragoons for the last two years.  I hope that you were able to enjoy the meetings, events and publications that we put together.  When I say “we” I mean all members of the camp not just the officers but also the members.
            After all what would a monthly meeting or other event such as the annual picnic, parade events, Confederate Memorial day ceremony, or flagging of the graves of Confederate soldiers be without the members' attendance and participation.  Without you, the members, the Dragoons would be just the few officers gathering together--which I can tell you can be quite entertaining--but is not as effective, due to the lack of the shared interaction among all the members.
            I of course need to thank those who really work hard to make the camp events a success.  The first of these would be 1st Lt. Commander Harold Grooms, who invited speakers and so provided us fine programs,  and 2nd Lt. Commander Stuart Waldo, who has been a standout in helping drive membership and inspiring all of us with his original ideas and energy.  Next are Billy Leverette and Wayne Sutherland, our Treasurer and Adjutant respectively, who work so hard and well on the financial and organizational side of the Camp.  Additionally, I must offer thanks one last time to Billy Leverette and wife Cathie for donating in 2011 a color printer and paper so that our Camp now publishes a quality, color newsletter at no cost other than postage.  Then there is Tom Snowden, our chaplain, who always reminds us of God’s grace through Christ and inspires us with his dedication to his calling.  I must also express my gratitude to Past Commander Bill Myrick, who keeps the Camp connected with the Brigade and Division through his position as the Brigade Commander. And I cannot fail to mention Past Camp Commander and interim Color Sergeant and Division Chief-of-Staff Larry Spears who always seems to be able to step up when something needs doing, like the all-important position he recently accepted as Chairman of the I-65 Flag Committee.  And last, but certainly not least, I wish to express appreciation to and for Camp Communications Officer, Historian, Jefferson Davis re-enactor, and my friend Tyrone Crowley.  To all these people and to all members, my heartfelt thanks for a good two years.
Deo Vindice.
Chris Booth
Camp Commander

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans National Leadership Conference - Part 5

Lt. Commander Kelly Barrow addressed the SCV National Leadership Conference in Foley AL discussing a 5-G Camp noting many SCV members now are 5th generation removed from their Confederate ancestors. The 5-G successful camp has Governance, Goals, Growth, Goodwill and Guts. 

The Governance of the camp and the SCV organization relies on an up-to-date constitution which is broad and resistant to changes whereas the Policy Manual (available on website under forms and documents) provides specific instruction and is more easily revised.  At the camp level, EC meetings should be conducted monthly before each camp meeting.  Officers should know their job responsibilities and be effective communicators (thru newsletters, internet and emails and phone).  There should be continuous training of new leaders thru leadership workshops and using the curriculum.

The Goals of the camp should provide a vision for where you want to be a year from now in terms of membership, finances, and education. Education should include outreach to local schools (including the JROTC Hunley awards) and the public at large. Outreach to the community can include service projects such as renovation and upkeep of Confederate cemeteries and monuments but may also include contemporary projects like Adopt-a-Highway and joining the Chamber of Commerce.  These outreach efforts will help raise community awareness of the SCV. 

The Goodwill of the camp is a result or closely related to the outreach efforts in regards to the community but goodwill may also be expressed within the SCV and friends of the SCV and within your own camp to fellow members. Each camp activity should pass a 3 question test - does it honor the memory of the Confederate soldier, does it allow us to tell his story and, does it contribute to fraternity.  But, we must recognize that despite our best intentions to sincerely express our goodwill to the community, we will be criticized and persecuted by some elements.

Which leads to the Guts of the camp and our membership.  Our ancestors showed guts to leave their families and charge the enemy.  We must follow the Charge. 

The fifth G of a successful camp is Growth which Kelly addressed in his prior presentation on recruitment and retention.  Field Representative JM provided his spirited high-energy inspirational ideas and instruction on Camp Growth, Stability and Member Retention.  J had addressed a Dragoons camp meeting and he presented many of the same points but he emphasized that it is imperative to provide a good program with good speakers for each camp meeting and to invite people and bring them with you to camp meetings and functions. Every officer should take the names of a half dozen members or past members and call them prior to each meeting to extend special invitations.  The Google shared drive will provide a resource for additional good programs and presenters. Every month there should be a focus on camp goals, camaraderie and the program and the membership should be informed of the upcoming camp meeting and the featured speaker with an interesting biography of the guest speaker.  Potential camp meetings and events might include a Ladies Night with a program geared more toward the interests of our significant others, a "Find Your Confederate Ancestor Fair" for recruiting and copies of the Confederate Veteran magazine should be provided to visitors at recruiting booths and tables at gun shows and cityfests.  J again had some great quotables including, "The War was between the Americans and the thieving lying Yankees. The Constitution was penned by Southerners and contains unchangeable truths. We are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an Historical Honor Society."  Good stuff and more great ideas.
Lt.Commander Kelly Barrow Addresses the SCV National Leadership Conference
JM Addresses the Conference Attendees inside the Beautiful Gift Horse in Foley

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Confederate Heritage Rally at Beauvoir in Biloxi MS

Following the parade down US Hwy 90 along the beachfront in Biloxi, parade participants and spectators gathered in front of the beautiful Jefferson Davis Presidential Library for the 2013 Confederate Heritage Rally including speeches from SCV leadership and a keynote address by the great great grandson of Jefferson Davis, Bertram Hayes-Davis, Executive Director of Beauvoir.  The parade crossed Hwy 90 and wound in front of the stage to seats set up under the bright clear Mississippi Gulf Coast sky and the shade of some grand live oaks found across the Beauvoir property.  Approximately 500 people were in attendance at the event. 

Those dignitaries seated on stage included the SCV Army Department Commanders, the SCV General Executive Committee members, as well as Mr. Hayes-Davis and the Chairman of the Board of Beauvoir Rick Forte.  A greeting to all in attendance was followed by recognition of the Divisions represented at the Heritage Rally accompanied by spirited cheers by each state called by order of secession.  A gun and cannon salute was also sounded during this roll call with the smoke from the cannon fire rolling off the back lawn of Beauvoir. 

Army Commanders Earnest (Northern Virginia), Strain (Tennessee), and Owens (Trans-Mississippi) addressed the gathered crowd followed by speeches by Adjutant in Chief Steve Ritchie, Lt. Commander Kelly Barrow and Commander in Chief Michael Givens.  They challenged everyone to take their defense of our Confederate heritage outside their homes including participation in events such as the Confederate Heritage Rallies and Sesquicentennial events.  Commander Givens stressed that the War for Southern Independence was a defining moment in our national history in an eloquent presentation of the Cause.

Executive Director Bertram Hayes-Davis as the keynote speaker welcomed everyone to Beauvoir and the dedication of the beautiful new Presidential Library.  He said that he is fortunate to be uniquely qualified as a descendant of Jefferson Davis to bring the family's perspective to the quest for recognition of Beauvoir and fund raising for continued improvements to Beauvoir.  He indicated he had made an effort to extensively study the history of his great great grandfather and his times to the extent that he claimed to have traveled to every country, state and location Jefferson Davis did during his lifetime.  He said the Presidential Library and museum represent a tremendous public educational opportunity to share Southern heritage and the true history of the Southern people and the Cause. 

Following the rally, the museum which is the home of Jefferson Davis as well as the new Library were opened for walk through tours.  The library was just recently finished and had yet to be stocked with the Confederate soldier and Jefferson Davis exhibits for which large rooms were assigned and the book collection for the library was also in storage.  By June of 2013 most of these books and artifacts will begin to fill the library rooms and an official Grand Opening is tentatively scheduled.  The library is of a modern design with high ceilings and open spaces, beautiful wood all accents and large windows which contributed to the grandiose impression.  Over the next couple of years, the grounds are to be finished to even include Verina Davis rose gardens and other improvements which will certainly make Beauvoir a destination to attract more people to provide this unique Southern heritage educational charter.
Crowd at the Confederate Heritage Rally at Beauvoir
Commander in Chief Givens Speaking

Keynote Speaker Executive Director Bertram Hayes-Davis
Dragoons Larry Spears and Stuart Waldo at the Rally

Dragoon Tyrone Crowley and Friends in Period Dress

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Confederate Heritage Parade at Beauvoir in Biloxi MS

The Prattville Dragoons were well represented at the 2013 Confederate Heritage Rally held on Saturday March 16 at Beauvoir in Biloxi MS.  Beauvoir was Jefferson Davis' last home and his home as well as some outbuilding cottages have been preserved there on the large property overlooking US Hwy 90 and the white sands of the Biloxi beachfront. The Confederate Heritage Rally event included a parade down Hwy 90 as well as guest speakers from the SCV GEC and Army Commanders as well as a keynote address by Bertram Hayes-Davis, great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis, who dedicated the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.  The library was an impressive beautiful structure, a modern architectural style which contrasted with the Gulf Coast raised cottage style of the Davis' home with it's wraparound porch.  The library served as the backdrop for the speakers and was then available to tour following the program.

The parade participants gathered at a lighthouse park just east of Beauvoir around 11am.  Beautiful sunny chamber of commerce day with temperatures in the low 70s. Larry and Sue Spears, Tyrone and Carol Crowley, Bill and Peggy Myrick and Stuart and Kerri Waldo from the Dragoons camp attended the day's events.  Carol and Sue took photos along the parade route as we approached Beauvoir.  Larry and Stuart carried the Dragoons camp banner which became the lead for the Alabama Division contingent.  Division Commander Gary Carlyle, 1st Lt Jimmy Hill and Adjutant and Webmaster Mike Williams marched directly behind the banner.  Bill and Peggy walked together as Bill carried a flag.  Tyrone carried a Battle Flag and escorted Kerri, both dressed in period attire.  

The order for the parade was led by a reenactment color guard followed by members of the SCV General Executive Committee including CiC Givens, Lt Kelley Barrow and Adjutant Steve Ritchie as well as the Army Commanders.  Many more reenactors carried there rifles and flags.  Then the Divisions followed in order of Secession.  The Mechanized Cavalry brought up the end of the parade but were among the first in terms of enthusiasm at the rally.  Participants hailed from as far away as Indiana, South Carolina, Texas and Jim from Missouri as well as from the surrounding states representing the former Confederacy.

The parade left the park and proceeded down the beach boardwalk west toward Beauvoir and then traffic was stopped as everyone crossed Hwy 90 to the grounds of Beauvoir.  All along the parade route cars honked their horns, people waved and cars rolled slowly by or came to a stop to take photos or movies on their mobile phones.  Very well received by the public and despite some pesty no-see-ums and gnats, a very enjoyable time proudly displaying Confederate flags of all types in Biloxi.
Dragoons and Wives
Brigade Commander Myrick
Parade along the Biloxi Beachfront

Color Guard and the SCV GEC Leading the Parade
Alabama Division led by the Prattville Dragoons Banner

Tyrone with Battle Flag and Kerri with Parasol

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prattville Dragoons March Camp Meeting

The Dragoons held their March camp meeting at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville on Thursday March 14th.  A number of spouses were in attendance including Mrs. Brantley, Burdick and Crowley.  Announcements included the Confederate Heritage Rally in Biloxi (this past Saturday - watch for a report on this blog upcoming).  As April is Confederate History Month there are many events planned.  On March 30th at 8:30am, the Dragoons will again set flags on the Confederate veteran graves at the Oak Hill cemetery in Prattville.  April 13th is the annual Dragoon's picnic at Confederate Memorial Park which will commence with a flag setting on the veteran's graves at 9am and the picnic at 11am which will include three Dixie smoked butts provided by the camp and camp stew provided by the Lions Club.  April 22nd we will have a wreath setting at the Dragoons monument at the Prattville Primary School on Washington Street at 6pm.  Paul Whaley announced the Living History encampment which will again be held at the Confederate Memorial Park on Friday April 26th at 9:30am. Jeffrey Potts attended the recent gun show at the Shriner's Temple in Montgomery and set up a recruiting booth again for the Dragoons and got a few names of perspective new members who have been contacted by Tyrone Crowley.  Two additional gun shows were mentioned, one in Clanton and one in Birmingham.  The trial in Selma involving Todd Kiscaden and the anarchist Rose Sanders was discussed as that hearing had been held that very day but no information was known as to the outcome; a federal case hearing is scheduled for November where Todd is suing the Selma city council and police department for interfering with the lawful construction project he was forced to postpone.  The heritage attack in Memphis was also discussed where the city council has attempted to rename three Confederate parks despite a subsequent law passed by the Tennessee state legislature prohibiting the renaming of any parks named in honor of military figures. There is movement among the city council and this blatant snub of our heritage may well take a turn.  The Dragoons EC had gathered some money at their Monday meeting to support the Heritage Defense Fund to return the names to these Confederate Parks and the members assembled at the camp meeting pitched in almost $200 additional.

Following these announcements, Tyrone Crowley provided a newsletter report.  26 Dragoons members receive the newsletter by mail and 51 by email and additionally 34 non-members receive the Camp Dispatch including Division officers and others. The postage and printer toner accounts for the minimal cost of the newsletter publication. Tyrone also presented the Treasurer's report in the absence of Billy Leverette.  Costs incurred this past year included parade entries, Lee ads (paper and, a wreath for the funeral of our Real Son Henry Gober, speaker reimbursement, our $500 annual donation to the Alabama Archives flag restoration, our $150 donation to the First White House security system, final website fees prior to the establishment of our blog site and Quartermaster stores leaving a nice balance.  The recently received check from the GE Foundation matching funds allowed for the approval by the membership present of a bench for the Confederate Circle in the Selma cemetery which will more immediately go to help the Friends of Forrest in their legal battles to continue this restoration and beautification effort. It was discussed as to whether Mr.Bradley from the AL Archives would be our keynote speaker at the April picnic where we could present him the $500 check.  Mr. Bradley provides a special Saturday tour of the backrooms of the Archives to the Dragoons as a special thanks for our donation.  Wayne Sutherland provided the Adjutant report indicating the Dragoons stand with 78 members currently.  2nd Lt Stuart Waldo provided a brief report of the SCV National Leadership conference including Vision 2016 and a couple ideas were highlighted including membership in the local Chamber of Commerce, the camp Google account which is an integral part of the Vision 2016 initiative, and including recent perspective member contacts in the camp newsletter distribution. The slate of officers nominated by the EC passed unanimously including Commander Stuart Waldo, 1st Lt Harold Grooms, 2nd Lt Chris Booth, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, Treasurer Billy Leverette and Chaplain Tom Snowden. David Brantley also expressed interested in serving in the appointed position of Quartermaster which will be a great help to have solid ownership of that important responsibility.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans National Leadership Conference - Part 4

Dr. Tom Hiter, retired Lt. Colonel in the National Guard and Professor of Military Science at Ft. Benning provided an introduction into Vision 2016 at the SCV National Leadership Conference in Foley AL.  Vision 2016 is an exciting initiative for the entire SCV organization and leadership which will be gearing up immediately and over the next few years.  The GEC in Chickamauga formulated the Vision 2016 concept and program after taking a hard look at the core SCV beliefs.  We believe in God, home, family, heritage, duty, liberty, freedom, self-determination, self-government, and patriotism and we believe the Confederacy was founded on these same beliefs. The GEC formulated a plan to implement these beliefs, to have an organization of 50000 men by 2016 who are regarded as the preeminent authority on Southern heritage and American liberty.  This vision was adopted at the Montgomery National Convention. 
There are six elements to Vision 2016. 
Who needs to take action?  Every SCV member because it is our duty and privilege.
What needs to be done? Vindicate the Cause per the Charge.  The Cause includes the belief in
individual liberty and states rights including the right to property (but not necessarily happiness)
as Jefferson originally proposed for the Constitution; promoting the Cause of liberty is essential
and should be the focus of our events and participation in parades and socials should be the trimming.

When does it need to start?  Now.
Where was action needed?  Everywhere, especially in the South firstly but everywhere we live now throughout the United States and the world; the SCV has members in Europe, Brazil and throughout the USA.
Why is the action required?  Because it is our Charge and why we exist as an organization.
How?  This is the hard part.  The SCV is a 19th century organization in the 21st century. The members of the UCV conducted their reunions often in campgrounds especially in the poor Southern region rebuilding from the War and Reconstruction.  The SCV was founded by children of these veterans who originally sought to help their fathers attend these reunions.  But today we have a much nobler cause.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) In WWII conducted a body of research on which thousands of volumes have been written.  The Vision 2016 plan makes use of this research.  Elementally, this research found that anyone can learn to lead.  This was essential when special operations sought to recruit the local populace to lead resistance forces.  The OSS study showed you can train leaders.
General Systems Theory formulated in the 1950s postulates that open systems are those that interact with their environment and they function best.  Organizations work best when members are involved in making decisions and plot the course of action.  Many organizations today are like that like churches and some local SCV camps too but all too often, SCV camps are founded and directed by a single man who builds a membership that does not get involved and do not continue with the organization.   Systems Theory identified key things to fix – educate ourselves (training), educate the public (marketing), better public relations and growth.   In the 1980s and 1990s communication technology leapt forward and continues today.   Systems Theory is about keeping the communication going.
Vision 2016 formulated by the GEC comprises many elements:
                A “What Works” book was written and is available to every camp.
A g-mail system was put in place and every camp or commander will have a permanent g-mail address.
A shadow organization will be developed to assist Commanders at National, Army and Division levels to assist camps.  Camps should exhaust the shadow organization as resources for support for recruitment, retention, and training.
                Share information between camps at a national level.  The camp Google account will include access to a Google shared drive which provides access for retrieving filed information including resources and communications.  It will be thru this method that for instance instructions for lobbying local, state and national politicians for SCV initiatives will be communicated. 
What’s next?  More Army and Division level training. By July all camps will hold a facilitated meeting to deal with the Systems Theory questions on what we do and what we can do better and results will be disseminated to each camp.  Also by July each camp will need to be comfortable with their Google account.  
What can we do now?  Talk it up.  Use the new Google account and systems. Use the ideas in the What Works book.  Get to know your component managers and coordinators at Division level and use them as resources.
Vision 2016.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chaplain's Column from the March Prattville Dragoons Camp Dispatch

Chaplain Tom Snowden's column from the March issue of the Prattville Dragoons Camp Dispatch newsletter.

Chaplain’s Column
Have you ever heard it said, “The one who dies with the most toys wins?” When I was unsaved and living in this world without Jesus in my heart I believed in that philosophy. Now that I am saved, older and, I would like to think, much wiser, my perspective on life has taken a drastic turn.
            Turning to our Bibles, Romans 12:2 says the following: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
            I now have a new measurement for success. Success is the progressive realization of the will of God in our lives. It’s not about the most toys, money, health, or how famous you are. Turning once again to our Bibles, look at Micah 6:8 which says “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” This explains what God requires of you. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart”. This is telling us what God requires of us.
            May I suggest that, if you have the distorted belief that I once had, consider changing your philosophy in life and let Jesus take charge. I have found life to be happier and I pray you will too.
Please remember the following in your prayers:
1.    Jeff Potts
2.    James & Ann Spears
3.    Bobby Carter & wife Merrill
4.    James Little's wife Nita
5.    David Brantley's wife Jennifer
6.    Allen Herrod
7.    Whitson Waldo (Stuart Waldo's father) - cancer
8.    Wayne Sutherland - back problems
9.    Past Division Commander David Allen - kidney stones
10.  John Durden's son (David Fail) - TIA
11.  Cecil Williamson - continued health problems
12.  Wyatt Willis - recovering from broken ankle
13.  JJ Oakley - breathing problems
14.  Billy Parker - recovering from injuries suffered in fall
15.  Billy Parker's son-in-law Stan Stuckey - recovering from heart attack.
16.  Leonard Wilson - recovering from hip-replacement surgery
17.  Family of Bill Myrick's brother-in-law Earnest "Buster" Liles, who recently passed away
18.  James Whittington - back surgery, pain and need to return to job

Yours In Christ,
Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Friday, March 15, 2013

Confederate Heritage Rally 2013 - Biloxi MS

The 2013 Sesquicentennial Event/Confederate Heritage Rally will be held Saturday March 16th in Biloxi, MS at Beauvoir. The dedication ceremony for the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library will be the showcase of the program.  All SCV member and defenders of heritage and promoters of the principles of the Cause should make plans to attend this important event. 
The Heritage Parade line-up will start Saturday morning along the gulf front Hwy 90. Participants should be in place by 11am. The Dedication event and rally begins at 1pm.  AN SCV honor guard, the National GEC officers, reenactors and members from each Division will march down Hwy 90 to Beauvoir.  Battle Flags will be in prominent display and salutes with guns and cannons are planned.  Be sure to attend this special event which also offers an opportunity to tour historic Beauvoir and the renovated Presidential Library. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Announcing the Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2013

SCV Camp 1524, the Prattville Dragoons will have their monthly camp meeting on Thursday evening, March 14th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville AL.  Come join us for an evening of fellowship and camaraderie at this, our annual business meeting.  Come early and enjoy the delicious Shoney's buffet including one of their scrumptious desserts.  This business meeting includes reports from the officers including the Commander, Lieutenants, Treasurer, Adjutant and Chaplain.  2nd Lt Waldo will provide a report on the National Leadership Conference recently held in Foley AL including the Adjutant information, membership recruiting and retention, traits of successful camps, and the Vision 2016 SCV initiative.  The elections of the camp officers for the coming year will also be on the agenda. The EC has recommended and nominated Stuart Waldo for the position of Commander, Harold Grooms as 1st Lt Commander, Chris Booth as 2nd Lt Commander, Wayne Sutherland as Adjutant, Billy Leverette as Treasurer and Tom Snowden as Chaplain but other nominations may be made from the floor.  Come to this camp meeting to hear about the successes enjoyed by the camp in the past year, news of relevant and upcoming events and to participate in this annual camp meeting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans National Leadership Conference - Part 3

Lieutenant Commander Kelly Barrow addressed the National Leadership Conference in Foley regarding membership Recruiting and Retention saying it's everyone's duty to recruit new members for the SCV but retention is the real problem.  Although advertisements, lapel pins, license plates and stickers may be effective, the best recruiter is SCV members. From a business perspective we must ask ourselves, how do we bring back our past customers, our delinquent members, how do we keep our current customers, and how do we attract new customers.  The Charge encourages us to further the causes of vindication, virtues and liberty.  There are five Rs for Growth: Recruiting, Reinforcement, Retention, Reinstatement, and Replication.

Recruiting may be Demand Side or Supply Side. We should be more concerned with helping men honor their ancestors and heritage than pushing membership. Nonetheless, it would be awesome to grow membership so that one day we see a million cracker march on Washington DC.  To further recruiting, keep an ongoing list of perspective members; SCV headquarters maintains a record of application downloads from the site which includes names and addresses which are available for camps to use for contact.  But camps should keep lists from festivals and gun shows and other events where recruiting booths or tables are set up. Send these perspective members camp newsletters and announcements and keep them active in these communications for 18 months. Advertise meetings in local newspapers which may be free for non-profits such as the SCV. 

Many camps have annual recruiting meetings which along with a Lee-Jackson commemorative event, a Confederate Memorial Day observance and a Christmas Social constitute the four major camp events each year.  A grassroots effort including sending handwritten invitations, bringing perspective recruits and including a hot dog cookout or ice cream social are successful ideas. Make the annual recruiting meeting a Brigade or even a Division event.  Use SCV media like copies of old Confederate Veteran magazines and brochures at recruiting booths.  New Army recruiting tents are available to use at these events on loan.  Getting perspective members involved with the Friends of the SCV is an effective way to keep them involved and informed as they pursue and complete their genealogical research.  Your camp should join the local Chamber of Commerce as a 501.c.3 to attract new members who may be recent transplants to your community and neighborhoods.

In recruiting, there is a Target and a Broadcast Method.  The Target method utilizes a personal approach where one usually knows the recruit and they may already be familiar with the SCV.  The problem with recruits gained by this method is that they likely develop a club mentality and don't get involved and responsible with camp activities or leadership.  The Broadcast Method provides a potentially broader number of people contacted and many are strangers and relies on the concept that if you build a tent, they will come.  But the members attracted by the Broadcast method are usually more motivated. The best recruiting tool is a vibrant camp which has camp meetings in an accessible location with consistent programs in punctual organized meetings with a fraternal atmosphere including outreach to the community.  Assign new members to an older camp member as a resource or questions and encouragement and to provide a personal touch for a year or so.

The second R is Reinforcement.  New members should be assigned to a committee so that they get a sense of belonging and usefulness and ownership.  The camp Commander should make an effort to meet new members stressing the importance of the work of the camp. The camp should always have plenty of projects in process to work on and new members should be encourages to participate in these projects to feel important and an asset to the camp.

The third R is Reinstatement.  2/3 of all members in the SCV are delinquent members.  The National Headquarter maintains a list of these past members. The Camp #584 is the Headquarters Camp which has most of the delinquent members.  Many of these wanted to get their SCV membership certificate and not renew and didn't seek to get involved in a local camp.  Candy White at headquarters can be contacted for a list of Camp 584 in your area and local delinquent members.

The fourth R is Retention. Initiatives like effective camp communication including the camp newsletter and an updated website encourage retention along with frequent varied opportunities for activities in which to participate.  The Membership Renewal System has created a centralized more automated method for ensuring every member gets notification for membership renewals.  The on-line SCV Leadership Institute is a terrific resource for instruction for new members and members seeking leadership positions and opportunities.

The fifth R is Replication.  The monster camp is not a good goal.  If a camp is growing, spread the success and try to start new camps in surrounding communities using the same folks and successful initiatives which made the original camp great. This concept follows the model of the 1st century church and the Great Commission and modern missionary evangelistic churches.

Recruiting and retention should not just be man to man but camp to community. The five Rs address how to attract and retain SCV customers. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans National Leadership Conference - Part 2

Lt. Commander Kelley Barrow commenced the program for the SCV National Leadership Conference at the Gift Horse saying he started training programs during his Army command and initiated the national programs including these conferences as well as the on-line training for Commanders, Adjutants and membership (in development). Kelley then introduced Adjutant-in-Chief Steve Ritchie as the first presenter.

Adjutant-in-Chief Steve Ritchie defined the Adjutant as a staff officer assisting the commanding officer chiefly with communications per the dictionary but the SCV Constitution goes much further to include maintaining records and minutes of meetings and conventions, rolls of camps and officers, keeper of the seal of the Confederation, creating awards for members and other duties assigned by the Commander in Chief and serves at the pleasure of the CiC.  Steve recognized the Adjutants that served tirelessly before him including Chuck Rand. Per the Constitution, the Adjutant can implore staff to assist with his designated duties.  He reminded everyone that the Elm Springs staff is there to welcome everyone when visiting the SCV headquarters and the six folks on staff handle everything there including gift shop purchases. He also encouraged everyone to use the website as most all information requested can be found there. 

Adjutants make it all work.  Roster updates are important to be provided to the Army Secretary to ensure members are accounted for and to make sure everyone gets their outstanding quarterly SCV magazine.  Adjutant Ritchie has just initiated this January distribution of monthly newsletters to Division Adjutants to disseminate to Brigade and camp Adjutants and he encouraged everyone to approach their Division Adjutants to receive these useful newsletters.  He also encouraged everyone to read the Camp Handbook, a must read for Commanders and Adjutants.  Steve stressed the importance of camp Adjutants to complete the Last Roll paperwork when members pass away - of the 60000 delinquent SCV members, a surprising number are deceased but no Last Roll paperwork was every provided for them.  Cindy White at the national headquarters can provide a delinquent member list for every camp and Steve asked that every Adjutant get one of these lists. 

Adjutant Ritchie then announced what he claimed would be a controversial fact, that there is no constitutional requirement to send proof of lineage/descent from a Confederate veteran to the National Headquarters for membership in the SCV.  The membership packet required at national SCV headquarters includes a completed application, a check and preferably a type written summary of the applicants information but no paperwork for descent documentation is required by national headquarters.  Membership records are kept as hardcopies at SCV National headquarters.  SCV National does no genealogy verification.  The application requires camp officer signatures to substantiate membership satisfaction and camp requirements vary.  Compiled service records are sometimes illegible or inaccurate and many were lost during the War especially when towns were burned and razed such as in Sherman's march.  Additional resources include the American Civil War Research database and Broadfoot's records of Confederate veterans.  UCV and pension records are additional resources.  He highlighted that how an ancestor was separated or location of his burial may be unknown and don't get hung up on those details when completing the application. 

Steve encouraged everyone to use this period from February thru April to use the prorated dues as a recruiting tool for growing SCV membership as a great value to encourage new members to sign-up.  He encouraged everyone to continue to learn more about the Adjutant role and use the (SCV Leadership Institute) as a part of this educational opportunity. Finally, Steve implored everyone that when choosing camp officers, choose responsible competent people - a poor Adjutant means reports won't be filed, Last Rolls will not be completed for condolences, members won't get their magazines.  He stressed that there is no disgrace in resigning from a position for family and work priorities. 

Adjutant-in-Chief Steve Ritchie Addresses SCV Leadership Conference

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans National Leadership Conference - Part 1

On Saturday March 2nd, the Fort Blakely SCV Camp 1864 hosted a National Leadership Conference at the Gift Horse in downtown Foley AL.  Camp 1864 Commander Tommy Rhodes brought the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to the Gift Horse where the members of Camp 1864 hold their monthly meeting.  The Gift Horse has a number of gift stores and a buffet restaurant.  The large room in which the conference was held had beautiful beaded pine paneling and Camp 1864 had decorated each linen topped table with a centerpiece of Alabama state and Confederate Battle flags.  There were about thirty attendees representing eight states including Texas, Indiana, South Carolina  as well as Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.  Following Camp 1864 Chaplain Gary Riley's invocation, Commander Rhodes informed the group that they were very happy to host this National SCV conference and they are proud to have grown their camp membership from 10 to currently 87 men.  Camp 1864 has won awards as Alabama Division camp of the year and they have won awards for their camp newsletter.  Tommy provided information about the local Confederate Rest cemetery in Point Clear at the site of a former Confederate Hospital near the current Marriott Resort.  Camp 1864 has worked to maintain the cemetery and has used a grant from SCV Nationals to renovate the grounds and place concrete crosses at the graves.  The camp holds a yearly memorial service there and a recent highlight included the reinterment with full honors of a bone fragment which was inadvertently unearthed during flag placement.  Commander Rhodes presented Adjutant-in-Chief Steve Ritchie and Lt. Commander-in-Chief Kelly Barrow with tokens of appreciation for arranging the Leadership Workshop.  Presentations followed from Lt. Barrow, Adjutant Ritchie, Field Representative JM, and former Chief of Heritage Defense Tom Hiter.

The Gift Horse
SCV National Leadership Conference Hosted by Fort Blakely Camp 1864