|Rachel Deaile Addresses Camp 1524 in the Dragoons Room|
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Prattville Dragoons May Camp Meeting at the Prattaugan Museum Part 2
The Dragoons enjoyed a tour of the Prattaugan Museum by Director Rachel Deaile for their May Camp 1524 meeting last Thursday. The first stop was the Dragoons Room where in 1861 a meeting was held which effectively organized the Dragoons with town founder Daniel Pratt funding the outfitting of the men with horses, supplies and uniforms so grand that many mistook for officer's. Pratt was a New Hampshire transplant who built a cotton gin manufacturing plant founding the village on Autauga Creek about 15 miles west of Montgomery, the Alabama state capital. The gin manufacturing plant endured in the same location for over 150 years, at one time was the largest in the world and, made Pratt Alabama's first millionaire. In the center of the room Rachel had set a table with the Dragoons Sons of Confederate Veterans 1990 charter from the national headquarters. Also on the table were a number of artifacts including an 1858 patent Remington revolver, a musket ball maker into which molten lead was poured, a powder flask, another flask full of lead shot and a canteen of barrel construction, wood with iron bands. Also on the table was a book providing the history of Company K of the 3rd Alabama Cavalry Regiment into which the remaining Dragoons of Company H were absorbed during the War Between the States after casualties had depleted their ranks. Over the fireplace in the Dragoon Room hung a portrait of Abby Holt Smith who lived in this house for many years and was said to have purchased a property next door where her sons could sleep as she believed dogs and boys belonged outside and not in her home. She was a philanthropist of her time and she was the young lady who presented the Dragoons their flag at a departure ceremony outside the present day Prattville Primary School where the Dragoons monument is now located. Also in the room is a dragoons saber and a Union saddle with Confederate blanket. Atop a display case is an original restored bugle and drum and a Confederate cadet uniform is displayed in another case. On another side of the room is a World War I era photograph of a Prattville black soldier whose mother was the first black to own a business in the town. A prominent display case along the front wall shows World War II era bomb casings and parts which were manufactured in the gin shop when it was retrofitted for wartime production. It is unknown if the gin shop made any munitions for the Confederacy during the WBTS. Most of the WWII photographs showed the Rosie the Riveter women who ran production during WWII. They received an E for excellence in service and $500,000 was invested in the property during the period for flood control, constructing levies and the dams visible today to ensure uninterrupted production.