Monday, August 19, 2013

Prattville Dragoons August Camp Meeting - Part 1

The Dragoons held their monthly camp meeting on Thursday August 8th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville. The program was enjoyed by all and there was a great crowd of 30 folks in attendance.  Too much good information and too many superb presenters and too much on the agenda so the meeting went til almost 9 o'clock but it was an outstanding.  Chaplain Snowden was out with a sore foot so past Chaplain Bill Branch provided the invocation on short notice and we appreciated his ably filling in for these duties.  Color Sargent Brent Jenks was recognized in the Announcements as having recently assumed that position for the camp but he too was absent due to conflicting work commitments.  So, I-65 Flag Chairman and past Dragoon Commander Larry Spears led everyone in the pledges to the U.S. flag, the Alabama state flag and the Confederate Battle Flag.  The Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans was then recited by Commander Stuart Waldo.

The Announcements portion of the agenda included recognition of the special guests in attendance who included prospective new members David Gatch and Robert Baylis. Also, from the Semple Camp 2002, Mike Williams (Alabama Division Quartermaster and Webmaster) and Henry Howard (reenactor and volunteer guide at the First White House) made the trip up from Montgomery.  Jeff Potts was recognized for again helping the Dragoons recruitment efforts by manning a table at the recent gun show at the Alcazar Shrine Temple in Montgomery. Upcoming events highlighted included the recently completed Sam Davis Youth Camp in Clifton TX, our own camp fundraising Dixie Butt distribution scheduled for Saturday August 10th, the 13th Annual Battle of Newton Reenactment October 19th and 20th and the Sam Davis 150th Anniversary Memorial Event in Smyrna TN November 22-24th.

Mike Williams then had the honor of making a special presentation of the certificate for an Alabama Division Lifetime Membership to Tyrone Crowley.  This signifies an obvious lifelong commitment to the Cause by Tyrone and a cause for applause. Tyrone subsequently provided a report on the Dixie Butt fundraising indicating we were close to another record and that the distribution was scheduled for Saturday morning bright and early from 7-9am.  The Dragoons sold 183 butts and received more in donations to net almost $1900 for our ongoing camp activities.
Tyrone Crowley with his Lifetime Membership Certificate

A report from the Sons of Confederate Veterans Annual Reunion was provided by the three Dragoons who attended the event in Vicksburg MS in mid-July.  Commander Stuart Waldo communicated his take on the central themes which he heard the first two Business sessions, an emphasis on Vision 2016, growing the membership thru sharing best practices and ideas and news thru enhanced communications and making the SCV the preeminent authority for Confederate history and Southern heritage and changing the emphasis for the SCV form Heritage Defense to a proactive educational Heritage Operations. The historical program on the Vicksburg National Military Park (VNMP) monuments and statues as art including the beautiful book authored by the presenter and Vicksburg SCV member Parker Hills was highlighted.  The Confederate Memorial Program including the Roll of Honor which was conducted at historical Christ Episcopal Church was also presented as the last event attended by Stuart at the Reunion.

Larry Spears talked to everybody about the VNMP tour he attended. Larry said the visitors center where the tour started had some good exhibits including a map and chronological accounting of the battles and siege of Vicksburg and some displays showing some of the encampments and caves used by the soldiers and civilians but that the Union bias was notable.  The guide their group had was Confederate friendly though but the amount of time allotted during the tour for the Confederate memorials and statues was much more limited than those for the Northern states and soldiers.  The only stop of their tour was the U.S.S. Cairo which was raised from the Yazoo River in 1963 and was an amazing display of artifacts in the museum but even the original cannon and steam engine on the ship itself.   Larry also discussed the Forrest Cavalry Breakfast he attended on Thursday morning which is hosted by our own past Commander Wyatt Willis.  This event was very well attended and the speaker was very good and discussed the truths of Forrest and his taking of Fort Pillow. 
Larry Spears Provides his SCV National Reunion Account

Quartermaster David Brantley reiterated his understanding of the themes from the convention and said the keynote addresses by Lt. Kelly Barrow and Commander in Chief Michael Givens on Saturday were inspiring.  Givens invited the wives of the men to attend his speech during the Saturday business session, a first by David's recollection.  David also mentioned the historical presentation on Thursday night which provided an accounting of the horrific challenges and deprivation the civilians of Vicksburg faced during the Siege but that fewer than two dozen died as a result of the bombardment by the Union artillery and gunboats, a testament to their improvised fortifications like the caves in which they sought shelter as well as their perseverance in the face of starvation.  David also attended the Mississippi Shiloh monument benefit fish fry on Friday evening.  An interesting side excursion David took was to visit the Confederate cemetery there in Vicksburg where he ran into some other SCV members who were toasting the deceased celebrity, Old Douglas, the mascot camel of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry who is buried there. 
David Brantley Shares his Impressions from the SCV National Reunion

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