Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Truth About Nathan Bedford Forrest

Disinformation regarding the character and heroism of Nathan Bedford Forrest has been part of the attack of those who would slander Southern heritage and the truth of the Cause for which our Confederate ancestors established and defended their nation.  Vandalism has resulted in Memphis and Selma perpetrated by those ignorant of the truth resulting in the despicable theft and destruction of memorials to one of the great generals produced during the War for Southern Independence and has hindered the rightful honoring of all brave Confederate veterans.

Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander in Chief Michael Givens eloquently states, "In recent years, the Cause of the Confederacy, indeed the cause of American Liberty, has been under attack at an ever-increasing intensity. The bully-club of choice is mainly “slavery” with the proposed notion that the invaders from the North left their homes and families, risking mortal danger, on a benevolent mission to end the burdensome institution (that was financed and perpetuated to a large degree by their own kith and kin). One only needs to study a little history to realize that that nursery-rhyme was far from reality, but facts will never be found in the arsenal of the liar. The Cause of the South was simply independence and self-determination. The Cause was quelled (not lost). These United States were formed as a result of a victorious war of independence and self-determination. Our Confederate ancestors were merely continuing the legacy and heritage of that American brand of liberty. But, the liberty ideal did not fit the narrative of invasion and usurpation as was perpetrated by Mr. Lincoln and his hosts in the name of “saving the union.” A new and more globally palatable excuse was needed—the abolition of slavery. Slavery is indeed the very antithesis of liberty, and what better way to one-up the Southern Cause than to claim the mantle of liberty as their own—hence all the confusion to this day. Our ancestors fought a bloody, internecine war that resulted in the near destruction of a unique people, who then suffered a tyrannical military occupation that was designed to reprogram the mind of the South to be more in line with that of the oppressors. The surviving Southern veterans of the War came together as the United Confederate Veterans with the intention of setting the story straight and educating the country on the truthful aspects of the War. After the shooting had ceased, our ancestors were again at war—fighting for the intellectual honesty of that struggle. The struggle continues today and is now in the hands of the sons of those venerable men of the Confederacy - the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  The victors of the War of Northern Aggression distracted their fellow countrymen from the true facts concerning the War. They painted a picture of the South as Hades, populated by demons of varying degrees of evil. The leaders of modern misinformation needed to provide their doe-eyed minions with a chief-demon, the Devil himself to help explain the depths of depravity of the typical Southerner. To them, General Nathan Bedford Forrest fit the bill perfectly. He was a slave trader before the War and led the
“infamous” assault on Ft. Pillow during the War. They took these truths and twisted them into the vilest and most reprehensible actions of a malevolent racist—all with the intention of cutting the legs from under the true story of the South. Today, General Forrest has become the poster-boy for the current propaganda efforts."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prattville Dragoons September Camp Meeting - Part 2

Mr. Charles Wayne Arnold addressed the Dragoons as guest speaker for the September camp meeting, presenting a history of the Battle of Ebenezer Church.  Mr. Arnold is a lifelong resident of Stanton AL where Ebenezer Church is located.  At the age of 12 he found a Springfield rifle in a creek near his home.  The rifle was actually cocked but the barrel and hammer mechanism were bent; the condition of the gun supported accounts from diaries which Arnold has studied that stores of arms were intentionally destroyed by Confederate forces before the retreat from Ebenezer Church.  Portions of the petrified wood stock remained on the gun.  Arnold has also found British Enfield and Spencer repeating rifles at the site of the battle. He has also found much ammunition and other artifacts in the area including a 12 pound cannon ball.

In 1865 the old Ebenezer Church was located where the parsonage now stands.  The old church actually had bullet holes in it from the battle.  The battle occurred on April 1, 1865 very near the end of the War.  Union commander General Wilson wanted to take Selma to destroy the arsenal and on the way to destroy the railroads and cotton gins.  At that time Selma was a bread basket for the Confederacy. Wilson's Raid was the fourth foray by the Union Army into the area.

Wilson's mission started March 22nd in Tennessee after he had spent months training and getting provisions from surround Tennessee units.  All Wilson's troops had Spencer repeating rifles and were mounted.  He was trying to make a cavalry out of infantry so much time was spent training the troops on horse and saber skills.  Wilson had a 100 strong wagon train for supplies.

Wilson believed Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and General Chalmers had joined forced but they had not so Wilson's troops outnumbered Forrest's forces by greater than two to one. Forrest was conducting a campaign to harass Wilson's forces as they advanced south from Tennessee.  Forrest sent word to Chalmers that he must reinforce Forrest's army at Stanton but the messenger was captured and Wilson had Forrest's intelligence, knowing he wasn't facing the combined Confederate forces.  Wilson split his forces and sent one group to burn the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa as the university was still producing 2nd Lieutenants for the Confederate Army.

Wilson parked his 100 wagon train north of Stanton in Randolph (where Union campgrounds have been found) in order to prevent Forrest from attacking his supply line.  Forrest set up his defensive line near Stanton where he built breastworks using railroad ties from the swamp on the east to the high ground on the west where the church was located.  Just to the west was a high ground called Lighthouse Point where it is thought a communication signal lighthouse was located. General Wirt Adams sent reserve troops up from Selma to help build the fortifications.

Along the high ridge west of Stanton County Road 45 ran and along this road part of Wilson's split forces advanced in a column two wide.  Captain James Taylor of Indiana led this detachment and he met Forrest and his escort north of Stanton and gave chase, seeking the $50000 reward and promotion to General offered for the killing or capture of Forrest.  They surrounded Forrest and he was wounded by Taylor's saber before Forrest drew his revolver and shot the Captain, the last man Forrest killed in combat during the War for Southern Independence.  Taylor actually died the next day, April 2nd of his wounds.

The battle lasted only a few hours and Wilson's forces spent the night in Plantersville, south of Stanton.  Various accounts claim 40 wounded and 12 died in the battle although other accounts place at least an additional 15 of Wilson's troops among the dead. The breastworks in the center of the line were manned by the Home Guard reserves with a wide range of weapons, old men and young boys who were never previously fired upon.  After initially holding off the charges of Wilson's two forces moving south along the two roads converging in Stanton, the Union troops regrouped and after an hour, pushed through. 

Forrest was looking for Chalmers to advance from the west and CSA General Armstrong's brigade to join from the north.  Had these forces joined together to reinforce Forrest, they would have constituted the largest cavalry battle of the War. But, Forrest had to retreat and couldn't slow the Federals advance on Selma. He was almost caught again in the retreat, jumping the Yankee line on his horse and escaping to Selma.  The defense of Selma was essentially over after the retreat of Forrest's forces from Ebeneezer Church. 

Lincoln's War on the South was almost complete.  The wealthy Southern agrarian economy supported the North's industrial and infrastructure projects including for example the dredging of the Boston and New York harbors at $1,000,000 each.  It was said that there would be a 70% pay cut and the U.S. would have an enemy at their southern border if the Confederacy was left to secede.  Hence Lincoln prosecuted the bloodiest conflict in the history of the nation, costing over 600,000 lives.  For the federal treasury. 
1st Lt Harold Grooms Makes Introduction at Camp Meeting

Dragoons September Camp Meeting
Charles Wayne Arnold Presents the Battle of Ebeneezer Church

Friday, September 20, 2013

Prattville Dragoons September Camp Meeting - Part 1

The Dragoons held their monthly camp meeting on September 12th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  There was a great turnout including some visiting guests and an application for membership was received.  Chaplain Tom Snowden began the program with the Invocation recognizing those who are ill and in need of the Lord's healing and mercy.  Color Sergeant Brent Jenks  led everyone assembled in pledges to the United States Flag, Confederate Battle Flag and the State of Alabama Flag.  The reading of the SCV Charge was made by Commander Stuart Waldo followed by Announcements.  Upcoming events (which have further details in another post on the camp blog) included the 13th Annual Battle of Newton (Oct 19th) and 16th Annual Battle for the Tallassee Armory (Nov 8th)  Reenactments, the Sam David Anniversary in Smyrna TN (Nov 22nd), the Prattville Christmas Parade (Dec 7th) and the Dragoons Christmas Social (Dec 13th).  Dragoon Benny Harris then added another event to the calendar, the Rededication Ceremony for the Rasberry Family Cemetery on Nov 2nd - see the related blogpost providing additional information on this event.  Tyrone Crowley was recognized as having recently received a Sons of Confederate Veterans National Meritorious Service Award to a round of applause.  Tyrone then remained standing and added to the list of events the Stephen Dill Lee Lecture scheduled for February.  He then provided the final report out on the camp's Dixie Butt fundraiser, again successful to fund the camp's myriad activities. Commander Waldo then announced the Hunley JROTC award and showed the certificate and medal and ribbon which are awarded to deserving high school JROTC cadets; local high schools will be approached on including this recognition amongst those awarded in their programs. Quartermaster David Brantley announced the availability of additional 2013 SCV educational posters and a number of these were disbursed at the meeting.  Adjutant Wayne Sutherland then provided a status of the receipt from the camp members for the annual dues.  These are due by October.  Charles Wayne Arnold provided an entertaining accounting of the Battle of Ebenezer Church as the guest speaker; see Part 2 of this blog for details.  The SCV Closing was read by Commander Waldo at the conclusion of the presentation and Chaplain Snowden closed the meeting with a Benediction.  Another great camp meeting of the Prattville Dragoons.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Old Rasberry Family Cemetery Re-dedication

 The Rededication ceremony will now be held on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 p.m..
Prattville Dragoon Benny Harris announced an open invitation to the re-dedication of the Raspberry Family Cemetery.

All Friends, Neighbors and Descendants are invited to attend and participate in the
Rededication Ceremony of the Old Rasberry Family Cemetery
In Chilton County’s Mulberry/Isabella Community
On Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Immediately followed by the Eagle Court of Honor for Trevor Cofer conducted on the grounds of the cemetery!  For over one year Trevor has worked to complete his Eagle Scout Service Project, the renovation of this historic cemetery.

Thank you, Trevor, for your “Labor of Love” and for Rediscovering, Reclaiming and Restoring Dignityto one of Alabama’s most Historic Cemeteries.

Arrangements have been made to assist the elderly and the handicapped in attending these special ceremonies.

Directions to the cemetery…..take AL Hwy 22 leaving Clanton heading (West) toward Maplesville…turn right (North) on County Road 15 when you see the signs to Isabella High School and Mulberry Baptist Church… when you get to the four-way intersection at Isabella High School turn right (still traveling North) on County Road 29 …when County Road 29 forks go left (still traveling North) on County Road 223 (a dirt road)…the brick home on the left with a circular driveway is the home of Rick and Phyllis Cofer (Trevor Cofer’s parents)…go about one mile on County Road 223 (past the Cofer’s home) and you will see a road on the left with a new street sign that reads “Eagle Scout Drive” leading to the cemetery.  There is an open field providing plenty of parking space and a golf cart is available to assist the elderly and the handicapped.
In case of inclement weather these ceremonies will be held indoors at Mount Carmel #1 Baptist Church, 6326 County Road 5, Thorsby, AL  35171

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Upcoming Events for Confederate History and Southern Heritage

From the most recent addition of the Prattville Dragoons Camp Dispatch newsletter.

Upcoming Events
16th Annual Battles for the Tallassee Armory, Friday-Sunday, 8-10 Nov 2013 Reenactment will begin 8 November with unique hands-on (for children) School Day activities.   There will be battles Saturday and Sunday, as well as sutlers, food concessions, etc.  For information call 334-283-6888 or see

Sam Davis 150th Anniversary Memorial Event – SCV Camp #33 Smyrna TN Nov. 22-24th

Prattville Christmas Parade, Saturday 7 December 2013.  Dragoons will have an entry.  If you want to walk with us, let Communications Officer Crowley know.
Dragoon Christmas Social, Friday 13 December 2013 - We have reserved Buena Vista and will be making arrangements with Red's Little School House to cater our Social again this year.
S D Lee Institute Lectures, 7-8 Feb 2014 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  See

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Announcing the Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for September 2013

The Dragoons' monthly camp meeting will be held tonight, Thursday September 12th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville, just off I-65 Exit 179.  Come early to enjoy the Shoney's dinner buffet. 

Learn About Battle of Ebenezer Church at September Meeting
            Just some miles northwest of Prattville stands Ebenezer Church, in Stanton, Alabama.  It was here that Confederates made an attempt to slow Wilson’s Raiders as they approached Selma to destroy that Confederate bastion.  At our September meeting, we will hear a talk on this battle by a resident of Stanton who has studied it all his life.  Following are the words of our speaker, Mr. Charles Wayne Arnold.
I am 64 years old, and was born and raised in Stanton, Alabama. While playing in Bogles Creek at age 12, I found my first Battle of Ebenezer artifact:  an 1861 Springfield rifle. Needless to say, this fired me up on the history of the War and my area of the state. When I was about 13 or 14, I was able to sit and talk with a wonderful 80+ year-old lady, "Aunt Addy" Huff, a great source for local history during the period of the War Between the States. When Aunt Addy was a young girl, she would sit and listen to elderly ladies talk during church socials and quilting parties. One of these elderly ladies was the daughter of Oliver Perry Mcgee, and she remembered April 1, 1865, when Wilson's Raiders struck the Confederate breastworks on the Mcgee Plantation. So, what I know about the battle is fairly close to an eyewitness source.
            When I was about 18, I found my second rifle, an Enfield, and the third weapon was a Spencer Carbine which I found when I was about 40. Over the years I have found minie balls, Spencer rounds and casings, some canister, and found the location where the Yankees burned the haversacks and weapons.  I have given this presentation to numerous civic, historical, and school groups, and it has always been fun. I am a Marine Viet Nam veteran and was retired due to wounds received in 1969. My great-great grandfather on my father’s side lost his left leg from the knee down on the first day at Gettysburg. My great-great grandfather on my mother’s side was an artillery officer in the Army Of Northern Virginia, survived the war, but came home stone deaf. I look forward to meeting with your honorable group on September 12, 2013.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Prattville Dragoons Camp News for September 2013

From the most recent edition of the Dragoon's Camp Dispatch newsletter:

Camp News
Thanks to Larry Miller For Upkeep at Dragoon Monuments.  If you drive by the Dragoon Monuments at Fourth and Washington Streets and notice how weed-free the area is, you can thank Compatriot Larry Miller.  The maintenance of the area within the perimeter wall that surrounds the monument is up to us, and Larry has faithfully kept an eye out for weeds this summer, spraying herbicide as needed to keep the area free of unwanted vegetation.
Thanks to Alan Parker For Upkeep at I-65 Flag Site.  Larry Spears, Chairman of the I-65 Flag Committee, wishes to thank Compatriot Alan Parker of the Henry C Semple Camp 2002 for his assistance with weed control at the I-65 Flag site.  Alan is a professional landscaper so provides valuable help and advice to the Committee, of which he also is a member.
Mrs. Sue Spears Also Offers Valuable Assistance To Flag Committee.  Mrs. Sue Spears, wife of I-65 Flag Committee Chairman Larry Spears, also makes a valuable contribution to the I-65 Flag mission.  It was agreed at the Alabama Division Executive Committee meeting at the Confederate Library on 24 August that Mrs. Spears has saved the Division hundreds of dollars by repairing Battle Flags that if not repaired would have to be replaced with new ones.  Each flag costs $500-$600 so any that can be repaired and re-used save that much money until the flag is beyond repair and must be replaced.  Finding someone to repair the large flags used at the I-65 site has always been a challenge, and for now that challenge has been met by the able hands of Mrs. Spears.  Our thanks go out to her.
Adjutant Sutherland Recovering From Back Surgery.  Our faithful Adjutant Wayne Sutherland underwent surgery on his back.  Wayne’s doctor says his prospects are good for a full recovery.  Wayne says, "Thanks to God's good blessing and all the prayers, I'm improving everyday.  Thank God the pain is less and I'm able to get out of bed with little problem".