Monday, December 29, 2014

Conduct of the Union Army

Forwarded by SCV Ft. Blakeley Camp Commander Tommy Rhodes, December 2014, a short article by Karen Stokes.

Conduct of the Northern Army

Lately, media outlets have been giving some attention to the 150th anniversary of General William T. Sherman’s infamous march through Georgia that took place in 1864, minimizing, of course, the barbarity and criminality of his campaign. You only have to read the letters and diaries written at the time of the actual events to learn the truth of the matter, however, and memoirs written long after the fact can be just as truthful. Contemporary official military correspondence and reports document the fact that Sherman shelled Atlanta without notice, deliberately aiming his guns over the Confederate lines of defense and firing into the residential and business areas of the city, killing civilians there. Mrs. Robert Campbell, who fled her home in Bolton, Georgia to take refuge in Atlanta, recalled that during the shelling in 1864, “A shell killed a newborn baby and its mother in a house adjoining mine. I hastened into a bomb-proof, as fast as possible. As I entered the door to this shelter a sixty-pounder fell almost at my feet. Suppose it had burst, where would I have been?”
Any honest person who takes the time and trouble to study the war of 1861-1865 cannot help but perceive a striking contrast between the conduct of the Northern forces (the so-called “Grand Army of the Republic”) and the Confederate troops. The campaigns of Sherman and Sheridan were not the only demonstrations of savagery by the northern army, in whose operations the practices of wanton destruction, pillage and abuse of civilians were widespread and often systematic from beginning to end, and characterized by a ruthlessness that was all the more monstrous because it was directed at fellow Americans.
On December 11, 1862, after U.S. forces drove back the defending Confederate troops from Fredericksburg, Virginia, the town was thoroughly and pillaged and vandalized. Even churches were defaced and looted, and valuables were stolen from the Masonic lodge in which George Washington had once been a member. Colonel William Davie DeSaussure of the 15th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment was proud of his men who, despite their own lack of food and clothing, contributed several hundred dollars for the relief of the civilians of Fredericksburg, “pitiable refugees” whose homes and been plundered by the Federal soldiers who occupied the town.
In the summer of 1863, the 15th S.C. Infantry Regiment was in Pennsylvania with the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Robert E. Lee. Lee’s ragged, malnourished men were suffering from scurvy, and their horses were starving. In dire need of food, clothing, and equipment, the army foraged extensively in Pennsylvania, obtaining essential military supplies including horses, mules, wagons, shoes, and livestock, and helping themselves to such in Federal property in government warehouses and depots. Lee, however, instructed his men to pay for anything they took from civilians. A newspaper reported, for example, that the entire stock from a boot and shoe dealer’s store in Mechanicsburg was cleaned out by soldiers who paid the merchant $4,000 in Confederate money for the footwear. Anyone who declined payment was nevertheless issued a copy of a receipt. Lee also issued an order which forbade “the wanton destruction of private property.” His hungry soldiers often availed themselves of large amounts of poultry and livestock from houses and farms while foraging for subsistence (not spoils), sometimes without paying, but these orders were generally followed, especially as far as “wanton destruction” was concerned.
Franklin Gaillard, a Confederate officer from South Carolina who served in Lee’s army, wrote home to his son on June 18, 1863, that General Lee had “issued very stringent orders” concerning the treatment of private property. Gaillard added: “He is very right for our Army would soon become demoralized if they were allowed to do as many of them would like to. Many of them think it hard that they should not be allowed to treat them [the Pennsylvanians] as their soldiers treated our people.”
While the Confederates were in control of Gettysburg, they searched the town for horses and foodstuffs, but, with few exceptions, left most other civilian property undisturbed. A Confederate officer there, Captain Barziza, described the contrast between Gettysburg and Fredericksburg:
Whilst in Gettysburg, I could not but remark the difference between the conduct of our army and that of the enemy in invading our country. Here stood the town, after three day’s hard fighting around and in it, almost entirely untouched. No wanton destruction of property of any description could be seen; no women and children complained that they were homeless and beggars. Then I called to mind the scenes around the city of Fredericksburg the winter previous; private houses sacked and burned, books, furniture, and everything perishable utterly destroyed; women flying from burning houses with children in their arms, and insult and outrage at full license.

About Karen Stokes

Karen Stokes is an archivist and writer in Charleston, S.C. She is the co-editor of Faith, Valor and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher Dubose (USC Press, 2010), and A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden (USC Press, 2013). She is also the author of South Carolina Civilians in Sherman's Path (History Press, 2012), and The Immortal 600: Surviving Civil War Charleston and Savannah (History Press, 2013). Belles: A Carolina Love Story (Ring of Fire, 2012), was her first venture into historical fiction, and her newest historical novel is The Soldier's Ghost: A Tale of Charleston (Ring of Fire, 2014). 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Anniversary of the Trent Affair - the U.S. Avoids War with Britain

Forwarded by Dragoon Bill Branch, a synopsis of the Trent Affair from the Fold3 blog posted Dec 2, 2014.

The U.S. Avoids War with Britain: December 26, 1861

On December 26, 1861, President Lincoln and his cabinet decided to release imprisoned Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell in order to avoid the possibility of war with Britain, thus concluding the diplomatic uproar known as the Trent Affair.
It all started when an overzealous Union commander, Charles Wilkes, stopped a British mail ship, the Trent, in the Caribbean on November 8. Wilkes knew that the ship was carrying Mason and Slidell on their way to Europe to argue the Confederacy’s case in London and Paris. Wilkes had the Trent boarded, and Mason and Slidell (and their two secretaries) were illegally removed from the ship. (To make it legal, Wilkes would’ve had to capture the ship as well and take it to a maritime prize court to have the legality of the seizure decisively determined—but Wilkes only took the two men and not the ship.)

When Wilkes made it back to America with the four Confederates in tow, the nation was ecstatic, with the Secretary of the Navy expressing his thanks and Congress even awarding him a gold medal for his actions. Not only had the United States thumbed its nose at the Confederacy, but at Britain as well, who was seen as having Southern sympathies. But when news reached Britain of the men’s capture, the reaction was opposite of the Americans’—everyone was outraged, particularly since it wasn’t initially clear if this breach of Britain’s neutrality was done with the sanction of the U.S. government.
Tensions escalated until soon both sides were talking about the possibility of war. To show the United States its breach of Britain’s neutrality had been serious, Britain ordered thousands of troops to sail to Canada and sent the Americans a dispatch (via the British minister to the United States) that implied repercussions unless the U.S. government apologized and released Mason, Slidell, and the secretaries.
After two days of meetings, on December 25 and 26, Secretary of State William Seward convinced Lincoln and his cabinet to agree to release the four Confederates from prison. So on January 1, Mason and Slidell were allowed to resume their journey to Europe, thus averting the threat of war.

For the full official correspondence regarding the Trent Affair, see Fold3’s Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, series 1, volume 1, pages 129–202. Or search Fold3 for other people and topics that interest you.

Friday, December 26, 2014

One More Christmas Wish

The Prattville Dragoons, Camp 1524 Sons of Confederate Veterans want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and hope you had a very Merry Christmas.  Here are some images from the final Christmas lead up event of this season, the Vida community Christmas parade.  The Dragoons had a good contingent with Tyrone Crowley carrying an Alabama secession flag, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland carrying the large Confederate Battle Flag flown at Buena Vista a week prior, past Commander Larry Spears carrying the camp banner with Commander Stuart Waldo, past Commander Wyatt Willis also walked the parade route throwing candy.  Danny Smyth drove his truck with a replica cannon in the back and Treasurer Billy Leverette rode along tossing candy.  Al Booth and his wife and daughter in law with her beautiful new baby girl were also there at this terrific community event.  The prior day was rainy and the morning of the parade, Saturday December 20th was still damp and cool just after noon for the parade but the rain stopped and the cooler temperatures actually made it comfortable to wear the woolen period clothing Tyrone, Larry and Stuart wore.  The parade started at the Vida community center and went out back toward Hwy 82 and then doubled back to the community center.  Hundreds lined the road clamoring for candy and of course the mini Confederate Battle Flags and SCV coins went fast.  The Dragoon entry was among the only who walked the route but there were fire trucks and floats and classic cars and tractors and all sorts of entries.  After the parade, the wonderful folks of Vida fed the parade participants and spectators including barbeque and chili and potato salad and beans and a huge assortment of desserts.  A great time to wrap up a full season of holiday events leading up to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

December Indian Hills Cleanup

Members of Camp 1524 tackled more cleanup work at Prattville's historic Indian Hills cemetery on Saturday December 13th, the morning after the camp's Christmas Social at Buena Vista.  The weather started cool but the work and the debris bonfires warmed everyone up by mid morning. Dragoon Benny Harris coordinated the project again and great effort was put forth and progress was shown.  Bill Branch brought his tractor with boom and was able to move all of the large cut trees to the fires.  1st Lt Grooms again demonstrated tireless energy in clearing brush and using his chainsaw all morning.  Commander Waldo on light duty raked leaves from the bordered burial plots and around the fires.  Adjutant Sutherland sacrificed his back and worked with Bill and Harold in moving all the large logs.  Skip Ward brought a friend and they too helped with this commendable work.  Even an interested passerby stopped and was promptly put to work with a wheelbarrow. A crisp winter breeze blew a couple embers from the fires unintentionally helping to burn off leaves on occasion but the Dragoons policed the area albeit with some smoke inhalation.  Indian Hills is the final resting place for 39 souls including original Dragoon Lt. A.Y. Smith.  A number of graves date to the 1840s.  The Dragoons hope to complete the Indian Hills cleanup and renovation to rededicate the cemetery in April on next year.
Grooms Pushing Wheelbarrow with Harris and Sutherland

Bill Branch and Tractor

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Editorial by Dragoon Charlie Graham Regarding Racial Issues in the South

Published in the December 19th edition of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Racial issues hardly confined to South
             In 1641 Massachusetts was the first American colony to legally endorse slavery through its Body of Liberties. 150 years later in the census of 1790 it was the first state to register no slaves.

Jim Crow and Black Codes are routinely attributed to Southern culture. Some of the earliest Southern Black Codes were established by federal Gen. Ben Butler while he occupied New Orleans during the War Between The States. These codes were patterned after some of America’s earliest, established by Massachusetts in the early 1700s. Massachusetts wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t done by all of the other colonial states of the time.

Contrary to popular advocating, the elements of racial disparities do not begin and end in the South. If one is to believe that the national sentiment is exhibited through decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, we must examine the Plessy vs. Ferguson 7- decision in 1896. The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that states could maintain separate black and white cars on intrastate trains and facilities.

This was 30 years after the war. The 13th and 14th Amendments were in existence. The “separate but equal” mantra of segregation was thereby established and remained in effect until the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision .
            To explore the intrinsic collective roots of prejudice, one must exit the Southern enclave of alleged iniquity and wander around in the North for 400 years. One may also discover some unaddressed prejudice against Southerners embellished with hypocrisy.
 Charlie Graham

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dragoons Celebrate Christmas

Dragoons Celebrate Christmas!

Autauga County Heritage Association’s antebellum mansion Buena Vista was the perfect setting for the Prattville Dragoon Christmas party December 12th.  Upon arrival Dragoons, their ladies and guests were treated to piano music courtesy of ACHA’s own Mrs. Debra Davis.  Next was a delicious Christmas meal including ham, scalloped potatoes, squash casserole and butter beans catered by Red’s Little School House of Ramer, Alabama.  After dinner Mrs. Beverly Byard who manages Buena Vista provided a history of the grand old home followed by Mrs. Kerri Waldo reading a letter from a 1906 edition of the “Confederate Veteran” magazine describing Christmas during the War Between the States through the eyes of two little girls whose property was occupied by the Yankees.  Reverend Tom Snowden, Camp Chaplain, then led the group in singing traditional Christmas Carols and went solo on "Mary Did You Know" and "Star of Bethlehem".

Spirits were raised even higher when the “Jolly Old Man from the North Pole” arrived giving out candy canes for good little Dragoons who had distinguished themselves in various ways, including helping with the ongoing community service project of restoring Indian Hills Cemetery.  Then the unthinkable happened!  The Grinch arrived vowing to steal Christmas!  Disgusted, Santa proclaimed he had tried bringing the Grinch a lump of coal and ashes and switches.  Nothing had worked.  He then called on law enforcement personnel present at the event.  Fortunately retired State Trooper Karl Wade was in attendance.  He promptly informed the Grinch that stealing was against the law, put the varmint in hand cuffs, and had him sent straight to jail.  Children in Autauga County can rest easy knowing the Grinch is in no position to ruin Christmas, thanks to Trooper Wade and the Prattville Dragoons (and the SCV Semple camp’s Henry Howard as Santa and 1st Lt Harold Grooms, the dastardly Grinch)!

The Prattville Dragoons Camp 1524 Sons of Confederate Veterans wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Buena Vista
A Confederate Christmas Story

Santa Claus

Dragoons in Period Dress

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas in the South - Children of the Confederacy at Confederate Memorial Park

The Alabama Division Children of the Confederacy presented their annual program at Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek on Saturday December 6th.   The theme of their program was "Christmas in the South".  The program included posting of the colors with a Color Guard provided by SCV Camp 692, Cradle of the Confederacy out of Montgomery followed by pledges to the flags.  The CofC creed was presented followed by a welcome by Mr. John Appleton, President of the AL Division CofC. Additional welcomes and greetings were extended by other CofC and UDC and SCV officers including SCV AL Division Commander Gary Carlyle. The Children of the Confederacy then presented the Christmas Program which included songs like "Angels Among Us" and Commander Carlyle led the children in carols and "Christmas in Dixie".   Ornaments were placed on a Christmas tree in the Memorial Park chapel there where the program was held and Santa Claus paid a visit giving each child a gift bag with delicious holiday treats inside.  The program closed with a Benediction and Retiring of the Colors.  A wreath was laid at the Confederate Veterans cemetery across the road.  A wonderful Confederate Christmas event.
Confederate Memorial Chapel with Christmas Wreaths and Tree

Commander Waldo's Daughter in the Confederate Veterans Cemetery

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp News - December 2014

Forrest Commemorative Coin Available
            The group Citizens To Save Our Parks in Memphis is offering a commemorative coin as a fundraiser to help in its efforts to prevent the re-naming of Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park by the Memphis City Council.  See and click on "Background" for more information.  If you are interested, see the above website and click on "Merchandise".  Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley has some hard-copy printouts.  The coin is $11, shipping included.
"Audio Movie" About the CSS Alabama Available on Internet
            A very creative fellow named Robert Lloyd has created some interesting and educational "audio movies" about "Heroes in History", one of whom is famed Confederate Admiral Rapahel Semmes.  If you are interested, the link to the "audio movie" about Semmes and the CSS Alabama ("scourge of the Union Navy") is  The story starts in World War II with a short piece about a descendant of Admiral Raphael Semmes, then moves on to the story of the CSS Alabama.

South-Loving Abbeville Institute Available on Internet

            At its Scholars' Conference in Charleston back in November, Dr. Clyde Wilson of the Abbeville Institute received the R E Lee Award from SCV National Commander Michael Givens.  There is lots of thought-provoking material for Confederate-heritage lovers on the Abbeville Institute website at  Institute president Dr. Donald Livingston, familiar to us from S D Lee Institute lecture series, states that there are two American traditions, the Lincolnian and the Jeffersonian, and that the "Southern tradition" is simply "a regional version of the older Jeffersonian Americanism".  Look at this website, browse its varied material, and consider joining.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Upcoming Events - December 2014

Upcoming Events
Work Day at Indian Hills Cemetery - Saturday 13 December 2014, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All Dragoons are encouraged to come and help, for any amount of time they choose. From the junction of Highways 82 and 14 in west Prattville, go north (toward Tuscaloosa) on Highway 82 for two miles.  Turn left onto County Road 86.  Go 1.6 miles and you'll see Indian Hills Cemetery on your left. The Dragoons continue the Indian Hills Cemetery cleanuo on December 13th following a series of workdays in the fall in anticipation of a cemetery rededication in the spring. This effort has caused a local couple, Lawrence and Angela Chandler, to donate $75 to the Dragoon Treasury, in appreciation for our work at Indian Hills.  Thanks to 1Lt Cmdr Harold Grooms, the project has also received good coverage in the Prattville Progress and the Autauga Free Press (new online news source at
Prattville Christmas Social and Dinner, Friday 12 December 2014, 6-9 p.m.  Reservations required. 
Lee-Jackson Dinner 16 January 2015, 6:30 p.m. - Dalraida Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Montgomery.  Sponsored by Semple Camp SCV Camp 2002. Attendees will enjoy a rib-eye steak dinner and a fine program. The Semple Camp supports the Dragoons Christmas Social and Camp 1524 reciprocates by attending the Lee-Jackson Dinner the following month. This is always an enjoyable social event. Any questions contact Semple Camp Communications Officer Alan Parker.
S D Lee Institute Lectures, 6-7 Feb 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  For information and to register, see

Confederate Circle Dedication, 23 May 2015, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma - This will be the culmination of a couple of years of dedicated effort to renovate and enhance this very historic site.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dragoons Announce December 2014 Christmas Social

THE DRAGOON'S MEETING THIS MONTH WILL BE THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SOCIAL, Friday, 12 December 2014, 6:00-9 p.m. at Buena Vista (Montgomery House, for Confederates).  Registration is required. There will be plenty to eat, provided by Red’s Little School House, live music by Prattvillian Mrs. Deborah Davis, a program led by Commander Stuart Waldo, a sing-along with Chaplain Tom Snowden, all the socializing you want, and the antebellum holiday atmosphere of the seasonally-decorated house.  There may be a surprise event or two and you never know if Santa may appear.

Door prizes will be drawn as part of the program. Beverly Byard of the Autauga Historical Society will provide a history of Buena Vista and there will be Christmas season readings.
As usual, guests will be offered a sample of General Lee Egg Nog (compliments of your Dragoon officers), and early arrivals can enjoy the social hour before food is served.  At 7, we will enjoy a delicious catered meal provided by Red’s Little School House in Ramer followed by the program.  The mansion will be open during the social hour and for a short time after the program for event attendees to tour the period home and furnishings.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dragoons Participate in the Prattville Christmas Parade

On Monday 1 December, a good time was had by all at the Prattville Christmas Parade.  Coins, candy, and miniature Battle Flags were well-received by parade spectators and children, as were all our flags (Bonnie Blue, Confederate National Flags, and Battle Flag) carried by members of the Wetumpka League of the South group who joined the Dragoons for the community event.  There are always lots of positive comments for the Dragoon entry, including "rebel yells" and cheers and applause from the crowds. The crowd was huge with parts of Main Street virtually blocked by children clamoring for candy, coins and flags. Confederate Navy reenactor Shannon Fontaine of Wetumpka also participated with our group. The effort was led by Dragoon Commander Stuart Waldo, who provided the truck to tow the trailer (provided by Bill Myrick, along with a generator for the decorative lights) and brought along his whole family to sit on the float in period dress. Other essential operatives are Adjutant Wayne Sutherland and Quartermaster Bill Myrick, who manage all the physical details of getting the float decorated. Treasurer Billy Leverette rode in the truck for the parade and provided the sound system, which plays a soundtrack with "Christmas in Dixie", and other favorites on it. Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley and his wife Carol participated in the parade along with 1st Lt. Harold Grooms.  Harold, Bill Thompson and Bill Myrick walked the parade route allowing them to interface with the crowds.  Wayne and Brigade Commander David Brantley carried the camp banner. The float included lights and garland and a Christmas tree and provided hay bales on which riders could sit. As was said before, a good time was had by all and a splendid way to open the Christmas season!
Dragoons 2014 Prattville Christmas Parade Entry

Kerri and kids Sitting Near the Christmas Tree

Bill and Tyrone Riding in the Truck for the Parade

Quartermaster Bill Myrick in front of the Dragoon Float

David and Wayne Carrying the Camp Christmas Banner

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Commander's Column for December 2014

I have mentioned in previous columns that I take interest in listening to Kevin Elkins radio program on 1440 AM early mornings.  He is a former Army Ranger and owns a computer repair business in Montgomery.  Kevin comes across as a pretty conservative guy and a marked contrast to most of his callers on most social and political issues.   So I was listening attentively recently when they were discussing the proposed new Walmart which would be located on the old Bonnie Crest golf course property.  Kevin is a resident in that area and is opposed to that proposed construction.  In defending his position, I was waiting for him to explain that he didn’t want the extra traffic congestion but his statement was that he didn’t want “those type of people” milling about in the area.  The loitering and increased crime brought about when people from outside your neighborhood commute into an area for retail shopping or gambling or other causes concerns Kevin as it would us too in our own backyards.  Interesting to hear his thoughts on these issues which impact his community there where he resides.   Another caller during the same show stated, “My mother told me not to associate with people I don’t like”.   We have lost control of being able to determine locally what is best for our families and neighborhoods and had political correctness forced upon us where we cannot oppose objectionable lifestyles and must seemingly embrace any and all offensive sodalities. 

It is a refreshing affirmation when we still can enjoy a fraternity of like-minded individuals such as the Prattville Dragoons.  I too would rather not associate with people who offend my moral compass and who militantly espouse social and political views juxtaposed to mine.  I want to insulate and protect my family and provide for them as I see fit.  The Sons of Confederate inherently provides an organization of shared common interests.  We come from Southern stock and are heirs to the beliefs and ideals which our forefathers shared as the foundation of a culture and the bedrock for a nation, the Confederate States of America.  The last issue of the Confederate Veteran contained an article again highlighting the differences between the historical culture of the North and South and their peoples and how these differences impacted Reconstruction and the subsequent American century following.  The article provided examples of how the Southern representatives voted largely as a political block based on their fundamental beliefs in a limited self-government in an attempt to resist progressivism.  The geopolitical map clearly illustrates the red and blue states separated into distinct regions, the South, Midwest, Southwest, West Coast and New England.  Thank goodness for Sweet Home Alabama.  Thank God for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, our families, friends and neighbors.

This is a wonderful time of the year to fraternize with compatriots at numerous holiday events.  The Dragoons and their guests from the Wetumpka League of the South had a marvelous time at the Prattville Christmas parade on Monday.  Again, our float and contingent was met with cheers and hundreds of Confederate flags and SCV coins along with bags of candy were dispersed and heartily enjoyed by the crowds lining the downtown streets.  The annual Christmas Social at the beautiful historic Buena Vista mansion is approaching and offers another opportunity to enjoy a program with Christmas dinner and General Lee eggnog with friends from our camp and around the region.  The Vida Christmas parade and Millbrook Mardi Gras parade are also quickly approaching.  All excellent opportunities to enjoy the spirit of the season and festive events with fellow SCV members and our neighbors.  I hope you and yours enjoy a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a wonderful holiday season.

Stuart Waldo, Commander

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch for November 2014. 

Upcoming Events
HAPPENING NOW! - 17th Annual Battles for the Tallassee Armory Friday-Sunday, 7-9 Nov 2014 – Reenactment will begin 7 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
Work Day at Indian Hills Cemetery - Saturday 13 December 2014, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All Dragoons are encouraged to come and help, for any amount of time they choose. From the junction of Highways 82 and 14 in west Prattville, go north (toward Tuscaloosa) on Highway 82 for two miles.  Turn left onto County Road 86.  Go 1.6 miles and you'll see Indian Hills Cemetery on your left.
Prattville Christmas Parade, Monday 1 December 2014, 7 p.m.  Dragoons will have an entry.  If you would like to participate, notify Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley.
Prattville Christmas Social and Dinner, Friday 12 December 2014, 7-9 p.m.  Fill out registration form at the end of this newsletter and mail it to the address on the form if you want to attend this perennially popular event.  DON'T DELAY because attendance is limited to 65 people.
Lee-Jackson Dinner 16 January 2015 - Dalraida Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Montgomery.  Sponsored by Semple Camp SCV Camp 2002. For $26, you will enjoy a rib-eye steak dinner and a fine program. The Semple Camp supports our Christmas Social and we reciprocate by attending their Lee-Jackson Dinner the following month. This is always an enjoyable social event. Any questions contact Communications Officer Alan Parker, 271-1775 or
S D Lee Institute Lectures, 6-7 Feb 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  For information and to register, see

Confederate Circle Dedication, 23 May 2015, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma - This will be the culmination of a couple of years of dedicated effort at this very historic site.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp News for November 2014

Camp News
Camp 1524 Seeking Communications Officer/Newsletter Editor - Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley has asked to retire from his duties as Camp Communications Officer and Newsletter Editor, so our camp is seeking candidates for these two duties.  The Communications Officer is appointed by the Commander to handle all matters requiring communication (mainly by email) with Camp members.  The Newsletter Editor, as the name indicates, has to edit and print the monthly newsletter, then distribute it by U.S. Mail and email to the Camp members and designated non-members.  Remember the SCV Charge!  If you can handle one or both of these jobs, step up and offer your services to the preservation of the history and good name of the Confederate Soldier.
The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (official US government name for the War of 1861-65) are online, thanks to Cornell University.  This is a 128-volume set, of which we have a hard copy up at the Confederate Library at Confederate Memorial Park. The link to the Official Records, often referred to as the "OR" is

Communications Officer Crowley Speaks At Memphis Event - At the re-dedication ceremony of the Jefferson Davis statue at Confederate Park in Memphis on Saturday 18 October 2014 and at the invitation of N B Forrest SCV Camp 215, Dragoon Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley presented a talk on Jefferson Davis and his time in Memphis after the WBTS (1869-1877), ending with a speech Jefferson Davis made before a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature in March 1884, a session called specifically to honor Jefferson Davis and his defense of the Confederacy.  This speech represents Jefferson Davis's final words on his status as the living embodiment of the Confederacy and his charge to the descendants of Confederates.  See the October 2014 blog entry for details and photos.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for November 2014

Commander's Column:  How Do We Respond To PC Run Amuck?
            I received an email recently presenting Thomas Fleming’s latest book, A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.  The email article penned by Thomas DiLorenzo provided an analysis of the book and portrayed Fleming as a mainstream revisionist historian, darling of PBS and NPR.  But Fleming has “discovered historical truths” that Dr. Clyde Wilson, Distinguished Professor of History at South Carolina, SCV member and regular contributor to the Confederate Veteran magazine, has frequently written about for some time. In an essay entitled “The Yankee Problem in American History”, Wilson pointed out that “the term [Yankee] historically (was used) to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, and lack of congeniality, [and] for ordering other people around . . . .  They are the chosen saints whose mission is to make America, and the world, into the perfection of their own image.”  “Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Professor Wilson continues, “is a museum-quality specimen of the Yankee – self-righteous, ruthless, and self-aggrandizing.”  We know the Yankee abolitionists were certainly of this ilk and of course Lincoln himself.  Today, it seems anyone working inside the Washington DC beltway is of this sort, infringing on our personal liberties in the spirit of knowing better than those of us who cling to our Bibles and guns.
            I also received from Commander Rhodes of the Ft. Blakeley Camp an amazing photo of Bill Lundy, Florida’s last Confederate veteran, standing in front of a Super Sabre jet in 1955 with his beard and cane.  His life saw the world change in amazing ways, from Forrest’s cavalry and Pelham’s artillery to the nuclear age and supersonic aircraft.  Think about the nation’s moral foundation from the colonization in the 1600s to the establishment of the United States in the late 1700s, the evolution from the Salem witch trials and executions to a Constitution which, among core principles, provided freedom of religion.  From the late 1700s through the period of the WBTS, at least in the South, there was still a spirit of self-determination and liberty and a romanticism and chivalry in the social order.  Compare that to today, with the victimized welfare state, feminism, and the LGBT minority demanding marital rights--and getting them.  I read in the Confederate Veteran the article on Emancipation without the WBTS and noted that it stated unequivocally that slavery was a moral wrong, a blemish.  But again, the slave holders were a product of their time.  Two hundred years before the WBTS, slavery was quite literally embraced throughout the colonies and fortunes were made and the colonies in North America as well as in South America and the Caribbean were largely built with the assistance of slave labor.  Over the course of two hundred years though, those who espoused and embraced emancipation ran the gamut from the abolitionists in the North to the very leaders of the Confederacy like Lee and Davis.
            Now, just a relatively-short 150 years after the destruction of the antebellum South, the LGBT’s are equating their “struggle” to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and are making huge advances, from marital rights to altered church theologies and practices to total acceptance in mainstream media and corporate America boardrooms.  Atheists have removed prayer from the schools and the Ten Commandments from the courthouses.  Unborn children are slaughtered by the thousands as a form of birth control in “women’s health clinics”. The Common Core curriculum indoctrinates our children whilst the student’s basic education lags to ensure that the least common denominator is advanced and ultimately rewarded with affirmative action benefits.  Uncontrolled illegal immigration and rewarding unwed mothers with cradle-to-grave welfare checks and WIC cards for their lack of self-control and responsibility. Wall Street and corporate executives earn millions in annual bonuses practicing a bastardized capitalism, picking winners and losers through special-interest lobbying while regulations stifle neighborhood entrepreneurship.  But, rest assured, all these judicial fiats and social and economic programs have been constructed and decreed by those who know better than we do what’s best for us. 
            Shudder with me if you can imagine America in 150 or 200 years from now.  Where will technology carry us?  What will the progressives do to alter our communities, our culture, our families and our moral comprehension?  What will historical revisionists of that day and age condemn us for today--our Christianity, clinging to our Southern heritage and traditions?  What will become of us, Sons of Confederate Veterans?   What will become of our country?  What can we do?  I trust you exercised your right to vote in the elections on November 4th and participated in this democratic process.  Get involved to whatever extent you can in local political and social organizations where you can fellowship and work with people of like mind and help shape and direct the evolution of the issues and agenda affecting your family and community.   Correspond regularly with your elected representatives.  Renew your membership in the SCV.  Yes, your membership is the single most important thing you can do to support our organization and our efforts in community involvement and activities, public relations and education, to “ensure that the true history of the South is presented to future generations”.   The information I have says the Dragoons only lost one camp member during the recently completed renewal period.  I want to thank each and every one of you personally for your continued support of the SCV and the Dragoons.  Get involved in your camp and your community to make it better and a formidable force to oppose the politically-correct progressives and to “perpetuate those principles which (our Confederate ancestors) loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious”.
Stuart Waldo

Camp Commander

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for November 2014

Chaplain Tom Snowden offered his column in the November 2014 edition of the Camp 1524 Dispatch.

Chaplain’s Column: Enduring Satanic Attacks - Ephesians 6:10-14
            Many of us study history to obtain a deeper understanding of what happened during the War of Northern Aggression. I have even heard a few who question God, as to why he allowed the war to end like it did. We can’t change history, but only try to prevent it from repeating itself and try to keep others from a distorted interpretation of it. The fact is if you have Jesus in your heart one day you will have the opportunity to ask these questions when we get up there.
            The truth is that all Christians are involved in a satanic battle every day. This battle should be of utmost importance to each of us.
            It is true that every believer faces temptations daily in life. We must fight a daily battle to overcome these temptations. Take a moment and see if you can recall a particularly enticing situation involving something that would displease God.
            As in any war, it is important to know the plans of the attacker. The attacker that I am referring to is the Devil and he is real. Scripture reveals that he leads an army of fallen angels and is prideful enough to think he can gain victory over God. By definition, a satanic attack is a deliberate assault upon an individual, which is designed to cause spiritual, physical, material, or emotional harm. It is Satan’s desire to rob believers of their joy and peace, and ultimately to try and make us deny God and convince us we should not listen to Him.  Just as in any war we must prepare for the attack. We must know the enemy.  We must first be aware that the battlefield takes place in our minds. To walk in a godly manner with Christ, our thoughts should be in submission to His Spirit. This requires of us to surrender daily to His will and to spend time in God’s Word. Second, Satan tempts us during our moments of vulnerability.  Third, Satan is very deceptive.  We are likely not to recognize those traps as an evil scheme.  Instead, we will view them as good for us.
            As Christians, we should maintain a close walk with Jesus. We must be constantly aware that Satan desires to lure us into destructive actions that rob us of God’s plan for a good and full life. We must stay close to the Savior: read God’s Word, pray, and fellowship with other believers. These are our weapons to use against the Devil in spiritual war.  Our ancestors faced this same war with the Devil as we do to day. Nothing has changed for us--we only live in a more modern time.

Yours In Christ
Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Friday, November 14, 2014

Memphis Citizens to Save Our Parks offers Forrest Commemorative Coin

Efforts continue to preserve the historic Memphis parks from a revisionist PC city council and honor the memory and sacrifices of the great Confederate leaders and soldiers who fought to defend Memphis from the Yankee invasion during the War Between the States.  One of General Forrest's most daring raids occurred in Memphis when he freed a number or political prisoners and attempted capture of Union generals headquartered there.

The group Citizens To Save Our Parks in Memphis is offering a commemorative coin as a fundraiser to help in its efforts to prevent the re-naming of Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park by the Memphis City Council.  See and click on "Background" for more information.  If you are interested in helping in this fight for heritage preservation, see the above website and click on "Merchandise".  The coin is $11, shipping included.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Announce the November Camp Meeting

The SCV Camp 1524 Dragoons will hold their monthly camp meeting on Thursday November 13th at 7pm at the Shoneys on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  Many compatriots come early to break bread together enjoying the Shoney's buffet or menu items.

The program for November will be presented by Alabama Division Commander Gary Carlyle and his wife Kathy.  They will speak and do readings on the emotions of the Southern people in the years following the War Between the States.  In addition to the honor of having our Division Commander present at our meeting, this looks to be a fine husband-wife collaboration.  Everyone is welcome to attend and this would be a great time to bring your wife or a friend, and any teenagers in the family (Commander Carlyle is very entertaining and is a retired school principal so knows how to present to young folks).  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gettysburg Battlefield Tour

The following account was received in an email from Commander Tommy Rhodes of the Ft. Blakely Alabama SCV Camp.  This account was penned by SAR and SCV member James Rutledge Roesch on October 21, 2014.

I just returned from Kent Masterson Brown’s three-day tour of the Battle of Gettysburg. Brown, a member of the Abbeville Institute was a fantastic guide. Genial and knowledgeable, spending three days with Brown was a real pleasure.

We spent three days trekking around the battlefield, trying to get a feel for what the battle was actually like for those who fought. We tracked down where the first shot of the battle was fired. We stood on the heights of Little Round Top and amid the crags of Devil’s Den. We marched across the killing field of Pickett’s Charge. While standing at a place of some significance, Brown would read passages from the memoirs of those who were there. We heard a gripping account of General James J. Pettigrew’s division slogging uphill against the formidable “Iron Brigade,” its battle flags “bathed in the blood” of their bearers. We heard a darkly comical “Fourth of July” speech given by a Confederate officer as his command was under heavy fire. “Do you see what’s going on here?” Brown often asked. With Brown’s guidance, we really did understand how the battle unfolded as well as why and how decisions were made. Indeed, there is an armchair general inside of every Civil War “buff” who after reading a book or two believes he should have been the one to fight the battle. Brown, however, showed us just how close the battle came, that many of the alternative scenarios are unrealistic to impossible, and that the “mistakes” of which Lee is accused of making made sense in the moment. Still, the “what if’s” of the battle will never die. “Let’s be honest,” my uncle once quipped after I criticized such armchair generals. “We all want to re-fight the battle.”
Throughout the trip, I jotted down a few observations which I thought would be of interest to the readers of the Abbeville Institute.
I. Everybody Wants To Be A Rebel
When I was a child, I remember asking my mother why no one ever studied or admired the Federals the way that they do the Confederates. She replied that it was because the Confederates were the only ones worth honoring. Aside from pride in my heritage, the more I learned about the so-called “Civil War,” the clearer this became. The North had every advantage – manpower (a huge population several times that of the South, supplemented by heavy immigration), manufacturing (a massive industrial base capable of producing whatever munitions were needed), and money (a functional government built largely by Southerners) – and yet it took her four years to conquer the South. Truly, the South was beaten by numbers, not brains or bravery on the battlefield.
The most poignant illustration of this disparity took place in the Overland Campaign, the fateful clash between General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses S. Grant. In battle after battle, Lee beat back Grant – badly. In the lulls between each battle, Lee, always trying to get into his adversary’s head, pondered what Grant could possibly be doing. Lee’s expectations for Grant were too high; all this “butcher” was doing was waiting for new recruits to replace his losses. By the end of the campaign, although Grant had suffered as many casualties as Lee had men in his army, Northern numbers soon restored the former to full strength. Lee’s losses, however, were irreplaceable, which is exactly how Grant, who could not beat Lee on the battlefield, won – attrition. The fact that it took the Federals as long as it did to conquer the Confederates is pathetic. The fact that the Confederates resisted for as long as they did, by contrast, is heroic. But I digress: an encounter I had during the trip reminded me of my mother’s satisfactory answer from so long ago.
One gentleman with whom I spoke was disappointed that he did not have any ancestors in the Army of Northern Virginia. He searched and searched, but he was sad to say that all he was able to find were Federals. When those with ancestors at the battle were asked to stand, he did so with remarkable reluctance. He did not want to admit to having Federal blood in his veins, to being connected to the death of the Southern dream at Gettysburg. So, why is it that everyone wants to be a Rebel, not a Yankee? Is it that they are racist? Or could it be that there is an irresistible romance to a civilization fighting to preserve its way of life? Is it that they hate America? Or could it be that secession – i.e. the right of political divorce – not only makes sense on an intuitive level, but also is clearly in accord with the American tradition of self-government? Is it that they are ignorant? Or could it be that defending one’s homeland from fire and sword resonates powerfully in the human heart?
II. Yankee Logic
As the youngest member of the tour, I was the belle of the ball, so to speak. Nearly everyone approached me at some point and asked how I became interested in the Civil War. “Well, I inherited it from my grandfather, who taught military history at West Point,” I explained to one gentleman. “I personally am not interested in the Civil War,” he admitted. “I think it was a terrible waste of life and everything else.” Apparently, the only reason he was there was because he is a longtime follower of Brown. “Yes, it was an awful and avoidable war,” I replied. “All of the alleged ‘good’ which came out of it would have happened peacefully anyway, without any loss of life or liberty.” The gentleman would not go that far, however. “Well, they did it, and it all worked out alright, as far as I’m concerned.” So, let me get this straight: on the one hand, the war was terrible waste – on the other, it worked out alright. Only a Yankee would be happy about vain bloodshed.
III. Confederate Valour
As I said earlier, Brown regularly read parts of memoirs at various points on the battlefield. As we approached the Angle, he stopped and read a Confederate and Federal account of the climax of Pickett’s Charge. I shall never forget the Federal soldier’s horrific description of Pickett’s Charge: a cloud of dust and smoke with body parts flying in every direction, emitting a sickening groan as it stampeded ahead. Remember that the next time some hack or halfwit claims that Confederate valour was just a “myth” of the “Lost Cause.” Or perhaps these historians know more than Joshua Chamberlain, the Federal hero who saluted the furling of the flag out of respect to the bravery of its bearers? Brown told a story about a Tennessean who literally collapsed from fear when a fence he was climbing was suddenly peppered with a volley, splinters exploding in all directions. He rose, however, and pressed on. “That’s where guts come in,” remarked Brown.
IV. Monuments, North and South
There is a significant difference between Northern and Southern monuments on the battlefield. Northern monuments generally feature a soldier standing at attention. Sturdy and stoic, they are the perfect soldiers of “the Land of Steady Habits.” Southern monuments, however, feature soldiers in far more striking poses. North Carolina’s is a band of soldiers charging into battle waving a flag. Mississippi’s is a soldier swinging his musket over the body of a brother-in-arms. Louisiana’s is a spirit rising out of a fallen artilleryman, holding a flaming cannonball aloft and defiantly blasting its trumpet at the enemy. Virginia’s is simply unforgettable: all of her “sons” – farmers, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, artists, mechanics, and boys – rallying around the flag of their State, presided over by General Lee astride Traveler. This contrast speaks volumes about the cultural characters of the North and the South.
V. “A New Birth of Freedom”
The Cyclorama – a 42 x 377 foot painting which lines the inside of a large dome, is a mesmerizing and moving experience. There, in a short show, you can feel the sights and sounds of the battle. The visitor center’s brief film, however, lamely titled “A New Birth of Freedom,” is a disappointment. Morgan Freeman tells the audience that since “the future of slavery hung in the balance” of the 1860 presidential election. For full effect, an image of slaves picking cotton is overlaid across a map of the United States. Of course, what is not mentioned is that Lincoln’s actual opposition to slavery was purely sentimental and practically useless. Lincoln’s goal was to keep blacks in the South (and out of the North) and preserve the Territories for whites only. Time and time again, Lincoln reiterated that he had no authority or intention to interfere with slavery in the States. As Charles and Mary Beard pointed out, since no major political party ever called for the abolition of slavery in its platform, abolishing slavery cannot be said to have been the goal of any major political party. Nevertheless, “the future of freedom” was at supposedly stake. No mention of the fact that many Southerners conceded that slavery was uneconomical in the Territories, but opposed attempts to prohibit it on the principle that Congress had no such authority and as an insult to Southern honour.
The treatment of Fort Sumter is similarly absurd. South Carolina is said to have demanded the fort and then opened fire when refused. No snubbed delegation of commissioners sent to negotiate the South’s parting obligations to the Union. No outrageous duplicity on the part of the Lincoln Administration in dealing with the Confederate government. No pressure on the Republican Party for war as Northern interests counted the financial cost of secession. No efforts from the Confederate garrison in Charleston to ensure a peaceful resolution to the crisis. No, South Carolina simply bombed Fort Sumter out of the blue.
Also according to the film, the Emancipation Proclamation transformed what the war was “about,” as if one side can change what the other is fighting for. The average Confederate soldier fought to defend field and family, not strictly for slavery. So long as an invading army was on his soil, it did not make a difference to him why it was there. Furthermore, Lincoln described his edict as a “practical war measure” and “means” for the “suppression of the rebellion.” As Lincoln said from the start, the war was about restoring the Union and replanting the flag, not emancipating slaves. As Lincoln said around the time of his edict, freeing slaves behind enemy lines would disrupt the Confederate home front and win the war. Nevertheless, the Emancipation Proclamation is said to have magically transformed the war from a nationalistic conquest to a liberating crusade.
VI. The “Victory” of Gettysburg
Gettysburg, the site of the most celebrated Federal victory, where the “rebellion” was said to be crushed by the “Union,” and where Lincoln uttered his stupid, self-contradictory speech about warring on self-government in order to preserve self-government, was hardly even a victory at all. Lee left war-ravaged Virginia to feed his starving army. By chance, the armies collided at a crossroads. After three days of attacking a larger army occupying all the high ground – and very nearly winning – Lee then withdrew to Virginia with a rich supply train and continued to fight for two more years. Meade, who was hanging on for dear life those three days and completely unable to undertake any sort of offensive, does not even comes to Lee’s utter domination of the enemy in practically every other battle he fought. Accordingly, Brown noted that some Confederate soldiers actually considered Gettysburg a moral victory of sorts! This is the grand vindication of Union arms?

My tour of Gettysburg was a fantastic experience. Brown was a masterful guide and delightful company. I am very grateful to the Abbeville Institute for promoting this event on the website. I heartily recommend his tours and books to everyone.