Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oxford Mississippi Selective Acknowledgement of History and Disrespect of Southern Heritage

Contribution by Cherokee Brasher, Alabama Division SCV Chief of Heritage Defense.

                    Ole Miss and the New Bigots

By Ben Jones, Chairman, Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Operations Committee

The brilliant editor H.L. Mencken had a way of being succinct that sparkled with wit. "There is no idea so stupid that you can't find a professor who will believe it," he remarked.  Mencken would have a field day with the recent actions of the University of Mississippi. If you have ever wondered why academia is often the butt of ridicule and humor, you need only to read the report from Ole Miss President Dan Jones entitled, "Action Plan on Consultant Reports and Update on the Work of the Sensitivity and Respect Committee."

We are told that the Extended Sensitivity and Respect Committee has decided that the new Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion will work with the Institute for Racial Diversity and the new Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.
Fellow compatriots, I am not making this up. This is not a satire, this is what the taxpayers of Mississippi are dishing out their hard-earned money to pay for.

President Jones further stated, "It is my hope that the steps outlined here reflecting the hard work of University committees and our consultants will prove valuable in making us a stronger and healthier university, bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place for every person, every day, regardless of race, religion, preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression."

In my opinion, this is an as astounding a demonstration of politically correct, "feel-good", unadulterated hogwash as has ever been uttered by a man on the public payroll. And having spent four years in the United States Congress, I have heard some world-class hogwash in my day.

President Jones, sounding a lot like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, has listed every possible group that might be sensitive to not being "included" in this unlimited "diversity", even one I've never heard of: "gender expression." Well, whatever that means, I figure it is o.k. if one expresses their gender at Ole Miss.

There is one very large group that is not included, however. It is those of us whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy during the War Between the States. There are over 70 million of us, but it is as if we do not exist, or have deep feelings toward our forefathers.

In fact, without a straightforward explanation, the famous Oxford street named Confederate Drive is being renamed by these academics in the name of "inclusion". That intentional insult puts the lie to any pretense of "inclusion" or of respect or of diversity on the part of the University of Mississippi.

The Confederacy existed. Thousands of young Mississippians died for it. That conflict has been the crucible event of American history. Everything before led up to it. Everything after has been influenced by it.

The entire student body of the University of Mississippi enlisted in the Confederate Army and those young men suffered 100% casualties. That war is an historical reality and we do not flinch from that reality and its consequences. Those men and their descendants built the University and kept it going through good times and bad, and through the social changes of the past 150 years.

That street was named for those brave young students. The University, in its narrow-minded rush to be politically correct, has banished that little bit of respect by renaming Confederate Drive. In their sanctimonious zeal, they have demeaned the honor and reputation of our ancestors.

In the last fifty years or so we have witnessed a truly remarkable revolution in race relations in the South. Where once there was Jim Crow and strict segregation, there is now a multi-cultural society that has the fastest growing economy in the United States. Men and women of good hearts have come together in brotherhood and cooperation to enjoy racial relations that are an exemplar for other regions. This "bridge-building" has been built on an acceptance of the past and the promise of a shared future, not the divisive finger-pointing of the academics and the politicians.

These politically correct crusaders are practicing a new kind of bigotry. It is a movement that demonizes the Confederacy and lays the sins of America entirely upon the South. If they continue to have their way, they would eradicate every vestige of our cultural history. They ask for respect but give none.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 4

Dr. Brandon Beck continued his presentation to the Dragoons for their September 11, 2014 camp meeting on Robert E. Lee and his struggles with the decision to follow his home state of Virginia in joining the Confederacy.  Lee believed secession was revolution in the same way as George Washington did seventy years prior. It should be remembered that the United States was just 74 years old at the time of the War Between the States while the Commonwealth of Virginia was 152 years old. Lee idolized George Washington and carried his sword throughout the War.  After the firing on Ft. Sumter, Lee wrote his son Custis, paraphrasing, "I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution but the country cannot be preserved by the sword and if Virginia secedes he will follow with his sword and if need be with his life".  And indeed, Lee had a couple of close calls during the War including by a sniper in 1862. 

Lee hoped Lincoln would compromise and extend the Missouri line westward. Lincoln gave conflicting messages regarding meddling in the state institutions saying, "The greatest of crimes would be the armed invasion of another state no matter the pretext."  While in Texas, Lee received orders relieving him of his command there and ordering him to Washington DC to meet with General Scott. Lee knew he would not be returning to Texas so he packed all of his belongings in an Army ambulance including his field tent and cot and basic appointments. Lincoln's inauguration was the first of any U.S. President not attended by any Custis or Lee.  Virginia had multiple votes regarding secession but each was defeated as Virginia believed much as Lee that unless provoked or forced, Virginia should not secede. Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward assured all the Southern states that Ft. Sumter would be evacuated but that proved to be a lie.  

Lee was a Southern moderate.  He didn't like slavery but defended it's legality. He believed in the legality of secession and was taught so at West Point.  When he saw Texas secede, he feared Virginia would soon follow.  Virginia was afraid that the federal government would coerce the state to remain in the Union and potentially use Virginia as a platform from which to invade the South. April 1861 saw an incredible pace of events.  On the 4th of April, Virginia voted 88-45 not to secede. Also on the 4th of April, Lincoln directed a relief convoy to resupply Ft. Sumter. On the 6th of April, Lincoln warned the Governor of SC of his intention. On the 7th of April General Beauregard restricted resupplies to Ft.Sumter and on the 12th of April opened fire on the fort and the convoy precipitating the conflict to War. On the 17th and 18th of April, Francis Blair and Winfred Scott invited Lee to their respective residences in Washington and speaking for Lincoln, offered Lee a Major General position in command of the Union Army but Lee indicated that although opposed to secession, he could not oppose his home state of Virginia.  Lee went home and prayed and subsequently penned his resignation of his U.S. Army commission saying it was the most difficult decision of his life.  Coincidentally, on April 17th, unbeknownst to Lee at the time, Virginia voted to secede from the Union.  On the 19th of April, Lee wrote a letter to his family.  He wrote his wife saying it was better to make up our minds to a great loss and hoping to see Stratford and Arlington again but, that would never happen.  On April 20th, Lee went to his church, Christ Episcopal and that evening a letter was given to him from the Governor of Virginia asking him to come to Richmond to discuss the defense of Virginia and the capitol.

Lee never regretted his actions, never viewed that he had a choice and that he only did his duty and could have taken no other course without dishonor. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 3

Dr. Brandon Beck continued his presentation to the Dragoons for their September 11, 2014 camp meeting on Robert E. Lee and John Brown's Raid at Harper's Ferry.  It was on October 16, 1859 that Brown conducted his raid on Harper's Ferry situated at the juncture of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers seeking control of the musket factory and arsenals there. Brown was an abolitionist terrorist with bleeding Kansas blood on his hands and New England abolitionist money funding his actions. Brown and 21 armed men seized the arsenal, killed three townspeople, took 14 hostages and stopped the train running thru the town. Brown had grandiose plans for his raid, hoping it would initiate a widespread slave insurrection, the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and rid the country of the blight of slavery. Brown expected hoards of slaves to come to Harper's ferry from adjacent counties and sought to gather weapons to arm them. He brought a new constitution with him and wanted to start a new country of freed slaves.

The President of the Winchester and Potomac Railroad contacted U.S. President Buchanan about Brown seizing his railcars and Buchanan ordered troops to Harper's Ferry, Marines under Lt. Isaac Greene to control the militias who were rushing in to suppress the uprising. Lee was put over all command and J.E.B. Stuart assisted Lee taking orders to the field, their first association that led to Stuart serving under Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia during the WBTS. Brown barricaded himself with his men in the Engine House of the Musket Factory and militia surrounded the building.  Lee took control of the operation, blocking all roads into Harper's Ferry and surrounding the Engine House. Lee waited until 2am on the morning of October 18th when he sent Stuart to the door of the Engine House with a white flag demanding an immediate surrender. If and when Stuart received word that they declined the offer to surrender, he was to remove his hat and Lee's Marines, poised to charge would storm the building. Only one marine was killed in the ensuing skirmish and in the blink of an eye it was over with all the hostages freed. One writer said that it was all over in fifteen minutes, all over but the dying (referring to the massive casualties of the ensuing War for Southern Independence). John Brown himself was badly injured and was charged with treason and after a trial he himself deemed fair, was declared guilty and on December 2nd was hung in Charleston SC.

Harper's Ferry changed Lee's life. Militias were formed all over the South, preparing for the worst as Northern newspapers made John Brown a martyr and a poster child for the radical wing of the Republican party. Lee returned to Texas still serving in the U.S. Army.  Lincoln was elected on November 6, 1860 and SC seceded on November 21st followed by the states all across the Southland in 1861.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 2

Dr. Brandon Beck, Professor, author and Commander of SCV Camp 2140 from Columbus, Mississippi again joined the Dragoons for their September 11th camp meeting at the Prattville Shoney's.  His presentation focused on (then) Colonel Robert E. Lee when serving in the U.S. Army during the period 1859-1861, just prior to the War Between the States.  Dr. Beck provided a handout which included the Lee family crest which contained a banner in Latin reading "Be Not Unmindful of the Future".  Significant dates included his birth on January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall in Virginia, graduating from West Point in 1829, marrying Mary Custis on June 30, 1831 and of course, serving with distinction in the U.S. Army and in the Confederate Army.  After the War, Lee was installed as President of Washington College (now Washington Lee University) on October 2, 1865.  Robert E. Lee died very young on October 12, 1870 in Lexington VA at the age of 63.

Robert E. Lee was born at Stratford Hall which is in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1807. But after age 3 the family was forced to move due to his father losing the estate to debt collectors. His father was Major General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee who commanded cavalry under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. His name is on the Declaration of Independence. But his later years were marked by poor investment ventures and debt and he died alone in poverty and disgrace.  Robert E. Lee did not see his father after about age six when his father left the family.

The War aged Lee tremendously as he was a clean shaven (excepting a mustache) man with brown full hair prior to the conflict.  He served in the Mexican War in the U.S. Army and was superintendent of West Point at the age of 52.  His hair greyed and he grew his well known full beard during the War. George Washington Custis left his Arlington estate to his daughter Mary and thru marriage, Robert E. Lee became executor of the Custis estate including 250 slaves raising his family there. Lee and Mary were determined to educate and emancipate their slaves and they eventually did by the start of the War. Arlington was an impressive antebellum mansion with an impressive exterior and portico but the interior had large gloomy rooms. It was here in 1859 where Robert E. Lee resided at the time of John  Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry.
Dr. Brandon Beck with Dragoons Commander Waldo

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting Report September 2014, Part 1

Camp 1524 held their monthly meeting on September 11th at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  Chaplain Tom Snowden opened the meeting with an Invocation and closed another outstanding gathering with a Benediction remembering the infamous date in 2001 when thousands lost their lives in the attacks in new York City and Washington DC as well as those who have given their lives since that time defending our country against these terrorists. Color Sgt. Brent Jenks led everyone in the Pledge to the U.S. Flag, and the Alabama State flag and the Confederate Flag. Commander Stuart Waldo read the SCV Charge and the Closing as well as providing the announcements to the sixteen compatriots in attendance. The next work dates for the Indian Hills Cemetery cleanup September 27th and October 11th were highlighted and Lt. Harold Grooms made special mention of the progress made at the site thus far in this very worthwhile project.  The Camp 1524 Christmas Social was also announced as scheduled for the evening of December 12th. Membership renewals are also underway and are due by October 25th to Adjutant Wayne Sutherland and all are encouraged to renew their commitment to the Cause and the honor of their Confederate ancestors. Lt. Grooms introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Brandon Beck who returned to address the Dragoons speaking of General Robert E. Lee and his actions at Harper's Ferry capturing the abolitionist terrorist John  Brown and then discussing Lee's agonizing decision to resign his U.S. Army commission to serve his home state of Virginia after she was forced to secede.  Another informative and enjoyable meeting of the Prattville Dragoons.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Commanders Column for September 2014

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch:

Commander's Column: Oppressive Heat And Other Observations
As September arrives, it seems the last few weeks and the new month has brought the real
Alabama summer heat to bear with mid-to-upper nineties every afternoon. I hope everyone is
taking care to stay cool and hydrated in these oppressive temperatures. I am reminded of our
great-grandfathers who labored on their farms across the Southland and developed the land into
bountiful fields with crude tools and implements and our Confederate heroes marching miles in
woolen clothing to struggle with arms in combat enduring these harsh temperatures and
conditions with no air conditioning respite we enjoy. Carrying forth their Cause in our latest effort,
we had a great turnout for the last Indian Hills Cemetery clean-up. With the fire raging to burn up
the brush adding to the sweltering heat, my hour out there just before noon at the cemetery was
all I could handle. Lt. Harold Grooms was again an amazing dynamo plugging away for hours
though. But it was the combined effort of over ten folks including one non-member who made
great gains on the overgrown brush at the cemetery. Harold mentioned that he believed the
project is one of the best undertaken by the camp and certainly it strikes at the core of the Charge
to honor our Confederate ancestors.

This is an exciting time for the SCV with the change in national leadership as well as at the
state level including our own new Brigade Commander David Brantley. New Commander-in-
Chief Kelly Barrow and new Lt. Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain will certainly bring new ideas
and perspectives to those roles. We owe departing CiC Michael Givens much honor and
appreciation for his tremendous efforts and energy and vision in directing the SCV over the past
few years. The series of articles defending the Cause and recounting the true history of the
struggle for the Southern States' independence carried in each issue of the Confederate Veteran
magazine were spearheaded by him to educate the membership during this historic
Sesquicentennial. Vision 2016 was initiated during his tenure to empower membership to
develop and drive strategies for growth and heritage defense from the individual members and
camp level up to the Division and National leadership. These were great initiatives. I trust the
Confederate Veteran publication will continue to offer the wealth of historical research and
information we have come to expect as this aspect of SCV service is of particular importance in
this age of political correctness and historical revisionism. Givens’s final column in the
July/August 2014 edition of the Confederate Veteran again offered a fresh perspective on the
cause of the War Between the States, that of an imperialist Republican Lincoln administration
which sought to preserve a nation in terms of populace, resources and geography to rival any in
the world, a new global power. In retrospect, perhaps the evolution of the United States in the
20th century demonstrates this as the ultimate cause for the War of Northern Aggression.

The coming year for the SCV marks the end of the Sesquicentennial of the War and that
armed conflict with the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Johnston’s Army of
Tennessee in early 1865 but certainly not the end of hostilities as Reconstruction soon began,
which generated animosity for many years to come. It has been said that the United States has
become a nation of special interests, divided by ethnicities, issues and causes attempting to
fracture and debilitate the country, that we are a nation in decline because we are no longer a
melting pot, a nation bound by common bonds and beliefs. This may reflect on the problems
inherent in the enormous size of our nation-state, as was envisioned and argued by philosophers
and leaders from the time of Aristotle to the time of our Revolutionary framers. But perhaps this
all reflects back to the subjugation of the Southern people by a tyrannical Northern aggressor
bent on suppressing the liberty and independence of our forefathers who recognized the
omnipotent federal government as the threat and problem that it would ultimately become. We
have been reminded in recent camp meeting presentations how different the Southern and
Northern sectional cultures and heritage were--which contributed to the rise of tensions and
conflict. The Confederate States of America embodied the decentralized governance and society
and the strong self-sufficient God-fearing people our country was founded upon. Perhaps the
enduring oppressive summer weather climate should remind us of the similar enduring
oppressive political climate which has continued and evolved over the past 150 years too.

Stuart Waldo
Camp Commander

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for September 2014

Chaplain’s Column: Our Special Calling

While attending a work day at the Indian Hills Cemetery in Prattville I noticed that so few
members attended the work day. At one point during the work day I became so tired I fell to the
ground near exhaustion. Dead in front of me was a small ant busy working his way along. This
reminded me of a class in my college days. This particular class was called entomology. I learned
many things about ants as well as other insects during that course. How industrious, hardworking,
patient and co-operative they are to the colony. As well as being extremely hard working they
possess an extraordinary ability to work as a team. They work hard, are patient and co-operative.
An ant is able to carry a leaf, a crumb or a dead ant for miles - just to get back home to the anthill,
requiring a load of stamina and patience. Perhaps more humans need to practice the special
qualities an ant possesses - co-operating, working with others or patiently working towards your

Well I know many of you may wonder where I am going with this. As SCV members we are
called to keep the memory of our ancestors alive. I like to study and learn more about American
history during the times surrounding the War Between the States. For me the most important
reason for our membership in this organization is because of these fine men and women of that
time. They are our ancestors, for crying out loud! When someone talks about them in a bad way I
can almost hear them from Heaven.

Now back to the ant… I believe we as SCV members, with our special calling, should be a little
more like the ant in our work for the Cause. Words like co-operation, hardworking, patience,
being industrious and working as a team--to name a few.

As Christians we have a higher calling. With God's calling comes a time of preparation, and
preparation requires patience. Trust God today with His schedule for our life. Every experience
God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He
can see. Every believer has a story. Oftentimes, the more we surrender to God, the greater our
ability to see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the stronger our desire to
share with others all that He has done.

Are you passionately telling others about Christ? Loving God involves not just having a
personal relationship with Jesus, but also sharing Him with others. The world around you needs
the power of Christ. Let the Holy Spirit guide and enable you to share effectively with those
around you. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be
healed. --James 5:16

Yours In Christ
Tom Snowden, Chaplain

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Announcement for the Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for September 2014

The Prattville Dragoons, Camp 1524 will hold their monthly camp meeting on Thursday, September 11th at 7pm at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville.  Many come early to enjoy the delicious Shoney's buffet or a piece of their strawberry pie. All are invited and welcome.  Dr. Brandon Beck, author and commander of SCV Camp 2140, Columbus, Mississippi, will speak on General Robert E. Lee. Dr. Beck will describe how General Lee apprehended John Brown at Harpers Ferry in 1859, and then discuss the agonizing decisions Lee had to make in 1860 and 1861 before resigning from the US Army and taking a commission from the Confederate States of America. As we are nearing the end of the Sesquicentennial, at the point where it's all winding down to Appomattox, it's a good time to go
back to the very beginning, to see how and why this great man made the choices he did. He
never regretted the decisions he made. This will surely be another interesting and thought-provoking presentation.