Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Commander's Column for April 2015

Spring has sprung and we are now rapidly moving into 2015, this final year of the Sesquicentennial.  The first of February we had a couple wonderful events with the Indian Hill Cemetery workday and the Millbrook Mardi Gras parade which offered great opportunities for the Dragoons to perform a worthwhile community service project and promote our Confederate heritage in a celebratory community event.  By my count, we had sixteen Dragoons participate in one or both events.  As usual our parade entry was very warmly greeted by the crowds lining the parade route down Main Street in Millbrook.  In March we had even more people at Indian Hill including a group of officers from Maxwell Air Force Base and their sons pitching in.  The cemetery is clear and we have only to complete some monument and fence repairs and celebrate the completion of a project well done with a rededication ceremony which is scheduled for Confederate Memorial Day, April 27th.  This could well be the largest event the Dragoons have ever hosted and promises to be a wonderful occasion with Benny Harris’ tireless planning and preparations.

The Indian Hills rededication on April 27th will have local dignitaries as well as SCV officers in attendance and I hope the general membership of the Dragoons is well represented.  The Tallassee camp has indicated they will attend as part of their regular monthly camp meeting, the Alabama SCV Division will be represented and Benny is coordinating with reenactors and others.  We have the camp picnic scheduled for April4th, the day before Easter.  That is always a great family time with great food and warm sunshine as well as a time to honor the Confederate veterans interred there at Confederate Memorial Park.  These events represent a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with Confederate compatriots and fellow Dragoons.  In our continual efforts to carry the Charge, we should remember to always celebrate our fraternity.  That should be one of the prime reasons for being part of the SCV and the Dragoons.  People want to be a part of an enjoyable organization which provides opportunities for involvement in activities together.  

In this Sesquicentennial, we should also celebrate our successes in the camp such as with the Indian Hill Cemetery project but also as a greater organization advancing the Cause.   The Selma victory including winning the deed to the Confederate Circle in Live Oak Cemetery is certainly a worthy reason to celebrate and the Godwins and the Friends of Forrest have a celebration planned for May 23rd.  In a recent trip to Atlanta I saw a new Confederate Soldier Monument in the Marietta Cemetery which was erected by the Georgia Division just last year on the Sesquicentennial of the Battles of Atlanta and Kennesaw Mountain.  The Alabama Division completed great new enhancements at the Forrest Monument in Gainesville AL just last year.  The Tallassee Camp erected a new Battle Flag in Elmore County and purchased a new camp meeting house.   Starting April 1st, for the entire month, the Dragoons and the Alabama Division purchased an advertisement for the electronic billboards in downtown Prattville as well as out at Hwy-14 and I-65 to proudly proclaim April as Confederate History and Heritage Month.  Again, all reasons to celebrate and reflect on the progress we all have made in advancing the Cause and proudly displaying our Confederate Battle Flag.    

There is always more to do and more to celebrate including our own flag at the Robinson Springs Monument in Millbrook, Cityfest and July 4th parade community events.  I was elated to see the interest in serving as reflected in the camp elections and would encourage any Dragoon to assume a leadership role in the camp including project roles like our Dixie Butt fundraiser coordinator.  It’s great to be a part of such a worthwhile and enjoyable group and organization.  Come and participate, fellowship and celebrate with your Confederate compatriots.    

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Message from SCV Commander-in-Chief Regarding the Texas DMV License Plate Supreme Court Case

The Sons of Confederate Veterans are charged with the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. The Confederate soldiers were fighting for liberty, justice, self-determination and against an unjust invasion of their country . The concept of liberty, justice and self-determination are the bed-rock of the American Republic. The State of Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking via litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit the creation and sale of a proposed SCV motor vehicle license plate recognizing the Confederate Soldier. Freedom of speech is assured in the Founding Documents of the American Republic.

Deo Vindice!

Charles Kelly Barrow

Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander-in-Chief Barrow further proclaimed March 23rd 2015  as a day of prayer and fasting asking Almighty God to give the SCV attorneys wisdom in preparation and presentation of the case and asking God to give the Court wisdom of decision in a positive defense of free speech.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New SCV Telegraph

The Sons of Confederate Veterans recently announced an initiative as part of Vision 2016 to grow the organization and establish the SCV as the pre-eminent authority on Confederate heritage and liberty. Lt Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain announced the new SCV TV, the SCV Telegraph at the Alabama Division EC meeting just last month.  Check out the first edition of SCV TV's video at https://vimeo.com/120903649 where Lt CiC Tom Strain notes the output from the Recruiting seminar at Elm Springs on 21 February 2015. More editions of the Telegraph will be coming. Requests for topics should be sent to either Lieutenant Commander-in-Chief Tom Strain at or SCV Executive Director Mike Landree.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SCV Camp 1524 Continues Indian Hill Cemetery Restoration

The Prattville Dragoons latest work day on Saturday, March 14 at Indian Hill cemetery was a huge success. We had a large contingent of over 20 workers contributing their labor and expertise to our project. At least 14 Dragoons were present along with 4 volunteers from Maxwell AFB who brought some younger men to help their Daddies. We also had a lawn care contractor, Jeff Justiss, Custom Care Lawn Service, who donated his time and helped particularly with felling some large trees,. Dragoon Al Booth brought his bucket truck and was able to trim some of the taller tree limbs with the assistance of son and fellow Dragoon, Chris Booth. Al even treated everyone to a BBQ chicken dinner.  Thanks to Brother Al for his generous contributions.

Dragoons present included Commander Stuart Waldo, 1st Lt Harold Grooms, Benny Harris who has been coordinating the effort, Al and Chris Booth, Bill Branch, Skip Ward, Louis Turner, Allen Herrod, Tyrone and Tom Crowley, the Dragoons newest member Phillip Edwards and James and Larry Spears

There is one more scheduled work day at the cemetery on Saturday, April 11 8am-1pm before the formal re-dedication of the cemetery on April 27, Confederate Memorial Day. Indian Hill Cemetery is on County Rd. 86.  Much progress has been made but we have more work to do including cleaning and repairing the monuments and fencing and final clean-up of the brush and grounds.  This project has served to rally the camp around our SCV Charge, a great community service project which honors our Confederate ancestors and the Confederates buried there. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gallant John Pelham

March 17 marked 152 years since the death of Confederate artillery officer John Pelham at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia.
Leaving the military academy without waiting for graduation, Pelham joined the Confederate army; his service was duly noted, especially his performance at the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862. Fighting an overwhelming number of oncoming federal forces, Pelham, himself, with the aid of his few surviving artillery men, successfully held the ground and stalled a Union incursion. At the site of the battle, Robert E. Lee stated, “It is glorious to see such courage in one so young.”

Fredericksburg was a great victory for Lee; it was the first of two of Lee’s successive strikes against the greater Union army. The fight at Chancellorsville, in late April and early May of 1863, would be Lee’s second successful initiative against Union opposition during this phase of the war. In the larger battle at Chancellorsville, Lee would lose one of his key advisors and strategists, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Before that battle, in a bit of a less tempestuous fray at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia, on March 17, Lee would also lose one of his significant operatives.

Carhart describes the scene of John Pelham’s final fight:
When Pelham arrived on the scene of the battle, his artillery had not yet come up, though he had sent for it. The most commonly told story of what followed has the 3rd Virginia forming up for attack, and Pelham staying by them or riding with them, standing up in his stirrups, waving his hat or his sword and cheering them on: “Forward! Forward!” But soon after those words left his lips, a Yankee shell exploded above and behind him, and a piece of shrapnel, later said to be the size of the end of one’s finger, pierced the back of his head at the hairline. The charge by the 3rd went on as Pelham fell from his horse.

The gallant Pelham never knew and never awakened. He would be mourned by thousands as he lay in state in Richmond, and from there he would be taken home to Alabama where he would be buried in his home town of Jacksonville. Young girls from Virginia and Alabama would weep at the loss of this brave and handsome southern officer, while the Confederate leadership would view this loss as a significant one. Major John Pelham’s star had burned brightly, but briefly for his cause.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Visit to Mobile - Confederate Sites in Downtown

Had the opportunity to visit Mobile for a business trip recently.  While those commitments limited any opportunity for spending much time looking around this historic city, I was pleasantly surprised with my view outside the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel.  My hotel room looked west from Mobile Bay.  On Friday morning as rain sprinkled down, I noticed on a median there on Government Street a statue and across the street two buildings, the Mobile County Probate Courthouse and the Mobile Municipal Courthouse had historical flag displays which included the Confederate Third National Flag.  Upon my departure, I stopped to get a couple photos.  The statue was a monument to Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes who was Captain of the legendary C.S.S. Alabama and included a large bronze statue of Semmes.  The statue bore the inscription, "Sailor, Patriot, Statesman, Scholar, and Christian Gentleman".  The base of the monument had a bronze relief of the C.S.S. Alabama.  The flag displays in front of the courthouses included historical flags of the countries under which Mobile existed including Spanish, French and English flags and of course the Confederate States of America which was represented by the Third National Flag.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Prattville Dragoons March Camp Meeting - Part 1

The Prattville Dragoons, Sons of Confederate Veterans, held their annual business meeting and elections on Thursday, March 12. A spirited gathering of members and four visitors was on hand, with one of the visitors submitting an application for membership and another being an SCV member from South Carolina who was in our area and attended our meeting for fellowship.

Several officer and committee reports were presented which highlighted the fact that we have an active camp and growing membership. Reports were presented by 1st Lt Harold Grooms for the Commander's Report and by Communications Officer Larry Spears for the Treasurer's and Newsletter Reports.  Special recognition was given to Compatriot Tyrone Crowley who recently stepped down as Newsletter Editor and Communications Officer after serving faithfully for ten years.

Officer elections were held with the following results: Stuart Waldo, Commander; Harold Grooms, 1LT. Commander; Benny Harris, 2 LT. Commander; Wayne Sutherland, Adjutant; Billy Leverette, Treasurer and Tom Snowden, Chaplain. These men will be installed at our April meeting for a one year term.

With the business completed, Compatriot Sam Reid gave an interesting report on the Stephen Dill Lee Institute’s recent lectures in Dallas, Texas concerning the politics, both north and south, of the War Between the States.

The meeting provided highlights of upcoming events and camp news and of course included pledges to the flags and Chaplain Snowden led everyone in an opening Invocation and closing Benediction.  The Dragoons adjourned the meeting with a reminder that the April gathering will be our annual camp picnic. The picnic will be one of several observances for Confederate History and Heritage Month for the month of April.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Announcing the Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2015

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter:

March Camp Meeting

The March camp meeting will be held on Thursday March 12th at 7pm at the Shoney’s on Cobbs Ford Road.  Come early to enjoy the Shoney’s buffet for dinner with fellow compatriots.
This is the annual business meeting so reports will be provided by current officers and elections will be held for all elected positions per the Camp Bylaws.  This is a very important meeting to attend and participate to help shape the leadership and direction of the camp.
Dragoon Camp Historian Sam Reid will also be presenting a synopsis of the recent Stephen Dill Lee Institute he and Tyrone Crowley attended in Dallas TX.  The theme of the speakers at the S.D. Lee lectures was “The Real Results of 1865.”  Sure to be an informative discussion. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp News

From the Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter for March 2015:

Graves Registry on SCV National Website – The National SCV.org website has a graves registry for archiving cemeteries and the Confederate veterans interred there.  Benny Harris has committed to helping get the Indian Hills, Robinson Springs and Rocky Mount cemeteries listed in that database; please contact him regarding any other cemeteries in Autauga and Elmore county.
Confederate History and Heritage Month – The Dragoons will be placing advertisements on the electronic billboards in downtown Prattville and at the intersection of Hwy 14 and I-65 with this announcement including the SCV logo.  Look for this ad displaying throughout the month of April.

Communications Officer and Newsletter Editor, Education Officer and Fundraising Officer - If anyone feels led to volunteer to help with any of these duties please contact Communications Officer Spears or Commander Waldo. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for March 2015

Chaplain’s Column:  Spiritual Growth
            The question of Christian growth has been weighing on my heart lately. Turning in the Bible we see in Philippians 3:12-15 that Paul urges us on to perfection, even though he was admittedly not completely there himself. He struggled to leave the past in the past and pursue the future. He shows that part of the process is maintaining a perfect attitude—a mind ready, willing and seeking after the prize of the high calling of Christ. We must sometimes look at the past to see how well we are attaining that goal to this point.
     Philippians 3:12 states “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Other recommended reading would be 1 Timothy 4:15.
     An arborist is a scientist who studies trees and other woody plants, usually individual specimens. A forester is a scientist who studies large swaths of woody plants like a forest. The domain of foresters and arborists overlaps at times in the pursuit of health of both trees and forests.
     I believe the Christian life is made up of two similar domains – individual days and life as a whole. Unfortunately, we get so caught up in the pressures of each day that we sometimes fail to step back and look at our spiritual life as a whole. Questions need to be asked: Since coming to know Christ, how have I grown spiritually and emotionally? What differences can I see over my entire Christian life, and over the last few months or years? What areas of my life in Christ need attention? The apostle Paul talked about “pressing On” toward Christ in his own life and talked to Timothy about making “progress” in his life as seen in 1 Timothy 4:15.
     The word picture in Philippians 3:12-14 is of men straining to win a foot race. The Christian life is especially like the longer races where the runner must sustain a winning frame of mind over a longer period of time. We cannot run our race like the hare of the "Tortoise and the Hare" fable, in which the hare took a nap during the race.
     Are you a spiritual arborist or forester? Are you focusing more on the trees or the forest? Ask God for His help in showing you how to measure your maturity.
     As the old hymn says we must “Take Time To Be Holy.” You see there are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity.  That maturity comes with a daily walk and a closer walk with the Lord each day of our lives.
     Remember to pray for the Dragoons that all we do will be pleasing to God. We could also pray for growth in membership.
     Please remember all those on our prayer list.

Yours In Christ,
Chaplain Tom Snowden

Friday, March 6, 2015

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

From the Prattville Dragoons Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter for March 2015:

Upcoming Events
Work Day at Indian Hills Cemetery - Saturday March 14th and April 11th 2015, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  -from the junction of Highways 82 and 14 in west Prattville, go north on Hwy 82 for two miles.Turn left onto County Road 86. Go 1.6 miles and Indian Hills Cemetery will be on your left.
Oak Hill Cemetery Flag Setting – Saturday March 28th at 8am setting Battle Flags on Confederate graves.
Dragoons Easter Picnic – The annual picnic will be held on Saturday April 4that Confederate Memorial Park the day before Easter; following the flag setting at 9am at the cemeteries, a program at 10:30am followed by a picnic lunch (meat provided by the camp, bring a covered dish); Easter goodie baskets will be provided for all children so please contact a camp officer if you will be bringing children to get a count for the Easter bunny.
Division Sesquicentrennial Event on April 11th, 2015 at 1pm at Spanish Fort, dedication of Fort McDermott Confederate Memorial park – scvsemmes@aol.com
Confederate Memorial Day – April 27th, 2015 10am at the Confederate Monument at the State Capitol
Indian Hills Cemetery Rededication on April 27th starting at 5:30pm, Confederate Memorial Day; event will include reenactments, cannon fire, music, speakers, and bonfires.
150th Anniversary of the Battle of Columbus (GA) on May 2 & 3, contact maintenance@portcolumbus.org or (706) 604-5768
Confederate Circle Dedication, May 23rd, 2015 1pm, Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma - This will be the culmination of a couple of years of dedicated effort at this very historic site by the Friends of Forrest. Tours starting at 9:30am.
2015 Alabama Division Reunion – June 5-7th, 2015 in Tallassee – see aladivscv.com for information
General Forrest’s Birthday Celebration – July 11th, 2015 at Ft. Dixie

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Commander's Column for March 2015 - Alabama Division Vision 2016 Initiative

Attended the Alabama Division Executive Committee meeting on Saturday February 28th at Dalraida Methodist Church in Montgomery.  After the Invocation by Chaplain Baker and the pledges to the Alabama State and Confederate Battle flags, Chief of Staff Russ Hare led everyone in Dixie playing his acoustic guitar.  Russ then made a brief presentation on Vision 2016, the SCVs initiative to grow membership and become recognized as the preeminent authority on Southern heritage and American liberty issues.  The National SCV GEC identified twelve areas of the organization which need attention in order to reach the Vision 2016 goals and five of these were highlighted as priorities, Education, Training, Marketing, Public Relations and Growth.
The Alabama Division has chosen to concentrate on Education and Marketing so a brainstorming session was conducted at the EC meeting where the attendees were separated into two groups to elicit ideas to advance these two areas.  For Marketing the top ideas were 1) to erect more flagpoles and signs, 2) sponsor golf or fishing tournaments, and 3) produce professional public service announcements for the Alabama Sons of Confederate Veterans.  1st Lt Jimmy Hill subsequently provided details on the Flags 4 Alabama program where the Division will purchase a 30 foot flagpole and the first flag for qualified projects/sites.  The Division website will be updated with further information for this program including project checklists. The Dragoons have identified the erection of a flag in Millbrook as one camp project to complete this year and this is in process with 1st Lt Booth checking on legal aspects including a deed for the required plot and Danny Smyth has volunteered to lead the effort for the installation of the flagpole.
The Education brainstorming group prioritized their top three ideas as 1) the development of educational material specifically for young people, 2) conduct Division workshops to explain the Cause and, 3) develop a list of talking points for Division camps and members to explain and justify the SCV and the Cause.  In the past, Tyrone Crowley and Commander Waldo’s wife Kerri have made presentations at Victory Baptist School and additional presentations are being scheduled for this spring to include providing Confederate coloring books to the students; these books are available from the Division and the Dragoons should invest in a supply of these for stores. An Education Officer’s position would be beneficial to advance these educational goals, responsible for delivering the Division educational posters and flyers for the area Living History events to local schools and helping to possibly coordinate more class presentations. 
Lt. Commander in Chief Tom Strain then presented a lineup of initiatives to help address membership recruitment and retention, another of the Vision 2016 goals, to grow the organization.  These included automatic draft of membership dues, an optional 3-year renewal term, creation of a Social Media Specialist position at the National level, streaming DEC meetings to the Divisions and camps, developing mobile device apps, producing widgets or goodies which can be distributed to camps to enhance recruiting events as promotional giveaways, branding the SCV and using it for product labeling including for instance bottled water, expanding the widespread use of the #ALSCV and #SCV Twitter hashtags for broadcasting communications, and creating an SCV television station utilizing a web based provider like Vimeo.  The Dragoons are well positioned utilizing social media including our blog website, Twitter and Facebook accounts but these fresh ideas are good concepts for helping recruitment efforts and growing SCV membership. 
All these initiatives are fantastic for meeting the goals of Vision 2016 and advancing the Cause but, they need ownership, follow-thru.  At the bottom of the EC Meeting agenda, a statement read, “Being right with no action is like a garden only filled with weeds.”  I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to fill positions of leadership and project ownership in the camp over the past year and those who have expressed interest in filling roles in the upcoming elections and other positions of need.  I am honored to serve with you all and to be associated with such an outstanding group of men as the Prattville Dragoons as together we advance the Cause.
Stuart Waldo

SCV Camp 1524 Commander