Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Open Letter to Alabama and South Carolina Politicians

Due respect should continue to be paid to the Confederate Veterans in our Alabama and South Carolina (and other Southern state's) history and heritage and the Confederate Battle flag under which thousands of these Southern patriots fought and died in their pursuit of forming a confederation following the principles under which the founding fathers of our United States fought and established our country.  I had three grandfathers who fought for the Confederacy and while it is tragic to see what recently occurred in Charleston in the senseless murder of worshippers in the AME church there, it is also tragic to witness the pandering, rants and demonstrations of those who are ignorant of Confederate history and Southern heritage, demanding that this beautiful honorable historic flag be removed from its place of honor at the Confederate memorial on the AL and SC state house grounds.  It should be recalled that it was just a few short years ago that the flag was removed from the SC state house dome to its current location which is protected by law as an historic memorial display.  And it is that, not some instigating or provocative symbol of hatred.  Now pandering posturing politicians would seek to remove the flag again from its rightful place.  This is the Sesquicentennial of the War for Southern Independence and now of the period of Reconstruction and their thoughtless decrees and pronouncements reminds us of the intolerant federal bureaucrats and carpetbaggers that continued the scorched earth destruction of the Southern states and their people and their heritage in this period following the War.  My ancestors fought for liberty and freedom from invading Union forces, were wounded, imprisoned and died during the War.  These were not slave owners and were not fighting to preserve their plantations, they returned after witnessing the carnage at battlefields including Manassas and Gettysburg after losing friends and comrades and incurring wounds themselves to protect their homes and families. These were American veterans as conferred by the Congress of the United States and these cowering politicians would dishonor them. These Southern heroes were on my mother's side of my family.  I have to remind those who would seek to dishonor their sacrifices that my father's side of the family accrued wealth in the slave trade, in Connecticut.  Never did the Confederate Battle Flag fly over a slave trading ship or market. My father was a military man and despite his being born and raised in Michigan and New York he named me after Confederate Generals Stuart and Forrest (and my sister after Lee) because of their brilliance exhibited on the battlefield, which is still recognized in military studies today.  Confederate Generals Lee and Stonewall Jackson were great Christian men beyond reproach and yet would be subject to character assassination by moronic uneducated people today who for good measure look upon Washington and Jefferson with equal disdain. I would encourage these politicians to look deep within themselves, to reflect, to recognize and appreciate our Southern history and continue to support it in this new attack on our heritage. Hateful misguided people will continue to desecrate the memory of our valiant Confederate veterans by misusing their beloved flag but that should not allow those who are ignorant of the principles and ideals which our forefathers cherished and pursued to diminish the rightful importance of honoring their memory.  It might be noted that it was observed that the US flag was flying at the home of this murderer but I have not heard demands for its removal from the public square certainly.  Please keep the Confederate Battle flag flying in its rightful place of honor and respect deserved of the American Confederate veterans who sacrificed their all.    

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Ku Klux Klan

                                                The Three Klans of America
Actually there have been 3 separate and distinct Klans in America. The first, formed shortly after the Civil War in Dec. 1865, is discussed in greater detail later, and was disbanded by order of Gen. N. B. Forrest in 1869.

The second entirely different Ku Klux Klan was created about 1915, and was formed more out of a sense for job security. These were the hard times leading up to the Great Depression and the Stock Market Crash, and jobs were scarce. The whites figured that if foreign immigrants and Blacks were scared out of town that that would mean less job competition. None of these Klan members carried a Confederate flag -- anytime they paraded it was always with the Stars and Stripes. This second Klan is the one that got increasingly violent. It ended about 1933 as economic recovery took hold.

The third Klan, and its remnants, is what we see today. It was formed in the 1950's mainly to publicize white supremacy and put blacks in a second-class citizen type category, and to a minor purpose as the 1900's klan -- to scare blacks out of town. Much of this was in response to the growing civil rights movement and a great deal to opposition to Federal forced desegregation. This third klan became very violent and took on more of a terrorist identity.

Unfortunately, they still exist around the country today. This is NOT the same Klan as in the 1860’s.
Short history of the original Klan of 1865: It was called the KuKlux, being modeled after the social society of ancient Greece (Kuklos), and in Greek it means 'social circle' or 'social club'. Only months later was the word 'Klan' added, for alliteration.

After the Civil War, Tennessee was under martial law and ruled by a tyrannical anti-south governor named Parson William Brownlow. He hated all ex-Confederates and their relatives, and installed his henchmen in most of the public offices of the state. Brownlow and his ‘enforcers’ tripled the taxes and began confiscating land from both white and black farmers. This “Reconstruction” was actually the “Re-Destruction” of the South. At this time, women couldn't vote, blacks couldn't vote, and ex-Confederates couldn't vote, leaving only the remaining loyalists and Brownlow's friends who could vote -- and they naturally voted for legislation that would benefit themselves. Brownlow and his thugs ruled Tennessee with an iron hand.

Meanwhile in Pulaski, TN (halfway between Memphis and Nashville) the secret social club KuKlux was formed by six ex-Confederate soldiers (Gen. Forrest was NOT present nor had any idea of its formation). As the weeks wore on, and the oppression continued, these KuKluxers determined that the Pulaski sheriff (Brownlow's puppet) had to be run out of town. The men (now 8 members) dressed up in white sheets and hoods, representing the spirits of their fallen comrades, and also to disguise themselves, since they had no rights and assembly was illegal. The plan worked, and soon it was instituted on Brownlow's tax collector, running him out of town. The KuKluxers quickly restored stability and law & order to Pulaski, and the idea spread to other Tennessee towns. The KuKlux became a protectionist organization for law-abiding blacks and whites. It was not at all directed at Black southerners.

In the next year, 1866, the KKK had grown across the state, and into other states, and the original leaders decided they needed a central respected figure to head up the organization. This would be the best way to restore order to the South and to combat the dishonest carpetbaggers that had descended upon the region. In 1867, a year and a half after the Klan’s formation, General N. B. Forrest was elected in absentia to be the next president, and given the title of Grand Wizard. There is no corroborating evidence, however, that Forrest ever assumed the position or was even a member. The Klan became even more active, and successful, in opposing Brownlow's brigands and in preventing the South from being financially obliterated.

In February 1867 the Tennessee Legislature enfranchised freedmen, and the Radical Republicans established local chapters of the Union League, a political arm of the party, to mobilize the new black voters. Invariably however, these Union Leagues spawned armed squads of roving black gangs intent on bullying and intimidating the white populace. The Union Leagues were led by mostly urban blacks from the North, who had never been slaves – or neighbors of southern whites.

In some respects the KKK became the conservative ex-Confederates' answer to the Union League, a rallying point for white Democrats determined to drive freedmen, radical Republicans, and their allies from the polls. During the spring of 1867 the KKK's innocent beginnings began to give way to intimidation as some of its members sought to keep the Union Leagues at bay, and the KKK was likewise used to keep the peace in many areas.

At the end of 1868, Brownlow resigned as governor, and his successor, Dewitt Senter, quickly instituted reforms to the state, including restoring the right to vote to ex-Confederates. The iron-fist tyranny of Brownlow was over. Law and order was restored.

By this time also, some violent elements had entered the Klan, and Forrest, with his prominence, tried to discourage this. In early 1869, the KuKlux had served its purpose and Brownlow was gone. Forrest, using his well-respected influence, ordered that the Klan be disbanded, and it ceased to exist. The days of the first KKK were at an end.

The 1871 Congressional investigation of the Klan lasted 5 days and interviewed scores of witnesses, including the governor of Tenn. This Congressional committee completely exonerated Gen. Forrest, saying that “there was NO evidence that Forrest was associated with, rode with, or led the KuKlux, whatsoever.”

Gen. Forrest Historical Society, www.nbforrest.org

Friday, June 26, 2015

Announcing Southern Heritage Rally at Alabama State Capitol

The South needs her sons now just as badly as she needed them during the War of Northern Aggression. Alabama and the rest of the South is going through another Reconstruction; we need to let our voices be heard to protest the attempted purging of all things Confederate. Come to the Capitol Confederate monument Saturday June 27th at 10:00am for the Southern Heritage rally. 


Confederate Heritage Event in Wetumpka

Prattville Dragoons including Commander Waldo, Communication Officer Larry Spears and Tyrone Crowley attended another wonderful Confederate Heritage event in Wetumpka on Saturday June 13th hosted by Mike Whorton.  A half dozen vendors offered food including hotdogs and Connecuh sauusage, beans with cornbread and cracklin.  Wares included Confederate items but also handmade quilts and jewelry.  Rides down US Hwy 231 looping back thru the woods were offered in two mule drawn wagons with hay seating.  There were even pony rides with youngsters able to wear a cowboy hat for their laps around the fenced area.  It was a warm Alabama late spring day but the League building offered a cool air conditioned respite.  A couple of vintage old Fords with rumble seats were parked in front of the building offering another glimpse of yesteryear.  A wonderful band entertained everyone from the front porch and it seemed different folks with different instruments joined the jam session after every couple of songs.  It was a great day to enjoy some good Southern music and food with Confederate compatriots admiring the beautiful Confederate flags aligned along Hwy 231 flying in the light breeze.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sons of Confederate Veterans Press Release Regarding Charleston SC Shooting

FROM THE CHIEF OF HERITAGE DEFENSE

 AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
 

The unspeakable tragedy at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church is being already being used by some in the "agititation/propaganda" business to further divide good hearted people of different heritages, especially in the Southern states. 

We 30,000 members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are heartbroken by this depraved and insane act of murder. Our deepest sympathies and our most heartfelt prayers are with the victims and loved ones of this heinous act of a deluded racist.   

We at the S.C.V. have long detested the use of our forefather's symbols by racist groups and individuals. We consider it to be a cowardly desecration of our inheritance. Our ancestors fought for the South and of that we are not ashamed. In the 150 years since the War ended, the men and women of the South, of all colors, have contributed a higher percentage of military volunteers than any other region of our nation. This country would not exist were it not for Southerners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. We are American patriots to the core. 

The mindless murders at Emanuel AME Church were an act of purposeful evil. Those who try to make larger political hay out of this are misguided and forgetful of our common heritage. As a nation of many ethnicities we should all extend tolerance and understanding to every individual of every heritage. And that should include those of us of Confederate heritage. 

We must not allow the sickness of one demented individual to become that with which the media and our opponents define us. We are the same good-hearted people that we were last week and last year. 

May the Lord be with those who are suffering from the dreadful murders in Charleston. We stand with them to decry racism and to decry those who wish to divide us in the aftermath of this evil.

Ben Jones
Chief of Heritage Defense
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Monday, June 22, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for June 2015

The Dragoon June camp meeting was very well attended by approximately 30 members, guests and three potential new members, two of whom submitted applications to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Division and Brigade awards that Dragoon members received at the Division Reunion on Saturday June the 6th were shared with the camp. Camp members who received awards included Commander Stuart Waldo - N.B. Forrest Award, Tyrone Crowley - the Stonewall Jackson Award and Newsletter of the Year award and Tom Snowden - Chaplain of the Year award.
More awardees were 1 Lt. Commander Harold Grooms, Larry Spears, James Spears, 2 Lt. Commander Benny Harris and Tom Crowley.  

Chaplain Snowden opened and closed the meeting with prayers and Color Sgt Brent Jenks led everyone in pledges to the US, Alabama and Confederate Battle flags.  Commander Waldo read S.D. Lee's Charge to the SCV and presented the announcements including camp news and upcoming events.  Special guests included first time attendees Mr. Simon and Bailey.  Waldo also gave a report-out on the Alabama Division Reunion and passed along the Book of Reports and Reunion program for everyone to look at.  

The guest speaker was Bob Bradley, Chief Curator for the Alabama Archives and History who enlightened us on the various names of the war of 1861 - 1865 and the history behind those names. He also discussed the status of conservation of Confederate flags belonging to the Alabama Archives. So far a total of over $286,000 has been donated for  conservation of 25 flags and there are additional ones which will be conserved. Camp 1524  has donated annually to this fund since 2004 totalling contribution of approximately $5000. A donation check of $500 to the fund was presented at this meeting. The Alabama Division SCV and UDC, other SCV camps and UDC chapters, Re-enactor organizations, individuals and others groups have donated to the Archies and without this money the flags would have crumbled to dust according to Mr. Bradley. 

Bradley then spoke of the names for the "American War". There have long been debates over the naming of the War even during the conflict.  Historical figures then soon after secession and early in the war referred to it as the civil war but as the war progressed that became more rare. Many just referred to it as The War. The War for Southern Independence was first named during this era but even General Lee and his staff and General Forrest in his final address to his troops said civil war.  Even soon after the war, Southerners called it civil war. But debates intensified and when the federal government adopted as the official name, War of the Rebellion, this resulted in the Confederate Veterans at their reunion in 1898 to issue a proclamation officially stated the war should be called the Civil War Between the States.  The UDC at the same time resolved it should be named the War Between the States and they were quite successful in even changing period textbooks. But other names have been used ever since including Brother's War, Confederate War, War of the Sections, War for Southern Freedom, War Between the States, War for Empire, War for States Rights, Lincoln's War, War of Northern Aggression, the Lost Cause and many others. 

Compatriot Allen Herrod played his very professional video of the Indian Hill re-dedication ceremony during the fellowship hour before the meeting. Allen has copies of the video available for a contribution of $5. The video and sound quality are excellent and he has added captions to help explain who is speaking. 
James Spears Receives his Award

Tom Crowley
Chaplain Snowden

Tyrone Crowley

Saturday, June 20, 2015

2015 Sons of Confederate Veterans Alabama Division Reunion

The SCV Alabama Division Reunion was hosted by the Tallassee Armory Guards Camp 1921, June 5-6, 2015.  The convention was a tremendous success. On Friday evening the 5th, a Commander's Reception was held at the historic General Burkett Daveport Fry House (constructed in 1864 to house one of the overseers of the Tallassee Confederate Armory).  The Camp 1921 String Band played  on the porch and the food was delicious including Southern fried chicken fingers.

On Saturday morning the 6th, the convention including the business session was conducted at the Tallassee Elementary School.  Commander Randall Hughey of the Tallassee Camp welcomeed everyone and reminded us all why we also salute the U.S. flag, to honor the service of the Southerners who fought under that flag before and after the War Between the States.  Appropriately, the AL Division reunion was being held on the 71st anniversary of D-day and the American contingent there was led by thee old Stonewall Jackson Brigade; 9368 Americans died at Normandy.  Hughey exclaimed that "the South will lead the country's return to greatness." Chaplain Charles Baker then led everyone in an opening prayer.  The Tallassee Camp then provided a color guard which placed the flags and 2nd Lt Carl Jones then led everyone in the pledges.

A greeting from CiC Kelly Barrow was read by Tallassee's Tim Hobbs and Army of Tennessee Commander Tom Strain in attendance also greeted those gathered. Alabama State Representative Mike Holmes then read a prepared welcome which reflected on the history of the area.  A letter from U.S. Representative Martha Roby was also read.  Commander Carlyle was next and added that Bob Howard should be recognized as another great Alabama U.S. soldier, one of the most highly decorated ever.  Gary recognized past Division Commanders in attendance and offered that prayers should be extended to those in need including those unable to attend the Reunion. Gary summarized some of the great recent events throughout the Division including the Sesquicentennial event at Ft. McDermott, the Selma Confederate Circle rededication, the Union Springs resolution where Confederate Battle flags were replaced on veterans graves in the cemetery there with the encouragement of the mayor and participation by SCV members as well as local citizens; the event included the playing of Dixie by Russ Hare.

1st Lt Jimmy Hill read S.D. Lee's Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans then came the Division Officer's Reports including Commander Carlyle, Chaplain Baker, Adjutant Mike Williams and Treasurer Larry Muse.  These reports were provided in a Book of Reports.  The highlight of Mike's presentation was news that the motorcycle license plate bill had passed the state legislature and was on the governors desk; this will make SCV tags available for motorcycles in the state of Alabama with proceeds benefiting heritage; Mike also showed everyone the new SCV vehicle tag design that they are trying to expedite thru state approvals.  Commander Carlyle also mentioned a veterans bill which we seeking to introduce which mirrors a similar bill in Tennessee prohibiting the renaming of state parks, schools, streets etc named for veterans of any and all historical wars including Confederates who fought in the WBTS.

Following a short break, Mike Williams continued with a report of the Living History event at Confederate Memorial Park in April which 400 kids attended. Russ Hare then gave a presentation on Vision 2016 and the efforts to grow membership thru marketing and educational material.  Commander Strain suggested many items are available with the SCV brand affixed which can be provided at recruitment events.  Strain then presented the Constitutional Amendments including one requiring members to provide SCV membership cards or picture IDs when attending the annual Reunion.

Lunch was a delicious barbeque with cole slaw and baked beans and a cake decorated like a Confederate Battle flag.  Brigade and Division Awards were announced during lunch.  Larry Muse and Jimmy Hill then presented details for the AL Division's Flags 4 Alabama initiative to erect Battle flags on high traffic thoroughfares across the state.  Commander Carlyle provided some closing remarks and instructions and the reunion was closed with a Benediction offered by Chaplain Baker.

A Confederate Memorial Service was held at Rose Cemetery in Tallassee immediately following the reunion conclusion.  At 6pm, an Awards Banquet was held back at Tallassee Elementary with George Wallace Jr as the guest speaker.  Food was again delicious and the Camp 1921 String Band provided music entertainment but Wallace joined in an impromptu jam session. A well run and enjoyable 2015 Alabama Division Reunion.
Prattville Dragoons at the Division Reunion

Commander Carlyle Addresses the Reunion

Thursday, June 18, 2015

WAS EDMUND PETTUS REALLY A KLANSMAN?

Reprinted letter published in the Selma Times-Journal today, June 5, 2015 by Alston Fitts, well-known historian of Selma AL:

WAS EDMUND PETTUS REALLY A KLANSMAN?
                                               By  Alston Fitts

       Sometimes good stories about historical figures become popular even though they're very poor history.   Claude Grayson's MEMORIES OF SELMA offers a lovely example.  According to Grayson, during Reconstruction Judge Jonathan Haralson ran for Congress against his former slave, Jeremiah Haralson, and lost.  It's a good story, illustrating how topsy-turvy politics was in that era.
       The only problem is that it's not true; the race was between Jeremiah Haralson and a “Liberal Republican” from Mobile, Frederick Bromberg.  Judge Haralson's only involvement in the affair was to write a letter to the Democrats in Congress, urging them to seat his former slave.
       Recently another “good story” has become popular: the assertion that Edmund Pettus was the grand dragon of Alabama's Ku Klux Klan.  You can see why people would want to believe that the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which has become a symbol of racial oppression, was named after a leader of the Klan.
       There is a problem with the story.  There were no contemporary references to Pettus being associated with the Klan.  And in fact, there was no Klan activity in Selma during Reconstruction.
       This may be hard for some people to believe.  The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published an article a few years ago identifying Selma’s John Tyler Morgan as the Grand Dragon of the Alabama branch of the Klan.  The  SPLC made this charge as part of its vilification of Morgan Academy, suggesting that the school had chosen its name to honor a vicious Klansman.   I suppose they would think the same thing about the University of Alabama, whose English department is located in Morgan Hall.   Of course, the University had other reasons to honor Morgan; as senator he secured federal money to help the University rebuild.   And we Selmians remember that Morgan Academy  was first set up in Morgan’s old home on Tremont  street, which was reason enough for the fledgling school to take his name.
       Even Selma’s friends find themselves caught up in the negative image of the city.  Judge Val McGee, one of our city’s best friends, wrote a novel called SELMA about the city’s travails during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  He and I both attended a historical conference at the Alabama State Archives in Montgomery at which the major address was being made by a Birmingham historian who has written a book on the Alabama Klan.  At the conference Judge McGee stood up and reported on his plans to write the novel, which would have as its climax a dramatic confrontation with the Klan on the streets of Selma. But to his dismay, Judge McGee’s research had turned up no evidence of Klan activity in Selma during the period in question.  When the historian confirmed this, Val exclaimed in dismay, ‘WHY NOT?”
      It may be hard for some people to believe, but the contemporary evidence is hard to deny.  In 1867 Selma became the first city in Alabama (with the possible exception of Mobile) to hire African American policemen.  Alabama historian John Witherspoon DuBose  asserted that many communities would have risen up against such a “premeditated wrong and deliberate insult,” but the whites of Selma did not.  Why not? “John T. Morgan, N.H.R. Dawson, Charles M. Shelley, Edmund W. Pettus ... and their peers lived in town and their wisdom and courage prevailed” (pp. 262-63, Alabama’s Tragic Decade).
       Jean Martin put it more neatly than DuBose:  “Why didn’t we have a Klan during Reconstruction?  Because General  Pettus wouldn’t let us.”
        When the Klan was riding across much of West Alabama in 1868, Selma's Democratic newspaper laid down the law: violence was the last thing the city needed.  Instead of driving blacks from the polls, the Democratic leaders would seek to win their votes.
       They didn’t succeed that year, but in 1870 they succeeded in electing a Democratic mayor of Selma, James M. Dedman,  even though the city was majority-black.  Their success provoked an attack by the Mobile Register, that was outraged that Selma whites would stoop to asking blacks for their votes.  One suspects that the Register also disapproved of Mayor Dedman’s not firing the city’s black policemen.
       In 1870, of course, Selma elected Ben Turner Alabama’s first black congressman.  How did Pettus and other white leaders react to this “insult”? Pettus paid public tribute to Turner as “a man of brains and will.”   (Of course, the fact that Turner was fighting to get amnesty for the old Confederate leaders no doubt made a difference.)
       The congressional committee that investigated Klan activity in Alabama in 1871 found a lot in North Alabama but none in Dallas County.  The only incident that turned up in Selma was  an attempted lynching of a white criminal by a black mob -- a lynching  that could have precipitated a race riot had Pettus not joined forces with our Radical Republican sheriff (a Union veteran) taken charge.
       A Mobile carpetbagger wrote in 1874 that there were only a few places in Alabama where you were safe from the Klan – and named Selma as one of them.  His notion was that Selma had too much valuable property to afford violence.  After all, much of the city had been burned to the ground in 1865.   Leading carpetbagger General Datus Coon once blustered that if a single Union man was killed in Selma, the city would be reduced to ashes once again.
       Congressman James T. Rapier, testifying before Congress in 1878, confided that the Democrats of Dallas County had used “Sunday school methods”to regain political power, not the violent methods used in some other counties.  The Democratic majority in the Alabama Legislature simply abolished the positions held by black leaders (like Alabama’s first black judge, R.B. Thomas) and created new positions that would be appointed by the governor instead of elected by the people.
       Edmund Pettus was a leader of Alabama’s white conservatives who was willing to use “Sunday School methods” to regain power.  But he was no Grand Dragon.

(Pettus was also a lawyer, judge, officer in the U.S.Army, Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, and a U.S. Senator following the War Between the States.  Certainly a notable Alabama historical figure.)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sos of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 News

From the June 2015 Camp Dispatch for the Prattville Dragoons:

Prattville Cityfest – The Dragoons again sponsored an info booth at the annual Prattville Cityfest along Main Street on Saturday May 2nd.  Hundreds of mini Battle flags and SCV coins were provided to passers-by.  Many large flags were sold from the camp stores and contacts were made for SCV and UDC membership information.
Indian Hill Cemetery Recognition – Sunday May 31st, Mrs. Mary Ann Neely, probably the most well-known local historian in Montgomery and past President of Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery which manages Old Alabama Town visited Indian Hill Cemetery to stand with her sisters, Mrs. Lenore Kirkpatrick and Mrs. Libba Johnson, at the headstone of their sixth great-grandmother, Euphemia Graham. Mrs. Neely stated with great emphasis that she would like the Prattville Dragoons to know that she considers what they have accomplished there to be very well done and a most important contribution to the local community and to the history of this area.  

The Dragoons also received a letter of appreciation from two Thomas descendants:

          To the Volunteers from The Prattville Dragoons Camp 1524:

We, Marie Bush and Helen Sheffer, want to express our gratitude to everyone who participated in the clean-up and re-dedication of Indian Hill Cemetery.  We appreciate all the volunteers who volunteered their time and also for their hard work.

You did a great service to this community and to this cemetery.  We are very pleased with how the cemetery looks.  It really makes us proud to see that people still care about old and forgotten cemeteries.  Hopefully it will continue to be cleaned and cared for.

May God bless each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Marie Bush and Helen Sheffer
Granddaughters of Blake and Martha Thomas

Allen Herrod has volunteered a crew to mow Indian Hill Cemetery once per month for maintenance!

Union Springs Heritage Violation – Commander Carlyle and other AL Division staff and SCV members went to Union Springs the morning of Saturday May 23rd with the approval of the town Mayor to set Battle Flags on the Confederate graves to replace those illicitly removed by Myron Penn
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 counties.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column

From the June 2015 Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter:

The Purpose of Life
Scripture 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
            Have you ever asked the question, why am I here on earth? No doubt this question has crossed everybody’s mind at some point in our lives. Unscriptural theories of evolution suggest that we are merely taking up space and will return to nothingness when we die. Others believe the cultural propaganda saying that we choose our own destiny or we can live for any cause we choose. But that is absolutely untrue! The Lord has placed us on this earth to fulfill His purpose.
     Our heavenly Father has a unique plan for every person’s life, but He means for us all to share one goal: to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. The process of perfecting our moral, spiritual, and physical selves begins here on earth and is finished in heaven. Much of the work the Lord does in our earthly lives centers on our character. He shows us how to be as loving, kind, and peaceful as Jesus.
     One would think that being like God’s Son must require a lot of effort on our part. But the truth is, we are not called to work at it. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer and then lives the life of Christ through him or her. As Christians we have the responsibility to be submissive to His guidance. That means that we are to respond to every circumstance and each event with this question: "How can we use this to make us more like Jesus?"
     Our sovereign Lord is behind everything that happens in our lives. This means that He directly instigates the situation in our lives or He allows them to take place. Both trials and triumphs are engineered to fulfill Gods great purpose: crafting a life that reflects His love and glory to the world.
     Let’s not forget those on our prayer list.

Yours In Christ
Tom Snowden, Chaplain
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

From the Prattville Dragoons Camp 1524 Dispatch newsletter:

Jefferson Davis Birthday Celebration – Wednesday June 3rd, 11am at the First White House of the Confederacy including birthday cake

2015 Alabama Division Reunion – June 5-7th, 2015 in Tallassee – see aladivscv.com for information; one constitutional amendment and one change to the standing orders will be voted
General Forrest’s Birthday Celebration – July 11th, 2015 at Ft. Dixie
2015 SCV  National Reunion – July 15-19th, Richmond Va – for further information see http://www.jebstuartcamp.org/jebstuartcamp.org/2015reunion/
Prattville Dragoons Dixie Butt Fundraiser – coming in August – this is our primary fundraiser which provides the means for accomplishing all our camp continues to do to carry forth the Charge

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Announce the June Meeting of Camp 1524

June Camp Meeting

The June Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 meeting will be held on Thursday June 11th at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville at 7pm. Come early to enjoy the Shoneys buffet or an entrée and to enjoy some special presentations of the recent Indian Hill and Selma Confederate Circle Cemetery rededication programs
Bob Bradley will be the guest speaker and his appearance will provide the opportunity to present our camp’s check to him for ongoing flag preservation at the Alabama State Archives. Bob is the Chief Curator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. From 1974-1986, Bradley was a historian with the National Park Service and from 1986- 1988 he was Historic Sites Administrator for the Alabama Historical Commission. Since coming to the Archives in 1988 he has been responsible for the preservation, documentation, and conservation of the Department's collection of nearly a half-million artifacts. He is the author of Documenting the WBTS Period Flag Collection at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
We will also have a debriefing of the Alabama Division Reunion by Dragoons who attended this annual conference held in Tallassee on June 5-6th. Camp 1524 was represented by Commander Waldo, 1st Lieutenant Grooms, 2nd Lt. Harris, Communications Officer Spears, Brigade Commander Brantley, Tyrone Crowley, and George Jenks.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for June 2015

Confederate Circle Rededication
             Read the Montgomery Advertiser article by Alvin Benn “reporting” or commenting on the Confederate Circle rededication in Selma held on Saturday May 23rd and wanted to post a comment regarding the article and rebuffing some other posted comments.  Mike Williams (Montgomery Semple Camp) posted some nice succinct rebuttals but mine just grew too lengthy so I decided instead to post them as my column for June.  
There were numerous inaccuracies and omissions in the article.  If I had to estimate the number of attendees, it was closer to 400 than the 200 “proud Confederate descendants” Benn could or wanted to count. Instead of paying tribute to the heroism of the 160 Confederate veterans interred there, the article only accounted for “more than 100” and incorrectly maintained that General Forrest himself was laid to rest there.  The article didn’t do justice to the extent of the work performed and still planned for the cemetery including the stonework, informational kiosks and enhanced access with handicapped provisions.  The featured speakers at the Rededication did a fine job of highlighting the heroism of the Confederate veterans interred at Old Live Oak Cemetery there including many defenders of Selma.  The article failed to mention these heroes and the importance of Selma to the Confederacy and the significance of the Battle of Selma as one of the last of the War for Southern Independence.
The article rightly described Forrest as a “great military tactician” but sought to tie him to the KKK by citing unnamed historians.  Benn threw out the requisite bone to the radical “black activists” equating “Forrest to Hitler and said honors bestowed on the general by Southern whites were far from justified”.  Forrest and Hitler?  Really?  What parallels could possibly being made in comparing those two figures excepting inflammatory non-sensical rhetoric.  He apparently didn’t bother to listen to Bill Rambo’s speech on Forrest.  No recognition of the credence military institutes bestow on Forrest’s timeless tactical and leadership genius.  Didn’t care to mention the desecration and anarchy the militant fringe “activists” employed attempting to disparage the memory and honor due Forrest and the veterans there at Live Oak as rightful historical patriots and defenders of Selma.  Didn’t care to question the hooligan's motives creating racial tension and negatively impacting the promotion of the historical significance of the cemetery and of Selma in this Sesquicentennial period. 
A couple commenters deemed the article the appropriate venue to show their ignorance of the historical record and jump on their soapbox to decry the “evil racist Southern plantation owners” as representative of the whole of the Confederacy and the Cause for which the Confederate veterans fought and died.  The South fought to defend their homes and families from the beginning of the war at the First Battle of Manassas when Union troops invaded Virginia under Brig. Gen McDowell til the end when Lee surrendered his Army of Virginia defending Petersburg and Richmond.  The North fought to “Preserve the Union” (as emblazoned for example on the entry arch to the National Military Cemetery in Marietta GA and countless other references).  Why would they want to force the Southern states back into the Union with their repulsive baggage of slavery?  Money.  Wars are fought for money.  Wars are fought for territories including their resources and whole economies which equates to money.  Wars simply are not fought for magnanimous ideals but for conquests from the beginning of recorded history to modern times. Even the Great Crusades could be viewed as having a goal of converting territories (and trade routes) from pagan and Muslim to Christian western control. In the Pacific theatre during World War II, the Allies fought the Japanese forces seeking to establish a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Cold War and associated conflicts were fought to preserve capitalism and democracy over communism and the opposing economic systems, preserving associated trading partners and economic zones.  Recent Mideast conflicts were fought to preserve or create friendly governments to largely ensure continued economic trading in that volatile region, most specifically of oil. 
The North wanted the tax revenue from the South which they depended on to fund their industrial and infrastructure projects in the New England states.  Lincoln wished to continue the Federal imperialistic expansionism to grow the United States from sea to shining sea.  This expansionism and imperialism was continued after the war in the extermination of the Indian nations of the west and railroad construction westward.  Besides losing his income to the national treasury with the secession of the Southern states, Lincoln could not afford to have a formidable competing country on the same continent with a capital a mere 100 miles from Washington DC, one competing for the same continental resources and westward territory and international trading partners.  The fall of Selma was but one but an important step in the quickening demise of the Confederate forces and the fall of the Confederacy and the resultant unfettered expansionism of the Union and the Federal control and domination of the states and the citizenry.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Selma's Old Live Oak Cemetery Confederate Circle Rededication

Several compatriots from Camp 1524 were able to attend the re-dedication of Confederate Circle at Live Oak Cemetery in Selma on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Dragoon attendees included Commander Stuart Waldo, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, Past Commander Wyatt Willis, Tyrone Crowley, Louis Turner, Tom Crowley, Paul Whaley and Tyler Suttle.  Before the program commenced many including these Dragoons searched around the pedestal mounted cannon to find their ancestors memorialized on paving stones placed about the monument , the base of which will provide historical informational plaques. Tyrone Crowley portrayed President Jefferson Davis including posing for portraits sitting in Davis' memorial stone chair located within the Circle. The Dragoons were recognized in the program with one of the $500 Donors Plaques which will be placed on one of the commemorative benches placed under the trees within Confederate Circle. 

By all accounts, it was a glorious day for a celebration of a Confederate Victory in Selma. The weather was a perfect Alabama spring day with bright blue skies and an occasional light breeze rustling the leaves of the old oaks and the beautiful Confederate flags in the cemetery.  UDC chapter president Pat Godwin emceed the event and acknowledged the fact that the UDC now had a valid deed to Confederate Circle in Live Oak cemetery. Her tireless work, along with many others, led to this hard fought victory. Congratulations to Pat, the Friends of Forrest and the UDC!

The Mayor of Selma was in attendance as well as a number of other dignitaries including Probate Judge Kimbrough Ballard who read the proclamation designating April as Confederate History and Heritage Month in Dallas County.  Many officers from the UDC including President Linda Edwards and SCV Division staff including Commander Gary Carlyle and 1st Lt Jimmy Hill were among the enthusiastic crowd at Confederate Circle. 

The 5th Alabama Regimental Band provided prelude music and special music including Amazing Grace and Dixie.  Additionally, Mrs. Ellen Williams, President of the UDC Chapter 2662 in Leroy AL sang a heartfelt rendition of "God Save the South".  General Bill Rambo and the 33rd Alabama Color Guard under the direction of Col. Paul Whaley presented the colors and provided an honor guard and a round of musket salutes.  Johnny Westerfield and White's Battery from Monteagle TN provided four sets of powerful cannon salutes which put an unequivocal exclamation on the program.  
Certainly a highlight of the program was the unveiling of the new bust of General Nathan Bedford Forrest by Bill Rambo and Todd Kiscaden.  While Pat was undeniably the woman of the hour for her tireless pursuit of the rightful honoring of these Confederate heroes at Live Oak Cemetery,Todd was equally the man of the hour, owner of KTK Mining Company LLC who professionally directed the work and crew for the security and beautification enhancements for the Confederate Circle project. Todd was the final speaker of the program presenting "Our Southern Culture and Who We Are".  Bill Rambo provided a wonderful synopsis of "General Forrest" including examples of his military genius and why Forrest was deserving of his place and recognition in Selma and at Confederate Circle. .Dr. Cecil Williamson delivered an amazing inspirational speech and was interrupted numerous times by applause delivering his "History of Live Oak, Confederate Memorial Circle". Benjamin Austin completed the series of guest speakers with a recounting of the "The Two Mass Graves of 156 Confederate Soldiers" interred there at Live Oak Cemetery in the Circle.

A closing prayer by rev. Von McQueen was followed by Taps played by buglers Raymond Kell of Montgomery and Hoss Perry of White's Battery.  Following this wonderful comprehensive program a reception was held at The Smitherman museum and a Roll Call of the Confederate's buried at Confederate Circle was conducted at dusk back at the cemetery.  A beautiful day in the heart of Dixie.
The 5th Alabama Regimental Band 

Cannon with Memorial Pavers

Tyrone Crowley as Jefferson Davis

Memorial Pavers for Michael Crowley (foreground) and Elijah Hunt (Waldo, background)

Pat Godwin Opens the Program

Tom Crowley and Bill Rambo Look On

The Crowd Looks Towards the Podium Beneath the Confederate Soldiers Monument

Col. Paul Whaley and the Color Guard

Chaplain Dr. Baker and Commander Carlyle (foreground), Virginia Flaggers with Susan Hathaway (background)

Dragoons Waldo, Tom Crowley, Tyrone Crowley and Sutherland



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jefferson Davis' Birthday - June 3rd

From Roger K. Broxton, Andalusia AL, Confederate Heritage Fund




 Jefferson Davis was notable American 




Monday is a state holiday in honor of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis. One of the most popular and forward-looking Americans of his time, Davis graduated from West Point in 1828, serving as second lieutenant in the Wisconsin Territory.




In 1845 Davis was elected to the U.S. Congress, but left to serve in the Mexican-American War as colonel of the First Mississippi Volunteers. Davis became a national hero for his victories at the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista with tactics that won praise both here and abroad.




President James Polk offered Davis the rank of general, but he declined, stating the Constitution gives the power of appointing officers to the states, not the federal government.




Davis was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1848 and selected to be on the first Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.




In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis his U.S. Secretary of War, whereupon, Davis:


Strengthened coastal defenses and equipped the Army with Mississippi rifles;


Sponsored the purchase from Mexico of today’s southern Arizona and part of New Mexico, providing a route for the Transcontinental Railroad to the Pacific; and


Directed the expansion of the U.S. Capitol and construction on the Washington Aqueduct and Washington Monument.




In 1857 Davis was again elected to the U.S. Senate.


 



Monday, June 1, 2015

Jefferson Davis' Birthday Celebration at First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery AL

All are cordially invited to attend

The First White House of the Confederacy Annual
 Jefferson Davis Birthday Party

 Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 11:00 at the First White House

Guest speaker will be Dick Garrett

Please join us as we honor the President of the ConfederateStates of America

Birthday cake will be served

 The public is invited.

The House is OPEN ON SATURDAYS  and weekdays from 8-4:30
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