Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 held their monthly meeting at Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Rd in Prattville AL on Thursday June 9th. Almost 30 compatriots were in attendance including welcoming one prospective new member who submittted paperwork. Following Chaplain Snowden's Invocation and the reading of the SCV Charge by Commander Waldo, announcements included the upcoming (actually the following day) Alabama Division Reunion in Cullman and other events like the Forrest Birthday party in Selma and the Natiional SCV Convention in Dallas in July as well as the camp's Dixie butt fundraiser coming up in August. A very happy 73rd birthday to Tyrone Crowley and also an 81st birthday to former camp chaplain Bill Branch were extended with applause if not a Happy Birthday song. Jack Caraway of the Captain Henry Semple Camp in
Montgomery was the guest speaker for the camp meeting. His topic was the Battle of Fort Pillow including details about the state park in Tennessee he visited. Jack provided a map of the area outlining the forts with batteries which protected the rivers flowing south into the Confederacy, the lifeblood thorougfares. These forts and their batteries which proved ineffective in defending the forts from inland attack fell quickly in the War incluidng Fort Pillow which is in proximity to Memphis which also fell to Union naval assault and occupiation in 1862. But in 1864 General Nathan Bedford Forrest mounted the stirring raid on Memphis and also the attack on Ft. Pillow. Despite the infamous but inaccurate commonly held perception of the Battle of Ft. Pillow and Forrest and his troops actions, Jack related that in the film he viewed at the state park as well as the presentation made by the state park workers, a fair, balanced and truthful presentation of the events which transpired was conveyed. The fort as well as others on the rivers shown on the regional map were designed primarily to house the batteries directed at the river and any passing gunboats and other vessels and were vulnerable to attack from the side opposite that facing the river. In fact, at Ft. Pillow, from a geological perspective the land east of the fort was hilly from ancient wind blown soil deposits and Forrest's troops could actually shoot down into the low walls of the fort from these surrounding hills. Thus the Federal troops occupying the fort were exposed. After declining an offer to surrender to Forrest, the attack was swift and decisive and only after the Confederate forces hoisted their flag from atop the fort did the fighting cease. Forrest in fact offered to transfer the wounded captured Union soldiers to Federal gunboats and waited an entire day to accomplish this while marching the balance of the captured Union troops to the Andersonville prison. An informative presentation clearing many misconceptions.
Compatriot Karl Wade Provides Details of Meeting with Prattville Mayor Gillespie