Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alabama 2016 Reunion in Cullman

The Alabama Division 2016 Reunion was held in Cullman on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Nine Prattville Dragoons represented the camp and all Division business was handled in a professional and vigilant manner. Representing the Dragoons were 1st Lt. Commander Harold Grooms, 2nd Lt. Commander George Jenks, Adjutant Wayne Sutherland, Karl Wade, Bill Myrick, Daniel Killingsworth, Tyrone Crowley, Ryan King and Larry Spears. 

This was an election year and new leadership was elected by acclimation. New Division Commander is Jimmy Hill, Division 1st Lt. Commander is Carl Jones and the 2nd Lt. Commander is Randall Hughey. There were no proposed amendments so the meeting consisted mainly of reports from the officers and other routine business. 

The Thomas H. Denney Camp of Cullman did a first class job hosting the Reunion and all planned activities including the Friday night Commander’s Reception, the Saturday business  session  and the Saturday night banquet were smoothly executed. Our thanks and congratulations to the Denney Camp.

A special congratulations for Dragoons Communications Officer Larry Spears who most deservedly was awarded Compatriot of the Year.  Larry was formerly Chief of Staff for the Division and still serves as Chairman of the I-65 Flag Committee, largely owning maintenance of the site including raising and lowering the flag based on inclimate weather. Larry is active in the cemetery Guardian program caring for numerous local historical cemeteries.  Larry is an extremely active leader of the Dragoons participating in all camp activities including serving in the critical Communications Officer role.  
Dragoons in Attendance (not pictured Ryan King)

Head Table with (Past) Commander Gary Carlisle Addressing the Convention

New Division Commander Jimmy Hill

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

‘Free State of Jones’ Movie Not Free of Historical Inaccuracies

‘Free State of Jones’ Not Free of Historical Inaccuracies, Southeastern Professor Asserts

The soon-to-be-released movie “The Free State of Jones” is influenced more by the Hollywood-New York mindset and not on historical records, according to a Southeastern Louisiana University history professor.

Released: 21-Jun-2016 5:05 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Southeastern Louisiana University
The movie tells the story of a former Confederate soldier purportedly turned Union sympathizer Newton Knight – played by Matthew McConaughey – who led a band of followers, crossed the color line to marry a former slave, and spawned a community of like-minded individuals in Jones County, located in southeast Mississippi. The movie is based on a book by historian Victoria Bynum, explained Samuel C. Hyde Jr., a specialist in Deep South history and director of the university’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
“According to some, Knight heroically defied the Confederacy sustaining the cause of the Union in Mississippi, one of the most rebellious states, before courageously crossing the color line to marry a former slave,” said Hyde. “Thanks to a sympathetic New Orleans newspaperman and a 1935 biography written by Knight’s son, he was seen as a modern day Robin Hood, delivering the poor from oppression and facing down evil.”
In 1943, journalist James Street of Jones County wrote the story “Tap Roots,” which was made into a film designed to glorify the Knight myth and serve as an antidote for “Gone with the Wind” style nostalgia, Hyde added.
“It was not until 1951, when Newt’s own grandniece published ‘The Echo of the Black Horn,’ that the other interpretation of Knight became more widespread,” Hyde said. “In 1984, historian Rudy Leverett published a scholarly interpretation of the Jones County saga that proved similarly critical of Knight and company.”
According to Hyde, the revised version of Knight revealed evidence indicating that he was a deserter, murderer, horse thief and bigamist.
“He maintained simultaneous relationships with a white woman and a black woman, and there is compelling evidence that he fathered children with a daughter of his black wife from a previous marriage,” Hyde said.
He said trying to define the real Newton Knight is both simple and complex.
“He is both,” Hyde explained. “He did desert the Confederate army after he had willingly volunteered. He then defied Confederate authorities who sought to press him and some of his neighbors back into a starved existence of bare feet and ragged clothing which thousands of other Mississippians grimly endured and fought courageously despite appalling deprivation. It is also true that he murdered his opponents, defied racial mores and was a bigamist.”
But were his actions for love of the Union, as the film suggests? Hyde is skeptical.
With the exception of a couple of reports focusing on the activities of deserters in the area, Hyde said, there is little evidence to dispute that Knight most likely would have resisted the Union with the same vigor if they sought to press him into service or seize his crops.
He was certainly a man who took care of his own, Hyde said, and preferred to be left alone like thousands of other fiercely independent piney woods farmers across the rural South.
“Whatever position you take on Newton Knight, if you want to know the true man and the Jones County story, study the historical record,” Hyde said. “In this case, don’t look for it in this film from Hollywood.”

Sunday, June 26, 2016

U.S. House House Drops Confederate Flag Ban for Veterans Cemeteries

A measure to bar confederate flags from cemeteries run by the Department of Veterans Affairs was removed from legislation passed by the House early Thursday.
The flag ban was added to the VA funding bill in May by a vote of 265-159, with most Republicans voting against the ban. But Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both supported the measure. Ryan was commended for allowing a vote on the controversial measure, but has since limited what amendments can be offered on the floor.
Story Continued BeloIn negotiations to reconcile the House funding measure with the Senate bill, the confederate flag provision was dropped. The bill passed the House 239-171.
Of the eight House Republicans Ryan appointed to the conference committee that ultimately stripped the measure, four had voted against the ban on the floor.
A GOP aide declined to comment on the internal deliberations that led to the removal of the ban.

NOTE: Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.
U.S. Code Title 38 – Veterans’ Benefits, Part II – General Benefits, Chapter 15 – Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death or for Service, Subchapter I – General, § 1501. Definitions: (3) The term “Civil War veteran” includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term “active military or naval service” includes active service in those forces.
Researched by: Tim Renick, Combined Arms Library Staff, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Member: Brigadier General William Steele SCV Camp 1857.
Edited By: Lt. Col. (Retired) Edwin L. Kennedy, Jr. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for June 2016

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

Jack Caraway Presenting

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Charity Fundraiser Huge Success by Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans at Recent Reunion

Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Raises $3,055 for Alabama Charities

Submitted by Gwen Williams

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Response to Southern Baptist Convention By SCV Commander In Chief

From Commander In Chief Kelly Barrow in response to the resolution against the Battle Flag by the SBC:

The history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has been inextricably tied to the Confederacy and her heirs for over a century and a half. Great pulpit expositors, as well as seminary professors that left their mark in the area of Biblical thought and world view offered service to the Confederacy, as chaplains and men of arms, as well. Therefore, it was a profound disappointment and excruciatingly disheartening to hear the anti-Confederate Battle Flag resolution that was approved by SBC messengers meeting in St. Louis on June 14.
The resolution offended on several levels -- first of all, simply put, it did not adequately deal with the Truth of the nature of the Flag, particularly disappointing as Christians should place a premium on the Truth. The 800,000 men that served the Confederacy held, and always will hold, full title to that banner -- it is a soldiers' flag and their political agenda was nothing more than defense of their home. Furthermore, as the Fifth Commandment compels us to "honor father and mother", those of us who enjoy Confederate ancestry are bound to tell the Truth of our ancestors fight and flag. Finally, the tone of the resolution has the effect of intimidating the consciences of Southern Baptists into holding a terribly negative opinion of Confederate symbols.
All that said, the SBC is not a hierarchy; local congregations are in no way bound to the resolution. They may continue on as they have done, in some cases, for many years, in helping their community to retain its history and honoring the men that rebuilt their community after a tragic war and devastating reconstruction. Today, we call upon the great SBC congregations throughout the South to do just that, ignore this distraction and get on with the priorities of Gospel proclamation, building up of the fellowship of Faith and pursuing a witness of goodwill in the community. Untold numbers of these SBC churches, over the years, have cultivated great relationships with SCV camps by opening their facilities for regular meetings and special occasions, not to mention the cemeteries owned by SBC churches where the remains of legions of Confederate heroes lie -- these are sites for numerous memorial services. 
Of course, in addition to the historical ties of the Confederacy and SBC, thousands of SCV members are also members of SBC churches. In closing, we call on our camps to pursue"peace with all men" (Heb. 12:14) by cultivating good relationships with all organizations in their community, particularly houses of worship, be they SBC, other Christian denominations or Jewish Synagogues.

Deo Vindice!
Charles Kelly Barrow
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Military Order of the Stars and Bars - Montgomery AL Chapter Forming

Work is underway to establish a chapter of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars in the Montgomery area.   MOS&B was founded in 1938 to honor the Confederate Officer Corps and the government officials of the Confederacy, and its membership is open to all lineal or collateral descendants from these two groups. Organizers are seeking qualifying Confederate descendants in the Montgomery AL area. 

There are currently members of the MOS&B who live in the Montgomery area and belong to MOS&B but have joined a chapter located far from their residence, or affiliate with the national headquarters alone.  As a result, it is difficult to meet with fellow members, share fraternal brotherhood, and/or participate in the Order’s activities.  By establishing a chapter in the Montgomery area, members can become fully involved and honor our Confederate officer ancestors appropriately.

MOS&B requires five members in order to organize a local chapter.  Three MSO&B members have begun the preliminary organization and are seeking at least two additional current MOS&B members in the Autauga, Elmore, and Montgomery County area to join us in establishing a Montgomery chapter.   Upon identifying prospective interested members, MSO&B national headquarters can be notified of intentions and further steps taken to proceed to set up a meeting so we can discuss chapter names, elect officers, and plan our future activities.  Compatriots who qualify for MOS&B membership but have not yet joined the Order, are encouraged to begin the application process immediately to participate in this new MOS&B chapter.

Philip Davis (Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans JAG) can be contacted for further information.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Chaplain's Column for June 2016

Chaplain’s Column:  Time to Act!

  It seems as if the world is in a perpetual state of Chaos. Lawless and violence are increasing and people live in fear and insecurity. Men should use the men’s bathroom and women should use the women’s bathroom. It seems that our Judeo-Christian values that led America to greatness are under full assault by political correctness, and Americans are slowly losing their souls. Many of our leaders starting from our President down are thinking another way. Our country was founded on religious freedom. We fought and died for these freedoms and slowly now they are being taken away. What is the solution to such a sad state of affairs?
     There can only be one answer and that is to turn to Jesus Christ. He has already conquered this dark and hostile world and replaced fear with love so that you can confidently place your faith and trust in Him.
     Believe in Jesus, His promises and He will give you the blessing of His peace that transcends all understanding. Trust in Him and He will lead you from darkness into the light of His immeasurable love for humankind. Christians must stand up for what we believe and what is commanded in the Bible for all of us. Our voice must become stronger in this nation and we can start at the voting booth but we must not just let it stop there. It’s time we act and I mean now!

Please remember those on our prayer list:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Confederate Memorial Park Library

Prattville Dragoon Tyrone Crowley continues his stalwart service to the Cause as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 by volunteering his time at the library at Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury AL. Tyrone was at the library on Saturday May 28th and despite a bit of rain in the morning, about 20 visitors stopped by the park's library, including a group of McGalliards who were there for a family reunion.  Library Chairman John Land is implementing improvements to the library including signs, labels, and an ongoing reorganization of the stacks. Tyrone noted the copy machine is used less these days as visitors interested in a particular book or page in a book simply takes a picture of it with camera or phone, to be studied or printed out later on.  One lady stopped by with her son who was on his way from Utah to Auburn to pursue a Ph D in Biology) took pictures of the title pages of about ten books that he and she found of interest and plan to borrow from their local library or buy.  A Canadian Air Force Colonel who had just graduated from Air War College at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery and his wife also stopped by to study the collection.  These folks appreciated the historical significance of the Confederate Memorial Park and enjoyed the library and other facilities at this wonderful Alabama state treasure. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


(ATLANTA - May 24, 2016)  Despite politically-correct attacks on Confederate monuments and symbols over the past year, the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Georgia have been continuing work on increasing the number of Confederate monuments across the state.  The next such monument will be dedicated on Memorial Day on May 30th at 3:00 pm at 99 Courthouse Hill in Dahlonega.
The Blue Ridge Rifles Camp # 1860 has been working on this monument project for many years; and with the Members of the Georgia Division voting to help fund the project with Division tag funds, it has finally been accomplished. Camp 1860 put forth all the foot work from the design to pouring the foundation and raising their share of the funds to make the project happen.
There were twelve units that mustered in Lumpkin County for the Confederate army that are on the monument:
Home Guards are as follows :
  •  Co, G 8th Reg.3rd Brigade State troops,
  •  Co. D First Reg. State Troops "Blue Ridge Rangers"
  •  Co B 11th Bat. State Guards "Lumpkin Guards"
  •  Co. C 8th Reg. 3rd Brig. State Troops 
  •  Co. A 11th Bat. State Guards "Dahlonega Infantry"
  •  Co. A 4th Reg. 2nd. Brig. Georgia Militia .
Army of Tennessee are as follows:
  •  Co. C 52nd Reg. Georgia Volunteer Infantry
  •  Co. F 65th Reg. Georgia Volunteer Infantry
  •  Co D 52nd Reg. Georgia Volunteer Infantry "Boyd's Guards"
  •  Co. E 11th Reg. 30th Georgia Calvary Bat.
Army of Northern Virginia are as follows:
  •  Co. H 1st Reg. Ga. Volunteer Infantry (Ramsey's) "Dahlonega Volunteers"
  •  Co. E Phillips Legion Georgia Volunteer Infantry "Blue Ridge Rifles".

There were nearly 1200 men in these 12 units from the small mountain town of Dahlonega. Northern influence has always insisted that the mountain counties of Georgia were union sympathizers . As is obvious , that is far from the truth. 
The public is invited to attend the dedication, and those wishing to participate in the dedication are asked to wear only period correct attire.

For more information about the Sons of Confederate Veterans or any of this year's planned events to commemorate our Southern Heritage, contact the Georgia SCV at 404-271-8473 or online at    


Monday, June 6, 2016

Making of a Magnolia Wreath for Memorial Day Remembrance Service

The Prattville Dragoons were invited to participate in a Remembrance Service for Memorial Day at Montgomery's Trinity Presbyterian Church on Sunday May 29th.  Part of the program entailed placing a memorial wreath to honor the American soldiers which each organization represented. It was suggested that lemon or magnolia leaf wreaths with a banner if desired be made for placement.  Some organizations chose to use silk arrangements but Commander Waldo of Camp 1524 had designs to make a fresh magnolia leaf wreath.  These wreaths can cost upwards of $100 from a florist but with magnolia trees blossoming in Alabama here in late spring, the greenery and even buds and flowers from these trees are readily available for making your own.  There are step by step instructions online including even instructional videos for assembling a magnolia leaf wreath.  Some of the wreaths online looked great, others perhaps not so much and the attractiveness seemed to be directly proportional to the amount of time required in the assembly. There appear to be two schools of thought for magnolia wreaths, those utilizing just the large waxy leaves, and those using short branch ends from the tree.  Inspecting those florist pieces at the Memorial Day service including the artificial ones, these all seemed to be of the leaf arrangements which provided a more uniform layered appearance.  These instructions are for a branch wreath arrangement as a first effort which provides a more rustic, less structured appearance.
Materials - trash bag full of magnolia branches (about 10" lengths), a 28" wire form, 24 gage florist wire and wire cutters.

Wire each branch to wire form in two spots, adding more branches to fill laying each the same direction. 

All branches wired to the form about the circumference. Add smaller bits to fill to cover form from view.

Smaller leafed branches were used first and then 8-10 larger leafed branches including one with a flower were added equally spaced.  

Finished wreath with the flower on the left and a bud on the right. 

Added four mini-Battle Flags. Note within 24 hours of making the arrangement the flower was wilted and browned to the extent it was removed before the service. Otherwise the thick waxy leaves of the magnolia last for a nice while and can even be used as a dried arrangement. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Cemetery Workday Memorial Day Weekend

On Saturday, May 28th, very successful cemetery cleanup day was conducted with eight Dragoons from SCV Camp 1524 gathered at Indian Hill Cemetery making quick work of tidying this historic Prattville cemetery. Five members brought lawnmowers including Tom Crowley, Ryan King, Skip Ward, Camp Commander Stuart Waldo and Bill Myrick who as usual was the first to arrive and start working.  Larry Spears used his weed whacker to trim areas inside some of the burial plots and along the bank of the county road fronting the cemetery.  Father James Spears used weed killer to spray along the fenceline and around the large trees.  Jack Moore also took photos of everyone to document.  With all the prior work performed at this cemetery in reclaiming it and with five mowers working, all was completed within an hour and a half.  Camp 1st Lt. Harold Grooms went directly to the cemetery across CR 45 from Autaugaville's Shiloh Baptist Church and finished clearing that cemetery including cutting down a fallen pine tree.  Weed killer will be applied under the tree canopy at Indian Hill and at the Shiloh cemeteries to keep the undergrowth controlled.  Following the quick work at Indian Hill, Skip, Stuart, Bill, Tom and Jack drove out to Autaugaville to do an initial cleanup of the section of the town’s cemetery there where a half dozen Confederate soldiers are buried. These older graves are set along the tree line with more recently deceased laid to rest closer in the cemetery out toward Hwy-14. Among the graves here was a musician named Pau, just seventeen when the War commenced.  Also under the shade of the trees nearby was a World War II veteran who died in service in 1944. Truly heroes who fought to preserve their liberty and defend their homeland.  Branches from the trees along the fenceline adjacent to these older graves was obscuring the view of these graves with some branches grazing the monuments and many limbs strewn about.  Everything was trimmed up and picked up and these graves were made to once again appear a part of the larger cemetery.  A wonderful way to honor the service of these brave American veterans on a Memorial Day weekend.


Stuart and Skip

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Commander's Column for June 2016

Heroes Among Us
Penning this column on Memorial Day morning after spending the last two days doing meaningful work for celebrating this holiday set aside to honor American soldiers who have fallen in battle during the course of our nation’s founding and history.  On Saturday we had a very successful cemetery cleanup day with eight Dragoons camp members making quick work of mowing at Prattville’s Indian Hill Cemetery before five made the drive out to Autaugaville to do an initial cleanup of the section of the town’s cemetery there where a half dozen Confederate soldiers are buried. As is now well known within Camp 1524, there are a number of Confederate veterans and Prattville founders buried at Indian Hill.  Original founding member of the Prattville Dragoons, 2nd Lt. A.Y. Smith as well as 2nd Lt. Dixon S. Hall are interred there.  Smith who received the first Dragoon flag from Abigail Holt at the location of the Dragoons monument on the grounds of the Prattville Primary School off Washington Street in April 1861, survived the War.  But an amazing statistic I heard more than once over the Memorial Day weekend was the 1.3 million American soldiers who have perished on fields of battle here on our soil and across the world in defense of America from the colonial days to the present.  The War Between the States accounted for about 700,000 of these casualties, more than any other conflict.  420 soldiers every day perished during the War for Southern Independence as compared to 300 during the World Wars. Every day, hundreds of these best our country could offer were slain on bloody fields of battle or died of severe conditions of privation. Out in Autagaville among the graves was a musician named Pau, just seventeen when the War commenced.  Also under the shade of the trees nearby was a World War II veteran who died in service in 1944. Truly heroes who fought to preserve their liberty and defend their homeland. And we are honored to be Guardians of their final resting place.

Saturday afternoon I tried my hand at assembling a magnolia leaf wreath for use at the Remembrance Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery. Camp 1524 was extended an invitation to participate in this Memorial Day program to remember Americans who had died in service in conflicts from the colonial founding of America to the present day Mideast conflicts.  1st Lt Grooms represented the Dragoons in laying the wreath and said afterward it was one of the most touching memorial programs he had attended. Along with our camp, Confederate patriots were honored by the Thomas Goode SCV Camp 259, the Ladies Memorial Association of Montgomery, and the Cradle of the Confederacy UDC Chapter 94.  Our own Quartermaster Myrick was dressed dapper as usual in a casual jacket which was adorned with many of his service ribbons including his Bronze Star.  Awesome stuff.  I took special note too of the last to place a wreath, a gentleman representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Truly heroes among us.  It has always impressed me that many of our compatriots in the Sons of Confederate Veterans are also veterans themselves of one branch or another of the United States military.  These men can surely more than most appreciate the incredible sacrifices made by and bravery exhibited by the men in grey.  While Americans pause at Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers, we as Sons of Confederate Veterans are charged to continually and unceasingly defend “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 made him glorious”.   We must protect and defend the memory, monuments and resting places of these veterans who fought and died in our defense, all American heroes.