Greetings, Fellow Members of the Thin Gray Line!
Well, we have begun yet another November as Christmas gets closer and closer. I just got word yesterday of the appalling slaughter in Texas at a church outside of San Antonio. Something, my friends, is sick in the great American Republic. I have nothing to add to this.
It is time for BLUF, or...Bottom Line Up Front. I am putting this newsletter out a bit early to put out a big reminder for the Veteran's Day Parade on THIS Friday, the 10th of November. This will be a high visibility event, therefore, we need to have as many marchers/participants as possible. I can almost guarantee you that we will get front page billing in the news and newspaper. What?!!! The Sons of Confederate Veterans will not quietly disappear in shame?!!! Why not, some of the ill informed might ask. Maybe there is NOTHING to be ashamed of! We stand in the gap for our honorable flesh and blood who up against an invading army. That is all. Folks can have honest discussions about the whys and wherefores of the WBTS. Fine. That is appropriate. But to attack the Confederate soldier is despicable. I want to emphasize that not only were the Confederate soldiers veterans, but that many of us in the SCV are veterans and their blood flows in our veins. We are their descendants and are enormously proud to be descended from them.
OK. Next. Marine General John Kelly, from Boston, who is President Trump's Chief of Staff, was talking at the White House recently and noted that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man and he thought that was caused the Civil War was a lack of "compromise" by both sides. OK, fine enough. I would call that a reasoned opinion on the war. Lee WAS an honorable man who agonized over whether or not he should resign from the U.S. Army, in which he served for over thirty years. And the "compromise" opinion is in line with some historians such as Thomas Fleming who wrote the book A Disease in the Public Mind. Well, the good general caused some people to have absolute fits over this. The Twitter universe exploded (I am not on Twitter). Also, some people on Facebook lost it. The Congressional Black Caucus said that they would like to "School" General Kelly on true American history. Boy, would I like to see that! Military generals tend to have multiple degrees in really hard subjects, unlike a lot of the imbeciles who comprise a good bit of our congress.
More news to make you ill. In some Northern states, markers or monuments honoring Confederate soldiers who died in Union prison camps are being removed. This is incredible because these are just marking the locations of human remains, not advocating the Southern cause. To me, this is just an indication of how gutless and cowardly alot of politicians are. The breeze blows one way and they think they have to jump on whatever bandwagon they think is in the public spotlight. It makes me sick. I am not so sure of some of our Texas Republicans either. The monument issues in Texas would have been easily avoided by passing the military monument protection bill this summer. Nope. So called moderates would not touch it so now monuments like the one in Belton have been targeted. It is absolutely insane.
I look forward to seeing all of you at the next camp meeting on the 14th of November, and before that at the Veteran's Day Parade on Friday the 10th of November.
In the Service of the South,
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The next meeting of the BG Felix Robertson Camp # 129 Sons of Confederate Veterans will Tuesday, the 14th of November at Poppa Rollos Pizza at 703 N Valley Mills Drive. The meal will be at 6:00 PM, the meeting at 7:00 PM. The speaker will be Mr. Ross Cox of the Gatesville camp. He will speak on the "Knights of the Golden Circle". Your commander has read some about this episode and he expects this to be a very interesting talk. I am really looking forward to it! Guests are invited and encouraged. See you there.
I hope this newsletter finds you all in good health. The Lock-in at the West Waco Library was a big success and a lot of fun as well as the Walking Tales at Oakwood Cemetery the following day. Thank you to all of those that participated in both events and let's continue to find newer and bigger ways of getting out there and showing people that we mean business!
November is a fun month full of family and spirit. First off, we have Veteran's Day on the 11th. To some people, this may only mean going to a parade in the morning, waving a little American flag for a few minutes while cheering on the veterans as they pass by. And after only a few minutes of that glorious patriotism and the parade is over, they return back to their normal lives. With us, however, and especially to our compatriots that have served this country, it means a lot more, even more than what simple words can describe. Especially for us being members of the SCV, Veteran's Day is a perfect opportunity to do what we are called and charged to do, to preserve the history of the Confederate soldier. This becomes a big challenge for us due to scrutiny, but we know and we must defend the fact that Confederate soldiers are considered and shall forever be considered US Veterans and deserve every once of respect due them! This is why we are present at the Waco Veteran's Day Parade, to honor those soldiers and respect them, not just to show up and rub a flag in everybody's face (though it is a nice consequence).
We also celebrate Thanksgiving this month. Celebrate it with friends and family and all those that you love. Give thanks not only for the material things we have, but also to God and all the blessings that He has bestowed on us. And do not forget to eat well and eat some more!
I will see everyone on the 14th!
Koby Westbrook, Chaplain
Confederate Book Reviews
All the Fighting They Want: The Atlanta Campaign from Peachtree Creek to the City's Surrender, July 18-September 2, 1864, by Stephen Davis. This is another volume in the "Emerging Civil War Series" published by Savas Beatie and the second in a series on the Atlanta Campaign by the same author. Like others in the series this book provides an excellent narrative of the campaign as well as being an excellent travel guide to the sites that still exist around Atlanta. The author, Stephen Davis, is well qualified to write this volume since he has authored a number of other excellent works on the campaign and has the benefit of being an Atlanta resident. In particular, Mr. Davis focuses on the presence of monuments and historic markers and discusses their historical reliability. This book begins just as General Joe Johnston has been relieved after failing to stop the Union army in their drive on Atlanta, and failed to give any hint of a plan to do so. General John Bell Hood assumed the command with the mandate to do SOMETHING to stop the yankees. I think that General Hood did the best he could possibly have done under the circumstances (we will leave out the subsequent Tennessee campaign). He was heavily outnumbered, and General Sherman did not make many mistakes. His plans were daring, but reasonable, in that he tried to overwhelm isolated sections of Sherman's force with masses of his own men, using minimal numbers of his own troops to pin down the remainder of the Federal force. Circumstances, luck, and probably the inability of the Army of Tennessee to coordinate its operations made the difference. The operational history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee mitigated against it's ability to conduct the type of operations that Stonewall Jackson routinely conducted in the Army of Northern Virginia. It is important to note that Hood came from and distinguished himself in the Army of Northern Virginia. This book is an excellent work to read in order to get a very good overview of the campaign.
The Reconstruction Era, edited by Robert K. Sutton and John A. Latschar. Published by Eastern National. This book is an official National Park Service Handbook. I bought this at the Cedar Creek National Battlefield Visitor Center on my trip there in August. The book is a collection of essays on various reconstruction related subjects by various authors. The essays range from "Political Reconstruction" to "Southern Reconstruction Governments" , and "Constitutional Reconstruction" to "Reconstruction in the North". Generally, the essays are well written and interesting, though they tend to veer into political correctness on ocasion. The overall theme of the book is that Reconstruction was one heck of a mess, and that President Andrew Johnson--who tends to have a bad rap among historians--actually, despite his rhetoric, was not that harsh toward the South. This book is reasonably informative work on this messy era in American history.
What Ifs? of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, edited by Robert Cowley. This book is a collection of essays by various writers on counter factual aspects of U.S. History. Of the seventeen essays in the volume, four of them deal directly with the WBTS. One deals with the life of Union General Lew Wallace. Another is entitled "The Northwest Conspiracy" and deals with the possibility of Southern sympathizers in the midwest causing some of those states to break away from the North. "Beyond the Wildest Dreams of John Wilkes Booth" explores the possibility that Andrew Johnson was also killed along with Lincoln and the Radical Republicans took control of the government causing a very harsh retaliation against the South. This leads to guerilla war which causes the post war period to be even worse than it was. The final WBTS essay is entitled "If the Lost Order Hadn't Been Lost: Robert E Lee Humbles the Union, 1862" and is the most interesting. Basically, Special Order 191 is NOT misplaced, thus leading to the Battle of Gettysburg (not Sharpsburg/Antietam) being fought a year early against McClellan instead of Meade, and with Stonewall Jackson. Hmm. Interesting wishful thinking, but fun. This is a light book for history buffs.
Flight From Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War, by Michael Kranish. This is a book that I purchased on my recent visit to Monticello which happened to occur on the day of the Charlottesville mayhem. The book concerns Thomas Jefferson's tenure as the governor of the state of Virginia, which took place during the closing stages of the American Revolution. It was during this period that the British, notably under the command of the vile traitor Benedict Arnold, finally launched a serious invasion of the state. Thomas Jefferson conduct during this period haunted him for the rest of his life, especially in the political arena. Virginia had a very weak governorship, by design, and this greatly hampered his attempt to resist the British invasion. The result was that the British pretty well went anywhere they wanted, and they even briefly occupied Monticello. An interesting tidbit was that the British did NOT burn down Monticello due to Mr. Jefferson's generous hospitality to captured British and German officers who were held nearby following their capture at Saratoga in New York in 1777. I found this to be an interesting book.
11/08-11/10 Flag Your Confederate Veterans' Graves!!!!
11/10/17 VETERANS' DAY PARADE @ 11:00 AM, Austin Ave.,Downtown Waco
11/11/17 VETERANS DAY
11/14/17 Waco Camp meeting at Poppa Rollo's- 6:00 pm-- dine and/or socialize, 7:00 pm-- Speaker & business meeting
Lieutenant Commander Comments
Confederate Book Reviews