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
The next meeting of the BG Felix Robertson Camp # 129 Sons of Confederate Veterans will be on Tuesday the 10th of October at Poppa Rollos Pizza at 703 N Valley Mills Drive. For those who are interested dinner is at 6 PM with the meeting at 7 PM. The speaker will be Mr. Mark Robinson of the Palestine camp. His topic will be "The Confederados". They were Southerners who immigrated to Brazil after the war. Their descendants still live in Brazil and are very proud of their Southern heritage. This should be an interesting talk! Visitors are cheerfully invited and encouraged to attend.
Confederate Book Reviews
Greetings, Fellow Members of the Thin Gray Line--
Well, well. A great many things have occurred since our last meeting.
The day before the Charlottesville "Rally" I and my wife and two daughters were in...Charlottesville... visiting my niece who is pregnant with baby number two. She works at a local winery. Part of the plan was to see Monticello (another irony), so we went to a local motel to spend the night. Lo and behold, the motel was full of Virginia State Police. With my law enforcement state of mind I thought that it must be a police convention of some sort. Nope. My former sister-in-law informed us that some "idiots" were showing up. Well, the rest is history.
Now, as ya'll probably well know, Confederate Heritage everywhere is under attack by real IDIOTS who are wholly ignorant of current affairs, much less events from 150 plus years ago. They range from MERELY removing 100 plus year old monuments to blasting the carvings off of Stone Mountain to renaming U.S. Army posts named after Southern generals. To my embarrassment, my "Rock Bound Highland Home", West Point, has gotten into the act, with some morons suggesting that everything associated with Lee at the academy--Lee Gate, Lee Barracks, his portrait in the mess hall from when he was superintendent--should be removed. Interestingly enough, when I was a cadet Lee Barracks faced my barracks. I lived in SHERMAN Barracks for three years. As a cadet I did ponder the irony of living in a building named after the guy whose soldiers probably trashed my great great great great grandfather's home, that of 1LT Henry Shadrack Bogan, of the 6th Georgia Cavalry. It was kind of funny, but I never went on a tear to deface the name plate of the building.
What is the real BOTTOM LINE behind all of this silliness. First of all, this is about much more than the Confederacy, which, after all, occupied a mere 5 or so years of our nations history. I would contend that this campaign has an Orwellian purpose of delegitimizing EVERYTHING American. I have seen Facebook posts by people who should know better that the purpose of the Electoral College is to perpetuate white supremacy. Yeah, you heard me right. I have also heard some people advocate the idea that the real purpose of the 2d Amendment was to enable whites to protect themselves from their slaves...and that alone is reason enough to ditch the "Right to Bear Arms". To heck with natural law, lets remake everything from scratch. The new American history began with the last president, who I will not name. As Texans we need to realize that our unique culture is also a potential target: the Alamo, Six Flags over Texas, Sam Houston. The attacks on the am Houston statue in Houston are absurd because old Sam was a UNIONIST. And the thing about the amusement park taking down the Six Flags that flew over Texas simply because they do not want to fly the STARS AND BARS, is possibly the silliest of all.
There is some good news. I read an article from the SCV which talked about all of these Confederate monuments in small towns are probaly safe, at least for the moment. Small town folks are proud of them. But in the big cities it does not look good. I don't see that we can save them in San Antonio, Dallas, etc. with the current makeup of the city populations. The best that can be done is to take of the monuments and put them up again someplace safe.
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The next meeting of the BG Felix Robertson Camp # 129 Sons of Confederate Veterans will be Tuesday, the 12th of September, at Poppa Rollos Pizza, 703 N Valley Mills Drive. The meeting will begin at 7 PM, dinner for those who are interested will begin at 6 PM. The speaker will be announced at the meeting. Guests are invited and encouraged to come.
This months newsletter had a good way of sneaking up on me, so I will keep the column brief!
First and foremost, I want to ask the members of our camp to keep those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in their prayers. I also ask that ya'll pray for those that have been and will be impacted by Hurricane Irma in the coming days.
These past few months have been extremely stressful on the fight for preserving our history. It seems like everyday, there is some talk about some Confederate statue or memorial coming down somewhere. Indeed, it is basically an uphill fight that is extremely challenging and may even seem impossible at times. But do not give up! As Christians we fight these uphill battles everyday, always striving to make ourselves better Chistians. So let us carry over this strong will to fight to preserve the history of the South and educate those that choose to fight back. It will get better, do not give up hope!
I will see everyone on the 12th!
Koby Westbrook, Chaplain
Confederate Book Reviews
Thunder Across the Swamp: The Fight for the Lower Mississippi, February 1863-May 1863, by Donald S. Frazier. This is the second book in Professor Frazier's projected four part series on the war in southern Louisiana during the WBTS, which he calls his "Louisiana Quadrille" series . Like the first volume, Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas, January 1861-January 1863, this volume deals on the micro level with events taking place in south Louisiana that are not generally familiar with the average WBTS reader. In this book, the events described are taking place against the backdrop of the strategic Federal build up for, and campaign against Vicksburg. At the operational level the Federals are attempting to extend their control of the area along the Bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya Basin. There were a great many rich land owners with large plantations who attempted to save their fortunes by taking the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Government. However, generally this did not save them from having their property seized or destroyed, and their slaves becoming Contraband of War. In general, the Confederate forces in this area held their own against vastly superior Union forces, including strong naval forces. But they were unable to retake key positions like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and they were unable to offer any substantial aid to the Confederate forces defending Vicksburg and Port Hudson. There are fierce battles aplenty, both on the land and the waterways. However, the Southern forces lacked the resources to really hurt the U.S. military. This is a very detailed look at this area of the WBTS, and should be read by someone who is very familiar with the overall course of the war. This is a very good book.
Miller Cornfield at Antietam: The Civil War's Bloodiest Combat, by Phillip Thomas Tucker. Yes, this is another book by Phillip Thomas Tucker. Yes, his books are generally on subjects that I find very interesting, but they are poorly edited and repetitious. This one was published by a different publisher, who seems to have done a better job in making it flow, so, in that sense, this is a decent volume. Especially since, a couple of weeks after I read the book, I visited the Miller Cornfield at Antietam. There is a bit of repetition in this one, but not to the extent of some of his other volumes. Generally, I enjoyed the book, particularly because of the prominent role of Texans in this fierce engagement. While well illustrated, the book does not have a single map--an odd oversight for a tactical battle book. The 1st Texas Infantry Regiment was the most heavily engaged unit in Hood's Texas Brigade, losing 82.3% of their strength--which was a record for regimental losses in the WBTS. For those of you who enjoy pure combat narrative, this is your kind of book. Enjoy.
Decoying the Yanks: Jackson's Valley Campaign, by Champ Clark and the Editors of Time-Life Books. This is yet another volume in the Time-Life series "The Civil War". I reread this one because of my recent trip to visit my wife's younger sister who lives in Harper's Ferry WV, who is in fact married to an SCV member. He took me on a couple of days sight seeing in the Shenandoah Valley. Like all of the books in this series it is well done and beautifully assembled--the world is worse off because of the demise of Time-Life Books. These volumes are suitable for both novice and more seasoned readers.
13 Days to Glory: The Siege of the Alamo, by Lon Tinkle. This is one of the earlier books written on the Alamo, in 1985, and, in fact, was one of the first books that I read when I was growing up. This book is extremely well written, and enjoyable to read. However, it has been overtaken by much more recent scholarship which has greatly clarified what we know of the battle. This book is dramatic reading, and a crackling good one at that, but there are more recent books that are much more accurate. It is still worth reading, though.
09/12/17 Camp meeting @ Poppa Rollos- Eat/Socialize 6:00pm--Program & business meeting @ 7:00 pm
10/20/17 Annual Genealogy Lock In @ WWL--SCV & Rose tables