Greetings, Fellow Members of the Thin Gray Line!
Well, with the nasty mouth of January OVER, maybe things are starting to look up. The weather is ridiculously spring like, though it can go South, no pun intended, at any time. I hope everyone is staying healthy, and no doubt this relatively warm weather is helping a great deal. I am looking forward to spring as soon as possible because I can resume my outdoor activities in full force.
In the upcoming meeting we will need to make a decision about the size of the fencing around the I-35 flagpole. The weather the last month has been extremely wet, which prevented us from doing work on putting up the fencing and protection. We will be able to put up concertina on the top of the fence which will prevent anyone from climbing over. Concertina wire is barbed wire with razors instead of barbs on the wire. Nasty stuff. Realistically, any slugs seeking to get to the pole would be more likely to try and cut their way through the fence, or penetrate the gate to get in. Therefore, the security of the gate and the thickness of the chain link will need to be looked at carefully. Any fencing will have to require an extra heavy duty pair of wire cutters to cut through, not your wire cutters that you purchase at the Walmart hardwear section. When the fencing and security is up I want to put the biggest CBF up that we can. I do not want to formally announce it with a ceremony or in the newspaper. I want the "announcement" to be the flag going up.
Once again, I would like to solicit any members of the camp who would like to write short book reviews to submit them to me for inclusion in the newsletter. I am a bookworm, and I enjoy reading, and I have an enormous library of WBTS material. However, it is a lot of work to do the reading to have 2-3 new reviews every month. Any help would be appreciated. I know that I am not the only member of this camp that likes to camp out in their living room easy chair with a good book before crashing every evening. I am sure that there are people who have WBTS reading interests that are different than mine. I tend toward military/academic type books. I think some...um...diversity in the reading department would be good for the newsletter. Yes, diversity is a word that I normally loathe, but in this case it would be good for us.
Speaking of books, I read a very good book, that is a little bit different than what we would be normally used to. It is entitled The Settlers War: The Struggle for the Texas Frontier in the 1860s, by Gregory Michno. This was such an interesting book that, hint, hint, you may see this in the form of a talk in the next six months or so. The topic is relevant to the SCV because it discusses Confederate frontier defense during the WBTS, as well as the horrific ordeal which settlers on the Indian frontier went through...and a lot of the events described in the book occurred in places familiar to us. It is a fascinating story and deserves to be heard.
Our very own Adjutant John Dickey will be speaking about the nasty yankee prison camp at Camp Douglas in Chicago. This promises to be an excellent talk, especially if you are not familiar with the story. If any yankee gets all high and mighty about how mean Southerners were at Andersonville with you then you will have some ammunition to shoot back at them. The yankees had the resources to take care of our guys at Camp Douglas, while the Southern infrastructure was falling apart during Andersonville's operation.
I look forward to seeing ya'll at the next camp meeting.
In the Service of the South,
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The next meeting of the BG Felix Robertson Camp # 129 Sons of Confederate Veterans will be on the 14th of February at 7 PM at Poppa Rollos Pizza 703 N Valley Mills Dr. Dinner is at 6 PM. The speaker for this meeting will be our very own fearless adjutant, John Dickey. His topic will be "Camp Douglas" the infamous yankee prison camp in Chicago where thousands of Southern prisoners of war died of exposure, starvation, and neglect. Unlike the South, the North had the resources and infrastructure to take care of prisoners. This is a disgusting and vile episode of the WBTS. Visitors are invited and encouraged to attend.
Since our last meeting America has gone through a major change of leadership, along with new ideals. Unfortunately, though, the country has split even further apart, just because of conflicting viewpoints. As historians of American thought and actions leading up to and during the 1860s, we tend to make connections to the split between the northern and southern states then, to the split between our fellow Americans now. Some may even say that the split and diversity today is worse than in the 19th century America. Well, that can be left up to you to decide, but what we need to focus on is bridging the gap between us and those that have conflicting views.
One of the greatest mindsets a Christian can have is realizing that God is in complete control. Undoubtedly, this was on the mind of all American Christians during the 19th century leading up to the War Between the States. As hard (or soothing) as it may be to hear, all governing officials are instituted by God (Romans 13:1). This mindset is exactly what we, as Christians and brothers, need to be spreading to the world, to make this a better place.
Undeniably, I am just preaching to the choir, so, compatriots, I challenge each one of you to reach out to someone, whether it be family, a friend or a coworker, that may have conflicting opinions with you. As our forefathers did after the last war, we must work together to rebuild our nation, and it is on each and every one of us to fix it, lest we split farther and farther away with our fellow Americans and crash in disaster.
Koby Westbrook, Chaplain
Confederate Book Reviews
The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War, by James Robertson. Edited by Neil Kagan. This is a large, glossy, pictorial book published by National Geographic. A lot of books like this, despite their appearance, show signs of being hastily and poorly put together. A publisher puts "Civil War" on the cover and it is assured of making at least some money. This one is not like that. First of all, James Robertson would not have his name associated with it. Secondly, it is put together by National Geographic, who are NOT known for shoddy work. It is not a history of the war. This book emphasizes lesser known facets of the war with the support of excellent illustrations and interesting personal anecdotes. After a lengthy Introduction with a summary of the course of the war the book is organized into six chapters. The chapters are: The Human Side of War; The Life of Soldiers; Resources, Resolve, & Ingenuity; A War of Firsts; Warriors, Poets, & Scoundrels; and Aftermath. This is a very enjoyable, light read.
Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White. This book is one of the first volumes in the "Emerging Civil War Series", published by Savas Beatie. Like the following volumes in the series this is a combination of battle history and travel guide. Each chapter is organized so as to support one tour stop. These tour stops are distinct from the National Park Service Tour Stops. This volume lives up to the standards set by the other volumes in the series, of which I have about twenty, so far. The next time I go to one of the battle sites the applicable book will go with me in order to aid my touring.
Crisis in the Southwest: The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle over Texas, by Bruce Winders. This book is something a little different. It is a volume in "The American Crisis Series" published by SR Books. This series of books covers a wide bit of ground relating to the WBTS. This book relates how the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War contributed to the outbreak of the WBTS. Bruce Winders is the chief historian and curator at the Alamo so he is very well qualified to write this book. He briefly covers the lead up and conduct of the Texas Revolution, so there is no in depth recitation of the Battle of the Alamo, folks. There were people in Texas that wanted to immediately enter the U.S., while there were other people that wanted Texas to remain independent. The big problem, however, was that the abolitionists did not want Texas to come in as another slave state and upset the balance in the U.S. Senate. The admittance of Texas, along with the subsequent Mexican War which resulted in tons more land being brought into the U.S., caused extraordinary turbulence in the American political system. These problems were a major cause of the WBTS. This book is an excellent summary of this pivotal period of U.S. history.
2/14/17 Camp meeting at Poppa Rollo's. 6:00pm optional meal, socialize. 7:00pm Speaker
2/25 & 26 Oglesby Lions Club Rattlesnake Roundup/Rose flag sale--see a Rose member
3/02/17 Texas Independence Day (1836) FLY YOUR TEXAS & REBEL FLAGS