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