They say if you live long enough your dreams will come true. Well, one of mine is about to come true. I have talked about our camp forming a rifle squad to march in parades and tom help at grave ceremoniesw and memorial services. I have brought it up several times, at different meetings, but was not sure that anyone was interested. When I brought up the idea that the camp buy the rifles I got a good response and there were enough interested in buying their own uniforms. I just received a note from our own adjutant, Mr. Dickey, that our rifles should be in, in time for us to see them at our next meeting. He will also have a uniform, that he has ordered, so, that some of you can see what type of uniforms that we will wear. Keep in mind, the Confederate soldier's uniform could vary in different colors, butternut & different shades of gray & blue. As long as he did not put on a dark blue coat, like his yankee counterparts wore, he would be pretty safe that one of hios own would not shoot at him. We have a great place to meet, the weather appears to be warming, and we have good Southern, Christian fellowship at our meetings. Be sure and invite someone to come with you. I have not heard our speaker give a talk , but so far, we have had some good ones thanks to George Loyd. See ya'll on the 11th.
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The Sons Of Confederate Veteran's monthly meeting will be Tuesday, March 11th, at Poppa Rollo's Pizza, 703 N Valley Mills Drive. The meal will be at 6:00 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. The speaker will be Mr. Ed Norman. His topic will be "Confederate Stories and Music". Visitors are welcome.
It is highly recommended that if you are in the neighborhood of the West Waco Library and Genealogy Center, with time on your hands, take a look at the collection of “Confederate Veteran” issues on their shelves. These bound volumes cover the years 1893 to 1932 and contain many first hand reminisces of our Confederate vets. Thumbing through the volume from 1918, I noticed an article written by James H. M’Neilly, DD, from Nashville, entitled “A Day in the Life of a Confederate Chaplain“.
Concerning the aftermath of one of the skirmishes he writes, “After our repulse, I had with me one of our litter bearers. We found the body of one of our regiment lying in a little country road near a deserted cabin. I did not know the location of our troops and felt that if we tried to carry the body to our own lines we were just as likely to run into the lines of our enemy, so we determined to bury him where he was killed. We found an old ax at the cabin, and with that and a board for a shovel we scooped out a grave two or three feet deep, rolled him in his blanket, and laid him in the grave. We placed some limbs with thick leaves on his body and covered him over with earth. Then I read the burial service and offered a prayer, and I carved his name on the trunk of a tree at the head of the grave. We left him there, hoping to come back and remove him; but in the pressure of daily battles I never could go again to the place, which was between opposing lines.”
“One more experience, to give an idea of the activities of a chaplain’s life. On the 28th of July, 1864, we attacked General Sherman on the Powder Springs or Lickskillet road. The battle is known as that of Ezra Church. We were repulsed with heavy loss. Our brigade went in with nine hundred men, and we lost in two hours over five hundred. The captain of my company, D, Capt. Robert L. Dunlap was kiled. He was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher and a man of the coolest courage I ever saw. I went to get his body, but the firing was to hot that the litter bearers could not do more than care for the wounded. I had to be content to get his sword and sash and some letters and other papers from his person. I had to walk across and open field to reach his body, and the bullets were flying thick across it, with frequent whiffs of grape and canister. A brigade which had been repulsed lay behind some rail piles on the edge of the field. As I went forward to my comrade’s body I ran but when I started back it wouldn’t do for the preacher to run with all those eyes fixed on him, so I walked to the rail pile and stepped over. But if I were to say I was not scared I would lie, for I would have given a hundred dollars not to run but to fly across that field.”
Chaplain M’Neilly goes on to explain how they spent all of the next day tending the wounded, gathering the dead and burying them. It was after midnight the following evening before the body of Capt. Dunlap and that of Lt. Ashton Johnson, of General Quarles’s staff were to be buried, for he wanted to put their bodies where they could be found and removed after the war. They were carried to a large house at the edge of Atlanta and with the owner’s permission buried in the garden. While digging the graves, it was noticed the tents of a General’s headquarters in the yard. “Just as we finished the grave a messenger came from the general to inquire what hour we would have the funeral. I told him that we had brought the bodies with us and who they were. He immediately had all of his attendants to dress and come with him to the grave and there at midnight I held a funeral service….That officer was Maj. Gen William B. Bate, of Tennessee, and there began a friendship between a general and a private that lasted until the high officer was laid to rest after many years of honorable service to his State and the nation.”
There are three thick books of index for the set. Who knows, you may find a story in there of one of your own Confederate ancestors.
Hayden H. Moody, Chaplain
Confederate Book Reviews
The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution, by Richard Slotkin. This book is about the campaign and battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg)...and the politics behind it which led to the Emancipation Proclamation. The author's view is that the period prior to the battle led to an increasingly hard line from both sides, but particularly the Lincoln administration. A major factor in this movement toward increasing political radicalism was the attitude of Major General McClellan. McClellan was a political conservative. He wanted to bring the Southern states back into the fold without any major changes in social policy, particularly slavery. He emphasized conducting a war that, in his view, would not exacerbate the bitterness between the two sections and make future reunion more difficult. The problem with McClellan's theory was that such a halfhearted view toward the war (in Lincoln's opinion) was no match for Southern grit and determination. In particular, Lee's successes in Virginia at the Seven Day's Battles and at Second Manassas forced Lincoln to reevaluate McClellan's disadvantages versus his benefits. All in all, this is a fascinating look at a critical period of WBTS history.
Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign, Vol. 2, by Terrence J. Winschel. This book is the follow up volume to the previous month's book of the same title. It follows the same format as the former book. It consists of ten essays on various topis related to the Vicksburg Campaign. Some of the topics are: the capture of Jackson, Mississippi; the securing of the Union beachhead over the Mississippi River; a look at John McClernand, Grant's political general; and the development of the Vicksburg National Military Park, among other subjects. The essays were developed from talks that the author gave in the course of his official duties as the Chief Historian at the Vicksburg National Military Park.
Geronimo, Robert Utley. Robert Utley is the former Chief Historian of the National Park Service and a noted writer on the American West with a fine biography og George A. Custer to his credit. His Geronimo book is a a well researched and well written biography of the Apache warrior who "jumped" the reservation three different times before spending the rest of his life as a prisoner of war mostly at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. If the reader is looking for a noble savage for the 21st Century mind to admire you will not find it here. Dr. Utley comes to the conclusion that Geronimo was no Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse, prepared to sacrifice himself for his people. Rather, he was an unrepentant brigand/bandit. That is all.
Battle at Sand Creek: The Military Perspective, by Gregory Michno. Noted western historian Gregory Michno takes an objective and critical view of the Sand Creek Massacre, or Battle of Sand Creek, if you prefer. Sand Creek is a lightening rod event in western history. Either it was an unprovoked attack upon a peaceful Cheyenne village that was under U.S. protection in which savage atrocities occurred, or it was a justified attack upon a fiercely defended village which was sheltering raiders who had themselves committed savage atrocities. This book offers a different perspective.