We have quite a few things to discuss at our May 13th meeting. They are (1) Need a count on who already has & who will be getting uniforms. One of the Dallas-Fort Worth camps is having a grave dedication near Hillsboro on May 31st and would like our help. (2) Need to find out who wants to read some of the history books that are being recommended for public schools here in Texas. (3) We need to vote on money to support the Temple re-enactment. (4) Need to find someone who can give Kerry Porter a ride to our meetings. He cannot drive any longer and he lives in Riesel. His phone is 896-0046. (5) The Temple camp will need uniformed men for a re-enactment on May 17 & 18. (6) Non uniformed are needed to help on Saturday at Temple. Hope to see you at our next camp meeting.
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The speaker for the next camp meeting will be J. Pat Baughman. His topic will be "Historical Music of Texas". The camp meeting will on May 13th at 7 PM, with dinner at 6 PM. The meeting will be at Poppa Rollos Pizza at 703 North Valley Mills Drive.
While assisting a patron at the WMCL & Genealogy Center, I took notice of a book that he possessed that described some of the exploits of his Confederate ancestor. I was fascinated by some of the accounts and hope the retelling will be of interest to you.
Each chilly night that I climb into a comfortable bed covered by a warm electric blanket, under the dry roof of my secure home, I think of those dedicated Southern soldiers, before us, who spent many a night to the contrary. And, for what reason? Because they believed in a Cause, a Cause that, to them, was just and right.
My friend’s ancestor, with three brothers, enlisted Feb 12, 1862 in Co. B, Randall’s 28th Texas Cavalry, Dismounted, Walker’s Div, CSA. On Sep 28th, 1862 the unit was ordered to dismount and form an infantry brigade in conjunction with three infantry regiments. The brigade was to operate in northwestern Arkansas. The troopers were extremely disappointed, for they had brought their own horses and now were being told they would have to dismount from their own property and become “mud sloggers”. This was about the ultimate disgrace to a Texan Cavalryman.
*During the next three years this unit participated in eight battles and marched/waded 5,030 miles through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. For two months, from the middle of February ‘62, they trained outside of Hempstead, then were transferred to Virginia Point overlooking Galveston Island. July 6th the regiment was ordered to march to Little Rock, AR.
The unit returned to Camp Herbert, near Hempstead, where tents were made and supplies prepared for the trip. August 2nd the march began with the supply wagons preceding them. Five miles the first day, 12 miles on the second and then ten miles on the 4th of Aug. From Aug 8th, starting at Madisonville, the men marched to near Tyler by Aug 21st. They covered over 90 miles, 5-18 miles per day, camping on Saturday and Sunday; and this with the temperature registering in the 100’s (Aug 13 was over 110 F).
On through September, they marched, reaching outskirts of Benton, AR by the 21st where they camped on the Saline River and washed clothes to parade through Little Rock. The journal entry for Sep 22, 1862 reads, “Marched through Benton to within 4 miles of Little Rock. Stopped at Camp Texas to practice the etiquette of military tactics before being reviewed by General Holmes, Commander of Trans-Mississippi Dept, CSA.”
After their march through Little Rock, things began to deteriorate. While camped 2 miles out of LR at St. John’s College, which was being used as a hospital, all their horses and wagons, except one, were taken for safe keeping along, with surplus baggage. These were never returned.
October 2nd, “Resumed march, crossing Grand Prairie, going to Clarendon Heights on the White River. Marched 12 miles, began pouring rain.” And the following two days, “Marched 12 miles in heavy rain through mud and standing water, wagons didn’t arrive till late, there were no tents, so they stretched blankets on the overflowed prairie, the rain had ruined the rations, the cornbread was wet, too wet for fires, no supper and cold camp.” On 4th, “Marched 12 miles to Clarendon Heights, deep mud and standing water on the prairie.” And the 5th, “Several Divisions camped here, 25,000 men camp in the deep woods, trees stripped of foliage so little shelter, ground saturated and muddy from rain, no tents to protect from wintry blasts, slept beside campfires covered only with one blanket. Fever and Ague spread among troops. More than half of division sick. Amongst the several divisions not enough well men to do guard duty.” And on top of that, a hail storm came that night.
October 9th the march back to Little Rock began. While crossing the Grand Prairie the next day, it rained, sleeted and froze with a strong north wind. “Those who fell out were left, no transport for sick, marched or dropped. Marched 14 miles in downpour, no shelter in camp.” On 11 October they had no breakfast because of the rain and marched 7 miles to Brownsville. The march to Austin, 13 miles away, was resumed on the 14th of October. They camped at some springs two miles outside of Austin. This was to be the Winter Quarters and was named Camp Nelson for BGen Allison Nelson who died a few days earlier. While camped here there was a great deal of sickness, dysentery, and fevers had many victims. Hospital was filled with sick. Sickness due to impure water was great. Fully 1500 men died at Camp Nelson.
During this foray into Arkansas, the client’s ancestor, James Thomas Loden, died of “Camp Fever“, a combination of exposure, bad food and unsanitary camp conditions.
*General information and quotes are from “Loden Family Tree History, Dedicated to George and Myrtle Loden.
I pray that should the time ever come that we, descendents of these gallant men of the South, be convened for the purpose of defending our God-given rights, that we can muster the resolve with which these served. May He strengthen our fortitude!
Hayden H. Moody, Chaplain
Confederate Book Reviews
Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign, by Earl J. Hess. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was Sherman's greatest and most lopsided defeat in the Atlanta Campaign, and probably Joe Johnston's greatest victory of his career. Prior to the attack at Kennesaw Mountain Sherman managed to drive Johnston from his position at Dalton, Georgia, by using his numerical superiority to outflank position after position. At Kennesaw Sherman abandoned that strategy and decided to launch a frontal attack. His men paid a steep price as they were repelled at all places along the Confederate line and lost 3000 men to boot--as opposed to Southern losses of around 700. Professor Hess expertly describes the flow of the battle and uses his detailed knowledge of field fortifications to give context to the battle narrative. The book concludes with an excellent appendix discussing the earthworks that remain today. This is an excellent book for devotees of the western theater and the Army of Tennessee.
The Battle of the Crater, by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen. This is a historical novel on the Battle of the Crater with an emphasis on the participation of the black Union soldiers. Confederate soldiers are in the book, but they are clearly secondary characters. If you are fine with that this is a good historical novel. It gives a good lead up to the battle with alot of detail on the planning of the attack. For the most part I have little use for historical fiction, but I enjoyed this novel.
The Last Stronghold: The Campaign for Fort Fisher, by Richard B. McCaslin. This slim volume is part of the Civil War Campaigns and Commanders series published by the McWhiney Foundation Press. This book is a concise and entertaining read on the fall of Fort Fisher, the fort which protected the last open port east of the Mississippi River. The fall of this port meant that Lee's army would no longer receive supplies from overseas via blockade runners.
Lone Star Justice: The First Century of the Texas Rangers, by Robert M. Utley. Mr. Utley is the former chief historian of the National Park Service and now resides in Georgetown after his retirement. This is an excellent history of the Texas Rangers up to about 1910. Another book will continue the history from then to the present day. The Rangers began service as a defense force against Indian raids during the Texas colonial and Texas republic periods. It continued in this capacity--with law and order thrown in--until about 1880 when the Indian threat disappeared. At that time the Rangers became, in effect, the state police of the State of Texas. Despite their impressive reputation even the Rangers had their share of dirtbags. This excellent book gives the complete story of the Texas Rangers.
Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick. This excellent book is basically a history of the city of Boston during the Revolutionary War period. It emphasizes the outbreak at Lexington and Concord and the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill (actually fought on Breed's Hill). The author paints a vivid and realistic portrait of this very pious and rowdy city during this pivotal period in U.S. history.
May 13th-Camp 129 Meeting
May 16,17,18 -Temple Reenactment
May 23-24-Flag Confederate graves for Memorial Day
May 26th-Memorial Day
June 3- Jefferson Davis Birthday