Greetings, Fellow Members of the Thin Gray Line--
Best Wishes to all as the Texas weather gets downright, pleasant. Enjoy it while we can, before it is HOT in two months or so. I did a 70 mile bike ride in the Salado area on the 25th, and, in Texas, spring time is beautiful. Now is the time to get out and enjoy the scenery.
Let's do some talking about...numbers. Yuck! If you are like me I HATE any kind of numbers. However, we are going to look at some numbers related to the WBTS. Especially with Confederate Memorial Day this month, and the Federal Memorial Day next month. We are going to take a brief look at the costs of "Lincoln's War".
Here are some numbers that have been accepted for the WBTS for some time:
Union 2,128,948 men served in the military.
110,100 killed in action
224,580 died of disease
275,154 wounded in action
211,411 prisoners of war of whom 30,192 died in captivity
Confederate 750,000-1,082,119 served in the military.
94,000 killed in action
164,000 died of disease
194,000 wounded in action
462,634 prisoners of war of whom 31,000 died in captivity
A couple of quick observations are in order here. A large percentage of the Confederate soldiers taken prisoner were captured in the last period of the war. Also, note that the numbers of men who died in captivity were approximately equal, which puts away any contention that Andersonville was a uniquely bad place. Heck, the Yankees were much better supplied, so there is little excuse for so many deaths in their prison camps.
Also, as of late, these figures have been, I think, reasonably, challenged by some experts. Some statisticians have pointed out discrepancies in these numbers. Some believe the actual total of dead for the war was more like 761,000, breaking down into 411,000 Union dead and 350,000 Confederate dead. Plus, there were at least 50,000 dead white Southern civilians and 80,000 dead slaves.
What is the point of this? Forget the yankee figures. Look closely at the figures for Southern losses and it is readily apparent how hard the South fought AND how costly an endeavor the WBTS was for our Southland. Well over a quarter of Southern men of military age died during the WBTS, if you use the 1 million plus figure for enlistments; if the smaller figure is accurate then it is more like 40% of Southern men perished. That is a lot of heartbreak and loss. And, it is a demographic disaster because the men who were lost were the leaders of the community, the ones who would step up and take responsibility for their communities and families. When I was at the military academy during a history class one of my professors noted that the South lost a higher percentage of its manpower during wartime of any developed country except one--and that exception is World War One France. Our Southern ancestors were the very personification of Alpha Males. That is why I am proud to be a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
At the request of our adjutant here is important membership information from the National Headquarters.
SCV MEMBERSHIP CARD
The SCV Membership Card serves two purposes. It is a reminder that your membership expires on July 31 each year and it contains your Membership Number. Once you become a member, you will continue to receive a renewal notice each year, usually during the month of June advising you that your renewal is due on July 31. But if you do not pay your renewal, then your membership does expire, and you will have to be reinstated if you wish to rejoin.
Up until this year, there has been a 90 day "grace period" that allows you to renew without paying a late fee or reinstatement fee. However, beginning with the renewals for 2018, there will only be a 30 day grace period. However, with a new system that is to be available in June, renewals can be paid online directly to the National Headquarters. This system was just released for testing and should take affect starting in June when the 2018 renewal notices go out. At that time, you will use the renewal notice information to make your online payment. If you choose not to pay online, you can still submit the renewal payment to the camp.
The National Headquarters does not send out new membership cards after renewals have been paid. That is done in order to avoid the additional postage expense for nearly 6000 members. However, a replacement card can be provided by the camp, if the original card has been lost or destroyed.
Hope that helps clarify the issue with your membership card.
"I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day I did not pray for them."
General Robert E. Lee
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The Sons of Confederate Veterans' monthly meeting will be Tuesday, April 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 program will be related to "April--Confederate History Month". Visitors are encouraged and welcomed. For more information, visit www.scv-waco.org or call 254-772-1676.
"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power bovver us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will, this we must, resist to the direst extremity."
President Jefferson Finis Davis
In my Texas History class we just recently wrapped up talking about the Civil War. One thing that was so prevalent especially in Texas was the presence of Baptists and their effect on Texas's role in the Civil War. One that comes to mind is Rufus C. Burleson, who served as Chaplain for the 15th Texas Infantry and president of Baylor University prior to and after the war. The Confederate State were built upon religion and prevailed because of it. Religious leaders such as Burleson, "Stonewall" Jackson, and Robert E. Lee were the backbone of morale among Southern soldiers. Seeing their leaders fearless on the battlefield because they knew that whatever was to happen, it would be God's will. This mindset can be hard to grasp, especially for myself. But our ancestors, living day after day in the heat of battle, trusting that God will take care of them. So, compatriots, I ask that you reflect on your religious leaders, see how you can learn and mirror their faith. Or, if you are that leader, what are you doing to show God to your team? Part of being a leader, is leading by example.
I would like to ask our members to pray for the families affected by the church van from the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels that wrecked in Uvalde County and was carrying back members of their congregation down there. And as always, keep in mind and prayer our camp and its members.
I hope everyone has a happy and joyful Easter!
Koby Westbrook, Chaplain
"God is at work among our men. Many are earnestly seeking the pardon of their sins--some have been converted. Our nightly prayer-meetings are well-attended by anxious listeners, and my tent is crowded daily by deeply penitent souls. Never have I known such a state of religious feeling in our army as at this time. God's Spirit is moving the hearts of our soldiers."
Chaplain S. Strick, 59th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.
Confederate Book Reviews
Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865, by Ethan S. Rafuse. This book has an ambitious objective: it is to explain why Robert E. Lee and his vaunted Army of Northern Virginia went from its dramatic victory at Chancellorsville in May, 1863, to defeat at Appomattox, just under two years later. The author delves deeply into Confederate strategy during this period, and, like another author I reviewed recently, comes to the conclusion that Lee had no reasonable option other than to adopt offensive operations as his preferred mode of war. A large part of the difference between the last two years and the 1862-1863 period is the fact that the North was slowly getting its act together in the arena of Grand Strategy. We, as Southerners, may not like Grant, but he understood that he commanded the logistically and quantitatively superior army...and he was not afraid to use it. Given the comparative resources available to Lee and his Northern adversaries it is amazing that the Army of Northern Virginia lasted as long as it did. I found this book to be very enjoyable and enlightening; it IS an academic sort of book so that might be a turn off for some people.
Holly Springs: Van Dorn, the C.S.S. Arkansas, and the Raid that Saved Vicksburg, by Brandon H. Beck. This book is a volume in the History Press's "Civil War Sesquicentennial Series". The title of this book is a bit deceptive. It is a history of the portion of the Vicksburg Campaign just prior to Sherman's bloody repulse at Chickasaw Bayou. It tells the story of the dramatic single ship sortie of the C.S.S. Arkansas against Farragut's Union fleet around Vicksburg along with the subsequent scuttling of the ship. The main focus is Earl Van Dorn's equally dramatic raid on Holly Springs, Mississippi. The raid resulted in the destruction of Grant's supply base for his overland campaign against Vicksburg from the north. Grant was forced to withdraw, while the other prong of the campaign under Sherman floundered at Chickasaw Bayou. Ultimately, Grant learned his lesson about logistics and when he made his final move on the city he resorted to plundering the Southern countryside for supplies. Earl Van Dorn was a noted cavalry commander in the 2d U.S. Cavalry in Texas before the war, where he caught the eye of then Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis. However, in the WBTS to this he had been a dismal failure, being defeated at Pea Ridge and at Corinth. Back in the saddle as a Confederate cavalry commander, Van Dorn at least partially redeemed his reputation...only to be assassinated by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he was allegedly having an affair. This short book is a fine study of a lesser known campaign during the WBTS.
The Settler's War: The Struggle for the Texas Frontier in the 1860s, by Gregory Michno. This book is a chronological narrative of, basically, Indian raids along the Texas frontier in the 1860s, before, during, and after the WBTS. It discusses characteristics of Indian raids, in sometimes gruesome detail, and it discusses the various organizations that defended the Texas frontier including the U.S. Army, the Confederate Army, and the various local units that were sometimes called into action. The Indians involved were primarily the Comanches from Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, the Lipan Apache in the area of the Texas Hill Country, and farther west occasional forays by Mescalero Apaches. In short, Indian raiders went after livestock, children, and women. Men and boys over the age of 12-13 tended to be killed. Infants and babies also tended to be killed because of the noise they made. Younger children would sometimes be ransomed back, while in other cases they would be adopted into the tribe. The fate of younger women and teenage girls, to be blunt, was horrible. They could look forward to sexual abuse and virtual slavery along with constant physical torment. The Indians were not the politically correct at-peace-with-nature types you see in some Hollywood garbage. This book does an excellent job of showing that there was another war going on in Texas, against an enemy other than the Yankees.
Freedom's Child: The Life of a Confederate General's Black Daughter, by Carrie Allen McCray is an insightful story of the author's mother, Mary Magdalene Rice Hayes Allen. This biography begins 10 years after the War Between the States ends. Mary Magdalene Rice was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 2, 1875, to a former slave, Malinda Rice, and former Confederate General J.R. Jones. McCray describes her mother keeping a photo of "a white man" on her dresser, but no one really knew who he was until later in Mary's life. The beginning of the story talks about the relationship between Mary and her father, General Jones, a, yet loving between father and daughter, yet turbulent due to the forbidden openness of blacks and whites. General Jones strongly encouraged education for his daughter, eventually sending her to college. As Mary was growing up, despite being half white, she experienced hate and mistreatment at the hands of whites, and she was rarely in businesses around Lynchburg, even if she was with her father. Eventually, General Jones' reputation and standing in Lynchburg society waned and he became an outcast, but the most important fact about General Jones is that he remained loyal to his daughter, encouraging her to become a well-educated person who fought for right and herself. Mary went on to become a founding leader of the NAACP. She would work closely with those who fought for the rights of African Americans such as W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and others that helped with the founding of the NAACP.
Although this is not a story about the War, a battle, or a military situation, it shows the lives of two people...a father and a daughter, race...white and black..., love and hate regarding the struggles of a father's love for his illegitimate daughter, his struggle to remain good with Lynchburg society, yet educate and encourage her to be more than what society considered her to be. I highly recommend this book. I had to read it for a class on "History of the South". It was the only book that I fully read cover to cover.
"I would have preferred that your choice had fallen upon an abler man. Trusting in Almighty God, a good conscience, and the aid of my fellow-citizens, I devote myself to the service of my State, in whose behalf alone I will ever draw my sword."
General Robert E. Lee
APRIL IS CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH--FLAG YOUR CONFEDERATES' GRAVES
04/11/17 Camp meeting at Poppa Rollos: 6:00 pm Eat, socialize 7:00 pm Speaker
04/13/17 Brazos Rose Chapter #56 Bi-Monthly meeting: 6:00 pm @ West Waco Library
04/29 & 30/17 Confederate Reunion Grounds, Mexia--Living History and Reenactments
"Had I forgotten the gallant array and brave appearance of Gen. Johnston's army as they passed our house on their march to their great victory at Manassas? The exulting strains of 'Dixie' or the 'Bonnie Blue Flag' almost giving wings to their feet as they moved triumphantly on, keeping step to the joyous music."
Cornelia Peake McDonald