To my fellow members of the Thin Gray Line!
Well, we are now fully, 100% into summer, like it or not. I hope that all of you are staying as cool as you can, and that nobody is having an major mechanical problems with their air conditioning. From the Rancho Bogan we had a water overflow that caused a bit of damage to an adjacent bedroom from our air conditioner. It seems like when you have alot of long haired dogs it tends to clog the a/c drain pipe. The solution to that is to change your filters once a month. If it still clogs it means you have algae in the pipe. I finally broke down and put in a cut off switch, so hopefully that problem is solved.
Well, there were rumors going around that "antifas" (an antifascist group) was going to show up at Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle and burn various flags and desecrate monuments and Confederate graves. Funny, there are NO Confederate graves at Gettysburg; all of the Southern dead were removed from the battlefield not long after the war. Anyway, "antifas" d was a no show; I guess that they were intimidated by the presence of the dreaded Civil War reenactors with their nasty bayonets. That would have been an excellent picture. Portly reenactors chasing these millennial dirtbags with red scarves over their faces around. Oh, my kids are millennials so, no, I know that not all millennials are dirtbags.
As for the I-35 flagpole I think that it is time to a) get some barbed wire up on top of the fence, and, b) get the security cameras up and running, based upon funding. When that is done the battle flag will go back up, without fanfare. I like the idea of the flag flying to show to everyone that just because idiots in New Orleans are tearing down Confederate monuments we in Waco are still proud of our Southern Heritage...and are not ashamed to show it.
Another project. The brigade is putting together a monument inventory list, by county. Our camp will be responsible for McLennan, Falls, and Limestone counties. The inventory would include a listing of basic information on the monument, a comprehensive pictorial record of the monument in case of vandalism, and responsible people to keep an eye on the monument. In McLennan County we have the Oakwood Cemetery Monument, and our own I-35 flag monument. In Falls and Limestone Counties...I do not known what exists there, much to my embarrassment. This will probably be a short list, but an important one. We need to know what is out there in order to defend it.
As we approach the fall season, and cooler weather, we should think about becoming more active again. The Veteran's Day Parade is coming up, and we want to show our colors in that. I think that activities in some of our local cemeteries would be appropriate. I am certainly open to suggestions from the camp as far as things that we can do. Continue to enjoy your summer, and I will see you Tuesday night.
In the Service of the South-
Camp # 129
From our fearless ADJUTANT:
Renewal notices have been mailed out to each of our active members. If you did not receive your notice, the renewal fees are $53.00 and must be paid BEFORE September 1, 2017 to avoid a late fee being charged. You may send your renewal fees to my address or bring them to one of the next two meetings. My address is:
3121 Sturgis Lane
Waco TX 76708
I have all membership numbers, but please put your current address with your renewal payment.
JOHN DICKEY, Adjutant
3121 Sturgis Lane
Waco, TX 76708
"With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home."
General Robert E. Lee.
"When a man makes a mistake, I call him into my tent, talk to him, and use the authority of my position to make him do the right thing the next time."
General Robert E. Lee.
Lieutenant Commander Comments
The Sons of Confederate Veterans' monthly meeting will be Tuesday, July 11th, at Poppa Rollo's Pizza, 703 N Valley Mills Drive. Meal will be at 6:00 PM and the speaker at 7:00 PM. Charles Oliver, member of Waco Camp # 129, will speak on Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the CSA. Visitors are welcome AND encouraged. For more information visit www.scv-waco.org or call 254-772-1676.
"I yield to no man in sympathy for the gallant men under my command; but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, so that I may save their blood tomorrow."
Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
"Major, my men have sometimes failed to take a position, but to defend one, never!"
Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
I hope everyone had a great Independence Day holiday. This time of the year is extremely important regarding American history. Not only in 1776 when independence was declared, but July 4th has proven to be a very significant date throughout America's 241 years. Most notably around the time of our study of history was July 4, 1863. Many historians consider this day to be the turning point of the War Between the States. One of the major events around this time was the Battle of Gettysburg that lasted July 1-3. However, the other major event that many people never think of happening at the same time as Gettysburg was the siege of Vicksburg, which ended July 4. We need to not only keep our entire country in our minds during this holiday, but also our ancestors that fought, where all gave some, but some gave all, to try and secure our independence in 1863.
I apologize for a short column, but it has been a very busy couple of weeks for us. I thought I would end with a short excerpt of an address to the Baptist General Convention of Virginia on June 4, 1863, to give an example of the outlook and balance between war and Christianity during this time, just before this "turning point" of the War Between the States:
"DEAR BRETHREN:--Again have we assembled in our annual convention with the cloud of war still darkening the land. We humbly recognize in this desolating scourge the tokens of God's just displeasure against us for our sins; and although we have reason to adore his goodness, that in the midst of deserved wrath He hath remembered mercy, and saved us from the hand of those who hate us, hot humbling us before our enemy, yet, how grievous has been our chastening--Thousands of once happy homes are made desolate; at thousands of hearth-stones tears are falling and anguished hearts are breaking; our country has become the land of Rama; throughout its borders is heard a voice of "lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and will not be comforted because they are not." Still, whilst we "despise not the chastening of the Lord," we take courage, and, in reference to the public welfare and the common cause, can say with his servant of old, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." We behold in the fiery trial, through which we are passing, that baptism of offerings by which men and nations are disciplined for the work appointed to them.
We have thought it meet, at this momentous crisis of our history, in which the interest of our country and of the church are so deeply involved, to address you, somewhat at length, upon the state of the country, the character of the war, and our duties as patriots and Christians.
Though God in scourging us has used the hand of a wicked nation as His avenging instrument, we are daily more convinced of the righteousness of our cause, and have abiding faith, through His favor, of ultimate, and we trust not distant deliverance from our ruthless enemy. We are contending not only for political liberty, but for rights of conscience, assailed by fanaticism in the name of religion. The cause and purpose of this atrocious war are no longer disguised. The mask is thrown aside and the long-cherished purpose of the foe is openly avowed. We would speak here of the origin of this war, because its history is so intimately connected with that of the church, and teaches such a fearful lesson of the danger of spiritual pride and religious intolerance."
I strongly encourage our members to read the rest of this address which can be found at the following link, as it is very insightful. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/baptist/baptist.html
Koby Westbrook, Chaplain
"Our regiment is doing well. I try to preach on the Sabbath--usually twice. We have also a regimental prayer-meeting every evening at twilight. Upon these services there is usually a good attendance, and a serious attention that is very gratifying. Ask for the prayers of all."
J.M. Carlisle, Chaplain, Seventh Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers.
"Zion is flourishing again in this army. There are as many as twenty chapels. We have had a meeting in progress two weeks, and the interest is increasing daily. We have had several conversions, and there were, I reckon, fifty mourners at the altar for prayer last evening. Our chapel seats between 300 and 400, and is full every night unless the weather is very inclement."
J.M. Stokes, Chaplain, Wright's Georgia Brigade.
Confederate Book Reviews
Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg's Final Attack, by Phillip Thomas Tucker. Yes, this book is somewhat original in that the main thesis is that the PLAN for Lee's attack on the 3rd of July was good, but the execution was fumbled badly by the good general's subordinates and lack of supervision by Lee himself. The crux of the author's argument is that "Pickett's Charge" had three interrelated components: the artillery bombardment, a cavalry attack by Jeb Stuart against the rear of the the Union army on Cemetery Ridge, and the massive infantry attack against the front of the ridge. The author does not go into detail on the cavalry portion, though it was an integral part of the operation. Other authors have discussed this. The problem is that Lee never went into detail on his exact intentions at Gettysburg, probably in order to avoid making his subordinates look bad. The Confederacy was at a major disadvantage in a long war, so Lee was looking for an opportunity to deliver a war ending knock out blow to the Union Army of the Potomac. In his eyes the situation at Gettysburg presented an ideal opportunity. Unlike Virginia, the ground was much more open, thus increasing the potential effectiveness of his artillery. The Union army was so concentrated that a massive blow from two directions could cause enormous damage. The highly concentrated artillery bombardment would clear out the defending guns, and stun the infantry on Cemetery Ridge. The open ground would enable the infantry to move rapidly and seize the position. Certain artillery units would advance with the infantry keeping the flanks clear. The infantry would be well supported in that the troops that seized the ridge would be reinforced by fresh, or comparatively fresh units quickly. Heavily decimated troops would not have to go it alone after taking the Union position. While it may seem to lack finesse, the author's arguments do make sense. The problem was in the execution. Lee's command style was to give a mission to his subordinates, and then stand back and have them do the detailed planning. In this case, his subordinates were not up to it. Lieutenant General Longstreet was not in a cooperative mood. He did not want to do the attack, and he let everyone know it. His planning and supervision left much to be desired. Some of the supporting infantry units on each flank did not do their jobs--for whatever reason. Some of the units in the attack other than Pickett's Division had been hard hit on the first and second days of the battle. Their unit strengths were not as high as expected. General Lee does not seem to have been aware of this. That is probably the result of shoddy staff work. Plus, the Union return artillery fire caused heavy casualties in Southern infantry units as they awaited for the order to attack. The Confederate artillery bombardment was not as effective as hoped for because of poor fuses, effective Union counter battery fire, and lack of some types of ammunition. Of course, Jeb Stuart's cavalry attack was stopped well short of the rear of the Union center thanks to George Armstrong Custer. However, the what ifs are fascinating to contemplate, and that is what makes this an interesting book. This author has had serious editing problems with his books in the past. This one seems to be much better done. However, I got the impression that this book could have been a bit shorter and still gotten its point across. Nevertheless, I would still recommend to WBTS readers.
The Battle of Glendale: Robert E. Lee's Lost Opportunity, by Douglas Crenshaw. This book is a volume in the History Press series on the Civil War. This short, well illustrated and mapped volume provides a concise view of one of the most interesting early war battles fought by General Lee. There will be a never ending argument about what was the real "turning point" of the WBTS. An pretty food argument can be made that the Battle of Glendale/ Frayser's Farm was an extraordinary missed opportunity to win the war early for the South before the North's superior resources could be brought to bear. After the Battle of Gaines Mill the Union Army of the Potomac was in headlong retreat from Lee's aggressive Army of Northern Virginia. With the Union commander, McClellan, out of the picture, hiding on a yankee gunboat, and no other general designated as the overall commander, the Union army was uniquely vulnerable in it's position at the Glendale crossroads. Lee had planned a series of converging attacks from three different directions to destroy the Federal force. One of the columns was under Stonewall Jackson. Due to fatigue, incompetence, and lack of will only the column under James Longstreet hit home. This column hit hard inflicted losses, took a large number of guns, and captured a Union general but was unable to arrest the course of the Federal retreat. The next day Lee tried once again to stop the yankees at Malvern Hill, but by then it was too late. The golden opportunity had passed. This book gives an excellent account of this missed opportunity.
The Rebel Mountain Reader, by Mark K. Vogl. This book is a series of essays put together by SCV compatriot Mark Vogl. Some of you may recall that Mark has spoken to our camp several times. Mark is a U.S. Army veteran and a graduate of the Citadel who writes well. Some of his essays are on military matters, such as the Red River Campaign, an analysis of Lee's reasoning for the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the war at sea, while others are on sentimental subjects such as "Christmas in the Confederate White House" and "Christmas Letters From Confederate Soldiers". He also has an interesting look at Jefferson Davis's record as a war leader. All of these essays are well written and interesting and contribute to our understanding of the WBTS.
"The real issue involved in the relations between the North and the South of the American States, is the great principle of self-government. Shall a dominant party of the North rule the South, or shall the people of the South rule themselves. This is the great matter in controversy."
Robert Barnwell Rhett, Representative and Senator of South Carolina.
"Mr. President, we have now maintained this unequal contest for nearly four years, and invoke the judgment of the world whether or not we have established our capacity for self-government, and our ability to resist the power of the enemy to subjugate us."
Gutavus Adolphus Henry, Senator from Tennessee.
7/11/17 Camp meeting at Poppa Rollos-6 pm: eat and/or socialize, 7 pm: Speaker
7/18-23/17 SCV National Reunion, Memphis, TN