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March 2004

The Commanders Thoughts

   We have three offices coming open soon. If you have an interest in being a camp officer then please let me know. Adjutant Randy Billingsley has to drive 2 hours one way to the meeting. Making every meeting is hard on him and his wife. Because the Adjutant takes the minutes of the meetings he needs to be at every meeting. The Treasurers office is open to anyone that has been a member of the camp for a while. This is an extremely responsible position so I will not place a man into it. The camp members will only vote a man into this office that they know they can trust with their money. Trust is earned. Kenny Carouthers is having to give up his being a Color Sergeant because he works so much. Only a man that will try his best to make every meeting will get this job. The Color Sergeant takes care of the camps flags and brings them to every meeting. This is not a very demanding office but the flags must be at every meeting.

   I understand that no matter what we do, we will all miss a meeting now and then. On the other hand, as the camps officers we need to set an example for the men. This is why I require that all of my officers at least try their best to make every meeting. Please let me know if you are interested in being Adjutant, Treasurer, or Color Sergeant. Call me at (936) 257-1982 or e-mail me at .

   Pastor Devries, who spoke at our chartering ceremony, will be speaking at our March meeting. This is one presentation that you do not want to miss. He will have some of his publications for sell. I have some of these which we will be showing at the Liberty Jubilee and Dayton Old Times Days festival. Bring some money because you will be wanting to buy some of his works.

   So many of us have been thinking about who we want to be the next president of the United States. However; we also have an obligation to the SCV and our camp. I am talking about being a delegate for our camp at the upcoming Divisional Convention in June and National Convention in July. A convention is not all work. In fact we only work on that Saturday. The rest of the weekend is an experience that you must have at lease once.

   As Randy mentioned in his article above we will be talking about the camps need for delegates at this years conventions. At the April meeting we will nominate and vote on who we want as representatives of the Swamp Angels. Of course this is 100% volunteer work. Anyone may turn down a nomination. It is a bit costly to the delegates but worth every penny.

   I have been a delegate for another camp and I do not mind telling you that Judy and I had a blast. Keep this in mind when we talk about it at the next meeting.

Commander Vernon Gillen


Picket Duty

The Texas Flag and The Confederacy

   At the beginning of the secession movement in earnest in early 1861, Texas was the only southern state to have an official state flag. This was merely due to the fact that Texas was first created as an independent republic in March of 1836 and the "Lone Star Flag" as it became known was the final adopted flag of the Republic of Texas. It began service in January 1839 and this national flag naturally became the state flag with the annexation and admission of Texas into the Union in 1845.

   With the secession of Texas in 1861 from a union it had so joyfully entered in 1845, it is a bit surprising that the Lone Star state flag was not taken up by many of the forming state units who instead exhibited a wide variety of independent flag designs. One likely theory is that since the admission of Texas to the Union in 1845, the state flag had taken a subordinate position in the hearts of Texans to the flag of the United States. After sixteen years under the Stars and Stripes and then its quick admission into the Confederacy with a new and exciting national flag, the Stars and Bars, the Texas flag did not have the exposure to the Texans of that period as it had less than one generation before. It might also be noted that, as a result of the great immigration into Texas in the period between 1845 and 1861, a large percentage of the 1861 population were not in Texas at the end of the Republic in 1845. A contemporary War Between the States photograph shows a Stars and Bars flag flying from the Capitol building in Austin without an accompanying state flag and it is highly likely the Stars and Stripes flew there before it. Again, the use of the state flag by government authorities in any meaningful quantities during this early period is unlikely.

   However, the Lone Star Flag was not forgotten. The 1st Texas Infantry Regiment, part of what became Hood's Texas Brigade, the most recognized of Texan Confederate units, carried a large Lone Star state flag into battle in Virginia. Lost under the most glorious circumstances possible, the near annihilation of the regiment at Sharpsburg (Antietam) in 1862, it was replaced with a black-bordered Lone Star flag that saw more glory at Gettysburg. This type of publicity certainly helped the state flag earn a share of renewed interest in its home state.

   Additionally, a few other units would carry the Lone Star flag into battle although the flag would be far from common. The 5th Texas Infantry, also of Hood's Texas Brigade, would carry a single star flag into battle in the summer and fall of 1862 but recent evidence suggests that perhaps this flag was a first national flag with a single star. However, during the war and even afterwards the flag was thought to be a Lone Star state flag. A few other units also carried Texas State flags but it appears that the use of state flag was not common, although it clearly was not forgotten.

   There is strong evidence to suggest that from the Lone Star flag's inception in 1839 the star was intended to have been pointed towards the top edge with two points towards the bottom edge as can be seen on the flag today. Accompanying the original 1839 act adopting the flag is a contemporary drawing, with the endorsement of President Mirabeau Lamar, showing the star in this position. However, if surviving examples are considered, the exception was apparently the rule with flags made in Texas in the in the period 1839 through 1865. The Lone Star, much more often than not, was tilted to varying degrees with no particular "tilt" the norm. This practice carried over into Confederate national flags made in Texas, where often there was a larger central star surrounded by smaller stars. In these flags the "tilt" in the central star was also a most common feature. One possible explanation could be that as flags were not mass produced in that period and each flag bore the knowledge of the individual maker. With vastness of the state coupled with a scattered population taken into consideration, very little in the way of standardization was achievable, and the need for standardization was certainly not necessary.

   With the end of the War Between the States, the Lone Star Flag, covered in glory in the first quarter of a century of its existence, would no longer be an inconspicuous state flag. Its legend would continuer to grow as big as the state it represented. It is probably the only state flag today that can be commonly recognized internationally. Its simple and classic design has reached the status of near immortality.

Thanks to FOTC Flags Of The Confederacy website at and Al Sumrall.

Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers

The Adjutants Letter

   Happy Texas Independence Day to all...hope most of you were able to make it to Washington on the Brazos to view the original copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence at the Star of the Republic Museum. Your Lt. Commander, Mr. Rivers and his family and Mr. Pearce and my wife and I attended the Texas Independence Celebration Saturday and viewed the document on display. This is only the second time in fifty years this historic Texas document has been available to public viewing...sorry you missed out.
   Commander Gillen proudly awarded Swamp Angels membership certificates to Lt. Commander Rivers and Mr. Lamont Pearce at our last meeting. The Swamp Angels Camp has grown to fifteen members as of our last meeting and is still growing.
   Lt. Commander Rivers announced the Confederate grave marker ceremony appears to be set for some future date in April. He will confirm a date for this ceremony at our next meeting.
   There was a long open discussion on the camps involvement with the upcoming Liberty Jubilee this March 27th and 28th. The Swamp Angels will have two speakers on the Main Street Stage possibly dressed in period clothes as to best represent our camp. Mr. Rivers plans to pass out copies of the Emancipation Proclamation to help educate possible members on the true history of the Souths involvement in the War Between the States. He will also try to bring copies of other hidden speeches of the Union President not proudly displayed in school text books nor mentioned by the Northern population.
   The Swamp Angels booth will have a small TV and VCR set up to play videos that will help promote educational material to visitors about the SCV and our southern heritage. The camp will also be handing out coins to the children that will be stamped with SCV information which will help to draw the parents to our booth where the parent will receive a card with the camps contact information. Here they will have any questions they may have about the SCV answered by those manning the booth and will be able to view the video being played as well. This is an all out effort for our camp to promote the new membership so please try to attend and give a helping hand....besides....there will be food and refreshments and a good time had by get out of the house and treat the family to an enjoyable weekend. I am sure you know that March is the official Texas History Month....right?
Gentleman, do try to put forth your best effort to attend our next meeting for we need to discuss nominations of delegates that will be elected at our April meeting.
   I also want to inform you the camp is now accepting "Associate Members" at ten dollars a year dues. An associate member is an individual that is not able to qualify as a regular member due to not having an ancestor that participated in the War Between the States but wishes to be involved in the promoting of the SCV cause. Let your friends know of this position and encourage them to join up with the camp.

Adjutant Randy Billingsley


Spaights Angels

Queen Varina

   This remarkable woman was speech writer, secretary, and official hostess for Jefferson Davis, as well as his devoted wife. Varina Davis was everything to Jefferson Davis that Mary Todd Lincoln was not to Abraham Lincoln.

   She researched many of his speeches, wrote and read state papers, copied documents when it meant laborious hours with a pen, and was, above all else, a partner in Montgomery, Ala., she was dubbed Queen Varian by a shrewish enemy. The name clung through all the four years of the ensuing struggle but somehow the title assumed a warmth and dignity with each passing year.

   Jeff was elected a Representative and went off to Washington to serve his freshman term in Congress. Within a few months her home was a Mecca for statesmen, scientists and the intelligentsia of the time. John C. Calhoun described her as an intellectual equal. She backed scientific research and entertained the best minds in Europe.

   As rations grew slim in the camps and on the narrowing battle lines the First Lady of the Confederacy tightened her belt also. But, being a woman, she tried to give aid to the young generation caught in the tragic currents of war. She saved bits of food so girl brides could have a reception, sent clothes to be altered, and won short leaves for soldiers on honeymoons.

   By the time the North had imprisoned Davis, refusing him even the decent amenities of rank, Varina had tasted the dregs. But this was the period when, like a tigress, she used her every wile to fight for her beloved husband. She wrote to every friend she had known before the conflict, pulled every wire, and learned that victory had turned too many of these friends into enemies.

   Just as she was writing this note, Varinas hard work was bearing fruit. Prominent men in the North, including Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt, urged her husbands release from Fortress Monroe. Two years after he was imprisoned a Federal court freed him.

   Since he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the U. S., he went to Canada. Varina scrubbed floors, baked bread, and struggled with a fiendish stove to heat water to wash the family linen. Later in Cuba, in New Orleans, and in England it was Varina who somehow mustered the strength to support the man who had lost all at Appomattox.

   When Jefferson finally put his roots down for the last time a Beauvoir,a mansion facing the Gulf of Mexico near Biloxi.

   While the one and only President of the Confederate States was writing his memoirs Varina Davis was amanuensis, clerk, librarian, and researcher-loyal to the cause to the last. She never let Jeff Davis down.

   I want to welcome a new OCR member, David Williams. There will be an Executive Meeting held on March 27, in Huntsville.

God loves the Roses

Judith Gillen



1. If you want to tell your loved one Happy Anniversary or Happy Birthday then let me know. I would be more than happy to write it here.

2. The following men are Charter Members of the Swamp Angels camp 2029 but you have not signed the chartering certificate. If you do not sign this certificate then history will forget who you are. Only the men whose names are on the chartering certificate will be given credit as being the Chartering Members. You need to come to one of the next two meetings to sign the charter. Those of you that have not signed are:

Jeremy McCullough, Bill McCullough, and Samuel Shurtleff.


3. On the last page of this newsletter is the Camp Calendar for the rest of the year. Take it and hang it someplace for quick referance. Meeting nights are marked in red. Note that the April meeting will be held on April 3rd. This is because the second weekend is Easter weekend.



















The Swamp Angels Events Calendar

1. March Texas History Month

4 . CSA Flag Day.

13 ... Camp Meeting.

26 - 27 . Liberty Jubilee.

27 ... TSOCR Executive Meeting in Huntsville.

2. April

3 . Camp Meeting.

17 - 18 . Dayton Old Time Day fest.

26 ... Confederate Memorial Day.

27 First meeting of The Swamp Angels Camp 2029

3. May

8 . Camp Meeting.

10 ... Confederate Hero Day.

31 ... Memorial Day.

4. June

3 Jefferson Davis was born in 1808.

12 ... Camp Meeting.

11 - 13 . Texas State Convention.

14 ... Flag Day.

20 ... Fathers Day. (Remember our Confederate ancestors)

5. July

10 Camp Meeting.

28 - 31 . National Convention.

6. August

14 Camp Meeting.

7. September

11 Camp Meeting.

8. October

9 . Camp Meeting.

12 Robert E. Lee died. Buried in Lexington, Va.

9. November

11 Veterans Day. Remember your Confederate Veterans.

13 Camp meeting.

25 Thanksgiving Day. Remember the battles that God has helped the SCV win.

10. December

6 . President Jefferson David died in 1889. Buried in New Orleans, La.

11 Camp Christmas Party. There will be no meeting unless we must have one.

20 South Carolina secedes from the Union in 1860, starting the Confederacy.

25 Christmas Day.