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April 2004

The Commanders Thoughts

   Well it is that time of year again when delegates for SCV camp all over Texas gather together to take care of some business and have a lot of fun. Yes we do some business during the day on Saturday but that is not all we do. There is a Friday night party where you never know what may happen next. The noon meal on Saturday is when some of the camps and SCV members receive awards and medals. I really expect our newsletter, The Angels Dispatch, to win our camps first award. But do not forget that there are many camps out there entering this competition and any of them could win. After the Divisional business is over, around 5:00 p.m. all brigades gather in their own places for a quick meeting. Then the rest of the evening is spent doing what you want but I suggest resting. The fun is not over yet.

   That Saturday night always has a Ball. At this you dress up in uniforms or any way that looks nice. You will be served a four to seven course meal. You are waited on hand and foot, treated like royalty. Usually there is a brass band playing period music. Many in uniforms and Ball gowns dance period dances. Sometimes there is an auction where you can write down a bid on something you want. Keep checking back if you really want it because someone might have overbid you. Youll need to change your bid and overbid them.

   All of this is open to any SCV member that wants to come. Non delegates cannot come into the meeting room during business hours. The OCR will also be conducting business in case you want to represent our Chapter 32. Talk to Chapter Representative Judith Gillen about this. Check the Divisional web site for information about the Texas Divisional Convention. We will be electing our camp delegates at the April meeting.

   If we have 25 men on the IHQ roster then we will need three delegates. Under that we only get two votes. If we can only send one delegate then our camp still gets two votes, three if we have 26 men on the roster. Push to get more members. Ask your friends, fathers and sons to hurry up and join. We are pressed for time. These conventions are an experience that you do not want to miss. Try to go even if you are not a delegate.

   Last week Gulf Coast Brigade Commander Jim Westmoreland went to the Grimes County Commissioners Court meeting where he pushed and got a resolution passed recognizing April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. Congratulations to him and his camp for a job well done.

   After the state convention in June our camp will have nothing going on until the Christmas Party. During those six months we still have Confederate soldiers graves to find and all kinds of things. There are many Confederate soldiers buried in this area. One cemetery in Liberty has nine alone. Just recently a friend of mine told me about a cemetery in Liberty that was so grown up that they had to bring in saws to cut some trees. I went there only to find that most of the graves were unmarked and so old that the ground had sunk where the grave was. We have a lot of work to do here. This is the main function of the SCV; to locate a Confederate soldiers grave, mark it in a ceremony, and give him the respect that he deserves.

   Look at it this way. How would you feel if when you died your spirit had to sit on your grave until someone showed you some respect. The years came and went and the trees had grown up around you. You can no longer see the road only 15 feet away because of all of the weeds. Your family forgot you. After 90 years or so the government finally cleans the cemetery but your wooden marker has long since been rotted away. Your grave has settled, leaving a dip in the ground. You have become only one of many lost souls. You knew when you died that the United Confederate Veterans was suppose to take care of your grave so, where are they?

   The men that started the United Confederate Veterans are long gone but, there is the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Where are they? Maybe two or three hundred more years go by and still you sit there. Finding these men is not only our job we must do but an honor. There are many to find, many unmarked graves in that one cemetery alone. We need to find these Confederate soldiers and give them the respect they deserve.

   A couple of months back Commander Hillman and I were talking about the Dayton High School. With the Liberty Jubilee and Dayton Old Times Days festivals coming up Gene, Randy, and I were busy. Commander Hillman volunteered to take on the task and help us out. The Wallisville camp has done this a few times before so they already know what they are doing. Some of their members will set up a tent and the High School students will come outside where SCV members will teach them how our men lived during that War. I have not yet heard when the demonstration will be but, if you see any of these men from the Wallisville camp then please shake their hand and thank them. They have taken a load off of my shoulders when I was already carrying a big load. The Wallisville camp will also be walking with us in the Liberty Jubilee parade on Saturday morning.

   One final thing. As of now our camp has 17 members. Three members seem to be the only ones that will take on the responsibility of holding an office. This is not good. I understand that some of you have jobs that may keep you from excepting an office so I am not talking to you. I am talking to those of you that have the time but just will not do it. An SCV camp needs at least four officers in order to function. Our camp needs to fill these offices. Right now we need an Adjutant. The job is not that demanding. But it does require you to come to the meetings. We need a Color Sergeant to take care of the flags and bring them to camp meetings and functions. We are also looking for a responsible man to take over as our camps Treasurer in or around July. Right now I am Commander and Color Sergeant. It looks like I will also be the Adjutant. Gene is also holding two offices. This is shameful.

   None of the offices in a SCV camp are demanding. I do ask that my officers try to make every meeting. That does not mean that you have to, just try and come. If you cannot give your camp 3 hours a month and come to a meeting then this camp will die. We worked too hard to get this camp started and charter to see that happen.

   In the next few months I may be moving to central Texas. My mother is in need of me to start taking care of the ranch and land. I will remain as the Commander of this camp until the November elections, actual until December. You will also need a camp Commander at that time.

   I did not want to say these things and sound like I am trying to bark out orders. That is not it. But if I cannot find five men out of 17 to work in the camp then I must say something. Two workers out of 17, holding five offices is just plain shameful. We need you. I need you. Your camp needs you. If you think that you can give your camp 3 hours a month then please contact me or Gene. Thank you.

Commander Vernon Gillen

Picket Duty

Where did Jackson die?

Where is Jackson's gravesite?

Where is his amputated arm buried?

   Jackson died on May 10, 1863, at a field hospital near Guiney Station, VA, approximately 30 miles from the battlefield at Chancellorsville. The hospital was located in an office building on the estate of Thomas and Mary Chandler. Jackson's body was returned to Lexington, Virginia, for burial. He had spent almost ten years in the town while he was a Professor at the Virginia Military Institute. The funeral took place on May 15, 1863. He was buried in what is now known as the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, located on Main Street. The gravesite is today a popular tourist attraction.
   Jackson's amputated arm was buried by the Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy in his family burial plot at "Ellwood," the Lacy family estate (15 miles west of Fredericksburg) that was located about one mile from the field hospital where Jackson was initially treated. The land is now owned by the National Park Service and there is a marker noting the location of the arm.

Who shot General Jackson?

    Jackson died as a result of "friendly fire." He was shot at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, by an unknown member or members of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. The order to fire was given by Maj. John D. Barry, and many of his men fired at the same time. Jackson was struck by three .57 caliber bullets. Barry died two years after the war at the age of 27; his family believed his death was a result of the depression and guilt he suffered as a consequence of having given the order to fire.

How did Jackson acquire the nickname "Stonewall"?

   This famous nickname was first given to Jackson by General Bernard Bee on the battlefield at First Manassas on July 21, 1861. It refers to Jackson's steadfastness in the face of the enemy. Jackson's demeanor inspired Bee (a friend from Jackson's years at West Point) to shout to his troops, "Look, men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer!"
Jackson's troops also referred to him as "Old Jack."

What was the name of Jackson's horse?

   In the spring of 1861, while he was in command at Harper's Ferry, Jackson acquired the horse that he rode throughout the war. Although the horse was originally purchased by Jackson as a gift for his wife and initially named "Fancy," this name was short-lived. Jackson decided to keep the horse, and it was universally known as "Little Sorrel." Described as small (approximately 15 hands) and gaunt, but with remarkable powers of endurance, Little Sorrel remained Jackson's favorite and he was riding this horse when he was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. After the war, Little Sorrel first returned to North Carolina with Mrs. Jackson, and subsequently was sent to VMI, where he grazed on the VMI Parade Ground and was a favorite of cadets. He died in March 1886, at the age of 36, and his mounted hide is now on display in the VMI Museum in Lexington, Virginia. Little Sorrel's bones were cremated and interred on the grounds of VMI in 1997.

Is it true that Jackson loved lemons?

   Jackson was very concerned about his health and followed a strict diet which emphasized fruits and vegetables. Although he enjoyed almost every variety of fruit, he had no special fondness for lemons; in fact, peaches were his favorite. Civil War historian James I. Robertson, Jr., Jackson's biographer, states that "no member of Jackson's staff, no friend, not even his wife ever mentioned Jackson had a particular penchant for lemons," and refers to the "lemon myth." It is true that Jackson was observed eating lemons on several occasions during the war; this was due only to the fact that he ate whatever fruit was available. When the Confederates captured a Union camp, lemons were sometimes among the food stores that they confiscated; the Union soldiers received lemons and other fruits more frequently than did their Confederate counterparts. Despite the historical inaccuracy, the story remains popular. Tourists who visit Jackson's gravesite at Lexington, Virginia, often leave lemons as a tribute.

For more information on General Jackson, visit:

Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers

The Adjutants Minutes

   Okay Gentlemen ... and Ladies, I know we all could not make the last meeting, but we need to attend the upcoming Liberty Jubilee and help support the Camp and our SCV organization. Come out and have a good time and help educate folks this weekend. Bring the kids and cousins and whomever else you are able to drag along with you. All will have a good time. We have ordered good sunny weather, not too hot nor too cool ... just right.

   I myself was late for the meeting, but I did make it there, missed some details but had a helper, Mr. Williams, who was able to go to bat for me....and he did a great job...thanks David.
   Our guest speaker was Pastor Ed DeVries from Camp 924, the Grimes County Greys. Mr. DeVries spoke on the life of Stonewall Jackson. Everyone received an education from such an inspiring speech. Mr. DeVries has no need of the microphone...he is able to hold anyones attention with his talent for delivering a message. The SCV has landed a good one when they hooked this gentleman. Anyone interested in the history of Lee or Jackson should not miss the opportunity to hear Mr. DeVries speak, but if you miss his speech, you can still purchase one of his books, videos, and tapes on his subjects.
The Camp will be selling T-shirts for raising camp funds at the Liberty Jubilee. The SCV will have a few good men speaking at noon Saturday so try to get by to listen to what they have to say in support of the organization and our history.

   Do not forget about the upcoming Dayton Old Time Days Festival April 17 and 18th.
   The camp is looking for members to volunteer for the Camps Color Sgt. and the Adjutant. Yep ... need a replacement for myself. Have hung in there as long as I can but driving over three hundred miles round trip is taking its toll. We are looking for a member that lives a bit closer who can contribute one evening a month to help conduct business.
   Those that know Mr. David Williams, yall tug on his coat and pat him on the back, for he did a fine job for me this past meeting. I will vouch on his qualifications since I am writing this article using his minutes.
   I know yall will try to make our next meeting on April 3rd since that is only two days after the Atheist celebrate their only holiday of the year which falls on April the first...;o)
   Yall come on out and have a good time this Friday and Saturday in Liberty.

Adjutant Randy Billingsley


The Front Line

   In the front lines of our many battles we do things using decisions already made at our State or National Conventions. These conventions are a lot of fun but there is always much business that needs tending to. I have already told you a great deal about these conventions in The Commanders Thoughts at the beginning of this newsletter. This is your chance to be our camps first delegates at our first Texas State Convention.

   Below is the only information there is on the Texas State Convention in June. I took this from the Texas Divisional web site. If you wish to be a delegate then please contact me or Gene. We will be electing our delegates at the April meeting. Remember that our April meeting will be held on the 3rd, the first Saturday on the month. The second weekend is Easter weekend.

   Like I said at the beginning of this newsletter. These conventions are a lot of fun. Not only is there a great deal to do but, you will make friends that you can see again next year, if you go again. This is something that all SCV members need to experience at least once in their lives. But beware. Once you go that first time you will be hooked and wanting to go from then on.

   Even if you are not a delegate you can still go to these yearly conventions. In fact, there is an award for the camp that has the most members at that convention.

   Last night, at the March meeting, we voted to not to get into the scrapbook competition. We just do not have enough pictures and other things. A scrapbook should tell the story about the camp for the past year. However; we will be entering the newsletter competition. All awards and medals are handed out at the Saturday noon meal. Ill be there in case we win anything.

   Now here is the information you need about the state convention.

The 2004 Texas Divisional Convention

   The hotel is the Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center in Nacogdoches, which can be contacted at (936) 564-1234. Rooms are already blocked and ready for reservations. Make certain when reserving your room that you inform the hotel staff that it is for the SCV Reunion on 11 and 12 June 2004. The rate is $75 per room regardless of how many people are in a room. Most rooms will hold four people, some only two. Standby rooms may be made available at nearby hotels, if required. The hotel is ready to receive our Compatriots beginning at 3:00 pm on Friday, the 11th. Registration for the convention begins at 5:00 pm and will be controlled by the host camp. Registration will continue until 10:00am the following morning. Friday evening entertainment will be poolside at the hotel and includes live music from the "Old Time String Quartet", a cash bar, and BBQ. The band will play from 7:00-10:00 pm.


Spaights Angels

Englishmans View of Confederate Soldiers

   I found the chief cause of all their sickness has arisen from the lack of good, well-cooked food, regularly changed and diversified. What kind of bread can you expect boys to make who have never seen the process, and are not furnished with proper ingredients or utensils for rendering it wholesome? For several months it was common practice to make up flour into slapjacks or fritters which were nothing more than a thin mixture of flour and water fried in a sea of bacon grease.

   There was no effect to dig wells and get pure water. Generals never thought of digging wells. There was no provision for cooking by unit. The men were issued flour in bulk. There were no pots or pans. The men had to cook the dough in the ashes of their fires or on a stick.

   As for thinking of toilet and appearance, or a full supply of pots and pans for cooking-it is all nonsense. Our wagons are scarcely sufficient to carry tents, ammunition, and flour. We are lightly armed, lightly fed, march rapidly, fight frequently, and so that we beat the enemy, and barely get enough to sustain life, we ought to be contented.

   Such an army as ours can never be whipped-generals and privates are all lean animals, little else but bone and muscle, reduced to proper fighting weight, and all the better for not being encumbered with baggage and extras.

   Congratulation Connie Billingsley! I swore her in last Saturday night at the SCV Meeting. I also gave Randy Billingsley and Sara Rivers their Order of the Confederate Rose Certificates.

   I am making Grandmothers Sachet for the womens, lingerie drawer. I am making it all by hand and I am selling them for $1.00 or 2 for $1.50. The scents are vanilla pecan with a hint of cinnamon. Connie will be at the Liberty Jubilee selling them for me. I will be in Huntsville, Texas at the OCR Executive Meeting. I will inform you about it in the next newsletter.

   I sure have missed seeing Tommy at the meetings. Please return soon.

God Loves the Roses


Spaights Angels Chapter #32

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.

   I neglected to mention two birthdays last month. Happy birthday Jerry Kline and Samuel Shurtleff. Also, happy birthday to David Williams whose birthday is in April. Both Jerry and David are two of our newest members. David also joined our OCRs, Spaights Angels Chapter #32. Many of the men in our camp are also members of the Spaights Angels OCR.

2. I have membership certificates for Richard Charping and Samuel Shurtleff. You need to come to a meeting so I can present your certificates to you and swear you in. I also have something else for Bill McCullough.

3. Two of you still have not paid your dues for this year. If you do not pay by June then you will be dropped from the SCV roster. You will need to talk to Gene about how much you need to pay to be reinstated into the camp. We now have a camp dues of $5.00 per year.

4. There will not be an Officers meeting after the regular meeting in May.

5. Our camp now has T-shirts for sel. On the back are three Confederate flags with the words; "These colors never run, never have, never will". E-mail gene Rivers for details. We will even mail them to you.