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June 2004

The Commanders Thoughts

     If you did not make the May meeting then you really missed a lot. As the meeting got underway two new members were sworn in. David Williams and Samuel (Sam) Shurtleff are our camps newest members. Now that they have been sworn in they can take their place among the few that have the honor of calling themselves, Swamp Angels. These two men even took on the responsibility of becoming camp officers. David was sworn in as Quartermaster and Sam was sworn in as our camp Adjutant. Then David even took things a little bit farther when he was sworn into our Spaights Angels OCR Chapter #32 by Chapter Representative Judith Gillen. Many of our Swamp Angels are also Spaights Angels.

     Historian and Past Adjutant Randy Billingsley has excepted the office of 2nd. Lieutenant Commander in our camp. His knowledge and experience will be valuable to our camp. Randy is a hard worker and in the past has demonstrated his devotion to the Swamp Angels many times. I want to thank all of my officers for answering the call of their camp. These men saw that they were needed and took that first step forward and said; Ill help.

     There is something new and exciting happening in the camp. We voted at the last meeting to have three days a year of fellowship and fun. These plans are still in the planning stag so if you want to be a part of it then you will need to come to the June meeting. For one thing we will not be having a Christmas party in December. December 11th will still be a regular meeting night.

     The first Fellowship will be a Lee/Jackson Banquet with a bit of a twist. Many of the ideas that we were going to use at a Christmas party will be used at this banquet. Probably the next Lee/Jackson Banquet will be only for Swamp Angels and Spaights Angels. But like I said, it is still in the planning stage.

     On April 27, 2003 five men got together for the first meeting to start the Swamp Angels camp. For this reason, at the end of ever April, we will have Swamp Angel Day. This will be another get-together for the Swamp Angels and Spaights Angels. This is also still in the planning stage so come to the next meeting and bring your ideas.

     Around August we will have the third fellowship. We talked about having some black powder shooting contest and maybe even knife and tomahawk throwing contests. There will also be things for the wives and kids. In fact all three of these fellowship days will be geared for the entire family even if they are not a member of our camp or chapter.

     If you want to be a part of the planning of the camps future then you will need to come to the meetings. These three fellowship days are spread out over the year so that now and then we all can get together and have fun with each other. Just going to monthly meetings is not all a camp does.

     In case you do not know Gene heads our Cemetery Committee. If you want to help in this then contact him. Tommy Mayhood, a member of the Anderson camp heads our Scrapbook Committee. If you take any pictures of anything you do for the SCV or our camp then let me know. I will get them to Tommy. David also did one more thing. Though the three yearly fellowship days are being planned at our monthly meetings, David has agreed to head the Entertainment Committee. Once these three fellowship days are planned then the Entertainment Committee will make the final plans for each like buying plastic cups, plates and other things like that.

     We will have two Delegates and one alternate delegate going to the state convention on June 12th. Gene, Sam, and I will be doing what we can to represent the Swamp Angels at the convention. My wife, Judith, will be going to represent the Spaights Angels Chapter 32. Remember that because we will not even be leaving Nacogdoches until around 6:00 p.m. there will not be a camp meeting that night. The meeting night has been moved to the next Saturday, June 19th.

     On May 22nd. The Gulf Coast Brigade had a meeting in Anderson, Texas. It was a great meeting with Past Texas Divisional Commander Denne Sweeney as a speaker. After the meeting Adjutant Shurtleff, my son Darren Gillen and I posed for a picture at the Confederate Memorial in Anderson. The Grimes County Greys Camp there has done a great job building this memorial. Red bricks, some having Confederate ancestors names on them, have been placed around the bronze statue. If you want to buy a brick with your ancestors name on it just contact me.  

     The Greys camp even has a race car with their camps name on it. Driver, Billy Surface took time to pose for a few pictures as he showed of the camps pride and joy. This is a great idea for advertising the Greys camp and the SCV and a great way to show off the flag our ancestors fought for.

     I could not leave this beautiful, small town on the top of a hill with out taking a last look at their County Courthouse. If you have never been to the town of Anderson, Texas then take some time and go. It is less than a two hour drive from Dayton.

      Past Texas Divisional Commander Sweeney is running for Commander-in-Chief of the SCV at the next National Convention in July. Hopefully, our camp will be sending one man to this convention.

Commander Vernon Gillen


Picket Duty

General Nathan Bedford Forrest III

     U.S.A.A.F. (8th) General Nathan Bedford Forrest III was the only son of the only son of the only son (grand grandson) of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (CSA). He had no children and his only sister had two daughters. So the Forrest line ended here.
     Born April, 5, 1905 at Waldran, near Poplar in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Nathan Bedford and Mattie Patterson (Patton) Forrest.. The family moved to Biloxi, Mississippi when he was 7 years old and later to Atlanta, Georgia. General Forrest was a student at Georgia Tech, 1923-24. . He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 9, 1928 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Cavalry. In 1929 he transferred from the Cavalry to the Air Corps. He married Frances Brassler, November 22, 1930
     He was promoted as follows:

February 4, 1934, First Lieutenant
June 16, 1938, Captain
January 31, 1941, Major
January 5, 1942, Lieutenant Colonel
March 1, 1942, Colonel
November 2, 1942, Brigadier General

     He attained the rank of Brigadier General at the age of 37, four years earlier than his famous Great Grandfather attained the same rank.
     The first American General to become a casualty in the attack on Germany in 1943. He was carrying on the military tradition of his namesake (lead by example), when the lead heavy bomber he was in went down off the coast of Germany. For some time, hope remained that he had survived, as members of the bomber squadron saw parachutes, and so he was listed as missing in action. A year later, the General was declared legally dead. Of the nine crewmen who were able to parachute out of the plane, all but one died in the water, and it was discovered that the general's body had been washed ashore at Bug, Reugen Island, Germany. German records show that he was identified and first buried on September 28, 1943, at Wiek, Germany.
     Six years later, the general was reburied in Section 11 of Arlington National Cemetery. Ironically on grounds once owned by his great-grandfathers commanding officer, General Robert E. Lee.

     I urge you all to remember not just those that perished or served in the service of the Confederate States of America, but all those that have served and given their all so that we may sleep a sound nights sleep. Past, present and future.

Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers

The Adjutants Minutes

     Hello from the new Camp Adjutant! Yes, I was recently sworn in as the Adjutant for the Swamp Angels, SCV Camp 2029. That doesnt necessarily mean that I know what Im doing, though! But anyway, here goes.

     We had a great meeting on May 8, 2004 at the usual time and place. Judy Gillen, representing our chapter of the OCR, Spaights Angels, opened the meeting with a beautiful prayer. Commander Vernon Gillen, 2nd Lt. Commander Gene Rivers, David Williams, and Samuel Shurtleff were all in attendance. The pledges were spoken, and then I read the minutes from Aprils meeting. At that point, it was realized that the two new members needed to be sworn in so that we would have enough folks to conduct business. So, David Williams and I were sworn in as members of the camp and the SCV. Then David Williams was sworn in as Camp Quartermaster, and I was sworn in as Camp Adjutant. David Williams was also sworn in as a new member in Spaights Angels and the OCR. At that point, Gene Rivers made a motion to accept the minutes as they had been read. David Williams seconded the motion and the aye vote was unanimous.

     Gene Rivers then presented the treasurers report. David Williams moved to accept the report, and Samuel Shurtleff seconded. The aye vote was unanimous. At this point, a discussion ensued about $18 that had been donated during the Liberty Jubilee. A motion was made by Samuel Shurtleff and seconded by David Williams to give those donated dollars to our chapter of the OCR, Spaights Angels. The motion passed unanimously. Judy Gillen shared with us then that our Spaights Angels are all about supporting our camp. She indicated they would be involved in providing refreshments at certain events, and in the future developing a scholarship fund.

     As chairman of the cemetery committee, Gene Rivers informed us that we would be coming up with some ideas for marking graves in the future. Commander Gillen reported that pictures were needed for the official scrapbook.

     Then, it was time for Old Business. Commander Gillen led a discussion about nametags. There were several ideas, and Vernon said he would do some more research and bring more information so that we could make a good decision at a later meeting.

     We moved on to New Business. Several Executive Decisions had been made by Commander Gillen in April, and these were spelled out in the April minutes. Samuel Shurtleff made a motion to accept these Executive Decisions, and David Williams seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

     Next we discussed the upcoming State Convention to be held in Nacogdoches in June. Samuel Shurtleff made a motion to send Commander Gillen and 2nd Lt. Commander Rivers as our delegates, and David Williams seconded. At that point we discussed the possibility of electing an alternate as well, in case either of our elected leaders became unable to go. An amendment was offered by Gene Rivers and seconded by David Williams to elect Camp Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff as Alternate. The amendment passed, unanimously. Then the amended motion passed, unanimously.

     Gene Rivers reported on the camp flag. He noted that if we were really lucky, the flag that was adopted to be our official camp flag would be ready in time to take it to the State Convention. If we turned out to be not so lucky, we would have to take a temporary alternative.

     At that point, we had a lively discussion regarding camp parties and socials. Commander Gillen suggested that we should have more of these events each year. Everyone liked that idea! David Williams agreed that as Camp Quartermaster, he would serve as committee chairman for whatever events we finally decided on. We discussed several possibilities, including Christmas party like we have already done. We also considered a Lee-Jackson Banquet in January, a Swamp Angels Day in April to commemorate the founding of our camp as well as Confederate Memorial Day, and a family field day in August. All these ideas will be considered and a decision or two will be made soon.

     Commander Gillen passed out a survey to the members present. He mentioned that he would mail it out to the other members, and he is hoping to receive them back very soon. Gene Rivers brought up the possibility that non-active members could be called and encouraged to participate.

     Judy Gillen then led a brief business meeting of the Spaights Angels, OCR.

     The last minutes of our meeting were spent with various announcements. Commander Gillen mentioned the camp point system. He also told us that the Dayton Public Library would accept some book donations. Our camp would like to be involved in donating some books which told the story of the War Between the States and recognized our heritage in the process. Books to be donated must be reviewed by either Commander Gillen or Gene Rivers. Our Commander then noted that our Camp Constitution is in need of amending, and that will be examined more fully in the near future.

     Judy Gillen led in a discussion of the necessity for each of us to preserve our heritage and stand up for our rights. She then closed the meeting with another beautiful prayer.

     Dont forget our next meeting will be June 19. We are moving it a week so that some can attend the State Convention. I hope you will be there!

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

12 May 2004

     The following official letter from the SCV IHQ was sent to President Faulkner of the University of Texas in regard to his plan to move the Confederate statues on campus as a part of his new "diversity" program.


Dear President Faulkner,

     I read with dismay the recent comments you made when announcing your intentions to embark your campus on a diversity program. While your intent is allegedly to welcome minorities to campus, your words seem to be from one whose intent is to accomplish this through policies that are, in fact, exclusionary.
     In particular, your announced plans to seek movement of the statues of Confederate heroes on campus is of great concern to our organization, and one that we will observe closely. As you may not be aware, Subchapter K, Chapter 2166 of the Government Code tightly regulates any removal, relocation or alteration of a monument or memorial. If your intent is to move these statues off into a campus backwater, your actions would violate state law, and we will seek any redress necessary. We intend to keep a very close watch on this situation to ensure that state law is followed regarding these statues.
I feel I would be remiss if I did not remind you of the fact that in your stampede to welcome minority students, you appear to be turning your back on your own universitys heritage which extends back to the days just after the War Between the States. Your campus was built in great extent by the efforts of George Washington Littlefield, who was a proud Confederate Veteran. I wonder how that great UT icon would feel about your obvious embarrassment of the statues of his heroes?
If indeed your intent is to ensure your campus remains a place that minorities will feel welcome, you should consider looking toward the creation of policies of inclusion, not those of exclusion. It will accomplish nothing to make your changes by the suppression of another groups proud heritage. The fact is that in order for your campus to welcome everyone, it must appeal to everyone. If statues and icons appealing to any group are suppressed, moved aside, or removed, you will have failed to accomplish your stated goal.
Our nation is replete with figures who have some level of controversy attached to them. If your goal is to create a campus that will not offend a single person, you will fail. If any of your students think that their culture can only be satisfied by the annihilation of another culture, then perhaps you should seek a remedy that involves getting them into a classroom for some education, where some good might come from your efforts.


Denne A. Sweeney
Lt. Commander-in-Chief
Sons of Confederate Veterans


Spaights Angels

How Stonewall Got His Name

     How did Thomas J. Jackson get his nickname Stonewall?

     The most common theory holds that it came from Brig. Gen. Barnard Bees famous exclamation uttered at First Manassas on July 21, 1861: Bee, desperately holding the Confederate left flank against a horde of Federals until reinforcements could come up, is supposed to have rallied his retreating men by pointing to Jacksons brigade in reserve and crying: Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer. Follow me.

     This account appeared in print in the Charleston {S.C.} Mercury four days after the battle. But there is another version. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, one of the co-commanders of the Confederate army at First Bull Run, quoted Bee as having said: Look at Jacksons brigade It stands there like a stone wall. Beauregard said that the name passed from the brigade to Jackson in that fashion rather than vice versa.

     General Bee was critically wounded soon after he died shortly after being removed from the field. So we have to depend on second- and third-hand accounts to divine what he said and what he meant.

     But the theories dont stop there. Sharp-tongued Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill, a brother-in-law of Jackson, dismissed the whole Bee-Manassas story as sheer fabrication. He pointed out with great truth that the name was least suited to Jackson, ever in motion, swooping like an eagle on his preyand added that have never heard or seen an anecdote of him which had any marks of authenticity about it.

     So there is the evidence such as it is. Whats the verdict? The preponderance of the evidence tends us to the conclusion that:

1. The name of Stonewall came from First Manassas.

2. That it first attached itself to Jacksons brigade.

3. That apparently it was begun by certain remarks made by Gen. Barnard E. Bee.

4. That even if Gen. Bee were speaking contemptuously of the brigade or Jackson, the later exploits of the unit and its commander turned the name of Stonewall into one of shining honor.

OCR Business

     I swore in David Williams in as an OCR member. Welcome David. I also talked about the Convention in June about the Silent Auction, about some of things that will be brought for the auction by OCR Members. I am also bringing 2 door prizes for our OCR Meeting. Miss Sara Rivers will be buying the door prizes.

     I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting. I will be giving a run down on what went down at the Convention.

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 June meeting date has been changed. Sam, and I will be at the state convention on June 12th. That is also our camp's meeting night. Therefore our meeting night in June will be moved to the third Saturday, June 19th. Please note this change. We will see you then with a report on the state convention and Gulf Coast Brigade meeting.