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August 2004

The Commander’s Thoughts

   At the September meeting I will announce the three men I chose to be on our camp’s Nominating Committee. These three names will be in the October issue of The Angels’ Dispatch. If you want to run for an office then you will need to contact one of these men so give your name and the office you desire so it can be written down. This list will be presented to the members at the November meeting where an election will take place. So if you have a desire to work in your camp and be an officer then let the Nominating Committee know. If you wish to serve on the Nominating Committee then let me know that as well. You can be on the committee and also run for an office. Only men at the November meeting can run for an office and vote in the election. There are no proxy votes.

   I will be starting some Graveside Ceremonies soon and I need the Swamp Angels and Spaight’s Angels help. This is why we joined the SCV and OCR, to honor not only our ancestors but all Confederate veterans. Some local camps have also agreed to help us with men in uniform and with muskets. If you have a black powder rifle or musket then do not worry about not having a Confederate uniform. We need our own men firing these salutes.

   I am also wanting to start a camp Honor Guard. These are the men that will be firing the musket and rifle salutes. If you are interested in being in this Swamp Angels’ Honor Guard then please let me know. Like I said. You do not have to have a Confederate uniform starting off and I have two black powder rifles that two of you can use.

   One time I even saw a man use a black powder pistol. He stood beside about 6 or 7 other men with muskets. Later I asked him why he used the pistol and he said that it’s all he have and he wanted to be part of the ceremony. I admired his insistence to be part of the ceremony. Come to think of it, he had a complete Confederate uniform except for the pants. He wore blue-jeans. But at least he was there taking part in the ceremony. In fact, in my first ceremony at the San Jacinto Battlegrounds I wore blue-jeans and a T-shirt. I had not bought my uniform yet but I wanted to be part of the ceremony.

   As of now I know that we will need a 1st. Lieutenant Commander and Color Sergeant. I am presently the Color Sergeant and would like to hand over the camp’s flags to someone else. The job is simple but I have enough to do. The Color Sergeant simply takes care of the flags and brings them to all meetings and camp functions.

   Our Adjutant, Sam, has also taken on the duties as our camp Treasurer. I am sure that he will do a great job.

   At the next meeting, August 14th, we will be choosing a bank to put our camp money in. If you have an idea of what bank might be best for our camp then get the information needed for starting a checking account and bring it to the meeting.

   As you know, I go by a point system where all Swamp Angels earn points for doing different things. Last year Gene won the award. You can earn one point for just coming to the meetings and another point for wearing the camp T-shirt to any camp function or meeting. As of now Gene is again in the lead with 22 points. These points will be tallied in November and a new list will start. If you do not have the list of what you can earn points for just look in the New Member’s Package you got when you joined the camp. If you joined before we started passing out this package then ask me to send it to you.

Commander Vernon Gillen

Picket Duty

Nathan Bedford Forrest

   With no formal military training, Nathan Bedford Forrest became one of the leading cavalry figures of the Civil War. The native Tennesseean had amassed a fortune, which he estimated at $1,500,000, as a slave trader and plantation owner before enlisting in the Confederate army as a private in Josiah H. White's cavalry company on June 14, 1861. Tapped by the governor, he then raised a mounted battalion at his own expense.
His assignments included: lieutenant colonel, Forrest's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion (October 1861); colonel, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry (March 1862); brigadier general, CSA July 21, 1862); commanding cavalry brigade, Army of the Mississippi (summer-November 20, 1862); commanding cavalry brigade, Army of Tennessee (November 20, 1862 Summer 1863); commanding cavalry division, Army of Tennessee (summer 1863); commanding cavalry corps, Army of Tennessee (ca. August -September 29, 1863); commanding West Tennessee, (probably in) Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (November 14, 1863 - January 11, 1864); major general, CSA (December 4, 1863); commanding cavalry corps, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana January 11 - 28, 1864); commanding District of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana January 27 - May 4, 1865); also commanding cavalry corps, Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana January 28 - May 4, 1865); and lieutenant general, CSA (February 28, 1865).
   When the mass Confederate breakout attempt at Fort Donelson failed, Forrest led most of his own men, and some other troops, through the besieging lines and then directed the rear guard during the retreat from Nashville. At Shiloh there was little opportunity for the effective use of the mounted troops and his command again formed the rear guard on the retreat. The day after the close of the battle Forrest was wounded. After serving during the Corinth siege he was promoted to brigadier general, and he raised a brigade with which he captured Murfreesboro, its garrison and supplies.
   In December 1862 and January 1863 he led another raid, this time in west Tennessee, which contributed to the abandonment of Grant's campaign in central Mississippi; the other determining factor was Van Dorn's Holly Springs raid. Joining up with Joseph Wheeler, Forrest took part in the unsuccessful attack on Fort Donelson which resulted in Forrest swearing he would never serve under Wheeler again.
   His next success came with the capture of the Union raiding column under Abel D. Streight in the spring of 1863. On June 14, 1863, he was shot by a disgruntled subordinate, Andrew W. Gould, whom Forrest then mortally wounded with his penknife. Recovering, he commanded a division that summer and then a corps at Chickamauga. Having had a number of disputes with army commander Braxton Bragg, Forrest was humiliated by being placed under Wheeler again. His request for transfer to west Tennessee was granted and he was dispatched there with a pitifully small force. Recruiting in that area, he soon had a force large enough to give Union commanders headaches. Sherman kept ordering his Memphis commanders to catch him.
   When Forrest captured Fort Pillow a controversy developed over reports of a massacre of the largely black garrison. Apparently a massacre did occur there are numerous Confederate firsthand accounts of it. He defeated Samuel D. Sturgis at Brice's Crossroads and under Stephen D. Lee fought Andrew J. Smith at Tupelo. He again faced Smith during August 1864 and then provided the cavalry force for Hood's invasion of middle Tennessee that fall. Finally the force of numbers began to tell when he proved incapable of stopping Wilson's raid through Alabama and Georgia in the final months of the war. His diminished command was included in Richard Taylor's surrender.
   Wiped out financially by the war, he resumed planting and became the president of the Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad, which he helped to promote. Joining the Ku Klux Klan shortly after the war, he was apparently one of its early leaders. Forrest once summed up his military theory as "Get there first with the most men." He died, probably of diabetes, at Memphis on October 29, 1877, and is buried there.


"Who Was Who In The Civil War" By Stewart Sifakis

Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers

The Adjutant’s Minutes

Huzzah from the Camp Adjutant!

   Unfortunately, yours truly was unable to attend the Swamp Angels meeting on July 10. However, I have received the lowdown and want to share with you what took place. Commander Gillen, Gene Rivers, and Kenny Carouthers were in attendance, as well as our OCR representative Judith Gillen. After Commander Gillen called the meeting to order, Judith offered the opening prayer. The flags were all saluted and pledged unto, as usual. Then a new tradition was begun as the gathered members drank a toast (with grape juice) to our Confederate ancestors. This was a moving moment, and will be done at each meeting.

   Gene Rivers resigned as Camp Treasurer so that I could be promoted to Treasurer. The transfer of the Treasurer’s books and money was begun by Gene giving over these things to Commander Gillen to hold until I could receive them. (note: I received the materials and money and began the work as Camp Treasurer on July 26.) Gene also resigned his duties as Cemetery Committee Chairman. Commander Gillen is now the Cemetery Committee Chairman. Thankfully, Gene will continue to work as our First Lt. Commander.

   The camp then talked about some awards which needed to be given. Silver Sword awards are going to be given to Mr. Wiggins and Mr. Wayne Johnson for their assistance to us during the Liberty Jubilee.

   The subject of nametags was broached again, and it was decided that we would vote on nametags at the next meeting, after we see some examples provided for us by Wayne Prouse. The cost of the nametags should be $3 to $4.

   Planning for the Family Day at the Billingsley’s ranch in October began with a discussion of food possibilities. A pot luck, stew, BYO steaks, and eating out at a restaurant were all suggested. There was also some discussion about ceremonies to honor Confederate ancestors. Gene’s ancestor is going to be honored in the near future, and Commander James Hale of a neighboring SCV camp is going to help with that. Also, GC Brigade Adjutant Campbell, also from another neighboring camp has offered up his color guard to assist with cemetery ceremonies. These ceremonies are very good at letting the general public know we exist and what we are really about, as well as at recruiting new members.

   We are going to be opening a Bank Account soon, and discussion regarding that took place. After donations were received and announcements made, Judith Gillen offered the closing prayer.

   The next meeting is only a short time away, and I hope you will be there. Several interesting things will take place. 1st. Lieutenant Commander Eric Sandifer of the Wallisville camp, will be with us and will present a program for us. Also, we will hear an exciting report about your Camp Adjutant’s trip to the National Reunion, which included my visit to four Civil War Battlefields. There are many items of business which need to be wrapped up as well, so come and take part with us!

Obediently Yours,

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

   Most of the time I tell you here about battles that the SCV is having. But there is another battle that is disturbing me and it is taking place right here in Dayton. The battle of having the words, Confederate Flag, removed from the Dayton High School Dress Code as a hate symbol is not over. Last year Principal Elliott of the High School agreed to talk to the school board, who actually votes on what is and is not said in the Student Handbook. We won a fight or skirmish but not the battle.

   I have been trying to get in touch with the school for many months. My e-mails and even some letters are going unanswered. Now I plan to make a school board meeting soon about this. If you are interested in going to the school board meeting with me then let me know. Your presents there would help.

   There is another problem that I would like to address right now. At the State Convention, back in June, we elected three officers to our Gulf Coast Brigade. They are Commander Westmoreland, 1st Lieutenant Commander Forman, and 2nd. Lieutenant Commander Hale. There was some disagreement about how the election was run even though it was run the same way for many years with no problems. Basically, one large camp in the brigade is trying to take all three offices and therefore control the brigade. This problem is being solves as you read this. But a rumor has started and I need to let you know that it is just that, a rumor.

   I talked to one of the Swamp Angels the other day who told me that he heard that our camp was loosing her charter. We are not loosing our charter. If we were then I would tell you. I and the other officers of this camp are simply trying to keep the brigade officers that we elected. That is all that is going on. Before you start talking about transferring to another camp you need to check out the facts. If you are going to run every time you hear a rumor then you will be running all of your life. Our camp is just as save now as it always has been. If you have any questions just call or e-mail one of your officers.

Spaight’s Angels

Comparisons of the Relative Strengths of North and South

At the Outbreak of the Civil War

   In the museum building of the Manassas National Battlefield Park there appears a graphic comparison of the relative strengths of North and South at the outbreak of the Civil War. It reads like this:


Number of States 11 23

Area 777,000 sq. mi. 1,000,000 sq. mi.

Population 9,160,000 (1/3 Slaves) 22,000,000

Cultivated Land 57,000,000 acres 106,000,000 acres

Miles of Railroad 9,000 22,000

Value of Manufactures $156,000,000 $1,730,000,000

Iron Production 26,000 tons 483,000

Regular Army & Navy None 13,000 & 42 service ships

There isn’t a great deal to talk about this month.

   At the meeting last month I talked about earning some money to help the OCR. The majority at the meeting wanted to just donate money. I have a problem with that thought. Example, if we donate money instead of goods, the majority of the money has a way of going into the administration instead of the people they are trying to help. But, instead of giving money, give the people the goods, the people will get it. Example, like giving diapers, etc. to Children’s Protective Services. Liberty is a poor county. The poor doesn’t get any help in this county, it counts on the people to help each other. It’s not like Harris County, where they have big taxes to help the people.

   I am still pondering the design of our new banner. The group decided that I could go ahead with the planning of the banner.

   We are selling a great new item. It is a portfolio leather- like with the Great Seal of the Confederacy embossed on them. It comes in gray-blue and black. Commander Gillen and I, each have one. We will bring them to the meeting to show you what they look like. They are really beautiful. They sell for $25.00 plus postage and handling. I can take your order and send it on to the proper person handling the item. I know several people have asked how to get one.

   Darling Mott Smart of Beaumont Camp is compiling items for a children’s book in the theme of the Civil War era. She needs help. Please help her. It is called Heritage Booklet. Please send her photos of different flags, brief history of the war in your area, quotations, branches of the military: artillery, cavalry, infantry, medic: short description and picture to color for the coloring book. Songs: Dixie or original music if possible, vocabulary, ancestor chart, houses: short description and photo, cemeteries: short description and photo, courthouses, ethnic groups, recipes: hard tack and others, leaders of particular units from Texas like the Stephen D. Lee’s Charge to the United Confederate Veterans, museums, poems, games: like the cup and ball, whirligig, marbles, etc.

   Curiosities, suggested/recommended reading , and war medals. She would really appreciate it. These booklets would be given to all children of new or old members of SCV.

Miss Maggies’s Sweet Potato Pie

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes cup light corn syrup

2 eggs, beaten 3 tablespoons flour

1 2/3 cup sugar teaspoons ground nutmeg

cup evaporated milk pinch of salt

cup butter, melted 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

   Preheat oven to 350. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. TIP-For a more dense pie, use 1 cups mashed sweet potatoes.

   I am looking forward to seeing all of you at next months meeting.

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.

Happy Birthday to:

Bruce H. Rivers - Camp#2029

Sara L. Rivers - Spaight’s Angels OCR Chapter #32

Best wishes to you from The Swamp Angels' and Spaight's Angels

2. 1st. Lieutenant Commander Eric Sandifer of the Wallisville camp will be giving a presentation at our next meeting. He is a great speaker and speaks at many functions and other camp.

3. For the first time in over 5 months we not only have one man wanting to join our camp but two men and they both might be at the next meeting. Please help them and their families to feel welcomed and at home.

4. When I printed this newsletter out for those that do not have computers, on the 7th page I had a chart that showed how fast our camp had grown and that there hare had been no growth since the month of February. For some reason I could not cut-n-paste that chart to this page. I even had to print it out separately. I apologize for the chart not being here.

   Our membership growth has become stagnated. As you can see from the chart on the next page, our camp grew fast for many months. Then suddenly in February it all came to a screeching halt. I talked to the Division and was told that his is normal for this time of year. People are planning vacations and even the heat makes a man not want to think of joining anything. This is the time when the camp members should be shaking the bushes for members. But, have we been doing that? Not really.

   The last time that I know of where our camp tried to recruit new members was at the Liberty Jubilee last March. As you can see from the chart we did not get any new members then. Gentlemen, we are in a serious battle for our very existence. Our enemies want to smash your ancestor’s headstones and in some cases have already done it. Take one of the Houston school that was knowingly built over some Confederate graves. Do you think that would have happened if they were Yankee graves? Never. Our enemies want to come into your homes and take away your Confederate flags and anything else that looks Confederate. Do you have a little figurine in your den of Robert E. Lee. They want it too. We need to fight back and we do that with membership. The overall membership in the SCV is dropping. Older men are dying and not enough new members are replacing them.

   We all have brothers, dads, and uncle, or at least friends. Ask them to join our camp. Gentlemen, we need to do something and we need to do it now. If you have any ideas that can help the camp get more members then let me or another officer know and it can be brought up at the next meeting. Help you camp grow.