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November 2004

The Commander’s Thoughts

     First of all I would like to remind you all that our meetings will be held at Jax Hamburgers in Liberty, across the street (Main Street) from the Courthouse. We will need to have our meetings there until we can find a better place that will let us fly our Confederate flag during the meetings. This might mean changing the time to hold the meetings. This will be discussed at the next meeting. If you know of a place then please let me know.

     I have checked out the Sam Houston Research Center in Liberty about holding our camp meetings there. We can use an upstairs room as we did in our second meeting back in May of 2003. However this would mean changing the time of the meeting since we would have to be out of the room by 3:00 p.m., no matter what day we use it.

     Because most of the camp members live south of Dayton, choosing a more southerly site for the meetings was suggested. I agree but we still need to keep our meetings inside Liberty County. If you want to help choose a time and a place to have our future meeting, then be at Jax Hamburgers next Saturday at 6:00 p.m. You can also e-mail me and tell me what time would be best for you.

     Also remember that we will be holding camp elections at the next meeting. If you want to run for an office then contact Adjutant Sam. You do not have to be at the meeting to run for an office but you do need to be there to except the nomination. Only those at the meeting will be able to vote.

     Another thing that popped up over the past few weeks. The grace period for all dues is no longer February 1st. This was changed (Amendment 13) at the last National Convention to November 1st. This means that if you are reading this and have not paid your dues then you will need to pay an extra $6.00. That’s $5.00 for IHQ and $1.00 for the division. Because of the sudden notice shocking thousands of real mad SCV members I will mention this at the next meeting. I will try to figure out some way for the camp to reimburse any Swamp Angels that had to pay the late fee. However, this takes a vote and you cannot vote if you are not at the meeting. I think nine men paid their dues

     I need some help setting up things for the Lee/Jackson Banquet. This help will be in the form of ideas and votes at the next three meetings. We will have our January meeting one week before the banquet. However, the 1st lieutenant, Sam if elected into the office, and I will be the only ones working during the banquet. We would mainly be just playing politics, shaking hands and all. But then Sam loves that stuff.

Commander Vernon Gillen

Picket Duty

     1st Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers wrote: I appeal to you to submit to the newsletter a short bio of your Confederate ancestors. Here is one on my Grandmothers (McMahon) side of the family. You can search for history online at:


     Josephus Somerville Irvine, son of Josephus and Jane (Patton) Irvine, was born in Lawrence County, Tennessee, on August 25, 1819. He was one of four brothers who served in the Texas army in 1835-36, another of whom was Robert Boyd Irvine. The Irvines moved from Tennessee to Texas in 1830, settled first near Milam, and moved four years later to a farm four miles south of San Augustine. In the fall of 1835 Irvine enlisted in Capt. Henry W. Augustine's company and participated in the siege of Bexar. He again volunteered for the Texas army in March 1836 and served in a company from Sabine County under Capt. Benjamin Franklin Bryant. With Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment he fought in the battle of San Jacinto; it is possible that he was the youngest Texas soldier in that battle. Irvine was discharged about May 1 but enlisted a third time on July 4, 1836, and served for three months in Capt. William Scurlock's company from San Augustine.

     He served as tax assessor and collector of Newton County from 1856 to 1860, when the census evaluated his property at $5,000; the 1861 tax roll shows that he owned one slave. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Irvine raised and was captain of a company that became Company C of James B. Likens's battalion of Texas Volunteers. After a reorganization of the battalion, it was designated the Eleventh or Spaight's Battalion of Texas Volunteers, and Irvine was elected major. He led his troops in the battle of Fordoche or Stirling's Plantation in southern Louisiana on September 29, 1863, where his son, James Patton Irvine, was killed. Ill with yellow fever, Irvine resigned his commission in December 1864 stating reasons of ill health.

     He married Nancy McMahon in 1838; they had eleven children. Irvine was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He died on May 17, 1876, and was buried at Wilson's Chapel, Newton County. A state marker was erected on his grave in 1963.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cooper K. Ragan, Josephus Somerville Irvine: Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Josephus Somerville Irvine Monument (Houston, 1963). Cooper K. Ragan, ed., "The Diary of Captain George W. O'Brien, 1863," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 67 (July, October 1963, January 1964).

Lieutenant Commander Gene Rivers

The Adjutant’s Minutes

     Our last meeting was a great one. Richard Charping, one of our newest members, and his wife came. It was good to see them both.

     The meeting opened in prayer at 6:10 p.m. The pledges were said and we toasted to our Confederate ancestors. The toasting to our ancestors is something that we started a few months back. It will be done at every meeting before the business starts. At this meeting we had a lot to do.

     The camp voted a few months back for the Camp Executive Committee to find a bank in which to start a checking account. I am happy to say that we finally settled on the Prosperity Bank in Dayton. Our camp now has a checking account.

     There was not much old business but, when we got to the new business we had to start working. Almost everything concerning the Lee/Jackson Banquet on January 15th was voted on. Here is a rough rundown on what all we voted on and passed.

1. The cost of the meal will be $20.00, $25.00 for anyone that does not make a reservation and just shows up.

2. These are the three choices of meals served.

     A. Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy with green beans.

     B. Two grilled pork chops, Mashed potatoes and gravy with green       beans.

     C. One grilled marinated chicken breast, wild rice and green beans.

     All meals will also have a salad, bread, ice tea or coffee, and chocolate fudge cake dessert. The salad will be served first, then the meal a few minutes later and then finally the dessert.

3. Color coded cards will be waiting at the door for everyone. The colors will help the waitresses know who ordered what meal.

4. We voted not to have a dessert but Janice, the owner of the restaurant, is throwing in the chocolate cake free. We need to remember this woman and her restaurant. Am I the only one getting hungry right now?

5. Commander-in-chief Deene Sweeney will be our guest speaker at the banquet. We also decided on a motel suite for him at the Best Western Inn just west of Dayton. It is a real nice room and the manager gave us a nice cut price. I have a confirmation number but the room has not been paid for yet.

6. We will have a photographer there for anyone that wants to have their picture taken to remember the night by.

7. There will be a silent auction, donation jar by the door and maybe even a raffle to help us pay for everything. We are asking each camp to bring something for the auction but if you have something that you would like to donate then please let Vernon or Sam know.

8. The dress code for the evening will be from casual dress to period dress. No shorts, T-shirts and throngs please. This is a classy event but we also want to you to be comfortable.

     The banquet will be at the Country Emporium Restaurant on Hwy 90 in Liberty. Even Swamp Angels and Spaight’s Angels need to make a reservation so we will know what you want to eat. Contact the Commander for this information and a map showing how to get to the restaurant.

     Commander Gillen also mentioned the camp elections will take place at the next meeting. He is running for reelection as Camp Commander and Adjutant Sam Shurtleff is running for 1st. Lieutenant Commander and for reelection as the camp Treasurer. We still need someone to take the office of Adjutant. This is an easy office and no camp can work without an Adjutant. The Adjutant is actually the most important office. We need someone to stand up and except this office. If you are interested then e-mail Sam at or call him at (713) 824-4574 or, Commander Gillen at or call (936) 257-1982.

     The meeting was closed in prayer by Judith Gillen

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

Flag flap: G'burg gets sign from sky

Confederate group uses plane to send message at college homecoming game.

     Shortly after the Gettysburg College Bullets hit the field at Saturday's homecoming football game against Ursinus College, a plane circled over the field for more than an hour with a sign trailing behind it for thousands to see.

     It read: "GC: Teach the Truth...Go Bears!"

     The psychological tactic was the most recent barb in a campaign by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose 34,000 members are still bristling over a September art exhibit hosted by the college that featured a Confederate battle flag hung from a noose.

     When given the back story, Costello said he didn't like his weekend affronted by protest.

     "I came here today to be with my friends and have a good time," said the 24-year-old Leonardo, N.J., resident. "This conflict means nothing to me. This isn't the place for this."

     His friend, 22-year-old Kayla Dietrich, was just as clueless about the plane's purpose, but more sympathetic to the people who put it there.

     "If they're mad, they're mad," said Costello. "They can do what they want. It sends a message. It's not going to ruin my day."

     Since the exhibit left late last month, the Confederate group has purchased numerous radio spots, newspaper advertisements and billboard space expressing their resentment of the exhibit, a display many of them have dubbed a "hate crime." The media blitz has two angles - it asks the college to pay the bill for extra security needed for the exhibit's Sept. 3 opening, and requests that the Sons of Confederate Veterans be allowed to hold a seminar on Southern history at the college.

     Half of these demands have been met. Earlier this month, the college sent the borough a $15,000 check for security costs. If the college doesn't hold a sit-down with Sons over the seminar, the publicity stunts will continue, and they'll get progressively more creative, said Kirk D. Lyons, chief of staff for the Sons' Army of Northern Virginia.

     "We have a long, long memory," he said. "Our inventive staff will work up whatever they can within the law to continue to bring attention to this. When we can have a satisfactory seminar to counterbalance this act of hatred, then we will have no reason to embarrass Gettysburg College any more."

     Patti Lawson, associate vice president for communications at the college, said the college has mulled a Southern heritage seminar in recent weeks. But she said the college has academics in mind for it, not Sons.

     "(Sons) has not contacted us," she said. "We're looking for a scholarly group to do this."

     While Lawson said the sky sign "added to the festivities of the day," game visitor Ollie Wiseman thought otherwise.

     "It kind of puts a pall on things," said the 54-year-old Philadelphia resident. "I wonder what all these people are going to say about this when they go home?"

By Matt Furman
Evening Sun Reporter

Spaight’s Angels

Letters and Diaries

By Jed Hotchkiss

Wednesday, Sept. 6th

     We started before day, 3 a.m., and crossed the South Mountain at Braddock’s [Turner’s] Gap and encamped, on the western slope, near Boonsboro. A squad of Yankee cavalry made a dash at the head of our column, or rather on the officers riding carelessly in front, and nearly caught some of them. Col. S. Bassett French hid in a cellar, or was put there by a “Union” man, until the enemy had gone….

Thursday, Sept. 11th

     We went on to Williamsport, then across the Potomac and on to Hammond’s Mill, 1 miles from the North Mt. Depot [a Federal supply depot] of the B. & O. R.R.. Took some prisoners. Part of our army went towards Hagerstown.

Friday, Sept. 12th

     Went on to Martinsburg by the way of Hedgesville, but the enemy had fled. Captured some stores. The enemy had strewed their salt in the streets. The ladies thronged the General and went so far as to cut a number of buttons off his coat, and also attacked the tail of his horse, for mementos…. I bought some things in Martinsburg; new hats for the General and myself.


     I enjoyed last month meeting. Mr. Charping brought his lovely wife. She gave some great advice for the Lee- Jackson Banquet.

     I am going to San Antonio to the OCR Executive Meeting on Nov. 6th. I will give a summary next month of what’s been done at the meeting.

Judith Gillen


The Masonic Corner

     There is no news for the Masonic Corner this month. I do have this thought though. Have you ever wondered how many Masons were in the SCV? I cannot give you a number but there are many. At the National Convention there is even a Masonic Breakfast for all delegates that are Masons. The next time you go to a state or national convention, SCV banquet or anything where a lot of SCV members gather look for the Masonic symbol on a man’s uniform or suit coat. You would be suppressed at how many Masons there are in the SCV.



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. Below is the list of camp offices, who is running for that office and which ones are open.

Nomination List

Red - must be filled

Blue number - should be filled

Elected Offices

1. Commander:

     Vernon D. Gillen is seeking reelection.

2. 1st Lieutenant Commander:

     Adjutant/Treasurer Samuel (Sam) Shurtleff is running for office.

3. 2nd. Lieutenant Commander:

     Randy Billingsley is seeking reelection.

4. Treasurer:

     Adjutant/Treasurer Samuel Shurtleff is seeking reelection.

Appointed Offices by the Commander

1. Adjutant:


2. Chaplain:


3. Quartermaster:


4. Judge Advocate:


5. Historian:

     Randy Billingsley still wants this office.

6. Surgeon:


7. Color Sergeant: