The Angel's Dispatch
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January 2005

The Commander’s Thoughts

     The December meeting was a good one. We held our camp elections, planned some things for the Lee/Jackson Banquet, and ate almost all of the chartering cake that was left. I was re-elected as your Commander. Sam will be having a hard time with the three offices that he has. He was elected as 1st. Lieutenant Commander, re-elected as Treasurer and retained the office of Adjutant until we fine someone to take it. Randy Billingsley was re-elected as 2nd Lieutenant Commander and I reappointed him as the Camp Historian. Richard Charping wanted to be our camp Chaplain so I appointed him to that office. I am looking forward to working with these men in future events.

     Most of you know a good friend of mine, Wayne Prouse of the Beaumont camp. I am proud to say that Wayne was just recently promoted to Divisional Aide-de-Camp. He swore in our officers at the last meeting. 

     Judith cleaned up after the meeting. As you can see in the right picture, not much of that cake was left. I took other pictures of some of the officers being sworn in but I put them on an old disk and then could not retrieve them. I hope to get a picture of the camp officers at the banquet.

     I also hope that all of you come to the banquet. Bring your family but keep this in mind. This is a solemn occasion not a place for uncontrolled children. Most Lee/Jackson Banquets do not allow children but I want you to bring your family. However, smaller children will find the banquet boring. As long as you can keep your children under control then please bring them. Also feel free to invite your family and friends. Who knows. They might like what they see and join the camp. Remember what I often say. Recruit and recruit; and when your tired sit down and recruit some more.

Commander Vernon Gillen

Picket Duty

A Soldier's Silent Night

'Twas the night before Christmas,
he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of
plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney
with presents to give
and to see just who
in this home did live.

I looked all about,
a strange sight I did see.
No tinsel. No presents
Not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle,
just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures,
of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
awards of all kinds,
a sober thought,
came through my mind.

For this house was different,
it was dark and dreary.
I found the home of a soldier,
once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
silent, alone.
Curled up on the floor
in this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle,
the room in such disorder.
Not how I pictured
a United States soldier.

Was this the hero
of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
the floor for a bed?

I realized the families
that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers
who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
children would play
and grown-ups would celebrate
a bright Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom,
each month of the year
because of the soldiers,
like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder
how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve
in a land far from home.

The very thought
brought a tear to my eyes,
I dropped to my knees
and started to cry.

The soldier awakened
and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don’t cry,
this life is my choice."

"I fight for freedom.
I don't ask for more.
My life is my God,
my country, my corps."

The soldier rolled over
and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
so silent and still
and we both shivered
from the cold night's chill.

I didn't want to leave
on that cold, dark night,
this Guardian of Honor,
so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, "Carry on Santa,
it's Christmas Day, all is secure."

One look at my watch
and I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas, my friend,
and to all a good night."

Gene Rivers

The Adjutant’s Minutes

     The December meeting was a good one and was held in our new meeting place at the Sam Houston Research Center and Library in Liberty. We meet in a room on the second floor. Just take the elevator up and your there. The room offers plenty of table room for us to do things, a TV and VCR, blackboard and more. The best thing is that we can fly all our flags there. It is also quiet, unlike the restaurants that we have been meeting at the past one and a half years.

     Because we no longer meet at a restaurant we will not have any food. I am asking that we all pitch in a little when you come to a meeting and bring some cookies and soft drinks. We have permission to do this. As soon as I can get a volunteer to take the office of Quartermaster then he will take care of the snacks and get reimbursed by the camp. This would require that the quartermaster be at every meeting that he can or at least let the Commander know so he can bring something.

     Most of the meeting was taken up by the upcoming Lee/Jackson Banquet. You need to get your money in and let 1st. Lieutenant Commander Sam or Commander Vernon know what meal you choose. Remember that if you just show up without a reservation then it will cost you $25.00 per plate. Please send in your $20.00 per plate now because the restaurant owner needs to know how many plates are to be prepared.

     The banquet will be at the Country Emporium Restaurant in Liberty, Texas. The restaurant is on the corner of Hwy 90 and Lawrence Street. The restaurant is located on the SOUTH side of Hwy-90.

     We will be offering a choice of three meals for the evening. Your choice will be (1) chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, (2) Two large grilled pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans or, (3) grilled chicken breast with wild rice and green beans. All meals come with a salad, bread and a choice of ice tea or coffee. The cost of the meal will be $20.00 per person. Reservations must be made. For anyone that comes without having a reservation will need to pay $25.00 per meal.

     We also held our camp elections. The elected officers that were there were sworn in by Divisional Aide-de-Camp Wayne Prouse, Past Commander of the Beaumont Camp. Many of us know Wayne as he has visited our camp many times.

     Our camp has a great future but it takes a little work from us all. Our camp needs volunteers so please give a little of your time for your ancestor.

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff

 

The Front Line

     A marker had been placed honoring Private Guehrs of the Confederate Army. The NAACP objected as they always do but the SCV fought back. Below is the story of how we won yet another battle against the NAACP. As you will read below, it was the professionalism shown in the letters that really impressed them. Remember this when you write or e-mail an angry thought to someone.

     We won! The meeting went well. The room was full. The Police Jury allowed anyone to speak on the marker that wanted too. I was told earlier in the day that the Police Jury would like to keep the comments to a total of 10 minutes from each point of view. Three people spoke against the marker and five people spoke for the marker. It wasn't planned this way, but it worked out that the five people who spoke for the marker were members of the Louisiana Society OCR, Louisiana Division SCV, Louisiana Division UDC and Spaight’s Battalion Reenactors. That's what I call Team Work!!!!!!!
     The board attentively listened to both sides before making their decision. As soon as the last speaker finished, the president stated that there were no further speakers and immediately one of the Police Jurors stated that he wanted to make a motion to leave the marker where it was and if it took a resolution, he would make that resolution. The president stated that the motion to leave the marker was on the floor, it was immediately seconded and unanimously voted for. The score was 7-0.
The opponents immediately left the meeting after the vote. The meeting was only half-way over, therefore we remained in our seats to not disrupt the remaining business of the Police Jury. After the meeting was adjourned, many of us immediately went to the Police Jurors and thanked them personally. The president of the Police Jury told me " We were very impressed with the letters we received from Louisiana and Texas citizens and the professionalism shown by your group." He told the Lake Charles television station reporter that the marker was a historical marker, that the location for the marker was historically correct and that the marker in no manner promoted slavery or racism. He also stated that Private Guehrs showed uncommon valor and needed to be remembered.
     Several SCV camps were represented at the meeting. They were from the Major Jesse M. Cooper Camp, Anacoco Rangers, General Alfred Mouton, Colonel Charles D. Dreux, Henry Watkins Allen and James Wesley Bryan camps. Mrs. Lisa Reed, Louisiana UDC gave an excellent speech. She lives in Cameron parish. She told the Police Jury she was there as a concerned citizen. Linda Pitillo with Spaights Battalion Reenactors Group, Tommy Curtis and Ed Cailleteau also did a great job.
Thank you again to ALL that sent letters, emails, faxes and phone calls. WE WON!!!!!!!!

Sincerely,
Johanna Pate
Louisiana Society
Order of Confederate Rose

Spaight’s Angels

Clara Barton Bought Mercy To Antietam

     When dawn broke that morning, death was in the air. In her covered wagon to the east of Antietam Creek Clara Barton awakened. She had left Washington the Sunday before with four helpers, a load of provisions, and an Army wagon lent to her by Col. D. H. Rucker, Chief Quartermaster. Following the march of McClellan for three days, she had reached this place at dark the preceding night.

     Now she called to Cornelius Welles, one of her assistants, and ordered her team harnessed. There would soon be work to do. Medicine, bandages, and food would be needed for the wounded. Regular supplies, miles to the rear of the train, would be too few and too late. That was why she had come: “to bridge the chasm and succor the wounded until medical aid and supplies should come up.”

     Now, as the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of Sumner’s corps marched off to battle, Clara Barton fell in behind them. An hour passed, then another. At 10 a.m. they reached the front.

     Miss Barton’s driver turned into a corn field near a house and barn, stopping in the rear of the last gun which completed the line of artillery in the rear of Hooker’s corps. Climbing down from her wagon, Miss Barton gathered up an armload of stimulants and bandages and carried it down a path leading to the house. At a wicker gate at the edge of the yard she came face to face with Dr. James Dunn, a Pennsylvania surgeon with whom she had worked at Chantilly. Dunn looked at Miss Barton, then at her wagon of provisions. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

     “How did you get from Virginia here so soon…and again to supply our necessities?” Then he added gloomily, “We have nothing but our instruments and the little chloroform we brought in our pockets. We haven’t even a bandage, yet all these men are bleeding to death.

     On the ground outside the barn lay more than 300 wounded, awaiting medical attention. On the farmhouse porch, doctors operating on the injured were using corn leaves for dressings because they had run out of bandages. Long before, they had torn up and used the last of the sheets they had found in house.

     Miss Barton handed Dunn the supplies in her arms and then returned to the wagon to help her assistants unload the provisions remaining. As she worked, a wounded man nearby called out, asking for water. A few minutes later, when she was holding a cup to his lips, but as he drank, a stray bullet bored into his chest and he died within seconds.

     Shaken, Clara Barton ordered as many of the wounded as possible carried into the barn for protection from random shots. Just outside she came upon a Michigan soldier who looked at her so imploringly that she knelt down to comfort him. He pointed to a bullet embedded in his right cheek.

     “It’s terribly painful,” he said. “Won’t you take it out?

     Clara hesitated. Never before had she severed the nerves and fibers of human flesh. She was a school teacher, not a nurse.

     “I’ll go for a surgeon,” she answered, turning to leave.

     “No! No!” The wounded man clutched at the hem of her skirt. “They cannot come to me. I must wait my turn. You can get the ball. There is a knife in my pocket.”

Miss Barton relented.

Continued next month.

     I had a great time at the December camp meeting. We got a great deal done for the Lee Jackson Banquet.

     I hope to see all of you at the next meeting. Come and bring some great ideas with you.

Judith Gillen

Notices

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

Re-elected 2nd. Lieutenant Commander Randy Billingsley

Born on January 23, 1951

2. Don’t forget our camp’s first Lee/Jackson Banquet on January 15th. Come to the next meeting on January 8th for more details.