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March 2005

The Commander’s Thoughts

     Judy and I have decided to get back into reenacting the War of Northern Aggression. The Livingston reenactment back in February was and is always a good one. People of all types and ages participate in these reenactments. The little man below probably weighed as much as the pistol he carried on his right side, but boy could he use that bullwhip. In the second picture is Divisional Aide-de-Camp Wayne Prouse on the left and Past Commander of the Beaumont camp Don Smart. For those of you that do not recognize the middle man, it’s me. Getting into reenacting is a blast for you and the family. Semmes Battery is presently needing men and I am trying to start up a sharpshooter company called the 9th Texas Militia Sharpshooters. The 9th Texas Militia will be part of Semmes Battery.

     Reenacting is separate from the SCV and yet a very important part of the SCV. It is the Infantry and Artillery reenactors that help in the cemetery ceremonies. Also, by being a reenactor you can better understand what your ancestor went through, to a point. Most reenactors have tents which is something that our men hardly ever saw. Judy and I have all kinds of cooking pots and pans. Our men were lucky if one man in the company had a frying pan.

     And then there are what we call Hard Core Reenactors. They live just like our men did. They sleep in the rain and march all day and go into battle. I do not know about you but after doing any marching I do not feel like going into anything but camp. The cheapest route is to go with artillery and sharpshooter companies.

     Judy and I also made the De Ridder, Louisiana reenactment. This is another big and good one. You see me here in the white pants. In the first picture I am getting orders from a Major to also watch the crowd and keep them back, a safe distance from the cannons. In the second picture I am asking someone to move back as I load my rifle for the next shot.

     What I am trying to say is that reenacting is a lot of fun and, with me forming the 9th Texas Militia Sharpshooters to can get into sharpshooting very cheaply. Now where else can you go and shoot at 1,000 men on the weekend and go home instead of prison? If your interested in sharpshooting then ask me more about it.

     I do have some bad news but I will talk about this further on in, The Front Line. I need all of you to stand behind me in this. What I do, I do for this camp and at the wishes of many of the camp members.

     Because of the lack of participation in the camp, Judy has decided to stop writing her article in the newsletter. Gentlemen, only Judy and I showed up at the last meeting. Two other men were at the January meeting. How are we suppose to get the things done that a camp is suppose to do if no one comes to the meetings? Your camp needs you. Your ancestor needs you. Every day there are Confederate veterans whose graves are being covered by schools, apartments, and homes. Only you can stop this. Yes, coming to meetings will stop it because it is at meeting that we would plan any strategies. If you cannot give your camp and ancestor 2 hours a month then there is something wrong.

     We lost 7 men over the past few months, most because we were not doing anything. But when I asked them to help with something they did not have time. They did not have 2 hours a month. Sorry gentlemen but that is sad. We really need to work on this and we do that at meetings.

     On a good note, we do have some men that are devoted to their camp and ancestors. There are also men that have to work on Saturdays and I understand that. Of course I am not talking to them. Your job comes first.

Commander Vernon Gillen

The Adjutant’s Minutes

     The meeting of February 12th was a slow one. The Commander asked Judith Gillen to open the meeting in prayer which was followed with the pledges. With this out of the way they waited until 11:30 for anyone to show up so there could be a meeting. No one else showed up so Commander Gillen closed the meeting in prayer and left at about 11:40 a. m.. This is four times since the camp started where no one showed up for the meeting. This needs to change if you want your camp to prosper. Be proud that you are a Swamp Angel and be a part of it’s growth by helping in some way.

     We need men to take offices and be a part of the planning. There are 11 of members in the camp now with four men holding eight offices. One man is holding down two jobs and holding three offices. There is no need for this. You joined this camp and the camp needs your help.

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

     Today the front line is right inside our own organization. On February 16th the Past Commander-in-Chiefs (PCiC‘s) made a move to take Commander-in-Chief Denne Sweeney out of office and take over the SCV. Now our glorious organization is under the full control of men that we did not elect into any offices at all. This was done because of only one thing. There is no limit to the amount of Past Commander-in-Chiefs that can be on the Executive Council. Because of this the PCiC’s, with their own agenda, did what they had to do to take over the SCV and it’s money.

     Because of this I will be adding one more amendment to be voted on in a couple of months in which I suggest that our camp limit’s the amount of Past Commanders on the camp’s Executive Committee to only two. In this way there will never be more Past Commanders on the Executive Committee than there are elected officers.

     As for the matter at hand, I have written a letter to Texas Divisional Commander Von Roeder asking that he and the other divisional officers start representing the men in our division and supporting CiC Sweeney. Our division is refusing to follow the lead of many other divisions in the country. Then, after speaking to our camp officers, I followed their request and the lead of many camps and wrote a resolution of support stating that our camp supported CiC Sweeney and not the self appointed officers that are in control of the SCV right now. Don‘t worry. We stand with thousands of other SCV members in this country. After that I talked to a few friends and got to thinking about how this might effect our camp in the future. I then wrote those of you with e-mail and stated that I had decided to be more neutral. I did not care if I caught problems in the future for speaking out but I did not want the camp to be harmed. Then camp members came down on me harder than the national office ever could in the future. I was reminded that I was not properly representing the camp by being neutral, exactly what I was charging our Divisional Commander of doing. Because of this I decided to continue to do my duty and represent the members of this camp to the best of my ability by continuing to support CiC Sweeney.

     Then what I call a “Hit List” of names that had spoken out very loudly against the self appointed officers in control of the SCV right now. I was already upset with myself over not doing my duty and becoming neutral so when I saw this list I became even more upset. I fired off a letter to Anthony Hodges, the man that calls himself our new Commander-in-Chief. Well, you know me. It as not a nice letter.

     For those of you that did not know what was going on, you now have had a quick lesson and, I have had my own lesson. Your Commander is back doing what I do best. I think I have lost a good friend over this but, I chose a side and am sticking to it. I’m back to being loud and heard. However, I have been heard enough. Now it is time to sit back and wait until CiC Sweeney’s court date, March 9th. I should know more by the next day. If you have a computer and e-mail then I will keep you informed. If you have e-mail and I do not have your address then call me at 936-257-1982 and give me your e-mail address. I will add your address to my address book and also keep you informed.



Speak Out

     Every month I mail out this camp newsletter to our camp members that do not have computers. I can mail out four pages of paper printed on both sides for only one stamp. Another page would cost another stamp. That gives me seven pages of information for you with the eighth page acting as the envelope. With Judy not writing anymore I have decided to open this section for you, the Swamp Angels, to write something. Write what ever you want but keep the words clean. If you have a computer then send your comments to swamp . If you do not have a computer then mail it in to Vernon Gillen, 312-A Larson, Dayton, Texas 77535. I must have your comments at least 10 days before that month’s meeting. This gives me time to put it all together, print it out and mail it in time so that those without computers can get it a week before the meeting. Those of you with computers only need to go to our web site at to read that month’s and past newsletters. If you cannot get to it by typing this address into your SEARCH area then e-mail me and let me know. I will e-mail it to you. It usually gets to you right then.

     Keep you comments short. Tell us about your ancestor. Are you upset about something then let us know. I will not print any personal attacks against someone and I will not print your name if you ask me not to, otherwise your name will be added.



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. If you are not mentioned on the month of your birthday then check to see if I have your birthday on record.

Happy Birthday

Sam Shurtleff - Born on March 4, 1964

2. Do not forget that the Swamp Angels’ Day will be held at the Price Daniel’s Mansion which is located beside the Sam Houston Research Center and Library. The celebration will start at about noon because we need to be out by 3:00 p.m.. Please plan to come and bring the family.

3. At the next meeting on March 12th, we will be electing delegates for the state convention in June. We can have two but you do not have to be at the meeting to be elected as a delegate. You must at least contact the Commander if you wish to be a delegate. Remember that all SCV members can go to the convention but only the delegates can vote.

4. The Woodville camp will be holding a cemetery ceremony on March 19th in Brookeland, just north of Jasper, off of Hwy 96. Commander Hale’s camp have a Confederate uniform that a small framed man can wear and we need someone to carry our camp flag. We will meet at the Heritage Village in Woodville and eat before going to the ceremony. If you wish to be a part of this ceremony then please contact Commander Gillen at 936-257-1982.

5. When we formed the Swamp Angels' camp we hurriedly filled out the camp constitution knowing that we would have to go back later to change some things and vote on some amendments. We have been chartered for over a year so, that time has come.

     On May 14th I do not want to hold a regular meeting. There will be a two part meeting though. This is when I want to bring up some camp Constitution Amendments that I have written. If there are any that you want to bring up then this will be the time. However, I, and anyone else that has some amendments to bring up, will send by mail to all camp members a letter showing the amendments that will be proposed. This letter will be mailed out so that all Swamp Angels will get it at least 14 days of the meeting.

     Because of the national problems that the SCV is having right now, this meeting could be changed. I will let you know if it changes but, please plan on this meeting for now.

     After the amendments are finished I want to have a camp officer's meeting. All camp members may attend. I hope that this will be a short meeting but it will be very important with the state convention coming the next month. I expect my officers to try their best to make this meeting. Thank you.

Commander Vernon Gillen