The Angel's Dispatch
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May 2005

The Commander’s Thoughts

     On April 30th, last Saturday, our camp held it’s first Cemetery Ceremony. It was great. Commander Hale of the Woodville camp and his Woodville Rifles helped a great deal on the ceremony. Much of my family was also there as we were honoring all of the Swamp Angels of Spaight’s Battalion through my ancestor, Private Jessie Burton Gillen. Jessie was a Swamp Angel himself.

     The Swamp Angels’ camp needs to start doing more of these cemetery ceremonies. Through these ceremonies the public will learn about the SCV and our camp. It is important that we teach the public the truth about the South in the War and the SCV. No one else is going to do it.

     After the ceremony was over, I presented 2nd Lieutenant Commander Randy Billingsley with the Commander’s Certificate of Excellence. He had received 24 points throughout the past year. Well done Randy.

    On a bit of a sad note, Judy and I know now that we will be moving within a few months. I will remain as the camp’s Commander until after July meeting. At that meeting I will resign as your Commander so that I can devote my time to the move. I will be very busy setting up the mobile home and seeing that the utilities are hooked up. I will be spending most of my time up there. This move will put me in the Central Brigade.

     The duties of Camp Commander will fall on our 1st Lieutenant Commander Sam Shurtleff. I am sure that you all will help him in this as he has never commanded before. But neither had I before you elected me in at our first meeting on April 27, 2003. The job is not that hard at all but a Commander does need the backing of his men. I am sure that Sam will do an excellent job.

     I will remain as Past Commander of this camp until Judy and I get settled in. Then I will transfer, probably to the Fairfield camp. Hopefully they will elect me as a delegate to the state conventions in future years. If any of you go to the state conventions as delegates to the Swamp Angels’ camp then I hope I see you. I also hope that you keep in touch with me by e-mail.

     I have enjoyed being your Camp Commander but this move is something that I have dreamed of since I was a young boy. I will miss you all so remember that. Judy and I will continue to go to reenactments. I hope that some of you will get into this hobby where you will learn more Southern history than you ever thought you would.

     Remember that I will be bringing up three (3) amendments to our Camp Constitution at the next meeting. There will be a short officer’s meeting after that. I have already sent the amendments out to all of you. We also need to talk over the amendments that your camp delegates will be voting on at the state convention. We need to know how you want us to vote. The entire meeting should not take much more than an hour. This is a very important meeting for this camp and I urge you to make it if you can.

Commander Vernon Gillen

The Adjutant’s Minutes

     For the second month in a row no one showed up for the meeting. Therefore no business was taken care of. If you want your camp to prosper then this cannot continue.

Adjutant Samuel Shurtleff


The Front Line

Now for some good news.

     Vanderbilt University must either keep the word ''Confederate'' in the name inscribed on a residence hall or pay back the United Daughters of the Confederacy for its contribution to the building's construction, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled.
     Vanderbilt announced in 2002 that it would change the now-70-year-old building's name to ''Memorial Hall'' because the word ''Confederate'' had overtones of slavery and was offensive to some current and prospective students and employees. The UDC, which contributed $50,000 to the construction, argued that the building was simply a memorial to fallen soldiers, with no racist implications.
     The appeals court overturned a Davidson County chancellor's 2003 ruling in Vanderbilt's favor. The three-judge panel ruled that the original, Depression-era contracts between the UDC and Peabody College - which merged with Vanderbilt in 1979 - required that the building must be called ''Confederate Memorial Hall'' as long as it stands.
     ''The Court of Appeals found that there were three valid contracts, which is what we argued,'' UDC attorney Doug Jones said of the ruling, which was filed yesterday. ''The dormitory wouldn't have been built without the UDC's efforts.''
     Michael Schoenfeld, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for public affairs, said the university would obey the court's decision but believes ''we did the right thing for the right reasons.''
     ''Reasonable people can differ about whether or not there was a contract and, if so, what that contract stipulated, but the fact is that the court has spoken, and we will certainly abide by the law as far as the

     Inscription on the building is concerned,'' he said. The Court of Appeals sent the case back to Davidson County Chancery Court to determine the present-day value of the UDC's 1933 gift to Peabody.



1. Be sure to make the next meeting if any way possible.