THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3, MARCH, 2005
Author Bruce Catton once observed that, "There is nothing so peaceful as a centuries old battlefield." This may indeed be true, but actual "fields of battle" are anything but peaceful. There exist innumerable historical references detailing the cacophony of armed conflict which took place during the War Between the States, with phrases such as "the din of battle," "the deafening roar of the muskets," "the thunder of the cannonade," and "the screams of the wounded and dying," none of which do justice to the sounds encountered during actual combat. Of all the sounds of battle that filled the air from 1861 to 1865, none was more distinctive than what came to be known as "The Rebel Yell." Officially listed in The Civil War Dictionary as "first heard at 1st Bull Run, it was one of the most effective Confederate weapons. Described as a high-pitched shout and supposed by some to be a variation of the Southern fox hunter's cry, it invariably produced an eerie feeling within the enemy lines." I submit that the term "eerie" is a gross understatement of the effect of the Rebel Yell on Federal troops. The Rebel Yell has been defined by no less an authority than Douglas Southall Freeman as, "the pibroch of Southern fealty." A "pibroch" is a musical selection most often reserved for the bagpipe and usually martial in nature, and "fealty" refers to absolute loyalty. It was most often heard during an assault by Confederate troops or as an expression of victory in battle, but its origins have for years been a point of some contention. Most agree that the Rebel Yell had its genesis in the pre-war South, but just where is a mystery. Hollering, screaming or yelling to persons or at livestock on plantations and farms was a common form of everyday communication, and along with the accompanying reverberations from hilltops and across valleys and plains, these were familiar sounds throughout the agricultural districts of the rural South which could have easily been adopted by soldiers communicating in the field. Others theorize that the Yell originated on the hunt fields of the Old Dominion, as Virginia gentlemen on horseback communicated with the hounds or with each other while in hot pursuit of the fox. A third theory is that the sound was patterned after the war cries of frontier Indians, and still another argues that the Yell may actually have achieved a paranormal quality when used in combat. Credible scientific sources suggest that when the combined psychic energy of thousands of Confederate troops was directed at a specific target or focused in a particular direction and given voice, the resulting sound exceeded the sum if its parts and literally took on a force or "life" of its own, becoming as one observer put it, "the terrifying shriek of banshees." It is also reported that different Confederate armies and even separate units had their own distinctive versions of the Yell, but whatever its source, rural chatter, fox hunter's cry, Indian war-whoop, or banshee's scream, its use and effect on the battlefield was undeniable to both sides. To the Federals the Rebel Yell became a dreadful, demoralizing and awe-inspiring phenomenon that could literally paralyze troops in their tracks. More than one Yankee correspondent wrote home detailing "that shrill, exultant, savage, nauseating scream, abundantly punctuated by gunfire; more overpowering than the cannon's roar." To the Confederates however, it was a source of strength, inspiration and pride. On one occasion during the Valley Campaign while the Stonewall Brigade was in camp, one of its five regiments began the Yell. Soon another regiment took it up, then another, and another until every member of the entire Brigade was delivering the Yell at the top of his lungs. As the sound grew in intensity, General Jackson came out of his tent, leaned on a fence and listened. The display continued for several minutes and then began dying away. When the last echo had reverberated across the Blue Ridge, Stonewall turned back toward his tent and said, "That was the sweetest music I ever heard." During the horrors of the fighting in the Wilderness, the Rebel Yell echoed time and again across the field, filling the vastly outnumbered Southern troops with renewed energy and determination. "Confident and rejoicing, they raised the Rebel Yell in Anderson's Corps and it took up along the whole line. At a given point, one could hear it on the right, then in front and then dying away in the distance on the left. Again the shout arose on the right - again it rushed down upon us from a distance of perhaps two miles - again we caught it and flung it joyously to the left, where it ceased only when the last post had huzzahed. The effect was beyond expression. It seemed to fill every heart with new life, to inspire every nerve with might never known before. Men seemed fairly convulsed with fierce enthusiasm; and I believe that if at that instant the advance of the whole army upon Grant could have been ordered, we should have swept him into the very Rappahannock." But as awe inspiring and unnerving as the Yell was during the day, imagine if you will the absolute terror it must have engendered in the dark. To the Federals, the sound made by thousands of Confederate voices raising the Rebel Yell in unison must have been a thing terrible to contemplate in total darkness when the imagination is primed to conjure all manner of demonic fantasies. "Then arose that do-or-die expression, that maniacal maelstrom of sound; that penetrating, rasping, shrieking, blood-curdling noise that could be heard for miles and whose volume reached the heavens - such an expression as never yet came from the throats of sane men, but from men whom the seething blast of an imaginary hell would not check while the sound lasted." The sweetest music Stonewall Jackson ever heard was the cry of Satanic legions to the Yankees. It has been many years since the last of the Confederate soldiers who once struck fear in the hearts of their enemies passed away, but do their voices linger still? There are those who will swear that they do. Since the end of the War, visitors to numerous battlefields have reported hearing the sounds of combat long past.including the Rebel Yell. The science of quantum mechanics postulates that all time is "now," and that past, present and future exist simultaneously. Indeed, there is a palpable, timeless quality to a battlefield, as if once inside its confines visitors have entered a world somewhere between "then" and "now." Perhaps Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, "the hero of Little Round Top" expressed it best. "In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass, bodies disappear, but spirits linger to consecrate ground for the vision place of souls." Much ground has been consecrated with the blood of loyal Confederates. I have no doubt that their spirits do indeed linger, as faithful in death as they were in life. So the next time you have the occasion to visit a battlefield, Chamberlain's "vision place of souls," pause a moment to honor the memory of those who fought so bravely upon that hallowed ground, and to listen.just listen. You may find that you can actually hear the Rebel Yell echoing through time.echoing on its way to infinity. Deo Vindice Harry
We have received from Headquarters the membership certificate of Peyton H. Roden and plan to induct him at our March 15 meeting. Peyton's great grandfather James Benedict Roden served as a private in Company E of the 7th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry. Welcome, Peyton, and thank you, Bobby Williams for recommending our Camp to Peyton. With Tim Edgell having rejoined the Camp in January and Clint Cowardin being inducted in February, we have now reached the highest number of members in my recollection, which goes back to the 1980's. Ken Parsons and David Ware underwent surgery recently and are recuperating at home. We wish them a speedy recovery, and we hope they'll soon be back with us. Please consider giving your Ukrop's Golden Gift certificates to the Longstreet Camp. Ukrop's plans to mail the certificates to customers in May. Our Camp meeting in May will be on the 17th. We will need to collect them then, since our June meeting will be after the deadline to turn them in to Ukrop's. Last year we made donations to the Museum of the Confederacy and to the Richmond Battlefields Association with the money we received from Ukrop's for the certificates donated by our Camp members. When Robert E. Lee Krick spoke to our Camp about Longstreet's staff, he told us that two of the General's staff members are buried in Hollywood Cemetery in graves which have no markers. Taylor Cowardin has worked diligently with Hollywood Cemetery to order the markers. This will take several months. Once the markers are in place, we plan to have an appropriate ceremony. The Museum of the Confederacy exhibit on the Confederate Navy opens March 8. This exhibit has some wonderful artifacts and is worthy of our support. April is Confederate History Month. The Virginia Division 's Capital of the Confederacy Memorial March down Monument Avenue begins at 2:00 PM Saturday April 2. The remains of four Confederate soldiers will be buried at Hollywood Cemetery at the conclusion of the march. If you're not marching, come on out to applaud those who are. On Saturday April 9 John Coski will be signing his book about the battle flag at the Museum of the Confederacy between noon and 5:00 PM. He will give a short gallery talk around 3:00 PM. It looks like there's something to do every Saturday in April. On the 16th Longstreet members are requested to assemble at Enon Church, Studley Road (Route 606), Hanover County, at 10:00 AM to clean up our one mile segment of that road. Lewis Mills heads up this worthwhile effort and will provide trash bags and blaze orange vests. We usually finish in about two hours. That time could be reduced if we had a few more volunteers. Come on out and lend a hand. Just as President Harry Truman, President Dwight Eisenhower, and General (and later Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense) George C. Marshall held General Robert E. Lee in the highest regard, we need to be proud of our ancestors who served in the Confederate Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. General Lee would be the first to acknowledge that his Army could have achieved nothing without the valiant efforts of his loyal soldiers. Let's hold our heads higher than usual in their memory during this historic month. Walter Tucker
(The New) ROMA'S RESTAURANT 8330 STAPLES MILL RD. LOCATED IN "THE SHOPS AT STAPLES MILL" TURN LEFT AT FIRST STOPLIGHT NORTH OF THE WISTAR SHOPPING CENTER DINNER- SOCIAL 6:00 PM
Our speaker for March will be Tom D. Perry. Mr. Perry is the founder of the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust at Laurel Hill and he will talk to us about General Stuart and his last ride at Yellow Tavern. Be sure to attend and bring a guest if possible. You don't want to miss this presentation about the man who was not only Lee's "eyes," but also the dashing cavalier of the South, as so aptly portrayed in Heros von Borcke's Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence. We, at Longstreet, have a special interest in this great warrior's life since his direct descendants, JEB Stuart IV, V and VI, are members of our Camp, so let's have a big turnout on the 15th!
The Reverend Deron Jackson, Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church, gave an enthusiastic talk about Stonewall Jackson at our February meeting, focusing on the man, rather than the soldier. Thomas J. Jackson was born January 24, 1824, the third child of Jonathan and Julia Neale Jackson. Jonathan was a poor money manager and had to sell land to pay his debts. Jonathan and Elizabeth died, leaving the widow Julia at the age of 28 with a new-born baby and two other children aged 5 and 2. Julia married Blake Woodson, 48 years old, who had eight children of his own. Woodson blamed Julia's children for that family's predicament. Her children, Thomas and Laura, were sent to live with their uncle Cummins Jackson. Three months later, they visited their dying mother. Thomas worked with horses and in the mill. He became very quiet and self-reliant. He loved reading. He was by no means brilliant, but would never give up until his task was accomplished. Uncle Cummins Jackson was convicted of counterfeiting and moved to California. As a boy, Thomas became friends with Joseph Lightburn, whose family had a sizeable library, from which Thomas could borrow books. He acquired a Bible. He believed in the hope and love in the New Testament, and as a soldier in later life fought his battles as an Old Testament warrior. Thomas became a county constable, serving legal papers and pursuing debtors. In 1842, Thomas was crushed when Gibson Butcher received the appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. Joseph Lightburn was also a candidate. Butcher decided quickly that West Point wasn't for him. He returned home, telling his friend Thomas Jackson that the appointment was open. Jackson visited Congressman Samuel Hays in Washington, taking with him letters of recommendation from 13 local businessmen. He got the appointment. Jackson had to appear before an examining board at West Point. His grimace at the oral examination looked like someone passing a kidney stone. He was regarded as the worst driller in his class. By hard work he raised himself to 13th in his graduating class. Jackson was fearless on the battlefield in Mexico. He got into a heated dispute in the post-war Army with his commanding officer, William French. Through his friend Daniel Harvey Hill, he learned of a teaching position at VMI, which he took in 1851, leaving the Army. He was considered a boring instructor, memorizing his lectures. If a student asked a question, he would go back and repeat from the beginning. His Christianity was the core of his being. His faith sustained him through a series of tragedies. Jackson formed an all black Sunday school class in Lexington. Wanting his students to be able to read the Bible, he taught them to read, which was illegal. He said that he felt as safe in battle as in bed, because God had fixed his time. He had no fear at the time of his death. Jackson was the executor of what Lee wanted done. Jackson could see things that others couldn't. Henry Kyd Douglas said that it took Gettysburg to convince Lee that Jackson was really dead. Sandie Pendleton lamented at Gettysburg, "Oh for the presence of Jackson for one hour." A Baltimorean said, "Oh what a battle must have been raging in heaven for an archangel to have need Stonewall Jackson." Our speaker recommended Bud Robertson's biography of Stonewall Jackson as the best. Walter Dunn Tucker
2003-2004 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Harry Boyd 741-2060 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 356-9625 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Michael Kidd 270-9651 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 340-8948
PUBLICATIONSWebmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website: longstreetscv.org War Horse: David P. George 353-8392
The following is a cumulative listing of contributors to the upkeep of “The Old War Horse” for the period July, 2004 through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year. Ben Baird Lloyd Brooks Phil Cheatham John Coski § Brian Cowardin* Gary Cowardin* Ron Cowardin* Taylor Cowardin Raymond Crews* Lee Crenshaw John Deacon* Jerold Evans Pat Hoggard* Charles Howard Chris Jewett Jack Kane* Michael Kidd Ann Lauterbach + Frank Marks Lewis Mills Conway Moncure Jerry Morris Joe Moschetti Richard Mountcastle Ken Parsons Norman Plunkett §* Bill Setzer Will Shumadine Austin Thomas Walter Tucker* John Vial David Ware Hugh Williams Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation + - in memory of Past Cmdr. Tom Lauterbach
The Virginia Division of the SCV is reminding everyone of the annual Capital of the Confederacy Memorial March to l be held on April 2, 2005 - beginning at 2 pm. The march will follow the same parade route as in past years. This year the parade will honor four brave Confederate soldiers whose remains will be carried by horse drawn caissons to Hollywood Cemetery to be buried alongside so many other brave Confederate compatriots. Please show your support at this year's parade by participating. You can now register for the 2005 SCV-Virginia Division Convention at the following web site: www.regonline.com/vascv2005 The Virginia Division of the SCV has issued a proclamation condemning a court-directed hostile takeover of the National SCV Headquarters. Please go to the Virginia Division's website for full details. The 2nd Annual DIXIE DAYS hosted by the Cold Harbor Guards Camp #1764 will be held May 6-8, 2005 at the Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville. The annual ceremony at President Jefferson Davis's graveside will be held June 4, 2005, at 10 am at Hollywood Cemetery. For anyone interested in re-enactments - the 12th Virginia Infantry has been, and will continue to be, involved with several re-enactments across the South this year. For a complete list of re-enactments involving them, please go to their web-site at: www.12thvirginia.org. Their next involvement will be March 19-20 in Bentonville, NC. Mike Kidd, 2nd Lt. Commander
The internet-based version of the 2005 SCV-Virginia Division Convention Registration form is now operational! This registration form is a bit more detailed than the registration form that will be appearing soon in the Old Dominion Voice newspaper. It offers all members the ability to pay by credit card as well as by check (Payment by check will only be available through May 6th!). The web address is as follows: www.regonline.com/vascv2005 All Camp members are encouraged to utilize this service, and to get their hotel reservations to the Sheraton Richmond West Hotel by April 15th. We all are looking for a great turnout at this year's convention in Richmond. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact either me or Commander Harry Boyd. Mike
1ST Lt. COMMANDER TAYLOR SWEARS IN HIS UNCLE, CLINT COWARDIN OUR HARD-WORKING ADJUTANT, WALTER TUCKER, PRESENTS CLINT WITH HIS CERTIFICATE Another milestone for Longstreet as the fifth member of the Cowardin family joins our Camp!! We wonder if Taylor has anyone left to recruit? He has really done a great job and we are proud of him and his family of Longstreeters. Think about your own family and the possible recruits in it. Bring a relative to a Camp meeting and let him experience the fellowship that we enjoy, the excellent speakers that we have and the great facilities and food that the Roma provides. Do your part to help us preserve and protect our Southern heritage and history. Remember, the battle is not over! Modern history courses teach little about the War Between the States or, for that matter, the American Revolution and the founding of our country. Even the two great World Wars and other conflicts in which we have been involved are sparingly covered, as are the great heroes and heroines of our Country's past. If we don't increase the awareness of this glorious past in the minds of those with whom we come in contact, then it, which is already but dimly remembered by so many, will finally be laid to rest and forever forgotten. Dave George
ODDS OF THE DRAW!Pat Hoggard presents the monthly prize to David Ware, Jr., seated next to his wife, Sherron. The monthly collection at each of our meetings provides for the yearly presentation from our Buck Hurt Memorial Fund of an educational college supplement for the Honor History student at Douglas Southall Freeman High school.
The Great Seal of the Confederate States of AmericaIn April 1863, the Congress of the Confederate States commissioned the design of a Great Seal for the new nation's official documents. Since there were no die engravers in the Confederacy (and thus no Confederate coins) the project was assigned to James M. Mason, the Confederacy's diplomatic representative in London. Mason contracted with J. H. Foley, a British sculptor, and Joseph H. Wyon, Chief Engraver to Her Majesty's Seals, to design and produce the seal. The seal's design features an equestrian statue of George Washington which stands in Washington (Capitol) Square, Richmond, Virginia. The surrounding wreath represents the major agricultural products of the South: cotton, corn, sugarcane, wheat, rice and tobacco. The date of February 22, 1862, signifies the first session of the Confederate Congress as well as the anniversary of Washington's birth. The Latin motto, "Deo Vindice" means "God will Judge." The original seal was sterling silver, measured 3 1/2 inches in diameter, and cost $700. The seal and press were shipped from England through Halifax to Bermuda in the care of Lieutenant Robert T. Chapman, CSN. Lt. Chapman made four attempts to run the Federal Naval blockade before finally reaching Wilmington, North Carolina, with the seal. Due to its weight, the press was left behind in Bermuda. In August 1864, sixteen months after the seal was first commissioned, it finally reached Judah P. Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of State, in Richmond. When Richmond fell the in Spring of 1865, Secretary Benjamin gave the seal to a State Department clerk, William J. Bromwell. Bromwell managed to convey the seal and the Department's records safely through the Union lines to Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1872 Bromwell sold the records in his keeping to the U. S. Government for $75,000 and gave the seal to his lawyer, Colonel J. T. Pickett, as a reward for negotiating the transaction. Pickett sold electroplate copies of the original seal to benefit Confederate widows and orphans. He later gave the seal to Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge, USN, who had aided in the Government purchase of Bromwell's records. The seal remained in Selfridge's possession until 1912, when it was sold for $3,000 to three prominent Richmond businessmen: Eppa Hunton, Jr., William H. White and Thomas P. Bryan. The seal was donated to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, where it remains today. Meanwhile, the Victorian press which Lt. Chapman had brought from England in 1864 never left Bermuda. In 1888 John S. Darrell, who had purchased the press at auction, had a brass copy of the seal made by the original engravers in London. Darrell's press and copy of the seal are in a private collection on the Island. A copy of the seal and a Victorian seal press were obtained by the Bermuda Press Ltd. in 1959. On permanent loan to the Bermuda National Trust, this press and seal are now on display at the Globe Hotel, once the headquarters of the Confederate agent in Bermuda, Major Norman S. Walker, CSA. Pamphlet of The Bermuda National Trust, Hamilton, Bermuda
ONLY A PRIVATEOnly a private! His jacket of gray Is stained by the smoke and the dust; As Bayard he's brave, as Rupert he's gay, Reckless as Murat in heat of the fray, But in God is his only trust! Only a private! To march and to fight, Suffers and starve and be strong; With knowledge enough to know that the might Of justice and truth, and freedom and right In the end must crush out the wrong! Only a private! No ribbon or star Shall gild with false glory his name! No honors for him in braid or in bar, His Legion of Honor is only a scar, And his wounds are his roll of fame! Only a private! one more hero slain On the field lies silent and chill! And in the far South a wife prays in vain- One clasp of the hands she may ne'er clasp again, One kiss from the lips that are still! Only a private! there let him sleep, He will need no tablet nor stone; For the mosses and vines o'er his grave will creep And at night the stars through the clouds will peep And watch him who lies there alone! Only a martyr! who fought and who fell, Unknown and unmarked in the strife; But still as he lies in his lonely cell, Angel and seraph the legend shall tell- Such a death is eternal life. F.W.D. Another example of the wartime poetry of the South. Somewhat flowery, as was the norm then, but still filled with pain and pathos.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!Brigadier General Thomas Taylor Munford was born in Richmond, Virginia on March 28, 1831. He was the Colonel of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry at White Oak Swamp. His regiment picketed the roads during Jackson's raid around Pope at Manassas Junction. At Anteitam, he commanded a brigade of dismounted cavalry made up of the 12th and 2nd Virginia Regiments and eight guns. He was with Longstreet and Hill at South Mountain and a Brigadier of Fitzhugh Lee when Lee took over all of the cavalry in March, 1865. Munford fought from the Peninsula to Saylor's Creek. A true warrior from our home town and one that not many people know much about. Happy Birthday, General, from Longstreet's troopers!!!