THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 11, ISSUE 5, May, 2009
As I sit before my computer to write this month's Commander Comments, I am reminded that yesterday (May 5th) was Cinco De Mayo Day celebrated throughout the country of Mexico and the United States. The day is when Mexicans celebrate their heritage, but not as a day of independence as many have thought over the years. It is actually the anniversary of a battle that took place in 1862 between French troops and heavily out-numbered Mexican forces (does this sound familiar). The French troops had been sent by Emperor Napoleon III to seize control of the government of Mexico and have a foreign head-of-state put in charge to lead the country. The Mexican militia troops hid behind fortifications and attacked the French troops as they entered the city on May 5th and the ensuing battle resulted in over 1,000 French troops being killed. The French Emperor was so surprised by this show of force from the Mexicans that he sent additional French troops to Mexico to seize control of the government (which they did), but the Mexicans celebrated May 5th because of that victory over the French forces and ultimately it helped to lead to the overthrow of the French puppet government a few years later. Another great battle occurred on the North American continent just one-year later when a heavily out-numbered force of Confederates led by General Robert E. Lee, outfought, out soldiered and resoundingly defeated the vastly superior but poorly led Union Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville. This battle has often been called Lee and Jackson's masterpiece because in the face of over-whelming forces, numerous times General Lee divided his forces and attacked the poorly led Union forces and ultimately routed them. Unfortunately, the brave and valiant General Stonewall Jackson fell victim to a volley of smoothbore musket fire from nervous North Carolina troops, and died of pneumonia several days later. Ironically, General Jackson died on May 10th - a Sunday. The month of May one year later saw the beginnings of General Grant's vicious and deadly Overland Campaign with the opening battle in the Wilderness. It was during this battle on May 6th that General Lee's "Old War Horse" - our very own General James Longstreet, was felled in similar circumstances as General Jackson the year earlier. General Longstreet was fired upon and wounded by troops under the command of General Kershaw. Fortunately for the Confederacy and General Lee, General Longstreet survived his wounding and was later able to return to command - although without the use of one of his arms for the remainder of the war. The month of May also played a significant part in the formation of the Confederate States of America when the state of North Carolina and Commonwealth of Virginia voted to secede from the Union within one week of each other in 1861. Without a doubt, the month of May is a very important part of our Confederate Heritage-which is something we all can be very proud of. I recently had the privilege of representing the Longstreet Camp (along with Adjutant Walter Tucker) at the Virginia Division SCV Annual State Convention in Williamsburg. This years convention was hosted by the James City Calvary Camp commanded by Dave Ware. I want to commend Commander Ware and Ken Parsons for their efforts in putting together a first-rate Convention. Well Done Gentlemen! Make sure to ask either myself or Walter about one interesting exchange that occurred during the Business Meeting - if I had not been a witness myself I would have never believed it happened. A sad note as a follow-up to the Convention - at the time of the writing of my comments it was announced that long-time friend, Longstreet Camp supporter and Southern Compatriot Russell Darden had passed away. The ironic thing of it all was that Russell (along with Walter and 2nd Brigade Commander Mike Thomas) sat at my table during the Business Meeting - and was as opinionated as ever, but definitely a true Compatriot, and a true friend of the Longstreet Camp. I have already recommended to the Executive Committee that the Longstreet Camp make a donation to the Courtland Fire and Rescue Department per the wishes of Russell's family. He will indeed be missed. As we continue with our struggle of trying to save our history and our heritage, I am reminded of what the great reporter Edward R. Murrow once said - "We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibilities for the results". Something to think about the next time you hear someone talking down to those of us who wish to honor and educate others of our heritage and our history because they both are so much a part of who we are as Americans today. Remember - "Longstreet is the Camp boys - Longstreet is the Camp!" I look forward to seeing everyone at our next camp meeting! Deo Vindice! Mike
Many thanks to Clint Cowardin, Lee Crenshaw, Raymond Crews, Gene Golden, Don Jewett, Andy Keller, and Lewis Mills who picked up trash Saturday 18 April alongside our Camp's one mile stretch of Route 606 (Studley Road), Hanover County near Enon United Methodist Church. Special appreciation goes to Lewis, who provides us with blaze orange vests and serves as liaison with VDOT. We were blessed with a sunny day and a moderate temperature. I think we filled a few more bags than we did last fall, but don't think that we're back to pre-recession levels. Great news was received 16 April in an email from Virginia Division Commander John Sawyer who informed all camps that they will be permitted to send renewal International dues directly to Headquarters for the year August 2009-July 2010. Bills will continue to be mailed by Division to individual members. Payments will come to camp adjutants from members and must be accompanied by the complete original bill. This change led the 25 April Virginia Division Convention to reject the proposed constitutional amendment which called for penalties for any Division officers who impeded dues being sent to International. I was in the minority supporting the amendment. Division leadership is to be commended for listening to camp adjutants on this subject. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Nelson Grays Camp # 2123 for proposing the amendment. Sentiment from camps that I'd heard from was running in favor of the amendment prior to Commander Sawyer's email regarding the changed procedure. Kudos to James City Cavalry Camp # 2095 which hosted the Convention. Camp Commander Dave Ware and Camp Adjutant Ken Parsons are associate members of Longstreet and were regular Longstreet members before they and several others founded James City Cavalry Camp. Jack Kane, who lives in Yorktown, has just transferred from Longstreet to James City Cavalry. He remains an associate Longstreet member. Transfers from Longstreet reduced our number of members temporarily, but the Virginia Division and the SCV have benefited from the formation of the strong, growing James City Cavalry Camp. The McGowan's Brigade monument at the Mule Shoe on the Spotsylvania battlefield is scheduled Saturday 9 May at 10:30 AM. That brigade was part of Wilcox's Division of A. P. Hill's 3rd Corps. Jubal Early replaced Hill, who was too ill to command, on 8 May. Gordon Rhea's The Battle for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern May 7-12, 1864 is an excellent book on this phase of the Overland Campaign. My wife's great grandfather Private Andrew J. Randlett, 44th Virginia Infantry, was captured at Spotsylvania. He was imprisoned at Fort Delaware and lived into the early 20th century. In his later years he lived upstairs from my grandparents Walter and Julia Cauthorn Dunn on North 21st Street in Richmond. We have a clock which he gave to them. It still keeps time! Julia's father 2nd Lieutenant Andrew B. Cauthorn, 26th Virginia Infantry, was also a prisoner at Fort Delaware. Andrew is the ancestor whom I used to join the SCV. The John Marshall High School Cadet Alumni Band is scheduled to play from 9:00 to 9:40 AM at the Confederate Chapel Memorial Day 25 May prior to the service scheduled for 10 AM. Several of my JM classmates who've heard the band are enthusiastic in their praises. The Virginia Division's service commemorating Jefferson Davis's birthday is scheduled for 10 AM Saturday 6 June at Hollywood cemetery. This is always a memorable occasion, particularly if you like bagpipes and the firing of cannons. Plans are still up in the air about what will happen to Fort Monroe when the Army leaves in 2011. The grounds of Fort Monroe were tread by Sergeant Major Edgar Allan Poe, President Andrew Jackson, Lieutenant Robert E. Lee, Black Hawk, President John Tyler, President Millard Fillmore, President Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant, former Confederate President Jefferson Davis, President Woodrow Wilson, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Fort Monroe is under siege by those who would love to see it surrounded by real state development which would block the great vistas, including Hampton Roads, where CSS Virginia and USS Monitor fought the battle of the ironclads. Governor Tim Kaine signed "carefully crafted" legislation which gave 7 of 18 positions on the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority to citizens of Hampton. This act unacceptably ignores the interests of the rest of Virginians and all Americans in this international treasure. As our ancestors took up arms, we need to take up our pens, typewriters, and computers to defend this historic part of our Old Dominion. If you haven't already done so, please let your political representatives know promptly that Fort Monroe needs to be preserved. One gubernatorial candidate has announced his support for a national park at Fort Monroe. The other three need to hear from us. In the words of Barney Google or his sidekick Snuffy Smith (Younger members can learn about those 1919-1960's mainstays of the comic pages from the Internet), "Time's a wastin'!" Walter
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 MEETING STARTS AT 7:00 PM
Our speaker for the May meeting will be Michael Virts. Michael is the Adjutant of Major General Fitzhugh Lee Camp # 1805 in Spotsylvania County and is Past Chaplain of Frank Stringfellow Camp # 822 of Fairfax County. His topic will be Religion in the War of Northern Aggression. He will cover the roles that Protestants, Catholics and Jews played in the conflict and how the war affected their lives.
Gregg Clemmer opened his talk on General Edward "Alleghany" Johnson by stating that in his biography he wanted to give readers the picture of Johnson's entire life and not just his wartime experiences. Johnson was overlooked for many years until Douglas Southall Freeman brought him back to public notice in Lee's Lieutenants, published in the 1940's. Johnson is remembered too much by contemporary descriptions of him as "possessor of a strange skull and inept at courting" by Mary Chesnut, " a large man jeered at by his men" by McHenry Howard, and an "unmarried unpopular loner." Others called him "Old Club, Fencerail, Old Blucher, or Brute." He was described as " a good general and a brave man, but the wickedest man I ever saw." Someone said that he could work his ears like a mule and was seen trying to brush the flies off the back of his head with his ears. He led from the front, probably when he shouldn't have, and frequently waved a cane or a club rather than a sword. Johnson graduated from U. S. Military Academy West Point in 1838, the closest kinsman of Thomas Jefferson ever to attend that institution, which had been founded by President Jefferson in 1802. He spent time fighting Seminoles in Florida. His heroism in the Mexican War led to both the Commonwealth of Virginia and his native Chesterfield County to present him with swords. In August 1854 Johnson was assigned to investigate the Grattan Massacre in which a young Army lieutenant and 29 of his soldiers were killed by Lakota Sioux near Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory. He interviewed everybody that he could and reported that both Grattan and his superior 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Fleming were too inexperienced to have the positions to which the Army had assigned them. The report ended up on the desk of an incensed Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who as Confederate President appointed Johnson Colonel of the 12th Georgia Infantry, while most other regular Army officers of Johnson's experience were made generals. Johnson served well under Robert E. Lee in the 1861 campaign in western Virginia and was promoted to brigadier general December 1861. He served with distinction in Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Valley campaign, where he was severely wounded. Promotion to major general came February 1863. After leading a division at Gettysburg and the Wilderness, Johnson was captured at Spotsylvania May 1864. After being exchanged, he was assigned to the Army of Tennessee. The charge that Johnson led at the 30 November 1864 at the battle of Franklin, TN was described by General Stephen Dill Lee as the most gallant of The War. That charge covered a greater distance than that led by Pickett at Gettysburg. Johnson was captured at Nashville December 1864, giving him the distinction of being captured twice in the same year! He was not released from Old Capitol Prison Washington DC until July 1865. After The War Johnson farmed at his old home in Chesterfield County. After his 1873 death his body lay in state at the Houdon statue in the Virginia State Capitol. Ladies showed up in droves. Robert Hunter, a member of his staff, said, "The Old Dominion never gave birth to a more devoted son." This statement is consistent with praises from Generals Stonewall Jackson, Richard S. Ewell, and Robert E. Lee. Johnson's highest accolades came from subordinates who followed him into battle. Artillerist William P. Carter said "No bolder soldier ever donned the Confederate gray, or followed the storm-tossed colors of the immortal Lee." Alleghany Johnson was the highest ranking Confederate officer from the Richmond area. His date of rank made him senior to Henry Heth, also a Chesterfield County native. Gregg Clemmer said that authors hear voices asking them questions as they work on their books. Late in his work on the Alleghany Johnson biography he heard, "Where are the presentation swords?" Clemmer learned at a meeting of the Aztec Society (descendants of Mexican War officers) that Johnson's Chesterfield County presentation sword is in the Smithsonian. Identifying himself as the Johnson biographer, he was able to see it. Clemmer believes that the other presentation sword may have been buried with him in Hollywood Cemetery, where the exact location of Johnson's burial site is unknown. Walter
2007-2009 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Michael Kidd 270-9651 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 359-9277 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Thomas G. Vance 282-6278 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Judge Advocate: Harry Boyd 741-2060 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 474-1978
PUBLICATIONSWar Horse editor and Webmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website: longstreetscv.org
The following is a listing of contributors to the upkeep of "The Old War Horse" from July, 2008. through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year and we do not meet in August. Lloyd Brooks Brian Cowardin* Clint Cowardin* Taylor Cowardin* Raymond Crews* Jerold Evans Dave George Mike Hendrick Pat Hoggard Jack Kane Peter Knowles,II Lewis Mills Conway Moncure Bob Moore Joe Moschetti John Moschetti Preston Nuttall Waite Rawls Peyton Roden Bill Setzer Tom Spivey Walter Tucker* John Vial David Ware Harold Whitmore Bobbie Williams Hugh Williams Keith Zimmerman* Anonymous Legend: * - Multiple contributions
HURTT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDAugust 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009 Walt Beam Brian Cowardin Clint Cowardin Lee Crenshaw Pat Hoggard Jack Kane Peter Knowles,II Joe Moschetti Preston Nuttall Peyton Roden Walter Tucker Tom Vance Hugh Williams Anonymous Three generous donations in March, combined with previous donations, have given us sufficient funds to make the award in June to the outstanding senior history student at Douglas S. Freeman High School.
VIRGINIA DIVISION, SCV FUNDWalter Beam Crawley Joyner Bob Moore Cary Shelton
Dave George is Honored for His Years as the War Horse EditorWhereas David Pelham George Sr. took over as editor of Longstreet Camp's newsletter The Old War Horse when former editor Chuck Walton became Camp Commander following the untimely death of Camp Commander Hef Ferguson, and Whereas David produced such a high quality newsletter that it received the prestigious Jon Paul Miller award as the best newsletter in the International Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Whereas The high standard that David set for the newsletter encouraged those writing for it to strive for excellence, and Whereas David's untiring efforts and dedication kept The Old War Horse as a superior newsletter during his years of editorship, Therefore Be it resolved that the Longstreet Camp expresses its great appreciation to David Pelham George, Sr. for duty faithfully performed and work excellently done as editor of The Old War Horse. This resolution presented at Longstreet Camp meeting April 21, 2009. Dave and Marion were both honored!
COMING EVENTSNational Memorial Day Parade 2:00 PM on Monday, 25 May 2009 On May 25, 2009 the National Memorial Day Parade will witness our demonstration of Southern Honor in the Nation's Capitol. The National Memorial Day Parade will step off at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW. at 2:00 PM on Monday, 25 May 2009. It will proceed west down Constitution, past the White House, ending at 17th Street. For more information on the parade, go to website address: www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com The National Memorial Day Parade, presented by the American Veterans Center, is held annually in Washington DC, and is an opportunity for thousands of patriotic Americans to honor those who have served our country. The event celebrates all those who have served in uniform from the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and seeks to educate the public about the meaning of this hallowed day. We expect the largest assemblage of participants since the parade was founded in 2005. Please consider joining us for this outstanding memorial event. Please contact me here or at 703-609-5099 for information, details, questions. Scott Van Ness, Color Sergeant, R.E. Lee Camp 726, Alexandria, VA. The parade organizers desire a strong presence of all our military heroes, including those of the Confederate States. Since 2005, R. E. Lee Camp 726, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Alexandria, VA, has been asked to provide a Confederate presence for the parade. We are looking for compatriots and friends to augment our contingent. We especially need colorguard units and members, who can wear a Confederate uniform or period costume. We welcome all, who can make the commitment to join us; neat, respectable civilian dress should be worn otherwise. This is our opportunity to show the Southern Cross in our nation's capital! The parade has full security and a cheering crowd of thousands. Make your ancestors proud and join us on May 25th. (Info from an E-mail from E. S. Van Ness)
Confederate Memorial Day - Friday, May 29, 2009 Everyone is welcome to attend and bring guest. See our website for the details and let me know who is coming. We need a head count for providing the food at the picnic. Ken Parsons, Adj. www.jamescitycavalry.org/id2.html
Visit the The Museum of the Confederacy Online Events Calendar for MOC Events Calendar: http://www.moc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=visit_cal
Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier Special Events Calendar: http://www.pamplinpark.org/events.html
Return to the top of this newsletter
Return to Newsletter Index
Return to Home Page
©2009 James Longstreet Camp, #1247, SCV - Richmond, Virginia