December 31, 2008 – Journal Closed, Happy New Year
December 18, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: The last meeting for the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 was held with reflections of past accomplishments discussed and future plans made. Elections yielded current officers being reelected for another year. Plans were discussed and developed concerning the Lee/Jackson/Longstreet Family Reunion to be held at Mosby’s on January 3, 2009. H. K. Edgerton will be the keynote speaker. A final meeting is being planned and will take place at Mosby’s in Wise, VA.
December 16, 2008-Adjutant Brown replaced the flags at the gap and noted a cable was broken. He will repair it this week. Great work compatriot!
December 15, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas presented a progress report on the Pound Gap Monument and gave a request concerning the new recreation center being considered. The Caudill Camp was praised for their endeavors and several stated their gratitude.
December 14, 2008-Commander Chaltas, in the persona of General Robert E. Lee, was the keynote speaker at the Lee/Jackson Christmas Dinner hosted by the Lockard Hamilton #2629 UDC, Salyer-Lee Chapter #1417, and the Cumberland Mountain Rangers. Ms. Fern did an outstanding job as hostess and all were too kind to in response to the commander’s presentation. The commander was presented a beautiful crucifix and an octagon shaped picture painted on a series of glass panels, giving the images a 3-D appearance. The commander was moved to tears by their considerations.
December 13, 2008-Bean Station, TN, Knoxville, TN, Ewing, VA: In a whirlwind of activities, Commander Chaltas once again took to the road and attended a wondrous dedication at Bean Station. General Forrest acted as the Master of Ceremonies and General Lee offered reflections upon the brave men who fought and died all through the East Tennessee campaign. The memorial service was the one of the highlights of the year in terms of having so many people attend from out of state and the professional performance of the honor guard with their military salute. From Bean Station Commander Chaltas went to Knoxville, TN, where he spoke at the Bleak House Christmas Gala. The turnout was grand and the joy of seeing Little Faith Lee walk into the room and run to the old general was so moving to all. After the event the commander wore his General Lee uniform and attended the 37th VA Lee/Jackson Christmas Dinner. It was well attended and all were appreciative of each other.
December 12, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: The Christmas in the Park was held at the walking track at Whitesburg. The Caudill Camp fought a flood and the snow to set up a large, old-fashion Christmas camp. A tent, chairs and tables were set up between the live nativity scene and the petting zoo. The Caudill flag and the Confederate flag flew alongside the two Christmas trees decorated by the Camp. A fire was kept burning beneath a coffee pot and grill. The trees were decorated with hand-made ornaments, gingerbread men, strings of popcorn, candles, popcorn balls, berries and other old-fashion items. Lanterns were hung throughout the camp and oil lamps were setting on tables. Letcher County Judge Jim Ward, Senator Johnny Turner, Representative Leslie Combs, and Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo watched the Camp fire the cannon. Senator Turner asked, and was allowed (in a Confederate jacket and hat) to fire the cannon. The senator fired the cannon for the dedication of the new flag pole set for the park. Candy canes and peppermint candy was given out to all attending. The Committee in charge of the event came over to the campsite and informed us that we were the hit of the night (and unofficially asked us back for next year). They also said that we were the most photographed portion of the event (the School Channel filmed the firing of the cannon). The last time the cannon was fired signified the closing of the event. Camp members participating in the event were Glenn Brown, Wayne Watts, David Brown, Kenny Cantrell, Eric Austin, Ross Fleming and Richard Brown.
December 9, 2008-Compatriot Glenn Brown and Adjutant Richard Brown spent time at the Sandlick Cemetery cleaning the area, removing tree limbs and changing the flags. The area is now ready for the winter rest.
December 8, 2008-Whitesburg, KY; Commander Chaltas met with the Tourism Commission and assisted in finalizing the plans for the Art Show to be held for a couple of weeks. It is in conjunction with the parade and Christmas in the Park. Compatriots Richard Brown and Wayne Watts are active in planning the Christmas in the Park program, which welcomes Santa at 6:00 via Cannon fire! The camp will have an old time Christmas tree and tent set up to welcome visitors. A large crowd is expected.
December 5-7, 2008-Abbeville, South Carolina; Commander Chaltas had the honor of attending the Old Time Christmas Gala held in the fair city of Abbeville. The city of Abbeville was the historic location of the first meeting of succession (Succession Hill) on November 22, 1860 and the last council of war. President Davis met at the Burt-Stark House (the house belonged to Davis’s personal friend, Major Armistead Burt). The two-story house was built in the 1830s and is listed in the National Register as a National Historic Landmark. President Davis met in the southeast parlor with Secretary of War John C. Breckenridge, Braxton Bragg, Generals Basil W. Duke, George Gibbs Dibrell, and John C. Vaughn. President Davis was steadfast in his resolve to continue the war but after a council of war, the futility of continued fighting caused him to collapse and he was carried upstairs to rest. Across the road is a beautiful old 3 story house that belonged to two generals. The Opera House, Succession Hill, and Trinity Church are icons of American heritage and history. Due to a fire at where we were to stay, we were routed into the historic Belmont Hotel. The plaza shined with Christmas and the Saturday found the parade represented well from Revolutionary war, Civil War (Blue and Gray) to World War II. The General was escorted at the front of the soldiers with his beloved H. K. Edgerton marching proudly behind as the color bearer. The soldiers marched to the hypnotic drum rhythms of Terry, H. K.’s brother. Afterwards, there was a meet and greet session with the appreciative crowd. The people meandered from the square to the Burt-Stark House and entertained questions from the troops. Military drill, soldier’s life, weapon demonstration, and a tour of the facility were offered. The apex of the event came when H. K. Edgerton offered a rousing presentation. His oratory skills mesmerized the audience and once again reaffirmed our love for our country. The general was humbled by the reception and was asked back for next year’s gala. Abbeville is a must see town, full of heritage and history.
December 4, Faron Sparkman reports the following information: Total Set – 1,074 — 13th KY. Set – 634 — 5th KY. Set – 273 –13th burial sites found – 854
November 21, 2008-Hemphill Community Center, Jackhorn, KY: Several members of the Ben Caudill Camp # 1629 paid their respects to Mrs. Pauline Cantrell on her 99th birthday. Mrs. Cantrell is the proud granddaughter of a Confederate soldier and is the Matron of Honor for the camp. Matron of Honor is the highest award given by the SCV to a lady who personifies all the virtues of the South. Mrs. Cantrell has always exemplified those grand characteristics. Commander Chaltas had the honor of opening the celebration with a word of welcome, prayer and then asked all camp members present to offer an ancestral roll call. Afterwards the camp presented the Matron of Honor a beautiful plaque. Over one hundred people attended the celebration, along with a grand Blue Grass Band. Those men of gray present were Kenny Cantrell, Quentin Childers, Richard Brown, Raymond Isaacs, Danny Taylor, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, David Chaltas, and Eric. Happy Birthday Granny!
November 20, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas presented to the Court Designated Worker Program regarding Community Service Projects. He shared the development of the Pound Gap Monument, Sandlick Monument, stone settings, dedications, artillery salutes, and how to involve the community with such efforts. The youth group were then instructed to develop a service project to be presented to the Letcher County Fiscal Court on December 15, 2008. All went away with a better knowledge and appreciation of what the Caudill Camp does for the community.
November 19, 2008–Hazard, KY: Exhausted, our crew of Ben Caudill Camp stone-setters returned to their starting point around 9PM, more than three hours after being overtaken by darkness. A little over two hours earlier, the crew had left the Wolfe Confederate Cemetery at Holston Springs, VA. They had completed their work by setting the last half-dozen stones under the glare of their pick-up headlights. The day had begun with a series of early telephone calls; Carlos to Manton Ray, Carlos to Willis, Carlos to Manton Ray again, Manton Ray to Jim, Jim to Manton Ray, Willis to Randall, and Randall to Willis. The weather had taken an unexpected turn toward the favorable, and Carlos had a good feeling. As it turned out, it may have been more of an inspiration. Slowly, we gathered out wits and our warm clothing and headed for our supplier for a load of gravel mix. With that, and our tools on board, we set out from Hazard just before 9 AM under a mostly clear 25º F sky. It was an uneventful two hour, 115 mile trip to Kingsport, where our Confederate stones were in safe-keeping at Triple S Monuments. We had expected to find more than a dozen, but found even more than that. And, as we began to load them and move them to the Wolfe Confederate Cemetery, we were surprised when our final shipment arrived at Triple S. The timing was uncanny. Expecting to work with 15 stones, we now had 23 on our hands, a most pleasant dilemma. The temperature had risen to around 40º F, there was little or no wind, and sunshine was abundant. It was a perfect day for some manual labor, and we proceeded to get our fill. Willis, Carlos, and Randall never left the cemetery. Manton Ray and Jim, when they weren’t working in the cemetery, served as ‘gophers’, moving stones from the warehouse in Kingsport to the cemetery, rounding up additional gravel mix, doing a little PR, and delivering lunch to the other three, who stayed in the cemetery all day, just to save time. And, that was probably a wise move; because, although we didn’t run out of time, we did run out of daylight. Nevertheless, when we left the cemetery, we left behind a pretty awesome sight. In one long row, there stood 16 new Confederate stones, honoring previously forgotten members of the 5th Kentucky Infantry; these were men who died from disease while stationed at Camp Moccasin, and while waiting to return to their beloved Kentucky. In another row, directly behind the 5th men, stood 7 new Confederate stones, placed there to honor members of the 4th Kentucky Cavalry, men who suffered a similar fate. It should be noted that Private Uriah Bates is included in the row of 5th KY markers; his stone was erected several years ago by a crew led by Compatriot Faron Sparkman. The men of the 5th Kentucky who were honored today were Lieutenant John G. Woodson, Sgt. Robert S. Hamilton, Corporal Henry J. Garvey, and Privates Moses Bentley, Simpson Adams, Levi Cline, William P. Flinchum, George R. Lacy, James W. Fletcher, James Hay, William McCoy, Thomas Rigsby, Marion F. Tackett, Henderson Greenwood, Joel C. Ramsey, and Isaac Selvage. The 4th Kentucky honorees included 4th Corporal Thomas R. Powell, and Privates Obediah T. Carter, William Farley, James E. Pettit, Alfred Morgan, Absalom T. Slaughter, and Oscar B. Todd. Today’s most gratifying experience was shared by Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, and a very hard-working friend of the Camp, Jim Osborne. We are very grateful to the good folks at Triple S Monuments of Kingsport for accepting and storing these stones and thereby eliminating the problem of having to haul them across the mountains from Hazard.
November 16, 2008-Mendota, VA: Nestled within a pristine valley, between the Clinch River and the Clinch Mountain Range, lies a sleepy little village known as Mendota, VA. It is on 802 about 19 miles from highway 119. With the knowledge that all dedications are special, Commander Chaltas, in the persona of General Lee, was afforded an opportunity to offer his respects to the descendents of John Wilson Vermillion, better known as ‘Texas Jack’ of Tombstone, Arizona, fame. J.W. enlisted in the 22nd VA Cavalry (JEB Stuart) after being with a TN unit (where he was wounded) and rose to the rank of SGT Major. Some of the family stories included him being involved in the burning of Chambersburg, shooting a man in Big Stone Gap who challenged him to a duel and other sagas. This we know: after serving with the Confederate Army, John Wilson went to Missouri where he became a territorial sheriff, went on to Dodge City, Kansas where he became friends with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and was involved with the fabled Vendetta. He came back to his home area of Mendota, VA, and lived to be a productive citizen, being active in the community and church. His gg-granddaughter recently rediscovered the famous chest which contained many letters to and from Jack, confirming his identity and offering insight into his life. A dedication was held on November 16, 2008, at Mendota to honor the memory of J. W. and his wife Nannie. Several descendants from across the country came to pay their respects. The Honor Guard consisted of several different camps for the SCV and the UDC, under the guidance of Mrs. Janice Busic, performed a moving ceremony. General Lee was asked to offer the invocation, say a few words and had the honor of setting the Cross of Honor. The military salute was picture perfect and very moving to the spirit. All went away satisfied that two years of research yielded yet another hero’s grave site and legacy within the confines of our history. Well done my friends…
November 11, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: SGT Wayne Watts and Commander Chaltas joined the Veteran’s Day Memorial as speakers at Letcher County Central High School. The event paid homage to those men and women who have served and offered their lives on freedom’s altar. A special tribute was given to 1st SGT Solomon Holcomb, a World War II and Korean Veteran. SGT Watts talked of the sacrifices of the people of our area and that most of the 1000+ students have roots from the Revolutionary War. Commander Chaltas spoke of true American heroes of our area, honoring men like SGT Major Ben B. Taylor, SGT Bob Fields, Tipton Cupps and others who crossed over the river in service to our country and county. Commander Chaltas reminded the youth that freedom is never free but is purchased with the blood of patriots. The student body was very respectful and a person could hear a pin drop during the posting of the colors, invocation, national anthem, and speaker presentations. Once again God blessed our country by honoring our Veterans. Lest we forget…God, Country, and Honor.
November 9, 2008-Whitesburg, KY: Adjutant Richard Brown submits the following After Action Report: Glenn Brown, Kenny Cantrell, Wayne Watts, Eric Austin and I fired the cannon (Yankee Buster) to start the event and also fired it to close the event as well. The Knott County DVA offered a 21 gun salute. Taps was played just after the 21 gun salute. A chaplain gave a prayer for all soldiers, Judge Ward spoke, Commander Jimmy Bates, ex-POW James Duncan and Daryl Holbrook offered words of gratitude as Veterans. A lighting of the candles was performed. The VFW and the Museum both thanked the Caudill Camp for helping with the event. After the event, several people stayed to visit the museum.
November 7-9, 2008-Knoxville, TN: The UT homecoming was evident, as a sea of orange walked towards the stadium. Up on the apex of an earthen fortification, known as Ft. Dickerson, another homecoming was taking place. With over five hundred school children attending education day and Mother Nature providing a beautiful fall day, the memorial dedication to our Veterans was awe inspiring. Though small in relation to the vast crowd below, the ever faithful offered a moving tribute with General Lee (Commander Chaltas) speaking of the sacrifices of ALL Veterans and how we owe them a debt of gratitude. The service was conducted inside the fort and afterwards the battle began. General Jackson and Lee worked the audience, as General Forrest led the charge to take the fort from the hands of the 8th Tennessee. The event was a family reunion, as old friends got together and reflected upon days of yesteryear. The event was once again a fitting way to say adieu to the reenacting season.
November 5, 2008–Hazard, KY: A full crew of Ben Caudill stone-setters left town today with two trucks loaded with nine Confederate stones and everything needed to place them where they belonged. After an uneventful drive to Slade, KY, we left the parkway and continued for a while on “old 15” toward Stanton. We needed to meet our contact person near Trent at 12 noon, so we began to consider the best route to get us there on time. We found a “red line” on the “topo” map that seemed to be the most direct route to our intended destination. And, it appeared to be just nine miles. At first, the road was smooth and graveled and we were breezing along. The first sign of trouble came when we found ourselves in the bed of Spaas Creek, which was dry, fortunately. Unfortunately, the road, from that point onward, became a path suitable only for an ATV enthusiast. Over and over, Carlos walked ahead of our trucks, finding the best approach, and then coaching us across, or around, the latest hazard. After about five challenging miles, we again found a graveled road, which quickly led us to welcome blacktop. Our contact was waiting, where she had promised, even though we were 30 minutes late. When she heard about the route we had taken, she expressed disbelief that we even made it, “in those trucks?”
So, we set about our work. First we set a Confederate marker, near Trent in Menifee County, on the previously unmarked grave of Private James Ballard (1820-1888) who served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry. Then, we swung toward the southwest to the Montgomery-Powell County line; there, just off Rt. 599, we erected Confederate markers on the graves of two brothers. Private John Pelfrey (1837-1923) and Private Elijah Pelfrey served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry. We quickly turned toward the southeast and stopped on the Middle Fork of Cane Creek, off Rt. 599 in Powell County. We erected a stone there for Private James Bowen (1841-1926) who served in Company E of the 5th KY Infantry. The shadows were growing longer, and we still had 5 stones on the trucks. So, we continued in the same direction, seeking out our next destination. After a couple of passes, and after getting some assistance from a friendly local, we found the Hon Cemetery, just off Rt. 613 in Powell County, and very near the Red River Gorge. There, we set a flat Confederate stone for Private Joseph H. Hon (1829-1891) who served in Company C of the 5th KY Infantry. His grave, along with that of his wife, is situated between two Revolutionary soldiers, Joseph Horne, Jr. and William Cave. We realized now that we were really running short on daylight. Turning slightly toward the southwest, we headed down “old 15” and quickly arrived at the Faulkner Cemetery, in Powell County, near the Mountain Parkway. Fortunately, this was a “tailgate” job, and we drove right into the cemetery. Unfortunately, we were well into twilight, the cemetery was rather large, and we had to identify the three graves while we could still see. So, Faron and Carlos searched out the graves while the rest of the crew split up the other duties. First, we erected a Confederate marker for Private Morton Forkner (1840-1916) who served in Company C of the 5th KY Infantry. We turned our attention then to erecting the marker for First Sergeant Moses Morton (1837-1922); he served in Company E of the 2nd KY Mounted Rifles. And finally, in darkness, we honored Private William Morton (1842-1921) by erecting his Confederate marker. He served in Company F of the 2nd KY Mounted Rifles. Gathering our implements and turning on our headlights, we headed for home. We had a busy day, with more than enough excitement, and placed eight of our nine stones. Taking part in today’s “excellent adventure” were Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett.
November 3, 2008-Hindman, KY: Commander Chaltas and Adjutant Brown offered a presentation on Channel 24 regarding the War Between the States and its impact upon Eastern Kentucky. Rick Hall and Len Slone were very hospitable and demonstrated a keen interest in the topic. The show will be aired in the near future.
November 2, 2008-Ashcamp, KY: The following After Action Report was submitted by Adjutant Brown: The dedication at Ash Camp on Elkhorn Creek went very good yesterday. Wish we had more members there though. We placed the Battle Flag with camp members name on it over the tombstone and had two of Lieutenant William “Ep” Ratliff’s descendents remove and fold it. Lt. Ratliff was in Company B of the 7th Confederate Cavalry who died during the war. Dallas Cook opened with prayer, then Lawrence Cook told about the soldier, then Anthony Hawkins told about the soldier as well. We then lined up and fired three volleys, at the last volley, a lady played Taps. They then had dinner on the ground. A crowd of approximately thirty family members were present for the dedication. Members present were: Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, David Brown, Kenny Cantrell, Eric Austin, Tyler King, Raymond Isaacs and Anthony Hawkins. Lawrence Cook announced that he was joining the camp and urged other family members to do so as well.
November 1, 2008-Bluff City, TN: Commander Chaltas began his ill fated trip to support the Battle of Zollicoffer. Upon arriving, he became extremely ill and had to beg leave in the parking lot. He offered his apologies to those parking vehicles but was unable to continue his quest. The battle took place on a farm just outside of Bluff City. All reports state that once again Pappy and the boys outdid themselves with their hospitality.
October 30, 2008-Ermine, KY: Commander Chaltas submitted the names of those soldiers to be engraved upon panel 7 & 8. Appalachian Monument is in charge of the engraving. The goal is to have the monument in place by Thanksgiving.
October 28, 2008-Mayking, KY: Commander Chaltas represented the interests of the camp as he talked on the Round Table hosted by Shirley Sexton on 103.9, the Bulldog. Topics included the new monument at the gap, current events, future events, the ‘Pioneer Spirit’ event held at the Cumberland Gap National Park, writings, Christmas in the Park, and other pertinent information relating to community service and the camp. The interview was excellent.
October 27, 2008-Pound Gap, KY: Adjutant Brown and his father, Glenn Brown made a pilgrimage to the gap and picked up the trash, including the trash receptacle. His report indicated that all was well at our monument. Thanks to all those devoted to willing to maintain our heritage monuments.
October 24-26, 2008-Cumberland Gap National Park, Middlesboro, KY: The pioneer spirit was alive and well at the Pioneer Days held at the national park headquarters. Many stations and national speakers were available to present and talk to the three day crowd. The renowned Daniel Boone and his Long Hunters provided a true glimpse into the past as the skinned deer hides and offered renditions of life during that period. Ms. Kitty Wilson Evans portrayed a slave who traveled the gap and stirred the audience to tears with her performance. Deacon Jones, who portrays a Confederate Black Soldier, offered a grand image of a Free Person of Color and his story moved the crowd. The salt makers, tannery, herb doctor, sheep herder, doctor, stone mason, weaving, farmer with horses/cow, and other wondrous stations were hits as well. Commander Chaltas, as Bishop Asbury, offered his soliloquy (he also served at the Meeter and Greeter in the settlement) to the ‘pilgrims’ traveling through the gap and also talked of the principles which made America such a great nation. Several audience members recognized him and after the performance would say something to the affect of, “Thank you General or Thanks Bishop Lee”. Flyers regarding the work of the Ben Caudill Camp and website were distributed to all. Several questions were generated by the people. Friday saw an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 students go through the settlement. Friday night witnessed a musical presentation at the auditorium by Hawkins and Ross. They were gifted musicians and were offered a standing ovation. Daniel Boone spoke of his travels and was well received! Saturday saw a crowd of approximately 3,000 come through the gates of Camp Cumberland. Saturday night was the apex of the weekend when a hundred or more travels carried lanterns to the saddle gap and was witness to a moving presentation. With bag pipes beckoning the pilgrims walking in the dark, the NPS provided a grand program with a 10 foot screen and a historical interpretation of the event. Pictures were taken of those lighting a candle to honor their ancestors. The Commander was honored to represent Joseph Blair. Sunday saw a wondrous time of fellowship followed by yet another record crowd of visitors from all over the country. A couple of tour buses came by and were delighted to stumble into the late 1700s encampment. The National Park Service was wonderful in their efforts to treat the reenactors with dignity and was the most hospitable host. This fielder left with a renewed sense of pride and satisfaction that Christ is alive and well within our heritage groups. God bless my new found friends and those honoring our heritage by their sacrifices. Photos and images are forthcoming via the National Park: httphttp://www.nps.gov/cuga:
October 24-26, 2008–Cornettsville, KY: This year’s “Battle of Leatherwood” began with dampened spirits but got better and better as the weather improved and the crowds of spectators swelled. The Blue and the Grey were at peace on Friday; it was a day for visiting students to enjoy the stations where they could learn about a variety of typical activities which were common during the era of the War Between the States. The Colonel Ben Caudill Camp was represented by our own blacksmiths/artillerymen Willis Strong and Randall Haddix, who delighted the youngsters by repeatedly firing off “Little Jesse”. Sharpshooter Wayne Watts was also on hand, demonstrating the weaponry and techniques used by men who served in infantry units. Saturday’s events included “Meet the Presidents and Generals”, a ladies tea, and a battlefield concert. At 2 PM, the main attraction got underway, with infantry, cavalry and artillery units squaring off from opposite ends of the battlefield. The battle ended in a Union victory when the Federals overran the salt works, in spite of strong resistance offered up by the Confederates. Saturday night found everyone in a peaceful mood at the Grand Military Ball, held at the nearby Calvary College campus. There was a period church service Sunday morning, held on the battlefield, followed by a simultaneous battlefield concert and a dedication for Private Silas Callahan, conducted at the Holcomb Cemetery on Little Leatherwood Creek. Members of the Ben Caudill Camp joined forces with the Ezekiel Brashear Camp, the E. F. Arthur Camp, the 5th Kentucky Infantry Camp, and members of the 5th KY Voluntary Infantry to conduct a dedication in honor of Private Silas Callahan, who served under Captain Benjamin E. Caudill in Company F of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, C.S.A. Private Callahan was born in 1825, enlisted on November 1, 1861, survived the war, and died in 1884. The ceremony featured the eulogy, the unveiling of the stone, assisted by compatriots Willis Strong and Randall Haddix, and the military salute, rendered by members of the 5th KY Volunteer Infantry, commanded by acting Captain Terry Kidd. Closing remarks were offered by Manton Ray Cornett; and finally, several lingered long enough to place now-elusive wildflowers on Private Callahan’s grave. Many thanks are in order to everyone who made this event possible, especially to Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble, who provided the manpower and resources needed to clear the abundant vegetation from the cemetery on such short notice. The afternoon featured “Meet the Presidents and Generals” followed by another version of the Battle of Leatherwood. This battle ended in a Confederate victory, allowing every re-enactor to go home with some sense of satisfaction. Ben Caudill Camp members who took part in the Battle of Leatherwood included infantrymen Oakie Blair, Leathan Whitaker, Gary Begley, Britt Smith, Garland Kiser, Larry Kiser, Wayne Watts and Tabby Back; artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Carlos Brock, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Manton Ray Cornett; and Anthony Hawkins, operating the “bookstore”.
October 17, 2008-Abingdon, VA: The Old General had the most humbling experience of being invited to speak at the Appalachian Collegiate Association on the importance of education during the War Between the States and present day. The conference was held on the beautiful Virginia Highlands Community College Campus in the Education Complex. After the presentation, Commander Chaltas went to Roanoke and then on to Lexington, VA, for something to be announced in the future. The weekend was wonderful and compliments to all for honoring this unworthy subject.
October 10-12, 2008-Over 900 school children descended upon the sacred grounds of the Blue Springs Battlefield, as history came alive once again for the youth. With over 17 stations, the children were privy to a wide array of activities and several sutler tents. The educational day was well organized and each group had a guide who inducted the children into a particular company. Commander Chaltas was in awe of the students and those organizing the event, as they all marched in formation to come pay their respects and listen to the comments of General Robert E. Lee at his headquarters (log cabin). The students were armed with challenging questions and represented their schools and companies well. Saturday saw a flurry of activities, including artillery demonstrations, cavalry presentations, surgeon tent and a traveling blacksmith shop. Meet the generals included General Jackson, Grant, Meade, Forest, Cleburne, Pendleton, Nave, Morgan, and Lee. The huge audience was receptive to the meanderings of the general as he patrolled the line and interacted with the crowd. On one occasion, a union cavalry soldier (the infamous Cheese) captured the general and, if not for the bravery of the young cub scouts and boy scouts, would have been a prisoner of war. Their rescue resulted in an honorary field promotion by General Lee and Colonel Carlos (USA). The pass and review paid tribute to those men and women of yesteryear and today, who guard freedom’s door and are willing to offer their all for the very privilege we shared on that beautiful October day, 145 years to the day, honoring the Battle of Blue Springs. All reports of the ball, morning service and the fantastic ‘dinner on the grounds’ have been grand. Our compliments to the committee who have vision and to those hosts (19th TN, etc) who offer their services with such humility of purpose. God bless all…
October 10, 2008- Whitesburg, KY: Glenn Brown mowed the Sandlick Cemetery ‘Confederate Memorial Park’ and cleaned up the area. The grave markers look great sitting upon the apex of the hill and the monument is a beacon for others to come and reflect upon the sacrifices of their ancestors. Well done Mr. Brown.
October 9, 2008-Pound Gap on the KY/VA border: Compatriot Glenn Brown and Adjutant Richard G. Brown once again changed the flags at the monument and took the trash out of the containers. They noted the latest stone placed by the VA boys honoring the flagpole they placed for their ancestors and great state.
October 8, 2008-Faron Sparkman reports: Today I placed orders for three additional Confederate grave markers to be set in the Wolfe Cemetery located at Holston Springs, Gate City, VA: Private James E. Pettit, Co B, 4th KY Cavalry; Private Alfred Morgan, Co E, 4th KY Cavalry and 4th Corporal Thomas R. Powell, Co E, 4th KY Cavalry.
October 4-5, 2008-Blaine, TN; Nestled under the shadow of House Mountain, Tennessee, just off route 11W, a premier event occurred over the weekend. The Battle of Ft. Sanders was superb with a wondrous education day followed by a dinner for dignitaries. A white coach was provided to tour the earthen fort (built to scale) and a reception was offered. Saturday morning saw an influx of activities including Meet the Generals (Grant, Forrest, Longstreet, Jackson, Lee (featuring James Young and Dave Chaltas), and special presentation by the Honorable H. K. Edgerton, Surgery Demonstration, Medical Display and Lecture, expert historian Dr. Hess discussing the fort and fight, Children’s games by Sam Davis Chapter 647, Children of the Confederacy, Ladies Clothing by Ms. Gerald Augustus, and Fashion Show by Rebecca Sardella. Steve, formerly of the Heartland series, did a marvelous job as the narrator and General Lee walked the lines interacting with the crowd. After the battle, the audience was invited to view the trench where several Confederate soldiers fell. It was a sobering experience with several weeping at the authentic looking recreation. Decker captured several period shots using his 1860 equipment which stunned those who saw them. The church service on Sunday was inspirational. The presentation to the troops by General Lee and Chaplain McKiven brought tears to the eyes of several reenactors. Sunday’s battle was splendidly orchestrated and the crowd demonstrated their appreciation by applause and the rebel yell. The assault on the fort painted a picture that is engraved within the confines of all who saw the smoke of the cannons in the fort, as waves of Confederate soldiers fell into the trench. It was one of the best events of the year and this general strongly recommends placing next year’s event on your calendar. Our Compliments to the staff, along with Smiley Clapp for affording all present the opportunity of a glimpse into the past.
October 3, 2008-Newport, TN: Commander Chaltas in the persona of General Lee was the kick off speaker for Olden Days Festival held in Newport Tennessee. General Lee and General Jackson (Danny Buckner) received a rousing reception by the huge crowd. After the presentation, several people talked and had pictures taken. Once again, history came alive, as citizens embraced their heritage.
October 2, 2008–Hazard, KY: Once again, we gathered at the loading dock for a fresh load of Confederate grave markers. We left Hazard and, this time, headed south for Letcher County and Virginia. On Rockhouse Creek, we met Compatriot Raymond Isaacs and his “better half” who led us to the Baker Cemetery. There, we quickly located an unmarked grave belonging to Private Anthony Hall, 1830-1890, a member of Company E, 13th KY Cavalry. After erecting Hall’s new Confederate marker, we crossed through Pound Gap and made our second stop at the cemetery near Lone Pine Church at Elmira in Wise County. This cemetery served as a burial ground for men of the 5th KY Infantry and the 13th KY Cavalry who died from disease while in winter camp. There, we erected markers for two Privates of the 5th KY Infantry; William H. Knipp, 1840-1862, of Company D, and Adrian Roark, who served in Company E and died on February 24, 1862. Next to them, we erected markers for two Sergeants; James W. Sword, 1831-1862, of Company G, 5th KY Infantry, and Elias Smith, 1832-1863, who served in Company I of the 13th KY Cavalry. We left this hallowed ground feeling extremely gratified and headed for the burial site of the victims of the Battle of Crane’s Nest. After a lengthy drive, and a little assistance from the locals, we were able to find what few “outsiders” have been privileged to see before. We might have returned home unsuccessful without the assistance of Freddy Robinson, a farmer and bricklayer who owns the property near the heart of the Crane’s Nest Battlefield. The location was nearly invisible when we arrived, but when we left, it was clearly marked with a gleaming new Confederate marker for Private William Noble, 1847-1863, a member of Company G, 13th KY Cavalry, who was killed by Union gunfire on November 9, 1863. Today’s success was enjoyed by Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett. Special thanks to Compatriot Raymond Isaacs and to our new friend in Virginia, Freddy Robinson. We couldn’t have done it without you!
October 1, 2008-Jenkins, KY: Richard Brown worked with the Cumberland Arts and Crafts Commission on placing the rail fence. He also discussed the idea of expanding the battle field to accommodate more reenactors and audience. Good work Adjutant.
September 29, 2008–Hazard, KY: We met just outside town, and when we left we had our pick-ups loaded with 6 Confederate markers, 3 bags of concrete mix, posthole diggers, two-wheel dolly, ropes and pulley, level, GPS device, camera and a crew of four optimistic stone-setters. Northward we went, out of Perry County and through Breathitt and Morgan into Bath, where we finally found the actual resting place of Private Michael Carpenter, 1841-1911. Carpenter served in Company H of the 5th KY Infantry. Now, he lies on a hilltop with his parents and his sisters, in a remote part of the county near Owingsville. We might never have found him without the assistance of Tim Creech of Jeffersonville, owner of the property where the Carpenter Cemetery is located. Not only did he serve as our guide, he had constructed a bridge and roadway through his property to the cemetery. This turned an impossible situation into a “tail-gater”. Thanks, Tim! From there, it was on to Menifee County, where we erected three more Confederate stones for members of Company H, 5th KY Infantry; Privates James Ringo, 1840-1873, Joseph Johnson, 1842-1873, and Pernell Ingram, 1841-1924. Making the turn for home, we entered Wolfe County, where we met our friend, Bill James. He is an expert on the history of the area, and in particular the historic cemetery at Hazel Green. He led us to the Coldiron family plot, where we erected a Confederate marker in honor of Private James Coldiron, 1836- 1876. Coldiron served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry, and is buried alongside his parents and other family members. Our “excellent adventure” came to a close with perhaps the biggest challenge of the day. We had to go to 4-wheel drive and seek further assistance in locating the gravesite of First Corporal William R. Brewer. A young man named Josh Brewer, who is undoubtedly a descendent of the Confederate, came to our aid on his ATV and led us through the woods to the Brewer Cemetery, which was of course, located atop another hill. Corporal Brewer was a member of Company E, 10th KY Cavalry. His gravesite, near Trent, KY, is next to that of his wife and his grave was marked with a simple slab of sandstone with his initials, “W. R. B.” Thanks Bill and Josh! This day and its accomplishments were shared and enjoyed by Compatriots Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett.
September 28, 2008–Prestonsburg, KY: This weekend, more than fifty 5th Kentucky Infantry re-enactors, including Ben Caudill Camp members Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Tabby Back, Ross Fleming, Quentin Childers, Willis Strong, Carlos Brock, Manton Ray Cornett and Britt Smith took part in the Battle of Middle Creek. And, the Caudill Battery had both “Little Jesse” and “Yankee Buster” on the battlefield from the first shot fired on Saturday until the final salute on Sunday. By all accounts, the re-enactment and the associated activities were very well attended and even more successful than anticipated. After the battle on Saturday, which ended in a Confederate victory, there were dozens of revelers under the big tent as darkness fell over the camp. Under the musical direction of the Charlie Hall ensemble, the dancers and onlookers ignored the threat of rain and danced until the grass was turned into dust. Then, a remarkable thing happened; our host, Patrick Davis, informed the dancers that an artillery demonstration was about to occur. Just outside and above the tent, “Little Jesse” and “Gideon” began to unload round after round into the darkness over the battlefield. Each round was answered by wildly enthusiastic cheers. A final round of applause was offered up to the artillerymen after the embers of the final charge had died, and the dancers returned to the tent and the music. After the guns were cleaned and stowed away for the night, the revelers continued to dance, clap and sing well into the evening. It was reported in camp by several attendees, that a young General Patrick Cleburne was seen at the dance. On Sunday morning, the tent was well occupied again; this time, by worshipers who were led in service by Tabby Back. The only persons seen back in camp were a couple of artillerymen, who claimed to be protecting their powder rations. All too soon, it was time to take the battlefield once again. This time, the purpose was to re-create the actual battle of January 10, 1862, as nearly as possible, considering the number of participants and the space and time available to the re-enactors. The most sobering moments of the re-enactment came after the Confederates took heavy losses and withdrew from the field of battle. The crowd of spectators sat in stunned silence as Union infantrymen gathered and stacked the bodies of those who had fallen victim to the short but violent struggle. The tension was finally broken by the command to “Resurrect”, and a rousing salute was rendered, first by the infantrymen of both forces, then by four cannons, each firing only after the echo from the previous fire had begun to grow faint. Reluctantly, we returned to camp to take down tents, pack up gear, and head for our homes. Before leaving, we said good-bye to friends, each reassuring the other that we would meet again at Wildcat. We are grateful to our generous and gracious hosts, The Friends of Middle Creek, and in particular to Patrick Davis, who was in perpetual motion throughout the weekend.
September 27, 2008-New Tazewell, TN: Commander Chaltas attended the Inner City Slickers held at the Four Seasons Farm in New Tazewell, TN, on Saturday afternoon. Though ailing, Commander Chaltas was delighted to see the youth involved in activities such as calf roping, horseback riding, wrangling and steer wrestling. Stepping out of character, Commander Chaltas shared personal experiences as a youth and the hardships of growing up alone in Appalachia. The youth were very appreciative of the open discussion and invited the old general to join them in dinner. Unable to eat due to feeling poorly, Commander Chaltas spent time with the youth and his friend, Michael McMeel, learning more of the program founded by the former drummer of Three Dog Night. Begging leave, Commander Chaltas returned home early and found himself in bed for the next day. For more information regarding a wondrous program touching disadvantaged youths and making a difference, go to the following website and learn more about where the cowboys meet the street boys.
September 25, 2008 – Hazard, KY: A couple of Compatriots and a friend set out this morning for Owsley County with 4 Confederate markers on board. Our first stop was in at Clayhole in Breathitt County at the McIntosh Cemetery. There,, near the Confederate markers of Captain Henderson M. Combs and Private James Combs, we erected a new marker for Private Hugh Combs, brother of James. Last year, this part of the cemetery was overgrown with saplings and brush. The saplings have been removed, but there is considerable growth of weeds and bushes. Further clearing is planned, which should greatly improve both visibility and accessibility to the final resting places of these brave veterans. Turning left at Jackson and left again in Booneville, we were escorted to a remote area of a large farm where we began the search for an overgrown cemetery. After more than half an hour, we began to find gravestones which had fallen over and become hidden by debris. Eventually, we set a new Confederate marker for Second Lieutenant John Cawood,who served in Company K of Caudill’s 13th KY Cavalry from August, 1863 until October, 1864. Returning to Breathitt County, we began to search for the gravesite of Private Hensley McIntosh. After a couple of calls to Dr. Steve Bowling for directions, we found the correct driveway, and a young man who knew where the virtually unmarked cemetery was situated. He led us there, on foot, uphill through the bushes, briars and barbed wire. We found at least three graves, one of which has been already determined to be that of Private McIntosh. Unfortunately, we were running short on time and manpower, so we decided to bring his marker, along with the marker of Private James Coldiron, back to base, to be set at a better time. Today’s success was made possible, in part, by Compatriots Carlos Brock, Manton Ray Cornett and good friend Bill Brock.
September 14, 2008 – Barbourville, KY: A mere handful of Ben Caudill Camp members were available for the Battle of Barbourville this year. The crew of “Little Jesse” was there, along with Compatriots Britt Smith and Wayne Watts. The weather was partly cloudy and very warm on Saturday, with increasing winds from Tropical Storm Ike as it passed to our northwest. While Britt joined the Infantry, Willis, Randall and Manton Ray joined Carne’s Battery and the crew of “Gideon” on the far side of the pond. When the battle was over, “Little Jesse” had fired off 13 rounds without a mishap. That day, victory belonged to the Confederacy. Saturday evening, while some were dressed in their finest, attending the Ball under the big tent, the crews of “Little Jesse” and “Gideon” assembled once again on the far shore of the pond to entertain the camp with a little night fire. Together, ten rounds were fired over the pond; the reflections from the water magnified the effect, much to the delight of the onlookers in camp. Knowing that Sunday’s battle was to be a Union victory, our intent was to get off as many rounds as possible before either taking a hit or being captured. Earlier in the day, the winds had increased to the point of damaging some of the canvas in camp. But, we were thankful for cooler temperatures that came with the stronger breezes. As the fighting raged around us, we decided that we would rather go down fighting than to be humiliated by being captured. The battle ended all too soon; the crew of “Little Jesse” was found sprawled around their piece, some with implements still in hand. Many thanks to Ray and Debbie Adkins and their staff for inviting us and for making this event yet another success.
September 4-7, 2008-Harrogate, TN: The Annual Battle for Cumberland Gap was held on the beautiful campus of Lincoln Memorial University. The agenda included a TV appearance on a grand program known as FOCUS Thursday night. The following reenactors took part in the production including General Longstreet (Bill White), Private Frank, Steve, Zak, Ms. Campbell, and Ms. Betty (a nurse from Maryland). General Lee was also on the show. FOCUS has a large viewing audience within the tri-state area. Friday performance was an outdoor drama with nine stations. Saturday saw an elaborate posting of the colors with drum and bagpipes marching to the President’s office and back. The agenda included drill demonstration, tour of the museum, Meet the Generals (8 generals were present), officers’ call, the battle, and military ball/concert performed by the fabulous Dixie Gray. Sunday’s church service was honored by the vocal talents of Miss Chelsea Ryan, who sang Amazing Grace and How Firm a Foundation. Dixie Gray honored the church service by performing a moving song entitled House of Gold. The Army of Tennessee Chaplain (Chaltas) offered the service and 5th KY/37th VA Chaplain (Binion) provided the Holy Communion. All went away moved by the service. The battle on Sunday went well and the family of reenactors went away satisfied in a job well done. Our heritage was once again proclaimed to several hundred people. Several reenactors from the Tri-State area (along with Indiana, Ohio and Florida) participated in the event. Those men from the Caudill Camp who were present included the fabulous artillery crew of Little Jesse (Manton Ray Cornett, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Carlos Brock), Britt Smith, Greg Bentley, Anthony Hawkins, and Commander Chaltas in the role of General Lee.
September 4, 2008 – Hazard, KY: With a few minor setbacks, members of the Hallowed Grounds Committee had a quite successful day today. Leaving Hazard with 10 new Confederate markers and all the essential supplies, the crew left early for Menifee County and points beyond. The first stop was in Frenchburg, where we handed off 2 stones to Harold McKinney, to be set at a later date. Harold was our guide in Menifee County, where we erected four markers for members of Company H of the 5th Kentucky Infantry. The first was placed in the Armitage Cemetery, for Private David A. Hovermale (1840-1924). After considerable effort, we located the W. T. Rothwell Cemetery, where we erected a marker for Private Solomon Rothwell (1826-1892). Nearby, we found the Lewis Cemetery, and there, we erected a stone for Private Ebenezer Rothwell (1842-1909). The final stone was placed, rather unfortunately, outside the fence at the Ginter Cemetery for Private Thomas Igo (1824-1897). This cemetery exists due to the creation of Cave Run Lake; the graves within the fence are those graves that were relocated before the lake was filled. Without positive proof that Private Igo was among those unmarked graves, we were instructed to place his marker outside the fence. One can only hope that one of Private Igo’s descendants will gather the will and the means to rectify this injustice. The rest of the day was a breeze; we drove to Morehead, in Rowan County, and entered the Caudill Cemetery, where we immediately found the graves of our last two honorees. A flat marker was placed for Private Abel Caudill (1843-1925) who served in Company A of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Not far away, we placed an upright marker for Private John Gearhart (1843-1890) who was a member of Company C, 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Somewhere along our way today, we found one cemetery, but didn’t have the stone we needed. We also had two stones on board that had to be brought home, because we couldn’t find the cemeteries. Not to worry though; others are on order that will take us back into the same area. Camp members who enjoyed today’s adventure were Compatriots Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett.
September 1, 2008 – Dwarf, KY: Once again, members of the Ben Caudill Camp Hallowed Grounds Committee left home early to erect new Confederate markers in honor of our ancestors. The first stop was on Upper Second Creek in Perry County. There, in the Dobson Cemetery, near a very active yellow-jacket nest, a stone was erected for Private Allen Combs. He was a member of Company I of the 5th Kentucky Infantry who lived from 1839 until 1901. Nearby is the Confederate marker for his father, also a member of Company I, and 30 years his senior. A short distance back down the creek, and in the Combs Cemetery, also known as the Cornett Cemetery, the grave of Private Nicholas Combs was located and marked; he was also a member of Company I of the 5th Kentucky Infantry who lived from 1843 until 1898. His marker is near that of fellow Confederate Private Russell Cornett of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Leaving Perry County, the last stop was in Knott County, near Softshell, at the Green Bolen Cemetery. Within a few feet of the grave of Private Thomas Sparkman, 13th Kentucky Cavalry, a new marker was erected for Second Corporal Jackson Gayheart, a member of Company C of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Gayheart was born in 1845 and lived until 1881. Those who took part in today’s event were Compatriots Carlos Brock, Faron Sparkman, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett. Joining in the effort was Manton Ray’s new son-in-law, Tobyn Lavergne.
August 30, 2008-Clintwood, VA: The Old General attended a Labor Day Celebration at the home of Carl and Alice Counts located on Rose Ridge, near Clintwood, VA. Several compatriots from Virginia were present and made him feel at home. They talked of dedications, heritage stories, grave yards, research, and sites information. A couple of individual expressed their wishes to assist in our research. Special thanks to Carl Counts, Danny Powers, the Counts descendents, Roger, Fern and to Ms. Alice.
August 29, 2008-Pound Gap, KY/VA Border: Leathen Whitaker, Glenn Brown, Danny Taylor, David Chaltas and Dakota Helton met at the Pound Gap Memorial for a trash pickup. The small crew worked both sides of the road for over 3 miles, yielding only 18 bags of garbage, zero tires, and metal. This demonstrates the success of the PRIDE Program. By being visible within our community we can make a difference and address public awareness regarding littering. We are making a difference one can, one paper, one piece of trash at a time.
August 22-24, 2008-Levi Jackson State Park, London, KY & Richmond, KY: Commander Chaltas represented the interests of the camp at the Laurel County Homecoming Festival held at Levi Jackson State Park. An encampment was set up on the ground by the outside theatre on Wednesday evening. The event saw several thousand pass by the encampment, stopping and asking questions. On Saturday while in the persona of General Lee, Commander Chaltas made an appearance at the Battle of Richmond and served as line officer and worked the crowd. He was interviewed by several people and his image was snapped but the soul remained. Compatriot Anthony Hawkins was also present for the event.
August 22, 2008-Paintsville, Kentucky: Carlos Brock, Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett left home early again today. We drove to Paintsville, Kentucky, where we spent the day in the library, pouring over service records and the Adjutant General’s Report. We were searching for members of various Kentucky Confederate units who may or may not have died at Holston Springs or Camp Moccasin, Virginia. We left at closing time, having eliminated a few and confirmed more than a few.
August 21, 2008: Knott County, Kentucky: Today, Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett met Faron Sparkman on Carr Creek for a much-awaited event. On a hill overlooking the Pigman Cemetery, we met with compatriot Danny Taylor and a dozen other descendants and relatives to honor John Amburgey, Jr., Revolutionary War veteran. Amburgey’s grave had been unmarked for 177 years. His new granite marker was erected within a few yards of that of another Revolutionary, Leonard Pigman. Both men served in the North Carolina Continental Line before migrating to Kentucky. They were undoubtedly friends, and some in attendance today were descendants of both men.
August 17-18, 2008-Saltville, Virginia: Several of Caudill’s men attended the 11th Annual Battle of Saltville. The event was a grand success with the battle being on the hallowed ground where our ancestors camped and fought. For the first time the reenactment saw the Federals outnumber the Rebels! Some of the events included a hog calling contest, Meet the Generals, Ladies Social, military drills, authors signing their books, and period church services (several were in attendance with 5 chaplains available to talk to those in need of prayer and counseling). Both days witnessed a huge crowd of spectators. The battles raged for two days and all went home very pleased in that their ancestors were honored. Those in attendance from the Caudill Camp included Richard Brown, Okie Blair, Manton Ray Cornett, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, Willis Strong, Tim Blair, Leathen Whitaker, David Chaltas, and Jeremy Jones.
August 14, 2008-Corbin, Kentucky: At the invitation of John and Cheri Kuhn, and in support of Moses Hamblin, “Little Jesse” crew members Willis Strong, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett put on the grey and joined the parade that opened the festivities at the NIBROC Festival. Moses had transformed a mere trailer into a very impressive fort, complete with cannons and mortar. Our assignment was to ride the float, which followed the 5th KY Infantry re-enactors through the city streets. As we advanced through the city, we fed firecrackers into the cannons, to the delight of many in the large crowd of spectators.
August 12, 2008-Weber City, Virginia: Leaving the comforts of home rather early, BCCRC members Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett crossed Pine Mountain through Pound Gap and continued directly to Weber City where we met with Ganell Marshall, Johnny Thacker, Tim Thacker, and Owen Franklin. Before the day would end, we would meet other Virginians who would also be most eager to assist us in our quest for information. Our purpose was to seek out the final resting places of Confederates who spent their last days in the Weber City area. According to service records and the Adjutant General’s Report, many died at “the hospital at Holston Springs” and at “Camp Mocassin”. We were presented with a picture of the “hospital” and a portion of a journal, written by a high-ranking officer who was present at Holston Springs during the early months of 1863. We first drove to the grounds where the Holston Springs hospital had stood; only a single springhouse and what is likely the base of a chimney remains. All other traces of the facility are lost. But, on the nearest hill is the Wolfe Confederate Cemetery. The only Confederate marker found was that of Uriah Bates, 5th KY Infantry, which was erected by the Ben Caudill Camp. A prominent bronze plaque acknowledges three known Virginia Confederates who are buried there, as well as “14 unknowns”. The three Virginians do not have Confederate markers. We spent an hour or so at the cemetery and left, convinced that there are many more that “14 unknowns” buried on that hill. Our next task was to find the cemetery for Camp Moccasin. To make a long story short, we found no such cemetery, even when we sought the input of a long-time retired county circuit clerk who lives in Gate City. In retrospect, we now suspect that some early burials may have been somewhere closer to Moccasin Gap, but the vast majority of burials were at the Holston Springs facility. It appears that Camp Moccasin was on the west side of Moccasin Creek and south of Clinch Mountain, placing it within a mile or two of Holston Springs. To complete our 14-hour day, we drove to the library in Pennington Gap, where we met with General Jerry Parsons. There, we searched the records and found enough supporting evidence to order another 5 Confederate grave markers.
August 8-10, 2008-Pound Gap, KY/VA Border-Thunder on the Mountain, The Return of John Hunt Morgan (Stan Dalton as General Morgan) proved to be the ‘sleeper of the year’ with all going away extremely happy due to the tireless efforts of the Caudill Camp and the Cumberland Arts & Crafts Commission. The weekend saw an hourly give away of prizes, Quick Volley Contest, Meet the Generals, a wonderful Ladies Social/Tea, fantastic music by Ms Arlene V (from West Virginia) and Mose Hamblin performing to the crowd within the camps, a very successful GHOST ROAST (with over 60 participants) Sat. night, and two grand battles on Sunday. Our thanks to all those who donated their time and contributed to the event. The Caudill Men who were present included: Raymond Isaacs, Danny Taylor, Ross Fleming, Manton Ray Cornett, Randall Haddix, Willis Strong, Carlos Brock, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, David Chaltas, Richie Brown, Jeremy Jones, Eric Austin, Britt Smith, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Roger Hall, Quentin Childers, Garland Kiser, Larry Kiser, Tabby Back, and Wayne Watts
August 5, 2008-Compatriot Larry Combs, our heritage researcher, reports: “I had a rather “interesting” thing happen yesterday when I was researching Pvt Leonard Burchett, Company I of the 5th KY Inf… After I had searched through the normal census reports, military indexes, birth and death records, and various family genealogy files, I had found his parents, that he was born in Johnson Co. and the fact that he last appears in Johnson County in 1880. But I still hadn’t found a firm birth date or a death date and burial site. As I do sometimes, as just a kind of wild chance, I did a Google search for him hoping to find a family file or something that could help us find him. While I didn’t have any success in that area, what I found was, what I thought, amazing. There were two different websites, for two different antique arms dealers that were auctioning off Pvt Burchett’s “side knife” and his pistol. It was for sure our man’s equipment because although they didn’t mention his service in the 5th KY, they both listed his full name and his service in Field’s Co KY Partisan Rangers. I couldn’t believe that after over 100 years we would be looking for one of our East Kentucky boys and someone would be selling his equipment on the internet at the same time. Strange huh ?? Larry”
August 5, 2008-Adjutant Richard Brown and Commander David Chaltas discussed the recent escapades of the Caudill Camp and the upcoming event entitled, Thunder on the Mountain on the Bulldog (103.9) with Shirley Sexton. The program is well received and covers the border of VA/KY.
August 4, 2008- Compatriot Kenny Cantrell once again represented the camp at the Cumberland Arts and Crafts Council. Several items were discussed including obtaining the Water Buffalo, music, booths, Ghost Roast, and other items. Great job Compatriot Ken.
August 2, 2008-Hazard, KY: Once again, our team headed North into Breathitt County; our goal was to set three new Confederate stones. Our first stop was the McIntosh Cemetery on Troublesome Creek near Clayhole. There, outside the fence, and among the weeds and bushes, we placed the marker for Private James Combs, Company G, 13th KY Cavalry. He stone is now located just a few steps from the marker for Captain Henderson M. Combs, C.S.A. From there, it was on to the South Fork of Quicksand Creek. We found the gravesite of Private Franklin Clemons, Company G, 13th KY Cavalry in the Laurel Point Cemetery on Rt. 1098 near Willstacy. His new Confederate marker was erected near that of his half-brother, Private Francis Clemons, Company C, 13th KY Cavalry, and other members of the Clemons family. Our attempt to set a third stone had to be rescheduled due to road conditions which were not suitable for our equipment at the time. Today’s efforts were made possible by Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Manton Ray Cornett, Britt Smith, and friend of the Camp, Jim Osborne.
August 1, 2008-Millstone, KY: The Caudill Camp was honored to represent their ancestors in a special dedication to PFC Billie E. McFall, the first Letcher Countian killed in action while serving in Korea. He was killed on August 1, 1950, fifty-eight years to the day of the dedication. Those present were the Knott County Disabled American Veterans who offered the 21 gun salute, Darrell Holbrook (Letcher County Veterans Museum), Jim Ward, Judge Executive, Winston Meade (County Court Clerk and member of the Caudill Camp), Danny Webb (Sheriff and Vietnam Vet), Kevin Damron (Chief District Engineer), Jim Bates (Past State Commander of VFW), James Duncan (POW for 30+ months during Korean War), Mildred Wilder (cousins to Billie McFall) and other dignitaries. The Caudill Cannons opened and closed the ceremony, plus offered a special salute to James Duncan, the keynote speaker. Present from the camp included Manton Ray Cornett, Ross Fleming, Ken Cantrell, Willis Strong, Britt Smith, Quentin Childers, Raymond Isaac, Glenn Brown, Richard Brown, David Chaltas, Randall Haddix, Winston Meade, Roger Hall, and Eric Austin. Our deepest thanks to all those who realize that the price of freedom was paid in blood, being with Jesus Christ. May we always remember those who gave all for the cause of freedom…
July 31,2008-Harrogate, TN: Lt. Commander Cumberland Brigade Taylor and Commander Chaltas attended the presentation of History in a Box at LMU, located in Harrogate, TN. Educators from 3 states attended the unveiling. The curriculum was designed by staff from the college, along with undergraduate and graduate students. The concept entails offering a large box with letters, hands on items from the War Between the States and lesson plans that meet the teaching standards of three states. The program will have several pilot schools this year to insure the curriculum tool is perfected. Commander Chaltas and Taylor are on the Education Leadership Committee. At 6:00 that evening, Channel 4 program, FOCUS, starring Dr. Burchett, interviewed the two regarding the camp’s endeavors, upcoming events and the persona portrayed. It was an excellent interview with a large viewing audience.
July 29, 2008-Compatriot Ken Cantrell took our youth, Eric Austin and Tyler King, to represent the interests of the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 by attending the Cumberland Arts and Crafts Council meeting in an effort to make plans for the Return of John Hunt Morgan on August 9-10, 2008.
July 26-27, 2008-Weber City, VA: Commander Chaltas was invited to assist in the Battle of the Holstein just outside of Kingsport, Tennessee, near Gate City. The Commander, in the persona of General Lee was delighted by the reception and the genuineness of the event. It was truly a re enactors event with a biscuit eating contest, a timed musket fire (fastest time for getting 3 shots off), cannon quick fire, cavalry demonstration, wounded soldier carry on a stretcher, and other events geared to enjoying the fellowship of all units. The battles on both days were tremendous with an extremely appreciative audience. Commander Chaltas and General Holt spoke to the crowd about God, Country and Honor, recognizing veterans for their contributions to our freedom. On Sunday the commander was taken to Camp Moccasin and the cemetery on the hill where the people of the area say the soldiers are buried. It is on Yuma Road (Weber City), turning right just after you pass the Burger King and prior to the large cemetery located on the corner. Travel about 1 ½ mile to Holstein Spring (a house with a rounded room on the left, Warm Springs sing on the right and a little log cabin sitting to the right). Take the Warm Spring sign to the right and you will see a small cemetery on a knoll. Permission needs to be obtained to go into the cemetery. Two local people will be available to go with the research team. After visiting the area, Commander Chaltas attended dedications of six Confederate Soldiers buried at Midway on the Jackson Highway, 8 miles out of Gate City. Several descendants of the soldiers were on hand to witness and participate in the dedications. The 50th Virginia, 19th Tennessee, 1st Virginia, Clinch Mountain Rangers and 13th Kentucky (represented by the commander) offered a moving tribute to the 6 Confederate heroes who served with the 48th Virginia, 13th VA BN, and Militia.
July 26, 2008 – Quicksand, KY: Ben Caudill Camp members met with Dr. Steve Bowling at the Lazarus Back Cemetery in Breathitt County today for a unique Tombstone Placement Service for Private William Jackson Cope. He was a member of Company E, Diamond’s 10th KY Infantry, C.S.A. “The new tombstone, which was placed (by members of the Ben E. Caudill Camp #1629) on Friday, July 25, 2008, honors Private William Jackson Cope for his willingness to serve a cause in which he believed. His stone stands as a symbol of faith, devotion, and duty that these principles may forever be remembered in the minds and hearts of those who look upon this stone and remember this soul.” More than two dozen descendants and relatives of Private Cope traveled from near and far to be present for the unveiling. Dr. Bowling presided over the event and family members read the obituary and offered additional remarks. Compatriot Britt Smith served as an impressive lone honor guard throughout the ceremony. The event ended with a cannon salute consisting of three rounds delivered by the crew of “Little Jesse”; Willis Strong, Carlos Brock, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett. The Cope family members were most gracious in their appreciation for the ceremony, as many had been moved to tears. Immediately after the event, Carlos, Willis, Randall, Britt and Manton Ray drove a dozen or so miles further up Rt. 30 on Quicksand Creek to Gauge, at the Big Caney Church, where a new Confederate stone was erected for Private John Hensley, a member of Company I, 5th KY Infantry, C.S.A.
July 25, 2008 – Hazard, KY: Several Ben Caudill Camp members traveled today to the Leslie County community of Wooten to erect two new grave markers for our dear Confederate ancestors. The men being honored were Private Henry “Junior” Engle and Private James Bailey, Sr. Private Engle, buried in the Hendrix Cemetery on Big Two Branch, was a member of Company C, 13th KY Cavalry. Engle was with Colonel Ben Caudill at Gladeville, Virginia, when “Caudill’s Army” was captured on July 7, 1863. Engle spent nearly 18 miserable months in Union prison camps in Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland before being released. He lived until 1885, when he became a victim of local feuding. Private Bailey was a member of the 5th KY Infantry, Company C. His marker was placed very near that of his son, Private James Bailey Jr., another member of Caudill’s 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith and Manton Ray Cornett took part in today’s activity.
July 24, 2008 – Dwarf, KY: Today, Ben Caudill Camp compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Britt Smith and “powder monkey” Eric Barnes had the privilege and pleasure of erecting overdue grave markers for three more of our deserving Confederate ancestors. The first stone went to the head of Dick’s Fork of Clear Creek for Private Thomas Everidge. He was a member of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C, who was killed during the war. His grave had gone without a legible marker for 144 years. A second stone was set in the head of Messer Fork of Quicksand for Private Alexander Messer, the g-g-g Uncle of Britt and Eric. Messer was also a member of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. Finally another stone was set in the old George Bradley Cemetery at Decoy; this one was for Private John Griffie, a member of the 5th KY Cavalry, Company C. His stone was placed next to that of his brother-in-law, Private Jacob Bradley, a 13th KY Cavalry man.
July 24, 2008-Richmond, KY: After Action Report; Commander Chaltas and Cumberland Brigade Lt. Commander Taylor participated in the Historic Richmond Downtown Walking Tour sponsored by the City of Richmond and Downtown Richmond Association. A large cast of historic figures (Cassius Clay, Laura Clay, Union Colonel, Madison Campbell, Jemima Boone, Belle Bennett, Daniel Boone, Clarence Woods, French Tipton, Betsy Callaway, Fanny Callaway and etc) lined the streets, as the hostess, Sara Rollins Burnam (Liz Elswick) took a large crowd from one historical location to another. General Lee and Colonel Walter H. Taylor walked with the crowd answering questions and had the honor of addressing the crowd at the end of the tour. The event was very successful and well planned. Our compliments to the town of Richmond.
July 24, 2008–Dwarf, KY: Today, Ben Caudill Camp #1629 compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Britt Smith and “powder monkey” Eric Barnes had the privilege and pleasure of erecting overdue grave markers for three more of our deserving Confederate ancestors. The first stone went to the head of Dick’s Fork of Clear Creek for Private Thomas Everidge. He was a member of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C, who was killed during the war. His grave had gone without a legible marker for 144 years. A second stone was set in the head of Messer Fork of Quicksand for Private Alexander Messer, the g-g-g Uncle of Britt and Eric. Messer was also a member of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. Finally another stone was set in the old George Bradley Cemetery at Decoy; this one was for Private John Griffie, a member of the 5th KY Cavalry, Company C. His stone was placed next to that of his brother-in-law, Private Jacob Bradley, a 13th KY Cavalry man.
July 20, 2008-Compatriot Bill Mackie reports from Edinburgh, Scotland on the Battle of Manassas Memorial: The photo attached is the only one to be downloaded, such was the rain that the camera was soaked. I trust that others will forward more for me to share. The gentleman in the Union uniform is Mr. Derek Phillips in the persona of Capt. William Wilcox, 95th New York Volunteers. He advised me yesterday once we had taken shelter from the storm, that he had a gentleman from the U.S. who wanted to sponsor our proposed headstone with the Confederate names on it. The gentleman is, American writer and producer Jeffrey Shaara, whose father wrote the novel which became the motion picture Gettysburg in 1993
July 17, 2008-Adjutant Richard Brown and Commander Chaltas were interviewed for an upcoming magazine article regarding the accomplishments of the Caudill Camp, research and stone setting, the Return of John Hunt Morgan reenactment at Pound Gap on August 9-10, 2008, and their book, Appalachian Rebel. The magazine article will be out in time for the Return of John Hunt Morgan event.
July 15, 2008-Isom, KY: Commander Chaltas presented to a group of students from Chicago, Illinois, on living in Appalachia and the grand history of the Appalachian Rebels. They came to our area from St. Ignatius Prep School for a SWAP program whereby they remodel houses of needy families. The Commander talked of growing up in Appalachia, the culture and the history of the Civil War within the confines of the mountains. His scheduled presentation of 30 minutes lasted for 90, as the young people and staff asked questions pertinent to our heritage and history. His salutations were offered to those youth who came to offer a helping hand and not a hand out to the people of the area. All went away with better understanding of both cultures.
July 14, 2008-Jenkins, KY: Commander Chaltas addressed the Letcher County Tourism Commission requesting that they assist in seeking applications for grant money for the landscaping and beautification of the Pound Gap Monument Project. The Commission approved asking Chairman Lee Caudill to begin an active research of any monies available for such an enterprise.
July 12-13, 2008-Wise, VA: After Action Report submitted by Lt. Commander Manton Ray Cornett: The very kind folks of Wise have exceeded our expectations once again! Members of the Ben Caudill Camp were greeted warmly and treated especially well during the second annual “Battles at Wise”. We are especially grateful to Rhonda Robertson and Tim Kelly for their guidance and support. While Commander Chaltas, in the role of General Robert E. Lee, displayed his skills at multi-tasking; other members of the Ben Caudill Camp played vital roles in the campground and on the battlefields. When the old General wasn’t working the line during the battles, he could be seen presiding at “Meeting with the Generals”, presenting to the management at Mosby’s, charming the ladies at their Tea, presiding over the dedication in the Wise Cemetery, and delivering two messages at Sunday’s church services. During the “Capture at Gladeville” on Saturday, both “Little Jesse” and “Yankee Buster” delivered round after round into the approaching Union forces. The artillerymen were Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Ross Fleming, and Kenny Cantrell. Our thanks to Arthur Camp member Kenny Crutcher for delivering the powder on “Jesse” and to the Commonwealth Battery for providing a third gun and crew. The crew of “Little Jesse” tasted victory on Sunday when the Confederate forces completely overwhelmed the Yanks at the “Battle of Crane’s Nest”. While the Ben Caudill artillerymen were working in concert with crews from the Commonwealth Battery, camp members Richard Brown, Tabby Back, Garland Kiser, and Larry Kiser were displaying their infantry skills in front of the big guns. Danny Taylor represented the camp while in the audience. There is no doubt that all who took part in these events felt privileged to do so, all for the honor of our brave ancestors.
July 11, 2008-Commander Chaltas attended a special Ad Hoc Committee meeting of the Tourism Commission to discuss support for future events within our area, such as Pound Gap. The recommendations will be presented to the Commission at their regularly scheduled meeting.
July 9, 2008-Commander D. Chaltas and Compatriot R. Fleming presented to the Jenkins City Council regarding the forthcoming event in Jenkins, the status of the monument at the gap and future endeavors. The Council was very supportive.
July 8, 2008 – Wise, VA: After Action Report Submitted by 1st Lt. Manton R. Cornett: The monthly meeting of the Ben Caudill Camp Research Committee was held in the Lonesome Pine Regional Library in Wise. Prior to the meeting, camp members Carlos Brock, Danny Taylor, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett visited the cemetery near the winter camp used by both the 5th KY Infantry and the 13th KY Cavalry at Elmira, VA. There, several unmarked graves were identified; three are the probable graves of 5th KY Infantry men and one probably belongs to a 13th KY Cavalry man. Our research continued at the library where Commander David Chaltas, Rhonda Robertson, and Tim Kelly joined the effort. After a considerable amount of information was exchanged, it was determined that the Wise Cemetery is the probable final resting place for another eight 5th KY Infantry men, and that a 13th KY Cavalry man who died in the battle of Crane’s Nest is buried next to the battlefield. Further, it was learned that two 13th KY Cavalry men of Company G are probably buried near Big Stone Gap, VA, one 13th KY Cavalry man of Company D is probably buried on Indian Creek in Wise County, and two 13th KY Cavalry men of Company K are possibly buried in Lee County, VA. Finally, the committee discussed the likelihood that more than a dozen members of the 5th KY Infantry may be buried near Moccasin Gap at Gate City, VA. The names of these men will be disclosed only after their burial locations are fully confirmed. The committee is grateful to the library staff for their assistance, to Rhonda and Tim, and to each camp member who took part in this effort. After the meeting adjourned, Tim and Rhonda took the camp members on a tour of the proposed layout for the upcoming “Battles at Wise”, to be held on July 12 and 13. We are all eager to return and take part in these very special reenactments. Due to the level of success at this month’s meeting, it has been decided to continue our efforts next month on the VA side of the border. Our next meeting will be on August 12 in the Lee County branch of the Lonesome Pine Regional Library. All camp members are encouraged to attend and participate.
July 8, 2008 – Bill Mackie reports … In 1884, then then American Consulate General to Scotland, based here in Edinburgh, purchased land from City Hall and built a monument in honour to the Scottish Americans who fought in the Civil War. It has a slave at the front stretching up to President Lincoln seeking freedom. When it was unveiled the names of five Scottish Soldiers who fell in battle were engraved on the monument. In 1991 one more name was added. These six were all Union Soldiers. This monument is the only one of its kind outside of the United States. It has only taken the Scottish Veterans Association (of which I am humbled to serve both as Chaplain and Secretary), but Edinburgh City Council have invited us to compile a list of known Scottish Confederates and their Units if known, as the City now wishes to honour them by putting their names on a Stone which will be placed near the Lincoln Monument. Please can you ask all SCV members for names and Units, after all no one has said there was a limit to the names we should add. We have pleasure in honouring our Scottish brethren and the Confederate cause by holding a Memorial Service in memory of the First Battle of Manassas. Our service will take place at 11.00 hrs (British Summer Time), which would be 05.00 hrs (C.S.T) on Saturday 19th. July 2008. We shall also once again be honouring our own Edinburgh born Col. Robert A. Smith, who as Commanding Officer of the 10th. Mississippi Infantry, who fell at Munfordville, Kentucky. That service will be on September 13th. 2008. Next year we intend honouring another famous Scottish Confederate, Edinburgh born Miss Kate Cumming, (1836 – 1909) who nursed Confederate Soldiers, and who is now buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama – Plot: Square 19.
July 5-6, 2008-Commander Chaltas was asked to present at the Christmas in July Festival located in West Jefferson, North Carolina. He did his fabled ‘meet and greet’ with the crowd, telling of the Caudill Camp adventures stone setting achievements and then offered a presentation to a large audience in the persona of General Robert E. Lee. He worked the crowd during the skirmish and offered a salute to the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with those gone before. He was invited to do the church services on Sunday and to his delight, the service was well received by an appreciative audience.
July 3, 2008-Adjutant Brown changed the flags at the monument and emptied the trash in preparation of the 4th of July. His father, Glenn Brown, mowed and cleaned the cemetery at Sandlick.
June 28-30, 2008-Commander Chaltas represented the Ben Caudill Camp at the 2nd Annual Crab Orchard reenactment held in that city. The Saturday dedication was excellent, as 26 unknown Confederate Soldiers, 22 known soldiers (Union and Confederate) gravesites were rededicated. On both days the audience was appreciative of the efforts put forth by those living historians offering their time to share their knowledge. The church service with Parson Binion and KY Division Chaplain was well received with approximately 30 in attendance. Special thanks to Cheri and John Kuhn for their kindness.
June 28, 2008 – Faron Sparkman reports the latest revised numbers for the website: Total set – 1,011 13th set – 621 5th set – 233 13th burial sites- 847
June 20-22, 2008-Commander Chaltas attended the Saturday afternoon and Sunday events held in Georgetown, KY, (Georgetown Raid) in the persona of General Lee. He participated in the ghost walk, shared the camp’s legacy with fellow reenactors and living historians on Saturday. Sunday witnessed a wonderful church service and spectacular battle. General Lee worked the crowd as line officer and shared with them the events unfolding on the field. The KCB and Cardome Center were too kind and all went away feeling the event was a complete success.
June 20-21, 2008-Addressing the crowd as General Robert E. Lee, our commander offered a presentation at the Morgan Inn and President Andrew Johnson’s home (as part of the National Parks Service year-long celebration of the 17th President’s memory), which is located in Greeneville, Tennessee. The people of Greeneville opened their doors and hearts by providing lodging and dinner. Our compliments go to Carlos, Jim Allen, Jim Small, Ms. Watts, and others who possess the vision of tourism via showcasing our heritage as being the future of the area. During the breakfast meet and greet, Commander Chaltas shared the Ben E. Caudill Camp goals and accomplishments. Several supportive dignitaries and politicians were present.
June 19, 2008-Commander Chaltas appeared on a Focus TV Production as President Lee alongside of Abraham Lincoln (Dennis Boggs). Both were asked to discuss their contributions to education and Lee’s achievements were duly noted. Cumberland Brigade Lt. Commander Taylor accompanied him on the promotional. Prior to the event, the two presidents surprised a post graduate class at LMU in Harrogate, Tennessee, and offered a 1st person presentation to the delight of the graduate students. For the cause, as we forward the cause!
June 15, 2008- Fortress Monroe: After Action Report submitted by Mark Carroll. A pilgrimage of sorts was made by this old soldier to the Chapel of the Centurion. I carried away a program from June 8th, where United Daughters of the Confederacy assembled in this Chapel to remember President Jefferson Davis. The Chapel is directly across from the Casemate complex where Davis was incarcerated and where I joined the Episcopal Congregation for refreshments that morning. Above the casemate, on the parapet, one sees the Jefferson Davis Park, which overlooks the Chapel and was the place where Davis was allowed to take walks under guard. The chapel was built and staffed by a Virginia Episcopal Church Minister (The Rev. Mr. Mark Chevers), and the Davis family, being Episcopalians, and often visiting President Davis while he was incarcerated, no doubt prayed in the Chapel for his welfare and release. Lest we forget.
June 13-15, 2008-Gatlinburg, TN: After Action Report submitted by Commander Chaltas. Thousands of visitors witnessed a surprise prelude to the Battle of Burg Hill, as reenactors from eight states gathered on the streets of Gatlinburg, TN, to offer a glimpse into the special event occurring during the weekend. Over two hundred reenactors, living historians participated in the event which was held at Mill Park just off of Route 321 by the Pittman High School. Friday saw several people shuttled into the area to talk and listen to the men/women at different stations. When approached by the Boy/Girl Camp, General Lee and Breckinridge offered to bring a delegation of the drum Corp and soldiers to their location, since the children could not attend due to conflicting schedules. The children were wide-eyed and full of amazement, as the youth demonstrated period correct marching, drumming, dress, and weapon safety. Saturday and Sunday offered two great battles. A massive crowd witnessed the event with great enthusiasm and responded to the charges with the rebel yell, as led by the Old General. Our compliments to the city of Gatlinburg for their vision in offering events in an effort to preserve our heritage. A special recommendation goes to Jon Elder for his tireless efforts and support. Well done Special Events Committee!
June 12, 2008-Several Ben Caudill Camp members attended a meeting at the Little Shepherd Artisans Center located near Jenkins, KY, to discuss the August 9-10, 2008, reenactment held at that location. Those in attendance were Richard Brown, Tabby Back Kenny Cantrell, David Lucas, Jason Big Tree Adams, David Chaltas, and Quentin Childers.
June 10, 2008-Jackson, KY: Members of the Ben Caudill Camp Research Committee, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett, drove to Jackson, KY in Breathitt County for our 3rd monthly meeting. The Committee met in the Breathitt County Library as the guests of Dr. Stephen Bowling, a virtual warehouse of local historical information. Carlos had many questions, and Dr. Bowling provided many answers. The three-hour meeting seemed much shorter, and members of the committee agree that enough new information was gained to allow Faron to order two or three more Confederate stones for our Southern ancestors. The committee is currently investigating the possibility of having our July meeting in Wise County, Virginia, in conjunction with the Battles at Wise on July 12 and 13.
June 10, 2008-Commander Chaltas represented the interests of the Ben Caudill Camp on 103.9, The Bulldog. He discussed the 1000th Stone setting dedication, recent reenactments (Jonesville, Russell Fork, 200th Birthday Celebration of President Davis, Memorial Day services at Sandlick and Veteran’s Museum) and forthcoming events including the Return of John Hunt Morgan, Battle of Gladeville, VA, working at the Pound Gap Monument, Gatlinburg ‘Battle of Burl Hill’ event, and Weber City. He discussed camp research and other efforts by those men of Camp 1629.
June 9, 2008-Adjutant Brown reports that Roger Hall has been painting the sentry statue located at the Pound Gap Monument. Commander Chaltas reports he attended the Letcher County Tourism Board meeting and presented the proposal of panel 7 & 8 for continuation of the Pound Gap Project, along with the Revolutionary Monument concept.
June 7-8, 2008-Jonesville, VA: After Action Report Submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett: The annual reenactment of the Battle for Jonesville took place in spite of record-breaking heat this year. On the field of battle, “Little Jesse” and the crew of the Caudill Battery set new personal records for rounds delivered. Between battles, quality time was spent in the relative cool of the woods with dear friends of the 5th KY Infantry. A period church service was held with Chaplain Offered and Chaltas officiating. Mose Hamblin (guitar), Mr. Uffred’s son (flute) and Andrew (trumpet) offered musical tributes to God. Members of the Ben Caudill Camp who took part in the activities included Richard Brown, Danny Taylor, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Tabby Back, Larry Kiser, Garland Kiser, Commander David Chaltas, Britt Smith, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett.
7 June, 2008 – Richmond, Virginia. Compatriot Mark Carroll joined with members of the Matthew Fontaine Murray camp: Scott Boyd, (CS); John Martin (1st Lt. Cdr.), and Ron Rorer (2nd Lt. Cdr) and a host of compatriots and belles from around the South at Hollywood Cemetery for the 14th Annual National Jefferson Davis Memorial Service – marking President Davis’ 200 Birthday. The event began with the presentations of the colors and music by the St. Andrew’s Legion Pipe and Drum. The keynote speaker was Chaplain Alister Anderson (Col, US Army Ret). Markers from Virginia and Alabama were dedicated, and 34 wreaths laid about Davis’ grave, followed by a salute of musket and artillery.
June 6-7-Fairview, KY: Commander Chaltas and Cumberland Brigade Lt Commander Taylor attended the 200th Birthday Celebration of President Jefferson Davis and the KY Division Reunion held on the sacred soil of Bethany Church. The agenda included business meeting of the division with national dignitaries, committee reports, license plate, chaplain status report, music and camp/brigade reports. President and Mrs. Davis (Cliff and Joan Howard) offered a stirring first hand impression and was honored by representatives of each branch of service, led by General Lee and the honorable Private H. K. Edgerton. Mr. Cooper offered his book on Davis and a special time of fellowship was extended for all.
June 1, 2008-Ary, KY: A grand celebration and dedication was offered at the Richard Smith Cemetery, located just off Route 476, in Perry County, Kentucky. Several descendents, of those men being dedicated, came to pay homage to their ancestors. The dedication marked the 1000th stone set by the camp; the stone selected for the honor was that of CORPORAL WILLIAM S. SMITH, 13th KY Cavalry, Company I. He was born in 1834 as the son of James Smith and Rhoda Owens Smith. Lieutenant Isaac Smith, Private John Smith, Private Nicholas Smith and Private Richard Smith were his brothers. He enlisted as 3rd Corporal on Oct. 1, 1862, in Whitesburg, KY, under Captain William W. Smith. He was killed on November 19, 1863, by Union troops at Anse Smith residence, near the mouth of Ball’s Fork of Troublesome Creek in Perry County, KY. Ironically, the location is a short distance from where he is interred.
The ceremony consisted of an opening artillery salute, the soldiers marching into position and a welcome to those in attendance. Commander Chaltas read from the Bible (Joshua 4: 1-9) and shared Proverbs 22:28 with the crowd. After a few stirring words, Chaplain Tabby Back gave the invocation. Commander Chaltas saluted the camp for their endeavors and reminded everyone that it is not about us; but those brave men of yesteryear inspire us to continue the cause. He then shared “The South” with all. Past Commander Faron Sparkman was introduced; he offered a moving saga of the countless hours spent in researching and setting the markers. Sparkman explained how the challenge began more than thirteen years ago and how it had grown in to an unimaginable success. He then read each obituary, while camp members removed the sacred colors from the tombstones. Commander Chaltas asked for voices of the people and Dr. Steve Bowling reflected on the honor he felt in being present at such a monumental moment in time. Carlos Brock offered encouraging words and discussed the importance of continuing the search for other ancestors. “I asked God”, a poem found on an unknown dead Confederate soldier, was shared. Commander Chaltas, acting in the persona of General Lee, administered the Charge. Britt Smith, acting at the honor guard Lieutenant, called out the orders for the military salute, as Lt. Manton Ray Cornett commanded the artillery. “Taps” was offered by Glenn Brown and Chaplain Tabby Back provided the benediction.
Four other soldiers were dedicated as well. They were PRIVATE STEPHEN NOBLE of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company G. He was born on September 17, 1837 and died on December 23, 1903. He was the son of Enoch Noble and Leah Palmer Noble. He was married to (1) Samantha J. Jones (2) Martha and (3) Nancy Stacy (b.1849). He enlisted on September 23, 1862, in Breathitt County under Captain Alexander Noble. He was honorably discharged on January 1, 1863. SERGEANT WILLIAM GRIGSBY of the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C, was born on January 15, 1843, and died on August 28, 1923. He was the son of Thomas Grigsby & Francis Owens. He married (1) Dorcus Williams and then (2) Rachel Smith. He enlisted in Company C as 2nd Sergeant under Captain Anderson Hays and was captured at Gladeville, VA, on July 7, 1863. He was taken to Kemper Barracks on July 18, 1863, transferred to Camp Chase Prison on July 20, 1863, and finally transferred to Camp Douglas Prison in Chicago on Aug. 24, 1863. He was released May 24, 1864. PRIVATE MATTHEW COMBS enlisted in the 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. He was born in 1832 and died in 1869. He was the son of George and Nancy Smith Combs. His brothers were Pvt. Francis Combs, Pvt. Isaac Combs and Pvt. James Combs. In 1852 he moved to Arkansas and married Hannah Adeline Wise (b.1839) in 1855 in Washington County, Arkansas. He returned to Perry County in 1855 and lived on Troublesome Creek. He served previously in the 5th KY. Infantry, Company B & K. He also served in Fields KY Partisan Rangers, enlisted in the 13th KY Cavalry on October 1, 1862, at Whitesburg, KY, under Captain Hays. PRIVATE JAMES COMBS, JR., enlisted in 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. He was born in 1835 and died in 1874. He was son of George & Nancy Smith Combs. His brothers were Pvt. Francis Combs, Pvt. Isaac Combs and Pvt. Matthew Combs. James enlisted Oct. 1, 1862, in Whitesburg, KY, under Captain Anderson Hays.
Afterwards, everyone lingered for a considerable time, observing the old tradition of placing flowers on the graves. Camp members who took part in today’s dedication and celebration were, Britt Smith, David Taylor, Faron Sparkman, Tabby Back, Okie Blair, Tim Blair, Gary Begley, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Raymond Isaacs, David Chaltas, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Carlos Brock and Manton Ray Cornett. Camp member Richard Smith and Big Sandy Brigade Commander Sam Hatcher were also among the gathering of family and friends.
May 28, 2008-Martin, KY: After Action Report Submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett: Recently, several members of the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 met with friend of the Camp, Joe Skeens, for his guidance in the placement of Confederate markers in that area of eastern Kentucky. The crew began their work at 10:30, and a few minutes before being overtaken by darkness, set the last of ELEVEN markers. These stones were set in ten different cemeteries in the area that includes Floyd, Johnson, and Lawrence Counties. Two stones were erected for members of the 13th KY Cavalry: Private Hansford Wallen and 4th Corporal David A. Chaffin, both of Company I. Eight stones were erected for members of the 5th Kentucky Infantry: Private Martin Kelly of Company K, and Privates Solomon Derossett, Tolbert Derossett, John Graham Johns, Kelsey Holbrook, Alexander Martin, Samuel Auxier, and James K. Polk Auxier, all of Company E. A Confederate marker was also erected for Private Alexander Woods of Diamond’s 10th KY Cavalry, Company A. The crew that took part in this remarkable day consisted of Camp members Faron Sparkman, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, and Manton Ray Cornett. Our friend, Joe Skeens, made the day possible with his research, direction, and taking his turn on the posthole diggers.
May 26, 2008-A Memorial Day Dedication was held at the Confederate Monument located in the Sandlick Cemetery to pay homage to all Veterans who have served this great nation. The mountain howitzer announced the beginning of the ceremony as Jim Ward, Letcher County Judge Executive was bestowed the honor of firing the opening ceremonial round of the artillery piece. Commander Chaltas offered the invocation. The Commander welcomed the audience, recognized those in attendance and SGT Wayne Watts (retired SGT and Color Guard Commander) read, ‘It is our Veterans’. Anna Craft, Superintendent of Letcher County Schools, read General Order #11 by General Logan and Commander Chaltas shared the origin of Decoration Day that was started by a Southern Belle by the name of Ms. Nora. A poem written by a soldier was read by Ms. Yinger. I ASKED GOD was shared and the military salute was given. Mayor Craft stated his pride in our organization and our efforts in honoring all Americans. Mr. Bates, State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, was complimentary of the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 endeavors. Special thanks go to the Brown family for their mowing of the grounds and creating beautiful floral arrangements for the Confederate Memorial and stones. Those men of Caudill’s Army present were Wayne Watts, Garland Kiser, Leathen Whitaker, Danny Taylor, Travis Cantrell, Kenny Cantrell, David Chaltas, Glenn Brown, David Brown, Wendell Brown, and Richard G. Brown.
May 25, 2008-After Action Report submitted by Adjutant Richard Brown: Whitesburg, KY. On Sunday the SCV Ben Caudill Camp #1629 presented cannon fire using “Yankee Buster” (our mountain howitzer) at the Veterans Day Remembrance at the Whitesburg Military Museum. Camp members, Glenn Brown, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Wayne Watts, Jeremy Jones, David Brown, Wendell Brown, Kenny Cantrell and Richard Brown represented the camp. Three volleys spread throughout the event was well received by the large crowd in attendance. Darrel Holbrook, Letcher County Military Museum Coordinator, Letcher County Judge, Jim Ward and Mayor James Craft all acknowledged the camp in their speeches and thanked us for our support. After the close of the event, everyone was encouraged to stay and eat at the free cookout sponsored by the VFW. Of course all camp members took advantage of the delicious food.
May 24-25, 2008-The Bushwhacking at Russell Forks, located at the confluence of two rivers in Elkhorn City, KY, was a grand success. With the battle for the Russell Fork Island being superb on both days, the hosts doing everything possible to insure the comfort of the reenactors and audience, and the many activities throughout the two day celebration of our heritage, the people went away with a keen sense of stepping back into history. Approximately 200 reenactors and living historians descended upon the town with a thousand plus crowd watching the events unfold. Saturday witnessed the posting of the colors, parade through town, dignitaries’ welcome, speakers symposium, Ladies Tea, Meet the Generals, night fire and ghost walk. Sunday brought new hope for all, as a period church service was held down by the riverside. Three young children led the way for men and women to follow, as they stepped forward professing their faith and requesting to be baptized in the cleansing waters of the river. Over 100 people witnessed the moving experience and all went away feeling a little closer to their Creator. A dedication of 6 Confederate Soldiers, along with recognition of ALL those who have gone before and ALL AMERICAN VETERANS, was held at the local cemetery The echo from the 7 artillery pieces ricocheted over ten times from mountain to valley. Those in attendance representing the Caudill Camp included the grand artillery crew (Lt. Manton Ray Cornett, SGT. Willis Strong, Private Randall Haddix, with Little Jesse bombarding the union lines) Wayne Watts, Gary Begley, Danny Taylor, David Chaltas, and Britt Smith,
May 23, 2008-To the delight of the children and the Old General, Commander Chaltas presented to a group of children ranging from Kindergarten to seventh grade at Letcher Elementary School. The summer project is part of Save the Children Foundation and affords the youth of the area opportunities to enhance their education. The Commander talked of the significant role their ancestors played in the War Between the States and discussed common surnames of the area with stories. The young audience was well behaved and listened with keen interest. Our compliments go to educators with the understanding that education must be based upon the truth and historical accuracy.
May 20, 2008; Ary, KY: An eager crew of stone-setters set forth from the Pigeon Roost Trading Post on this beautiful spring morning. We travelled a short distance from US 80 down Pigeon Roost Road to the Bush Cemetery. There, we erected Confederate grave markers for two brothers, First Sergeant Joseph H. Brewer and Private John Q. Brewer. Both were residents of Perry County who served the Confederate cause as members of Company I, Caudill’s 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Both men survived the war and lived out their lives near the banks of Troublesome Creek. Several of their descendants were on hand for this event, and many expressed their heartfelt appreciation. From the Bush Cemetery, we travelled down Pigeon Roost Road to the Reverend Richard Smith Cemetery, where nine Confederate grave markers had been previously set. There, we erected a Confederate grave marker for Third Corporal William S. Smith, who also served in Company I of Caudill’s 13th Kentucky Cavalry. He was killed by Union troops, on November 19, 1863, near the mouth of Ball’s Fork of Troublesome Creek, almost within sight of the cemetery where he now lies. Setting his stone marks a major milestone for the Ben Caudill Camp. His grave marker is the 1000th stone set by the camp, and a dedication will be held at 3 PM, on June 1, 2008, in the cemetery. Our purpose is to honor Smith and other Confederate veterans who are buried there, and to celebrate this remarkable achievement. Camp members who assisted in today’s activities were, Commander David Chaltas, Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Danny Taylor, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, and Manton Ray Cornett. They were assisted by a friend of the Camp, Jim Osborne.
May 14, 2008: Bill Mackie writes: Was looking at album for 2007 you show a photos of myself with a white haired gent. This is C/Sgt Peter Ferrier formerly of the Seaforth Highlanders. His Grandfather was Pvt James B Harden that we dedicated a stone to in March of this year. But Peter’s Great Grandfather was a Major in the Confederacy with the Cherokee Brigade. Peter’s Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Birds of Dawn.
May 13, 2008: Whitesburg — The second monthly meeting of the Ben Caudill Camp Research Committee was held at the Letcher County Library, from 6 to 8 PM. Camp members Richard Brown, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett met with several members of the Letcher County Historical Society, providing both organizations with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information. Efforts are now under way to locate several of our Confederate ancestors who lie, all but forgotten, somewhere in Letcher County.
May 12, 2008-Commander Chaltas presented the upcoming dedication and memorial service. He discussed the June 1, 2008, dedication of the 1000th stone and the Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 26, 2008, to be held at the Sandlick Memorial. He also invited others to come see what the Ben Caudill Camp are doing for the community, country and cause. The ideas were well received.
12 May 2008: Bill Mackie of Scotland reports: ” The members of the Scottish Veterans Association tonight decided that whilst we are out of time this year, we intend from next year to approach the Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh with a view of honouring the Fighting Bishop General Polk every June 14th. I am a former member of the congregation of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, which as you know is where the first Episcopal Bishop to America was consecrated. As a former Bishop myself, with a Military background, I thought this was an ideal way of brining more history of the Confederate cause to the forefront of the Scottish people, and to allow American tourists another service to attend.”
May 11, 2008-Commander Chaltas’ segment on the local TV channel ran all of last week. He described Kentucky’s role in the War Between the States and upcoming events such as Russell Forks, Gladeville in July, and Pound Gap on August 8, 2008. Compatriot Richard M. Smith is currently discussing the war on the TV channel at Letcher Elementary and it will run through this week. We are blessed to have a TV channel so willing to share our heritage and history.
May 8-10, 2008-After Action Report Submitted by Reverend Binion: The three days at the Sue Bennett Center’s living history were a great success. Our beloved 2nd Corporal Moses Hamlin was his usual dedicated Confederate self; entertaining, teaching, and amazing young and old alike. During the three days the following Orphans came out to wave the flag: Moses & Evelyn Hamlin, Les Williamson, Tom & Sis Miles, Charlie & Debbie (and Carla)Hamlin, Colin, Jennings, J.W. & Donna Binion, David Owens, Wayne Taylor, and our beloved “General Lee” – David Chaltas. The Old General offered a swaying presentation at 4:30 on Saturday with Corporal Moses Hamblin playing Dixie in the background. The fine corporal brought the audience to tears with the song, Atlanta is burning, and Chaplain Chaltas furthered the cause of Christ by sharing the story of Little Hailie with the audience. All went away moved and more appreciative of their own children. Commander Chaltas visited the Senior Citizen facility with a promise to return. Captain Williamson and Corporal Hamblin took Commander Chaltas to the graveyard where the Caudill Camp (Faron Sparkman) set stones honoring three men who died during the Battle of London and Big Hill.
May 2-4, 2008-Commander Chaltas had the honor of being invited back to South Carolina’s Confederate Memorial Service held by the UDC honoring the South Carolinians who died during the War. On Friday the names of those soldiers were read on the steps of the state capitol. The reading ended at 12:00 noon on Saturday, after the dedication at the Elmwood Cemetery in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, ended. Commander Chaltas, representing the Kentucky Division as well as the Caudill Camp, was honored to march behind H. K. Edgerton, as H.K. proudly carried the colors through the streets of the city. The program at the capitol building included the posting of the colors, pledges, singing by New Dixie Storm, laying of the wreath. H. K. offered a passionate speech and was greeted by the cheers of several hundred who came to honor their heritage. The artillery salute rattled the whole town, as Captain Dan Patterson offered salute after salute with the battery. After the memorial service and dedication, Commander Chaltas went to the Battle of Columbia where he presented to the crowd in the persona of General Robert E. Lee. Again he was warmly received. He also had the honor of talking to the large crowd and walking the lines discussing the battle scenario in first person. The crowd was so appreciative. The next day found the commander in Manning, South Carolina, offering a service and dedication at that location. His speech entitled, And All the Masses Cried, was met with total silence for a brief moment and ended with a standing ovation of appreciation. The most wondrous event occurred when a young private came up to him and asked for prayers for his 2 year old child who was terminally ill. The pray only increased the desire to do more for the family and a prayer campaign began, as the doctors removed the child from life support. To their amazement, the child began breathing on her own and all the infections that ravaged her body had disappeared.
May 9, 2008 – Commander Chaltas shares this site on Compatriot HK Edgerton and his Southern Heritage 411 program to educate folk on the truth of the WBTS.
May 5, 2008 – Compatriot Sparkman reports have new stone numbers! Total Set – 997 13th KY. Set – 616 Knott County – 118 April 30, 2008-Commander Chaltas reports that 4 county proclamations for Confederate Heritage Month have been secured from Letcher, Perry, Knott Counties along with Claiborne County, Tennessee. The City of Whitesburg and Jenkins also signed a proclamation. Next year’s challenge was announced for other camps in KY to seek as many proclamations as possible. The Commander’s General Order and goal is ten for the Caudill Camp. The challenge begins March 1, 2009.
April 30, 2008; Knott County, KY: Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix and Manton Ray Cornett had the rare privilege of erecting five Confederate grave markers in honor of members of the 13th KY Cavalry who were killed in 1864 at the mouth of Nearly Branch near present-day Pinetop. They were brothers 4th Cpl John L. Hall (1836-1864) and Private Marshall Hall(1842-1864), Private Elisha Mullins (1843-1864), Private Malon Quillen (1844-1864), and 4th Cpl Andrew Jackson Fouch (1840-1864). These four young relatives and friends, who were members of Company E, were apparently killed in a Yankee ambush at the mouth of Nearly Branch near the end of the War of Northern Aggression. Carlos and Manton Ray stayed in the field to locate and record GPS coordinates for three Confederates who had grave markers erected before GPS technology was available. They were Pvt Jonathan J. Hall, Company F, 5th KY Infantry and Company A, 13th KY Cavalry; Captain William J. Hall, Company E, 13th KY Cavalry; and Private John P. Slone, Company E, 13th KY Cavalry.
April 29, 2008-Commander Chaltas and Adjutant Brown represented the interests of the camp on the 103.9 Bulldog Round Table Radio Show. They discussed the 1000th stone to be set, the dedication on June 1, 2008, at the Richard Smith Cemetery, reenactments and events of the area, projects such as the new monument to be set at the Pound Gap, Memorial Day services to be held to honor all Veterans and the discovery of 2 Revolutionary War soldiers gravesites.
April 26-27, 2008-Commander Chaltas was the keynote speaker at the Camp Morton memorial service held at Crown Hill Cemetery, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He presented in the persona of General Robert E. Lee reflecting upon the sacrifices of “These Men of Legend.” His speech moved many to tears, as he recalled the 36 acres of purgatory and the sacrifices of the 1,616 men interred in a common grave. Several 5th KY and 13th men are buried at that location. SGT Jesse Combs and William Eli were discussed by direct descendants of Caudill’s Army. After the dedication, Commander Chaltas and Cumberland Brigade Lt. Commander Taylor drove to be with fellow reenactors and Caudill Camp members at Cumberland Gap on Sunday. The church services were good with Holy Communion being given to the people of Christ. The reenactment went well and the battle was a classic. Those in attendance from the Caudill Camp were Wayne Watts, Britt Smith, Manton Ray Cornett, Willis Strong, Danny Taylor, Randall Haddix, and David Chaltas.
April 28, 2008 – Historian Faron Sparkman reports new counts: 992 set 611 13th set 225 5th set Knott County – 113
April 24, 2008-Adjutant Richard G. Brown submits the following After Action Report: Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Danny Taylor, Willis Strong, Manton Ray Cornett, and I set stones honoring the Childers on Breeding Creek, located in Knott County. We set three Confederates today. One was for Private Goolsby Childers (1805-1872) who served in the 5th KY Infantry, Company F. His two sons, 4th SGT Abraham Childers, (born in 1839 and died in 1864) and 2nd Corporal James M. Childers (born in 1843 and died in 1865) stones and one Revolutionary War Veteran, Abraham Childers (1750-1849, who served in the 5th VA Line) were successfully set. They looked great! Abraham and James, the two grandsons of Abraham Childers, died in the war. They all are buried in the Childers Cemetery on Route 15 at Red Fox, Knott County, Kentucky.
April 18, 2008-Faron Sparkman updated the Stone listings: Total set – 889, 5th KY – 224, 13th KY – 609, 13th burial sites located – 833, Dedications – 376, See updated county listing also.
April 19-20, 2008-The reenactment and living history at the Ramsey House was a tremendous success, with several units from Tennessee participating. The Reverend Binion represented the 5th KY and was accompanied by the old general. The crowd was large both days and saw several different states represented in the crowd. Commander Chaltas worked the line and audience on both days. A moving salute to all veteran, along with a moment of silence for Jim Maddix, John Roark, Ben B. Taylor, and Jim Lamar, was offered. The volley was grand and the event was the talk of Knoxville, Sevierville and surrounding areas. The period church service saw over sixty in attendance and a passionate sermon was offered. One of the highlights of the event was the tour of the battlefield where Fort Sanders will take place. Steve, the creator of the Heartland series, the owner of the farm and Ken Cresswell (overall coordinator) offered a grand tour of what Dr. Hess and other noted historians have called the recreated fort the premiere in the nation. It is built to scale with 20’ walls and the event will be historically correct. It holds the promise of being the premiere event of the year! To view the site note the following link: www.battleoffortsanders.com.
April 16, 2008-Commander Chaltas offered another presentation as General Robert E. Lee to the 5th and 8th grade classes of Beaver Creek Elementary on the War Between the States. The students and staff were most cordial and asked several interesting questions indicating that the teachers had done a thorough job. He gave a book on Lee to the library. We have been invited back for an encore. Compliments go to all
April 16, 2008-After Action Report submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett-Compatriots Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett travelled northward for a day of locating burial sites and erecting markers for our Confederate ancestors. Stones were erected in Menifee County, Kentucky, for Privates Robert McClanahan, Company A, and Thomas Ballard, Company H, of the 5th KY Infantry. In Bath County, KY, a stone was erected for Private Andrew J. Frazier, a member of Kash’s Company, 13th KY Cavalry.
April 12, 2008-Submitted by Adjutant Richard Brown-Camp members Richard Brown and Chad Brown led a group of twenty-seven people on a hike along Scuttle Hole Gap Road. This historical trail was first used by the Indians to cross from the Cumberland River Valley into the Kentucky River Valley. The first settlers of Letcher County then used it to populate the county. During the War Between the States, both armies used the road to move from Harlan to Whitesburg. Merchants used the road to bring wagons of necessities such as coffee, sugar and flour to the mountain people. These goods came from Stonega, Virginia, the closest railroad depot. A two-page story about the historical road and a 1915 map of the area was given to each participant.
April 12, 2008-Compatriot Taylor and Chaltas attended the Red Bud Festival held on Union College Campus. Commander Chaltas was dressed as General Lee and offered history lessons to passerby’s along with offering his book. Danny Taylor discussed the Collets, Ashers and other topics with people of that area. The Caudill Camp cause was promoted and valuable information obtained. The good brothers and sisters, Colonel Adkins & his wife Debbie, and Brother Binion and Sister Donna were there sharing local history as well. Commander Wayne Taylor of the Arthur Camp, was also active in the event. We were invited back to their next event. Our compliments to the organizers and especially Ms. Diane Mills for an outstanding job.
April 10, 2008-After Action Report submitted by Lt Commander Manton Ray Cornett: Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, and Manton Ray Cornett, along with “friend of the Camp” Jim Osborne, erected a Confederate grave marker for 2nd Corporal Benjamin Smith of Company I, 13th KY Cavalry at Quicksand Creek, KY. He is buried in the Beverly Cemetery on Laurel Fork near Elmrock, KY in Knott County. This work detail also erected Confederate grave markers for Private George Bradley of Company C, and his first cousin, Private Jacob Bradley of Company F. Both men were members of the 13th KY Cavalry and are buried in the George Bradley Cemetery at Decoy, KY.
April 8, 2008-Commander Chaltas presented in the persona of General Robert E. Lee to the Whitesburg Rotary Club at the Community Trust Bank Board Room His topic was Letcher County’s role in the War Between the States. He shared the Caudill Flag and legacy..
April 8, 2008-After Action Report submitted by Lt. Commander Manton Ray Cornett: Hazard, KY: The first meeting of the Ben Caudill Camp Research Committee (BCCRC) was held at the Perry County Library. Compatriot Carlos Brock was already busy when Compatriots Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett arrived. They were soon joined by Compatriot Faron Sparkman, and a lively exchange of information and ideas began to take place. Carlos had discovered enough new information to allow Faron to order two stones for Confederates who are buried in the Wooten area of Leslie County, KY. Faron expressed his desires concerning our next two stone-setting outings. He wishes to set three stones, which are already available, on Quicksand Creek in Breathitt and Knott Counties, and to make a more ambitious venture into the Bath County area to set as many as seven (7) stones, which are also available now. The committee agreed on a tentative date, May 18, 2008, at 3pm, for setting stone #1000. Our next meeting is scheduled for April 13 at 6pm at the Harry M. Caudill Public Library, located in Whitesburg, KY.
April 5, 2008-Once again Commander Chaltas offered a presentation at the Bleak House (Confederate Museum) in Knoxville, TN, reflecting the Caudill Camp’s interests in preserving the history of their ancestors. Commander talked (in the persona of General Lee) of the Southern Cause within the confines of the tri-state area and shared a couple of stories from Confederate Kin I and II with different tour groups that came from New York, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. Chaplain Binion and his wife, Donna, represented the 5th Kentucky and the Chaplain’s Corp. General Longstreet and General Forrest offered their insights into the Knoxville Campaign. Afterwards, Commander Chaltas attended a concert in Tazewell, Tennessee, featuring Blue Soul, Masterpiece, Dixie Gray and the award winning Shadow Ridge. The concert proved to be excellent with all performances exceeding expectations. Dixie Gray offered songs from their latest album and received a standing ovation with their perfect pitch harmony on Dixie. Several men and women attended in period dress, as money was raised for the trip to the upcoming 145th Battle of Gettysburg. On April 4, as Commander Chaltas went to the Blount Mansion, a tractor trailer blocked the road close to Maynardville and he did not make it in time to support the program with an appearance. He offers his apologies.
April 3, 2008-Commander Chaltas presented to the 1st through 6th grade at McRoberts Elementary, in McRoberts, Kentucky. The children were delighted and delightful.
March 26, 2008-Commander Chaltas offered a presentation, while dressed in Confederate Gray, regarding the Caudill Camp, Kentucky in the War Between the States, writing, and reenacting to a group of fifth graders at Letcher Elementary School. He donated The Legend and Legacy of Lee and The Search for Butternut to the library. The students were well behaved and asked very informative questions. The presentation was well received, as another community service was offered.
March 25, 2008-Compatriot Richard Brown changed the flags at the monument and made a list of items needed to be completed this spring. Our compliments to his steadfastness in going above and beyond.
March 22, 2008-A photo shoot was held at the Richmond Battlefield in a promotional effort and special project for the University of Indiana (graduate student). We visited a cemetery close to the old Tavern on Route 421 and gathered information regarding those killed in action during General Kirby Smith’s Kentucky Campaign. All indications are that these men from different states were the rear guard and probably gave their lives holding the high ground and enabling General Smith’s force to move towards Richmond. Chaplain Binion, Commander Williamson, and Commander Chaltas are working in conjunction with others in an effort to hold a dedication during the 2008 reenactment. The gravesite is located on property owned by Berea College. Pastor Binion copied their names, rank and unit down as follows:
- 2nd Lt William Tidwell; Marion Lt. Art.
- Jim McCoy; 1st Texas Battery
- Robert Waters; 1st Texas Battery
- C. D. Simmons; Co. G, 47th Tennessee Vol.
- Latanious A. Richards; Co. D, 1st Regiment; LA Cav.-1834 – 1862
- John Diggins; Co. C, 134th Regiment; Tennessee Volunteers-1830 – 1862
- William A. Rhodes; Co. C, 13th Tennessee-1847 – 1862
- Color Sgt John E. Barnett; Co. E, 47th Tennessee Vol.
- A.H. Johnson; Marion Lt. Art.
- Val McClure; Co. F, 31st Ark.-1832 – 1862
- Robert T. Stone; Co. I, 13th Tennessee
- 3rd Lt. James W. Boren, 1st Texas Battery
- W B Claiborne; Co. H, 13th Tennessee-1837 – 1862
* Commander Chaltas visited Compatriot James Adams who is recovering from triple bypass surgery at Central Baptist. He will be undergoing colon surgery as soon as he recovers. Please keep Jim in your prayers.
March 20, 2008-Commander Chaltas, in the persona of General Robert E. lee, presented to the 4-5 grade combined classes of Fleming Neon Elementary. The program lasted 45 minutes and the students were very kind in their comments.
3/16/08-submitted by Chaplain Binion-A group of Company D 5th KY Inf. Reg. conducted a “Living History” presentation at Roadside Baptist Church in Barbourville. It was an inspiring time for those of us who took part and the reports from the pastor and congregation, it was extremely well received. Our beloved General Lee and his staff visited the church where there when three union soldiers sought “Refuge from the Storm”, Corporal Mose sang Amazing Grace, Chaplain Binion preached, the ladies of the 5th KY Belles were all beautiful, but most importantly, Provost Lt. Charlie Hamlin and 1st Lt. Ron Bowling were able to participate. General Lee (KY Division Chaplain Chaltas) offered reflections of the war and moved the audience with his Godly presentation. The main goals of this presentation were to honor our ancestors, present the truth of the War of Northern Aggression, and above all present the Gospel of Christ.
3/14/08-The play entitled, Two Women: One War, was performed in front of two sell out audiences at Lincoln Memorial University located at Harrogate, Tennessee. The play written by Commander Chaltas described the struggle of actually 4 women during the perilous times of the war. Ms. Kitty, portraying a slave, brought the audience to tears in her role of a loving nanny watching over her family even after her death. The play is loosely based on the Search for Butternut as seen through the eyes of a twelve year old girl. The performers have been asked to offer the play at different locations and are considering how to do so. Danny Taylor, David Chaltas and Janet Cornett (Ladies Auxiliary) represented the camp’s interest on and off the stage.
3/13/08-Our own General Lee and General Longstreet (Bill White) were interviewed by a television station covering the tri-state area. Each general told of their prospective roles and accomplishments as being the generals and then discussed their roles within and without their camps. The interview lasted approximately 45 minutes and was well received. Several people offered positive comments regarding the presentation.
March 7, 2008-The long awaited, Confederate Kin, Volume II is complete and is currently at the publisher’s. The book pays homage to those Southern compatriots that followed their cause, realizing the price would be paid in blood. With over one hundred individual stories, the book offers personal glimpses into the struggle of two countries within one nation. Work on Confederate Kin III begins post haste.
March 6, 2008-Commander Chaltas, representing the interest of the Ben E. Caudill Camp #1629, offered a presentation in the persona of General Robert E. Lee to children at Fleming Neon Elementary. The young audience had just studied the War Between the States and responded well to the presentation. The school was presented with a book about General Lee for their library. Our compliments to the staff for allowing yet another history lesson to be offered.
March 2, 2008 – Bill Mackie of Scotland reports: Today March 2nd. 2008 at the request of the Grandson of James B Harden we dedicated a new stone in his honour. Mr. Harden was buried in a pauper’s unmarked grave. Headstones are therefore not permitted. After a meeting with the cemetery owner and letters to the press. We were finally given clearance last Monday to go ahead with the stone dedication. We are now trying to compile an accurate list of of all Scots and American Veterans of the Civil War buried in and around Edinburgh.
Private James Burton Harden
Born Sparta, Georgia, USA 1845
Died Edinburgh, Scotland, 2nd. March 1919
His father George Harden was a Major in the Confederacy in Georgia, during the American Civil War. James B. Harden however left home and enlisted in “D” Company, 91st. New York Infantry. He left America in 1887 and came to Scotland with his young bride, and their infant daughter. James and his wife both died in 1919 at separate times. James died of a stroke, his widow Anne died of stomach cancer. Harden’s mother was a Cherokee Indian “Bird’s of Dawn”. She died in 1885 only seven days after George Harden died.
February 29, 2008 – Faron Sparkman reports that Stephen Bowling, Larry Combs, and he have recently completed hard work on a major Caudill Camp project to assist author John David Preston in the revision of the historical reference The Civil War in the Big Sandy Valley of Kentucky. This effort has resulted in a product that is 280% larger than the original edition. Most of the Confederate veterans cited in this work served in either our beloved 13th Cavalry (10th Mounted Rifles), the 5th Infantry, or Diamond’s 10th Cavalry. Regional researchers will appreciate the listing of 3,700 Union and Confederate soldiers along with their service data supported by 1,200 endnotes. The work of the Camp in this endeavor is another activity that clearly supports our Charge and a key Camp goal.
February 24, 2008 – From Historian Faron Sparkman in Appreciation
5TH KY. INFANTRY CAMP RECOGNIZED FOR STONE SETTING Darrell Crawford, a long time member of the Caudill Camp and a charter member of the 5th KY. Infantry Camp, has put together a team of men who have shown a great dedication in assisting our stone setting efforts over the past year. We want to take this opportunity to recognize their outstanding work in helping preserve the heritage of the Confederate soldiers from Eastern Kentucky. Darrell Crawford and Faron Sparkman have concentrated together for a number of years in researching the proud soldiers from the general area of Rowan, Fleming, Elliott, Carter, Morgan and Bath County. Sparkman, along with Caudill Camp member Larry Combs, have put together many long hours of research in tracking, finding the burial sites, and ordering stones for these soldiers. Crawford, along with 5th KY. Inf. Camp members Terry Kidd, Mark Patrick, Travis Erwin, John Erwin, and Shannon Barker have helped us tremendously in the field in by setting the following eighteen markers to date. See the names here
February 22, 2008-A play entitled the Shadows of Gettysburg was performed at the Rose Center in Morristown, Tennessee to a standing room only crowd. It received a standing ovation and rave reviews from the news media. The Ben Caudill Camp #1629 gave the second, General Lee Service Award to the Lakeway Civil War Preservation Association for their unselfish devotion in preserving the heritage and history of the War Between the States. All proceeds of the performance went towards the preservation of the General Longstreet Headquarters that he used in the 1863 Knoxville Campaign. Two Caudill Camp members, Danny Taylor and David Chaltas, participated in the play. It was written by our own Commander Chaltas.
February 12, 2008-Adjutant Richard Brown and Commander David Chaltas were guests on the 103.9 The Bulldog, Round Table Discussion hosted by Ms. Shirley Sexton. The topics included the camps many projects (stone setting, monument projects, flag pole setting, educational programs, writings) and the camps contributions to the area. Several people thanked the Ben Caudill Camp for its involvement in the efforts to preserve our heritage.
February 9, 2008-The first annual Blue-Gray Tri-state Conference was held at Mosby’s Restaurant, Wise, VA 11:00-5:30. The meeting entailed dissemination of information by different reenacting events, groups, organizations and historical societies. Over fifty people participated in the event, with thirty+ reenactments/living histories represented.. The Tri-state area (Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky) had an opportunity to showcase their events and began building a network between different organizations. Tabby Back, Manton Ray Cornett, Danny Taylor, Britt Smith, and David Chaltas represented the interests of the Caudill Camp. Commander Chaltas was the M.C. and founder of the meeting. The first General Robert E. Lee Service Award was given to Mosby’s Restaurant for the endless efforts in preserving our heritage. All went away pleased with the meeting.
February 2, 2008-After Action Report-The SCV KY Division Cumberland Brigade met at Ponderosa in Hazard, Kentucky, to address projects and goals for 2008. Over 30 people were in attendance. Topics offered by Commander Williamson included heritage (Former Commander Ray Adkins) the license plates (Division Chaplain Chaltas-Chairman), Flag Project (Commander Williamson), Recruitment, Davis Dedication and a motivational speech by Division Lt. Commander Rector. All agree that the meeting was a complete success and a rebirth of determination was felt by all. Those from the Caudill Camp in attendance were: Richard Brown, Randall Haddix, Willis Strong, Tim Blair, Manton Ray Cornett, Carlos Brock, Danny Taylor, Faron Sparkman, David Chaltas, Tabby Back, and Britt Smith. Our salutatorians to the Officers of the Cumberland Brigade! After the meeting, the Hallowed Ground Monument/Stone Committee set a Confederate Marker for 4th Sergeant McCager Napier. He was born in April of 1833 and died on May 18, 1904. Those assisting were Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Danny Taylor, Manton Ray Cornett, David Chaltas and Britt Smith. Hallowed Ground Monument/Stone Setting Committee MSSC Members are made up of Faron Sparkman (Chair), Carlos Brock (Co-Chair), Willis Strong, Britt Smith, Manton Ray Cornett, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, and Randall Haddix.
The Co-Chairs of the Committee, Faron Sparkman and Carlos Brock recommended their brothers in the 5th Kentucky SCV #1629 camp be made Associate Members of the Colonel Ben E. Caudill Camp Stone Setting Crew. The 5th KY Camp members are Darrell Crawford, Terry Kidd, Mark Patrick, Travis Erwin, John Erwin, Shannon barker, And Harold McKinney. The purpose is to honor the cooperation and brotherhood which exists between the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 and the 5th KY Infantry Camp # 2122.
January 26, 2008-The term Southern Hospitality was demonstrated, as General Lee and General Jackson offered their program to a sell out audience in Aiken, South Carolina. The program was held in the Shriner’s building and afforded great music by the Palmetto Pickers, with a formal induction ceremony and the changing of the guard for officers. The crowd was very receptive and gave a standing ovation at the conclusion of the program. The Bee Camp provided accommodations at the gracious Carriage Inn in downtown Aiken.
January 26, 2008-Adjutant Brown submits the following After Action Report: My father, Glenn Brown and I poured the foundation for the monument and marker at Pound Gap this weekend. It was reinforced for strength and, pending the weather, the pedestal can be created within the next couple of weeks. It will face the gap guarding the passageway between Virginia and Kentucky.
January 21, 2008- Stonewall Jackson’s Birthday — Division Chaplain Chaltas and Cumberland Brigade Commander Taylor attended the Kentucky Division Executive Committee meeting held in Lexington, Kentucky. Fifth Kentucky Chaplain Binion rode to the meeting with Chaplain Chaltas. Topics of discussion were inclusive of the license plates, Vicksburg, Tilghman House, Recruitment and other pertinent issues. The meeting was very successful and motivating.
January 19, 2008-The annual Lee/Jackson Dinner was held at the Corbin Civic Center. The keynote speakers included KY Division Commander Hitler, Past Commander-in-Chief Ron Wilson, and Colonel Ray Adkins. Music was provided by Mose Hamblin and family. It was a delightful event with over 100 people attending. The Arthur Camp and 5th Kentucky were the hosts. Those in attendance from the Caudill Camp included, Manton Ray Cornett, Randall Haddix, Brent Smith, Willis Strong, Danny Taylor, and the Old General. A hearty thank you for your hospitality goes out with a rebel yell to the sponsors! A special trip was taken to pay respects to our friend and compatriot, Don Poynter, who is hospitalized. Our prayers and hopes for a speedy recovery are with him.
January 19, 2007- RE Lee’s Birthday: Compatriot Carroll submits the following After Action Report: “Spent part of today at Sharpsburg. Came up the old road from Harpers Ferry, as Jackson’s Corps had done, and stood and gazed eastward toward Antietam Creek and “Burnside’s” Bridge (he paid for the honor of that naming in much unneeded blood through his single mindedness). I read the old War Department plaque on AP Hill’s Division, that moved across the field from the road when they observed the Federals (Burnside’s Corps) flanking Lee, and thought… how convenient that they should arrive on the battlefield at the moment to strike Burnside’s flank and turn his envelopment. I look forward to a day when these things may be revealed to us fully. Until then I can’t help but think it was all a part of a grand plan of our Master.”
January 17, 2008-The Caudill Camp met last night and held the election of officers. The following officers were elected for 2008. Commander-David Chaltas, 1st LT Commander-Manton Ray Cornett, 2nd LT Commander-Willis Strong, Adjutant-Richard Brown, Chaplain-Tabby Back, SGT-AT-ARMS-Wayne Watts, Quartermaster-Quenton Childers, Historian-Faron Sparkman, and Surgeon-Mike Baker. After the election Commander Chaltas performed a very moving installation of officers. Congratulations to all! This year will see the Caudill Camp grow even more in spirit and achievements, as we possess individuals motivated to lead by example (through self sacrifice), willingness to serve the people, dedicated to their heritage and not in any manner self seeking. The highlight of the night came when plaque honoring Mrs. Pauline Cantrell was presented to her son, Kenny. She has been appointed by acclamation the Caudill Camp Matron of Honor. She is ninety-eight years young.
January 10, 2008-Commander Chaltas and Lt. Commander of the Cumberland Brigade Taylor attended the annual Lee/Jackson/Breckinridge dinner held at Columbia Steakhouse on North Limestone in Lexington, KY. The John C. Breckinridge Camp was the gracious host of the event. Commander Chaltas was the keynote speaker, as he spoke in the persona of General Robert E. Lee. The camp was most courteous and demonstrated the spirit de corps of the Southern compatriot.
January 8, 2008-compatriot John Wesley Roark was laid to rest with full Confederate Military honors. Reverend Binion and Amburgey officiated. Commander Chaltas wishes to convey his heartfelt appreciation for all that participated.
January 4, 2008-It is with the deepest of sorrow that I must announce the passing of compatriot John Wesley Roark on this day. He loved being a ‘son’ and I loved him being my brother. His gentle nature and southern spirit was inspirational. Beside his bed stand (he had been bedridden for years) were his beloved Lost Causes and Confederate Veterans. He had highlighted the Caudill Camp’s name in them. I have come to realize that my zeal and passion for reenacting and our many camp projects were to make him feel in spirit a part of our endeavors. He would always ask of our efforts and smile when I talked of my adventures as the general. He died as he lived: gently.
January 4, 2008-The funeral of Sergeant Major Ben Buster Taylor was held in Arlington, VA. He was one of the first Green Berets, paratrooper and was selected from a national poll to serve as one of the Honor Guard and Pallbearers for President John F. Kennedy. He was instrumental in getting the Military Museum at Whitesburg, Kentucky, and allowing the Civil War Heritage to have such a prominent theme. His influence and input into the preservation of our heritage will be sorely missed.
January 1, 2008 – Opened 2008 Staff Journal