December 31, 2009-Journal Closed
December 12, 2009-Knoxville, TN/Ewing, VA; Commander Chaltas (in the persona of General Lee) offered presentations in the house that General Longstreet used as his headquarters during the 1863 winter campaign. Accompanying him were General Forrest and Polk. The tours were steady and the soldiers were all kept busy. Our compliments go to all who participated and toured the Bleak House (Confederate Memorial Hall) is maintained and operated by the UDC Chapter 89. It is located on 3148 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN. The old general then rode old Traveller to Ewing, VA, where he was the keynote speaker (topic was Christmas of Yesteryears) at the Lee/Jackson Dinner for the 37th Virginia. A grand time was held and ole friendships renewed as well as new ones developed.
December 11, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: To the delight of the crowd, Yankee Buster opened the Christmas festivities during Christmas in the park, as the parade brought the crowd to enjoy an evening of celebration. On the hour the cannon bellowed and the old time Christmas encampment was the hit of the day. With marshmallows and peppermint candy canes, the kids (and youthful hearted adults) came by to enjoy a cup of fellowship and hot chocolate. Ms Kentucky even came by and fired the cannon honoring Christmas. Special thanks go to all camp members who participated in this blessed event: Glenn Brown, David Brown, Richard Brown, Okie Blair, Tim Blair, Garland Kiser, ‘Big Tree’ Adams, David Chaltas, Leathen Whitaker, Wayne Watts, and Quentin Childers
December 10, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: A group of dedicated compatriots rallied to the call of sharing their heritage and prepared for Christmas in the Park. Camp was set up along with two trees, fire ditch, chairs and tables for the candy canes and marshmallows for the children. Last year over 4,000 people attended the event. Special thanks to Richard Brown, Wayne Watts, David Chaltas, Glen Brown, and David Brown for their contributions.
December 8, 2009-Whitesburg, KY; An eating meeting was held at the Pine Mountain Grill to complete the plans for the Lee/Jackson Dinner. We met with one of the managers and were told that we could decorate the evening before the event. We decided on roast beef and rotisserie style chicken as the 2 selection of meats. Suggestions by Gaynell were accepted. Ms Gaynell (Lee/Jackson UDC Chapter) will work on creating placemats (attached is her prototype-looks great). Dave Chaltas will develop a tri-fold flyer. Flyers will be distributed via email (D Chaltas) and the marquee will mention the event for one week prior to the event. The agenda was reviewed and accepted. My compliments go to Rhonda, Tim, Jeff, Kathy and Gaynell for their participation and contributions.
December 5-6, 2009-Abbeville, South Carolina: A Christmas Gala was held honoring Abbeville heritage. The event began with a grand parade with several hundred participates. Father Christmas lead the parade in a grand red horse drawn carriage) with General Hampton (riding a beautiful white carriage), followed by the colors, General Lee, Stuart, escorts, adjutants, ladies of the South, and the awesome 22nd South Carolina. The parade lasted for over one hour and the huge crowd was most appreciative. The southern troops reassembled at the Burt-Stark Mansion after visiting Trinity Church (founded during prewar). A photo opportunity was given in the room where President Davis held his last war council with his cabinet and generals. Succession Hill was also visited as well as General McGowan’s home. The evening ended with a wondrous ball celebrating the grand heritage of the town. Commander Chaltas in the persona of General Lee was honored by the reception he received and gave the event a 5 star rating.
November 30, 2009-Norton, VA: Commander Chaltas went to Mosby’s to discuss the proposed Lee/Jackson Dinner. His findings were that the restaurant no longer had a Civil War theme but was geared to modern day. He reported back to the committee and a decision was made to seek another location to have the event.
November 24, 2009–Hazard, KY: Once again, we got together at Manufacturers’ Supply, this time with a smaller, but more determined crew. Our primary goal was to return to Adele in Morgan County and to do whatever necessary to place the Confederate headstone for Private William Anderson. The weather was perfect for a little manual labor; skies were cloudy but calm, and temperatures were expected to hover around 60 degrees throughout the day. A recent call from Faron Sparkman added another destination to our agenda; an unfamiliar cemetery in Elliot County. This required us to load another headstone on our truck before heading off for Morgan County. Upon arriving at Adele, we off-loaded everything and had just begun our work when we got a call from Faron. The directions for our trip to Elliott County were all wrong and Faron was on his way to join us. We managed to get everything out of the truck and part of the way up the hill before Faron arrived and overtook us. We were using the rope and pulley to move the stone toward the cemetery, and an extra set of hands were a welcome asset. Half our time was spent moving the stone up the hill, and half our time was spend clearing the bushes, brush, and briars out of the way. The entire job took two hours and a half, but we felt very gratified when we left the new Confederate headstone standing over the grave of Private William Anderson, Company D, 13th KY Cavalry. He was born in 1847, died in 1916, and his grave is in the Taulbee Cemetery above Route 134 at Adele in Morgan County. While returning to our truck and loading up out tools, Faron was making phone calls and getting directions to the cemetery in Elliott County.
Satisfied that we knew where we were going, we set out with Faron leading the way. After stopping for sandwiches in West Liberty, we headed toward Sandy Hook on Route 7. Somewhere along the way, Faron received a call and had to head back to Perry County. Before leaving for home, he handed off his written directions and wished us good luck. We drove on. After driving all the way through Elliott County and into Carter County, we knew we had missed our turn. We turned around, found Horton Flat Road, and began searching in earnest for the cemetery. Thinking we may have driven past it without seeing it, Randall suggested that we stop the next vehicle that we saw and ask for assistance. We did, and the man behind the wheel of a firewood-toting pickup, said he knew exactly where that cemetery was because it was his family’s cemetery! He had just left there after gathering firewood, and he had left the gate open. Following his directions, we found the cemetery and the veteran’s grave within a few minutes. Before we could start digging, our newly-found advisor appeared in the cemetery, confirmed our find, and agreed with our plan for setting the headstone. After introducing ourselves, he inquired about where we came from, and told us that he once attended school in our area, at Lee’s Junior College in Jackson. I asked “when?’ because I too, attended that school. It turns out that we both were there in 1960, and even lived in the same dorm. Small world! We left Private William Martin Green (1840–1923), Company K, 5th KY Infantry with a beautiful new Confederate headstone, and his descendant, Royce Green, with a new source of pride and satisfaction. It just can’t get much better that that! Those who enjoyed this special day were Randall Haddix, Faron Sparkman, Manton Ray Cornett, and our dependable friend, Jim Osborne.
November 21-23, 2009-Live Oak, Florida: The Suwannee River Music Park was the location of a remarkable premiere reenactment hosted by Hardee’s Corps. Commander Chaltas was invited to attend the event as Hardee’s Corps Chaplain. Over one thousand reenactors from several states came out to support the event. The battlefield was a reenactor dream come true and with picture perfect weather on Saturday, the event continued to be the sleeper event of the year. The posting of the colors was conducted in a manner to bring tears to the viewer’s’ eyes; as it was professionally conducted with honor and dignity befitting the moment. Officers’ call was productive and the battle plan well conceived and later executed with precision. The battle was exciting and for a moment ALL were caught up in being back in the 1860s. General Hardy, Goodrich, Gomillion and staff did all to make the event a complete success and our own camp commander (David Chaltas, in the persona of General Lee) was made to feel most welcome. The stations were impressive and the sutlers well organized. General JEB Stuart (Wayne J.-Aiken, S. C.), Patrick Cleburne (Larry O.-Christmas, Florida) and our own General Lee offered support to General Hardy and staff as living historians. General Stuart and Lee walked amongst the people as ‘Meeters and Greeters’. Commander Chaltas had the privilege of working the audience as a line officer with the provost and General Stuart. The crowd was appreciative. This event will be a 5 star event in the future and General Lee offers his most sincere compliments to all those who made him feel at home. With the vision of Hardee’s Corps and staff of Suwannee River Music Park, the Raid of Suwannee River will prove to be one of the most popular events of 2010. Ladies and gentlemen, please place this reenactment on your calendar for next year.
November 20, 2009–Hazard, KY: Our crew met at Manufacturers’ Supply somewhat later than usual. Our contact person in Wolfe County could not be available until after noon, so that gave us more than enough time to prepare. The three Confederate headstones, along with the “PHD”, a two-wheel dolly, and some pull ropes were picked up at Willis Strong’s, and Jim Osborne and Manton Ray Cornett picked up Carlos Brock and Randall Haddix in Hazard for the trip to Bethany on KY 15 North of Jackson. There, we met Bill James and went directly to Buchanan Fork of Stillwater Creek where we were introduced to Andy Graham, the owner of the land where we would set the first headstone. Showing us how to get around his barn and up a hill, where there was no road, he and Carlos went ahead on foot. We were able to drive about 300 yards before we were blocked by trees. Continuing on foot, locating the grave and doing a bit of scouting, we decided that there was no way to truck the headstone any further. So, the last 400 yards were done entirely by hand, with Carlos clearing a path and Manton Ray, Jim, and Randall pulling the stone on the dolly up the hill, about 50 yards at a time. The grave was one of several, marked only with sandstones, most of which were covered with leaves and debris. There, in a prominent location, we placed the new Confederate headstone for Private George Asberry (1802-1883). He served in Company E of Diamond’s 10th KY Cavalry, and his grave had gone unmarked for 126 years. Thanks are in order to Andy Graham for unlocking the gate that had kept us out on a previous trip, and for guiding us to Private Asberry’s grave.
Next, it was on to nearby Stamper Branch of the Red River. J. B. Stamper, editor of the Wolfe County News, was waiting for us there, near an area that we had searched, with no results, on a previous trip. Within minutes we were joined by Roger Stamper, the landowner. With all hands on board two 4-wheel drive pick-ups, we headed off up the hill. After what seemed like about half a mile on a seldom traveled fire road, we arrived at the burial site, while driving in reverse.
Once again, there were about 5 or 6 graves in a small open area, marked with sandstones. J. B. Stamper identified one grave as that of his ancestor, and we set about our work. Within a few minutes, a new Confederate headstone was standing over the grave of Private Dennis W. Hollon (1841-1928). Hollon served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry, and was the gg grandfather of J. B. Stamper. To say that Mr. Stamper was grateful would be an understatement. He thanked us profusely for our actions, and for our past actions in placing a headstone for another of his ancestors. Before we left the grave, he was already making plans for marking the other graves there and for placing a fence around the cemetery.
It should be mentioned that both of these headstones were dedicated today by Bill James, who did graveside readings from the Confederate Chaplain’s’ Handbook and offered prayer at both cemeteries.
Leaving Stamper Branch and Bill James behind, we headed toward Morgan County where we met Harold McKinney at Helechawa. After some scouting and inquiring, we found that our next cemetery was high on a hill at Adele. Harold, Carlos and Manton Ray walked up the hill and found the cemetery, which contained a dozen or more mostly marked graves. We determined which grave was that of our Confederate, obtained GPS coordinates for the location, and decided that a return trip would be required. We were running out of daylight. So, the next time we have time and opportunity, Carlos won’t have to make any phone calls to arrange for a guide to show us the way; we’ll just go and get it done.
November 19-20, 2009-Harrogate, TN: A T.V. interview was held on Family Focus to discuss the upcoming play and the latest book release by Commander Chaltas. General Longstreet (Bill White) did an outstanding regarding the play. Frank White talked of the soldier’s life and Ken Creswell discussed General Meade’s role during the Battle of Gettysburg. Dennis Boggs, in the persona of Lincoln, once again entwined storytelling with his presentation. LMU offered a play written by Carol Campbell to the public on Friday at 10 A.M. and 7 P.M. Though practiced only 2 times on Thursday, the cast performed magically and provided a glimpse into the past.
November 13, 2009-Hazard, KY: Ben Caudill Camp Historian Sparkman reports the Stone update:
- Eastern Kentucky Confederates Set-1,128
- 13th KY. Burial Sites Located-864
- 13th KY. Stones Set-641
- 5th KY. Infantry Stones Set-302
- Bath -9
- Breathitt -130
- Floyd -140
- Johnson -30
- Knott -123
- Lawrence -11
- Leslie -7
- Letcher -135
- Madison -5
- Menifee -31
- Morgan -122
- Owsley -7
- Perry -104
- Powell -12
- Rowan -25
- Wolfe -34
- Virginia -60
November 11, 2009-Hindman, KY: Commander Chaltas, in the persona of General Lee, offered words of encouragement to the Hall family who lost their mother. The funeral service was for Mrs. Goshen Hall, who was a granddaughter of a Confederate soldier and great granddaughter of a Revolutionary Soldier. She was extremely proud of both and her Scottish heritage. She and her son Captain Atlas Hall, was instrumental in assisting the SCV in finding several stones within our region. Atlas preceded her in death a couple of years ago. Commander Chaltas and Compatriot Raymond Isaacs attended the funeral. The Hall Clan was paid tribute by the Scottish Society and the final homage was done through the sounds of a bagpipe.
November 7, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: A very moving ceremony was held to honor the Veterans. Several Letcher County Veterans came to pay homage to fallen comrades and to share with the humbled audience when and where they served. Yankee Buster opened the memorial service followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ben Caudill Camp Commander Chaltas, who was in the persona of General Robert E. Lee. Darrell Holbrook welcomed the audience and spoke briefly about what a being a Veteran meant to him. Private Duncan was honored, as he is the only living POW from Letcher County who was imprisoned by the Chinese for over thirty months during the Korean War. The county judge offered a few words of encouragement as did Magistrate Gibson. General Lee spoke of the heroism of a young lady who was willing to offer her life to stop the rampage of a madman at Fort Hood. He recalled her words when she recovered from surgery: “Did anyone die.” She did not think of her own injuries, only those of American soldiers being shot down by a terrorist. Commander Chaltas shared a lovely poem written by Linda Norton entitled, A Soldier and His Flag. The crowd was moved to tears and so many thanked him for sharing such a saga. The artillery crew closed the ceremony with a couple of volleys. Special thanks go out to Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Quentin Childers, Garland Kizer, and Wayne Watts. Compatriot Ross Fleming came out to offer his support for the event.
November 6, 2009–Hazard, KY: A meeting of the Ben Caudill Camp Research Committee was held at the Perry County Public Library in Hazard, KY. Those present were co-chairs Faron Sparkman and Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett. Our discussions were focused on the challenge of complying with the new Veterans’ Affairs policy of requiring next-of-kin documentation to accompany any present and future requests for government-furnished grave headstones. We developed at least four separate strategies for requesting headstones, depending on the amount of information available to us. We are eager to test one or more of our strategies as soon as possible. We also discussed the eleven stones that we have on hand, of which most have been considered “difficult” for various reasons. As soon as weather permits and arrangements with our contacts can be made, we will attempt to place two or more of these “difficult” headstones in the Wolfe County, KY area.
October 28, 2009–Manchester, KY: Taking advantage of a break in the weather, a Southern Cross of Honor was placed today, next to the Confederate grave marker for Captain James Herd. Captain Herd was living in Clay County in 1860 and served as the county sheriff before the war. He served in Company B of the 5th KY Infantry, Company K of the 13th KY Cavalry, and for a time was on detached service with the 64th VA Infantry. He enlisted on 25 May 1863 and served until he surrendered at Cumberland Gap on 30 April 1865. He is buried in the family cemetery just west of Manchester on Route 80.
October 23-25, 2009-Gettysburg, PA: The old general was privileged to attend the annual living history event held in historic Gettysburg. Two encampments were set up; one downtown and the other at Longstreet’s Headquarters. The men were too kind in their compliments. Also Commander Chaltas visited the Washington/Lee College and Lee Chapel, along with VMI. Once again he was well received by the people. The blitz was well worth the time spent driving. Our compliments go to those men offering their time to reflect upon the sacrifices of all during that terrible time known as the War Between the States.
October 23-25, 2009–Cornettsville, KY: There was little or no cornbread in Brashear View on this occasion, and not a watermelon to be seen. But we did have splendid fall weather, an abundance of re-enactors, sutlers, and hundreds of appreciative spectators. Topping it all off was the star attraction, a visiting replica of the Confederate submarine C.S.S. H. L. Hunley; it could be said that this year’s Battle of Leatherwood was pretty spectacular. Where else could one see Abraham Lincoln, General Patrick Cleburne, a mule, Fry Bread, and a submarine, all under the clearest, bluest sky one could imagine? On Friday, Brashear Ville was host to hundreds of students from surrounding counties who eagerly visited each display, enjoyed the demonstrations, and of course, had fun bouncing across the swinging bridge. Many came with sack lunches and ponchos, making good use of the former but little use of the latter. The participating school officials are to be commended for their support of this worthy historical event. On Saturday, the weather continued to improve, and a few minutes before the appointed hour of 2 PM, the shooting started. The Unionists had their way on this day, and after a half-hour of furious fighting, pushed the Confederates from the field. By Sunday, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sunlight gave added brilliance to the fall spectacle surrounding the valley that we call Brashear Ville. And this time, the battle that ensued produced a vastly different outcome. The Confederate artillery laid down a murderous barrage just before their infantry returned to the field, letting loose their hair-raising authentic Rebel yell. This forced the Unionists to abandon the vicinity of the salt works, and even though they offered admirable resistance as they withdrew, it was only a matter of minutes before they skedaddled back to Harlan. This event was well attended by members of the Ben Caudill Camp. Infantrymen Britt Smith and Nathan Whitaker had their muskets on the field, and they were supported by artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Quinton Childers, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Wendell Brown, Tim Blair, Oakie Blair, Kenny Cantrell, and “Big Tree” Adams. “Little Jesse” and “Yankee Buster” fought side-by-side on both days, working in harmony with three other Confederate guns, making this the best display of Confederate artillery this event has ever enjoyed. Compatriot Anthony Hawkins was on duty, as usual, in his traveling bookstore, promoting both history and heritage. For most of us, this was a good way to end our re-enacting season, close to home, on a beautiful day, surrounded by family and friends.
October 16-17, 2009-Blaine, TN; 2nd Annual Battle of Fort Sanders was held on the farm of Smiley Clapp just outside of Knoxville, TN. The rolling battle of Saturday and Sunday witnessed the death of General Sanders and the attempt of capturing the fort. Several hundred reenactors participated in the event and Meet the Generals was a success. On Sunday a renewal of vows occurred in which our friends the McNiven’s renewed their vows with a moving ceremony, which encompassed the nuptials, along with the rose and Claddagh Traditions. H.K. Edgerton was the escort for the bride and General Grant walked with the groom. William and Renae’s children were best man and bridesmaid respectively. Army of Tennessee Chaplain, in the persona of General Robert E. Lee, administered the procession.
October 9-11, 2009-Middlesboro, KY: The National Park Service at Cumberland Gap held a wonderful Living History. The event was s juried event based on invitation and represented a time line from 1861 through 1865. Several stations were set up and on Friday, over 3,600 school children visited the Welcome Center and heard first-hand the saga of so many honoring their heritage. Saturday and Sunday witnessed record crowds and glorious weather. After the presentation, a dedication of Ft Lyons and the refurbished artillery piece setting upon the Pinnacle was unveiled and dedicated. To date the Caudill Camp has participated in over 450 dedications! Our Commander Chaltas offered the invocation, I Asked God (prayer), and ended with the benediction. President Davis and Lincoln offered words along with Joe Adkins (SCV) and Corporal Tiny (SUV). Sunday’s fellowship was held at Brother Moses and Brother Charlie’s tent with signing and a lesson being taught prior the opening of the gate for the audience. Some of those participating in the historic event were General JEB Stuart, Jackson, Longstreet, Forrest, Meade, President Davis, President Lincoln, Butternut, Ms Kessie (S. C. slave), Deacon Jones (Free Person of Color), John and Cheri Kuhn, Moses and Charlie Hamblin, as well as artillery men from different states and rangers as far away as Washington, D. C.. Commander Chaltas was chosen to represent General Lee all 3 days. This was a five star event and our compliments to the staff of the gap for doing such an excellent job in taking care of all the living historians. For more information and pictures of the event, go to Cumberland Gap National Park and view their program.
October 3-4, 2009-Newport, TN; A celebration of our Appalachian Heritage was held in the city of Newport, TN, this weekend. General Jackson had a wonderful Living History display set up with several stations and items on display. Thursday evening witnessed General Lee (Commander Chaltas) and General Jackson speaking at the keynote address. The rest of the weekend was meeting and greeting several thousand visitors and local residents. Everyone was very complimentary of our endeavors.
September 29, 2009–Dwarf, KY: AAR submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett. We met at the “crossroads” at 9am, just as we had planned; coming from all over Perry County, with Floyd County and beyond as our destination. After a short break in Martin to pick up a stone at Nelson-Frazier’s, and coffee at a crowded McDonald’s, we picked up our resident expert, Joe Skeens, at his home; and, under his direction, we began our excellent adventure. We felt fortunate to have excellent fall weather, dry roads, and Joe’s assistance, since he had been ailing for some time. We also had a very large crew for a change, consisting of Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, and our faithful friend, Jim Osborne. It didn’t even matter that it got a little crowded in the back seat of a certain crew-cab. Our first stop was in Floyd County, near Joe’s house, just off Rt. 114, at the Fitzpatrick-Langley Cemetery, which is on a hill within sight of the Middle Creek battlefield. There we placed Private David Compton’s (1838–1879) Confederate marker; he was a member of the 10th KY Cavalry, Company I, and his stone joins 5 other Confederate stones there. Private Burton Hill (1821–1881) served in Company K of the 5th KY Infantry, and is buried in the Brown Cemetery on Rt. 1750 in Floyd County. We were able to reach the cemetery after gaining permission to drive across a large field and up a small hill. Private Hill’s new Confederate stone is the only such stone in the cemetery, but his grave is very near that of a relative, Thomas C. Brown Cornet (1761–1857) who served in the VA Militia during the Revolutionary War. Still in Floyd County, we next searched for the Baldridge Cemetery, near Eastpoint, and right on U.S. 23. Joe hadn’t visited this one in nearly 30 years, so we were pretty anxious when we found a very large, double-locked gate at the foot of the hill. We considered pulling the stone up the hill by hand, but a scouting trip quickly showed that would be inadvisable, if not impossible. Putting their heads together, Faron and Carlos made a couple of phone calls, and within 30 minutes, a representative of Prestonsburg Utilities was there to unlock the gate. We all piled into Willis’ truck, and up the hill we went. He had to drive even further than our scouting trip had gone, but near the top, we found the cemetery and placed the new Confederate stone for Private William M. Baldridge, a man who served in Company F of the 5th KY Infantry.
Leaving Floyd County, we headed north on 23 into Johnson County to the Stambaugh Cemetery on Well’s Branch Road, off Rt. 1559 near Nippa, KY. We placed a Confederate stone there for Private Charles J. Grim (1837–1914) who served in Company K of the 5th KY Infantry. His new marker is within a few feet of his brother who also served in the Confederate Army. Our last stop was in Lawrence County, at Louisa. It would prove to be both frustrating and rewarding. We thought the See Cemetery was near the high school, but driving around until we were almost in West Virginia was fruitless. We asked for directions once, and it got us closer. We asked again and found someone willing to lead us to the cemetery. There, we felt both frustration and relief, almost in the same instant. At the foot of the hill was another locked gate! But, as we were parking our trucks, a couple pulled in behind us to unlock the gate; they were there, not to help us, but simply to cut the grass! Once inside the gate, we drove to a very well-kept See Cemetery, which contains about 200 graves. A short search pinpointed the grave of Private Andrew J. Woods (1833–1915), a member of Company F, 5th KY Infantry. With surgical precision, we placed Private Wood’s stone, packed up our gear, and headed for Perry County. On the way home we made a few stops, including a stop at the Kazee Cemetery where we recorded GPS coordinates for Privates Reuben and John Kazee, members of the 10th KY Cavalry, who had their graves marked on a previous trip. We also stopped to reclaim a lost cell phone, and to drop Joe off at his house. Back in Perry County, we all agreed that it was a very good day. Thanks to all for taking part, especially to Willis for some impressive driving, and to Joe for his directions; their efforts not only made things happen, they made it relatively easy for the rest of the crew.
September 25-27, 2009–West Liberty, KY: At least we got to the camp on Friday and got our tents up before the deluge. In fact, we didn’t get wet until after we had retired for the night. And then, what a downpour! We were fortunate that we were on some of the higher ground; only our belongings that were touching the ground got wet. Those on lower ground claimed that they had several inches of water in their tents. And it would have been worse if a couple of brave souls hadn’t gotten up at 2 AM to dig drainage ditches.
Saturday morning found fires drowned, belongings hanging out in a futile attempt to dry, and everyone wondering whether or not holding our event would be possible, if conditions didn’t improve. Officers’ call wasn’t much help; it only postponed the battle from 2 PM until “later”, with another Officer’s call set for 4 PM. At 4 PM we found that the decision had been made to have a skirmish in town, and then to retreat into the woods, where the Union forces would overtake the Confederates and a fight would ensue. The artillery was to lie in wait within the woods and engage only after the shooting started. Fine. We sloshed through the mud and water with “Little Jesse”, set up next to the Commonwealth Battery, and did our best to keep our powder dry while we waited. Around 5 PM, we could hear the shooting in town, and we soon saw the Confederates withdrawing to the woods with the Yankees in pursuit. Once the shooting started in the woods, the rains returned in earnest, and the smoke provided an awesome spectacle! It clung to the ground and filled the entire area, turning familiar figures into ghostly silhouettes, and causing even some of the old-timers to say it was the most realistic re-enactment they had ever seen. That may be so, or maybe we were just looking for a reward big enough to match the size of the punishment we had endured earlier in the day! There was a well-attended ball under the big tent Saturday night, in spite of ankle-deep mud on the dance surface. Excellent musical renditions were provided by the 57th Regimental String Band from Memphis. And, it was reported in camp that a young General Patrick Cleburne was seen doing the Virginia Reel, causing some to regret not having been witness to the event. Sunday’s re-enactment took place as scheduled, and was not especially unusual. With fair skies and cozy temperatures, the crowd had swelled to several hundred, and from our position deep in the woods, could be heard urging us into action. A lively breeze made the smoke a non-factor this time, and the crowd had great views of the two infantry forces clashing before them, with two Confederate howitzers trading rounds with a Union mortar, all a safe distance behind the infantries. When the conflict was over, a salute was given, and the crowd responded with enthusiastic applause and cheers. As we took down our tents, dozens of spectators lingered to chat and share laughter, and to fire off an occasional round from a borrowed musket or revolver. The Ben Caudill Camp was represented at this event by artillerymen Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett, and by infantryman Britt Smith. Compatriot Anthony Hawkins was at West Liberty on Sunday, educating the masses with his book store and spreading the word about the Heritage plate.
September 26-27, 2009-Charleston, South Carolina: Our own Commander Chaltas had the honor of visiting Patriot’s Point and talking to some of the staff members regarding a possible presentation in 2010 in the persona of General Lee. He has spoken at Ft. Sumter previously and even was given the privilege of raising the First National and assisting with retiring all the colors earlier this year.
September 26, 2009-Elkhorn City, KY: AAR submitted by Compatriot Hawkins: Just got back from the Charter ceremony for the Mary Ramey Chapter (UDC) at the Elkhorn City Library. The Caudill Camp was represented by Sam (Lawrence) Cook and myself. It was an enjoyable event. I spread the word about the license plates and probably gave out 30 papers. The Chapter is also going to start pushing for them also. I explained to them how important it really is.
September 24, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: The Ole General was conscripted to be in the dunking booth at the Mountain Heritage Festival on Thursday evening. The proceeds of the dunks’ went to the Juvenile Drug Court. All had fun except a soaked ole general..
September 19-20, 2009-Barbourville, KY: The 148th anniversary of the Battle of Barbourville witnessed 8 artillery pieces on the field, 4 cavalry soldiers and approximately 100 infantry recreating the epic ‘1st fight’ in Kentucky where a young Lt. Powell was killed along with others The weather was good and the crowd complimentary. The highlight of the weekend for most people was the christening of Major Williamson’s grandchild. Commander Chaltas was asked by the family to conduct the service and had the honor of offering the sacred covenant on behalf of the family. On Sunday, Commander Chaltas held a service within the camp as requested by some not wishing to attend the 11 o’clock service.
September 11-14, 2009-Sevierville, TN: The Norton Shows honored our heritage and history by offering a memorial to the WBTS during the 3 day extravaganza. Our own Commander Chaltas opened the fabulous Norton Shows with an invocation. The Show featured jewelry and apparel, was magnificent, with over seven hundred exhibitors and several thousand buyers visiting the new Sevierville Convention Center. Commander Chaltas, speaking in the persona of General Lee, offered presentations at 11 o’clock on each day and was well received. The host and hostess, Tom and Linda Norton, were most gracious in that they provided a table in the convention lobby for the generals to ‘meet and greet’ the potential buyers. They also took the invited guests to dinner. General Lee, Jackson, Forrest, Morgan, Longstreet, JEB Stuart, Butternut, and Meade, were the invited guests for the show. Ms Lisa Thomas, a reenactor and buyer, graced us with her presence, dressed in full attire. Ron Jones, commander of the Longstreet-Zollicoffer Camp out of Knoxville, TN, was selling his books, along with our dear author friend Robert Pelton. Brother Tabby Back and his lovely wife were at the show as buyers. Our compliments and deep gratitude go out to the employees of Norton Shows and the Convention Center. This was a wonderful experience and opportunity for perpetuating our heritage.
September 11-13, 2009-Prestonsburg, KY: The Battle of Middle Creek was held beneath sunny skies on both Saturday and Sunday, after a damp school day on Friday. Compatriots Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Britt Smith were in camp early and delighted the students from a nearby school by discussing and firing “Little Jesse”. At 9PM on Friday night, “Little Jesse” and “Gideon” fired a tribute to the memory of those who died in the infamous terrorist attacks which took place 8 years ago. The fire was spectacular, and there were cheers, not tears; perhaps a testimony of resilience and endurance rather than of bewilderment or defeat. On Saturday, the Caudill Battery took the field beside Byrnes Battery from Louisville, which provided a weapon with a 1250-pound barrel that ate up powder in one-pound bites. On Sunday, the call for “galvanizers” went out, and “Little Jesse” ended up on the wrong side of the field, squaring off against “Yankee Buster”, “Gideon” and our latest acquaintance, “Thunder”. Saturday’s event was a re-enactment of the Confederate blocking victory at Ivy Mountain and Sunday’s event was an attempt to recreate Marshall’s defeat and retreat from Middle Creek. Considering the overall scant number of re-enactors available, and considering the necessity of frequently asking Confederate re-enactors to “galvanize”, both events were well-received by an appreciative crowd of spectators. Camp members who attended this 3-day event were artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Richard and Glenn Brown, Tim and Oakie Blair, and Manton Ray Cornett. Compatriot Britt Smith was seen everywhere; as General Patrick Cleburne on Friday, behind “Little Jesse” on Saturday, and as a Confederate foot soldier on Sunday. Compatriot Anthony Hawkins was in his bookstore all weekend, erasing misconceptions and providing the public with a more accurate picture of history. We all would like to thank the Friends of Middle Creek, and especially Patrick Davis, for their hospitality.
September 12, 2009-Neon, KY: Several camp members (Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Wayne Watts, Kenny Cantrell, Ross Fleming, Eric Austin, Jason Adams) participated in a living history display set up during the Neon Days Festival in Neon on Saturday, September 12. A period-correct Confederate campsite was established along the walking track, across the creek from the main festival. A tent, cooking set, tables, chairs, flags, rifles, pistols, leather works, and Yankee Buster made an impressive sight. A copy of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry roster and a photo album showing the camp’s previous activities was displayed. Several people looked through both. A donation jar was set up with a note saying the money would go toward the powder shot during the festival. The camp was pleased to see that $60 was collected. In addition, the cheerleader booth sent all participants a complete dinner and the Shriner’s sent blooming onions (Raymond Isaacs). The Festival Committee thanked the camp for its participation (at least two of them fired the canon as well as Magistrate Archie Banks).
September 5, 2009-Greeneville, TN: Commander Chaltas was honored to be invited to the Morgan’s Men meeting. The nationally known Stan Dalton performed as General Morgan. The following agenda filled the day: At 10:00 A. M, there was a reenactment of murder of General John Hunt Morgan’s on the front lawn of the Dickson-Williams home. A trail honoring General Morgan was dedicated and tours of the building were conducted. A Civil War Art Exhibit, sponsored by James-Ben Studio & Gallery, was open until 5:00 P.M. at the historic Capitol Theatre on Main Street. The exhibit featured the artwork of Marie Merritt. A tour of President Andrew Johnson Homestead Tour was held and the banquet at 6:30. It was held in the Morgan Inn Ballroom. Afterwards a candlelight memorial service honoring General Morgan was held on the front Lawn of the Dickson-Williams Mansion. Commander Chaltas had the honor of addressing the large crowd, offering reflections of Morgan’s Men. At the given signal, General Morgan walked to the room where he had slept and blew out the candle in the window. The violinist played Ashokan Farewell. The dedication ended with the benediction by General Lee. This was a very moving experience for all in attendance. Our thanks to Morgan’s Mena and President Sam Flora for their kindness. .
August 24, 2009-Hazard, KY: Lt. Commander Cornett purchased $530.00 worth of powder and primers for Little Jesse and Yankee Buster. Commander Chaltas met with Lt. Commander Cornett and reimbursed him for the powder.
August 22, 2009-London, KY: The Cumberland Brigade held their semiannual meeting in conjunction with the Laurel County Home Coming Festival at Levi Jackson State Park. It was a complete success with a tour of the museum and a living history. The following After Action Report was filed by Adjutant Brown:
The annual meeting of the Cumberland Brigade took place on Saturday, August 22, 2009, at the Levi Jackson State Park near London in Laurel County (during the Laurel Homecoming Festival). People present for the meeting were: Richard Brown, Ron Bowling, Kevin Gullett, Ben Gullett, Jenny Krahenbuhl, Arsha “Bubba” Hall, Wayne “Tiny” Scott, Kenny and Laura Crutcher, Ray Adkins, Leonard Lay, Cheri and John Kuhn, J.W. and Donna Binion, Charlie Hamblin, Wayne Taylor, Tony, Mose Hamblin, Ben Gullett, Sr., Richard McHenry, Joyce Hayes, Ralph Phillips, Jessica Gullett Wayne Taylor, David Owens (daughter and grandchild), and David Chaltas.
Prior to the meeting started, a meal of catfish, hamburgers and other foods were supplied by Mose Hamblin and others (a hat was passed to collect money to reimburse Mose for purchasing the food). At the conclusion of eating, Provost Charlie Hamblin called the meeting to order. Chaplain Binion gave the opening prayer, read scriptures and encouraged everyone to work alongside our counterpart Sons of Union Veterans in promoting our history. The Chaplain then did Trivia Questions and passed out door prizes. He then talked about Jeff Davis. Commander Chaltas reminded everyone to remember Les Williamson’s father who was very sick. He encouraged everyone to help push the SCV License Plate program (134 tags have been pre-sold of the 900 required). He thanked Mose for setting up the meeting, as well as the Living History Camp-site and the meal. Commander Chaltas recognized the ladies in attendance, and asked each person to introduce themselves. He noted that a quorum was present (8 or more) and that the Brigade could conduct business. Handouts with the meeting’s agenda and other pertinent information were handed out. The Commander requested that each Camp in the Brigade always try to select a representative and send to the meeting. He then presented plaques to each of the staff of the newly formed Brigade. Staff members were then asked to accept their appointment and speak. Mose suggested that the Brigade conduct one meeting a year where all camp members would be urged to attend for fellowship. He announced that free passes were given to all in attendance of the day’s meeting to go to the museum in London. Mose wants to attend at least one camp meeting a year of each camp in the Brigade. The Commander suggested having two meetings a year instead of the customary one.
Under New Business, Commander Chaltas stated that Kerry Crutcher was running the Leatherwood Website, advertising the event and was doing a great job in preserving the event. He has also started a new website for the Brigade. The Arthur Camp assumed the $48 debt the Brigade owed, which leaves the Brigade debt free but without money (several in attendance donated money to the Brigade in the amount of $50). The Brigade needs to raise money someway and is open for suggestions. The Caudill Camp will try to conduct a litter pick up in Letcher County where money is given for each mile picked up. As for the License Plate program, the Commander heard that it only took 300 plates for motorcycles, he will check into this. Colors Across the Commonwealth was discussed. If anyone sees someone flying a Confederate flag, go out of their way to thank them. The SCV will be monitoring the latest attempt to have the bust of Jeff Davis removed from the Frankfort rotunda. The Commander announced that the Historical Markers turned in to Frankfort in an effort to tell about Caudill’s Army and Colonel Ben Caudill had been denied. The Caudill Camp will be resubmitting the application. He asked each Camp to support a Historical Marker in their area. It was announced that the Brigade was asked to donate $350 to sponsor a window in the General Lloyd Tilghman house, possibly each Camp could help with this. The Commander announced the plan to clean the neglected slave cemetery in Knott County and invited other Camps to join in on the venture. This would be good public relations and help show others we are not a hate group. J.W. Binion suggested that an Order of the Confederate Rose group be started in the area (the group does not have a lineage requirement). He then made a motion that the Brigade support the group get started, Ray Adkins seconded, motion passed. Cheri Kuhn will look into the group. Mose made a motion that the Brigade annual meeting be held during the Laurel Homecoming again next year at the Levi Jackson Park, J.W. Binion seconded, motion passed. It was announced that the Arthur Camp will hold its next meeting at the Barbourville reenactment. The Ancestral Roll Call was performed. Wayne “Tiny” Scott talked about the Sons of Union Veterans and encouraged everyone to work together to promote our heritage. Chaplain Binion closed the meeting with prayer.
August 14-16, 2009-Saltville, VA: The 145th anniversary of the Battle of Saltville was a complete success with several hundred people watching the over 150 reenactors recreate the 1864 battles fought in October and December. A surprise visit by General JEB Stuart on Sunday enhanced the event. JEB is portrayed by Wayne Jones from Aiken, South Carolina. He did a superb job in offering a reflection into the past as seen through JEB’s eyes. The memorial service on Sunday was very moving with the 21 gun salute, performance of We Drank From the Same Canteen and preaching about the seasons of life. All went away satisfied they had done all to offer a glimpse into the past. Dante Brewer and Richard Parsons did a great job as commanding officers. David Chaltas worked the crowd, offered presentations and conducted the dedication/memorial. The Caudill Flag danced in the breeze as current day Americans honored those who have gone before. Anthony Hawkins was also there representing the Caudill interests with his mobile book store.
August 13, 2009-Corbin, KY: Though few in number, the SCV, Fifth KY Orphan Brigade marched in the NIBROC Parade again this year. The muskets fired and the crowd roared. Commander Chaltas represented the Caudill Camp and the Brigade. Several thousand people witnessed the small group of Sons (1 daughter) proudly displaying the colors and the cause.
August 11, 2009– Hazard, KY: As we headed out for Weber City, VA, we were hauling mostly lawn-care equipment. But, we were also carrying another stone for the Wolfe Confederate Cemetery at Holston Springs. We began to wonder if we would be able to carry it off as we drove through one gully-washer after another on the east side of Pine Mountain. But, fortune smiled down near Gate City, and we got a glimpse of clearer skies. We went straight to the cemetery, and found some of the biggest weeds in the Western World. Fortunately, most of them were outside the cemetery in the field that we had to drive across. Unfortunately, the grass inside the cemetery was almost as big. We unloaded the weed-eaters and the lawnmower and went to work, clearing a small section where we would set the new Confederate stone for Private James Odle, a member of Company E of the 5th KY Infantry who died at Holston Springs. We knew that the rain was on its way, so this was our first order of business. After setting the stone, next to the 24 others that had been set previously, we went about cutting as much of the grass and weeds as possible. We were able to clear the entire back side of the cemetery before getting rained out, but we still had more than three-fourths left uncut. We hope to return, possibly before frost, to resume the work. The rest of the day was spent driving around Scott County looking for other possible Confederate burial locations. This day, an offering to our ancestors, was enjoyed by Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett.
August 7-9, 2009–Jenkins, KY: The second edition of “Thunder on the Mountain” may have been somewhat disappointing to the organizers, but to those few who participated, and to those few who were able to visit the camps and witness the re-enactments, it was as rewarding as some of the more elaborate events. Besides the traditional skirmishes on Saturday and Sunday, there was a well-attended fireside ghost story-telling on Saturday night, and a solemn dedication on Sunday for recently-erected panels at the “Brothers Once More” monument, located at the KY-VA state line atop Pine Mountain. Guest speakers at the dedication included Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and John Hunt Morgan, as well as the widow of President Jefferson Davis. All weekend long, General John Hunt Morgan and his men tried to enter Kentucky from Virginia to carry out raids on Yankees in the North. On Saturday, they were thrown back by superior numbers, but on Sunday they overran the Union forces, causing several casualties and taking some prisoners, apparently to Andersonville.
The Caudill Battery was there in full force, with “Little Jesse” and “Yankee Buster” trading blows on both days. Ben Caudill Camp members taking part in “Thunder on the Mountain” included Commander David Chaltas as General Lee, Adjutant Richard Brown, artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Glenn Brown, Kenny Cantrell, Britt Smith, Tim Blair and Oakie Blair; infantrymen Wayne Watts, Tabby Back, Garland Kiser, and Larry Kiser. Our “book store” was capably manned by Compatriot Anthony Hawkins, and the registration booth was held down by Compatriots Raymond Isaacs and Danny Taylor. On the disabled list, but seen in attendance, were Compatriots “Big Tree” Adams and Quinton Childers.
August 7-9, 2009-Jenkins, KY: Thunder on the Mountain was heard throughout the valleys of eastern Kentucky as the 145th anniversary of General Morgan’s last raid was reenacted. Though small in number, the hearts of those men gathered to pay tribute were filled with a burning desire to honor their ancestry. The three day event saw several generals meeting and greeting the crowd, a grand ghost roast, an hourly drawing from 10-2 each day and several other activities unique to this event. General Morgan was played by Stan Dalton, who is well known as General Nathan Bedford Forrest throughout the land. Mrs. Davis (Joan Howard) came and the men/women paid homage to her fallen husband on and off the field. The dedication on Sunday was only surpassed by the service offered by Tabby Back. All were moved by both events and the Sunday battle was picture perfect. The whole event was successful and yielded a promise by the county officials to open up the old Fincastle Trace Trail and other projects started by the camp and other visionaries. Manton Ray Cornett, Quentin Childers, Jason ‘Big Tree’ Adams, Ross Fleming, Eric, Austin King, Roger ‘Honkie’ Hall, Britt Smith, Willis Strong, Greg Bentley, Lawrence Cook, Randall Haddix, Richard Brown, Okie Blair, Tim Blair, Raymond Isaacs, Wayne Watts, Greg Bentley, Garland Kiser, Larry Kiser, David Chaltas, Glen Brown, and Tabby Back were present.
August 4, 2009-Letcher County, KY: Raymond Isaac and Danny Taylor went to different businesses asking for items to go into the ‘goodie bags’ for the reenactors. Ken Cantrell worked on getting items organized for Education Day. Greg Bentley put up signs around Jenkins area and Tabby Back did the same on the Virginia side. Commander Chaltas spoke on the Round Table Radio Show and described the upcoming event entitled, Thunder on the Mountain. He once again visited the event site to insure things were progressing according to plan.
August 3, 2009-Pound Gap, KY/VA Border: The monument honoring the memorial of the Pound Gap Massacre was set halfway between the Brothers Once More monument and the marker honoring the unknown dead. The marker was donated by the Letcher County Coal Miners Association and Potter’s Monument Company. Ross Fleming and Commander Chaltas assisted with the project as well as picked up trash and cleaned the gazebo.
August 1-2, 2009-Abingdon, VA: Commander Chaltas was invited to the Highland Festival to portray General Robert E. Lee at the Fields-Penn House. The house was built in 1860 and is next to the location where General Joseph Johnston was born. A few hundred yards away is the famous Martha Washington Inn. Several thousand people attended the festival this year and it is ranked in the top 10 nationally.
July 27, 2009-Commander Chaltas worked on the dedication to be held at the Gap. Potter’s Monument will be donating a marker that is 50’ tall describing the Pound Gap Massacre. It will be in place by Friday. Also the gazebo will be stained, grass mowed, solar lights installed, cross of honor placed and trash detail organized. Commander Chaltas will present to the Tourism Commission an idea of having a ‘Welcome to Letcher County’ inscribed on a boulder and noting that it was the Gap was the ‘Early gateway to the West’.
July 25-26, 2009-Rutledge, TN: The sensational event held in Rutledge was once again a total success. With several thousand people visiting the villa, General Longstreet, Forrest, and Lee were able to discuss issues of the heart. Brother H. K. Edgerton was the hit of the event, as he shared our common ancestry and love of our heritage. A portrait of Butternut, entitled the Sharpshooter, won first prize in the art contest. It was painted by Marie Merritt. She is doing a historical series on different characters. To date she has painted General Lee, Jackson and Forrest.
July 21, 2009-Jenkins, KY: A meeting was held at the Cumberland Arts/Crafts Center to discuss the upcoming event entitled Thunder on the Mountain. Items discussed included a tour of the clean up efforts to expand the field, feeding the troops, porta-potties, location of sutlers, financial concerns, schedule, Safety, Education Day on Friday, advertisement and posters of the event. The Caudill Camp was represented by Kenny Cantrell, Quentin Childers, and David Chaltas, along with our soon to be member/compatriot, Greg Bentley.
July 14, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas talked with Potter’s Monument and finalized the stone memorial regarding the Pound Gap Massacre. It will be set by the dedication on August 9, 2009. Potter’s Monument and the Letcher County Coal Miners Committee are sponsoring the stone…
July 10-12, 2009-Wise, VA: The city of Wise was host to the 146th anniversary of the Battle of Gladeville, VA, and that of Cranes Nest. Several companies came to offer their support for the event. Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Indiana and South Carolina were represented. Friday evening saw a fashion show, hosted by Ms Lily, followed by a period wedding performed by Commander Chaltas in the persona or General Robert E. Lee and a ball. Saturday held many events inclusive of a presentation in the library, ladies tea, Meet the Generals, a grand parade, the battle in the streets and, at 8:00, the Shadows of Gettysburg was performed to a full house. The cast were flawless in their rendition. Sunday saw enlightenment, as 4+church services were held and then the Battle of Cranes Nest was offered to a large crowd. The Caudill Cannons offered a resounding echo to the mountains of ole Virginia. Caudill’s Army went away knowing that they had represented their ancestors with the dignity so deserving of their sacrifices…. Caudill’s Army was represented by the following men: Richard Brown, Glen Brown, Wendell Brown, Ross Fleming, Okie Blair, Tim Blair, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Britt Smith, Willis Strong, Larry Kizer, Garland Kizer, Tabby Back, David Chaltas, and Anthony Hawkins.
July 10-12, 2009–Wise, VA: After Action Report Submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett: In spite of the construction efforts at the courthouse, in spite of a noticeable lack of cavalry, and in spite of a lop-sided advantage going to the Confederate artillery, the third annual “Battles at Wise” went off without a hitch, to the delight of those who were privileged to attend and participate. Sure, there was a wedding, a ball, a parade, a fashion show, a swim party, church services and even a play. But the highlights were the “Battle of Gladeville” on Saturday, and the “Battle of Crane’s Nest” on Sunday. Right on cue, the Yankees slipped into town and caught the Confederates off guard. The boys in grey managed to put up a good fight, but eventually were rounded up and marched off in the general direction of Camp Douglas. Once again, there was a large crowd of appreciative spectators on hand to witness the recreation of the capture of Colonel Ben Caudill and his 10th KY Cavalry. On Sunday afternoon, the action took place at the Lighthouse Church grounds, just outside Wise. There, an apparently unsuspecting Confederate force was fired upon from the woods, igniting a brisk exchange of musket fire. Soon, a battery of Confederate cannon joined the fray, and within minutes, the field of battle was strewn with fallen Yanks. Once again, the crowd of spectators showed their appreciation with generous applause. Two changes are considered to be an improvement over previous events. Having the “Battle of Gladeville” later in the day keeps the troops a little cooler, and moving the “Battle of Crane’s Nest” battlefield to the field behind the church gives spectators a better view, provides a better background for photography, and eliminates the chance of non-participants wandering onto the field of battle. The “Battles at Wise” planners deserve our appreciation for continuing their efforts to make improvements and not resting on their laurels. The Ben Caudill Camp was well-represented at these events; Commander Chaltas was excellent as General Robert E. Lee, when he wasn’t trying to find his boots. Infantrymen Larry and Garland Kiser, Anthony Hawkins, Tabby Back, and Britt Smith were there, along with Artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Richard Brown, Glenn Brown, Wendell Brown, Ross Fleming, Tim Blair and Okie Blair. Special thanks to a candidate for Camp membership, Ron Black, who assisted in making “Yankee Buster” bark, to his daughter, Rachel, who ran powder, and to Cpl. Dave Williams from the Gaddis Battery for sharing his skills on the back end of “Little Jesse”.
July 3-4, 2009-West Jefferson, N. C.: In the grandest of traditions, Christmas in July was once again celebrated with over 25,000 people visiting the city and the celebration. The music was fantastic, booths and vendors friendly and the fireworks sensational. Gomer Pile and Barney Fife added so much to the festivities. The 1st VA hosted their annual living history and skirmish. Several units were represented, including the 1st VA Cavalry, 19th TN infantry, 50th VA infantry, 28th N. C. Infantry, 12th N.C. Infantry, 37th VA, 29th VA Infantry, 63rd VA Infantry, 2nd S. C. Artillery, The Rhea County Spartans, and a N. C. Civilian groups, with the ladies of VA. The Civil War games were a hit with the Load and Fire Contest, Fallen Comrade, Captains and Sergeants 3 legged contest, and Meet the Generals (General Hampton, Armistead, Kemper and Lee) was impressive and moving. The spectaculars and onlookers took several thousand pictures and most reenactors left with sore or lost voices from the hour long battle. The church service on Sunday was conducted by Commander Chaltas and many received a blessing.
July 1, 2009–Hazard, KY: It was our good fortune today to be able to assemble and head northward for another stone-setting adventure. Carlos led us first into Magoffin County, near the community of Swampton. There, in the Carpenter Cemetery, we erected a Confederate marker for 4th Sgt. David Allen (1844-1919). He served in Company F of the 13th KY Cavalry. Then, it was on to Morgan County, where we met Harold MckInney, our guide for our next four destinations. With Harold was “Sonny” Vance, the great-great nephew of our next honoree. He led us to the grave of his great-great uncle, Pvt. William Vance, and watched with pride as we erected his Confederate marker. Pvt. Vance (1844-1921) served in Company G of the 10th KY Cavalry; his grave is in the Vance Cemetery near White Oak. Harold then led us to the Pelfrey Cemetery on Williams Creek near Ellenton, still in Morgan County. There lie the remains of Pvt. James J. Pelfrey (1842-1930); he served in Company A of the 5th KY Infantry. We quickly honored Pvt. Pelfrey and moved on. Our next stop was the familiar Ezel Cemetery, where we erected a new Confederate marker for Pvt. Silas Pieratt (1834-1918). Pieratt was also a member of Company A, 5th KY Infantry. Our next stop would prove to be our most entertaining and somewhat challenging. Before reaching the Craft Cemetery on Whites Branch, between West Liberty and Cave Run Lake, we encountered geese, chickens, dogs, mules, and a goat herd. The 4-wheel drives were helpful as we left the road and crossed a small creek and invaded the domain of the goat. Pvt. Allen Craft (1840-1926) served in Kash’s Company of the 13th KY Cavalry. His new Confederate marker now sits on a small hill, overlooking a small stream which flows into the Licking River. Our last stop took us into Menifee County, and nearly to the Montgomery County line. It turned out to be a bit embarrassing for some of us. We searched for Tully Stull Road, off Rt. 460 for the better part of an hour, before we found someone who gave us proper directions. We finally realized, when we were half-way down Tully Stull toward the cemetery, that we had been there before, about a year ago, when we confirmed the location! This cemetery is so overgrown that it is completely obscured, even from a few yards away. Willis used his fire-rake to clear a path through the briars and bushes while Britt, Carlos, and Randall prepared the site. The stone arrived next to the grave of Pvt. William Rothwell (1829-1899) just as the digging was finished. Pvt. Rothwell was a member of Company H of the 5th KY Infantry. His grave and his new Confederate marker are in the Rothwell Cemetery, about 2 miles east of Means. Enjoying today’s 280-mile drive, bologna sandwiches for lunch, and the privilege of honoring our ancestors were Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, and Manton Ray Cornett. We extend our sincere gratitude to Friend of the Camp Jim Osborne for making yet another round trip, to Harold McKinney and “Sonny” Vance for their guidance, and to Camp Historian Faron Sparkman for his encouragement via cell-phone.
June 30, 2009-Sandlick, KY: Braving the June heat, Adjutant Richard Brown and Glenn Brown mowed the Sandlick Cemetery and cleaned the area. The cemetery looks fantastic due to their commitment and unselfish sacrifices.
June 30, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas met with Ross Fleming and Potter Monument Company to finalize the wording on the monument memorializing the Pound Gap Massacre. The granite will be donated by the Coal Miners’ Committee and Potter Monument. It will state the following: “About 500 yards southeast of Pound Gap, along the Fincastle Trl (Virginia side), is the location of the infamous “Killing Rock” where the Mullins’ family and friends were massacred on May 14, 1892. Five people were killed: Ira Mullins, his wife, Lorenza Mullins, Wilson Mullins, John Chappel and Greenberry Harris. Two escaped: Jane Mullins and John H. Mullins. Marshall “Doc” Taylor, Henan Fleming and Cal Fleming were charged with their murder. “Doc” Taylor was convicted and hung, Cal was shot and killed. Henan was acquitted.”
June 27, 2009-Bardstown, KY: Across the street from My Old Kentucky Home, a Division Reunion was hosted by the John Hunt Morgan Camp. The agenda included reports from the adjutant, chaplain, Lost Cause, Brigades, Camps and committees. Brigade meetings were held to elect officers. The Tilghman Camp offered great news regarding the refurbishing of the house under their charge. Commander Chaltas was unanimously nominated and elected as Cumberland Brigade Commander. Amendments were discusses along with awards given. The Vicksburg Project is almost complete and a dedication is being planned. The meeting was very successful and set the direction for the forthcoming year.
June 24, 2009-Wise, VA: Commander Chaltas presented to twenty-two (22) children who are being mustered into the Confederate Army as the Gladeville Cadets. Speaking in the persona of General Lee, he emphasized the importance of young people being involved during the WBTS and as living historians. He told stories of Nelly, his little black hen and of Traveller. The children loved it as did he. Three soldiers were promoted to the rank of honorary captain, Lieutenant and Sergeant. The ages of the children ranged from three to twelve. A wonderful event hosted by Wise and the Children’s Theatre.
June 23-26, 2009-Missouri/Arkansas: After Action Report filed by Caudill Camp Historian, Faron Sparkman, regarding his epic journey to find Confederate soldiers through Missouri and Arkansas: “I am very happy to report some of the details of a unique four day trip I devoted to finding the burial sites of several of our East Kentucky Confederate soldiers buried in Missouri and Arkansas. On Tuesday June 23, 2009, I left Hazard, Kentucky, at 10:00 AM alone. After driving west across Kentucky and Missouri my first stop very late that afternoon was in Carter County, Missouri, in search of the burial site of Pvt. William Jefferson Marshall, Co. G, 13th KY Cavalry. Utilizing the research obtained by Steve Bowling, tracking him from Breathitt to Greenup to Boyd and finally Carter County Missouri, I was excited to locate the unmarked grave of Pvt. Marshall within the oldest plot of the Henson Cemetery off Rt. 351, near the town of Ellsinore, Missouri. Pvt. Marshall was conscripted at Buckhorn in Breathitt County and eventually captured with Colonel Ben Caudill at Gladeville, VA, on July 7, 1863, taken to Kemper Barracks on July 18, transferred to Camp Chase Prison on July 20, and imprisoned at Camp Douglas Prison in Chicago, Illinois, on August 24, 1863.
Hours later traveling through Ozark County Missouri, I asked several local people about a Martin Cemetery hoping to find the grave of 1st Sgt. Preston Fields. I was sent to the wrong Martin Cemetery and time didn’t permit me to continue searching other places in Ozark County.
I traveled through the Mark Twain National Forest quite a long distance to Oregon County Missouri to seek out the grave of Pvt. George S. Evans, Co. K, 13th KY Cavalry. But entering the Thayer Cemetery just at the edge of dark I soon realized this was not going to happen this time. The Thayer Cemetery covers fifty-five acres, contains several thousand graves, and with the office closed there was no chance of locating Pvt. Evans. I drove on to West Plains where I spent the first night.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, I left West Plains in Howell County early and drove west to Taney County. I retraced my path from a trip several years ago made with several Caudill Camp members when we set a Confederate marker for Pvt. Granville Combs, Co. B, 13th KY Cavalry, after dark in the Patterson Cemetery, Highway FF off Rt. 76E, Taneyville, near Branson, Missouri. I recalled with a smile how we held an unannounced dedication ceremony that night by truck headlights, firing the guns, despite being a short distance from several homes! This time I was in the bright sunlight to take care of two things we not able to do on the first trip: get a good picture of his marker and GPS coordinates. Pvt. Combs lived on Wolfpen (now in Knott County), KY, during the war but moved to Taney County, Missouri, in 1890. It’s believed Granville Combs was the next to last soldier of the 1,142 men who served in the 13th Kentucky to pass away when he died in 1940. Interestingly it was his cousin, Austin Combs, who was the very last, passing away two years later in Colorado.
After a stop at the Packard Car National Meet in Branson I made a trip south into Carroll County and Madison County, Arkansas, to begin my research there but I soon ran out of daylight and spent the night in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, I traveled from Eureka Springs to Huntsville, the county seat of Madison County, Arkansas, where I began my research at the courthouse. I concentrated on the deeds of Pvt. Andrew J. Campbell who served in Co. G & I, 13th KY. Cavalry and determined the exact location of his farm at the time of his death, now occupied by the Red Star Sports Club and federal land. Next I spent several hours at the Madison County Genealogical Society carefully considering cemetery records for family and neighbors of Pvt. Campbell in the community of Boston, Arkansas. Matching courthouse documentation with the county’s mass genealogical archives l eventually determined Pvt. Campbell is one of 186 unmarked graves at the Boston Cemetery off Rt. 16. I visited the site and made a careful inspection of various burial sites combining clues from a number of sources.
The next stop was Combs, Arkansas, in search of Pvt. Reuben S. Patton, Co. C, 5th KY, Infantry, at the East Greasy Creek Cemetery. From Rt.16 it was an interesting turn on to Rt. 295 that ended with a drive up a rough dirt road, taking the car down into a not so shallow creek and then up a steep embankment where four-wheel-drive would have been very nice to have. Getting there was only half the fun, the cemetery was an overgrown jungle and it was some time before I was even able to locate the barely readable 96 year-old tombstone for Pvt. Patton in the tall brush. Patton was originally from Floyd County but moved to Breathitt County just before the war and migrated to Madison County Arkansas by 1880.
Back on the “East Kentucky Confederate Highway” (Rt. 16) I soon passed the graves of six 13th Kentucky soldiers, John Cornett, Isaac Dixon, and Harvey, Hezekiah, Jesse and William Brashear, giving them a salute as I drove by. The next soldier to find was 1st Corporal Daniel J.V. Jayne, Co. K, 5th KY Infantry, who already has a CSA marker but we needed to find the grave and get the GPS numbers. The Tucker-Hickory Creek Cemetery at Patrick, on Rt. 16 is no easy place to find. Many nearby neighbors didn’t even know it was there. After several long trips to wrong places, I finally stumbled on the small cemetery in the woods on the side of a mountain, also overtaken by brush and high weeds. Corporal Jayne was originally from Johnson County, Kentucky, but like so many opted to relocate in Arkansas after the war. Now I can confirm there are no less than nine east Kentucky rebels buried in less than a ten mile stretch of Highway 16 in Madison County Arkansas!
Later that afternoon as I began making my way east towards home I spent considerable time making a second attempt to locate the burial site of 1st Sergeant Preston Fields in Ozark County Missouri. He served in Co, K, 5th KY Infantry, and then Fields Partisan Rangers and finally in Co. M of the 10th KY Cavalry. A phone call to Caudill Camp researcher Larry Combs made it possible on this second attempt by pointing me in the vicinity of Dora, Missouri. Getting to the cemetery was again more difficult than we had imagined. From Rt. 181 5.6 miles south of Dora you travel to Highway H, then it’s off on a series of dirt roads unmarked and looking alike, CR 331 to CR 337 to CR 333 and finally the Martin Cemetery I was looking for. With darkness setting in and too many miles ahead of me to make it home I decided to drive as far as West Plains, Missouri and settle in for the evening.
On Friday, June 26, 2009, I was on the road early. Early enough in fact to find myself again reasonably close to the town of Thayer, Missouri, and the burial site of Pvt. George Evans I had not found on Tuesday. Arriving at the huge cemetery at 8:30 am I suspected it may not work out again. First I was too late for help from the office and now I was too early! But then a cemetery worker came to my assistance and opened up the office for me, uncovered the old records and within twenty minutes I was finally standing at the grave of Pvt. Evans of Caudill’s Army! Many of us know those Company K boys can be pretty hard to track. Evans was originally from Claiborne County Tennessee, but moved to Owsley County, Kentucky, just before the war. He was with Company K of the 13th when they surrendered at Cumberland Gap on April 30, 1865. He served in the 13th with his brother and father, along with three of his Evans cousins. After the war he moved to Missouri, eventually ending up in Oregon County.
By this time I realized I had to give up on any more possible out of the way cemetery excursions, get myself across the big bridge over the Mississippi River and back to Hazard. I did just that and finally arrived home at 8:30 pm. It was s very successful trip in part because I kept my cell phone hot making numerous calls to my friend Larry Combs and to various funeral homes and key genealogy groups in Missouri and Arkansas, who provided key information. It also in part due to the fact I covered as many miles and visited as many cemeteries as possible each day, several times without stopping for food, and for that reason I made this a solo trip. It was fulfilling to travel sunrise to sunset for four days and particularly to find those hidden, completely isolated cemeteries that require some careful detective work. To stand at the grave of an Eastern Kentucky Confederate, so many miles from his original home place gave me a special feeling…a feeling of finding a part of history almost lost forever.”
June 23, 2009-Jenkins, KY: The Little Shepherd Theater in conjunction with the Ben Caudill Camp met to discuss the August 7-9, 2009, event known as Thunder on the Mountains. Several items were discussed and agreement was reached regarding them. The battlefield is being expanded to be triple the size and the streets are being planned to accommodate more living historians. Those attending from the Caudill Camp were Richard Brown, Ken Cantrell, Quentin Childers, Tyler King, David Chaltas and Garland Kizer.
June 19-21, 2009-Gatlinburg, TN: The Battle of Burg Hill was a resounding success; with a preview of coming attraction occurring in the streets of Gatlinburg to the delight of the crowd on Friday. Saturday saw a large crowd assembly to watch the battle and hear the presentations. Several Generals were present inclusive of General Hardee, General Goodrich, General Grant, General McKenzie, General Jackson, General Polk, General Armistead, General Kemper and General Lee. Colonel Fulkerson rounded out the presentations with a passionate talk. The battle went well with the scenario matching that of the actual battle that occurred in September of 1863. It began with eight Confederate soldiers who had been captured, being marched to prison. They were freed by Thomas’s Legion and the fight escalated into a two day battle. The first day saw a Union victory and the second was dominated by the Confederate forces. Commander Chaltas represented the interests of the camp.
June 17, 2009–Hazard, KY: We made our plans, checked the weather forecast, loaded our trucks with 12 stones and left town, in the rain. We figured we might get lucky and be able to avoid the thunderstorms as we moved from one cemetery to another in Bath, Menifee and Morgan counties. Not to worry; as we passed through Breathitt County, the roads were dry, the sun was shining, and it stayed that way, at least until our mission was completed.
Harold and Henrietta McKinney were waiting for us at Helechawa in Morgan County. They would be our guides for the day, and our first stop was at the Taulbee Cemetery where we laid a flat Confederate marker for 2nd Lt. William H. Taulbee (1824 – 1905), one of the leaders of Company A, 5th KY Infantry. We then returned to the Ezel Cemetery, still in Morgan County, and erected new Confederate stones for Private Andrew C. Nickell (1832 – 1898) who served in Company B, and 4th Corporal Levi Montgomery, who served in Company E, of the 10th KY Cavalry. Our third stop in Morgan County was at the Grassy Lick Cemetery where two brothers were awaiting their new Confederate markers. Privates Willis G. Gevedon (1841 – 1923) and William L. Gevedon (1839 – 1934) were members of Company A, 5th KY Infantry, and are buried a few yards apart, among many of their family members. We had to leave Morgan County and enter Menifee County to arrive at the Johnston Cemetery on Dan Ridge. There we found and, with a new Confederate stone, marked the grave of Private Greenville B. Stacy (1845 – 1927), a man who served in Company B of the 10th KY Cavalry. Finally, we returned to Morgan County where the McKinneys led us to the unmarked grave of Lt. John Robbins (1839 – 1906). Robbins helped lead Company A of the 5th KY Infantry and now rests next to his wife and near other close relatives.
We soon realized that we were out of options and lacked the needed directions to place the stones still on our trucks. So, we thanked the McKinneys for their priceless guidance, and headed for Hazard. Back at our beginning point, Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett and Friend of the Camp Jim Osborne said “farewell, until next time”, in the rain! Another friend of the Camp deserves our appreciation; Walter Amburgey has donated the cement mix for our last two trips and for our next!
June 14, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: Anthony Hawkins and Commander Chaltas were two of the twelve authors present at the Appalachian Summer Authors’ Showcase held at the Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY. The show featured the honorable Judge John Paul Preston and Allen Epling, who are noted for their outstanding writings on the subject of the Civil War. Special thanks to all writers donating their time and efforts in an effort to bring literature awareness to our region.
June 10-13, 2009-Aiken, S.C.: Commander Chaltas was honored to be on location during part of the filming of a forthcoming PBS documentary on the Governor of South Carolina during the War Between the States. The film chronicles the lives of Francis and Lucy Pickens and the significance of the Sallye-Pickens House that is currently used as the office of the President of the University of South Carolina in Aiken. It was being filmed in Aiken, Edgefield plantations, and other areas. The premiere will be on in March of 2010. The commander’s lovely wife portrayed Lucy in the film.
June 9, 2009–Hazard, KY: Our mission to set three new Confederate stones today took us into some of the flood-stricken parts of Breathitt County. We stopped first on Route 30 West on Terry Fork near the community of Turkey. There, we stumbled and sweated, through the saw briars and around the cedars, halfway up the hill to an unnamed, unmarked and abandoned graveyard. With some reassurance from Steve Bowling, we honored the grave of Private Henley McIntosh (1820 – 1866). He served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry, and his grave had been without a suitable marker for 143 years! We reached our second cemetery less than 7 miles away; located on a hilltop at the head of Bryant Creek, which flows into the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. This hill wasn’t so steep, and the old road was just partly overgrown, but we did have to pull the stone several hundred yards from the trucks to the cemetery. We decided to name the cemetery the Oliver Crawford Cemetery, based on the oldest readable monument present. Follow-up research has identified Oliver as the uncle of Private Liberty Crawford, the man we honored today with a new Confederate stone. Private Crawford (1838 – 1903) served in Company D of the 5th KY Infantry, and, until today, his grave was marked only with a sand stone. We ended our adventure in the Lewis Fork Cemetery on Little Buckhorn Creek, another area that was hard-hit by the Mother’s Day flood. There, we set a new Confederate marker for a controversial figure, 4th Corporal Morgan Marshall, aka Morgan Fugate. Morgan (1835 -1865) served briefly in Company C of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry. Our crew for today’s adventure was pleasantly large and consisted of Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, and Manton Ray Cornett, along with our friend, Jim Osborne.
June 5-7, 2009-Jonesville, VA; the sound of shot and shell once again echoed across the hills of old Virginia, as the 18th Annual Battle of Jonesville was fought. The day saw two dedications at the Confederate and Union Cemeteries along with a tribute to Judge Orr who is buried at another site. Several activities such as Opening Ceremonies, drill and maneuvers, Meet the Generals and Voices of the Past were ongoing. A special surprise occurred in front of the brigade when General Parsons proposed to his girlfriend, Ms Becky. General Lee set the stage by sharing the story of love on the battlefield. The battle for both days went well and lasted close to an hour each. Yankee Buster, under the command of Richard Brown, offered a grand defense on Saturday but was overrun by the cavalry. Sunday’s service was well attended and several people lingered afterwards to discuss personal matters. The Caudill Camp was represented by David Chaltas, Leathen Whitaker, Richard Brown, Glen Brown, Okie Blair, and Tim Blair.
June 1, 2009-Pennington Gap, VA: Commander Chaltas held an ‘eating meeting’ with General Parsons regarding the forthcoming Jonesville Event and to discuss issues of importance pertinent to the growth of the Southern Guard. Different events for the future were reviewed and a plan of action was developed in terms of assess potential new reenactments and living histories. A good meeting and good fellowship was held.
May 28, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas, Adjutant Brown and Compatriot Hawkins addressed a Writer’s Symposium at West Whitesburg Elementary. They discussed the writing process, the efforts of preserving our heritage and the War in the Mountains: 1861-1865.
May 27, 2009 – Hazard, KY: Finally, we were able to get our act together and head northward with our trucks fully loaded with Confederate stones, concrete, tools, and hands that were eager to complete the mission. By day’s end, we had driven 250 miles across several counties, visited 5 cemeteries, and honored 10 Confederate veterans with their new Confederate stones. Our first stop was in Ezel, in Morgan County, where we met honorary members of the Ben Caudill Camp, Harold and Henrietta McKinney. Under their direction and with their assistance, the graves of Privates Napoleon B. Nickell (1843-1904), James M. Waldeck (1841-1916), John V. Oakley (1836-1918), and James G. Anderson (1833-1914), all of Company A, 5th KY Infantry, and Private Cambridge C. Salyer of Company B, 10th KY Cavalry, marked with their new Confederate markers. In slightly over one hour, we were on our way to Sudith, in Menifee County, where, after a short search, we met Randall Terrell. He mounted his tractor and led us through a gate, around a barn, across a field and up a hill to the woods. Just inside the woods lay the Moore cemetery, neglected, and but for Mr. Terrell’s mind, forgotten. He remembered playing there as a child. Our goal was to find the grave of Private Joseph Ponder (1833-1885); we were pretty anxious about this one because this was our third attempt to locate his grave. There were few legible stones in this wooded graveyard, and most of them had collapsed into the ground litter. The reward of the day came soon, when Mr. Terrell kicked aside the layers of rotting leaves and found the broken remains of Joseph Ponder’s original grave stone. The name and the dates on the old and new stones were a perfect match! As a downpour approached, along with thunder and lightning, the new Confederate marker was carefully placed in its proper location. Some day, this cemetery may become more accessible, and visitors will clearly understand that Private Ponder served proudly in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry, CSA.
From there, it was on to Bath County, where we found another pleasant surprise. We placed a Confederate stone on the grave of Ordinance Sergeant Samuel O. Crooks (1839-1876), Company H, 5th KY Infantry. His grave is located in the Old Springfield Presbyterian Church Cemetery near Sharpsburg, the hometown of Captain Edward O. Guerrant, the author of “Bluegrass Confederate”. Guerrant mentioned his friend, Samuel Crooks, no less than 21 times in his first-hand account of his experiences with the Confederate Army. Captain Grant’s family members, including his parents, two brothers, and four sisters are all buried around a magnificent monument, just a few yards away from the grave of his friend, Sgt. Samuel O. Crooks. Using an on-board “Tom-Tom”, we were able to locate the final two Bath County cemeteries without outside assistance. In the Kendall Springs Cemetery at Kendall Springs near Owingsville, we honored Privates William Page Ramey (1843-1903), Company A, and William Rayborn (1835-1919), Company H, 5th KY Infantry. Out final stop was in the Dickerson Cemetery on Caney Avenue in Salt Lick. We found the unmarked grave of Private John W. Howerton (1846-1903), buried among members of his immediate family, who were clearly marked. Howerton was a member of Kash’s Company, 13th KY Cavalry. Special thanks are in order to Harold and Henrietta McKinney, Randall Terrell and to “Tom-Tom” for their assistance in today’s excellent adventure. Those who enjoyed the day included Compatriots Faron Sparkman, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith and Manton Ray Cornett.
May 26, 2009-Letcher Middle School, Letcher, KY: Compatriot Richard Brown addressed the 7th and 8th grade regarding the writing process and the War Between the States within our area. The staff and students were very appreciative. He was well received.
May 25, 2009 – Scuddy, KY: Today, descendants of 1st Corporal John J. Godsey placed a Southern Cross of Honor on his grave in the Defiance Cemetery in Perry County. Corporal Godsey (1 June 1819–23 March 1908) was a member of Caudill’s Confederate 13th KY Cavalry, Company I. He is buried next to his wife, the mother of his twelve (12) children, Margaret Duff Godsey. Respecting his service and sacrifice today were his great-great grandson Compatriot Manton Ray Cornett, great-great-great grandson Daryl Cornett, and great-great-great- great grandson Justin Cornett.
May 24, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: A grand memorial service was held at the Whitesburg Military Museum to honor all our ancestors on Decoration Day. The memorial ceremony began with unannounced artillery fire from Yankee Buster. Darrell Holbrook talked of the sacrifices of men and women who embraced the call of freedom. Mr. Buddy Grubb, along with a POW from the Korean Conflict, James Duncan, spoke of their experiences. Mayor James Craft offered words honoring our ancestors and current day Americans. Commander Chaltas read a poem entitled, Freedom isn’t Free, and closed with a charge to remember those brave men and women who served the cause of freedom. The chaplain offered blessings and Taps was played. Three ceremonial rounds was presented by the American Legion and then the crowd witnessed the firing of the artillery piece three more times. Those in attendance from the Caudill Camp were Richard Brown, Wendell Brown, Glenn Brown, Okie Blair, Time Blair, Ken Cantrell, Garland Kizer, David Chaltas, Ross Fleming, and Quentin Childers.
May 23, 2009–Avawam, KY: Compatriot Carlos Brock, and his son Junior, erected a new Confederate grave marker for Private Felix Stacy in the Dan Campbell Cemetery in Perry County. Private Stacy (4 Sept 1823 – 2 Sept 1915) was a member of Company B of the Confederate 5th KY Infantry. He was also the great-great-great grandfather of Carlos Brock. Private Stacy is buried next to his wife, Cynthia Combs Stacy, who was the sister of several Combs men who were members of the 13th KY Cavalry. After the stone-setting was finished, Carlos’ wife, Dorothy, placed flowers on the grave of Private Stacy.
May 22, 2009-After Action Report: The Ben Caudill Camp #1629 is proud to announce that the following historical proclamations were secured to honor April as Confederate History Month. Our thanks go to the following counties, judges, mayors and officials who signed the proclamation: Perry County, Letcher County, Pike County, Knott County, City of Hazard, City of Jenkins, City of Whitesburg, Elkhorn City, Letcher County Tourism Commission, the City of Wise and Wise County, VA. Special thanks to Anthony Hawkins, David Chaltas and Manton Ray Cornett for taking the time to obtain the proclamations.
May 21, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: The Colonel Ben Caudill Camp #1629 held a memorial service at the Sandlick Confederate Cemetery to honor those known and unknown buried at that location. Commander Chaltas talked about sacrifices of our fathers and how they stand upon a shadow watching. The cemetery had been neatly mowed by Adjutant Brown and Glenn Brown. Mrs. Brown made beautiful flower arrangements for each gravesite. Camp members in attendance included Richard Brown, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Willis Strong, Manton Ray Cornett, David Chaltas, Quinten Childers, Ken Cantrell, Garland Kizer and Eric Austin.
May 18, 2009-Letcher, KY: General RE Lee spoke to the 7th and 8th grade classes about his writings regarding the War Between the States in an effort to encourage their own writing. Several students had read his work and asked questions about the camp along with the writing and research process. Questions pertaining to the SCV Ben Caudill Camp activities were answered.
May 15-17, 2009-Sacramento, KY: Once again the hospitality of town of Sacramento was made evident, as several hundred re enactors came from numerous states to pay homage to the historical events of December 1861 where Forrest fought his first engagement. The event began on Friday with School Days which yield several hundred local children. The evening saw a very emotional memorial service honoring Cliff Howard, the persona of President Davis. Our own Commander Chaltas performed We Drank From the Same Canteen ritual. Saturday was busy with the fanfare prior to the battle. Several people came to the tent of the President Lincoln and the generals surrounding him. The opening ceremonies were grand, with General Lee acting as the host of Meet the Generals and introducing President Lincoln and the widow of Cliff (President Davis). The crowd showed their respect by their silence and salutes. The Veterans were honored as General Lee asked all to raise their hand and step forward to be recognized for their sacrifices. The battle began at the designated time and once again proved to be a heated contest between the combatants. Rick Revel offered his interpretations regarding the battle and timed them perfectly with events happening on the field. The ball on Saturday night was grand and all went away thrilled with the music and band. Sunday witnessed a joint service with Chaplain Mike and Father Murphy. The format of Meet the Voices of the Past was once again narrated by General Lee and Rick Revel. The battle began with a continued tenacity much to the delight of the crowd. The fever of the weekend reached its climax and the pass and review was spectacular. Another grand job by the committee of Sacramento and the community’s hospitality continues to be legendary.
May 16, 2009 – Letcher County and Leatherwood, KY: The annual School of the Company was attended by members of the 5th KY Infantry and the Caudill Battery, first on the campus of the old Stuart Robinson School and then on the battlefield at Leatherwood in Perry County. Saturday morning events included instruction in drum command recognition, duties of the provost and chaplains, a variety of infantry drill procedures, and artillery instruction and demonstration. A special presentation, the Robert E. Lee Service Award, was made to Major Les Williamson by Lt. Manton Ray Cornett, on behalf of the Ben Caudill Camp, for his dedication and assistance to the camp. After a well-deserved lunch break, the company moved to the battlefield, where they were allowed to “make some noise and smoke”. The day’s field activities concluded with another artillery demonstration. This time, “Little Jesse” and “Gideon” combined their firepower to execute one Private Ted E. Bear. The purpose of the demonstration was to show members of the infantry the killing power of 5 to 10 ounces of black powder (with no projectile) , and to re-state the importance of keeping outside the safety zone surrounding artillery pieces. Camp members present this weekend included artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett, and infantrymen Britt Smith, Garland Kiser, Larry Kiser, and Wayne Watts.
May 8-10, 2009: Breaks Interstate Park, VA: A living history and skirmish entitled Echoes in the Canyon was held at the Breaks. On Friday approximately 300 school children came by the encampment and were given hands on experiences regarding the War Between the States. Saturday and Sunday offered a small encampment, presentations and a skirmish depicting what a battle in the mountains would entail. Though few attended the Sunday service, the spirit was strong as Christ was in the camp. The sermon was entitled, ‘To Carry the Cross’. This weekend was very successful in that it forged a bound with all who work at the park and helped establish a unified effort in offering more living history activities. The Superintendent and staff were most receptive to the educational experiences and requested a return
May 2, 2009 – Index, KY: Today, descendants of Private William Buchanan “Buck” Engle gathered in the Elam Cemetery to pay their respects to their Confederate grandfather by placing a Southern Cross of Honor on his grave. Private Engle was a member of Caudill’s 13th KY Cavalry, Company C. Already wounded and suffering from a broken arm, he was captured, along with Colonel Caudill and about 120 other Confederates, at Gladeville, VA, on 7 July, 1863. After spending many miserable months at Camp Chase and Camp Douglas prisons, he was exchanged at Point Lookout, MD on 24 Feb 1865. He spent his remaining days in Perry County and Morgan County, marrying three times, and fathering 12 children. He died on 1 Dec 1910 and is buried next to his third wife, Levina Fugate. “Buck’s” descendants, who came from Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky, to present his Cross of Honor, included 2 great granddaughters, 3 great-great grandsons, 1 great-great-great grandson, and 1 great-great-great-great grandson
May 1-3, 2009-Columbia, South Carolina: After Action Report-The Battle of Columbia reached yet another zenith, as over 350 reenactors, 8 sutlers and several educational stations descended upon Sandy Run (exit mile marker I25 off of Interstate 26) for the Annual battle. Friday saw several hundred students in attendance with chaperones for School Days. All stations offered insight into 1865 and provided 1st person experiences to the delight of the audience. The students were filled with questions ranging from novice to distinguish. At the state capital building, volunteers read the list of the South Carolina Confederate causalities killed during the war. The reading of each name was followed by the towing of the bell and brought a chill and tear of gratitude for their sacrifices.
Saturday witnessed the memorial service and dedication at the Elmwood Cemetery, a march to the capital under the leadership of Colonel St. Clair, speeches beneath the shadow of the statue of the Southern Sentinel on the capitol grounds with the battle flag saluting the audience with every gust of wind.
Upon returning to the battlefield, the troops went back to their camps and offered presentations to those touring. At 12:30 and 2:30, Meet the Generals was held at the amphitheatre. General Lee, Grant, Jackson, Polk, Armistead, Pendleton and Kemper presented stirring renditions of their exploits during the war. The sound of shot and shell brought those brave enough to weather the rain to witness the battle. The event was held on a picture perfect fortification, with earthen breastworks and several artillery pieces attempting to repulse the advance of General Sherman’s army. General Lee worked the lines and gave explanations of what was transpiring.
A beautiful period wedding was conducted at 7:00 that evening. David Chaltas (General Lee) and Ciara Lee (Mrs. Lucy Pickens) exchanged the same wedding vows administered at General John Hunt Morgan’s wedding. The rose ceremony brought tears to several guests’ eyes. The wedding was conducted by Reverend Binion, who portrays Bishop Polk. The reception was only dampened by the rain but could not extinguish the spirit of those in attendance. The period dance continued despite the rain and all went any pleased with the festivities.
Sunday’s sunshine brought a renewal to the land, as did the period church service conducted by Mike. Meet the Generals was followed by another grand battle from the brave boys in blue and gray. The event was well orchestrated and plans are already being made for next year to be even bigger and better. Our compliments go out to all who worked so hard to make the Battle for Columbia a complete success.
April 28, 2009-Thornton, KY: Adjutant Brown and Commander Chaltas represented the best interest of the camp on the 103.9 Bulldog show. They brought a guest, Darrell Holbrook, who talked about the Memorial Day Celebration that will be held on May 25, 2009, at the Military Museum in Whitesburg. The monument at the Gap was discussed, along with the new panels (7 & 8) being placed there. Richard shared about the 7 letters he is transcribing from soldiers in the War Between the States.
April 24-26, 2009-Cumberland Gap, TN: The Battle of Cumberland Gap began with the traditional flag ceremony, followed by an educational program for the visitors, consisting of 8 stations. There were several events occurring simultaneously including a wedding. General Lee performed the Solemnization of Matrimony as prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer and all were moved to tears in the traditional Rose Ceremony. The battles were hard fought and contested, resulting in both armies leaving the field. The day was awarded to all those men and women of yesteryear and today who fought and is fighting for the very freedoms we tend to take for granted. He ball was well attended and the homecoming continued with excitement and zeal. All were thrilled to see each other and the reenactment, no, the REUNION, was wonderfully orchestrated. Sunday saw a good church service and the battle begin afresh around 12 and then reaching its zenith at 2:00. The Caudill Camp saw Sgt. Wayne Watts, Randall Haddix, Manton Ray Cornett, Brett Smith and David Chaltas in attendance representing their ancestors, as the Caudill Flag danced in the wind guarding Little Jesse.
The following After Action Report submitted by Lt. Commander Cornett: Once again, we were fortunate to have adequate financial backing and sufficient planning to make our “reunion” at the Gap possible. With fabulous June-like weather, we set up out tents and were immediately struck by a world-class view of THE Cumberland Gap. During our down times, our eyes were often turned upward, and just as often, our thoughts were with our pioneer ancestors, both known and unknown, who had passed this way. How fitting that we begin our season in this special place! We were soon busy with Saturday morning activities; the town was open to visitors, and learning stations were set up where they could see and hear about some of the weapons and other aspects of the WBTS. Our station consisted of “Little Jesse” with a larger cannon and mortar from the Carnes Battery. We were visited by dozens of attentive young and not-so-young visitors, and we took turns with the Carnes mortar, firing a round every 15 minutes for the two hours set aside for the demonstrations. This was not an official re-enactment, but more of a reunion for re-enactors. So, there was no specific scenario for the engagements that were to take place on Saturday afternoon. All we got from Officers’ call was that there would be fighting between noon and 1, but not between 1 and 2, and more fighting after 2. We were to approach the area with open minds. And so, we did. The shooting began from Carnes’ big gun, situated at the North end of town at the railroad. “Little Jesse” was soon returning fire, and before long we had to reposition as we were slowly being surrounded by both infantry and cavalry of both armies. We managed to get off several rounds before things got so crowded that we had to stand down. After a salute, we retired to camp for more than an hour, and were back on the scene at 2, where the fighting quickly resumed. Once again, “Little Jesse” was in the thick of the fighting, surrounded by horses and muskets, sometimes close enough to touch. After being forced to spike the gun, at least part of the crew was found sprawled around the gun when the firing was over.
Sunday’s event was similar to Saturday’s, with a few notable exceptions. The Carnes’ Battery had vacated the area, so we had to concentrate our fire on the Union infantry and cavalry. That went well, allowing us to get off several rounds, to the delight of the on-lookers, before congestion once again forced us to stand down, and then to disable the gun to keep it out of the hands of the advancing blues. By the time our gun was overrun, some of our crew members had taken our powder box and retreated, with the rest of the crew either being wounded or killed while attempting to protect the gun.
When we weren’t fighting, there were plenty of other activities, including a Saturday morning wedding, a Saturday afternoon Ladies Tea, a Saturday night ball with Compatriot Moses Hamblin providing the music, and of course, Sunday morning church services. We are all grateful to John and the residents of Cumberland Gap for making us feel at home in a most special place. The Ben Caudill Camp was represented by artillerymen Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett. General Lee and General Cleburne were portrayed by David Chaltas and Britt Smith, and Wayne Watts made his presence known as a member of the infantry. Our thanks to R. C. Kuhn and others from the Gaddis Battery for assisting the crew of “Little Jesse” and making us look good.
April 20, 2009-Whitesburg, KY: Acting in the best interests of the Colonel Ben Caudill Camp #1629, Commander Chaltas presented to the Letcher County Fiscal Court regarding a request for funding for the flag project, 2009 Thunder on the Mountain: Return of John Hunt Morgan reenactment, sign status identifying the lane leading up to the Gap as the Davis/Lincoln Drive, and a solar light to spotlight the American flag at the Letcher County border. A status report on Pound Gap panels (number 7 & 8) was also presented. The Letcher County Fiscal Court approved all requests via acclamation, giving the camp $2500 for the projects and thanking us for our community involvement. Compatriots, through your hard work, we are keeping our heritage alive and well.
April 17-19, 2009-Charleston, South Carolina; The 5th annual Battle of Charleston is now history. The spectacular event was held on over 400 acres of land on John’s Island owned since 1725 by the Legare Family. The purpose was to honor, educate and have history come alive through living it; all for the memory of our ancestors who lived during the War Between the States. The event was hosted by the 27th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry and the Legare family.
The battle scenarios followed closely the actual events of 1861-1865, when the Federal forces were determined to retake Charleston, S.C. the very seat of succession. Skirmishes, engagements occurred on many fronts, as the Union attempted to find a way inward to the city. Hampered by the swamps, mud, sandy soil, gnats, humidity, heat, alligators, water moccasins, and the stiff resistance of civilian militia and regular Confederate troops they continuously searched for a port to host their attack. Another major factor of coastal defenses was that General Lee had arrived on November 7, 1861, and for almost four months exhausted himself in fortifying the coastal citadels and the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The setting of this battle revolved around the historical battle around Stono River. During one of their scouting missions they were surprised by four artillery pieces that was moved to a small island around Stono River. The Union quickly retired to Folly Island but returned to find that all the cannons were gone except for one which had fallen off the causeway. As they tried to secure the cannon, Confederate troops came to retrieve it resulting in a three hour battle with the victory being indecisive. Over 400 hundred men were listed as casualties. Such conflicts occurred all through the war. Friday, April 17, 2009, was witness to over 700 students going through Sutler Row, visiting with the Blacksmith, hearing the wonderful presentation of Dangerfield regarding the Hunley and seeing a to scale replica built by him and his friends. Traveling on towards the camps, the youth was in awe of the hospital, post office, children games of the era, field museum, drill, artillery demonstrations, Cavalry, drills and presentation by General Lee. On Saturday the day began with reveille, roll call, posting of colors, ladies social and fashion show. At 11:30 a period trial was held by the honorable Judge Bower, which brought a large crowd of onlookers. General Lee, General Grant, Mrs. Grant, and General Wheeler offered comments to those stopping by the tent. Arms were inspected and then the battle began when the cannonade sounded across the lowcountry. Annie Lee, an original artillery piece built in May of 1862 and named after General Lee’s daughter who died in October of 1862, heralded the opening, after being silent for over 148 years. General Lee offered a narration to the crowd and a solemn pass and review was offered. The military exchanges of the artillery, cavalry and infantry were well orchestrated; affording the audience an opportunity of witnessing a fever pitched scenario that well represented the actual events of the area during the War Between the States.
General Lee, Mrs. Francis Pickens (Civil War Governor’s wife-Lucy) General Grant, Mrs. Grant, and General Wheeler were hustled to Fort Sumter where they had the honor of hoisting First National and taking down all flags, which is the custom of the park for the last tour. General Lee sought veterans and the boy scouts to assist. All witnessing the event were moved to tears as a World War II Veteran, His son who was a Vietnam Veteran, two retired colonels from the Army, Veteran from Iraq War, and the Boy Scouts were given the honor of retiring the colors and folding them in regulation format. Mrs. Lucy Pickens (Governor’s wife during the War Between the States) was asked to assist with the South Carolina flag. The park rangers at Fort Sumter National Park were so supportive and professional in their dealings with all.
Sunday morning’s peace was shattered with the sound of Reveille, roll call and a memorial service. Church service was conducted, as Brother Jim shared the sermon of Reverend Moore of 1863. The generals would meet and greet along with the ladies prior to the battle. The prelude of the battle saw two cavalry troopers perform. One young man, being in his early teens captured the hearts of the audience with his determination to win the swordfight. Again the sound of shot and shell disturbed the tranquility of the area, as men and women offered a continued battle resulting in the Union withdrawal. A tribute to all men and women from ALL wars was offered in the final salute to the audience.
April 14, 2009-Pikeville, KY: Commander Chaltas presented to our brother McGuire Camp in the persona of General Lee. The sons and daughters present were very receptive to his offerings. He was humbled by their kindness and extended an invitation from the Caudill Camp to attend any meetings, events, presentations, dedications and reenactments. Kentucky’s heritage is alive and well.
April 13, 2009-Seco, KY: Commander Chaltas presented the proposed application for the Historical Marker to the Tourism Commission. They were complimentary. Also the Commission gave the Commander the task of developing a 1 page ad for Thunder on the Mountain to be held in August of 2009. He was asked to submit pictures of last year’s reenactment for them to utilize in the future.
April 11, 2009-Jenkins, KY: Commander Chaltas met with Don Amburgey (Little Shepherd Theatre and Cumberland Artisan Center) to visit the area where Thunder on the Mountain will be held. The area has been cleared and more than doubled. The work will continue all summer and fall. Work will be provided by the Letcher County Jail Release Work Force, the LKLP youth program (part of the stimulus package) and volunteers from HOMES. The stage area for the forthcoming drama now contains a backstage men and women dressing room, with plans for bathrooms to be installed.
April 10, 2009-Coal Run, KY: Compatriot Anthony Hawkins submits the following after action report: “General Sir, I have now in my possession a Heritage Proclamation for Elkhorn City, Kentucky, signed by Bill Powell, the Mayor. He signed it for me tonight at the Bushwhacking on the Russell Fork meeting. Add another one to the total. If I can get another proclamation I may be able to get the City of Coal Run, Kentucky, to sign. City Hall is just down the street from my office. I plan on being at the McGuire Camp meeting Tuesday unless something comes up. I will turn the Elkhorn City proclamation over to you there.”
April 9, 2009: Whitesburg, KY: Commander Chaltas met with Compatriot Rookie Frazier and Casey Frazier to finalize the names for panel 7 & 8 which will be placed at Pound Gap in the near future. Ninety-six names were submitted for engraving, along with the logo for the Letcher County Fiscal Court and the name of the Letcher County Tourism Commission. They will be in line with the other 6 panels currently in place on that historical ground. Commander Chaltas obtained a Heritage Proclamation from Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward recognizing the proud history and heritage of those men who fought each other so long ago.
April 7, 2009: Pikeville, KY: Due to the efforts of Anthony Hawkins, a Confederate Heritage Proclamation for the month of April was signed by the largest county east of the Mississippi. The honorable Judge Executive Rutherford signed the proclamation and discussed his heritage to Commander Chaltas and Compatriot Hawkins. The judge shared pictures of his ancestors that fought on both sides of the only war where Americans fought one another. A photo shoot was held and the signing will be sent to the local newspaper. After the signing, Commander Chaltas went to see the site for the forth coming battle entitled, Thunder on the Mountain to be held on August 7-9, 2009 at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre, near Jenkins, KY. He was quite impressed with the expansion of the grounds and the theatre. He came back and worked on updating the flyers and registration form for the event.
March 29, 2009-Richmond, KY: Answering the call of the spirit and a request of the Breckinridge Greys, AoT Chaplain Chaltas conducted church services for the group training on the Richmond Battlefield. Due to the high wind, rain and dust in the barn, the services had to be moved into a unique location: the ladies restroom! It was the only facility with heat and afforded comfort from the storm. The service was attended by all undergoing training maneuvers and was a blessing to all. The topic was ‘It is well with my soul’. Several were moved by the spirit of fellowship.
March 24, 2009 – Hazard, KY: Once again, our stone-setters loaded up and headed North, out of town, through Breathitt County and beyond. Our first stop was in Wolfe County at Flat, where we erected a new Confederate stone for Private Lewis King (1818 – 1898). He was a member of Company G of the 13th KY Cavalry. His grave in the Mary King Cemetery on Bloody Creek had been unmarked for 111 years! From there, we drove to the Hazel Green city cemetery, also in Wolfe County, where we honored Sergeant James Thomas Pieratt (1840 – 1904) with his new Confederate stone. He served in Company I of the 5th KY Infantry. Our last stop was in the Stanton city cemetery in Powell County. There, we erected an upright Confederate stone for Private Alexander J. Asberry (1835 – 1906), who was also a member of Company I of the 5th KY Infantry. This very gratifying day was shared and enjoyed by Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong and Manton Ray Cornett, with Faron Sparkman assisting remotely via cell-phone. Manton Ray
March 22-23, 2009-Harrogate, TN; By popular demand the play entitled The Shadows of Gettysburg was presented at the Lincoln Museum/Library on LMU campus. After two presentations, an encore presentation was offered.
Several of the cast members are noted historians and performers. Dennis Boggs is a leading President Lincoln impersonator who has performed on the Grand Ole Opry along with hundreds of school presentations across this land. Bill White portrays General Longstreet and is the official Longstreet of Tennessee. He has starred in several documentaries and films. Danny Buckner portrays General Jackson and was cast in Gods and Generals along with Ken Creswell, who portrays General Pendleton. Roger Kelly (known throughout the country as Butternut) is Gamaliel Bradford. Roger is considered to be the most photographed reenactor in the nation and has to his credit over 30 films, documentaries and other performances in such movies as Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, Freedom, Andersonville, Glory, to name a few. Stan Dalton (known throughout the country as General Forrest) plays the part of a courier and captain. He too has a long resume of performance including being the star of the film Rebel Forrest. Future plans are to offer the play to the citizens of Letcher county and surrounding areas. The play was written by Commander Chaltas who also portrayed General Robert E. Lee.
March 14, 2009-Lexington, KY: Amid the sounds of the St. Patrick Day Parade downtown, the AoT held their meeting in the historic History Museum. Commander Barrows demonstrated to all why the Army of Tennessee is the largest and poured out his heart in an effort to motivate all to do the same. Topics of discussion included tax exemption status, status of the army, forthcoming events recruitment techniques and retention methods, Executive Director Ben Sewell clarified several points for local camps and Chaplain Chaltas offered a presentation on the roles of the chaplain. After the summit, another meeting was held at Columbia’s by the Kentucky Division Executive Council. The agenda included update on the Vicksburg Monument (it is complete-awaiting to be transported to site!), Tilghman House report, Childress vs. Hotel, camps status, Division reunion, Ky Secession Site Camp presentation, and awards. Both meetings went well and their objectives were met along with the establishment of new visions.
March 12-13, 2009-Harrogate, TN: Once again the play entitled 4 Women: 1 War was presented to a packed house in the morning and evening, as reenactors offered a sterling performance of a play written by our own Commander Chaltas. Before practice on Thursday, Ms. Kessie (Kitty Wilson Evans) and General Lee (David Chaltas) were interviewed on Focus. Ms. Kessie, a wondrous black woman who portrays a slave from South Carolina across this country, brought to life her character while being interviewed. General Lee offered his usual persona and was moved to moans of the spirit by the reception received. The practice brought laughter, as all enjoyed their errors and nervousness. Afterwards, several cast members enjoyed staying a the bunk house (Habitat for Humanity) and talked into the morning hours. Friday saw a transformation of the cast, as they gave a picture perfect performance and moved many in the audiences to tears. A question/answer session was given to afford the audience an opportunity of asking questions. Both performances have been met with rave reviews and all went away being satisfied in offering a brief glimpse into our American heritage. LMU offered their thanks to those who gave of their time and efforts to make the event successful.
March 10, 2009-Floyd and Johnson Counties: Stone Setters traveled to Floyd and Johnson Counties and set stones for 7 Soldiers. The Men who were honored today were Private Jeremiah Campbell, Co. A., 10th KY Cavalry; Private Jesse Conn, Co. A., 10th KY Cavalry; Private Ira Lee Conn, Co. A., 10th KY Cavalry; Private Joseph Stapleton, Co. D, 5th KY, Inf; Private Benjamin H. Grim, Co. K, 5th KY Inf.; and Private David Shepherd, Co. F, 13th KY Cavalry. Members taking part in today’s adventure were Faron Sparkman, Carlos Brock, Bill James and Willis Strong.
March 2, 2009-Hindman, KY: Commander Chaltas, acting on behalf of the Caudill Camp, was interviewed on the Channel 24 TV Cable regarding the Fading of the Grey and sharing the common Melungeon heritage of the region. The interview in its entirety will be aired next week.
February 28, 2009-Lawrence County, KY: Several members of the Colonel Ben E. Caudill Camp No. 1629 braved a cold, snowy day to set a tombstone (as well as cleaning up the overgrown cemetery) for John Wesley Moore, Company C, 7th Confederate Cavalry. This Confederate soldier is buried within sight of the house that he built (which still is standing) on Turk Hill Branch, near Blaine in Lawrence County, Kentucky. John was originally from Elkhorn Creek in Pike County, moving to Lawrence County after the war. Later in the day, several members of the 5th Kentucky SCV Camp (Morehead area) arrived to help dedicate the soldier’s grave. They brought along a mortar to fire during the dedication. Also Sam Hatcher, Big Sandy Commander, represented his SCV Camp as did Owen Wright. Therefore four SCV camps were represented during the dedication. Lawrence Cook (Caudill Camp member) opened the dedication, explaining to a large crowd of the soldier’s descendants why we were on a windy, cold hillside. A great-grandson of the soldier then gave the opening prayer. A few members of the crowd gave some comments about the soldier and his family. Then all SCV camp members performed the ritual of “We drank from the same canteen”. Sergeant at Arms Wayne Watts took command of the firing line. The column of period-clad soldiers as well as the mortar fired three ensuing volleys. Camp member Glenn Brown closed the event by playing the lonely sound of Taps. Everyone stayed for a few minutes, even though the cold air was filled with snow, to talk about the comradely of the four camps coming together to honor a Confederate soldier. Camp Adjutant Richard Brown went to the landowner’s house to thank him for allowing the dedication and the setting of the tombstone (the landowner is not related to the soldier). The gentleman offered to keep the old cemetery clean from now on. After the event, the members of the Caudill Camp gathered for a picnic lunch before heading back home. Camp members present were: Lawrence Cook, Anthony Hawkins, Raymond Isaacs, Tim Blair, Okie Blair, Wayne Watts, Quenton Childers, Glenn Brown and Richard Brown.
February 25, 2009–Hazard, KY: A spring-like day provided an opportunity that was too good to ignore. So, a crew was quickly gathered, stones were loaded, and we were on the road to Breathitt County and beyond. We hoped to set as many as seven stones before dark, but we didn’t realize what we were in for. We met our Wolfe County contact, Bill James, near Bethany, and he led us to Terrell Fork of Holly Creek. There, the property owner took us to the foot of a hill, and pointed over and beyond wind-fallen trees and tree-tops left by loggers toward a cemetery that none of us could see. A scouting trip revealed that the cemetery did indeed exist, but it was near the top of the hill, without even a footpath for access. A potential course was soon established, the ropes were attached, and ever so slowly, we worked the stone around the obstacles into the Combs Cemetery, the final resting place of Private Stephen Combs (1828-1897), Company I, 5th KY Infantry. We were not surprised when we returned to our trucks to find that we had spent nearly three hours on that hill, and that it would now be impossible to set six more stones! We did, however, spend a couple of semi-successful hours trying to locate cemeteries in Wolfe County for a return trip. Finally, we headed back to Breathitt County, where, in the Jackson City Cemetery, we erected a Confederate grave marker in honor of Private Alexander Patrick (1818 – 1881). He was a member of the 5th KY Infantry, Company B and was also a member of the 13th KY Cavalry, Kash’s Company. Those who took part in today’s adventure were Compatriots Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Manton Ray Cornett, and Friend of the Camp, Jim Osborne. A return to Wolfe County is already being planned, while the soreness slowly subsides.
February 24, 2009-Thornton, KY: Adjutant Brown and Commander Chaltas were guests on the weekly Round Table, hosted by Ms. Shirley Sexton. The topic included past/present/future projects and dedications around the area. Our thanks go to 103.9, the Bulldog, for their recognition of the Caudill Camp’s many projects.
February 23-24, 2009–Martin, KY: The Sons of the Confederate Veterans and Confederate Re-enactors had come from every direction to say farewell to their friend and Compatriot, Jimmy Reed. Most wore grey, and most took part in the Confederate Funeral, a tribute to both Jimmy and to his Confederate ancestry, of which he was very proud. Before the services on Monday night, the colors were posted near Jimmy’s side, and his comrades in grey proceeded down the aisle, two my two. Pausing briefly before the open casket, each pair of men rendered their solemn salutes before departing, left and right. During the service, rendered by Jimmy’s friends and community clergy, sentries with muskets were posted near opposite ends of Jimmy’s casket. After the Confederate Funeral concluded on Tuesday morning, Jimmy was carried to his final resting place in the Goble-Reed Family Cemetery in Floyd County. As his compatriots carried him to his final resting place, the slow cadence from a single drum was the only sound to be heard in the snow-covered, sun-drenched hollow. Nearby, artillerymen from three Confederate cannons held their salutes until the procession had passed. At the gravesite, Compatriot Moses Hamblin played and sang “Dixie”, Jimmy’s favorite song. Words of comfort and prayer were offered by Confederate chaplains, and finally, a military salute was rendered by several muskets and three cannon. Members of the Ben Caudill Camp who took part in this Confederate Funeral service were Compatriots Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, Britt Smith, and Manton Ray Cornett.
February 20-23, 2009=Battle of Aiken: Aiken, South Carolina: The Battle of Aiken was a tremendously successful. School Day witnessed over 4,000 children and an estimated crowd of 18-20,000 in attendance on Saturday and Sunday. The event was picture perfect with several demonstrations, speeches and 30 sutlers available. Meet the Generals was a hit with General Longstreet, Jackson, Lee, Pendleton, Armistead, Kemper, A. P. Hill, Ms. Lucy Pickens (South Carolina’s war governor’s wife), Colonel Venable, Butternut, Grant and wife offering words to the crowd. The battles were well organized and executed. A special dedication was held honoring all armed forces and General Lee was the keynote speaker. Emotions ran high as he offered praise and thanks to those men and women who have served and are currently serving. All 15 cannons and several reenactors offered a salute to the crowd. Commander Chaltas presented the South Carolina flag that had flown over the gap to the 27th South Carolina Infantry and artillery group who purchased the flagpole at Pound Gap. They were moved to tears when the flag which flew over two states was returned to their homeland. The military ball was grand with Unreconstructed playing. Sunday witnessed a full house at the 11 o’clock worship service. Several parsons and preachers were present as the Army of Tennessee preached a moving sermon. The coordinators of the event were outstanding and the most accommodating people. Our compliments go to Wayne Jones and staff. God bless American and may we always embrace the truth of our heritage.
February 12-15, 2009-Gettysburg, PA; On a major tour of the area, Commander Chaltas accompanied by Lucy Pickens, visited Lexington, VA, and spoke to several old friends at that institution. At the Jackson House he was welcomed by Ed who recalled General Lee’s previous visits. Traveling to Gettysburg, the battlefield was visited along with several shops, where both visitors were made welcome. Few people were dressed in attire on the streets and only 1 Lincoln was seen. The grand ball was a major disappointment as most present were not reenactors but debutants and/or politicians. Leaving early, both decided to visit Little Round Top. The snow glistened in the night as the wind blew a chilling breeze but the excitement of walking on hallowed ground at night silenced the coldness. The next morning saw visits to local shops and then off to Sharpsburg and Harpers Ferry, where they toured and talked to others touring the area. The weekend was filled with history and heritage, as the saga of the Caudill Camp was expanded.
February 11, 2009-Whitesburg, KY; A Letcher County Tourism Commission meeting was held to discuss possible placement of a historical marker honoring Colonel Ben Caudill and Caudill’s Army in Letcher County. The commission will consider the proposal at the next meeting.
February 7, 2009- Greeneville, TN: Within the walls of a wonderful log cabin facility known as the Homestead Restaurant; Commander Chaltas was the keynote speaker at John Hunt Morgan Camp #2053. He shared the stage with the honorable H. K. Edgerton and General John Hunt Morgan. The sellout crowd was thrilled with the offerings of all speakers and witnessed the passion of all three speaking together. Commander Chaltas returned in awe of yet another dinner honoring all soldiers of yesteryear.
February 6, 2009-Harlan, KY: Black MTN Elementary School; An adventure was held as Commander Chaltas and Cumberland Valley Lt. Commander Taylor attended a living history in Harlan County, Kentucky. To their surprise, every staff member and several students were dressed in period attire, as teachers offered presentations on different topics. The children were most attentive to all the demonstrations which included blacksmith, cooking dancing, flags of the Confederacy, and many other events. Mose Hamblin’s first hand demonstrations of a common soldier and Reverend Binion’s portrayal of a chaplain mesmerized the students. General Lee made an appearance and spoke of those days of yesteryear when honor, duty and the love of God were in full bloom. Our thanks and gratitude goes to a wonderful staff for affording the students such an experience.
January 30-February 1, 2009-Charleston, S.C.; in a whirlwind adventure, Commander Chaltas traveled to the great state of South Carolina where he was greeted by Ms. Lucy Pickens, the 1st lady of South Carolina. Together they traveled to the Confederate Museum and addressed several on the street. They then went to the oldest Confederate museum in the South and were greeted by the legendary Ms. June Wells. After several pictures Ms. Wells invited both to return to offer a presentation. They went to the Exchange where they met a fellow reenactor who is a tour guide. They were given a personal tour and offered a few words to spectators. When they paid their respects to the crews of the Hunley at Magnolia Cemetery, people gathered around seeking pictures. Impromptu speeches were offered to those present. They then visited Fort Moultrie at sunset and learned of the attacks upon the land at that location. Ft. Sumpter could be seen in the distance with the flag briskly waving goodnight to the sun. Several local ruins, grave sites and other historical areas were visited. Many contacts were made and Commander Chaltas left the area with new knowledge to bring back and share with the camp. A wondrous time was held by all. Thanks South Carolina for your Southern hospitality.
January 24, 2009-New Castle, Indiana; The Caudill banner flew high across the river and once again the black plume of Morgan was spotted on a hill, as he crossed the water. Commander Chaltas packed his bags and went across the Ohio River to encourage those who are of the upper regions loyal to their heritage. He was not disappointed. Representation from Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, and Kentucky saw a full house at the Raintree Inn. Commander Barrows, Army of Tennessee, and his lovely wife offered a brilliant presentation about our heritage and furthering the cause. Mike Lawson, Commander of the Ohio Division eloquently spoke of General Jackson, as he portrayed the fallen general. Stephen Ritchie, Commander of Indiana Division, offered words of encouragement as he hosted the event. The UDC offered a special salute to a Veteran, bestowing upon him the highest honor for his service. The keynote address was offered by Commander Chaltas, Army of Tennessee Chaplain, in the persona of General Lee. He sang the laurels of the Caudill Camp along with Commander Barrows. Afterwards, several descendants from men who fought under Colonel Caudill came up and talked about the many achievements of the Ben E. Caudill Camp. A grand time was held by all.
January 17, 2009-Sparta, TN: With all the fanfare of the South, Commander Chaltas was given the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Brigade Lee/Jackson Dinner held in Sparta. It was sponsored by the General George Dibrell Camp #875. Speaking to a packed house at the Sparta Convention Center, General Lee reminded all that the cause was alive and well as long as we chose to embrace the principles which make the South so grand. Commander Chaltas was awed at the reception and humbled by the manner in which all demonstrated their love for their heritage. As Commander Savage stated, it was a wondrous experience for all present.
January 3, 2009-Pound Gap, VA: Fighting the constant wind at the apex of the mountain between Virginia and Kentucky, Compatriots Richard Brown, David Brown, and Glenn Brown finally managed to fix the flagpole at Pound Gap. They had tried to do so on January 1, but the wind was so strong that it was too dangerous (had to use a tall ladder to replace the cable). They made a piece to attach to the ladder which in turn, attached to the flagpole. They saved the piece for future repairs. Another valiant effort was achieved by the Brown family in honoring our heritage.
January 3, 1009-Wise, VA: The New Year was ushered in with a promise as evidenced by a tremendously successful Lee/Jackson/Longstreet Family Reunion. With over 230 people in attendance, the dinner at Mosby’s Restaurant was a resounding success. The event was hosted by the Caudill Camp and with the assistance of Wise County Historical Society, along with the Battle of Wise, saw over twenty events, organizations and groups represented. It began with a surprise wedding of Captain Byington and Ms. Chrissie, performed by General R. E. Lee (Commander Chaltas). Every organization had an opportunity to present their upcoming event and discuss ways in which we could support one another. The slide show was excellent and our compliments to Tim Kelly. The highlight of the event was the keynote speaker: H. K. Edgerton. He offered a wondrous presentation on Lee/Jackson and used their words to make his point. He then talked of his plans to march to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President-elect Obama. The Butterworth Brigade Minstrel Band offered wondrous music on period instruments and were well received by all. Several awards were given out, including the General Robert E. Lee Service Award to H. K. Edgerton and Mark Carroll. Only five awards of this nature are given annually. The Stone Committee offered a total of 1081 stones set with the following report filed: December 30, 2008–Hazard, KY: We were all a bit eager when we met just outside town on this frosty morning; it had been more than a month since our last outing, and these stone-setting efforts tend to be somewhat addictive. The cool, rainy weather, combined with the energy required to get through the Holidays, had kept us from our mission and had produced a backlog of stones that were waiting to be erected in their proper places. Before the day was over, the sun would be generous and the breezes would be mild, but first we would have to pry apart the frozen stack of stones before loading them for their journey home. We left Hazard with a crew of four and seven Confederate grave markers distributed rather unequally, in two pick-up trucks, and turned our faces northward. Our first stop was in Wolfe County, but we found so much frost on the weedy hillside, that we decided to make that our last stop of the day, when the hill had enjoyed the benefits of the afternoon sun. So, we drove on to Hazel Green, in Wolfe County. There, in the Hazel Green Cemetery, we set a Confederate stone in honor of Private Oscar Fallen (1837 – 1921). He was a member of Company H of the 29th Virginia Infantry. Then, it was on to the historic site, just a few miles out of Hazel Green, where the 5th Kentucky Infantry was disbanded by General Humphrey Marshall on October 20, 1862. On the hill, behind the sign memorializing the disbandment, in an equally historic cemetery, we placed two new Confederate stones. The first was for Private Levi Gilley (1815 – 1887) and the second was for his son, Private James H. Gilley (1842 – 1916). They were both members of Company A of the 2nd Kentucky Mounted Rifles. Their stones are just a few steps apart, and near other family members, including another of Levi’s sons. Our attention returned to the road again, which led us into Powell County. Near Stanton, in the Caudill Cemetery, we quickly found another of our objectives. Private James O. Morton (1847 – 1828) was honored there with his new Confederate stone. He was a member of Company C of the 5th Kentucky Infantry. In the Chop Chestnut Cemetery, also near Stanton, we erected a Confederate stone for Private William A. Means (1835 – 1907). He served in Company A of the 2nd Mounted Rifles, probably with Privates Levi and James Gilley. By now, we were really enjoying the day, so it took some time before Randall was satisfied that he had straightened enough of the leaning stones that were anywhere near Private Means’ new stone! Finally, we headed toward Hazard, with plenty of daylight to spare. We left KY 15 near the Vortex Cemetery, and Willis easily took his truck up the hill to the cemetery gate. The oldest graves in this cemetery are for members of the Hollon family, and there were several family headstones, both legible and illegible, for us to consider. We erected Confederate stones for two Hollon brothers; Private Elisha Hollon (1838 – 1933) and Private Larkin Hollon (1843 – 1916) served in Company E of the 10th Kentucky Cavalry. Back in Hazard, we went our separate ways in darkness, aware that our efforts paled in comparison to those whom we had honored, but satisfied that we had made a mark that would outlast any of us. The four compatriots who thoroughly enjoyed today’s activity were Carlos Brock, Willis Strong, Randall Haddix, and Manton Ray Cornett. Upward and onward with new beginnings for a new year. Our compliments to all!
January 1, 2009-Journal opens with great anticipation of the forthcoming year.