The Fort Brooke Record
|The "Fort Brooke Record" (FBR) is the monthly newsletter of the Capt. John T. Lesley Camp 1282, Inc, a Camp of the Florida Division, SCV and of the International Sons of Confederate Veterans. The FBR is provided free of charge to members of the Camp. Editorial comments in this publication are the expressed opinion of the editorial writer and not of the Camp. Paid advertisements can in no way be considered an endorsement by this camp. Locally, for inquiries and information on coming to events, the camp maintains a full-time access phone at (813) 661-7045.|
Monday, June 21, 1999
Supper @ 6 PM
Meeting @ 7 PM
Compatriot Scott L. Peeler, Jr
The Brazilian Confederados
(A first hand analysis of the descendants of Southerners who refused to live under Yanke domination and settled in Brazil)
@ Buddy Freddys
134 South Gornto Lake Rd.
The present day Confederados are the descendants of the most ardent and fervent of the Confederates who survived the War. These were men who after the 1865 defeat of their hope of Southern freedom could not stomach the realization that they would be living under the heel of the conqueror.
To different parts of the hemisphere and even the globe these displaced persons from the South migrated. To the nation of Brazil so went at least 4,000 with their wives and children. Not all stayed but of the 4,000 at least 800 lived to die in Brazil. Led by Colonel William Norris of Alabama these Southerners created a life in a climate very much like that they left behind. Even the red clay was similar and the land produced rich crops of cotton and famaliar crops. They survived and prospered. In time these invariably Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian Southerners from principally Alabama and Texas integrated into the culture and became Brazilians.
130+ years have lapsed since these die-hard Confederate soldiers left their beloved Southland but today their descendents are still fiercely proud of their roots. Four times a year they gather and celebrate the music, food, clothes and symbols, in short the culture, that their forefathers revered. In the cemetery where they have been traditionally buried fly the flags of the states of the South and, with much pride, the Confederate Battleflag.
We are fortunate and it is to our benefit that Compatriot Scott Peeler is a committed educator, is well traveled, is a scholar, and is fascinated by these "forgotten" Southerners. Versed and fluent in several languages, Scott also has a fixating genealogical and scholarly interest in the saga of the American Indian. Scott received his B.A. in Spanish and French in 1969 from the University of South Florida where in 1974 he was also awarded an M.A. in Spanish /Education. He has done doctoral study at Arizona State and has been a student at the American Indian Institute at the University of Oklahoma.
His community involvement and subsequent awards are extensive and give proof to the fact that Mr. Scott Peeler is an asset to both this community and to our brotherhood, The Sons of Confederate Veterans.
See you on Monday the 21st at Buddy Freddys!
There will be no Fort Brooke Record (FBR) newsletter mailed out for July or August. This editor will be out of the state during the time frame that the July FBR would normally be formatted. It had also been decided to forgo both the newsletter and the normal monthly meeting for the month of August. Adjutant Dwight Tetrick will mail out an announcement of the special bus tour to be given on July 24.
July No Newsletter
July 24 Special Bus tour in lieu of the normal monthly meeting
August No Newsletter and No Monthly Meeting
September Resumption of Newsletter and meetings
Special July Meeting
In lieu of a regular July monthly meeting, on July 24 there is a very special "fellowship" (and even experience) planned for the membership of the camp. On that Saturday, we will board a chartered bus and take a tour of noteworthy historic and contemporary Confederate sites in the Tampa Bay area. Possible stops are Oaklawn Cemetery, the Confederate War Memorial, Woodlawn Cemetery, Brandon or Bethlehem flagpole/monument sites, Plant Park and for a really grand Bar-B-Que, Lowry Park. During the first of July, Adjutant Tetrick will mail to you information and reservation notices on this event. Quartermaster English is the principle coordinator and planner.
To the Florida Division,
From the Lesley Camp
The John T. Lesley Camp was represented by Commander Jim Hayward, 1st. Lt. Cmdr. Marion Lambert and Quartermaster Jake English at the 29th Annual Convention of the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Reunion was held May 21-23 in Pensacola, the City of Five Flags. (They do take very seriously in Pensacola their reputation as the The City of Five Flags. There is even a Confederate Battleflag flying in front of the downtown United States Post Office).
The host camp, Stephen R. Mallory Camp 1315, did a jam up job of orchestrating a superb convention.. There was a concern prior to the convention that folks would not travel to the very far reaches of the state in the Panhandle for a convention. That fear was forgotten as the number of registrations passed the 100 mark and settled near 115, which was a nice improvement over the past several years. Of course, the Mallory boys did do a good job but Pensacola is really a superb city with lots of history relating to the War.
After the Saturday morning business session they gave us a fine bus tour to several of the many historical sites located in Escambia County. We stopped at Lee Square, located in the middle of the main north/south thoroughfare and on a rise of ground overlooking the city. Lee Square is absolutely beautiful and contains the tallest and most impressive Confederate War Memorial in the state. From the Interstate spur through downtown Pensacola you can actually see the solitary Confederate figure standing on the top of the monuments shaft at the height of the top of the tallest oak trees. We stopped at historic St. Michaels Cemetery and among the many Confederates buried there we viewed the grave of Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory. Above his gravesite flutters perpetually rotating Confederate flags. A major highlight of the tour was the visit to Fort Barrancas. This was a fort held by our boys through 1861 and until just before the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. The fort is in pristine condition.
But for the Lesley Camp, the most significant moment came in the business session on Saturday morning. At that meeting, Commander Jim Hayward presented to the Florida Division a check for the sum of $2500.00 from the Lesley Camp to facilitate the Flags Across Florida project of the Florida Division. This makes $3,000.00 that the Lesley Camp has donated to this project. These funds were given from the "endowment" account, a special account separate and independent from the regular operational funds of the camp.
If you will remember, the Flags Across Florida project was the brainchild of Lesley Camp Judge Advocate Dr. Roger Crane. Of course, his idea was based upon the success of the Lesley Camp in installing monument/flagpoles with Confederate Battleflags at prominent sites in our camp area. The Flags Across Florida projects goal is to see that every major highway/interstate entering the state of Florida has, near the state line, a monument with at least a 50 foot flagpole flying a large Confederate Battleflag. The driving desire of the project is that any person driving from somewhere else (Yankeedom) into the state of Florida will be impressed with the fact that Florida is still a Southern state with all the symbols and the heritage of a Southern state.
This was not a "free" gift to the Florida Division. The stipulations were that the land (ground) selected for the installation be legally secure for the future for this purpose and that the dedication be held for the first site before the end of the year (1999).
It can now be reported that the first site has been selected on Highway 27, a major four laned highway leading north from Tallahassee into Georgia. The land has already been given to the Florida Division. It looks like the second site will be on Interstate 75.
Today is the birthday of Jefferson Davis, one of the greatest Americans in our history.
It's difficult for post-modern Americans to understand 19th century Americans. In an age in which public and private people lie and equivocate out of habit, when the public tolerates lies and even worse behavior, when even a frown is enough to frighten some Americans into silence, it's difficult to comprehend men who preferred death to dishonor. It's difficult to comprehend men who would sacrifice all they had to uphold a principle.
Hudson Strode, one of Davis's biographers, describes the president of the Confederacy this way:
"Though Davis lived under the most taxing tensions for years on end, in character he is remarkably consistent. In reality he was a simple man, ruled by common sense and a good heart, with a penetrating mind, unfaltering courage, incorruptible integrity, widespread generosity, and a defined religious faith. . . . Davis was sustained by a surety in God's ultimate kind intentions. He came to possess, as it were, a kind of mystic spirituality."
A book edited by Strode, Jefferson Davis, Private Letters 1823-1889, will give you a good insight into the man, as well as tell the story of one of the great loves between a man and a woman.
Davis was graduated from West Point and intended to spend his life as a soldier. When he asked Gen. Zachary Taylor for the hand of his daughter, the old general, who knew the hardship of frontier posts, refused unless Davis would agree to resign his commission. Davis did so, but his marriage was short-lived. His beloved bride, Sarah Taylor, died within a few months of malaria. Davis grieved in virtual isolation for seven years.
Varina Howell, his second wife, was in many ways his opposite. She was younger, beautiful, vivacious, extremely emotional and a great lover of society. Yet their marriage endured for the rest of their lives. Davis never spoke a cross word to her -- and never allowed anyone else to either. Yet, he was clearly the boss of the family. In one of her letters to him while he was in prison after the Civil War, she closed, "May the Lord bless you, darling, and keep you. May God keep my precious treasure. My lover, husband, benefactor, guide, strength and honor, my only love, farewell . . . ." Friends of Varina said that no one but a strong man could have attracted her loyalty.
Davis, by the way, never wanted to be president of the Confederacy. He had fought in the Mexican War, served as Secretary of War in Franklin Pierce's administration and served in the U.S. Senate. When the South seceded, he had hoped to serve in the army but was chosen over his own protest by delegates to the convention.
Strode remarks that, although Davis had enemies, people who got to know him well loved him to an unusual degree. This is illustrated by Robert Brown, a slave, who chose to stay with the Davis family even though he was free and remained a dear family friend for the rest of their lives.
While Davis was in prison and Mrs. Davis was forbidden to leave the country, Mrs. Davis entrusted her children to Brown to take them to Canada, where they would be safe. On the ship, a white abolitionist began to make insulting remarks about Davis within the hearing of the children. Brown walked over to the man.
"Do you believe that I am your equal, the same as you in every respect?" Brown asked. "Yeah, sure," said the abolitionist.
"Then take this from an equal," Brown said and knocked the loud-mouth flat on his back. The abolitionist ran to the captain, but after the captain heard what had happened, he sided with Brown and told the abolitionist to keep his mouth shut the rest of the voyage.
I have summoned you together for the last time. The vision we have cherished of a free and independent country has vanished and the country is now the spoil of a conqueror.
I disband your organization in preference to surrender to our enemies. I am no longer your commander.
After an association of two eventful years or more, I part from you with just pride in the fame of your achievements and grateful recollections of your generous kindness to myself. And now at this moment of bidding you a final adieu, accept the assurance of my unchanging confidence and regard.
Farewell, John S. Mosby
While this article was being read, Mosby gazed intently on the line of heroes, which had so often rallied to his call and then rode slowly down the line. Break ranks! March! was given and the greatest partisan the world ever saw was without a command. The men crowded around their sorrow-stricken chief to bid him a final adieu and with tearful eyes and quivering lips he extended his hand to each. The officers now approached him and he fell on his horses neck and wept aloud. Finally the crowd dispersed to their homes as heroes of a nation that was no more.
When one looks at the range of differences that can be found in todays SCV one is reminded of the range of differences found in the Southern warrior in the immediate post War environment. Also one should keep very much in mind of just who we are. That is, we are the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And as such we need to define ourselves differently than any other veteran organization. Perhaps, like the powers that be proclaim, "our strength is in our diversity." I certainly hope so. But we really are different even within our brotherhood.
At the Confederate War Memorial at the downtown county courthouse on Pierce and Madison Streets there are still two Confederate flags (rotating) fluttering in the Summer breezes. These are 3x5 foot flags on 8 foot poles both attached to the back of 24 feet of wooden flower stands that have been there since the April 26 ceremony. The goal is to keep the now green mums and the flags there until you know where freezes over. In any struggle it is never a good idea to give up ground gained.
Again, as last year, we have been invited to set up a camp display in south St. Petersburg at the historic black celebration, Juneteenth. This celebration of the end of slavery, is a peculiarly black event and is always celebrated close to the 19th of June. This year the event occurs on Saturday, June 19.
There are always a number of doubters and naysayers when we of the John T. Lesley Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, step over the "racial divide" and co-mingle with folks of colour. But our message at Juneteenth to those black Southerners is the same that we espouse to white Southerners. We speak of the pride, honour and duty performed by our ancestors, whether that ancestor be black or white, slave or free. What is really impressive is our expertise at bringing this message to blacks. Our display for them is tailored for them and is specific of their Southern heritage.
Participation in this event is by invitation only. This year the participates are Marion Lambert, Jake English, Mike Herring, Ross Lamoreaux, Frank Jakes and Doug Hill. Of special note, black SCV member Nelson Winbush will also be with us on this day.
Brandon 4th of July
As last year the Lesley Camp will be participating in this marvelous and wonderful parade. We are going all out to make this a total success. The Colour Guard and the parade float will be highlighted. There will be a band on the float and around them will be set up a military camp of the period. Company K 7th Florida Volunteer Infantry is invited to participate as the marching unit. Cmdr. Hayward will have his antique vehicles. Line up is at 9 AM on Sat. the 3rd of July at Lumsden and Kings in Brandon. The theme of the parade is "Celebrate America 99-Let Freedom Ring."
Plant City Style
Reported by Paula Nunnery
Camp Compatriots Mike Herring, Leroy Rogers, John McDowell, Kevin Goolsby, John Goolsby, Richard Robison and Legionnaire Paula Nunnery attended Pioneer Day in Plant City on Saturday, May 15, 1999. Mike set up the Camp Store and sold lots of bumper stickers, books and other items. Leroy and John sold raffle tickets on the 1861 musket which will be raffled in the fall, most likely at the October fishfry. Leroy Rogers had original fire arms and Confederate money on display together with dug artifacts. John McDowell had the original lock and skeleton key from his great-grandfathers plantation available for visitors to the tent to view.
Leroy Rogers, in an "authentic" Confederate gray uniform won a red ribbon for the best beard and Paula nunnery won a red ribbon for most authentic ladys dress for her representation of a belle during the ante-bellum periods.
Ladies associated with the camp, Rosa Nell Hayward, Claudette Waddell and Delicia McGuire, assisted the East Hillsborough Historical Society with breakfast, lunch and dessert sales.
The John T. Lesley Camp representatives stayed for the entire day and spoke with many interested individuals about our Southern Heritage.
Memorial Day (US)
Memorial Park, St. Petersburg, May 30 1999
Reported by Michael Herring
The John T. Lesley Camp Colour Guard was extended an invitation to participate in Memorial services during the holiday weekend. Hosted by the 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Reenactors, our Colour Guard was one of eight military representatives. Among uniformed re-enactors were soldiers representing the Indian Wars, Revolutionary War, War for Southern Independence, Spanish American War, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam.
Once the service began, appointed speakers delivered versions of each time period including the Confederate experience. After one hour under cloudy skies, which were welcomed by the Guard, several photographers scurried in our direction in order to capture our presence on film.
Those participating and forming the Colour Guard this day were the following: Captain Michael Herring, Sergeant Mike Bethune, and Corporals Wayne Sweat, Randy Tyler, Greg Chappell, Wesley Sweat, and Leroy Rogers.
Gratitude and appreciation are extended to all members of the Guard for their efforts considering the busy weekend. Our good reputation appears to be growing within our area. The July 4th Parade in Brandon will provide us another excellent opportunity in the community.
Reported by Ross Lamoreaux
The Brandon High School ROTC Department hosted a Living History for over 300 cadets and students on May 24, 1999. The joint effort of the Lesley Camp and Company K, 7th Florida presented three - one and a half hour classes on the life of the infantryman, uniforms and weaponry, and most importantly, the flags of the Confederacy.
Under the oak trees of the ROTC Departments drill field a small camp was set up with stations displaying a myriad of uniforms, equipment, muskets, and flags. What started as a Living History for just the cadets turned into an open session all day as other teachers asked if their classes could be included. The principal took time out of her very busy schedule to observe the classes. Our host, LtC. Thomas Mitchell, the senior army instructor, was most impressed with the presentation. He commented that he learned quite a bit that day, and he was been an army officer for over 40 years on active duty and as an instructor. A special thanks are in order for Jack Coleman, Mike Alvarez, and Bill Rivenbark for assisting Ross Lamoreaux in this effort.
We have been invited back for an even bigger display next year to include the ROTC Battalion and part of the History Department. This has the potential to be our largest Living History presentation on an annual basis.
For an awfully long time this editor has been "chomping at the bit" to include the following information in this newsletter. It is has been said that knowledge is power and with that thought these items from the current 1998 Florida State Statutes should be tucked away for easy and quick retrieval. That our sacred symbols are protected by law here in the Sunshine State make an impressive argument to those who might have the power or authority to denigrate our heritage.-Editor
256.051 Improper use or mutilation of state or Confederate flag or emblem prohibited.--
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to copy, print, publish, or otherwise use the flag or state emblem of Florida, or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States, or any flag or emblem used by the Confederate States or the military or naval forces of the Confederate States at any time within the years 1860 to 1865, both inclusive, for the purpose of advertising, selling, or promoting the sale of any article of merchandise whatever within this state.
(2) It shall also be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to mutilate, deface, defile, or contemptuously abuse the flag or emblem of Florida or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States by any act whatever.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the use of any flag, standard, color, shield, ensign, or other insignia of Florida or of the Confederate States for decorative or patriotic purposes.
256.10 Mutilation of or disrespect for Confederate flags or replicas.--
No person shall publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, trample upon, or by word or act cast contempt upon the flags of the Confederacy, or replicas thereof, for crass or commercial purposes; provided however nothing contained herein shall be construed to prevent or prohibit the use of such flags for decorative or patriotic purposes.
-Rev. Ken Simpson
I was born and raised mostly in the country of North Carolina. My family were simple, God-believing folks, who attended faithfully small, rural Southern Baptist Churches. I was brought up on the old fashion "fire and brimstone" type of preaching. We judged how good a preacher preached by how much sweat he worked up in the process.
I can still recall those hot summer days when there was no air conditioning in the church, and all the windows were wide open with the congregation straining for a breath of cool air. Each one was vigorously fanning himself with an old hand held fan provided by the local funeral home. The Preacher, having shed his black suit coat and loosened his tie, would proclaim the Word of God at the top of his voice. With a red face, he would move from one side of the platform to the other waving an open Bible in one hand while wiping the dripping moisture from his forehead with a white handkerchief in the other. The jubilant voices of the men in the congregation would shot out,"Amen brother!", spurring the Man of God onward. And when the flaming message had concluded, a heartfelt appeal was extended to anyone who wanted to give their life to Christ as their Lord and Savior. A hymn would be sung and the repentant sinner would come forward and kneel prayerfully at the altar in obedient response to the beckoning call of God. Those were some thrilling moments.
I have reminiscenced with you from my childhood for a reason. I am the product of a Southern, conservative, and orthodox upbringing, and very proud of it. This type of spiritual discipline was characteristic of the religious atmosphere in the ante-bellum South. The Bible was the authoritative Word of God, and that was all there was to it. New denominations spawned in the eighteenth century by the Enlightenment movement- Congregationalists, Unitarians, and Universalists, for example- never took root below the Potomac River.
Evangelical groups prevailed in Dixieland. Their beliefs, based squarely upon the Bible, called for a personal religious experience and a life consistent with the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. For most of these believers, the primary purpose o f existence was to prepare for eternal salvation. That is why the main concern of the Chaplains ministering to our Confederate troops dealt with the question of ones eternal salvation. Those tireless servants of God knew all too well that the soldier they talked with today could, in many cases, be dead the next after the next battle. The Chaplain knew that if he could write home to the family of that falling soldier, and be able to tell them that their son, brother, or husband had made their peace with God, that this would bring peace to the family.
Those same Evangelical groups taught that the individual was expected to conduct his daily affairs in harmony with the wishes of a just and loving God. Such dedication in beliefs and actions goes far in explaining why 25 percent of all Southerners, as compared to 15 percent of the Northern population, were active members of some church at the outbreak of the War.
Faith in God ran through out the South tying together her traditions, culture and way of life. The Confederacy became noteworthy for its reliance on God as an ally. Not merely in sermons and church publications, but in the Confederate Constitution, presidential proclamations, and generals announcements of victory, thankfulness to the Almighty was a dominant theme.
A Mrs. Fannie Beers of Louisiana captured this fervor in her reminiscences. "From the very first there was among the people of the South an earnest dependence upon God, a habit of appeal to His mercy and loving-kindness, and a marked attention to religious duties. On Sundays the churches were crowded with devout worshippers. Every service was attended by more or less Confederate soldiers, generally in squads, but sometimes even in companies, marshaled by some of their officers."
To the devout soldier, his faith in God was the connecting link between camp life and home. As he prayed and sang hymns of praise, his thoughts could not help but wander to his home church wherein he felt a mother, a father, a wife, or a child might be united with him in asking God for his speedy return. Many agreed with Louisiana Sergeant Edwin Ray, who did not, "believe a bullet can go through a prayer" because faith was a "much better shield than...steel armor."
Many veterans in the Army of Northern Virginia never forgot seeing a dead Confederate soldier on one of the Richmond Battlefields. His hand rested on a Bible, which was opened to the 23rd Psalm and the words, "Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me."
I am always honored to have a part in the memorial services we hold for our Confederate Soldiers. I believe if we are going to be true to his memory and to the Cause for which he fought, then we must also be true to the spiritual heritage that is a part of our southern life today.
The inventory of the camp store continues to change. Please pay close attention to what is available. If you desire an item that is not apparent, Mike Herring will be the man to contact in order to procure those things and items that have a Southern Heritage flavour. Contact him at home (681-6922) or just come to the meetings and you will have an opportunity to see displayed what is available.
Some items currently available are as follows:
Special - HERITAGE REPORT - Special
Thursday, June 3, 1999
BY GORDON HICKEY
AND CARRIE JOHNSON
Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers
The more than two dozen murals that will line the Richmond floodwall when the Canal Walk opens tomorrow won't include a portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The general might have commanded the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War, but he doesn't command the respect of many of the Richmond residents who rallied around yesterday to have him removed from the wall. Lee's portrait was among 29 murals being put up along the floodwall, which lines the James River downtown and is adjacent to the new Canal Walk along the Haxall and Kanawha canals. The floodwall gallery is part of an outdoor history museum along the walk.
A photograph of workers hanging Lee's portrait on the floodwall appeared on yesterday's front page of The Times-Dispatch.
The portrait angered City Councilman Sa'ad El-Amin, who led a protest yesterday and was ready to propose a boycott of tomorrow's Canal Walk opening. At midday, the 6th District councilman met with the men in charge of the Canal Walk development. The district includes the floodwall. By the end of the day, El-Amin claimed victory. "We got what we wanted. The mural's coming down," said El-Amin, congratulating those who decided to take Lee's portrait down.
James E. Rogers, president of the Richmond Historic Riverfront Foundation, which is raising money to pay for the outdoor museum, released a statement late yesterday saying that his organization had received a large number of calls from people complaining about the portrait of Lee. "It has come to the attention of the Richmond Historic Riverfront Foundation that the image of a Confederate general planned as one element of the floodwall gallery is offensive to some members of the community," Rogers said in the statement. He added that the foundation might consider replacing Lee after "the community can assess all of the 29 images in their entirety."
Lee's portrait was to the left of Chief Powhatan. On the other side, was Gabriel Prosser, who led a slave revolt before the Civil War. The gallery's theme is war and also includes images of the burning of Richmond near the end of the Civil War. Rogers never mentions Lee's name in his statement. But he said in a brief telephone interview that it was Lee's portrait that led to the negative reactions. "While we are disappointed in this reaction and have tried to create a balanced historical gallery, we look forward to the completion of the full gallery and obtaining broad-based community support," Rogers said in the statement. "This is a community project, and we want all members of the community to feel good about it."
El-Amin said he looked at the paper "and I saw Robert E. Lee's face on the wall and went to meet with Jim McCarthy around 12 o'clock." James J. McCarthy is executive director of the Richmond Riverfront Development Corp., which is responsible for operating the Canal Walk. He said he told McCarthy that, "Either it comes down or we jam." El-Amin said he met with Rogers and Brenton S. Halsey, president of the board of the Richmond Riverfront Development Corp., about 3:15 p.m. "I want to express my appreciation and my heartfelt thanks to them for responding as they did," El-Amin said last night. "They made a courageous decision. There are going to be those who are going to be angry."
One angry man was Henry Kidd, lieutenant commander of the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He said he thinks the members of the historic foundation acted too quickly in taking Lee's portrait down. "I would ask those folks who are against this [picture] to study the man, to study the man's moral values," Kidd said. Kidd said Lee was an excellent role model, citing Lee's sense of honor, his humility and his dignity. "He was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived," he said. "He gave his talents, his life and his devotion to this country." Lee was a Richmonder, at least for a little while, Kidd said. During the Civil War, Lee's wife lived in a house on Franklin Street and Lee would visit her often. Kidd said Lee was opposed to slavery and fought in the war only to defend his home. "Robert E. Lee loved everyone," he said. "He was not a racist man." To ignore the Confederacy is to ignore an important part of Virginia's history, Kidd added. "The history of the Confederacy is a multiracial, multi-ethnic chapter," he said.
Nelson D. Rodgers, lieutenant commander of the Mechanicsville branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said when he saw the portrait he was happy. "I thought, by golly, things are turning around in this city. . . . I was wrong." He said it was absurd to take the portrait down. "The whole issue is people's heritage," he said.
El-Amin said putting Lee's portrait in such a prominent place was tantamount to putting up Adolf Hitler's portrait in Berlin or Israel. "He is offensive to the African-American community because of what he stood for," including slavery. "He is a pariah in my community."
El-Amin said he wasn't around when the monuments to confederate soldiers were erected on Monument Avenue, but he's in the city now. "This is happening on my watch, and it's in my district and it's not going to happen," he said. El-Amin said Halsey and Rogers talked about possibly returning Lee to the wall later, but his reaction was simple: "No way." El-Amin said he was worried that people don't understand that Lee's image offends so many city residents. The city's population is about 55 percent black. "The problem is, people still don't get that. Here we are on the cusp of the 21st century, and we still have to bring this issue back." He said he was proud the issue has been settled. Yesterday morning he planned to boycott the Canal Walk. Now, "I will be there Friday with bells on."
From the Adjutant's Desk:
Last month at the May, John T. Lesley Camp meeting I had the honor of presenting a Sons of Confederate Veterans War Service Medal. The recipient, Compatriot "Kirby S. Halbert was a Pharmacist Mate 2/C in "A" Medical Company during the combat landing on the west coast of Willaumez Peninsula, New Britain, and while subjected to enemy mortar and machine gun fire performed his duties in a highly commendable manner". Lt. Comdr. G.W. Lynch 1st Marine Division.
The War Service Medal is awarded on the basis of a minimum of ninety (90) days of active service in the armed services or less time if wounded. The eligibility dates for war service are the dates determined by the American Legion are: WW I, April 6. 1917-November 11, 1918; WW II, December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946; Korean War, June 25, 1950 - January 31, 1955; Vietnam War, December 22, 1961, - May 7, 1975; Lebanon and Grenada, August 1982 - July 31, 1984; Panama, December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990; Persian Gulf, AUGUST 2, 1990 - Cessation not yet defined. All dates are inclusive.
You are encouraged to purchase S.C.V. membership and accessories medals that you have eligibility, and to wear them at meetings and ceremonies. If you have any inquires please do not hesitate to contact me.
If you have any questions concerning camp business as it relates to you or to process membership paperwork, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
Adjutant Dwight Tetrick